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Tuesday, 19 December 1911

Senator ST LEDGER (Queensland) . - The idea of making gramaphone cabinets dutiable as furniture, and of importing the parts and assembling them in Australia, is about as stupid as it would be to think of importingthe parts of a violin and putting the instrument together here. The cabinet of a gramaphone, as Senator Symon has mentioned, is an essential part of the instrument itself ; as much a part of it as the parts of a violin are essentials of that instrument. I am glad that Senator Symon has raised this point, as showing how stupid the departmental officers can be. This is merely a repetition of what we have had on previous occasions, when we have found that the departmental officers did not understand their business. Though they think they know everything, they do not know much, and they are trying, in this stupid way, to force Parliament to perpetrate a gross blunder.

SenatorFRASER (Victoria) [4.35].- I hope that Ministers are not downcast about the future. Surely we are not going to be hard up for a few pounds. After such surpluses as we have had, we are not driven to tax the people who live in the back country of Australia on account of instruments like gramaphones. A person who travels in the outer parts of this country will be delighted to hear a gramaphone at a farmhouse occasionally. Music is a great attraction, and it is delightful to hear the voices of the best singers in the world reproduced in the distant bush hamlet 700 miles away from a big city. When I was in the United Kingdom lately, I happened, with my son, to be visiting a clergyman's house on the coast of Scotland. One evening I heard the gramaphone going in a back room, and was delighted with the music.

Senator Mcgregor - It was not on a Sunday, I hope?

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