House of Representatives
18 February 1902

1st Parliament · 1st Session



Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.

page 10074

QUESTION

ELECTRICAL MACHINERY

Mr THOMAS:
BARRIER, NEW SOUTH WALES

asked the Minister for

Trade and Customs, upon notice -

  1. What was the customs rate of duty on electrical machinery and apparatus in the State of Victoria before federation ?
  2. What was the amount of duty collected by the State of Victoria during the years 1897, 1898, 1899, 1900, and 1901 on electrical machinery and apparatus ?
Mr KINGSTON:
Minister for Trade and Customs · SOUTH AUSTRALIA, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · Protectionist

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -

Electrical machinery, 25 per cent. Electrical apparatus, various rates - some free, others varying from 15 per cent. to 30 per cent. Electrical fittings, viz. , arc lamps without globes, carbons, incandescent lamps, automatical registers, transmitters and storage batteries, free ; earthenware fittings,15 per cent.; woodware, 25 per cent.; metal, 30 per cent.

Particulars of “electrical machinery and apparatus “ are not shown separately Statistical Returns, but are included in the general . heading “Machinery other.” This information, therefore, cannot be given.

page 10074

QUESTION

MILITARY PAY

Sir JOHN QUICK:
BENDIGO, VICTORIA

asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -

What arrangement has been made by the Imperial Government for distributing the pay due to soldiers who have returned, or may hereafter return from South Africa, and to whom should they apply in each State for their pay, or for the rectification of mistakes in pay vouchers sent from South Africa? .

Sir JOHN FORREST:
Minister for Defence · SWAN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · Protectionist

– The answer to the honorable and learned member’s question is as follows : -

The payment of claims with regard to the contingents raised by the States willbe arranged through the respective State Governments. The Commonwealth Government did not take over any work in connexion with these contingents, and the State Governments have appointed officers to deal with any claims. With reference to the Commonwealth contingents, as a paymaster will accompany them it is not anticipated that any difficulties will arise.

page 10074

QUESTION

POSTAL OFFICIALS : MEDICAL ATTENDANCE

Mr KIRWAN:
for Mr. Mahon

asked the Minister representing the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -

Whether, having reference to his. answer to question No. 1 of 28th January last, respecting the withdrawal of certain rights from post and telegraph officers on the gold-fields of Western Australia, he will lay upon the table of the House the report which the Prime Minister requested the Premier of Western Australia to furnish concerning the circumstances under which such rights were originally granted?

Sir PHILIP FYSH:
Minister (without portfolio) · TASMANIA, TASMANIA · Free Trade

– So soon as the reply comes from Western Australia it will be furnished to the honorable member.

page 10074

QUESTION

WAR OFFICE MEAT CONTRACTS

Sir JOHN QUICK:

asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -

  1. Whether his attention has been directed to a statement made in the House of Lords by Lord Carrington, to the effect that certain companies, guarantors, and other participators in the army meat supply contract for South Africa have large interests in the Argentine meat trade ; and, if so, what assurance is there that the contractors will not supply to the army meat produced in foreign countries, ignoring Australian and New Zealand meat ?
  2. Will representations be made to the Imperial Government as to the forms and conditions of contract convenient to colonial tenderers, and at the same time consistent with economy and efficiency ?
Mr BARTON:
Minister for External Affairs · HUNTER, NEW SOUTH WALES · Protectionist

– The answers to the honorable learned member’s questions are as follow : -

  1. My attention has been directed to the statement referred to. The War Office, before the acceptance of the tender, received an assurance in writing from the guarantors of the contract that, as far as possible, supplies should be drawn from Australia and New Zealand. The exact terms of this assurance have been promised, but have not yet come to hand.
  2. The Government have been, and are doing, all that can be done to facilitate the fair treatment of colonial tenderers.

page 10074

QUESTION

MILITARY CAMP

Mr CHANTER:
for Mr. McColl

asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -

  1. Is it intended to have a military camp this season ?
  2. If so, when and where will it be held ?
  3. Will members of the Victorian Mounted Rifles and Rangers be allowed any remuneration for their attendance ?
Sir JOHN FORREST:
Protectionist

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -

  1. Yes.
  2. During Easter - at Langwarrin for the Infantry, Mounted Rifles, and Rangers ; at Bittern for the Field Artillery ; and at the Heads for the Garrison Artillery and the Submarine Miners.
  3. It is not proposed to make any change in the practice which obtained prior to the transfer of the forces to the Commonwealth, viz., that the members of the Mounted Rifles and the Rangers receive free rations whilst in camp, but no pay for their attendance.

page 10075

QUESTION

AUSTRALIAN MILITARY PRISONERS

Mr CROUCH:
CORIO, VICTORIA · PROT

– In asking the questions which stand upon the notice-paper in my name, I desire to explain that the two men referred to were released as a consequence of a telegram sent to South Africa by the Minister for Defence, after a discussion in this Chamber in November last, and returned to Victoria this day week. My questions are as follow : -

  1. If he hasyet received any reply to his promised inquiries as to the number and names, and cause of punishment, of Australian soldiers confined in English prisons ?
  2. If so, will he supply these particulars to the House ?
  3. If he has any information as to whether men named Brearley and Laurie, members of Victorian contingents, are imprisoned in Gosport Military Prison, England, and for what cause?
  4. If he will make representations to the English authorities in order that these men may be permitted to write to their Australian relatives ?
Sir JOHN FORREST:
Protectionist

– The answers to the honorable and learned member’s questions are as follow : - 1 and 2. The inquiry was made, but no reply has yet been received. 3 and 4. These two men have recently returned to Victoria, having been discharged in England by the Imperial authorities after undergoing a short imprisonment. No official information has been received in regard to their cases.

I have not been informed that the release was in consequence of the telegram sent to South Africa by His Excellency the GovernorGeneral, and therefore it may not be as the honorable and learned member assumes.

page 10075

TARIFF

In Committee of Ways and Means -

Consideration resumed from 14th February (vide page 10073).

Item 78. - Blacking, including dressings, soaps, oils, inks, pastes, polishes, stains, and varnishes for leather; Berlin and Brunswick blacks, furniture oil, paste, and polish, and bronzing and metal liquids, ad valorem 20 per cent.

Mr REID:
East Sydney

– I cannot see why so high a duty as 20 per cent. should be placed upon articles which, I believe, are largely used in our manufacturing industries. If heavy duties are imposed upon everything, small and great, that is used in the processes of manufacture, the protection’ given by the duties on the finished articles will evaporate.

Sir GEORGE TURNER:
Treasurer · BalaclavaTreasurer · Protectionist

– With the exception of bronzing and metal liquids, the articles comprised in this item are manufactured largely in all the States, and although they have hitherto been admitted into New South Wales free, they have been charged 25per cent. in Victoria, Queensland, and South Australia, 20 per cent. in Tasmania, and 15 per cent. in Western Australia, so that the proposed duty of 20 per cent. is not unreasonable. The ingredients of many of these articles are themselves dutiable, so that it is only fair that they should be protected. I move -

That after the word “liquids” the words “ and powders “ be inserted.

Amendment agreed to.

Item, as amended, agreed to.

Item 79. - Greases, axle, and thickened or solidified oils ; solid or viscous compounds for lubricating, and tallow unrefined, per cwt., 4s.

Mr GLYNN:
South Australia

– I think that this duty is much too high. I have received a letter from one of the leading Adelaide importers, in which the writer says that upon an invoice of 35 tons of axle grease, the value of which was £172, landed from a vessel at Port Adelaide on the 3rd February, the duty amounted to £140, or 85 per cent., and a confirmatory letter shows that on another importation the duty was equal to 75 per cent.

Sir George Turner:

– Axle grease is generally imported in tins, and the rate of duty is about 20 per cent.

Mr GLYNN:

– The rate in South Australia previously was 10 per cent., so that the amount of duty which my correspondent would have had to pay would have been £19. The rate now proposed is much higher than formerly existed in any of the States, except Queensland, where the duty was 6s. per cwt. Formerly in New South Wales there was no duty, in South Australia and Tasmania it was 10 per cent., in Western Australia 15 per cent., and in Victoria, in tins,4s. - otherwise 3s. per cwt. I move -

That the following words be added : - “ And on and after 19th February, 1902, 2s.”

A suggestion made to me was that a duty of1s. or1s. 6d. per cwt. would give far more than ample protection.

Sir GEORGE TURNER:

– So far as I have been able to learn the larger portion of the imported anti-friction grease is in tins. It is the more valuable portion, and the rate of duty we propose comes to about 20 per cent. I can understand that certain quantities may be imported in bulk, but probably they would be of an inferior description, and the rate of duty would be higher.

Mr Watson:

– It would not come up to 80 per cent., anyhow.

Sir GEORGE TURNER:

-I do not think it could come up to such a high rate as that. Perhaps in this case I might meet my honorable and learned friend, Mr. Glynn, by agreeing that the duty should be 2s. per cwt. in bulk, and 4s. per cwt. in tins.

Mr Glynn:

– Why not say 2s. per cwt. all round?

