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Thursday, 3 December 1936


Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Postmaster-General) . - The special duties to which the honor able senator's request relates have been imposed to give increased preference on chassis manufactured in the United Kingdom. Previously the duties were on an ad valorem basis. Owing to the lower cost of chassis produced in North America the duties were not very effective. They have now also been adjusted to include the primage of 10 per cent. previously payable on all chassis. Primage has been removed and chassis produced in North America now carry under the ordinary duties the primage previously paid on United Kingdom chassis.

A review of the importations over the last four years shows that the proportion of the Australian trade in motor chassis held by the United Kingdom fell from 46 per cent. to 19 per cent., whilst the proportion held by the United States of America rose from 28 per cent. to 40 per cent. Honorable senators are well aware that our trade balance with the United States of America is considerably adverse to Australia; they know also to what extent Australia depends upon the purchases of Australian products by. the United Kingdom. During the last financial year the United Kingdom purchased Australian produce to the value of £A68,000,000, whilst purchases by the United. States of America were valued at £A9,300,000. I can see no other object in the honorable senator's proposal than to assist a bad customer country to the detriment of Australia's main customer. As we have debated this matter at length, and as it is to be the subject of further inquiry and report by the Tariff Board, I suggest, to honorable senators that we take an early vote on Senator Johnston's request.







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