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Thursday, 1 September 1921

Senator LYNCH (Western Australia) . - While I do not favour the imposition of duties beyond a fair and reasonable degree in order to establish Australian industries flourishingly, I hold that in this instance there is warrant for the Government providing ample protection, particularly against Continental makers. The German mark is worth less than onetwelfth of its former value. Based upon a recent decision of the High Court to the effect that the par value of exchange cannot be levied upon, but that the commercial value must be the medium of business relationship, an enormous advantage is conceded to Continental producers. It is scarcely possible that, even with an anti-dumping measure, anything like reasonable protection can be given to Australian makers of. musical instruments against German competition. On the other hand, owing to the appreciated value of the American dollar, the local protection against importations from the United States of America is exceedingly favorable to the Australian manufacturer. It is hard to say what degree of protection may b& adequate against European competitors. Germany is just as virile as ever. Her factories did not suffer during the war period. She was able to get the wheels of industry moving again from the moment of the cessation of hostilities. If the German mark were to recover its former value, either this year or next, the Commonwealth Parliament might be able to arrive at an approximately correct estimate of a fair degree of protection. But, owing to the chaotic financial condition of Germany, a considerable period is likely to elapse before the old financial footing will have been re-established with the debtor nation. Until Germany reverts to the gold basis of currency she will be such' a furious competitor in the world's markets that this Parliament should be particularly cautious.

Senator Bolton - Why did not the honorable senator advance those arguments, and act in accordance with them, when the Committee was dealing with agricultural implements?

Senator LYNCH - The circumstances were not the same; no agricultural implements came from Germany. I shall support the request of the Minister (Senator

Pearce) to increase the general rate, but I propose to take a different line of action in the matter of the preferential Tariff.

Request agreed to.

Request (by Senator Pearce) proposed -

That the House of Representatives be requested to make the ad. val. duty, sub-item (a), intermediate, 40 per cent.

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