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Wednesday, 14 October 1931

Mr PROWSE (Forrest) .- The Australian people were given to understand that the surcharges and embargoes were only temporary. What the Government's policy has achieved in improving the trade balance does not give much justification for boasting. Because of this policy the revenue from trade and customs is approximately £12,000,000 short, and the people of Australia have to make up that amount by direct taxation. The manufacturers have taken advantage of the surcharges and embargoes to maintain prices, and the consumers, whose buying capacity has been reduced, are forced to pay. more for their goods. That is retarding the great primary industries. The Prime Minister, when shamefacedly announcing the embargoes, admitted that the financial stringency would have regulated the imports.

Mr Forde - The banks declared that that would be an unnatural means of regulation.

Mr PROWSE - It would have been a natural way. Unnatural embargoes are consolidating certain interests in sheltered positions during a time of general depression, and to bolster some industries others have to accept more than their share of sacrifice. I hope that the Government will not continue the surcharges.

Mr Gregory - The Senate will knock them out.

Mr PROWSE - I hope that the Senate, Australia's most representative chamber, will put this schedule in its proper place, the waste paper basket.

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