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Thursday, 4 August 1921

Senator RUSSELL (Victoria) (VicePresident of the Executive Council) . - Honorable senators look to the Minister for everything, instead of getting some information for themselves. During the war there was a large market in Great Britain and Europe for Californian prunes; but since then the European demand has decreased, and these prunes have been dumped in Australia, mostly to the prejudice of New South Wales growers. The duty is to protect the industry from unnatural conditions.

Senator Rowell - A duty of 3d. or 4d. per lb. should be sufficient.

Senator RUSSELL - Californian importers are selling at a loss to keep up their local market.

Senator Duncan - Cannot the Minister give figures in support of his statement ?

Senator RUSSELL - My information is that the European demand for Californian prunes has fallen off considerably, and that, therefore, producers are exporting certain stocks to Australia at very low prices, and Australian growers have complained that they are not able to produce prunes at the prices quoted for the Californian fruit. The question is, Shall we protect the local industry 1

Senator Lynch - The Ministry is taking advantage of a condition abroad that is only temporary to impose a permanent duty. The European market may revive in a year or two.

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