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Thursday, 1 October 1936

Senator BADMAN (South Australia) . - The growers of prunes in South Australia are more concerned with the passage of this legislation than are growers in any other State. Early in the present year the representatives of the industry at Clare and Angaston came to Canberra to interview the Minister for Commerce (Dr. Earle Page) with a view to obtaining Government assistance to place the industry on a sounder basis. The price to the Australian consumer is determined by the quantity and quality available. The difficulties of producers are not due, as the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings) has suggested, to the fixation of a price beyond the reach of Australian consumers, thus rendering Government control necessary.

Senator Collings - I never said that. What I said was that if the working classes had a greater purchasing power, they would be able to consume a larger proportion of the Australian production of prunes.

Senator BADMAN - And my reply to the Leader of the Opposition is that if the tariff policy of the Commonwealth made it possible for primary producers to lower their costs of production there would be no need to appeal to the Government for assistance in any form. The prune-growers did not approach this Parliament until their business was absolutely flat. I came to Canberra with the representatives of the industry, the position of which, at that time, was extremely serious. The Leader of the Opposition complained that the best of the product was exported, leaving only fruit of inferior quality for the Australian market. The Minister, on the other hand, has pointed out that the real trouble is that fruit of inferior quality has been exported. I heartily support the action of the Government and hope that a market will be found for the Australian production at a satisfactory price.

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