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Thursday, 1 September 1921


Senator GUTHRIE (VICTORIA) - But what about the increased freights?

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN -I admit that the question of freight is very material - that it costs far more to-day than it did before the war to bring a piano to Australia from abroad. But here, again, we have a big set-off. While wages in Australia have increased most materially, wages in Germany, having regard to our relative currencies, have not, in fact, increased.

Senator GUTHRIE (VICTORIA) - But pianos are imported very largely from America, where wages are higher than they were here.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - I grant that that is perfectly true, but I see no reason for giving American manufacturers of pianos an undue advantage. I am, therefore, prepared to support the Minister's request that the duty under the general Tariff should be increased to 45 per cent.

Senator Duncan - The Germans, within the next few months, will be exporting in German ships, and giving big rebates.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - I do not doubt that. Among the many communications I have received from various sources with regard to this item, there is one that appeals to me. It comes from the president of the Limbless Men's Association, Sydney. I know this gentleman; I know that he is not one of the extreme Bolsheviks who sometimes find their way into the association, and that his point of view has not been perverted in the way that I regret to say the views of some have been. He points out that quite a large number of men in his association are employed by Beale and Company, of Sydney, and that he is informed by that firm that, provided the duties are maintained, more of these men will be employed by it. I need hardly mention that work of this kind is most suitable for men suffering from such disabilities, and this statement by the president of the association makes a very strong appeal to me.

Senator Duncan - Beale and Company have trained quite a number of the men referred to.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - My correspondent points out to me that in this matter Beale and Company have behaved very well, and are promising to do still better for these men. That, to me, is a stronger reason than any given by the manufacturers in support of an increased duty under the general Tariff. It comes from a source which in itself carries a strong appeal, and from a man whom I know to be both capable and hon- orable. Coining to the intermediate and British preferential Tariffs, I am not so sure that it is necessary that the duties in respect of them should be increased. I think our purpose will be served by increasing the general Tariff, which deals with our principal competitors, Germany and America.

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