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Friday, 9 October 1931

Mr LYONS (Wilmot) .- The honorable memer for Corangamite (Mr. Crouch) has raised the standard of debate in this House to a very high level byhis last contribution ! I have visited the districts of other honorable members opposite in speaking for my own party, and I have always either avoided mentioning the name of the member for the district, or I have done it solely for the purpose of making it perfectly clear that I have the greatest respect for him. In no case have I departed from either the one course or the other. No honorable member has evinced so much annoyance over my visits as has the honorable member for Corangamite.

Mr GABB (ANGAS, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - It is getting near election time.

Mr LYONS - I am not worrying about that. I wish to deal briefly with the matter that the honorable member has raised in his wonderful contribution. He said that, when I interjected some days ago about somersaulting, I was endeavouring to show that he had supported the export duty on sheepskins. I deny that absolutely. I interjected because he first had made a statement charging me with somersaulting, and I throw the remark back at him, not suggesting that he has somersaulted, but that he is associated with a party that somersaulted in regard to thatduty.

Mr Lewis - So has the honorable member.

Mr LYONS - I have not. I suppose that. I cannot obtain the permission of the Prime Minister to disclose what happened in caucus; the honorable member can do that. No honorable member can give a single instance in which I supported such a proposition as the duty on sheepskins.

Mr Martens - But the honorable member was a member of the Government which submitted that proposal.

Mr LYONS - If any honorable member can show that I have ever supported such a proposal, I am prepared to resign my seat, provided that if such a member fails to disprove my statement, he also is prepared to resign. I did not charge the honorable member for Corangamite with somersaulting, and in spite of all his heat and bitterness, I do not lay that charge against him now. I simply claim the same right as honorable members opposite have to change my mind as they changed theirs on the subject of the duty on sheepskins. I was very glad, indeed, to know that the Government and the party supporting it had reversed its decision in the matter. The duty was imposed during my absence from Canberra. I was here when the party and the Government were opposed to it, but I was absent when the proposal was brought forward in this chamber, and I had no opportunity of protesting against it. as did the honorable member for Corangamite, who was present when the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Fenton) introduced the duty in this chamber.

Mr Crouch - I was not present.

Mr LYONS - I have the division list, and the honorable member's name is included.

Mr Crouch - I would like to see it; I do not believe it.

Mr LYONS - Hansard shows that on the 17th December, 1930, the honorable member for Maribyrnong, who was then Minister for Trade and Customs,brought down tariff schedule No. 6, 1930, which providedforan export duty on sheepskins.

Mr Scullin - The honorable member for Corangamite may not have been in the chamber at that time. Was there any discussion when the schedule was laid on the table?

Mr LYONS - Hansard records the following : -

Mr.R. Green. - This isbare-faced bribery.

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