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Tuesday, 19 December 1905

Mr LONSDALE (New England) - I do mot agree with the honorable member for Bland as far as the Sugar Excise Bill is concerned. He seems to think that the Excise is a burden on the sugar industry, tout I would point out that the increased value given to the sugar by the import duty, is compensated for only in part by the imposition of an Excise duty. The Excise duty is required to be paid by the producer only after he has received the benefit of an increased price to the extent 101 £6 per ton, owing to the operation of the import duties. Of the Excise duty, we return to the grower ,-£2'. as a matter of grace, to encourage him to employ white labour. I believe that instead of reducing the Excise duty, we should increase it, and so take back from the sugar-grower the full amount that he receives from the general public through the operation of the import duty. If we adopted that course, we should not be compelled to ask the farmers and others - who have enough to do to earn a living - to pay additional taxes, in order to assist the sugar planters. I am in favour of the sliding scale, and I think that we should intimate to the sugar-growers that after a certain time they must do without any bounty.. The representatives of Queensland tell us that white men can grow sugar there. If their contention be correct, it. should not "be necessary to tax the whole of the people of the Commonwealth for the benefit of those engaged in the industry. If white men cannot work on the sugar plantations, it is absurd to spend large sums of public money in order to encourage their employment. The sugar-grower has no more

Tight to the bounty than has the wheatgrower.

Mr Watson - There is no excise duty on wheat.

Mr LONSDALE - No. But if the farmers derived an advantage of is. per bushel through the operation of import duties, they should pay an excise duty of an equivalent amount.

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