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Tuesday, 19 December 1911

Senator GIVENS (Queensland) . - The Government do not appear to know their own mind, even with regard to this little Tariff Bill. It was introduced, presumably after careful consideration, with the object of rectifying anomalies in the Tariff, but, no sooner was it submitted in another place, than the Government abandoned what were considered essential features of the measure, and the same course is being adopted here. I am reminded by their action of the lines -

Weak and irresolute is man;

The purpose of to-day

Woven with pains into his plan,

To-morrow runs away.

The Government propose to do one thing to-day, and to-morrow their purpose is blown to the winds.

Senator Millen - The honorable senator was so dissatisfied with the Bill as introduced, that the Government are trying to amend it.

Senator GIVENS - They are trying to amend it in the opposite direction to that which I desire.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - It will mean only a difference of 6d. per 100 superficial feet. What is the use of bothering?

Senator GIVENS - I shall resist every reduction of a protective duty. We are dealing, however, with importations of dressed timber, and the only argument which could be advanced in support of the request is that we have neither the workmen nor the appliances in Australia to dress timber if it were imported, in the lpg. No one will believe that for a moment. I hope that honorable senators will vote upon this request with their eyes open, and will give effect to the Protectionist policy for which the people of Australia have declared. We are being continually told by Free Trade members of the Senate that they have accepted Protection as the settled policy of the Commonwealth, yet on every occasion when we discuss the Tariff they show that they have not accepted it, and that it is necessary for the Protectionists in this Parliamentto fight to the last to see that the policy of the country is carried out.

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