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Friday, 21 October 1904


Mr MAHON (Coolgardie) I regret, sir, that mv remark was interpreted as a request for a quorum. I merely wished to protest against a division being taken upon an important Bill in a House attenuated as it always is upon a Friday afternoon. This is a measure which should be dealt with in a full House. No more important Bill could possibly be considered by Parliament than one which proposes to take money from the public Treasury for the encouragement of a private speculation. No measure could possibly be propounded involving issues of a more far-reaching character. It is recognised that the responsibility of the Commonwealth will not terminate with the payment of this bonus. As the Prime Minister so well pointed out last night, a time may come when an appeal will be made to the Legislature on behalf of the labour employed in the iron industry, if it be established by means of State assistance. ls it to be supposed that any Parliament will be deaf to the entreaties of the overtasked and poorly paid workmenand I am supposing a state of affairs which is not impossible of realization - as to refuse them assistance? Consequently, I say that every member of the House should be present when a division is taken upon this Bill. That is why I hope that the honorable member who is in charge of it will not attempt to proceed much further this after- noon. I trust that with the assistance of the Government, he will permit me to continue my remarks on a future occasion, when I should like to address a full House. If by interjection he will indicate his intentions in this respect, he will facilitate matters very considerably. Ever since I have been a member of this House, it has been customary to adjourn upon Friday afternoon a little after 4 o'clock. As a Western Australian representative, who is not in any way benefited by an arrangement made for the convenience of New South Wales and South Australian members only, I have been a party to this continual waste of time.


Mr Johnson - It conveniences the Queensland representatives as well.


Mr MAHON - Certainly not. I think that the honorable member in charge of this Bill should give the House some indication of his intentions in this regard.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - There was an understanding that a division would be taken to-day.


Mr MAHON - I was not a party to that understanding. I can assure the honorable member that it is not my intention to conclude my remarks before half -past 4 o'clock. And I would remind the honorable member in charge of the Bill that there are several honorable members upon this side of the House who wish to address themselves to it.


Mr Austin Chapman - I have no desire to prevent a full discussion, but I think that we might continue the debate until 4 o'clock. Most honorable members who are absent have arranged for pairs.


Mr MAHON - This pairing system is most unsatisfactory. Upon a Bill of this character, it is very desirable that every honorable member should be present, and record his vote. The honorable member for Kennedy, the honorable member for Fremantle, and the honorable member for Wide. Bay desire to explain their attitude towards this Bill before a division is taken. That being so, I appeal to the honorable member for Eden-Monaro not to continue the discussion much further this afternoon. I am surprised that a measure of this kind, which proposes to grant an enormous bounty from the national Trea.sury should excite so little animation in this House. If it is desirable to encourage the manufacture of iron from native ores-


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The expenditure proposed represents only about one-fifteenth of the cost of the Transcontinental Railway.


Mr MAHON - I do not see that the observation is pertinent. The railway is a national work. The honorable member can afford to be indifferent to a project which is necessary to consummate the union of the States. I do hope that honorable members who represent States which have a long start over others will look a little more generously upon the requirements of the distant States. However, I do not wish to be led away from the thread of my discourse. I wish to point out that to give encouragement to one industry at the expense of the community is a curious anomaly. Why should a few speculators, who propose to produce iron from native ores, receive encouragement which we are not prepared to extend to those connected with other primary industries? Why should a man who produces a ton of iron receive a bounty from the State, whilst the individual who produces an ounce of gold gets nothing?


Mr Webster - He gets £4.


Mr MAHON - But the man who produces the ton of iron also gets the value of it, plus the State bounty. Upon this occasion I should like to proceed with as little interruption as possible. It is somewhat curious that we are asked to give the iron industry the benefit of a grant of money, whilst the gold-miners, whom I represent, and who live under far harder conditions than those to which the artisans in the iron, industry would be subjected, are to receive nothing. Of course it may be urged that iron has a utilitarian value, whilst gold is merely for exchange and ornamental purposes. But we must not forget that the individual who possesses the gold can always purchase the iron. Let us consider this question closely. Can any one show what benefit the gold-miners of Western Australia will receive from the taxes they are to pay towards the production of iron in Tasmania and New South Wales? Why should the miners of Broken Hill, who are engaged in producing silver and lead, be taxed for the protection and encouragement of a number of individuals who are engaged in the production of iron ? If, in addition to protecting the iron in- 9x2 dustry, a proposal were made to grant a bonus upon every ounce of gold and silver produced, and upon every ton of lead and tin, I could recognise in this Bill a desire to do justice to the bulk of the miners of Australia. Until a provision is inserted in the measure which will have the effect of offering equal encouragement to those engaged in other forms of mining enterprise, it will not receive my support. The honorable member for Dalley made a very pertinent observation when he pointed out that the fishing and the shipping industries of Australia were deserving of bonuses equally with the iron industry.


