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Wednesday, 31 August 1921

Senator LYNCH (Western Australia) . - Why the differentiation between imitation precious stones and jewellery, and imitation jewellery and articles for personal wear? These latter are called upon to pay the very stiff duties of 25 per cent., 35 per cent., and 50 per cent., and imitation jewellery, 45 per cent., 55 per cent., and 60 per cent. - the high-water mark, I suppose, of duties on luxuries - while imitation precious stones are admitted free. These duties are a tax on things that people can very well do without, but which some people, in their folly, insist on having. If there is any glint of goodness in the Tariff, it is the effort in these items to put a tax on^ the vanity that is characteristic of human nature. These articles are luxuries, absolutely. I do not see why a man who prefers to have a diamond ring, should have the raw material of it free, while another equally foolish, who desires a " brummagen " pin for his scarf, should have to pay 45 per cent. If the Government are really in need of revenue I see no source that could better be exploited than this. I suggest that the rates of duty be fixed at, British, 30 per cent.; intermediate, 45 per cent.; and general, 50 per cent.

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