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Thursday, 11 August 1921

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) .- I hope to throw a little more light upon this sub-item than has the Minister. He has given us an explanation of what is meant by cotton and linen piece goods (being " defined " for cutting up for the manufacture of the articles referred to in the sub-item. A piece of linen may be introduced free of duty for the manufacture of serviettes; but if it has woven marks on it to show whore it ought to be cut for the- manufacture of serviettes of a particular size, it is liable under this Tariff to a duty. The con.sumer is penalized by the imposition of a special duty if these goods are so marked as to enable the ultimate user to cut them into the correct sizes required.

Senator Lynch - Is that the meaning of "defined"?

Senator PAYNE - Yes. The same thing applies to these goods introduced for the manufacture of window blinds and the other articles referred to. For instance, a roll of window union may be imported 30 yards in length, and it vill be marked at every two yards to in dicate the places at which it should be cut for the manufacture of blinds. ^ The Minister contends that that marking constitutes a certain portion of the manufacture of the blinds. It has nothing to do with their manufacture, though it may be an assistance to the manufacturer of the .finished article. Up to the introduction of this Tariff these goods were admitted free from Great Britain, whilst there was a small duty on the foreign article. I should like to know why it has been considered advisable now to impose a duty of 5 per cent, on these goods imported from Great Britain merely because they are marked by the manufacturer to assist the ultimate user in cutting off the required quantity of the material for the article he wishes to make. I do not see how this marking of piece goods interferes with the manufacture of articles from them here. If they were imported as finished articles they would come under a different item and 'be dutiable at 25 per cent.

Senator Russell - That is what they are dodging.

Senator PAYNE - There is no dodging about it at all. The sub-item refers to piece goods that are defined for cutting up, and that means merely that they are marked to assist the user to cut off just, the quantity that is required for the finished article.

Senator Reid - These goods are partly made up.

Senator PAYNE - No; they are merely. " defined " for cutting up for the manufacture of the various articles enumerated.

Senator Drake-Brockman - Those articles have still to be cut and" made up, and all the labour has to be done here.

Senator PAYNE - Of course it has. I can give honorable senators a simple illustration. A piece of linen damask, for instance, is sent out for cutting up into serviettes. The serviettes required are, say, 24 inches square, and at every 24 inches of this piece of material there will be an extra thread, or one thread short, in the weaving of the piece, to indicate where the user of the material is to cut it in order to make a serviette.

Senator Crawford - Does the honorable senator suggest that a piece of material is dutiable' if marked so that it may be cut into a dozen serviettes ?

Senator PAYNE - Yes, according 'to this Tariff.

Senator CRAWFORD - I should like to hear the Departmental explanation of that

Senator PAYNE - It is printed clearly in sub-item b, which covers cotton and linen piece goods, " defined for the cutting up for the manufacture of hemmed or hem-stitched handkerchiefs, serviettes, tablecloths, towels, or window blinds."

Senator Reid - The material is made purposely to be cut up.

Senator PAYNE - Of course it is. The work in connexion with these articles, the cutting up and hemming by seamstresses, represents a fairly big industry, and, therefore, the marking of the article in the way I have indicated' should not be sufficient to justify the imposition of a duty. I am prepared to support a more liberal British preferential duty than was fixed in the original Tariff, and I cannot see the advisability of imposing a duty on the British article in this sub-item.

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