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Wednesday, 18 November 1936

Senator BADMAN (South Australia) . - The Assistant-Minister said that surely no one would suggest that any sinister motive lurked behind the Government's proposal. I do not think for one moment that there is any sinister motive behind it. I believe that the Government intends well, but, as Senator Duncan-Hughes has just pointed out, the point to be decided is whether the Government wants to have restored to it powers to prop up the particular industries which have been affected by the decision in the

Jamescase, or whether it wants wide powers to control the whole matter of marketing - buying and selling - in the future. The Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings) suggested that I apparently would enter upon this campaign in South Australia in a defeatist frame of mind, because I said that whilst I personally supported the proposal of the Government, I was afraid that Iwould . not be able to convince the people of South Australia as to its value. I should like Senator Collings to visit Adelaide to participate in the forthcoming referendum campaign andtospeak to those people in that State who are opposed to the Government's proposal. Such a visit would do good not only to Senator Collings but also to the electors of South Australia. In that State there is a considerable section of the community, including many learned men, who support the State government in opposing this proposal. In passing, I point out that the Leader of the Opposition will, in the forthcoming campaign in Queensland, be supported by all parties in. the Parliament of that State and by Queensland members of both the Government and Opposition parties in the Commonwealth Parliament. In South Australia, however, the position is different. The Premier of that State has already spoken against this proposal and it is apparent that he intends to fight it. In that attitude he is supported by many learned men who are already preparing hostile propaganda. Consequently any honorable senator who participates in the referendum campaign in South Australia in support of this proposal will have to be well armed. I want an assurance from the Government that will arm me to be able to fight effectively for the adoption of this proposal. This is the reason why I have moved my amendment. I wish to have this proposal so clearly defined that the people of South Australia, and of Australia generally, will have no doubt as to what it means. The Leader of the Opposition said that it was because of the standard of living given to the people of Australia through the arbitration courts, and the effect of our fiscal policy on the large populations in the cities, that the primary producers had been enabled to secure favorable prices for their products. The fact of the matter is that those prices have been obtained directly through the system of organized marketing, whichhas been in operation in certain primary industries during the last ten or twelve years. The people in our cities did not. bring about those prices. Producers of goods which are exported overseas have to take the overseas price, less the cost of freight, insurance and exchange. Wheat-growers, for instance, have to accept about1s. a bushel less than the price paid by purchasers overseas. Consequently it is useless for Senator Collings to endeavour to hoodwink the Senate in that direction. The populations of our cities do not make the prices for our primary products. If we . had sufficient population to consume all our primary products, and, in addition, had to import products to meet our needs fully, as Germany, France, Italy and England are obliged to do, it would be logical to give to the industrial population the credit for the prices ruling.

The Leader of the Opposition said that he could support wholeheartedly the Government's proposal in the forthcoming referendum. I repeat the hope that he will visit South Australia to participate in the campaign in that State. I assure him that he will be well received there. My hope is that he will be able to convince, not only those who are supporting the Government of that State, which is not a Labour. Government, but also those members of the Labour party in South Australia who are opposed to this proposal. I do not intend to withdraw my amendment. The Leader of the Senate has stated that it may be necessary at some time in the future to make provision for the orderly marketing of primary products, other than those which - have been previously under control. I would support such a step being taken now by the insertion of the words " primary products " in this proposal. But whether we use the terms " marketing ", " primary products " or " foodstuffs " what we have to do is to convince the people of the need for the Government's proposal. That will - not be easy unless the scope of the proposal is clearly defined.

Progress reported.


The DEPUTY PRESIDENT. - I have received from Lady Murray Anderson a letter conveying; her heartfelt gratitude for the motion of the Senate which had been passed on the occasion of the death of Sir David Murray Anderson.

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