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Wednesday, 26 November 1930

Senator LYNCH - It is. The sugar embargo, of course, impinges very heavily against the cherished White Australia policy. Senator Barnes would say, "It does not matter what it costs; every one must vote for it." I think that that policy can be carried to excess, even to futility, especially when we recall the very generous, patronizing attitude of the Australasian Council of Trade Unions towards the foreigners with which it is associated in the Pan-Pacific Secretariat.

Coming back to the question of monopolies, I ask myself if this is the right time to encourage them. We have strain upon strain in our personal and civic endeavour to make ends meet, and to try to pull this country out of the morass into which it has got. Is it, therefore, a time to create one of those things which, above all else, aim directly at paralyzing the country's efforts to get out of its present trouble? I cannot imagine the Labour party being associated with the giving of a monopoly. One might speak of a white blackbird or a boiling iceberg, or something equally incongruous, as associate the Labour party with a monopoly. It ought to be the world's tenth wonder. If Senator Barnes, who lives in Ballarat, were compelled to huy even his shaving soap at a store an exclusive monopoly for the sale of that article, he would, if I know anything about him and his makeup, and the fire that he can generate against all forms of social iniquity and injustice, don a red shirt and head a revolution in his home town to right such a manifest wrong. He would think the world had come to perdition and ruin. If he were a wheatgrower in the frizzled Mallee country of his own State who had had three successive crop failures, how would he like to be compelled to buy his galvanized iron from a monopoly and pay an extra price for it? A man cannot claim for himself that which he would not extend to others. That is the spirit of true liberty. When I bought galvanized iron in Western Australia some time ago I paid about £23 a ton for it. At that time, on the basis of last year's wheat values, the price of a ton of galvanized iron was about 44 bags of wheat. On the basis of present-day wheat values, it would cost 75 bags of wheat. If I bought a ton of galvanized iron to-day and brought along 44 bags of wheat, would Lysaght's accept them in payment? If I have not an exclusive market for my wheat, I positively object to any other person having the privilege I cannot enjoy.

Senator Sir George Pearce - It is said that the firm does not intend to increase prices.

Senator LYNCH - Perhaps not. If I were to produce 44 bags of wheat in payment of a ton of galvanized iron, I. would immediately be told that, in view of the reduced value of wheat, I must tender at least 75 bags. Why should this Parliament allow the firm to retain the present price, particularly in view of the figures given by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Pearce) on this matter.

Any honorable senator, who studies the commercial columns of the daily newspapers, or the numerous trade journals available in the parliamentary library, will see that the prices of the commodities required in producing galvanized iron have decreased. Moreover, the quality of the product is not in any way comparable with that which was available ten or fifteen years ago. It can readily be bent with one's fingers. The same can be said of the quality of wire manufactured at Newcastle, which, in view of the protection afforded to the industry j is a positive disgrace. This I can prove from personal experience of the stuff I got some years ago. It is time these manufacturers produced goods of bettor quality. If

Lysaght's and others, who are championed by the Assistant Minister (Senator Barnes), were compelled to purchase coal or other commodities they required from one source, how would they like it? I venture to say that if this firm had to rely upon one source of supply for its spelter or steel, or any other commodity required in the production of galvanized iron, it would immediately contend with

Et 11 the force at its command that it required a free market, and should not be compelled to purchase from any monopolistic source. Further, why should the 900 employees in this sheltered industry be receiving £6 a week and enjoying conditions superior to almost any other class of workmen in Australia while poor beggars in the back-blocks are working for 30s. a week, and in many cases, without any return at all for their effort? I would not mind if they were being paid £16, £26 or £60 a week, provided they earned it. Oan industry in this country afford such conditions'? If Senator Rae, for instance, was displaying some activity in developing a piece of waste land in the backblocks, and was paying £6 a week to those who were assisting him to bring it to a state of productivity, it would not be long before he became bankrupt. Those engaged in this sheltered industry, which is being coddled and fondled, and petted out of all reason, are living at the expense of those who toil from daylight till dark on the wheat farms of this country, who live on "tinned dog" - live anyhow, in fact - and in many cases, work without any return at all. It is positive humbug to contend that one section should receive £6 a week while others are receiving 30s. a week and less. Where is the equality?

The PRESIDENT - I remind the honorable senator that it is not usual or desirable for an honorable senator to refer to his fellow senators as humbugs.

Senator LYNCH - I do not think I did. What I intended to say was that the members of a party which supports a policy under which one section of our citizens receives £6 a week at the expense of impoverishing it3 fellows, while others, owing to circumstances over which they have no control, are compelled to receive 30s. a week, are political humbugs. I do not know, sir, if that is parliamentary language, but it is the plain truth all the same.

What is this Government doing to assist the men who are at the very foundation of the prosperity of this country ? If our primary producers were not slaving as they are to-day, those individuals, who are giving so much " cheek ", and enjoying such easy conditions, could not exist. We speak of fair play, but is there any indication of it? A few months ago, we sent an Australian team of cricketers to Great Britain, and the efforts of Don Bradman, its leading batsman, were applauded in Australia, in England, and in fact everywhere. Why did Bradman receive such commendation? Because he put forth his best efforts; because he did not slacken. It is a pity we cannot have more of the Bradman stroke in industry. Those whom honorable senators opposite support should visit some of the wheat-lands in this country where poor struggling farmers with their hair poking through their hats, and, in some cases, without socks on their feet, are working from sunrise till sunset. What protection or assistance, or even sympathy, do those men. receive ? They are not workers, they are slaves. Why do not honorable senators opposite, who advocate a 44-hour week, face the facts? One section of the community in Australia is living at the expense of the other.

Senator Rae - Hear, hear!

Senator LYNCH - I suppose the honorable senator is referring to those drawing interest on capital invested in Government securities; but I am thinking of those secondary industry slackers who, while taking all they can, will not concede anything to the other fellow.

This is not the time for monopolies to be established by any party, and particularly by the Labour party, which has a plank in its platform specifically providing for the extermination or general destruction of anything in the form of a commercial monopoly. Notwithstanding that plank, this Labour Government is establishing a monopoly for the sole benefit of those engaged in it and to the absolute detriment of other and more worthy sections of the community. Fair play is bonny play, but it is anythingbut fair play to give a monopoly to this orany other firm, especially at a time like the present. If monopolies could be given to all other industries we should have to deal with the matter from a different standpoint; but as that is not being done, and cannot be done, I intend to oppose the bill. Of course, I will be reminded of the fact that on a. previous occasion I supported the imposition of an embargo upon foreign-grown sugar; but that proposal was closely associated with our White Australia policy. This proposition is in essence, and has all the ingredients of a great social injustice. The Government is providing for the establishment and maintenance of a commercial monopoly which it is protecting with a stone wall topped with jagged-edged broken bottles. . Why should those engaged in this industry be so highly protected, while those in a much more important industry are left to the wolves ? What is the Government doing for the poor wheat-growers? I have even seen in the backblocks scanty bedding made up on a sheet of galvanized iron. I am surprised that a Labour Government should be associated with the establishment of an industry of this kind, while others are " scratching gravel " in a desperate endeavour to pull this country out of its present trouble. I oppose the bill.

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