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Thursday, 18 August 1921

Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) . - As far as it goes, the explanation of the Minister (Senator Russell) is satisfactory, and I can quite understand that a factory handling other metals will not have to incur much expenditure in the matter of extensions to enable aluminium to be treated. If the British preferential duty of 10 per cent, on aluminium wire is a scientific one to protect those engaged in the wire industry, does it not seem strange that sheets unpolished and un worked should be dutiable at 25 per cent.? I realize that the Protectionist wishes first to protect the primary producer who raises the metal from the earth, then those who mould the metal into ingots, and finally those who roll the ingots into plates, sheets, or strips. It must happen, with this metal in such general use, that quite a number of small factories will b.e established, which will want to be in a position to manufacture their products from bars ob plates, and the proprietors of these factories will look upon bars and plates as their raw material. In view of the fact that these industries are most likely to develop first, I would like to * know why the manufacturers should be called upon to pay a British preferential rate of 25 per cent., and the other duties mentioned by the Minister, when importations are from foreign countries. Would it not be better to impose lower duties when the industry is in its initial stage, and, when it was sufficiently developed, to supply a portion of our requirements, to increase the rates? Personally, I am against the imposition of any duties at all. Of course, there is the danger of the German goods coming in, and I do not see how pipes, plates, rods, sheets, strips, tees, and tubes of German origin can be excluded. Even if they are not stamped with the country of origin, there is quite a number of business people in Great Britain who would export them to Australia. When this industry has developed, there will be an extensive demand for raw material, and sheets, bars, tees, and tubes will be very largely used, particularly in the construction of aeroplanes. I understand that if sufficient of this material is not coming forward, duties will not be imposed. But if the duties are proclaimed, the users of this material will have to pay 25 per cent. for the raw product obtained from Great Britain.

Senator Russell - But the raw material is free.

Senator GARDINER - I . am referring to angles, bars, pipes, plates, &c, which are not polished, which may be the raw material required in aeroplane construction.

Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.30 p.m.

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