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Monday, 18 December 1911

Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) . - I wish to point out how unjust it is that Parliament should penalize a particular class of workers. When the last Tariff was under consideration, Parliament by its action expressed the opinion that our workmen had not the requisite skill to make : a gas-meter. Now it is intended to imply that our ironworkers have not the requisite skill to make an ordinary tank; which practically consists of driving a few rivets into a piece of metal.

Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The honorable senator never made one.

Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - I venture to say that I have made more than the honorable senator ever saw.

Senator Millen - Did they hold water ?

Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - I think so.

Senator Millen - I was judging from the honorable senator's arguments.

Senator E J RUSSELL (VICTORIA) - This item can only be described as a deliberate attempt on the part of politicians to " smoodge " to a certain section of the community. We have thousands of competent workmen in Australia who are capable of making tanks. I have seen hundred's of these articles come here full of coffee and cocoa beans. Sometimes they come filled with drapery. In nearly all cases where a tank is used for packing other goods, those goods are of a valuable description, and can well afford to pay the extra duty on account of the tank. If we are entitled to protect the blacksmith and the harvester-maker, surely we ought to protect the ironworker. It will be said that a duty will fall hardly on farmers, who would not be able to get tanks so cheaply as they can do when these goods are imported, in the first instance, as substitutes for packing cases. But the ironworker should not be forced to compete against second-hand tanks. I know of no other class of workers who are placed in the same position. As a Protectionist, I strongly protest against this item, and cannot see how any consistent Protectionist can support it.

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