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Tuesday, 19 December 1911

Senator GIVENS (Queensland) . - It is extraordinary that our enormous Australia, which is visually cracked up to have immense timber reserves, has to look for its timber supply to little New Zealand, according to Senators McDougall and Rae,, which is a mere fly speck on the map compared with our continent.

Senator Rae - We did not use that argument.

Senator GIVENS - The argument is, that the particular timber with which the request deals is grown in New Zealand.

Senator McDougall - I do not care what duty is imposed, so long as it is made equal.

Senator GIVENS - I would not be astonished at such a request coming from Senator Rae, but I am astonished at itcoming from Senator McDougall, whom I have always regarded as a good Protectionist.

Senator McDougall - I did not advocate anything of what you are saying.

Senator GIVENS - I wish to point out to those who say that they belong to the Protectionist party, as well as to the.Labour party-

Senator Rae - To the Protectionist party ?

Senator GIVENS - I wish to point out to those who, while believing in the Labour party, also believe in the Protectionist party, that timber which is imported in the log, so that it can be dressed by our workmen, is admitted practically free, yet we find honorable senators getting up and asking that worked-up timber should also be allowed to come in practically free. I desire to see the work done in Australia,, apart altogether from the fact that we have as fine a variety of timbers suitable for every purpose known to man as is to be. found in any country in the world.

Senator Rae - In fast-diminishing, quantities.

Senator Keating - The same thing applies to New Zealand.

Senator GIVENS - Anybody who travels from Wollongarra, on the border of Queensland and New South Wales, and keeps his eyes open will see such vast reserves of splendid timber along the line as, if properly utilized, would supply all the requirements of Australia for fifty years.

Senator Rae - Absolute unadulterated bosh.

Senator GIVENS - It is absolute truth. Even between Newcastle and Gosford how much timber can the honorable senator see? Of course, I am aware that some honorable senators can cast their eyes over the horizon to New Zealand and to other countries-

Senator Rae - I have been over the district of which the honorable senator speaks as many times as he has, and with my eyes open.

Senator GIVENS - Within 20 yards of the railway line magnificent trees are growing, but there is very little hope of utilizing them on account of the Free Trade policy of the State which the honorable senator represents. Within Australia we have as fine a variety of timber as is to be found in the world. Senator Rae made a great point of the hardness of our Australian hardwoods. He said that they are so hard that it is impossible to drive a nail into them. But if he will give me a piece of jarrah ten years old, I will undertake to drive a hundred nails in it without bending one. In jarrah we have one of the finest timbers in the world, and there are almost inexhaustible supplies of it in Western Australia.

Senator Rae - There are no inexhaustible supplies of timber in the world.

Senator GIVENS - I used the qualifying word " almost." Throughout Australia we have immense resources of timber which have not been properly utilized. We have timbers which are suitable for every purpose. Our Australian timbers have to compete with inferior timbers from foreign countries at ridiculous prices. In Melbourne one can purchase half-inch lining boards, tongued and grooved, for about 6s. per 100 superficial feet.

Senator Rae - I wish that I had some of them over my wav.

Senator GIVENS - They would not be worth anything if the honorable senator could get them for nothing. They appeal to the jerry builder, because they enable him to erect a house, which, with a couple of coats of paint, will wear a substantial appearance, but which will, last no time.

Senator Rae - Nothing will suit the honorable senator now but brick villas.

Senator GIVENS - I have lived in bark humpys, and I have endured as much of the rough life of Australia as has the honorable senator. I am not obsessed with the idea that Port Jackson is the only harbor in the world, and that Sydney is the emporium of the whole Southern Hemisphere.

Senator Gardiner - It will be that whether the honorable senator likes it or not.

Senator GIVENS - That may be so. But the interests of Australia ought not to be subordinated to those of Sydney. It is undeniable that timber can be imported in the log practically free.

Senator Rae - There is a duty on undressed timber.

Senator GIVENS - But not on uncut timber.

Senator Rae - There are good union men in New Zealand.

Senator GIVENS - But will New Zealand reciprocate our favoured treatment of its products by admitting our timber free?

Senator Rae - She imports large quantities of our hardwoods which she cannot do without, and it is just as well that we should admit her softwoods free.

Senator GIVENS - I know of places in Australia where millions of feet of the best softwoods in the world are burned every year.

Senator Rae - Where is that?

Senator GIVENS - In North Queensland.

Senator Ready - What woods are they?

Senator GIVENS - Queensland kauri pine is one of them. It is far superior to the white pine which is imported from America and elsewhere. But owing to the conditions which obtain here it cannot compete with the cheaply-produced article from the United States.

Senator Millen - When the timber duties were first proposed the honorable senator asked for the duty which is levied under this Tariff. Since then the price of timber has gone up by more than the amount of the duty which he said at the time was sufficient.

Senator GIVENS - I would like the honorable senator to point me to any occasion on which I have said that the duty on any item is sufficient. In conclusion, I would remind Senator McDougall that timber, if imported in the log, is admitted practically free. That being so, let us import it in that form, and have the work of cutting it up done here. I shall oppose the request.

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