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Thursday, 28 July 1921


Senator LYNCH (Western Australia) . - I am inclined to agree with the opinion of Senator Payne that, some honorable senators are going Protection-mad. Under the 1914 schedule the duty on fruit juice, in bulk, was 9d. 'per gallon. It is now proposed to raise the rate to 2s. 6d. - a disproportionate and altogether inordinate increase, particularly in view of the fact that there has been some export of this product. I have to complain again that the Committee has not been supplied with the information to which it is entitled, and which it requires in order to deal justly with the schedule. Honorable senators are working in the dark in their efforts to decide what may be fair rates to impose, while remembering, as they should, the interests both of the manufacturer and of the consumer. Practically all the information at my hand is contained in a book which, although it bears the imprimatur of the Government, has been compiled, it would seem, by one, Ambrose Pratt, who may evidently be ranked among the " gone-mad " Protectionists. This Committee has nothing like the same range of information as was provided fourteen years ago. When the Tariff was being considered in those days full particulars were given concerning the previous rates. The existing duties were, of course, set out; and, side by side with them., the recommendations of the Royal Commission which had been diligently inquiring into the whole subject. Further, the country of export was indicated, and the values of the various importations were all provided. Honorable senators can only hope, in the present circumstances, to make the best of a bad job. I shall not support the proposed request. I have some incomplete information before me to the effect that in 1908-the Tariff then being 9d. per gallon - there was imported 43,468 gallons of fruit juice; the duty paid amounted to £1,664. It is ' unfortunate that no information should be available concerning later years. The position has been reversed in the thirteen years between 1908 and 1921. From being importers of lime-juice in 1908, we have become exporters, yet Senator Pratten has just succeeded in putting a 70 per cent, increase of duty upon a commodity which we are exporting.


Senator GUTHRIE (VICTORIA) - We are still importing it.


Senator LYNCH - As with other articles, w© may be both importing and exporting, but I should like the Minister to state the net position as between imports and exports.


Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - The duty has been just doubled since 1914.


Senator Russell - Senator Pratten's proposal means a protection of 70 per cent.


Senator LYNCH - But it is an increase of 100 per cent, upon the 1914 rate. We are getting fiscally drunk as far as giving fair protection is concerned. We are starting off in a way that will satisfy the blind enthusiasts on one side, but we may have to sober up before our course is run. If the net position is that we are exporting, Senator Pratten's proposal is not warranted. The Government are inexcusably lacking in their duty in not giving the Committee full information about imports and exports.







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