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Wednesday, 13 December 1905


Mr CAMERON (Wilmot) - I was somewhat surprised to hear the honorable and learned member for Bendigo dilate upon the hardships of Queensland. I would remind him that other States have suffered just as much as Queensland has done from the exploitations of bagmen from Victoria. I was astonished to hear the honorable and learned member for Parkes, whom I have always regarded as a staunch free-trader, announce that he would support the Bill. As I have always endeavoured to act in accord with the views I have advocated, and I have been a staunch free-trader all through the piece, I shall oppose the Bill. I am aware that honorable members have practically made up their minds, and that no argument that I could bring forward would have any effect upon them. But, at the same time, I should like to point out that the bounty is, having the most disastrous effect on the revenues of some of the States. Tasmania has suffered very severely since Federation was established; but I have never made on her behalf any such piteous appeal as that which has emanated from the representatives of Queensland. We should be quite satisfied if the other States, and particularly Queensland, refrained from robbing us, and requiring us, to act the part of the camel and bear their burdens. Heavy financial loss is being inflicted upon some of the States, whilst the consumers of sugar are reaping no benefit. It is well known that the Colonial Sugar Refining Company has been making enormous profits, which itis afraid to disclose. Only recently the company offered a rebate of 5s. per ton to a large consumer of Tasmania if he would take their product instead of importing his sugar and paying the duty of £6 per ton upon 4,000 or 5,000 tons per annum. That arrangement has, resulted in a considerable loss of revenue to Tasmania. By legislation of this kind we are bolstering up persons who do not deserve our support, and are enabling them to make large profits at the expense of the poor. I do not think it is fair to drag in the White Australia question in order to secure the passing of this measure. I look upon the White Australia cry as sheer nonsense, in view of the number of coloured aliens we already have amongst us. I regard this proposal as not only wrong, but an actual robbery, and I shall certainly divide the House upon the motion for the second reading of the Bill.







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