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Wednesday, 31 August 1921

Senator DUNCAN (New South Wales) . - I wish to deal with only one point, and that is the question of Japanese importations. Senator Payne finds it difficult to understand why a certain section of the Country Press Association has changed its views. I am wondering, but not so much as Senator Payne, why certain proprietors have changed their attitude upon this matter. I have gathered from official statistics that in the year 1919-20 nearly £11,000 worth of newsprint was imported from Japan. That represents a considerable quantity.

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Do we not desire to market our surplus products in Japan ?

Senator DUNCAN - If the honorable senator wishes to purchase Japanese goods, I do: not intend to assist him..

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable senator would be in favour of our exportable surplus of jam being marketed there.

Senator DUNCAN - That is not the question. We have to consider if we are to assist Japan in building up a huge newsprint trade with Australia, or if we are to give assistance to Great Britain.

Senator Elliott - We may be assisting her to establish factories which may be converted into munition-making plants to be used against us.

Senator DUNCAN - Exactly. Senator Thomas seems to forget that newsprint factories can readily be turned into establishments for the production of munitions in time of war, and in this way we may be assisting Japan in a way that we do not desire. I have been elected to Parliament to render assistance in building up Australian industries, and I am supporting the Nationalist platform in an endeavour to assist in consolidating the Empire so far as we are able. This is one direction in which we can help by maintaining an important industry at the fountain head of the Empire, and if I have to decide whether I shall assist Japan or Great Britain, my vote will be for Britain every time.

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