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Thursday, 11 December 1930

Senator SAMPSON (Tasmania) (2:14 AM) . - I do not propose to record a silent vote on this measure. It is interesting to note that no honorable senator has endeavoured to defend the bill on economic grounds. All the sophistry in the world cannot conceal the fact that those seeking a gold bonus are asking the general taxpayer to support an industry that cannot support itself. A bounty on gold was declined by the previous Administration, and was also emphatically rejected by the Present Prime Minister. Political considerations have, however, triumphed over those objections. Senator Colebatch asked what was the alternative to a goldbounty. The alternative is to remove the restrictions which have been hampering the industryfor a number of years. We should remove the heavy duties on mining machinery. Preposterous award rates for miners have also had their ill effects. All of us have sinned at some time or other with regard to embargoes and bounties. Dog does not eat dog. I shall not, therefore, stand up in a self-righteous manner and condemn those who support this bill. But I am glad that no honorable senator has tried to defend the bill on economic grounds, because it cannot be done. Those hundreds of thousands of tons of gold-bearing ore of which the supporters of this bounty speak so freely might better be left under the surface if the winning of gold costs more than the gold is worth. I oppose the bill.

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