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Wednesday, 31 August 1921

Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) . - A duty of 100 per cent, is an enormous protection to give a rubber company which is doing particularly well. It gets its raw material from our Possessions as cheaply as manufacturers in any other part of the world can obtain theirs, and it has the local market for itself. This duty is apparently imposed so that the whole cost of working* this rubber factory may be borne by people who wear sand shoes. Speaking on behalf of the wearers of these shoes, I object to the imposition of an extortionate duty which purposes to make a wealthy rubber company even more wealthy.

Senator PAYNE(Tasmania) f5.16].-

My request, if agreed to, would still leave the duty at 40 per cent, ad valorem as against 25 per cent, hitherto imposed upon rubber shoes of British manufacture. A fixed duty of ls. .per pair would be equivalent to 60 per cent., but an impost of 80 per cent., as set out in the schedule, is a bit over the fence. I really believe that the local industry does not need it. The boot industry of Australia has gone ahead by leaps and bounds on a Protective Tariff of 40 per cent. The canvas which forms the uppers of rubber shoes is imported free of duty, so that the manufacturer here is practically on the same level as the British manufacturer with the exception of the freight and shipping charges paid by the latter.

Senator Wilson - How do the Australian rubber shoes compare in the matter of quality with the British?

Senator PAYNE - There is not a great deal to choose between the Australian shoe and the British shoe. I have been told that the sale of the slightly dearer Australian article will give a little better wear than the imported article, but that has no effect on the issue.

Senator Wilson - The issue is whether we are prepared to protect an Australian industry.

Senator PAYNE - I am prepared to protect any Australian industry, but not by the imposition of 'an enormously high Tariff which would penalize the people who have to use the article so protected.

Senator DELARGIE (Western Australia) T5.201. - Blucher boots could be bought in Melbourne at 5s. per pair although at the time the State Tariff was 5s. per pair, showing; quite clearly that the duty was not paid by the consumer. As a result of the operation of the Tariff, the Victorian boot manufacturers had completely captured the whole of the trade in that class of boots, and there were no imports. The same thing may happen in regard to rubber shoes. At any rate, the il lustration I have given shows that it does not necessarily follow that the imposition of a heavy percentage duty upon an article means that the purchaser of the commodity pays it. We ought to consider the possibility of developing an in dustry by the imposition of a high duty which will give our manufacturers the whole of the local market, and we should be more concerned in doing it in this case when we find that our shoe factories are strenuously endeavouring to keep their employees in constant work.

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