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Wednesday, 24 August 1921

Senator LYNCH (Western Australia) . - Senator Gardiner has chided honorable senators on the Ministerial side for their want of loyalty to the Old Country. He wants those who were born in that part of the world to show greater loyalty than, in his opinion, they have hitherto displayed. So far, so* good ; but the honorable senator, in his extraordinary zeal to help the Mother Country, is proposing that we should do. something for her which, she is not prepared to do for herself. The honorable senator desires that the articles covered by many of the items of this Tariff should be admitted free from Great Britain, but the British Parliament has no intention to secure for them that protection. Senator Gardiner is going further out of his way to accommodate the people of the Old Country than those people desire, otherwise they would have used the Tariff to protect their industries and to do the work for themselves which Senator Gardiner is trying to do here. When the Tariff was under consideration in another place, we had the spectacle, repeated over and over again, of the members of the party which Senator Gardiner so much adorns, trooping across the chamber to support higher and still higher duties.

Senator GARDINER - Am I my brother's keeper ?

Senator LYNCH - If we inquire the native land of most of those honorable members, we shall probably find that, with very few exceptions, they were born in Australia. I do not think that there is any question of politics about this matter at all. Senator Gardiner should look nearer home. He should chide the members of his own Darby for not having taken a firmer stand in another place, in an effort to reduce the duties imposed by this Tariff in the way he is trying to do in this Chamber. If they had done so, we should have a better-balanced Tariff to deal with. The Government in this matter have been in a very happy position. They had the members of the Country party on the one hand making efforts to reduce duties, and the members of the Labour party on the other hand trying to maintain the duties as introduced, where they found it impossible to increase them. The Government are in the joyous position that no matter what happens they win all the time. Before Senator Gardiner finds fault with us for our foreign origin he should clean up in front of hie own door. He should ask his colleagues in the Labour party who are natives of Australia why they allowed such high duties to be passed and why they imposed upon him the task of trying to lower them. I, as one of the foreigners referred to, have tried to secure - the passage of a Tariff conceived on fair lines. My advice has not been followed up to date, and I am not very particular whether it is followed or not. I intend to record my opinion on every item as it comes before us. I desire to give the manufacturers of Australia an opportunity to establish themselves here by affording them the degree of protection which measures the difference between the cost of production here and its cost in competing countries. I do not propose by any vote of mine to give them, anything in excess of that, because, in my view, it would be used to burden the people of this country. I am not a Free Trader, and we know that Free Trade is as dead as the dodo in this country. I look at the Ministerial bench, and wish that Senator E. D. Millen might get up and give us one of those flashing orations with which he used to favour the Senate in times' gone by. " Oh, that mine enemy would write a book." Oh, if these men would only deliver such speeches as we heard them deliver on the Tariffs of 1902 and of 1908.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable senator used to find fault with my speeches then.

Senator LYNCH - I stood then, as I doi to-day, in support of fair, and not excessive, duties on every item of the Tariff. But times have changed, and this- Tariff, as it will emerge from the Senate, will do us very little credit. For that I refuse to hold myself responsible. The Tariff is like an ill-cut saw, with teeth of different sizes. We have' a. Tariff of 45 per cent, cm harvesters, 35 per cent, on something else, ' and 40 per cent, on another item. Is that good workmanship? I do not think it is. . I am not responsible for it. I offer advice as to what should be done, and when we come to deal with binders, I shall have a word or two to say on the duties proposed on that item. I shall not occupy time further now beyond repeating my protest against Senator Gardiner's undue and uncalled for references to the country of origin of any member of the Senate, and to advise him to look to the members of his own party.

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