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Wednesday, 31 August 1921


Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) .. - I have refrained from speaking upon the subject-matter of this item until I had heard arguments both for and against the proposal of the Minister (Senator E. D. Millen). I have been greatly surprised by what some honorable senators have said concerning the attitude of the country press. It is not long since I received a letter from that body. I shall read an extract to show clearly the latest stand taken by the Provincial Newspaper

Association concerning the duty on newsprint. This letter, which was written in May last, states -

I have to advise you that the following motion was carried unanimously at the Tenth Inter-State Conference of this Association, held in Melbourne on the 10th, 11th, and 12th inst. : - "That the maximum duty on newsprint about to be collected under the Tariff proposals of the Ministry should not exceed 30s. a ton."


Senator Duncan - That is not their latest attitude.- I advise the honorable senator to wait until he hears what the country press have decided upon since.


Senator PAYNE - The resolution was framed in the light of their knowledge of the price of paper this year. I maintain that the attitude of the association is in keeping with the proposal of the Minister. I also received a communication from Tasmania, where there are representatives of the great printing industry, in regard to this item, to the effect that, in order to provide the greatest revenue, and adjust the competition on a fair basis, I should support the following: - Newsprint, foreign, £2 per ton; United Kingdom, free.


Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - That is the Government proposal.


Senator PAYNE - Yes, and whilst I am very anxious to give ample preference to Great Britain wherever possible, I do not think an -instance can be found in the Tariff where greater preference is being shown to the Mother Country than in the Minister's proposal. I have sufficient confidence in the recuperative powers of Great Britain as a manufacturing nation, and in the ability of the British workman, to believe that the day is not far distant when we will be able to draw all our supplies from that country.


Senator Elliott - Even in the face of Japanese competition?


Senator PAYNE - Yes. The Japanese goods have not a very good reputation in Australia, particularly as regards quality.


Senator Vardon - But they, are here.


Senator PAYNE - We have heard time after time of the wretched quality of Japanese goods, and- 1 do not think that an industry in which Great Britain has been actively engaged for many years, and in which she has such a good record, will suffer in consequence of Japanese competition. Britain will be able to maintain her prestige, and defy that competition, with a duty of £2 per ton.







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