Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 5 December 1935

Senator BRAND (Victoria) .- There has been so much propaganda against the renewal of the Sugar Agreement, particularly in Victoria, that many persons think that the Commonwealth

Government is attempting to work some swindle upon the Australian people. If the speech delivered by the Minister in moving the second-reading of the bill were circulated in pamphlet form, a good deal of misconception would be removed.

Senator Duncan-Hughes - It will be available in Hansard.

Senator BRAND - But many of those who oppose the renewal of the agreement do not read that publication. The principal critics are members of well-known freetrade organizations, who would deny this and other industries any form of protection. They fail to realize that it is the policy of Australia to provide a reasonable standard of living for its people, and that, in order to do so, protection must be afforded to our industries. Many of our primary and all of our secondary industries of importance, are protected in one form or another. I intend to support the bill, because it will ensure stability in the industry for five years and so establish an assured home market for this indispensable commodity. The maintenance of the sugar industry provides the power to purchase the products of many southern secondary industries to an amount exceeding £6,000,000 a year. Despite the industry's share in keeping factories in operation, there are some who desire the removal of the embargo on overseas cane grown by coloured labour. Australia is the only country in the world which grows cane sugar with white labour. Overseas competition would eventually result in the collapse of the industry, throwing thousands out of employment, not only in Queensland, but also in the southern States, particularly Victoria. Further, if the industry were destroyed as the outcome of the nonrenewal of the agreement, Queensland would ask the Commonwealth for an annual grant of perhaps £2,000,000 or more to stabilize its finances. Each year, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania ask for and receive varying amounts for a similar purpose. Apart from the fact that the Australian sugar industry supports our secondary industries, we have to consider it from a national aspect. I understand that, in the tropical areas of Western Australia, there are 6,000 white persons, in the Northern Territory 5,000 and in Queensland 172,000. The majority of the white settlers in northern Queensland are directly or indirectly dependent upon the industry. The defence of Australia and the maintenance of the Australian sugar industry are more closely associated than some persons imagine. Were this large area now used for the production of sugar allowed to become depopulated, the position would be serious. There is a virile population, including many sturdy children, in these areas and on the neighbouring fertile Atherton Tableland, which is as extensive as the whole of the arable lands of Tasmania, these settlers are peaceful garrisoning that portion of the Commonwealth for the benefit of the whole of the Australian people. So long as this industry is maintained and additional efforts are made to induce further settlement, we cannot expect very strong opposition' to our White Australia policy from other nations. It is always understood that occupied land acts as a deterrent to an invader. Current international events emphasize the need to develop our sparsely populated territories, and, particularly productive areas. For broad national reasons, apart from any other considerations, I support the bill.

Suggest corrections