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Wednesday, 23 November 1910

Senator MILLEN (New South Wales) . - I wish to mention, as a justification of the attitude I have taken .up on this item, that, during the last few months, persons engaged in, not one. but forty, industries in New South

Wales have asked me to place before the Ministry reasons for reviewing the duties on items in which they were concerned. In every case I pointed to the declaration of the Ministry that they were not prepared to review the Tariff this session. I told them - and they accepted my advice - that they need not do anything at present; that it would be idle for them to approach me with the details which they wished looked into, or for me to press them on the attention of the Ministry. They remained quiescent. Yet we now find that an opportunity has been afforded to those industries which could, by sufficient importunity, press their claims on the Minister, to obtain a redress of grievances.

Senator McGregor - You were told that there was no importunity.

Senator MILLEN - That makes it more remarkable that the Ministry, without being approached in any way, should select one industry for this favoured treatment.

Senator Givens - What the Minister means is that there was no public, importunity.

Senator MILLEN - It is hard to know what the Minister does mean. I am. dealing with the facts of the case, and, what is more, I do not intend to be particularly careful in the language I employ. I have been absolutely fooled by the attitude of ' the Ministry in this matter. There are dozens of industries in Australia in this position. Had I known - had it been suspected for a moment by those who approached me - that there was an opportunity for. a revision of the Tariff, in the sense in which the Minister is now revising the items concerning the stationery trade, I venture to say that there would have been poured into the Ministry representations from all parts. Australia accepted the Ministerial declaration that there was no intention to revise the Tariff. I took it myself, and so did those to whom I have referred, and who, therefore, abstained from taking any action. They now see that, as the result of their silence, they are left in the cold, while a particular industry is getting practically all that it has asked for.

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