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Tuesday, 8 June 1926

Senator DUNCAN (New South Wales) . - If I thought that the facts were as stated by the Minister, I should not have submitted my requested amendment, and certainly should not press it. The Minister is assuming that the dairy farmers of Australia will continue to purchase cream separators of foreign manufacture in preference to the British article, and that, therefore, they will pay duties amounting to £17,000 a year.

Senator Crawford - That is what the duties would amount to.

Senator DUNCAN - It is impossible for the Minister to argue in that way, just as it is impossible for him to assume that future requirements can be estimated on the figures for the past two years. During the war British manufacturers had to go out of the Australian market altogether. They have now come on to the market again, and we are justified in believing that there will not, in the future, be the old frenzied desire to purchase Swedish cream separators as against the British machines. It is not fair to expect Britain to compete in the Australian market against Swedish manufacturers, who have practically had a monopoly of the business during the war. We can give this small preference to Britain without in any way prejudicing the interests of the local consumer. I do not think that the imposition of the general tariff will lead to an increase in the price of the machines. On the contrary, it is probable that, as British manufacturers will be in a better position to meet Swedish competition, they may be able to cut their prices. Possibly Swedish manufacturers will follow, and the Australian dairy farmers may get a cheaper machine.

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