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Thursday, 26 September 1912

The PRESIDENT - If Senator Vardon has made a statement which is objectionable to the honorable senator, I am sure he will

Senator VARDON - Certainly 1 will withdraw it. But I was talking to the honorable senator at one time, and I understood from him that an arrangement had been arrived at which was beneficial both to the seamen and to the shipping companies.

Senator Guthrie - The honorable senator knows that the seamen are working today under an award of the Court.

Senator VARDON - I was referring to a time prior to that award. My remark was made in reply to an interjection by the honorable senator to the effect that I was connected with a combination which might crush somebody out of existence.

Senator Guthrie - 1 understand that the honorable senator has withdrawn the statement to which I took exception.

Senator VARDON - I withdraw any statement which may be regarded by , the honorable senator as offensive; and, perhaps, he will withdraw his assertion that I had something to do with crushing somebody.

Senator Guthrie - I did not say that the honorable senator had something to do with it. I said that the master printers had.

Senator VARDON - As a Commonwealth. we are committed to. the doctrine of Protection. It is the settled policy of the country, and, consequently, we ought to seek to make it as perfect as possible. The Government have no right to say that they will not interfere with the Tariff until we obtain new Protection. If there are anomalies which require to be rectified, that work should be taken in hand immediately. If a Board of experts were appointed to determine whether anomalies do exist, and to suggest how they could be removed, we should be in a much better position to deal with them.

Senator McGregor - What kind of experts would the honorable senator have on the Board - Free Traders or Protectionists ?

Senator VARDON - I would have business men. There may be anomalies from a Free Trade and also from a Protectionist point of view. If such anomaliesexist, they should be rectified; and I take it that a Board of experts would be appointed as neither Free Traders nor Protectionists, but as men who would be competent to make inquiries and to submit recommendations. I do not think that 'weshall have an equitable Tariff, until we adopt that course. I have nothing moreto say. I am quite sure that, so far as this expenditure set out in the Estimates is concerned, we are committed to it. Even if I desired to object to that expenditure, I am afraid that my objection would not be effective, in view of the composition of the Senate at the present time.

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