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Thursday, 14 June 1928

Mr SPEAKER - That would be an imputation of improper motives, and T ask the honorable member for Indi to withdraw it.

Mr COOK - I withdraw the remark, and will put it in another way.

Mr SPEAKER - Order ! I remind the honorable member that he must not convey the imputation in another way.

Mr COOK - I shall not impute improper motives to the honorable member for Fremantle. I make a considerable number of purchases and I always buy at the lowest price and sell in the dearest market, in order to make as much profit as I can. The honorable member for Fremantle is a very large purchaser ofbutter, and I leave it to honorable members to judge whether he sells that butter at a loss.

Mr E RILEY (SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I rise to a point of order. Is any honorable member who is financially interested in the bill entitled to speak upon' it?

Mr SPEAKER - Any honorable member is entitled to speak upon this measure.

Mr COOK - As we are all directly or indirectly interested in this matter, the honorable member for South Sydney (Mr. E. Riley) must come within the category that he wished to exclude from speaking on the bill. This duty was brought in following upon unanimous representations made by primary producers in the various States of Australia. A conference decided thematter, and an application was made to the Tariff Board. The New Zealand dairymen will not gain1d. from the exportation of their butter to Australia, as they can obtain an equally satisfactory price abroad. The people interested are those who want to break down our Australian butter control. Although this duty increases the price of butter, it gives the toiling dairy-farmers and their families something approaching a reasonable reward for their labour. There is a levy of 1½d. a lb. in existence at present, which gives a benefit to producers of 3d. a lb. Under this duty it is possible to increase that levy to 3d. But it is not the intention of the control board to strike an additional levy, therefore those speculators who have imported huge quantities of butter to Australia will either have to take it back to New Zealand or lose heavily on the transaction, as they deserve to do. It is abundantly clear that the Government is justified in safeguarding the interests of those engaged in the dairying industry against speculators by increasing the duty to 6d. per lb. I am exceedingly surprised that the honorable members- for Wimmera and Wannon, who have many primary producers and dairymen in their districts, should oppose the duty. As to the attitude of the honorable member for Fremantle, I may say that the great majority of people who found themselves in his position would take the same stand as he is taking.

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