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Tuesday, 22 November 1910

Senator FINDLEY (Victoria) (Honorary Minister) . - The observations of Senator St. Ledger are calculated to leave the impression that there is a desire on the part of the Government to impose burdens on the poorer classes of the community. We do not desire to do anything of the kind. The reason for the differentiation in the case of laces is this : There are in Australia many women, some of them in poor circumstances, and some of them rather better off, who are busily engaged in the making of laces which are utilized for the manufacture of apparel. Laces over 18 inches in width will be dutiable at 15 and 10 per cent. When Senator St. Ledger innocently pointed out that that would give an advantage to members of the better placed section of the community in that they would be able to have nicer flounces on their dresses than could persons in less happy circumstances, he spoke beside the question, because the duty neither affects the quantity nor the quality. If a person with not a very large purse wishes to purchase lace over 18 inches in width, she will be able to do so on the same terms as any one else.

Senator Millen - Which section of the community the more freely uses 18-inch lace?

Senator FINDLEY -These matters were considered exhaustively when the general Tariff was under review, and it was with a view to give facilities to all sections of the community that a width was stipulated, because lace's over 18 inches wide could come in as piece goods. It is not intended to do an injustice to the poor or the wealthy.

Senator St LEDGER - I know that it is not, but it will.

Senator FINDLEY - They will all be placed in exactly the same position except in regard to laces over 18 inches wide. But in regard to ether laces it gives a measure of protection to a number of persons throughout Australia. By allowing laces over 18 inches to come under the lower duty we do not impose a disability on any person-.

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