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Tuesday, 22 November 1910

Debate resumed from 18th November (vide page 6407), 011 motion by Senator Findley -

That this Bill be now read a second time. Senator ST. LEDGER (Queensland) [3.19]. - This Amending Customs Tariff Bill is merely a display of fiscal fireworks. It contains nothing but blank cartridge. If there were any doubt on this point, the speech made by Senator 0' Keefe must have dispelled that doubt. The honorable senator gave certain reasons why the Government have not, consistently with their platform promises, brought forward a comprehensive measure for the rectification of the alleged anomalies in the existing Tariff. There is not a member of this Parliament who does not perfectly well understand the position of the Government in the matter. Nor is there a single Protectionist in Australia who does not understand it. I do not know whether Senator O'Keefe ought not to be complimented for his audacity and candour in respect of this matter. But certainly both his audacity and his candour have been indorsed by the Vice-.President of the Executive Council. The former declared that the reason 'why the Government had not undertaken a comprehensive revision of the Tariff was that the people of Australia were not going to be " fooled " again. He affirmed that any such revision of the Tariff was to be contingent on the electors, at the forthcoming referendum, empowering the Commonwealth to control industrial conditions throughout Australia. But I intend to deal with the statement of Senator O'Keefe that "'we had been fooled."

Senator O'Keefe - So we were "'fooled " by the late Prime Minister.

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