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Tuesday, 16 August 1921

Senator DUNCAN (New South "Wales) . - I resent Senator DrakeBrockman's imputation that I have approached this matter in a parochial way or from the stand-point of New South Wales. As a. matter of fact, I took- some trouble to point out that, in respect to the production of pig iron, although the final production of the article might be confined to New South Wales, supplies of the raw material were drawn from a number of States.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - I merely appealed to honorable senators not to approach the matter from a parochial point of view. I certainly did not say that Senator Duncan had done so, but his resentment against something which I did not impute would seem to' indicate that he had done' so.

Senator DUNCAN -~-I have not attempted to deal with this matter from- a parochial or New South Wales' point of view. It is news to me to learn that- this division of the Tariff is like the laws of the Medes and Persians,- and must no't be altered in any way, on the ground that an alteration to one item would throw out of gear the whole machine.

Senator Russell - No. I said that an alteration to this item would throw out of gear two or three df the succeeding items.

Senator DUNCAN - We have no- desire to throw anything out of gear; but when we consider that the duties the Government have proposed are not adequate, we ought to alter them even at the risk of throwing something else out of gear. In any case, the other items affected can be altered.

Senator Russell - Certainly; but if an alteration is made in this basic item, the whole of the related items will need re*cast.

Senator DUNCAN - That would happen if an alteration were made anywhere in this particular division.

Senator Russell - No, not in respect of the branch items, but' only in the case of pig iron, which is a basic item.

Senator DUNCAN - The manufacturers of iron and steel have not asked for an increased duty on pig iron. I had my own reasons for taking the step I have proposed.

The CHAIRMAN (Senator Bakhap - I understood the honorable senator to indicate his intention of moving for ah increased duty, but he has not submitted any formal request in that direction.

Senator DUNCAN - That- is so. The probability is that I shall not submit any request for an increase in the duty on pig iron. Before answering one or two of the points made by Senator DrakeBrockman, let me refer to an anomaly that will need to be rectified. While- we are endeavouring to build up an industry for the production of pig iron, we allow scrap iron, a serious competitor with our pig iron, to be imported free of duty. Senator Drake-Brockman has put up a very strong- plea for the subsidiary industries and for the man on the land in Western Australia; where there is no- iron and steel industry established. He claims' that- we must iget ourraw material as cheaply as possible, no matter where it comes from. Very well, let us get it from Japan. Let us look at thematter from a national point of view, as the honorable senator has asked us to do, remembering all the time that we want to stand by the principle of a White Australia. But if the Senate agrees to Senator DrakeBrockman's proposal to reduce the duty on pig iron, the raw materialfor our iron and steel industry will be imported from Japan. The Melbourne Herald of the 29th July, 1921, contains the following cablegram from its special representative at Tokio : -

The discovery of a process of smelting magnetic sand, by which Japan will be rendered independent of outside sources for her iron supply, and become an extensive producer, was anmenced 'to-day by Mr. Goro Matsukata and Doctor Asobu Niito. The process, which has been thoroughly tested, produces pig iron for 25 yen (nominally £211s.) a ton. The Japanese authorities indorse the claims made for the -process by its discoverers. Included among those who approve of it are Admiral Shozo Arisaka, the big gun expert, and Inspector of the Naval Arsenal, and the leading metallurgists of Japan. The German firm of Krupps, of Essen, has been making inquiries, but it isannounced that the process will not be divulged outside Japan. In Japan there are extensive fields of workable sand, and the discovery is regarded as of the greatest importance, economically and politically.

If we are to get our pig iron from the cheapest source, we will get it all from Japan, where it can be produced for £2 11s. per ton.

Senator Drake-Brockman - Why not?

Senator DUNCAN - That may be the honorable senator's point ofview. To my mind, it is much better to produce our own pig iron by working our own iron deposits, such as those we have at Iron Knob, in South Australia. There are big deposits of iron ore. also in Western Australia.

Senator Drake-Brockman - Yes, much more extensive than they are in New South Wales.

Senator DUNCAN - The Broken Hill Proprietary Company are not getting any of their iron ore in New South Wales, and Idoubt if Hoskins Limited are getting much from that State. Therefore, I am pleading for the development of the iron ore deposits of other States.

Senator DE LARGIE (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - Does thehonorable senator claim that iron ore is conveyed to Lithgow from other States for smelting there?

Senator DUNCAN - I did not. If my friend would manifest as much interest in this subject as he displays in a desire to upset some of my statements, he would know more about it than he does at present.

Senator Gardiner - The honorable senator's words conveyed the impression that Senator de Largie alleged.

SenatorDUNCAN. - If I conveyed that impression I regret having done so. I say that I doubt if Hoskins Limited get allthe supplies they require from 'New South Wales. Are we legislating to assist to build up the greatness of Japan, or is tho objectof this Tariff to assist in building up the greatness of Australia ? Looking atthematteragain from a national point of view, as Senator Drake Brockman advises us to do, is our national greatness to bebuilt up by extending consideration to the producers of another country? If we are to be dependent upon Asia for all ourraw material, then thepeople of that Continent will in futuredictate what the policy of this country shall be, what its Tariffshall be, and whether we are to retain inviolate that grand principle of a White Australia which we so cherish.

Senator Drake-Brockman - And Asia will do so if we do not get more population.

Senator DUNCAN - Are we to get more population by shutting down an industry employing up to 10,000 Australians - by saying that our own industries can " go hang," while those of other countries may be developed by the money, so long as we have it, we pay for products of those industries?

Senator Drake-Brockman - What proof has the honorable senator that the iron and steel industry of Australia will shut down unless it is given the extra protection which he proposes to give it ?

Senator DUNCAN - I am convinced that increased protection must be given. I admit that the companies have not asked for an increased duty on pig iron, and I shall not move in thatdirection, but I intend to move for increased duties upon bar iron, rod iron, and angle iron, because

I am convinced from my own knowledge that unless we do so, the production of these things in Australia will not increase. I need not say any more about pig iron, but I hope that Senator- Russell will take note of the anomaly I have pointed out, namely, that scrap iron is permitted to be imported free of duty, although it competes with our pig iron. In order to rectify the anomaly a new sub-item, which I hope the Government will agree to insert, will be necessary.

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