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Monday, 18 December 1911

Senator PEARCE (Western AustraliaMinister of Defence) . - The insertion of the word "service" before the word- " fittings" will have the effect of bringing all other fittings under the heading of " manufactures of metals," where they will be dutiable at a much higher rate. So far as service fittings are concerned, they will be made at the Lithgow Rifle Factory, and we hope that it will not be necessary to import them at all after a time. As regards other fittings, although there are no rifle factories in the Commonwealth, we have a number of substantial establishments in which fittings for rifles, and especially rifle sights, are being manufactured to-day. As Senator Gardiner has said, there are several Australian patents for rifle sights. It is only right that these industries should receive the same protection as others of a kindred character. The idea in mind when the existing Tariff item was passed was that these articles would be required for defence purposes. As a matter of fact, they are not required for defence purposes at all, and there is no reason why fittings other than service fittings should be placed in a favoured position and admitted free.

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