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Thursday, 21 August 1902

Mr BROWN (CANOBOLAS, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Has the honorable and learned gentleman received any recent com munication from the States Governments in regard to the remission of the fodder duties, and, if so, what is the nature of it? Has his attention been drawn to a paragraph which appeared in this morning's Age, to the effect that the Premier of New South Wales has been in communication with the Premiers of the other States with a view to induce the Federal Government to take action, and that the Premier of Queensland replied in these terms -

Refodder duties, I think it quite useless to ask the Federal Government for any concession. They have already refused it, and seem quite callous about what happens to any of the States.

In view of the apparent disposition of the States Governments to look to the Federal Government for relief, is the Acting Prime Minister prepared to afford that relief?

Mr DEAKIN - I have not received any communication on the subject from any of the States Governments since the matter was last before the House, except that the Government of Western Australia has informed us that that State feels no need for relief, but does not wish to stand in the way of relief being granted to any other States - an allusion I presume to the privilege which Western Australia possesses of imposing duties upon goods sent there from the other States. The statement which the honorable member has read is noteworthy rather for the temper it displays than for its accuracy. It has been repeatedly pointed out to the Premiers of the States, that they are perfectly justified in communicating with each other with a view to determining upon a common course of action, and that the Federal Government is willing to lend what aid it can to assist them to deal effectively with the difficulty, but that it is not within our province to take action affecting the whole Commonwealth simply to meet the requirements of parts of the Commonwealth.

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