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Wednesday, 17 August 1921

Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) . - I find myself for once largely in agreement with Senator de Largie. I do not favour the payment of bounties, but if I have to choose between a- bounty and the imposition of a protective duty, I prefer it as the lesser of two evils. It is better to encourage a new industry by giving a bounty on its output than by imposing a protective duty. My own view is that we should remove any: obstacles in the- way of tha creation of new industries, and . that, having done so much, we should allow those Concerned to manage their own businesses. Senator Drake-Brockman proposesto postpone for two years the coming into operation of these deferred duties; and that, ifcarried, will give the Governmentanopportunity to apply the bounty system to the industry. I prefer a direct contribution from thepeoplein the shape of a bounty to an indirect contribution through a protective 'duty, which makes goods costly, whether they are produced locallyor not. The bounty system is the lesser of two evils, ; and certainly does not make goodsmore costly. . I can quiteunderstandSenator Pratten foreseeing adanger of themanufacturers of the would rushing their shipshere laden withgalvanized iron,so that -when the local manufacturer (does commence operations he mayfindhimselfhandicapped by stocks already in. hand and awaiting distribution tothe rpulic. I do not believe that the manufacturers of itheworld, working rapidly as they 'have ibeen doing since thewar -ended,have ibeen : able ito build up huge stocks, or that if they have done so, theycan get ships to carry them.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - The price of this article is low in Great Britain.

Senator GARDINER - The price of sgalvanized iron in . Sydney is three times what it was twenty years ago.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - It can be bought for £20 a ton f . o.b. London.

Senator GARDINER - I bought galvanized iron retail200 miles in the interior twenty-five years ago at '£17 a ton.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - When wages were 30s. a week.

Senator GARDINER -Relatively wages were practically as good then as theyare now. But what would happen . even if there were a reasonable amountof this iron instore when the protected local industry began to put its product . on the market? It would simply wait until the stocks in hand were soldout, rand then it wouldreap the full benefit oftheprotection afforded to it. And what isthedifferencebetween Senator Pratten's proposal andthat of the Government? Merelya matter of two months.". Is it nottoo late to lock the door now? This proposalfor a. deferred duty has been before the people since March of last year. Senator Pratten proposes to prevent goods coming in at a reasonable rate as from the 1st November next instead of from the 1st January next. Why cannot he be consistent ? I am afraid that he 'cannot be consistent ; nor can any person saturated with Protectionist ideas,because as soon as he comes to deal "with a practical business proposition he finds that Protection fails, as it 'has failed in this case. Eighteen months ago the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Greene), with "a . 'knowledge of all "the facts relating to the people proposing to engage in this business, said that the duty which was . to affordthem protection was to commence to operate on a certain date. And now Senator Pratten gets. up in a hurry to" do something for the manufacturers, whose interests he is always willing to serve. I wish he would turn that' . great intellect of his to doing something of advantage to the hundreds of thousands of workers who have sent him here. He will not do for them what he is willing to do for one or two manufacturers who watch him when he is at work here. He jumps quite readily to the crack of the whip of the manufacturers, but is blind to the interests of the people who sent him to this House, and never sees the conditions under which they toil and suffer.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I . rise to a point of order. I object to the words thatI " jump readily to the scrack of "thewhip of the manufacturers."

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