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Wednesday, 23 November 1921

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (Western Australia) . - I always deeply sympathize with the Minister (Senator E. D. Millen) when he is advocating these high duties, because I know that he is doing extreme violence to his own matured opinions.

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - As did the honorable senator when he advocated high duties on timber.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - I have not yet done violence to my convictions. The Minister finds himself in a very awkward predicament.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - It is an awkward predicament when those to whom one looks for support suddenly become hostile.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - If it were not that the honorable senator is extremely able, it would not be possible for him to conceal his real thoughts as he has done in connexion with this particular item. He tells us that Nauru and Ocean Islands can supply Australia with this commodity at a reasonable figure. If so, why should a Protective duty be necessary ?

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Why have we proposed Protective duties on other items ?

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - Ido not know. Heaven only knows why honorable senators have imposed Protective duties on some of the items of the Tariff

Senator Crawford - Senator DrakeBrockman is the only member of the Committee who has exercised independent thought and action.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - BROCKMAN. - What I have been concerned about in connexion with every . item we have discussed is the interests of the people of Australia, and especially the settlement of people on the land. To put a duty on one of the commodities absolutely essential to the settlement of people on the land is folly of the very first order, and, in my opinion, is very little short of criminal. I despair of the short-sighted view of this particular question taken by many leading public men in Australia. I hope that the original proposal put up at the instigation of the Government, and. in violence to the opinions of members of the Ministry, will be rejected by the Committee on this occasion.

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