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Wednesday, 31 August 1921

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) .- I: regret that clocks : do: not appear in . a separate suh-itein,. because it would then be very much, easier., to. deal with- -the- que*tion, especially- in view of the, statements made by Senator Duncan and the Minister (Senator Pearce-)* Senator Duncan asked a very pertinent question- as. to why the duty, on . clocks is to- be increased, and the Minister said that the object was to. encourage their manufacture in Australia, as' the industry has been established. Clacks always have and always will be regarded as essential in every household, particularly in the homes - of men who have to begin, their labours, at an early hour.- Compared' with, the duties imposed under the old Tariff,, the - increases are very heavy; and. I have not yet been able to find any justification for the additional impost. I am. assured that up to the present no clocks have been manufactured in Australia, and if- that, is so, why should we penalize purchasers? The clock industry abroad has been established by the expenditure of enormous sums of money, and, as a result, these useful article's have- been produced at a reasonable price.- We cannot hope to have anything that can in. any way compete with imported clocks- for many years to come.. In., the. following, sub-item, 'provision is made for the, duties on. parts, of cloaks to be administered under departmental by-laws at comparatively low duties; but I believe that whatever industry is established 'in Australia, it will be merely an assembling and not a manufacturing one. In the meantime, we arc imposing on every user of clocks an additional 15 per cent, burden, which doesnot seem at all reasonable. I am prepared to give every encouragement to any Australian industry that can supply a fair proportion of our requirements, but I am not willing to support the imposition of heavy duties which have to be passed on to the public,' and which are not of any benefit to an Australian industry. The Minister has agreed to time registers and detectors being included in the next paragraph, and, for that reason, I would have liked to have been able to deal with clocks apart from other articles. 'When Senator Pratten's request has been disposed of, I shall move in the direction of reducing the duties- to 20, 25, and 30 per cent, respectively. I would not submit such a request, but I know that the cost of the clocks is very . much higher than it was a few years ago, in consequence of the increased cost of labour, freights, and the exchange position. "We do not want to further increase prices by imposing unnecessarily heavy duties. A nickel alarm clock, 'that could once be purchased for a few shillings, is now double the price.

Senator Gardiner - The manufacturers of the " Big Ben " clock have notified the distributors that they must sell at a fixed rate.

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