1st Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30 p.m. and readprayers.
– Since the Government yesterday agreed to allow machinery for soap and bottle making to come in free, upon the ground that it cannot be made within the Commonwealth, is the Minister for Trade and Customs prepared to remit the duty upon Oregon timber, which is not now grown within the Commonwealth, and cannot be grown here within at least a generation or so? The committee is not likely to come to the item of timber for a month or so ; but the matter is of very great importance to places such as Broken Hill, and it would be very convenient if the Minister could remit the duty at once, as a very large quantity of timber is now in bond at Port Pirie.
– The Government do not propose to remit the duty to which the honorable member refers. We propose to have the matter discussed at the proper time, and we hope to show that, if we cannot produce Oregon within the Commonwealth, we can produce timber which is equally good.
Consideration resumed from 4th February (vide page 9630).
Division VI. - (Special exemptions.)
– I propose not to proceed with my amendment for the exemption of ironworking machine tools until the Minister has had more time to inquire into the matter. With regard to my proposed exemption of articles used in connexion with the process of photo-engraving, I am informed that the articles which are enumerated are not manufactured here, but I have no positive knowledge of my own upon the subject.
– We have not been able, during the short time at our disposal, to obtain the full information in regard to the honorable member’s proposal to which honorable members are entitled, but it seems to me that many of the articles which he enumerates do not properly come under the head of manufactures of metals. I suggest to him that it would be better to propose these exemptions when we are dealing with the miscellaneous division.
– I am willing to adopt the Minister’s suggestion in regard to many of the articles enumerated, but iron shoot boards and planes, rotary planing machines, circular and jig saw benches, rotary trimmers, rotary edging machines, routing machines, and rotary bevellers come properly within the division which we are now considering, and I should like the Government to obtain information in regard to them. I shall not press my amendment at the present time.
– I brought the matter of exempting machines used for electro-photograph work under the attention of the Minister some days ago, and he promised to have it looked into. He then suggested that the matter should be allowed to stand over until we are dealing with electrical appliances.
– I should like to know from the Minister whether, if the amendment of which the honorable member for Melbourne has given notice were passed as it stands, only rotary planing machines used by electrotypers and stereotypers would be admitted free, though such machines might be capable of being used in other trades.
– If the amendment were carried as it stands, it would be confined to machinery used in connexion with photoengraving.
– The method suggested here is a very difficult and dangerous one to adopt in connexion with the Tariff. When it is stated that machines are to be of a kind used in a certain trade, it is obvious that similar machines may very well be used in a score of other trades, and that introduces an element of impropriety into the definition that we must all regard as undesirable. Thedefinition of a dutiable or an exempted article must be applied irrespective of the particular purpose for which it is used ; otherwise we may provide that a certain machine used for a certain purpose shall be imported free of duty, and it may be discovered afterwards that it is being devoted to some other purpose.I would urge the Minister to remember this practical difficulty, which I regard as insuperable in connexion with a definition of this kind.
Sir MALCOLM McEACHARN (Melbourne). - I had no intention that this definition should be regarded as applying to an instrument used in one particular trade only, but the description was given as an indication to the Minister of the particular class of machines I was referring to. As the Government desire that the consideration of the matter should be postponed, I am perfectly agreeable to suspend action for the present.
– I may inform the honorable and learned member forCorinella that our desire to consider the form as well as the substance of the amendment induced me to ask the honorable member for Melbourne to postpone it.
– I desire to have miners’ wedges, picks and pick-handles, and hammers placed on the free list.
– Pick-handles would not come within this division, as they are made of wood.
– The pick-handles here referred to are a combination of iron and wood, and one handle can be used for any number of blades. These patent pickhandles and picks are brought in here from America, and are not locally manufactured.
– But many locally-made handles would compete with those which are imported.
– The description given by the honorable member would cover all pick-handles.
– I will put my amendment in the form of “ miners’ wedges, patent pick-handles and picks, and hammers.”
– The amendment in that form would not cover the whole of the picks used by miners. Patent pick-handles represent only one class of handles, which are not used to any great extent by miners. The coal miners generally use a form of patent pick, with which they can use wooden handles, and these handles are mostly made by old miners, who can no longer follow their former occupation. I should like the amendment to be so worded that it would cover all classes of miners’ picks, which have been hitherto admitted free of duty. The exemption of pick-handles should be restricted to the particular class to which the honorable member has referred, because pick-handles are made in all the mining towns by the old miners. Patent picks are used invariably by the miners in the Newcastle district, but not the combination patent pick-handle and pick referred to by the honorable member.
– The patent pick handles and picks are used invariably in the southern and western coal-mining districts of New South Wales. I have no objection to so alter the form of the amendment as to meet the views of the honorable member.
– We are willing to meet the honorable member to the extent of exempting miners’ picks and metal-bound pick-handles, but as regards wedges and hammers, I think we must have some consideration for the revenue, and that it would be a fair compromise if we excluded them from the amendment.
– We have already exempted masons’ wedges.
– Perhaps we should re-open the question of exempting masons’ wedges.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta). - I shall be very willing to adopt the suggestion of the right honorable gentleman. I am afraid if it comes to a vote I shall get nothing at all, and as I am very anxious to have picks and pick-handles placed on the free list, I move -
That the following exemptions be added : - “Miners’ picks and metal-bound pick-handles.”
Mr. WATKINS (Newcastle). - I should like the Minister for Trade and Customs to reconsider the question of exempting miners’ wedges. The wedges used by coal miners are patented wedges, and most of their hammers are also patented. Coal miners have to find their own tools, whereas in metalliferous mines the companies supply them ; therefore any duty upon tools would be a direct tax upon coal miners. The use of certain tools is purely a matter of fancy. Those who fancy the colonial-made article will buy them from choice, but generally the miners’ tools are imported.
– Then the honorable member admits that these articles are made here?
– Not what we call patent wedges or picks. Some wedges and picks are made by local blacksmiths, but 90 per cent, of those used are imported.
Mr. HUGHES (West Sydney).-I desire to know what is the definition of a coal miner’s pick-handle. How are we to differentiate between that article and the gold miner’s pick-handle? It is all very well for the committee to agree to the amendment in its present form, but the Customs officials will require something more definite to guide them in their course of action. It seems to me that a great deal of trouble will be experienced in arriving at anything like a sensible and convenient distinction between the articles to which I have referred. A gold miner is as much entitled to consideration so far as his pick-handle is concerned as is any other person who uses a similar tool. I wish to know how we are to differentiate.
Mr. McCAY (Corinella). - As I understand it, the amendment, proposes to exempt miners’ picks and metal-bound pick-handles. As a matter of fact, these metal-bound pickhandles are not used to any extent in metalliferous mining. They seem to be specially adapted for use in coal-mines, and are imported for that purpose. Under the amendment, a pick-handle which is not metal-bound will not be admitted free, and even the Customs officials, concerning whom the honorable member entertains such a profound distrust, will be able to discriminate between pick-handles which are bound with metal and those which are not.
– There are so few imported that I do not think they are worth bothering about.
– I know nothing of coal mining, except the high price of New South Wales coal delivered in Victoria. I understand that the honorable member for Newcastle does not want to include pickhandles in the free list other than those which are metal-bound, because there may be a class of men who do not get an excessively high price for them, and who are deserving of consideration at the hands of believers in all fiscal theories.
Amendment agreed to.
– I move -
That the following exemptions be added: - “All patent machinery with respect to which a patent exists.”
I think honorable members are aware that under the Government proposals machinery which cannot possibly be made within the Commonwealth because it is patented will be handicapped by a heavy duty. We have already decided that the machinery which is required in connexion with woollen mills and other highlyprotected industries, irrespective of whether it is patented or not, shall be placed upon the free list. Only the other day an instance was brought under my notice in which no less a sum than £250 was paid as duty upon patented machinery,to be used at the Cockle’s Creek Smelting Works, which are situated near Newcastle; New South Wales - machinery that could not be manufactured in Australia.
– There is a lot of patented machinery made within the Commonwealth.
– But the honorable member will admit that that machinery is fairly protected.
– Its manufacturers have to pay a royalty.
– Honorable members know very well that, patented machinery of this character cannot be made within the Commonwealth unless an arrangement is made with the patentees. If we wait till that is done, a serious loss in time and money will result. Under such circumstances, it is possible that years might elapse before an industry was established. We all know that a machine which is up to date to-day may be obsolete in a few months time, and, therefore, it behoves us to do everything in our power to obtain the latest mechanical appliances. I recollect that, on one occasion, a large boot manufacturer in New South Wales had to discharge a number of hands because it was imperative that he should introduce some new patented machinery. He pointed out that, if he neglected to do so, his business would decline, and he would gradually employ fewer and fewer hands. But by reason of the introduction of that machinery he was enabled to increase his trade and to engage a larger number of hands, and to-day he has three times as many employes as he had when the machinery in question was introduced. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports has already provided that all the machinery - patented or otherwise - which is used in connexion with the woollen and hat industries - industries in which he is interested - shall be admitted free.
– How am I interested?
– The honorable member induced the Government to place all the machinery used in connexion with those industries upon the list of exemptions; despite the fact that they enjoy a high natural protection by reason of the freightage from London and elsewhere, besides deriving a benefit from the imposition of a 30 per cent, duty upon the manufactured article
– That is not correct.
– It is correct. The machinery used in connexion with the woollen and hat mills is free.
– That is not correct.
– My honorable friend will deny anything. If only a man and a boy are employed in an industry in Victoria the honorable member immediately asks that their machinery may be placed upon the free list. In this connexion I need only instance the case brought forward the other day by the honorable and learned member for Corio, in which a firm had been protected for a number of years to the extent of nearly £100,000 at the expense of the community, although it employed only one-man and his two sons.
– Who is to discriminate between patented machinery and machinery which is not patented ?
– What would the honorable member do regarding patented machinery in respect to which a patent does not exist %
– If I had my way 1 should admit such machinery free. My contention all along has been that machines which are used in connexion with the primary industries should be exempt from duty. I have’ repeatedly pointed out that the farmers, miners, and pastoralists have to depend for the success of their industries upon the London market, and, therefore, that the machine tools and tools of trade which they require ought to be admitted free. It is the duty of honorable members to deal fairly with the great primary industries. Inasmuch as none of the patented machinery can be made in the Commonwealth without the consent of the patentees, a duty on this machinery must be paid by those who will use it ; and for that reason I trust the committee will see fit to support the .amendment in order that primary producers may be put on an equitable footing. All through this debate there has been a tendency to support manufacturers, more especially in Victoria, while I am afraid too little attention has been paid tto miners and agriculturists. I hope that, even at this late stage, the Federal Parliament will see fit to retrace their steps so far as patented machinery is concerned, and place it on the free list.
– I hope the committee will not seriously consider the advisability of supporting the amendment. Importers and manufacturers meet on common ground in urging that to adopt such a proposal will mean no end of confusion and trouble. Circulars have been sent to honorable members pointing out that fact, and I do not see the use of placing a duty on machinery if we adopt an amendment rendering that duty impracticable”. In regard to the statement that the machinery required in the hatmaking industry is to be admitted free, there never was a proposal to that end, and no notice of such an amendment has been placed on the business-paper by either the Government or any private members. Tools of trade are not machinery, and the tools of trade enumerated were of such a character that it did not matter whether they were free or otherwise. It has been asserted over and over again that I am interested in certain industries ; but I must say that I do not know what the allegation means. If it means that I am interested in maintaining workmen here as against maintaining them in Germany, the charge is a true one ; but if it means that I am interested monetarily, directly or indirectly, then the charge is all wrong. These are the sort of insinuations which the leader of the Opposition was deprecating the other day.
– I have not a whip to hold over my supporters.
– I think the leader of the Opposition has his supporters very well in hand, and should discourage that kind of insinuation. Only yesterday members of the Opposition were throwing out taunts in regard to the honorable member for Bourke, which were neither manly nor warranted. Indeed, they were scarcely insinuations, but we had the most distinct statement that he had partaken of champagne with some person, protection for whose industry he had been advocating. That sort of charge is not only unfair, but it lowers the dignity of this House.
– I took no notice of the charge.
– These insinuations do not help to engender that good feeling we all desire to see within this Chamber, and I hope there will be no repetition of them. I have no monetary interest, directly or indirectly, in any of the manufactures of which I speak in the course of this Tariff debate. If I have advocated a certain course it has.. been in the interests of the policy of protection, and not in my personal- interests ; and I trust the committee will not seriously consider the amendment, which can serve no good end. A large amount of patented machinery is being made here under royalty, and that all patented machinery should be admitted free is a sweeping proposition which I hope the committee will not accept.
Mr. McCAY (Corinella). - I do not know whether the honorable member for Macquarie. intends to proceed to a division ; but this question was discussed the other day.
– I am just considering whether that is so. We certainly had a discussion in regard to mining machinery, but I am puzzling my mind as to whether we dealt with the general question.
– On that occasion I ventured to point out the utter impossibility and unfairness of a proposition of the kind now before us, as affecting, makers, here or abroad, of unpatented machinery, which competes in doing the same work as patented machinery ; and the leader of the Opposition interjected a remark to the effect that it would be an impracticable proposition.
– I do not remember ; but I do not see how those remarks could apply to the proposition now before us ; a patent is such a definite thing.
– After all, a patent is merely a claim to a right which can always be attacked as being improperly or wrongly obtained.
– I spoke of this in relation to the Customs.
– That is just it ; we should have people endeavouring to patent all sorts of things, whether they had just claims or not.
– In England they grant a patent without any inquiry.
– That is a common practice in many places.
