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Thursday, 14 May 1936

Senator ABBOTT (New South Wales) . - If the British manufacturers acted on the good advice just given by Senator Leckie, the position would be improved, but the fact remains that, in the meantime, these manufacturers, through no fault of their own, are in difficulties. The amendment moved by Senator Hardy should make it possible to extend to these manufacturers that preferential treatment which should be given to British cars. I was rather disappointed that the Minister (Senator A. J. McLachlan), when referring to the orders given to Australian manufacturers, did not give details. I do not know whether he has the figures. However, I have been told that one maker is at present over 200 cars in arrears. The Minister, in a spirit of optimism, remarked that these particular manufacturers had accepted more orders than they could possibly hope to cope with. We have repeatedly been given assurances, but assurances of themselves will not put ears on the road ; the only thing that counts is delivery. Nor will assurances turn chassis into money. I hope that the department will employ this amendment, which I have little doubt will be carried, for the purpose of enabling these manufacturers not only to catch up arrears, but also to reap to the full the preferential treatment which we have undertaken to give them as British companies. In following that policy the Government would be quite justified, perhaps, to keep in mind the suggestion made by Senator Leckie. We should make every endeavour to continue in the fullest measure that preferential treatment to manufacturers of British cars, which, in the past, this Government, and, through registration concessions, State governments have tried to give them.

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