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Friday, 3 August 1906

Mr FOWLER - Cotton can be grown pretty well all over Australia.

Mr CHANTER - I contend that we should make up our minds to grow all the cotton required to meet our own requirements,' so that we may render ourselves independent of supplies from abroad, and, at the same time,. afford profitable employment for our people. The honorable member for Gippsland has indicated that- cotton can be grown in his constituency, which has a comparatively cold climate, a short summer, and a long winter. The climatic conditions on the northern borders of Victoria are very different, and yet cotton can be grown there. About twelve or eighteen months ago the mayor of Echuca received from the Director of Agriculture, in Queensland, a small parcel of cotton seed which he handed over to the curator of the local gardens. The seed germinated, and1 the plants were cultivated under natural conditions, and the product from them has been declared by experts to be equal in quality to anything they have seen. I sincerely trust that the Minister will take the utmost care to satisfy himself that proper labour conditions are observed by those who claim the bounty. The leader of the Opposition made a fewhumorous comments upon the provision in clause 6, which relates to the employmentof aborigines. I think that the action of the Minister in inserting the clause is to be highly commended. We should endeavour to afford every encouragement to the small remnant of our aboriginal natives to engage in suitable industrial pursuits: The colour line indicated by the leader of the Opposition was never intended to be drawn to the exclusion of our aborigines. Some of the blacks are very_ well trained, and are capable and reliable workers, and every opportunity should be given to them to obtain employment, so that we may, as far as possible, be relieved of the necessity of spending the taxpayers' money in affording them relief. I hope that this Bill will mark the beginning of a system under which assistance will be granted to all desirable industries. If the members of the Opposition will join loyally with the Government in this movement, there will be no further occasion for the display of the heat that has marked some of our political controversies in the past. We shall be able to heartily join hands in furthering the interests of the State. With regard to the cultivation of the olive, it has been my pleasure to notice the beautiful groves of olive trees round abount Adelaide and in other parts of that State. The olive tree has also been successfully cultivated in Victoria and New South Wales. Mr. J. Ednie Browne, when he was Conservator of Forests in New South Wales, caused some olive trees to be planted in that State, with the result that they flourished and bore heavy crops of fruit of the highest" quality. I believe that there are great possibilities before the olive oil industry in Australia. The honorable member for Barker spoke upon this matter from a practical point of view. He told us that, whereas the olive growers were receiving only 6s. per cwt. for their berries, the oil manufacturers were obtaining 1:6s. for the oil extracted from that quantity of fruit. In such a case, it would be the duty of the Minister to step in and see that fair payment was made to the growers before any bounty was granted to the oil manufacturers. With regard to flax, I would point out that most of the operations connected with the production of a marketable article can now be performed by means of machinery, and that there is no reason why we should not have a large output of that commodity. I am very pleased that the Bill has been so well received, and I trust that it will soon become law, and have the effect of promoting the establishment of valuable industries. I hope that it marks the beginning of a new era in connexion with the encouragement of the production of commodities which can be grown with advantage in the Commonwealth.

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