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Wednesday, 30 November 1938

Mr LAZZARINI (Werriwa) (3:11 AM) . - The more I hear of the debate on the amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Curtin), the more I regret my vote for the second reading of the bill. The honorable member for Gippsland (Mr. Paterson), the honorable member for Swan (Mr. Gregory), and others have stated that the object of this legislation is to give stability to the wheat industry. It is obvious, however, that the scheme envisaged by this measure will not be merely a temporary one, and the 'breadwinners of the community are to be taxed to an amount of £4,000,000 per annum. Honorable gentlemen opposite have claimed that the price of bread will be controlled, but we want this legislation to come up for review at the end of twelve months so that we can see whether or not the consumers have been called on to pay more for their bread. Furthermore, if the price of bread has not been controlled, the Commonwealth Government can bring the State governments to heel by refusing to make a further grant. Anybody who has a sincere desire to find a lasting solution of the problems associated with the wheat industry will support the amendment. It is a reasonable request, and if it is not granted the Commonwealth will be committed to a policy which will operate harshly against a large section of the community and will not afford any permanent measure of relief. The people of Australia will not stand for a permanent tax which operates unfairly against the poorer sections of the community. It is a poor industry indeed which has to rely for its existence on a tax imposed at the expense of the children of the poor of this country. If this legislation has to be continued for twelve months that is bad enough, but to attempt to make it permanent is a disgrace to the Government which fathered it.

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