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Tuesday, 18 September 1906

Senator STYLES (Victoria) .- If the idea of Senator ' Drake were carried out, and only the concluding words of the proposed amendment were left, what a beautiful opportunity would be presented to a strong free-trade Government, if ever such a Government got into power, to increase the Excise duty, and thus decrease the protection afforded to Australian industries ! A catch vote might be taken in each House, and then the Governor-General - which, of course, means the Government of the dav - would have the power, as I say, to decrease the protection afforded to distillers. However, I do not think that this is the sort of trap into which the Senate is likely to be led.

Senator -Findley.- Is there anything wrong in faking away the protection to distillers if these distillers do not pay reasonable wages?

Senator STYLES - But Senator Drake suggests that all but the last paragraph of the proposed amendment should be struck out.

Senator Findley - That will suit me if I cannot pass the other part.

Senator STYLES - If it were certain that the proposed proviso would be put into operation only when distillers were not paying reasonable wages, I could understand the position.

Senator Lt Col Gould - Supposing it were shown that the distillers were making overwhelming profits and destroying the revenue, would the honorable senator not be prepared to increase the Excise duty?

Senator STYLES - That would not be done by a resolution of both Houses, but by an Act of Parliament. The proposed amendment would simply open the door to the decrease of the protection afforded toAustralian distillers.

Senator Pulsford - The protection is too much.

Senator STYLES - We have had ample proof over' and over again that, in the opinion of honorable senators opposite, all protection is too much if it encourages Australian industries.

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