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Tuesday, 30 August 1921

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) . - Let the honorable senator make use of those means if he pleases. When honorable senators, with good cause, have hitherto approached the Minister in charge of the Bill to postpone the consideration of an item, they have been usually met in the way in which one who is in earnest in the performance of his duty should be met. I have answered every interjection and argument that the Minister has used in connexion with the duties proposed on timber imported for boxes.

Senator Cox - Let the honorable senator sit down and let us take a vote.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not propose to sit down.

Senator Cox - All right. We shall put the honorable senator down directly.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - We do not want any of the honorable senator's militarism here. The Minister evidently is adamant. I want to give the Minister further information about the boxmaking industry in Melbourne. I am informed that the capital invested in Victoria amounts to £243,000, that the number of men employed is 600, and the wages paid over £100,000 per year. Owing to the importation of a large quantity of timber into Victoria, and the fact that the House of Representatives increased the rates on junk and cut sizes of timber without increasing the duties in subitemi, the industry is in danger of being wiped out. Of course, like Saul on the journey from Damascus, one cannot kick against the pricks. Honorable senators, many of them, are otherwise engaged in ascertaining the results of the Victorian elections to-day. There is not a quorum present, and even if we asked the Minister for an adjournment of the Committee we would not get it, notwithstanding that many of us have been all night in the train. I think the Minister has misconceived the position in regard to this industry. Even if the sub-item goes through as it stands, an alteration must be made subsequently if we are going to be consistent in our policy of protecting Australian workers.

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