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Wednesday, 13 May 1936

Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) -HUGHES. - The other day I noticed that the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. White) said that even Adam Smith agreed that it was necessary to give protection to infant industries until they became established. That was the original idea when our tariff policy was formulated by Mr. Kingston, but our experience has been that, in the case of some industries, paradoxical though it may seem, the older they grow, the more infantile they become, in the sense of asking for more and more protection.

Senator COLLINGS - If they become successful the Tariff Board has a crack at them.

Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES - I should say that there is no likelihood whatever that the Tariff Board desires to destroy or injure any efficient industry in Australia. The probabilities are all against it.

Senator Brown - The board can make iii 1 stakes

Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES - Then those mistakes can be rectified.

Senator Brown - According to the Ottawa agreement, as interpreted by the Government, it is not competent for Parliament to rectify a mistake made by the Tariff Board.

Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES - If a really serious mistake were made by the board, resulting in the injury of an important industry, honorable senators may rest assured that Parliament would not allow the situation to continue without taking remedial action. The Minister for Trade and Customs already possesses, and frequently exercises, power to prevent dumping. I cannot believe that a small reduction of duty on this item or that will have the effect of destroying an important industry. Every day we hear in this Parliament protests against trivial reductions of duty on iron and steel articles, accompanied by the suggestion that, if the reduction be persisted in, the BrokenHill Proprietary Company Limited will be ruined. Of course, no one really believes that.

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