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Friday, 27 July 1906

Mr McLEAN (Gippsland) . - I entertain much the same view of grievanceday as does the honorable member for Wide Bay. I regard it as practically a waste of time, because any legitimate grievance can be ventilated upon the motionfor the adjournment of the House, or - if it were necessary to do so - by submitting a motion for a special adjournment. T should1 like the Prime Minister to ask private members to entirely forego the consideration of their business. I presume that we shall soon have very important business to deal with. 1 Free-traders and protectionists alike must recognise the urgency which exists for dealing with the reports of the Tariff Commission. For the sake of accomplishing that object, I think that honorable members would be prepared to forego the consideration of their own private business for the remainder of the session. I wish to embrace this opportunity to again urge upon the Prime Minister the necessity for dealing with, the reports of the Tariff Commission as soon as possible. It seems to me a great anomaly that honorable members sitting behind the Government should daily devote hours outside of this House to emphasizing the necessity which exists for Tariff reform, and still be content to take no action in this Chamber, where some practical result might accrue from their efforts.

Mr Kennedy - What can be done at present ?

Mr McLEAN - Cannot we proceed with the consideration of the reports which are already to hand? There are three reports to which the members of the Tariff Commission have unanimously agreed.

Mr Kennedy - They will provide only half-an-hour's work for the House.

Mr HUME COOK (BOURKE, VICTORIA) - What reports are they - the reports dealing with spirits?

Mr McLEAN - What were the illustrations which the honorable member for Bourke himself used last session, when he declared that men were being thrown out of employment as the result of the closing down of works? No other factories in the Commonwealth had been closed except those to which reference is made in the reports already presented by the Tariff Commission.

Mr Mauger - Oh, yes.

Mr McLEAN - The matter should be settled without delay. I think that the honorable member for Bourke would be making much better use of his own time if, instead, of going round the suburbs of Melbourne preaching the necessity for Tariff reform, he attempted to accomplish something in this House. I do not wish to apply mv remarks to the Prime Minister, because he was not so persistent out of season as were some of my honorable friends opposite in urging the necessity for Tariff revision. I believe that he is sincere in the matter, and I hope that he will show his sincerity by asking honorable mem bers to forego their private business for the rest of the session, so that the question of Tariff reform may be dealt with at the earliest possible moment.

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