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Thursday, 14 May 1936


Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Postmaster-General) . - There is very little room for argument on the proposal to reduce the general tariff on this item from 60 per cent. to 50 per cent. Honorable senators are aware that if we reduce the difference between the British preferential tariff of 15 per cent., as recommended by the Tariff Board, and the general tariff, we shall contract the margin which would otherwise be available to the Government in its negotiations for better treatment from foreign countries. The difference of 10 per cent. involved here may not be a matter of very great importance, but I point out that this committee has already committed itself, in respect of other items, to the course I have indicated. Senator Johnston's argument regarding the trade balance was used earlier in this debate. I submit, however, that the real point with which we are concerned here is whether we should start with a foreign duty of 50 per cent., and thus restrict our bargaining with foreign countries, or 60 per cent., which would extend the margin for negotiation.







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