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Friday, 18 November 1921

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Repatriation) .- I am surprised that Senator Gardiner should have accused the Government of using the request of the Senate on this item to raise the duties on lactose.

Senator Gardiner - I said that another place had done so.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - If another place declines to accept suggestions we made, honorable senators complain of a lack of consideration for the Senate. When another place has fallen in with our views, or has submitted a modification of a Senate request, we are told that our request has been used as a means to raise a duty. In order to relieve another place of this very serious imputation, honorable senators may reject what is now proposed, and go back to their request; but I point out that honorable members in another place have made an effort to meet the views of the Senate. They evidently thought that duties of 20, 25, and 30 per cent, would be sufficiently high on this item, but the Senate asked for duties representing 100 per cent. Another place has proposed a via media, and is now accused of using our request in order to raise these duties.

Senator Drake-Brockman - They can accept whichever is the higher duty.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - No. The modification proposed by another place makes no provision for the alternative. If it is agreed to, there will be no question of a higher or lower duty, but the ad valorem duties proposed by another place will replace the specific duties suggested by the Senate. The view of the matter apparently taken by another place was that the Senate desires higher duties on lactose than they originally considered necessary, but they are prepared to meet us by going more than half way along the road, and, therefore, propose to lift the ad valorem duties they originally suggested to 30, 35, and 40 per cent. They are not inclined evidently to agree to the 100 per cent, duty which honorable senators desired to impose on this particular article. The modification of the Senate's request made by another place is a reasonable effort to adjust the difference of opinion on the subject between the two Houses.

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