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Wednesday, 2 June 1926

Senator FINDLEY (Victoria) . - It would appear, from the information given by the Minister, that the duties previously operative in respect of this item were essentially revenue-producing, and handicapped the users or wearers of certain articles that were not made in Australia. I see no necessity for the duties at all. According to a previous government there was apparently some justification for the higher dirties.

Senator DRAKE-BROCKMAN (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) - Brockman. - There have been reductions in many items of the schedule, amounting in all to about £750,000.

Senator Crawford - In this item there has been a reduction of 20 per cent.

Senator FINDLEY - During the second-reading debate I declared that, as a protectionist, I was prepared to give every encouragement, by means of tariff items, to the establishment of industries in Australia, but I did not favour the imposition of duties purely for revenue purposes. The suggested reduction in these items strengthens my view that this Government is not a protectionist Government at all, for whilst it is prepared to increase duties to encourage Australian industries it is also anxious to impose duties, in. respect of articles that are not made in Australia, in order to increase the revenue. The higher duties which were operative until last September, penalized a section of the community, especially women folk. The Minister says that the Government is anxious now to remove those penalities by reducing the duties, but as heavier importations will lead to further revenue, I cannot see my way clear to whole-heartedly support revenue duties. If none of the articles included in this item are likely to be made in Australia I shall not favour the imposition of any duty on them. I should like to know what revenue was received in duties on these items prior to September last, and what revenue the Government anticipates receiving under the proposed new scale of duties. In the absence of any such information I, like other honorable senators, am handicapped. I am not anxious to assist the Government to impose essentially revenue duties.

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