Sir GEORGE TURNER:

– No. That which is imported in tins is very valuable; running from £24 to £28 per ton. Honorable members will see that we can fairly impose a reasonable duty upon that article. I admit that so far as the bulk article is concerned the proposed rate may be too heavy. I advise the committee to agree to a duty of 2s. per cwt. in bulk, and 4s. per cwt. in tins.

Mr TUDOR:
Yarra

– On referring to the Statistical Register of South Australia I cannot find that the South Australians import any of this article, so that it is impossible to estimate the price at which it is imported, but according to the New South Wales returns ordinary grease averages about 16s. per cwt. Anti-friction grease would average a great deal more than that here. On anti-friction grease the duty should be 4s. per cwt. whether it is imported in tins or in bulk. It is complained that we do not give an opportunity for the working up of our products in this State. I cannot see the force of sending away to other countries the grease and other byproducts of our primary industries and allowing them to come back in a manufactured state. Although the duty on antifriction grease has been 4s. per cwt. when imported in tins, the price has been less here, according to travellers’ returns, than in other States. In New South Wales, they imported most of their supply duty free from America.

Mr. REID (East Sydney). - The honorable and learned member for South Australia, I think,is nearly accurate in what he stated with reference to the difference between the value of the article and the duty of4s. per cwt. It is of no use the honorable member for Yarra taking our bulk statistics, dividing them up and finding a price, because all sorts of qualities of material are included in the general bulk. I believe that this stuff is shipped free on board in New York at 7s. per cwt.

Mr Watson:

– There could not be much tallow in it at 7s. per cwt.

Mr REID:

-I am only taking the statements made by persons who are of very high authority, and who trade in the article.

Mr.HumeCook.-thatisnot antifriction grease.

Mr REID:

– I am confining myself entirely to the definition in the Tariff - axle grease. A duty of £4 per ton on an article worth, on board ship in New York, £7, is a pretty stiff one ; it is a long way over 50 per cent. As the freight and shipping charges amount to £3 per ton, there is practically a natural artificial protection amounting to 100 per cent. Are we going up to 100 per cent. in the case of grease when we will not go beyond15 or 20 per cent. in the case of our great manufacturing industries ? This stuff is used in the manufacturing and producing industries. We ought to try to observe some consistency in our rates. Two shillings per cwt. would amount to over 27½ per cent.

Sir George Turner:

-On certain very poor classes it might, but not on the really good stuff.

Mr REID:

– My right honorable friend seems to know all the shades of grease - I do not.

Mr Kingston:

– They run up to nearly £30.

Mr REID:

– What a clumsy proposal this is, then, which charges the same rate per cwt. on an article worth£7 per ton as it does on an article worth £30 per ton ! That is another confession of the greatest clumsiness.

Mr Kingston:

– There is a broad distinction.

Mr REID:

– If the value ranges to these extreme points, then a specific duty is a most inconvenient and unfair one. Four shillings per cwt. would be a very small percentage, perhaps, on an article valued at £30 per ton, but when it is compared with an article valued at £7 per ton, it becomes an enormous duty. I suppose the Government wish to have some sort of relationship between their duties. The Treasurer has been extremely liberal in coming down 50 per cent, in one shot.

Sir George Turner:

– On the poorerclass stuff.

Mr REID:

– On the bulk stuff, whether poor or rich.

Sir George Turner:

– That would be the poor stuff.

Mr REID:

– Does the Minister think that these people will send it out in small tins when they can make a difference of 2s. per cwt. 1

Sir George Turner:

– Yes, it would pay them to do it.

Mr REID:

– Why should we get the business of repacking in tins for the other stuff! Why should we not spread it over the whole industry instead of allowing the bulk in at a free-trade rate 1

Sir George Turner:

– I do not mind. We shall keep the same rate if honorable members like. I want to meet them as fairly as I can.

Mr REID:

– The right honorable member has been very liberal in coming down to 2s. per cwt., and I do not wish to say anything to make him retrace his steps.

Mr HUME COOK:
BOURKE, VICTORIA · PROT

– I did not quite follow the figures of the honorable and learned member for South Australia, Mr. Glynn, but I think that he must be labouring under some mistake. If I heard him correctly, he stated that the price of grease landed in South Australia was £32 per ton, and he made out that a duty of 4s. per cwt. came to 80 per cent. Of course the figures do not work out in that way. The prices which have been furnished to me show that the average cost is about £14 per ton, so that the article quoted at £32 per ton must have been a very superior one. The prices which have been given to me are for articles of similar quality, and used in similar work, namely, £11 in Victoria, £12 in New South Wales, £14 in Queensland, and £16 in Western Australia. I suppose that the differences in the price are partly the result of freight charges, and partly the result of distances to be covered, but I believe the average is about £14 per ton. I do not know a very great deal about this matter, except that some four companies are engaged in manufacturing the article here. I believe it is manufactured in every State in Australia, and to that extent it must be locally consumed. The Victorian product has given every possible satisfaction to the users, more particularly to mine managers. I have some letters from the Bendigo, Ballarat, and Maryborough districts. It is used there in large quantities by mining managers and others, who all state that it has given every possible satisfaction; that they have used it for a number of years, varying from twelve to sixteen ; and that it has served all their purposes, and, above all, that it is quite cheap. Perhaps the best testimony is that sent by the manager for James McEwan and Co., the hardware importers, to the manager of the Standard Grease and Oil Company in Richmond -

We have pleasure in stating that for the past eighteen years we have been supplying your antifriction grease to our wholesale and retail customers and mining companies, and it has always given the very best satisfaction. We might mention that since you started the Standard Grease Works, we have not imported any in bulk, as we could not land a similar quality at the price at which 3’ou supply.

Evidence like this, coming from free-trade importers, ought to be a recommendation in favour of the quality and the price at which these men are producing the article.

Mr Reid:

– And in favour of no necessity for exorbitant duties.

Mr HUME COOK:
BOURKE, VICTORIA · PROT

– The other letters I have are from mine managers and others, who say the local article is good in quality and is supplied at a fair price. The manufacturers say that they started the industry as the result of a duty of 4s. per cwt. being imposed in this State ; that if it be removed probably they will come into very severe competition with the American Standard Oil Company, who, in part, manufacture this article from the refuse of the oil wells ; and that if they are subject to that severe competition they will have either to reduce wages or to take other steps. It does seem to me, on the evidence I have before me, only a fair thing to main tain the duty as it is, and to allow local persons to supply the market.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:
Robertson

– I followed the arguments of the last speaker, and he has confirmed, to my satisfaction, the statement made by the leader of the Opposition that this grease is bought in Amenca at £7 per ton, and landed here at £14 per ton. He showed very clearly that this duty is quite equal to 40 or 50 per cent, on the cost of the material in America. If the Government desire to put a duty of 50 or 60 per cent on grease, then their action is quite consistent.

But if it is desired to impose a duty of 25 per cent, the amount should be reduced from 4s. to 2s. per cwt. There is no possibility of Australia competing with America in the manufacture of axlegrease. The best Australian grease is made from tallow and oil - chiefly cod oil which comes from Newfoundland. The cod oil would cost here between £30 and £40 per ton, and the cheapest tallow cannot be obtained for less than £18 per ton. We can make axle-grease of better quality than that which is imported, but it will not do better work, and when we have to pay £18 per ton for tallow, it would be impossible for us to compete with the imported article at £14 per ton. That is one of the reasons why the consumers of axle-grease in Victoria had to pay more than was realized for the article in New South Wales before the Federal Tariff came into operation.

Mr. MAUGER (Melbourne Ports).Axlegrease is being made in Victoria, and sold at £1 per ton cheaper than in New South Wales. I hope the compromise suggested by the Treasurer will be accepted, and that we shall get on with the business.

Mr. REID (East Sydney).- If the honorable member for Melbourne Ports desires the business to be expedited, he will not make wildly inaccurate statements such as that which has just fallen from him. I have some figures taken from Messrs. Lewis and Whitty’s price-list before the Federal Tariff came into operation. Axle-grease was then admitted free in New South Wales, but was subject to a duty of 4s. per cwt. in Victoria. According to this price - list Messrs. Lewis and Whitty sold their axlegrease called “ lubricator,” in one and a-half pound tins, six dozen in a case, at 4s. 9d. per dozen tins in Sydney, whilst the Melbourne price was 5s. -3d. per dozen. This made a difference of 6s. 2d. per cwt. in favour of Sydney consumers. As the Treasurer has agreed to reduce the duty by 2s. per cwt., I suggest that the honorable and learned member for South Australia should accept the compromise, so that we may save discussion and get on with the business.

Mr. GLYNN (South Australia).- If the Treasurer will accept the 2s. duty for the whole item I shall be content.

Sir GEORGE TURNER:

– I cannot consent to that. I have offered to meet the committee by consenting to a duty of 2s. per ton upon grease imported in bulk, retaining the 4s. duty upon grease imported in tins. Now the honorable and learned member for South Australia wishes me to apply the 2s. rate all round, and I do not think that it is fair to press me to that extent. If the committee will not accept my offer I must stand by the original proposal.

