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Wednesday, 24 August 1921

Senator PEARCE (Western AustraliaMinister for Defence) . - I move -

That the House of Representatives be requested to leave out the word " January," sub-item (a), and insert in lieu thereof the word " July."

This is a purely technical amendment. As a matter of fact, the Minister for

Trade and Customs (Mr. Greene), under the powers conferred upon him under the Customs Act, has deferred the duty in respect of the item from 1st January to 1st July of this year, and this amendment is necessary only to put the alteration into proper legal form. I desire at this stage to make an explanation of the whole item which, I think, will be of interest to honorable senators. The machines and appliances covered by it were not dutiable under the 1914 Tariff, and I may be asked why duties are now proposed. Towards the close of the war, when our soldiers were coming home, the Minister for Repatriation (Senator E. D. Millen), being anxious to encourage the establishment of industries that would assist in the employment of our men, caused inquiries to be made as to new fields of manufacture that could be exploited. The particular lines covered by the item, among others not previously made in the Commonwealth, were brought under his notice.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - The Minister is making a very important statement, and we should have a quorum to hear it.

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