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Thursday, 12 July 1906


Sir WILLIAM LYNE (Hume) (Min.ister of Trade and Customs) - - The honorable member who has just made a very analytical speech in reference to paragraph a has assumed that by that provision, in conjunction with the clause as a whole, we shall interfere with the expansion of our export trade to Great Britain.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - No.


Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Why then did the honorable member quote the quantity of butter that is being imported into Great Britain from Australia?


Mr Lonsdale - He did so bv way of illustrating what would be unfair competition.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - We are doing the very thing which paragraph a prohibits, and consider that our action is legitimate and fair, and so it is.


Sir WILLIAM LYNE - That is so. To my mind, however, there is this great difference: As everybody is aware, it would be quite impossible for Great Britain to produce from her soil sufficient to support her own people


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That does not. make competition unfair.


Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I know that. The difference between Great Britain arid Australia is-


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Where is the proof of the Minister's statement?


Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I do not wish to enter into details, but I am sure that if Great Britain utilized every foot of land in the United Kingdom she could not produce sufficient wheat to supply 46,000,000 people with bread.


Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not agree with that statement.


Sir WILLIAM LYNE - We do not wish to be overwhelmed by importations from any part of the world which are dumped upon our market for the purpose of injuring our industries, or of lowering the wages of our people. That is the object of this legislation, but it is not the aim of British legislation. The other night the honorable member for North Sydney submitted an amendment in favour of extending a preference to the goods of the mother country. That amendment was defeated. Had it been carried, of course Great Britain would not have been included in the category of other nations which export to Australia goods of various, kinds. The honorable member must not forget that under paragraph a competition will be deemed to be unfair only when it is undertaken with intent to destroy our industries.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - No.


Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Yes. The honorable member will see that under clause 15 that is so.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Minister is alluding to the fact that the ComptrollerGeneral must be of opinion that goods are being imported into Australia with the intention that they shall come into unfair competiton with Australian goods.


Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Exactly. I would further direct the attention of the honorable member to the fact that clause 14, as I propose to amend it, will read -

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 no longer produced, or being withdrawn from the market, or being sold at a loss, unless produced at an inadequate remuneration for labour ;

Therefore, practically the whole of an industry must be threatened. If the importation of goods would only slightly interfere with the production or sale of Australian goods, it would not come within the meaning of this clause at all. The goods must be introduced with intent to destroy an Australian industry. 1 Mr. Lonsdale. - Only in the opinion of the Comptroller-General, who can hold any opinion that he chooses upon the matter.


Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The importation of goods can be prohibited only if the Comptroller-General and a Justice of the High Court are of opinion that they would probably lead to the Australian goods being no longer produced, or being withdrawn from the market, or being sold at a loss, unless they were produced at an inadequate remuneration for' labour. The position taken up by the honorable member for North Sydney is not a logical one. The strong' point of the clause is that, before the importation of any goods can be prohibited, the Comptroller-General and a Justice of the High Court must be of opinion that they are being introduced with intent to wipe out practically the whole of an Australian industry.


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The clause does not say the " whole of an industry."







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