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Thursday, 14 November 1935

Senator ABBOTT (New South Wales) . - I ask the Senate to reject this motion. These regulations constitute machinery which, it has been admitted, has provided a model for marketing control in many other branches of primary production. The principle underlying this legislation is similar to that underlying the butter industry legislation, and, I believe, will be found to be the basis of the wheat industry legislation when it comes before this chamber. If it had not been a success - 'and the proof of the pudding is in the eating thereof - there would be some reason for assuming that all is not well with the industry. Several honorable senators who spoke on conditions in the dried fruits industry in other parts of the world have demonstrated that this particular legislative machinery has succeeded in doing. something for the industry in Australia which has not been done for the producers of dried fruits in any other part of the world. This "legislation and the powers exercised under it enabled this industry right through the worst years of the depression to pay to the producer at least the cost of the production of his product. In no other part of the world was such a result achieved during those tunes of hardship. It has been pointed out that in California small minorities acted independently of other growers in the industry with the result that the dried fruits industry there was brought to its knees, and 123,000 acres went out of production. I do not overlook other explanations of this development, hut I ampha- size that the operations of those who claimed independence in the industry seriously contributed to such disastrous results in California. In Greece, low prices brought the industry to a standstill, and so serious did its position become that its disorganization was a contributing factor to the revolution which occurred in that country. In Smyrna, also, low prices crippled the industry, and. when the Government there intervened manipulations on the part of small independent sections took place with the result that the Government ultimately had to buy the whole of the crop and hold it against sale. Only in Australia has the industry achieved outstanding success, and this has been due entirely to this kind of legislation. Honorable senators are not seriously concerned that a few growers may have been injured under the present system or that the controlling organization may have been adjudged guilty of discourtesy to a small section of the growers. In passing, I point out that such allegations have not been proved. Nevertheless, we are asked to discard certain regulations which have been put forward by an organization which has made an outstanding success of this business. Under such circum stances, I prefer to adhere to the old adage that " the proof of the pudding is in tho eating thereof", and shall stand by the regulations. The board has been able to obtain preferences for Australian growers in Great Britain, Canada and New Zealand, in each of which, I understand, a tariff is imposed against foreign import;-. We would be ill advised to throw a spanner into the works of a legislative machine which has worked wonders for the Australian primary producers. I appeal to honorable senators to reject the motion.

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