Mr THOMSON:
North Sydney

– I object to the Treasurer’s proposal, because it is intended to vary the duty according to the package in which an article may be imported. Why should the nature of the package determine the rate of duty to be charged upon the contents 1

Sir George Turner:

– Because the prices are so different.

Mr THOMSON:

– Why should antifriction grease in tins be subject to the payment of a higher rate of duty than is asimilar commodity imported in boxes or barrels, or jars 1 It does not follow that there is any difference in quality. Unlessan ad valorem duty is imposed under which the grease will have to pay duty according to its quality and price, an all round fixed duty should be applied irrespective of the packages in which the article is imported.

Mr POYNTON:
South Australia

– My chief objection to the proposal now made is that it will permit large companies, who always buy their grease in bulk, to escape from the payment of the higher duty, whilst those who use the grease in small quantities and purchase it by the tin, will have to pay duty on the higher scale.

Mr Watson:

– The greater proportion of the axle-grease is brought here in bulk and put up in tins within the Commonwealth.

Mr POYNTON:

– Nevertheless, by far the greater number of consumers would have to pay a higher price for their grease owing to the difference in the duty. An all round duty of 2s. per ton would be quite sufficient.

Mr WILLIS:
Robertson

– The very cheapest qualities of axle-grease are imported in tins.

Mr Kingston:

– The Customs officers give quite a different report upon the matter.

Mr WILLIS:

– The bulk of the axlegrease is imported in barrels, and the Treasurer will defeat his own object, if a higher duty is imposed upon the grease imported in the smaller packages. The total amount of revenue involved is not very great, and I would strongly suggest an allround rate of 2s. per cwt.

Mr. BATCHELOR (South Australia).I would ask the Treasurer whether it is worth while to make a distinction between the axle-grease imported in tins, and that brought in in bulk. The grease is sure to be brought in here in large quantities, and tinned within the Commonwealth, but we shall scarcely be justified in imposing a high duty upon axle grease in tins, in order to encourage its importation in bulk, so that it may be put in tins here.

Mr. TUDOR (Yarra).- The proposal of the Government is a very fair one. It is perfectly legitimate to impose a higher rate of duty on grease imported in tins, with a view to encourage its importation in bulk. Honorable members opposite declare that axle grease will continue to be imported in bulk, and that the tinning will be done locally. In my judgment, the men employed by the local manufacturer should be given a preference. Despite the repeated declarations of members of the Opposition that they are in favour of extending consideration to the primary producer, they want to send away tallow from Australia in order that it may be worked up into axle grease in another country, and then imported into the Commonwealth.

Mr A C GROOM:
FLINDERS, VICTORIA · FT

– Axle grease is not tallow.

Mr TUDOR:

– Tallow forms an important part of axle grease. According to the figures which I have obtained, the latest quotation for anti-friction grease in New York is £12 10s. per ton. That is greater by nearly 50 per cent, than is the price quoted by the honorable member for Robertson. I trust that the compromise suggested by the Treasurer will be accepted.

Mr. GLYNN (South Australia). - In order to put this matter to a test, I ask the permission of the committee to amend my amendment, to provide for the imposition of a general rate of 2s. per cwt.

Amendment, by leave, amended according1^

Mr CONROY:
Werriwa

– I would point out to the committee that the total revenue which the Treasurer expects to derive from this particular item is £830 per annum. After declaring that the Government would consent to the imposition of a duty of 2s. per cwt. upon axle grease, we find Ministers affirming that there must be a difference made between the tax levied upon grease imported in bulk and that collected upon grease which is imported in tins. In other words, because Messrs. Lewis and Whitty put this grease up in tins, we are to impose a differential duty for their benefit.

Mr Mauger:

– The honorable and learned member is quite wrong.

Mr CONROY:

– I never address myself to an honorable member who is only the representative of two or three manufacturers. I am addressing those honorable members who have some regard to the welfare of the people of the Commonwealth. The proposed duty will fall upon the bulk of the producers, because they are the persons who use this axle grease. But simply because a particular Melbourne firm says - “ We should like an extra duty of 25 or 30 per cent, imposed upon this particular article,” their wishes are cheerfully acceded to. The Commonwealth is composed of the people of Australia, and not of the halfdozen manufacturers who make representations to the Ministry.

Mr Deakin:

– Nor of the half-dozen importers ‘ who instruct the honorable and learned member.

Mr CONROY:

– Honorable members opposite are always considering how much of any particular duty will be diverted from the Treasury into the pockets of the individual. The interests of the consumer are never considered. We are asked to impose a 50 per cent, duty upon axle grease, simply to benefit one firm which is engaged in its manufacture, and which probably does not employ more than half-a-dozen men.

Sir JOHN QUICK:
Bendigo

– I do not think the honorable and learned member is justified in declaring that the proposed duties are intended to benefit one particular firm. In this connexion I would point out that in Victoria alone, four firms are engaged in the manufacture of this grease.

Mr Watson:

– Dozens of firms within the Commonwealth are engaged in treating the crude stuff.

Sir JOHN QUICK:

– The honorable and learned member for Werriwa is always haunted by the suspicion that any honorable member who speaks from the Government side of the Chamber, must be speaking on behalf of a particular firm. The industry under discussion has been established in Victoria for eighteen years. When a protective duty was first imposed upon axle grease in this State the price of the article was 22s. per cwt. ; but at the present time I am informed that a more suitable grease for mining purposes can be purchased for lis. per cwt. This commodity is being made by the firms which have sprung into existence under the operation of a protective duty ; and the reduction in price which has taken place has been brought about solely by internal competition. During the tenure of office of the Patterson Government the duty upon axle grease in tins was fixed at 4s. per cwt., whilst that levied upon grease not otherwise enumerated was 3s. per cwt. ; so that the present proposal of the Treasurer really constitutes a reduction of the Victorian rate of duty. The compromise suggested by the Government is a reasonable one. and should be accepted.

Mr. CONROY (Werriwa).- According to the argument of the honorable and learned member for Bendigo, the committee ought to abolish the duty upon axle grease. He says that in Victoria, as the result of the operation of a tax upon this article, its price has fallen from 22s. per cwt. to lis. per cwt. Last week he declared that it was necessary to impose protective duties to enable our manufacturers to pay higher wages to their workmen than those which are paid in other countries. Therefore, if the operation of this particular duty in Victoria has lowered i the price of axle grease, it necessarily follows that the wages paid in connexion with the industry have also been lowered.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– It is quite natural that every honorable member who speaks from the Opposition side of the Chamber should be regarded as a theorist by the honorable and learned member for Bendigo. But I would point out that the only theoretical proposal which has been advanced to-day has been put forward by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports and himself. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports tells the committee that axle grease is 20s. per ton cheaper in Victoria than it is in Sydney. Has the honorable member ever heard of any petitions coming from Sydney praying for the maintenance of the duty which formerly operated in Victoria in order to enable the people of New South Wales to get a cheaper article? Are all the residents of Sydney simpletons 1 If they have to pay 20s. per ton more for axle grease than do the people in Victoria, does he not suppose that they would be clamouring for the imposition of this duty in order that the price of the article might be reduced ?

Mr Watson:

– How many years did they submit to the price charged for reapers and binders 1

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– The honorable member has me at a disadvantage, because I do not know. But does he subscribe to the theory that if we impose a duty upon any particular article we reduce its price ? The amazing feature with regard to the honorable member for Melbourne Ports is that he knows everybody’s business, can tell the committee precisely how it stands financially, and whether any individual firm is making profits or going to the wall. To-day he has made the astonishing statement that axle grease can be purchased in Victoria for 20s. per ton less than it can be bought for in Sydney. Upon that line of reasoning the honorable member ought to be a most violent opponent of the Treasurer’s proposal, because, if the duty is lowered, the probability is that the price of the article in Sydney will be reduced, whilst it will be raised in Victoria. Really the statements which are made by the honorable member are too ridiculous. If he would only take the trouble to consult the people who have to pay these duties, he would not submit the absurd proposition i that if we increase the rate of duty upon any article we decrease its price. The contrary is the case, and as grease is used so largely in every kind of manufacturing industry, it appears to me that the Government might well waive this proposal, or at an)’ rate reduce the duty to the extent proposed by the honorable and learned member for South Australia.

Mr. A. PATERSON (Capricornia).This is an item about which I certainly ought to know something. I have been rather amused b)’ some of the speeches delivered on this question. There seems tobe an impression that axle-grease is made from tallow, but from the facts stated during the course of the debate I conclude that very little tallow is used in it at the present day. Tallow is not obtainable here under £1S per ton, and in New York, where axlegrease comes from, tallow is from £20 to £23 per ton at the present time. Therefore the quantity of tallow used in the manufacture of the axle-grease must be verv immaterial. No doubt some adulterant is employed which can be obtained for next to nothing. Part of this item relates to “tallow unrefined.” I would suggest to the Minister for Trade and Customs that it seems to be absurd to impose a duty on tallow, because under the former State Tariffs of New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia, it was admitted free, while no duty is imposed even by protectionist New Zealand. It is ridiculous to impose a duty on this article, because for the last ten years the surplus which must be exported has ranged in value from £1,000,000 to £1,500,000 per annum. Tallow ought to be placed on the free list. I wonder whether the Government, having placed a varying duty on axle-grease in tins and casks, propose to treat tallow in the same way. That would make the position even more ludicrous. I suggest that the duty so far as it relates to tallow, be omitted.

