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Wednesday, 6 May 1936

Senator LECKIE (Victoria) .- As the main item was fully discussed yesterday I should not have intervened in the discussion, this afternoon but for the statement made by Senator . Gibson, and repeated by Senator Badman, that the cost to the community of protection given to Australian . manufacturers totals £30,000,000 annually and represents a burden of £5 a head on every individual in the community. I. do not know ifthe Tariff Board made, such a ridiculous statement, but I presume that it did, since the honorable gentlemen mentioned used these figures on the authority of that body.

Senator Brown - The board did not say that.

Senator LECKIE - Inorder to refute the statement that the' whole of the Customs collections definitely benefit Australian manufacturers, I direct the attention of honorable senators to the following list of imports, and invite them to point to anyitem . in it that benefits directly. , any manufacturers in Australia: -


These figures are taken from the Commonwealth Year Booh for 1934 in which year imports totalled £60,000,000. In the following year they rose to £70,000,000, and it is believed that this year they will reach £80,000,000.We have had the statement of the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. White) that of the additional £10,000,000 of imports last year, less than £2,000,000 represented goods competitive with' Australian production. I admit that of last year's imports of cotton and linen, amounting to £4,390,262, not more than £250,000 or £300,000 would represent textiles in which Australian manufacturers are interested and which therefore would be competitive. Out of total imports of £60,000,000 in 1934, at least another £5,000,000 worth of imports may be regarded as revenue-producing, so that dutiable imports, which would benefit Australian manufacturers, would total not more than £10,000,000. These figures show that, on the face of it, the statement by the Tariff Board was ridiculous, and I am. unable to understand why any honorable senator should repeat it.

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