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Wednesday, 17 August 1921

The CHAIRMAN(Senator Bakhap (TASMANIA) - Senator Pratten 'regards "the words used bySenator Gardiner as offensive, and I ask for theirwithdrawal.

Senator GARDINER - I willingly apologize. Nothing hurts memore than tohurt Senator Pratten. . I do not want any . succeeding . remarks to be taken . as having any connexion with my apology, which . is ample. If . I have said anything to offend Senator Pratten, I am sorry, and . that is. a hard word for me to utter. But . I was absolutely wrong in saying that Senator . Pratten jumps to the crack of the whip . of the manufacturers. They do not need -to crack -a , whip. They . have simply to click the tongue, and he will gofull paceahead, without . the application of anywhip for the . simple . reason that. their interests and those of Senator Pratten and Senator Duncan are almost identical. They are the interests of the classes as against those of the masses; of the few against those of the many. I really was offensive when 1 said that the manufacturers crack the whip over Senator Pratten. There is no need for them to do so. They have merely to guide him. When he sees that their interests are affected, he is always in his place, anxious to do the very best he can for them, quite forgetful of the fact that he ought to be looking after the interests of the hundreds of thousands of working-class people who have sent him here. I recognise the honorable senator's great ability. All I complain of is that he exercises it in the interests of the few.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I have some very good friends of yours in another place.

Senator GARDINER - I realize that. That is why I thought, in the early stages of the consideration of this Tariff, that I might lead a Free Trade party in the Senate ; but Senator Drake-Brockman and Senator Lynch have quite put me in the background, and I am now merely a follower of others, who, although they brand themselves as Protectionists, vote Free Trade.

Senator de Largie - The honorable senator ought to be pleased at meeting so many converts.

Senator GARDINER - I was more than pleased to notice, from Senator de Largie's last speech, that he is appearing among the Free Traders.

Senator Keating - You have the advantage of the support of Senator Cox, an avowed Free Trader.

Senator GARDINER - I am a little embarrassed by the Free Trade proclivities of Senator Cox, who, representing a Free Trade constituency, always gives his votes for higher duties and to make trade of any kind more difficult; but Senator de Largie's last speech was an advance in the direction of Free Trade for which I was quite unprepared. I know that the honorable senator is a great thinker and reader, and, of course, eventually any one who reads and thinks must become a Free Trader. So far, I have waited for eleven years in this Senate to see any signs of the 'honorable senator's conversion to Free Trade.

Senator de Largie - In my lifetime I have left two countries, Scotland and

New South Wales. They were both Free Trade, and I was glad to get out of them.

Senator GARDINER - I have no doubt that the two countries referred to have suffered a very great loss. Scotland, no doubt, has suffered much by losing the services of a gentleman of such great ability. As for New South Wales, it is being rapidly populated by thousands of his countrymen, and by thousands of the sturdiest of the citizens of Free Trade Victoria, so that his loss has-been made good. Furthermore, the speeches made by honorable senators representing Western Australia would indicate that there is a great Free Trade development in that State, and I cannot see how Senator de: Largie has gained by his change from one State to the other. I rose to speak to this subitem because Senator Pratten has put forward a proposal which, on his part, is a mere pretence. What use can there be in discussing whether this duty shall come into operation in November or January, seeing that eighteen months ago the Minister made known to the manufacturers of the world that a duty would be imposed upon this iron at a certain fixed date?

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Tariff has not yet been passed, but will be in a few weeks, and. then there will be something definite about the date, which there was not previously.

Senator GARDINER - As I read the Tariff, it is very definite as to the date upon which this deferred duty shall come into operation.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - But the honorable senator forgets that the Tariff, so far, is merely a proposal, and not the law.

Senator GARDINER - I quite realize it is a proposal, but what would happen if I were to use my position to get up and move requests on every line in the Tariff that may not accord with my views ? I recognise that all legislation is the result of compromise, and I would be glad to see this Tariff finally dealt with by the end of this week. If we were to set to work as business men we could do it.

Senator Pearce - Hear, hear!

Senator GARDINER - I agree with the Minister for Defence. If we were to pick out the matters of importance, and give them the discussion to which they are entitled, and let matters of no importance: pass without discussion, we would make more rapid progress. However, I would not have risen but for Senator Pratten's makebelieve proposal. The honorable senator would have us believe that there is something behind his proposition, when, after all, it is merely an advertisement for himself. On this question I have no desire to take up even the full quarter of an hour allowed to me, and so I resume my seat.

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