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Friday, 6 December 1935

Senator J B HAYES (Tasmania) . - I take the same view of this bill as does Senator Gibson, hut I shall go further than he proposes, for I shall vote against it. It is absolutely unnecessary, because the two bodies now in existence are doing their work well. Their duties are entirely different. The Dairy Produce Control Board deals with the shipping and selling of butter, and needs to have technical men on it. I have here the agenda paper for one of its meetings, and among the subjects for discussion are the London market; the proposed reconstitution of the board as recommended by the Australian Agricultural Council; marine insurance ; the policy of the Commonwealth Government with regard to certain aspects of marketing of Australian primary products abroad ; arrangements in relation to war risks; liability for stamp duty; all insurance matters; shipping; regulating butter shipments to the United Kingdom; English marketing scheme; and other matters which require trained men to deal with them. The Australian Dairy Council, which deals with pasture improvement, stock diseases and the manufacture and production of butter, requires as members men with a different training. These two bodies, which perform different work, are functioning splendidly, because their members are eminently suited for the work that they are called upon to perform. If the Australian Dairy Council be wiped out, some of its members will probably be placed on the Australian Dairy Produce Board. The Government's proposal really amounts to an amalgamation of the two existing boards. If they are amalgamated, technical men will be asked to deal with farming problems, and farming men with technical problems. Men will have to devote time to subjects of which they know nothing. There has been no demand for the change, and it would be better to leave things as they are. I shall vote against the second reading, but; if it is carried, I shall, in committee, seek an explanation of some of the clauses, even if I do not move amendments to them. I agree with the proposal to put more representatives of the producers on the hoard, but I should like the Minister, when replying, to explain why there is to be only one representative for South Australia, "Western Australia and Tasmania. That representative is to be elected by the primary producers of those States. How will it be possible for primary producers thousands of miles apart to elect a representative?

Senator Collings - Has the honorable senator never heard of a postal ballot?

Senator J B HAYES - Fancy electing a representative on the board by a postal ballot over such a large area of Australia! The existing boards, which are doing good -work, are not costly and should not be interfered with. I agree that every effort should be made to improve the quality of Australian butter, hut I cannot see how that can be done Letter by the proposed controlling body than by the two existing boards. There are several reasons why some Australian butter is not of the choicest quality. In some instances inferior butter is due to the nature of the pasture. There may be a clover taint in the butter. The dairyfarmers themselves, with the assistance of the technical officers of the State agricultural departments, are better able to deal with the problems that arise than are men trained in the export and sale of butter.

Senator Hardy - Is not the narrow margin between the choicest butter and the lower grades one of the reasons for Australian butter not having a better reputation?

Senator J B HAYES - I agree that there is not much margin between the grades; but I submit that practical men, assisted by the experts of the State Agricultural Departments, are more likely to ensure a higher percentage of choicest butter than are the shipping experts whom it is proposed to appoint to the board.

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