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Thursday, 12 November 1936

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) . - I agree with honorable senators who referred to this hill as being one of the most important we could discuss. Naturally, having that view with regard to it, I have taken much interest in the speeches delivered on this bill, and also' in the causes that are responsible for its introduction. May I say at the outset -that I know as well as most honorable - senators the .difficulties that have' surrounded the establishment of the dried fruits industry of Australia on a sound basis. I .shall be the last man to do ' anything to' jeopardize an industry -which is so useful to Australia, and which has proved to be the foundation of the best example of closer settlement I have seen in Australia. I well remember when I first visited the Murray irrigation settlements and saw for the first time the difficulties confronting the growers there. No one was more pleased than I when the industry was brought under proper and effective control in the interests of not only those engaged in it, almost all of whom are returned soldiers, but also the people generally. I have appreciated the success which has Attended the operations of the .dried fruits industry ever since the organization which now controls it was made so effective by legislation. I appreciate to the full what has been done for the butter and dairying industries of Australia. If I r.ra compelled to criticize this bill, I hope honorable senators will be' gracious enough to recognize that I do so with the very best of intentions, and no desire to injure any industry ; my only desire is to prevent injury being done to industries in future. I listened very carefully to the remarks of Senator Collings, who opened his address on the bill to-day by saying that, with the progress of time, it becomes essential that the Constitution be reviewed and, perhaps, altered. That may .be so; but there are essential and important parts of the Constitution that cannot be so lightly regarded. That part of the Constitution' which 1 have in mind is section 92, which, definitely states that trade between the States must be absolutely free. .The insertion of that section in. tho draft (Constitution, I believe, was one of the main reasons why the State which I help to represent in* this Senate accepted by a large majority the proposal for federation. Tasmanians, occupying an isolated position in Australia, feel very keenly the disability that in any law, no- matter how carefully it be drafted, there may eventually be found loopholes through which very grave injustices may be inflicted, on them. Consequently, anything 1 say to-day must be regarded as the earnest convictions of a representative who is determined to do everything in his power to conserve the interests of the State which he represents.

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