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Tuesday, 23 August 1921

Senator BOLTON (Victoria) .- I have already indicated that I am prepared to support some slight reduction of the British and intermediate Tariffs, but I am opposed on principle to any decrease of the general Tariff. Indeed, I would support its increase. In my view, the arguments of certain honorable senators amount to a deliberate attack upon the manufacturing interests of Australia. Senator Duncan remarked that our factories ought to be well established by now. Is it reasonable to contend that manufacturers, with a homo market of 5,000,000 people, can hope to attain to anything like the same position as manufacturers in other countries where the home market consists of 100,000,000 persons? I know something about returned soldiers and the tasks and responsibilities they are facing in the Mallee and elsewhere. I realize their hardships, but I also remember that they were prepared to risk their lives for the Empire and Australia. It would not be too much to ask them now, therefore, to pay a few shillings more for their implements in order to safeguard the best interests of this country. While we may pander to the farmer by telling him that we are reducing the general Tariff on his implements by 5 per cent., we are at the same time going a long way towards destroying the industries which provide the strength and indicate the progress of the Commonwealth. To-day the manufacturers of the United States of America, and the people of Central Europe, are marshalling their industrial and commercial forces to take possession of the world's markets; and this inopportune moment is being chosen to throw the Australian market more widely open to them. That policy is absolutely -wrong.

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