Question - That the words “ and on and after 19th February, 1902, 2s.” be added to the duty, “ Grease . . 4s. per cwt.” - put. The committee divided -

Ayes … … … … 24

Noes………… 30

Majority…… 6

Question so resolved in the negative

Amendment negatived.

Amendment (by Sir George Turner) proposed - ,

That the words “ and on and after 19th February, 1902, in packages not exceeding 4lbs. inweight, 4s. ; n.e.i., 2s.” be added.

Mr MAUGER:
Melbourne Ports

– I suppose it is useless to think of opposing the amendment, but it seems to me that the Government gain very little by these compromises. Their only effect is to give away the Government policy. The Government offered the Opposition this compromise, but a division was insisted upon, with the result that the item was agreed to. We might as well have an all round duty of 4s. as give away a duty of 2s. per cwt.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Do the Government propose to retain the duty on tallow, unrefined?

Mr Kingston:

– That point has been decided.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I think the duty ought to be omitted so far as it relates to that article. There has been no such duty even in Victoria, and the question of the maintenance of an established industry is not involved.

Mr Watson:

– It is unimportant.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– The duty so far as it relates to tallow unrefined is unimportant, and, therefore, it might well be omitted. The inclusion of an unimportant proposal is a blot on the Tariff. I desire to move -

That the words “ tallow unrefined “ be omitted.

Mr Kingston:

– I submit that the honorable member is not in order in moving his amendment, in view of the fact that we have dealt already with a proposal relating to a subsequent part of the item. I promise honorable members that we will look into the matter further, and if we come to the conclusion that it is unnecessary to retain an item of this kind we shall not hesitate to give effect to that decision.

The CHAIRMAN:

– The committee having given its decision upon an amendment at the end of the item that which the honorable member is proposing is out of order.

Amendment agreed to.

Item, as amended, agreed to.

Mr THOMSON:
North Sydney

– There is an item in this list which, I think, should receive attention from honorable members. I refer to cotton seed oil, and the duty proposed to be imposed upon its introduction. I presume that so high a dutyhas been imposed upon this article because it is used considerably as an adulterant for olive oil. So far as regards the encouragement of purity in that direction, I have no objection whatever to the extent of the duty here proposed. I do think, however, that there is an incongruity when the adulterated olive oil can come in at1s. 4d. per gallon, while the cotton seed oil would have to pay 2s. There is another aspect of the question to which I desire to direct the Minister’s particular attention. After some years of experimenting, and the expenditure of a considerable sum, a process has been devised in New South Wales - I do not know whether it has been used in any of the other States - by which tallow is sufficiently refined to produce what is called “edible fat.” This edible fat is a marketable article, and in its manufacture a considerable quantity of cotton seed oil is used. It is quite true that we have expressed our opposition to “ edible fat “ going into competition with our butter in these markets, but there is a large demand for it in England, and on the continent, as a marketable article. The difference to Australia is that, whereas the finest refined tallow may bring £29 per ton, this “ edible fat “ sells at £40 per ton.

Mr Kingston:

– Sells as butter?

Mr THOMSON:

– No, not as butter. It is not retailed by the exporters, but is simply sold on the market as “edible fat” at £40 per ton. I cannot speak from my own knowledge, but this is an article of commerce which is said to be utterly harmless as an article of consumption.

Mr Kingston:

– Used as what?

Mr THOMSON:

– I do not know for what it is used. Do we know for what our tallow is used? American lard is said to contain the same admixture of this cottonseed oil as does this refined tallow which is described as “edible fat,”andwepropose to let American lard in at1d. per lb., while we charge nearly 3d. per lb. on cotton-seed oil. How can we say what our products are used for? I have myself observed that in London the finest quality of our tallow is refined there and used as the basis of a substitute for butter. Are we to ceaseexporting tallow or to place difficulties in the way of its exportation because it is so used ? We know that the poorer populations of Europe cannot afford to pay the prices charged for butter. They are perfectly willing to accept these edible fats, knowing them to be edible fats, and why should they not get the benefit of using them? This being so, there is an opportunity of increasing our export trade, of improving certain products of Australia, and of obtaining a much higher price for them than can be obtained for them as tallow. Why should we allow difficulties to be placed in the way of this industiy? By placing a duty of 3d. per lb, or £28 per ton, on cottonseed oil, unless some arrangements are made for giving a drawback upon the quantity of oil used in the manufacture of the fat exported, we raise the price of the finished article by some £14 per ton, and immediately destroy the business. Thousands of pounds have been spent in perfecting the processes and providing the machinery necessary to produce this article, and such an expenditure has in other instances been urged by honorable members opposite as a good reason for protecting industries. But protection is not demanded here, and the request is simply that we should not destroy this industry by our Tariff proposals. This article is never offered upon the local markets ; but while an industry of this sort has been established in New South Wales at an expenditure of thousands of pounds in machinery, and while there is a demand in Europe for the article, not as a substitute for butter, but simply as “ edible fat,” for whatever purpose it may be used, it is ridiculous for us to interfere with that industry, and destroy it. I recognise that no reductionwhich Ministers would be disposed to consider would be sufficient to meet this case, but if the duty is not to be reduced, or sufficiently reduced, could not the Minister, under his regulations, grant a drawhack, as he proposes to do in the case of other articles, on the amount of cotton seed oil that may be used in the product 1 By doing anything else Ministers would not interfere with the consumption of edible fat, which is supplied by America and other countries, and they would only say, in effect, that Australia should not take part in this trade because some of the product is used as a substitute for butter. On the same principle they should put difficulties in the way of the exportation of tallow, because, as I have witnessed in London, a considerable amount of that article is refined, and then used as a substitute for butter. So far as that kind of thing is honestly and openly done, it is perfectly legitimate and proper, and we cannot stop it. We can only prevent the Australian producers from getting the benefit of that outlet for their products, and the present prices for their articles in the markets of the world are such that every possible assistance should be given them to raise the prices of those articles. There is no question of protection in this ; it is only a question of removing by drawback the disability which this duty will impose upon the industry, and of allowing Australia to supply what is in demand in other portions of the world, and which will be supplied, and will be used practically to the same extent if Australia cannot supply it. If the duty is to remain at the figure here proposed, or even at a much lower figure, the proper way will be for the Minister to arrange that on the exportation of this “edible fat,” there shall be a drawback given upon the quantity of cotton-seed oil it contains.

Sir GEORGE TURNER:
Protectionist

– This duty upon cotton-seed oil is undoubtedly high, and it has been purposely made so because the article is not only used fraudulently, but, so far as we know, it is injurious to health. Olive oil is produced within the Commonwealth and this cotton-seed oil is absolutely put into bottles in which olive oil has been imported, and then sold as olive oil. That is undoubtedly a fraud, the oil being a less valuable article than pure olive oil, and we are informed upon expert advice that it is injurious. The honorable member for North Sydney admits that there ought to be a very high duty imposed upon it. Cottonseed oil is made very largely in America, and goes through several processes before it is exported. In these processes various chemicals are used, and amongst them caustic soda, potash, and milk of lime. These ingredients are used in refining the oil. The committee will, I hope, pause before they do what the honorable member for North Sydney asks us to do. If there is anything which more than another we have attempted to do in all our State Parliaments it is to be perfectly certain that everything exported from our States as butter, or as a substitute for butter, shall be as pure as we can possibly make it. If this is an article which, for the reasons I have mentioned, ought to be heavily taxed, surely the honorable member will see that he is asking us to do something which would not be wise in the interests of Australia. It may be that this particular industry has been established, but we all know that it is not absolutely necessary to use all these ingredients. This cotton-seed oil is used for some purpose, but I doubt whether my honorable friend will tell us that no other ingredient could be used which would answer the purpose as well. If we admit, as I think we do, that this is an article which is fraudulently used, it is one upon which we should not only put a heavy duty, but one which might very well be considered when we come to discuss later on a list of articles which ought to be prohibited.

Mr Thomson:

– Would the right honorable gentleman prohibit the export of tallow ?

Sir GEORGE TURNER:
Treasurer · BALACLAVA, VICTORIA · PROT

– I would not prohibit the export of tallow, but I would prohibit the export of anything which contains ingredients which we know are injurious, because the export of such . articles can only react injuriously upon ourselves.

Mr Thomson:

– What evidence is there of its injurious nature ?

Sir GEORGE TURNER:

– We have evidence from our officers that it is injurious. My honorable friend admits that there ought to be a heavy duty imposed upon it for the same reason.

Mr Thomson:

– That is not the question ; it is a question of the reasonableness of a drawback.

Sir GEORGE TURNER:

– If this were a non-injurious article there would be no reason for putting a heavy duty on it. All the evidence we can get, and all the information supplied to us, shows that this is an article the use of which we ought not to encourage. We have, therefore, proposed a heavy duty upon it, and I regret that I cannot accede to the request of the honorable member for North Sydney to facilitate the use of this article in the manufacture of “edible fat,” which will be sold by some people as butter. I think the duty ought to be carried as proposed.

