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Wednesday, 21 March 1928

Senator HERBERT HAYS (Tasmania) . - Senator Duncan must be aware that during the war period, Australia supplied practically the whole of her timber requirements with the exception of

Oregon used for special purposes.

Senator Duncan - Conditions then were abnormal.

Senator HERBERT HAYS - We are still in a position to supply almost entirely our timber requirements, but, unfortunately, during recent years, the importations of softwoods have increased, while .there has been a corresponding decline in the use of Australian hardwoods. Senator Duncan has voted for increased duties in order to assist other Australian industries.

Senator Duncan - Higher duties on timber will adversely affect all other industries.

Senator HERBERT HAYS - I do not know why the honorable senator has singled out the timber industry for differential treatment. He must be aware that in it thousands of pounds of Australian capital are invested, and that it provides employment for large numbers of Australian workmen. All that we now ask is that this industry shall be treated as generously as other industries have been treated. Senator Duncan also attempted to discredit the representations made by those engaged in the timber industry.

Senator Duncan - There representations were a form of intimidation ; to that I object.

Senator HERBERT HAYS - The honorable senator would have us believe that only those engaged in the milling industry have communicated with their representatives in this Parliament; but that is not so. I have here a copy of a circular issued by the Timber Merchants' Association of Melbourne and suburbs -

Members of my association view with alarm the increases which have been suggested, and we are taking steps to endeavour to get the Senate to review the matter or send it back to the House of Representatives for further consideration. The New South Wales timber merchants are also acting on similar lines. . . I suggest that every timber merchant should do his utmost to assist in opposing the suggested duties, and to attain this end approach the members for their respective districts in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. More notice will be taken by the representatives if direct representations are made to them from their own districts than would happen if the representations were made from an outside source.

In the face of that circular it is useless for Senator Duncan to suggest that only one of the parties interested has made representation to members of this Parliament.

Senator Thompson - Their methods were different.

Senator HERBERT HAYS - The saw-milling industry until a few weeks ago, when, because of the higher duties agreed to by another place, it revived, was in a most unsatisfactory condition.

Senator Duncan - Several ' months have passed since the schedule was introduced into another place.

Senator HERBERT HAYS - It is only a matter of weeks since the amended schedule passed another place. Even now the full effects of the increased duties have not been felt because, until the schedule is finally passed by both Houses, uncertainty will exist as to the duties which will become operative.

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