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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 578


Photo of Menzies, Robert

Menzies, Robert

Period of Service: 19/12/1949 to 26/01/1966

More information about Menzies, Robert on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 13/08/1962

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 578

13TH AUGUST. 1962
Speech by the Prime Minister, the Rt, Hen. R. G. Menzies
Mr. Chairman. Mr. Minister Mr. World President Mr. President
Playfair that's quite a decent mouthful Laes and
Gentlemen About a fortnight ago, I began to assemble a fqw
ideas in my mind for this afternoon because I -knew that the
Governor-. General himself, as your Patroncould not be here.
As you know he's abroad but will be back, I am happy to say,
early in OctLber or more accurately, at the end of September.
I began to say to myself " Now, my you know one
speaks to oneself quite lrankly ( Laughter) in the sile
watches of the night " what do you know about fowls?"
( Laughter) I was speaking to myself in an entirely nonpolitical
sense, you understand, ( Laughter) and I drew on
my boyish recollections there were always a few chooks, as
I am afraid we called therm, rurnning around, I was familiar
with such . respectable names as Buff Orpington and Rhcde Island
Reds and White Leghorns and Wyandottes and with that I ran
outs I couldntt think of any more,
This morning, I had forty minutes looking around
the various exhibits and I want to tell you that I arrived
here as ill-informed as a Prime Minister could reasonably be,
and I learnt more in forty minutes about your industry than
I otherwise would have learned in ten years0
This, I think, is a most exciting Congress and a
most exciting collection of exhibits. You, of course, are
all very familiar with this industry, you are all very
familiar with its extraordinary developments, particularly
in the last ten or twenty years; but to the layman there is
something dramatic about what has gone on. I can remember,
and some of you can, a time when gentlemen would be heard to
say, when asked " VWhat are you going to do when you retire?"
11h; I'll think Ill run a chicken farm." Just like that,
you see, And I used to suffer from the illusion that the:
worldvs perfect chicken farm would be one in which white fowls
rambled around on lovely green swards, presenting quite an
artistic picture to the eye. Then, later on, when I found
myself, years back, being driven from the Canberra airport
into the city of Canberra, I would see bright lights running
along in rows where I knew there was a chicken farm and I
would say, " That fellow is imrking late tonight," ( Laughter)
only to discover that he wasn't the one who was working,
( Laughter) But Sir, I think I might be right in saying that
except for a few highKLy-qualified peop] e a great deal of
this great industry was conducted in Australia in a sort of
part-time fashion, with a limited number of poultry, limited
equipment perhaps a very limited knowledge of the scientific
problems involved, Today, i ha-ye been told by my col. eague,
the Chairman, Mr0 Adermann9 who is infallible on these matters,
that in 1960-61 the total product of this industry in Australia
itself was valued at œ 67 million.-a very perceptible percentage
of the entire output of primary industry in Australia. 0a 0 0a0 o 0 a/ 2