– We do not know what the Commonwealth patent laws may be, and these laws vary in the States. Even where the authorities do profess to make inquiries, the inquiries are very frequently of a comparatively incomplete character, although the patent officers do their best in the matter. There arises the question what are we to do with machinery only part of which is patented? There may be a machine worth £1,000, and in that machine only £20 worth of patent ; and it is utterly impossible to say whether the amendment covers the £1,000 or the £20. A man who gets patent machinery in free has the double assistance ofpractically a bonus and also protection, as against the man who imports unpatented machinery; as soon as the patent runs out the former loses both bonus and protection. But the real difficulty arises when not the whole machine, but only parts are patented, and such machinery is continually competing with unpatented machines in its performance of similar work. The amendment would simpl y mean an additional bonus to the man who already has the benefit of a particular form of machine. There may be two machines working side by side, doing exactly similar work and competing on the same terms, except that one is patented and the other is not; and it must be remembered that many people prefer machinery that is not patented. The amendment infers the entirely incorrect premise that a patented machine is something that does some special work in which no other machine competes. Whether machines should be free or dutiable, to try to make such a distinction will cause endless confusion and unfairness. I, personally, have made inquiries from both manufacturers and large importers of machinery, and I am assured that, as I have said, endless confusion will be caused to both, in addition to endless unfairness to both foreign and local makers and consumers. Whether the principle of the duty on machinery be good or bad, this proposal to distinguish patented machinery in this general way, seeing that it will compete with unpatented machinery, will give rise to disastrous results.
– I feel that we have discussed this matter so often, and at such length, that the honorable member for Macquarie, if he be satisfied that he will have another opportunity of dealing with the matter, as he is bound to have, will be content to withdraw the amendment. If the honorable member for Macquarie is of that opinion I shall certainly postpone any remarks I may have to make on this point. The amendment raises a very important question, and it would be better to have it dealt with in one debate later on. If the honorable member for Macquarie feels that he will have another opportunity, he will, I am sure, help the Government to avoid any very lengthy discussion on this occasion.
Mr. SYDNEY SMITH (Macquarie).I have no wish to raise any unnecessary discussion on this question. I know that the Government have agreed to recommit item 74, and, under the circumstances, I ask leave to withdraw my amendment.
– We have arranged to recommit, not the whole of item 74, but only so far as regards mining and electrical machinery.
– And agricultural machinery.
– The recommittal of mining machinery was first asked for, and the recommittal was extended to electrical machinery.
– Under the circumstances, I do not wish to take up further time.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
– I should now like to move an amendment, which has been upon the notice-paper for nearly a fortnight, adding various machines to the free list.
– Straightening, profiting, facing, wire-nail making, wire-netting making, washer and measuring and riveting machines, and blowers for smelters are already on the free list. We cannot agree to the other proposed exemptions.
– Then I move-
That the following exemptions be added : - “Engine lathes, turret lathes, drilling, slotting, shaping, sawing, grinding, milling, keyseating, nut-furnishing, tapping, Screwing, planing, toothwheel orgear-cutting, forging, nut-making, centering, chucks for lathes, blowers used for foundry and mining purposes, pneumatic hammers, steam hammers, milling machine cutters. And woodworking machine tools as follows : - Sawing, joining, planing, moulding, surfacing, tenoning, tonguing and grooving, trying up, sand-papering, dove-tailing, mortising, boring, saw-sharpening, rounding, saw-brazing, spoke-making, wheelmaking lathes, and copying lathes.”
Last Friday week certain figures which I gave to the committee were called into question, and I have now a letter from the proprietor of the Vulcan Foundry, Geelong, which says -
As the figures you quoted were questioned, I am taking the liberty of enclosing you two sheets taken from the Statistical Register of Victoria for 1899 and 1900, and have marked the item “machine tools “ for your reference. I have not got the books for 1896, 1897, and 1898, but the figures are as follows : - 1896, £1,973; 1897, £3,287 ; 1898, £4,167. The books for these years could be seen at the Custom-house. You will see that the total duty for the past five years has amounted to £19,586, and this amount multiplied by six would give a fair average of the duty for the 30years past, viz., £117,516 - not £587,580, as stated by you in the House. This latter error may have probably occurred in one of my letters to you, though I am unable to trace it ; it has no doubt arisen through multiplying 30 by the total duty paid for five years, instead of six by the five years’ payments, as above. You will notice by my letter of the 25th November last that I there stated the duty for 25 years was £97,930.
I should like also to read another letter which I have received -
Now that the Tariff question is under consideration in the House of Representatives, I beg to call your attention to the fact that the duty of 25 per cent, now being collected under the Federal Tariff on machine tools, such as lathes, planing machines, slotters, shapers, drillers, milling machines, &c, is a serious handicap to my firm and others engaged in the engineering business in this State; The Victorian State duty on this class of tools heretofore has been 20 per cent. , and only just lately we have had to pay about £230 duty for some up-to-date tools we imported and which could not be manufactured in the colony. I understand that the amount paid in duty in Victoria on machine tools during the past five years totals £19,586 ; you will therefore see to what extent the engineering firms are being penalized in endeavouring to bring their plants up to the same standard as those works in other parts of the world. During the time mentioned there has only been one manufacturer in this State who is an engineering tool maker, and although the large amount I have referred to has been paid in duty, principally for his benefit, he has only been able to employ five hands on this and other work in that time, and then his efforts have not altogether been of a successful nature. In fact it would be impossible for him to make some of the tools we now have on order, as he has not the appliances for the work. Most of the engineering tools are now made as specialities, the different home and American firms confining their operations to one particular class of tool ; in many cases they do not vary the size or appliances connected with a given machine. There is not sufficient demand in the States for machines of the class referred to to warrant any one going in for their manufacture on a scale sufficiently large to pay for the heavy outlay involved. I trust you will use your best endeavours to obtain an abolition of the duty, as I can assure you if the present high impost is accepted by Parliament, it will continue to be a heavy drag on the manufacturing industries in this country. This, coupled with the present trend of factory legislation, would leave the local manufacturers at the mercy of other countries where up-to-date tools are used, and the cost of production consequently lessened. . . . I, therefore, sincerely hope yon will do your utmost to remove what I consider is an unnecessary burden on the manufacturer. The class of work my firm is principally engaged upon brings it into competition with the world, as refrigerating machinery for butter factories is admitted free of duty into Australia, and this means that if we have to pay a duty on the tools to make these machines it will place us at a serious disadvantage. This, I think, yon will readily admit.
– That letter is full of incorrect statements, and the last statement which the honorable and learned member read is not the least inaccurate.
– Honorable members will see that it is impossible for firms to manufacture refrigerating machinery unless they have up-to-date tools, and they cannot obtain up-to-date tools unless they import them if such tools cannot be manufactured within the Commonwealth ; and there is not sufficient demand for them within, the Commonwealth to make their manufacture here profitable.
– I thought that things are always cheaper when they are made locally.
– I submit that under these circumstances the committee would be wise in agreeing to my amendment. The honorable member for Robertson has given notice of his intention to movethat “ machine tools, including tools for working metals,” namely, lathes, planing machines, slotters, and others which he mentions, shall be placed upon the free list, and last night the honorable member for Oxley proposed that punching and shearing machines should be placed upon the free list ; so that on both sides of the Chamber there is a desire to equip our manufacturers with up-to-date machinery as cheaply as possible. I am a believer in protection, and I think that the best way to obtain efficient protection is to see that our manufacturers are given all the advantages possessed by manufacturers in other parts of the world.
Mr. HUGHES (West Sydney). - I am in hearty accord with, the honorable and learned member for Corio, and I think it is a matter for congratulation that this very lengthy debate on the Tariff is gradually effecting a most pleasing change in the opinions of honorable members opposite. From time to time there meet the inquiring eye notices of amendments to which are attached names which have in the past in this State been a sort of hall mark of the correct thing in fiscalism. These honorable gentlemen now propose, in the most unblushing fashion, to exempt articles whose value must in the aggregate amount to hundreds of thousands of pounds. They do so in order to assist the manufacturers who are already established in this State, and they make no pretence about the matter. The honorable and learned member for Corio says that it will unfairly handicap the manufacturers not to allow them to obtain the latest machinery free of duty. Honorable members on this side of the Chamber have been trying to emphasize that idea from the very beginning, and to carry it to its logical conclusion, but only lately have their arguments had effect. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports, while he is quite in favour oftaxing articles which the general community have to purchase, is desirous of exempting from duty articles which hisparticular constituents or his protectionist society wish to have admitted free. The attitude of the Government in regard to these amendments is quite consistent with their past career; inasmuch as it’ is inconsistent with any fiscal ideal that I have heard of. It is certainly not a consistent protectionist attitude, and it is not a free-trade attitude. They propose to admit free of duty straightening machines, of which only one has been imported into this State, and that for the use of the Government ; profiting machines, though no profiting machines have ever been imported into this State, and facing machines, only one of which has been imported during the last twenty years.
– As the machines to which the honorable member alludes are already free of duty, it is not in order for him to discuss their exemption.
-It is perfectly competent for me to point out that the attitude assumed by the Government towards the amendment is not consistent with a protectionist policy, or with the imposition of taxation for revenue purposes, when protection is not desirable. They cannot hope to obtain any revenue from these particular articles, and therefore their action in exempting them has no reason in it. No one has ever wanted these articles, or is likely to want them, and the Government are making us a sort of “left-handed gift;” for which we give them all thanks with due humility. With regard to the articles comprised in the honorable member’s amendment, they include nearly all the tools used in the manufacture of metal-goods and in wood- working. I do not suppose it would be possible for any man to do any work in metal or woodworking unless he had almost every machine in the list, and certainly no one could enter upon extensive manufacturing operations without them. I am very much surprised that the Government should take up the attitude that these tools can be made in the Commonwealth. Of course they can be made here - there is no reason why anything should not be made here. I would ask, however, who makes woodsawing machines here - either frame saws or circular saws. A frame saw as set up may involve an expenditure of from £1,500 to £2,000. There is no great demand for such machines, and when they are once set up they run for a considerable time, and require only a few additional saws to keep them going. The circular saw benches which are used in the bush and elsewhere for cuttingup firewood cost from £80 upwards, and. would not be made in Victoria, except perhaps in small sizes. I am assured that it would not pay anybody to lay down the plant necessary to make these articles, except in the smaller sizes. The manufacture of big saw benches’, whether frame or circular, entails heavy power and expensive plant, and I am sure that it cannot be carried on here with advantage and profit. It was proposed the other day to exempt cotter pins and keys for keying upmachinery, and now it is proposed to exempt key-seating machines and gear-cutting machines. These are the very machines which make the key-ways into which the keys go, and the Government takes up the attitude that these machines ought not to come in free, although the keys are not exempted. Anything more absurd I cannot imagine. If the Government wish the metal workers of the Commonwealth to have an even chance of competing with the mechanics of older countries they must be prepared, to allow their working tools to come in free of duty. If a duty is imposed some advantage may be derived by a few tool manufacturers, and, from a protectionist stand-point, I should have no objection to that attitude, but the Government takes a stand that is wholly inconsistent, from the point of view either of revenue or protection, when they propose to exempt only those articles which have already been placed on the free list. I trust that the interests of the workers in metal will not be wholly neglected, but that their tools of trade will be placed on the free list in the same way as the tools of those engaged in other industries have been. Unless this concession is made large numbers of men will be thrown out of employment, because it will be impossible for the manufacturers to import the latest and most improved machinery. Woodworkers also should have every facility affordedthem in the way of improved tools and appliances. Doors from America and Sweden can be landed here at prices which are below the cost involved in buying the wood here in the rough and putting the doors together. Yet the Government refuse to exempt from duty the tools which are used in making up these doors. A dutyof 100 per cent, might be imposed upon doors, and they would still come in because ourlocal workmen could not hope to compete with the foreign manufacturers unless they were provided with the latest machinery, and were able to concentrate their efforts upon the manufacture of particular articles. Since we are committed to a certain extent to a protectionist policy, I hope some regard will be paid to consistency by the advocates of protection, and that opportunities may be given to those men who work in wood and metal to compete with a modicum of success against their foreign rivals.
– I can hardly understand the attitude assumed by some honorable members who believe in freetrade principles. They profess to be in favour of free-trade, and yet when any proposal is submitted by honorable members on this side of the Chamber in favour of exemptions, we are assailed with ridicule, and attacked in every shape or form.
– “Chaffed” is the proper term.
– We are accused of inconsistency, and I think the attacks made upon us are very unfair. I can support certain exemptions with absolute consistency and justice to the cause I represent. Every proposal should be dealt with on its merits. I have not seen my way to support certain exemptions, and other honorable members who believe in protection have also opposed them. We exercise our judgment to the best of our ability, according to the opportunities we have of forming an opinion. The honorable member for Corio has presented a case that is entitled to consideration from honorable members on both sides of the Chamber. I believe the proposal to exempt these metal working machines is supported by nearly all the iron workers of Victoria. They are in favour of placing machine tools which cannot be manufactured in Australia upon the list of exemptions. Although efforts have been made in times past to manufacture these machine tools in Victoria and in other States, they have not been successful. I have received a letter from one of my constituents - an iron founder - who says -
We fail to see why one little manufacturer, employing as we are informed only five men, should have a monopoly. Then again, he has not the appliances to make anything like the class of machine that we require for our work, and with the strides that he is supposed to have made during the last few years, he is not likely ever to be in a position to make the machine tools that we are using every duy, and which will require to be imported for years to come.
I am also informed that during the past five years £19,500 has been paid in the form of duty upon machine tools. This shows that a large number of necessary machine tools have not been produced in Victoria, and that the iron founders have had to resort to the foreign market. The duty has thus been a tax upon the ironworkers who use these tools. If there were any reasonable prospect of the machine tool industry being developed and extended and placed upon a profitable basis, I should be quite prepared to give it a further trial, but experience has shown that there is not a sufficient market to justify the expenditure of money in laying down the plant necessary to establish machine tool factories. These facts are quite sufficient to justify any reasonable and rational protectionist in supporting the proposal to place these tools on the free list. It is not desirable that tools which are used in manufacturing industries should be made the subject of revenue duties, and if they are not made locally they should be placed on the free list. I do not go in for all round protection, but for discriminating or scientific protection,- which is based on reasonable grounds and upon economic considerations, such as have been referred to.
– I do not pretend to have any practical knowledge of this machinery, but it seems to me that the committee is about to commit itself to a general principle, to which there ought to be some well-recognised exceptions. I have had brought under my notice a case which I think is very instructive. It comes from a very well-known firm in Sydney - Messrs. Ritchie Bros. - who employ 600 men in the manufacture of agricultural machinery. They not only have several hundreds of men employed, but they have conducted their industry for the last twenty years or more under a freetrade policy. I think the right honorable gentleman in charge of this measure will admit that this argues a large amount of care and business knowledge with regard to the manufacture in which they are engaged. Last week they wrote to me - and I have plenty of precedents for reading- a private communication - informing me that they had just landed from various ships the following machines : - T-vo cases of machine tools (screwing machine), one cold-sawing machine, eight packages of machinery (drilling machines), one package machinery (hydraulic riveter), one piece machinery (forging machine), and one hydraulic riveter. With regard to these machines they wrote as follows : -
The machinery in question was imported by us with the object of increasing our facilities for doing work which has hitherto been imported from abroad, and consequently labour and employment lost to our local workers.
