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Friday, 29 July 1921

Senator RUSSELL (Victoria) (VicePresident of the Executive Council) . - During the war we put an embargo on the importation of confectionery. That is rather a brigand's method of dealing with trade, but it was more than justified in war time. Under it we have built up the industry so successfully that it is practically selfsupporting; and although we have removed the embargo, very little importation of confectionery is taking place. Excuses and apologies may be made, but I have never met any of those innocent men who " do not quite understand the position " before they put £50,000 into a business. The world is not run on those lines. Men with capital look around and decide carefully whether they will go into an enterprise. Pour of the biggest firms, Nestles, Cadburys,Frys, and Pascalls, have started business in Australia. They may have misjudged the time at which the contract expires, but I am sure they looked two or three years ahead. By putting an embargo on imports, Australia learned what could be done in regard to confectionery, and I have no hesitation in saying that those firms thought they would be better off for certain portions of their confectionery manufacture by coming to Australia than by remaining in England. To-day, despite the cost of sugar, manufacturers in Australia are turning out confectionery effectively under existing conditions.

Senator Crawford - I think sweets are cheaper to-day than they were when sugar was selling at 3d. per lb.

Senator RUSSELL - We all know that they are profitable, and that the retailers, especially about the theatres and concert halls, are, I will not say profiteering, but charging very high prices.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - If the price of sugar is doubled, the price of sweets must be doubled.

Senator RUSSELL - That is so; but the retail confectioners are in many cases charging more than 100 per cent. profit. I do not know who gets all the profit, but it should be limited. We cannot do better than leave the Tariff as it stands, because. , little or no confectionery is being imported owing to the successful development of the industry in Australia.

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