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Thursday, 18 August 1921

Senator LYNCH (Western Australia) . - In this case we are asked to impose a duty in order to encourage an industry that does not yet exist. I have heard many reasons stated for. duties, but this item is exceptional. It is a gem! But I recognise some merit in. a proposal of the kind, provided it is properly safeguarded. We have heard of the necessity of protecting; infant industries, youthful' industries, and able-bodied adult industries: We have imposed duties in the case- of the ableBodied industries which have not only settled competition within our own borders, but have been the means of giving a " knockout blow " to competitors in the outside open market. Protection, of course, has also been given to the infant and youthful industries, but now we are asked to protect an industry which . is only in the gestation period, .and in regard to which we do not know what may happen.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I understand that this industry is in course of creation.

Senator LYNCH - We have only the word of the Minister (Senator Bussell), and we know how optimistic he is as to what is going to happen in the manufacturing field. We are building our case for protection on too expansive a foundation, and, as. I have said, I cannot give a duty in the present instance unless adequate safeguards are provided. I realize that it is very necessary to afford encouragement to men who have the inclination and will to establish industries of the kind, but I do not approve of giving encouragement to weakling industries, as that would only mean additional taxation without any compensating advantages. I suggest, and I shall move if the suggestion is not accepted, that until this industry supplies one-third of the requirements of the Commonwealth no duty shall be imposed. I do not desire to leave the field open for adventurers to start some tin-pot enterprise which, with the help of the duty, will supply only a fraction of our requirements, while imposing a tax on the general community. Manufacturers under Protection are growing fatter a-nd fatter, while the poor wretches who buy their commodities are growing leaner and leaner. Shortly .the manufacturers' circumference will be such that they will not be able to see their boots, while the gaunt figures of the consumers will become so thin as to be unable to cast a shadow.

Senator Russell - The stipulation as to one-third is ridiculous, because it would mean a tax-without any corresponding benefit. .

Senator LYNCH - Then what proportion would the Minister suggest ?

Senator Russell - I .guarantee it would be more than the honorable senator suggests. 1

Senator LYNCH - Then I should like to see the proportion stated in the Tariff.

Senator Russell - The sole desire of the Government is to be fair to the manufacturer. If protection is given, up to 66 per cent., the honorable senator might well favour such an offer.

Senator LYNCH - I would be verywell content to accept that. As usual it appears ,that I have been too modest. All I desire is to make certain- that until, say, 60 per cent, of the requirements of the Commonwealth are supplied by local enterprises the duty shall be withheld.

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