– What is the date of that letter 1
– It is dated the 14th January. The Minister had it in his possession for some time, and therefore possessed every opportunity for testing the accuracy of the statements which it contains. I wish the committee also to understand that this communication comes from men who measure their words, and whose words are their bond. The letter continues -
Besides, all the machinery is of a class that is not likely to be made in Australia for very many years to come, it being subject to patent rights, and the demand very limited indeed.
If the committee decide that these four classes of machinery - namely, forging, screwing, sawing, and riveting - are not to be admitted free, it means that a very large quantity of patented machinery, the use of which would enable our manufacturers to compete with outside markets in cases in which they otherwise could not do so, will be absolutely excluded. I think that we ought to offer every encouragement to manufacturers to put themselves in possession of the most modern machinery in respect to which patent rights exist, because we must recognise that to charge a duty, upon a patent is really to handicap” the manufacturer. I need not remind honorable members that only last night the honorable member for Melbourne Ports was assisted by the Ministry to place some patented machinery for the manufacture of bottles upon the free list. If that sort of machinery is to be exempt from duty, surely machinery which will assist our primary producers ought also to be exempted. I do not agree with the principle laid down last evening by the honorable member for South Australia, Mr. Batchelor, that we should not take into consideration the use to which a machine is to be put. To my mind that- is a very wrong’ principle to seek to establish. We must consider the purpose to which it is intended to put any particular machinery. If the proposal of the honorable and learned member for Corio is negatived upon the ground that all these classes of machinery can be manufactured locally, the effect will be to render them dutiable. In other words, they will have to pay a duty of 20 per cent. The firm to which I have previously referred further declare that they imported machinery last month upon which they actually paid £281 in duty. I need scarcely point out that that is a very serious item to a manufacturer. Whilst we are helping him on one hand - by placing a duty upon the imported article - we are handicapping him by imposing a duty, not merely upon machinery, but upon patented machinery -which certainly ought to be admitted free. I ask the Minister for Trade and Customs to consider whether some qualifying words should not be used to differentiate between patented machinery and ordinary machinery which can be made as well locally as it can be elsewhere. I commend the idea of differentiated treatment to the class of goods to which attention is drawn in the letter from which I have quoted. The honorable and learned member for Bendigo has entered a protest against the interjections which are frequently made from this side of the committee. He says that whenever honorable members holding protectionist ideas attempt to obtain free ingress for articles of manufacture, protests are made from this side of the Chamber. But I would ask him to recollect that everything which has been said by members of the Opposition has been said in the most good-tempered way. No doubt the honorable .and learned member has attended Salvation Army meetings, and* if so he must know that when any indication is given that a conversion has taken place there is great joy and cheering on the part of those who have already come into the fold. The Opposition, side of- the House is the orthodox
Mr. 7?ruce Smith. economic fold, and when we find an honorable member opposite making an admission that by the imposition of a duty upon an article we handicap the manufacturer, it is very natural that we should express some joy. Personally I may say that whenever I have made such, an interjection it has been made in a good-natured spirit ; it contains no bitterness, and must not be interpreted as an attempt to make things uncomfortable for honorable members opposite. It is merely intended as. an assurance that we are delighted that they have come round to our way of thinking in regard to some points of fiscal doctrine.
– I do not think that in connexion with this particular item there is very much difference of opinion amongst those who have the honour to call themselves protectionists as to the principle we should apply. That principle may be summed up in the statement that it is of no use protecting articles which cannot be locally produced at a reasonable cost. I am sure honorable members generally will admit that the Government have never said anything else. There has always been a difference of opinion as to what we can and what we cannot produce locally. There is no doubt, however, that we are now entering upon a new, and I hope a very prosperous era in our industrial life - an era in which we may expect great developments, and in which the small things of to-day may become the great things of to-morrow. Under these circumstances, it is plainly our duty to protect industries which can fairly be established here, and also those industries which, though in the ‘initial stage of growth at the present time, may shortly become of the greatest importance. Therefore I’ ask honorable members not to suggest that the small things of to-day are unworthy of encouragement, but to remember that if we. insert in this Tariff provisions which are utterly inimical to their development, we shall be making a great mistake. We therefore ask - “Can these articles be made, or are they being made, in our midst. ? Are they being produced locally under circumstances which warrant the belief that they will shortly develop into industries which are worthy of encouragement?” That is the principle which we have applied to the consideration of this matter, and it is a fair and proper one. In reference to the remarks of the honorable and learned member for Parkes, I need only say that his correspondents rightly point out the circumstances of which they complain. But there are other points to be considered in this connexion. There has already been a reduction made in one instance from 25 to 20 per cent. I would further point out that two cases of the six which are mentioned in the letter that he has read refer to riveting machines, which have already been placed upon the free list upon the proposition of the Government. So the simple point, I take it, in applying our doctrine to the consideration of this question, is - “ Is the industry to which we propose to continue fiscal assistance of a character that ought to receive it ? Is it likely to develop and become important in our industrial life t “ In this connexion we have sought to obtain the best possible information, and as regards the wood-working machine tools, 1 have some particulars. The tools I shall mention are made by Mr. Hampton, of Elizabeth-street, Melbourne, and by a couple of firms in South Australia, the names of which are not given. Amongst the tools mentioned are - planing, mortising, boring, and band-sawing tools.
– I did not mention bandsawing, but frame-sawing tools.
– Then somebody else must have mentioned band-sawing. There are also lathes, tenoning, sand-papering, circular-sawing tools, and bandmills for breaking down logs.
– The last have never beenmade in Australia.
– At different times I have been astonished by particulars given me as to industries iti the other States, showing that they exist to an extent I never imagined. The honorable member for North Sydney says that these bandmills for breaking down logs have never been made in Australia.
– What I said was not as the Minister has expressed it. This band saw plant for breaking down direct from the log has not been made in Australia. What the Minister mentions is only a part of the machine.
– It is - a good part, I hope. The honorable member for North Sydney qualifies his remarks, and I accept the partial withdrawal, hoping that when he hears my information he will withdraw the whole.
– The Minister does not know of what he is speaking.
– I think I know a little more than does the honorable member. . I speak on the authority of those who go out to get information which they supply me in good “ black and white.” And the report I have goes on to say that Mr. Hampton states that he has made a large number of these band mills for Western Australia at different times. This is a statement, with particulars, which conveys the impression of truth to my mind.
– That is a different article altogether.
– The machine to which I referred is the machine mentioned here, and when I read out the item the honorable member said that it was not made in Australia.
– Who furnished the Minister with the name of the machine 1 Was it not I who gave the Minister the memorandum to which that report refers 1
– I do not know what the inquiry proceeded on, but what I have read is the statement of a reputable and responsible officer, after inquiries had been made into a subject to which my attention was directed. The list includes saw benches and breaking down frames, sometimes called twin saw-frames.
– How many men are employed in these shops 1
– I do not know. This is not a question of to-day simply. I note with delight that, in connexion with the particular industry to which the honorable and learned member for Parkes referred, he shows very considerable developments are occurring in New South Wales at the present time, and that his .correspondents have embarked on some branches of business not previously undertaken.
– I did not say that.
– The honorable and learned member did say that and read it.
– And now it is proposed to throttle these industries.
– I thought we were doing business, and were not to make these eternal references to the fiscal question.
– I think the leader of the Opposition will find that the.matter has been sufficiently discussed by those who have taken part in the debate during his absence. We recognise the principle that we should not put a tax on tools when we cannot hope that the industry of manufacturing them can be satisfactorily established here. We rather think that by admitting these articles free we shall induce the extension of the industries in which they are used. The point is whether or not it has been sufficiently shown that these articles cannot be manufactured here. I think the circumstances, which it has been my duty to place before honorable members, show the contrary, and I trust that under those circumstances honorable members will be found in favour of continuing the Tariff as it is, rather than of preventing the establishment of industries in connexion with the manufacture of these, tools in Australia.
– The Minister for Trade and Customs has recognised the importance of this amendment by going into the whole question of free-trade and protection, though I suppose that if the debate on those lines be prolonged, the responsibility will be placed on the shoulders of the Opposition. The debate on the Tariff, which has extended over so many months, has had a good effect in this Chamber and outside, inasmuch as we find protectionist members standing up here and disregarding both the revenue and the protectionist aspect of duties when these affect their own electorates. We are glad to hear a “ pure merino “ protectionist like the honorable and learned member for Bendigo saying that he is a reasonable, rational, and scientific protectionist. These are all qualifying adjectives, used in the same way as those we have heard from the Minister for Trade and Customs in speaking about industries which can be “reasonably” or “fairly” established here. These qualifications raise difficulties for the committee and for the people of the Commonwealth. Suppose a scientific free-trader, representing a constituency like Dalley, were to take up the position of advocating protection for the articles produced in his electorate, and free-trade for everything else, what would the protectionists then say ? The honorable and learned member for Corio has said that when a manufacturer buys, he wishes to be a free-trader - he wishes to buy his tools of trade without restriction at the lowest price - but when he sells his product, he wishes to pose as a protectionist.
– T did not say anything of the sort.
– That was the meaning of what the honorable and learned member said. If tool manufacturers are not to be assisted, why should we be called upon to protect the articles produced by the men who use the tools’! I am not at all astonished that the newspaper organ of protection in Victoria is annoyed by those protectionists who have changed their views. It is well for free-trade that these protectionists recognise that the policy they advocate is not so strongly established in Victoria as we were led to believe ; and I am glad that the honorable and learned member for Bendigo sees that certain industries, in order to have a chance of competing, must have their patented machines admitted free. Owing to lack of capital and the smallness of the demand, the industries of Australia are not able tochange the whole of their plant as quickly and effectively as are the industries in other parts of the world ; and the Minister for Trade and Customs has said that it is of no use to protect what we cannot produce. It is only right that such statements as these should be placed on record for future use. The fiscal issue will be the paramount dividing line for many elections to come, and admissions of that kind made here can . be used with effect in the campaign. I can understand the feelings of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports when he sees his friends rambling on this question. If the debate of the last few months has caused protectionist members to gravitate to the Opposition side of the House, I can assure them that the citadel of fiscal freedom always open its doors to those who have been misled in the past. We are always willing to receive protectionists who have reason for deserting the faith which they see cannot he carried out in its entirety.
– The honorable member is travelling beyond the amendment.
– With all respect, I would point out that the Minister for Trade and Customs referred to the general principles of free-trade and protection, and has said that any industry which can be fairly and reasonably established in Australia should receive assistance. Surely the machine tool manufacturer has a right to ask for that assistance. As a free-trader, I am glad to vote for the free admission of these machines, but I wish to point out that, while the protectionists are concerned only in guarding the interests of the manufacturers, the free-traders widen their area of interest, and consider all the citizens of the Commonwealth. As free-traders, we wish to exempt as many things as possible, but the protectionists, on the other hand, seem, many of them, to be what may be called scientific protectionists, that is, they are protectionists only so long as some of their electors do not require them to be free-traders.
Mr. BATCHELOR (South Australia).I have not found it so easy as some honorable members appear to have done to come to a decision as to how to vote upon the proposed amendment. Perhaps that is because I know something about the machines referred to, and the work which they do. Most of the manufacturers who use these tools are engaged in turning out machinery upon which there is a protective duty, and I think that they have very little reason to urge that the tools which they require, and which can be manufactured within the States, should be admitted free of duty. The manufacturer of locomotives, for instance, whose product is protected, has no right to ask that the tools which he requires, and which can be manufactured here, should be admitted free. No doubt many of these tools can be made here, and some of them are being made here. Not many of the machines which are enumerated are patented machines, though some of their parts may be patented. Most of them can be made here without hindrance.
– Wood-working machines 1
– Both woodworking and metal-working machines. Most of the lathes in use in engine shops can be manufactured here, because there are no patents to prevent that being done, and the same lathe is used for many years. It is not put on one side simply because it is obsolete, but is discarded only when the wearing parts become too much worn for further use. I question, however, whether the industry of making the larger machine, tools can be successfully “ established within the Commonwealth, because of the necessarily limited demand for them.
– I thought that what the Government proposed to do, according to the Prime Minister’s Maitland speech, was to protect industries already established. Now we are asked to foster industries which may be established.
– I leave the Government to answer for themselves, but I think that they are taking up a fair position when they say that, with the abolition of Inter-State Customs boundaries, a larger market is open to the manufacturers of the Commonwealth, and, therefore, it is worth while in many cases to impose duties in order to lead to the establishment of industries.
– Are not most of the lathes that are in use here imported lathes’!
– Probably most of them are ; but hundreds and perhaps thousands of lathes are made within the States. I went through a school of mines the other day, and I was informed that the students had made all the lathes there except 07ie. There is nothing very complicated about a lathe. It must be remembered, however, that in the case of the very large machine tools the cost of freight must be very considerable, because of their great size and weight, and therefore local manufacturers of such machinery have a natural advantage which is not possessed by the manufacturers of smaller machines. But while machines of the ordinary patterns can and will be made within the States, a manufacturer who wishes to be up-to-date must continually provide his workmen with the latest improvements in machines. There are scores of makers of large machines in England and in America, and such a man must get one machine from one maker and another machine from another. While the local makers will undoubtedly bring out improvements in some of the machines, there is not a sufficiently large field in Australia to make the manufacture of the latest improved machinery a profitable industry here. I have come to the conclusion, therefore, that the balance of advantage can be obtained for the metalworking industry by allowing the larger machines to come in free, except such as on account of their simplicity can easily be made here. For instance, I do not see why lathes should be admitted free. They can be easily made, and they last a . long time, because the operation of turning iron admits of very little variation, and very few improvements are introduced into the machinery employed. As, however, no considerable business can be built up in the manufacture of the larger tools, we should not be justified in imposing a protective duty. I shall vote for placing the greater number of those articles on the free list.
