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Wednesday, 9 June 1926

Senator HOARE (South Australia) . - Senator Barwell spoke of the inefficiency of Australians and their inability to construct the locomotives required by South Australia. All great, nations have experienced a period of inefficiency. They were not always as efficient as they are to-day; they had to make a start. If our railway workshops are ever to equal those in other parts of the world,we also must make a start. Unless opportunities are given to them, how can Australian workmen become skilful or efficient? I look forward to the day when they will have that opportunity. Senator Barwell claimed that by sending these contracts abroad South Australia saved £430,000, but I question whether that is so. Is Australia's policy to be a policy of protection or not; that is the point. If we protect one industry, we must, if we are consistent, protect all our industries.

Senator Sir Henry Barwell - That is where the honorable senator is making a mistake.

Senator HOARE - If it is right to send abroad for locomotives, simply because they can be obtained more cheaply, it is right to send abroad for every requirement which can be imported for less than it can be manufactured here. If the contract had been placed in Australia there would have been a substantial demand for raw materials in this country, and consequently employment would have been found for a large number of Australian working people. It is questionable if, after all, the placing of the contract overseas has benefited South Australia.

Senator Sir Henry Barwell - The honorable senator would make a great administrator, surely !

Senator HOARE - I would be as successful as the honorable senator himself. * He wasresponsible for the discharge of a large number of men from the Islington workshops. I worked in that establishment for some time and I know what happened. The men who were " sacked " were reinstated in a few months' time because the Government could not do without them. Senator Barwell claims to have saved the people of South Australia a considerable sum of money over that contract. Evidently the people took the contrary view ; they declared him inefficient as an administrator and got rid of him at the first opportunity.

Senator Sir Henry Barwell - Even the Chamber of Manufactures withdrew its opposition to the contract.

The CHAIRMAN (Senator Newlands - I ask honorable senators to confine their remarks to the item before the committee.

Senator HOARE - It remains to be proved whether the heavier type of engines ordered are really the right class for the most efficient working of the South Australian railway system. As for the spreading of the Port Adelaide line over which the heavy engines were run, I wish to be fair and say that it was a light loop line not intended for the heavy type of engines.

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