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Thursday, 17 November 1921

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

That the modification be agreed to.

As to sub-item 1, wire of No. 16 or finer gauge, the House of Representatives adopted the following ad valorem rates: 25 per cent., 30 per cent., and 35 per cent. ; and the Senate requested that the British preferential rate he made 20 per cent. The House of Representatives has agreed to this request. As to sub-item 2, wire, other, the rate agreed upon in the House of Representatives was, 52s., 72s 6d., and 90s. per ton, and the Senate requested a reduction in the British preferential rate to 44s. per ton. This request did not meet with approval in the House of Representatives. The Minister in charge of the item in another place said that he could not agree to the proposal because a duty of 44s. per ton had already been agreed to in regard to rods, that is to say, the raw material from which this wire is drawn.

Senator Wilson - But the duties on rods were fixed through an oversight.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Honorable senators must recognise that the whole of these iron duties are so interlaced that it is almost impossible to disturb one without "affecting the ratio of protection afforded to other sections of the iron industry. If it were thought desirable torevise any particular item, the correct and scientific way would be to revise all the duties up or down in due proportion. The Senate has accepted 44s. per ton British preferential duty as the measure of protection to be placed upon rods, and it is not equitable to place only the same measure of protection upon the wire, as the tendency will be to import the wire instead of rods. In the circumstances, the Committee, I submit, should accept the modifications made by another place.

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