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Thursday, 17 November 1921

Senator GUTHRIE (VICTORIA) . - I hold a similar view, and I agree with' Senator Wilson that all appliances imported for the purpose of killing vermin and noxious weeds should be admitted free. The rabbit pest has cost Australia many millens of pounds, and it now represents a loss to us of probably £1,000,000 a year through cost of combating, plus the damage to crops and pastures. I speak from practical experience, my family having been almost ruined on more than -one occasion through the ravages of this pest. Thousands of men are making a living adjacent to the cities by trapping rabbits for food; thousands more trap them for the skins when a favorable price can be obtained. Where rabbits are found near river banks, and in thickly timbered places where poisoning cannot be resorted bo on account of the proximity to centres of population, traps are essential and are the one means of fighting the pest. I would have liked traps to be free from duty in all columns, but on this occasion I shall support the suggestion to make the British preferential Tariff free, the intermediate 5 per cent., and the general 10 per cent.

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