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Thursday, 28 November 1935

Senator COLLINGS (Queensland) . - This bill will not be opposed by the Labour party which, for a number of reasons, is gratified at its introduction. The Opposition, particularly those of its members who come from Queensland, will always favour the granting of assistance to any Australian primary or secondary industry which needs it. The introduction of this measure provides further evidence that private enterprise, cannot produce, distribute and market its own produce without government assistance and control. The more we on this side see industries, particulary primary industries, tending towards government assistance and control the more satisfied we are, because we know that a government ought to be able to do this job better than private enterprise can hope to do it.

Senator Abbott - Does the honorable senator include the wool industry in his remarks ?

Senator COLLINGS - I am getting rather tired of hearing Senator Abbott speak of the wool industry as though it were far superior to other industries.

Senator Brennan - This bill does not interfere with private enterprise, but seeks to assist it.

Senator Abbott - The wool industry has never asked for assistance.

Senator COLLINGS - At the present time the wool industry is negotiating with the Government for assistance in certain directions.

Senator Abbott - It has never asked for government help.

Senator COLLINGS - As time goes on, it is more than likely that this Parliament will be asked to do something to assist the wool industry, and when that time comes Senator Abbott can rest assured that the Labour party will support any reasonable proposal to promote greater prosperity in the industry. I wish to emphasize that the Labour party has a definite policy in regard to the production and distribution of wealth. It believes that the present conditions in this respect are absolutely anarchic. Except in respect of those industries which are now, to some extent, under government control, no attempt is made towards a planned economy. No effort is made to find out what the requirements of the several nations are, what the exportable surplus is likely to be, what prices are likely to be realized overseas, and what is necessary in regard to packing and grading. Everything proceeds by rule of thumb methods; it is a case of "Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost ". As a result, an ever-increasing num ber of people, in order to avoid being taken by the devil, are seeking government protection. The Opposition sees in this measure another- primary industry being given a measure of control in order to secure first, the best quality of product, and secondly, the most effective method of assuring to the growers the best possible return. It therefore will support the bill.

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