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Wednesday, 23 November 1938

Mr BEASLEY (West Sydney) . - The protest of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Curtin) against the action of the Government in interrupting the debate on the budget has drawn the attention of all honorable members to the undesirable methods of the Government when introducing legislation. The Government has been criticized from all sides of the House this session because honorable members have not had an opportunity to concentrate on the work of Parliament. If the business were brought down in an orderly "way, honorable members would be able to study the various measures, and follow them intelligently through all stages. The budget contains reference to certain legislation necessary to implement the decisions announced in the budget itself, but we have been called upon to deal with the legislation before the budget is finally disposed of. I trust that this protest will have the effect of compelling the Government to follow more orderly methods in the future.

I have been in this Parliament for eleven years, and every year the problem of assisting the wheat-growers has arisen. It is unfortunate that that should be so, but it has, at any rate, established the fact that no party can claim a monopoly of sympathy for the growers. The methods adopted in the past for assisting the growers have not been fair to the industry itself. Ill-digested legislation has been rushed through at the end of a session, and the problem has never been considered in all its phases. I sympathize with the honorable member for Wimmera (Mr. Wilson), who reminds us that the harvest is beginning, and that something must be done to let the growers know where they stand. My complaint is that the Government has delayed so long. Many things are involved in this matter of assisting the wheat industry. Fol instance, it cannot be doubted that the recent trade agreement between Great Britain and the United States of America will seriously affect the wheat industry in Australia.

Mr SPEAKER - The honorable member is digressing.

Mr Curtin - The amendment contemplates that, during the discussion on the budget, the honorable member would be able to discuss tho effect of the AngloAmerican trade agreement on the wheat industry before this bill is dealt with.

Mr BEASLEY - It is impossible to over-emphasize the importance of the wheat industry to Australia, and it should be dealt with by the Government in a more businesslike way. No doubt the Government has the numbers to carry its point on this occasion, but I hope that our protest will result in pressure being brought to bear upon it in the party room to alter its methods. We want to do the best thing by the growers, but the Government's methods will have the tendency to harm, rather than assist, them.

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