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Thursday, 11 August 1921

Senator CRAWFORD (QUEENSLAND) - Leather cloth is included in another sub-item.

Senator PAYNE - That is so. It appears in paragraph 3 of. sub-item h of the item now under consideration. This is 'the first Tariff in which it appears as a separate entry. Leather cloth, as known to the trade, is practically the same as oil baize, and is used by householders for the same purposes. Oil baize, as honorable senators probably know, is oiled muslin, or other fabric, samples of which I have here. Leather cloth is a material of much the same kind, .made in various colours, but for household use is usually i darkbrown or black. I have samples of it here, which honorable senators may .inspect. Leather cloths are used in many ways, and chiefly for upholstering and other manufacturing purposes. They are used very extensively in the upholstering of cheap furniture which is within the reach of the masses of the people. This article does not enter in any way into competition with leather. The person who is in a position to buy a leathercovered suite of furniture will naturally do so] but the ordinary individual whose income is limited may look at a leather suite with admiring glance, and wish that he had sufficient capital to purchase it, but his means prevent him. from doing so. As a result there has been brought into -existence an article called leather cloth, which is used for manufacturing purposes, particularly to meet the needs of the masses of the community. I do not know why there has .been a departure from the practice adopted in previous Tariffs of including leather cloth in subitem a, unless it is contended that it enters into competition with leather. I contend, in the interests of the users of leather cloth, that a duty should not be imposed upon it, because the material is not manufactured in Australia. No industry for its manufacture has been com- - menced nor has there been any suggestion that its manufacture is likely to be started here. A great deal of the leather cloth imported comes from Great Britain, where its manufacture is a very large industry.

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