Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 30 August 1921

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Repatriation) . - I do not know that I am competent either by early training; or otherwise, to enlighten Senator Lynch on the effects or merits of the Protective policy; but it seems to me that he is a little illogical in the view he has enunciated. If my memory serves m© aright, I believe I have heard staunch Protectionists, such as Senator Lynch, explain that protection was required for nursing infant industries ; but he now says that struggling industries should be allowed to fight for their existence. Such a remark might have been made by a Free Trader. If the infant industries do not require protection, and those that arewell established do not require assistance,what do we need a Tariff for ?

Senator Lynch - I am simply adopting the Government standard.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - This Tariff is being presented because it embodies the policy of this country, whose industries should be protected. If that is the policy of the country - and I believe the Government have correctly interpreted it - and there are industries that require protection, it is those in their infant stages which should be assisted. Here is one which is growing, and which produced £20,000 worth of this commodity last year.

Senator Lynch - It is only a fraction of our requirements.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Yes, and because it is small this duty is being imposed. I suggest to Senator Lynch, in all seriousness, that he cannot have it both ways.

Senator Lynch - I am putting the Ministerial practice to the test, and asking them to do the same on this as they are doing on other items.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Assurance has been given that deferred duties will not be imposed until a certain proportion of Australia's requirements have been met, and in those cases Parliament was asked for power to impose the duties on certain specified dates. In this instance Parliament is being asked to impose the duty, and it is for us to decide whether this infant industry needs protection. Are we to say, " This is an infant industry which can sink or swim, or it is robust and grown up, and- we do not care whether it succeeds or not ' ' 1

SenatorPAYNE (tasmania) [3.40).- I am prepared to accept the figures submitted by the Minister (Senator E. D. Millen) as absolutely correct. He has said that £20,000 worth of this commodity is manufactured in the Commonwealth. I am in a position to inform the Committee that on the basis of the imports of the article last year, the amount paid in duty by the people of Australia was £37,482. So that the amount collected in duty oh this article is almost double the total value of the commodity turned out in Australia. It should be borne in mind that the production of cream of tartar took place m Australia before these heavy duties were imposed. Although it might be essential to impose a heavy duty when an article can be made in sufficient quantities in Australia, that argument can scarcely apply in this instance in view of the fact that the industry was established without the advantage of a heavy duty.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I submit that the honorable senator is not entitled to say in one breath that the industry is established, and in the next that it is an insignificant and struggling industry.-

Senator PAYNE - It is an industry which turns out £20,000 worth of the commodity annually according to the Minister's figures. I suggest, for-his consideration, the reduction of the duties to Id., 2d., and 3d. per lb., and the proposal of deferred duties equal to those set out in the schedule. The adoption of that course would give those concerned in this industry encouragement to progress. Immediately it assumes anything like reasonable dimensions, and is in a position to supply 40 or 50 per cent, of the local requirements, the higher duties might be imposed.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - That is to say, when the industry no longer needs protection, the honorable senator will be prepared to give it protection.

Senator PAYNE - What is the object of deferred duties? Time after time we have agreed to- deferred duties for the protection of industries that have just been started.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - That was before the industries affected were turning out products, but in this case the product made dutiable is being turned out.

Senator PAYNE - It seems to me that to draw from the people £37,000 annually in the shape of Customs duties on this commodity is to inflict upon them an unnecessarily heavy penalty for the protection of an industry which is only producing £20,000 worth of the article annually.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I think the honorable senator should make some allowance for the substitutes that are produced.

Senator PAYNE - I am not suggesting that the substitutes should be admitted at a lower duty. Surely a duty of 3d. per lb. upon imports of this commodity from America is very heavy protection .

Suggest corrections