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Thursday, 7 October 1971
Page: 2103


Mr COPE (Sydney) - I listened very attentively to the remarks of the honourable member for Grayndler (Mr Daly). I wish to speak on 3 subjects on these estimates. The honourable member for

Grayndler explained the policy of the Labor Party in regard to tariffs which are designed for the purpose not only of maintaining the jobs of Australians but also of making sure that jobs are available each year for school leavers. The honourable member remarked also that there are a couple of free traders on the Government side. There is no doubt about that. They are the honourable member for Wakefield (Mr Kelly) and the honourable member for Corangamite (Mr Street). The honourable member for Wakefield stated that approximately 28 per cent only of the Australian work force are engaged in secondary industry. But what the honourable member did not tell the Committee is that other workers are engaged in industries ancilliary to secondary industry and that these ancilliary industries depend on the manufacturing industries for their very existence.

Strange to relate, as the honourable member for McMillan pointed out quite rightly - I have mentioned this matter before time after time in this Committee - the past immigration programme has depended and the future immigration programme still is depending on secondary industries to provide employment for new settlers coming to Australia. Fewer people are engaged in primary industry today than were engaged in primary industry before World War II. No employment is to be found in primary industry for new Australian settlers. So, where else are we to find employment for these people except in secondary industry? Let me take one industry as an example. I refer to the textile industry which, without a doubt, is the most decentralised industry in Australia. It provides employment for many people in country and rural centres. Strange to relate, at Lismore in the electorate of the Minister for Trade and Industry (Mr Anthony), who is the Deputy Prime Minister, there is a huge clothing factory. I venture to say that he would be the last man in this House who would like to see that factory in Lismore close down as a result of the free trade policy advocated by 2 Government members opposite. That factory at Lismore provides employment for many people as well as for school leavers in that district.

Let us look at some of the prices charged for articles made overseas. I was in Tai wan less than 3 years ago. On leaving the airport there, I went through the trade centre where goods were duty free. Quite a number of good quality shirts were on sale there for 90c each, in Australian currency. It would be absolutely foolish for anyone to believe that such an article could be produced in Australia for that price. In Australia we have provisions for long service leave, compulsory annual leave and adequate sick leave and compensation. Those provisions must be protected. They can be protected only by tariffs. No Government member is opposed to those industrial entitlements; if he were he would say so at election time. If he opposed them in his electorate, I have no doubt that he would be defeated.

The facts are - and we must always remember this - that our Australian industrial conditions and our social service benefits are entirely dependent on secondary industry. For example, until recently payroll tax was the sole means of paying for child endowment in Australia. That field of taxation has been passed on to the States but the proceeds will still come from secondary industries. Hardly one penny has been contributed by the primary industries by way of payroll tax to keep child endowment going.

It is very interesting to see that every time the honourable member for Wakefield (Mr Kelly) speaks on tariffs he does not offer an alternative. He says that we would still have employment in Australia even if we had almost a free trade policy. Is there any country in the world that has a system of free trade? Of course there is not. The United States has a very strict tariff policy, particularly against the entry of Australian wool. This policy has been instituted by the United States simply for the purpose of protecting its own synthetic industries. As mentioned by the honourable member for Reid (Mr Uren), over the period of 20 years since 1950-51, the United Kingdom has a credit of $7,500 and the United States of America a credit for $6,500 on current account. It has been mentioned here that international trade should always be a 2-way street - that is to say, we must buy from the people who buy from us. This philosophy is quite right provided we practise what we preach. When we trade with the United Kingdom and the United States, at least we are doing something to implement the 2-way street policy. That is all right. But why has the Government not reminded the United States and the United Kingdom of their reciprocal obligation because both have been living off our backs as far as trade is concerned for the last 2 decades?

I believe that if we want to implement the proper tariff policy we must do so in relation to the United States and the United Kingdom. I believe that we could improve our trade with Japan and that Japan could buy more from us if we bought from that country more goods that are not manufactured in Australia and the importation of which would not be to the detriment of the employment of Australians. In such circumstances we would need to take less from the United States. That country could afford such an arrangement because it has had in its favour a 2 to 1 balance of trade with Australia for many, many years. The same thing applies to the United Kingdom.

These matters must be taken into consideration when we talk about trade. Firstly, we must practise what we preach and try to get those to whom we sell goods to buy more from us if they have a favourable trade balance with us. In respect of imports from low wage countries we must always protect Australian industries particularly from unemployment, and in addition those amenities I mentioned, social and industrial.







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