Mr. HENRY WILLIS (Robertson).The amendment of the honorable member for Corio embraces a number of articles which are included in a proposal of which I have given notice. The honorable member made out a very strong case, and I am surprised that the Treasurer did not accept the amendment. The Minister for Trade and Customs told us that lathes could be made here, but he adduced no evidence to show us that the other articles embraced in the amendment could be locally produced, and as the number of men engaged directly in the making of lathes is only very small, I think we should admit all the articles free of duty.
– Many engineers make their own lathes.
– Yes, but lathemaking is not an industry in itself ; and there is nojustification for imposing a heavy duty on such machinery. I shall heartily support the amendment, and I hope the Ministers will agree to it.
– I placed before the Minister of Customs a list comprising some of the machines which are included in the amendment now before the committee, and the statements which the Minister has read were taken from replies to inquiries made in connexion with my list. It is generally stated that these machines are made in Australia, but the name of only one firm of manufacturers has been given, although two others in South Australia have been referred to. One of the statements made is that band saw-mills for breaking down logs have been made in Australia, and that a number of them have been sent to Western Australia. I am satisfied that that is absolutely incorrect, and I can only assume that those who made the statement misunderstood what was meant. A band saw for breaking down logs is one that begins to operate on the log at once. These have only recently been invented and applied in America, and I believe I am correct in stating that there is only one in Australia, and that it was imported from America. I know that there is only one in Sydney, and that some of the Victorian saw-millers had to visit Sydney in order to see the saw at work, and judge of its capacity. Consequently, the statement that these saws are made in Australia, and that many have been sent to Western Australia to deal with the enormous hardwood logs there, must be incorrect. The honorable member for Parkes suggested that we should allow patented machinery to come in free, and retain the duty on machinery not patented. I do not agree with that proposal, as I think the basis of distinction would be a false one, and would not accomplish what was desired. On the other hand, it would give every opening for the evasion of duty, and would place great difficulties in the way of the customs officials. I contend that the whole of the machines included in the amendment should be placed on the free list. The metalworking and wood-working industries have reached their greatest developments in the big centres of the world, where they turn out an amount of material out of all comparison with our producing capacity. Inventions are daily being introduced and applied and if we are to develop our metal and woodworking industries we should avail ourselves of every new appliance that is introduced where the greatest activity is shown and the highest developments are reached in connexion with those industries. Otherwise, in spite of the duty, our manufacturers will be unable to compete with the manufacturers of the world. If one of our mechanics were to invent some useful machine he would not place it on the local market, but would proceed to the great manufacturing centres and submit it there. Thus we must look to those centres for all the latest and best appliances. In our small market it does not pay to make elaborate machines, and it will be of the greatest advantage to our manufacturers if they are enabled to obtain their tools of trade free and expend in the development of their industries the money which would otherwise be paid in duty.
– I think honorable members are generally agreed that where there is no scope for the development of an industry we should not attempt to impose any protective duty; but when honorable members say that the number of the machines included in this amendment are not made here they are speaking with imperfect knowledge. Even in the limited market of Victoria a number of these machines were madesuccessfullyyearsago,andtheyhavebeen used by the leading agricultural implement manufacturers ; and have been pronounced equal to anything imported. The machines to which I refer include lathes, drilling machines, slotting machines, punching machines, key-seating machines, tapping machines, and screwing machines. I have copies of testimonials which were given from ten to twenty years ago.
– How many men are employed in the industry?
– It is not a question of the number of men employed, but of whether the machines are made here, and whether they can be supplied as cheaply, and are as efficient as are the imported machines. These machines were made here in the first instance, because a certain measure of protection was afforded to machinery generally. I am prepared to admit that the making of some of these machines was perhaps a secondary consideration as compared with other operations carried on at the works in which they were manufactured. It would not pay a manufacturer to set up a factory specially for the purpose of making drilling machines, even with the whole of the Commonwealth to work upon, but if we encourage the making of all these machines within the Commonwealth, there may be sufficient inducement offered for the establishment of several factories. Some honorable members have referred to the immense burdens which the manufacturers have had to bear owing to the duties imposed on their machine tools ; but I would point out that it does not amount to more than £3,000 perannum.
– It amounted to £5,600 in 1900.
– I am dealing with the average for the last five years. We are told that it would be a great tax if the manufacturer were to be called upon to pay a 20 per cent, duty upon a heavy plant, but once an establishment is set up the machinery does not, in the ordinary course of events, require to be replaced for at least ten years.
– They grow obsolete sometimes.
– Only in very rare instances does the whole of the machine become obsolete. Let us take the machines which are quoted here as an example. When, I would ask, does a lathe, or drilling, orpunching machine become obsolete in its entirety? If we are to give manufacturers any consideration at all, surely we ought to give it in this direction. We have proof positive that a large number of the workers of metals in Melbourne use machines which are locally made, and declare that they are equal to anything imported. In this connexion I should like to quote the concluding remarks of one manufacturer, who says -
We have pleasure instating the steam hammer, slotting machine, large lathe, and punching machines that we have purchased from you at various times have suited our requirements well, and have given great satisfaction. We shall want a screwing and nut-tapping machine as soon as you can make it, as we prefer your make to the imported one.
This is the statement of a manufacturer of Australian repute. It is the testimony which he gave fifteen years ago, and he holds the same opinion to-day. The gentleman in question is selling his products not only in Victoria, but in Queensland and New South Wales. But the firm referred to by the honorable and learned member for Parkes, specifically state that they imported the machinery which they enumerate, to enable them to manufacture otherimplements and machines which up to the present time they have been unable to produce. Obviously they had to compete with the rest of the world until the imposition of the federal duty, and therefore had not an opportunity of establishing themselves in their own market. Now they have that opportunity, and I am not one of those who will deny them the free admission of tools required in their manufacture which cannot be locally produced. That is the proper course to pursue. For these reasons I do not intend to support the proposal of the honorable and learned member for Corio.
– I heartily support the addition of these items to the free list. I cannot understand any reason why we should make an exemption in favour of machinery which is used in connexion with one industry andrefuse to grant a similar concession in connexion with another industry. We ought to assist the manufacturer, not merely by giving him free machinery, but by encouraging him to equip himself with the most up-to-date mechanical appliances. There is no way in which we can better assist him than by giving him the most perfect machinery obtainable to cheapen the production of his commodities. I have also been at a loss to understand why honorable members opposite have spoken for hours in favour of small industries which employ only a few hands, and have denied consideration to those great industries in the Commonwealth which employ thousands of men and in which millions of capital are invested. There is, for example, the industry which preserves various kinds of foods. The honorable and learned member for Corio in his proposal has altogether overlooked machinery intended for the making and closing of cans which are used in the preservation of different varieties of food. Since I* have been sitting here this afternoon I have made a rough calculation of the amount .of capital invested in these industries within the Commonwealth, and I believe that it represents £2,000,000. The latest machinery which is used in connexion with these industries is of a novel character, and is not manufactured in any State of the Commonwealth. It is a curious fact that the obsolete machines used by the canners occupy a place upon the free list, such machines, for example, as folders and punching machines, whereas machines of recent date imported from America and Canada which are the great homes of the canning industry are taxed to the highest extent. I therefore intend to move to add to the amendment the following words, “All machinery for making and closing cans used for packing and preserving meat, milk, fish, butter, fruit, and vegetables.” These industries have as much right to consideration as any of the twopenny-halfpenny industries which exist in Victoria. Honorable members who have had no opportunity of seeing the machinery manufactured in America for preserving and canning goods would be surprised at the marvels of human ingenuity which have been brought into operation there. I have seen descriptions of machines which are automatic from first to last, which receive a piece of tin plate at one end of a room, put it together, solder, fasten, and deliver it at the other end quite complete. The same machines cleanse, cap, cover, and pass the cans into the packingroom. I claim the votes of honorable members who declare that they are in favour of exempting machines which are not manufactured within the Commonwealth. These particular machines cannot be locally manufactured. I imported one of them from Canada about the time the Tariff came into operation, and paid £115 duty upon it. It was invoiced at £400.
– Was it manufactured in Canada 1
– Why could not Australia do the work 1
– It was designed for the canning of fish, and up to the present, Australia has not canned fish to any large extent. In Canada they have special engineers who receive immense bonuses upon their inventions. A partner of mine saw this machine and purchased it in order to see how far it could be used in connexion with the tinning of jam. This machine was brought to Australia, but so far as jam is concerned it was a failure. Over and over again, however, when novel machinery is brought out, even though it may not succeed for the particular purpose, it gives local engineers ideas which they profit by to such an extent that they may possibly invent machinery to suit our own purposes. If we are going to restrict the importation of up-to-date means of coping with the difficulties of manufacturers, our engineers will become stagnant, because it is only by the importation of these appliances that they are urged forward to inventions to meet the needs of the various trades. There is not one of the industries I have mentioned which has not out-grown the demands of the Commonwealth market, and has to depend on the markets of the world. Unless we have up-to-date labour-saving appliances, it is utterly impossible for us to successfully compete. If there are any industries which should have free machinery, they are those industries which deal with primary productions, and which have long since exhausted the local market, and have to export in order to get rid of a large and growing surplus. I should be very glad if the honorable and learned member for Corio’ would accept an amendment including machinery for making and closing cans used for packing and preserving meat, fish, butter, milk, fruit, and vegetables. This is not a matter of one machine which simply cuts a top, and another machine which cuts a body ; but it is a question of a machine vised for turning out the complete article, without which, I undertake to say, in a few years’ time no Australian manufacturer can hope to compete with the rest of the world. The honorable member for Moira said this afternoon that these machines are of such a character that they can never be supplanted - that slotting and planing machines go on for ever. But the machines I refer to get absolutely obsolete in an average period of less than ten years. As an instance I might cite a machine used to cut out the bodies of cans in the form of shears. That machine was displaced by an invention which cut the bodies out square, and the second machine was rendered obsolete by another with disc cutters and gangs of scissors which cut out seven or eight at once. It is only a matter of a year or two when the most recent machine becomes obsolete, and above all is the fact that the human ingenuity exercised in the canning industry of the United States and Canada has evolved machines which do the whole of the work of the manufacture of cans in a series of automatic operations so marvellous as to make one believe that the human mind has transmitted its qualities to the metal. Such machines are too complicated for any one to start the manufacture of them here for many years to come. The original patents cost a considerable sum, and the demand would necessarily be more restricted than in larger centres of the world. If we wish to protect industries we ought to protect those which deal with the great primary productions, and we cannot afford that protection in a better way than by allowing the free importation of machines, which cheapen production and enable us to compete, as we are forced to do, in the markets of the wide world.
– I would ask the honorable member to keep his proposal distinct from that now before the committee.
– My opinion is that these industries should stand altogether. If we give a measure of protection to one by admitting machinery free, the same consideration should be given to the other. But if it is the wish of the committee not to complicate matters, I shall not at this stage insist on my amendment.
Mr. HUGHES (West Sydney). - I have listened very carefully to what the Minister for Trade and Customs has said about Mr. Hampton and two other gentlemen, apparently anonymous, who make this wood-working machinery. The Government have obtained information which is of such a character as to lead them to believe that this machinery can be made in Australia. But are the Government aware that the machinery which Mr. Hampton makes is only one or two sizes of one or two particular machines, and that there are hundreds of other varieties of which he has never attempted to make one?
– The Government’s only interest is to put facts before the House, and when this point was raised previously Mr. Hampton was telephoned to, and sent a reply to the effect that he admits he does not make band-mills, but only band-saws, and he suggests that the terms are likely to be misunderstood, pointing out that the officer’s memorandum in this respect is somewhat misleading. Mr. Hampton claims, however, to make all other machines for use in wood-working.
– I said at the time that there was an error in regard to the bandmills, but that does not affect the question before us. What I contend is that the machinery necessary for up-to-date woodworking is not made in the Commonwealth. I have here a catalogue similar to the one sent to the Ministers, on which they arrived at the extraordinary conclusion that Mr. Hampton could make all the machinery necessary.
– What I read was the result of an interview between Mr. Hampton and an officer.
– I understand that as a result of inquiries the Government came to a certain conclusion, which I say is not warranted by the evidence supplied. The Minister for Trade and Customs talks about band saws, circular saws, and planing machines ; but I venture to say that in the catalogue there are planing machines which Mr. Hampton, if he were here, would be the first to admit he could not make, simply because he has not the plant, and it would not pay him to lay down a plant. It is a fully accepted fact that the difference between success and failure in manufacture depends simply on the presence or absence of up-to-date machinery ; and what the Minister for Trade and Customs proposes to do is. to restrict the manufacturer in wood or metal to one or two varieties of machines which can be and are made here. Outside of these machines, whether they be patented or not, it is proposed to levy a duty. That is to put a premium on the use of obsolete machinery. I notice in the catalogue a machine the price of which is something like £3,500. I asked the Minister for Trade and Customs how many men this gentleman employed, but the right honorable gentleman does, not know, though I venture to say that that is one of the first items of information we should have. If Mr. Hampton employs a dozen, twenty, or thirty men, what sort of probability is there of those men manufacturing at least 200 varieties of machinery, when perhaps, if they had an extremely good year, they would get an order for only one of each variety. Can. any manufacturer carry on under these circumstances ? The proper course was for the Ministry to differentiate between machines which can actually be made here profitably and machines which cannot ;butthat they have never attempted to do. The honorable member for Moira read from a statement of Mr. James, engineer and toolmaker, and that statement bears out the consideration I have just submitted to the committee. Mr. James makes four sizes of steam hammers, ranging from 4 cwt. to 7 cwt., and it is proposed to penalize manufacturers who have of necessity to import steam hammers in excess of the latter size.
– It is admitted that Mr. James employs only two men.
– If we are to make heavier kinds of machinery it is necessary to have a heavier hammer than one of 7 cwt.; but I suppose that is. the best this factory can do in the way of machine-making.
– That statement of Mr. James’ is several years old.
– Then where is the new statement ? I take it that this is the best Mr. James can show, or we should have had another. The fact remains that no effort has been made to prove that this machinery is made here in such quantities and varieties as are absolutely necessary. It is true, as appears from this memorandum, that drilling and slotting machines are made, but we do not know of what magnitude or of what particular variety. I do not know whether the Minister thoroughly realizes that there are dozens and dozens of drilling and slotting machines, and that, as the honorable member for South Sydney pointed out, a machine in vogue to day may be hopelessly obsolete in eighteen months’ time. Does he realize that the manufacturers of textile fabrics in Great Britain are continually under the necessity of breaking, up and selling for old iron, hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of machinery, which perhaps two years ago was up-to-date, but to-day is obsolete.
