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Wednesday, 10 August 1921

Senator KEATING (Tasmania) . - iSenator Senior asked what -is the object of Protection, but abstained from furnishing any answer. In my opinion, the object of Protection is primarily to maintain existing industries, next to bring into being new industries, and then to promote the development of all industries. In the Commonwealth hitherto there have been both a waxcandle industry and a stearine-candle industry; and if we are true Protectionists we will adjust the Tariff so as to maintain and promote the development of both. Senator Senior and others seem to think that it is necessary to have only one of these two industries in Australia, and Senator Senior has suggested that Senator Payne wishes that industry to be tha wax-candle industry. That is not so. Senator Payne's argument was directed to the maintenance of the wax-candle industry, and the remarks of Senator Senior go to show that there is not the slightest danger of the stearine-candle in dustry being obliterated by the growth of the other industry.

Senator Reid - The stearine industry uses Australian products, while the other industry does not.

Senator KEATING - There are many other protected industries in Australia which depend on imported raw materials, and included amongst the countries from which those raw materials come are countries where black labour is employed. Senator Senior has said, no doubt with truth, that the stearine candle is preferable in warmer climates ; and, geographically, that means the greater portion of the Commonwealth. But if there are people here who desire to use wax candles, and who live in localities and temperatures where such candles are serviceable, why should we force "stearine candles upon them ? Is it because the people who manufacture stearine candles are of the greater importance? Do those manufacturers employ such a large number of people that their interests alone should be considered? I asked Senator Pratten whether, as a matter of fact, the manufacturers of stearine were also engaged in the manufacture of candles. At first that honorable senator replied in the negative, but afterwards corrected- himself, and said he understood that there is, at any rate, one in Sydney who does so. It has been said that the manufacture of stearine involves considerable outlay on premises and plant. It is obvious that the small manufacturer cannot face a large outlay of the kind, and, therefore, he will be compelled to go for his stearine to a competitor with him in the supply of candles to the community. That is not a fair position; and those who advocate it are seeking to concentrate the manufacture of candles in the hands of a few or of one. That is not the principle of Protection. I have already stated three objects of Protection, and there is another, namely, to diversify production and not concentrate it in the hands of a few. For the reasons I have given, I strongly support the request moved by Senator Lynch. Although that honorable senator did not do so, I must express my regret that the previous request was not carried; and I sincerely hope the Committee will unanimously - adopt the one before us.

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