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Wednesday, 9 July 1930

Senator CARROLL (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - It is strange that the country for which Australia has the greatest affection is that with which it has the greatest adverse trade balance. Australia trades with the United States of America as if that country were its father and mother and long-lost brother. All along the line Australia is losing her export trade because of her fiscal enactments. Senator Colebatch is deserving of our thanks for directing attention to the important matter he has raised this afternoon. Our fiscal policy has robbed us of an enormous trade with our sister dominion, New Zealand. Only the other day honorable senators received a communication from a Melbourne manufacturer of vermicelli, macaroni, or spaghetti, who claims to be a staunch unionist, in which he pointed out that in her last revision of the tariff, New Zealand had placed Australian manufacturers of the commodity referred to by him in a worse position than those of any other country. That was, he said, clear evidence of retaliation for the shabby way in which Australia has treated New Zealand in tariff matters.

Senator O'Halloran - Our importations from New Zealand have increased.

Senator CARROLL - We have lost much of our trade with New Zealand just as we previously lost our trade with Fiji and the East Indies. It is not long since Australia practically prohibited the importation of bananas from other countries in order to benefit a section of her people. Western Australia's flour trade with the East Indies has been lost because of tariff restrictions on goods from those countries. Western Australia receives all the kicks of the tariff but none of the ha-pence.

There is on foot a movement in favour of an import duty on Java kapok. If a duty is imposed on that commodity, Western Australia will again be hit, for it will mean the loss of . the balance of her export trade with Java. In consequence of duties imposed on tobacco and other goods from Egypt, that country recently retaliated by placing duties on Australian wheat. That again adversely affected Western Australia. Honorable senators will also remember that a year or two ago, as a measure of retaliation for our action in respect of South African maize, the Government of South Africa imposed a duty on Australian wheat. In one direction after another, we have gradually lost ground; one market after another has gone. Soon we shall be faced with the position of having to beg other countries to buy our goods. It may be that that will not happen in connexion with our wool ; but already the world can do without Australian wheat. Senator Rae said that buyers from other countries purchase our goods because they must do so.

Senator Rae - I said that the fact that they do indicates that they realize that it is to their advantage to do so.

Senator CARROLL - That may be so. But the Tesult of our policy is that our export trade is gradually being lost.

One remark made by Senator Dunn was, in my opinion, not justified. The honorable senator said that we had no right to discuss a motion of this nature because a Labour Government was recently returned to power because of its high protectionist policy. That may be so; but it does not mean that honorable senators not supporting the Government must remain dumb. Even minorities have their rights. The people of Western Australia are at present in a minority.

It is unfortunate for Australia that they are; for it will not be long before the people of the rest of Australia will realize that on the question of tariffs, as on many other questions, the views of the people of Western Australia are sound. Sooner or later, we shall be forced to realize that if we want other nations to buy our goods, we must buy something from them in return, instead of giving them a snub when they desire to trade with us.

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