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Tuesday, 25 October 1949


Mr POLLARD (BALLAARAT, VICTORIA) (Minister for Commerce and Agriculture) - I have not seen the statement to which the honorable member for Riverina has referred, but, any assertion that the Chifley Government has robbed Australian wheat-growers of £100,000,000 is completely untrue. The wheat-growers of this country are keen, business men and if there were any truth in such a statement, meetings of protest would have been held throughout the length and breadth of the wheat-growing areas of the Commonwealth. The Chifley Government has achieved many great things for the wheat-growers, and I am constantly receiving congratulatory messages which refer in the most eulogistic terms to the successes of the Labour Government on behalf of the wheat-growers. The honorable member for Indi delivered his outburst at the most suitable place for it - a conference of Australian Country party candidates - and probably he was hiding his own frustration owing to the fact that when the governments with which he was associated had the opportunity to do something of a really helpful nature for the wheat-growers, they completely failed to do so. If the honorable member for Indi based his calculations on the theory that the wheat-growers should receive a home-consumption price based on the high export prices for wheat, I remind the House that in the plans which he has put forward from time to time, but has never brought to fruition, he also provided for the payment of a homeconsumption price. When the Labour Government introduced legislation to stabilize the wheat industry the honorable gentleman opposed it with his voice, but he had not the courage to vote against it. Under the International Wheat Agreement, because of the devaluation of the currency and other factors, Australian wheat-growers will receive additional protection of 4s. lid. a bushel. When the bill to ratify Australia's participation in the International Wheat Agreement was before this Parliament, the honorable member for Indi concluded his speech by saying that on all counts the agreement stood condemned. If it had not been for the policy of the Chifley Government, the wheat-growers would not have that additional protection for their industry which the International Wheat Agreement affords.







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