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Monday, 18 December 1911

Senator NEEDHAM (Western Australia) . - The Minister's reply was, I think, very unsatisfactory. He brushed aside the query I put to him as to the reason for the deletion of sub-item g - generators for direct coupling to steam turbines. Senator Millen has stated that the real intent in passing this item in the existing Tariff was to help the mining industry. There is not the slightest doubt that under the alterations now proposed these particular machines will be dutiable at 12J per cent, or 20 per cent., according to their power, although the Minister, in reply to me, said that this would not alter the Tariff. I am troubled very little , about the question of preference. During the consideration of the 1908 Tariff, I religiously opposed preference. I should like to know the reason for the sudden change now proposed. This particular machine is not being made in Australia to such an extent as to justify the proposed increase of duty.

Senator Long - It never will be until we give sufficient protection.

Senator NEEDHAM - I answer that suggestion by saying that the duty now proposed is insufficient to establish an industry for the manufacture of these machines. If the object be to establish such an industry, I should prefer to see the duties made 20 per cent, and 40 per cent., instead of 1-2 J per cent, and 25 per cent. If the Minister can prove that these generators for direct coupling to steam turbines are being manufactured in Australia in sufficient number to supply the demand, particularly of the mining industry, I shall be prepared to vote for the item as it stands. But if they are not being made here, and the intention is to establish an industry for their manufacture, the duties now proposed are insufficient for the purpose.

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