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Friday, 15 December 1905

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia) - I do not know that there is any very great scope for debate or comment of any sort on this Bill. As the Minister has said, by the Customs Tariff Act, the operation of a part of the Tariff is suspended until it is put in force by proclamation, when certain industries are sufficiently established under any Act authorizing the payment of bonuses. This Bill repeals the reference to bonuses in the introductory words of the part of the Tariff referred to. When the measure was first introduced it was proposed by a certain strong-willed Minister-

Senator Millen - The honorable and learned senator is not referring to Sir William Lyne?

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I make no personal references. As at first introduced, the measure left the proclamation to the Minister, and now the original provision leaving the matter to Parliament is also re-enacted. The Bill will render the bringing into operation of the part of the Tariff referred to in no way dependent on bonus legislation, or upon the will of the Minister, to whatever fiscal faith he may belong, but will leave to Parliament, as it should do, an opportunity to deal with the whole matter when" the time arrives for action to be taken. This Bill of itself is of no particular advantage to anybody, nor is it calculated, as far as I can judge, to do a.nv harm to anybodyIt amounts to a little more, but only a very little more, than the addition' of another page to the printed matter in our statute-book. The only criticism I can offer to the measure is that it is one of those Bills which illustrates the strong tendency displayed bv some members of the Government - and Senator Playford isnot one of them, because the honorable senator always calls a spade a spade - to apply a verv large name to a very small thing. We had an instance of the kind in the Commerce Bill. Senator Playford agreed with us on that subject, and* the Government subsequently adopted an amendment which, to some extent, limited the expresion used in that case. Here we have a Bill "for an Act to encourage manufactures in Australia."

Senator Mulcahy - It is the greatest humbug in the world.

Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - It reminds one of the frog in the fable, who blew himself out with the idea that he was giving himself the appearance of an ox. We have recently had a good deal of make-believe, but I do think that the policy of make-believe-and Senator Playford smiles in sympathy - is being carried a little too far. The titles of our Bills should. at least correspond in some way to their importance and utility. Still, if the Government prefer to dress this small matter up in peacock's feathers in this way, I do not grudge them the indulgence of that vanity, and I shall not move any amendment on the title. But I commend my observations on the point to Senator Playford.

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