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Tuesday, 5 August 1930


Senator E B JOHNSTON (Western Australia) . - I am opposed to the bill and I am sorry that the Government has seen fit to introduce it. There is no justification for a bounty on sewing machines manufactured in Australia. If a bounty is to be given in this instance, it should be given to every secondary industry. The Government has failed to make a case in justification of this bounty. A bounty on sewing machines is no more justified than a bounty on tin billy cans, pannikins, and1 sausage machines. It would be preferable to grant a bounty on the whole of the sewing done on the machines. It has been stated that the price of the imported sewing machine is £19 4s. cash, and that the Australian machine is to be sold at £15 15s.


Senator Payne - At from £15 15s. to £17 10s.


Senator E B JOHNSTON - The Singer machine is sold for £19 4s. cash, or £24 on terms.' On the sale of each machine a commission of £5 is paid to the district agent. The company indulges in expensive advertising and has to bear the cost- of a 'door-to-door canvass throughout Australia. It makes handsome allowances ' for old .machines that are traded in, and it provides an efficient, service for some years after a machine has been purchased. The Government has emphasized the fact that this machine costs £19 4s. cash, and is, therefore, an expensive machine, but it is, of course, carrying many burdens such as commission, advertising and service, The thrifty housewife is able to purchase both English and American makes of machines at a much lower price than £19 4s. and indeed at a very much lower price than that at which the machine manufactured at Bendigo is to be sold. At the present time there are a large number of cheaper machines available to the housewife who is prepared to purchase at a store. I therefore can see no reason why the people of this country should pay a bounty of £2 a head on the production of sewing machines to enable them to be sold at from £15 15s. to £17 10s, I also strongly object to the proposed increase of duty to £3 per head. I have with me a little handbook entitled Memories. It is issued by McWhirters,

Limited, The Valley, Brisbane. lt refers to the home where mother is queen and says that "The Valley5" sewing machine occupies a very important position in every home. The price of the "New Valley A" sewing machine is £12 12s. complete, freight paid.


Senator Guthrie - Where is that machine manufactured ?


Senator E B JOHNSTON - It is an imported machine. The handbook does not say whether it is American or British. The price of the " Valley A. G." machine is £13 13s. complete, freight paid.


Senator Dunn - Is it a German machine?


Senator E B JOHNSTON - I understand that it is an American machine which is specially made for McWhirters Limited, of Brisbane. The price of the " New Valley B " sewing machine is £14 14s. complete, freight paid. The price of the "Valley Central Bobbin" machine is £15 l'5s. complete, freight paid. The "Valley Special" sewing machine is a four drawer oak cabinet ball-bearing drop head machine. The stand is on castors. The machine is manufactured by the New Home Machine Company, and the price complete .is £9 18s. 6d., freight paid.


Senator Dunn - That machine is made by the Jugo Slavs.


Senator E B JOHNSTON - The honorable senator is entirely wrong. It is an American machine. I have also the ' price list of sewing machines sold by Anthony Horderns. The "Hordernia " drop-head machine is quoted at £10 10s. The woodwork is of quarter sawn polished oak and the machine has ball-bearings and other conveniences: Tye and Company Proprietary Limited, of Melbourne and suburbs, advertise the "Tyanko" sewing machine at £13 15s., terms arranged. A. W. ' Dobbie and Company Limited, of Adelaide and Perth, sell a special "Dobbie" machine at £12 15s., on a deposit of £1 and 52 weekly payments of 5sl


Senator Hoare - Where is that machine made ?


Senator E B JOHNSTON - The catalogues do not contain that information. While in Sydney yesterday, I saw an English sewing machine that was purchased by its owner since the war for £1111s. The advertisements from which I have quoted do not state where the machines are manufactured; hut they include both English and American machines. I have just ascertained that the McWhirter machines are manufactured by the New Home Sewing Machine Company of America.. Another Queensland advertisement announces that the " Tritonia " sewing machine may be purchased for £11 10s. on special terms - £3 deposit with order and £1 monthly, from F. Tritton Limited, of 260 George-street, Brisbane. I turn now to advertisements relating to machines sold by David Jones Limited, Sydney. Model D. J.40 is on sale at £15 19s. cash, and Model D.J.20 at £15 cash. On many occasions during the year these machines can be secured by carefulbuyers at much below advertised prices. The Daily Telegraph Pictorial, Sydney, of 11th July, publishes an advertisement by David Jones announcing an extraordinary offer of 60 treadle machines, four drawers, drophead models', for £1211s. cash, reduced from £15. These figures prove conclusively . that prices for sewing machines quoted by the Assistant Minister and Government supporters were misleading because, as I have already stated, the retail price of £19 4s. for the Singer sewing machine includes costs of door-to-door canvassing, allowance on trade-in machines, commissions, &c. Housewives may obtain machines of excellent quality for from £10 10s. upwards.

Although I was impressed by the incursion of one or two honorable senators into the realms of poetry, their efforts did not inspire me to emulate their example ; but when Senator Dunn was speaking I could not help recalling the parable spoken by the Great Teacher ' when he said - " Behold, a sower went forth to sow." In Australia there are many people engaged in the occupation of sowing, and I take this opportunity to remind the Government and its supporters that the sowers in our primary industries are contributing well over £500,000 a year in bounties to protect our secondary industries. If the Government, in continuance of its present policy, brings forward every week,, and some times two or three times a week, bills for the payment of bounties on the products of secondary industries, I am afraid that soon the sower in our primary industries will no longer be able to follow his timehonoured calling, because of the burdens imposed upon him. If to-day there arose a modern prophet, and in these times of equality of the sexes that prophet might be a woman, he or she would probably say, "Behold, a sewer: she went forth to sew." Housewives in all Australian homes in rural as well as urban areas are busily engaged in sewing. This essential part of their domestic duties should not be interfered with by the addition of a financial burden in the way of higher costs on the household machine. The new duty of £3 plus a bounty of £2 on each sewing machine head is altogether too much.


Senator Rae -Will every woman be required to buy a new machine?


Senator E B JOHNSTON - No, but every day young people throughout the country are making new homes; and one of their first requirements is a modern sewing machine which, as I have shown, may be purchased from £1111s. upwards. We are told further in the parable that when the sower went forth to sow, " some seeds fell by the wayside." I trust that this bill will be one of the Government measures to "fall by the wayside." I hope that the Senate will reject it and thus prevent another burden from' being imposed upon the Australian woman in her home.







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