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Thursday, 3 June 1926

Senator FINDLEY (Victoria) . - Senator Kingsmill referred to my request as being more or less tyrannical. If it be tyranny to give every possible encouragement to Australian industries, to see that the workmen in this land of my birth are well and fully employed, and to shut out importations of goods that are being sold at a price against which Australian manufacturers cannot compete, and, therefore, cannot employ Australian workmen under Australian conditions, I plead guilty to submitting a tyrannical request. Are not the members of this committee first and foremost vitally concerned in the welfare and progress of Australia, and the betterment and elevation of its citizens? Should they give encouragement to the importation of goods which, according to experts, are composed mainly of shoddy, when that importation has the effect of practically strangling an Australian industry, and of throwing Australian workmen out of employment, in addition to giving an incentive to the wearers of caps to buy a cheap and shoddy article? The Australian woollen mills are doing better than they were a few months ago, because of the impetus given to the industry by the tariff. The inquiries that I have made convince me that the woollen proprietors are endeavouring to meet the requirements of the manufacturers of articles other than those which they themselves manufacture. I have samples of material with which it is proposed to manufacture caps in Australia. According to unbiased opinion, it is immeasurably superior to that which is contained in the imported caps.

Senator Grant - It is far too heavy.

Senator FINDLEY - According to some experts, that is a recommendation, because heavy material will keep a cap in shape, and it will wear longer, and prove more acceptable to the buyer. The design is most attractive; the quality is good. All that the manufacturers ask is that the committee shall give to the industry a measure of protection equal to that which has been given to manuf acturers of other articles. This material costs 5s. 6d. a yard, therefore it is not expensive, but, on the contrary, very reasonable. I ask the committee to be consistent in its attitude towards Australian industries. To some honorable senators the duty I request may appear to be high. It is certainly higher than the schedule proposed, but the increase is sought in the interests of the cap manufacturers, who have been driven off the market by the imported article. I ask the committee to do justice to the Australian industry.

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