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Tuesday, 2 September 1902

Mr KENNEDY (MOIRA, VICTORIA) - The proposed expenditure is to be extended over three years.


Mr Kingston - What is the difference between an enterprising man and a speculator ?

Mr BATCHELOR - This is not the place for conundrums. Private enterprise often builds up monopolies, to which I am certainly opposed. Apart from the financial question, which, as the Minister knows, is of serious importance to the State of South Australia, I would point out that if the second part of the Minister's proposals is carried into effect, and an import duty of 10 per cent, is placed upon pig-iron, the manufacture of machinery, and of iron and steel implements in Australia will be ruined. . The import duty upon manufactures of iron will probably be 15 or 12^ per cent., but an import duty of 10 per cent, upon pig-iron would reduce the protection of local manufacturers to 5 or 24j per cent., which would be a ridiculous margin. There is another matter which should be inquired into. The Minister did not propose the payment of butter bonuses in South Australia until a select committee had inquired into the advisability of doing such a thing. We have been told that there is room in Australia for several establishments for the making of iron and steel, and that, therefore, the granting of these bonuses cannot lead to the creation of a monopoly. In my opinion that statement is incorrect, but the matter forms another subject for ari inquiry. Why should this Parliament, in its first session, commit itself to the expenditure of £300,000 of the people's money, when we cannot find time to deal with machinery Bills and other legislation which is urgently needed 1

Mr Higgins - Parliament will commit itself to the expenditure of only so much as the Government may think fit to authorize.

Mr BATCHELOR - Is it to be thought that the Minister will not see fit to sanction the expenditure of the whole amount ? Once we pass the Bill- the matter will be taken out of our hands.

Mr Higgins - The regulations which must be framed to carry out the intentions of the Bill will have to be laid before Parliament for approval.

Mr BATCHELOR - I regard that as a quibble. Does any one believe that any harm can result from the postponement of the consideration of this matter for perhaps twelve months, so as to permit of an inquiry being made into the whole subject ? There are many important questions connected with it, upon which the House to-day has no information, and upon which it should be informed before authorizing the proposed expenditure.

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