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Wednesday, 20 June 1906

Mr SPEAKER - Will the honorable member debate the Bill?

Mr LEE - I am trying to show that the Minister is unable to give effect to the Commerce Act, and that it is very likely that this measure will remain similarly inoperative. I consider that this Bill should be held over until we have the reports of the Tariff Commission, when we shall be in a position to say in what way the Tariff fails to do what is expected of it. I am personally in favour of preventing any destructive monopolies, whether in the hands of trusts, combines, or individuals, and also any dumping of manufactured goods for the purpose of destroying legitimate industries; but I still hold that the best way in which to develop our country is to extend our external, as well as our internal, trade. We ought not, bylegislation, to endeavour to make everything easy forour people. They should not be given special concessions, but should be prepared to face the competition of the world as the people of Englanddid, when they established their colonial possessions, and gave us a Constitution under which we mightapply to them the , same Tariff that we apply to the foreigner.

Mr Mauger - They could not help it. Mr. LEE. - They might have insisted, as France did, in connexion with New Caledonia, on provisions giving them a preference, and as the United States has done in dealing with Hawaii.

Mr Mauger - When they tried it on they lost America.

Mr LEE - That was something altogether different. They lost Americabyan attempt to impose taxation without representation. England gave us a Constitution under which we might put up barriers against her. She did not ask us for any preference, because she is prepared to meet every comer on equal terms. If we wish to have a vigorous nation here in Australia we must develop habits of self-reliance in our people. But the Minister of Trade and Customs has a sympathetic as well as a protectionist ear, and listens to every cry of discontent, and every statement of dimcult industrial conditions. The honorable gentleman has always, hitherto, been prepared to advocate protection, but in this case he has thrown protection to the winds, and has gone in for prohibition.

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