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Thursday, 3 June 1926


Senator THOMPSON (Queensland) .- -The Minister (Senator Crawford) has made a statement which I cannot allow to pass unchallenged. He said that no complaint had reached him or the department from North Queensland in connexion with this matter. I have in my hand a copy of a letter which was addressed to the Minister for Trade and Customs by the Townsville Chamber of Commerce. The Minister in this chamber ought to be cognizant of it. Townsville, surely, is in North Queensland, and in the tropics. I shall read one or two paragraphs from it, to prove that the Minister's statement was absolutely inaccurate. The writer says -

My chamber realize that a reasonable protection is desirable, but consider the existing tariff is ample protection for efficient manufacturers, and they strongly emphasize that further consideration be given to the whole matter in the interests of the consumers; the manufacturers under the present proposed tariff are asking for and appear to be obtaining excessive protection, which my chamber regards, speaking for North Queensland, as unfair, and falls on the worker every time.

The proposed tariffs on cotton tweeds and cotton singlets affect North Queensland particularly. Speaking of such lines as cotton tweeds and cotton singlets, which are generally used, means 105 per cent, increased cost

Cotton tweeds, cotton singlets, &c, arc extensively worn by the working man throughout North Queensland.

I considered it my duty to bring those views under the notice of honorable senators.

Senator CRAWFORD(Queensland-

Honorary Minister) [8.50]. - I protest against the remarks of Senator Thompson, which were a personal reflection upon me. What I said was that no complaint had reached me that an extra duty would be charged upon cotton singlets that were trimmed with silk. That statement is absolutely correct. Senator Thompson has impugned my veracity. His charge is absolutely unfounded, and I very strongly resent it. I certainly have had communications from the Townsville Chamber of Commerce. I am very much afraid that it is dominated by what, on other occasions, I have termed " geographical protectionists." So long as an increase in the duty will advantage that portion of Australia in which they have their interests, it is all right; but any increase that will benefit manufacturers or producers in some other part of Australia is strongly resisted by them. For that reason, I took no notice of the communication which I. received from the Townsville Chamber of Commerce in relation to this tariff.







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