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Friday, 15 May 1936

Senator COLLINGS (QUEENSLAND) - Hear hear!

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - But there are enough body-builders in this country already to do the necessary work and the British manufacturers do not want to add another economic unit.

Senator Gibson - We have enough combines here already.

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I do not know whether you could call a firm like Martin and King, an important and highly efficient Melbourne firm engaged in this industry, a member of a combine.

Senator Foll - The honorable senator meant combines of motor car manufacturers.

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The manufacturers could collaborate to have motor bodies made in this country; then there would be no risk of any combine interfering with their business. There are many independent motor bodybuilders in this country, and I daresay : Some of them would be only too glad to undertake work on behalf of the British car manufacturers.

Senator Foll - If they could get the panels ?

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - They could produce complete bodies.

Senator Herbert Hays - The firm to which the Minister referred could never afford to buy the dies.

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I have already given the Senate figures concerning the Australian motor body-building industry. It employs more than 6,200 men, and a tremendous amount of capital has been invested in it. The quality of the local product is not in dispute. It is recognized as being all that could be desired. Any complaints directed against this industry are certainly not made on the score of quality. The weak feature of the industry is that in cases where there is no great demand in Australia for any type of car, and the number of bodies required is in consequence not large, it is not an economical proposition to build the bodies locally by reason of the comparatively large cost of developing the dies necessary to manufacture the bodies. To produce motor car bodies economically a reasonably large quantity must be produced. Thus, in the past, distributors of British cars with a relatively small sale in Australia, have, at times, found it difficult to obtain Australian-made bodies, while the duties on complete bodies under the 19 33 tariff rendered the cost of importation unduly high. Under the duties provided in the bill now before the Senate it ispossible for the panels to be imported at comparatively low rates of duty, with a view to having the bodies assembled and completed locally - an economical proposition, by reason of the absence of the necessity to prepare expensive dies in Australia.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN The honorable senator has exhausted his time.

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