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Monday, 1 October 1906

Senator MULCAHY (Tasmania) . - The Senate, having agreed "to the second reading, I wish that now we could decide on some basis on which to work. A good many honorable senators believe in the principle of bounties, but, for several reasons, cannot support every item presented. I think the Government might consent to come to some compromise, and retain within the Bill only bounties to such industries as are of sufficient importance to justify this kind of assistance. 'We have good reason to believe that the cultivation of cocoa and coffee could not be developed into important industries; and I think we might agree to strike out all items but those of cotton, gutta percha, and flax, the cultivation and production of which would employ a large number of people, and would be worthy of the name of " industry " in a national sense. I shall feel constrained to vote against anumber of the items for the reason that I think that we ought not, at the end of the session, and without proper consideration, to commit ourselves to an expenditure of £500,000. There is no doubt that we shall be under the obligation to find the money later, or be guilty of an act amounting to repudiation. I suggest that the Government should withdraw some of the minor items, and simply seek to have bounties granted in the case of the more important items I have indicated.

Senator Playford - The cultivation of cocoa is eminently worthy of assistance.

Senator MULCAHY - The consumption of cocoa is not sufficient to warrant the expenditure, especially in view of the statement of the Minister that its cultivation does not employ a large amount of labour. The idea of those who vote for bounties is that they will provide labour within the Commonwealth.

Senator Playford - The value of our imports of cocoa is about £200,000.

Senator MULCAHY - That is for the whole Commonwealth. I think the Government ought to show a greater readiness to compromise than they have shown in the past, because their endeavours to get Bills through by brute force very frequently defeat their own ends.

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