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Wednesday, 23 November 1910

Senator GIVENS (Queensland) . - If the Government can assure the Committee that the retention of this item is necessary from a protective point of view, I shall support them. But if the proposal be made merely for the purpose of raising more revenue, I will not support it.

Senator (MILLEN(New South Wales) [9.39]. - The Honorary Minister has stated that when Parliament, under the Tariff of 1908, determined the duties upon fruit, it knew exactly what it was doing. But does not that remark also apply to this item? In view of the public declaration of the Honorary Minister and 'his colleagues that they were not prepared to undertake a comprehensive revision of the Tariff this session, what justification exists for picking out these particular items and reviewing them from A to Z, whilst telling other in dustries that they must stand down and wait? Something has been said to-night regarding the reason for their action. 1 have waited for an explanation of their action by the Minister.

Senator Findley - I have already said that no complaints have been made.

Senator MILLEN - Deputations have waited upon the Minister of Trade and Customs asking for a revision of the Tariff and in every instance he has told them that the Government declined to re-open the Tariff at the present juncture. I have waited for some explanation of the reason why one industry has been singled out for special treatment. But as that explanation has not been forthcoming I have no option but to express the conclusion at which 1 have arrived. It is that this particular industry has been selected for special treatment, because it is located close to a city which returns as one of its representatives the Minister of Trade and Customs. It is significant, too, that 'the Honorary Minister in this Chamber also resides in the city which will largely benefit by the adoption of the Government proposal. If we are to have an Australian Tariff for the Australian people, it ought not to be determined by local considerations.

Senator Findley - I thought that the honorable senator was an Australian.

Senator MILLEN - This Tariff is not an Australian Tariff. A Tariff which singles out for special treatment an industry in the constituency of a Minister, is not Australian in character. As a matter of fair play, I say that the industries of Queensland, New South Wales, Western Australia, South Australia, and Tasmania are entitled to exactly the same consideration as has been extended to this industry. The Minister has clearly indicated that in this particular instance the Government have deserted the rule which they themselves laid down for the rectification of Tariff anomalies. They have reviewed the whole industry, and have decided to give it a levelling up of duties. It is significant, .1 repeat, that this industry is situated in the constituency which is represented by the Minister of Trade and Customs, and in a city of which the Honorary Minister is a resident.

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