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Thursday, 10 June 1926

Senator LYNCH (Western Australia) . - In speaking earlier on this item, I quoted 6 per cent. or 7 per cent. as the duty on British imports for last year, which figures were, in a sense, challenged by some members of the committee. Last year over 2,000,000 square feet of British glass were imported, the value of which, including 10 per cent. added for dutiable purposes, was £34,000. Therefore 2s. per 100 square feet, or 6 per cent. or 7 per cent., is purely a revenue duty. The ordinary channels for reaching honorable senators are available to the Australian manufacturers of glass; but I have not been approached by representatives of the industry. I, therefore, desire to know what justification there re for increasing the duty. A duty of 2s. per 100 square feet, on the basis of last year's importation, re about 7 per cent., and Senator Payne now proposes to reduce by one-half the duty of1½d. on British importations. That is equivalent to a duty of 21 per cent.

Senator Payne - It is more than 21 per cent.

Senator LYNCH - Not on the basis of last year's duty. Am I justified in voting for a. duty of 21 per cent. for an industry that is not yet in being, and which even the Minister cannot promise will be established?

Senator Crawford - The company is erecting a factory now, and expects to produce 12,000,000 feet of sheet glass per annum.

Senator LYNCH - If what the Minister says is correct - I was otherwise engaged when he made a statement a few moments ago - I feel that I cannot deny to the. industry concerned a protection of 21 per cent. There is, however, the ad valorem duty of 45 per cent. We may be quite sure that, if it rests with the Minister, the higher duty will be levied, because it will bring in more revenue. I do not propose to allow the item to go through in that form. When Senator Payne's request is disposed of I shall move to leave out the word "higher" with a view to inserting the word " lower," thus ensuring that the amount of protection will be in the vicinity of 20 per cent., so that the users of glass in Australia may be able to get it at a reasonable figure.

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