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Wednesday, 10 August 1921

Senator DE LARGIE (Western Australia) . - I did not expect that the subject of white labour' as opposed to black labour would have been raised at this juncture. If there is anything to be deduced from the arguments of Senators Pratten and Duncan, it is that they favour the product of black labour as against that of the white worker. Senator Duncan referred to the preference which the Scottish shale industry receives, and described how the people interested take advantage of that preferential duty to increase prices. The honorable senator furnished nothing in support of that extraordinary statement.

Senator Duncan - Nevertheless, it was true.

Senator DE LARGIE - Competition would inevitably prevent anything of the sort. I am surprised that New South Wales senators should know so little as they do concerning the new industries established in that State. Only a few weeks ago there was an official opening of the Joadja works in New South Wales.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - There was quite a picnic. The people interested hoped to raise the capital later on, in order to work the mine.

Senator DE LARGIE - Men have been working there for several months, both miners and employees on the retorts.

Senator Gardiner - They were making such preparations before this duty was imposed.

Senator DE LARGIE - Probably they had started before, but were depending upon the common sense of the Federal Parliament to impose the necessary duty for the continued existence of the industry. Senator Gardiner challenged my statement in regard to the duty upon oil in New South Wales. I shall quote from the New South Wales Hansard of 10th September, 1895, which records the debate upon the Bill to abolish the Customs duties which had been introduced by the late Sir George Reid, then Premier of the Free Trade Administration in that colony. I intend to give the names of several of those members who took part in the division upon oil. Among those who supported the removal of the duty was Senator Thomas. The monumental stupidity of these Free Traders is surprising beyond belief. More than twentyfive years ago, in their fiscal foolishness, they ruined an important industry, and they are still prepared to carry on in the same manner. The first item to which I wish to draw attention is -

Candles, per lb., or reputed packages of that weight, and so in proportion for any such reputed weight, night lights, and stearine, per lb.,1d.

The duty was1d. per lb.

Senator Gardiner - For how long 'had that been operating?

Senator DE LARGIE - I cannot say; but it must have been in operation for many years. I emphasize that, at this stage, the duty was removed by a Government whose Free Trade policy was supported by Senator Gardiner, although he was not just at that time a member of the Parliament. The result was that the candle industry of New South Wales went down and down. My next reference from the Hansard volume has to do with "oil, kerosene, naphtha, gasolene, per gallon, 6d." Included in those who took part in the debate I find the name " J. Thomas," who was at that time- representing the Broken Hill constituency. This is the gentleman who a few minutes ago contradicted my statement concerning the duties imposed at "that time. After the duties on oil and candles were removed mining operations at Joadja were continued for a while, although the retorts were not in commission, and shale oil from foreign countries flooded the Australian market to such an extent that the local industry could not continue. For a while shale was exported to Germany, and, later, it became the product from which the German chemists manufactured aniline dyes. As a result of that vote in the New South Wales Parliament, a few calamities took place, an Australian industry was killed, and we now import our oil and wax. A British industry in dyes passed out, and we helped to establish the great aniline dye industry of Germany. So much for Free Trade.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - What did the Germans do before they procured New South Wales shale?

Senator DE LARGIE - I am showing that the material raised in New South Wales' was shipped to Germany and used in the manufacture of aniline dyes, with the result that an industry firmly established in Great Britain was ruined. A determined effort is .now being made by British manufacturers to regain control of the dye industry. The Germans would not have been in a position to compete with British manufacturers if it had not been for the attitude adopted by Free Traders .in the State I have mentioned.

Senator Gardiner - When did mining operations commence?

Senator DE LARGIE - Nearly forty years ago. After the duties were removed the industry collapsed, and Joadja is now a deserted village.

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