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Wednesday, 6 May 1936

Senator E B JOHNSTON (Western Australia) . - I entirely approve of the proposed duties on this list of machinery covering sixteen pages of the schedule. The list embraces all kinds of metals and machinery required for secondary industry. The duties proposed are - British, free ; and on goods from the dominions and foreign countries, only 15 per cent. I congratulate the secondary industries upon their success in getting all their requirements admitted at these concession rates. I desire to see our secondary industries thrive as the result of these low rates of duty on their imported requirements,' but I cannot help feeling somewhat sad when I think that this Government, in which the Country party is so strongly represented, has refused to-night and throughout its history to extend a similar measure of consideration to the great primary producing in dustries of Australia. If I had my way - and divisions taken to-night show how improbable this is - I would make the duties on machinery required for the primary producing industries similar to the duties on these items, namely, British free and 15 per cent, intermediate and general. My complaint is that the Government has not extended to the primary industries the great measure of consideration which it has extended to the secondary industries. These proposals should be reversed in order that the benefits now enjoyed by the secondary industries might be enjoyed by the agricultural and pastoral industries ; alternatively, I would not hesitate to apply the rates now covering machinery required by the primary producers to the machinery requirements of the secondary industries. I do not object to the manufacturers being given these concessions, although, I point out that they also enjoy arbitration court awards which allow fair returns to every one engaged in their industries. I ask the Government, even at this late hour, to recommit the whole of this schedule, and, if it is not prepared to take away any of the present benefits given to secondary industries, at least to place the primary industries, so far as duties on agricultural machinery are concerned, on an equal basis.

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