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Thursday, 14 May 1936

Senator BADMAN (South Australia) . - I note that the Minister stated that 60 per cent. of the Australian requirements of glass is supplied by the local industry, and the remaining 40 per cent. by overseas manufacturers. Both

Great Britain and Japan are also competitors in the supply of glass to Australia. Will the Minister inform honorable senatorswhat proportion of that 40 per cent. is enjoyed by Belgium? I am more concerned about that country, which, because of the action of a former government, in prohibiting the importation of plain sheet glass, refused to licence the importation of South Australian barley. There were serious repercussions at that time, and the trade relations between the two countries do not appear to have improved appreciably since, because Australian barley exports to Belgium have actually decreased, despite the reduction of the tariff. When this matter was under discussion in 1933, the price of the shares in the Australian Amalgamated Glass Company was about 40s.; to-day they are about 90s., an increase of more than 100 per cent. I consider that the Government would be well advised to investigate the operations of this monopoly. Last night the Government showed great anxiety to take steps to restrain the operations of a certain other monopoly, in order to secure a better deal for the consumer. In my opinion, the glass industry is in the same category as the cement industry. The high prices charged for both commodities are an obstacle to the erection of homes and business premises.

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