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Thursday, 17 November 1921

Senator LYNCH - He referred to one type of machine. Weymouths Limited were unknown in the matter until we were told that they made this machine. When they were applied to for the machine, they said that they did not handle this class of work, and referred Mr. Leslie to Robt. Bryce and Co., and the only machine mentioned by Robt. Bryce and Co. is one introduced from London, as the correspondence shows. This justifies me in saying that the Department and the Minister have based their case on the most flimsy evidence imaginable. When the Minister tells me that I cannot read plain language, and, inferentially, that I am trying to mislead the Committee, I tell him that he does not know what he is talking about. When he dares to charge me with twisting words I regard that as an insult, which I fling back in his teeth. I am not twisting words. I said, at the outset, that I am willing to make allowances for misapprehension, but I will not consent to the imposition of a heavy duty on this particular type of welding machine. It might take the place of 100 riveters and boiler-makers and it should not carry an impost of £50 or £60. The Minister asks me to swallow that proposal, but why should I do so? As a reasonable man, I set out to inform my mind as to the facts in this matter. I have given the correspondence to the Committee, and the answer is that I cannot read plain language. I ask the Minister to say whether he can extract any meaning from Mr. Weymouth's letter that his firm did not handle work of this sort, other than that which I took from it.

When Mr. Leslie was referred to Bryce> and Company, their reply was that they had a machine introduced from London, and the correspondence justifies me in saying that the statement that these machines are made here should not be used as a means of influencing votes in this Chamber. If the Minister were prepared, to say, " We have been deceived in this matter," I should admit that I am satisfied, and would have nothing further tosay. But when the honorable senator puts the onus of proof on me and charges me with the responsibility of trying to mislead the Committee in order to bolster up a false -case, I am entitled to give the proof I have given that the machine is not made here and that, to put it mildly, the Minister and the Department have supplied insufficient evidence for the stand they have taken. I ask honorable senators to judge as between the Minister and myself which of us has gone about his work most thoroughly to inform his mind as to the merits of the case ? I have shown that I have done my best. I attributed no wrong motive to the Minister, and did not accuse him of twisting. He had the temerity to say that I twisted words or tried to twist them. I put no false meaning upon words. I have given the ordinary meaning of the correspondence I have quoted. It contains no ambiguity. Perhaps honorable senators do not realize what they are about in imposing a heavy duty on these machines. If they had gone to the trouble to which I have gone to inform their minds on the subject, they would understand the effect which the use of these machines may have in the industrial life of the country. I have a book before me, published by the proprietors of the Baldwin Locomotive Works in America, containing photographs of locomotives entirely constructed by the use of these welding machines and in which not a single rivet is used. I do not suppose that a locomotive has ever been built in the Commonwealth entirely by the use of welding machines. When I give the Committee the benefit of my research, I am taunted with twisting words, and I will not have that from the Minister or - from any one else. The importance of these welding machines and the far-reaching effect their use must have upon industry in this country should be evident. Their

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