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Wednesday, 13 May 1936

Senator LECKIE (Victoria) . - I cannot allow the statement of Senator Duncan-Hughes to pass, that, in addition to the duty of 10 per cent, upon British goods, the exchange rate adds a further 25 per cent. There is nothing of the kind, and I doubt very much whether the exchange rate affords the manufacturers an additional 3 per cent, protection. The raw material in bolts and nuts accounts for about 70 per cent, of the finished article, and on that raw material the Australian manufacturer pays the English price plus 25 per cent.

Senator Badman - Is the raw material imported or derived locally?

Senator LECKIE - It is derived locally, but the costs are based on London prices.

Senator Hardy - But that does not affect the landed price of the goods.

Senator LECKIE - No, but it affects, the cost of local manufacture. The coat of the raw material is 25 per cent, mow than an English maker of nuts and bolts pays for his raw material.

Senator Gibson - But the Australian manufacturer obtains his raw material from within the Commonwealth.

Senator LECKIE - That makes no difference, because the manufacturer pays for his requirements in Australian currency, and is therefore on the same basis as the manufacturer of the British goods which enter Australia. Furthermore, the exchange rate of 25 per cent, has increased the price of foodstuffs and primary products generally, so that the cost of living figures have risen causing a consequential increase of wages. Apart from the 10 per cent, protection the manufacturer receives no protection other than about 3 per cent, from the exchange rate. If my figures are submitted to an accountant I am confident that he will confirm them.

SenatorHARDY (New South Wales j [11.55]. - I do not entirely agree with the view expressed by Senator Leckie, because, although I admit that his argument is particularly ingenious in the matter of raw material, I point out that bolts and nuts are a finished product; and that is what is imported into Australia. If Senator Leckie were to obtain a bill of lading and invoices for bolts and nuts imported from America or any other country with a currency not far removed from the gold standard he would find that the 25 per cent., which he airily dismisses as not affording any protection, is actually giving very real protection indeed.

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