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Wednesday, 23 November 1910

Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) . - It is rather unreasonable for the Government. to expect me to follow them at all times. On one item they say, " This is Protection, and you are bound to follow me," but on the next item they go for positive Free Trade, and expect the Labour party to follow them. In reply to Senator de Largie's challenge, I have to say that E. Laugh ton and Sons, of North Terrace, Adelaide, make axles.

Senator McGregor - That is only for trollies, waggons, and buggies.

Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The firm can make axles equally well for railway carriages.

Senator de Largie - The firm has not the machinery.

Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - There is also a firm at Gawler. I am strongly opposed to the proposal to reduce the duty to 5 per cent. That will mean much to these firms. Why should not the work be. done in the Commonwealth?

Senator McGregor - This does not affect those firms at all.

Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The honorable senator cannot make me believe that. I have conversed with Laughton and Sons, and seen the axles which they have produced.

Senator de Largie - Why did not the honorable senator protest against the Defence Department importing axles?

Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Of what use would that have been? My views in reference to defence are not considered very much. These axles are made in South Australia in more places than one. It is a positive injustice to reduce the Protectionist duty to a revenue duty. Ii seems to me that the Ministry are now going for a Free Trade or a Revenue Tariff, or anything else which comes along. They have got into office, and, like their predecessors, they want to get in the shekels. They need not expect me to follow them every time. They need not expect rae to support Free Trade one hour and Protection rise next hour.

Senator FINDLEY(Victoria- Honorary Minister) [6. 23 J. - I regretted to hear the remarks which Senator W. Russell has made. They are uncalled for, and quite unworthy.


Senator FINDLEY - The honorable senator has stated that steel axles for locomotives and tramway purposes are made in Australia,

Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - A good many of l&em are.

Senator FINDLEY - They are not.

Senator Millen - Not fpr tramways; that is the point.

Senator FINDLEY - These articles are required for Government locomotives and Government tramways.

Senator Millen - Not necessarily.

Senator FINDLEY - That is the intention. I do not expect that their use will be limited to Government railways or Government tramways.

Senator Vardon - Suppose that a firm has a contract to make locomotives for a State?

Senator FINDLEY - If locomotives are required in any part of Australia, these steel axles will come in at 5 per cent, or free. I, as a responsible Minister, repeat that these axles are not made in Australia. Very expert machinery is required for their manufacture.

Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - And they have it.

Senator FINDLEY - If these axles could be made in Australia without considerable effort and expenditure, the different Governments would undertake to make them.

Senator McDougall - They will before long.

Senator FINDLEY - I hope that they will, but at present they are not making them, nor is anybody else in Australia. I feel sure that Senator W. Russell would not desire to perpetuate an anomaly. When these steel axles come in permanently attached to wheels, they are admitted at 5 per cent., or free, but when they come in unattached, although they may be used for the same purpose - that is, for locomotives, or waggons for railways - they have to pay 35 and 30 per cent. Is that fair ? It is with a view to remove that anomaly, and for no other purpose, that we have submitted this proposal. It may be, of course, that these axles are used for different purposes. They come in at times attached, and at other times unattached, and wedesire that whether they are attached or .unattached, they shall be admitted at 5 per cent., or free.

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