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Thursday, 5 December 1935

Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES (South Australia) (2:47 AM) . - On this bill I think I shall be able to make the shortest speech I have ever made on the wheat industry, because I do not propose to discuss the merits of the bill at all. The Minister who introduced, the bill into Parliament explained that this scheme could not be put into operation until complementary legislation had been passed by the State parliaments. That has not yet been done. Therefore, this appears to me to be an attempt to coerce the States, either now or later. A bill re-imposing a flour tax for an indefinite period has already been introduced into this Parliament, so that at present it is quite unnecessary for us to proceed with this measure. A little while ago I protested against the introduction of the Port Augusta to Red Hill Railway Bill on the ground that it was an attempt to force the hands of one of the States, and I protest against this bill on the same ground. There is also the constitutionality of this matter to be considered, and, from that point of view, it will be better to wait until the question of the control of interstate trade is settled by a decision of the Privy Council, as that particularly affects clauses S and 11 of this bill. For those reasons I am opposed to the bill being passed at present, apart altogether from its merits or demerits.

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