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Friday, 29 July 1921

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) . - These duties should be carefully considered by the Committee from several angles. We have first to consider how they affect those whom I may call the growers of tallow, from which is manufactured stearine, which is the material of which most candles are made. By the retention of the duties now proposed a very grave injustice will be done to theAustralian manufacturers of wax candles. I wish also to direct attention to the fact that, if the item is passed as it stands, there is grave danger, not only that the local manufacture of wax candles may be destroyed, but that the local manufacture of stearine candles may be seriously prejudiced by the importation of wax candles, chiefly from Rangoon, in Burmah, where they are made in very large quantities with black labour from a by-product of crude oil under monopolistic control. During the past decade, the soap and candle-making industry has largely developed in Australia, and at the present time almost all the soap and candles used in the Commonwealth are of local manufacture and made almost entirely of local products. Therefore, to open a door to cheap Asiatic candles would be a serious matter. I can safely say that the plants which have been erected in Australia for the manufacture of stearine from tallow have cost hundreds of thousands of pounds, and, of course, it is obvious that it is advantageous to our primary producers to have this demand for their tallow. But although a very large quantity of candles is made from stearine, there is also a local manufacture of wax candles made from imported wax. I understand that there is some demand for wax candles in preference to stearine candles.

Senator Payne - A big demand.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I wish to state my case moderately.Whatever we may do in fixing the duties on candles, we shall not be' able to abolish the use of wax candles. But what is the position in which the decision of the House of Representatives has placed the local manufacture of wax candles? What is the position forced upon the manufacfacturers of wax candles in Australia through the insufficient consideration of this item? In 1911 the Tariff imposed a duty of1d. per lb. on' imported wax, and 2d. per lb. on imported wax candles made by black labour, and the same rates were adhered to in the 1914 Tariff, but for some reason or other, possibly through an oversight, the Tariff introduced in 1920 placed a duty of lid. per lb. on wax, and only 2d. per lb. on wax candles made by black labour, thereby reducing the Protection afforded to the wax candle maker of Australia by 50 per cent. Then another place, in order to protect the Australian manufacturers of candles who make their candles from stearine, increased the duty on imported wax to 2d. per lb., and perpetrated again the injustice contained in the Tariff as introduced by adhering to the small margin of id. per lb. between the duty on imported wax and the higherrateon imported wax candles made by blacklabour. If we do not increase the duty on wax candles made by black labour we shall have a lot of these candles dumped into Australia to the injury of everybody. I have in my hand a copy of an order given for Burmah wax candles, duty paid, delivery in Sydney, at7½d. per lb. The duty included in the price is the existing rate of2½d. per lb. The present price of stearine candles in Australia is 9d. per lb., and they cannot be produced under 8d. per lb. I ask the

Committee to give careful consideration to this glaring anomaly, and I hope that as the debate progresses it will be rectified.

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