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Thursday, 25 August 1921


Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) . - I intend to support Senator Pratten's request, because, after having given this matter some consideration, I have for the first time been brought face to face with what an alternative duty means. The increases quoted by Senator Gardiner are astounding, and when one recognises that under a duty of 2s. 6d. per gallon local manufacturers of varnishes have been able to sell to the Australian users their products at 25 per cent. less than the imported article, it is extraordinary that the Government have attempted to impose a duty that would, on the higher-grade varnishes, reach11s. per gallon. This is not Protection, but prohibition, and Senator Pratten is correct in saying that the master painters of Australia find it essential to use the best varnishes available for their higher -grade work. I am anxious to. assist the local manufacturers to retain the ground they have gained, and to extend their operations under reasonable protection; but surely it is not necessary to impose duties ranging from 5s. 101/2d. to l1s. per gallon instead of 2s. 6d. per gallon, as was proposed when the schedule was introduced. There is no justification for penalizing reputable British firms by imposing such heavy duties merely because the Customs authorities have ascertained that certain American manufacturers have endeavoured to evade the duties by exporting varnishes in a thick state and thinning them down here. I hold no brief for William Harland and Sons, but I know their varnishes can alwaysbe relied upon, and are exclusively used in all high-grade work. The request is a moderate one, and means that instead of imposing 25 per cent., a duty of 15 per cent. will be charged, and that on the better classes of varnish will return about double whatwas proposed when the schedule was introduced. On the best varnishes it will be about 6s. instead of 2s. 6d. per gallon, and that is going a long way towards meeting the financial necessities of the Commonwealth, and at the same time doubling the protection to the local manufacturers.


Senator Pearce - Let us have a division.


Senator PAYNE - I resent the Minister showing signs of weariness; because this is only the second occasion on which I have spoken since the dinner adjournment. I have a right to express my views on such an important matter, and whether the Minister likes it or not I intend to do so whenever I think the occasion justifies it.

Senator GARDINER(New South

Wales) [10.19]. - In asking for this reductionweare ingood company. Many years ago this question was debated in anotherplace in exactly similar circumstances. The following is a report of the debate : -

Mr. JOSEPHCOOK. . If the Minister for Trade and Customs will agree to leave out the ad valorem duty I shall have no more to say.

Mr. BOWDEN.The Protectionist section of the Tariff Commission recommended only1s. 9d. per gallon.

Sir JohnQuick. That is a mistake. We recommended a duty of 2s. per gallon.

Sir WILLIAMLYNE. ... I move " That after the figure ' 2s.' the words ' and on and after 3rd December, 1907, per gallon (general Tariff), 2s. 6d.; (United Kingdom), 2s.' be inserted." I shall afterwards move for the omission of the words " ad val., 30 per cent., whichever rate returns the higher duty."

They returned to the fiscal duty of 2s. 6d. per gallon. I think it would be expediting business if the Minister (Senator Pearce) agreed to what is a reasonable request.


Senator Pearce - I cannot do it. We must have a division.


Senator GARDINER - I trust the Minister will not call for one against the voices.







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