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Monday, 21 March 1927

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) .- Senator Granthas made an unwarranted attack on Tasmania. His remarks, moreover, reveal his ingratitude, because he has frequently told me that he has appreciated his visits to Tasmania. He knows that he has always obtained a fair deal from the people of Tasmania, which is more than can be said of the State which he represents.

Senator GRANT - That is not correct.

Senator PAYNE - Senator Grantknows that one reason why Tasmania is not so prosperous as New South Wales, is that in Tasmania visitors are always given, full value for their money, with the result that the huge surpluses, with which New South Wales is familiar, ure comparatively unknown in Tasmania. Senator Grant compared the population of New South Wales with that of Tasmania. I remind him that one reason for Tasmania's smaller population is that New South Wales is always offering inducements to Tasmanians to settle in the larger State. The people of New South Wales know that Tasmania each year spends enormous sums of money on the education of her people, with the result that from her educational institutions a greater percentage of brilliant men is turned out than is the case in any of the other States. New South Wales is always on the lookout for such men. I remind Senator Grant, also, that had it not been for Tasmania there would to-day be no New South Wales, because very many years ago the people of New South Wales depended on Tasmania for their food and clothing. Had it not been for foodstuffs sent from Tasmania, the people of New South Wales would have starved.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.I ask the honorable senator to direct his remarks to the clause before the committee.

Senator PAYNE - Senator Grant said that there was nothing to justify financial assistance being given to Tasmania; but if he weve to peruse the reports of men who, as royal commissioners, have inquired into Tasmania's position, he would realize that the present unsatisfactory financial condition of that State is largely due to actions for which Tasmania has no need to be ashamed. Providence has been good to Tasmania in that in the great lake districts there is an abundant water supply available for the development of hydro-electric power. Tasmania recognizes that that wonderful storehouse of energy has been entrusted to her, not only for her own' use and benefit, but also for the good of Australia as a whole ; and her financial position to-day is largely due to her acceptance of the responsibility of developing that source of power. Will any honorable senator deny that the development of that hydroelectric scheme is not of benefit to Australia ? lt has attracted the attention of many large, industrial magnates, and there is no doubt that in the future-

Senator Findley - What has this to do with the clause ?

Senator PAYNE - A great deal. Enormous capital expenditure has been incurred, and Tasmania now finds itself seriously embarrassed. I regret that provision is not made that Tasmania shall receive this grant for a more extended term; but after hearing the explanation of the Minister, I am prepared to acceptthat proposal, and believe that an investigation will prove the justice of continuing the proposed assistance.

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