March 7th 2009

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Articles from this issue:

EDITORIAL: Behind Malcolm Turnbull's pitch for green votes

CANBERRA OBSERVED: The Costello question that refuses to go away

ECONOMIC AFFAIRS: China's spending spree: our sovereignty at risk

GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS: Targeted spending needed to promote Australian jobs

NEW ZEALAND: Kiwibank goes from strength to strength

QUEENSLAND: Premier Bligh calls snap election

PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY: Shooting the messenger undermines democracy

HEALTH: Labor's campaign against doctors' private practices

UNITED STATES: The nightmarish cabinet of President Obama

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: UN whitewash of China human rights abuses

GLOBAL WAR ON TERRORISM: What to do with Guantánamo detainees?

SPECIAL FEATURE: The agnostic who took on Darwin and Dawkins

MARRIAGE AND FAMILY: Sexual suicide of Western society

AS THE WORLD TURNS: Social websites harm children's brains - top neuroscientist / Conspiracy theory? / 'Right to die' can become a 'duty to die'

Euthanasia and dementia sufferers (letter)

Wilson Tuckey I (letter)

Wilson Tuckey II (letter)

CINEMA: Stylised miniature of feminist mythology - Revolutionary Road

BOOKS: ATTILA THE HUN: Barbarian Terror and the Fall of the Roman Empire, by Christopher Kelly

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Wilson Tuckey II (letter)

by Kevin O'Neill

News Weekly, March 7, 2009

I refer to Mr Wilson Tuckey MP's recent letter to News Weekly (February 21, 2009).

He seems to doubt my experience and knowledge of the wheat industry. He is apparently unaware of a seven-year dry time in the Eastern States with a very low wheat production for export.

As a teenager in the early 1930s before the single desk, I delivered wheat with the horse teams to Berrigan and Oaklands from the family farm located mid-way between the rail heads.

The working conditions on farms in those days were another name for slavery for the men and women who worked there.

As a soldier-settler after World War II, I delivered wheat and rice to Jerilderie, Finley, Tocumwal, Mairjimmy and Hogan under the single desk until I retired about eight years ago. Rice is still produced and sold under the single desk and is the most successful agricultural industry in Australia.

The marketing stability of the single desk was helpful to farmers of the Eastern States who have a very erratic rainfall pattern, as opposed to Western Australia that has a lower but more stable rainfall in the wheat belt.

Under the single desk the WA wheat belt expanded with power-farming and wide-line machinery, cheaper land and trace elements.

Helped by dedicated plant-breeders, agronomists and sheep studs in the Eastern States, the farmers got on top of the poison weed and put sheep on.

Wheat-growing in WA is a success story.

Nowhere have I claimed that promises were made that deregulation would influence overseas subsidies.

What I did say was, "It was claimed that abolition of the single desk was the forerunner of the abolition of export subsidies by the United States and the European Union". (Letters, News Weekly, February 7, 2009).

News Weekly columnist, Mr Colin Teese, a former deputy secretary of the Department of Trade, put it more bluntly.

He said: "There is a view being put about that if wheat-growers give up the idea of the single selling-desk, then the US and EU will be prepared to negotiate on subsidies and on access to their markets. Don't believe a word of it. They won't". (News Weekly, March 17, 2007).

Kevin O'Neill,
Tocumwal, NSW

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