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Thursday, 17 November 1921

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

That the request be not pressed.

This item and the five or six that follow are correlated. I draw attention to this fact because a good deal of what pertains to it affects the consideration of those to be dealt with later. The duties proposed by the House of Representatives were only per cent, in excess of the pre-war Tariff. I want honorable senators to bear "this in mind, in view of the fact that on other items in the Tariff they have assented to much higher increases.

Senator Wilson - But on no articles where the price to the public has increased accordingly.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable senator may persuade himself that the imposition of a duty should not increase prices; but just now he argued that it did.

Senator Wilson - I did not say that.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable senator said that the 'imposition of duties increased the price of wire; but, apparently, they did not increasethe price of bars. Senator Lynch seems to think it a sign of weakness, or iniquity, on the part of the Government to ask the Committee not to press its request. I can only remind honorable sena tors that, in taking this course, the Government are only asking the 'Committee to agree to what the Government proposed before. There is no reversal of policy on the part of the Ministry. These requests represent matters upon which the Government were beaten in this chamber before. Therefore there is no inconsistency in asking honorable senators to reconsider their decision and accept the proposal as originally made by the Government, which, as I have already stated, represented an increase of only per cent, on the pre-war Tariff. The Senate's request was for a reduction of7½ per cent., which left the duty at 5 per cent, less than under the old Tariff.

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