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Wednesday, 3 June 1942

Mr PROWSE (Forrest) .- I support the motion. The honorable member for Calare (Mt. Breen) seems to be somewhat thin-skinned over this matter, but I assure him that there is nothing in the motion to disturb him. He and other rural representatives lost no opportunity when they were in opposition to champion the interests of the wheat growers. I remember that a huge and representative meeting was addressed by the Prime Minister (Mr. Curtin) in Perth some time ago, and I heard him say that, if his party were returned to power, wheat would be acquired at 3s. 10-^d. a bushel, f.o.b. That was a definite promise. This matter of a price for wheat is being turned into a political football. I am now referring to the No. 5 pool. The previous Government offered to pay 3s. 8d. a bushel for bulk wheat, and 3s. lOd. a bushel, f.o.b., for bagged wheat, on the basis of a yield of 140,000,000 bushels, which would cost about £27,000,000. If the crop had not been more than 140,000,000 bushels, the estimate of £27,000,000 would have been enough, but the crop actually reached 153,000,000 bushels, and unless the Government makes the growers some payment in respect of the extra 13,000,000 bushels, it will, in effect, be confiscating that quantity of the growers' wheat. The Government may have an answer, but the growers cannot wait very long. They are hard up, as every body knows. The extra 13,000,000 bushels of wheat must have some value, and the growers are entitled to receive that value. Unless they do so, it would have been better for them to have fed the wheat to pigs.

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