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Tuesday, 4 September 1906


Senator GIVENS (Queensland) .- The Government have frequently contended that the Common-wealth has no power under the Constitution to engage in any industrial enterprise, and it is, therefore, a little peculiar that they should now be proposing to undertake such an enterprise of their own volition.


Senator Playford - It is only like giving a bonus, or helping the sugar industry, for instance.


Senator GIVENS - This vote is a distinct departure. The Government propose to purchase a trawler, and to engage in trawling. If they do not intend to follow the industry, for what do they require the trawler? If by the operations of this trawler any fish are caught, do the Government propose to sell them, or will they throw them overboard again, because the Commonwealth has no power to engage in anv industrial enterprise ? Some members of the present Ministry, and some members of the party behind them, are opposed to the State undertaking any industrial enterprise whatever, and yet they have not the slightest compunction in spending the money of the State on a partially socialistic enterprise, not for the benefit of the whole of the people who provide the money, but for the benefit of a few people.


Senator Playford - If the Government have this trawler they will be able to find out whether there are fish in certain waters.


Senator GIVENS - The Government propose to expend Commonwealth money in connexion with this industry, not in order to preserve it for the people of the Commonwealth, but to explore the fishing grounds, and then withdraw and leave them for the benefit of a few private individuals. There is neither reason nor logic in such a proposal. If it is permissible to spend public money in aid of private enterprise for the benefit of a few of the people, it is far more justifiable to spend public money for the benefit of the whole of the people. In fact, any other system is unjustifiable. This sort of mongrel Socialism is enough to make the so-called logic of anti-Socialists stink in the nostrils of intelligent men. I desire a great deal more information on the subject before I shall be prepared to support this vote. I wish to know what representations have been made to the Government, what reports they have had, and what was the motive force inducing them to take this action.


Senator Keating - The example of Canada. Cape Colony, and other countries.


Senator GIVENS - The Committee is entitled to the fullest information on the subject. Before I shall be willing to allow the vote to go, I shall have to be taken into the confidence of the Government, and shown what is behind the vote, and the reason whv it appears before us. When we are asked to vote entirely new expenditure of this sort we should be given some reason for the proposal. I am not willing to vote this money to establish an industry in which the whole of the people of the Commonwealth will not be at liberty to share. I shall vote against this particular item unless, Ministers can give some good reason for its appearance in the schedule to this Bill.







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