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Friday, 6 December 1935

Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES (South Australia) . - Seldom does one find in this chamber so much doubt exhibited in regard to a bill. I am not at all surprised at that, because there appears to be doubt and confusion, not only in Parliament, but outside it. ,So far as I can ascertain, every section of persons interested in the dairy industry seems to have held conflicting opinions as to what should be done in the best interests of the industry. I have received communications - which I do not propose to read - from all manner of persons and organizations engaged in this industry, and they have expressed widely dissimilar views. That doubt and confusion appears to some extent to have communicated itself to the Minister for Commerce, who was responsible for the preparation of the bill, because several differing suggestions regarding the representation on the board have been brought before Parliament for consideration. I do not wish to pose as an expert on the dairying industry, but I approach this matter from the angle of a member of Parliament desirous of doing the correct and sensible thing. I ask myself, " Is there any need for a change in the representation on the board and is this legislation necessary?" So far as I can judge, no reason or need has been shown, for the change. Everybody seems to be unanimous on the point that the two existing bodies have done their work ably. Why then change them? Is it with any desire to affect a change of personnel ? If so, I am rather against such a change. I call to mind an old saying that " Old friends are the best ". I am not acquainted with any member of either of the existing bodies; therefore I cannot be accused of using the expression " old friends " in any personal sense. To use a less elegant colloquialism I might also say " Better the devil you know than the devil you don't know". If the two existing boards are giving satisfaction, why change them for another? Prom the outset I am rather inclined to keep to the present system, which appears, up to date, to have worked well. I am strengthened in that idea by the fact brought out by Senator James McLachlan that the two existing boards perform completely different work, and if they be amalgamated, half of the members of the new board might know nothing about marketing, while the other half might know little about production. In my opinion, those who understand the productive side of dairying should keep to this province, while experts on marketing should be confined to theirs. As a primary producer I have no belief that, generally speaking, the producer is as competent as some other persons to control marketing. The primary producer has his own job to do; and the man who sells the produce certainly could not work as effectively in the actual field of production as the primary producer himself. But in the marketing of the produce overseas, to me it is perfectly obvious that the expert who has made this matter his life's study is the man for the job. Without any more ado, I propose to follow the general lines suggested by Senators Gibson, James McLachlan and Payne. I wish it to be understood that I take this course without being actuated by any animus against the Government. This bill raises the issue of what is the sensible and best course to follow. I consider that the best course is that which has been proved ; we should not venture into uncharted waters; and, therefore, I propose to vote against the second reading of the bill. .

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