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Thursday, 18 August 1921

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN - I have: looked in vain for it. The latest proposition is to add to the more than necessarily high duty of 72s. imposed upon builders of iron homes, and sheds', and water tanks by making the rates respectively 2.5 per cent., 30 per cent., and 35 per. cent. ad valorem. If: the price of galvanized iron is £50 a ton., those rates will involve the collection of duties-, not of 72s., 90s., and 110s. respectively, but £12, £15, and £17 per ton. If the quotation should be £30 a ton, the rates will equal £8 British, £10 intermediate, and £12 general Tariff per ton. Is the request reasonable? Can reasonable legislators be asked to accede to it? Will even the high protectionist artists in, the Government accept it? The request amounts positively to. a prohibition. The effect will be to permit one firm carrying on in. Australia to secure a virtual monopoly of a commodity used by every class of Australian in every corner' of the Commonwealth. I raise my voice particularly in the interests of the man in the back-blocks. Tanks manufactured from this material are used extensively by primary producers. Notwithstanding all these facts, I look in vain for any indication from the Committee that these people are to receive the fair deal to which they are entitled:

SenatorBolton. - But you have secured a reduction in the duty on wire.

SenatorDRAKE-BROCKMAN. - Yes; a generous reduction of 8s per.ton, which is to be counteracted by increasing the duty on galvanized iron to the extent of £12 per ton. I again appeal to the Governmentshopeless' though it may be - to adhere to the duties appearing in the schedule and to take up the same attitude in. connexion- with this request as they have adopted in connexion with those for decreased duties. I. do not expect the members of this Committee to have any regard for the poor unfortunate men in the back-blocks, who, in many instances, are struggling on under adverse circumstances; but I trust thatthe appeal that I am despairingly making will meet with some consideration from the Government.

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