Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 13 May 1936

Senator LECKIE (Victoria) .- Before 1929 there was no duty on these tools, but in that year a duty of 55 per cent., British preferential tariff, was imposed. As a result of the duty the price of these articles was lower in 1934 than in 1929 when there was no duty at all, showing that the establishment of the Australian industry had reduced the prices of both locally produced and imported tools.

Senator Collings - The importers were profiteering in 1929.

Senator LECKIE - Senator Herbert Hays must have gone back to a period before 1929 to find ground for his argument. The duty of 55 per cent. was reduced to 35 per cent. in February, 1932, and in October, 1935. the rate was further reduced to 26¼ per cent. ; now it is 25 per cent. Senator Herbert Hays should be satisfied with the Minister's assurance that the prices of picks have been reduced by 34 per cent., and of slashers by 13 per cent. As the local industry has developed, prices have fallen. The honorable senator probably knows that hooks and slashers vary considerably in respect of both size and weight. Any of these tools which are not made in Australia may be imported free under by-law.

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - That is being done.

Senator Herbert Hays - No substantial part of Australia's requirements of hooks and slashers is made locally.

Senator LECKIE - The honorable Senator is wrong in saying that every farmer uses slashers. Senator Guthrie, who owns several thousands of acres of land, has never seen one. I myself have never used one on the hundreds of acres of land which I have held. Nor have I heard of a slasher being used to trim a hedge, although the appearance of some hedges suggests that slashers have been used for that purpose.

Senator Duncan-Hughes - Has the honorable senator ever seen a hedge of box-thorn ?

Senator LECKIE - In some districts box-thorn hedges are regarded as cover for rabbits and other vermin, and must be destroyed. In any case, a box-thorn hedge is an ugly thing which damages the wool on the sheep. I trust that the request will not he accepted. Although picks and mattocks were made in Australia before there was a duty on them, the making of hooks and slashers is a new industry to Australia, resulting from the imposition of duties on these tools. I have been through one of the Melbourne factories, which makes large quantities of these implements, and in the large hardware stores of Melbourne and Sydney Australianmade slashers, equal to the best slashers imported, are on sale.

Senator Herbert Hays - They could be made under a bounty.

Senator LECKIE - The point which I stress is that since the imposition of the duty, prices of these implements have fallen - by 34 per cent, in respect of picks, and by 13 per cent, in respect of hooks and slashers. The committee would be ill advised to agree to the request, which is not justified. The probable additional cost to the primary producers of this country has been exaggerated, forI understand that good slashers are handed down from generation to generation almost as an heirloom. Unless there is a vast amount of box- thorn to be destroyed, a slasher should last for many years, and, therefore, an addition of1s. or1s. 6d. to the purchase price does not representa great deal to those who use them".

Suggest corrections