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Tuesday, 23 August 1921


Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) . - I desire to refer to something that I said on Friday last, notwithstanding that I follow the good old parliamentary axiom, " Never explain, and never complain," and when I think I have made a mistake, I let myself down as lightly as possible. On Friday, when Senator Pratten spoke of the extraordinary saving that had been made of 80 per cent, of beaten-down wheat in New South Wales by the use of a harvester invented by a Henty farmer, what he said seemed so much like . a fairy tale, that, without giving the matter much attention, I expressed the opinion that the honorable senator was all wrong. Since then, however, I have received the following letter, written on behalf of Mr. Hugh V. McKay, of the. Sunshine Harvester Works-

Dear Sir,

Last Friday you mentioned in the Senate that you could hardly believe the statement of saving effected to the farmers of New South Wales last year by the use of Australian harvesting machinery and attachments, in handling the crop that was knocked down by hail and rain storms. I have pleasure in sending you a small booklet, showing some photographs of the machine at work; also, I am enclosing some photographs for your information. The machine, used was the Taylor Header Harvester, manufactured in the Sunshine Harvester Works. This machine is totally different from any other . machine for harvesting wheat, and is particularly adapted for the handling of fallen crops. Instead of the reel and canvas used on headers or reaper threshers, this machine has a double spiral, which takes in the crop from the comb and knife, and forces it on to an elevator. From there it is threshed and cleaned for market. Early in October our friends throughout the State had reported the danger of the abundant crop being severely injured by the prevailing rain, and steps were taken to manufacture a very large quantity of crop lifters, which were attached to the front of the machine, and which lift the crop sufficiently to enable it to pass through the comb and enter the spirals. We decided to sacrifice the output of all implements and other machines, and practically the whole of this large factory was occupied in the manufacture of crop lifters and false combs for six weeks. In New South Wales alone over 1,500 machines were equipped with false combs and crop lifters, and instead of the farmers getting very small yields they were able to save practically the whole of the wheat. In many cases over 30 bushels of wheat per acre, in some cases, 40 bushels, were taken off a crop that looked absolutely ruined. Presuming that each of the 1,500 machines referred to were used for taking off 300 acres of the fallen crop, it would amount to 450,000 acres. Assuming the saving of 20 bushels an acre, it would mean 0,000,000 bushels of wheat saved to the farmers. I do not think these figures exaggerate the saving effected last year in New South Wales, and will, I feci sure, appeal to a man like yourself, who is interested in the subject. If you are further interested in the matter, I would be very pleased to show you a number of letters, and also the machine itself which accomplished this work.

That letter bears out Senator Pratten's statement, and what I said on Friday, to some extent, does not hold good. It is quite delightful to realize that, at any rate, this industry does not need any protection. It is clearly not an infant industry, but in the full growth of robust manhood; and from the information we now have, it ie able to turn out these machines in a time which, I candidly admit, I did not think possible. In the light of the particulars contained in the letter, added to Knibbs' statistics concerning the last year's bumper crop, which averaged 17 bushels, I must admit the general correctness of Senator Pratten's statements, and accept as facts the reported performances of this wonderful implement attachment. I am glad to know that Australian manufacturers sosignally rose to the occasion.

Request agreed to.

Request (by Senator Guthrie) agreed to -

That the House of Representatives be 'requested to make the duties, sub-item (n), British, each, £10, or 20 per cent, ad val.; intermediate, £12, or 30 per cent, ad val.; general, £ 13, or 35 per cent, ad val.

Item agreed to, subject to requests.

Item 166 (Strippers) and item. 167 (Metal parts of reaper-threshers) agreed to,

Item 168-

Machinery, viz. : -

(a)   Steam-engine indicators ... ad val.,

British, free; intermediate, 5 per cent. ; general, 10 per cent.

(b)   Sewing machines, treadle or hand, of the type ordinarily used in the household -

(1)   Machine heads ... ad vol., British, free ; intermediate, 5 per cent. ; general, 10 per cent.

And on and after 1st January, 1922, each, British, £2 10s.; intermediate, £3; general, £3 10s.

(2)   Stands, including transmission gear, whether imported separately or forming part of the complete machine ad val.. British, 30 per cent. ; intermediate, 35 per cent. ; general, 40 per cent.







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