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Tuesday, 10 July 1906

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I should think that under ordinary conditions of trade there was room for some improvement. Three years ago these importations amounted in value to £8,000,000, and then they went down to £6,000,000. So that if they, did increase to nearly £7,000,000 last year, that indicated nothing in the nature of dumping, but simply showed a recovery of the ordinary volume of business.

Sir William Lyne - Does the honorable member not think that dumping has been going on for some years ?

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I should be very glad indeed to know what the Minister regards as dumping. If the honorable gentleman regards ordinary importations as dumping, if all goods coming here from other countries are to be considered dumped, let us know it. I should like to remind the honorable gentleman that if we are going to shut out all importations', we shall be compelled! to find some way of disposing of exports from Australia. He should understand that Australia dumps more than she imports by a very great deal. If we are to prevent even the most innocent and legitimate description of dumping from abroad, what is to become of our dumping in other parts of the world? Alf this talk about dumping in connexion with the great Empire to which we belong reveals only more and more clearly the fact that Great Britain and the countries forming the Empire as a whole, are the greatest dumpers in the world today. Great Britain dumps upon every shore ; her life's blood depends upon her ability to do so; and in Australia our life's blood depends upon our .ability to send our exports to the various countries of the world. I, therefore, say that the Minister should tell us whether he regards ordinary importations of metals and machinery as dumping. If so, the honorable gentleman had better give this part of the Bill another name. Anti-competition or antitrade would more correctly describe what it deals with than does " dumping." Dumping, as we know, is importation carried on specially for destructive purposes, or, as was said by the last speaker, importation for the purpose of the disposal of surplus stocks, arising very often from commercial bankruptcy and from overproduction - the importation of something which must be got rid of even below the usual price. If that is what the Minister of Trade and Customs means bv dumping. I admit that if he can make out his case for this Bill, we are here to consider it fully with him. But if, as we may judge from the honorable gentleman's interjections, he regards all importations to Australia in the nature of dumping, we had better find out before we pass a Bill of so farreaching a character as this, what we are going to do about our own dumping abroad. Two can play at this kind of game, and if we decline point blank to engage in the ordinary competitive enterprises of the world, the world mav be disposed to pay us back in our own coin. I ask the Minister, before we proceed with the detailed consi-deration of these clauses, to tell us what he regards as dumping. That he should do so has become the more necessary, by reason of his interjections and his general attitude in dealing with the Bill. If the honorable gentleman confines his definition of dumping to sinister operations which would have the effect of sweeping our Australian industries out of existence if allowed free pla.v. let him make out a case to show that that kind of thing is going on, and then honorable members, with all the knowledge of the Department available to them - and I strongly suggest with the knowledge which can be given bv the Tariff 'Commission also available - may proceed to a full, fair, and free discussion of this matter unhampered by ignorance, as they are to-day, and may be able to give it their best attention in the interest of legitimate competiton and of legitimate trade and commerce.

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