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Thursday, 3 June 1926

Senator GRANT (New South Wales) . - It is futile for Senator Lynch to attempt to interfere with the Government in its determination to increase duties on' foreign made goods. The Tariff Board has been appointed to . investigate and. report on the duties considered necessary to enable Australian manufacturers to compete with those operating overseas, and it is upon the Tariff Board's recommendation that the Government is acting. Senator Lynch never tires of informing us that he is a protectionist; but, in this instance, he is objecting to increased duties. The honorable senator ought to realize that the Nationalist Government, of which he is a most, vigorous supporter, was returned for the express and definite purpose, among other things, of imposing heavy duties upon goods manufactured in low-wage protectionist countries.

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I was under the impression that low wages were not paid in protectionist countries.

Senator GRANT - I am merely stating facts. Life-long freetraders such as Senator Thomas are now, for reasons unknown, supporting excessive duties merely because they are proposed by the Government of which they are supporters. It is futile to submit requests for reductions, as the proposed duties will, if the Government so desire, be adopted. The Government has a majority of about 4 in 1, and, in this instance, most of the members of the Labour party are also assisting it. There are a few exceptions which include men like myself, who believe that this form of taxation falls unfairly upon the poorer sections of the community. Occasionally we have rays of light forcing their way through the intelligence of such men as Senator Lynch; but when a vote is taken those from whom we sometimes expect assistance eventually support the Government, particularly when it is in a tight corner.

Senator McLachlan - In a tight corner? That is rather significant.

Senator GRANT - The Government was in a tight corner last night. It is the policy of the Government to ensure, as far as they are able, that all goods which can be commercially manufactured in Australia shall be somanufactured. I ask Senator Lynch or Senator Payne whether it is not a fact that those goods which come under item 110 can or ought to be made in the Commonwealth? Although I do not regard protection asa means of bringing about the millennium, I realize that a large majority of the people of Australia favour that policy. It is, therefore, absolutely futile for us to discuss these items.

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