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Thursday, 4 August 1921

Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) . - I am glad to hear the candid statement of Senator Payne that this is purely a revenue duty, because, as a fact, it is of no use trying to claim it as a Protective one. I have an idea that a date tree does not produce in this country under fifty or one hundred years. I got that idea when, as a little boy forty years ago, I was taken to an orchard some distance out of Parramatta, and there shown a date tree which had been planted by my grandmother nearly twenty years before, and I was told that it would be seventy or a hundred years before any crop could be gathered.

Senator Cox - Was there only one tree?

Senator GARDINER - Yes.

Senator Cox - Then it would be a good many hundred years before there was any crop ! There are male and female trees.

Senator GARDINER - That only helps my argument A few years ago I met an uncle of mine, and asked him how this tree was getting on, and he told me that it had been supplanted by other trees, because it would be necessary to- plant another date tree before any fruit could be expected. I am rather fond of Protectionists, because they are so delightfully idealistic ! Imagine taxing the people of to-day on account of a crop which will be gathered a hundred years, hence! Of course, I regard' Queensland as rich enough to produce anything, in view of the fact that it has produced Senators Crawford, Reid, and Glasgow. I never refer to Queensland except in terms of admiration for its immense potentialities and possibilities; but Queensland cannot claim to produce dates to-day as a business proposition., It is claimed that this is a revenue duty; but from whom is the revenue taken? Principally from the people least able to pay it: I think that we could well come together and remove this duty; and then we might be able to proceed with the Tariff with proper celerity. The idea of protecting dates which our children's children will have to gather, is, truly, Protection long drawn out !

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