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Tuesday, 30 August 1921

Senator LYNCH (Western Australia) . - I appreciate the morsel of comfort extended to the primary producers for the first time, although it comes in a negative form. This proposal to impose a duty on cream of tartar is quite novel. I do not know when the factory, which, I understand, has been established, will be in full operation; but it must have been going somewhat to have produced 20 tons. That is only a fractional portion of the Commonwealth's requirements, and Ave do not know how long the opera- tions of this industry are likely to continue. I suppose it will go on producing so long as it receives protection in this form, and, in the meantime, the consumers will be saddled with an unreasonable burden. The duties are very high, indeed, particularly the general duty, when we consider that 300 tons of this commodity were imported from the United States of America. It is time we considered whether we are warranted in imposing such a heavy tax on an article which is used in every household throughout Australia, particularly in the backblocks, where baker's bread cannot be obtained, and consumers have to use this ingredient in producing a suitable substitute. In the interests of this " tinpot" industry in Adelaide, which is now turning out only a fractional part of our requirements, we are asked to impose the duties.

Senator Rowell - It is not a " tinpot" industry.

Senator LYNCH - According to the quantity produced it cannot be regarded as anything else. Allwe seem to be doing is imposing stiff duties to protect 'some industry that is producing one-thirtieth of our requirements, andwe are not justified in doing that. In connexion with other industries, we have been jumping likekangaroos from one standard to another. We have had the pronouncement from the Minister representing the Minister for Trade and Customs that certain dutieswould not be imposed until 60 per cent. of our requirements were being produced locally. That information was given by the Vice-President of the Executive Council (Senator Russell), and it has been repeated over and over again when the Minister for Repatriation (Senator E. D. Millen) has been reading from the recommendations of the Inter-State Com mission, which recommendations he quotes when it suits his case, and which he leaves severely alone when they do not.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - That was in connexionwith deferred duties.

Senator Earle - It is absurd for Senator Lynch to suggest such a thing.

Senator LYNCH - In dealing with the Tariff anything is absurd in the eyes of Senator Earle unless the duties are inordinately heavy. When an industry is producing one-third of our requirements it is getting on its feet, butwhen one is producing such a small portion of our requirements as this one is it is not, and we are piling up the cost of this article unnecessarily. I suggest that the advice tendered by* Senator Payne should be accepted, and the duties imposed from some day next year or the year following, when we shall be able to see how this company is behaving, andwhether it is likely to be a real live or progressive concern. I suggest that Senator Payne should submit a request - if I submitted one the Ministerwould not accept it - for con si deration by the Minister.

Senator Rowell - The honorable senator must remember that the duty will be of assistance to the grape-growers.

Senator LYNCH - The grape-growers can look after themselves. The activities of Mr. Da Garis prove that. When this industry shows unmistakable signs of progress we should impose a duty, and not before.

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