Mr McDonald - And low-grade ore mining also.


Mr MAHON - Yes; as the honorable member reminds me. a great many of the mines in Western Australia could be worked at a distinct profit if in the initial stages they could fall back upon the Government for a (bonus.


Mr Fowler - There are very many in Western Australia, and, no doubt, many in this State.


Mr MAHON - That is so. Why should the State encourage men to engage in the unprofitable work of producing iron when ii refuses to assist them in working gold, silver, tin, or lead mines, which, in their initial stages, may also be unprofitable? If a Government grant be justifiable in the one case it is surely justifiable in the other? I know of a number of mines in Western Australia which are on the verge of the profit making stage, and which, if given a Government grant of £4,000 or £5,000, would be able at once to employ perhaps 100 men, with results profitable not 'only to the workers, but to the mining investors.


Mr Austin Chapman - The States Governments already give some assistance to miners.


Mr MAHON - They do. In Western Australia we have a prospecting vote, and Government batteries are also erected to treat ore for prospectors at cost price. That is a very proper provision to make, but the State Government which assists the miners does not propose to pay this bonus. We, as a Federation, propose to ask the miners who are assisted in this way by the States to pay a subsidy towards the encouragement of iron production. The gold mining community, and those engaged in producing silver and lead, will be called upon to contribute to these bonuses, but will derive no direct benefit from them. That is a gross injustice. Parliament should not lend itself to the aggrandizement of any one section of the community. Legislation, and particularly that passed by a Federal Parliament, should fee aimed at equalizing the conditions of the whole of the people, and doing justice to all classes of the community. I put it to the honorable member in charge of the Bill whether this is a measure to mete out equal justice to all classes of producers in Australia. It would be far preferable to encourage the farming industry by a direct vote. As the honorable member for Darwin pointed out just now, if we expended this sum of £320,000 in putting men on the soil, and assisting them to carry, on farming on a scientific plan - if we devoted the money to the education of their sons, so that they might take up farming at a point considerably in advance of that at which their fathers started - we should do something that would be of lasting benefit to the community. Such a proposal would be immeasurably better than is this proposition to establish an industry which, on the admission of its own supporters, cannot be started firstof all without a bonus, and cannot afterwards live without some form of Tariff assistance. These are considerations which, in themselves, should be sufficient to make the advocates of the Bill pause ; but if they turn to the report of the Commission which investigated this question, they will find that it offers no inducement to them to go before the people of Australia and defend this measure. It is, to say the least, curious that no attempt has been made to obtain information about the iron industry from persons outside Australia. Every experiment so far made on the large scale contemplated by this Bill, in the production of iron, has been made in other countries, and when the Commission was being appointed, I certainly understood that if it did not visit America, England, or the Continent, it would at least take steps to collect first-hand information from some of the highest experts abroad. But what do we find? The whole of the information sought by the Commission was obtained from men whose experience is confined almost entirely to Australia. Certain Government geologists and mining engineers were called by the Commission; but, for the most part, the witnesses examined were men actively engaged in the manufacture of iron products. I hope that I am not casting anv undue reflection on these gentle men when 1 say that their financial welfare would be distinctly improved by the passing of this Bill, and by the grant of a bonus from the Treasury. It is extraordinary that any Government, proposing an innovation of this kind, should limit their inquiries to this Continent, and should not obtain the best information available in the outside world. As I have previously pointed out, this will" not be a cheap experiment. It will commit the taxpayers of the Commonwealth, not merely to the payment of the original bonuses, but to the expenditure of a very large sum, and may possibly lead to complications and difficulties which the wisest man in this country cannot clearly foresee. That is the first objection that I take to this measure, but there are several paragraphs in the report of the Commission which show that there are other objections. I propose to refer to what may be called the majority report of the Commission, since the Chairman seems to have exercised a deliberative, as well as a casting, vote. Paragraph 5 in the majority report contains the following most remarkable statement : -

Little attention has hitherto been given to iron mining in Australia, and your Commissioners are of opinion that future operations are likely to result in further valuable discoveries of iron deposits.

