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Thursday, 25 August 1921

Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) . - I hope Senator Lynch's proposal will be accepted. Tools of trade will then be free in the general Tariff. It is acknowledged that something good comes from all countries. Take the trade of a carpenter. The American Stanley plane is now in general use.

Senator Pearce - The American chisels have driven Matheson's chisels off the market.

Senator GARDINER - If so, that is because it is a better article.

Senator Pearce - No, it is not.

Senator GARDINER - On this subject, I suppose the Minister and I must agree to differ. I claim to know something about carpenters' tools. Prior to the war, planes, like the Stanley plane, could be bought at from 9s. to 15s. 6d., according to size. Now they cost from 25s. to 37s. 6d. For rough work, the German jack plane, a plane without a back iron, has reduced labour by about 50 per cent. The American Disstonsaw has also displaced those splendid English saws made by Sorby, Howell, and other British manufacturers, simply because it is more suitable for existing conditions. Artisans instinctively choose the very best tools for their work, and it is only right that they should have a wide range of choice. The American axe has practically displaced the well-known English broad-axe in our market, because it is specially suited for our requirements. No matter what the duty may be, the skilled mechanic will buy the implement that is most satisfactory for his particular class of work. This is because in these days expedition is expected on all jobs. Workmen of today are expected to do more than formerly because they have better tools. This time last year I supervised the erection of a house, and I found that the men in my own trade, as well as the bricklayers, plumbers, tilers, and all other artisans were working just as fast as ever. There was no suggestion of the " go-slow " policy about them. This duty isa tax on the tradesman, because it will prevent him from having the best tools unless he pays exceedingly high prices for them. The increase in the cost of carpenters' tools is easily 300 per cent.

Senator Lynch - This duty gives a preference to Great Britain at the expense of the artisans of Australia.

Senator GARDINER - Mechanics have developed to such an extent that our tradesmen cannot hold their own unless they have the very best tools. Yet we impose a 10 per cent. revenue Tariff on them.

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