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Wednesday, 31 August 1921

Senator LYNCH (Western Australia) . - What we have to do is to try to reconcile the interests, concerned. There are on one side the newspaper proprietors, and with them the general public, and on the other, the policy of the Government to give the favoured nation treatment to countries trading with us. There are three columns in this Tariff - a general column intended for the least favoured nations, an intermediate column for those countries with whom we can make reciprocal arrangements, and then the British preference column, which gives the most favoured nation treatment to the 0(ld Country. The newspaper proprietors say that they are satisfied with £3 per ton as the general Tariff, and £2 per ton as the intermediate Tariff. If the Ministerial proposal is given effect to, and the £3 in the general column is reduced to £2, it simply means that there will be no chance of giving any preference to our sister Dominion of Canada. It is news to me that the Government is so overburdened with revenue that they do not require the extra duty. Wo can easily, I submit, reconcile the structural gradation of the Tariff in the three divisions with the desire of those who wish to pay something towards the revenue of the country, but that cannot be done unless the general column is maintained at £3. I am afraid that what was said by Senator Vardon fell too lightly on the ears of honorable senators. There are prospects of competition from Japan. I am not one to decry that country, as my utterances in this Chamber have proved. I rather welcome her competition; but I say that we here are entitled, just as the Japanese are entitled, to protect our own interests, and to take our own means of doing so. Japan has suddenly come to the front and developed so rapidly that, even during the short course of the war, she supplied us with commodities that we never dreamt of as possible; and it is within the range of possibility that she will become one of the largest suppliers of newsprint. In the Times Trade Supplement of 16th April, 1921, there is some reference to the progress of industries in Japan, and I hope honorable senators will take what I am. about to read to heart, as showing the immediate prospects of that country -

There are some sixty large .paper and pulp mills in Japan proper, including seven establishments recently opened in Saghalien and Chosen. Paper is made of all qualities, and to meet practically all requirements, from heavy art paper to cigarette paper and common wrapping paper. Strawboard and pasteboard of excellent quality are manufactured in large quantities, and even wallpaper is now made in Japan, though chiefly for export. Like most other markets and industries, the paper trade is just now in a curious position. The prices accepted by Japanese mills for orders coming from overseas arc below those charged for orders placed to meet domestic requirements.

We see in this the inescapable tendency of that country to indulge in dumping its surplus stocks on our market here.

Senator Rowell - What about the dumping here of agricultural machinery from America?

Senator LYNCH - The Ministry will find me here without calling when an Anti-Dumping Bill is introduced; I am now merely snowing what maw happen. I quite realize from what Senator Vardon has said that the tradespeople in this country are not a pack of raving, rapacious money grubbers. Even the newspaper proprietors, whom we often like to criticise, have not passed all the extra cost on. Newsprint rose from £9 a ton to £80, and has been to £90, but the newspaper proprietors did not send up their charges tenfold. The Bulletin has raised its prices only 50 per cent.

Senator Wilson - The pride of the newspapers was raised from Id. tq 2d.

Senator LYNCH - That, it is quite true, is 100 per cent., but the price of the raw material went up 500 per cent.

Senator Vardon - It went up 700 per cent.

Senator LYNCH - And part of the impost has been accepted by the newspaper proprietors, to their no small credit. We have, as I say, to reconcile the interests concerned, while maintaining the structural gradation of the Tariff, by making the duty in the least favoured column £3, in the intermediate column £2, and, then, by giving Great Britain whatever preference we wish.

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