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Tuesday, 22 March 1904

Mr DEAKIN - I have not yet seen the return in question, but I am quite prepared to accept the statement of the honorable member as to what it discloses. It is perfectly possible, by selecting particular imports from Great Britain, to show any average of duty ranging, from 100 per cent, down to nothing. It is only necessary to select narcotics and stimulants in order to produce an average duty as high as you like, or by selecting free goods to reduce the average as low as as you like. Any average between these two extremes can be obtained by a selection of articles upon which varying rates of duty have to be paid- I have never attached any value to the 7 per cent, calculation, except that placed upon it by the British Board of Trade, which made it, viz., as showing the average duty paid upon the products named in the return.

Mr DUGALD THOMSON (NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) - That was based upon the average production of Great Britain.

Mr DEAKIN - Yes. The calculation of the Board of Trade was indisputable. I have stated on many platforms that by making another combination of goods an entirely different percentage might be shown. The value of the return lay in the fact that the Board of Trade considered that the articles named represented the principal British exports.

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