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Wednesday, 16 November 1921


Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Repatriation) . - I move -

That the modification be agreed to.

The request of the Senate involved a considerable reduction upon the rates originally proposed by the House of Representatives. That Chamber has made a compromise to the extent of proposing the acceptance of 30 per cent. British, 40 per cent, intermediate, and 45 per cent, general Tariff. It has been pointed out that the rates proposed by this Committee are utterly inadequate if they are to be regarded as protective duties. Honorable senators have already agreed to duties upon cotton blouses, skirts, and costumes, respectively of 40 per cent., 50 per cent., and 55 per cent.


Senator Payne - There -is a marked difference between those articles of apparel and corsets.


Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - The manufacture of corsets is much more difficult than that of blouses. The chief material used in the former, namely, coutil is liable to a duty of 15 per cent., so that the Senate has requested the same duty upon the raw material as upon the manufactured article, which is opposed to the theories both of the Free Trader and oi the Protectionist.


Senator Payne - Is not the raw material admitted free from Great Britain ?


Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - That is so; but the general Tariff is 15 per cent., and' most of the supplies used in Australia are imported from foreign sources. It has been urged against the imposition ot higher protective duties that local manufacturers cannot make sufficient corsets for the requirements of Australia, or that the quality is not equal to that of the imported article, or that the price of the local product is excessive. As corsets, until the introduction of the present Tariff, were liable to duties of only 10 per cent, and 15 per cent., it would be scarcely a matter for wonder if local manufacturers were not yet in a position to supply all requirements. But, despite the short period during which the protective duty has been in operation, one Sydney firm alone has placed itself in a position to turn out more than 600,000 pairs per annum. The capital invested in the three principal factories amounts to £185,572, and 430 hands are employed at a weekly wage of £1,240. Although the industry is of recent origin, it will be agreed that it has already .assumed fairly considerable proportions. The Inter-State Commission, which went thoroughly into the matter, was convinced that the duty on1 corsets should not be less than that on apparel.


Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - What is the duty on apparel ?


Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - The InterState Commission recommended that the British rate should be 35 per cent., and the general Tariff 40 per cent. The original rates imposed on corsets by the House of .Representatives was 40 per cent., 50 per cent., and 55 per cent. As a concession to the desire of the Senate for a reduction, the House of Representatives has in its message set down the duties respectively at 30 per cent. , 40 per cent., and 45 per cent. Thus, the rates have been practically brought into line with those recommended by the InterState Commission.







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