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Wednesday, 13 December 1905

The CHAIRMAN - The question is simply that a certain word shall be omitted ; but I point out to the honorable member for Grey that if that word were omitted, and he desired to insert a figure higher than the one omitted, it would not be competent for him to do so. While it would be competent for the Committee to reduce a proposed amount, the universal practice is against the acceptance of a proposal to increase it at this stage.

Mr Watson - May I be allowed, as a matter of order, to point out, without prejudice - becauseI am not in favour of the honorable member's proposal - that when we were discussing the Tariff some years ago, Mr. Speaker ruled that it was quite competent to increase a proposed duty ?

Mr Conroy - That was in Committee of Ways and Means.

Mr Thomas - There is a great difference between Excise and Customs duties.

Mr Watson - Whilst I am against the suggestion of the honorable member for Grey, I think it would not be well to curtail privileges which honorable members have had granted to them by the decisions of the House itself, and of Mr. Speaker.

The CHAIRMAN - I refer honorable members to standing order 171, under the heading, " What amendments not admissible"

No amendment for the imposition or for the increase of a tax, rate, or duty, shall be proposed by any non-official member in any Committee on any Bill.

Mr Watson - We did it, and Mr. Speaker ruled it in order.

The CHAIRMAN - I point out that on the occasion to which the honorable gentleman refers the House was in Committee of Ways and Means, whereas we are now in Committee on a Bill.

Mr Hutchison - I had given notice of an amendment to effect the same purpose, but I was informed that it could not be moved, and that I could not adopt the alternative of reducing the duties, because that would mean the introduction of a Tariff Bill.

The CHAIRMAN - What does the honorable member for Grey desire to move?

Mr. POYNTON(Grey).- It will be for the Government to consider what shall be done if the amendment I propose is accepted. I wish to test the opinion of the Committee as to whether honorable members are prepared to allow any pro- tection for sugar grown by black labour. The Bill is so framed that I do not see that I can do what I desire in any other way. If the Committee agrees to strike out the word "six," it will be for the Government to take whatever steps are necessary to give effect to the amendment. I do not believe honorable members are in favour of giving protection to the extent of £2 per ton to sugar grown by black labour. If we really desire to secure a White Australia, the sooner we remove all protection upon sugar grown by black labour the better. What I suggest is that the word "six" be struck out, and the Committee will understand my object.

Sir William Lyne - Is the honorable member in favour of the Bill at all?

Mr POYNTON - That is rather an impertinent question to address to me. I voted for the Bill to-night, but whether I am in favour of it or not, I tarn not in favour of protection for sugar grown by black labour.

Mr Watson - What does the honorable member propose by way of bonus?

Mr POYNTON - It would be increased to10s. My proposal would enable honorable members to give practical effect to what they have been talking about for the last six months.

Mr Hutchison - No, it would not.

Mr POYNTON - If we do not take advantage of this opportunity, the Bill will be out of our hands within the next twenty-four hours. I honestly believe that what I propose should be done; but, of course, if the Standing Orders are against me. I must submit to them.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

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