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Monday, 18 December 1911

Senator McGREGOR (South Australia) (Vice-President of the Executive Council) . - Since generators of this kind have had a little protection they have been manufactured here, and high-speed engines up to 200 horse- power have also been manufactured here. It is hardly reasonable to expect that generators for direct coupling to steam turbines should be manufactured here, when they are duty free under the existing Tariff. But there is no> reason why they should not be manufactured here. If we impose duties of 20 and 25 per cent, on these machines up to 200 horse-power, and 12 £ and 17 J per cent, above 200 horse-power, the extra weight,, massiveness, and awkwardness of the machines of the higher power will equalize theduties of 25 and 20 per cent, proposed for machines of under 200 horse-power, I hope that these duties will lead to this industry being developed in Australia. I am led to understand that Parsons, one of the biggest manufacturers in this line, may start the manufacture of these machines in Australia. Those in favour of reasonable protection, and those in favour of a preference to the United Kingdom, should vote for the duties I have indicated.

Senator Lt.-Colonel Sir ALBERTGOULD (New South Wales) [9.40].-! am not prepared to accept the doctrine being laid down by honorable senators opposite that, in order to give a preference to the United Kingdom, it is necessary to increase the duties upon articles imported.

Senator Mcgregor - It would be unreasonable to reduce them.

Senator ALBERT GOULD (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Colonel Sir ALBERTGOULD. - I do not agree with the honorable senator. The idea of reducing duties on articles manufactured in the United Kingdom was to show that we recognised that it is desirable to obtain British rather than foreign goods. The proposition now made revives the battle as to whether preference should be given by reducing duties upon imports from the United Kingdom or by increasing duties on imports from foreign countries. Senator Needham has spoken of the mining industry, and I recollect that, in the discussion of particular items, it was pointed out that it was undesirable to impose high duties upon machinery required for the mining industry.

Senator W RUSSELL (SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The representatives of Western Australia bolted altogether in connexion with these duties.

Senator ALBERT GOULD (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Colonel Sir ALBERTGOULD. - I remind the honorable senator that Western Australia is not the only State in which the mining industry is carried on. I protest against advantage being taken of every opportunity to impose additional duties. I do not know whether the Government previously considered the matter, but the moment anything was said about granting a preference in this case, the Minister told us that he was willing to grant a preference so long as he could raise the duties. We have been informed that during a specified period this machinery, to the value of £120,000, was imported from Great Britain, to the value of . £76,000 from the United States, and to the value of £22,000 from Germany.

Senator Millen - The value of imports of machinery in 1910 was £321,000.

Senator ALBERT GOULD (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Colonel Sir ALBERTGOULD. - The Minister mentioned about £226,000. I presume that the balance is made up of electrical appliances, or else the additional figures relate to an additional period. In any case, I protest against this wav of jumping up duties. Why did not the Government think of this increase when the Tariff was before the other House? Why was it not discussed there? The Treasurer and the bulk of the Ministers are in another place, and yet this proposal was left to be brought forward by Ministers in the Senate. Why could not the Minister of Trade and Customs have proposed it?

Senator Mcgregor - Because the other place sat too long.

Senator ALBERT GOULD (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Colonel Sir ALBERTGOULD. - It looks as if Ministers imagined that they could " jockey " through their proposal, owing to the fact that many of their critics have left Melbourne for their own homes.

Senator McGregor - I thought the honorable senator was a better Imperialist.

Senator ALBERT GOULD (NEW SOUTH WALES) -Colonel Sir ALBERTGOULD. - I do not know that Imperialists believe in " jockeying " a thing through by taking advantage of the absence of those who might criticise it. Our extremity is the Government's opportunity, and they take advantage of it.

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