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Tuesday, 8 March 1932


Mr LYONS (Wilmot) (Prime Minister and Treasurer) . - All the material required to furnish a reply to the question of which the honorable member for Forrest (Mr. Prowse) has given notice, is, I regret, not yet available; but I shall see that the matter is expedited. No discourtesy to the honorable member was intended.

The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Seullin) wishes to know when the debate that has taken place to-day will he resumed; but it is not necessary to ask that. I said at the outset, and no honorable member misunderstands the position, that the Government would devote a day to the discussion of the tobacco duties, and both the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Gullett) and I pointed \ out that, as early as possible, the tariff schedules would be brought down, and the House would have 'an opportunity of coming to a definite decision upon them.


Mr Forde - Before Easter?


Mr LYONS - If the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Forde) were now Minister for Trade and Customs, he would not have the schedules brought down within the next two years. The noise and nonsense from that honorable member by way of interjection goes to show how absolutely inconsistent he is. I have given an assurance, and I will carry out my undertaking. Unlike the honorable member and his leader, who tonight prided himself on the fact that he had evaded Parliament with respect to tariff matters, this Government will not dodge its responsibilities, or evade Parliament. As I have already inti- mated to the Leader of the Country party (Dr. Earle Page), we will give honorable members an early opportunity to deal with the tariff.


Mr Scullin - Why is not an undertaking given to the House?


Mr LYONS - The House knows that it will have an opportunity to deal with the tobacco duties when the tariff schedules are presented. I have carried out my undertaking to grant a full day for the discussion of the matter.


Mr Scullin - What did the Prime Minister tell the Loader of the Country party ?


Mr LYONS - If the right honorable gentleman thinks that anything improper has occurred, it emanates only from his own imagination.


Mr Scullin - What was the whispering that took place between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Country party ?


Mr LYONS - There was no whispering between us. The leaders of parties frequently confer.


Mr Scullin - The honorable gentleman did not consult me when he was whispering to the Leader of the Country party.


Mr SPEAKER - It is imposssible for the Prime Minister to address the House if he is to be subjected to repeated interruptions. He has the right of reply, and I ask honorable members to show respect for the Standing Orders by maintaining silence.


Mr LYONS - The right honorable member for Cowper asked me when we proposed to conclude the debate to-night on the tobacco duties, and I said that it was intended to adjourn it at about 11 p.m. He remarked, " When you are moving the adjournment, will you be prepared to repeat the assurance given to me that full consideration will he accorded to the points raised in this debate"? I said, " There is no necessity for me to do that ; I have given that assurance. I have given it publicly in this chamber, and every member is aware of it ". The Minister who moved the adjournment did not refer to the matter, because there was no need to do so.


Mr Beasley - What was the assurance ?


Mr LYONS - I gave it when I spoke, and that is the assurance which the Leader of the Country party has.


Mr Scullin - Then why did he not withdraw his amendment?


Mr LYONS - If there is anything objectionable in the leader of one party discussing a matter with the loader of another party, the honorable member for West Sydney (Mr. Beasley) cannot expect any other party leader to discuss any matter with him.

In reply to the honorable member for Richmond (Mr. R. Green), if the cattle tick pest is spreading, as he has suggested - and I believe that his statement is correct - it is not due to the inaction of this Government, because the system that has been followed for some time past has not been departed from in any way. No reduction of the subsidy to assist in the eradication of the pest has been made. The matter referred to is under consideration ; but there are so many urgent and important matters with which Cabinet is now dealing that some have necessarily to stand over. The cattle tick problem, however, is receiving the close attention of the Minister for Health, and a decision will be reached by Cabinet at an early date.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

House adjourned at 12.5 a.m. (Wednesday).







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