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Tuesday, 23 August 1921

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Repatriation) . - I gather that Senator Lynch does not wish to vary the duties on parts, but desires to have it set forth in the schedule that the duties to which they are liable shall be the same as those upon the parent machine. The honorable senator seeks to establish an inconsistency, seeing that, in certain of the later items, the parts are individually set out. For instance, upon strippers there is a preferential duty of £6 each. Then the rates upon metal parts for stripper harvesters and the like are indicated at so much per lb. It would be ridiculous to say, in that instance, that the parts should also pay £6 each. Similarly, with respect to sewing machines, there has been a departure from the ad valorem principle. In the original schedule, the rates were, respectively, free, 5 per cent. and 10 per cent. From the 1st January next, however, the duties are to be £2 10s., £3, and £3 10s. No one would expect the parts of an ordinary sewing machine for each machine to carry such Customs imposts. Senator Lynch has had an assurance, which I am pleased to repeat, that parts, unless provided for elsewhere, shall bear duties similar to those imposed upon the machines to which they belong. The principle is laid down in the Customs Act. Section 140 reads -

(1)   Whenever any dutiable goods are composed of two or more separate parts, any part, though imported by itself, shall, if so directed by the Minister, be chargeable with duty at the rate applicable to the complete goods.

(2)   When the duty on the complete goods is specific, or both specific and ad valorem, the Minister may fix the proportionate rate of duty with which any part shall be chargeable.

That long-established practice has not aroused any considerable grievance, and I suggest that this Committee should give it its approval.

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