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Thursday, 1 September 1921

Senator HENDERSON (Western Australia) . - Although the Minister (Senator Pearce) seems to make his own case very clear, I view the proposal with some apprehension, understanding, as I do, the importance that miners attach to the quality of wire rope upon which they depend for their safety. This is a matter which requires very serious consideration, because the lives of thousands of men all over Australia depend upon the durability and. suitability of the rope that takes them from and brings them back to daylight.

Senator Earle - Or the reliability of the safety grip.

Senator HENDERSON - Sometimes I have seen all these devices tried, and very few have ever been successful. A good rope is the only recognised safeguard. If what the Minister says is correct, and I have no doubt it is true, that it is proposed to manufacture the ropes in this country, there will be time enough for Parliament to impose these duties when the companies concerned demonstrate the quality of the rope which they produce. If the English manufacturing firms that at present supply our requirementsare going to become established in Australia, there appears to be no necessity for the duty at all, because they will not have competition from the outside world. I think, therefore, that Senator DrakeBrockman's request might be accepted, and the item made free so far as the British Tariff is concerned.

Senator Earle - We want to produce these ropes in Australia.

Senator HENDERSON - But if the British companies that are now supplying our market intend to establish works here, they will have no British competitors.

Senator Earle - They are not the only wire ropemakers in the world.

Senator HENDERSON - They are the most important manufacturers, and only their ropes are used by the mining companies in Australia, and, indeed, almost all over the world.

Senator Pearce - These deferred duties are merely a guarantee that if they establish themselves here they will have Tariff protection.

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