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Friday, 17 July 1931

Mr FENTON - When the opportunity is afforded me I shall inform the honorable member for Werriwa (Mr. Lazzarini), the honorable member for Kennedy (Mr. Riordan), and the House generally exactly what I learned about labour conditions in Canada, after consultation with Labour and Trades Hall representatives at Vancouver.

Protests are coming to hand from every State in Australia with regard to the importation of Russian timber. The latest is a circular from timber interests in Queensland, which I do not intend to quote. The following paragraph appeared in the Age of the 15th instant: -

There was a large attendance of representatives of primary producing industries and others concerned in Australian primary productions, as well as local organizations, at a meeting held in the board room, Temple Court, yesterday, to consider plans for combating Soviet activities in Australia, particularly in regard to imports of Russian products.

At that meeting the following resolution was carried : -

That the Lord Mayor be asked to convene a meeting for the purpose of pointing out to the general public the danger arising out of Russian importations to Australian commerce and industries.

I do not suggest that the Minister for Customs is sleeping at his post. The honorable gentleman is too alert and too good a protector of Australian industries to do that. My words are not directed at any individual, nor at the Government. I believe that the stage has arrived when we should definitely decide not to tolerate this invasion by the products of slavery. I ask, not for a declaration that the Tariff Board will inquire into the matter, that a surcharge will be imposed on the shipment of Russian timber that has already arrived in Australia, or that anti-dumping laws will operate in future, but that the Government will prohibit the importation of Russian timber into Australia. I am unaware whether the consignment already in Sydney has been disposed of. The Minister has available the necessary organization to obtain the desired information, both in the offices of his own department and of the Police Force, and I trust that his action will be prompt and effective.

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