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Thursday, 15 July 1926

Senator REID - Only under extraordinary circumstances does it deal with suggested' industries. In nine cases out of ten, it deals with existing industries and existing conditions. It creates nothing; it merely helps to build up something required by the people of Australia, and it has nothing to do with making arrangements to bring human beings to Australia and settle them in strange surroundings. The proposed commission will be dealing with phases that have not hitherto been dealt with in Australia. One of its functions will be to furnish information abroad. How much was known about Australia by the leading newspaper writers and proprietors of newspapers throughout the Empire, and in other parts of the world, who met in conference here last year? They admitted that they had been more or less in ignorance of the conditions here, and we have testimony from people who have been to Great Britain, that investors who approached them to get information about this country, had an erroneous impression of the industrial conditions here, and the idea that there was too much government interference. How much do Australian citizens, who have not come from abroad, know about the conditions elsewhere? How much do the people elsewhere know about the conditions in Australia? Our lack of development is principally due to the fact that people in the northern hemisphere are ignorant concerning us. The newspapers of Great Britain take no notice of us whatever. Every person who returns from the Old Country tells us that. One of the tasks of the commission will be to remove that disability. It will get into touch with people, who are seeking to make investments here, and give them all the information they require. That will tend towards the development of industries in which immigrants will find employment when they arrive.

Senator Findley - This commission will be a marvellous institution !

Senator REID - It will not be a marvellous institution, but it will be a body of sensible men, acting in a sensible way. Honorable senators opposite are telling us the same old tale. They want to keep out immigrants, and their opposition to the' appointment of a commission is merely a backhanded way of opposing the bill. They really have no objection to a commission, but they want to humbug the people outside. I do not believe that the people will allow themselves to be humbugged. Nobody could have a wider field than will be covered by this commission. Several honorable senators have referred to the cost.

Senator Lynch - What will be the cost ?

Senator REID - I am not troubling about the cost. If the commission brings to Australia the proper class of migrant, and introduces capital, the wealth of this country will increase rapidly, and the cost will be a mere song. The suggested remuneration is not too great for men of ability. I give the Government the credit of desiring to make the scheme a success; and to that end I believe that it will choose the best men available. I was unable to follow the arguments that were advanced by Senator Lynch in opposition to this clause, and I hope that the committee will agree to it. I have the utmost faith in the ability of the Government to make this one of the best commission's that have been appointed for the development of Australia. I want to see Australia developed, no matter what it costs.

If the- members of the commission showed that they were incapable of carrying out the duties allotted to them they could be removed from their offices and replaced by others.

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