Mr CONROY:
Werriwa

– I protest against the committee confusing two things. We are dealing here with the Tariff, and we are now asked to deal with certain matters as we would deal with them in considering an adulteration Bill. Cotton-seed oil may, sometimes, be put up and sold as olive oil.

Mr Watson:

– It is almost invariably sold as olive oil.

Mr CONROY:

– For the purpose of argument I assume that it is ; but is not the committee getting away from what we are here to do ? We are at present dealing with the Tariff, and not with an adulteration Bill, and all we have to consider is, whether there is such a thing as genuine cotton-seed oil. There is. Is it useful 1 It is, and it is used in thousands of cases.

Mr Watson:

– For what ?

Mr CONROY:

– The honorable member will find, if he reads up the American statistics, that there are thousands of gallons of it made, and that shows the extensive use to which it is put. The committee are asked at the present time to impose a duty upon it, which, with the import charges, amounts to possibly 100 per cent. The original price of cotton-seed oil is from 2s. 3d. to 2s. 6d. per gallon. We are asked to impose a duty of 2s. per gallon upon it, and I suppose the import charges would amount to not less than fid. per gallon. The argument used is that cotton-seed oil is used in place of olive oil. Is that not rather an absurd reason to bring before this committee1! We must deal with this article on its own basis, and look at it from that point of view entirely. It seems to me that it would not be a bad thing for members of this committee to get one or two elementary lessons in chemistry, that they might learn that scientists are endeavouring to - day to make foods cheap. In spite of what has been said, I would defy honorable members to tell good cotton oil from good olive oil if both were placed before them. Fraud occurs only when an attempt is made to sell common oil for some other oil, and we cannot prevent that. If the protectionists were to have their way in regard to matters like this, they would prevent any new discoveries in chemistry.

The assertions of the Minister for Trade and Customs would convince a schoolboy that he does not understand the subject. I think Mark Twain, in his Life on the Mississippi, devotes a couple of pages to a discussion as to the use of cotton oil in America, where there was a great deal of prejudice against it 20 or 30 years ago, and the right honorable member seems to have obtained his information from that book, when he would have been much better occupied in making himself acquainted with some author on the subject of political economy. The committee are not now considering the provisions of an Adulteration Bill. We are engaged upon a Tariff, and why cannot we keep to what is before us ? No wonder that the number of lawyers is increased. The Postal Act contains a number of provisions which rightly belong to other measures, and now it is proposed to insert in the Tariff provisions which should belong to an Adulteration Act.

Mr. THOMSON (North Sydney).- I do not know of my own knowledge whether cottonseed oil or even olive oil is injurious ; but I know that edible fat mixed with cottonseed oil has been sold in England for years, and the British Adulteration Acts are the strictest in the world. If the British Government allow this article to be imported, we may be pretty sure that it is perfectly wholesome. The best refined tallow brings £29 a ton, and is largely used as a substitute for butter, but if edible fat mixed with cotton-seed oil is sent home it brings £11 per ton more.

Sir George Turner:

– Why is the cottonseed oil used 1

Mr THOMSON:

– Because tallow during a three months’ voyage acquires a peculiar rancid flavour, which should be absent from an edible fat. This article is exported to Great Britain from the United States and from South America, so that, even if we prevent its exportation from Australia, we cannot prevent its importation into Great Britain. My complaint is this : If cotton-seed oil is imported and then exported, a drawback is allowed, but no drawback is allowed when the cotton-seed oil is exported mixed with some other substance.

Sir George Turner:

– I think that the importer would be entitled to a drawback under such circumstances.

Mr THOMSON:

– The Minister has hitherto refused to grant drawbacks. We do not want competition between butter and edible fat in our own market, but if we do not allow this edible fat to be exported, it will be forced upon our market. The same drawback should be given when cotton-seed oil is exported mixed with some other substance as when it is exported by itself. A duty of 2s. a gallon is imposed upon cottonseed oil, but adulterated olive oil is allowed to come in on payment of a duty of ls. 4d. a gallon.

Mr Watson:

– A mixture of cotton-seed oil and olive oil would have to pay a duty of 2s. a gallon.

Mr THOMSON:

– If it were declared to be a mixture. Otherwise it would have to be sampled and analyzed before its composition could be discovered. I think that whatever duty is fixed upon it should be the same in both cases. That would secure the effect which is desired, and would save a great deal of trouble.

Mr G B EDWARDS:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– I think that the case made outby the honorable member for North Sydney has not been answered. I could understand the position of the Treasurer if it were a practice to export edible fats as Australian butter butthat is not done, and if Ministers wish to make quite sure on the point they can require all casks containing edible fats to be branded with the name of their contents. But to undertake to supplement the Adulteration and Health Acts of Great Britain and other European countries is to take too much upon ourselves, and to inflict a severe blow upon one of our industries. Even if Australia ceases to export edible fats, they will continue to be exported from America, so that our efforts on behalf of the people of England and Europe will be abortive. We have a good export trade in edible fats, and it is quite opposed to the underlying principle of both free-trade and protection that obstacles should be placed in its way. The honorable member for North Sydney does not ask for an alteration in the proposed duty. He admits that it is necessary to do something to prevent the use of cotton-seed oil in Australia in place of the ordinary culinary and table oils. But he wishes to secure from Ministers the promise that a drawback will be granted when cotton-seed oil upon which duty has been paid is exported, whether mixed with edible fat or not. We have given protection and assistance to other industries, and why should we hinder this industry, which is likely to become more and more important as the years go by ? It is not for us to say that the use of these edible fats by the people of other countries is injurious. We can very well leave them to take care of themselves. It is no part of our duty to refuse to enter into a trade in which America and the Argentine are already very largely engaged simply because of some Quixotic notion about protecting the health of the people of European countries.

Sir JOHN QUICK:
Bendigo

– My attention has been directed to the proposed duty of 2s. per gallon on cotton-seed oil being likely to prove somewhat injurious to the soap-making industry.

Sir George Turner:

– No. On that which is methylated for soap making and similar purposes the duty is only 6d. per gallon.

Mr HARPER:
Mernda

– The request made by the honorable member for North Sydney, so far as the export of this article in combination with tallow is concerned, is a reasonable one, and the Government have perfect power under the Customs Act to allow a drawback. Of course, the manufacture would have to be carried out in such a way that the Government could be satisfied as to the quantity of oil which was used. As regards the oil itself, a great mistake seems to prevail. No doubt it is used as a substitute for olive oil, but it is a perfectly sweet and wholesome product, and there can be no objection to it if it is sold for what iv. is. If it is sold and used as olive oil it is a fraud, and would come under the provisions of the Adulteration of Foods Act. I fail to see how the Government are likely to quite attain their object by imposing a duty of1s. 4d. per gallon on olive oilwhich they intend to prevent cotton-seed oil being substituted for. If the article is imported in bottles, unless every parcel is examined by an analytical chemist, it is impossible to tell what it is.

Mr Thomson:

– And then only if they can distinguish them.

Mr HARPER:

– I am not aware if they can. It will lead to great practical inconvenience if every parcel is examined. If it is not examined, the substituted article will come in at ls. 4d. per gallon in bottles and at 2s. per gallon in bulk. That will lead to difficulties. If the duty on the two articles is assimilated there will not be an inducement to people to substitute one for the other. I suppose the duty is proposed in view of the fact that olive oil is being largely made in Australia. If it is brought in in bottles at ls. 4d. per gallon, the protection which the Ministry intend to give the article, will not be attained. There is another difficulty which has to be pointed out. According to the next paragraph, bottles are subjected to a duty of 20 per cent. If bottled oil comes in no duty is paid on the bottles, cases, and labels, whereas any one using the olive oil of South Australia or Victoria will have to pay a duty if he uses foreign bottles. There are a great variety of bottles involved. I am not prepared at the moment to say what is the best way for getting out of the difficulty; but I think that one method will be to assimilate the duties on the two articles. There is no question that one is substituted for the other in Europe, America, and Australia ; but I believe it is generally sold as salad oil, which is not necessarily olive oil, because many other oils are used for salad purposes. It may be that large quantities are sold as olive oil. “We wish, as far as possible, to remove the inducement to people to perpetrate a fraud which cam be punished under the Adulteration of Foods Act at any moment.

Mr KIRWAN:
Kalgoorlie

– The only justification which has been put forward by the Government for imposing this very high duty on cotton-seed oil is that which has been put forward by the Treasurer - that it is used fraudulently, and that it is injurious. If, as he says, it is sometimes sold for olive oil, I do not see why we ought to take that matter into consideration in connexion with the Tariff, because those who sell cottonseed oil as olive oil ought to be prosecuted in the ordinary way. And if it is injurious to the extent which the Treasurer implies that it is, then it is a matter which ought to be dealt with in the regulations under the Customs Act. Its importation ought to be prohibited. This duty will not prohibit its importation. On the contrary, the quantity that will be imported, even under this very high duty, must be very considerable. According to the estimate prepared by the officers of the Government, the proposed duty is expected to yield £6,875. Therefore the federal authorities must believe that the importation of the article must go on to a considerable extent. The Government have placed themselves in the position of getting that very large amount of revenue out of the importation of an article which the Treasurer declares to be injurious.

