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Tuesday, 19 July 1921

Senator BENNY (South Australia) .- I do not intend to take up much time in discussing this measure, or to attempt to add to theinformation which has already been submitted to the Senate. I have listened with interest to the instructive speeches on the Tariff, and I think it right that I should, at this juncture, 'briefly express my views on the question of Protection versus Free Trade. I am strongly in favour ofadequate Protection being afforded to Australian industries, and I gave my pledgein that direction on public platforms during the recent election campaign. The Minister (Senator Russell), with a twinkle inhis eye,said that this was a scientific" Tariff; His remarks were received with some amount of merriment by honorable senators, so we may gather that neither he nor we are of that opinion.As a matter of fact. Senator Keating; said thateven if it were a scientific Tariff now so varying are the conditions in industry that it may be abso lutely unscientific, to-morrow. But, Senator Keating has. pointed out. that the Tariff is an . honest attempt to give adequate Protection to Australian industries, and in. that sense, generally, I intend to support it. I represent portion of the Commonwealth which, is largely interested in primary production,but with unselfish. generosity the people of South Australia are prepared to accept whatis best for the whole of the Commonwealth. I take it that no-member of this august chamber is sent here to represent and protect only the interests of his own State. Circumstances may arise in which it would be the duty of an honorable senator to vote against the interests of his own State if they conflicted with theinterests of the Commonwealth.I believe in being a good Australian first and a good South Australian next, and I -think this, sentiment is indorsed by every member ; of this Chamber. I am satisfied that if State interestsconflicted with Australian interests, honorable senators would place the interests, of Australia first.

Inthe Tariff there are several anomalies which it will be the; duty of this Senate to remedy. Of course there are anomalies in all Tariffs. Recently I was privileged to visit a factory lately established in South Australia for the- manufacture of French clay, and chalks and similar- articles. During my visit I was informed that barytes is protected "under this Tariff to the extent of £3 per ton, but that the protection is of no avail because kaolin and silicates are not mentioned in the schedule. This is an anomaly which I. intend to bring before honorable: senators whenwe reach, the Committee stage of the measure, so that it may be removed. The company to which I refer have millions of tons of silicates in sight, and they could provide for the requirements of the whole of Australia without the slightest difficulty. Many other industries are affected by the Tariff:; but I do not intend at this stage to occupy honorable' senators' time- by "enumerating them. I simply wish to define my view of the Tariff as affording adequate protection, for Australian industries. I believe it is impossible now to discuss in any academic way the relative rrieritsi of Eree Trade and Protection. . I think, we were' sent here by the people, to pass an effective Protective Tariff, and with that end: inview I intend to supportthe Bill.

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