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Wednesday, 1 October 1958

Mr LUCOCK (Lyne) .- As the representative in this Parliament of one of the largest and most important dairying areas' in the Commonwealth, I have much pleasure in supporting this bill. I congratulate the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr. McMahon) on the amount of work that he put into the bill before it was presented to the House. A perusal of the bill shows how much research was necessary into the problems confronting the industry before the presentation of legislation such as this.

I should also like to congratulate the officers of the department. Like the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Duthie), I realize that before the Minister presents a bill, officers of the department must do a great amount of research and work. I also commend the industry for the part it has played and for the consultations that it has had with the Government in regard to this measure.

I should like to deal with some of the matters that were mentioned by the honorable member for Wilmot. He said that farmers were wedded to socialization when it concerned themselves. One of the things that the honorable member for Wilmot overlooks is the fact that socialization means state control. If the Labour party socialized an industry that industry would be completely under state control. There is a world of difference between the assistance given by this Government to certain industries which are vitally important to our economy, both domestic and overseas, and the Labour party's policy of socialization.

There was also a suggestion in the honorable member's remarks that the Government had been slow to present this legislation.

The industry asked for this legislation, and it took a certain amount of time to decide what levy would be placed on the industry and what assistance would be given by the Government. Consultations with various people were necessary so that the legislation, when presented, would have the approval of the interests concerned.

The honorable member for Grayndler (Mr. Daly) said that he did not think any member of the Australian Country party had ever seen a cow. In my opinion, members of the Australian Country party have heard an awful lot of bull from members of the Labour party over a considerable period of time. I am surprised that honorable members opposite on a number of occasions have accused the Australan Country party of running the Government. They have said that the Australian Country party forces the Government to do this and to do that. On other occasions, Labour supporters say that honorable members of the Australian Country party are not doing enough. It must be apparent to any thinking person that the accusations made by honorable members opposite are made purely and simply to suit the occasion. It is rather amusing to find the Labour party suddenly becoming the friend of the farmer. The right honorable member for Barton - the prospective honorable member for Hunter - has been going around setting himself up as the farmers' friend, and the Government - and the Australian Country party - have been accused of bringing this and other legislation forward because an election is pending. A suggestion of that kind does not carry a great deal of weight when one considers the record of the Opposition.

One has only to consider the record of State Labour governments to see this. The previous Labour government in Queensland and the present Labour Government in New South Wales, by their attitude towards margarine, dealt a blow at the dairying industry. Yet, when an election is in prospect, we suddenly find that Opposition members in this House set themselves up as the friends of the farmers. I remind Opposition members, the public, and especially persons in the dairying industry, of what happened in New Zealand, where the Labour party repudiated, when it took office, a pro:r.i:c that it had made before the election. There, we see the tragic results of the people believing in a promise made to them by the New Zealand Labour party in its attempts to gain office as a government. The results of its election to office have been tragic for people engaged in the dairying industry and for many other sections of the community in New Zealand.

The honorable member for Lalor suggested that the Australian Labour party, as part of its election policy, will certainly promise an increase in subsidy.

Mr Cope - The dairy-farmers deserve it.

Mr LUCOCK - I am interested to hear the honorable member say that the dairyfarmers deserve an increased subsidy, but I would warn the industry and the people of Australia of the danger of an unlimited subsidy on an unkown volume of production. No government would be wise to commit itself to an unknown amount by way of an unrestricted subsidy. I remind the dairying industry particularly that if the United States of America, where there is a tremendous surplus of dairy products, were, metaphorically, to open the door and allow those products to go onto the world's markets, the Australian market could be swamped.

I congratulate the Government on the introduction of this measure, which provides for the financing of research by means of a levy on dairy products. It will encourage the dairying industry. In consultation with leaders of the industry, we have made suggestions for a long-term plan. There is no need for me to labour this matter, Mr. Speaker. It has been pointed out by my colleagues on the Government benches this evening that this long-term plan will give the industry hope for the future. This measure will give immediate encouragement to the industry and will enable it to look forward to that long-term planning with confidence and hope.

I deplore the statements made in a number of quarters about a recession facing the dairying industry. If we are realistic, we must appreciate the fact that, in certain areas, particularly, the industry needs assistance, but if, in considering the future of this industry, we take into account the possible increase in the population of Australia, which was mentioned by my colleague, the right honorable member for Cowper (Sir

Earle Page), we must realize that we shall need all the dairy products that we at present produce - and more - if we are to be able to meet the future needs of our population. We need to give the industry a stimulus in order that it may have a stable future. The introduction of this measure, and the announcement by the Minister for Primary Industry that the Government will underwrite the returns to the farmers, will give the dairying industry much-needed encouragement, and the longrange planning that will follow will assure the industry of a promising future.

In conclusion, I congratulate the Government, and commend the bill to honorable members.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time, and committed pro forma; progress reported.

Message recommending appropriation reported.

In committee (Consideration of GovernorGeneral's message):

Motion (by Mr. Harold Holt) agreed to -

That it is expedient that an appropriation of revenue be made for the purposes of a bill for an act to establish a Dairy Produce Research Trust Account and a Dairy Produce Sales Promotion Fund, and for purposes connected therewith.

Resolution reported and adopted.

In committee: Consideration resumed.

Clauses 1 to 10 - by leave - taken together, and agreed to.

Clause 11 (Dairy Produce Research Committee).

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