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Tuesday, 8 June 1926

Senator CRAWFORD (QueenslandHonorary Minister) . - I quite understood the import of the honorable senator's question, and I said definitely that the information he sought was not available, and that even if it were, it would not be very helpful to the committee. ISo complaint whatever has been made by the Tariff Board respecting the standard of Australian workmanship.

Senator Kingsmill - Has it made investigations in that respect ?

Senator CRAWFORD - I do not see how the board could possibly obtain definite information respecting the output per man in Australia and elsewhere, unless it visited other parts of the world to obtain evidence from those engaged in similar productions. The honorable senator will see how impossible this would be.

Senator Ogden - It is not impossible.

Senator CRAWFORD - I cannot see how it would be possible for the Tariff Board to visit other countries to obtain from manufacturers there costs regarding any particular machine or the whole of their production. That information is not disclosed by manufacturers to their competitors either here or elsewhere.

Senator Ogden - The information can be obtained from the statistical returns of various countries.

Senator CRAWFORD - The honorable senator will see from the statistical returns relating to our own industries that it is quite impossible to ascertain the output per man respecting any particular machine or number of machines. Wages in Australia are 100 per cent, higher than those in Great Britain, and must, therefore, be a great deal higher than those in Belgium, Germany, or other European countries. What is asked for is a 40 per cent, ad valorem duty, which is not equal to the difference between the cost of wages and material here and abroad.

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