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Thursday, 8 March 1928

Senator DUNCAN (New South Wales) . - I should like to know what benefit is likely to accrue to the dairymen of Great Britain from the preference we propose to give them on butter. The Government has included butter in a list of items on which increased preference has been extended to the United Kingdom, and it must be very gratifying to the dairy farmers of Great Britain to learn that we are giving them a preference of1d. a lb. on butter, although we are increasing the duty from 3d. to 7d. a lb. I think we ought to know from the Minister how much butter we are importing from Great Britain, and what need there is for us to fear competition from that country. If we are giving the butter producers of Great Britain a preference, where is the need for increasing the duty against them to the extent of 3d. a lb. ? I have yet to learn that the dairymen of Great Britain are in the habit of exporting butter to Australia. I was always under the impression that Australian dairymen were seeking a market in Great Britain for their butter. There must be some justification for the action of the Government in increasing the duty against the British Empire. I can understand New Zealand, as part of the Empire, being desirous of sending to Australia, butter which might seriously compete with the produce of Australian dairymen, but I have yet to learn that the dairymen of Great Britain are anxious to export butter to Australia.

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