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Thursday, 25 August 1921

Senator PEARCE (Western AustraliaMinister for Defence) . - The honorable senator's speech was most refreshing, coming from a Protectionist. We all agree that everything possible should be done to keep down the rabbit nest. Therefore, rhapsodies upon the subject are quite beside the question. I could understand Senator Gardiner taking up the attitude that the duty will render it difficult to deal with the pest. I always thought that Protectionists believed it better to have articles, if possible, made in their own country, because that affords a better chance of having them supplied cheaper. Such arguments as Senator Payne has used would be all right from Senator Gardiner's point of view, but I cannot understand them as coming from a Protectionist. If what he says is true of rabbit traps, which do not call for any involved manufacturing processes, what about reapers and binders and stripper harvesters]

Senator Wilson - What about a "scientific" Tariff, in which every duty is dealt with on its merits?

Senator PEARCE - Senator Payne voted for duties on those intricate machines I have mentioned, and yet he advocates Free Trade in the case of such a simple thing as a rabbit trap. I cannot see the consistency of the honorable senator's attitude; and I really thought it must be, not he, but Senator Gardiner or Senator Thomas, who was talking. Senator Payne must, I think, have ' slipped ' ' on rabbit traps - he must have forgotten his Protectionist faith, so far as they are concerned. Rabbit traps can be made adequately in the Commonwealth.

Senator Payne - At what price?

Senator PEARCE - Mr. P. S. Garling, of Castlereagh-street, Sydney, stated, on the 5th March, 1920, that he had completed his arrangements for .the manufacture of a plant for turning out a patent rabbit trap, and that his factory, which would have a capacity of 2,500 traps per week, would be in full working order in five weeks from that date. The Meadowbank Manufacturing Company, New South. Wales, is also in a position to manufacture those traps. In addition, the English firm of Henry Lane, Eagle Works, Wednesfield, England, are contemplating the establishment of a factory in Australia for a similar purpose. This depends on the amount of Protection that is given on this item.

Senator Payne - Then, rabbit traps must be kept at their present awful price ?

Senator PEARCE - No dog traps are being made in Australia, but rabbit traps are in abundance. Mr. Garling, of the Australian Patents Manufacturing Company, reports that his company is only in its infancy, but he expects it to go ahead. Messrs. Lowe Brothers report a. great falling-off in the demand for rabbit traps, consequent upon the drop in the price of skins. In 1920 that firm made only 236 dozen traps, valued at £329. Eight men were partially employed at wages amounting to £135. The output for 1921, Mr. Garling informed us, depended on the demand, and all demands will be met. This company makes chains as well as traps. Henry Lane (Australia) Limited has established a rabbittrap factory at Newcastle, with a capital of £12,000 and an output capacity of 300 dozen traps per week, which can be easily increased up to 500 dozen. Mr. Hanington commenced to manufacture in June, 1920, with ten hands and two partners employed. In three months last year he turned out £3,600 worth of traps, and can supply a much greater quantity if demanded. These facts show that all the needs of the Commonwealth can be met without difficulty by local manufacture, and I cannot understand how any Protectionist can advocate the removal of the duty.

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