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Friday, 18 November 1921

Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) . - If my memory serves me rightly, when this item was discussed previously the Senate was most emphatic in its decision. I have in my mind a statement by an honorable senator on the Government side couched in such language that I would not be allowed to repeat it. The statement referred to the. manufacturers of boots as "robbers." The language that was used would not be considered parliamentary. Notwithstanding that denunciation from the Government benches, the other House appears to be ready to help these ' ' robbers 1 ' by increasing the duty 5 per cent, above what the Senate requested. If the Government has decided to accept the modification, it is no use arguing the point. The honorable senator to whom I have referred denounced the manufacturers of boots because of the bad-quality material they use, and the high prices they charge.

Senator Earle - That statement referred not to the manufacturers, but to the sellers.

Senator GARDINER - I do not think Senator Earle can hold the seller responsible when children's boots wear out on two trips. There is little excuse for the manufacturer of shoddy boots in a country where hides are admitted free, and leather is abundant. Why do we want a duty against the outside world as high as that which is proposed? The only explanation I can find is that the Government is out to tax the working classes. This Tariff is a revenue Tariff from end to end. It produced £32,000,000 of revenue last year, and I believe it will produce nearly as much this year.

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