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Thursday, 1 September 1921

Senator PEARCE (Western Australia) (Minister for Defence) . - I remind the Committee that these are the deferred duties, and will not be operative until 'the articles mentioned are being manufactured in Australia in sufficient quantities to supply reasonable requirements. The Government have an assurance that arrangements are being made by Rylands, the great English company, to manufacture this metal cordage- at Newcastle, in New South Wales. Unfortunately the work has been- delayed, and consequently the deferred duties will not become operative until 1st January, 1922. Messrs. T. C. Smith and Co., another British manufacturing firm, is also making arrangements to engage in the industry at Newcastle. As these are both British firms of the highest reputation, the only objection which Senator DrakeBrockman can have to the scheme is the fear that the Australian workmen will be unable to learn the business.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - The Minister is deliberately misrepresenting me, and he knows it.

Senator PEARCE - I have no desire to misrepresent the honorable senator ; but why should he assume that if these firms become established in Australia there will be a prejudice against the use of Australianmade rope?

Senator Drake-Brockman - Those who depend upon it will think it is inferior. That is what I said.

Senator PEARCE - But why should they think that? The ropes will be made by the same firms and by the same process, the only difference being that Australian workmen will be employed instead of British. The probability is that these firms will bring a number of skilled workmen from England, as many other manufacturing companies do, and, until they demonstrate their ability to manufacture a satisfactory article, the duties will not be operative. Of course, there is no reason to assume that wire rope manufactured in Australia will be in any way inferior to the article at present being used.

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