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Thursday, 18 August 1921

Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) . - The class of pipe dealt with in sub-item a is in general use for mining purposes. The mining industry is in a low state to-day. Why, then, should the Government seek to injure it still more by increasing the cost of pipes imported from Great Britain after the 1st January next ? I understand that the manufacture of these tubes or pipes has not been undertaken in Australia.

Senator Russell - That is not so. The smaller pipes are not yet being made here, although they will shortly be produced in Australianfactories; but the larger pipes arebeing manufactured in almost all the States.

Senator GARDINER - That being so, why are the Government delaying the imposition of the duties until the beginning of next year ?

Senator Russell - The production of the smaller pipes will then be in hand.

Senator Wilson - What will be the position if they are not being manufacturedby the1st January, 1922?

Senator Russell - The duty will not be imposed ; the small pipes will still be duty free.

Senator GARDINER - Even after the manufacture has been begun, does it not appeal to honorable senators that a duty of 27½ per cent. is enormously heavy? What has the Mother Country done to deserve its imposition ? It amounts to a declaration of trade war upon Great Britain.

Senator Russell - British manufacturers get their raw material a great deal more cheaply than Australian manufacturers do.

Senator GARDINER - The reverse of that argument was advanced when the Committee was dealing with the, duties upon pig iron. I guarantee that if a vote were taken of the people of Australia, fully 80 per cent. would favour freedom of trade with Great Britain. Still, the Government will persist in imposing a rate of 27½ per cent.. It is virtually the imposition of a fine of £27 10s. upon every person who dares to trade with his Motherland to the extent of £100 worth of goods. What kind of loyalty is that? Will the Government accept a compromise if I amend my request to the effect that the British Tariff be 15 per cent. ?

Senator Russell - No.

Request negatived.

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