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Thursday, 22 August 1912

Senator FINDLEY (Victoria) .- The eleventh hour patriotism which has been manifested by some members of the Senate is extremely interesting and .somewhat amusing. I 'am satisfied that Senator Givens and one or two other honorable senators who have spoken are actuated by pure patriotism in their desire to have the Woollen Factory established in the Federal Capital. But when Senator Long gets up to assist Senator Givens in his amendment for the reduction of this vote he does not exhibit the same spirit. The honorable senator is anxious to support the amendment, not because he wishes the Woollen Factory established at Yass-Canberra, but because he is anxious that it should be established in Tasmania. Senator Rae says that the Government influenced the report of Mr. Smail.

Senator Rae - Senator Pearce said- so himself.

Senator FINDLEY - That is a wrong statement to make. It is unfair, not only to the Government, but to a gentleman who was imported to Australia for the express purpose of visiting the different States in order to select a suitable site for this factory. He is a man of wide practical experience, which qualifies him for the task.

Senator Millen - Were there no Aus tralian men competent to advise the Government on this matter?

Senator FINDLEY - Apparently the man who has been appointed to this positionshas qualifications over and above those possessed by any man in Australia. He came here untrammelled, unfettered, and without bias or prejudice in any possible direction.

Senator Millen - Because we had no competent man here, you say?

Senator FINDLEY - We believe that Mr. Smail is the best possible man for the position which he is filling, and will fill later on, we hope, to the complete satisfaction of the Government, the employes of the mills, and the citizens of Australia. He was commissioned to visit, as I said, the different States. He was on tour for quite a long time.

Senator Rae - A nice picnic.

Senator FINDLEY - It was not a nice picnic, I think, for him, because he was extremely anxiousto get to work as quickly as possible. But he was not anxious to commence operations until he had satisfied himself that the best site was definitely fixed upon.

Senator Givens - Is he at work now?

Senator FINDLEY - I should say that he is engaged in connexion with the Department. He has been a busy man all his life, and he is usefully engaged, I should say, at the present time. He visited thirty-three places, and in making these visits he took into consideration the water supply, the quality and the quantity of the water, the drainage, the climatic conditions as regards the manufacture of woollen cloth, the comfort of employes, the proximity to wool markets, the railway and shipping facilities, the conditions of labour, the geographical position as a distributing centre, and the local conditions in regard to effect and economical working. And he had no hesitation whatever in recommending Geelong as the most suitable place in the Commonwealth for the establishment of these Woollen Mills.

Senator Chataway - What were his instructions when he started to make these examinations.

Senator Pearce - To place the Woollen Mills in the Federal Capital if at all possible.

Senator FINDLEY - And YassCanberra was the first place he visited.

Senator Givens - Did he say it was impossible?

Senator FINDLEY - What Mr. Smail said has already been quoted by the Minister of Defence. It does seem extraordinary that when a recommendation, such as we have had from Mr. Smail, has been made to the Government, and they have accepted it, opposition is shown to it by honorable senators who have never shown any opposition to any other project which has been established in this State up to the present time.

Senator Rae - We did by the motion which was carried last year.

Senator FINDLEY - There was on the last Estimates an amount for the establishment of a Harness Factory. There was on the last Estimates an amount for the establishment of a Clothing Factory at South Melbourne, and there is an amount on the present Estimates for an extension of the factory at South Melbourne. There was on the last Estimates an amount for the establishment of a Cordite Factory at Maribyrnong, and an amount for the establishment of a Small Arms Factory at Lithgow. But not until an amount appears on the Estimates for the establishment of Woollen Mills at Geelong, is any evidence forthcoming of opposition from a member of the Senate.

Senator Givens - I have always expressed my disapproval of these projects being established outside 'the Federal Territory.

Senator FINDLEY - I believe that the honorable senator has been consistent in that regard.

Senator Rae - And so have I.

Senator FINDLEY - I do not remember any honorable senator moving for the reduction of an amount on the Estimates to test the Committee in regard to the principle which has been raised by Senator Givens to-day.

Senator Givens - We only take drastic action now when we find that our other remonstrances have been of no avail.

Senator FINDLEY - When Senator Rae says that Mr. Smail was biased against the establishment of an industry in some part of Australia, because there would not be a sufficient supply of cheap labour, he has a very poor opinion of the Government.

Senator Rae - This manager, you say, is supposed to conduct the factory economically, and he is a Scotchman.

Senator FINDLEY - The Clothing Factory at South Melbourne is managed economically, and the work is turned out there more satisfactorily to the Department, and more cheaply, although the workers' are better paid, and their conditions are immeasurably better than are those prevailing in any private establishment. I do hope that the Committee will not follow Senator Givens in his desire to have the amount on the Estimates reduced. I can understand Senators Rae and Givens having that desire, but it is not consistent on the part of some of those who are supporting the latter, when they desire the industry to be established, not in the Federal Territory, but in Tasmania. I do not know what combination has been brought about, but I hope that a majority of the Committee will vote for the retention of the amount, and that the Woollen Mills, as recommended by the expert, will be established at Geelong.

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