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Wednesday, 23 November 1910

Senator GIVENS (Queensland) . - In this case, the Minister has abandoned the plea that the Government merely desire to rectify Tariff anomalies. He declares that this alteration is necessary in order to extend to an Australian industry a fair measure of protection. In other words, what is now proposed in respect of this item is a revision of the Tariff pure and simple. Whilst I have always favoured a revision of the Tariff in a Protectionist direction, I object to one industry being singled out for special treatment in that connexion. Why should not the same consideration be extended to bananas, and more especially to Australian tinned fruits which have to compete against fruits which are grown, and tinned, and packed by Chinese in Singapore? The Ministry are absolutely inconsistent in this matter, and deserve no sympathy from any honorable senator. The Honorary Minister has not claimed that the industry is languishing for want of more protection. There must be some reason underlying the action of the Government, and until I know what that reason is, I shall not pledge my vote.

Senator MCDOUGALL(Queensland) [10.35I. - I shall not support the proposed duty for two reasons. In the first place the imposition of that duty would hurt as number of my fellow workers. I have a letter in my possession from the Secretary of the Factory Employes Union in which he affirms that the proposed -duty would prevent those employed in the industry from obtaining the better wages which they will presently get under existing conditions. The employersin the industry are willing that a WagesBoard should be established in connexionwith it. The other reason why I will not vote for the Government proposal is that I object to giving high duties to any industry which will not treat its employes fairly. Before we are asked to grant anincreased measure of protection to this industry, we should know the conditions under which its employes labour.

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