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Tuesday, 19 May 1936

Senator JAMES McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) . - This is a matter upon which I feel that I would not be justified in giving a silent vote. Senator Payne made much of the fact that the postponement of the item was carried by a considerable majority, but I do not think that he should assume that all honorable senators who voted for the postponement are necessarily in agreement with him. They merely voted for delay, so that they would have further time for consideration. During the interval I have given the matter close consideration, and now I must congratulate Senator Payne upon having put up a convincing case. During this debate many figures have been quoted for and against the request, and, remembering the old adage about figures and the truth, one may be pardoned for being a little doubtful about the way in which some of the figures have been handled.

This item closely affects the cotton industry, and it is natural, therefore, that those honorable senators who represent Queensland should be anxious to maintain a high rate of protection. If we look back over the pages of Hansard, we find that, when the sugar agreement was under discussion, honorable senators from Queensland declared that there were great areas of land in that State which, if not devoted to sugar-growing, would not be of use for anything else. Now we are told that there are other large areas of land in Queensland which, if not devoted to cotton-growing, would be useless for anything else.

Senator Foll - I did not say that the land would be useless. I said that it would be of no use for any other form of agriculture, and would have to revert to grazing.

Senator JAMES McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I am convinced that Senator Payne has made out a sound case, and I intend to support his amendment. I am strengthened in that determination by the majority report dealing with this subject presented by Mr. W. S. Kelly, a member of the Tariff Board. All honorable senators, except those who happen to come from Queensland, must be impressed by that report.

Senator Brown - What about the majority report?

Senator JAMES McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Majorities rule, hut minorities are very often right. That is a saying which is frequently quoted by members of the party to which the honorable senator belongs.

Senator Brown - It does not apply in this case.

Senator JAMES McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I commend Mr. Kelly's "report to the consideration of honorable senators. The figures used by him in support of his findings are, I believe, substantially correct. He had the advantage of hearing all the evidence tendered to the board, and he has analysed that evidence very closely. I know Mr. Kelly fairly well, and know him to be a level-headed, clearthinking man, who would not be easily deceived.

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