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Thursday, 12 June 1902


Mr BATCHELOR -Yes ; and that State could do very well just now with an expenditure of £250,000. If South Australia possesses suitable iron deposits in sufficient quantity to warrant her in embarking upon an enterprise towards the development of which the Federal Government is prepared to spend £250,000, its State Parliament might seriously consider whether it is not good enough to attempt to establish a national industry there. I do not think it is particularly likely South Australia would enter upon this manufacture as a State industry; but, although the capital required has been variously estimated at from £500,000 to £750,000, and we may place it safely at £600,000, the offer of £250,000 in the shapeof a bonus spread over five years might form a strong inducement. [Committee counted.] I contend that there is no urgency for this Bill. Why should we be in a hurry to hand over a quarter of a million of Commonwealth funds at a time when money is badly needed by the States ? As to South Australia, I know that that State cannot afford £5,000 a year for five years just now. If the whole people of one of the States, or the whole people of the Commonwealth were to benefit, all would gladly pay their share ; but this bonus will go to some syndicate or company, and as, in the usual course, the shares get into one or two hands, we may create an Australian Carnegie.


Mr Kingston - I hope he will spend his money as liberally as the present Carnegie.


Mr BATCHELOR - Notwithstanding the undoubted liberality of Andrew Carnegie, it would have been a great deal better if the working men who created his wealth had participated to a much larger extent in its benefits.

Mr.Watson. - Andrew Carnegie did not become liberal until after the great Pittsburg strike against sweating wages.


Mr BATCHELOR - The strike at Pittsburg is said to have been one of the most heartrending on record. Armed men were lying on opposite banks of the river prepared to shoot each other, so bitter did they feel in regard to the introduction of men from all parts of the world in order to reduce the rate of wages. [Committee counted.] I am very much afraid the bonus proposed may lead to a condition of things similar to that which exists in America, seeing that we are going to give a monopoly which will soon be absorbed by a very small number of individuals. There is a strong desire, which is shared by the Minister, that this iron industry should be a State enterprise, and, if that be so, it is necessary that the States should have the opportunity which would be afforded by an extended time.







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