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Wednesday, 24 August 1921

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) .- The Minister for Defence (Senator Pearce) has not accurately stated what occurred in another place; Because no attempt was made to remove the duties by any honorable member in the House of' Representatives. The Minister for Trade and Customs (Mi-: Greene) explained that the duty was imposed in 1914 with the idea of' encouraging the manufacture of coal-cutting machines in Australia; but after inquiries had been made it was ascertained that this was not being done, and consequently he thought it reasonable to allow them to be admitted free.

Senator Keating - It was not a good test period.

Senator PAYNE -From 1914 to 1920 was not.

Senator Pearce - Why not? They could not be imported during those years.

Senator PAYNE - We have been arguing that where no manufacturing industry exists to provide appliances necessary in the development of the coal, or any other, industry, that such articles should be admitted free, because by imposing a duty we would be hampering the industry. These are not manufactured here, and therefore are to be admitted free.

Senator Henderson - Imported machines have been used in Australia for about twenty years.

Senator PAYNE - That is so. But I do not know why coal-cutting machines are not made in Australia.

Senator Keating - We would be in a parlous position in the event of war.

Senator PAYNE - Yes. Inquiries have shown that there is no likelihood of these machines being made in Australia, and if conditions alter, the Tariff Board will have an opportunity of reporting to Parliament when the duties can be reviewed. I do not see why any change should be made.

Request negatived.

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