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Thursday, 4 June 1970

Mr PETTITT (Hume) - Mr Speaker,1 am very grateful to my friend, the honourable member for Kennedy (Mr Katter), for directing your attention to the state of the House. In rising to support [he passage of the Wheat Industry Stabilisation Bill 1970, 1 wish to draw attention first to the second reading speech delivered by the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Anthony). The Minister said:

This Bill is intended to amend the Wheal Industry Stabilisation Act in 2 respects, lt will complement legislative action by the State:.: First. to implement a quota scheme tor wheat deliveries; and, second, to give discretionary power to the Australian Wheat Board to sell wheat in Australia for purposes other than human consumption at prices lower than the price for human consumption.

This Bill proposes a pretty straightforward amendment to the Act. I know that discussion today has ranged widely although the Bill is a fairly straightforward one. I propose to be brief and to the point.

The Wheat Industry Stabilisation Act 1968 provided for the fifth consecutive 5-year stabilisation plan for the wheat industry. In 1968-69, wheat production exceeded 540 million bushels. Over 515 million bushels were delivered to the Austraiian. Wheat Board. This was at a time when there was gross over-world production. The honourable member for Riverina (Mr Grassby) refuses to accept that such a position of gross over-world productionexisted. He bases the whole of his argument on the theme that over-production occurred in Australia and that this was the cause of the introduction of the quota system. He ought to know better than that.

Wheat growers face a tremendous problem because of this over-production regarding the provision of storage facilities and marketing. Those of us who are wheat growers and who arc engaged in the wheat industry know that wheat growers acted very responsibly in backing their leaders in introducing a quota scheme. Criticism came from many people. Most of the critics were not wheat growers. Criticism came today from the honourable member for Riverina and the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly), neither of whom is a wheat grower. Despite this criticism the scheme has been accepted and supported by a great majority of the wheat growers themselves. Surely nobody knows better than the leaders of the industry what the problems are and what is the best procedure to take to deal with those problems.

Members of the Opposition, notably the honourable member for Riverina, have criticised continually the leaders of the wheat growers. I must pay tribute to the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson), who has been much more rational than most honourable members on the Opposition side. He at least does know something about primary industry. He at least is a theorist as far as agriculture is concerned even if he is not a practical farmer. It is very obvious that no honourable member opposite is a practical farmer. One has only to look at the 3 speakers put up in this debate by the Opposition. The honourable member for Riverina is not a practical farmer. While the honourable member for Grayndler always provides comic relief, we know that he is not and never has been a farmer.

Mr Hunt - Bom in Currabubula.

Mr PETTITT - As my honourable friend from Gwydir says, he was born at Currabubula. Somebody suggests that he was born in a stable; I am very sure that it was not a manger.

Like all Socialists who wish to take over primary industry as a whole, honourable members on the Opposition side would like to see a left wing dictatorship.

Mr Kennedy - That is not right.

Mr PETTITT - They support the socialisation of all means of production, distribution and exchange.

Mr Kennedy - No.

Mr PETTITT - That is the pledge they have to sign. What does socialisation mean?

Mr Kennedy - What about the farmers who-

Mr PETTITT - Look, you may be a school teacher-

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