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Thursday, 8 December 1960

Mr UREN (Reid) .- The case presented by the Australian Country Party in this debate has been very weak. The only member of that party who has spoken is the honorable member for Wide Bay (Mr. Bandidt).

Mr Harold Holt - We could have arranged for more speakers if we had wanted to drag out the proceedings.

Mr UREN - This is a very important question and it should be well debated, particularly by the Country Party. Clearly the Liberal Party is not united on this measure. There is a great division in its framework. I wish to remind the Country Party of its responsibilities. On 1st December the new member for Calare (Mr. England), at question time, asked the Treasurer (Mr. Harold Holt) the following question -

I ask the Treasurer whether it is a fact that, in the town of Grenfell and, indeed in all towns west of Bathurst where all industry is engaged in export pursuits, the Industrial Acceptance Corporation has withdrawn agents' finance and retail finance for the purchase of farm machinery, tractors and motor vehicles, and that since then it has not been possible to arrange hire-purchase finance with any of the well-known hire-purchase companies in those areas.

During the debate on the measure establishing the Commonwealth Banking Corporation it was stated that the Development Bank would make sufficient money available on hire purchase for the purchase of goods necessary for development in country areas. The Government has not faced up to this problem. The Country Party has been trying to paddle its own canoe. The first field of activity from which the hire-purchase companies have withdrawn is that which is most essential to the development of this country. Those companies are diverting their finance to more profitable channels such as land speculation - interests which the honorable member for Wentworth (Mr. Bury) seems to be so concerned to protect. At question time to-day I drew the attention of the Treasurer to the subject of farm investment.

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