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Wednesday, 13 August 1902

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The honorable member is always talking of quality. I remember that upon a certain occasion a pair of boots was produced in this chamber, the soles of which consisted, for the most part, of cardboard. They had been purchased in a boot shop in Melbourne, and no doubt were sold cheaply under the protective system. It would be much better for the purchaser to be able to obtain a good pair of boots.

Mr Mauger - They were purchased in Sydney.

Mr. SYDNEYSMITH.I am coming to that matter. The following night another pair of boots was exhibited, which, it was said, had come from a certain firm in Sydney. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports told me that they were made by the Sydney Co-operative Boot Company.

Mr Mauger - I have a sworn affidavit to that effect.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I caused the matter to be investigated, and a gentleman who took the trouble to inquire into it on my behalf received a letter stating that the Co-operative Boot Company - which consists of a body of workmen - never turned out a boot at the price quoted. They sent him a pair of boots sold at 5s. 3d. or 5s. 6d., which they said was the cheapest made by them. Those boots were very different from the pair exhibited by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports. It seems to me that the pair exhibited by my honorable friend opposite could not have been obtained from Sydney and shown here on the night following that upon which the first pair was produced.

Mr Mauger - The boots were bought three months before.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Imagine a pair of boots of that description being held for three months. If the honorable member had examined the boots he would have seen that they were never made to sell. If they were they were certainly a disgrace to the maker.

Sir William McMillan - They were made in Victoria.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Of course. I believe they were made for the occasion in order to help . the Government to carry the duty proposed by them. Although the Victorian manufacturers have had their own market secured to them, and the markets of New South Wales open to their goods, the boot manufacturers of New South Wales have been able without any protection to turn out a cheaper and a better class of boots, and to manufacture them in greater numbers. I think the honorable member for Melbourne Ports must admit that to impose such a heavy duty as 'that proposed by the Government will be to inflict a great hardship on the general body of the people. Only a few evenings ago an honorable member sitting on the Government side of the House told me that since the imposition of the duty he had been called upon to pay 5s. 6d. per pair more for his boots than he had previously paid for them in Sydney. I admit that the Senate has not gone far enough. If I had my way I should make all boots free. "When we had free boots in New South Wales they were cheap.

Mr Mauger - Made of brown paper !

Mr JOSEPH COOK (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I went through a factory the other .day and was told by the manager that he sent nearly all his boots to Melbourne.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) - No doubt all the boot manufacturers will have to go to New South Wales. They will be able to produce better boots in Sydney than they can do here, judging by the class of machinery that the manufacturers of Sydney have been using, as compared with that employed in Victoria. Good machinery has been shut out of Victoria, owing to the- heavy duties, with the result that the people cannot afford to buy the best class. If the cement industry established in my own electorate had been started after the introduction of the Tariff, and if the duty originally proposed by the Government had been passed, it would have cost those engaged in that industry over £15,000 for duty on the machinery required to commence operations. I raise my protest against the Government proposal. I know it is useless to do so at the present time, but I hope that the time will come when the people will have an opportunity of speaking on the question. I believe that this policy which has been adopted, contrary to the Maitland speech, will work seriously against the best interests of the Commonwealth, and I enter my protest against the iniquities of the Government.

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