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Wednesday, 30 June 1926

Senator THOMPSON (Queensland) . - In my judgment, this is the weakest item in the whole of the tariff schedule. To me it is an anomaly that the proposed duties on artificial silk should he heavier than the duties on silk itself, especially in view of the fact that these higher imposts will penalize British manufacturers, and assist manufacturers in Japan, France, Belgium, and- other countries. It seems to me that we are not dealing fairly with the British industry. Senator Guthrie has urged that artificial silk will displace wool. Other experts hold the contrary opinion. This is what one authority says -

Artificial silk takes colours which are purer and clearer than any to bc found in real silk. It absorbs and assimilates the dye so that the colour becomes part of itself. It possesses, too, a bright and glossy sheen unattainable in any other medium. Combined with cotton, silk, or wool, it outwears any real silk fabric. To assert that it is unhealthy is ridiculous.

Senator Guthrie - What authority is the honorable senator quoting?

Senator THOMPSON - Courtaulds Limited.

Senator Guthrie - The honorable senator is quoting from their advertisement.

Senator THOMPSON - I have no doubt that they know their own business a great deal better than Senator Guthrie does. They go on to state -

Senator Drake-Brockmansays that the sale of artificial silk is competing with wool. This statement is entirely erroneous. Artificial silk has, in fact, been the means of more wool being used. A mixture of artificial silk and wool is now sold where only pure silk was formerly used, thus increasing the demand for wool.

Senator Guthrie - In a recent issue, the Textile Journal, which deals with the textiles of the world, says that artificial silk displaced 500,000 bales of wool last year.

Senator THOMPSON - I prefer the opinion of the firm I have mentioned' to that of the Textile Journal. It has been said that the material displayed in this chamber this afternoon is rubbish. I remind honorable senators that it is sold in enormous quantities. Is it reasonable to suppose that material which has such a large sale, is rubbish ? I wish also to refer to the statement made in another place that any additional duty en this material would be paid by the manufacturers. It would not be paid by them, but bv the persons who would buy the material. The prices of the fabric would be raised, but it would be sold in the same quantities as previously, and the poorer classes of the community would have to bear the burden. The committee should not agree to the modification proposed by the House of Representatives.

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