Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Wednesday, 3 October 1906

In Committee :

Clauses 1 to 3 agreed to.

Clause 4 -

If the Governor-General is satisfied that the cash prices at which stripper harvesters and drills manufactured in Australia are sold exceeds the prices hereunder set out he may by proclamation reduce the rate of duty specified in the schedule in respect of stripper harvesters, but so that the reduction shall not reduce the rate of duty below one-half the rate of duty imposed by this Act.

Senator. Sir JOSIAHSYMON (South Australia) [10.46]. - This clause has already been discussed at considerable length in connexion with the question of whether it is an excrescence on the Bill. I now propose to move an amendment with the object of insuring that it shall have some real effect. It is intended by this measure to impose duties of Customs which shall restrain, limit, or, it may be, altogether prohibit the introduction of harvesters into the Commonwealth. The protection given to the local manufacturers is to be given subject to a. penalty. It is provided that the Australian manufacturers who sell their machines at or under the prices which are specified, are to have the benefit of freedom from competition. If they do not sell at or under these prices, they are to be exposed to competition from abroad. That is the penalty, and it would be a very effective one if the provision in the Bill were of a workable character. The clause provides that if the Governor-General is satisfied that the cash prices at which stripperharvesters and drills manufactured in Australia are sold exceeds the prices set out, he may by proclamation reduce the rate of duty. Now, what is meant by the cash prices at which the machines are sold? By whom are they to be sold, and how many are to be sold before the GovernorGeneral is to issue his proclamation? Is one stripper-harvester, or are all to be sold at prices in excess of those mentioned before the Governor-General is to take action. I believe in the principle embodied in the clause, so far as it goes. I agree that the users of the machines ought certainly not to be penalized by having to pay an increased price, thus multiplying the profits of the makers. But provision for this must be made in some definite form. It would be absolutely impossible to accomplish the object held in view by means of the provision now in the Bill. I think that the benefit proposed to be conferred upon the farmer ought not to be postponed until next year - until the off season, when none of these machines are sold. The reduced prices should be brought into operation at once. There would be no harm in making such a provision, because we have been told by honorable senators opposite that the machines are now being sold at the prices stipulated in the Bill.


Senator Playford - The honorable senator could accomplish his object by striking out the words, " on and after the 1st February, 1907."


Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - No. That would have the effect of making the reduced prices operative at once, but clause 4 would not be operative at all. The Governor-General would never know when he could issue a proclamation. We are imposing increased Customs duties upon stripper-harvesters, and we are declaring that the local manufacturers shall not derive the benefit of the duty if their machines are sold at prices in excess of those we mentioned. Therefore, I say that the Governor-General should be empowered to do what the clause provides, namely, to reduce the import duty, unless all stripperharvesters and drills manufactured in Australia are, after the passing of the Act. sold at prices not exceeding those stipulated. I therefore intend to move that the following words be substituted for those now in the clause: -

Unless the Governor-General is satisfied that no stripper harvesters or drills manufactured in Australia are, after the passing of this Act, sold at cash prices exceeding the prices hereunder set out, he shall by proclamation reduce the rate of duty specified in the schedule, &c.

In order to test the feeling of the Committee in regard to my proposition, I move in the first instance -

That the word " If," line 1, be left out.

In .the event of that amendment being carried, I shall move the further amendment which I have suggested.


Senator Sir Richard Baker - I thought that the honorable and learned senator intended to ask the Committee to strike out the clause.


Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON - I shall oppose the clause even if amended.







Suggest corrections