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Wednesday, 23 November 1910

Senator FINDLEY (Victoria) (Honorary Minister) . - ^ move -

That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the item by inserting after the word /'caps" the words "not elsewhere specified."

Unless these words are inserted these articles will be dutiable at the higher rate of duty, and if they are inserted the lighter weights will be admitted duty free.

Request agreed to. Senator VARDON (South Australia) [10.20]. - I am prepared to accept the vote Just taken as a test with regard to the other papers, and I shall not, therefore, move the omission of casing and sulphites, but I do intend to appeal to the Senate in connexion with the matter of strawboard, lined or unlined, weighing less than 6 oz. to the unlined sheet of straw- board of 25 by 30 inches, or its equivalent. I have said that this is the raw material of one of our industries. I have to admit that the duty on the manufactured article of the industry has been put up by 10 per cent., but the duty on the raw material of the industry is under this amendment proposed to be raised to at least no per cent. In the circumstances it will be impossible for the men engaged in the industry in which this strawboard is used as a raw material to continue to carryon their business of making the goods, samples of which I have already exhibited

Senator McGregor - The duty is not to be raised to 110 per cent.

Senator VARDON - The proposal is to raise the duty from 30s. per ton to £5 per ton.

Senator McGregor - It may be raised by no per cent., but not to 110 per cent.

Senator VARDON - I do not wish to split hairs with the honorable senator. He must admit that it is proposed to increase the duty on this strawboard to ^5 per ton.

Senator McGregor - That is not no per cent.

Senator VARDON - It is nearly no per cent, on the value of the article. I have shown by a reference to absolute invoices which honorable senators can see for themselves that the highest price charged for this material to-day is 2s. 6d. per ton. It is proposed now to add to that price a duty of £5 per ton. In addition, we must consider all the charges for freight, commission, exchange, insurance, and so on. What, in the circumstances, will be the cost of a ton of these light strawboards landed in the Commonwealth, including duty? How is any man engaged in the industry here to compete with importation if his raw material is put up to a price like this? Surely the Senate will not do this injustice, merely in order to give protection to one mill making strawboards in the Commonwealth. I understand that there is one mill in Victoria and another in New South Wales making browns, but there is only one mill in Australia making these strawboards, and according to the information I have from New South Wales and other places,' if this mill is given an order it cannot meet it.

Senator Findley - That is a very healthy sign.

Senator VARDON - Is this duty to be increased, merely because the local article cannot be obtained? Even if it could, would that be an argument for the proposed increase of the duty to 110 per cent. ? Are manufacturers, who are using this article as raw material, able to stand such a duty upon it? I say that this proposal will strike a deathblow at the industry of making boxes from strawboard. If the Committee is prepared to do that I have nothing more to say. But to test the matter, I move -

That the House of Representatives be requested lo further amend the item by leaving out the words, ' candle carton paper and boards of all colours, strawboard lined or unlined weighing less than six ounces to the unlined sheet of strawboard of 25 by 30 inches or its equivalent."

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