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Wednesday, 22 August 1906


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) . - The honorable member for Hindmarsh has drawn a distinction between the position of the right honorable member for East Sydney and that of the Labour Party ; I would point out a further distinction. It is this: The honorable' member for Hindmarsh would refuse to the fishermen who risk their lives and expend their energies in the establishment and maintenance of a perilous and arduous industry, the profits to be won from it, and would give them to the State. That course would inevitably lead to the abandonment and ruin of the industry. If there is any industry which would not. prosper as a State enterprise, it is the fishing industry, and especially the deep-sea fishing industry. But it is the duty of the State to make the scientific inquiries and experiments necessary to prove and exhibit the resources of our seas as well as of our land.


Mr Higgins - The honorable member draws a line somewhere between trawlers and steamers.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable and learned member is not so dense as he tries to appear. It would be a poor compliment if I said that he cannot see my distinction. Whilst the State may use its powers for testing and exhibiting the resources of the country and of the adjacent seas - and the community has approved of that being done - it should not, in my opinion, endeavour to carry on industries which can be better carried on by private enterprise.


Mr Higgins - The honorable member wishes to use the resources of the State for the few ; we wish to use them for the whole community.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member is repeating a statement of the honorable member for Hindmarsh to which I have replied. He would give the advantages to be derived from the prosecution of the fishing industry, not to the seamen and others engaged in it, but to the community at large, thus taking from them the encouragement necessary to induce them to risk their lives, and to undertake the Heavy and severe exertions required by that calling.


Mr Hutchison - There will be no trouble about manning this trawler.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Not at first; but there will be later on if it is seen that the rewards of the enterprise are not allowed to go to those who earn them.


Mr Higgins - I understood the leader of the Opposition to say that workmen risk nothing - that it is the capitalists who undertake all risks.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - If trawling is proved likely to be successful, private enterprise will enter into and develop the industry.


Mr Hutchison - The leader of the Opposition says that he has proved it to be successful.


Mr Reid - I am not the head of the caucus. I do not talk for a machine.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable and learned member for Northern Melbourne would go further than is now proposed, and, our resources having been proved, would establish an enormous fleet of Commonwealth trawlers to carry "on the fishing industry.


Mr Higgins - I have not said so.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The section to which the honorable and learned member belongs would do so, and he has indicated by his statements that his views coincide with theirs. If he denies that that is so, he is, of course, not a Socialist. Those who are Socialists are in favour of the carrying on of these industries by the State.


Mr Higgins - I follow the right honorable member for East Sydney when he is right.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable and learned member is satisfied that the leader of the Opposition is right in this instance ?


Mr Higgins - Certainly.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Then I am right, too. I doubt, however, that the sum provided is sufficient for the purpose. Probably an additional vote will be necessary before any complete experiment can be made. It must be remembered that the trawler to be provided will have to be more expensively fitted out than is the case with the trawlers which work on the Dogger Bank, for example. It will require trawls for a great variety of depths, and raising and lowering apparatus to deal with, not one particular bank, or a set of banks, but unknown conditions. The Minister stated that the experiment would be under the control of experts. I presume that we are not to understand that it is intended to create a Department of Fisheries, seeing that we have already experts in the States.


Mr Groom - It is not intended to appoint an expensive expert. We shall take the advice of the experts of the States.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - We do not wish to establish a Commonwealth Department of Fisheries, presided over by an expensive expert, because such a Department would continue in existence, and would be added to, even after the experiments had come to an end.







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