I beg to ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether Lord Elgin has received a communication from the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce representing that serious injury will be inflicted on Birmingham industries by the new British preferential tariff introduced into Australia by Mr. Deakin and Sir William Lyne; and what action Lord Elgin proposes to take in the matter.
Yes, Sir; as I stated yesterday, a letter making representations to this effect and asking that the operation of the tariff might be postponed has been received and communicated to the Commonwealth Government by telegraph. A reply was received to-day as follows:—"Australian practice (is) to collect new duties from date Resolutions are laid before Parliament. Not practicable (to) accede to request (of) Birmingham Chamber of Commerce."
Does the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce intend to take this lying down?
asked the right hon. Gentleman whether he did not think that the Chamber of Commerce, like the Government, should enter into negotiations.
I should be loth to express an opinion as to what action ought to be taken in these or any circumstances by the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce.