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Tuesday, 19 December 1911

Senator DE LARGIE (Western Australia) . - I think that if Senator Gardiner had taken a more general view of the topic he would, have done himself much more justice than he has done by simply confining his remarks to Tasmania. While that State has undoubtedly a very large variety of timbers, and very good timbers too, other States have a very much larger timber trade than that of Tasmania.

Senator Rae - And it is not languishing.

Senator DE LARGIE - It certainly is not going to prosper under the treatment which it is proposed to mete out in this Bill.

Senator Rae - We are not touching your hardwood.

Senator DE LARGIE - No; but my honorable friends want to bring in a cheaper article to compete unfairly with the hardwoods of Western Australia and Queensland.

Senator Rae - It is getting too scarce to be cheap.

Senator DE LARGIE - The honorable senator cannot get away from his old Free Trade ideas. The timbers which my honorable friends wish to bring in free will undoubtedly compete with Australian timbers. In the timber industry, higher wages are paid in Western Australia than are paid in New Zealand. I am quite satisfied that the timber trade of Western Australia will derive no benefit from the Tariff if altered as Senator Rae desires, nor will it be a means of assisting a working man who wants to build a small cottage in Sydney or elsewhere. I hold that for avowed Protectionists to go back upon the principle of Protection, of which we heard so much on the motion for the second reading of the Bill, is indefensible.

SenatorRae. - Why does not the honorable senator attack the Government?

Senator DE LARGIE - I am very sorry that the Government have fallen from grace in this matter. I am quite satisfied that it is only by the imposition of a duty that we can protect our hardwoods from the competition of cheap, inferior, foreign hardwoods.

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