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Thursday, 2 August 1906
Page: 2293

Mr SALMON (Laanecoorie) .- I wish to say a few words in reference to the measure, though it is hardly worth while to discuss it in detail, because honorable members seem unanimous as to the advisability of passing it. I am glad that the Government have introduced it, as their action will dispel the false impression which has been created by some honorable members, and a portion of the press, regarding their intentions with respect to the development of the country. I can understand 'the chagrin of some honorable members at the bringing in of the measure at this particular juncture; but I am glad that, notwithstanding their free-trade professions, and their denunciations of bounties in the past; they are now prepared to assist in enacting a measure which, I hope, is the beginning of an effective bounty system. The leader of the Opposition - I am about to refer only to what he has said in this Chamber, and not to his actions outside - very adroitly. though with some hardihood, drew attention to the state of the House at a time when there were nineteen members present on the Ministerial side of the Chamber, and only four on the Opposition side. I might saythat that is quite the usual state of affairs.

Mr Robinson - It is quite unusual.

Mr SALMON - The honorable member, at 10.30, has made his first appearance since the dinner hour.

Mr Robinson - I have been in the Chamber far more frequently than has the honorable member during this session. He has been conspicuous by his absence since the election of Chairman.

Mr SALMON - I will leave it to those honorable members who attend regularly to judge whether there is the slightest truth in that statement. I should not have devoted the slightest attention to the honorable and learned member but for his intrusion into a matter with regard to which he was not competent to speak. The leader of the Opposition spoke from quite a Socialistic stand-point when discussing the Bill, because his complaint was that the matter had not been dealt with upon the principle of State control. During the whole time he was discussing the item, and carping at the amount set down for the encouragement of the respective industries, he argued as if a series of Government farms were to be established for the cultivation of the enumerated products.

Mr Reid - I never referred to Government farms.

Mr SALMON - The right honorable gentleman spoke of the proposed bounties as being utterly inadequate to secure the establishment of the industries. I would point out, however, that it is not expected that the industries will be established by the outlay of the amount set down in the Bill. The bounties are to be granted merely for the encouragement of industries, and should have the strongest support of the Opposition, because they are intended to aid individual effort. The Bill represents merely a small beginning, and I think it is desirable that we should begin in a small way. The leader of the Opposition referred to the disastrous effects that had followed the granting of large bounties in Victoria and Queensland, and I think that, by encouraging small individual effort, we shall accomplish very much more than has hitherto been achieved. For this reason, I entirely disagree with the leader of the Opposition. The honorable member for North Sydney spoke of the necessity for doing something in the direction of reafforesting the country. No State has suffered more than has Victoria from the devastation of valuable forests. I am glad, however, to say that work in the direction of reafforesting is now being carried on and that, within the next five years, a veryconsiderable area of country that has been denuded of trees will again be producing valuable timber. The leader of the Opposition referredto the desire of certain honorable members to secure public appointments for Australians, and he specially criticised the remarks of the honorable member for Moira. I believe that we cannot do better than study an industry on the spot, and that those who have been born and bred amongst us ought to be the best judges as to what methods of cultivation are best adapted to our conditions. I have never been opposed to the introduction of experts from abroad when we have not had the necessary material amongst us from which to make a proper selection. I think that it is desirable, in such cases, to bring experts from abroad, and to make them Australians. That is one of the reasons why I hope that, at no distant date, the Commonwealth will be able to act upon the advice of the President of the United States, and offer inducements to capable men who have beentrained in the higher forms of certain cultivation to come here and utilize our soils, some of which are undoubtedly eminently suitable for raising products such as we desire to encourage. We have had here in Australia, and especially in Victoria, where the genius for invention has been stimulated to a higher degree than in other parts of the Commonwealth, opportunities for testing the capacity of our own people to carry on such work as that contemplated in the Bill. It was an unknown farmer who invented the stump-jumping plough which subdued the Mallee, and added a new province to the State of Victoria.

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That sounds very familiar.

Mr SALMON - I trust that its familiarity has not brought it into the contempt of the honorable member. We have men in Australia who are capable of meeting all our requirements in regard to 'he cultivation of the land. I might refer to the inventor of the Wolesley sheep shearing machine, and also to that bete noir of the other side, the complete harvester, which is also an Australian invention.

Mr McWILLIAMS (FRANKLIN, TASMANIA) - Were those inventions the result of bounties?

Mr SALMON - No; I am merely mentioning those cases by way of indicating that we have men capable of meeting the requirements of the situation, and of doing everything that" is contemplated by the Bill.


Mr SALMON - Then I hope that we shall employ them, and, all things being equal, give them preference over outsiders. That is all we desire.

Debate (on motion by Mr. Kelly) adjourned.

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