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Thursday, 3 December 1936


Senator COLLINGS (Queensland) . - The Postmaster-General (Senator A. J. McLachlan) laid special stress on the fact that certain articles had been dealt with under the Customs Tariff (Industries Preservation) Act, and in a spirit of challenge he threw the subjects of cement and carbide across the chamber. If effect is to be given to the latest report of the Tariff Board on cement, a dumping duty will, I understand, be imposed upon this article. I should like to know whether the subject of cement comes within the compass of the bill, and, if so, whether I should be in order in referring to the suggested duty.


Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - No: This bill simply relates to dumping. In this measure are contained the general principles which may be applied in the event of dumping, and under which the Minister must act.


Senator COLLINGS - Whilst I shall support this bill, I should like to know whether we shall be given an opportunity to discuss the duty on cement before the approaching recess. As the result of the new regulation, introduced only two days ago, the very existence of the cement industry is threatened.


Senator Sampson - The door is wide open now for the admission of imported cement.


Senator COLLINGS - Of course it is.


Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - This bill deals not with cement, but only with money.


Senator COLLINGS - Every honorable senator from Queensland has received a telegram from the cement interests of 'that State, stating that the introduction of the latest duty threatens the industry with extinction. Probably the cement interests of every other State have also notified their representatives in this chamber of the danger with which their industry is threatened. In my opinion, this bill provides a fitting opportunity for a discussion of the latest report of the Tariff Board. If the board's recommendation for the imposition of a dumping duty of only 51s. 6d. a ton be given effect, the Queensland cement industry will be ruined. There is no indecision or vagueness about that statement. Some months ago I warned honorable Senators of the outcome of a reduction of the duty on cement, but my warning was disregarded. 'How long will the prophetic character of the Opposition fail to be recognized by this Government? Repeatedly we have forecast the repercussions which would follow the Government's fiscal policy.


Senator Hardy - I thought the honorable senator stated that he supported this bill.


Senator COLLINGS - I support the bill, because, if it were defeated, the Government would be without legal authority to impose a dumping duty. I am merely remarking on the nervousness of the Government in regard to the size and extent of this duty. The Queensland Cement Company, which has, on more than one occasion, reduced the price of its products in accordance with the suggestion of the Tariff Board and the Government, sent the following telegram to me in. connexion with the new duty on cement : -

Tariff Board recommends basis 51s. Cd. c.i.f. British cement. If carried will have disas trous effect. Queensland industry unable meet English competition and ensure continuous existence our company. Please make strong protest do utmost for further protection.

If the Minister in charge of the bill can re-assure me that the interests of the cement industry will be safeguarded, I shall be satisfied; but otherwise I am prepared to stonewall the bill until Christmas.







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