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Tuesday, 10 July 1906

Mr SALMON (Laanecoorie) . - The honorable member for North Sydney made a somewhat impassioned appeal to us to recognise the generous treatment meted out to us, as citizens of the Empire, by the mother country. That is an appeal that will never be made in vain to me; I have always recognised the deep debt of gratitude we owe to the mother country. But I cannot see that on the present occasion there is any justification for such an appeal on the part of the honorable member to any one who, like myself, is truly patriotic.

Mr Wilks - New Zealand exempts British products.

Mr Kelly - That is an inconvenient interjection for the honorable member for Laanecoorie.

Mr SALMON - I would rather not have any impertinent interjections. When the honorable member for North Sydney was speaking, I interjected because he was making statements which I thought very remarkable from one who is regarded, and correctly so, as a commercial authority. The honorable member desired to point out that certain products sent to England from Australia had a prejudicial effect on the British producer, in driving him out of his own home market. The honorable member gave several instances, and I challenged him on one, namely, the butter industry. We realize that Australia and other parts of the Empire have done a great deal in supplying the wants of British consumers in this particular article. But I do not think the honorable member for North Sydney was justified in his statement that the Australian butter-maker is thrusting the English butter-maker out of his home market. I have since consulted the last returns.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - What I said was that the returns showed that that wasnot entirely so.

Mr SALMON - According to my recollection, the honorable member said at first "wholly," and then "almost." On consulting the last return presented to both Houses of Parliament in the old country, I find that the quantity of butter sent from the British Possessions as a whole - I am dealing not only with Australian butter, because I take it that the matter really affects the whole of the Possessions of the mother country, and that it has a direct bearing on the ratio of the amount sent from European countries - was in 1901 631,985 cwt. ; whilst the quantity sent from foreign countries was 3,070,905. In 1902- the quantity sent from British Possessions was 525,035 cwt, and from foreign countries 3,449,898 cwt. In 1903 the quantity sent from British Possessions was 557,828^ cwt., and from foreign countries 3,502,866. In 1904 we were recovering from the drought years.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The figures already quoted included the drought years.

Mr SALMON - I am quoting the figures for the five years which were available .in the return which I have mentioned. I am not omitting any item which I believe would have any effect on the calculation.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - But the fact is that there were drought years.

Mr SALMON - Really that argument does not affect the sum. The honorable member will see exactly where the difference comes in. In 1904 the importations of butter from British Possessions ran up to 1,045,758 cwt., and from foreign countries the imports fell to 3,195,207 cwt. There was an increase of imports from British Possessions, and a relative decrease of imports from foreign countries. In 1905 the imports from British Possessions totalled 1,054,209 cwt., and there was almost a relative diminution from foreign countries - 31093,657 cwt. It was not the British producer who was affected by this particular product being sent from Australia and other British Possessions to England, but the foreign producer - -that foreign producer for whom., I am rather sorry to say, my honorable friends opposite seem to be solicitous on all occasions.

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