§ MR. HOGAN (Tipperary, Mid)
I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that the Premiers of the Australian Colonies have repeatedly expressed their desire to enter into reciprocal trading relations with the mother country; and whether he can see his way to defer a final decision in the matter of subjecting Colonial imports to the operation of the proposed increased duties, having regard to the probability of a mutually satisfactory agreement being arrived at between the Imperial Government and the Governments of the Colonies concerned?
§ THE CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER
I am aware that there have been from time to time some expressions of opinion by the Premiers of the Australian Colonies giving a general support to the idea of closer commercial relations with the mother country. The latest was the Resolution passed at the Conference in London in 1897, but no proposals for reciprocal trading relations have been made; and I am not aware of anything that would justify the statement made in the Question as to the probability of an agreement.