– Their renewals do not average one every two years.
– I ask the Minister to give us a list showing what machines can be made here, and I shall be willing to vote for the imposition of a duty upon them ; and to furnish us with another list showing what machines cannot be made here, and allow them to come in free. We cannot be expected to vote in the dark upon this matter. The honorable and learned member for Corio moved for the exemption of band mills, and then told us that he meant band-saws, evidently quite a different thing, though apparently neither the Minister nor any one else knows what the difference is. If the Ministry are going to deal thoroughly with this matter, either let them propose its postponement, or accept the amendment. If they really believe that some of these machines can be advantageously made here, let them keep them dutiable; but the list supplied by Ministers is of such a character as to preclude the possibility of metalworking or wood-working concerns of any magnitude having the slightest chance of success in this country. Those trades, however, have as much right to consideration as any other trades. They promise - particularly in the State which I have the honour to represent - to be most flourishing industries, when in the near future population shall have increased and trade settled down into well-defined channels. Yet it is proposed to crush at the outset, by the imposition of heavy duties upon up-to-date machinery, all efforts for the establishment of new enterprises. I realize that it is hopeless to convert Ministers to the free-trade point of view, and I shall offer very little opposition to the imposition of duties upon, such machines as can profitably be made here, but there are hundreds of machines which cannot be made here, and in the interests of manufacturers who have been led into the bond of union upon the understanding that they wouldbe given opportunities equal to those given to other people, they should be admitted free.
Mr. BRUCE SMITH (Parkes). - I do not think it requires any apology on the part of any honorable member for speaking a second time upon this question, because we have before us a list of 50 or 60 classes of machines, which will during the next twelve months be imported to the value of many thousands of pounds, and our determination this evening will either bring so much revenue into the Commonwealth Treasury or give a certain advantage to the manufacturers who use the machines. There are more important questions involved here than would at first appear. As the honorable member for West Sydney has said, thequestion - “ What is the purpose of this Tariff? “ is involved. We were told that the object of the Tariff would be to raise revenue and to protect existing industries ; we were not told anything about anticipating the growth of new industries, and imposing duties in order to bring into being industries which did not exist at the time we began our work on the Tariff. I have no sympathy whatever with the general discussion of free-trade and protection which has crept into the debate. The honorable member for Dalley indulged for half-an-hour in a dissertation upon general principles, but I think we have passed the stage when that is desirable, and that we should now concentrate our attention as much as possible upon the question actually under consideration. But we are in this position : we have before us a list of some 60 machines, speaking roughly.
– No ; 43.
– Ministers have not intimated to the committee whether they are prepared to allow any of these 43 classes of machines to be free.
– Ten of them are exempt.
– Am I to understand that there remain 33 classes of machines which Ministers propose to make dutiable ? It appears that some of the members of the committee have received communications from various persons, drawing their attention to some of these machines in particular ; and it may be that, inconsequence of such communications, those honorable members feel disposed to vote against the exemption of the whole list of machines. The honorable member for Moira, for instance, referred to a communication which he had received, and which he did not read at length, nor did he tell us exactly which are the classes of machines to which it applies ; but he appeared to be very much opposed to the amendment of the honorable and learned member for Corio, because of it. It might be, however, that if all these machines were not grouped together, he could be converted to the view that some of them, at any rate, should be admitted free. I think a good deal would have been gained if the various machines mentioned in the amendment had been submitted to the committee separately. A question which goes to the root of the whole matter is - What is the evidence that the committee is going to require to induce it to vote for or against a particular exemption? The Minister, who ought to be the best judge of this evidence, and who should have laid down, some principle to guide the committee in determining what was and what was not worth noticing, has, by his haphazard methods, encouraged honorable members to quote letters which they have received on the subject. One letter which was quoted is twenty years old, and letters have been read without specifying what is the character of the machines to which they refer, or giving any recent facts in regard to them. The Minister himself quoted from a document which is neither a report nor a letter ; and he sets up that sort of evidence against a communication which I have lead to the committee, and which I received from a firm employing 600 persons. That firm state that four of the six classes ofmachines mentioned in the amendment are patented and cannot be made here, and that they have paid something like £183 in duty upon four machines, which are absolutely necessary to enable them to embark upon a new industry, the products of which have hitherto been imported from the old country. I ask honorable members to consider for a moment the diversity in the class of evidence which is put before us. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports last night brought before thecommittee a proposal to exempt machinery used in the manufacture of bottles, and he quoted in support of his amendment a letter which he had received, not from the manufacturers of the machinery in question, but from the manufacturer of the bottles. That letter stated that, unless the bottle manufacturers could obtain their machinery free of duty they could not carry on their industry. The Minister accepted that, as the sort of evidence which should be placed before the committee to induce it to allow machinery to come in free.
– We had made our own inquiries beforehand.
– The Government have never vouchsafed to the committee: any information as to the nature of their inquiries. Surely the information which they obtain is required, not by the Ministry alone, but by the committee.
– We have sent round to the various manufacturers, and have endeavoured to ascertain from them whether or not various articles are made here.
– Did the Government send for information on the subject which we are now discussing to the manufacturers of the machines, or to the manufacturers who use the machines ? Take the case of the bottle industry. Is it the evidence of the bottle manufacturer that is to be accepted as to the impossibility of carrying on the industry with oldfashioned machinery, or the evidence of the manufacturer of bottle-making machinery ? I have quoted a letter from Messrs. Ritchie Brothers, which ha>s been in the hands of the Minister for a week, so that he may make his own inquiries on the subject. That firm say that they imported certain machinery with the object of producing certain things which have hitherto been imported from abroad, with a consequent loss of employment to the local workers; but that the machinery which they have imported is patented; and for that reason, and because the local demand for it is very limited, it is not likely for years to come to be made within the Commonwealth.. That is the class of evidence which I have brought forward, and it is similar to the evidence brought forward by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports in regard to the bottle industry. What sort of evidence is advanced in reply to it? The Minister for Trade and Customs has made a statement, not on the evidence of manufacturers like Messrs. Ritchie Bros., who say “we cannot carry on our industry with the machinery we get in Australia,” but on information from alleged manufacturers of machinery in South Australia. There has been no communication of an authoritative character, and no statement has been made to the committee as to what number of people are employed, or the extent of the tool-making industry. Simply because one or two firms happen to make machine tools - and they have no patent rights - to which these names can be applied, all modern machines with patent rights attached, which might help manufacturers to bring their industries into the most tip-to-date condition, are to be shut out. The honorable member for Moira asks the committee to pay respect to a testimonial, not of any recent date, but twenty years old, given by a manufacturer to a maker of machine tools ; and the honorable member informed the committee that the tool maker had told him that he could turn out as good an article to-day as he did twenty years ago. This is the sort of flimsy evidence which the Minister for Trade and Customs, who has had a legal training, allows to operate on the committee. If an attempt were made to give such evidence in a country police court, the magistrate would tell those who profferred it that they did not know they were in a court of law.
– This is not a police court.
– No, but we expect some standard of evidence to be observed here. The right honorable gentleman may consider that we have not risen to the level of a police court.
– We have not descended to the depths of a police court.
– Does the right honorable gentleman say that this evidence would be accepted in a police court - a recommendation given by a customer 20 years ago? The manufacturer of machine tools evidently had no testimonial of more recent date, or he would have given it to the honorable member. I am not attempting to push that aspect of the matter to extremes, but it is an insult to the committee to submit such communications. I offered testimony from a living firm which employs 600 men, and which has conducted an industry for the manufacture of agricultural machinery under a free-trade Tariff for twenty years. They say - “ Here are six machines upon which we have been called upon to pay £281 duty. There are patent rights attached to them, they cannot be made here, because there is not a sufficient demand for them, and they are not likely to be made here for years to come.” The Minister, in answer to that, simply says that they could be made here.
– The honorable and learned member is referring to only four classes of machines.
– I am- only referring to four, but I am quite in sympathy with the desire to exempt all the others.
– :Riveting machines are already on the list of exemptions.
– I mentioned hydraulic riveters, which have been placed on the free list ; but screwing machines, cold-sawing machines, drilling machines, and forging machines are included in the list submitted by the honorable and learned member for Corio. According to Messrs. Ritchie Bros, these machines cannot be made here, and they are required to enable the firm to open up a new branch of their industry. The whole purpose of the speech delivered by the Minister for Trade and Customs when he introduced this Tariff, was that the Ministry desired to prevent the destruction of existing industries, and yet they think it sufficient to say an industry may come -into existence. They merely take the irresponsible statements of the manufacturer of a particular class of machinery, who says - “ I can make it here.” The committee will have to consider how long this Tariff is to last. Does any one suppose for a moment that we are making a Tariff for all time1?
-paterson. - For two Tears only.
– The honorable and learned member knows very well that in two years the whole matter will come up again, and it is one of the most serious charges against the Government that their Tariff is not one which will heal the wound.
-paterson. - It is only experimental.
– That has a very important bearing upon this question.
An Honorable Member. - The honorable and learned member for Brisbane has voted for many of the proposals which have been carried, all the same.
– Paterson. - And for many of those that have been lost, too.
– That does not touch the matter I am speaking of. On one or two occasions on which it has been pointed out to the Minister for Trade and Customs that at present there is- no industry in existence, he has said that one may come into existence. The right honorable gentleman said, in the course of his speech an hour ago, that as soon as Messrs. Ritchie Brothers entered upon the new branch of their industry, as indicated in their letter, some one would probably commence manufacturing the machinery they wanted for the establishment of their new branch.
– I did not say anything of the kind.
– The right honorable gentleman did not say it in quite as clear language, but that was the effect of his statement. Messrs Ritchie Brothers say - “ The machinery in question was imported by us with the object of increasing our facilities for doing work which has hitherto been imported from abroad.” The Minister said that although nobody might be making this machinery here at the present time, ve might depend upon it that as soon as Messrs Ritchie Brothers embarked upon the new branch of their industry some manufacturer would begin to make the machinery they wanted. That is looking a long way ahead, and I do not think any committee has ever consented to pass a Tariff in anticipation of new industries coming into existence. The case has been very well put by the honorable member for West Sydney, who said that the bottom principle of this Tariff is to enable the manufacturers of Australia to compete successfully with the manufacturers of the old world. If that be so, the most modern machinery is essential to their success. How are they to get this machinery unless we admit it free? The honorable member for South Sydney has called attention to the fact that the tins required for the -canning of fish and fruit were made in the most circumlocutory fashion a few years ago, whereas, now, a tin plate is thrown in at one end of a machine and conies out in the manufactured form at the other, in the same way that we are jocularly told the pigs go in at one end and come out at the . other as pork sausages and pork pies, in those great establishments which are carried on in Chicago. Every day machinery is being improved and old machinery is being superseded, and it is quite certain that machinery, which has been in successful use will, in. many cases, become obsolete in five years. Therefore, we should do everything we can to assist our manufacturers in keeping their machinery up-to-date. The honorable member for West Sydney brought under the notice of the committee a machine for planing logs on a very large scale, which will cost £3,500. If any enterprising timber merchant were to import a machine of that sort he would have to pay £900 in duty, as a penalty for bringing into the Commonwealth one of the most modern timber-planing machines that the world can produce. That is the logic of it ; and yet we are told that the Ministry are anxious to encourage the industries of Australia. The whole thing is a farce. Ministers are on the horns of a dilemma. They wish to have the credit of encouraging industries, and at the same time they find themselves getting into serious difficulties with their own supporters. The honorable and learned member for Corio is one of their most mechanical, their most automatic supporters, and the honorable and learned member for Bendigo, who is also a staunch Government supporter, is in favour of the amendment. Last night the honorable member for Melbourne Ports advanced the very arguments which I am now putting forward, and he carried the day. Ministers, recognising his great use to the party, at once said that the bottle manufacturers, whose cause the honorable member was advocating, must be helped ; and the speech which was delivered by the Minister for Trade and Customs was almost the counterpart of that which I am now delivering, only that it referred to the bottle business instead of to the manufacture of implements and machinery. If the manufacturers of agricultural machinery and implements have to pay 20 or 25 per cent, duty upon their tools of trade, the farmer will ultimately have to bear the burden of the duty. Yet we are told that the great care and anxiety of the Government is to place the agricultural industry of the Commonwealth upon the best footing. They have deprived the agriculturists of what little help they had under the old State Tariffs, and although they have relieved them of the duty upon a few things like galvanized iron, they have taxed all their food and clothing and furniture, and now they are imposing a duty which will make their machinery dearer. Tins is a very important amendment, because it involves a very large quantity of machinery ; but the Government ought not to blow hot and cold upon this matter. They ought to conduct their business according to some steady principle. How can they differentiate between the treatment afforded to the bottle-manufacturers last night and the treatment which they are extending to a great Sydney free-trade industry, which employs 600 men, and to other industries of a similar character 1 If Ministers think the amendment is too comprehensive, because it would cover machinery which does not change from time to time, as well as machinery of the most ephemeral types, they should suggest some amendment which would differentiate the two classes of machinery. The Minister must know that the patent rights in connexion with the manufacture of machinery in America and Great Britain are so costly that it would be quite impossible for our twopenny-halfpenny tool-makers to enter into the manufacture of patented machines here. I should like the committee to consider how a firm which employs five men only in making a certain class of machinery could purchase the patent rights attached to planing machines which cost £3,500 each? By refusing to agree to the amendment, the Government are discouraging manufacturers from modernizing their plant and compelling them to use obsolete apparatus. I shall certainly assist the honorable and learned member for Corio, and I am sure that if the committee carefully consider this matter, they must conclude that the Government are acting in a manner quite opposed to the doctrine upon which the whole Tariff is founded.
