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Tuesday, 19 May 1936

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) . - On the 5th May the committee accepted my amendment to postpone the further consideration of this item. Honorable senators will recall that I had stated my intention to be to move for the elimination from the sub-item of piece-goods, except cotton tweeds, with a view to having these goods dutiable at 5 per cent. British, and 25 per cent. general. I do not propose to recapitulate what I then said. I hope that there will not be opposition to the proposal, because the committee, on the last occasion, was definitely in favour of it.

Senator Brown - No!

Senator Foll - The committee, out of courtesy to the honorable senator, agreed to postpone further consideration of the item.

Senator PAYNE - I made it clear that my sole purpose in moving that further consideration of the item be postponed, was to submit a request to make the British duty on cotton piecegoods, except cotton tweeds, 5 per cent. as hitherto. I now move -

That the House of Representatives be requested to amend sub-paragraph (b) (2), paragraph (1), sub-item (a), to read -

(2)   Cotton piece-goods and piece-goods containing a mixture of fibres in which cotton predominates (excepting piece-goods enumerated in sub-item (aa)) ordinarily used for manufacture into outer clothing for human wear, which in pattern design or appearance resemble woollen piecegoods used for the same purpose and which weigh more than 3 ounces per square yard - Per square yard, British, 7d:; intermediate,1s.1d.; general, 1s.1d.; and ad valorem - British, 30 per cent, (net) ; intermediate, 50 per cent.; general, 50 per cent.; or ad valorem - British, 50 per cent.; intermediate, 70 per cent.; general, 70 per cent.

I have no desire to interfere with the rates applying to what are known as cotton tweeds. My opposition to the item in its present form is directed to the exceptionally high rates on denims, dungarees, drills and materials of that kind. If the committee agrees to my request, and the House of Representatives makes the alteration, the manufacturers of cotton tweeds will have the same protection as they enjoy to-day. My request will not interfere with the industry, but it will restore the schedule to the form in which it was ratified by Parliament a couple of years ago, and piece-goods such as dungarees, denims and drills, which are so largely worn by working men in Australia, will be dutiable at 5 per cent. British.

Senator Brown - If we agreed to the request would it prevent goods of that description from being manufactured in Australia by Australians?

Senator PAYNE - The honorable senator may put what meaning he likes on my request. I have made out my case and do not wish to repeat the points of it at this stage, though I may have to do so later. I propose now to wait to see what opposition there may be to the proposal.

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