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Thursday, 25 August 1921

Senator LYNCH (Western. Australia) . - Senator Wilson is anxious to provide that chains of the lighter type shall be dutiable at a. lower rate, but those mentioned in sub-item a are of the heavier description. I think the honorable senator desires to give some relief to those using chains of the1/-inch type, which are extensively employed on mines, farms, and in the bush generally. Where are they included ?

Senator Pearce - Sub-item b relates to malleable iron chains, and sub-item a deals mostly with ships' cables.

Senator LYNCH - I must compliment the Minister on being quite frank in this matter,and giving us some information concerning the chains manufactured in the Commonwealth, although the facts are not altogether favorable.

Senator Pearce - Why not ?

Senator LYNCH - I understood the Minister to say that they would not stand Lloyd's test.

Senator Pearce - That was in connexion with those made by a firm using local material. I pointed out that malleable chains are made by two firms, one in Sydney and one in Melbourne - the Meadowbank Company and the Malleable Castings Company.

Senator LYNCH - The malleable chain is not what is described as the wrought-iron chain.

Senator Pearce - No, those are the heavy ships' chains.

Senator LYNCH - Then malleable chains are not under consideration at the moment. My feeling in the matter is that if the locally-made chains are not up to standard, the Government would be well advised to hold their hand and defer the imposition of a duty on this sub-item until the local industry has advanced to such a stage as to be in a position to offer a, fair supply of a good article. We are being asked to impose a duty of 30 per cent. on British imports of these goods almost with our eyes shut. It is certain that local manufacturers cannot cope with Australian requirements, as we know that almost all of these chains are imported. To levy a duty of 30 per cent. on these goods without the compensating advantage of having an industry established here is simply penalizing unnecessarily those who have to use these articles. The price of chains has gone up enormously. I can say, tram personal experience, that the price of the ordinary type of chain used has gone up about 400 per cent. Why should we penalize the users of these chains when there is no local industry for their manufacture?

Senator Pearce - There is a local industry.

Senator LYNCH - For the manufacture of the smaller type of chains?

Senator Pearce - It is the smaller type of chains that is turned out successfully. It is with the manufacture of the bigger chains that we are having difficulties, and the local manufacturers of those chains propose to import their raw material to overcome those difficulties. Malleable chains are being made in quantities in Australia by the two firms to which I have referred.

Senator LYNCH - I consider a duty of 30 per cent. on British imports under sub-item a altogether too high.

Question - That the request be agreed to - put. The Committee' divided.

Ayes.. . . . . 10

Noes . . . . . . 12

Majority . . . . 2





Question so resolved in the negative.

Request negatived.

Request (by Senator Lynch) proposed -

That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty, sub-item (b), British, per lb., lid.

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