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Thursday, 28 July 1921

Senator WILSON (South Australia) . - I am anxious to hear further details of the Queensland sugar industry, bearing in mind that it is one of the few Australian' industries the product of which is consumed entirely in Australia, and is, therefore, independent of oversea markets, and uninfluenced by the world's parity. The total of money earned in the sugar industry is so huge that one is bound to be impressed with its national value, seeing that it can carry such a burden of working costs. But how long should the Australian public be asked to continue to pay the high price demanded for sugar to-day? It cannot be argued that 6d; per lb. is not an inordinately heavy impost in a country which can produce the whole of its requirements. Only a few years ago Australian sugar - Al quality - was sold in the southern portions of Australia at 2d. per lb. ; and, even after having been transported hundreds of miles inland, it was retailed at 2s. 3d. per dozen. To-day, the price everywhere is 6s. per dozen.

Senator Crawford - I remember currants being sold at 3d. per lb.

Senator WILSON - And I have seen currants thrown into the river. I would remind the honorable member that it is the southern fruit-grower who consumes the northern-grown sugar; but that mighty little southern-grown fruit is consumed in the north of Australia.

Senator Crawford - I thought the honorable senator was a geographical Protectionist; I know it now.

Senator WILSON - I am agreeable to being called a common-sense geographical Protectionist. I trust that the honorable senator will now take the further opportunity afforded him to deal as he should with an industry the product of which is' consumed within the country of its growth; and that he will bear in mind a fair comparison of that industry with others which must rely upon overseas markets, and are influenced by the world's parity.

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