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Friday, 10 August 1906


Sir WILLIAM LYNE (Hume) (Minister of Trade and Customs) . - I move -

That from the10th day of August, 1906, at a p.m., Victorian time -

(a)   in addition to the duties of Customs imposed by the Customs Tariff1902 on

 

(c)   the following . goods shall be free of Customs duty : -

Manufactures of Metal, viz. : -

Hand-worked rakes and ploughs com- bined, hay-tedders, maize harvesters, maize binders, maize planters, mouldboard plates in the rough and not cut into shape, potato sorters, potato raisers or diggers.

I submit this resolution in consequence of an announcement which, appears in the Argus newspaper of this morning. It is very evident that somebody has given correct information to that journal regarding the recommendations of the Tariff Commission, and this fact has forced the Government to take immediate action, with a view to protecting the revenue. I wish also to announce that, as the Government have not had an opportunity to discuss all the details connected with the recommendations of the Commission, it may be found necessary hereafter to modify the resolution which I am now submitting. But, in view of the information which has been published in the Argus, there was no other course open to us than that which I am now taking. The resolution embodies the complete recommendation of one section of the Tariff Commission.


Mr Fowler - It is not complete.


Sir WILLIAM LYNE - I understand that it is. I am about to read some other recommendations, which I could not embody an the resolution, but which will be. acted. upon by the Government. The first is as follows : -

Providing that if the retail or selling price of any implement or machine made in Australia, similar to that upon which the additional duty is hereby imposed be raised above such prices ruling in Australia during 1905 the GovernorGeneral may, in pursuance of a joint Address by the Senate and the House of Representatives, suspend the collection of such additional duty upon any machine or implement for such time as may be deemed advisable.

The second recommendation of the Commission reads -

That if the majority of manufacturers of the machines and the implements made in Australia similar to those upon which additional duties are hereby levied do not, after the expiration of one year -from the passing of this Act, pay their workmen engaged in making such machines and implements a fair and reasonable rate of wages, the Governor-General may, in pursuance of a joint Address by the Senate and House of Representatives, affirming that such fair and reasonable wages are not being paid, suspend the collection of such additional duty upon any machine or implement for such' time as may be deemed advisable.

The third recommendation reads -

Provided that if within two years after the passing of the Act the retail price of stripperharvesters made in Australia has. been raised above £81, or if after the expiration of two years from the passing of the Act the retail price of stripperharvesters made in Australia has not been reduced to £70, the Governor-General may) upon the receipt, of a joint . Address from the Senate and the- House of Representatives certifying to the foregoing effect, by proclamation, suspend the collection of such additional duty of 12½ per cent. for such period as may be deemed . advisable.

I have read these recommendations of the Commission, but I do not say that the Government intend to adopt them in their entirety, because - and I say this without in anv way binding the Government - I am of opinion that the price named is too high. I think it is very possible that in the Bill which will be introduced the Government may stipulate for a greater reduction than is provided for in these recommendations. But, forced as we have been to take immediate action, I have brought forward these resolutions to indicate what the Government-


Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Suppose that the make of the machine, in consequence of the cost, is altered.


Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The resolutions are merely an outline of what the Bill mav contain, but I think that we shall endeavour to provide for all these details.


Mr McWilliams - The Government will have to make some provision of that kind.


Sir WILLIAM LYNE - Exactly. I wish honorable members to understand that I have been forced into this position by a highly improper action on the part of somebody. I can give the Committee my assurance that the information which has been published has not emanated from my Department, because the recommendations of the Commission only came, into my hands yesterday, and they have been locked up ever since. Consequently somebody else must have communicated the information to the Argus, and I venture to say that, in doing so, he committed a very reprehensible act. ;


Mr Wilkinson - Why do the Government exempt maize planters?


Sir WILLIAM LYNE - The honorable member must understand that we intend to give effect to the recommendations of the Commission before they have been fully considered. We have not had an opportunity of fully considering them.







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