Sir George Turner:

– A great part of that will be methylated for soap-making.

Mr KIRWAN:

– It is a very singular thing that, if cotton-seed oil be as injurious as it is represented to be, none of the otherStates seem to have quite discovered the fact. Not one of them has had a duty nearly so high as 2s. per gallon. In New South Wales and Queensland it was admitted duty free. In South Australia - the State which is principally interested in the production of olive oil - the duty was only 6d. per gallon ; while in Tasmania it was ls. 3d. per gallon. I am told that the cost of cottonseed oil in America is from 2s. 3d. to 2s. 6d. per gallon, and the cost of carriage to Australia 6d. per gallon, so that a duty of 2s. per gallon will come to about S5 per cent. If we are going to admit this oil at all, a duty of 85 per cent, is far too high, no matter whether it is regarded from the revenue or the protectionist point of view.

Mr WATSON:
Bland

– I trust that Ministers will see the wisdom of agreeing to allow a drawback, as the honorable member for North Sydney suggests, in respect of the duty paid on cotton-seed oil used in the composition of an article of export. There is a great deal of force in the point put forward by him that it lies with the consignees at the other end of the world to see that they get what they are asking for. I trust that the committee will not see fit to assimilate the duties on olive oil and cotton-seed oil, because that would be practically giving a bonus to the employment of the cheaper and nastier oil. If we subject cotton-seed oil to the same duty as olive oil, it stands to reason that the inducement to people is to use the cheaper article, and the effect will not be at all in the direction of discouraging the use of an article which, so far as I know, is very seldom sold on its own -basis commercially. Our small farmers are beginning to understand that a plantation of olives can be made of value to them for the production of oil, and we shall not for very long have to depend on outside sources for our supply. Nearly all the salad oils on the market- of course I exclude the well known brands - are made of cotton-seed oil, and by salad oil the general public understand olive oil.

Mr Conroy:

– No.

Mr WATSON:

– They do, and they expect to get a nutritious article which cotton-seed oil cannot be claimed to be.

Mr Conroy:

– Yes, it can.

Mr WATSON:

– Men who have been working with cotton-seed and other oils for various purposes for many years inform me that there is not the adulteration about the one that there is about the other.

Mr Conroy:

– They are speaking of it as it was first brought in in the fifties.

Mr WATSON:

– That may be so. It would be a good thing to put an even higher duty upon cotton-seed oil other than that used for soap-making. I trust the Government will at least insist upon the distinction they have made in favour of olive oil. I should prefer to see a difference made to the extent of reducing the duty on olive oil to ls. per gallon, while leaving the duty on cotton-seed oil at 2s. per gallon.

Mr Conroy:

– Why should a duty equivalent to 85 per cent, be imposed?

Mr WATSON:

– I should impose a duty of 185 per cent, if I could prevent it from entering into human consumption. If oil is methylated so that it cannot enter into human consumption it is admitted at a very low rate of duty, namely, 6d. per gallon, and that should meet all the requirements of those who use oil for ordinary trade purposes. The point raised by the honorable member for Mernda is well worthy of consideration. The foreign exporter is at an advantage as. compared with the local manufacturer so far as bottle supplies are concerned. Certain kinds of bottles have not been, and are not likely to be, manufactured within the Commonwealth, and upon these the local consumer has to pay a high duty, but the exporter from abroad can send in perfumery, essences, tinctures, or even oils, and pay no duty upon the bottles in which the liquids are contained. This was an old-established grievance amongst a certain class of manufacturers under all the State Tariffs. In the free-trade port of Sydney we were able to manufacture certain goods, put them up in bottles, and send them into Queensland and Western Australia at a distinct advantage, because our bottles were free of duty, whilst the local manufacturers of the same commodities had to pay duty upon every bottle they used. That is a lefthanded way of encouraging native industries.

Sir George Turner:

– There was a duty in Victoria upon bottles used as packages for imported goods.

Mr WATSON:

– I was not aware of that; but I am sure that there was no such duty imposed in Western Australia or Queensland, because I was a member of a firm which sent frequent consignments into those States. We were not able to compete in the Victorian market, because the spirit duties were too much in favour of the local manufacturer. If there is to be a duty on bottles, every bottle, whether it contains a liquid or not, should be subject to duty. I hope the Government will consider this matter, because otherwise they will find that they are placing a large proportion of our manufacturers at a disadvantage as compared with their competitors abroad.

Mr Kingston:

– We shall be opening up the whole question of the taxation of packages.

Mr WATSON:

– All packages are not on the same plane. The material of which wooden packages are made would probably not be subject to any duty. If we compel the local manufacturer to pay a duty on the bottles used by him, we should not allow his competitor to send in bottles free.

Mr E SOLOMON:
FREMANTLE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · FT

– I cannot agree with the honorable member for Bland that a duty should be imposed upon all bottles, irrespective of whether they are empty or used as packages for imported goods. If we did as the honorable member suggests I do not know where we should stop. If we impose a duty upon the packages in which imported goods are contained as well as upon the goods themselves, we shall inflict great injury upon the revenue. We have already had communications from all parts of the Commonwealth protesting against the imposition of a duty upon packages, and I hope the Government will take these into consideration. I do not see that there can be any objection to the proposed duty on cotton-seed oil. I trust the Government will take into consideration the point raised by the honorable member for North Sydney, because we should encourage exports in every possible way.

Mr REID:
East Sydney

– I think the Government will probably accede to the suggestion made by the honorable member for North Sydney with reference to drawbacks, because that matter stands upon such a footing that it should present no difficulty. The manufacture of edible fat is in itself perfectly harmless. Some millions of people in European and other countries are too poor to buy butter, and they knowingly buy edible fat as a cheap substitute.

An Honorable Member. - It is very difficult to tell the difference.

Mr Kingston:

– That is where the trouble comes in.

Mr REID:

– But if poor people cannot afford to buy butter, we surely do not want to prevent them from procuring edible fat as a cheap substitute. I remember when I was a youngster - and doubtless other honorable members have a similar recollection - that we ate a fair amount of bread and dripping, and it did not do us much harm. That was edible fat, and surely we should not discourage the export of fat in a refined state. If there is any fraud committed in connexion with the sale of the article in some foreign country, surely that country may be left to look after its internal government. The ambitious spirit of the Minister for Trade and Customs will find sufficient occupation in squaring the financial returns with the Treasury, without bothering himself about what they do in countries 12,000 miles away. It would be absurd to interfere with the operations of Australian industry here on the basis of some anxiety for people somewhere else, who can very well look after themselves. I have no doubt, therefore, that that matter will be put right. I understand that cotton-seed oil is an article which can be used honestly for a number of purposes, although I believe that frauds are practised in connexion with its use. There again, is a subject that has a great deal more to do with some other Act than with the Tariff Act. I do not desire to attack those honorable members who wish incidentally so to shape the Tariff as to “prevent fraud. I do not see anything to object to in that. From all I can hear, large quantities of cotton-seed oil are used for a purpose which has not yet been mentioned, namely, in the operations of those who sell fried fish.

Mr Watson:

– The fish are supposed to be fried in olive oil.

Mr REID:

– Yes ; but I understand that two-thirds of the oil used for frying fish is cotton-seed oil. I am afraid that in Our endeavour to follow the manipulation of imported articles we shall only land the unfortunate public in a greater difficulty by causing those who now use cotton-seed oil to substitute a still more objectionable article. China nut oil, which is subject to only a low rate of duty, could be used for some of the purposes to which cotton-seed oil is now applied, but it would not be anything like so good. We shall have to undertake a very big contract if in passing the Tariff we try to deal with this trouble. As long as the point mentioned by the honorable member for North Sydney, with reference to drawbacks, is attended to, the main object of this debate will have been served.

Mr KINGSTON:
Protectionist

– I think we shall do well to be very careful in dealing with butter substitutes, or with substitutes for any of our staple products. It will be admitted that some parts of Australia may be described as a second Palestine - a land of corn, wine, and oil. It is difficult for me to omit recollecting at this moment that I have the honour to represent a State which has acquired a very considerable reputation in connexion with the production of olive oil. I believe there are other parts of Australia equally well adapted for the production of this excellent article, and I look forward to our being able at an early date to meet all local requirements in the way of edible oils. Cotton-seed oil has been attacked in a variety of ways, and I confess that I have been taught to think that in many respects it lends itself to fraud, and that we often get it when we do not expect it. I believe that there are good reasons for believing that under certain circumstances its use is deleterious. I wish to especially address myself to the whole question from an agricultural point of view - from the point of view of dairy farmers and others. Of course our agricultural resources are of the greatest importance, and what I am afraid of is that in endeavouring to get a small market for butter substitutes we may incur a huge loss as regards butter itself. At the present moment Australia enjoys a verv fair reputation foi- butter, and I believe that, as time goes on, we are likely - by the adoption of more careful methods than those which have hitherto been adopted - to improve that reputation. The higher our reputation in connexion with the manufacture of an article for the production of which Australia is so eminently suited, the greater will be the financial reward of those who engage in an industry of the character to which I have referred. It is of the utmost importance that we should strive, in every conceivable way, to increase our reputation as a butter-producing country. We know that the production of butter has been a great stand-by and a magnificent source of assistance to our farmers at various periods when they were urgently in need of it. Why is it that Australian wines enjoy such a high reputation ? It is because we do all that we can for the purpose of preventing their adulteration. They are said to be pure, and I believe they are. Hitherto Australia has never had its name associated with oleomargarine–

Mr Thomson:

– This is not oleomargarine.

