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Tuesday, 15 March 1904

Debate resumed from nth March (vide page 488), on motion by Mr. Mauger -

That the Address be agreed to by the House.

Mr. SYDNEYSMITH (Macquarie).I am sure that honorable members were delighted to listen on Friday to the speech delivered by the right honorable member for Adelaide. Newspaper reports had led us to believe that he was in such a bad state of health that he would be unable to go through the ordeal of making even a short speech on the Address in Reply, but we were pleased to find that he was able, not only to undertake that task, but to succeed in occupying the attention of honorable members during an address extending over a period of three and a half hours. I join issue with much that the right honorable member said, believing, as I do, that many of his arguments were based upon false principles ; but we are all seeking, according to our lights, to do our best for the advancement of the Commonwealth, and we should not allow any little differences of opinion to interfere with that friendly feeling which I am satisfied exists amongst honorable members. During the recent elections the right honorable member for Adelaide, as well as the Prime Minister, joined issue with the freetraders of Australia, as to the progress made by New South Wales under the free-trade policy. On Friday last the right honorable member quoted statistics previously put forward by Mr. B. R. Wise, Acting Premier for New South Wales, relative to the increase which had taken place in the exports of that State, those exports being for the most part to other parts of the Commonwealth. He might reasonably have gone a little further, and have comparted the progress made by New South Wales under a policy of free-trade with that made by Victoria under a policy of protection. In opening the election campaign at Ballarat the Prime Minister, in order to please many of his supporters, referred to what he declared to be the decrease of population which had taken place in New South Wales, and asserted that under the freetrade policy of the leader of the Opposition, New South Wales had lost1,882 persons within a period of some four or five years. Had he been fair to the mother State he would have looked up the statistics, which show that, as a matter of fact, 2,400 Chinese left New South Wales during the period referred to ; and that, apart from those departures, there was actually an increase of population.

Mr Fisher - Where did the Chinese

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