Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Wednesday, 16 November 1921

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) .- Senator Reidwas anxious to ascertain the difference in value of the Australian and imported corsets. I have been assured on good authority that the imported article - I do not wish to criticise the Australian industry - notwithstanding the heavy duty imposed, is regarded as of better value than the locallymanufactured corset. The reason assigned is that corset manufacturers are specialists, and it is essential to have an enormous output to compete with those engaged in the business in a larger way, because the overhead charges are greater where the output is small.

Senator Foster - Would not that apply to all manufactures?

Senator PAYNE - This is a specialized industry, and in no country, so far as I know, has the successful manufacture of corsets been undertaken until experience has extended over a great number of years.

Senator Foster - I suppose that applies to every factory in Australia, and if we do not give the industry fair protection it will never prosper.

Senator PAYNE - We have to decide what is reasonable protection.

Senator Elliott - :Is there any special difficulty associated with the manufacture of corsets?

Senator PAYNE - I have been endeavouring to explain the difficulty. There are some in Australia who do not manu- \facture corsets, but who alter the article to suit the figures of their clients.

Senator Duncan - There are a number of corset manufacturers in Australia.

Senator PAYNE - Yes, there are several' fairly large establishments, and we have to consider what protection should be afforded to insure the continuance of the industry, and at the same time prevent an unnecessarily high price being charged.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - That argument applies also to other items of wearing apparel.

Senator PAYNE - It does not, because the manufacture of ordinary wearing apparel is not a specialized industry. Why did the French, to a great extent, capture some of the best corset markets in the world ?

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - They captured some of the best markets with their millinery, and we have imposed duties of 40, 50, and 55 per cent.

Senator PAYNE - Millinery cannot be included in the same category.

Senator Keating - Do the French still hold that pride of place in regard to corsets, or have they been defeated by the Americans?

Senator PAYNE - No; the French manufacturers have had to contend with a greater ordeal than the British manufacturers. They lost their trade to America.

Senator Foster - According to the honorable senator's argument, there is a certain amount of natural protection.

Senator PAYNE - I am not suggesting that corsets should be admitted free, but that the duty should be reasonable, and in support of that contention I pointed out that the local manufacturer has a greater natural protection than the manufacturer of any other article of attire because of the manner in which the goods are packed. If I were starting a factory, I would not want a duty on the article I was to produce irrespective of other considerations. I would want to know what it cost to land that article from an outside country. If the duty were 10 per cent., and the freight represented an additional 40 per cent., I would have protection equal to 50 per cent. Natural protection should be carefully considered in connexion with such an item as this. Before the new Tariff was introduced, this industry was firmly established on duties of 10 and 15 per cent. respectively, and we are justified in opposing the motion moved by the Minister in the hope that if we defeat it we shall have the opportunity of arriving at duties which will be acceptable to both branches of the Legislature.

Suggest corrections