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Wednesday, 30 October 1912

Senator LYNCH (Western Australia) . - I am rather glad that this opportunity is presented of doing somewhat belated justice to the State of Tasmania. I differ from some of my colleagues who have alleged that the proposed, grant is something in the nature of charity. I regard it as simply an act of justice. Coming, as I do, from another State of the Commonwealth that has been .similarly situated, I can sympathize fully with the Tasmanian people in their present position. If we only look to one indication of progress we can see that the island State, in comparison with other States, has not occupied a favorable situation. I take the number of employes engaged in factories. If we turn to the statistics for New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland, we see that the number of persons employed in factories has increased enormously during the last seven years. In the powerful State of New South Wales, where a new policy has been enforced, which has made for prosperity, the number of employes in factories has increased 50 per cent., whereas in Tasmania the increase has been very far below that proportion.

Senator Findley - What is the reason for Tasmania's backwardness? There are no Wages Boards there.

Senator Clemons - Come, come ! We have Wages Boards.

Senator LYNCH - The reason is that through the throwing down of the Tariff walls under Federation the manufacturers of neighbouring States, where industries are more highly organized, were able to flood the Tasmanian markets with their products. The industries in that State were not so highly developed. As a result, a large number of men, who formerly worked in Tasmanian factories, sought employment on the mainland, and shifted their domiciles. This is one of the direct results of Federation, and it is such a result as will always follow a Federation having the conditions which exist in Australia. The States in which there were large centres of population, and where there were highly organized industries, were favorably situated in the matter of competition in comparison with smaller communities. To some extent, the same thing happened in Western Australia. There were industries there which were in the early stages of development. Some of them have .since gone altogether, and others are maintaining a meagre existence. The result is plainly shown in the dwindling number of factories. I intend to vote for this proposal in the belief that it is nothing but a simple act of natural justice to Tasmania. I should like to vote for the full amount recommended by the Royal Commission, but I think that in supporting the Government proposition we shall be going a great way towards securing justice to Tasmania to compensate her for the position in which she finds herself. It is not her fault that she is in a weak financial position. It is simply the result of federating with the other States of the Commonwealth. It is but reasonable, therefore, for the other States, which have benefited to the extent that Tasmania has suffered, to come to her assistance, and recoup her fairly for the loss which she has sustained. 1 shall vote for the proposal of the Government, believing that it is a fair one ; but if, in the future, the facts reveal that Tasmania is still in a condition demanding assistance, I shall be prepared to review the case, and vote for further compensation or recompense, if that be necessary.

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