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Thursday, 10 June 1926

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) .- I shall oppose the request, because I do not think a case has been made out from the community point of view by the honorable senator who has submitted it. If acceded to, it would mean a higher rate of duty on artificial silk fabrics than on silk fabric. "Whatever may be said about artificial silk, it has come into popular favour all over the world, and I would not try to put back the hands of the clock. If artificial silk is giving satisfaction to the wearers, and is being produced in an attractive form at a price which is within the reach of the poorest section of the community, I should be the last in the world to impose on it higher duties than are payable on pure silk, which only the wealthy can purchase.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - Brockman. - They would not have that result at all. The profits are simply enormous.

Senator PAYNE - There are no manufacturers of this textile material in Australia, and I know nothing concerning the profits made in the country where it is manufactured. There are, however, some 'excellent artificial silk materials, manufactured in Great Britain, which are offered for sale throughout Australia. A good, useful commodity, which is not directly competing with a similar article produced in Australia, is being sold at reasonable prices, and, consequently, we should not impose an unduly high burden upon the people. People must have light material during certain periods of the year, and, in some parts of Australia, throughout the whole year. Why should Mrs. Brown, whose husband receives only £5 a week, have to pay a higher duty on material suitable for herself and her children, than Mrs. Jones, whose husband has an income of perhaps £2,000 a year, and can afford to buy silk, which can be imported into Australia at a lower rate of duty. I do not think that anything has occurred to justify the imposition of this penalty upon the users of artificial silk. If Australian manufacturers were producing a similar article, I should be in favour of giving them reasonable protection, but Senator Drake-Brockman has not endeavoured to prove that such is the case. He simply referred to the enormous profits being made by the manufacturers of artificial silk in Great Britain and other countries.

Senator Andrew - Does it come into competition with materials produced by the woollen factories?

Senator PAYNE - No, artificial silk does not in any way affect the sale of woollen textiles, and the same can be said of silk. Every one knows what woollen textiles are. Does the fact that artificial silk is on the market prevent any one from buying Australian tweed ? Any one visiting the large emporia throughout Australia must have noticed the wonderful display and range of colours of goods manufactured from artificial silk, which are offered to the public at a reasonable price, and which do not in any way enter into competition with the woollen textiles manufactured in Australia.

Senator Lynch - How does it compare in price with silk ?

Senator PAYNE - It is sold . at less than pure silk. I believe artificial silk blouse material is sold at about 2s. lid. a yard, whereas 4&. or 4s. 6d. a yard is charged for silk which would not give anything like the same wear.

Senator Guthrie - Rubbish !

Senator PAYNE - I happen to be wearing a necktie made of artificial silk.

Senator Reid - Shame !

Senator PAYNE - There is no shame about it.

Senator Guthrie - The honorable senator should be ashamed to admit it.

Senator PAYNE - Senator Reid is wearing one, and so also is Senator Guthrie. I challenge Senator Guthrie to deny that the necktie he is wearing is not made of artificial silk.

Senator Guthrie - That shows how we can be deceived by rubbish.

Senator PAYNE - Anything that gives satisfactory wear is not rubbish. Articles made from artificial silk do not only wear well, but will stand frequent washing without being affected. In fact, they stand washing much better than many articles made of pure silk ; they appear fresher and look better. Our Australian womenfolk like wearing something that is attractive.

Senator Lynch - What is artificial silk made of ?

Senator Guthrie - Wood pulp.

Senator PAYNE - It may be.

Senator Drake-Brockman - It is made only from wood pulp.

Senator PAYNE - I do not care what it is made from.

Senator Guthrie - I do.

Senator PAYNE - Why?

Senator Guthrie - Because it is rubbish.

Senator PAYNE - It is ridiculous for Senator Guthrie to make such a statement. On one occasion he said that if he had his way he would compel every person in Australia to wear only woollen overwear and underwear garments. And that regardless of climatic conditions! To adopt such an attitude is to become a read autocrat. The honorable senator has no consideration for the masses of the people. As I believe that Senator Drake-Brockman 's request, if adopted, will be the means of inflicting considerable hardship upon the Australian people, I intend to oppose it.

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