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Thursday, 1 October 1936

Senator HARDY (New South Wales) . - The burden of the complaint by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings) seems to be that we are exporting 50 per cent, of the prune production. May I assume that his desire is to increase the purchasing power of the Australian people so that they may consume the whole of the crop? Does he go further and argue that the same principle should apply to all of our exportable primary products, and does he suggest, for instance, that increased purchasing power would enable Australian consumers to take the whole of our butter production ?

Senator Collings - Of course not.

Senator HARDY - If the whole of the butter production were marketed in Australia at a nominal price, the people here would be unable to consume it. Does the honorable senator suggest also that increased purchasing power would so strengthen the local market as to render unnecessary 90 per cent, of our present export trade in primary products? His statement was really one of the most illogical that we have heard in this chamber. He complained that we were exporting the best of our prunes. But we must look facts in the face. Undoubtedly the more difficult market is the one overseas. What would be the consequences to our prune-growers if we exported the inferior portion of the crop and marketed the best in Australia? Would not the industry be entirely destroyed? Obviously the overseas market must be catered for, at least until out prune-growers are able to standardize their products.

Senator ALLANMacDONALD (Western Australia) [3.56 1. - I should like the Minister to inform me whether some of the amendments made to the parent act by this bill have relation to the recent decision of the Privy Council in the James case. Section 4 of the principal act states that the bounty shall be payable on prunes exported during 1935 " in respect of which the provisions of the Commerce (General Exports) Regulations (being Statutory Rules 1926, No. 22, as amended to the date of tho export of the prunes) were complied with." I notice also that clause 5 amends section 6 of the principal act which mentions " the prescribed authority within the meaning of the Dried Fruits Act 1928-1935." These words are eliminated and the words " a prescribed authority " are inserted in their stead.

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