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Wednesday, 14 March 1928

Senator GUTHRIE - I am pleased to accept Senator Duncan's assurance that he did not make the remarks that I certainly thought I heard him make about British manufacturers, but I think other honorable senators will agree with my version of what he said. He even mentioned a foreign name in this connexion.

Senator Duncan - My remarks applied to some, but not to British manufacturers generally.

Senator GUTHRIE - I am in favour of the ad valorem duties and of some flat rate; I am in favour of giving Australian manufacturers of socks adequate protection in the hope that they will build up the industry. Senator Greene hit the nail on the head when he pointed out that while we were giving Australian manufacturers protection on the finer lines, they needed it on the larger and cheaper bread-and-butter lines to enable them to establish their industries and profitably carry on.

Mr GREENE (NEW SOUTH WALES) - That can only be done by imposing a flat rate.

Senator GUTHRIE - Yes ; up to a point, but in the item under consideration the flat rate amounts to a duty of 200 per cent, against Great Britain in the case of certain lines.

Mr GREENE (NEW SOUTH WALES) - The socks in respect of which it was said that that was the amount of the duty were of Japanese manufacture.

Senator GUTHRIE - I should have said that the duty amounts to over 100 per cent, against British socks; mathematicians close by tell me that it is 150 per cent. At any rate, it is a very high rate' for cotton socks, and I should like to see some slight modification of it. I am very anxious that Australia should be able to build up secondary industries, particularly to supply its own requirements, but I resent imputations against the honesty of British manufacturers. I want to point out how much Ave owe the Mother country. How can we expect her to finance us and protect us if we put up a tariff wall which will prevent us from buying anything from her? "We expect her to buy 60 per cent, of our products every year, and we must take goods from her in return. We do not want gold; we export gold.

Senator Crawford - We are buying goods from Great Britain.

Senator GUTHRIE - Yes, but if we impose too high a tariff wall we shall make the importation of goods prohibitive.

Senator CRAWFORD -rWe did the same in regard to certain classes of woollen goods last week.

Senator GUTHRIE - The Minister is referring to the duties on light worsteds. In that case there was sufficient evidence to show that they were being dumped here below the cost of yarn and material. That was sufficient proof to me that the yarns of which they were made were made on the continent of Europe. If I can be convinced that cotton socks imported from Great Britain are produced whole or in part in foreign countries I shall not care how high the tariff is. My object is to foster trade within the Empire, and I do not care how high the tariff may be against foreign countries, particularly those that do not buy produce from us. I cannot support Senator Payne's request, but if a request is put forward to make the flat rate a little more moderate than it is now, I shall support it.

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