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Thursday, 1 September 1921

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (Western Australia) . - I appeal to honorable senators to have some consideration for the British manufacturer as well as for the Australian user. I can understand why some honorable senators may have voted for the imposition of a high duty against the foreign manufacturer. I can appreciate that they considered a margin of 10 per cent, sufficient discretion to permit the Government to exercise. The Government have not displayed much discretion in dealing with this extraordinary schedule; so honorable senators who have just voted against my request were possibly in the right in refraining from permitting the Government to exercise a 20 per cent, margin for negotiation. I appeal now particularly on behalf of the great western State. Western Australia comprises nearly onethird of the continent. It is the least developed portion of the whole; and unless the empty spaces are opened up and developed, we cannot hope to hold the continent for the white people. This Parliament is piling high duty upon duty, and making it more and more difficult to throw open Western Australia's closed areas. The argument does not apply only to Western Australia; it is equally applicable to vast portions of Queensland and South Australia, and to practically the whole of the Northern Territory. I am a Protectionist, and I believe that proper Protection should be given to Australian industries; but we should not build a prohibitive wall, and so prevent competition, and breed monopolies.

Senator Pearce - There can be no monopoly while there are five firms competing.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - It is very easy for a little group of five to come to" an honorable understanding." If the Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) is so absurdly innocent of trade arrangements of the kind, I, at any rate, am not.Why should even thesefive firms be given a monopoly in respect of the materials essential to Australia's development? I move -

That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty, sub-itein (b), British, ad vol., 27½ per cent.

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