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Tuesday, 8 June 1926


Senator CRAWFORD (QueenslandHonorary Minister) . - I did not address the committee when this item was called on, because the general arguments that I used in my second-reading speech apply to practically the whole of the proposed increases. While wages' have been falling in many other countries during the past two or three years, they have been rising in Australia. I am not one of those who think that high wages are an evil in any country.


Senator Kingsmill - In what country have wages fallen?


Senator CRAWFORD - In Great Britain and elsewhere they have dropped considerably during the last two or three years, and that fact has given the manufacturers of machinery and other goods in Great Britain and other countries an advantage over the Australian manufacturer. This item includes, not only road-making machinery, but also machinery employed in the production of cement. They are included under the one heading, because the same machine that will break metal into the size required for road making is used in the manufacture of cement. A reduction in duty of 7£ per cent, would not have a substantial effect in reducing thu cost of road making.. It is not the price of machinery, but the rate of wages, that materially affects the cost of road making. Senator Barwell has told us that twenty firms in Australia are engaged in manufacturing the machinery covered by thu item. My information is that the number of firms is about 30.


Senator Sir Henry Barwell - According to the Chamber of Manufactures there are twenty firms only.


Senator CRAWFORD - In any case, there will be sufficient local competition to keep down the price. Wherever twenty firms are in competition, that is the effect.


Senator McLachlan - I hope that the competition between these firms is different from that. between the distillers.


Senator CRAWFORD -This is a different matter. I am surprised that Senator McLachlan should be so concerned over the slight increase in the duty on whisky. I hope that the committee will not vote for the amendment moved by Senator Needham. The reduction would make no noticeable reduction in the cost of roadmaking, but it would have a serious effect upon an important Australian industry.







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