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Wednesday, 24 August 1921

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) (12:10 PM) . - I desire to consider this item from the point of view of the large increase proposed on the importation of British goods compared with the Tariff under which we were previously operating. The Minister (Senator E. D. Millen) has not explained why such a heavy duty has been imposed on British productions, and for the information of the Committee I shall quote a statement made by some one who is particularly interested in the British goods imported under this heading. The British duty imposed under sub-item a was originally 10 per cent., but now it is 30 per cent., and it is considered that that rate is unreasonable. The statement with which I have been supplied reads -

Another point put strongly forward is that owing to the importance of the electrical industry to Great Britain as a key industry, the preference to British manufacturers should be on a more liberal scale. At present they are faced with very severe American and other foreign competition. During the war period American manufacturers practically had the field to themselves, and British firms are now having the greatest difficulty in getting their trade back.Most of us agree that local manufacturers should be given reasonable protection, but 30 per cent, to 40 per cent. is considered quite unnecessary, as all these charges have to be passed on to the mining, dairying, freezing, woollen, and other industries. I will try to explain what a 30 per cent. Tariff means, taking machinery or plant on a basis of £100 sellingprice at the factory -


It will be seen from the above that about" 90 per cent. has to be added to the factory cost in England to get the goods on the Australian market.

Senator Gardiner - You cannot have Protection without paying for it.

Senator PAYNE - It is questionable whether this protection is necessary. I do not think it is. The Department has gone too far, and is seeking to impose an unusually heavy duty on British importations. In view of the fact that Great Britain had to abandon manufacturing to a large extent during the war, and that America captured much of the trade, we should show our sympathy towards Great Britain in her endeavour to regain her former commercial position by decreasing the duty to a rate which would still adequately protect Australian manufacturers. I move -

That the House of Representatives bo requested to make the duty, sub-item (A), British, 20 per cent.

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