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Friday, 29 July 1921

Senator RUSSELL (Victoria) (VicePresident of the Executive Council) . - The Customs returns show that no candles have been imported from Burmah for the past ten years. The Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Greene) made a complete investigation into the position of wax. No wax candles are manufactured outside Australia except by black labour. The manufacture of stearine candles is a natural Australian industry, and I believe that in point of quality and suitability the Australian candle is equal to any imported article. But we have to bear in mind that the process of extracting stearine from tallow also provides a quantity of glycerine, which is so essential in munition making. Early in the recent war, when the British Government were seeking for glycerine from all parts of the world, Australia sent them all the copra produced inour islands. Copra contains a large percentage of glycerine. We also, at the request of the Imperial Government, placed an embargo on the importation of soaps and candles, the idea being to have these articles manufactured in Australia, so that we could secure the by-product, glycerine, and send it to the Old Country. We have now an opportunity of extending this business, and at the same time turning out a glycerine of excellent quality, which will be essential in our defence preparations when we undertake the manufacture of munitions. The overwhelming superiority of the claim that we should make use of our own raw materials in this way is perfectly obvious, and I hope nothing will be done to assist in the importation of wax produced by cheap black labour at the expense of a commodity, which is wholly produced in Australia under Australian labour conditions.

Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.30 p.m.

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