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Thursday, 12 July 1906

Mr JOHNSON (Lang) .- The quotation which I read to the Committee a little while ago, I find on consulting the files, was a condensation of a report published in the Age - a Victorian newspaper. This article contained more comprehensive allegations than those which I read. The only attempt at refutation that I have come across is one furnished by the Victorian Tanners' Association, and the Employers' Federation, which subsequently held a meeting to consider the report. They generally condemned the use of the materials to which I have referred, but admitted that they were used. Particularly was that the case with glucose. But they thought that one Victorian firm was largely responsible for its use.

Mr Mauger - Hear, hear - and the honorable member condemned the whole of the firms for one.

Mr.JOHNSON. - I condemned no one. I simply quoted from a report of the Government Analyst, and the Government Medical Officer, which was published in theAge. If there was any accusation, it was made by those officers and not by me. I am not responsible for what they said, or for what was published in theAge. The value of the disclaimer of the Employers' Federation, even qualified as it wasby admission that the practice did exist, but notgenerally, is discounted by the publication, on the same day in the same column, on 27th March, 1905, of a letter from the secretary of the Tanners' and Leather Dressers' Union. I propose to quote a portion of it, as it confirms the reports of the Government Analyst and the Government Medical Officer. It says -

I have from time to time in the past made complaints to various bodies upon the subject of adulteration of leather. Some few years ago, while giving evidence before the Royal Commission, on Technical Education, I made a statement, if my memory serves aright,that one firm at that time was reputed as using two tons of glucose per week in their leather. Later on I forwarded to one of our senators, when the Fraudulent Trades Marks Bill was under consideration, a complaint as to the use of glucose, and also a child's shoe purporting to be leather, the constituents of which were principally cardboard, rag, and bagging. There can be no question that some action is necessary in compelling dishonest manufacturers to so brand their goods that the public may know whether they are getting " nothing like leather," or " something like leather," or " real leather." At one time the tanning and leather-dressing trade was looked upon as a fairly healthy occupation, but of late years, owing to the increased use of chemical ingredients and of machinery, it is becoming anything but healthy and safe.

Having read this extract, I leave the Committee tojudge the matter for themselves.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clause 14 -

1.   For the purposes of this Part of this Act, competition shall be deemed to be unfair if -

(a)   under ordinary circumstances of trade it would probably lead to the Australian goods being either withdrawn from the market or sold at a loss unless produced at a lower remuneration for labour; or

(b)   the means adopted by the person im porting or selling the imported goods are, in the opinion of the ComptrollerGeneral or the Board, as the case may be, unfair in the circumstances.

2.   In the following cases the competition shall be deemed unfair until the contrary is proved -

(a)   If the person importing goods or selling imported goods is a Commercial Trust :

(b)   If the competition would probably or does in fact result in a lower remuneration for labour :

(c)   If the competition would probably or does in fact result in greatly disorganizing Australian industry or throwing workers out of employment :

(d)   If the imported goods have been purchased abroad at prices greatly below their ordinary cost of production where produced or market price where purchased :

(e)   If the imported goods are being sold in Australia at a price which is less than gives the person importing or selling them a fair profit upon their fair foreign market value, or their cost of production, together with all charges after shipment from the place whence the goods are exported directly to Australia (including Customs duty) :

(f)   If the person importing or selling the imported goods directly or indirectly gives to agents or intermediaries disproportionately large reward or remuneration for selling or recommending the goods.

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