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Thursday, 30 October 1930

Senator O'HALLORAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - South Australia has provided the legal protection which the honorable senator professes .to be seeking for primary .producers in Wes, tern Australia. t '

Senator LYNCH - How can South Australia dp that in view of the fact that the Commonwealth bankruptcy law is supreme? Under that law in its present state a callous creditor may force any wheat-grower in Western Australia or anywhere else off his holding. Can the honorable senator deny that? Some action should be taken to protect those people. They are sorely in need of help. If they are not given some measureof relief it will not be long before many of them join the ranks of our unemployed in the cities. No one wishes to see them there. The position is as bad in other States also. We read only the other day that primary producers even in the rich Southern Riverina district of New South WalesSenator Rae, I have no doubt, is interested in this matter - are indebted to local business firms to the extent of £1,250,000. This surely is ample proof of the desperate plight in which our primary producers is placed.

Senator Thompson - It is not suggested that the storekeepers in the Southern Riverina district intend to put their debtors through the bankruptcy court.

Senator LYNCH - No, but under the present law the way is clear for them to do that. In Western Australia some unscrupulous creditors are threatening to force farmers off their holdings in this way, and other creditors, in order to hold the unscrupulous creditors in check, will be obliged to take similar action. The suspension of the Commonwealth bankruptcy law is urgently needed so that State legislatures may pass the necessary measures to protect our primary producers. Time is the essence of the present situation. Whilst I do not, at this stage, object to the motion for the adjournment, I hope that I shall be given an early opportunity to get an expression of opinion from the Senate on this important matter, in order that timely assistance may he given to our struggling farmers. If the Government will not place facilities at my disposal to discuss this matter I shall take the first opportunity to test the feeling of the Senate.

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