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Tuesday, 14 August 1906

Mr FOWLER (Perth) .- It is very good indeed of the Prime Minister to come to the rescue of his colleague, the Minister of Trade and Customs, in connexion with these remarkable proposals of the Government. Unfortunately, however, we are being asked to consider certain recommendations of the Tariff Commission which the Government are themselves unable to indorse until they have further information. It is obvious that the proper course to adopt would be to postpone this debate until such time as the Government is in possession of the information necessary to enable us to discuss the question before us in a proper way. I am quite sure that no member of the Tariff Commission would say that the proposals of that body are not open to improvement. We have given a great deal of time to our work, and have considered the question now before the Committee from every possible point of view. We are prepared, at the proper time, to vindicate our attitude, but the Commission and honorable members are placed in an entirely false position when they are asked to debate certain proposals in regard to which the Government have practically no information to offer. Surely I am asking what is reasonable when I urge that this debate should be adjourned until the Government are in a position to put before honorable members the information which they intend to obtain.

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