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Wednesday, 13 May 1936

Senator HERBERT HAYS (Tasmania) .- I move-

That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duties -

Hooks and Slashers, ad valorem, British, free; intermediate, 42½ per cent.; general, 03$ per cent.

I, like Senator Hardy, deprecate the extravagance of the language used by Senator Collings. But we all know that the honorable gentleman does not mean what he says. When I hear him abusing the Government or any of its supporters I am reminded of the story of the boy who went to sea and made entries in his diary to the effect that he said his prayers every night when, as a matter of fact, he did not. Upon being questioned by a friend as to the reason, he said, " I know I don't say them, but it will read well at home ". The same may be said of much of the abuse which Senator Collings hurls across the chamber - it reads well to his constituents, but we do not always take him seriously. No one desires to revert to the earlier industrial conditions which the honorable gentleman painted so strongly this morning ; to the time when, as he said, he worked with a slasher for about twelve hours a day for a few pence. The discussion has shown, and the Minister has admitted, that the item should be further divided. The Minister told us that 50 per cent, of the picks and mattocks used by primary producers are made in Australia, but only about 15 per cent, of hooks and slashers are manufactured locally. He also informed us that there had been a reduction by over 30 per cent, of the price of picks and mattocks, but a reduction by only 13 per cent, in the case of hooks and slashers, which are largely used. Every man on the land, and, indeed, every occupant of a small homestead block, uses a slasher. Statistics show clearly that Australia's requirements of these tools are not being supplied by local manufacturers.

Senator Hardy - The group contains only edged tools.

Senator HERBERT HAYS - By making the change which I suggest we should render a great service to the primary producers of this country, while not injuring any industry which makes a substantial part of our requirements of these goods.

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - For what purpose are the hooks used ?

Senator HERBERT HAYS - They are used for cutting scrub and undergrowth, and also for trimming hedges. Prices of ordinary hooks range from 5s. 6d. to 10s. 6d.; heavy hooks may cost about 10s. I ask the committee to give favorable consideration to my request.

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