Mr KINGSTON:

– It is something very like it. When people in the old country buy Australian butter they know that they are getting butter. Would one of us willingly purchase a substitute? Would we, instead of getting a smaller quantity of real butter, purchase a larger quantity of fat and cotton-seed oil? The very idea of the thing is repulsive. These butter substitutes can be palmed off upon the people as butter. I have a letter in my hand bearing upon this very question. The matter is put as follows : -

I take the liberty of bringing before you an industry that has reached great dimensions in England, America, and the continent of Europe. The incidence of the present Tariff makes this manufacture impossible in Australia. Emulsions. - A hard ox and mutton fat when emulsified with American edible cotton-seed oil produces soft oleos. These soft butter substitutes go to South Africa in hundreds of tons. There is also a demand for them in the East, in fact they are now in universal demand everywhere.

Mr Thomson:

– That does not prevent the demand.

Mr KINGSTON:

– The writer points out how it is possible for Australia to participate in this trade. What would be the result of our doing so ? Either we should engage in it secretly, or we should do so openly, and thus have our reputation for the production of excellent butter mixed up with the rather discomforting reflection and criticism that we were indulging considerably in the manufacture of butter substitutes, and were supplying those who think that they are getting butter with cottonseed oil and tallow. I trust that our name will never be associated with anything of the sort. It would work great injury to our reputation as exporters of pure butter, and any amount of revenue which might be derived from such a source would be as nothing compared with the loss that would be sustained by those engaged in the production of the genuine article. We have already dealt with a somewhat similar matter in the Customs Act. In that measure the importation of oleomargarine, butterine, Ac, is prohibited. We practically say that we will protect Australian stomachs and constitutions against the baneful results caused by the consumption of these deleterious articles. We declare that we will prevent our people from being imposed upon, and that our farmers shall not be brought into competition with artificial articles of this sort.

Mr Fowler:

– The Ministry are not going to stop that by the adoption of their present proposals.

Mr KINGSTON:

– It is one thing to stop it and another thing to facilitate it. I ask’ the committee to consider whether it is not wise to encourage the production of the genuine article, and if it would not be a mistake to mix up trade of that description with the manufacture of a spurious article which often imposes upon people, with the possibility of results such as I have already referred to ?

Mr. THOMSON (North Sydney).- If after the clear exposition which was given of the point at issue, the Minister for Trade and Customs looks at the matter in that 1,vav I almost tremble for his administration of the Customs department. He states that we have prevented Australian citizens from using oleomargarine. We have done nothing of the sort. There is nothing in the Customs Act to prevent all our citizens from being supplied with oleomargarine. All we have done is to declare that oleomargarine shall not be imported into the Commonwealth except under certain conditions. But it can be made in every State of the Union. It is being made to’ some extent at the present time.

Mr Kingston:

– Where?

Mr THOMSON:

– It is being made, I understand, to a small extent in New South Wales. This fact evidences the inaccuracy of the statement made by the Minister. Nothing has been done to prevent the local production of oleomargarine or to interfere with its exportation. It can be manufactured and it can be used by Australians in spite of anything that the Minister may do. Edible fat has been produced to supply the demand which exists in Great Britain and on the con- tinent of Europe. The Minister for Trade and Customs is altogether wrong in declaring that edible fat as such is sold as a substitute for butter. It is simply the base of that substitute, and if the edible fat is not used as a base what is? The best refined tallow, which is another of our exports. Are we going to say - “ “We shall not refine tallow to the highest degree of perfection and export it, lest we should damage the reputation enjoyed by Australian butter?” Yet that is what the Minister coolly puts before the committee as a reason why we should not export edible fat. By adopting the course suggested by him we shall not reduce its consumption one iota. Even if we do not supply it, it will still be supplied by the United States and the Argentine Republic. I am told that there is a very large outlet for this article in India. Even if refined tallow were not used there, butter would not be used. The consumers there know its constituents, as they have to consider the ingredients of which certain articles are made, on account of their religion and caste. Its use is preferred in many cases because it stands the climate better. Whilst we allow a drawback upon other articles, and will permit oleomargarine - which is a complete butter substitute - to be exported, are we going to say “ We will not allow any drawback upon cotton seed oil which is portion of this edible fat “ ? If this article supplies a, good and wholesome purpose, and if it is in demand by people in different parts of the world who know what it is, why not permit our folk to supply ? The Minister has shown no good reason for refusing to grant a drawback upon this article, and I hope that he will reconsider the matter. From my business knowledge, I assert that he is acting upon a wrong principle.

Mr KINGSTON:

– I have only a word or two to say as to the mode in which these things are manufactured. The writer, to whom I have referred already, puts the matter in this way -

Emulsions. - A hard ox and mutton fat, when emulsified with American edible cotton -seed oil, produces soft oleos. These soft butter substitutes go to South Africa in hundreds of tons.

Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta).- In dealing with the duty on olive oil, I am going to take the Minister for Trade and Customs at his word. He has argued that we ought to impose a heavy duty on cottonseed oil for the reason that it is used in the manufacture of adulterated substances which are very injurious to our trade when used as substitutes for Australian butter. Another reason urged by him for the imposition of the duty was that cotton-seed oil came in here as a substitute for olive oil, and was used by people under the impression that they were using olive oil. It has been put to the committee that that is a very wrong practice. I believe that olive oil is much superior to cotton-seed oil, and it is with a view to foster the use of the former, and to supply a motive for the use of olive oil, that I propose to strike out the duty upon it. That will lead to a strict examination on the part of the Customs department, and to the “ policeing “ of these oils, with the result that the people will obtain the pure article. On the very grounds upon which the Minister urged the imposition of a heavy duty on cotton-seed oil, I move -

That the words “and on and after 1 19th February, 1902, free,” be added to the duty “ Olive, per gallon, ls. 4d.”

Sir EDWARD BRADDON:
Tasmania

– The Government know, as every one knows, that they are proposing a duty on olive oil at a higher rate than that which has existed in any of the States save South Australia. Under the old State Tariffs, the duty on olive oil was 6d. per gallon in Victoria, and ls. per gallon in Queensland, ls. 3d. per gallon - a very high duty imposed for revenue purposes upon this and all other oils - in Tasmania.’ In Western Australia and New South Wales no duty was imposed. We understand that the increased duty is proposed for protective purposes : but there is no reason for protecting that which is protected already by nature. Just as it is impossible for India to import from Europe any oil which can be compared for one moment with that which is manufactured locally, so is it impossible for the Commonwealth to import oil equal to the local product. The oil imported by these States is not able to stand the long sea voyage from Europe, and is more or less rancid when it arrives here. Olive oil is manufactured in the Commonwealth, and if it cannot compete with that imported from Italy, Spain, or elsewhere, which suffers the natural disadvantages to which I have referred, the industry ought not to be assisted. If a duty of 6d., or even 9d., per gallon were imposed for revenue purposes, it would be all sufficient : and the amendment of the Tariff in that way would remove an additional blot from it.

Sir JOHN QUICK (Bendigo).- I hope that the Ministry will stand by this duty. It is justifiable not only on the ground that it will raise revenue : but also because it will tend to encourage and promote the production of native olive oil. For many years past scientists and others have been advocating the cultivation of the olive in Australia. They have advised orchardists and cultivators generally that the olive should grow in certain parts of Australia just as well as it does in certain parts of Europe. The result has been that the olive has been and is being cultivated successfully in South Australia aa well as in various parts of Victoria.

Mr Fowler:

– Also in Western Australia.

Sir JOHN QUICK:

– In Western Australia as well as in New South Wales, so that it may fairly be claimed that the olive has been acclimatized here. As the result of its cultivation vast quantities of oil have been produced in Australia, under local conditions and subject to local rates of wages, but it has had to compete with rancid oils from foreign countries, imported in large quantities, and sold at very low rates.

Mr Poynton:

– What is the total manufacture of olive oil in Australia 1

Sir JOHN QUICK:

– The honorable member ought to be particularly interested in justifying this duty, because no State will benefit by it to such an extent as will South Australia. I believe that the duty is justified on the ground of the protection which it will afford Australian cultivators of the olive. In time, perhaps, they will be able, to compete with the imported article ; meanwhile this duty will steady the market, and keep out inferior olive oil imported from the old world, which does not tend to popularize the consumption of that article but rather to disgust the public taste. If the attention of the public is directed to the pure olive oil of Australia, and that article has a fair field, unembarrassed by cheap products from the old world, the industry may become thoroughly established here, with the result that millions of money will be placed in the pockets of Australian cultivators.

