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Monday, 18 December 1911

Senator RAE - I am going to take my own way, that is quite certain. It appears to me that this Bill will create quite as many anomalies as it seeks to remedy, and that it will probably result in an increase rather than a decrease of revenue. Personally, if any rectification of the Tariff is to be undertaken, I would like it to be in the direction of giving us a larger free list, and of imposing prohibitive duties upon goods which are the product of industries which have a reasonable chance of manufacturing sufficient for our own requirements. I intend to vote against the Bill. It is my duty to do so. I am not responsible for what my Victorian colleagues may have promised their constituents. No doubt, the best meaning men who live under the shadow of that mighty journal, the Age, and who have not cast off the old superstitious belief in the power of journalism, may have pledged themselves to something entirely different from that to which I am committed. Personally, I am rather disappointed when I happen to please a newspaper, and when- . ever I am the subject of its praise, I begin to wonder if I have not been guilty of a dereliction of duty. But I promised the electors of New South Wales that I would not vote for increased duties until we had power to give effect to the new Protection.

Acting upon that promise I intend to oppose this Bill, lock, stock, and barrel. If a vote of mine could defeat it I would willingly register that vote.

Senator Stewart - The honorable senator wishes the Tariff to remain as it is ?

Senator RAE - No; but I object to alter it in the direction of giving more Protection to any individual until we have power to introduce the new Protection. Nobody can misunderstand that attitude.

Senator Stewart - The honorable senator is helping the land monopolist.

Senator RAE - I do not care 'whom I am helping. I intend to respect my pledge to the electors. As far as the land monopolist is concerned I am prepared to deal with him as drastically as possible. But we cannot deal with him under the Tariff.

Senator Stewart - If the Tariff does not provide us with revenue we shall have to deal with him.

Senator RAE - I am, quite convinced that under this Tariff we shall derive as much revenue as we obtained under the previous Tariff - probably a great deal more. There can be no such thing as adequate Protection, and, at the same time, an increase of revenue. I do not believe that there ever was in this, or any other, Parliament a sincerely Protectionist party or Government. I do not think that any Government wish to stifle the sources from: which they derive their revenue. They wish to get all the revenue that they can, and incidentally to grant a little measure of Protection. I believe that all revenue Tariffs-

Senator Stewart - This is a revenue Tariff.

Senator RAE - Undoubtedly it is. The proposed alterations will make it more of a revenue Tariff than ever it was. We are merely paltering with the question by the introduction of these proposals which are put forward under the plea that it is necessary to correct anomalies. I have no sympathy with Senator Millen, who says that, because the country has given a certain verdict, he is bound to haul down his fiscalflag. I consider that every honorable senator is responsible only for his own position, and not for what other electorates may have decided. If he believes in a principlehe should fight for it so long as he has breath. Assuming that the second reading, of the Bill be carried my vote in Committee will be cast in the direction of maintaining the duties which were imposed under the previous Tariff, so as to inflict as little injustice as possible upon any interest which may have grown up under them. At the same time, I believe that, as a party, we are guilty of a dereliction of duty in seeking to give more Protection to industries until we have secured from the electors the power to give effect to the new Protection. I shall vote against the motion for the second reading of the Bill.

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