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Friday, 29 July 1921

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) . - This is another of those duties which I have described as quiescent. This duty does not affect the price of biscuits in Australia; and as a result of the imposition of duties in the past the industry is now one of which we may well be proud. There will always be some who will prefer imported biscuits, but they are consumed only by those who think that those manufactured in Australia are not good enough. Generally speaking, the biscuit industry has been established in Australia by virtue of the duties imposed in previous years.

Item agreed to.

Item 39 (Blue, laundry).

Senator Bolton -Will the Minister (Senator Russell) supply the Committee with some information concerning the importations of laundry blue?

SenatorRUSSELL (Victoria-Vice- President of the Executive Council) [12.32]. - The values of the importations were- 1913, £3,363; 1914-15, £2,624; 1915-16, £2,168; 1916-17, £2,090; 1917- 18, £1,274; 1918-19, £2,742; 1919-20, £2,387. Laundry blue is composed of ultramarine blue, bi-carbonate of soda, and dextrine. The usual proportions are 55 per cent. of ultramarine blue, 45 per cent of bi-carbonate of soda, and the proportion of dextrine, which merelyserves as a binding agent, is immaterial. The Federal Analyst, Mr. Wilkinson, states that in samples of imported blue examined the colouring matter consists of analine dye. No application has been received for increased duties on laundry blue, and it is evident that the rates on the materials will tend to increase the cost of manufacture in Australia. The chief manufacturers in the Commonwealth are Lewis and Whitty, and A. C. Parkin and Company, of Melbourne, and Reckitts Limited, of Sydney. Lewis and Whitty are making ultramarine blue, and expect that eventually they will be ableto manufacture all their requirements. At present they make about 25 per cent. of what they need, and import the balance. The firm is in favour of the new. duty on ultramarine blue, although at present it will be a handicap. Their supplies of bi-carbonate of soda are imported. These firms are producing all our requirements, and are also producing more of the raw material necessary for the manufacture of laundry blue.

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