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Wednesday, 23 November 1921

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Repatriation) . - Senator Keating said that another place had not made any concession; and if he measured that by time, I would perhaps be inclined to support his remark. The honorable, senator will have noticed that another proposal is involved in the suggested modification. The position seems to be that both Houses have agreed on the desirableness of imposing a duty to encourage shipbuilding in Australia; but a doubt seems to exist as to what date should be fixed in order, to protect the industry, and at the same time to refrain from penalizing those who have ordered, vessels. That was the chief argument adduced before, and in order to meet that position ,the Government have exempted ships over 500 tons' ordered before 11th October, 1921. It is immaterial' when the vessels are delivered provided the orders were placed before 11th October, 1921. For the rest, it is provided that, in respect of vessels ordered after that date, and which do not reach here within that time, a duty must be imposed. That is a fair compromise. That has a very important bearing on the question, and I believe the other House endeavoured to meet the situation.

Senator Lynch - Cannot the date be extended to 1924?

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - That is really what the other place has done, but they did not make the division this Committee did. Irrespective of the date of delivery, all vessels ordered before the date of the Senate's request will be* admitted free, and if orders are not placed in Australia they can be placed abroad, but if they are not fulfilled within a. certain date a duty must be imposed. This is an important industry, employing only male- labour, and one which should be protected by the Tariff.

Senator Reid - It is our most important industry.

Senator E D MILLEN (NEW SOUTH WALES) - It is difficult to institute a comparison, but it is one of great importance to Australia. We should, therefore, give it protection,' particularly when there is so much unemployment.

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