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Tuesday, 5 May 1936

Senator LECKIE (Victoria) .- The Minister, in his explanation, was not quite fair to honorable senators. Indeed, I am not sure that he did give us a satisfactory explanation of the proposed duties in this item. The present rates are forcing trade out of Australia. I am informed that one Australian mill, during the last six months, produced 250,000 yards of 6-oz. material in anticipation of orders being forthcoming, but has sold only 20,000 yards, or less than one-tenth of the output. Owing to the circumvention by importers of the intention of Parliament, this firm is not able to sell its manufactured product of over 6 oz. in weight. The hulk of its goods remain on its shelves. I am further informed that one order has been sent out of Australia for 150,000 yards, another for 60,000 yards and still another for 200,000 yards. These facts can be established. I therefore tell the Minister that he is on delicate ground, and that the Government should hesitate before it irretrievably commits Parliament to duties which will ruin an important Australian industry.

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