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Thursday, 10 June 1926

Senator FINDLEY (Victoria) . - The Minister's statement was, no doubt, interesting, but, like the flowers that bloom in the spring, it had nothing to do with the case. This schedule has been framed for the purpose of encouraging Australian industries, and to ensure more and more employment for Australian work people. Let us see whether the proposed duty will have that effect. As Senator Duncan has pointed out, the 1921 tariff on these items was lower than the duties now proposed, and encouragement was given to those engaged in the assembling of chassis in Australia. If there is to be any preference Australians should receive first consideration.

Senator Crawford - They do.

Senator FINDLEY - Not at all, as I shall endeavour to show the Minister. Under this schedule, assembled chassis from Great Britain are dutiable at 5 per cent. They provide no work for Australians. If, however, chassis are imported unassembled from countries other than Britain or Canada, they pay a duty of 12½ per cent., or 7½ per cent. above the British rate for assembled chassis. It seems to me that this is a reversal of the principle of protection, because it gives protection to British workmen and British manufacturers against those engaged in the industry in Australia.

Senator Crawford - Britishunassembled chassis are free.

Senator FINDLEY - Yes, but whilst assembled chassis from Britain pay 5 per cent., unassembled chassis from other countries pay 12½ per cent. The committee ought to understand clearly that (he importation of assembled chassis provides no work for Australian employees in the industry other than perhaps in body building, whereas the importation of unassembled chassis, which under this schedule have to pay a duty of 12½ per cent. under the general tariff, will provide work for Australians. My contention is that the more assembly work that is done in Australia the better for the industry here. Moreover, when the work is done in this country the motor vehicles are usually fitted with Australian tires. Why should the industry be handicapped ? I ask the Minister to look carefully into the duties and see if something cannot be done to rectify what appears to me to be an anomaly, for, whilst I am anxious, as no doubt other honorable senators are also, to give preference to Britain, my chief desire is to see that Australian industry is not handicapped in any way.

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