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Tuesday, 22 November 1910

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) . - I do not think that it has ever been my lot to hear a more extraordinary statement from a Minister than that which has just been delivered by Senator Findley. Senator Vardon has asked, and I am sure that other honorable senators desire, to have an explanation as to the effect of deleting, these words. The Minister has simply stated that certain representations have been made to the Government that, unless the amendment be made, an injustice will be done to somebody. The Committee should be informed as to the way in which an injustice will be done. I am sure it will not be slow to act if it is pointed out that a legislative proposal is likely to act injuriously. Surely we ought to have something more than the vague statement of the Minister that he is convinced that it is in the interest of the Protectionist policy of Australia to delete the words, and that unless that be done an injustice will be inflicted on some person because that person has told him or the Government so. That is no reason why we should vote for the request. I suggest that he should tell us clearly what difference will be effected by the omission of the words. I am surprised that he cannot see what the Committee wants. He has taken part in too many Tariff debates not to know exactly the kind of reasons which are sought. When the item of corsets was under discussion, he gave very cogent reasons, and showed how the duty proposed would work out if retained, and he fought against it, not only strenuously, but successfully. We desire to hear similar reasons on the present occasion, and not vague statements.

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