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Wednesday, 26 May 1926

Senator ELLIOTT (Victoria) . - I am entirely in accord generally with the principles of this measure. The Government has declared that it favours sane and efficient protection, and I follow it in that policy. It is very difficult to draw a line of demarcation between industries which need protection and those which do not, but I have no doubt as to the attitude I shall' adopt towards those in which there is a tendency to reduce the hours of labour. An industry that can afford to depart from the generally accepted view of what is a fair day's work plainly indicates that it is no longer struggling and securing only a bare existence. Honorable senators are supposed to represent all sections of the community, and it is necessary in the general interests that no further protection be given to industries in which the employees are not prepared to work ordinary hours. I shall object to supporting any further protection to those industries that artificially attempt to shorten the hours of labour. We should not penalize the primary producers, who work long and arduously in order to confer benefits upon those who are not prepared to do their fair share of labour. When the items of the tariff are considered in detail, I shall endeavour to elicit the conditions of work in the respective industries, and I shall limit the measure of protection that I shall support accordingly

Senator THOMPSON(Queensland) f5.27]. - Like previous speakers, I do not intend to detain the Senate long, but shall leave matters of detail until the committee stage is reached. Any doubts that I may have had at one time on the fiscal issue were quite dispelled by the wonderful speeches of that great statesman, Joseph Chamberlain, when he conducted his political campaign immediately prior to his health breaking down. Had it not been for that lamentable breakdown, the history of Great Britain in the years that have passed since would probably have been different. I am wholly in favour of most of the items in the tariff. If Chamberlain considered protection necessary for Great Britain it must be still more necessary for a young country like Australia ; but I contend that it should be moderate. I agree with Senator Barwell and with other honorable senators who have advocated that a sane policy be adopted. Australia must consider not only efficiency at home, but also its customers abroad.

Senator Foll - What does the honorable senator mean by moderate protection ?

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