Mr. REID (East Sydney). - I am going to take what my honorable friend has said as part of the few remarks which I had intended to make. First of all, I will deal with the industry in which a man and his son are employed in Victoria - the industry which has been so frequently mentioned during this debate. Only the other day the honorable member for Melbourne made a certain statement with reference to the price of steam hammers in Sydney and Melbourne. He mentioned the name of a certain individual, and in this connexion I wish to tell the committee that a firm in this city have since sent me an original tender from that very man which is several pounds higher than the price which he’ gave to the honorable member for Melbourne, although there was an interval only of three months between the dates of the two quotations.
– The difference is not very great.
– No; but this fact shows that we get one price from some people when they wish to assist in thev imposition of a duty, and a very different price when customers are concerned. I am sure that we are all heartily sick of the trouble we have had over this metal division and its exemptions. Therefore, I shall not add more than one or two words. I protest against the varying lines’ upon which this committee is being governed by the Ministry.
Yesterday, the Treasurer, who is a matteroffact man, repeated most earnestly that the principle upon which the committee were acting was - “ Are these things being made in Australia ?” not - “ Can they be made here in the future?” Because some soap-cutting machine is not being made locally he would not take into consideration the question of whether it could not be made in Australia. He voted for its exemption, and so did all the Government supporters. But his action upon that occasion had reference to a Melbourne manufacturer. Now, men in New SouthWales, employing 600 hands in the making of agricultural implements and machinery, come to the committee, and ask for consideration, and, although their tools cannot be produced locally for some time to come, they are denied that consideration and placed upon a different footing. If the outside public see that the Government and the committee are working upon two different lines to suit two different places - the one against a man, and the other for him - shall we not be placed in a very invidious position ? Can we wonder that suspicion is generated when the Government conduct their business upon two opposite principles on two different days. With reference to soap-cutting machines, the Treasurer said that the Government were willing to place them on the free list because they were not being made in Australia. To-day the Minister for Trade and Customs, speaking of a different article, says - “ Oh, it may be made in* future, although it cannot be made now.” That is the opposite principle which is enunciated by the Minister to-day. It is one of the inconveniences of two Ministers with two different casts of mind endeavouring to conduct this Tariff through committee. To expect their minds to run in the same groove is asking altogether too much. But when we come to consider these anomalies, can we not see that the whole of our work will, in the end, be thrown into a most unsatisfactory and unpleasant state? The committee cannot forget what happened yesterday. I beg the Government, for the sake of their own credit and that of their supporters, to make up their minds what line they are going to adopt, and then to apply it to all industries, all individuals, and all States alike. The varying treatment which is being meted out is becoming very noticeable, and I hope that Ministers will decide amongst themselves whether we are to adhere to the Treasurer’s method of considering only what articles are made within the Commonwealth, and not what can be made here in the future, or to apply the other rule of considering not what is made in Australia, but what- may be made here in the future. The Government ought to adopt one of the two principles, and treat all industries alike.
– I desire to disabuse the mind of the right honorable’’ member who has just resumed his seat of the impression that different principles are advocated by Ministers in charge -of the Tariff, and that different rules of treatment are adopted in reference to different places. No doubt it is portion of his policy to suggest that, as he suggested upon a previous occasion, that Ministers adopted different attitudes with regard to different States. I am sure that the committee will acquit the Government of an intention to do anything of the sort. Not only is that not so, but they have acted in such a way that such an imputation cannot justly lie. As regards the suggestion that a different principle is adopted by the Government in dealing with this question from that which was adopted last night in connexion with soap-cutting machines, I say there is not the shadow of foundation for the statement which has been made. Last night the Treasurer pointed out that soap-cutting machines are not being manufactured locally, and therefore he yielded to the suggestion that they should be exempt. To-day we have been discussing the wisdom of exempting a variety of articles concerning which honorable members have made proposals, and the strength of the position which we have taken up is - ‘-“ Are they or are they not made here? “ The real reason for our resistance, put in the plainest possible language, is the same as that which was suggested by the Treasurer, except that the facts are different. Last night the Treasurer assented to the exemption of a variety of articles because they were not manufactured within the Commonwealth. To-day, because the articles which we have been discussing are produced locally, we resist the proposal to place them upon the free list. Is there anything at all inconsistent in that ? Nothing of the sort ! Honorable members know that I have quoted from a variety of reports. As regards wood-working tools, I enumerated those which are made by Mr. Hampton, of Melbourne, and I referred to the fact that some are made in South Australia.
– Those statements do not cover them all.
– They cover the great bulk of them. Similarly with regard to metal-working machine tools, I have a list with which I did not trouble the committee.
– But there are others.
– On the great bulk of the articles the position we have taken up is in thorough accordance with the principle upon which the Treasurer acted last night. We have fairly applied it, and I venture to think it is highly improper to charge us with inconsistency. So far from having been inconsistent, we have been thoroughly consistent.
Mr. REID (East Sydney).- I thoroughly accept the statement of the right honorable gentleman in regard to a number of these articles. I admit that upon his statement the line of action of the Government is thoroughly consistent in that respect, but where the right honorable gentleman fails a little is that he expects us to accept a partial statement of the position as a complete answer. Such a statement does not impose upon men of experience. There are a number of these machines which cost thousands of pounds - which are full of hundreds of mechanical contrivances not one of which has ever been made in Australia. It is preposterous to say that they can be made locally, because they are under a patent, and to suggest that men will lay down a plant to make’ these extraordinarily complicated machines, each costing thousands of pounds, is practically imposing on the common sense of the committee, and of the community.
Sir JOHN QUICK (Bendigo). - I am sorry that the leader of the Opposition has seen fit to challenge the attitude assumed by the Minister for Trade and Customs, and I do not think that his observations will tend to facilitate a settlement of this question. I consider that the Minister has throughout assumed a uniform attitude. As I understand the matter, he has agreed to place articles upon the free list which are not being made in Australia. That is the principle which has been uniformly followed. It is quite true that upon that question there may be a difference of opinion, and in many instances the supporters of the Government have, owing to the conflict of opinion, accepted the advice and recommendation of the Minister, as they presumed he knew more about the matter than they did. But on this question I venture, with great respect, to say that, in my opinion, the evidence on which the Minister has expressed the opinion that these tools are being made in Australia is not satisfactory, and therefore I claim the right to exercise an independent judgment. I intend, on the ground I have stated, to vote for these exemptions. . The Minister, as I understand, says that these machine tools are being made in Australia at the present time. The honorable gentleman may have evidence before him which he considers justifies him in arriving at that conclusion ; but I find evidence of a very strong character on the other side, which leads me to the conclusion that these tools are not being made in Australia. From the Statistical Register of Victoria for 1900 I learn that during the year there were imported into Victoria machine tools from various countries valued in all at £28,446, upon which was paid duty amounting to £5,689. These figures suggest a doubt to my mind as to the accuracy of the view taken by the Minister that these tools are being made in Australia. I am sorry to differ from the Minister, but I think the facts . I have quoted are sufficient justification for voting in favour of the proposed exemptions on the ground that these machine tools are not being made in Australia.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta).The honorable and learned member for Bendigo is justified in casting a doubt on some of the information furnished to the Minister. Invariably, when we have these authorities quoted in the House, reference is made only to Victoria and South Australia, and never, so far as I know, to ‘New South Wales.
– If we find that an article is made in Australia, that answers the question.
– Does that answer the question ?
– I think so.
– Then if, in the furthest corner of Australia, two men and a boy are employed, that furnishes sufficient justification for penalizing the whole of the industrial life of the continent? That is the doctrine which the Minister apparently lays down j but I should like to remind him that he only partially applies the doctrine. Last night I pleaded with him to make free two important machines which are used in the tanning and currying trades. I assured the Minister on the best authority I could produce that these tools are not made in Australia, and cannot be made here, and that they are newly patented. Notwithstanding that assurance the Minister deliberately refused to place the tools I mentioned on the free list. While following out the principle of putting on the dutiable list only articles which can be made here, the Minister does not seem to believe in the converse - that is, in placing on the exemption list all articles which, according to unmistakable evidence, cannot be made here. In this respect the Minister for Trade and Customs does not by any means pursue a consistent course. ‘ Whenever we urge that a machine should be exempt because it cannot be made here, the Minister refers to the necessity for revenue duties. If he cannot tax a machine as he would like, because it is made here, he wants to tax it anyhow. The Minister is great on taxing everything he possibly can, and hangs on to his proposals, because, as he says, the taxation is for revenue purposes, while he steers straight to his goal every time he thinks a machine can be made here. My quarrel is not so much with the Minister as with the honorable and learned members for Bendigo and Corio. These gentlemen do not believe in taxing these machine tools, on the ground that only a few of them are made here, and only a few hands are engaged in their manufacture. That is precisely the argument I raised last night with regard to tanners’ and curriers’ tools. There are thousands of tanners on this continent, and yet, for the sake of twenty men engaged in making machine tools, the Government penalize tanners on all the expensive machinery which they use. The honorable and learned members for Bendigo and Corio are going to vote with us on this question, but they voted against us last night on another question, which I venture to say was even more important than this ; and I hope that, in the future, they will be a little more consistent. We are glad to have those honorable and learned members with us, but if they are with us to-night, why not last night, when precisely the same principle was at stake, and the same arguments were employed? The honorable and learned member for Parkes makes out a good case. The works he referred to are not small works such as are battled for so savagely sometimes in Victoria, but the two or three establishments in the group employ thousands of men ; and honorable members ought to concede the same advantages, in the shape of cheap tools to those people, as have been granted to other manufacturers. All that is asked for is that these people shall be allowed to buy their tools of trade in the cheapest way that may be open to them.
– Are we supposed to vote on the whole of these tools?
– There are a number of items for which I shall vote to place on the exemption list, but there are others in regard to which I am against that course being taken. It will be seen that I am in somewhat of a difficulty, and I think they ought to be taken seriatim.
– To suit the convenience of the committee, I shall submit the items separately.
Question - That the following exemption be added : - “ Engine lathes “ - put.
The committee divided -
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
– The Government recognise that the opinion of the committee was expressed by the division just taken, and, as we do not wish to occupy time unnecessarily, we assent to the remaining items in the amendment, though, of course, if any honorable member calls for a division upon any one of them we shall vote as we think best.
– I wish to take this opportunity to make a personal explanation. About a fortnight ago, I voted for the imposition of 15 per cent, upon machinery, with certain exemptions. The Government, by a small majority, were able to fix the duty at 20 per cent. ; but they promised that machinery which could not be made in the Commonwealth would be put upon the free list. Although I am opposed to the imposition of so high a duty as 20 per cent., there are a number of articles now being placed upon the free list which I think might fairly pay a revenue duty, and it seems to me that there might very well be some arrangement between the members of the Opposition and the Government upon the subject.
– The honorable member cannot discuss that matter now.
– In recording my vote on many of these exemptions, I may be voting against the Government, but I feel that the Government has placed us in an awkward position. I hope that some such arrangement as I suggest will be come to.
The following exemptions were agreed to:-
Turret lathes, drilling, slotting, shaping, sawing, grinding, milling, keyseating, nut-furnishing, tapping, screwing, planing, tooth wheel or gear cutting, forging, nut-making, centering machines, chucks for lathes, blowers used for foundry and mining purposes, pneumatic hammers, steam hammers, milling machine cutters, and woodworking machine tools as follows : - Sawing, joining, planing, moulding, surfacing, tenoning, tonguing and grooving, trying up, sandpapering, dovetailing, mortising, boring, saw-sharpening, rounding, saw-brazing, spoke making, wheelmaking lathes, and copying lathes.
Amendments (by Sir Malcolm McEacharn) agreed to.
That the following exemptions be added : - “ Bolt-making, finning, and cropping machine tools.”
That the following exemptions be added : - “Engravers’ elliptographs, rotary planing machines, rotary edging machines, routing machines, and rotary bevellers.”
– We have already placed iron and steel tubes or pipes, except riveted or cast, of 6 inches internal diameter and under, on the list of exemptions, and I now propose to place the fittings for these pipes on the free list. It would be anomalous to admit the pipes free and to subject the fittings to a duty of 20 per cent. I move -
That the following exemptions be added : - Fittings for iron and steel tubes or pipes (except riveted or cast), six-inch internal diameter and under, as follows : - Long - screws, bends, springs, elbows, tees, crosses, sockets, flanges, caps, plugs, back-nuts, and nipples.
– We have already placed wrought iron fittings for wrought iron pipes upon the free list, but the fittings which the honorable member’s amendment contemplates would mostly be made of malleable iron. We think that the present exemption covers everything that is necessary, and the honorable member will have to afford us more information before we can consent to placing the fittings included in his amendment on the free list.
– The fittings for iron and steel tubes indicated in the amendment, are the fittings for wrought iron pipes. They are the fittings which hold the pipes together, and they are made of exactly the same material as are the pipes which they are intended to connect.
– Iron and steel tubes and pipes, except riveted or cast, of not more than 6 inches internal diameter, are at present exempted, and the wroughtiron fittings for wrought-iron pipes are also exempted.
– There will be no harm in specifying the fittings.
– We believe that we have covered everything that is intended.
– There is always a danger in specifying these articles, because, although the descriptions now given may cover everything in use, they may not be sufficiently comprehensive to cover later developments in the manufacture of pipe fittings.
– I think the amendment is intended to cover malleable iron fittings. I have here some samples of wrought-iron joints, which are free, and of malleable iron fittings - in appearance exactly the same - which are subject to a 25 per cent. duty. I am informed that the wrought-iron fittings are used in the better class of work, and that malleable iron which is a cheaper material is employed in the poorer class of work. I understand that the manufacture of malleable iron fittings is being carried on to some extent within the Commonwealth, but I hope that Ministers will consider whether the malleable iron industry is of such a character as to warrant the duty now imposed. It seems rather hard that those who use the better class of pipes should be able to obtain their fittings free of duty, whilst those who use the inferior quality of pipes should have to pay a heavy duty upon the fittings required.
Mr. GLYNN (South Australia).- As the amendment which was carried last week may possibly include all the articles specified in my present proposal, I ask leave to withdraw it.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Sir MALCOLM McEACHARN (Melbourne). - I hope that the Ministry will consider the question of exempting malleable iron. I have refrained from giving notice of an amendment in that direction under the impression that they intended doing so.
– The honorable member had better give notice, otherwise I cannot undertake to consider the matter.
