Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Thursday, 29 May 1930

Senator McLACHLAN (South Australia) . - I am afraid that a little misapprehension has arisen with regard to this clause. I understand that the 31st March, 1928,was fixed as an arbitrary date, in compliance with the opinions ex pressed by the representatives of the States concerned, South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia, New South Wales. Those States found that after the boom period of production occurred, many individuals planted vines which were bearing crops of an unmarketable character. I believe that it was in the September of 1927, that a warning was issued to the effect that any grapes planted after the 31st March, 1928, would not come under the provisions of the bounty. That was issued either by the late Mr. Pratten or by Mr. Paterson. I know that it was agreed to warn all the Governments of the States in which wine grapes were produced. The industry, so far as it can, be articulated, indicated by a deputation at which Senator O'Halloran, Senator Hoare and I were present, and over which Senator Newlands presided, that it was prepared to support the State Governments in the matter, because it was felt that a bounty could not justifiably be sought unless something was done to prevent excessive planting. Afterwards attention was called by the South Australian Government to a certain group which had been settled by the Government in a particular area and had planted grapes prior to the prescribed date. The commission presided over by Mr. Justice Pike found that it was impossible for those men to make a living on the poor class of land upon which they had been settled, and they were removed to another settlement, which was prepared for their reception, and were specifically included in the benefits of the bounty.

The conditions laid down by the Federal Government at the time were accepted by all concerned, the State Governments being anxious to prevent the further planting of an unmarketable type of grape. When an industry seeks assistance in the form of a bounty the proposal needs to be examined very narrowly. The very application for a bounty indicates that something is wrong. But I see no great objection to the clause in its present form. It has been suggested that the words are either too wide or too narrow in their application. They have been expressly limited to deal with the irrigation area planted with vines previously described by me.

Senator Crawford - Why should not the conditions apply from the commencement of the act?

Senator McLACHLAN - It appears to me to be advisable to accept the date that was fixed upon by the representatives of the industry. It has been suggested that those people are in the majority, and naturally want to prevent anybody else from starting in the industry.

Senator Chapman - They also will be prevented from further planting.

Senator McLACHLAN - I am obliged for that interjection. The provision also prevents those in the industry, and the big producers of wine for export, from expanding their own holdings.

Senator Guthrie - Who checks their plantings?

Senator McLACHLAN - That is very easily undertaken. In South Australia the particulars of plantings are supplied to the Customs Department. The winegrowers' organization itself has represented to these men that they should not make any further plantings. If there is any slight discrepancy in the drafting of the bill I fail to see it, although I have not had much time thoroughly to examine it. It seems to me to meet the case that the Minister has in mind.

SenatorRAE (New South Wales) [9.24]. - I do not intend to criticize the clause, beyond pointing out that the very fact that such a provision as this is neces-. sary, should for all time deprive honorable senators opposite of their favourite slogan that only by increased production can we solve our economic difficulties.

Senator SirHAL COLEBATCH (Western Australia) [9.25]. - It is all very well to talk a,bout organizations. I am concerned with the rights of individuals. The amendment seeks to meet some special case that has been brought under the notice of the Government - a most dangerous method of legislation. How do we know that there are not many other special cases that have not been brought under the notice of the Government? Is it not probable that some individual, believing, as I believe, and as I am sure my honorable friend, SenatorRae believes, that our trouble is not that we are producing too much, but too little, has, without bothering about Government aid, planted a vineyard during the last couple of years with his own capital and his own industry? Is it not monstrously unfair to come along and say that a bonus shall be given to every one else but him, thus driving him out of the business by making it impossible for him to compete with the others? I shall vote not only against the amendment, but against the sub-clause.

Suggest corrections