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Thursday, 3 June 1926

Senator GRANT (New South Wales) . - I agree with Senator Lynch that on the question of protection we are running stark, staring, mad; but the honorable senator is consistently and persistently supporting the Government responsible for these excessive duties. Senator Lynch dare not vote against the Government on matters of importance, although on some occasions Senator Payne has done so. Merely because the neckband on the garment consists of a small portion of silk the whole garment is dutiable at a higher rate, and consequently those who use such things have to pay unnecessarily high prices. The people of Australia have decided that the Customs House is to be the big taxing machine, that foreign goods shall still come here, and a majority of honorably senators have decided that this schedule shall become law. Senator Findley, who is an ardent protectionist, pertinently asked if these garments can be commercially made in the Commonwealth. So far as I have been able to gather, the Lincoln mills are capable of manufacturing an unlimited quantity.

Senator Guthrie - So are other mills.

Senator GRANT - That and other mills would probably be able to supply the requirements of the Commonwealth. Where, then, do Senator Lynch, Senator Payne, and other honorable senators who have protectionist proclivities stand 1 If I had broadcast protectionist views I should do my best to prevent the importation of these goods. Honorable senators who support the policy of protection could assist, to make the tariff so high that none of these goods would enter the Commonwealth. I cannot understand why they do not do so, unless they are determined to help the Minister for Trade and Customs to collect as much revenue as he can from duties, whilst permitting foreign goods to be imported. I am glad that Senator Findley has been able to draw the curtain aside and show the real position.

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