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Wednesday, 9 November 1904

Mr WILKINSON (Moreton) - From the remarks of the last speaker, one would imagine that Victoria was suffering severely from the operation of the sugar bounty legislation which was enacted by this Parliament, with a view to maintaining a White Australia. Evidently, the honorable and learned member looks mainly at the revenue which is derived by the State Treasurer under the operation of a uniform Tariff throughout the Commonwealth. Only to-day I observed that on© of the Melbourne newspapers was boasting that Victoria is rapidly recovering her distributing position. We all know that the establishment of InterState free-trade has materially assisted the manufacturing industries of this State, because, prior to Federation, those industries had been specially fostered by a protective system. Consequently, if there is one State more than another in which the people are reaping the advantages of Federation today, that State is Victoria. Honorable members will recollect that when the Tariff was under consideration, and an effort was made to levy a protective duty upon behalf of a Victorian industry, the proposal always commanded the support of the Queensland representatives. When, however, a duty was required to encourage a Queensland industry, the Victorian representatives were frequently found voting against it. No State has gained so much from the establishment of Inter-State free-trade as has Victoria, and none has exhibited a more woeful lack of the Federal spirit. I rose chiefly to draw attention to a few items which were dealt with - but not exhaustively - by the honorable member for Herbert, who, I confess, possesses a much wider knowledge of the sugar industry than I do. It is unfortunate that the Committee were obliged to postpone the consideration of the Esti mates of the Treasurer's Department, because the honorable member for Wide Bay, who has taken a special interest in the question to which attention has been so pointedly directed, chances to be absent this afternoon. Had he known that the Customs Estimates would be considered i.oday, I am quite sure that he would have been present. The honorable member for Herbert has informed the Committee that it is compulsory upon those who import kanakas into Queensland, to deposit £5 per head in a trust fund, which is intended to be utilized in defraying the cost of returning them to the islands.

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