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Friday, 26 August 1921

Senator PEARCE (Western AustraliaMinister for Defence) .- I do not think there is any occasion for honorable senators to be at cross purposes, because there are certain points upon which we all agree. The amendment which Senator Earle suggests would, I think, meet the position, but I am not sure whether he intends to submit it. If he does not,I shall.

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - What is it?

Senator PEARCE - Senator Earle suggests that if volcanic sulphur is admitted free it shall be used only where sulphur manufactured in Australia cannot be used. It is, therefore, a clear-cut issue, and one upon which there should be very little difference of opinion. A majority of honorable senators desire to make dutiable sulphur which is the product of the mining industry, and there should, therefore, not be any misunderstanding. Senator Pratten points out that there are certain manufacturers in Australia who use volcanic sulphur - which, of course, is not the product of metalliferous mines - in connexion with the manufacture of fungicides, germicides, insecticides, certain medicines, and aerated waters. Those who advocate protecting the sulphur derived from sulphide and pyritic ores are not anxious to penalize those who use volcanic sulphur, which does not enter into competition with sulphur manufactured in the Commonwealth. If the request is amended as suggested, volcanic sulphur will be admitted free, and the matter of determining the purposes for which it is used will then be decided by Parliament, and not left to Customs offi cials. The only other point is whether sulphur shall be dutiable or not. The Government will accept the request with the addendum mentioned, because we do not wish to penalize those industries using volcanic sulphur. Farmers' organizations recognise the importance of the manufacture of sulphuric acid in the Commonwealth from Australian sulphur, and I understand that co-operative factories for the production of superphosphates are to be established in South Australia andin Victoria. It will, therefore, be an advantage to farmers to have a local supply of sulphur from which to manufacture superphosphate. Those who are considering the farmers' interests would not be justified in voting against the imposition of duties on sulphur produced from pyritic or sulphide ores.

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