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Wednesday, 19 October 1904

Sir JOHN FORREST (Swan) - I may say at the outset that I shall vote for the Bill. A great many of the arguments which we have heard as to the undesirability of granting the proposed bonus would apply to almost any proposal of the kind that might be brought before this Parliament, and no doubt those who have advanced them would have opposed the insertion in the Constitution of the provision under which bonuses may be voted by the Federal Parliament. The object of that provision, however, was that bonuses, when considered necessary by Parliament should be voted, and therefore those who support the present proposal cannot be said to be doing something which was not contemplated by the framers of the Constitution.

Mr Lonsdale - Contemplated to benefit the capitalists.

Sir JOHN FORREST - That is becoming a stale cry. The honorable member must advance some argument before he will be listened to.

Mr Conroy - The right honorable gentleman cannot pretend that the granting of a bonus is being proposed for the benefit of the workers, since only 400 men are employed in one of Mr. Carnegie's Pittsburg mills.

Sir JOHN FORREST - I denied the accuracy of that statement last night. The Commonwealth has no land of its own, nor can it encourage settlement by legislation in regard to railways, mines, or waterworks. The one great thing which it can do to assist Australian industries and to promote the material advancement of our people, is to vote bonuses for the establishment of profitable industries such as the iron industry ; and I hope that the proposal now under consideration is only the first of many similar proposals. I have no wish to unduly coddle our industries for all time, but we ought to try to establish new industries, in order to open up fresh avenues of employment, and to create new sources of wealth. If Ave can do that by the payment of moderate bounties we shall do an exceedingly useful work.

Mr Conroy - How are we going to get the money ? We cannot get it out of the air.

Sir JOHN FORREST - I shall not answer the honorable and learned member's questions. I do not understand why he interrupts me in this way.

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