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Wednesday, 14 October 1931
Page: 755

Mr WHITE (Balaclava) .- I should not have spoken had it not been for the remarks of the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Fenton). The honorable member made out an excellent case for the free admission of educational text-books. He said that many excellent books are printed in Australia; but I challenge him to produce Australian books on many technical subjects. If the honorable member were to write a book, and attempted to get an Australian publisher to publish it, he would realize some of the difficulties associated with the printing of books in this country. A publisher has regard only to the requirements of the reading public. I give the honorable member credit for consistency; but blind consistency only leads to trouble, and protection with him has become an obsession and a menace. Surely the honorable member for Maribyrnong realizes the great advantage to the youth of this land, as well as to their parents, of having educational books made available at the lowest possible prices. I could enumerate instances of Australians who have tried unsuccessfully to get Australian publishers to publish their works. I cannot claim that my literary qualifications rise to those dizzy heights necessary to qualify me for a position on the Broadford Howler. The great publishers of the world are not to be found in Australia. The best educational text books are printed overseas, and we should not insulate ourselves from the culture of the old world. I regard education as the greatest asset of democracy, and therefore I maintain that books should not be subjected to that blind protection, amounting almost to a disease, of which the honorable member for Maribyrnong is so strong a supporter. I urge the Minister to accept the amendment.

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