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Thursday, 29 October 1931

Mr LATHAM (Kooyong) . - A question of principle is involved in this clause. I do not pretend to have a detailed acquaintance with all the methods of share-farming, but, generally, there is an agreement for the sharing of the wheat or the proceeds thereof. Why should not the bounty be shared in the same proportion that the wheat or the proceeds of the wheat are shared? If wheat were to bring an extra 41/2d. a bushel in the market, the additional price would, in ordinary circumstances, be shared according to the terms of the share-farming agreement. Surely it is proper to regard the extra. 41/2d. payable by way of a bounty as an accretion to the price of the wheat, and to allow the bounty to be shared between the persons who have jointly, in a commercial sense, produced the wheat? Unless there is some sound reason for departing from that principle, I suggest that the clause be altered to provide that, in the case of wheat produced by share-farmers, the bounty payable in respect of the wheat shall be apportioned between them in the same way that they, under their agreement, are entitled to share in the wheat, or the proceeds thereof. It appears" to me that, where two persons have made their own agreement as to the manner in which the proceeds of the crop shall be shared, there is no justification for the Government stopping in and, in effect, altering that agreement. Apparently, the only effect of this clause is to give the Government the power to alter an agreement between parties. Should there be another reason, or if I have failed to realize some exceptional circumstances, I should be glad if the Ministerwould point it out. In the absence of a good reason, it appears to be only fair to regard the bounty as an addition to the price of the wheat, to he distributed in terms of the agreement between the parties.

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