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Thursday, 25 August 1921


Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister for Defence) . - It is very interesting, and, in a sense, a sad memory to recall that one of the most distinct recollections I have of the honorable senator's father is in connexion with Tariff matters when he made a very strong and eloquent appeal in this chamber on behalf of the printing industry. I well remember ex-Senator Vardon displaying printed catalogues that were being imported into Australia to the detriment of the printing industry, and I have no hesitation in saying that his efforts on that occasion assisted considerably in the fairly heavy rates imposed on printed matter being retained. Whilst we are willing to protect the printing industry in this way, I do not think printers have the right to claim that they should have protection, and that those who supply the type should be exposed to the full blast of the open market. Type is being manufactured by Wimble and Company, in Sydney, where about 100 men are employed.


Senator Vardon - What they make is very satisfactory; but there is not sufficient variety.


Senator PEARCE - They have to become established, and probably will later be able to meet the demand.


Senator Earle - Could not this matter be adjusted by departmental by-laws ?


Senator PEARCE - That is impracticable. The industry is established in the Commonwealth, and I have no doubt that it will grow, as at present 50 per cent. of the Australian requirements are being manufactured locally. I am informed that the industry has been in operation for about twenty years. It cannot be said that these duties are a great drain on the industry, because the official figures disclose that the total importations last year were valued at £4,499, and the total amount of duty paid was only £1,080. When one realizes the quantity of job printing done throughout Australia, it will be seen that the proposed duties are not a very severe handicap to the industry, whilst at the same time they give some little protection to local manufacturers.


Senator Payne - What is the reason for the increased protection?


Senator PEARCE - Under item 138 a duty is imposed on type metal. In the 1914 Tariff type metal was dutiable at 15 per cent. and 20 per cent., and in this schedule the rates have been increased to 221/2 per cent., 30 per cent., and 35 per cent. respectively.


Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Of what is type metal made ?


Senator PEARCE - It consists principally of lead with, I believe, a. small percentage of antimony. Senator Vardon's request, if adopted, would make the duty on the finished article lower than that on the raw material.


Senator Vardon - We produce the material here.


Senator PEARCE - The lead, but not the antimony. This matter has been considered by the Inter-State Commission, which recommended duties of 20 and 30 per cent., and as only £1,080 was paid in duty on importations and an industry is established in Sydney, I ask the Committee to adhere to the rates in the schedule.







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