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Friday, 10 August 1906

Mr MAUGER (Melbourne Ports) . - I have some very important motions on the business paper, but am even more anxious than is the leader of the Opposition to proceed with Tariff reforms. It is a matter of very great regret to me that not a line of the evidence submitted to the Tariff Commission has been made available to honorable members.

Mr Wilks - Whom does the honorable member blame for that?

Mr MAUGER - The members of the Tariff Commission. That evidence should have been sent to honorable members as it was given, instead of being filtered through the newspapers. I have not known a Commission to act as this Commission has done. The result of its arrangements will be that we shall get a whole pile of evidence at one time, and shall have a great mass of details put before us which it will be impossible to go through.

Mr Thomas - This is a protectionist speaking ! He wants an excuse for not dealing with the matter now.

Mr MAUGER - I am speaking, not in mv owji interest, but in that of those situated like the honorable member.

Mr Thomas - I am prepared to deal with the subject at once, but the honorable member is trying to shirk the settlement of the Question, though he has continually been saying that it is necessary to have it dealt with.

Mr MAUGER - The evidence ought to be in the hands of honorable members, so that we can form an opinion upon it apart from . the recommendations embodied in the reports of the Commissioners. As it is, we are in possession of nothing.

Mr Johnson - The honorable member has read the newspaper reports.

Mr Reid - It is assistance, not evidence, that his friends want.

Mr MAUGER - I desire that thematter may be settled in such a way that it will not be re-opened for a considerable time. If it is only patched up by the removal of so-called anomalies, it will soon be re-opened.

Mr Thomas - The honorable memberdoes not wish it to lie settled before thegeneral elections.

M!r. MAUGER.- I wish it to be settled' as soon as the honorable member does.

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