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Thursday, 1 September 1921

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) (2:28 AM) . - I move -

That the House of Representatives be requested to amend sub-item (f) by adding the following new paragraph : - " (2) Woollen or containing wool, being dress goods for women's and children's wear, not exceeding the weight of 6 ozs. tothe square yard, ad val., British, 20 per cent. ; intermediate, 25 per cent. ; general, 30 per cent.

My object is to insure that textile fabrics not manufactured in Australia shall be admitted at a reasonable rate of duty, because they are essential as an article of apparel for women and children. I refer particularly to such material as black cashmere, black lustre, nuns veiling, voiles, hopsacks, self-coloured dress fabrics, and light materials of that character for women's and children's wear, which are not manufactured here. If the adoption of this request would be detrimental to the Australian woollen industry I would not expect honorable senators to support it; but this class of goods is manufactured chiefly in Great Britain and France, and it is much in demand in Australia as an article of attire.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is it likely that we shall ever make it here?

Senator PAYNE - I do not think it is.

Senator Keating - Then you ought to ask for the removal of the duty altogether.

Senator PAYNE - We cannot afford to do that.

Senator Keating - You are making it merely a revenue duty.

Senator PAYNE - I am not losing sight of the financial needs of the Trea- surer ; but I do not think that we are justified in imposing on these goods the heavy rates of duty applying to woollen goods which can be manufactured in Australia.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Why not make the rates 20 per cent., 25 per cent., and 35 per cent.?

Senator PAYNE - I do not think that the general rate should exceed 30 per cent., because three-fourths of the classes of materials covered by my proposed new sub-item are manufactured in France, which country has, for years, gone in for the manufacture of highly-finished light textile materials. I have taken the trouble to interview men who are able to give me advice on this matter. After consultation with many of them, I have come to the conclusion that the Australian industry need not fear any competition from the goods specified in the proposed sub-item, because of the words which limit the weight to material not exceeding 6 ozs. per square yard.

Senator Keating - What is the weight of the average tweed ?

Senator PAYNE - Anything from 8 oss. to 12 ozs. per square yard. These goods cannot be confused with ordinary worsteds manufactured for men's suitings, because my ju'oposal is distinctly confined to dress goods for women's and children's wear. The object I have in view is plain. It is not to take away anything from the Australian manufacturers. I Would not like to do anything to injure the Australian industry, and I do not think that any one could suggest that myproposal would have any prejudicial effect upon it.

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