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Wednesday, 17 August 1921

Senator DUNCAN (New South Wales) . - Two- or three weeks ago: I had' the;' honour of presenting to> the Senate' a. petition from the primary, producers *of* New South Wales asking for- a reduction*, not for the abolition, of the duties' uponcertain items in the' Tariff-.' The subitem' now under- discussion was one of those-.mentioned, and I take this,- the first . opportunity I have -had? of showing' that in presenting the petition T really had 'the interests--' of the petitioners* at heart. I have much pleasure in supporting the request for , a- reduction- in the duty.

The CHAIRMAN (Senator Bakhap - No- request for -a reduction* has ye"t been proposed. It has Only -been mentioned by Senator Guthrie.

Senator DUNCAN - I understand that Senator Guthrie intends to request a* reduction . in the British preferential Tariff, leaving the intermediate and general1 Tariff as proposed by the Govern^ ment, and I shall have much pleasure in. supporting his request. The 1908 Tariff' schedule contained no duty* against Britain in regard to this * sub-item, . and again in the 1914 Tariff this item was free, although there was a small- duty of 5' per cent, in the general Tariff.' The proposal now is to jump from 5 per cent, to 90s*, per ton in the general Tariff, and, so far as the British preferential Tariff is concerned, from the free list to 44s*. per ton, if Senator Guthrie's- request be agreed to. I realize that conditions have changed since the industry was estab^ lishedj and that it may be necessary to impose a duty, but* I think 52s., as pro^ posed* by the Government, is considerably more than is necessary in the circumstances. The imposition of this duty will inflict a very severe hardship upon a section of the community that can ill1 afford to bear it. Fencing' wire is* an essential commodity for - every man who goes out to open up the back country: His* available* capital may not be very great for* outlay upon stock, materials; and'implements,' and it is regrettable that the Government in this * sub-item proposeto impose a further hardship on him* at the very outset of his career. If we are* in earnest m our desire to assist our primary producers to- the fullest possible extent, here is an* opportunity to prove it.' I have very much pleasure- in indorsing the* views that have been put forward by my* honorable' friend, Senator1 Guthrie.We ought not to impose an additional burden- upon- a- section* of' the community which can least * afford, to pay increased' taxation, and I hope- that the- request* which Senator* Guthrie' in tends*) to- movethat the duty under the* British preferential Tariff be reduced'from 52s. to 44si*per ton^-I understand that- is* now. his* intention - will be agreed', to;

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