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Thursday, 3 December 1936

Senator MARWICK (Western Australia) . - I congratulate the Government upon having entered into this satisfactory trade agreement with France, because its adoption will be the means of restoring to a certain section of our primary producers the valuable market they had until the lamentable Scullin tariff was introduced. When Senator Hardy was debating this subject from the viewpoint of the primary producers the Leader of the Opposition asked if he was stone-walling the bill. I listened patiently to the speech of the Leader of the Opposition, but it appeared to me that he was merely blowing political bubbles. The three trade treaties into which the Commonwealth Government has entered should be of great benefit to our primary producers. I look upon trade wars as being hardly less . destructive than military wars, only they are not so ghastly. I hope that the conclusion of these trade treaties will mark the beginning of an era of better international understanding.

SenatorCollings. - Is the honorable senator quite sure that this sort of thing is not likely to create more trade wars?

Senator MARWICK - No, not if there is a reasonable spirit of give and take. As a result of this agreement, France will once more admit, on favorable terms, our wool, hides, barley, wheat, &c. Australia, which is naturally a primaryproducing country, and inhabited by the finest people in the world, will haveno difficulty in holding its own in the markets of the world if the trade barriers are swept away. We shall then be able to show that we can produce as cheaplyas can any other country. Ifwe are able to confine imports from France to luxury items, very little harm will be done to our own industries. Up to the time when the trade dispute began with France a few years ago, that country was one of our best customers, and I am glad that it has now been found possible to make a satisfactory arrangement with it.

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