– I move -
That the following exemptions be added : - Metal Foundry used in the manufacture of Furniture; also Latches, Gate Fittings, Screw Hooks, Eyes and Kings, Carriage Bolts, Breast Drills, Bucket Ears, Perforated Sheet Zinc, Grape Mills and Stemmers, Spray Pumps, Wine Presses, Trial Glasses, and Machines for use exclusively by viticulturists.
I have looked into this matter very carefully and I find that under the scientific Victorian Tariff these articles were exempt from duty. I take it that the Government have overlooked them, as they cannot be made in Australia. The Victorian Royal commission which sat some six years ago recommended thatfoundry metal used in the manufacture of furniture should be placed upon the free list. They also recommended the exemption of latches, gate fittings, screw hooks, eyes and rings. Concerning carriage bolts, I think it is pretty generally admitted that those made in Australia are of an inferior character.
– There is a difficulty in making bolts under-inch in diameter.
– They are brittle and unsafe, and many accidents occur in consequence of people using them instead of the imported article. In this connexion, I speak upon the authority of the officer to whom I was referred by the Treasurer last week. That officer tells me that these bolts are not equal to the imported article. It is very desirable that we should use strong bolts for our vehicles, and we should not protect the industry until a sound article can be locally manufactured. In regard to bucket-ears, I am informed that they cannot be manufactured in Australia. Tinsmiths say that they require to have these articles admitted free, and the Victorian Tariff Board also recommended that they should be placed upon the list of exemptions in the scientific Tariff which formerly operated in this State. With regard to perforated sheet zinc, the Treasurer informed me some time ago that it was made within the Commonwealth. Since then I have made inquiries and ascertained that it is not made in Australia.
– I know a man in Lonsdale-street who makes it.
-My inquiries lead me to an opposite conclusion. The chairman of the Royal commission which took voluminous evidence in regard to articles dealt with under the Victorian Tariff stated that they were not manufactured locally.
– The chairman of that commission ran away from the very first proposal contained in its report when it was submitted to Parliament.
– Wine-makers ask that grape mills and stemmers, spray pumps, wine presses, trial glasses and machines which are used exclusively by winemakers shall be placed upon the free list, because they are not manufactured within the Commonwealth.
– What machines are included in the line “ Machines for use exclusively by viticulturists?”
– That is a dragnet provision which is intended to cover any other machine which they may use in their business.
– I am somewhat confused by the explanation which has been given by the honorable member. The first article “ metal foundry” is a very wide term.
– The Victorian Tariff Board recommended the inclusion of this line in the Tariff of the State.
– What have we to do with what occurred seven years ago ? The honorable member talks about a report which the Victorian Parliament would not adopt. Indeed, the chairman of that commission himself would have very little to do with that report when it was submitted to Parliament. We are not going to bo bound by a document of that sort. Nobody can tell what “ metal foundry” includes. It would probably include a large quantity of fittings for valuable bedsteads which, can well afford to pay something towards the revenue. A number of the articles enumerated in the amendment are undoubtedly manufactured in Australia, such articles for example as latches, gate fittings, and perforated sheet zinc. There is no doubt that these articles are being made here. The Government do not object to breast drills, bench screws, or carpenters’ bags being exempt, though the last mentioned do not come in this division. Then there are wires, which the Government are prepared to place on the free list. In regard to carriage bolts, the honorable member for Robertson includes all carriage bolts ; but I venture to say he will not contend that a large quantity of the bigger sizes are not made here, and well made. There may be some difficulty in making the smaller carriage bolts, and I think the limitation in the Victorian Tariff was under three-eights of an inch. Then we have no objection to including bucket ears in the free list. I do not know whether’ these are made here, but they are amongst the matters to be considered when dealing with the minor list - that is a list of articles of little value which are used, and known as metalfoundry. The remaining articles, so far as we can ascertain, are made here. In regard to “ machines for use exclusively by viticulturists,” the honorable member for
Robertson seems hardly to know what are covered by these words.
– I can give’ the Minister a list.
– I can understand machines which are used by winemakers, but the honorable member can hardly expect to have placed on the free list machines used by viticulturists, when we have already decided that agricultural, viticultural, and other machines shall pay a duty of 15 per cent. We are prepared to meet the honorable member in the direction I have indicated, but as to the other articles we must ask the committee not te make them exempt.
– I understand that strawsonizers, with which we have already dealt, are equivalent to spray pumps, so that the Government might accept the proposal in so far as it applies to the latter articles.
– A large proportion of spray pumps are made here.
– I do not see the consistency of having one class of spray pumps on the free list and another class paying duty.
– Strawsonizers are used for a different purpose ; they are used in the fields, I understand.
– This is an item which calls for some explanation from either the honorable member for Robertson or from the Minister. Although the amendment is moved from my side of the committee, I am not prepared to vote for it in the absence of that further information. I do not know how many members of the committee know what is comprehended under the term “ metal-foundry,” but I understand it includes all fittings used by carpenters in furnishing a home.
– Used in the : manufacture of furniture.
– It is impossible for us to make ourselves acquainted with the meaning of phrases of this sort, and, therefore, either the honorable member for Robertson or the Minister should inform us what is comprehended. The honorable member for Robertson said he had had many years of experience, not in the cultivation of vines, but in wine-making, and he does not seem to recognise that he has proposed to make free all the apparatus which is used not by wine-makers but by wine-growers.
– Is the honorable and learned member, as a free-trader, not in favour of having these articles free?
– I do not disagree with the proposal, but the honorable member has not explained what he wants. Ploughs and harrows are used by viticulturists, but such articles come under a totally different category, and have been dealt with already.
Mr. HENRY WILLIS (Robertson).- When we have gentlemen on this side of the committee who write books about freetrade, one would naturally suppose they are in favour of making duty free all implements used by agriculturists, viticulturists, and others who work on the soil. The honorable and learned member, for Parkes is apparently not in favour of these articles being free, unless they are enumerated. “ Metal-foundry,” I am informed by representatives of the Customs department who have had a large experience in the preparation of a scientific Tariff, is a technical term which includes hinges for church and cathedral doors, escutcheons, and articles of that sort.
– Those are not used in the manufacture of furniture, and therefore will not come under the definition of the honorable member.
– Metal foundry is also used in the making of bedsteads.
– That will come under the head of minor articles.
– The more expensive articles have borne a duty, while the minor articles have not.
– We are prepared to consider these latter when we are dealing with the minor articles ; but the term used by the honorable member is too large, and includes valuable articles which ought to pay a duty.
– My amendment, like others which have been proposed, covers articles which have already been dealt with ; but on this ground I have been asked to further explain by the honorable and learned member for Parkes, though I do not think any further explanation is required from me. I have here another list, in which are included articles already placed on the free list by the Government, but that cannot be helped, and if the debate goes on I shall be able to bring forward two or three more lists. In regard to the exemption list under the Victorian Tariff, the report to which I have already alluded, states : - “ The principle on which the exemption list was framed is somewhat obscure– “
– The honorable member is not in order in reading from a report relating to another Parliament.
– I have been as careful of the time of the committee as anybody, and when I do take the floor I think I should have the consideration I deserve, and no more. I resent the interference of the honorable and learned member for Parkes unless he is prepared to announce himself a protectionist and vote on the other side.
– The Government have no objection to including screw-hooks, and eyes and rings on the exemption list.
– I suggest that the items be taken seriatim.
Question - That the following exemption be added: - “Metal-foundry used in the manufacture of furniture “ - put The committee divided -
Question so resolved in the negative.
The following proposed exemptions were negatived : -
Latches, gate fittings, breast drills, bucketears, perforated sheet zinc, grape mills and stemmers, spray pumps, and machines for use exclusively by viticulturists.
The following proposed exemptions were agreed to -
Screw hooks, eyes, and rings, and carriage bolts inch or under in diameter, and 4 inches or under in length.
– I move -
That the following exemption be added : - “ Bedsteads and materials and entire parts thereof.”
I propose the amendment because bedsteads cannot be made here.
– There are 500 people in Victoria who make bedsteads.
– Hundreds of bedsteads are made within a. very short distance of this building.
– The parts are imported, and made up here. In New South Wales 200 or 300 men are engaged upon that work in one factory alone, though here it is called a manufacturing industry. The importation charges and the duty together amount to something like 100 per cent, on the imported article, and as the bedsteads cannot be made here, they should be placed on the free list.
– I was surprised to hear the honorable member state that bedsteads are not made here. The bedstead makers of Australia do exactly the same work in preparing their material and putting the parts together as do the members of the Bedstead. Makers’ Association of England. They do not make the angle iron or the tubes from the raw ore, but they buy the angle iron and tubes, which have to be cut, bent and welded, and treated in various other ways, and they also have to make all sorts of castings for use in the course of their work. The making of bedsteads in Victoria, or New South Wales, or South Australia involves exactly the same processes as does the manufacture of bedsteads in England. For the honorable member’s information, I may say that in the Argus, of October last, some information was published in connexion with a proposal by the Premier of Victoria to bring the bedstead and fender making industry under the provisions of the Factories Act. Mr. Peacock stated that the number of hands employed was 525, and the average wage was £2 0s. 4d. per week. He added that this might seem a fair wage, but the industry was a special one, requiring special skill. The working hours in the trade are 48 hours, and the wages range from 7s. 6d. per week for boys up to 65s. per week for skilled artisans, the lowest wages paid to adults being 33s. per week for unskilled labourers, who can within three or four days be trained sufficiently to do the work for which they are engaged. A trade in which the wages average £2 per week is surely worthy of consideration at the hands of this committee. The local manufacturers of Victoria have for years past supplied nearly the whole of the bedsteads required within this State, whereas the importations of bedsteads into New South Wales last year were valued at £50,000. Nearly all these importations came from the United Kingdom, which supplies practically the whole of the bedsteads imported from abroad into the Commonwealth. Those who have followed in the trade journals the history of the Bedstead Makers’ Association of England and who know its present position realize that it would be a gross injustice and a crying shame to remove from the bedstead makers of Australia some reasonable amount of protection.
– On behalf of my right honorable friends the Minister for Trade and Customs and the Treasurer, I hope that the honorable member for Robertson will not press the amendment. I am afraid that there is no chance of carrying it, because, since the committee is determined to tax every one up to the eyes whilst they are awake, I do not see much chance of trying to save them whilst they are asleep.
Mr. HENRY WILLIS (Robertson).The advice of the leader of the Opposition, delivered from the Ministerial side of the Chamber, does not carry quite as much force as it would have done if offered from this side. The bedstead-making industry in Victoria and New South Wales consists in putting together the parts of bedsteads which are referred to in my amendment, and therefore I am proposing that the raw material of the bedstead makers shall be admitted free. The honorable and learned member for Corinella seems to know something about this business, but for his information, I shall quote the statements of two or three gentlemen who have a practical acquaintance with the industry, and probably know more, about it than does the honorable member. In giving evidence before the Victorian Tariff Board in 1895, Mr. Hubert Johnson said -
Even with the present duty, which is excessive, manufacturers will not put down plantfor making the common or best bedsteads, or the better class of cots ; therefore, they are not entitled on these lines to ask for protection.
Another statement is as follows : -
In fitted bedsteads not1d. worth is of colonial manufacture ; even the screws to carry the castors are imported, although there is a screw factory here. The only labour employed is to put the bedsteads together.
He also said -
If you scrape off the japan you will find that the colonial bedsteads are close jointed instead of brazed tubes.
Another gentleman, Mr. Wm. Farr, said -
Owing to the extreme subdivision of the labour and trades employed in producing these goods, even the United “States market is supplied by British manufacturers, and there is no chance of the article being made here right out at a profit, as it would first require a number of auxiliary trades to be established for which there is not sufficient employment.
The bedstead-making industry cannot be introduced here to the full extent, any more than it can be established in America, which imports the parts for bedstead making from Great Britain.
– I can assure the honorable member that he is mistaken, so far as the Australian industry is concerned.
– I am quoting the statements of Victorians, made in the Victorian capital, and so far as Messrs. Anthony Hordern and Sons establishment in Sydney is concerned, they cannot have any facilities for carrying on large metal works in connexion with the bedstead-making industry.
– I move-
That the following exemptions be added : - “ Maize huskers and shredders, maize harvesters and binders, lucerne bunchers.”
These are machines which are of very great use to a large number of agriculturists, both in Queensland and New South Wales, and I know that these people will appreciate the action of the committee if we place them upon the free list.
Amendment agreed to.
– I move-
That the following exemption be added : - “ Cane cutting knives.”
These knives are used only for the cutting of cane, and are not manufactured in Australia.
Amendment agreed to.
– I would direct the attention of the Minister for Trade and Customs to the fact that, although pneumatic hammers and riveters have already been placed upon the free list, there are a number of other pneumatic tools which are not manufactured in Australia, and which at present are subject to duty. Indeed, the only pneumatic tool that is manufactured locally, so far as I know, is the pneumatic hammer. I think the exemption ought to be applied to the whole of these tools.
– Can the honorable member supply us with a list of them ?
– Yes. They include holders-up, scaling machines, casting cleaners, shears, belt shifters, jacks, drills, and tube-cutters.
– The difficulty in which the Government find themselves at the present moment is that they have not had an opportunity of instituting inquiries with regard to these articles. I have no doubt that the honorable member has looked into the matter, but at the same time we should like to make a further investigation. I ask him not to press his suggestion at this stage, but to hand us his list, and we promise to give it careful consideration.
– I am quite willing to agree to the suggestion of the Minister.
– - I move -
That the following exemptions be added : - “Machinery for the making and closing of cans used in the packing and preserving of meat, fish, butter, fruit, and vegetables.”
– We have already dealt with canning machinery, and as far as I can recollect the committee decided that it should not be exempted from duty.
– No ; the committee dealt only with machinery for making cans, and the machinery to which I am now referring is of a totally different character. It not only makes the cans, but closes the fruit in them. It does the whole work. Unless these machines are admitted free we shall be unable to compete with the outside world. My proposal deals with machines for canning and closing. . It is very complicated machinery, being entirely automatic in character. It is expensive, and absolutely indispensable if these industries are to compete with the rest of the world.
– What is the short title of it?
– For convenience sake, I am prepared to call it “automatic can making and closing machinery.”
– I suggest to the Minister for Trade and Customs that he should consider the honorable member’s proposal. If the machine is what it is represented to be it is a very important one, which will be greatly used by the jam factories which are springing up in various parts of the country.
