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Tuesday, 19 May 1936

Senator A J McLACHLAN (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) (Postmaster-General) . - I take it that the request is based on the ground that a weight of 3 oz. per sq. yd. is shown in the board's findings in regard to undyed materials. In examining the duties on tweeds, drills, &c., the board was confronted with the problem of framing an item which would, as far as possible, be devoid of administrative difficulties. In the past, trouble was experienced with items providing for protective duties on cotton tweeds. The term " cotton tweeds " has such a varied implication in the trade that it was found impossible to name the classes of goods covered by it. In an endeavour to overcome the difficulty, the board prescribed the uses which determined the liability of dyed or coloured woven cotton piece goods to protective duties. The weight limit of 3 oz. suggested by the board had previously applied to cotton tweeds, which are woven from dyed yarn, whereas drills, duck, dungarees and jeans are dyed in the piece. The weight limit which the board intended should apply to drills, duck, dungarees and jeans is revealed by its recommendation that protective duties be imposed on bleached or unbleached materials, weighing over 6 oz., and less than18 oz. per sq. yd.

Had the weight limit on cotton drills, &c., been established at 3 oz. for dyed materials, and 6 oz. for undyed materials, merchants could have imported bleached or unbleached material in the heavier weights at the low revenue rates, and had the dyeing done locally, thus defeating the protection. The same position would apply were the weight for dyed materials established at 41/2 oz. Moreover, experience has shown that most of the cloths weighing 6 oz. or less per sq. yd. are in demand for the manufacture of garments which cannot be termed outerwear, and that local production has been almost wholly confined to materials weighing over 6 oz. per sq. yd.

The Tariff Board reported that canvas, drill, duck, dungarees and jeans weighing 6 oz. or less per sq. yd. should be admitted at the low revenue rates which applied under the Customs Tariffs 1933, and, accordingly, in the interests of administration, I cannot agree to the request. If there is anythingin the contention of Senator Foll regarding the transposition of trade, the Government will take that point into consideration.

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