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Friday, 3 August 1906

Sir LANGDON BONYTHON (Barker) . - ft is my intention to support the second reading of the Bill, and I am glad to know that there is every prospect that it will be carried. In the course of this debate many good, practical speeches have been delivered by honorable members, as the result of personal knowledge. I listened with a very great deal of interest to the remarks of the leader of the Opposition, and I am extremely pleased to find that he intends to support the measure. For many years this Parliament has been contemplating action upon the lines laid down in the Bill, but up to the present nothing has been done beyond offering a bonus for the production of sugar by white labour - a matter which is exclusively to the advantage of Queensland and New South Wales. The products covered by this Bill, however, may be grown over a verymuch wider area, and it seems to me there is substantial reason to hope that, at no distant period, some of them may bear a very important relation to the "manufactures and commerce of Australia. There is one particular in which, I trust, the measure will have an important effect, and that is in regard to the establishment of the cotton-growing industry in the Northern Territory. So far as climate and soil are concerned, there is no doubt that the Territory is eminently suited to the industry. I know that it is said that nothing can be done without the employment of coloured, or cheap, labour; but it ma-y yet be proved that that is not so essential a factor as many people imagine. In this connexion I listened this morning with very great interest to the able speech which was delivered by the honorable member for Moreton. The honorable member for New England, during the course of his remarks, referred to the fact that the olive oil industry is already established in South Australia. That is perfectly true. He also mentioned the name of Sir Samuel Davenport - a name that is held in the highest honour there. Sir Samuel Davenport started the olive oil industry in South Australia more than fifty years ago, and that industry to-day is still in a struggling condition. The reason is that the local product has to compete with the very inferior and highly adulterated article which comes from across the seas. The olive oil produced in South Australia- is pure, wholesome, and in every way excellent, and I am disposed to- think that the people of the Commonwealth would be wise if they consented to pay a little more for that article in preference to using the a d m i t te d 1 v inferior oil from abroad. I believe that, there, is a great future before the olive oil industry - that the time is not far distant when sufficient olive oil will be manufactured in the Commonwealth to meet local requirements, and that, eventually, it will figure amongst our exports. Last night the leader of the Opposition asked the Minister who is in charge of this Bill whether he could name one article of those enumerated in the measure which was being successfully produced anywhere in the Commonwealth at the present time. I can answer that question. There is no doubt that the- vicinity of Adelaide is admirably suited to the growth of the olive tree. As you are aware, Mr. Speaker, the olive tree contributes to the landscape a colour which is a distinct feature of the locality.- There is one matter, the importance of which I wish to emphasize. I refer to the fact that in the administration of this measure everything possible should be done to insure that the advantage of the bounties shall go to the growers. I am informed that at present, in South Australia, the olive grower receives 6s. per cwt. for his berries, and that it costs 2s. 6d. per cwt. to gather them. The manufacturer produces from 1 cwt. of olivets 2 gallons of oil, and that quantity yields 16s. If these figures be accurate, it seems to me that the manufacturer distinctly comes out on top. I know that there must necessarily be great difficulty in dealing with the individual grower; but I trust that by means of co-operation it may be possible so to bring the manufacturer and the producer together that their interests will be identical. I have much pleasure in supporting the motion.

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