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Thursday, 29 April 1915

Mr CARR (Macquarie) .- The motion submitted by the honorable member for Riverina is intensely practical, and I welcome it. It covers all the ground necessary, and meets the objections raised by the honorable member for Richmond. It asks the Government to establish horse-breeding stations, not only for military purposes, but also for " other public purposes," which will cover any scheme for distributing the product of the stations. If the honorable member, when he reflected on existing stud farms, meant that the Government were not capable of managing such stations, they are equally not capable of nominating persons to distribute stock throughout the country, or to say under what circumstances any person should have the use of it. There is always an element of risk in the Government undertaking a scheme of this sort. As a matter of fact, success depends entirely on the man chosen to manage the undertaking. To me the virtue of the motion lies in an incidental result, namely, that we can use part of tlie Northern Territory as a stud station. The objection raised by the honorable member for Wannon, that the stock could not be shifted about quickly enough, does not seem to have any justification, because the establishment of such an institution in the Northern Territory should assist in bringing about at an early date that railway communication we all hope for there, and when all the States are connected with the main trunk line, the facilities for shifting stock will be plentiful.

Mr RODGERS (WANNON, VICTORIA) - The process of learning how to select suitable stock is a lifelong matter.

Mr CARR - There will be nothing to prevent people in different Parts of "the country visiting stud farms and selecting stock.

Mr Sampson - To evolve a proper breed will take centuries.

Mr CARR - I am not talking of centuries, I am talking of years; but even if that assertion is true, then there is greater justification for getting a move on quickly. The longer it will take, the more quickly we should act now.

Mr RODGERS (WANNON, VICTORIA) - We are all agreed as to that.

Mr CARR - There is no proposal to confine the movement to one station. The motion says " horse-breeding stations," therefore, presumably there will be several stations selected, and among them I sincerely hope that the Northern Territory, with its fine stretch of big stock country north of the Macdonnell Ranges, will be chosen.

Mr RODGERS (WANNON, VICTORIA) - As the motion stands, the benefits to be derived from any stock the Government may import will be confined to particular districts, instead of being spread over the community.

Mr CARR - I cannot agree with that statement. As the stations are to be established, not only for military purposes, but also for public purposes, presumably there will be some centre from which the stock will radiate, and there is nothing to interfere with the stock being taken from the different centres wherever required at stated times, which will be quite in accord with the main proposal of the honorable member for Wannon and others. That the standard of horseflesh in Australia has fallen so low is a disgrace. Only to-day we notice in the evening paper a report to the effect that the Australians in the Levant are particularly noticeable by reason of their rough-coated, ugly horses. There may be something in this accusation. I was disgusted with the type of horses that we had to secure in order to send our contingents away; and, in view of the fact, as has been pointed out, that the ten-' dency is for this deterioration to set in largely because other forms of motive power have been adopted, it is necessary for the Government to do something in order that we may be in a position at any time to equip our Army. We shall probably have a standing Army for some time after the completion of the war, and horses will be in demand. A war cannot be won without horses. They are useful as much for the intelligence they display as their other powers. With our idle lands that need development the Government should get a move on speedily and establish these stations, particularly in the Northern Territory. I know of men who are experienced in this particular direction, and who would be able to render valuable aid. As I have already said, a great deal of the success of the undertaking will depend on the men selected to manage it.

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