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Thursday, 13 November 1930

Senator CARROLL (Western Australia) . - Almost immediately after placing this motion on the notice-paper, Senator R. D. Elliott had to proceed to the other side of the world, and he left it in my hands to deal with in his absence. Being somewhat tender-hearted, on several occasions I yielded to requests that government business and other private business should be given precedence, and so the motion is in the position in which we find it to-day. It has been moved by me, but I have not spoken to it. As

Senator R.D. Elliott lias now returned from the heart of the Empire, where he has been closely associated with others in the consideration of this question, I do not intend to say very much in recommending the motion to the Senate. I shall leave the matter in the hands of the honorable senator who first gave notice of it.

If ever there was a time in the history of the Empire when reciprocal trade within the Empire should be fostered, in the interest of both the Homeland and the dominions, it is now. I am satisfied that if the Senate carries this motion to-night, and the news is cabled to the Old Country, it will have a very good effect on the negotiations in which our Prime Minister (Mr. Scullin) is now engaged, and do him and Australia an immense amount of good. We cannot shut our eyes to the fact that Australia must live on its exportable products, and we are painfully aware that one market after another in the outside world is being effectively closed against Australian products. This, in my opinion, is a result of our tariff treatment of other nations. It is absolutely essential to our national life that we should find markets for our products, and it is our bounden duty to make every effort to foster an increase of trade within the Empire.

There has been a good deal of talk of the preference we give to Great Britain, but, unfortunately, it is given in such a way that it is not of as much value to the manufacturers and traders of that country as it might otherwise be. We put up a tariff wall of an extreme height against the whole world, and then we leave a tiny little gap perhaps four or five inches lower and mark it " the British preferential gap ".

Senator Daly - Did the honorable senator hear Senator Greene's speech on the subject of preference?

Senator CARROLL - I did not have the pleasure of hearing Senator Greene's speech on that subject, but with all due regard to the honorable senator, who, I know,, is a great authority .on tariff matters, he and I do not see eye to eye on those matters. His views and . mine are very wide apart. Undoubtedly, there is a, preference to Great Britain, but the figures of our groundwork are so high before preference starts that it is not nearly so good to our kith and kin in the Old Country as it ought to be.

Senator Daly - Does the honorable senator know how many articles are absolutely free so far as Great Britain is concerned ?

Senator CARROLL - There are quite a number ; but it is no great credit to us that we keep free those articles which we are absolutely incapable of making ourselves, and a duty on which would only be a tremendous burden on our own people.

Senator Daly - But we shut out the foreign producers.

Senator CARROLL - -To a small extent; perhaps to an average of about 10 per cent. If the Senate wishes to do a great service to Australia and the Empire at the present moment, and to be of immense assistance to Mr. Scullin in Great Britain, it will pass this motion.

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