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Thursday, 14 May 1931

The PRESIDENT (Senator the Hon W Kingsmill - I do not see that such a comparison has any bearing on the subject under discussion. I direct the attention of honorable senators to the fact that the underlying principle of this amendment is the tabling in the Senate of any agreements with respect to an embargo upon the prohibition of imports of sugar before they become operative.

SenatorFOLL. - I merely wished to institute a comparison between the refining operations of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company under one control - in that respect it differs from other forms of primary production in Australia - and the operations of theFord motor works in America. Owing to a system of mass production Ford motor cars can be produced and sold at a rate cheaper than any other make of car. In the same way the Colonial Sugar Refining Company has brought refining up to such a state of efficiency that its work is not excelled in any other country. Instead of honorable senators treating this industry in a more or less hostile manner, they should endeavour to bring other industries up to a similar state of efficiency.

Senator Sir Hal Colebatch - That could be done if those industries possessed similar advantages.

Senator FOLL - Similar advantages are enjoyed by many other industries. I do not wish to repeat what I have said concerning the gold-mining industry.

Senator Sir Hal Colebatch - The honorable senator does not suggest that that industry enjoys similar advantages to the sugar industry.

Senator FOLL - At present the bounty paid on the production of gold is provided by taxpayers all over Australia. The sugar industry is of vital importance not only to Queensland, but to the whole of Australia. It became stabilized, and in every sense efficient, in consequence of the embargo placed upon the importation of foreign sugar by the Bruce-Page Government. It gives employment to thousands of Australian workmen, is a means of livelihood for thousands of small farmers, and the portion of Queensland in which the industry is established provides an extraordinarily good market for the protected products of industries operating in the southern States. Queensland has always been willing to assist primary and secondary industries in the southern States, and all that the representatives of Queensland now ask is that similar consideration should be extended to this most important industry in the north. I trust that the majority of honorable senators will support the continuance of the embargo in order to afford the great sugar industry of Queensland that protection which it deserves.

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