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Wednesday, 6 May 1936

Senator COLLINGS (Queensland) . - I do not understand Senator Johnston's out-look on tariff matters, generally, but I can understand even less his views ih' regard to spare parts for agricultural implements. .1 had '26 years experience in one . of the most highly mechanized industries in the Commonwealth, at a time when all machinery used was imported from. America, there being then no ..local manufacture of. them. From time to time great, difficulty was experienced in obtaining spare .parts quickly when they were required, notwithstanding that in each of the capital cities spare par ts were obtainable. The .machines were sold on a royalty basis; no Australian manufacturer could buy one outright. For a time the cost of spare parts was reasonable, but, later, manufacturers in the United Kingdom made similar machines, and some factory owners in Queensland, and probably in the other States also, decided to purchase British machines in preference to those of American origin^ Immediately that happened, the makers of the American machines refused to supply spare parts to any one who had a British machine in his factory. British machines were not subject to royalty payments. Senator Badman has admitted the excellent quality of the agricultural implements made in Australia. Parts of such machines are much more easily obtainable than are parts for imported machines. It must be remembered that whereas in respect of Australian machines, the wages paid go- to our workmen, and the- profits to our manufacturers, in respect of imported machines the profits and -the wages benefit the people of another . country. Senator Johnston and thoseĀ» who support his view are most illogical. Although they seek a reduction , of duties, which might tend to increase importations, they say; that they do not desire that more machines shall be imported. They declare that. their purpose is- to make- Australian manufacturers reduce -their prices; they profess to believe that lower duties will not increase importations. Obviously, those who argue in that way do riot believe what they sayIf the Australian' manufacturers of either parts or machines reduce 'prices, it .must be because they- arc afraid, that otherwise, machines or partswill be imported.I realize that it is idle for the Opposition to repeatwhat it has already said, but I desire to emphasize that the Opposition will not, in any circumstanceswhatever, agree to lower duties which place the Australian manufacturer in the position of a prisoner in the dock. Instead, of the person on trial being the localmanufacturer, as is now the case, the other fellow should be on trial. I hope that the committee will not agree to the request.

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