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Wednesday, 10 May 1939

Mr GREGORY (Swan) .- I am at a loss to understand the reason for the increase of the duty. It should ho possible to obtain in Australia all of its requirements of iron and steel cheaper than in any other country. Some time ago discs for agricultural implements were duty free from Great Britain. Now there is a duty of 10 per cent, on this commodity which is so essential to primary producers. In 1926 when the Tariff Board made an exhaustive inquiry into the duties on agricultural machinery it said, in effect, that if people wished to buy imported machinery, they should be prepared to pay the extra price. The board did not take into account the enormous profits that have been made by those engaged in this industry. "We all know what a wonderful business has been established by H. V. Mackay Limited, but I fail to see why we should make millionaires of these people by giving them special concessions in the tariff. If the need were pressing, one could perhaps justify this action, hut it appears to me that it is not justifiable. With the raw material so cheap, and imports so expensive, the only effect is to add to the profits of firms that have been doing remarkably well. I object to all of these increases. I do not know whether honorable members read the balancesheets of these firms, and realize the enormous profits they have been making. It would appear that the idea is to develop manufacturing industries at no matter what cost or what profits. It is merely pandering to a rich crowd of manufacturers.

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