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Friday, 18 September 1936

Senator JAMES McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) . - In introducing this hill this morning, the Postmaster-General (Senator A. J. McLachlan) informed us that an opportunity would be afforded to honorable senators to discuss the provisions contained in it on the motion for the printing of the Estimates and budget-papers. I remind the honorable senator that by the time the Estimates and budget-papers are next under discussion, the bill, which is now before us, will have been passed intolaw and no opportunity will be afforded to alter or amend its provisions if we desire to do so. I join in the protest voiced by Senator Duncan-Hughes against the methods adopted in the introduction of legislation into this chamber. Honorable senators are desirous of maintaining the dignity and importance of this chamber. Therefore, every facility should be extended to us to discuss fully all measures with which we are asked to deal. Until the Minister delivered his second-reading speech on the bill this morning honorable senators were unaware of its contents. The bill was introduced into the House of Representatives yesterday, and if the method used in the South Australian Parliament of making available to all members of that Parliament a Hansard proof of the speeches delivered in both branches of the legislature were in operation here, honorable senators would have been aware of its provisions, and would have had time to study carefully the second-reading speech of the Minister who introduced the bill in the House of Representatives. The. expense of the adoption of such an innovation would be very small indeed, because the whole of the proceedings in both Houses of the Parliament each day is in print by the following morning.

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Difficulty would have been experienced in this particular instance because the bill was introduced in the House of Representatives after eleven o'clock last night.

Senator JAMES McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Nevertheless, I commend my suggestion to the favorable consideration of the Government.

The. Leader of the Country Party said that the fertilizer subsidy was not intended to be a form of financial assistance to producers. I think the honorable senator is wrong; there is not the least doubt that a subsidy of this sort must be regarded as financial assistance, as the use of fertilizer definitely improves the carrying capacity of pasture lands. 1 cannot agree with Senator Marwick that the subsidy should be extended to growers of wheat. The Government has, in the past, greatly assisted wheat-growers by direct bounty, and under its rural rehabilitation scheme, is now helping them to overcome their financial difficulties. Instead of reducing the fertilizer subsidy from15sto 10s. a ton, the Government should have continued it at the higher rate and imposed a quantity limit; that is to say, the subsidy should have been paid only in respect of, say, a maximum of 20 tons for each applicant. Every honorable senator interested in the pastoral industry knows that at the present time graziers who are in a position to pay the full price for fertilizer are taking advantage of the subsidy. Small graziers and market gardeners are in an entirely different position.

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