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Tuesday, 22 November 1910

Senator VARDON (South Australia) .- I take it that we are not here to reduce the duties imposed upon anything that can be manufactured in Australia. If these articles can be manufactured here, and the Government proposals will assist those engaged in their manufacture, I shall have no great objection to the consequent increase of duties upon them. But if they a re not made here, I do not think it can be contended that we need an increase of duties for revenue purposes, or to facilitate the work of the Customs Department. This proposal will not assist any industry here, and will only increase the cost of goods, in connexion with which these articles are used, to the extent of the increase in the duty. I refer honorable senators to another part of the same item, in which it is proposed to add after the words "lace for attire," " Lace flouncings,"- " millinery and dress nets," and " embroideries in the piece," the words "exceeding 18 inches in width." A gentleman in the trade showed me some of these things, and explained that the narrow widths below 18 inches are used by the poorer people. I take it that it is not the desire of honorable senators that the poorer people should have to pay more for these articles than they already have to pay under the existing Tariff. 1 understand that the proposal will not affect people who are sufficiently well off to be able to afford to get these goods 18 inches or more in width, whilst it will make a difference in the case of goods of a less width, which are now used by the poorer people. That being so, 1 cannot see any justification for the proposed alteration.

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