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Thursday, 17 November 1921

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) .- When these items were before the Senate some time ago I think the motive which actuated honorable senators who supported the request that the British preferential. Tariff should be reduced was the desire to bring the particular items more in conformity with other items that had previously been dealt with, and in which there was a wider differentiation between the British preferential Tariff and the general- Tariff. To-day we have favorably considered the attitude of another branch of the Legislature on the items almost immediately preceding that which we are now discussing. On those items the Senate preferred a request that the (British preferential .Tariff should be 20 per cent., and the House of Representatives have returned that request with a proposed modification to make the duty 22$ per cent., which will give Great Britain a preference of 12^ per cent, over foreign countries. In the item we are discussing there is only a 10 per cent, preference to Great Britain. For the life of me I cannot understand why the Minister opposes a suggestion that we should make the same differentiation in regard to electrical machines and appliances as we made in agricultural machinery when "we accepted as a compromise a preference of 12$ per cent, after asking for a preference of 15 per cent.

Senator Elliott - The men who make these articles get higher wages.

Senator PAYNE - And the probabilities are that there is a larger profit on the finished product. The only question; I will consider is, Is it fair to cut down the British preference on electrical machines and appliances to 10 per cent, when in a majority of other instances we have given Great Britain a preference of from 12^ per cent, to 15 per cent. ? I suggest that the Committee disagree with the motion moved by the .Minister with a view of getting the compromise offered by the House of Representatives and accepted by the Committee on agricultural machinery applied to electrical machinery and appliances. I hope the good sense of the Committee will show itself in the vote recorded on this item.

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