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Tuesday, 19 May 1936

Senator LECKIE (Victoria) .- I hope that Senator Payne will not yield to the blandishments of those honorable senators who are endeavouring to persuade him to withdraw his request, because if it is pressed to a division, it will show the people of this country where all honorable senators stand on the Government's policy of protecting Australian industries. Up to the present stage in this debate the only thing that can be said for some senators of this chamber, is that they are consistent in their inconsistency. Without in any way wishing to offend Senator Payne, I would say his is what one might call the retailer's mind.

Senator Payne - The retailers are in touch with the people; that cannot be said of wholesale manufacturers.

Senator LECKIE - I do not wish to give offence to the honorable gentleman by appearing to belittle his attitude to this sub-item. There are many others who think, with him, that the profit of a farthing on this or that article is of greater moment that the expansion of the nation's industries. These people in their minute survey of the underground economics of industry, are apt to lose sight of big national issues that are involved in the tariff. As this debate has developed, and as the attitude of some honorable senators has been more clearly defined, I have, in fancy, visualized the lynching of the last Australian manufacturer, and have endeavoured to imagine what would be the reactions of some honorable senators at the final result of their determined onslaughts on Australian industries. I can see Senator Duncan-Hughes, for instance, his life's work accomplished, chivalrously turning his face from the unhappy scene, so that he might not witness the dying agonies of the victim.

Senator Duncan-Hughes - I see no evidence of the manufacturers' dying agonies.

Senator LECKIE - I also can see Senator Gibson, determined to be present in the last hours of the Australian manufacturer, and I have a mental picture of Senator Payne dressed in. a long black suit of jeans made in Japan, with a lotus flower in his buttonhole, complaining bitterly that the victim is taking such a long time to die; and of Senator Johnston jumping on the corpse for hours after the execution, to make certain that it is really dead. Others in this .scene are the PostmasterGeneral (Senator A. J. McLachlan), dressed in a long white suit of duck, made in Japan, reading innumerable pages of the Tariff Board's report to prove that the victim is not dead after all, and his ministerial colleagues, Senator Sir George Pearce and Senator Brennan, offering a thanks that the spirit of Ottawa still lives! Having said this in jest, I now remind honorable senators that Canada, with a population of 10,500,000 people, is actually manufacturing into cotton piece goods, of one sort or another, 200,000 bales of cotton annually, whereas

Australia, with nearly 7,000,000 people, is utilizing an insignificant proportion of Australian-grown cotton.

Senator Payne - Where do the Canadian manufacturers get their cotton?

Senator LECKIE - Prom foreign sources, whereas Australian manufacturers obtain their supplies from Australian cotton-growers. Does not Senator Payne think that is a good thing? During this debate the persistence with which Queensland senators have fought for industries affecting their State, has been equalled only by the solidarity of Tasmania's senators when the cement industry was threatened by the Government's proposals. I again express the hope that Senator Payne will not withdraw his request, because the division will show the people of this country where honorable senators actually stand in relation to this industry.

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