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Thursday, 17 November 1921

Senator LYNCH (Western Australia) . - I rise to guard my reputation as one who can read plain English when I see it. I think I can extract the ordinary meaning of any statement put before me. In the second place, I desire to see that some' provision is made for the protection of electric welding appliances. I intend to deal with the statement of the Minister (Senator E. D. Millen) that I did not understand the terminology of the letter which I had quoted. JVhen the Tariff was passing through the Senate in August last,-I had an assurance from the Minister that, if electric welding machines were not made in the Commonwealth, he would see that they were placed on the free list. I therefore let the matter pass at that. In the meantime, I received a letter from Western Australia to the effect that a firm there had imported such a machine and had paid duty upon it. That firm, in the ordinary course, asked that the duty be refunded, on the ground that such machines were not manufactured in the Commonwealth. I presented the letter to the Department, and I received the following reply from the Minister, which I feel justified in placing on record : - 8th September, 1921.

Dear Senator Lynch, - Adverting to the letter addressed to you by Mr. Wm. Leslie, of Leslie and Co., 959-901 Hay-street, Perth, with reference to the admission, under Tariff item 174, free or 10 per cent., of electric welding sets, and with reference also to your personal representations and your remarks on this subject in the Senate during the discussion on the Tariff, I desire to inform you that full inquiries have been made into the question at issue. The inquiry shows that similar sets recently imported have paid duty at the higher rates set out in Messrs. Leslie and Co.'s letter to the Minister, under date 10th August, notwithstanding the fact that applications were made at that time for the remission of the duty, or classification at 10 per cent, in general Tariff. The reason for refusal of exemption in those cases was that similar sets had been manufactured in Australia, and Messrs. G. Weymouth Proprietary Limited, of Richmond, Melbourne, state that at the time of ordering these sets (including the one imported by Leslie and Co.), they were prepared to take orders for prompt delivery.

I emphasize the last sentence in reply to the Minister's statement that this firm did not take orders.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable senator is either unreasonable or he is unfair in the way in which he is twisting words.

Senator LYNCH - I cannot hope to become the adept the Minister for Re-, patriation (Senator E. D. Millen) is at twisting words. The honorable senator has established a reputation in this Parliament as par excellence in that art.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - He would need to be in dealing with a man like the honorable senator.

Senator LYNCH - I am dealing with language as I understand it. I am giving the Committee, not the Minister, the plain words of a letter sent by the Department which the Minister is representing for the moment. When I am told that I am trying to mislead the Committee, I am put on my defence, and I challenge the Minister to prove his words in the fashion in which I am proving mine. I have read the statement made on behalf of the Department, and signed by Mr. R. W. Oakley, to the effect that these machines are made in the Commonwealth by Weymouth and Co., and that Weymouth and Co., in the words of Mr. Oakley, " were prepared to take orders for prompt delivery." Mr. Leslie, on. my forwarding to him this letter from Mr. Oakley, sent me the following letter, dated Perth, 5th October, 1921: -

Dear Senator Lynch, - I thank you for forwarding to me Major Oakley's letter. Immediately on receipt my firm forwarded an inquiry for an arc welding plant to Messrs. G: Weymouth Proprietary Limited, as per copy hereunder. We also enclose herewith original of their reply, from which it will be noted, notwithstanding the information given in Major Oakley's letter, Messrs! G. Weymouth Proprietary Limited inform us that they do not handle this sort of work. They also inform us that they have passed our inquiry to Messrs. Robt. Bryce and Co. Proprietary Limited, also of Melbourne. Messrs. Robt. Bryce. and Co. Proprietary Limited have forwarded us particulars and specifications of plants being introduced by the Qua si-Arc Co. Limited, London, as per their Bulletin No. 127, also enclosed.

Mr. Lesliethen goes on to deal with other matters. I shall read now Mr. Weymouth's letter in reply to the order from the Perth firm for this welding set, which we are told is manufactured here.

Senator Duncan - There may be some misunderstanding in the matter.

Senator LYNCH - I have already said that I am prepared to allow for a misunderstanding. But the Minister has accused me of 'trying to twist words. When he does so I am on my defence, and must hit back, and I will hit back.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - That is not an exclusive privilege.

Senator LYNCH - Quite so. The Minister is at liberty to take the same course. I am not prepared to let an item like this go through in the absence of proof to the contrary of the statements in black and white which I am in a position to quote. Mr. Leslie wrote to Messrs. Weymouth Proprietary Limited for an arc welding plant in the following terms on the 14th September, 1921: -

Dear Sirs, - We have inquiry for portable electric are welding plant, 300 amp. capacity, complete with control panel, stabilizer, and operator's tools. Our supply current is alter-: nating, 3-phase, 40 cycles, 440 volts. The plant is intended for welding up to 4 inches on locomotive bar frames, and other heavy welding. Weshall be glad to have your price for same d/d f.o.b. Melbourne, together with particulars ofeffciency guarantee in current used per lb. of metal melted. State diameter of wire used, also time for delivery.

The reply to that letter from Mr. Weymouth is as follows : -

Richmond, 19th September, 1921.

Dear Sirs, - We thank you for your inquiry of the 14th inst. for portable arc welding plant. As wo do not handle this sort of work, we are taking the liberty of passing your inquiry on to Messrs. Robt. Bryce and Co., of this city, Who specialize in arc welding plants.

Yours faithfully, for Weymouths Limited,

Horace Weymouth.

Then Robt. Bryce and Co. were written, to by Mr. Leslie for the machine, and, as I have already explained, Leslie received a reply from Robt. Bryce and Co.- to the. effect that he had a machine introduced from London. This was the gentleman referred to in Mr. Weymouth's letter as the person who dealt in this business, and he informed Leslie that he had no machine except one introduced from London.

Senator Elliott - Did he say he had only one machine.

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