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Wednesday, 22 August 1906

Mr JOHNSON (LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I had intended to ask the Minister of Trade and Customs a question without notice; but as he has again deserted his Ministerial post, and run off to his electorate, I ask whichever Minister is representing him here if his attention has been drawn to the following statement, referring to the price of harvesters, which appears in a letter published in this morning's Argus: -

As anticipated by the majority of farmers, the proposed extra duty of I24 pet cent, on harvesters has already resulted in an increase of prices, some of the leading manufacturers having raised the price of their machine, contrary to their promise to the Commission, one manufacturer especially charging £5 more per machine now than they were charging a month previously, having revoked their price-list about six weeks ago (presumably in anticipation of the additional duty), and issued a revised one last week to the above effect.

I should like to know whether the Minister has seen that letter, and whether, in face of the fact that an increase in prices has taken place, the Government intend to go on with their proposals for raising the duty? I should also be glad to know whether the Minister will be good enough to inform the farmer who is the writer of the letter which' I have quoted where he can find the obliging foreigner who, according to the protectionists, pays the duties ?

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