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Wednesday, 2 June 1926

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) .- If honorable senators will turn to item 107, in the tariff as it stands, they will find that this proposed alteration affects ribbons and galoons having not more than 40 ribs to the lineal inch, and not more than 3^ inches in width. The proposal is to reduce the ribs from 48 to 40. It, will impose a heavy penalty on the general' community without, I believe, being of any assistance to local manufac turers. Those honorable senators who were here when we discussed the 1921 tariff will remember that a similar attempt was made then. I opposed theproposal, and was able to satisfy the directors of the only company in the vicinity of Melbourne that was manufacturing galoons and hat ribbons that my amendment to fix the number of ribs at 4S to the lineal inch would not interfere with their industry. After I had given the Minister and the Comptroller of Customs an assurance on this point, the amendment suggested by me was accepted. The Government pow proposes to insert the item in the form objected to in 1921. I have here some samples of the ordinary commercial ribbons used by women and children in Australia. I have made inquiries, and I find that this particular class of ribbon is not made in the Victorian factory in commercial quantities. It is a splendid factory, but it confines its operations to certain classes of ribbon, mainly those used by college students for hat bands.

Senator Foll - Do ribbons with 48 ribs to the lineal inch compete with ribbons 40 ribs to the lineal inch?

Senator PAYNE - No. One sample of ribbon which I have here is now sold at ls. 3d. a yard, but, prior to the imposition of the present duties, it was retailed at from 10½d. to lid. A second sample is now sold at 10-^d., whereas prior to these duties it was sold at 7d.

Senator Hoare - Where is that ribbon made ?

Senator PAYNE - In Britain and Switzerland mainly. Unless the Minister can assure me that Australian factories are turning out this class of ribbon in about 100 different shades to meet the requirements of the people of Australia, I shall oppose the item, and move an amendment similar to that which was accepted by the Government in 1921.

Senator Reid - Are Australian factories likely to develop and make that class of ribbon?

Senator PAYNE - No information has been given to that effect. I should like to know if they are likely to manufacture this class of ribbon.

Senator Crawford - Yes, I shall give honorable senators the information asked for.

Senator PAYNE - Is the factory manufacturing these ribbons in the shades required; and, if so, in what quantities?

Senator Crawford - It has sufficient looms to manufacture 400,000 yards annually.

Senator PAYNE - Is it manufacturing that quantity?

Senator Crawford - It has the machinery to enable it to do so.

Senator PAYNE - It is the invariable practice when manufacturers approach the Government or the Tariff Board and show that they will be able to produce 50 per cent, of the requirements of the Australian people within a specified time, to provide for a deferred duty to become operative on, say, the 1st January, 1927. Such a duty does not, however, become operative until the Government is assured that a fair proportion of our requirements is being manufactured in the Commonwealth. No such deferred duty is mentioned in this instance, and I am doubtful if any Australian factory is turning out ribbons of this particular class in sufficient quantities to meet the demand.

Senator Crawford - - Surely the honorable senator does not think the department would deliberately ' mislead the Senate.

Senator PAYNE - I am not suggesting that for a moment.

Senator Crawford - They will not produce an article until there is a demand.

Senator PAYNE - A hat-band or galoon is rather a coarse ribbon containing so many ribs to the lineal inch, and the object of defining the nature of the ribbon imported under a certain rate of duty is to protect the hat-band industry in Australia. Some ribbons do not come in under the category of hat-bands, because they are not used for that purpose.

Sena tor Drake - Brockman. - The Scotch College hat bands are imported from Switzerland.

Senator PAYNE - Tinder a duty of 50 per cent. ?

Senator Crawford - Probably they contain 41 ribs to the lineal inch.

Senator PAYNE - It would be interesting to know the number of shades that would be required to meet the requirements of Australian colleges.

Senator Crawford - This item affects only ribbed ribbons.

Senator PAYNE - That is what I am referring- to. The samples I have subnutted are of what is usually termed faille ribbon, but they have ribs, and because they come under this item they will have to pay a higher duty. The only way in which to differentiate between ordinary ribbons and hat galoons is by defining the number of ribs.

Senator McLachlan - Is not that a matter for the Customs authorities rather than this committee?

Senator PAYNE - An enormous quantity of ribbon is used in Australia, and sufficient, 1 believe, to provide ample, work for a dozen factories such as that at Collingwood.

Senator Crawford - We must make a start. We could not have a dozen factories opening on the same day.

Senator PAYNE - Of course not. I produce also, a sample of the hat galoon of the ordinary type manufactured at Collingwood, hut it is of greater width than is made there, and therefore conies in under a lower duty.

Senator McLachlan - The honorable senator is not objecting to the duty on hat-bands.

Senator PAYNE - No, but that on ordinary commercial ribbons.

Senator Crawford - I have some information which may, perhaps, be of interest to the honorable senator.

Senator PAYNE - I shall be glad to have it.

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