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Thursday, 10 June 1926

Senator CRAWFORD (QueenslandHonorary Minister) . - I need scarcely inform the committee that I do not intend to accept the request. I am sure that honorable senators are amused at the manner in which Senator Payne has proclaimed himself to be the sole champion of the workers of Australia and their wives. Judging by his remarks, one would think that the first consideration in the minds of working people in the matter of dress was cheapness. I claim that the greatest importance is attached to employment, at fair wages, and under reasonable conditions. That is what the tariff, and particularly the sub-item of which Senator Payne complains, has been designed to accomplish. The purpose of this composite duty is to prevent the admission of shoddy, which has proved a serious competitor against the great woollen industry of Australia. Mills that were practically idle some months ago are now humming with activity, and employing thousands of operatives who were previously out of work. Senator Payne has exhibited a number of samples of cheap cloth, and has endeavoured to per.suade us that the wearing of the shoddy material has given visitors to this country the impression that Australians are particularly well dressed. It is hardly necessary to point out that cheap clothing is not necessarily the most economical. I wear a suit of clothes for years; but my suits are not made from such lowquality material as that displayed tonight by the honorable senator from Tasmania, who would have us believe that the wife of the average working man uses it. If the sub-item has the effect of keeping out of this country shoddy that has been coming in in large quantities, it will prove a blessing to the masses of the people, because, instead of using shoddy, they will buy good Australian tweed, which, although a little more expensive to buy, will prove the cheapest in the end. I am confident that the committee desires to protect our woollen mills against competition from manufacturers of material made from the cast-off rags of Great Britain.

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