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Friday, 13 June 1902

Mr McDONALD (KENNEDY, QUEENSLAND) - PATERSON. - I do not mean- "agitators," in the "labour" sense.

Mr Page - Then in what sense ?

Mr McDONALD (KENNEDY, QUEENSLAND) - PATERSON.- I mean agitators who have a scanty knowledge of political and trade economy.

Mr. FULLER(Illawarra).- In order to test the feeling of the committee, I move -

That the proposed vote be reduced by £i.

It has been said by the Minister for Home Affairs that there is no drought in the Illawarra electorate. As a matter of fact, the movement in favour of the suspension of the fodder duties was started at a meeting of legitimate farmers, representative of the drought-stricken districts of Camden and Picton, the centre of the dairying industry. It is of no use honorable 'members saying that this movement is the work of halfadozen agitators.

Mr Sawers - What is the object of the amendment ?

Mr FULLER - To test the feeling of the committee as to whether or not the Government shall be instructed to suspend these duties. It is difficult to say whether a constitutional difficulty or pressure of supporters has caused the Government to assume their present attitude. From what we have seen of honorable members who represent the States, the Premiers of which have refused to sanction any suspension of the duties, it appears to me that it is political pressure rather than constitutional difficulty which stands in the way. It is of no use to contend that these duties are law. To become law they must pass not only this House, but the Senate ; and the duties are now being collected merely by Executive act. If the fodder duties can be imposed by Executive act, they can be removed by the same authority.

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