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Thursday, 11 August 1921

Senator EARLE (Tasmania) (6:34 AM) . - On the honorable senator's own figures, the duties for which he asks are exorbitant. If the pre-war price of kapok was 6d. per lb., it is not likely to be more than 9d. per lb. now, so that the duty on the general Tariff, which is the only rate likely' to affect the importation of kapok, is equivalent to 100 per cent, ad valorem.

Senator Duncan - We might come to an arrangement with the Dutch, and make the intermediate rate apply.

Senator EARLE - Most of the kapok we use comes from Java.

Senator Duncan - Practically the whole of it.

Senator EARLE - On that kapok the honorable senator proposes' an import duty of 9d. per lb. I am afraid that the' adoption of his proposal would increase the cost of the people's bedding considerably. We do not know that the establishment in New South Wales of the industry of which he spoke will make up for this. I wish to encourage industries where there is a possibility of doing so at reasonable cost. The honorable senator himself took strong exception to a request for a duty not nearly so high comparatively as that which he proposes.

Senator Duncan - That duty was proposed to benefit an old-established industry. The duty I now propose is to protect a new industry.

Senator EARLE - Possibly this new industry may create a much-needed demand for certain classes of wool; but I think that the rates fixed are too high, and that 6d. on the general Tariff would be enough.

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