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Wednesday, 31 August 1921

Senator VARDON (South Australia) . -From advice given to me- I am led to believe that after the reestablishment of the British newsprint trade it will not be very long before newsprint is manufactured in Australia. We have the coal here, and it takes 2 tons of coal to manufacture a ton of pulp.

Senator Senior - We also have the clay.

Senator VARDON - That is so. Senator Millen has spoken of human nature, and has said that practically any one who has the advantage of a Protective duty will live right up to it. His remark does not apply to the board manufacturers of Australia. During the war the Australian mills did not charge more than £20 a ton for their strawboard.

Senator Gardiner - They charged up to £75.

Senator VARDON - They did not charge more than £20.

Senator GUTHRIE (VICTORIA) - The Japanese article cost £38 10s.

Senator VARDON - Unfortunately the Australian mills could not supply the whole of Australia's requirements, but what they did produce was sold at £20 a ton, whereas the price of Japanese board went up to £75 a ton.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I am obliged to the honorable senator for giving me the exception which proves the rule.

Senator VARDON - I can give other examples. A little while ago I had occasion to cable to London for a price, which was given as 5½d. per lb. f.o.b. London, I wired to Melbourne makers, and ascertained that their price was 5¼d. per lb. f.o.b. Melbourne. In addition to the price of 5½d. per lb. f.o.b. London, the importers would have had to pay packing charges, duty, landing charges, and the cost of cartage from the wharf to the warehouse, which charges would easily amount to 3½d. per lb. Clearly the Melbourne people were not taking advantage of the duty.

Senator Wilson - An hour ago, when we were dealing with boots, it was shown that full advantage was being taken of the Protective duty.

Senator VARDON - The people connected with the printing and paper trade are honest. At no time during the war did the mills in Sydney charge more than £40 a ton for Manila board, whereas the price of the imported article was about £90 a ton. These instances I have mentioned clearly prove that the Australian manufacturer does not in every case seek to take advantage of the Tariff.

Senator Lynch - What are the prospects of getting supplies of newsprint from Japan ?

Senator VARDON - I have already shown that Japan is manufacturinga tremendous quantity of newsprint, and that we are threatened with competition from that direction.

Senator Lynch - Then -what use "will there be in having a. duty of £2 per ton'?

Senator VARDON - None whatever. I maintain that we should retain the £3 duty. .

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