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Wednesday, 24 August 1921

Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) . - I am not shutting my ears to the appeal of Senator Pearce. I have no wish to talk until midnight and then ask that progress be reported; b.ut I want to call attention to the discrimination shown in this schedule between rockcutting machines used by metalliferous miners and coal-cutting machines. On the former, the rates of duty are, 27i per cent., 35 per cent., and 40 per cent.; while the latter are admitted free from Great Britain, and at rates of 5 per cent, and 10 per cent, in the intermediate and general columns respectively. I do not know that the coal kings exercise any influence upon this Government; but, at any rate, the Minister ought to explain why this discrimination was made.

Senator Pearce - The rock-cutting machine is made, and sold at a reasonable price in Australia,; the coal-cutting machine is not made here.

Senator GARDINER - I should think that it could easily be made here; but it would appear as if there was one class of legislation for the rich coal mine-owners, and another class for the struggling metalliferous miners. Surely we want the best machinery for our mines at the cheapest price, because the margin between success and failure in mining operations is exceedingly small. Although the request submitted 'by Senator DrakeBrockman does not go as far as I would like, I shall support it.

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