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Tuesday, 19 December 1911

Question - That the request be agreed to - put. The Committee divided.

DIVISION:NOES 15 (7 majority) AYES 8 PAIRS 0

Majority ' ... ... 7





Question so resolved in. the negative.

Request negatived.

SenatorMcCOLL (Victoria) [1.31 a.m.]. - I move -

That the House of Representatives be requested to amend sub-item (b) by adding the words " and on and after - December, 1911, £1 or ad valorem 15 per cent."

I consider that the imposition of a high duty on imported works of art would be a great mistake. It would not be protective, but would necessarily be a revenue duty. As Senator E. J. Russell remarked just now, art ought to be international. We need to encourage a high standard of taste in this country, and thatcanonlydone by encouraging the importation of the best specimens of art. People who might be inclined to indulge their taste by importing fine paintings would probably be discouraged if they had to pay this heavy impost. It may be said that the United States has imposed a duty on imported works of art. It is true that under the Dingley Tariff there was a duty of 20 per cent., but under the latest American Tariff the duty has been reduced to 15 per cent. It must be remembered also that there was a peculiar reason which probably influenced Congress in imposing that duty. We know the craze that many American wealthy people have for buying the works of old masters, statuary and artistic curiosities from Europe. The duty operated as a revenue impost to a very large extent, Congress thinking that such persons ought to be made to contribute to the revenue if they chose to indulge their fancy in this manner. Another point to be remembered is that if people coming to reside in Australia wish to bring their paintings with them they ought to be permitted to do so. In many cases paintings are family heirlooms.

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