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Thursday, 3 June 1926

Senator GUTHRIE (Victoria) . - I submit for the information of the committee a sample of an under garment manufactured at the Lincoln Mills at Coburg, the fabric of which consists of cotton and wool, and the neck of which is bound with silk.

Senator Payne - I am dealing only with cotton garments.

Senator GUTHRIE - The Australian mills also produce similar garments made of cotton, bound with silk. If the requested amendment of the honorable senator is adopted the industry at Coburg and elsewhere, which is employing hundreds of persons, will probably have to cease making them. As there is only a small proportion of silk in the neckband of the garment, Senator Payne contends that it should be admitted at the lower duty, but it would be a difficult matter for the Customs officials to determine the actual quantity of silk in a garment. As we have an Australian industry producing excellent articles of a similar type, I am strongly in favour of affording it effective protection. Although I was once a director of the Lincoln Mills, I am not now in any way associated with the undertaking, and therefore cannot be accused of bias. The 9 per cent, cumulative preference shares came down to about l1s., but since the higher duties have been in operation they have risen to about 20s. If the existing duties were reduced many of the employees would be dismissed, because it would be impossible to compete with the imported articles, which are being dumped into the Commonwealth. The factory is now working full time, and under the additional protection which the manufacturers have received a well organized and efficient industry has an opportunity of making substantial progress. I oppose the requested amendment moved by Senator Payne.

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