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Tuesday, 16 July 1946

Mr SPENDER (Warringah) . - I make no apology for addressing myself to this bill. A man who represents aconstituency like Warringah and is a lawyer, as I am, must at least have the same right to express his views on the wheat industry as the honorable member for Hume (Mr. Fuller) whose speech was divided, like Gaul, into three parts. The first part, which was supposed to deal with the bill, but did not, he read rather badly. The second part consisted of some comment made by a member of some organization or other. He read that equally badly. The third part was the worst of the lot, because it had nothing whatever to do with the bill. It is a strange thing that, with the exception of the honorable member for Ballarat (Mr. Pollard), no Labour members claiming to represent rural constituencies have dealt with the bill, and the honorable member for Ballarat merely skated around it. I propose to deal with the measure. I consider that the bill fails utterly to solve the problem that it purports to solve. It is entitled the Wheat Industry Stabilization Bill, but honorable members opposite have forgotten that it purports to stabilize the wheat industry. It provides a part of a scheme under which the Commonwealth Government and the State governments are seeking to stabilize the wheat industry for five years. The principal provisions of the scheme are to licence production, to licence those who may receive the wheat produced and to provide a minimum price for wheat f.o.r. during that period. Yet honorable members opposite who represent wheatgrowing constituencies do not seem to be in this chamber. There are only five here to listen to this important debate.

Mr Conelan - I rise to order. Is the honorable member for Warringah in order in stating a deliberate untruth about the number of members of this side that are present?

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