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Thursday, 1 September 1921

Senator DE LARGIE (Western Australia) . - A great deal depends upon the quality of wire ropes. I agree with Senator Drake-Brockman's reference to the prejudices of miners. My memory takes me back to the time when these wire ropes began to replace the old flat hempen ropes which were in general use, and there was a, strong prejudice among the miners against the new ropes, because they are so thin in comparison with the more substantiallooking hempen ropes tq which they had been so long accustomed. I regard this question more from the point of view of the careful " administration which will be necessary when the de-' ferred duty begins to operate. When the Tariff Board commences its investigations, no doubt it will peruse the reports of the debates in this Chamber, and see what was said here in -respect to the different items under consideration. In that way it will naturally benefit by the experience of various honorable senators. I can speak with some little experience of wire ropes, and I hope that when Ryland Brothers begin operations at Newcastle they will be in a position to make just as good a rope as they can produce in Great Britain. They will probably get some of their most skilled workmen to come out to Australia to set this class of work going here, and knowing the reputation of the firm, I think we can depend that it will not turn out a, shoddy article. But, in any case, I trust that every care will he exercised by the administration. I do not look upon the duty proposed tobe placed upon wire rope at a. later date as likely to be of any serious moment, because the wirerope makers practically command the market, and can charge any price they choose. In fact, like Senator Henderson, I wonder in the circumstances why any duty is to be imposed. Of course, it is preferable to have the work done within Aus- , tralia. instead of at Sheffield, Birmingham, or anywhere else; but I really have not heard any sound reason advanced for imposing any duty upon this article. To my mind, everything depends upon careful administration as to when the duty should come into operation.

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