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Wednesday, 24 August 1921

Senator LYNCH (Western Australia) . - I think the votes on this and other items have been recorded under, a misapprehension, as we are really inverting the order. The proposal before the Committee is to impose a preferential rate of 27£ per cent, on earth and rock cutting, dredging, and excavating machinery, which is required in the first operations of winning ore from the earth. It has to be borne in mind that if we fix this standard, it will be a guiding and dominating factor in arriving at a decision on subsequent items. Which is the pioneering industry in Australia? Has not mining been responsible for the development of Victoria? Side by side with the mines in Queensland are to be found wheat and sheep farms, and orchards. The same can be said of the Western State, where development has rapidly followed the discovery of mineral wealth. The men who went to Ballarat in the first instance were gold-seekers and pioneers in the truest sense. Notwith standing this, the Government, and those who are supporting them in this instance, are imposing a heavy burden on what is essentially a pioneering industry.

Senator Bolton - Factories have also sprung up in the neighbourhood of mining fields.

Senator LYNCH - We first had mining, then agriculture, and then, in a rough sequence, secondary industries. Here is a proposal to place the highest duty on a pioneer industry. Is Senator Bolton willing to da that ? Is he prepared to impose a heavier duty on the machinery required by the path finder than on the implements used by the man who merely follows on? Is Senator Pratten willing to place a heavier burden on those who search for minerals than on those who, under more favorable circumstances, follow on their heels? Is Sena? tor Earle willing to support the pro* posal? I have served by land and sea, and know more about this and other propositions than do many honorable senators. The Committee have imposed a -duty of 15 per cent, on certain plant required by those comfortably working established farms in country originally opened up as a result of mining operations, and we are now asked to place a duty of 27^ per cent, on the machinery required by the men who go further out. If honorable senators do that, they are imposing a burden on our real pioneers. They can do it if they wish; but it will be done with their eyes open, because I have drawn their attention to the position. If they act in this way, it will not be on my advice, or with my support. We are handicapping the mining prospector, who will not carry on his investigations unless he thinks there is a possibility of discovering ore in payable quantities. We have imposed certain duties on sheep farmers' and orchardists' implements, but this proposal deliberately penalizes the real pioneer.

Senator Earle - The honorable senator is quite wrong.

Senator LYNCH - I am not. Senator Pratten has his mind fixed upon one or two "tinpot" industries in this country, and Senator Earle is in a similar position; but I trust they will come to their senses before very long. I am raising a lonely voice on behalf of the men who have made this country.

Senator Duncan - The honorable senator is not alone in that regard.

Senator LYNCH - Some honorable senators think one- way and vote in another. After copper, gold, and silver have been discovered farms and orchard's have been established, ' and although the conditions of those who follow the prospector are much easier, the rates of duty upon the implements they require are much lower than on those required by the miner. I challenge Senator Earle to deny that.

Senator Pearce - I have come in contact with a number of prospectors, . but I have never known one to carry a smelting, leaching, and metal-refining plant in his kit.

Senator LYNCH - That is a sample of the argument advanced from the table at that end of the chamber from which nothing in the shape of common sense has emanated since this Tariff was introduced. Senator Henderson and Senator de Largie may smile, but they know little of the hardships endured by the prospector.

Senator Henderson - I know a good deal more than the honorable senator.

Senator de Largie - What has Senator Lynch done? He held the softest job on a mine - that of driving an engine.

Senator LYNCH - I will place my record side by side with that of any other honorable senator.

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