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Wednesday, 24 August 1921

Senator DUNCAN (New South Wales) . - It is my intention to request reductions in all three rates of duty. In addition to the very good reasons which I have held Tor some time in support of my proposed line of action, I have had the benefit of authoritative information from a friend - a well-known Sydney business man,, who is interested in local government, town planning, and the like. I refer to Mr. Courtney, of Sydney, who recently returned from America and Europe. where he made investigations in execution of a commission from ihe New South Wales Government to inquire into town planning, municipal government, and such matters. I desire to stress three words contained in the item, namely, "for household use." In subsequent items, the Committee will be called upon to deal with the Tariffs imposed upon the larger machines, such as steam-driven appliances installed in laundries. The machines mentioned in item 172 are designed almost solely to relieve womenfolk of some of the burdens of domestic duties. Mr. Courtney informed me that these appliances are imported into England from Canada and the United States, just as they are into Australia, there being practically no manufacturers in Great Britain who specialize in their production. It is the desire of this Committee, I feel sure, to* do something to lighten the heavy home tasks of the women of Australia. It need scarcely be mentioned that the difficulties of obtaining domestic assis

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - The rates of duty cannot be a consideration, then, seeing that the Tariff is higher on pianos than on washing machines.

Senator DUNCAN - Quite so; but American working men are prepared to go to fairly heavy expense in order that their wives shall be relieved of drudgery. Mr. Courtney told me that the average price of an electrically-controlled clothes washing machine is 170 dollars. That is no small sum. Taking it as a basis, the cost of importation becomes almost prohibitive by the time freights have been paid, exchange rates taken into account, and the high duties imposed. These machines, I understand, are not made in Australia.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is not the honorable senator aware that Messrs. Joyce and Company are manufacturing them in Sydney?

Senator DUNCAN - I was not aware that these specific appliances were being turned out. I know, of course, that washing machines and mangles are manufactured in Australia.

Senator Keating - Has the Minister any particulars concerning importations?

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - The total value of the importations of all the machines embraced in item 172 was less than £30,000 last year.

Senator DUNCAN - Owing to the high duties, the cost of an American clothes-washing machine is prohibitive. The installation of labour-saving appliances should be encouraged in Australian homes. This Committee has shown a tender regard for primary producers.

Senator Drake-Brockman - I would not like the Committee to become harsh, t hen.

Senator DUNCAN - Here is an opportunity to demonstrate similar regard for our womenfolk. The latter are entitled to more consideration than any section of the primary producers. I move, therefore -

That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty, ad val., general, 20 per cent.

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