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Wednesday, 3 October 1906

Senator CLEMONS (Tasmania) - Unless we assume a combination among the manufacturers of harvesting machinery, the clause cannot become operative. If all the manufacturers agreed upon one price, the clause would be of some value, but such a combination would be in contravention of the Australian Industries Preservation Act. I would ask the Minister to carefully consider the fact that the clause provides that the GovernorGeneral shall be satisfied that the cash prices at which the machines " are sold " exceeds the prices specified before he reduces the rate of duty. If the GovernorGeneral found that fifty machines had been sold, could he issue his proclamation? If he proposed to do any such thing, would not the manufacturers represent that, although fifty strippers, perhaps, had been sold at excessive prices, there was not the slightest intention on their part to sell any more at the higher prices. Would the Governor-General, in the face of a definite promise that no further breach would take place, still reduce the duty. Honorable senators who are anxious that protection shall be given to our local manufacturers should pay very serious attention to this provision. If it were ascertained that a certain number of machines had been sold at prices in excess of those specified, the Government for the time being might decide that the dutv should be reduced. Do any of the protectionists desire that such a result should be brought about? Yet that is the most likely thing to happen. I think that if Senator Playford recognised that the clause as it stands will not effect his object he would endeavour to alter it. There are. of course, many criticisms to be offered to it besides that of Senator Symon. One of them is suggested by Senator Trenwith, who anticipates the possibilty of the price of raw material being increased, or some other alteration of trade conditions taking place, so as to absolutely prevent the profitable manufacture of the machines at the prices set forth.

Sitting suspended from 12.17 to 12.54. a.m. (Thursday).

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