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Tuesday, 4 September 1906

Senator FINDLEY (Victoria) . - In common with Senator Givens, I do not favour the proposed vote of ^8,000 for the purchase of a trawler to aid private enterprise. The Government profess to have been influenced by the example of other countries in this connexion, but they might follow the example in a more concrete way by entering definitely into the business, and making it a Commonwealth concern in the interests of the whole of the citizens of Australia. I believe in the collective ownership of industries, and if the Commonwealth is to purchase a trawler at a cost of £8,000, it should be utilized, not in the interests of private individuals, but in the. interests of the whole of the citizens of the Commonwealth. According to the Minister, the up-keep of the trawler will cost £1,500 a year, but if Parliament refuses to vote the money, what will become of the trawler ? " Do the Government propose to sell it?

Senator Dobson - We should be told all that.

Senator FINDLEY - Senator Givens very properly asked what is going to become of the fish caught by the trawler.

Senator Playford - We are going to sell them.

Senator Givens - Then the Commonwealth will have- entered upon an industrial enterprise, and we have frequently been told that that cannot be done under the Constitution.

Senator FINDLEY - The Minister" explained that certain waters would be explored to discover whether they contained fish, and if it was found that they did,, private enterprise could then be called upon to -work those waters.

Senator Playford - I did not say that the fish caught bv the Government trawler would not be sold by the Government.

Senator Givens - If it is sold by the Government the Commonwealth will be engaging in an industrial enterprise.

Senator Playford - We shall have a perfect right to do "that under the Constitution.

Senator de Largie - That is what I have always contended.

Senator FINDLEY - After we have discovered good fishing grounds in certain waters, is it proposed that the Government trawler shall push on to some new place, and try to discover other grounds?

Senator Playford - I do not know.

Senator FINDLEY - I wish to know before I am asked to record my vote. If we discover good fishing grounds by the operation of the trawler, the fish in those waters will belong to the people of. the Commonwealth, but, apparently, the moment we make the discovery, the intention is to announce the fact to the world, so that private enterprise may then come along and work the ground, and the Government trawler will move off to other waters. Until we are given full information on the subject, I am not prepared to support the vote.

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