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Thursday, 3 June 1926

Senator FOLL (Queensland) .- I should not ' have spoken on this item except for the references made by one or two honorable senators to the quality of Australian manufactured goods. Senator Grant spoke of the uptodate woollen and worsted mill at Albany, in Western Australia. Similar mills, equipped with modern machinery, have been established in New South Wales. I mention particularly those at Orange and Albury, and Vickers's large mill in Sydney. All these up-to-date mills are turning out an article that competes fairly well with the imported woollen piece-goods. Senator Graham has reminded us of the Waverley mill at Launceston. Apparently Senator Payne is not prepared to protect these manufacturing concerns against the importations of shoddy articles from overseas.

Senator Payne - The honorable senator does not know how to be fair. He has no right to make a statement like that.

Senator FOLL - It is obvious that Senator Payne is endeavouring to discredit the Australian manufacturers of woollen piece-goods.

Senator Payne - That is absolutely incorrect.

Senator FOLL - These mills, I remind the honorable senator, have been established under the policy of protection. In most cases the capital is provided by a large number of small shareholders who, having invested their money in- a venture likely to lead to the development of their own districts, have a right to expect reasonable dividends.

Senator Payne - Will the honorable senator withdraw what he said a little while ago? It is false, and he knows it.

Senator FOLL - I refuse to withdraw anything that I have said. Senator Payne must be judged by his actions. Apparently he is more concerned about the welfare of the importers of these materials than he is about the interests of the people who are doing what they can to build up industries in Australia.

Senator Payne - I attribute that statement to the honorable senator's ignorance.

Senator FOLL - That, at all events, is the conclusion I have come to from the honorable senator's remarks. The Queensland Woollen Mills and the mill at Ipswich are also manufacturing a firstclass article, but, except during war tune, when there was virtually prohibition of imports, they have never been very prosperous, and have never given their shareholders, a decent return on their investment. The Government's object in imposing these duties is to ensure the production of a decent class of material. Under normal conditions, and in view of the fact that tweed and woollen making is largely a machine industry, these manufacturing concerns should thrive, provided they are not faced with unfair competition. Senator Payne appears to have set for himself the task of bringing about a reduction in the duties in the interests of the importers.

Senator Payne - I am doing nothing of the kind. Again the honorable senator is showing his ignorance of the subject.

Senator FOLL - The purpose of the tariff is to ensure the production in Australia of a good standard quality article. Legislation in this direction is just as necessary as action taken under the Pure Foods Act to ensure the production of articles fit for human consumption. Shoddy, as we all know, is the product of refuse and clippings from the mills, and rags obtained from various sources, so it is not a desirable product. I should like to see this policy of protection further extended so that, instead of exporting our wool in the grease, we may manufacture it into tops and yarn, if not into the finished cloth. At present 95 per cent, of the wool taken off the sheep's backs in Australia is exported in the grease. In this respect we are the hewers of wood and drawers of water for the manufacturing industries of other countries. I hope, however, that the time is not far distant when we shall carry our manufacturing processes a step further in the direction I have indicated. It will be possible to do this only if we widen the field of protection and encourage an extension of our secondary industries. The tariff of 1921 was responsible for the erection of up-to-date woollen and worsted mills in many country centres throughout the Commonwealth. Senator Lynch knows that the mill at Albany, in his State, is a very important manufacturing industry, well worthy of a sufficient measure of protection to ensure its prosperity. In this matter we are entitled to know where Senator Payne stands. If he stands for the importers, those who are desirous of establishing new and encouraging existing secondary industries will know what to do.

Senator Sir HENRYBARWELL (South Australia) [4.33]. - I shall have very little to say with regard to this matter, but I have no desire to give a silent vote. Remarks which I propose now to make will explain the attitude which I shall adopt concerning many other items in the schedule. In this matter I intend to support the Government.

Senator Needham - Another convert!

Senator Sir HENRYBARWELL.Not at all, as I shall explain in a moment. My attitude is entirely consistent with ' the remarks which I made when speaking during the second-reading debate. I said then that I was in favour of sane and reasonable protection for efficient Aus tralian industries. I said, also, that I believed that Australia would never be a great country unless she built up her secondary industries; .and, further, that this would not be possible without in some cases high protection, owing to the artificial system under which we are living. No one deplores more than I do that this is necessary, but it is obvious that if we are to maintain some of our secondary industries the protection afforded to them must be high. What I complained about was that there was not a proper discrimination between industries that were protected and those that were not protected. Surely, if there is an industry in Australia which we ought to maintain, and do everything in our power to develop, it is the woollen manufacturing industry, which is on quite a different basis from that of the cotton-tweed industry. We are not producing cotton in commercial quantities, and I do not think we ever shall. The cotton industry will always have to be bolstered up, and I have never known an industry to succeed which has had to be supported to the extent that would be necessary in the case of the cotton industry. The Australian woollen manufacturing industry is in an entirely different position, as it is already well established. If it is to be encouraged it must be protected, and if it is to develop, the protection afforded must be adequate. That being so, the onus is upon. Senator Payne and Senator Lynch to show that the protection it now enjoys is adequate.

Senator Payne - We are not dealing with the woollen industry, but with apparel and attire.

Senator Sir HENRYBARWELL.Yes, of woollen manufacture.

Senator Payne - No.

Senator Sir HENRYBARWELL.Wool is used in the manufacture of this apparel and attire.

Senator Payne - Cotton and other apparel is dutiable under this item.

Senator Sir HENRYBARWELL.If wool is used in the manufacture, my remarks are relevant. If the woollen manufacturing industry, which is already well established in the Commonwealth, is to be extended, the protection must be sufficient. Honorable senators who object to the proposals of the Government must show ,that the duties previously in operation were sufficient That has not been done. When we are discussing the proposed duties on cotton tweeds, 1 shall probably adopt a different attitude. There are industries in Australia which must be developed if we are to become a prosperous and progressive nation, and there are others which, in my opinion, are unprofitable to carry on. In the latter category I include the matchmaking industry. As I have already shown we could pension off the whole of those engaged in it and save a considerable sum. There should be proper, discrimination between those industries which should be protected and those which should not. The honorable senator responsible for the request has not established a case, and, until he does, it is my intention to support the Government.

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