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Tuesday, 5 May 1936

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator Badman (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The honorable senator has exhausted his time.

Senator DUNCAN-HUGHES(South Australia [10.52]. - The first question which arises is that of Australia's trade with the United States of America. IfI were convinced that the proposal of Senator Johnston would increase our imports from that country, I should probably oppose it ; but I am very doubtful whether that would be the result. Nor am I convinced that we should attack a major problem in this way'. Australia's trade balance with the United States of America has been most unsatisfactory for a number of years, but, so far as I know few, if any, attempts have been made by this or previous governments to rectify the position. It is true that the Lyons Government altered the protective incidence of exchange by providing that it should be applicable only to Great Britain, and not to foreign countries. I remember that proposal well, because I was the first person in this Parliament to suggest that course. That was a definite move in the direction of ensuring that foreign countries should be placed on a different footing from Great Britain in regard to goods entering this country. Three years ago, when the Government tried to prevent reprints of cinematograph films from entering Australia, I voted with the Government, but as its supporters on that occasion numbered only seven, the attempt was not particularly successful. The Government will not deal with this problem effectively by maintaining the duty on agricultural machinery at the rate at which it has remained for some years. Even a cursory glance at our trade with the United States of America reveals that each year Australia imports from that country sausage casings valued at nearly £200,000. That trade could be diverted to New Zealand. Moreover, a large proportion of the printing machinery, valued at £130,000 per annum, which enters this country comes from the United States of America.

Senator Millen - It consists chiefly of typewriters.

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