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Thursday, 29 October 1931

Mr E RILEY (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) . - I congratulate the Minister for Markets (Mr. Parker Moloney) on his persistency- in the introduction of bills for the assistance of the wheat-growers; he has certainly proved himself a firm friend of the farmers.. The object of this legislation was, in the first instance, to assist those growers who were in necessitous circumstances. The price of wheat was then very low, and I was happy to support the granting of relief to those who were in need. But circumstances have changed. This bill is designed to assist, not merely those who are in difficulties, but also those who are well able to live on their own resources. The honorable member for Swan (Mr. Gregory) appealed on behalf of the Western Australian growers. For several years, they have enjoyed bounteous crops and good prices; so profitable has their industry been that they have been steadily increasing the acreage under crop.

Mr Hill - Thousands of them have walked off their blocks.

Mr E RILEY (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I know that; but I object to men with big banking accounts, who need no assistance, being permitted to participate in the' bounty. Nobody should complain of assisting farmers who are down and out, whom we should endeavour to keep in constant employment in producing national wealth. Manufacturers, shop-keepers, mechanics, and others may claim to be in needy circumstances, and may ask the Government for similar assistance. The interest burden is- bringing this country almost to the verge of bankruptcy, and now we are to burden the people with another £3,000,000 loan for a non-reproductive undertaking. I regret that the bill does not discriminate between the wheatgrowers who need the bounty and those who do not. Certain honorable members are directly interested in wheat-farming, and I submit that any member who would benefit from the payment of the proposed bounty should neither take part in this debate nor vote on the bill.

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