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Thursday, 29 October 1931

Mr CUSACK (Eden) (Monaro) . - This bill should have been passed without debate, but, after hearing some of the speeches that have been delivered, I feel constrained to participate in the discussion. "With the honorable member for South Sydney (Mr. E. Riley), I realize that when the £3,000,000 has been paid to the farmers, the money will be put into circulation, employment will be stimulated, and there will be less to pay out in the form of doles. Therefore, it cannot be correctly said that this payment to the farmers will result in any loss whatever. If the people could borrow money from the Commonwealth Bank - that is, from themselves - to discharge public debts, there would be so much interest accruing that we should be able to liquidate the national debt, and there would be a sufficient surplus to meet the needs of all. We know that the National Government has been returned with an overwhelming majority in Great Britain, and this may lead to the people of that country buying more foodstuffs from us. If we can make it possible for the farmers to grow more wheat, they will export more, and in this way we shall be able to pay off our debts abroad. The honorable member for Oxley (Mr. Bayley) seems to entertain some peculiar ideas regarding the financial position. If the farmers receive 4s. a bushel for their wheat, bo much the better. The country will benefit because there will be more money in circulation. With the present high rate of exchange, it is to our interest to export as much as possible. If the farmers receive a satisfactory return for this year's crop, they will be able to put in a larger crop next year, and we shall have a still greater surplus for export. I congratulate the Minister upon having tried in this measure to meet the farmers' requirements. My only regret is that the Commonwealth Bank did not do something for the farmers before this, and that the bluebeards in another place prevented the passage of the bill which was to guarantee the farmers 4s. a bushel. Had that measure gone through, there would be less unemployment now, and we should not be paying away so much in doles. I support the bill.

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