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Friday, 5 August 1921

Senator LYNCH - They were normal years,before the war ; and the tendency is to return as rapidly as possible to normal conditions. The exports are set out in detail, and the following paragraph is added : -

Itwill be seenthat theaverage value of the exports in the 1908 period was 3.34 cents per lb., in the 1909 period 12¼ cents, and this season nearly 20 cents. The imports of hops into the United States of America during the ten months ended 30th April, 1908, were 8,211,535 lbs., the average value of whichwas 23½ cents.: in the 1909 period, 6,923,655 lbs., with an average value of slightly under 20 cents; and, for the ten month's ended 30th April, 1910, 3,057,041 lbs., with an average value of nearly 47 'cents per lb. The import duty is now 16 cents per lb.

That is about equivalent to8d. The value of the imports in those normal years was in the neighbourhood of l0d. per lb. maximum; yet Senator Earle is asking that a rate of duty shall be imposed which, in itself, would be actually far above the price of the product brought into the United States of America. I agree with Senator Gardiner that in dealing with the Tariff theGovernment and the Parliament have started from . the wrong point. They have set out on the false assumption that the industries 'of this country require protection to make them succeed. It is necessary that safeguards should be provided, of course, to enable producers and manufacturers to fairly hold their own. But the degree of protection should not be such as to amount, practically, to a premium upon laziness. We should not coddle our industries and manufactures to the extent of permitting them to grow flabby and lazy for lack of competition. Every penny imposed beyond what is absolutely necessary is, I repeat, nothing but a premium upon laziness. And that has been the effect of the rates upon many items in the Tariff. I blame the Government more than, anybody else. It is their duty to propound a leading policy. Otherwise what hope has Australia.' of becoming a self-reliant and self-contained nation'? I am proud to think that there are some manufacturers who are so keenly alive to thi public interest that they refuse- to ask the ^Government for excessive protection. There are others, however, who greedily take the opportunity to " thrust their hands in to the elbow." This Committee should not tolerate such a state of affairs. I shall, certainly vote against the request.

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