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Tuesday, 19 December 1911

Senator McGREGOR (South Australia) (Vice-President of the Executive Council) . - I do not think that there is anything in this item to make such a terrible fuss about. I would rather see a vote taken on the request than have a long discussion. It has been clearly pointed out by Senator Vardon that there is nothing in the item. The total value of the imports does not exceed £1,500, and the duty thereon would be very small indeed. When it is scattered over the boxmakers, the bootmakers, and the envelopemakers it is not worth talking about. The manufacture of dextrine from starch is declared by our public analyst to be a very simple process, yet honorable senators will rise here and argue against the imposition of a duty. It has been said that persons in Australia have had an, opportunity of making dextrine. Under the first Tariff of the Commonwealth there was a duty on the article for about five minutes, and then it was struck out, and because people did not start to make the article in a week or two it is contended that it cannot be. made here. It is idle to bring Great Britain into the argument, because for the last twenty-five years, as every one knows, it has been losing all its small industries to Germany. Do Senator Vardon and others wish to put Australia in a corresponding position? I think that we ought to take a vote, and say no more about the matter.

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