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Thursday, 24 November 1927

Mr CHARLTON (Hunter) .- Certain of the duties set out in this schedule will not become operative for many months. In my opinion that allows speculators and others an opportunity to flood the country with the items concerned to the detriment of our local industries.

Mr PRATTEN (MARTIN, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member is referring, I presume, to deferred duties. It is the custom to impose them in this manner.

Mr CHARLTON - My complaint is that seven months' notice is far too, long. Presumably these amendments have been made in the schedule in order to provide employment for our workless people, and to encourage the manufacturing industries of the nation ; but those objects will not be achieved if we give this extended notice. In the meantime manufacturers abroad could import sufficient of these goods to supply the local market for perhaps two or three years.

Mr Bruce - Except for two or three items, this schedule becomes operative immediately.

Mr CHARLTON - The trouble is that some of the deferred items are very important. I refer specifically to the following : -

Item 105 - (aa) - Piece goods, cotton, silk or containing silk, artificial silk ....

(f)   (2) Piece goods, woollen or contain ing wool, n.e.i.

(h)   (3) Leather cloth.

Item115 - Socks and Stocking for human attire, viz.: -

(a)   Cotton.

The duty on these items will not become effective until the 1st of July, 1928.

The position is worse in regard to the following items: -

Item 118- (c) (2) Linoleums and floor coverings ....

Item 152 - (a) Iron and steel tubes or pipes .... the dutyon which will remain inoperative until the 1st January, 1929.

Mr PRATTEN (MARTIN, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The manufacture of some of them has not yet commenced.

Mr Gregory - There has been a deferred duty on hoop iron since 1920.

Mr CHARLTON - W e have a number of iron manufacturing concerns in different parts of Australia, and we should protect their interests. Generally speaking, our manufacturing industries are languishing, employees are being dismissed, and the price of shares is falling. If it can be demonstrated beyond question that we are unable at present to manufacture the items to which I have referred, there will be some justification for deferring the duty, but otherwise there can be none.

Mr PRATTEN (MARTIN, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Some of the alterations to which the honorable gentleman has referred are merely consequential, and will not affect the present situation in any way.

Mr CHARLTON - If the Minister is able to give me an assurance that these provisions will not affect our established industries, I shall be satisfied; but so far he has not done so. To my knowledge we are manufacturing some of the items that I have mentioned, and those concerned in the industry should be protected.

Mr.Fenton. - It appears to me that Flinders-lane is being invited to get busy.

Mr CHARLTON - Of course it is, and that is what I object to. I want to see Australian industries fostered and employment provided for our people. I am quite prepared to consider proposals to reduce any of our purely revenueproducing duties, for I have no desire to increase the cost of living; but I object strongly to any proposals which may have the effect of injuring either our people or our industries.

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