We are not told where the evidence upon which this statement is based, is to be found in the report. It reminds me of a little episode which occurred at an early stage in the development of the Western Australian gold-fields. I became interested in a lease not far from the famous Bayley 's Reward mine ; and an expert, who was then held in very high repute, was employed to report on the property. There was considerable excitement at the time in the mining market, and great expectations were based upon a favorable report being obtained from this celebrated expert. On the strength of his report, other mines had been floated, and the promoters of this concern were relying very largely upon a favorable report from him to recommend the lease to speculators in the various cities of Australia. The report eventually reached the promoters of the company, and it was found that after a great flourish of scientific, technical terms, the expert, in describing the property, went on to say " Gentlemen, I see noreason whatever to doubt but that Bayley's reef does go through your property." Unfortunately, that did not satisfy those who were expected to take up shares in the venture, because, although the expert "saw no reason to doubt " that Bayley's reef went through the property, that which the owners of the lease required from him was some assurance that it did pass through it. This paragraph reminds me of that little incident. In the opinion of these respectable Commissioners - not one of whom I venture to say has ever been down a mine in- his life - future operations are likely to result in further valuable discoveries of iron deposits.


Mr Austin Chapman - -The honorable member for Bland has been down a mine.


Mr MAHON - I am referring not to the report signed by the honorable member, but to the majority report.


Mr Watson - One honorable member who signed the majority report worked in a mine for many years.


Mr MAHON - I am speaking, not of a coal mine, but of gold and iron mines. I had forgotten for the moment that the name of the honorable member for Newcastle appeared at the foot of the majority report. In the natural order of things, one might have expected to find him signing the minority report. But here we have the statement that in the opinion of these Commissioners, " future operations are likely to result in further valuable discoveries of iron deposits."


Mr Crouch - There, is evidence by the geological surveyors of the States in support of that belief.


Mr MAHON - The average miner, who is as good as any geologist, will .tell you that he cannot see " beyond the point of his pick." That is what his experience teaches him, but these members of the Commission are much more sanguine, and disregard the experience of practical men. I do not think that fRat statement is worth the paper on which it is printed. I invite honorable members now to turn to paragraph 10, in which it is said that this industry - would be an important addition to Australian industries, giving employment to capital and labour. The iron industry is by many well described as the foundation of all other industries.

I believe that to be true. I hold the opinion that the establishment of the iron industry would increase the employment of labour in Australia; but I take it that we ought to inquire first of all, what would be the cost of giving this encouragement. We as a Parliament ought to inquire whether the increased employment so obtained would not lead to decreased employment in other directions. The Commissioners say that the iron trade is at the foundation of all other industries, and, therefore, if we do anything to increase the cost of iron - if we impose a duty, or grant bonuses calculated to result in the cost of iron to the men who use it being increased - the tendency must be to decrease employment in those dependent industries. Paragraph 12 of the report contains the rather extraordinary statement that -

The existence of powerful rival vested interests elsewhere, and the novelty of the enterprise, so far as Australia is concerned, induce some hesitation in investing on the part of capitalists.

I wish to know from any business man who may be present in the Chamber whether the novelty of an enterprise has ever deferred investors from taking up a scheme in which they could see a profit ? The remark which I have quoted is an instance of the absurd statements with which the report bristles. We have capitalists investing in every new invention that is brought out. The fact that inventions ' are novelties does not deter people from investing their money in them, but probably is an inducement to many to put money into them. In paragraph 14 of the majority report it is stated that -

Your Commissioners draw attention to the fact that the bonus system of Canada has immensely stimulated iron and steel production in the Dominion, and your _ Commissioners are sanguine that the course now proposed will be productive of good results in Australia.

Although six of the Commissioners declare that the bonus system has immensely stimulated the production of iron and steel in Canada, the other six Commissioners, who heard the same evidence, watched the same witnesses, and deliberated upon and dealt with the same facts, state that -

The Canadian experience is not encouraging. The bonus system for iron production was first instituted there in 1883. Subsequently, a Bill was passed in 1897 further continuing the system. Another Bill was carried in 1899 providing for the diminution of the bounties by a sliding scale expiring in 1907. In July of this year the Dominion Government decided to postpone the operation of this sliding scale for one year, which practically means a further increase in the bounties paid.

That is a. palpable contradiction of the other statement, and the House is entitled to more information on the subject. We cannot fairly be asked to legislate on the strength of such mutually destructive statements. Paragraph 17 of the majority report reads as follows : -

No evidence has been produced which would lead your Commissioners to believe that any State

Government contemplates undertaking the establishment of ironworks or any abandonment of its position as indicated in the correspondence between the Federal Government and the States laid before the House of Representatives on the 29th July, 1902.

