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Thursday, 17 November 1921

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) .- I would not have, spoken again but for the statement" of the Minister (Senator E. D. Millen) that some honorable senators have shown inconsistency by agreeing to certain items in the schedule without paying due respect to others. I have taken up my present attitude, not from the stand-point of Protection at all, but with the idea of giving to Great Britain adequate preference against importations from other countries. I have carefully looked through the division of which this item is a part, and I find that on the great bulk of the items in the division as originally submitted to us there is a preference varying from 12$ per cent, to 15 per cent, in favour of Great Britain. Only before the dinner adjournment today we accepted an amendment made by another place for a British preferential duty of 22$ per cent, as against 40 per cent, in the 'general Tariff. Let us take any item at random in this division, and it will be found that the British preferential duty is 25 per cent., and the general duty, 40 per cent. There is a differentiation of 15 per cent. The Senate is actuated by no other motive than to be consistent by giving Great Britain a preference of 15 per cent, on other items. I have suggested that we should modify our request, and as a compromise we might ask the other Chamber to agree to the duty being, fixed at 27$ per cent., which is 2$ per cent, more than the Senate originally requested. Then there would be a preference in favour of the products of Great Britain as against those of foreign countries. The Senate should not accept the dictum of the other Chamber. Why should there be a differentiation as between electrical and gas appliances and other machinery?

Senator Elliott - Because skilled labour is required in the manufacture of these appliances.

Senator PAYNE - The fact that these articles are the outcome of the work of skilled tradesmen does not affect the question of preference one whit.

Senator Senior - The raw material is not in Australia.

Senator PAYNE - That is beside the question. How can it be suggested that the raw material for electrical machinery and appliances is not to be found in Australia ?

Senator Senior - Have we brass tubing made in Australia ?

Senator PAYNE - How does that affect the question of preference to Great Britain as against foreign countries? On weighing and computing machines the British preferential rate is 27$ per cent, and the general duty 40 per cent., a distinct preference of 12$ per cent, to Great Britain. By its refusal to accede to the request of the Senate the other Chamber gives a preference df only 10 per cent, to Great Britain. I would like to see the former request of the Senate modified by altering 25 per cent, to 27 per cent. I move -

That the words " not pressed " be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereqf the words "modified by making the British preferential Tariff on sub-items (a), (b), (c), and (d),27½ per cent."

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