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Thursday, 8 December 1960

Mr TURNBULL (Mallee) .- After listening to the honorable member for Lalor (Mr. Pollard) I want to make one or two remarks about pastoral companies, on which the honorable member has spoken at length on several occasions during this debate. I should like to say. first, that when it comes to a comparison of the pastoral companies with, say, the Commonwealth Bank, credit is due to the pastoral companies for giving service to the primary producers. They have staffs of experts who will help in the selection of stud rams or stud bulls, or in regard to anything designed to improve the stock. On occasions they will send men out to help to draft and cull sheep, and they give a wonderful service.

The honorable member for Lalor spoke about pastoral companies supplying refrigerators to primary producers. That is only one side of the activities of pastoral companies. The real test of the whole thing is whether the pastoral companies could continue to exist if they did not give service to the primary producers.

Mr Bandidt - Of course, they could not.

Mr TURNBULL - As the honorable member says, of course, they could not. The simple fact is that if people who are engaged in pastoral pursuits want to deal with the Commonwealth Bank they are at liberty to do so. If they want pastoral companies to finance them and give them service they are equally at liberty to deal with them. The pastoral companies are in big business to-day because through the years they have given service to the primary producers. The honorable member for Lalor shows by his comments that he is miles behind the times. He spoke of promissory notes.

Mr Pollard - I did not mention promissory notes.

Mr TURNBULL - Of course, you did.

Mr Pollard - I did not.

Mr TURNBULL - Well, what were the words you used?

Mr Pollard - Why did you not listen properly? I did not mention promissory notes.

Mr TURNBULL - The honorable member spoke of promissory notes.

Mr Pollard - I did nothing of the sort.

Mr TURNBULL - The honorable member said that stock was purchased on promissory notes. The " Hansard " report will show whether or not he said that, and as far as I know he did. I am making the point that promissory notes were much in evidence in the buying of stock about 30 years ago. Usually to-day, when stock is bought it is on the books of the pastoral company or an auctioneering firm, which is ever so much better, because otherwise when the amount became due in three or four months at an inconvenient time the farmer might have trouble in meeting it. If it is on the book he can pay it off after he has completed his shearing or at some other appropriate time.

Why has the honorable member for Lalor chosen to attack the pastoral companies? I can see no reason for it except the desire of the Labour Party to bring in socialism. Any party that has a policy which provides for the socialization or nationalization of industry, production, distribution and exchange would have to stress the points that have been stressed by the honorable member for Lalor. Any one who believes in free enterprise - the free enterprise that has built this nation and on which we depend for our future stability and peaceful occupancy of this great country-

Mr Uren - I rise to order, Mr. Temporary Chairman. A few minutes ago you considered it necessary to call me to order because I was straying from the bill. The honorable member for Mallee has not spoken about the bill for the last five minutes.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The honorable member for Mallee is in order. He has covered the relevant points that were raised by other speakers in the debate.

Mr TURNBULL - I have not very much more to say. I have pointed out the difference between socialization or nationalization and private enterprise. When 1 was so rudely interrupted by the honorable member for Reid (Mr. Uren) I was stating that any one who believes in the freedom of private enterprise will say that if pastoralists desire to do business with the Commonwealth Bank, they may; if they desire to do business with the pastoral companies, they may. That is why we put up such a strong fight in this chamber against the proposal to nationalize the banks. We believe that the people should have freedom of choice. Ever since I have been in this place the Country Party and the Liberal Party have always stated clearly that the people should be given a choice. Let them decide and, in deciding, they will pick the organization that serves them best.

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