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Thursday, 4 August 1921

Senator LYNCH (Western Australia) . - This subject is not one to be lightly passed over, especially in view of the statement by Senator Gardiner and Senator Payne that this is a purely revenue duty. On the other hand, we have the high priest of Protection, Senator Crawford, saying that dates are grown in Queensland, although the honorable gentleman failed to give the name and address of a single grower. Apparently, we are struggling between two extremes; on the one side, it is claimed that this is a Protective duty, although, up to the present, the date industry has not had sufficient energy to be born.

Senator Russell - I think I saw the honorable senator voting against higher duties on all dried fruits, except apples; do not dates come into competition with apples ?

Senator LYNCH - The competition argument was threadbare long ago. As I say, Senator Crawford has not mentioned any place or given any particulars of where or how this industry is carried on in Queensland. Is it not plain that these dates are not grown in Queensland? The only place I ever saw date trees was along the North-South railway, at Oodnadatta, where the planting of them by the South Australian Government proved an absolute failure.

Senator Crawford - They are grown at Charlton, in Queensland.

Senator LYNCH - This is only one of those revenue-producing items which keep Treasurers from launching out and raising revenue from people, and in quarters, where they should, instead of resorting to the lazy method of a Tariff. The present duty has been in operation for about eleven years, and has resulted in nothing. Notwithstanding all the Queensland inventive imagining, we have not been supplied with a single fact regarding the production of dates in that State; and yet Queensland representatives have the audacity to ask for a duty in the case of an industry which, I repeat, has not had the energy to be born. That is asking too much, though pretty strong things have been asked for up to the present.

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