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Thursday, 10 November 1921

Senator WILSON (South) (Australia) . - I can assure Senator Guthrie that if there is good country available in Victoria, with a reasonable rainfall, and the returned soldiers do not want it, South Australia, will be very pleased to oblige him with a few of its returned soldiers who are still anxious to settle on the land. It is useless to bring men from the Old Country simply for the purpose of peopling Australia. Australia must be developed on agricultural lines. The Minister for Repatriation (Senator E. D. Millen) has told us that the Commonwealth scheme has been turned down, but the Government should not be afraid to make a second attempt at solving the problem. It is important to remember that a returned soldier must have an up-to-date plant, and good stock, if he is to make a success of farming. It is useless to start him off with two or three old horses and a number of indifferent cows. When men take up land in our outside country they must have big areas, and a good banking account. If they are to make good, it is essential to have a fair rainfall, land of good quality, and capital. I believe that in South Australia it is reckoned that a sum in the vicinity of £3,000 is necessary to start a man on a. farm. One of the difficulties throughout the country districts is to secure farm labour. It is almost impossible to get domestic help, without which it is unreasonable to expect women to rear families, and submit to the drawbacks of country life. It seems to me that if we could provide a sufficient number of domestic helpers that would go a long way towards increasing production.

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