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Wednesday, 31 August 1921

Senator LYNCH (Western Australia) . - As the result of. what Senator Duncan has said, I hardly know where I stand on this question. I have no intention of doanplimenting the Government on what is proposed to be done in this subitem. I should like to hear some reasons for this proposed reduction in the duties. We have been told by Senator Duncan that by reducing the duties we shall be taking steps to keep this Combine in order. This is the first time that I have heard that a reduction in a. duty may have that effect. I have received correspondence in connexion with this matter, and I must confess that I am all at sea. Those who represent themselves to be the mouth-pieces of the Australian industry deplore the imposition of the increased duties. The Government are now going to reduce them, and we have been told that by this reduction in the Tariff we shall strike the Picture Combine hip and thigh. How is it going to be done? Are we going to do anything to foster our own resources and inventive genius ? We have not had that reason advanced by the Minister. He has simply asked us to vote for the item, but I want to hear some reasons for the proposal to cut the duties in the intermediate and general columns in half, because it will rob the preferential Tariff of its value. Where do we stand ? Are there any local film producers worthy of protection ? If not, we should strike the duties out; but if there are, and if they give promise of success, let us, by means of this Tariff, give them «very encouragement.

Senator Duncan - The duties as they stand give them a reason for increasing their charges by 12-J per cent.

Senator LYNCH - The honorable senator has not shown us that there are struggling producers who want more protection. I desire to have some intelligent reason for the vote that I am going to give. If, by the imposition of a heavy duty, it is possible to encourage a struggling industry with inventive genius, I am going to vote for an increase of 1½d. per lineal foot.

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