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Tuesday, 23 August 1921


Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Repatriation) . - In a broad sense the arguments addressed to this item will naturally follow those raised in connexion with item 161. I shall be correct in assuming further, I think, that the verdict of the Committee will be the same. An opportunity is thus provided to save time, and so, perhaps, make more progress with the schedule this evening than might otherwise be expected. I propose to devote attention at this moment to one point only. The British and general duties upon the machinery covered by this item have been 20 per cent. since 1908. Now, however, duties have been imposed upon iron; and, although the manufacturer of agricultural implements has had to carry that impost, Senator Wilson proposes that he shall endeavour to make headway with a reduction of the Protective duties. The request is rather unreasonable.


Senator THOMAS (NEW SOUTH WALES) - The higher rates previously ruling may have been more than were justifiable.


Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Possibly, but probably not. The question whether 20 per cent. is too high is answered by the figures relating to' local production, which indicate that the manufacture of the articles mentioned in this item has been stationary or even receding. I ask the Committee to consider whether to drop from 20 per cent. to 15 per cent., plus the impost now levied by the duties on iron, is giving this industry the same measure of protection as is generally given by this Tariff.


Senator Lynch - Then you must restore the ratio.


Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I imagined the Government were doing that when they imposed these duties. It seems to me that the proposed 221/2 per cent., in view of the duty on iron, is a fair proposal, and for that reason I ask the Committee to say whether the duty which the industry has enjoyed for thirteen years, and which has to carry a further impost, should not be allowed to stand.







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