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Tuesday, 19 May 1936

Senator COLLINGS (Queensland) . - I should not have risen but for Senator Payne's suggestion that by my silence I was consenting to his assertions. I interjected at the time that his assumption was so impudent that I was incapable of a reply. I have already said that Senator Payne was using figures which were not based upon the facts, and I also said that I believed he was not doing so intentionally. I am not sure now whether I wasnot too charitable in saying that. He deliberately stated that to the figure of1s.1d. which I gave as the extra cost of a suit of overalls, had to be added wholesale and retail profit, and finally he arrived at his own figure of 2s. 6d.

Senator Payne - I rise to a point of order. . I am not going to have put into my mouth words that I did not utter. I I did not start off on the honorable senator's basis of1s.1d.; I started from my own basis of1s. 6d., which makes all the difference in the world. I said that Senator Collings had quoted the difference in price as being between1s.1d. and1s. 4d., and went on to point out that that was getting fairly close to my own figure of1s. 6d.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.No point of order is involved.

Senator COLLINGS - My only desire is to correct the honorable senator. I am sure that he does not wish to be guilty of quoting figures that are not correct, especially when they will be published in Hansard, to be read by those interested persons who have followed his speeches so closely. The honorable senator's speeches have already been read, and he has been commended for the stand he has taken. The actual facts in regard to this matter are that, before the introduction of the present schedule, a fair, average price for overseas material was 6d. a yard f.o.b., and this material used to be landed under the old tariff at approximately 9d. or 91/4d. a lineal yard. An equivalent quality of Australian manufacture is to-day being sold in bulk quantities of1s.1d., making a difference of about 4d. a yard, which, on a pair of trousers, allowing 21/2 yards for the garment, would be approximately10d. The bulk of cotton drills, excluding denims, is turned into various kinds of overalls which, on the average, need 31/4 yards of 28-in. material to each garment. Thus the extra cost, working on a difference of 4d. a yard, would be about 1s.1d. a garment.

I have here a statement showing both the retail and wholesale selling prices of three lines of overalls, before and after the introduction of the new tariff. For these garments, the actual extra cost to the public is as follows : -

Overall No. 1 (Style 111) - Extra 2s. per garment.

Overall No. 2 (Style 113)- Extra 1s. 4d. per garment.

Overall No. 3 (Style 102)- Extra1s. 4d. per garment.

It will be seen that, of these three styles, the actual extra cost to the public works out at1s. 21/2d., as compared with the estimated figure of1s.1d. The difference of11/2d. is accounted for by the wholesaler's and retailer's profit percentage being based on a slightly higher-priced garment. I particularly direct the attention of honorable senators to the following table, compiled by an Australian firm which deals in both Australian and imported material: -


That is the price to the consuming public, to the members of the working class, for whom Senator Payne has discovered a belated sympathy, and the extra cost is 1s. 4d. The figures cannot be refuted, because the goods are being sold at these prices to the public to-day. Still Senator Payne persists in his parrot cry of 2s. 6d.

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