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Thursday, 18 July 1946

Mr ANTHONY (Richmond) .- "I second the amendment moved by the honorable member for Barker (Mr. Archie Cameron). Its purpose is to give to Western Australia two representatives on the Australian Wheat Board instead of one. A division will be called for on the amendment in order that we may see where honorable members stand. As Western Australia has no representation In the Opposition at the moment, it devolves upon some of us who .are from other States to speak on its behalf. The men sent here to speak for "Western Australia are strangely silent and supine. The force, of the argument in favour of the amendment is that Victoria has 24.4 per cent, of the wheat acreage of the Commonwealth and is to have two. representatives on the board, whereas Western Australia with 21. G per cent, of the wheat acreage is to have only one. Is that equitable?- The board is to deal substantially with wheat ex- ports, and Western Australia is the principal wheat-exporting State. Therefore, the necessity for Western Australia to have more representation on it than even New - South Wales ought to have, for that matter, is manifest to all. I cannot, for the life of me, understand, why -a':-State 'with 2.1.6 per cent, of the acreage -should- have only ohe representa1 tive when a State with 20 per cent, has two.

Mr Pollard - Tell us the number of growers ? " Mr. ANTHONY.- I answer the honorable member for Ballarat by giving him the yields. The yield in Victoria is 23.17 per cent, of the total yield of the Commonwealth and the yield of Western Australia is 19.32, just a little less. That in itself is a reason why the Western Australian' growers need more representation on the board. They farm as great an area for a less return. Their problems must be much more intricate because of climatic and other conditions, than those which confront growers in the more fertile States on the eastern seaboard. There is no justification for refusing to accept the amendment. All that the Government can advance against it is the old plea that the basis of representation was decided before the bill was introduced. Like the honorable, member for Barker, I have presided over meetings of the Agricultural Council and I know that agreements made thereat are not so rigid that they cannot be altered. To say otherwise stretches credulity to breaking point.

Mr Scully - This agreement is not going to be altered.

Mr ANTHONY - I realize that the Minister has the numbers behind him and that certain honorable members who are supposed to represent the wheat districts will vote as they are told to vote, not as they believe they should vote, because their speeches clearly indicate what is in their minds.

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