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Wednesday, 21 March 1928

Senator CRAWFORD (QueenslandHonorary Minister) . - Honorable senators will observe that no increase is proposed in the duties on pianos imported from Great Britain. As Senator Chapman has pointed out, there has been a # considerable decrease in the number of ordinary pianos imported, and a corresponding increase in the importation of player-pianos. The old rates of duty - were applicable only when instruments were invoiced at less than £19 each. Australian manufacturers are suffering severe competition from the manufacturers of the cheaper American playerpianos. These imported instruments are being invoiced as low as £36 each, and during the last few years there must have been instances where they have been invoiced at even a much lower price, as duty has been paid on certain upright player-pianos at specific ra'tes of duty of £9 10s. each. The invoice value of these goods therefore could not have exceeded £1S or £19. Pianos invoiced at £36 are landed, duty paid, at from £66 to £68 and are being sold in retail shops at from £120 to £126 each. These profits are exorbitant. The cheapest player-piano made in Australia is somewhere in the region of £85. This instrument has to compete against the cheap American pianos. Certain departmental stores stock only those goods upon which they can make the greatest profit. In this way the sale of Australian-made goods is being seriously affected. In many cases the Australian instrument is not stocked because the retailer can make larger profits on the sale of imported pianos. I hope that the committee will pass the item in the interests of not only the Australian manufacturer, but also the British" manufacturer and "the dear old mother country " to which Senator Chapman referred so feelingly in the general debate on the tariff.

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