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Thursday, 1 September 1921

Senator LYNCH (Western Australia) . - I am rather surprised that Senator Pratten should have accepted the suggestion made on behalf of the Government. He began very well, but finished miserably. I cannot understand this proposal to increase the duty under the general Tariff. I agree with Senator Drake-Brockman that it will mean an additional burden on those who are trying to develop the large empty spaces of the Commonwealth. We are asked to increase the duty under the general Tariff from 10 per cent, to 15 per cent. Such an increase will fall heavily on American parts. These motor parts are not. made here, as is shown by the fact that the - Government provided only "for a revenue duty of 10 per cent. If the Government want to raise revenue they should not seek to do so at the expense of our pioneers. The burden should be placed fairly on the shoulders of every one. We have been told that these duties will be effective against the owners of the Rolls-Royce, and other expensive makes of motor cars. If the Government want to get at them, the income tax mesh can be made fine enough to do that. The ordinary man, the pioneer, the mail contractors, and the farmers, should not be burdened by these duties, because they are the people who use the commoner type of car, and if their spare parts are taxed in this way they will be very severely handicapped. The Minister (Senator Pearce) has suggested that the ad valorem duty will equalize the burden. It will do nothing of the kind. A duty of 10 per cent, falls more heavily upon a man of moderate means than upon a man in easy circumstances, and this duty will hit hardest the class of men who require the most encouragement. If we had some compensation in the way of an established manufacturing industry for spare parts in Australia I could understand the reason for this duty, but we have not, and the Tariff is a revenue duty, pure and simple. It is like beating the air to try and get reasonable duties in this Tariff. Therefore, I must content myself with a formal protest against this iniquitous tax. Even the most purblind Protectionist cannot pretend that this duty, which Senator Pratten has now moved shall be increased to 15 per cent., will be protective in its effect. What have the pioneers done that they should deserve this punishment from the Protectionists of this country? The proposal to give the Mother Country preference is quite right, but I object to the consumers being called upon to pay more than their fair share. Let the burden be borne equally by all classes. What has the pioneer farmer, or the mail contractor, clone that Senator Pratten should desire to saddle him with this iniquitous impost? Senator Pratten comes from a highly-developed State. It has done very well under Protection, and he should have some consideration for other States that are not so highly developed. His State benefited very considerably from my vote in this Chamber. There were representatives of New South Wales, six of them, who practically wore a track across the chamber resisting duties that were being imposed in the first Tariff, which made New South Wales as prosperous as she is to-day. On every occasion my vote was cast for protective duties; and how is he treating Western Australia . in return ? In this case, however, the duty is not protective at all. It is for revenue purposes, pure and simple, and will be a very serious handicap upon men engaged in opening up our back country. Unfortunately, many honorable senators forget their hard lot. Even the President (Senator Givens) feels the Government halter, and every time he gets a chance he comes in to vote for the most iniquitous duties.

Senator Givens - You move to make the item free and I will vote with you.

Senator LYNCH - I will do so in order to get the President's vote.

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