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Wednesday, 14 March 1928

Senator HERBERT HAYS (Tasmania) . - I propose to support the Government. There are other items in the schedule, which we shall have to consider. I intend to vote for the new duties on timber, and to be consistent, I must vote with the Government on this item. One of the objections urged against these duties is that they will increase the cost of socks and stockings to the working people of this country, and the suggestion has been made that they should not apply to British goods. It must be obvious to honorable senators that the origin of certain goods that are arriving in Australia is very difficult to trace. Although they are supposedly of British manufacture, they are partly processed in a foreign country, and then finished off in Great Britain. With the knowledge that Australia has been and is being flooded with cheap, shoddy, low-grade timber from overseas, which is a serious competitor of our timbers, it is my intention to support the proposed timber duties. I cannot, therefore, withhold my support from this proposal of the Government,

Senator Payne - The honorable senator is hardly fair to me. There is no connexion between the two; they stand on a different plane.

Senator HERBERT HAYS - I am not reflecting1 on the honorable senator.

Senator Payne - The suggestion is that I am inconsistent in my attitude, with, regard to timber.

Senator HERBERT HAYS - On previous occasions I have voted for a lowering of duties.

Senator Chapman - Does the honorable senator realize that in some instances the general tariff at this flat rate is over 300 per cent.?

Senator HERBERT HAYS - If the figures quoted by the honorable senator are correct, that is so. But industries must be fostered in Australia, and this particular industry cannot compete with the cheaper lines of hosiery that are imported, many of which are of foreign manufacture.

Senator Payne - The lines to ' which I have referred are of British manufacture.

Senator HERBERT HAYS - I realize that. But it cannot be denied that large quantities of hosiery are imported into Great Britain at a low price, and that the British manufacturer exports t6 Australia low-priced lines of a similar quality. Either' we must have an all-round reduction of the tariff, or we must give additional protection where it is needed. The people of Australia stand for high protection. Accepting the position as I find it, and in view of the fact that I am in favour of the protection of the timber industry, which is in a languishing condition, and is on allfours with this, I must vote for the proposal of the Government.

Senator Payne - The timber industry is not on the same plane as this. My request applies only to the flat rate on British goods.

Senator HERBERT HAYS - I take no exception to the attitude which is being adopted by Senator Payne. He can vote as he chooses. To be consistent, I must support the item as it stands.

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