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Wednesday, 24 August 1921

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) . - I am sorry the Government have not agreed to the proposed reduction. Items 163, 164, and 165, in this same division, provide for duties of 40 per cent., and I take it that the Government concluded that item 170 required exactly the same protection. But the Committee, after long discussion, in the case of item 163 reduced the duty to 35 per cent. If the Committee permit the duty now before us to remain at 40 per cent., it will be unfair to those who are making the machines embraced by item 163 ; and, under the circumstances, I think this duty ought to be 35 per cent. The arguments of Senator Senior are most convincing. He has informed us that the machines in item 170 are not made in Australia, and that imported machines have been the means of saving much money. I regard Senator Senior and Senator Earle as the two greatest Protectionists in the Chamber, outside the Government; but now we find Senator Senior most effectively answering Senator Earle; and Senator Senior's case I regard as unanswerable. I think we have the right to ask the Minister (Senator Pearce) to reply to Senator Senior, who has demonstrated that the importation of these machines makes the settlement of the lands of Australia easier and cheaper.

Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.30 p.m.

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