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Tuesday, 23 August 1921

Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) . - I suppose, if we are to continue to-night, that we might as well discuss this item as any other. I am inclined to take Senator Thomas's view that this duty is not so much to give preference to Great Britain as to benefit ourselves. While desirous of free trade with. Britain, I see no value in this preference at all. The question whether farmers should pay 10 per cent, duty on implements which are used only by them is also raised. I realize that when I start to talk Protection I am a suspect at once, but farming is an all- Australian industry, and as there is no indication that the Australian implement makers are manufacturing these particular implements the Tariff will not help. I take it that Protectionists do not argue that Protection shall be afforded to secondary industries only, and, therefore, as these implements are not being manufactured in. Australia, and as they are required -by the farming community, they should be allowed in free. Unlike Senator Thomas, I do not expect the Minister to have at hand all the information that may be asked for in connexion with these items. As a matter of fact, I do not think details as to importations have any bearing on the question at all. As the implements are not being manufactured in Australia, and as Protection is not intended for secondary industries only, then Protectionists, equally with Pree Traders, could vote for the free admission of these implements. Senator Lynch has shown that the primary industries of the Commonwealth are getting pretty rough treatment at the hands of the Protectionists in this Tariff, and I am suggesting that, in the interests of our primary industries, they should -wholeheartedly adopt the view I have stated. This is the reason why I think Senator Thomas's proposal could very well have been accepted by the Government. It is not fair that the Government should say that this Tariff schedule must go through, without alteration, or that any alterations, if made, must not be in favour of the primary producers. This Committee has rights,_if not privileges. One of these is to be permitted to deal with its business within reasonable hours. It is not. reasonable to expect honorable senators, many of whom were travelling all last night, to debate the schedule at this hour of the night, particularly in view of the fact that we are expected to be here again at 11 o'clock to-morrow.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Does the honorable senator think that passing two items in two days is satisfactory progress ? There lias been a good deal of talk about them, though.

Senator GARDINER - There has been a lot of talk, because of a conflict of forces in the ranks of the Government supporters, and particularly because Senators Lynch, Thomas, and Duncan are keenly watching the interests of the country.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - The talking has been on the side of the majority. Usually, as the honorable senator knows, the minority does the talking, but in this debate the majority has been winning, division after division, and still doing the talking.

Senator Wilson - That shows that the debate was not organized.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I am speaking only of the results - two items in two days.

Senator GARDINER - I realize that there has been a good deal' of debate, and though only two items have been passed in two days, the Minister must remember that one item contains at least fifty implements required by the farmers.. As honorable senators are aware, I have not spoken for a quarter of an hour at today's sitting, and I would not be speakin

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I ask the honorable senator, in all sincerity* if he thinks that passing two items in two days is reasonable progress?

Senator GARDINER - I do not.

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - But everything de- pends upon the nature of the items.

Senator GARDINER - I do not want to get into conflict with the Minister, but I point out that it might have been possible for the Government to have a division on the first item on Friday last.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - No; the adjournment was granted at the request of honorable senators. ยป

Senator de Largie - Anyhow, let us have a vote on this item now.

Senator GARDINER - I understand from the Minister that he is going on; and, as far as I am concerned, if I have to stay here I may as well debate this item as any other, but if there is any prospect of adjourning I shall sit down at once.

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