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Thursday, 1 September 1921

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (Western Australia) . - If the duties have been imposed for the purpose of protecting an established industry, they are altogether too high, but if it is intended to give local' manufacturers a complete monopoly, then the object will be attained. These articles, steelor iron wheels and steel tyred wheels for use on railways and tramways, are required almost entirely by the various States of the Commonwealth, and the imposition of these duties will unnecessarily retard the development of the country, which is very regrettable indeed. We all hope to see Australia become a great white nation, and, in order to preserve this country for the white races, it is necessary that we should people it. The duties in this item are virtually prohibitive, and . must necessarily be a serious handicap. Therefore, I move -

That the House of Representatives be requested to make the duty, sub-item (b). general, ad val., 45 per cent.

This will bring the duty in the general Tariff into line with the recommendations of the Inter-State Commission, and, if the Committee accepts it, I shall then request a reduction in the British and intermediate Tariffs by a like amount. Although the conditions have undoubtedly changed in recent years, the change has not been to the detriment of the Australian manufacturers, because we have been told over and over again that in these particular industries wages and the cost of production in Great Britain and Europe generally, with the exception of Germany, are considerably higher than before the war. Consequently, I can see no reason for these extraordinarily high duties.

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