Surely the determination of a State Government is not, like the laws of the Medes and Persians, unalterable ! Since that paragraph was written the personnel of at least two State Governments has been radically changed. There is now in power in Queensland a Government which is largely sympathetic with the proposal that the State should carry on enterprises of this kind on its own account.


Mr McCay - Queensland is not likely to have much money for enterprises of this kind for some time to come.


Mr Fisher - It would have much less if we passed the Bill.


Mr MAHON - That is .so. Queensland's contribution to the bonus would be considerable.


Mr McCay - In any case, it would have to find a good deal to carry on an enterprise of this kind.


Mr MAHON - I do not think that the honorable and learned gentleman should assume that the people of Queensland are " dead broke."


Mr McCay - I do not assume anything of the kind.


Mr MaHON - That is the inference to be drawn from the honorable and learned gentleman's remarks. Although there may be a deficiency in the finances of Queensland, due to the operation of the Federal Tariff, the money is still in the pockets of the people, and it only requires taxation in some other form to extract it. I believe that 'the resources of that State and the enterprise of its people are equal to the task of establishing ironworks there.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Without assistance from the Commonwealth Government ?


Mr MAHON - Yes.


Mr Fisher - At any rate, they do not propose to send round the hat.


Mr McDonald - If they can get the money from the Commonwealth Government, so much the better.


Mr MAHON - Surely the Minister of Home Affairs will admit that it is better for us to assist a State Government than to assist a private syndicate?


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I am not in favour of doing either.


Mr MAHON - I am hot vary enthusiastic on the subject, but if a choice has to be made between what the honorable gentle man may consider two evils, surely he will admit that assistance can more advantageously be given to a State Government than to a private syndicate?


Mr Spence - And to a foreign syndicate at that.


Mr MAHON - -I should like to know, before proceeding further, if it is the intention of the Government to take a vote on the question this afternoon?


Mr McLean - We intend to keep on until the usual time.


Mr MAHON - I would point out that honorable members are somewhat exhausted by the long sittings which we have had during the week. Furthermore, the hours that we sit here are not our only working hours. An honorable member is not necessarily idle because he is not sitting in this Chamber, and, of late, a great many questions have come before Parliament which have required a considerable amount of study. Personally, I feel rather tired, and therefore should be glad to have an opportunity to continue my speech on the next day of sitting; but if the Government will not consent to an adjournment of the debate, I shall deal with one or two other statements in the report. In paragraph 20 of the majority report it is stated that -

Your Commissioners recommend that provision should be inserted in the Bill ...(*) securing to the Commonwealth or to the State in which the work for the earning of bonus is being chiefly carried on, a right of purchase of the undertaking after a fair interval, at a valuation.

I think that that arrangement would be altogether inadequate. If we legislated on those lines, and ultimately desired to resume this monopoly, we- might, at the end of the time, be obliged to pay a very handsome sum for the good-will of the concern.


Mr Tudor - - If it were successful.


Mr MAHON - Yes.


Mr Conroy - Perhaps the Government would have to pay for watered stock, too.


Mr MAHON - I thank the honorable and learned member for that observation. I was just going to refer to that matter. We might, perhaps, have some 'clever bookkeeping done, and the stock might be watered several times over.


Mr King O'malley - We should have that.


Mr MAHON - Furthermore, we might have worn-out machinery thrown on our hands, to be paid for at a high price. Whenever enterprises of this kind have been carried out by private persons, and afterwards resumed by Government, they have been sold at an extravagant price. Several cases of the kind have occurred in Western Australia. The Great Southern Railway, from Albany to Beverley, was built on the land-grant principle, and was afterwards resumed by the State for about j£i, 100,000, or about 50 per cent, more than any private person would have paid for it. Like the present privatelyowned Midland Railway, from Perth to Geraldton, its directors would not move with the times, by giving the settlers a sufficient number of trains, and fair rates for the carriage of their produce, so that the State was absolutely forced to resume it at their own price.


Mr KING O'MALLEY (DARWIN, TASMANIA) - The same thing has occurred with the Emu Bay Railway in Tasmania.


