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Wednesday, 17 August 1921

Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) . - Direct references to myself by Senator Payne render a brief reply necessary. That honorable senator takes exception to my describing Senator Pratten as the direct representative of those in possession of wealth and power. Whether Senator Pratten and Senator Payne are aware of the fact or not, that is the position in which they place themselves by always advocating that the only benefit the workers can obtain from the Tariff must be distilled through the manufacturer and the employer; indeed, that is the whole essence of Protection.

Senator Payne - I do not adopt that attitude.

Senator GARDINER - I do not make the remarks personally or offensively, but the principle- of Protection is to put the money of the whole people' into the establishment of industries which can benefit the people only by means of the employment given by their own cash. If private people establish businesses with their own money, I have no complaint to make, because I believe in privately-conducted businesses, while holding the opinion that publicly-controlled and managed businesses can beat private. businesses in the results. Holding that belief, I want none of these duties, whether they are to come into effect on the 1st . November or at once. I desire to see no attempts made at the public cost to render wealthy manufacturers more wealthy. Not only Senator Pratten, but Senator Payne and other honorable senators, desire to benefit the workers by first creating a master class, and to that end they assert that Customs duties must be imposed. The difference of two months between the Government proposals and the proposal of Senator Pratten is neither here nor there; we have to consider the whole principle of this Bill, which is designed to raise millions by taxation, and from whom? It will not be claimed that the wealthy contribute more to revenue by means of taxation than do the- poorer classes The wealthy bachelor . does not pay a tenth of the taxation that is paid by the married working man with six or eight children. I venture to- say that under- this Tariff I practically escape taxation. I do not pay any duties on tobacco-, spirits, or beer, and I do not think there is any duty on tea..I am in receipt, as a senator, of an increased emolument, given, not against my will, but without my assistance, and yet I escape scot-free from taxation to which some of the poor toilers who send me here are subjected. Senator Pratten is afraid that unless his request is adopted iron for roofing purposes may be imported at a cheaper rate between November and January, and in this attitude the honorable senator has the support of Senator Payne. Yet they complain that I describe them as the friends of the wealthy manufacturing: and master class: I do not mind those honorable senators seeking to establish a master class, but the money of the people generally ought not to be used for that purpose. Surely it is not suggested that the workers' ought' to pay for the establishment of a master class? We never see the master class' going out of its way to assist the workers. I do hear that the Government are rendering some assistance at Port Pirie, which is represented in this Parliament by a member of the. Government, who may find the fact of some help to him at the next election.

Senator Russell - I did not hear the honorable senator complain when the Government rendered assistance at Broken Hill'.

Senator GARDINER - Broken Hill is getting no assistance now, and I should like to know why. Port Pirie is being- afforded help, with a Minister as its representative, whereas Broken Hill is left neglected. However, I do not wish to argue that matter now. I shall vote with Senator Drake-Brockman to make the item free in the case of Great Britain for two years longer. This is a commodity which Great Britain can freely manufacture, and which wo need in large quantities, and too much of it cannot be sent into Australia.

The CHAIRMAN (Senator Bakhap - I wish to make the position quite clear:

Senator Drake-Brockman'has submitted a request that in the sub-item under consideration " 1924 "be substituted for " 1922 , " and Senator Pratten has moved that the date be November, 1921. Obvilously, if " January, , 1922," be deleted, Senator Drake-Brockman will not have an opportunity to movethe request hedesires; the Committee cannot re-insert a word that has been . struck out. I . propose to take the test vote in regard to Senator Pratten's proposal on the deletion of the word " January." . Those in favour of Senator Drake-Brockman's request will vote against the deletion of that word, because it is essential to retain it for the purposes of that proposal.

SenatorGardiner. - I object to the procedure which you, sir, are adopting, as not in acordance with our. usual practice. Senator Drake-Brockman has submitted a request, and no other can be taken while that is before the Committee. That honorable senator does not propose to . strike out " January," but proposes to make the date January, 1924, instead of January, 1922. I submit that to put a request not formally moved before a previous request has . been dealt with would be an alteration of our recognised procedure.

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