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Thursday, 11 August 1921

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) (3:53 AM) . - I move -

That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the item by leaving out the words "Ribbons and galoons, having not more than 48 ribs to the lineal inch."

The effect of this alteration would-be to make these articles, which are now dutiable at 35 per cent., 40 per cent., and 50. per cent., dutiable under sub-item b of item 106 at 15 per cent., 20 per cent., and 30 per cent. I have distributed among honorable senators samples of ribbon such as those beforeme, between which an ordinary observer could not see a difference; but one of the ribbons has less than forty-eight ribs to the lineal inch, and the other slightly more, and the one is dutiable under the general Tariff at 50 per cent. and the other at 30 per cent. These ribbons come mainly from France and Switzerland.Women know that there is twice or three times as much wear to-be got from the ribbon having leas than forty-eight ribs to the lineal inch than from the other; but the Department charges a duty of 50 per cent. on the stronger ribbon, which, of course, is the dearer, and a duty of only 30 per cent. on the other, which it is wasteful to buy. A magnifying glass is needed to discover that there are four ribs more in the better ribbon than in the other. I have other samples of ribbons of various descriptions in regard to which there is the same anomaly. They are ribbons in everydayuse by children and by women for the decoration of garments. In' each instance the ribbons are practically the same, but for the fact that one contains more ribs to the lineal inch than the other. The reason for the departmental differentiation is, I am told, that in Victoria there is a workroom, called a factory, which does not manufacture ribbons or galoons, but embroiders them to make hat-bands for schools and colleges,badges, trade names, and designs for attire. From another source I learn that this concern has manufactured one class of ribbon, but one class only. The factory is also used for weaving names and descriptions into boot tags and work of that description.

I know a good deal about this business, and I regard it almost as a crime that one of these ribbons should be dutiable at 50 per cent., when it does not come into competition in any way with the product of the small factory in Victoria. The Government proposal is to penalize the whole of the community because a factory is engaged in the manufacture of school hat-bands. Surely 30 per cent. in the general Tariff is ample protection for the local industry. The local factory did not find it impossible to carry on its small operations under the previously existing Tariff, and before the introduction of the Tariff now under consideration, the discrimination to which I take exception was not made.

SenatorRUSSELL (Victoria- VicePresident of the Executive Council [4.3 a.m.]. - I remember this matter coining up for consideration in connexion with the Tariff of 1908. The local industry was at that time a very small one. The honorable senator, by the use of a magnifying glass, has been able to discover that a particular ribbon has one rib over the specified number. I am informed that the articles covered by the sub-item are being manufactured by the Australian Weaving Company, with the exception of plain one colour hat galoons, or ribbons which they can make but are not at present manufacturing in a commercial way. The galoons and ribbons when for use in a hat factory are admitted as minor articles for the manufacture of hats under item 404. The articles specified in the item are commercially known as woven small wares. Their manufacture was started by the Australian Weaving Company Proprietary Limited, Collingwood, in 1910, with one loom. In 1911 they had six looms; in 1912, 12 looms; in 1913, 27 looms; in 1914, 28 looms; and in 1919, 42 looms. The output would be about £20,000 a year, and the capital invested is £20,000. In addition to this company, another company, J. and J. Cash Proprietary Limited, Richmond, are manufacturers of woven labels, coat hangers, names and dress trimmings. The industry is capable of very considerable expansion, as is evident from the fact that in 1918 hat galoons. to the value of £80,000 were imported. The factories here are prepared to make those galoons. I have seen many samples of their work, and I am very glad that such an important and artistic industry is being developed' in Australia. I may inform Senator Payne that if the articles to which he has referred are not made in Australia and cannot be made here, they will be admitted without the duty until there is proof that they can be made in Australia.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - And Melbourne becomes the Manchester of Australia.

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