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Wednesday, 24 August 1921

Senator DUNCAN (New South Wales) (12:21 PM) . - I hope that the request will be agreed to. Under the item as it stands the margin between the British preferential Tariff and the general Tariff, which applies more particularly to German and American goods, is insufficient. In pre-war days, Germany was building up an enormous trade in electrical machines and appliances. She was producing very cheaply the lower grades of electrical goods, and was exporting them, I think, in fairly large quantities to Australia.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - The imports from Germany during the year before the outbreak of the war were valued at only £645.

Senator DUNCAN - What were the imports from the United States of America?

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - One-half the volume of the imports from the United Kingdom.

Senator DUNCAN - I was under a misapprehension as to the extent of the imports from Germany; but we have much to fear from German competition in regard to this class of goods in the future.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Thereis a good deal of fear, but it remains to be seen whether there is much danger.

Senator DUNCAN - Having regard to the strides that Germany is making in the manufacture of electrical appliances, I think there is considerable danger. The position even so far as competition from America is concerned deserves consideration, more particularly from the standpoint of British preference. If we desire to give Great Britain an effective preference we should allow for a greater margin than the Government propose. The argument that I used when discussing an earlier item will apply to that now before us, which deals with electrical heating and cooking appliances. Cooking by means of electricity is coming very much into vogue in our capital cities, and is likely to extend all over the Commonwealth. Electric current is supplied very largelyby the municipalities, and at a fairly reasonable rate. If it is to be a cheap and efficient means of cooking, and to provide a largelyincreased degree of comfort for the womenfolk who have to do the cooking of the household, then I submit that we should not place these high barriers between the womenfolk and the high degree of comfort that they might otherwise secure. I should like, therefore, to see a fairly substantial reduction in the duties relating to the whole of this item. I hope the Committee will agree to the request.

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