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Friday, 18 November 1921

Senator WILSON (South Australia) . - Senator Drake-Brockman acquired a little knowledge early in life in South Australia, but evidently neglected it for a more profitable profession later. He has now told the Committee that he is a judge of marble.

Senator Drake-Brockman - There are millions of tons of this same stone in Western Australia.

Senator WILSON -Then it is time Western Australia woke up. It has a great asset. Experts who have reported on the marble of which specimens have been produced before this Committee tell me that it is 08 per cent, carbonate of lime, which is pure marble, and that it contains no silica, which is quartz.

SenatorDrake-Brockman. - Has the honorable senator seen the particular piece which has been placed before the Committee?

Senator WILSON - I have inspected the property thoroughly.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) -Brockman. - But the honorable senator has not inspected the exhibit in court. I believe the honorable senator owns a stone quarry.

Senator WILSON - I do, and it is a quartz quarry, unfortunately, and not a marble quarry. I am of opinion that the marble from Angaston is good enough for any tombstone.

SenatorDrake-Brockman. - Of course it is; but the Committee is dealing with the duties on marble for statuary purposes.

Senator WILSON - How is a line to be drawn between marble used for statuary and for tombstones? Senator Drake-Brockman, with his legal mind, maybe able to draw the line, but I cannot, and I am quite certain that the Department would have some difficulty in doing it.

Senator Foster - Is marble from Italy brought out to Australia as ballast in sufficiently large pieces for tombstones?

Senator WILSON - Certainly it is.

Senator Russell - Australia sent a lot of marble to Europe for headstones for the graves of members of the Australian Imperial Force.

Senator WILSON - It has been exported for that purpose, and yet we are told by some honorable senators that it is not good enough for use in Australia.

Senator Drake-Brockman - But we import only a few tons per annum of a higher grade material.

Senator WILSON - Then why object to the duty ? If the duty is unreasonably low, the way will be open for foreign producers to export large quantities to Australia, and it will then come into competition with the Australian marble used for general purposes. The Minister (Senator E. D. Millen) referred to the inconsistency of several honorable senators, but in this instance I shall prove my consistency by supporting the Government.

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