12 DECEMBER 1931, Page 3

The Australian Election The general election in the Commonwealth is

being keenly contested. For the 76 scats in the House of Representatives, and nine of the 18 scats vacated in the Senate, no fewer than 229 candidates were nominated last week.- The Opposition, led by Mr. Lyons and Mr. Latham, is responsible for half of them. Mr. Scullin, the Labour Prime Minister, is hampered in New South Wales by the hostility of the advanced Socialist section led by Mr. Lang, the Premier of that State, whose personal antagonism to Mr. Theodore, the Labour Treasurer, resembles a vendetta. It is anticipated that the Labour split will give several of the New South Wales scats to the Opposition. Mr. Scullin's trump card is his sug- gestion that Mr. Lyons, if returned to power, will reduce the protective tariff on manufactured goods, which in our view is grotesquely excessive. The Protectionist organ, the Melbourne Age, seems to share Mr. Scullin's apprehension. Mr. Lyons, however, disclaims any wish to cut down the tariff, and Mr. Bruce, who is now in England and is conducting his campaign for his old seat at Flinders by cable and wireless, has been careful to insist on his belief in " the wise and beneficial develop- ment of our system of protection." Whichever party wins, therefore, the outlook for " Empire Free Trade " in Australia is not particularly bright.

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