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Tuesday, 19 May 1942
Page: 1383

Mr HUTCHINSON (Deakin) . - The decision of the Government on the 12th May last to prohibit the advertising of controlled goods has had a serious effect on the country press, and may well prove disastrous to some sections of the press. At the best of times, a country newspaper is beset by many difficulties, whilst, particularly in war-time, costs rise considerably, and circulation falls owing to the transfer of population to the cities. In many country towns, businesses of various kinds are closing down. For in stance, ' many persons engaged in the motor trade have gone, or are going, out of business, new car advertising having practically ceased, with the result that advertising by those businesses has fallen off considerably. Petrol advertisements have also been withdrawn. Advertising of sports gatherings and entertainments generally have greatly diminished as owing to war causes many such entertainments can no longer be held. In addition to all of these difficulties the country press is now faced with the direction of the Government that goods subject to the sales restriction order, including all kinds of clothing and footwear, are not to be advertised. This means that very little advertising may be done. The country press is an important factor in rural life, and is necessary for the people who live beyond the metropolitan areas in order that they may exchange information of all descriptions. Moreover, the country press takes a large part in assuring the success of various war efforts and is eager to do everything in its power to promote the success of appeals for war loans, patriotic funds and the like. The Government itself uses the country press for propaganda purposes. In these circumstances, it is surely not too much to ask that some degree of advertising should be permitted even in respect of rationed goods. I can see no reason why any restriction should have been placed on the advertising of even rationed goods for, after all, storekeepers will only be able to sell the quantity of goods they are allowed, and the curtailment of advertising cannot affect the position greatly. Eventually, sales will be governed by coupons. I do not think it too much to ask that advertising should be permitted even though sales be restricted. Unless there is a lifting of the restrictions in relation to advertising, many country newspaper proprietors will find it extremely difficult to continue publishing their journals.

I wish now to bring to the notice of the Minister for Transport (Mr. Lawson) the difficulties being experienced by country storekeepers in the delivery of goods. Instructions have been issued that meat and bread may be delivered on certain days but that groceries may be delivered only once a week. That procedure may be satisfactory in the metropolitan area, but it is entirely unsatisfactory in country districts where the local storekeeper is often not only the grocer but also the butcher and the baker. Country deliveries by the general storekeeper very often include bread and meat, aud even pollard and bran, and clothing and drapery as well as groceries. It is most unfair, therefore, to oblige country storekeepers to restrict their deliveries in the manner required 'by the Government. If they are f orced to do so, they will have to stop delivery. In these days of petrol rationing farmers who live in outlying areas cannot visit their accustomed shopping centres as frequently as formerly. This makes it all the more necessary that facilities shall be provided for a more general delivery of goods than formerly by country storekeepers, yet the Government has restricted these activities. Not only do the country storekeepers deliver goods to farmers but also they often pick up cans of cream from the roadside and deliver them to the butter factories or railway stations. If the general delivery of goods be restricted, it will become more difficult than ever for farmers to get their cream to the f actories. I urge a more generous outlook in these matters.

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