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Wednesday, 23 November 1921

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Repatriation) . - I could understand all that Senator Lynch has been saying if we were now discussing a proposal to place duties on manures. His remarks would be quite appropriate to the discussion which took place when this item was last before the Committee, and when there was a proposal to impose duties. But that is not the position to-day. This item was sent to another place with the proposed duties inserted in such a way as to cover, not only superphosphates, but a multiplicity of other manures produced outside the British Empire. The Government agreed to the request, but thought that the Senate had in. view the placing of duties, not on all manures, but only on superphosphates from outside the British Empire. Senator Lynch has just been speaking against those duties, which, as I have already pointed out, have been agreed to, both by this Chamber and another place. What I am proposing now is not to put on duties, but to accept a modification, the effect of which will be to take out from the dragnet class a number of manures which, it is believed, the Senate had no intention of making dutiable at all.

Senator Lynch - But leaving the duty on superphosphates.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - That has been agreed to, rightly or wrongly, by both Houses.

Senator Wilson - It was wrong, all. right.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I am not saying whether the decision of this Committee was right or wrong.

Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - It was quite as wrong as the decision in regard to the timber duties.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not want to compare the duties on this item with any other duties in the Tariff. It is now open to this Committee to stand by its original request, which means, in effect, that manures other than superphosphates gathered within the British Empire will be dutiable, or to accept the suggested modification put forward by another place to remove the duties from such manures as Thomas' superphosphate, nitrate of soda, bone dust, guano, Wood manure, and other fertilizers. The third course open to the Committee is to offer some modification to that which has been sent to us from another place. It should be clearly understood that my proposal, if adopted, will not disturb the present duties on a non-British superphosphate. All it does is to take out of that category the manures I have indicated. If the Committee thinks that these manures should be dutiable, then my motion should be defeated. I submit. however, that our purpose should be to make the tax as light as possible on the users of these fertilizers, and that is the effect of my proposal.

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