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Wednesday, 24 August 1921

The CHAIRMAN - The honorable senator is not in order in addressing honorable senators. He should direct his remarks to the Chair.

Senator Henderson - I have travelled more in Queensland than the honorable senator.

Senator LYNCH - The honorable senator went by rail to Charters Towers.

Senator Henderson - I went with my swag on my back.

Senator LYNCH - And so did I.

The CHAIRMAN - The honorable senators must refrain from making personal references. I direct Senator Lynch to discuss the sub-item before the Committee.

Senator LYNCH - The Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) said that he had never known of a prospector to carry a smelting, leaching, or metal-refining plant in his kit. Of course, not. But what does he do? He goes in search of minerals in payable quantities, and I challenge the Minister for Defence to prove that, after precious metals have been discovered, the development of the territory in which they are found would hot be retarded by the imposition of these heavy duties.I also ask these coast-line prospectors - Senator Henderson and Senator de Largie, who travelled by train and by boat- to deny that we are imposing an unnecessarily heavy burden on the mining industry. If we are to make this country great it will not be done by conferring exceptional privileges upon those who are living on the fringe of this continent.

Senator Henderson - Neither will it be done by wasting time.

Senator LYNCH - I believe I was here before the honorable senator, and I know the hardships experienced by the pioneers. I have been out in the back country, and have " padded the hoof " under very adverse circumstances.

Senator Henderson - Question !

Senator LYNCH - There is no question about it. I did that when I was a youth of nineteen. When I am challenged, I am prepared to give day and date, chapter and verse, for every statement that I make. We must ask ourselves how we are dealing with those engaged in the industry to which the sub-item relates compared with the men who pioneer this country. The proposal is to put a duty of 271/2 per cent. under the British preferential Tariff on the machines used by miners to turn up the ground and lay bare our mineral wealth, as compared with a duty of 15 per cent. on the machinery used by the farmer who follows him. Are we entitled to do that? Is there a semblance of fair play in such a proposal? Yet we find these coastwise prospectors supporting it.

Senator de Largie - The honorable senator is losing his head.

Senator LYNCH - We are not entitled to increase the duties as proposed. The ploughs which turn over the soil and make fertile the cultivatable areas of this country are dutiable at 15 per cent., andwe have no right to impose a duty of 271/2 per cent. on the machines used by the men who turn up the ground to recover our various forms of metalliferous wealth. What has the pioneer done that he should be penalized in this way? The Government are proposing to penalize him to the extent of the difference between 15 per cent. and 271/2 per cent. I feel very strongly on this question.

The CHAIRMAN (Senator Bakhap - The honorable senator's time has expired.

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