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Friday, 2 December 1938

Mr SCULLY (Gwydir) .- When thi3 clause was formerly before the committee, I moved for the deletion of the provision under which moneys are to be made available for the transfer of wheat-farmers from the marginal areas, because I think that it is wrong in principle that such provision should be contained in a measure designed to give wheat-farmers a home-consumption price, and because it defeats the objective of giving monetary assistance to distressed farmers. At present there are no marginal areas in Queensland, but the day will come when there will be, because wheat-growing is expanding in that State. Queensland has land exactly similar to land in the other States which is described as marginal land, and, eventually, wheat will be grown on it. It may not be next year or the year after, but it will eventually come. The transfer of farmers from marginal areas is a definite obligation on. the lands departments of the States.

The CHAIRMAN - Order ! The matter which the honorable gentleman is discussing has already been debated and agreed to. The question is whether Queensland should participate.

Mr SCULLY - There is no specific mention of Queensland.

The CHAIRMAN - In amplification of what I said, the Minister's statement pointed out that the amendment had been made by the Senate in order to enable Queensland and other States to benefit.

Mr Blackburn - It does not say so.

Mr Francis - On a point of order, Mr. Chairman, it is a wrong interpretation of the amendment made by the Senate, to .say that it specifically provides special consideration to Queensland. In the first place, it would be unconstitutional to do so, and, secondly, it is not even proposed. I suggest that you are misdirecting the committee.

The CHAIRMAN - The intention of the amendment is to give special consideration to Queensland, but in order to make it constitutional to do so, it has to be general to the States.

Mr Francis - You did not say that before.

Mr SCULLY - I am not in any way opposed to a special allocation to Queensland or to any other State. Far from it. This is a Commonwealth Parliament, and

Ave should ensure that, as far as possible, equal justice is meted out to all of the States. I object to the principle of in-, eluding such a provision as this in homeconsumption price legislation. It should never have been in the bill, but since it is, and since it will give universal benefit to those in distress, I cannot see that I can oppose it. It is wrong in principle, however, to include provision, for the transfer of farmers from marginal lands in the bill because it defeats its very object.

Mr Curtin - Hear, hear!

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