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Thursday, 1 September 1921

Senator BOLTON (Victoria) .- There has been a marked inclination on the part of the Committee to sympathetically regard the welfare of the primary producer. Compared with the treatment accorded in another place to farming interests, the man on the land has been most generously considered by honorable senators. I agree with Senator de Largie concerning the great benefits of employing fertilizers. The honorable senator referred to certain soils which would not have been producing anything to-day but for the judicious application of superphosphates. It was the vital importance of superphosphates to the primary producers which induced the Government to secure some control over the island of Nauru, so that we would be independent of any foreign Power, and assured of a supply of this commodity. The Government are to be congratulated on what they did, and honorable senators who are friends of the farmers should remember that if superphosphates were admitted free from Japan and such countries where they are manufactured by cheap labour it would be impossible to carry on their production in this country on a commercial basis. What would be the position of the farmers if they could not depend on a local supply? The whole object of the Government has been to protect the primary producers, and that is the 'intention of the request which has been submitted by the Minister.

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