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Wednesday, 17 August 1921

Senator DUNCAN (New South Wales) . - I desire to refer to the statement that Mr. Delprat said his company did not need duties, as they were unnecessary.

Senator de Largie - The honorable senator is referring to pig iron, which we are not now discussing.

Senator DUNCAN - Senator Lynch and others referred to the statement alleged to have been made by Mr. Delprat, and I should have the opportunity of replying.

Senator de Largie - It is merely wasting time.

Senator DUNCAN - I am not going to waste my time by replying to the silly interjections of the honorable senator.

Senator de Largie - I rise to order. The honorable senator is now referring to pig iron, which has already been dealt: with by the Committee. We are now discussing Tolled iron, and if he knows the difference - I do not think he does- he will admit that he is not in order. The opinion expressed by Mr. Delprat concerning duties on pig iron has no bearing on this sub-item, and I therefore submit that the honorable senator is not in. order..

The CHAIRMAN (Senator Bakhap - I understood the honorable senator was referring to some correspondence indicative of the company's attitude on ironduties generally. If the honorable senator intends to refer to articles included in the sub-item he will be-in order.

Senator DUNCAN - If some honorable senators would not be so impatient I would show that there is a connexion between pig iron and the sub-item under discussion. When the Joint Committee of Public Accounts was inquiring into the question of ship construction, they dealt with supplies of rolled iron, and called asa witness Mr. Delprat; the gentleman whom it is alleged said that duties were not required.

Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.30 p.m.

Senator DUNCAN - In reply to the argument that Mr. Delprat some years ago. expressed the opinion that Customs duties were not necessary to foster the iron and steel industry, I submit the following extract from a report of the Joint Committee on Public Accounts, dated 17th November,. 1920,. on evidence given by Mr. Delprat. When he made the statement, which has been. so often quoted, not a single ton of. icon or steel had been produced at the Newcastle works. In view of the evidence given by Mr. Delprat in the light of the fuller experience he had gained in the meantime, the. Public Accounts. Committee reported -

The Broken Hill Proprictary CompanyLimited have decided upon considerable expansion of their works and plant, including a mill for rolling large plates for shipbuilding, which hitherto have had to be obtained from abroad. The general manager of this company was: confident that all materials for shipbuilding-, could be produced in Australia as cheaply as anywhere if protection by a Tariff were: afforded against the. powerful Combinations in other countries, which might otherwise wipe the industry out by dumping.

Customs Tariff[17 August, 1921.] Bill.11917

In addition to that, Ihave apersonal letter from the general manager of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company, taking exception to remarks made during -debates on the Tariff to the effect that the company is not desirous ofany increase in the duty proposed. I hope that theCommittee will take into consideration the serious position in which the industry will find itself if it is not afforded adequate protection.

Senator Russell - Permit me to say that I saw the manager of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company, and he made no application to me for anincreased duty.

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