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Wednesday, 30 June 1926

Senator PAYNE (Tasmania) .- I wish to disabuse the minds of certain honorable senators concerning the position confronting them. I can understand Senator Thompson suggesting that the committee ought to adhere to the duties it favoured on a previous occasion. We may have an opportunity of acting in that direction later. Since this matter was last under consideration, I have obtained additional information. The Minister said that if a higher duty is imposed it will be paid by the manufacturers, and not by the users of artificial silk, because of the keen competition with woollen products.

Senator Crawford - I said the competition with cotton and woollen goods.

Senator PAYNE - Artificial silk comes into keen and successful competition with pure silk material. Artificial silk is the product of a British industry.

Senator Crawford - Not solely. It is a 'big industry in other countries.

Senator PAYNE - I cannot understand the attitude of the Government in giving Britain a preference of only 5 per cent, over foreign countries. I defy any honorable senator to mention another item in the schedule where the British preferen|tial margin is so small. I have some retail price lists showing what will be the effect of the duties. One sample of artificial silk is sold at 5s. 6d. a yard, and the price for a corresponding pure silk fabric is 8s: 6d. Another artificial silk material is retailed at 10s. 6d. a yard, as against 13s. 6d. a yard for the pure silk fabric. A third sample of artificial silk is retailed at 2s, 9d. a yard, and the nearest approach to it in pure silk is 3s. lid. a yard. There is a substantial margin between these two price levels. Clearly the Australian user of the article, and not the manufacturer, will have to pay the extra duty. I hope that my amendment will be agreed to.

Senator Grant - If the committee disagrees with the modification of the House of Representatives! in the duties on this item, I shall move that the Senate adhere to its previous decision.

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