Mr MAHON - We ought not to deliberately place on the shoulders of the Commonwealth an incubus which we can get rid of later on only at enormous expense. If we are going to give this bonus to private individuals, we should insert in the Bill a clause requiring that where the net earnings of the industry exceed 5 per cent, or 6 per cent., the surplus should be returned to the Commonwealth in repayment of the money advanced. Such a clause would, of course, necessitate very strict inquiry into the transactions of the company, to ascertain what their real profits were, and to insure that they were not writing off an excessive amount for depreciation and wear and tear. Honorable members may laugh at that suggestion, but unless we wish to make an absolute gift to private individuals we must be involved in these complications. Now I come to the minority report, signed by the honorable member for Bland and the other members of the Commission who were associated with him. Here I find a statement which certainly ought to act as a danger signal to those who contemplate proceeding in the direction of subsidizing private enterprise. In clause 3 the Commissioners say -

The Bill provides for the payment of ^324,000 of the people's money to private individuals engaged in an enterprise for ' their private gain. There can be no guarantee that the bonuses proposed would permanently establish the industry, though it is probable the inducements offered might be instrumental in forming speculative companies.

That paragraph lies right across the track of this Bill. The honorable members who constituted half of the Commission, deliberately say that the bonuses proposed would not permanently establish the industry, although it is probable that the inducement offered might be instrumental in forming speculative companies. These honorable members say further -

Nearly all the witnesses examined agreed that the payment of bonuses would be useless unless followed by a duty.

These warnings ought not to be disregarded, because if they are we shall embark upon a course which will involve us in very serious complications. The Commissioners who signed the minority report, say further -

No effort was made to bring forward witnesses against this Bill.

If that be the case, we can imagine how the conclusions at which the Commissioners arrived would have been strengthened if witnesses against the Bill had been called.


Mr Watson - Opportunities were afforded to every person who desired to give evidence.


Mr Watkins - Every member of the Commission had the right to nominate witnesses. As many persons gave evidence from the consumers' stand-point as from the producers' point of view.


Mr MAHON - So far as I can see, very few consumers gave evidence.


Mr Watkins - A large number of engineers, who are consumers, gave evidence.


Mr MAHON - They are middlemen, not consumers. I am reminded of some questions that were put to Mr. Franki, the manager of Mort's Dock and Engineering Company, Sydney, who is a middleman,and not a. consumer, because he passes on to his customers any charges that He may have to defray. He was asked -

Do you think the proposal justifiable from the point of view of the consumers of raw iron ? - I think that the bonuses proposed are far too high.

It is proposed that a bonus of 12s. 6d. a ton shall be given for the production of pig iron? - That would be an outrageous amount. We now have to pay 82s. a ton for pig iron landed in our yard. I understand, however, that it is claimed that pig iron can be manufactured at Lithgow for 35s. a ton. Adding another 15s. for freight and charges - a very liberal allowance - that would make the price 50s. a ton. If they sold at 70s. the price would be 10s. below what we pay now, and would give the producers £1 a ton profit.

The honorable member for Newcastle says that the witnesses represented consumers and producers in fair proportion, but after having gone carefully through the list of witnesses, I cannot agree with him. I do not consider engineers to be consumers.


Mr Watkins - Who are consumers?


Mr MAHON - The people who ultimately use the articles, and who have to pay for them, are the real consumers. I am not prepared to accept as impartial the evidence given by middlemen, because whatever charges they may have to bear are merely passed on to their customers.


Mr Tudor - A man who kept a boot shop could not be called a consumer?


Mr MAHON - Certainly not.


Mr Watkins - To the extent to which he used leather as raw material he would be a consumer, and in that respect he would occupy exactly the same position as an engineer who used iron as his raw material.


Mr MAHON - It is very significant that the Commissioners who signed the minority report should have stated that " No effort was made to bring forward witnesses against the Bill." The report is a very negative kind of document altogether, and I leave honorable members to imagine what shape it would have assumed if witnesses hostile to the Bill had been brought forward.


Mr Wilks - They could not make out a case even with favorable witnesses.


Mr MAHON - Exactly.


Mr Groom - Persons who were unfavorable to the Bill were invited to give evidence, but did not appear.


Mr MAHON - That is all very well. The honorable and learned member imagines that every one is as public-spirited as he is, and that all the members of the community are only too eager to avail themselves of an opportunity to testify upon such a subject as that which was being investigated by the Commission. I did not know that any one was free to go before the Commission. 1 am a member of this House, and I did not know what the honorable and learned member assumes every member of the public knew. I thought that the members of the Commission nominated their own witnesses, and, apparently they did, because I do not see any evidence of witnesses having volunteered to give evidence.


Mr Wilks - They were all pressed men - hard pressed for the bonus.


