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Wednesday, 9 June 1926


Senator FINDLEY (Victoria) .- Whenever Senator Lynch addresses the committee in respect of tariff items, he takes up a characteristic attitude concerning the fiscal policy of this country. Everybody, including Senator Lynch, should know that the majority of the people, rightly or wrongly - I say rightly - have declared emphatically in favour of protection. Tariff duties which fail to protect cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be called protective. Senator Lynch belongs to the die-hard brigade. In his later years he has developed into a tory reactionary, and may be described as a member of the old " stinking-fish brigade." I have never heard him, in a tariff debate, do other than decry Australian industries and talk bitterly about the Australian workman. In earlier years men of the Senator Lynch type were always declaring that it was impossible to manufacture locomotives in Australia.


Senator Lynch - I gave my vote in favour of this policy. Why does not the honorable senator stick to facts?


Senator FINDLEY - I refer to men who, long before Senator Lynch entered public life, insisted that locomotives could not be manufactured in Australia, and I am satisfied that, if Senator Lynch had been active in public life in those clays, he, too, would have been associated with that old brigade which so unanimously declared that railway engines could not be made in this country. My blood fairly boiled with indignation when I heard the honorable senator refer to the Australian artisan as a loafer. It was but yesterday, figuratively speaking, that he was associated with the party to which I have the honour to belong. In those days he would never have dared to describe them as loafers.


Senator Lynch - Do not stretch it.


Senator FINDLEY - I am not. The men whom the honorable senator now describes as loafers worked wholeheartedly, in those days, for Senator Lynch, who then belonged to the Labour party. The honorable senator has since seen the light, according to his own point of view, and, having left that party, he never neglects an opportunity to talk about it. He speaks of the inefficiency of the Australian artisan. If he is anxious for the future prosperity and welfare of Australia, why does not he go to the root cause of our industrial unrest and this so-called inefficiency?


Senator McLachlan -. - What is it?


Senator FINDLEY - The honorable senator knows that the fault does not lie with the workmen or workwomen in Australia. In the opinion of unbiased and unprejudiced observers, they are the equal of workpeople in any part of the world. But let me get back to the item under discussion. The Minister, referring to the tender prices for the Commonwealth engines required for the Oodnadatta line, stated that there was a great disparity between the British tenderersand Thompson and Company, of Castlemaine. It was apparent, so the Minister said, that the British price was tantamount to a dumping tender, which, in thecircumstances, the Government did not feel justified in accepting. Consequently, the order was placed with Thompson and Company. Senator Lynch ridiculed the suggestion that dumping was practised by manufacturers of any country in times of depression. Dumping, according to the honorable senator, only obtains in times of prosperity. What innocence! The honorable senator tells us that he comes from the back-blocks. I verily believe he does if one may judge from hia attitude in regard to some matters. Let us examine the statement of the Minister. Is it not a fact that many Australian manufacturers in times of depression produce and sell goods at, and sometimes below, cost in order to keep their work-people together and machinery in motion ? Likewise British manufacturers recently, when there was much unemployment in that country, submitted a tender for the manufacture of Australian locomotives at a price considerably lower than the price of Thompson and Company, Castlemaine. It was, as the Minister has said, a dumping tender. Thompson and Company, I remind honorable senators, have turned out some of the finest locomotives and mining and other machinery to be seen anywhere. In recent years their activities have been seriously affected by outside competition. Whilst I take an international view of the Labour movement, I realize that I am one of the representatives of Victoria, and that it is my duty to do my best in the interests, not of Victoria only, but of

Australia generally. Therefore, I intend, whenever possible, to " boost " Australian industries.


Senator McLachlan - Did not the honorable senator, in his second-reading speech, refer to State railway services as a form of secondary industry?

SenatorFINDLEY.- No, but in a measure a State railway service is a secondary industry, because State government workshops employ thousands of men on engineering work.


Senator McLachlan - The honorable senator did not use the term in that connexion.


Senator FINDLEY - Asa matter of fact, I did not use it at all, as the honorable senator will see if he consults the Hansard report of my speech. What I do say now, in reply to Senator Lynch, is that the primary producers of Australia owe much to its secondary industries, and they are well catered for.


Senator Lynch - That is a mere assertion.


Senator FINDLEY - Everybody should know that no section of the community is catered for better than are our primary producers. Senator Lynch talks about the burdens that are imposed upon them by this tariff schedule. My reply to that is that they would have to bear heavier burdens but for the existence of our secondary industries. The honorable senator has also told us how he has had to struggle oh the land. Men were on the land here long before he became a wheat-farmer. To use his own words, he is a. " Johnny come lately " in that branch ' of primary production, and yet he poses as an authority on wheat farming. In this chamber there are men who have been on the land the major portion of their lifetime. I am prepared to concede that they are entitled to speak with some authority on land cultivation and production problems.


Senator Lynch - Members of my family have been sons of the soil for ten generations, if the honorable senator wants to know.


Senator FINDLEY - When the honorable senator went on the land, probably, like many others, he took up too big a slice of Australia, and found he could not handle it properly.







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