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Friday, 13 July 1906

Mr McLEAN (Gippsland) .- Now that the Australian Industries Preservation Bill is practically done with, I wish to ask the Prime Minister when the Government intend to proceed with the revision of the Tariff? I would remind the honorable gentlemen that if they are sincerely desirous, as I believe they are, to effect a satisfactory revision of the Tariff, they are not likely to have more favorable conditions for doing so for many years to come than prevail at the present time. They have a strong protectionist majority in the House, and even the free-traders here, I understand, recognise that the sooner this question is dealt with and settled the better it will be for all concerned. It is not for me to dictate the order of business to the Government, but we all have a responsibility to our constituents and to the country in that regard. I, for one, consider that the revision of the Tariff is the most pressing matter before the Parliament. I think that it is infinitely more pressing than the measure with which we have been dealing. I understand that on a previous occasion it wasintimated, in reply to some questions, that the Government intended to proceed with it when they had got further reports. To me that appears to be a waste of time. If it is intended to proceed with the matter at all during the. present session,surely the sooner we begin to do so the better ! By the time we shall have finished with the three reports that are before us, probably others will be to hand. The AttorneyGeneral will, I am sure, support my request. He will remember how he devoted his time, in season and out of season, more especially out of season, in abusing the late Government for not pro ceeding with an immediate revision of the Tariff - even before they had any information that would enable them to do so satisfactorily. Surely hewill see the necessity of not losing any time in dealing with the matter, now that we have reports of the Tariff . Commission to guide us, and enable us to do the work satisfactorily.

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