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Wednesday, 9 June 1926

Senator LYNCH (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - Does the honorable senator expect sensible men to accept that statement? Are we to understand that in slack times manufacturers are prepared to carry on at a loss?

Senator Crawford - They frequently do.

Senator LYNCH - Unfortunately, the action of the Commonwealth Government in giving the order to the Australian tenderer cost the Australian taxpayer some thousands of pounds. That was not done with my approval. I should have given the order to the British tenderer and told Thompson a?id Company that they must increase the,r efficiency, live within their means, and compete with the assistance of a duty of 40 per cent, or 27$ per cent. Are we to continue paying high prices for our requirements merely to benefit a few Australian manufacturers who will not exert themselves as other Australians are required to do? In order to teach Australian manufacturers and Australian workmen a sorely needed lesson, I should be prepared to allow the trade in such circumstances to go out of the country. The Castlemaine firm was given, a. preference of 70 per cent., but the dairyman does not get a preference of even 7d. The fruit-growers of Australia' get nothing, notwithstanding what Senator Findley has said. I am a grower of wheat. I owe the Government nothing; but it owes me a great deal.

Senator Findley - What about the railways which have been provided for the benefit of the primary producers?

Senator LYNCH - The primary producers are paying for them.

Senator Findley - Do they alone make up the deficit on the railways ?

Senator LYNCH - I shall prove that the carriage of cereals and other primary products on our railways costs more than it does in Canada or the United States of America.

Senator Findley - Then why does the honorable senator not go to one of those countries ?

Senator LYNCH - The primary producer is carrying the burden of the railways in order that the city loafers may benefit. Senator Findley is not correct in saying that the primary producers benefit by reason of public policy. I know something of the wheat-growing industry. During the war period we obtained world's parity for our wheat, but with what result? For seven years I was unable to obtain payment. Would Senator Findley stand that for seven days without murmuring? If he were asked to do so, the roof of the universe would shake because of his clamour. To enable a protection of 40 per cent, to be given to the manufacturers of locomotives, railway rates will he raised. The Port Augusta-Oodnadatta railway has already incurred a loss of fi 000,000. That loss is reflected in the increased rates and fares now payable on that bankrupt line. I am opposed to this additional duty for three reasons: first, locomotives were made here when the duty was much less than 27% per cent.; secondly, the value of the locomotives imported is about £70,000 per annum only; and, thirdly, 1 can see no reason for the differentiation between portable engines and locomotives. We in this chamber should endeavour to do justice to both our primary and secondary industries. It is time that we called a' halt in the imposition of higher duties. We should say to the captains of industry, and particularly to the workmen, that they should pause and consider the burden that they are placing upon their fellow countrymen. How are the people outback to be served by railways if there are no locomotives? How will many of them ever see the eastern States or enjoy a holiday at the seaside without locomotives? Honorable senators should realize that when they increase the price of locomotives they are penalizing the people who constitute the backbone of the country, because we are making it increasingly difficult for them to market their surplus products. This ill-balanced schedule intensifies the problems that confront our primary producers, and is largely responsible for the trend of population to our. cities.

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