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Wednesday, 14 March 1928


Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) .- I propose to persist in my request even if I stand alone. I am as good a protectionist as Senator Greene, but I am not a mad protectionist. I know how far protection ought to go. It ought to protect, not injure, the people. I am out against the injury that will be done to a very large section of the people of Australia if this item stands as printed. I want to remind ' the honorable senator who said that he was not going to froth at the mouth over the matter that I do not intend to froth at the mouth over it, nor do I intend to babble about it. The figures I have submitted have been compiled with accuracy. If the item is agreed to as printed it will mean a burden on a section of the community that is least able to bear it. The poorer people invariably wear a lower priced article than the wealthier people.


Mr GREENE (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I do not agree with that.


Senator PAYNE - They do if they want to pay for what they get, and most of them are honest. A man with a salary of £5 a week cannot afford to pay for goods the high prices that a man with a salary of £20 a week can afford to pay. The poorer people will be called upon to pay the fixed duty, amounting to 100 per cent., on British manufactured socks of low grade, but when we come to the finer grades of cotton socks, lisle thread and others of that type, which are invoiced, at 18s. a dozen and upwards in England, the people who buy them will be called upon to pay only 30 per cent, ad valorem. That is not fair.


Mr GREENE (NEW SOUTH WALES) - What is 30 per cent, on 18s. ?


Senator PAYNE - It is approximately 6s.


Mr GREENE (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Yet the fixed duty is 8s.


Senator PAYNE - The fixed duty is 6s. If the honorable member studies the schedule, he will see that I am correct.


Mr GREENE (NEW SOUTH WALES) - On cotton ?


Senator PAYNE - Yes, on cotton hosiery the British preferential duty is 6s. per dozen. Senator Duncan had the audacity to cast an aspersion on the Tasmanian people.


Senator Duncan - No!


Senator PAYNE - He quoted figures which he knew were unreliable, as they applied only to the direct importations from overseas into Tasmania. He knows as well as I do that four-fifths of the goods imported by Tasmania pass through the mainland States, which receive credit for the importations.


Senator Duncan - I was not dealing with the figures on a Stateimportation basis.


Senator PAYNE - The honorable senator said that the total importations of cotton hosiery, into Tasmania represent 41/4d. per head per annum of the population. The honorable senator knows that no records are kept of the quantity of such goods actually used in Tasmania. He is also aware that when I first introduced this subject I clearly pointed out that the duties proposed under this item do not affect the people of Tasmania to any material extent. They affect mainly the people of New SouthWales and Queensland, who wear cotton goods. In these circumstances he cannot say that I am pleading for the people of Tasmania whom I help to represent in this chamber. All this talk about preference to Great Britain is only so much " eye-wash."


Senator Crawford - Does the honorable senator think that importations to the extent of £10,000,000 a year are only eye-wash ?


Senator PAYNE - I am dealing with the importations under this particular item. The Minister and those associated with him have erected a tariff wall 10 feet high against British manufacturers, and another 12 feet high against foreign exporters. The Government know that the highest that British manufacturers can surmount is one of 8 feet, but they have said as the wall erected against Japan and America is 10 feet, and that against Great Britain only 8 feet, they are giving Britain a preference. They know it is impossible for British manufacturers to profitably export to Australia under such conditions. I hope, however, that a majority of honorable senators will support the request and that the Government will bring forward an amended schedule.

Question - That the request (Senator Payne's) be agreed to-put. The committee divided -

Ayes . . . . 9

Noes . . . . . . 17

Majority . . . . 8

 

 

Question so resolved in the negative.

Request negatived.







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