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Thursday, 3 June 1926

Senator GRAHAM (Western Australia) . - I shall support the Government in connexion with this sub-item. Australia is capable of becoming selfcontained if we go the right way to secure that end. We grow sufficient wool to supply every person in the Commonwealth with up-to-date clothing, of the best quality, and at a reasonable price.

Senator Ogden - If he can afford to pay it.

Senator GRAHAM - I shall refer to that aspect of the matter later.

Senator Thompson - Whatwould we do with our surplus wool?

Senator GRAHAM - We should send it abroad, as we do now.

Senator H Hays - And what would we get in exchange?

Senator GRAHAM - If, as Senator Lynch has stated, we are unable to get gold we shall have to accept something else. It is our duty to support Australian industries, and particularly the woollen industry. The wool produced in this country is the best in the world. Moreover, 'the. woollen goods made here are absolutely pure; no adulteration can take place. If any fault can be found with Australian tweeds it is that the quality is too good. Senator Payne exhibited yesterday some samples of imported shoddy; yet in Australia we have sufficient wool to provide all our citizens with woollen clothing of good quality at a reasonable price. To allow shoddy to be dumped here to compete with the products of our own factories is unwise.

Senator H Hays - There is a law to prevent dumping.

Senator GRAHAM - In my early days I served an apprenticeship in one of the finest woollen factories in the southern hemisphere, at Kiapoi, in New Zealand. That factory, which has been in existence for 45 years, produces some of the best woollen goods made in any part of the world. Our Australian mills are doing the same.

Senator H Hays - Does New Zealand shut out shoddies'!

Senator GRAHAM - I think so. Much of the shoddy which enters this country comes from Yorkshire, in England, and is known as "Yorkshire fog." Senator Guthrie explained to the committee the composition of shoddy. In all big clothing manufactories the small clippings of tweed are swept up from the floors and gathered into bags by boys. Every month or six weeks these bags are called for, and the boys are paid for the contents. That is known as " bunce " for the boys. These sweepings are then teased into small pieces and put through, the machine, which has a cotton running in one direction only. The resultant materia] can easily be torn in any direction. That is because the cotton runs in one direction only. ."Woollen material cannot be torn so easily. A person wearing woollen clothing is not so likely to have a mishap as is one wearing shoddy. I have a vivid recollection of a friend of mine who, through wearing a suit made of shoddy on one occasion, found himself in a very embarrassing position. Shoddy is liable to fall to pieces after very little wear. I have here a piece of English shoddy. As honorable senators can see, it may easily be torn in any direction. This material is dumped into Australia in the form of manufactured overcoats which are sold at about 19s. each. That is not the price of the lining of a fairly good coat. When we consider the retail price of such garments in Australia, it is easy to imagine that the cost of production on the other side of the world is not great.

Senator Cox - Where does the honorable senator use that material?

Senator GRAHAM - I have never used it. Shoddy landed in Australia costs from 2s. 9d. to. 3s. 6d. a yard wholesale. The material now in my hand is a product of the Waverley Woollen Mills in Launceston, Tasmania. It is a cheap line of tweed, sold at 4s. Id. a yard wholesale. Why should we encourage the importation of shoddy from Great Britain when, in Tasmania, we have a mill which produces a better material for approximately the same price?

Senator Payne - We are now considering clothing, not shoddy.

Senator GRAHAM - I understand that I am in order in referring to shoddy. Last night I did not have the opportunity to speak on this item. The success of the United States of America is largely due to the protection afforded to her industries. Australia is right in following the example set by that country. The duties set out in the schedule are not too high if we desire to grant adequate protection to Australian industries. To the contention that the imposition of high duties places a greater burden upon the man least able to bear it, I reply that our people must be educated to buy goods made in their own country. We should then have no clothing mills with machinery lying idle; on the contrary, they would be fully employed producing tweeds for Australian -purchasers. Anyone with a family of boys to clothe must realize that it is better to buy good Australian tweeds than to clothe his boys in "Yorkshire fog". By protecting our own industries we not only make it possible for our boys to be clothed in material of good quality, but we also create avenues of employment for them. By helping ourselves, we shall assist to develop the nation.

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