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Friday, 19 August 1921

Senator SENIOR (South Australia) . - I invite honorable senators to view their handiwork in so far as this division is concerned. At the outset they imposed on iron and steel ingots and blooms, which had previously been free, a duty of 32s. per ton under the British preferential Tariff. To that extent we have loaded the local manufacturers of agricultural implements. In the Tariff of 1914 this item was dutiable at 20 per cent. British. Either that duty was too high, seeing that the manufacturers of agricultural machinery there got their iron free of. duty, or the present duty is too low, having regard to the fact that blooms are now dutiable under the British preferential Tariff at 32s. per ton. In the 1908-11 Tariff the British preferential duty on this item was 12J per cent., and under that Tariff also blooms came in free. We are now proposing to raise the duty to the extent of 2£ per cent., but, on the other hand, we have loaded up the raw material of the agricultural machinery makers to the extent of a duty of 32s. per ton. We decided that it would 'be wise to encourage the local production of iron, and that being so, how can we expect the agricultural implement makers here, with a duty on their raw material, to continue their industry with less protection than they had before? It is undoubtedly desirable tl\ at agriculturists should be able to obtain the machinery they require at reduced prices, but if we load the raw material of the machinery maker with a duty of 32s. per ton, we cannot expect him to supply at lower rates. To disturb this duty would be to bring down the whole structure of the division. I am anxious to give fair consideration equally to the user of agricultural implements, to the man who makes them, and to the man who produces the iron from which these implements are made. Honorable senators must bear in mind the claims of all three without being carried away by any impulse to favour one against the others.

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