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Wednesday, 26 May 1926

Senator OGDEN (Tasmania) .- Notwithstanding the charge made in one of the newspapers this morning, that Tasmanian members of this Chamber are delaying the passage of the tariff, I propose to discuss the measure this afternoon. I direct the attention of the Minister to a matter which, I think, should be attended to, and that is that, when a new tariff schedule is laid on the table in another place, traders in all the States should be on an equal footing as regards withdrawal of goods from bond. The traders in distant States, particularly in Queensland and Western Australia, are at a disadvantage compared with traders in Melbourne, who may declare their goods at once and so escape the increased duty.

Senator McLachlan - Is it not the practice to issue a proclamation simultaneously in all the States?

Senator OGDEN - I understand that an amendment cf the act is necessary. We have made representations on this subject from time to time, but up to the present we have not been able to persuade the Government to fall in with our views.

Senator Payne - Does the honorable senator suggest that all importers should have the right to declare dutiable goods immediately on the arrival of a vessel in Australian waters?

Senator OGDEN - Yes. The duties should be levied equally against all traders in the Commonwealth. In discussing the tariff one hardly knows how to deal with the various problems. We may hear one honorable senator pleading for tariff reductions, and in the next breath, for increased duties on other lines. This is the position we are up against in Australia. We are all more or less protectionists. I am a protectionist, but I am strongly opposed to the imposition of prohibitive duties. I believe in protecting our primary and natural industries, but I am opposed to subsidizing small, unimportant, or what may be called " backdoor " industries, the encouragement of which leads to increased cost of commodities to the community generally.

Senator Findley - An unimportant industry to-day may, under protection, become an important industry to-morrow.

Senator OGDEN - I know the honorable senator is a strong protectionist, if not a prohibitionist. Australian Parliaments and Australian Governments are composed mainly of city members, with the result that city interests receive undue consideration, especially in tariff matters, whilst country interests very often are forgotten.

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