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Wednesday, 23 November 1921

Senator LYNCH (Western Australia) . - As one who represents a State with a long coastline on which the settlers largely depend upon sea communication, I have every confidence that the Committee will recognise, the wisdom of adopting the proposal submitted by Senator Keating. It is well within the memory of honorable senators that when this matter was being , discussed in another place the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Greene) made it very plain that if he was satisfied that ships could not be built in this country by the date fixed in that Chamber he would see that the embargo was not imposed. I do not know what influenced that statement; but it is quite clear that the Minister's emphatic and insistent words had something to do with the very severe limitation which was agreed to. If the Minister were satisfied that ships could not be built in this country before the date mentioned by Senator Keating, I do nob think the embargo would be imposed. I do not wish to injure or discourage shipbuilding :LL this country, but we are concerned in the maintenance of some reasonable degree of communication between the main centres and the outlying portions of the Commonwealth. I quite realize the position of Tasmania in this regard, and what I have said concerning the north-west coast of Western Australia applies' equally to the Northern Territory, the northern parts of Queensland; and other portions of the Commonwealth not connected by rail. I trust honorable senators will support Senator Keating in the view he has expressed, which, I think, fairly defines the feeling of the Committee on the subject. We wish, to see reliable and reasonable sea communication between all parts of the Australian coast, and the people should be shown every consideration until' such time as we can depend upon constructing ships in Australia to meet our requirements.

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