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Wednesday, 10 August 1921

Senator DUNCAN (New South Wales) . - I am not surprised to find Senator de Largie displaying great interest in this important question. As a true son of Scotland, he has told us of the paraffine wax that is manufactured there, and I may add that a relatively large quantity of it is exported to Australia. Unfortunately, however, the Scottish manufacturers of paraffine wax, when they were granted by the Commonwealth Parliament a preferential duty, did not evince that generosity which might reasonably have been expected of them.When they were given a preference of1d. per lb. they added it to the invoice cost of the wax to the Australian manufacturer, and it was the Australian manufacturer who had to "pay the piper." By placing this additional duty on paraffine wax, we shall increase the cost of what is after all the raw material of many Australian industries. If we want to encourage secondary industries it is up to us to make it as easy as possible for them to get their raw material at a reasonable rate. Paraffine wax is used largely by printers for waxing paper, and also by tarpaulin manufacturers. The New South Wales State Railways Department alone use for that purpose about 50 tons per annum. It is used also by manufacturers of floor polishes, and in the production of other commodities, as well as in the making of candles. Paraffine wax candles are to a certain extent at least necessary to mining. It was stated in another place that wax candles were not used in mines, but where the honorable member who made that statement obtained his information, I do not know. Some of the largest mining companies in Australia to-day when calling for tenders for candles distinctly specify either Rangoon wax candles or candles made from Rangoon wax. The whole of the Broken Hill group, the Mount Morgan, HamptonCloncurry, Chillagoe, Mount Lyell, and other mining companies, which are among the most important in Australia, impose this condition. They specify either Rangoon candles - and we do not want to encourage the manufacture of candles there - or candles made here from Rangoon wax. But here is a proposal on the part of the Government to increase the cost of producing wax candles. Whilst we may by the imposition of this additional duty give, perhaps, a little more encouragement to the firm of Kitchen and Sons - which I am assured is in some way connected with Messrs. Lever Brothers - and one or two other firms, we, on the other hand, will increase the cost of production against several other impor tant industries. That is more than a fair thing to ask of the Committee. I hope, in the circumstances, that Australian manufacturers of wax candles will receive the encouragement they deserve by being allowed to obtain their raw material in the shape of Rangoon wax at as low a duty as possible. The making of wax candles is not an industry peculiar to any one State. The firm of John Miller and Company, of Hobart, uses, not stearine,but only paraffine wax, and Messrs. Farmer, Henty, and Company, of Melbourne, make candles entirely from paraffine wax. Messrs. Upton and Company, of Sydney, are also almost entirely dependent upon paraffine wax for their raw material in the manufacture of candles, and these firms produce by far the greater proportion of the wax candles made in this country. The Government seriously propose to place a handicap on these manufacturers in order that the making of candles from some other raw material may be encouraged; but the mining industry must have candles made from paraffine wax. Is it proposed to permit Rangoon candles, made by coloured people, to come in for use in our mines in preference to candles made by our own people? If it is proposed to make it cheaper to import these wax candles, by all means let the duty remain as it is; but if we are to give encouragement to the local manufacturer the duty on the raw material must be reduced as proposed by Senator Payne.

Senator Crawford - Would not an increase in the duty upon candles have the same effect?

Senator DUNCAN - I prefer to guarantee to the manufacturers that they will get their raw material at as low a rate as possible, rather than take a risk as to the degree of protection that may be given to the finished article.

Senator Russell - The honorable senator does not object to the coloured worker producing his oil, but objects to the same worker producing his candles.

Senator DUNCAN - If we could produce oil in Australia I would say, " Let us give it all the protection it requires." Senator de Largie has spoken of the possible production at some indefinite time in the future of paraffine at Joadja, in New South Wales, a place I have visited on several occasions. The works there are entirely dismantled.

Senatorde Largie. - Why?

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