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Wednesday, 19 June 1946

Mr RYAN (Flinders) .- I support whole-heartedly the remarks of the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. Anthony).

Mr Mulcahy - There are a lot of soldier settlers in Flinders !

Mr RYAN - A large number of soldiers wish to settle in that electorate. It seems to be the general opinion on the Ministerial benches, and particularly among government officials, that this is a good scheme, and that the people are completely satisfied with it. The honorable member for Ballarat (Air. Pollard) accused honorable members on this side of the House of indulging in political propaganda. In my electorate, there is widespread indignation against the Government, not only among exservicemen, but also among their connexions and farmers in the district. Flinders, like Richmond, has in it a very large number of small farms of from SO to 200 acres. The men who are working them are aware of the conditions that are to be applied to soldier settlers, and want to help them. They believe that, in existing circumstance's, the Government is nothelping them, and they do not see any prospect of help being forthcoming from that quarter. Although the war has been over for almost a year, not one soldier has been settled on the land anywhere in Australia, and there does not seem to be any prospect of one being settled for another three or four years.

Mr Scully - That is absolutely incorrect.

Mr RYAN - It is correct. If the Minister can cite figures disproving my statement, I shall be glad to hear them. According to my information and experience, not one man has been given a farm or has any hope of obtaining one. The indignation in Flinders has led to meetings being held throughout the electorate, organized not by ex-servicemen but by councils, local repatriation committees, and others who are vitally interested in the matter. It is time the Government took notice of what is happening. Two problems are involved : First, is the present legislation in regard to land settlement satisfactory; and secondly, is it being satisfactorily administered? I shall deal first with the second question. Not one ma:h, within my knowledge, has been given a farm. Every one is asking when the scheme is to begin to operate.

I have received numerous letters from" individuals, shire councils, branches of the Returned Sailors, Soldiers and Airmen's Imperial League of Australia, and local repatriation committees, asking me to take action to have settlement expedited.

Mr Lazzarini - Some of the land which the honorable gentleman holds might be taken from him.

Mr RYAN - Not much could be taken, because I do not own a great deal. All of what I owned in New South Wales has been taken already.

Mr Scully - Why?

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