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Wednesday, 25 March 1942

Sir GEOEGE BELL (Darwin) . - I wish to refer to what is known as the ban on the use for human consumption of beef produced at Werribee, in Victoria. It was in 1933, I think, that the Victorian Government first imposed the ban because the beef was regarded as being unfit for human use, and there has been much controversy on the subject since then. It has been discussed in the Victorian Parliament on a number of occasions, and the argument has been adduced in favour of the use of this beef that medical men do not regard the disease beef measles, which it is supposed to carry, as being really serious. I should not have raised the matter now except that it has been reported in the Melbourne press during the last day or two that the Commonwealth Government proposes to issue a regulation compelling the Victorian Government to allow this beef to be sold on the market. I protest most strongly against any such action. I cannot be accused of taking up this attitude out of any interest in the grazing industry in Victoria or anywhere else. As a matter of fact, very little beef is brought from Tasmania to Melbourne at any time. The ground on which I make my objection is that the people of Melbourne and suburbs will not, if they know it, eat this beef. Many of them have assured me of that, and we know that when the ban was first given publicity, there was a tremendous falling off in the sale of beef in and around Melbourne. I am not qualified to say whether the disease beef measles is a dangerous one or not, but I say that the cattle are fed on the product of filth. I was at Werribee before the banwas imposed and I saw how the land is treated. It is simply swamped with sewage. Other cities treat their sewage, and country towns are compelled to do so. The people of Melbourne and suburbs will not eat this beef; I am certain of that, and the Commonwealth Government wants to force it on to the market so that it may be used to feed our troops. There is no doubt of that, and there is no doubt that the troops will have to eat the beef if the ban be lifted. With all the emphasis at my command I protest against the proposal to feed to the troops beef that would not be eaten by civilians. Any one whohas been on the farm at Werribee, and has seen the cattle grazing there, knows that the beef must be filthy stuff. A market gardener is not allowed to use night-soil on his garden, and the Victorian Parliament has, on two occasions, decided that the ban on the use of this beef is to remain. Therefore, the Commonwealth Government should not compel the State Government, the members of which are better informed on the subject than Commonwealth Ministers can possibly be, to allow the beef to go on the market. I could go through Newmarket, and pick out every pen of Werribee cattle by the smell of them. I have not been in the abattoirs in Melbourne, but I have been told by those who work there that the stench of that beef when first slaughtered is terrible.

Mr Pollard - Rubbish!

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