Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Wednesday, 10 August 1921

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania)

We have passed the first round, and are now engaged in the second. The first false step was taken in the last division. The attitude adopted by the Committee has forced me to do what I am loath to do, and that is support a proposal which necessarily means increasing the cost of a commodity to the consumer. I am, however, prepared to do all I can to prevent small manufacturers being crushed out of existence.

Senator Reid - The honorable senator means the small industry in Tasmania.

Senator PAYNE - I have that in mind, and I can recall the time when we had three similar industries in that State.

Senator Reid - Working on foreign products.

Senator Keating - The honorable senator wears clothing made from foreign products.

Senator PAYNE - Nearly everything we use contains a foreign product of some kind, and Senator Reid should realize that we cannot live in " splendid isolation," because we are depending on the markets of the world for . the disposal of our surplus production. It is all very well to object to foreign products, but we must have them, and an interchange of commodities with other countries is the life-blood of a nation.

Senator Reid - This is an entirely Australian industry.

Senator PAYNE - It is not, because its raw material is not produced in Australia in marketable quantities. I rose particularly to refer to, a statement by the Minister to the effect that the price of wax candles to-day is 9d. per lb. wholesale. The honorable senator quoted that figure to show that the duty on the raw material, paraffine wax, together with the duty on wax candles, gives ample protection for the wax candle industry in Australia. Let me quote a price more recent than that quoted by the Minister. This statement was placed in my hands by a gentleman who said, " Whatever you find on this typewritten sheet I vouch for as being correct." I quote the statement, which is made by candle manufacturers, in order that honorable senators may see what the Tariff as we have it to-day has led to -

Only this week we have been offered Bangoon 16-oz. wax candles, 135 deg. melting point* duty paid, delivered in our store, at 7$d. per lb. net. We have already ordered 1,000 cases..

Why? Because as a result of the operation of the Tariff wax candle manufacturers in Australia have been forced to import candles manufactured by black labour owing to having been prohibited from importing the raw material they require by the duty which has been imposed upon it.

Senator Russell - The price quoted by the honorable senator makes the difference in price between wax candles and stearine candles 2d. per lb.

Senator PAYNE - No.

Senator Russell - The lowest price at which stearine candles .can be manufactured and sold is 9}d. per lb.

Senator PAYNE - I am not discussing stearine but wax candles. I am notspeaking in advocacy of the stearine industry, but of the retention alongside it of the wax candle industry. The statement I wish to quote continues-

Having taken advantage of this offer, we have been given an option of buying another 10,000 cases at the same price.

If the statement I have quoted is a fact, and I have every reason to believe that it is, where is the protection afforded to the wax candle manufacturers of Australia today? These people find that they can land the finished article, manufactured wholly by black labour, at a lower price than that at which they can manufacture the article in Australia from raw material turned out by black labour, under the duties now imposed.

Senator Reid - They are going to be importers in the future instead of manufacturers.

Senator PAYNE - They are being forced into that position by the operation of the Tariff, and are being forced to dispense with the services of the operatives who have been engaged in the manufacture of wax candles. In the circumstances I am compelled to support Senator Pratten's request. I do so very reluctantly, because I strongly object to a majority of the Committee compelling me to raise the cost of living, if only to a small extent. I am given no option in the matter when I am refused what I consider a fair deal for the manufacturers of wax candles in Australia.

Suggest corrections