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Thursday, 5 December 1935

Senator UPPILL (South Australia) (3:43 AM) . - Coming from a wheatgrowing State, I consider that it is obligatory for me to make a few remarks in support of this bill. I understand that this measure is the outcome of a conference held in Canberra in October. I believe that that was the only occasion on which any degree of unanimity has been reached between the various interests associated with the wheat industry. On that account, I support the bill. At the same time, I confess I am not very enthusiastic about legislation of this kind. Many points are contained in it upon which I could speak at length, but I do not propose to inflict a long speech upon the chamber at this early hour. Senator Arkins mentioned a considerable number of primary products which are receiving some form of government assistance; I believe that he stated that wool was the only one not benefiting in this manner. For that reason, I doubt whether we shall be able to continue to give this kind of assistance for any length of time. However, I consider that the wheat industry should be placed on the same basis as nearly every other industry in the Commonwealth. In this connexion, I refer to honorable senators a comment by Professor Hancock, in his book Australia -

Clearly we might reach the stage when the Government would be promoting each industry by taxing all the others, and the end, in effect, would be a perverted, expensive, and very unstable freetrade.

Prominent economists, including the late Professor E. O. G. Shann, held the same opinion. Some measure of support must be given to the wheat industry. Senator James McLachlan mentioned that the implements, fences, and buildings on many farms are in urgent need of repair. The difficulty of the farmers is to make both ends meet. They have neglected their improvements, and, in the long run, will have to receive some support.

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