Mr MAHON - I now return to the original point. We have no' right, in my opinion, to give away enormous sums of money without first obtaining information from experts who cap tell us if we are proceeding upon right lines. We should have sought the guidance of men who are acquainted with the circumstances attending the establishment of the iron industry in America, or upon the Continent, or elsewhere.


Mr Mauger - The Commission should have gone to America.


Mr MAHON - I think it should. In any case I contend that bonuses are objectionable. I have in my hand a report which indicates some of the results brought about by the operation of bonuses in the United States. Mr. Thos. W. Lawson, writing in Everybody's Magazine upon the effect of bonuses upon the political life of the United States, says -

At no time in the history of the United States has the power of dollars been as great as now. Freedom and equity are controlled by dollars. The laws which should preserve and enforce all rights are made and enforced by dollars.

It is possible to-day, with dollars, to "steer" the selection of the candidates of both the great parties for the highest office in our Republic, that of President of the United States, so that the people, as a matter of fact, must elect one of the "steered" candidates.

It is possible to repeat the operation in the selection of candidates for the executive and legislative conduct and control of every State and municipality in the United States, and with a sufficient number of dollars to " steer" the doings of the law-makers and law-enforcers of the national, State, and municipal governments of the people, and a sufficient proportion of the Court decisions to make absolute any power created by such direction. It is all, broadly speaking, a matter of dollars to practically accomplish these things.


Mr Kennedy - The honorable member must admit that there is a distinction between a bonus and a bribe.


Mr MAHON - I am not now alluding to bribes. The article refers to the indirect influence which bonuses granted in connexion with the creation of artificial industries in the United States exercise upon politicians at critical times. Mr. Lawson continues -

I shall go further and say that there exists to-day uncontrolled in the hands of a set of men a power to make dollars from nothing. That function of dollar making which the people believe is vested in their government alone, and only exercised under the law for their benefit, is actually being secretly exercised on an enormous scale by a few private individuals for their own personal benefit.

In reply to the honorable member ' for Moira, who, I think, misunderstood the effect of what I was' reading, I should like to mention a concrete case. Suppose that by the operation of this bonus we established, in, say, some part of New South Wales, an enormous industry, employing 5,000 or 6,000 men, who, with those dependent upon them, would probably represent 15,000 or 20,000 persons. Suppose further that a crisis was brought about, such as occurred a week or two ago, when one honorable member held the Government of this country, as he proudly boasted, " in the hollow of his hand." Let us try to conceive the extent of the pressure which might be exerted by the representative of the number of people mentioned, if they came here and asked for further concessions. Just consider the illegitimate power that they would be able to exert.


Mr Kennedy - That is an argument against the establishment or maintenance of any industry.


Mr MAHON - By State assistance, yes. It is an argument against granting State subsidies to industries, because the State has the power to increase a duty, and thereby add to the earnings of the operatives, or to decrease the protection, and bring about an opposite result. The extract which I read referred to the indirect influences exerted by the granting of State subsidies to private enterprises. We need not travel even to the United States in order to ascertain the effects of granting butter bonuses and sugar bonuses.


Mr Kennedy - If the bonus now proposed has the same effect upon the iron industry that the butter bonus has had upon the dairying industry in Victoria, there will be no reason for complaint.


Mr MAHON - I was referring only to one of the by-products of the bonus system. I believe that so far as the butter bonus is ' concerned, it has proved of great advantage to the fanners of Victoria. Unfortunately the farmers did not get all that they were entitled to. I am merely referring to the hy-products of bribery and corruption which have been the resultant of the bonus system, and which I am sure the honorable member for Moira condemns as strongly as does anybody else. I feel certain that he is disgusted with the revelations made by the .Butter Commission, and with the exposure of some "clean." politicians who have controlled the affairs of Victoria in the past. The House must have felt disappointed that the honorable member for Parramatta, who is one of the most valiant antagonists of the bonus system, confined his opposition to this measure to a few sentences. On a previous occasion he spoke at much greater length, but I doubt whether time will admit the reading of quotations from his address. I therefore ask leave to continue my remarks upon a future occasion.


Mr Kennedy - I object.


Mr MAHON - The honorable member for Parramatta's address on a former occasion filled many pages of Hansard. As there are many new members in this House, I think they ought, to be put in possession of the arguments used against this Bill when it was first introduced. Surely, in these circumstances, the honorable' member for Moira will not persist in his objection to the course I suggest.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.

House adjourned at 4.4 p.m.







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