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Thursday, 4 August 1921

Senator RUSSELL (Victoria) (VicePresident of the Executive Council) . - I ask Senator Gardiner not to press his request. Papua has its own distinct Tariff, and that has been the saving of the country. The Administration of Papua collects the Customs revenue, and by that means the Territory has been largely self-supporting, and has not had to make too great a call upon Australia for financial assistance. As soon as this Tariff is disposed of, the Government will consider the fiscal position in relation to the Islands. Personally, I feel inclined to allow Papua to continue to collect its own revenue and apply it to developmental purposes.

Senator Gardiner - Who frames the Papuan Tariff?

Senator RUSSELL - The Executive Council, which comprises certain Government officers and representatives of the citizens. The position in regard to late German New Guinea will require consideration from a different point of view. As Senator Gardiner has pointed out, we are desirous of making a good impression in regard to the Mandated Territories, because they are the cause of a good deal of jealousy. Although we have the right to apply our laws to them, our title at present is not quite conclusive; therefore, we should proceed warily. We have never placed any extreme imposts upon goods imported from Papua, but we have offered bonuses for certain products. However, Parliament will have the opportunity of considering, later, the whole position in regard to the Islands. The sooner this Tariff is disposed of the sooner we shall be able to deal -with the other proposal in relation to trade with the Islands which have passed into our possession temporarily.

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