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Thursday, 14 May 1936

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Postmaster-General) . - I fear that my South Australian colleague has given to the information which has been conveyed to the committee an interpretation that is entirely unwarranted. I have told honorable senators that this is the Government's tariff schedule, and that we have reinserted the intermediate rate for the purpose of facilitating trade negotiations. In some of the items the rates are higher under the general tariff than those recommended by the Tariff Board. That has been done for the definite purpose of bargaining.

Senator Guthrie - The duties have not been increased against Great Britain.

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - No. In every instance wo have complied strictly with the terms of the Ottawa agreement. My South Australian colleague may be a little embarrassed when he is discussing these tariff items with his constituents, but I assure him that he is not nearly so perturbed as are those who have to negotiate trade agreements with foreign countries under such a bombardment as we have been subjected to in this committee during the last few days. Any alteration of the Ottawa agreement must be ratified by this Parliament. In the meantime, this is the tariff schedule which we ask the committee to adopt. If, subsequently, alterations are made, honorable senators will know exactly what is being done, and what we are getting as the result of our trade bargaining.

Progress reported.

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