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Wednesday, 13 May 1936

Senator COLLINGS (QUEENSLAND) . - I hope that the committeewill not agree to the request. I can at least lay the flattering unction to my soul that my innocent remarks have stirred Senator Herbert Hays, and also his selfappointed protector, the Leader of the Country party (Senator Hardy). Both honorable senators, quite inaccurately, referred to my remarks as " the extravagant language of the Leader of the Opposition ". As to extravagance of language, the Senate would do well to recall the statement of Senator Herbert Hays that every primary producer, every man on the land. indeed, every holder of a small suburban block, uses a slasher, and longs for a return to the good old days when such articles cost less than they do to-day. 1 cannot recall having heard more extravagant language. At times I have been tempted to believe that I am gifted in that respect. But I now frankly admit my inferiority to Senator Herbert Hays, and express my willingness to sit at the feet of the master and receive tuition. Australian firms are making these tools.

Senator Herbert Hays - Only 19 per cent, of Australia's requirements.

Senator COLLINGS - The honorable senator previously said that Australian manufacturers made 13 per cent, of Australia's requirements of these tools. Being uncertain of the exact percentage, lie endeavoured to cover himself by saying that the proportion of locallyproduced slashers to the total in use in Australia was certainly not more than 20 per cent. The fact remains that these tools are being made satisfactorily by Australian manufacturers. Whenever a local industry is able to cope with the Australian demand, we are told that it no longer needs protection, because it has the home market, and should be able to stand on its feet. But when another Australian industry is struggling to get on its feet the freetraders in our midst do their utmost to prevent it from gaining control of the home market. The rules of logic suggest that they should not try to have it both ways. If Australian industries are to be encouraged to develop until they can supply the requirements of the home market, freetraders must not be allowed io lay unholy hands on the tariff.

Senator Herbert Hays - Australian manufacturers should be assisted by means of a bounty.

Senator COLLINGS - The honorable senator rarely addresses the committee, but when he does, he is always amusing.The honorable senator suggests a bounty. 1 recall other occasions on which he has advocated the granting of assistance to fruit-growers and other primary producers. I do not complain of that, for they deserve more than they get; but the honorable senator who pleads their cause should not attempt to break down the fiscal policy of this country.

Senator Hardy - We are only endeavouring to prevent the Opposition from building up that duty.

Senator COLLINGS - The honorable senator has stated that the Country partyhas adopted this illogical attitude, because it is afraid that the Opposition will go to the other extreme and endeavour to boost up the duty. He knows full well that the Opposition has no intention of asking for the imposition of a higher duty on hooks and slashers.

Senator Hardy - The honorable senator would have that duty increased if he were able to get sufficient support.

Senator COLLINGS - The honorable senator should not anticipate what the Labour party would do if given the opportunity. Some day we shall have the opportunity, and when we occupy the Government ' benches, we shall listen to the gnashing of teeth and wailing that will come from the Opposition. Senator Hardy's attitude is quite illogical, and I hope that the good sense of honorable senators will prevail to ensure that the request be rejected.

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