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Wednesday, 30 October 1912

Senator STEWART (Queensland) . - I find myself in a somewhat awkward position in dealing with this proposal. I do not very well see how I can oppose it, but, on looking into it, I really cannot find any good reasons why I should support it. Undoubtedly Tasmania is in a difficult position. She is in the situation of a person who has got into bad health by indulgence in habits prejudicial to her well-being, and, owing to a somewhat drastic system of treatment of her disease, she is now in a very weak position. Several honorable senators have lamented the fact that, owing to Federation, the people of Tasmania have been compelled to resort to what they are pleased to term very drastic direct taxation. I for one welcome that fact. I believe that it will ultimately be found to be very much to the advantage of the State. I trust that, before many years are over our heads, the proportion of direct taxation now paid by the people of Tasmania will be equal, if not surpassed, in every other State of the Union. On looking into the Tasmanian Tariff prior to Federation, I found that it was one of the most extraordinary revenue Tariffs I have ever had the misfortune to peruse. It did not attempt in the slightest degree to create industries. It was reaching out for revenue all the time, and, like the horse-leech, was never satisfied. It was a Tariff under which it would have been impossible to establish manufacturing industries on any large scale. It was a revenue Tariff pure and simple.

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