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Thursday, 14 May 1936

Senator BADMAN (South Australia) . - The crux of the matter is whether the Commonwealth can negotiate a satisfactory trade agreement by the method adopted by the Government of maintaining various duties at high levels for the purpose of using them as a lever in the negotiations. Every honorable senator must admit that the Australian glass manufacturing industry is one of the outstanding monopolies in the Commonwealth; also, ils ramifications are likely to extend. I regret having to say it, but I consider that Senator Leckie made a misstatement "in regard to the capital of this company. The latest figures, issued on the 15th July, 1935, are:-


Senator Leckie - 'What are the reserves ? .

Senator BADMAN - I am speaking of the capital investment. Other particulars are: -


From the £1,105,478 invested, this enterprise has built itself to its present status out of profits. If profits count for anything in monopolies, those of the Australian Glass Manufacturers Company Limited must certainly be gratifying to the shareholders -

I come now to the dividends paid by the company -


I venture to say that no other company in Australia has such a brilliant record in regard to profit making. But then, no other company is so heavily protected. That is the crux of the matter. The Australian glass industry does not require such excessive protection-, the Tariff Board ha3 recommended a reduction of duties, but the Government has retained them as a lever for negotiating trade agreements. I seriously doubt the wisdom of such a policy. "Will the imposition of duties of 60 per cent, and 70 per cent, upon certain imported goods encourage other countries to enter into negotiations with us? I do not think so. If I desire to sell a horse for £50, and I tell the prospective purchaser that I want £60, but will take £50, what sort of a business man would he consider me? Yet the same principle applies to the retention of excessive duties on certain imported lines, for the purpose of using them as a lever in trade negotiations. It is high time that honorable senators took note of this fact, and supported any amendments designed to reduce such preposterous duties.

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