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Friday, 9 March 1928

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) . - I thank the Minister for the information he has supplied ; but it is vital that honorable senators should thoroughly understand the. position if they are to cast an intelligent vote for or against the proposed duties. The information given by the Minister is somewhat scanty. He said that the value of low-priced grades of this material was 2s. per lb. The proposed . general tariff is 50 per cent, and the alternative duty a flat rate of 4s. per lb. Honorable senators will thus see that the 50 per cent, ad valorem tariff will be supplanted by a 200 per cent, tariff on that particular grade of material.

Senator Findley - Does the honorable senator think that the duty is insufficient? If so, I shall support him in any effort he may make to have it increased.

Senator PAYNE - I have no doubt that, if the tariff amounted to 1,000 per cent., it would meet with the honorable senator's approval; but I am trying to conserve the interests of his own constituents. It appears that, with regard to several items, persons who are compelled to buy lower-priced articles will be penalised much more heavily than wealthy individuals who can afford to purchase higher grades of goods. I do not intend to oppose the item, because I realize that that would be futile. However, I think that the committee is entitled to further information to justify the proposal for a general tariff equivalent to 200 per cent.

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