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Wednesday, 25 March 1942

Mr PROWSE (Forrest) .-I hope that it is merely a rumour that the Government intends to take over the bulkhanding system in the wheat industry of Australia, at any rate the system that has been worked up by the wheat-growers of Western Australia. Those growers were advised by the Commonwealth to co-operate in the matter of bulk handling, and an amount of £500,000 was voted with a view to enabling them to help themselves to effect savings in connexion with the production of wheat, and to avoid the sending of money out of Australia for the purchase of jute bags. The system in operation in Western Australia has been the envy of other wheat-growing States. From it they have learned how to economize. Western Australia will resent anyattempt by the Commonwealthto take over and work the property of its wheat-growers. These growers will submit that they aremorecapable than is any government of economically handling the wheat by means of their own system. A mean advantage will be taken if the Minister seizes the occasion of a war in order to impose Labour policy. This country is in an extremely inefficient positionto-day. I regret that any governmentshould take advantage of theoccasion of a crisis to implement certain of the objectives of its party, by taking over the excellent system adopted at great expense by the wheatgrowers of Western Australia.I hope that it is only a rumour.

Mr Holloway - The honorable member should not make use of rumours in order to introduce party politics.

Mr PROWSE - The statement has been published in the press, and has not been contradicted. A communication has been sent to honorable members from Western Australia, and it is our duty to raise the matter in this place. I shall be glad if it is only a rumour: I want the Minister to issue a denial, or to make a plain statement of his intentions, in order that we may know how to act.

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