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Wednesday, 31 August 1921

Senator VARDON (South Australia) . - Reference has been made to the country press. Some time ago that body suggested that the general duty on newsprint should be £3 per ton, and that British paper should be admitted free. In a letter written 'by the secretary of the Provincial Press Association, dated 14th June last, there appeared the following : -

Conference also wished to formulate a clear motion, so as to prevent the necessity of registering its clear and unanimous objection- to any preference or concession whatever being given to newsprint manufactured in Canada, where the mill-owners have, during the past few years, combined to rob Australian consumers of several millions sterling. By omitting any mention of its willingness to concede preference to Great Britain, it obviated the necessity of defining its equally emphatic opposition. Every country newspaper proprietor throughout the Commonwealth warmly welcomes the news that the Mother Country is about to re-enter the Australian market, and warmly supports preference being granted to her products. In view of the disturbed state of exchange in both America and Canada, and the cruel exactions of the Paper Rings in both those countries, as well as Norway and Sweden, the entry of Great Britain into our market at the present time is providential, and should result in millions being expended within the Empire to revitalize trade that has, as a result of the war, been diverted into the hands of foreigners, to the injury and undoing o£ Great Britain in particular and the Empire in general.

Despite the contents of that letter - in the face of its professions of loyalty and the expression of the wish that Great Britain should regain her paper trade - I have learned from a very reliable source that, in the same month in which the letter was indited, namely, June last, the Provincial Press Association received a consignment of paper by the Tango Maru, from Japan. The country press are the parties who are moving the most eagerly to secure a reduction of the present duties. Evidently, Japan is to be feared among other foreign competitors of Great Britain.

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