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Thursday, 18 August 1921

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) .- I am very pleased that Senator DrakeBrockman has put the true position before honorable senators. The impression was conveyed by the Minister that we had already passed an item covering wire which enters into the manufacture of wire netting, at higher rates of duty than those proposed by Senator Lynch for wire netting.

Senator de Largie - It was only a slight mistake.

Senator PAYNE - That is so; but it might have influenced the votes of honorable senators on the item with which we are now dealing. There is a difference between the consideration which should be given to the manufacture of barbed wire and that given to the manufacture of wire netting. In the first place, there was a fairly heavy duty previously on barbed wire, but in the previous Tariff wire netting was admitted free from Great Britain, and was dutiable at only 1Q per cent, in the general Tariff. In the circumstances, the duties now proposed by the Government on. wire netting - 68s., 85s., and 105s. per ton - are very heavy duties indeed. There is greater justification for the reduction of these duties than- there was for the reduction of the duties on barbed wire. Wire netting is becoming every -year more necessary in Australia to those carrying on agricultural pursuits. We should hesitate before we do anything which would be likely to impose an additional burden oni agriculturists, who have heavy enough burdens to bear at the present time. Whilst I am prepared to give every consideration to the workers engaged in ordinary industrial pursuits, I desire . that the workers following agricultural pursuits shall also be given consideration, because there are no harder workers in Australia, and no men who risk more, since they must accept the market price for their products, whether it recoups them for their expenditure or not. They cannot control the market, whereas manufacturers to a great extent can do so. If Senator Lynch had proposed a further reduction of the duties on wire netting, I believe it would be agreed to. When we come to deal with the item covering wire used in the manufacture of wire netting, we can reduce the duties proposed, and give a corresponding relief to the manufacturers of wire netting.

Senator PRATTEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Then what will the honorable senator do for the wire-drawing industry-! " Senator PAYNE.- K. is a Wry. reason; able attitude for honorable senators to take up to .consider how they oan.. give relief to the agriculturist, while at the- same time retaining the necessary, protection for the manufacture of -wire. That is what I am anxious to do.

Senator Earle - Wo have been' assured that the protection proposed is necessary for the industry.

Senator PAYNE - I consider that a duty of 55s. per ton on British imports, and .of 95s.. per ton on foreign imports, will, give sufficient protection, in view of the fact that under previous Tariffs wire netting was free from. Great Britain, and foreign imports were dutiable at only' 10 per cent.

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