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Wednesday, 24 August 1921

Senator PEARCE (Western AustraliaMinister for Defence) . - I accept the challenge. I am prepared to give the figures regarding importation from the year 1910 up to date. Mowers and binders, I suppose, are the most important. Importations in value of these machines were- 1910-11, £171,234; 1911-12, £140,406; 1912-13, £109,000; 1913-14, £162,000; 1914-15, £97,000; 1915-16, £163,000; 1916-17, £131,000; 1917-18, £84,000; 1918-19, £63,000; 1919-20, £69,000; and for the ten months, July, 1920, to April, 1921, £335,846, or more than double the value of importations in any year since 1910.

Senator Lynch - The prices have been increased. That is the explanation.

Senator PEARCE - No, it is not. Senator Gardiner also had something to say about the price list. I have the price list for Australia of the MasseyHarris British BuiltFarm Machinery Company, not for the year 1920, but for the year 1921, and it bears this indorsement -

All previous price lists are hereby immediately cancelled, and the following prices and terms become effective from 21st February, 1921. No orders at variance with the prices and terms hereunder will be considered after that date.

On page 4, the 5-ft. reaper and binder, with sheaf carrier and transport truck, is quoted at £103, less discount for cash if paid in. full on day of starting, £4: total, £99; and the 6-ft. reaper and binder is priced at £105, with discount £4 for cash; total, £101. Will Senator Gardiner explain why there has been a drop from £135 to £103 while the Tariff has been in operation?

Senator GUTHRIE (VICTORIA) - Evidently prices are coming down all over the world.

Senator PEARCE - No; they are not coming down everywhere. Here are the facts: The rates were not in operation in 1920, for which year Senator Gardiner quoted his price-list figures, they merely stood in the Tariff as deferred duties; but as soon as the agreement with the local manufacturer was arrived at, and the Minister intimated that the duty would be operative, down came the price £35 for the Massey-Harris harvester. Senator Plain has asked for some guarantee that if this item is passed by the Committee the Australian market will be fully supplied. We can give him that guarantee. The Customs authorities are in a position to judge accurately the whole of the Australian requirements. Not only have they a record of the value and the number of machines imported, but they also know approximately the yearly demand in the Commonwealth for these machines. It was on the strength of this information that I was able to say that Australian requirements are, approximately, 5,000 machines per annum. H. V. McKay has given an absolute guarantee to turn out 3,000; and other manufacturers arc giving attention to this business. Then we have a further guarantee in the fact that the warehouses of the importers contain machines to the total value of £335,000. In view of these facts, can there be any doubt about our ability to supply the local demand ?

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