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Thursday, 11 August 1921

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) (5:20 AM) . - I move -

That the -House of Representatives be requested to insert the following new sub-item: - " (d) Undershirts, undervests, underpants, andcombinations, British,25 -per cent.; intermediate, . 30 percent. general, 40 percent."

Those articlesare at present included in the item " Apparel, : n.e.i.," and are 'dutiable at 40, 50 and 55 per -cent. Such duties would only maintain the very high prices at presentbeing charged for underwear, and make it almost impossible for the bulk of the people to clothethemselves with suitable underwear. There is a great deal of underwear which Australians are accustomed to use that is not manufactured in Australia. The underwear that is manufactured here would be amply protected by the factthat we have the raw material here, and by duties of 25, 30, and 40 per cent, plus the cost of freight and other expenses of importation.

Senator Lynch - Would it not be better, since the honorable senator istaking so manyarticles tout of the main item, to propose thatthere should be lower -duties onthose that are now left?

Senator PAYNE - I have adopted this method because I had an opportunity of looking through the Canadian Tariff, and I find that in Canada they are very careful to define the variousdutiable articles. The articles with which I am now dealing are referred to in the Canadian Tariff as"undershirts, drawers, and knitted goods."I am suggesting an item which is a little clearer than that. My request covers all classes of woven underwear. I was speaking to a gentleman today who told me that he had to pay as high as 25s. a pair for woven natural wool underpants. I do not wish to make comparisons with pre-war prices, but the ordinary quality of either of the articles included in my request worn by individuals of moderate means would he merino finished and would he imported under certain conditions at from4s. 6d. to 5s. per pair.

Senator Lynch - The honorable senator would put woollen and cotton goods on the same footing?

Senator PAYNE - Yes, I think it is inadvisable todifferentiate, because we are making thearticles here of a misters of cotton andwool, as well as of all wool. I am of opinion that duties of 50 and 55 per cent, on these articles are absolutely prohibitive.

Senator Lynch - We have previously agreed to higher duties on woollen goods than oh cotton goods.

Senator PAYNE - Ifit is the feeling of the Committee that we should do so in this ease in order to ho consistent, I shall confine this request to woollen goods, and will move for the insertion of another item covering these articles made of cotton at a lower rate of duty. With the consent of the Committee I can amend my request by inserting after "combinations " the words " wool or containing wool."

SenatorRussell. - The duties the honorable senator proposes will be lower on these garments than on the raw material. The duty on woollen goods and goods containing wool are 30, 40, and 45 per cent., under sub-item f of item 105.

Senator PAYNE - That item covers woollen piece goods. I am dealing with woven fabric, which is a totally different thing from textiles. The difficulty might be overcome by a further alteration of my request, and I ask leave to amend it to read -

That the House of Representatives be requested to insert the following new sub-item: - " (d) Woven undershirts, undervests, underpants, and combinations,' wool or containing wool, British, 25 per cent.; intermediate, SO per cent.; general, 40 per cent."

Request, by leave, amended accordingly.

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