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Tuesday, 19 December 1911

Senator McDOUGALL (New South Wales) (2:57 AM) . - When I moved a request for the insertion of certain words in this item a misunderstanding arose in the Committee. There was an impression that by the proposed alteration of the duties motor cars wholly made up would come in at very much less than they would do at the ad valorem rates, but that is not the case, because even now the whole of the motor car is not dutiable as it stands. The body is dutiable at a high rate, while the chassis is dutiable at a low rate, or is free. The Department, I understand, has had great difficulty because the importers of motor cars have unduly over-valued the chassis and reduced the value of the body. The fully-made-up motor car was coming in at a cheaper rate than it should have done, because of the undue over-valuing of the parts bearing the lower duty. To get over that difficulty the proposal I intend to make is to fix a certain rate for a certain car. It will not interfere at all with the ad valoremduties which are at present imposed.

Senator Ready - What duties do you propose ?

Senator McDOUGALL - I move-

That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the item by leaving out subitems (d) and (e) and inserting in lieu thereof the following : - " (d) Motor Cars, Lorries, and Waggons -

(1)   Bodies, including Dashboards, Footboards, and Mudguards, ad val. (General Tariff), 35 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 30 per cent. and on and after15th December,1911 -

(d)   Bodies of Motor Cars, Lorries, and Waggons, including Dashboards, Footboards, and Mudguards -

(1)   Single-seated Bodies, each (General Tariff),£17; (United Kingdom), £15.

(2)   Double-seated buggies, each (General Tariff), £2410s. ; (United Kingdom), £21.

(3)   Bodies with fixed or movable canopy tops, e.g., Landaulette, Limousine, Taxi-cab, and similar types, and n.e.i., each (General Tariff), £42; (United Kingdom), £36.

(e)   Chassis of Motor Cars Lorries and Waggons (but not including rubber tyres), ad val. (General Tariff), 5 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), free.

(f)   Aeroplanes, free."

The adoption of this proposal will not have the effect of altering the duty upon the finished motor car.Hitherto, some importers of these cars have been in the habit of unduly loading up those portions which were admitted free, and of reducing the values of the bodies, for the purpose of defrauding the revenue.

Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERTGOULD (New South Wales) [3.3 a.m.].I think that Senator McDougall, in placing his proposal before the Committee, has created a false impression. He has told us that the -duty which will be collected under it will be the same as that collected under the ad valorem rate. But I would point out that, under it, the same duty will be levied upon the cheaper motor cars as will be imposed upon the dearer ones. I would also point out that the Customs officers will take good care not to allow importers to unduly inflate the value of those portions of motor cars which are admitted free. They can easily ascertain the value of the chassis and the discounts which are allowed. To my mind, it would be much better to retain the item in its present form. All cars would then pay their proportionate share of duty. The chassis, I am informed, represents at least three times the value of the body of a motor car. A fixed duty would operate unfairly.

Request agreed to.

Item 392 -

(b)   Vessels n.e.i., not exceeding 400 tons gross register, arriving on and after 1st July,1912, trading intra-State or inter-State, or otherwise employed in Australian waters for any continuous period of three months, ad val (General Tariff), 30 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent.

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