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Friday, 1 May 1936

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) .- I should not have risen had it not been for the misconception which might arise from the remarks of Senator Collings in relation to the " savage competition " of British manufacturers. The honorable senator has entirely overlooked the fact, if he ever realized it, that the free entry of biscuits from England does not mean that British biscuits can be landed here at the f.o.b. price London. The natural protection is more than 100 per cent, ad valorem.

Senator Collings - Yet 48,000 lb. of biscuits was imported in a year.

Senator PAYNE - Biscuits are bulky in proportion to their weight. If honorable senators will work out the freight and other charges on biscuits from England, they will find that the Australian manufacturer receives a natural protection of over 100 per cent. I previously opposed the imposition of a duty on biscuits because I considered it to be unnecessary. That my stand was justified is dear from the fact that notwithstanding the increase of the duty, the quantity of biscuits imported did not diminish. The reason is that certain individuals in Australia will always demand well-known British biscuits, such as those made by Peek Frean Limited.

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Peek Frean Limited has now established a factory in Australia.

Senator PAYNE - The figures quoted by the Minister should satisfy every honorable senator. Notwithstanding that the duty has been removed for some time, there has been no increase of the importation of British biscuits. It is evident that Australian manufacturers have not. been seriously affected because for some time they have been able to export their surplus production at a profit.For that reason the remarks of Senator Collings are apt to create a wrong impression. I am glad that the Government has seen the wisdom of making this reduction, for it is absolutely unnecessary to continue the duties imposed a few years ago.

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