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Thursday, 18 August 1921

Senator RUSSELL (Victoria) (VicePresident of the Executive Council) . - I sympathize with the view of Senator Fairbairn, and agree that the preferential duty of 68s. per ton is not a high ad valorem percentage, and that buyers of barbed wire are not heavily handicapped by the Protective Tariff. But if ad valorem rates were now imposed, they would be placed upon importations when prices are probably higher than they are likely to be for years to come, and the revenue would be materially swollen. But the Government have no desire to further tax the hard-pressed farmer and grazier. I can foresee that when trade and commerce become approximately normal, and there is ever-growing competition in the industrial world, the Tariff Board will be a very busy institution. While prices are still far from normal, the imposition of a fixed duty will cost buyers of wire less, at the same time providing deserved assistance to local industry.

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