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Friday, 3 August 1906


Mr CHANTER (Riverina) . - The House and the country are to becongratulated upon the introduction of theBill, and upon the conversion of the leaderof the Opposition to a recognition of the fallacies of free-trade, he having announced himself in favour of the encouragement of industries by the bounty system provided for. It ig very pleasing to those of us whofor so many years have battled for the establishment of industries in Australia to find ' that he is now coming to our assistance. Last night he tried to prove that there arebounties and bounties, and, in reply to a question as to why he did not see his w.i\clear to establish the iron and steel industry here bv the granting of a bounty forthe production of iron and steel, said that. that industry was in a different category, and was succeeding in New South Wales without the assistance of a bounty. The-

Government of the State, however, are practically paying a bounty to a certain person for the manufacture of iron, and steel, though the payment is not in that form. It is very pleasing that both sides of the House are now resolved that the industries of Australia shall be encouraged, fostered, and protected either by bounties or by duties. The right honorable gentleman must have known, and could have mentioned with pride, the fact that in Lord Howe Island, which for many years was under the administration of the New South Wales Government, and is now, I believe, under Commonwealth control, coffee beans have been grown, and exhibited in Sydney, www have been claimed to be superior to any grown in any other part of the world.


Mr Lonsdale - Coffee has been grown in Queensland for years past.


Mr CHANTER - Coffee has been grown in various parts of the Commonwealth, but it has not been put upon the market, because of the competition which has been permitted, owing ,to the prevalence of free-trade principles. I am glad that the honorable member is supporting the Bill, and intends to help our industries in that way. He is awakening to a recognition of the fact that persons will hot embark in industries unless they can P.Ut their productions on the market at a profit. Those who have made themselves acquainted with the magnificent resources of the Commonwealth know that there is nothing which cannot be produced within our borders.


Mr Lonsdale - We could produce anything at the expense of the community.


Mr CHANTER - Whatever we produce will be produced at the expense of the foreign manufacturer and producer and to the advantage of our own people, whether manufacturers, producers, or workmen. The honorable member for Gippsland told us that flax had been grown in Gippsland for many years, and I know that it has also been produced in other parts of Victoria and in other States. There is no article in the schedule that cannot be produced in Australia. The leader of the Opposition took exception to the provision in clause 5, which provides that persons claiming the bounty must satisfy the Minister that thev have paid fair wages to those employed by them. I consider that this is a desirable provision, because we should avoid doing anything that would have a tendency to reduce the wages paid to our workers. We should not devote the public money to the encouragement of industries unless they can be carried on under such conditions that they will confer benefit upon the workers as well as upon the employers. I do not understand1 how any one could object to that principle. Some years ago an application was made to the Minister ofLands in New South Wales 'for permission to occupy a reasonable area of land upon the Murray River for the purpose of producing cotton, rice, and tea - articles which some persons may be rash enough to say cannot possibly be produced in Australia. It has, however, been demonstrated that all these products can be grown here. I am informed that one or two persons have entered into an arrangement with the Victorian Government for the occupation of a tract Of land on trie Murray River, with a view to the cultivation of tropical products such as I have indicated. Queensland is not the only State in which cotton can be produced. It has" been grown in Victoria and New South Wales.


Mr McLean - I have a sample of cotton grown in the Gippsland district.







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