– I think that the Government will go a little further than is suggested by the honorable and learned member for Bendigo. The machine in question seems to be a very special one, and we do not mind including it in the free list if the honorable member for South Sydney can supply us with some printed particulars, which will enable us to inquire fully into the matter before the Tariff debate closes.
– There are three or four different kinds of these machines in existence, such as Letson and Burpee’s, and Hume’s and Howard’s ; but I cannot describe them more accurately than as “ automatic can-making and closing machines,” and I ask leave to amend the amendment in the direction indicated.
Amendment amended accordingly.
– I will accept the amendment in that form for the present.
Amendment agreed to.
– I should like to bring under the attention of the Minister for Trade and
Customs an apparatus known as the “ Patent log band saw-mill,” which is being imported from America, and is an absolute necessity in the timber industry. This apparatus cannot be made in the States, and is largely used for cutting Tasmanian timber for export. I believe the machine is also being imported into New Zealand ; and if the importation be stopped by means of a heavy duty, that will be a blow to the timber industry all over Australia. I have a list which contains practically all the ironwork for a complete saw-mill, and I am told that the introduction of this machine is practically revolutionizing the industry. I move -
That the following exemptions be added: - “ Log band saw-mills.”
– The Government are willing to accept the proposed exemptions with a view to further revision, if necessary.
Amendment agreed to.
Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN (Wentworth). - Is “ West’s patent tire setting machine “ on the free list?
– The Government are not prepared to accept that machine, but are prepared to place “ cold tire setting machines “ on the free list.
– Then I move -
That the following exemption be added - “Cold tire setting machines.”
Amendment agreed to.
Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN (Wentworth). - I should like to know whether, in this division, “sparklets and sparklet apparatus “ are included.
– We cannot let “ sparklets “ in free.
– I understand these machines are not made in the States.
– They are not.
– Then, on their own principles, the Government ought to admit them free. Do I understand that the free admission of “sparklets” cannot be entertained?
– Then we shall have to deal with this matter on another occasion.
– I move -
That the following exemption be added : - “Brick-making machines.”
I confess that this is a matter on which I have no special knowledge, but a few days ago I brought it under the attention of the Minister for Trade and Customs. I understand that bricks are not now made in the old-fashioned way, but are made by machinery ; and I know that in the country towns outside Sydney brick-making companies have been formed for the purpose of replacing miserable wooden houses with brick constructions. I have not at hand information which I have applied for on this subject, but I asked the Minister for Trade and Customs to make inquiries, and should like an explanation as to whether he can see his way to place this machinery on the free list.I find that in the Government list of exemptions, under the head of “ Tile, pipe, and brick making,” there are “ moulding machines,” and I should like to know whether these mean brick -making machines. I am informed that special brick-making machinery is not made in the Commonwealth, and if that be so, it appears to me that it ought to be free.
– I trust that the Minister will not accept the amendment. This matter has been inquired into, and prior to the Christmas adjournment I asked the Minister to let me know the exact machines which the Government intended to exempt. The result of the inquiries has been to show that all machines used in the making of bricks, tiles, and pipes are manufactured in the States with, perhaps, one exception. There is great doubt as to whether even this latter is not also made here. In my electorate two or three foundries have been engaged for some time making patent brick-making machines, which are sent to different States of the Commonwealth.
– I inquired into this matter, and found that brick-making machines are made here to a considerable extent. The particular machine referred to by the honorable member for Yarra is patented, and although I cannot say that that patent has been made here, there are other machines suitable for the work in considerable use. One manufacturer, from whom I caused inquiries to be made, states that machines are being made here on the same principle as the patent, and, although I do not know whether he is right, he says that he considers his machinery, more suitable for the hard soils of Victoria than the imported machinery. There is no doubt that the local machinery is in considerable use, and during the past seven months as many as five machines have been made by this particular manufacturer. Under these circumstances it would be a pity to put these machines on the free list, but I do not hesitate to promise that if on further inquiry, before the matter is finally decided, further information is elicited, the Government will be glad to consider it.
– What does “ moulding machine “ mean ?
– It is an instrument used in one process of the manufacture of bricks, and such machines are not made here.
– Is it not the principal part of the process ?
– At present I think the balance of convenience lies in favour of the Tariff as we have it.
– I understand that if I can supply satisfactory information, there will be an opportunity to consider this question later on ?
– Then I shall be happy to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
– I think that when the committee are told that a certain article is manufactured within the Commonwealth we should have some information as to the number of the hands employed in the industry. I should like to know how many persons are employed in connexion with the manufacture of brickmaking machinery.
– I move-
That the following exemption be added : - “Garbage destructors, imported and used by municipalities. “
– The honorable member can deal with the matter better when we are discussing another part of the Tariff.
– I think that we should deal with the amendment now, on the ground that these machines are very necessary for sanitary reasons.
– We put rat traps upon the free list to benefit Sydney.
– That is all the Government have done for New South Wales, though that State practically keeps the Commonwealth going. Surely the committee will not discourage the use of uptodate sanitary appliances by public bodies, whose chief concern should be the health of the citizens ! Annandale is a suburb of Sydney which is situated within my electorate. It has a population of about 20,000, most of whom are artisans, and it contains a number of industries which, if they were possessed by Victoria, would fill the honorable member for Melbourne Ports with pride. The municipal corporation has just decided to import a large garbage destructor, and a contracthas been let, the money required being advanced by the New South Wales Government upon a system which provides for its repayment at the end of 21 years.
– Where is it being made - in Germany?
– No; in England. We are too loyal to use a garbage destructor made elsewhere than in England or America. I do not ask for this exemption for the benefit of any importer, though honorable members have, night after night, advocated the imposition of duties to assist local manufacturers. No profit will be obtained by importing this garbage destructor, which will be a quasi-national concern. Surely the committee will not penalize municipalities which desire to import the latest and most improved machinery for effecting their proper sanitation.
– I suggest that it will be better to deal with this matter when we come to the end of the Tariff, and are dealing with other exemptions applying to municipalities.
– Are any garbage destructors manufactured in Australia ?
– Where? The Minister does not know. I think the Government should inquire into the matter.
Mr. THOMSON (North Sydney).- If the honorable member for Dalley made his exemption apply to all garbage destructors, whether used by municipalities or by other bodies, his proposal could properly be dealt with now.
– A garbage destructor is only a large furnace.
– Yes ; but there are many patented appliances, though only a few of them are really valuable, and it is not wise to prevent the use of the best appliances available. The Government will not lose much revenue by exempting garbage destructors, and I think it will be well to admit free an appliance which should be much more largely used in Australia than it is at present.
Mr. HENRY WILLIS (Robertson).- I think that this question should receive the full consideration of the committee. The cost of these destructors is a matter of great importance to the corporations which have to import them. Some of the best furnaces, such as that in use at Manchester, are very much more expensive than furnaces such as are used at Glasgow. It is desirable that in Australia we should have the very best appliances ; but they are not likely to be imported if a heavy duty has to be paid upon them in addition to their first cost.
– Is not the greater part of the expense connected with the brick work?
– That, no doubt, is expensive, but the patented furnaces are very costly, and from the best of them a manurial deposit can be obtained which has a commercial value.
– I would urge the Government to take this matter into consideration, because the desirability of using garbage destructors is being forced upon the attention of nearly all municipalities, especially in the earlier stages of their history, when regard for the health of the people necessitates the utmost care in the disposal of refuse. These destructors are very costly, and so far as Western Australia is concerned they have to be imported, either from other parts of the Commonwealth or from abroad.
Mr. WILKS (Dalley).- I withdraw the amendment for the present in order to give Ministers an opportunity of considering the position. I hope that they will come to the conclusion that it is desirable in the interests of public health to encourage the erection of these destructors.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
– I move-
That the following exemption be added : - “Zinc-refining retorts.”
Many attempts have been made to successfully treat ores containing zinc, but so far they have not been attended with any great measure of success. A new type of retort has recently been imported, which is expected to be a success, and if present hopes are realized many more will be introduced. These retorts cannot be made here for many years to come.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Mr. Mahon) agreed to -
That the following exemption be added : - “ Aluminium rotary graining machines.”
Mr. WATKINS (Newcastle). - I move-
That the following exemption be added : - “ Wheels and axles used for making coal or shale waggons.”
Many of the colliery proprietors in New South Wales who make their own waggons, have to import the wheels, axles, and springs. A considerable amount of labour is employed in putting these waggons together, but if wheels and axles are placed on the dutiable list, I am afraid that the complete waggons will be imported.
– The colliery proprietors will hardly do that, because they will have to pay duty on the waggons themselves.
– I am given to understand that it will pay the colliery proprietors better to have the waggons made abroad, if the wheels and axles are placed on the dutiable list. Some of the large collieries have to provide as many as 800 or 1,000 waggons, which have to be made up to the Government standard for railway requirements. As the axles and the wheels are, in a sense, raw material, and as they are not made within the Commonwealth, I hope the Ministry will consent to their exemption.
– I suppose the Government will accept this amendment, because it comes from one of their own supporters. The honorable member for Newcastle talks about the great strain that will be imposed upon the mine-owners, and he has been very solicitous regarding everything that could possibly affect those engaged in the coal-mining industry ; but he has not extended similar consideration to those employed in other occupations. The honorable member has not been at all consistent, and I should like the Age, which recently recommended me to be consistent, to give a little similar advice to some of its own supporters. I amperfectly willing that axles and wheels for coal-waggons should be placed upon the free list.
Mr. WATKINS (Newcastle).- The remarks of the last speaker are unworthy of my notice. The votes I have given during the Tariff discussion have in many cases had the effect of taxing those whom I represent to a greater extent than many other sections of the people. So far as the criticism of the honorable member for Maranoa is concerned, I would point out that he, an ardent free-trader, voted for a 15 per cent, duty upon goods such as those which I now propose to exempt.
– We have not had an opportunity of looking into the question brought before us by the honorable member for Newcastle. His proposal seems on the face of it to involve very important considerations, and we cannot say off-hand whether these wheels and axles are likely within a reasonable time, to be made here. We propose to give a good deal of assistance to the iron industry under the provisions in the next division of the Tariff, and I would ask the honorable member to allow the matter to remain in abeyance until we see what steps are taken in that direction.
– The honorable member will have an opportunity of dealing with it.
– Upon that understanding I ask leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
– I move -
That the following exemption be added : - “ Stone-crushing machinery.”
This is a matter affecting thousands of men throughout the Commonwealth. In New South Wales and Victoria the stone-crushing industry is a very large one. Indeed, a similar remark is applicable to every State, seeing that metal has to be crushed for the purpose of making and maintaining our roads. Clearly, therefore, it is of great consequence that people should be enabled to get these machines as cheaply as possible. I know that some machines are being manufactured in Victoria, notably the Hope machine, which is of smaller calibre than are the machines imported for use in New South Wales. In the latter State the Baxter machine is chiefly used. It posseses much greater strength than do the machines which are manufactured in Victoria. I hope that the committee will see fit to include these machines in the list of exemptions.
– I sincerely trust that the committee will not agree to the proposal to place these machines upon the free list. Not only is Victoria manufacturing the Hope machine, but it is turning out another which is quite as strong and effective as that which is used in New South Wales. I hope that the Minister will not yield to the solicitations of the honorable member for Parramatta.
Mr. TUDOR (Yarra).- I would point out to the Minister for Trade and Customs that machines of any size can be manufactured in Victoria. This State can turn out stonecrushers quite as large as those which are used in New SouthWales, and therefore, I hope that the amendment will be rejected.
Mr.FULLER. (Illawarra). - I am very glad that the honorable member for Parramatta has submitted the amendment. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports certainly knows nothing about this particular industry, whatever he may know about industries which are situated in and around Melbourne. In New South Wales, 700 or 800 people are directly dependent upon it for a livelihood. There is, for example, the Emu Boulder Company, which employs a large number of men, besides extensive quarries at Prospect, and at Kiama, Shellharbour, and other places along the coast.
– Are they all using imported machinery ?
– In many cases they use what is known as the Baxter machine, which is very much superior to the machines which are manufactured in Victoria.
– Has the honorable and learned member seen our Richmond machine?
– Considering that some of our people came to Melbourne especially to buy one of these machines they ought to know something about them. I would point out that at the present time three steamers are running continuously between Kiama, Shellharbour, and Sydney for the purpose of carrying broken metal from the former to the latter place. There is no other industry in the Commonwealth in which there has been such keen competition. For a number of years it was a very unprofitable industry, although I am glad to say it is in a much better position to-day. I can assure the committee that the machines manufactured in Victoria are not up to the standard of those imported from the old country. I hope, therefore, that the amendment will be accepted.
Question - That the following exemption be added - “ Stone crushing machinery “ - put. The committee divided -
Question so resolved in the negative.
Mr. SYDNEY SMITH (Macquarie).The machine tools of a number of industries are placed on the free list, and I have a letter from the firm of T. M. Burroughs and Co., of Melbourne, with which I am not acquainted, urging that, in all fairness, sailmakers’ tools should also be free. I am of opinion that if the tools of trade in other industries are placed on the free list sailmakers should receive the same consideration. I am informed that none of these tools can be manufactured in the Commonwealth. They consist of sailmakers’ sewing palms, marlinespikes, galvanized clip hooks, clew rings, galvanized hooks and thimbles, galvanized thimbles, cargo hooks, and rowlocks.
– If the articles mentioned do not come under the definition of “ tools of trade,” they will not be exempt ; but I certainly think the same concession should be given tosailmakers as to those engaged in other industries.
– The only tools which a sailmaker uses are a needle and a thimble, and some times a sewing machine, the last mentioned of which is free.
– If the Minister for Trade and Customs will look into this matter I shall not press any amendment at this stage.
– I move-
That the following words be added to the exemption, “Arms” : - “ Including cadets’ rifles. “
This amendment is submitted in accordance with the promise I mode previously.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Mr. Kingston) agreed to-
That the following exemptions be added.: - “Turbines, steam and water.’’
Division VI. agreed to.
Motion (by Mr. Kingston) agreed to -
That Divisions VII. to XVI., inclusive, be postponed until after consideration of “ excise duties.”
House adjourned at 10.27 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 5 February 1902, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1902/19020205_reps_1_7/>.