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Tuesday, 19 May 1936

Senator ABBOTT (New South Wales) .- On behalf of Senator Hardy, I move -

That the House of Representatives be requested to amend sub-item (b) (1), to read - "(1) In the manufacture of which Australiangrown leaf is used either wholly or part, per lb. 3s. lOd."

As I said on another occasion recently, members of the Country party desire to help tobacco-growers; but we differ to some extent from Senator Collings, inas-much as we do not approve the principle of offering enormous tariff inducements, which might lead to a recurrence of what happened under the Scullin duties, to which the honorable senator so proudly referred. At that time land increased in price to


a highly speculative figure because people took up tobacco-growing who otherwise probably would not have done so. Everybody was desperately anxious at that time to find some means to make an income, and the prospect of high returns from tobacco offered great allurements to many people who rushed unthinkingly into the industry. . Tremendous speculation took place in tobacco-growing land. But, as I said some time ago, in answer to an interjection by the Leader of the Opposition (Senator Collings), a great deal of the tobacco grown at that time is still unsold. In some instances no part of the crop of individual growers was sold. Senator Collings seems to place more value on price than on sale. It appears to me that the request which he has foreshadowed would not afford any benefit to the Australian leaf blended with imported leaf. That would be a sad result. The Government is proposing a reduction of the excise duty by 8d. per lb. The Country party desires to secure the benefit of that reduction for all Australiangrown leaf, whether used in blend or not. We believe that it would be possible to police the blending of the tobacco. Probably a hundred ways of doing so could be devised. So we urge the Government to give some encouragement to manufacturers to use an everincreasing quantity of Australian-grown leaf, both separately and in blend. Senator Collings directed attention to certain figures in relation to the industry which I had intended to use, so I shall not repeat them. I simply put it to the committee that the request which I have moved on behalf of Senator Hardy is intended to secure a benefit for all Australiangrown leaf, whether used in blend or otherwise.

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