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Wednesday, 31 August 1921

Senator ELLIOTT (Victoria) . - I have great pleasure in supporting the proposals of the Government in connexion with this item. The boot manufacturers of Australia conferred enormous benefits on the Commonwealth during the war. They devoted their plants and the pick of their skins and hides to the service of the Australian Military Forces. We were accustomed during the course of the campaign to endeavour to induce the Australian Forces to adopt British-made boots on the ground that they were superior to -the Australian, and that we could not pro duce here leather of the quality necessary for military boots. These proposals were defeated only by the consistency with which the Australian soldiers adhered to their preference for boots manufactured in Australia. Towards the end of the campaign the excellent quality of Australian leather and Australian-made military boots was recognised throughout the Service. As a result of devoting their best leather to meet military requirements the local factories had no great opportunity to develop the production of the special class of leather with which we are now dealing. Now that military requirements have been met they have an opportunity to turn their attention to this branch of their industry, and they have made enormous strides in it. Just as the leather which they supplied for military requirements was spoken of as being inferior, it is now suggested that the glace kid and patent leathers which they produce are not equal to the imported article. It is up to us to support this Australian industry as our soldiers did, and to insist on people in this country being satisfied with Australian leather. If certain people are wedded to the use of the imported article, they should be called upon to pay for it. The leather and boot manufacturing industries and the woollen industry should he made peculiarly our own, and we should feel ashamed to have boots or clothing imported from any other country.

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