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Wednesday, 31 August 1921

Senator KEATING (Tasmania) . - I. am ve-ry pleased that Senator Gai"-, diner has moved his request. .1 received,' as he has done, the' letter which he read from, the Bulletin manager. He describes it as a case of a Protectionist crying out for Free Trade for himself; but I take a different view. In my opinion, the. writer merely points out that the Tariff, as it stands, unfairly discriminates between the users of what, for' Tariff purposes, should- be regarded as the same necessarily imported commodity. The proprietor of the ordinary daily journal is allowed to import his newsprint free under the British preferential Tariff, and at a duty of £Z per ton under the intermediate and general Tariffs. The proprietor of a newspaper which uses the class of paper that is used by the Bulletin, the Sydney Mail, the Australasian, and other weekly newspapers for the illustrated portions of their issues is called upon to pay for this better class of paper about £Z 10s. per ton if it is imported from Great Britain, £7 10s. per ton if imported under the intermediate Tariff, and £10 10s. per ton if imported . under the general Tariff. It is because ' of this - unfair differentiation that tho attention of Senator Gardiner and other honorable senators has been directed to the item by the writer on behalf of the Bulletin and. others. The matter is one which does not concern only the Bulletin. It affects the proprietors of Australian newspapers who use this better class of glazed paper for the illustrated portions of their issues. It concerns the proprietors of the Sydney Mail, the Melbourne Punch, which I believe is printed wholly upon. this glazed paper, and it concerns also the proprietors of weekly newspapers in Tasmania. I, too, have frequently had my attention drawn to the superiority of the illustrated newspapers of Now Zealand over those of the Commonwealth. I venture to say that the only newspapers in the Commonwealth that, so far as illustrations are concerned, can hold their' own with the New Zealand newspapers are the Tasmanian weekly illustrated newspapers. But because of this differentiation of duty they have to pay heavily for the paper which they use for purposes of illustration.

Senator Lynch - Is the difference between the duties on the two classes of paper responsible for the superiority of the. New Zealand newspapers ?

Senator KEATING - I have pointed out that the difference in duty between ordinary newsprint and. glazed paper used for illustrations is, under the British preferential Tariff, the difference between free and £3 10s. per ton, under the intermediate Tariff the difference between £3 and £7 per ton, and under the general Tariff the difference between £3 and £10 10s. per ton.

Senator Lynch - Is there any duty in New Zealand on the glazed paper?

Senator KEATING - I could not say. I expected Senator Gardiner, when raising the matter of New Zealand, to give some information on that point. I think we may assume that there is no differential duty imposed in New Zealand, or the , better class of paper would not be so freely used there as it is. Honorable senators must be aware that for purposes of illustration the better class of paper must be used. They have seen that attempts made to illustrate ordinary daily newspapers printed on the ordinary newsprint ' give results that are not at all comparable with those obtained by the use of glazed paper. The case for Senator Gardiner's request is a very strong one indeed. If ordinary newsprint is admitted' free under the British preferential Tariff, there is no reason why this glazed paper, when used for newspaper purposes, should have to pay a duty of £3 10s. per ton. If ordinary newsprint is imported at £3 per ton under the intermediate Tariff, there is no reason why , ihe glazed paper, used solely for newspaper purposes, should have to pay £7 per ton if imported under the same Tariff. In the same way, if ordinary newsprint can be imported at £3 per ton Under the general Tariff, there is no reason why glazed paper used for exactly the same purpose should have to pay a duty of £10 10s. under that Tariff. Senator Gardiner's request' is a very fair one, and should commend ..itself to the Minister in charge of the Bill as well as to honorable senators generally. I had just now an opportunity of discussing this matter with the departmental officers in attendance, and they suggested that there might be some difficulty in tracing the paper brought in under this heading - that is for newspaper purposes ; but 1 have uo doubt that the skill of the officers of the Trade and Customs Department would overcome any difficulty that might present itself. Certainly all engaged in the newspaper industry in Australia should ' be placed on the same footing, and those who use the better class of paper should certainly not be penalized for doing so.

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