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Thursday, 26 June 1930

Senator O'HALLORAN (South Australia) . - This is one of the most important measures which the Government has introduced during this session. It affects directly many people in the wheat-growing States, and, indirectly, the welfare of the people of Australia. Since the scheme was enunciated by the Minister for Markets and Transport (Mr. Parker Moloney), honorable senators have received a good deal of correspondence in the form of letters, circulars, and publications urging them to vote against the bill. During the debate many of the old objec tions to a compulsory wheat pooling system have been resuscitated in a new form, and one or two new objections have been propounded by the Leader of the Opposition and Senator Colebatch. 1 intend to pay very little attention to the propaganda which has reached me through the press, and from different organizations urging us to vote against this measure, because the marked similarity between many of these publications strongly suggests that they have originated from the same source. A little later I shall be able to make a few comparisons to show that there is something in this contention. I think it is a matter for regret, from the stand-point of those trying to defeat the measure, but a matter for rejoicing on the part of those who consider that it is in the interests of the farmers and of the nation, that there has not been more cohesion among their forces. For instance, the Wheat Producers Freedom Association of South Australia has sent a document urging me to vote against the bill for reasons which it sets out. One reason is -

You would reiterate that the proposed compulsory wheat pool-

This was in reply to a speech made by the Minister for Defence in another place- merely gives the control of the farmer's wheat to the elected representatives of farmers. We must emphatically deny this. So long as the public funds are employed to finance a wheat pool, so long as the taxpayers of the States and Commonwealth are committed to a guarantee of, say, 4s. per bushel at country stations, then so long must the Government's nominees on the State and the Australian Wheat Boards, respectively, exercise the final voice in all matters of policy affecting .the marketing of the wheat. . . .

That association urges us to reject the bill, because it says that the system of control which the bill proposes, and which the Government assures us it insists upon, is only a snare, and will not actually operate.

Senator Sir George PEARCE - In what clause of the bill is that system of control mentioned ?

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