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Wednesday, 31 August 1921

Senator LYNCH (Western Australia) . - . 1 am afraid that the reasons advanced by the Minister (Senator Pearce) are not very convincing. They really amount to a statement that owing to the impossibility of detecting persons in smuggling, these articles, ought to> be free and. 20 per cent.

Senator Pearce - There: is also the argument about the raw material of the jeweller.

Senator LYNCH - Even so, I submit that the balance of reasoning is in favour of imposing a duty on. these articles, which. cannot for one moment; be regarded as necessaries, and should be called upon to contribute towards the revenue. Otherwise we shall have a man called upon to pay a duty on the dungaree trousers he wears, while another man is allowed to gethis diamond ring in practically free. Where is the justice or equity in such a position? The argument as to the difficulty in detecting smuggling applies to all articles which can be carried in small compass, and are valuable. What has been the subject of smuggling more than opium? We did not on that account abandon the opium dutj', though I believe it is modified to some extent when the product is to be used for medicinal purposes. There are other articles also small which are smuggled, I suppose, every day in the week. If these things are the raw material of the jeweller, the man who purchases them to use as personal adornment can well afford to pay an enhanced price. Any duty paid on the raw material is reflected in the price of the finished article, and the purchaser of a diamond ring can very justly be called upon to pay for the privilege.

Senator Pearce - These stones are unset and uncut, and if this request be passed the jewellery trade will suffer.

Senator LYNCH - I do not think so; a man. who is prepared to buy diamonds ought to be prepared to pay the extra price.

Senator Pearce - The man who buys these diamonds is the man who is going to work them up.

Senator LYNCH - If we impose a duty of 45 per cent.,, he will add that to the cost of the finished article. Theire is no equity or fairness in taxing the necessaries of life, and allowing, these luxuries to come in free. As people who desire luxuries will buy them, no' matter what may be the cost, and seeing that the interests of the Australian working jeweller will not be interfered with, I move -

Tlia.fc the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty, general, ad val., 50 per cent.

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