Now this has happened I think I am right in saying,
in a very limited period of years. Sc that today, what was
regarded by so many people as a sort of amateur exorcise, has
become a major primary industry with an enormous production
and a quite substantial export trade. What is going to happen
to export trades in these fields we don't yet know because
in all countries, all advanced countries at any rate there
has been a very great increase in production and self-sufficiency
in fields of this kind.
Great Britain which used to be a very large export
market for Australia has now, herself, developed the production
in this field which was out of imagination fifteen years ago,
But there are many parts of the world and many, many hundreds
of millions of people in the world not so far away from here
who, as their standards of living rise, will feel more and
more the need for the production of this industry, bearing as
it does so closely and with such immense value on the problem
of the feeding of mankind. o And that's a great problem,
By the end of this century we are told by the
statisticians by the demographers, that the population of
the world will nearly double and people must eat if they are
to liveo Sir, I believe that the wonderful work, of which I
will say a little in a moment, that is being done in this
industry, reachi. ng out into these new and populous countries,
in a helpful way, by expert assistance, by training, will
ultimately make a powerful contribution to the happiness of
mankind. Unless these hundreds and hundreds of millions of
people who will be added to the world's population between
now and the turn of the century are able to eat are able to
be clothed, are able to live in a reasonable, civilised
fashion, then the problem: that the world may have in the
rest of this century may be even greater than the ones we've
already had.
Therefore, every industry which contains in itself
such skill and such enthusiasm and such a willingness to
raise the level of knowledge, every industry of this kind
is, I believe, making a notable contribution to the welfare
of the world for the rest of the twentieth century.
Now Sir, I thought I would just like to say a few
words in elaboration of one aspect of that matter, It is
very easy for people like me, and I represent I hope I may
say the average layman in Australia some of them even vote
for me ( Laughter) but at any rate I am like them in this
respect, that we have rather thought of this industry as a sort
of catoh-as-catch-can, I didn't know until I came here this
morning to what extent scientific research had been applied
to an industry of this kind and wiTh such superb resultsø
Here is something that has become a highly-organised industry.
I walked around, fortunately, for part of the time
with Sir Frederick White who is the head of C. SI. R. O,, the
greatest scientific research establishment in this country
and one of the greatest in the worldo He has for years now,
with a rather despairing note in this voice, been trying to
make me understand that we not only need more and more
scientific research in Australia, but we need more and more
application of it to the problems of the man on the land and
that perhaps we have fallen down a little in not being able
to convey to the man on the farm the full benefits, quickly
enough, of pure scientific research and of research into
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applied science, into technology. Today, I have seen it
brought into a small compass. I would wish to hope, though
of course I can't9 that most of the people in this c'ity
might have the opportunity of looking at what can be seen
here. They would come to realise, as I have, that here is
an outstanding example I am not sure that it isn't the
outstanding example of the application of scientific
enquiry to the end of production, preparation, packaging
and selling of a primary product. This is really the most
tremendous thing.
As I have admitted to you frankly, I used to feel
a little sorry for the incarcerated hen, sitting in a battery
with the lights on, laying eggs ( Laughter). I thought,
" Dear me, you know, this is awfully like being a politician".
( Laughter) Except that we don't have any handling system
that automatically tells you that the egg is addled.
( Laughter) ( Applause) But I realise now, having looked
around, that all this demcnstrates what I believe is the
greatest revolution in productive and handling techmiques
in a primary industry that I have seen in my time. And all
the credit must be given to thoseuho have led the way in
converting something that was a little casual, a little
sketchy, even a little amateurish, into a magnificent
industry scientifically and technically abreast of the
times and therefore able to present to the people a result
far more stable, far more satisfactory than they have ever
had before and, at the same time, enable how many people
did you say, Mr. Adermann? a hundred thousand people to
be directly or indirectly connected with this industry in
Australia is that right? a hundred thousand.
We must give up I would like to say this to any
layman wrho is here we must give up the idea that raising
poultry, either as boilers ( I've been learning, you see,
this morning) ( Laughter), broilers or boilers, or raising
them for eggs and so on we must give up the idea that this
is a casual part-time occupation on the fringes of cities,
This is a notable industry, and I am sure that the head of
the Cø S. I. R. O. would agree with me when I say that when in
each primary industry we can say, with the same confidence,
that the work of the scientist and the technologist has been
married to the work of the actual operator in the field, when
we can say that about all our primary industries that will
be a very happy day for a very great primary-producing
country. There is just one other aspect of that, We, in
Australia, are of course as we always are, and I hope we
always will be presentea with problems, Life consists of
encountering problems and battling with them and trying to
overcome them. And one of our problems, not peculiar to
us, is that as the world goes on, as ou& w secondary industries
develop as they must if this country is to grow, we find
constantly, don't weg the pressure of costs on the primary
producer. The pressure of costs whether he's a woolgrower,
a wheatgrower or a chicken-raiser or whatever it may be.
You can't solve the problerm of increased costs just by some
brutal decree that nobody's wages are ever to be increased.
This is nonsense, You can! t solve it by some mechanical
step which, for example, by abolishing the tariffs, puts
half the primary industv-". Js out of business. The long-run
answer to costs is increased efficiency of production through
increased output and a higher level of scientific skill and
of scientific managementø This 1s the lesson for us all to
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learn. It will have to be l. earned by every exporting
industry in Australia, It won't always be easy. The
people who conduct these industries are not fools. They
have lived their lives in them, they know far more about
them than I do, but the one thing that I know in the broad,
general sweep, is that if we are tc meet the competition
of the world and reach out with our products into other
countries then we must become, in tne widest sense of the
word, applied scientists; because science is learning
and teaching at a rate of geometrical progression today,
There is so much to be learned, so much advantage to be
got from what is being discovered,
As I have had those ideas in my mind and I have
spoken about them mora than once. i want to tell you with
all sincerity that thirty or forty minutes this morning,
going around to see what's been done, what is being done,
how it's being done, has excited me, I have eeen here,
within a small compass, the living proof of the kind of
thing that I have been talking, to you about,
And so I hope that you will allow me to say to all
those who organised this Con& ress, the first W4orld Congress
of a prnay industry to be held in Australia " Thank
you for a magnificent piece of organisation" and I hope
you will allow me to say to those engaged in this industry,
not only '" T'ank you" but " Congratulations" on what I think
will be looked back upon as one of the great achievements
in Australia in the last fifteen or twenty years.
Sirg I have the greatest possible pleasure in
declaring the Congress open,

Transcript 578