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Tuesday, 8 June 1926

Senator LYNCH (Western Australia) . - We are getting enlightenment in this matter. Senator Duncan has informed us that two British manufacturers of cream separators have placed their products on the Australian markets, and that they will be content with a preference of 10 per cent. Last week we were considering tariff protection for some British manufactures up to the dizzy limit. I am wondering now why the manufacturers of these cream separators are to be left out in the cold, so to speak, whilst their fellow manufacturers are being treated so favorably. Another interesting feature is that, as far as I am aware, these British manufacturers have not approached any other honorable senator with a request for this preference.

Senator Payne - I have been written to.

Senator LYNCH - We now learn that two honorable senators have been approached. I have some of these machines on my place, and I am thoroughly satisfied with them, but I have no knowledge of having been asked at any time to vote for tariff protection against foreign competitors. From this it would almost appear to be an inspiration on the part of Senator Duncan to ask tariff favours for people who have not gone to the trouble of approaching other members of the Senate. My experience is that, if a manufacturer wishes to get any tariff protection, about the first thing he does is to write to some one in authority. Obviously, the British manufacturers of cream separators must be satisfied with their prospects on the Australian market, or we should have heard from them. The Minister has told us that he cannot accept Senator Duncan's proposal, and that the Government intends to expose the British manufacturers of these necessary machines to the fierce blast of foreign competition. This is not the Government's attitude in respect of other items, which give British manufacturers a preference of from 15 per cent, to 20 per cent. In the circumstances, I should like to know why the manufacturers of cream separators in Britain can hold their own. By all the rules of the game, judging by our experience in other items, they should be in need of preferential treatment. And yet they have approached no one in this chamber except Senator Duncan and Senator Payne ! It is refreshing to know that some British manufacturers, at all events, cau hold their own, and that they regard a preferential tariff of 10 per cent, as adequate. We are about to con sider the tariff on mining machinery, in which, I should like honorable senators to note, the British manufacturers are given preferences reaching to 40 per cent. Apparently the dairying industry is to go scot free, whilst the mining industry, which is of equal if not greater importance to the Commonwealth, is to be penalized. It is about time we held the scales fairly between the different interests, and if the dairymen are to be allowed to import the implements they use free of duty, the tools of trade used in mining should also be admitted free.

Senator Elliott - If the requested amendment is ag-reed to is it likely that the Swedish manufacturers will reduce their prices?

Senator LYNCH - I do not know that they would. They would have to increase their prices to overcome the British preferential rate.

Senator Elliott - They have been paying the extra duty.

Senator LYNCH - Yes.

Senator Elliott - Will they reduce their prices if the Government's proposal is agreed to 1

Senator LYNCH - I do not know. We cannot now enter into an intricate economic argument as to the effect of duties upon prices. One set of economists contends that lower duties result in reduced prices, and another that they have the opposite effect. I am inclined to support the latter contention. A preferential duty of 10 per cent., we are told, is sufficient.

Senator Duncan - In this case it is.

Senator LYNCH - When submitting a bender a margin of 10 per cent, is always, an advantage, and if a British preferential duty of 10 Der cent, is allowed, as is now proposed, the British manufacturers should be satisfied. We have, however, to consider our own people. I am opposing the request moved by Senator Duncan, and for once arn supporting the Minister in his laudable endeavour to give this form of primary industry a chance, in the hope that he will adopt a similar statesmanlike attitude when the tools of trade required in the mining industry are under consideration.

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