Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 8 March 1932

It is stated by the Nationalist organization that Labour candidates in tobacco-growing districts are seeking to mislead electors into the belief that if the Nationalist party should be successful at the elections, drastic changes will immediately be made in the tobacco duties. This is described by Mr. Latham as pure invention. No immediate drastic changes are contemplated to any items of the existing tariff schedule. The party has certainly, he says, no designs upon the tobacco duties. The aim of the party is to foster the industry in every reasonable way.

The other day the Brisbane Courier published an article commenting upon the action of the Government in increasing the tobacco duties. In the course of that article it stated -

The tariff imposed by the Federal Government on tobacco encourages importing at the expense of home growing . . The trend of public opinion in Queensland is that this treatment will practically wipe out the industry, or at any rate, convert a promising industry into a struggling and shrinking industry. We hesitate to believe that the Federal Government intends such an inconsistent and lamentable result.

Mr. W.G. King, President of the Brisbane Chamber of Manufactures, and an ardent Nationalist, made the following statement, which was published in the Brisbane Daily Mail, on the 27th February, 1932 : -

On a cursory glance at the changes forecast it seems to the chamber that Queensland has been singled out for rather harsh treatment . . . The tobacco industry, one of Queensland's new primary industries, upon which they were building so much hope, seemed to have been treated rather unfairly.

I leave it to honorable members to judge whether the tobacco-growers were justified in believing that protection was to be maintained or not. The amendment I have moved is a reasonable one, and I hope that honorable members will support it. In the Governor-General's Speech - a document prepared by his ministerial advisers - there was an assurance that all possible steps would be taken to stimulate industry so as to absorb the unemployed. . Are the Government's tobacco proposals the best it can evolve as a solution for the unemployment problem? This industry has been affording increased employment to a large number of men, and now, within a few days of its coming into office, the Government has dealt it a staggering blow. No wonder members of the Country party have criticized the Government, and I look to them to follow up their words by actions. It is a pity that they did not think sooner, and keep in office the Government which was affording protection to the primary producers.

This Government has reduced the duty on 69 tariff items, including (tobacco, cotton,soap, dried fruits, eggs, &c. The reduction in the tobacco duties comes at a most inopportune time. The tobacco industry was developing rapidly, and was providing employment, not only in the industry itself, but in other industries which supply the wants of the tobaccogrowers. Manufacturers were receiving orders for materials to be installed in flue-curing barns, and furniture and supplies were being forwarded to men going on the land. Surely the best way to solve our unemployment problem is to put men on the land growing tobacco or other profitable crops. A little while ago the Government appealed to private enterprise to absorb the unemployed, yet the Government now deals a severe blow at. one.form of private enterprise. When the Scullin Government increased the tobacco duties on imported leaf from 2s. 8d. to 5s. 2d. per lb, it did a wise thing in the interests of the industry and of the unemployed of this country.

Mr Maxwell - Why not deal with what the Minister said to-day?

Suggest corrections