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Thursday, 13 September 1928

Mr SEABROOK (FRANKLIN, TASMANIA) .- I rise to congratulate the Government on its budget, notwithstanding the fact that there is a deficit of £2,600,000. When we realize the recuperative powers of a country like Australia, such a deficit is a small matter. After listening to the Prime Minister, and noting the very explicit manner in which he explained the details of the Government's financial policy, one cannot but feel satisfied that the present is a good budget for any Government to produce during a time like this. It must be remembered that we are passing through a very strenuous period, and that every State Government in the Commonwealth is budgeting for a deficit. This indicates a state of affairs which must inevitably be reflected in the finances of the Commonwealth. When the Prime Minister had finished his speech, the honorable member for South Sydney (Mr. E. Riley) sought to discredit the Government, and tried to lead the House to believe that it would be a good thing to have a Labour Government in power. Yet nearly every State in Australia has, at one time or another, been governed by a Labour Government, and there is not one of those Governments which has not had very heavy deficits. Even the Lyons Government, in the State which I represent, would have been in a worse financial position than any Nationalist Government ever found itself but for the assistance given by the Commonwealth. We, therefore, cannot accept as a criterion anything which Labour Governments have done, nor have we any reason to hope that a Labour Government could have done better this year than the present Federal Government has done. A further example of inefficient Labour administration is furnished in the record of the Labour

City Council in Sydney. Theirs was a record of chaos and loss. Nobody can deny these things, yet honorable members on the other side are prepared to accuse this Government of rash expenditure and maladministration. As a matter of fact, this Government has done exceptionally well, and if it is allowed to continue in office it will, I am satisfied, so successfully manage the affairs of the Commonwealth that it will be able next year to bring in a budget showing a surplus. There are one or two things in the budget of which I do not approve, but I recognize that it would be very difficult for any Treasurer to bring in a budget which would please every one.

I wish to refer to the operations of the Development and Migration Commission, which appears as one of the first items in the Estimates for the Prime Minister's Department. That commission has been in existence for some years, but I am unable to see that it has been of any material benefit to Tasmania, more especially as we in that State have had to foot the bill to the extent of £36,000 for its investigations. The commissioners went to Tasmania, and after making their inquiries, advised the primary producers to produce more and still more, yet what is the actual position? We find that there are 1,000,000 bushels of apples lying on the ground, and no market can be found for them. Other fruits such as peaches and apricots are also rotting for want of a market. It is useless for this commission to tell the people of Australia to produce more when we have not the markets in which to sell our produce. Markets are what we need now more than anything else. Before the war we could sell apples on the English market at 10s. to 12s. a case, and make a profit. To-day, that price is of no use to the growers. It is not the fault of the market ; the trouble is caused by the high costs that have been loaded on to the producers. That is what has made a bad market.

Mr J FRANCIS (MORETON, QUEENSLAND) - Then why blame the commission ?

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