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Wednesday, 23 November 1910

Senator DE LARGIE (Western Australia) . - If Senator Givens will only reflect for a moment, he will recognise that hitherto axles have not been made in Australia.

Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - They are made in Adelaide.

Senator DE LARGIE - Is my honorable friend quite sure of his statement, or is he merely indulging in guess work?

Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - There is no guess work about it.

Senator DE LARGIE - I am afraid that the axles made in Australia are of the wooden type.

Senator Givens - The axles to which I referred were steel axles for wooden wheels.

Senator DE LARGIE - I am afraid that any articles of that description which are made in Australia are of such an extremely light character that it would be impossible to use them upon railways.

Senator Rae - Could we not manufacture them with the aid of a little protection ?

Senator DE LARGIE - Anybody who knows anything of .the iron industry knows that so far as it is concerned, Australia is scarcely yet in its infancy.

Senator McDougall - But we are now discussing trucks and waggons.

Senator DE LARGIE - What we have to bear in mind is that there are highlyspecialized articles which have not yet been made in Australia.

Senator McDougall - That shows all that the honorable senator knows about the matter, because they have been made in Australia.

Senator DE LARGIE - It is incumbent upon the honorable senator, not merely to assert, but to prove that axles of this kind are made in Australia. It is not a question of putting the Tariff on a Protectionist, Free Trade, or revenue- producing basis.

Senator Vardon - In many cases it is a question of raising the duties.

Senator DE LARGIE - At the same time, we may be removing anomalies. From that stand-point the necessity of this proposal must be recognised. With the exception of a little pig-iron and a few rails, which are made at Lithgow, there is no iron made in Australia.

Senator McDougall - We can make axles out of steel bloom.

Senator DE LARGIE - It is only a few days since the question of importing axles for the Defence Department was raised and discussed. Not one honorable senator then claimed that this kind of axle was, or could be, made here at present. If they can., let us keep out the imported article. All that can possibly be. done with those axles, which are even of a lighter kind than those under discussion, is to put them in in the lathe, and put the finishing touches on them. That is not making axles at all.

Senator Rae - That is worth doing if we are looking for work.

Senator McDougall - Cannot they be forged ?

Senator DE LARGIE - I have yet to learn that this kind of axle can be made in Australia. I shall adhere to that opinion until I get better proof to the contrary than has been furnished so far.

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