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Friday, 16 March 1928

Senator CARROLL (Western Australia) . - Having listened attentively to the arguments advanced both for and against this item, I have come to the conclusion that the interests of only two sections of the community-: - the importers and the mill-owners - have been voiced. Little or nothing has been said regarding the interests of the section most concerned - the general public. The increased duties, if agreed to, will have to be borno by the consuming public whose interests we, as a Parliament, must consider. I do not hold that the importers are necessarily paragons or that the mill-owners are vampires, sucking the life blood of their fellows ; in my opinion each section is trying to make out the best case possible from its own point of view. I was glad to hear the Minister's honest admission that increased duties on timber will mean a slight increase in building costs. There is, however, a considerable difference of opinion as to the degree to which costs will be increased.

Senator Crawford - I added that, because of the greater durability of Australian timber, it was worth paying more to get it.

Senator CARROLL - If protection does not mean added costs, it is valueless. The chief argument of protectionists is that further duties are necessary because the existing duties will not' enable local products to compete with those from other countries. That is an admission that increased duties mean higher costs.

Progress reported.

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