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Wednesday, 17 July 1946

Mr POLLARD (BALLAARAT, VICTORIA) - Restriction was a feature of the plan of the Government of which the honorable gentleman was a member.

Mr ABBOTT - I arn not saying restriction was or was not a feature of the plan of the previous government. I do not believe in restriction that will affect the small wheat-growers. I believe that the small farmer should be given the benefit of the guaranteed price on the first 3,000 bushels of wheat he produces.

I oppose the bill also because the limits of production are set compulsorily and not by individual action. If the 3,000-bushel quota had 'been maintained the limitation would have affected the big farmer, but now the burden will be placed upon the small farmer. The honorable member foi' Forrest (Mr. Lemmon) is interjecting, but he cannot be placed in the category of small farmers.

Mr Lemmon - I am a small farmer in Western Australia.

Mr ABBOTT - But Western Australia is not the only State to be considered. The farmers of New South Wales produce 32 per cent, of the wheat grown in the Commonwealth and the great majority of. them are-small farmers. The Government's scheme offers the farmers what will probably he a low price for the next five years, having regard to the state of the wheat market, our experience in i he years following the last war, the serious shortages, in wheat supplies at present, and the demands that are likely to be made by an increasing world population; This scheme will sovietize the industry, as the Minister said of an earlier bill. It will also prevent the development of new wheatgrowing areas, and* it makes no provision for the introduction ' of new. farmers. It will tend also to massacre the small farmers, and will result in the betrayal of ex-servicemen who are qualified to settle on the land. The Minister made certain statements to ex-servicemen at Inverell, but these have been dis- honoured in the bill now before us, and in the arrangements that are to be made with the States.

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