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Thursday, 12 July 1906

Mr JOHNSON - Then I wonder what the honorable member was doing whilst he was addressing the Committee? I maintain - despite his predilection for ihe State coddling of local industries - that if we had less interference with trade in every way - less interference with our imports, with commerce, and with industry, there would be more healthy and vigorous conditions existing amongst our manufacturers, their employes, and amongst the community generally, than there is any sign of to-day. This clause is much like others with which we have already dealt. No one on this side will attempt to dispute that the preservation of Australian industries which in themselves are not injurious in' character is advantageous to the Commonwealth, provided that such preservation does not. entail injustice to the people or any section of the people, but there are some industries which might be described as injurious in character, and might not be worth preserving.

Mr Isaacs - They are excluded. This is a limiting clause. It limits the operation of the Bill.

Mr JOHNSON - Quite so ; but at the same time it might be held that the preservation of the industries I have now in mind would be advantageous, at all events to one section, of the community.

Mr Isaacs - That would not comply with this provision.

Mr JOHNSON - That is a matter of opinion. _ The honorable member for Melbourne Ports said the other day that provisions of this kind were necessary for the preservation of, amongst others, the bootmaking trade, which he declared was suffering from the unjust competition of imported goods. The honorable member, I believe, gave some figures as to the cost of manufacture.

Mr Mauger - In connexion, not with dumping, but with imports.

Mr JOHNSON - The point is that we have no guarantee that all importations may not be regarded as dumping. It is because of this* that we find ourselves in a dilemma in dealing with the Bill. As soon as we deal with importing as dumping we are told that it is not, and yet there has been no attempt to give a clear and understandable definition of the word.

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