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Thursday, 8 March 1928

Senator CARROLL ("Western Australia [5.35].) (The MinisterSenator Crawford) a l while ago, and with a considerable amount of emphasis, stated that the existence of secondary industries in Australia conferred a distinct benefit on our primary producers.

Senator Crawford - When they are effectively protected, they do.

Senator CARROLL - I think that even the Minister will admit that the previous duty on glucose should have been adequate. The report of the Tariff Board indicates that that body recommended the increased duty on the clear understanding that the manufacturers of glucose had to pay from 5s. 7d. to 5s. 9d. a bushel for maize, the raw product of the industry. The market price to-day is 3s. 9d. a bushel. If the Tariff Board, recommended an increase in the intermediate and general tariffs on glucose of 3s. a cwt., because the manufacturers had to pay for maize the prices which I have quoted, clearly it is the duty of the Government now to see that the manufacturers pay that price instead of 3s. 9d., so that the primary producers may reap some benefit from the protection.

Senator Crawford - Twelve months ago the price of maize in Queensland was as high as 10s. and 12s.

Senator CARROLL - The Minister knows that twelve months ago the market conditions were abnormal. As a matter of fact, for a while the Maize Products Limited had to import a small quantity of maize.

Senator Guthrie - A quantity of glucose was also imported last year.

Senator CARROLL - Very little glucose was imported. Senator Ogden's figures dealing with those imports were approximately correct.

Senator Guthrie - The imports last year totalled about 1,270 tons.

Senator CARROLL - That is not a large quantity. Mr. MacRobertson manufactures as much as that in. a month.

I have nothing to say against Mr. MacRobertson. I realize that he is entitled to all that he has achieved in this country. His success is largely due ' to his business ability and initiative, coupled with a generous assistance given him through the tariff. The point I wish to make is that if this is a scientific tariff - we who are objecting to this item say it is not - those who are benefiting from the protection should be prosecuted for taking money under false pretences, because the increased duties were recommended on the distinct understanding that they would pay a fair price for maize. Current market quotations show that they are riot doing so. I therefore intend to support Senator Ogden's request for a reduction in the duties. The item as it stands is distinctly unfair. It is little wonder that country people are rising in revolt against these everincreasing duties, from which they derive little or no benefit. Maize Products Ltd., knowing that the maize grower has no other .market, pays what it likes for the raw product.- I feel satisfied that if the grower complained that 3s. 9d. a bushel was not enough, he would be told that if he did not take care he would have to accept 2s. 9d. It would have been better if the Tariff Board had recommended that, as the market for maize fluctuates from time to time, the amount of protection given to the glucose industry should be on a sliding scale, rising or falling with the price paid for maize. It appears that immediately the increased duties were levied the manufacturers of glucose dropped the price for the raw material.

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