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Tuesday, 19 December 1911

Senator GIVENS (Queensland) - - I approve of the intention of the Government to impose a duty upon the cabinets associated with these instruments. I think that they should be taxed. But I think that the duty imposed should be the same as that imposed on furniture of other kinds. When I have said this, I find that I cannot go any further in approving this proposal, because I am totally opposed to duties of 10 and 15 per cent, on gramaphones and phonographs. These are purely revenue duties, and they will mean that money will be extracted from the users of instruments which, as Senator Symon has pointed out, give great enjoyment and amusement, especially to people in country districts. They are the means of unbounded delight, and assist, by supplying the best and most classical music, to lighten the tedious hours of the evening for people living in outside places. It is part of my fiscal faith to oppose every purely revenue duty, and I therefore intend to vote to admit gramaphones and phonographs free. If gramaphones were made in Australia, I should want duties of 35 and 40 per cent., at least. I certainly should not be content with 5 per cent. If it be desired to tax the cabinets, let them be included under the furniture item, where they will yield a higher duty. I hope the Minister will fall in with the general consensus of opinion, and allow gramaphones to be imported free of duty, whilst charging cabinets with duty as furniture.

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