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Monday, 18 December 1911

The PRESIDENT - Order.

Senator STEWART - I do not care; the honorable senator may say what he likes so far as I am concerned.

The PRESIDENT - Order! So far as the Standing Orders are concerned, no senator has a right to say what he likes. I ask Senator Needham to withdraw his statement that what Senator Stewart said is an. absolute lie.

Senator Needham - Senator Stewart said, that I am an aider and abettor of land monopoly. I said that that statement was a lie. I still stick to that opinion.

The PRESIDENT - According to the Standing Orders, I must ask Senator Needham to withdraw the statement.

Senator Needham - In virtue of the Standing Orders, I withdraw the statement, but I still think in the same way.

Senator STEWART - I wish to point out to Senator Needham that direct taxation is unnecessary now, and will continue to be unnecessary so long as this huge Customs revenue is being poured into the Commonwealth exchequer. Any man who desires to see land monopoly broken up and direct taxation established will do something toalter the Tariff in such a way as to reduce its revenue-producing capacity. Senator Needham may imagine that he is the enemy of land monopoly. I assume that he does. But if he is, he will assist to so reduce the revenue-earning capacity of the existing Tariff as to make more and more land value taxation necessary, because every one knows that land monopoly cannot be broken up by any other means than by land value taxation. I know what Senator Needham'* opinions are,- and I was merely pointing out to him that, like many other individuals, whilst believing one thing, the honorable senator by his action is perpetuating, or, at least, assisting to perpetuate, the very evil which he desires to see put an end to. That is all that I meant to say regarding the honorable senator. I again repeat that the present Tariff is a revenue Tariff, and) should be altered, especially by the party at present in power. What is the alternative. Is it to be a Free Trade Tariff ? The people of Australia do not want a Free Trade Tariff. They want a Protectionist Tariff, and they are entitled to the kind of Tariff they desire, which will not only create secondary industries, as they are called, but which, incidentally and indirectly, will be the -means of freeing the land of the Commonwealth so as to lead to a great expansion of settlement. I ask honorable senators to take a serious view of the situation, and adopt the course which I think that every man who has given the subject any consideration whatever believes to be necessary for the advancement and welfare of the people of Australia.

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