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Tuesday, 19 December 1911

Senator McGREGOR (South AustraliaVicePresident of the Executive Council) . - There seems to be good reason in what Senators Symon and Fraser have said. The Government have no desire to put an unnecessary tax on those who are living far away from what we are pleased to call the centres of civilization. It must be remembered that gramaphone records, which were dutiable, are now made free. The unassembled parts of a gramaphone are made free, and the duties of 10 and 5 per cent. are to be left on only the finished gramaphone. The result will be that, if the instrument comes in in that form, the duties will be practically levied on the valuable cabinet. I am led to believe that it frequently comes in in that way, notwithstanding what Senators Barker and Symon have said. Senator St. Ledger always gets up with a halo of wisdom to make statements as if he knew everything. I wish to inform him that violins are imported in parts, and assembled here, so that he does not know everything. It is quite possible to assemble here the parts of gramaphones, and that might ultimately lead to the local manufacture of them. It can be done, and I believe that it would be done if the item were carried as it has been amended. I would rather be at a little distance from a gramaphone at any time. I am fond of the' pipes, but I cannot say that I am fond of the gramaphone.

Senator Sir Josiah Symon - Probably you have never heard a good one.

Senator McGREGOR - I dare say that I have heard the best gramaphone which has been imported into Australia. I have heard on the gramaphone Madame Melba, Harry Lauder, and many other good singers. These amendments are put forward for the purpose of correcting the difficulty of making the completed instrument pay 10 and 5 per cent., and not allowing the parts to come in free. Under our proposal, the records and the parts will be free, and consequently the duty on the enriched cabinet will be much more than 10 and 5 per cent., because the duty on the whole instrument will fall on that.

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