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Friday, 22 May 1936

Senator JAMES McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) . - "With many other honorable senators, I am placed iri a position to-day which is not of my own seeking. Usually I listen with interest to the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings), and occasionally I agree with much that he says. I do not think that I have ever been so much in agreement with the honorable gentleman as I am to-day; fully 90 per cent, of his remarks in respect of the Government are -well deserved. Before the Senate met to discuss the tariff schedule, the Press in almost all the States, and certainly in South Australia, announced that the Senate would do exactly as it was told. The public was informed that the trouble which had arisen in the House', of Representatives would be righted' in the

Senate. I resent being told what I am going to do as a member of this chamber. I was- sent here to do the best I know in the interests of Australia. "When the tariff debate began, I favoured a compromise in regard to the duties on cement, although I had an open mind and was prepared" to listen to argument. But when we met to discuss the item, the Ottawa agreement was fired at us from all sides. Adherence to, or departure from, the agreement became a burning question. Listening to Ministers speaking of the Ottawa agreement one would have been justified in believing that the House of Commons was waiting in suspense for Australia's decision in regard to the duties on cement. I am now, and always have been, strongly in favour of the Ottawa agreement. The argument that a departure from the recommendation of the Tariff Board would be a breach of the agreement weighed with me, and I felt bound to support the Tariff Board's recommendation in regard to cement. The request of the Senate has been reconsidered by the House of Representatives, and the result of its further deliberations is now before us. I am thankful to an Almighty Providence that I am not responsible for what Ministers have said in this chamber. But I am responsible for what I myself have said.. When I spoke earlier, I said that -

In these circumstances, I feel that I must, support the Government, but I repeat that I am yet hopeful that a compromise may be reached.

The opportunity to stand by what I then said has come, and I can do no other than accept the compromise.

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