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Wednesday, 16 November 1921


Senator LYNCH (Western Australia) . - The Senate has already agreed to high duties on all classes of woollen goods except those to which Senator Payne has already called attention. Protectionists say that the more heavily the protective duties are made to bear, the smaller grows the stream of importation and the larger the volume of Australian manufacture. So far as one class of woollen goods is concerned, the facts do not bear out that contention. I read in the press of Saturday last that the Bradford woollen spinners have reported a very prosperous period. It was recorded that during October the output was 7,058,000 square yards, compared with 7,343,000 square yards for the same month of 1913, when trade was normal. Those figures reveal that industry in the Old Country is approaching its old basis. The press report continues that, during the last month the export of woollen goods to Australia was about 700,000 square yards compared with only 289,000 square yards in July. Those figures show that there has been a clear increase amounting to considerably more than double the quantity shipped from Bradford alone. In face of those facts, will rabid Protectionists indicate what really should suffice in order that the whole of the woollen goods required for Australia shall be made in this country ?


Senator Payne - Light woollen fabrics such as are required in this country for summer wear are not made here, and are not likely to be.


Senator LYNCH - Just so; and that means that whatever may be the amount of duty, it is merely a burden upon the community at large, and is in no sense protective of local industry. The folly of piling up excessive duties is exposed. I advise the Government to re-model the Tariff and increase the 40 per cent, duty in this instance to 180 per cent, or 3,000 per cent. They will then be able to see whether local importers, in response to the demand for a material urgently required but not manufactured in Australia, will continue to order from the United Kingdom" practically treble the quantity of goods ordered three months previously. I propose to vote in such a manner as may perhaps assist to open the eyes of rabid Protectionists to the foolishness of their claims.







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