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Wednesday, 17 August 1921

Senator SENIOR (South Australia) .- I move-

That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty, sub-item (e) (2), general, per ton, 100s.

I wish honorable senators to realize the position of the Committee in regard to this sub-item. The issue has been clouded in an effort to make it appear that the company which makes bar iron also makes the wire. That, is not a correct statement of the position.

Senator Lynch - I have bought wire from the company !

Senator SENIOR - The statement te which I ret er is not correct; the wire is made by an entirely different company, the rods being turned out by the Broken Hill Proprietary Company. The only protection given to the wiremaker is 8s. per ton. If the maker of bar iron is deserving of protection, to the extent of 44s*. , we ought, in justice, to increase rather than diminish the protection given to the wiremaker. It is all very well to say that a mistake' was made in the beginning ; that only shows that honorable senators are not seizedwith the position as it is to-day. When speaking previously, I said that £4,000 had practically been lost to Australia in connexion with the wire industry,. I then referred to wire that is coming from England, and I wish to correct my statement; I ought to have spoken of 4,000 tons.. It will be seen that, even with our present Tariff, this trade is going away from Australia. This is an infant industry, and before the infant is out of the cradle it is proposed to knock it on the head. At the instigation of Australia, this company undertook the work of producing this commodity; but while we protect others we protect the wiremaker only to the extent of 8s. per ton, as against 44s. in the case of the producer of bar iron. This means, of course, that we shall have to depend on other countries for our supplies.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - This section of the Tariff is our first line of defence.

Senator SENIOR - Quite so. In other countries it has been found that Protection tends to decrease prices, and in Australia the man on the land will, under Protection, get cheaper wire than he could possibly buy from outside.

Senator Lynch - Clear up that matter about the manufacture of wire by the Broken Hill Proprietary Company.

Senator SENIOR - The wire is not manufactured by the Broken Hill Proprietary Company, but by Rylands Bros.

Senator Lynch - Has the Broken Hill Proprietary Company no interest in the business ?

Senator SENIOR - I do not know, but I do know that Rylands Brothers is a distinct company from the Broken Hill Proprietary, and I have no reason to believe there is any collusion.

Senator Duncan - Rylands Brothers are a big English firm.

Senator Lynch - I should like to see the share register.

Senator SENIOR - There is another attempt to cloud the issue!

Request negatived.

Request (by Senator Guthrie) proposed -

That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty, sub-item (e) (2), British, per ton, 44s.

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