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Thursday, 20 April 1972
Page: 1936

Mr DALY (Grayndler) - I am prompted to say a few words on this subject following the speech of the farmer from Warringah- the honourable member for Warringah (Mr MacKellar). I feel that if a member of the Liberal Party representing a waterside electorate in Sydney can speak for Liberal Party rural policy at a time when we thought that the Liberal Party and the Country Party had one policy, I, as a former resident of Currabubula, can say a few words tonight on this important matter. Is not it an amazing and unfortunate situation that 23 years after the Liberal Party and the Country Party came to government we are tonight debating rural reconstruction with all the horrors associated with it as exemplified by speeches from honourable members on this side of the Parliament. Is not it tragic to think that after 23 years of a policy for the countryman foisted upon the Liberal Party by the Country Party tonight we have to vote and speak on the grant of $121m to save the rural industries from destruction despite the policies of this administration? I do not know who is to speak for the Government. I do not know whether it will be the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr Sinclair) or the Assistant

Minister assisting the Minister for Primary Industry (Mr King). One thing is quite definite to the Australian people. It is that we need a Minister to assist the Minister for Primary Industry because if this is his record that we are discussing tonight it is time that the honourable member for Wimmera who is at the table took his place because he could not be much worse. Throughout the country districts of Australia today there is unemployment and want. Men are walking off their farms. As the honourable member for Riverina (Mr Grassby) and the honourable member for Dawson (Dr Patterson) have said tonight, people throughout the country districts in this prosperous age are in want and require assistance to the extent of $121m. This is happening after 23 years of government during which we were told that the primary producers would be protected and looked after. Is not this an indication that this year the people in the country districts should vote for the only real country party representatives, the members of the Australian Labor Party who really understand the problems of the country people? Honourable members opposite laugh. In 1944, the Labor Party introduced a referendum to give organised marketing to primary producers. It was defeated, thanks to the confusion created by the very people who were supposed to represent them at that time. In 1946 another referendum for organised marketing was put to the Australian people. At that time, we showed the people what Labor could do for the producer in a few short years. I will repeat what it did for the benefit of those newcomers to this Parliament who know nothing of the record of Labor for the primary producers in this country. When it came to office, Labor stabilised the wheat industry and gave wheatgrowers guaranteed prices. It provided the majority of the grower representatives on the Australian Wheat Board. It provided cheap wheat for feed purposes. It provided over £2m - they were pounds at that time - for drought relief. It enabled farmers to purchase superphosphate at less than market prices. It guaranteed prices in respect of barley, oats, maize, other grain; and pig meats.

Mr James - Who did this?

Mr DALY - A Labor Government. It secured increased prices for wool which gave additional millions of pounds a year to wool growers. I lived in the country districts when wool sold for lOd a lb and wheat sold for 7d a bushel. A Tory government forced people to walk off their farms 40 years ago just as it is forcing them to do this today. Yet it is still asking for support in country districts. In addition to this, the Labor Party granted subsidies worth $7,500,000 a year to the dairy industry. This was in 1943 and 1944 when, under a Labor Government, money was money, and when there was value in the £1. It was when the £1 was worth £1 and not the few cents which the dollar is worth today. The Labor Party secured increased prices for various classes of meat and meat products and entered into a long range contract with the British Government for the sale of all surplus meat and dairy products. It stabilised the price of potatoes and doubled the price which was previously received. It increased the price of tobacco leaf. It increased the price of flax. In 5 years it gr:anted assistance to primary producers to the value of over £40m. In 3 years of achievement while in Government it did more for primary producers than this Government has done in 23 years.

At that time primary producer organisations everywhere condemned the Country Party for being what it was and as it is today, masquerading under a policy of having country interests when it really represents the vested interests of the cities which it says it despises so much. I have here an article from the Western Australian Wheatgrower' of 29th July 1943. I read this article because what it said is as true today as it was in 1943. I do not think that the 'Wheatgrower' is a militant paper. I do not think it is pro-communist. I understand that it was a supporter of the Country Party at that time. The article in this paper said:

The Country Party, who have so long complained to the farmer that the city interests are truly those which have bled the farmer white, now ally themselves with the Party representing those interests and pretending as they do that such a course is the only one open for the true benefit of the man on the land.

I hardly think that there is an actual countryman in the Country Party. Everyone knows that the honourable member for Mallee (Sir Winton Turnbull) is an auctioneer, and not a good one. The Country Party is clouded up with solicitors and ministers of religion. Its membership is made up of everything but country men. Yet members of the Party masquerade in this Parliament today as people representing primary industry. It is no wonder the country people want $121m worth of relief. The members of the Country Party have ceased to represent the country interests. They are dragging along at the coat tails of the Liberal Party which tonight announced its own independent country policy. I thought that this was a united Government. I thought that honourable members opposite had one policy for one people. But there is a Liberal-Country Party policy and a Country Party policy. The result has been that the Government has to vote $12 lm to allow farmers and others to get unemployment relief and assistance. This has been necessary because the Government's policy has failed as a result of disunity.

I wish I had time to read all of the booklet I have here. It reveals a remarkable record. Further on it has a chapter headed Praise for Labor'. Another article which appeared in the 'Wheatgrower' stated:

With the passage of time it has become more and more obvious to those who think, that the Country Party is but a glorious offshoot of the city interests. ,

The 'Wheatgrower' of 15th July 1943 added:

Most farmers will readily admit that greatest benefits and most sympathy have come their way through the efforts of Federal Labor against whom the former political leaders would lead them in a crusade of hate and vituperation.

These comments are as true today as they were 20 years ago. If we want any proof we should have a look at the record shown in the proposal which we are discussing tonight. The honourable member for Mallee has sat silently here since his Party has been in Government and has supported a policy which brought the rural industries down in ruins and chaos. Why should he not do this? The Queen knighted him for his efforts. What would she have done if he had done something for the rural producers? I do not wonder that the Government has appointed an Assistant Minister to assist the Minister. He needs half a dozen such men. We know what the real situation is today. The booklet to which I have referred is an interesting one and I would like, if I could, to incorporate it all in Hansard. But I have great respect for the Hansard people.

Mr Sinclair - Why would not Labor say anything-

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