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Friday, 18 November 1921

Senator GARDINER (New South Wales) . - I think this is an instance in which the Minister (Senator E. D. Millen) should give way by agreeing to a duty of £2 10s. per ton instead of £3. The people most interested in this item are the proprietors of country papers, to whom an additional duty of £1 per ton means a considerable sum. During the war there was no section of the community so imposed upon as the newspaper proprietors. Paper that was selling at from £10 to £12 per ton in pre-war 'days rose to from £60 to £70 per ton during the war, and after that soared to £100 per ton. Since this duty was proposed paper has been falling in price, and supplies can now be purchased at from £21 10s. to £29 per ton. If £2 per ton was considered a fair duty when this Tariff was framed - on the ad valorem basis it would now be much less - a lower rate than that suggested should be agreed to. This is an instance in which we could submit a modified request with the idea of meeting the other House half way. I trust there will be no opposition to such a proposal, because there can be no doubt concerning the conflicting opinions which prevail on this matter. I know from information received that three honorable members who paired against these duties would have supported them if they had been voting. I move -

That the motion be amended by leaving out the words "not pressed," with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words, " modified by making the intermediate and general Tariffs, per ton, £2 10s."

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