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Friday, 25 November 1910

Senator GIVENS (Queensland) . - There is one item in this Department to which I desire to direct attention, namely, " Advertising Resources of the Commonwealth, £[20,000." I have no objection to a reasonable amount being expended ; for the purpose of making the greatness of Australia known to the rest of the world. But in my opinion the money which has been voted with that object in view has not been wisely expended. I hold in my hand a pamphlet, issued under the authority of the Commonwealth Government, under the title of The Commonwealth of Australia for Farmers. It is signed by Mr. E. L. Batchelor, the Minister of External Affairs. There are many things in that publication to which I object. It contains overdrawn statements and untrue pictures. But there is one item which ought specially to be mentioned. The pamphlet eulogizes the system of share-farming in Australia. In my opinion it is the most infamous form of landlordism in the world. I cannot understand why a Labour Government should be prepared to father a pamphlet which eulogizes a system of landlordism that is condemned the world over.

Senator Fraser - Very often the sharefarmers become the owners of the land which they farm.

Senator GIVENS - I am very glad to find Senator Fraser is in accord with Mr. Batchelor. Nevertheless, I say that his statement is wrong. I came from a country which has been cursed with landlordism for centuries. But there is no landlordism in Ireland which is half so bad as is the system of share-farming in Australia, or which exacts so much from the tenant, and which renders the tenant such an abject slave of his landlord. I dare say that Mr. Batchelor accepted all these statements in good faith, but he has put his name to them, and so the Commonwealth and the Labour Government are made responsible for them. I hope that such a mistake will never be made again. There are hundreds of things in the pamphlet to which exception might be taken in other circumstances, but I could not resist a protest against the Government expressing approval of the share system of farming in any pamphlet issued with the object of advertising Australia.

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