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Friday, 4 November 1910

Senator McGREGOR (South Australia) (Vice-President of the Executive Council) . - I move -

That this Bill be now read a second time.

This Bill is very similar in character to that which we have so expeditiously advanced to the third-reading stage. I hope that, as the last Bill went through this stage rapidly, this one will go through much more rapidly, because I think that every citizen of the Commonwealth has become aware that the public are suffering under the influence of monopolies of some description or other. The object of. this amendment of the Constitution is to enable this Parliament to declare when an industry has become a monopoly, and to take over the industry and work it in the interests of the whole of the people. I do not intend to occupy much time in submitting the measure. The question of monopolies has been discussed in the Senate time after time. We have had Royal Commissions on various monopolies with a view to protect the public against their influence, and sometimes their' employes against their tyranny. I hope that the day will soon arrive in Australia when the infant in the cradle and the invalid in the hospital will be relieved from the influence of the sugar monopoly, the existence of which every one in Australia recognises. The shipping monopoly also affects every citizen of the Commonwealth. The coal monopoly and other monopolies of that kind have had such an effect in reducing the value of the wages of the people of this community that they have all come to the conclusion that the sooner some action is taken either to curb these monopolies or to take them over and work them in the interests of the public the better. Therefore I have much pleasure in submitting this motion.

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