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Wednesday, 17 August 1921

Senator LYNCH (Western Australia) .: - What. I said when speaking on Senator Duncan's amendment applies, to the present- proposal; but there is one matter that needs- to be- emphasized, and that is that. before moving to increase a duty in this; item,, it will be necessary to pave the way to? further action-: The Inter-State Commission reported -

The item covers a great variety ofl sizes; shapes, and sections, used in iron and. steel structural work, and,, with, the exception of galvanized and corrugated sheets, and steel rails, is the principal item of general and widespread demand, connected- with any progress that may be expected in ' iron and' steel manufacture in. Australia.

I wouldlikethat paragraphto sink into the minds of honorable senators in order that they may understand how their future actions will square with their lack of action at the present moment. The rates of duty uponthese -commodities, which had previouslybeen free, andwhich are now about tobear heavy imposts, are ofspecial importance in thatthematerials themselvesenter into the manufacture of almost everyfinished articleofironware. At later stages I shall endeavour - if otherhonorable 'senatorsdo notsee their way clear to consistently doso - to reduce the duties upon those -finished articles'; but I would not be able to take such action with justice and Teason unless I were to move similarly 'in respect of 'the raw material grouped in the present subitem. The proposal ofthe Inter-State Commission was for a '30s. preferential rate , and 40s. general ; but in the schedule those rates have been -raised in the case of the general Tariff one hundredfold, and very nearly . as much with respect to the British : duty I do not know . that I can more strongly impress honorable senators. I have quoted the Tariffs of the Uinited States of America . and Canada. I urge that if honorable senators desire intelligently to remodel the schedule they must begin straightway upon rawmaterials. The Australian firms which supply . the commodities under review . are exactly . the . same firms which make the original raw material, namely, pig iron.; and, while . there . has been far too much protectiongiven in connexion "with subitems a and b, there is still the present opportunity to even matters down to a fair average. In view of the fact that the processes concerned in turning out the articles mentioned in sub-item c are conducted in the same factories andunder the same management as those- which produce the pig iron itself, I press my . request as already moved. The proposed preferential rate of 34s. per tonrepresents an, advance' of 4s. lUjpon the recommendation of theInterStateCommission, which examined the whole of the circumstances in1916. Honorable senators should beglad to note that there has actually been some export of these commodities.

SenatorRUSSELL (Victoria -Vice- President of tha Executive Council) [4.5]. - The Government cannot support the request..There is. animportant relationship between the matters covered by sub-items' a, b, and c. The rates of duty in respect of the two first-mentioned have been fixed on the basis of those imposed on pig iron, which is the raw' material for the commodities now under consideration. If Senator Lynch'srequest were accepted, and the schedule amended accordingly, the rates would be thrown out of proportion.

Senator GUTHRIE (VICTORIA) - Will these arguments hold good in respect of wire and wire netting?

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