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Friday, 18 November 1921

Senator DUNCAN (New South Wales) . - I would not have risen to speak but for the remarks of Senator Gardiner. The necessity for doing what the Government proposes is so obvious that there ought to be no need for discussion. Senator Gardiner has been at some pains to reiterate a statement made in a previous debate. I do not know whether he indorses it, but I would remind him that all boot manufacturers are not supporters of this Government. The largest boot manufacturer that I know in my State, and perhaps the largest in that State, who never loses an opportunity of boasting of his wealth, is a gentleman who stands high in the councils of Senator Gardiner's party. He is a member of the State Parliamentary party to which the honorable gentleman 'belongs, and he is a capitalist. If boot manufacturers are " robbers," then I have not heard that this gentleman is selling his boots at any lower price than any other manufacturers. As far as my observations go,- he sells them at a little higher price than others charge. Certainly I have never been able to alford to purchase a pair. I understood that Senator Plain intended to he here this afternoon to say that when he made certain statements in a previous debate he did not understand the situation, and that the statements were made without justification. The facts are that boot manufacturers are making far less money than the manufacturers of other items of apparel. This is shown clearly in the Commonwealth Statistician's Bulletin No. 7, where the whole of the articles of wearing apparel, including boots and shoes, are grouped. But if- boots and shoes are excluded, a gross profit of 24.5 per. cent, is disclosed.

Senator Wilson - Up to what period?

Senator DUNCAN - To 1920. The boot and shoe manufacturers have not been making anything like that profit, but one in the region of 14 per cent.

Senator Wilson - Who is getting it?

Senator DUNCAN - The middleman, and not the manufacturer. These figures, which can be verified, should be placed on record, and I trust that the motion submitted by the Minister will be agreed to.

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