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Thursday, 17 November 1921

Senator DUNCAN (New South Wales) . - My remarks will apply more particularly to -electrical heating and cooking appliances upon which the duty fixed by the House of Representatives was, 30 per cent British; 35 per cent, intermediate, and 40 per cent, general Tariff. The Senate, in its wisdom, after full consideration of the position, decided that the British duty should' be reduced to 25 per cent. When this matter was previously before the Committee I pleaded with honorable senators to make the lot of the women in Australia as easy as possible by enabling them to obtain all up-to-date cooking and heating appliances for the working of their homes. All honorable senators, no doubt, are familiar with the electric iron. I cannot state the price definitely, but I think an electric iron costs about £2, and, therefore, 25 per cent, duty on a British article represents 10s. If that is not sufficient protection for the Australian manufacturer, then all I can say is, they want something more than a fair thing. This extra 5 per cent, in favour of Great Britain represents only 2s. on a £2 iron. Immense developments took place in the production of electrical appliances in other countries of the world, notably Japan and America, during, the war, at a time when the British manufacturers were fully occupied in the production of munitions and other war appliances. Therefore, Britain is not in the same relative position as in pre-war- days, and it is up to us now to give her all the preference possible. The Senate's request in the matter of preference was by no means unreasonable, and it should have been accepted by another place. I hope the Senate will now insist upon its request. So far as most of the articles enumerated in this- item are concerned, it will be a very considerable time before their manufacture is undertaken in Australia, at all events, in sufficient quantities to supply the local demand. Therefore, we should see to it that the requirements for our homes, if not of Australian manufacture, are. obtained from Great Britain if possible.

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