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Friday, 16 July 1915

The PRESIDENT - If Senator Lynch has attributed to Senator Grant a statement which Senator Grant complains is inaccurate, he must, according to the Standing Orders, accept Senator Grant's disclaimer. I ask Senator Lynch to accept Senator Grant's denial of the statement attributed to him, and not to pursue that line of argument further.

Senator -LYNCH.- In order to comply with the Standing Orders, I accept Senator Grant's denial, but it puts me at a loss to understand the real position which either Senator Grant or Senator Stewart takes on this matter. It is so indefinite that one would almost require a compass and chart to find it. I am surprised that any member of the Senate should take up such an insane attitude, and such a foolish and untenable position, as to propose to tax land to such an extent as would discourage settlement. The only effect would be to add to our city population by cutting away whatever attractions the country side at present offers to settlers.

Senator Ferricks - I do not think that is a fair inference from Senator Stewart's remarks.

Senator LYNCH - I have heard these remarks many times.

Senator Stewart - You are a liar, sir. You are trying to misrepresent me. I never said anything of the kind. You are telling a deliberate lie on the floor of the Senate.

The PRESIDENT - Will the honorable senator resume his seat? Senator Stewart has applied to Senator Lynch a term which the honorable senator must know is entirely out of order, and it must he withdrawn. From his long parliamentary experience the honorable senator must know that there is a correct way of expressing disapproval of any statement made by another honorable senator, and I, therefore, ask him to withdraw.

Senator Stewart - So as to comply with the rules of parliamentary procedure, I withdraw the statement.

Senator LYNCH - I accept the withdrawal.

Senator Stewart - I have your strength now.

Senator LYNCH - Probably I could deal more effectively with Senator Stewart in some other place than this.

The PRESIDENT - Order ! The honorable senator must not make a statement of that kind.

Senator LYNCH - I need only remind Senator Stewart that I did not have him in my mind when I referred to the matter. To tax land without regard to exemption would, in the end, destroy its attraction to the settler, and it would be altogether a suicidal policy, which T could not for one moment justify. I am well enough acquainted with the attitude of the party of which I am a member to know that there is no prospect of such a foolish action being adopted; but, at the same time, I recognise that there are men connected with our party who would carry that policy to an outrageous extent if they could, and I am pointing out that if we take such a foolish stand it will be the first step in the direction of disaster. However, that is not the subject upon which I rose to speak. I want to direct attention, during the course of this debate, to a certain action in connexion with the Home Affairs Department in calling tenders recently for work in which timber is employed. I do not say that the Minister is responsible for this, because probably it is the act of some subordinate official, and has been carried into effect without the knowledge of the Minister. I have in mind a glaring case in which tenders were called . in Western Australia for work which required native timber, and, strange to say, karri timber - which has been found most useful in the United Kingdom and also in the Commonwealth - was specially excluded in that particular contract. Karri has [183]- 2 been used successfully for years in> Western Australia for work of a superstructural nature, and it has also been used by the Imperial Government with like success. The timber has stood the test of experience, both in Great Britain and Western Australia, but, notwithstanding its suitability, the Commonwealth Government lately - I refer to the Home; Affairs Department- in calling for tenders specially excluded its use. I am sure, however, that this is a matter which? needs only to be mentioned to be remedied!. The other point to which I desire to direct attention is one which was touched, upon in the Ministerial statement this morning. I refer to the use .being made? by the Defence Department of transport: ships for freight purposes. In view of the prospect, happily, of a very good harvest - perhaps the best harvest that we have ever had in this country - the problems of providing labour and transport will have to be considered. Shipping freights have gone up, perhaps, 200 per cent, om account of the scarcity of ships available for cargo purposes. Now the Minister of Defence mentioned to-day that these transport ships have been used with great advantage in carrying cargoes, and I hope the Defence Department will take into consideration the wisdom of utilizing them for the purpose of exporting tho surplus wheat to the markets of the world when the time comes. If some such action is not taken, the extra price which wheat will command, and which is looked forward to by those engaged in this industry to pay their debts as well as to provide for some comforts, will be swallowed up by the extra freights to be paid for the carrying of the produce. I wish, therefore, to take this opportunity of impressing on the Government the wisdom of using those- transports, which, unfortunately, will be employed for some time in carrying our troops to Europe, for the. carriage of grain to the London markets

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