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Thursday, 20 November 1941


Senator AMOUR (New South Wales) . - Listening to thestory which has been repeated by honorable senators opposite, my patience became almost exhausted. I remind the Senate that when Admiral Henderson visited Australia in 191.1, he advised Australia to establish its own fishing fleets. In later years a Labour government in New South Wales heeded that advice, and established a. State trawling industry. Its development would not only have provided fish for consumption by the people but it would also have provided a means of teaching Australians necessary facts about their own coast-line. However, a government with the samepolitical outlook as that of honorable senators opposite, sold the trawler when it assumed office in New South Wales. I emphasize thatthe sale was made, not to Australians, but to Italians. When I read in to-day's newspapers that more enemy mines had been found off the coast of Australia, I almost became sick when I remembered that Italians, not Australians, had been encouraged to become acquainted with our Pacific coast-line. Honorable senators opposite now make an impassioned plea on behalf of those engaged in the fishing industry, but although they had a majority in this Parliament since 1916, what did they do to ensure continuous supplies of cheap fish to the people? What action did they take to see that vessels were made available to those who desired to engage in fishing?


Senator McBride - What does the honorable senator himself propose to do?


Senator AMOUR - What I should have done had I had the opportunity which was available to honorable senators opposite for many years is not possible to-day. Any ships that can be built now are required for the transport of Australian produce to other countries. There should have been in operation a continuous shipbuilding policy, in order to provide trawlers for those engaged in fishing along our coasts, and to enable them to become acquainted with our coast-line. Had that policy been pursued by previous governments, the situation to-day would not have been so serious as it is. Honorable senators opposite supported previous governments which did nothing to encourage this industry, but almost as soon as a Labour government assumes office they make submissions on behalf of Australian fishermen. They complain of adding to the costs of those engaged in this industry, but I remind them that everyone in the community will have to pay additional taxes. The proposals of the present Government do not place on the people so heavy a burden as they would have had to bear under the proposals of theFadden Government and for, that reason they should be grateful for the change of government. I agree with honorable senators opposite that fish should bc much cheaper than it is. The fault lies, not with the present Labour Government, but with previous governments, which did nothing to assi.it the fishing industry or to provide cheap fish for the people.







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