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Thursday, 2 June 1921

Mr FOLEY (Kalgoorlie) .- While at all times wishing, to see industries opened up and developed in Australia, as I said when speaking on the first item-, I fail: to see how an- abnormally high Tariff will bring- about the results' that those who advocate it expect., The honorable member for Newcastle (Mr. Watkins)- and. those who support, himhave put forward arguments to show that a. still higher Tariff than, the Minister (Mr; Greene) has proposed is warranted. In my opinion,, such a Tariff is not warranted,, as I propose to prove by using the very arguments that those who advocate increased duties have used. First of all, the honorable member for Maranoa. (Mr. James Page) said he did not care a hang what it cost se long as it was an Australian industry. Looking round the chamber when the honorable member used those words, I saw a smile on the faces of two gentlemen who have taken a very keen interest in this debate right through. If they subscribe to that doctrine, they are supporting an argument which is different from the one they use outside this chamber, and certainly different from the one which honorable members- will use when they go outside. As: am Australian desiring, to see Aus- tralian industries: prosper; I would not support a Tariff that meant " any price being paid so long as it is paid in Australia." The honorable member for South' Sydney (Mr. Riley), in supporting the amendment of the honorable member for1 Newcastle, said that he wanted to see industries spring up in Australia, and asserted that iron and steel was the key industry of the whole position. I admit that it is the key industry.. The honorable, member said that it meant very little to the man who was building a house if an extra fi per ton was added to the cost of the corrugated iron that he needed for roofing purposes. I submit that it matters a great deal to him. The honorable member also asked what difference it would make on the small weight of a machine. Honorable members opposite who are supporting the amendment to increase the duty are always saying that their hearts go out to the workng men of this country, and we have just, been told by the honorable member for South Syd ney (Mr. Riley) that the extra duty will not represent a very great deal of additional expenditure for galvanized roofing iron. If it will not. mean very much, the company should be as; well able, to stand it as, the- man who may require galvanized iron roofing for Ms house. I shall make it my duty to examine these items, and consider how they will' affect the industries of Australia, and although I may vote to remove some of the duties in the schedule, 1 intend to support the Minister in regard to the item now under discussion. The manufacturers in my State can get cheaper pig iron from Great Britain, not. to mention foreign- countries, than from the Broken Hill Company's Newcastle works, or from Lithgow.

Mr Watkins - How will the honorable member vote on the proposed duties for manufactured articles, then?

Mr FOLEY - I will disclose my position when those items are under consideration. Freights, between Newcastle and "Fremantle are as high, if not higher, than between. Great Britain and Fremantle, and it is as well, that honorable members who- are supporting, the amendment should bear in mind the fact that there are other States in the Federation besides New South Wales and Victoria. In Western Australia there are manufacturing works under State and private control,, and if we increase the duty on the raw material ' in this way they .will be obliged to charge higher prices for their productions. If we increase- the Tariff three hundredfold, we shall not be able to prevent dumping, or to do- anything in the way of exchange.

Mr Jackson - Then why worry about the duty ?

Mr FOLEY - Why should we increase the duty when it will not prevent damping ? '

Mr Jackson - That is where we do not agree

Mr Charlton - If the honorable member's- argument is sound, the outlook for Australian industries is very bad.

Mr FOLEY - Nothing of the sort. A few years ago the general manager of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company, Mr. Delprat, said that the company did not want protection for the steel works, but last year he asked for Tariff protection, and when this schedule was prepared he thought the duty adequate.

It is only during the last few days that honorable members in this Chamber have made representations for additional duty on the ground that conditions have altered. All I can say is that if the position is going to alter in this way, we shall not know where we are. If I thought for a moment that the industry could not be continued without additional protection, I would be prepared to vote for a higher duty ; but I am convinced that it can exist without this extra assistance, and that the company will be able to produce iron and steel at a rate that will enable the manufacturers of Australia to turn out machinery at a fair and reasonable price.

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