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Wednesday, 23 November 1910

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) . - I wish again to emphasize the fact made patent by the Minister's declaration. He appears to be abandoning the pretext that this Bill is introduced to rectify anomalies, and to make smooth the working of the Department. He now says that it is necessary for the sake of uniformity to include all manufactured stationery in one item. Are we to understand that this industry is the only one to be singled out for special treatment in this Bill, and that while the Government have had time to consider the difficulties of the makers of papers and paperboards, they have not had time to give mature consideration to anomalies which affect the interests of any other industry in the Commonwealth. The proposed revision of the Tariff for the benefit of a particular industry is so curious as to make one think things which he would hesitate to utter.

Senator Givens - The honorable senator thinks that behind this effect there is some causer

Senator MILLEN - There is always a cause for every effect. When this Bill was introduced we had the Ministerial declaration that it was not a revision of the Tariff, but merely intended to rectify anomalies, which prevented the smooth working of the Department. But in this case, for some reason or another, a particular industry is picked out, and given a material increase of the protection which was hitherto enjoyed, not because the present duties involve anomalies or for the convenience of the Department, but in order merely to benefit those engaged in the industry.

Senator McGregor - - When the uniformity proposed involved a reduction of duty, the honorable senator was quite agreeable to it.

Senator MILLEN - The same thing might be urged with regard to every other industry enjoying protection under our Tariff. If a local manufacturer has one portion of his goods protected to the extent of 30 per cent., and another to the extent of 20 per cent., the Government might just as well propose that for the sake of uniformity both should be protected to the extent of 30 per cent. - Senator Givens. - What about jam anc1 tinned fruit? There is no proposal to remedy that anomaly.

Senator MILLEN - There is no proposal to secure uniformity in that case. It is curious that when the Government depart from their intention merely to rectify anomalies, they are able to discover the virtue of uniformity only in connexion with one particular industry. If there is to be a revision of the Tariff, we should start all the industries of Australia off the same mark. There should not be a conferring of Ministerial favours upon one industry when others are given no consideration.

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