Mr FOWLER:
Perth

– This is one of the few duties proposed by the Government which I shall support. I certainly regard it as a revenue duty which is incidentally protective, and I should be very glad to support the Government if they introduced a few more proposals of the same kind.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Another free-trader gone wrong.

Mr FOWLER:

– I object to that observation, because when I was before the electors I stated distinctly that I took up the position held by the leader of the Opposition ; that I would have a humane regard for existing industries. I consider that the duty on olive oil relates to an industry for which we ought to show some consideration, and, as it is also a revenue-producing duty, I think there is very little in it to which objection can be taken.

Mr. KIRWAN (Kalgoorlie).- I shall support the amendment. I believe in consistently following out any policy that one adopts, and in adhering to that policy, irrespective of how it may affect the interests of any individuals whom an honorable member may represent. I am in favour of olive oil being placed upon the free list, or, at any rate, of the proposed duty being reduced very much. I would draw the attention of the committee to the fact that, with one exception, the duty is higher than that which existed under any of the State TarifFs. No duty has been imposed upon olive oil either in New South Wales or in Western Australia. In Victoria the duty was only 6d. per gallon, while in Queensland it was ls. per gallon. In South Australia there was a duty of 2s. per gallon. South Australia is the chief producer of olive oil, and as it supplies most of the oil required by the other States, I fail to see that there is any necessity for this duty. Therefore I shall vote in favour of the amendment.

Amendment negatived.

Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta).- To bring the duty into line with the previous Victorian Tariff, and with the duty proposed to be imposed upon the other oils mentioned below it in this Tariff, I move -

That the words “and on and after 19th February, 1902, 6d.” be added to the duty, “ olive, per gai., ls. 4d.”

Question - That the words proposed to be added be so added - put. The committee divided -

Ayes……… IS

Noes……… 33

Majority … … 15

Question so resolved in the negative.

Amendment negatived.

Mr WILKS:
Dalley

– I desire to draw the attention of the committee to the duty proposed upon castor oil, which, in its unrefined state, is largely used as a lubricant. I am satisfied that the Minister for Trade and Customs, in his love for everything pertaining to protection, and particularly as applied to the machinery industries, will not be prepared to place those industries at a disadvantage. Castor oil is not made in Australia, so that there is no local industry to be encouraged by the duty proposed, or to be destroyed by its reduction. The value of castor oil at the port of shipment, India, is 2s. 3d. per gallon. The import expenses amount to ls. per gallon, and Ministers propose a duty of 6d. per gallon. The ad valorem duty here proposed is equivalent to 22^ per cent., and the import expenses are equivalent to 45 per cent. The ad valorem duty proposed and the import expenses amount together to something like 68 per cent, upon the value of the article.

In its unrefined state castor oil competes with mineral oils. It is well known that vegetable oils are a better lubricant for machinery than are mineral oils. But if honorable members will look at the list they will find that the duty placed on mineral oils for lubricating purposes is only 3d. per gallon.

Sir George Turner:

– But the same rate per cent.

Mr WILKS:

– I do not suppose it was the intention of the Ministry, but as it stands the Tariff simply offers a premium to the Standard Oil Trust. They sell mineral oils in Australia for lubricating purposes, and under this Tariff they are given an advantage of 3d. per gallon in competition with this vegetable oil in its unrefined state. I mention this matter in the interests of a large section of the people whom I represent, who have to use lubricating oils very largely, and who prefer to use castor oil if they can get it. I will allow other members of the committee, better able to speak upon sentimental lines, to show that castor oil is really the medicine of the poor. Surely under these circumstances Ministers will not be prepared to insist upon such a high duty upon this article, seeing that it is not made in Australia.

Sir GEORGE TURNER:
Protectionist

– AVith the exception of the duty upon linseed oil these are practically revenue duties. Linseed can be grown here and linseed oil can be made here, although up to the present it has not been made to any very great extent. We have allowed lubricating mineral oils to be introduced at a lower rate because they are very largely used in connexion with all classes of machinery. The value of those oils is, of course, less than the value of the oils referred to here. These are items out of which we may expect a very reasonable amount of revenue. The honorable member for Dalley estimates the duty at 22 per cent. The rate, as given to us by experts, is about 20 per cent, on both classes of oils, and I think it can hardly be said that that is a very high rate of duty. Kerosene we propose to deal with separately, but honorable members will see from the figures supplied that under this item we expect to receive in revenue from £70,000 to £SO,000. I fail to see that any argument has been brought forward to justify a reduction of the dutv here proposed.

Mr. BATCHELOR (South Australia).I was going to put it to the right honorable Treasurer whether 20 per cent, is not a pretty stiff revenue duty. Castor oil is an exceedingly good lubricant. Colza oil is an illuminant ; linseed oil is another lubricating oil, and raw and boiled it is really the raw material for most mixed paints. I therefore put it to the Treasurer whether he is not asking rather too much in the duty he proposes on linseed oil. In looking at the Tariff lists of the States, I see that in nearly all of them the duty was 6d. per gallon.

Sir George Turner:

– I omitted to mention that. In one State it was ls., and in another ls. 3d.

Mr BATCHELOR:
SOUTH AUSTRALIA

– That is so; and the duty here proposed is not higher than has been placed upon these articles hitherto. At the same time I think we do not need to put a duty of 20 per cent, upon an article which is the painter’s raw material, especially as the question of protection does not come in.

Sir George Turner:

– It does with regard to linseed.

Mr BATCHELOR:

– There is very little linseed oil made here, and the Treasurer would be acting wisely in agreeing to a reduction of this duty.

Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta).China oil is used by miners, and by most people who work underground, for illuminating purposes. Miners use this China oil in the small lamps which are attached to their hats.

Mr Ewing:

– Can the honorable member say how much one of those lamps will hold and for how long it will burn 1

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– The miners have to replenish their lamps five or six times during a shift. This is a very expensive item indeed to the miner, and he resorts to some strange shifts at times to avoid the expense of purchasing China oil. He sometimes makes up a compound of fat for himself, which is a very poor substitute for China oil. This oil is not made here but is imported, as its name indicates, from China.

Mr. WILKS (Dalley).- The Treasurer practically admits the correctness of my figures as regards the percentage of the duty upon castor oil, since he puts it at 20 per cent., whereas I put it at 22 per cent. The expense of importation, however, is 45 per cent. Castor oil is the most useful and effective lubricant that we have, but since the duty upon mineral oil is only 3d., that oil will compete with it unfairly.

Sir George Turner:

– Mineral oil is morelargely used than castor oil.

Mr WILKS:

– On linseed oil the ad valorem duty is equal to IS per cent., while the expenses of importation amount to 33 per cent. I believe that the honorablemember for Gippsland and the honorable member for Mernda have both attempted tomanufacture linseed oil in Victoria under a bonus, but without success, and that at the present time neither linseed oil nor castor oil is manufactured in the Commonwealth. Therefore, it is not necessary to impose a. protective duty for the assistance or protection of a local industry.

Mr O’MALLEY:
Tasmania

– As linseed oil is the raw material of the painter, I agree with the honorable member for South Australia, Mr. Batchelor, that a revenue duty of 15 per cent, will be quite high enough to place upon it.

Mr. G. B. EDWARDS (South Sydney).All these oils are the raw materials of various industries. Castor oil is the best lubricant we have, while the other oils are largely used in paint-making and in other industries, and the duty upon them will prove very oppressive to those engaged in those industries. I therefore move -

That the words, “and on and after 19th February, .1902, 3d.,” be added to the duty, “Castor, China, Colza …. per gallon, 6d. “

Mr REID:
East Sydney

– As they will not injure any manufacturer within the Commonwealth by making this concession, I think the Government might very well agree to the reduction.

Sir EDWARD BRADDON:
Tasmania

– There is no question of protection or free-trade involved here ; it is simply a matter of revenue. In Tasmania there was a duty of ls. 3d. upon oils of every description, and, while I am aware that oils were free in New South Wales, I am of opinion that, unhappily, our requirements are such that we cannot follow the splendid example of that State in this matter.

Sir GEORGE TURNER:

– Personally I do not favour purely revenue duties, and although I know that the proposed duty of 6d. per gallon upon linseed affects the varnishing and painting industries, I feel that the Government must obtain money from some source. Honorable members, when they come to look into some figures which I hope to supply to them in the course of a few days, will find that both Queensland and Tasmania’ require as much assistance as we can give them. Formerly, the duty upon these oils was1s. in Queensland,1s. 3d. in Tasmania, and 6d. in theother States, with the exception of New South Wales. That fact has actuated us in fixing the duties at 6d., and 3d. upon mineral oils, which are morelargely used in our industries. The proposed rate is not unreasonable, and, even if it is agreed to, both Queensland and Tasmania will be affected to some extent, so that I trust that the committee will reject the amendment.

Mr G B EDWARDS:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– It is all very well to talkabout the revenue, but this duty has a protective incidence, and as the proposed duty upon mixed paints is 15 per cent, and1s. per cwt., the oil used in those paints will come in nearly as cheaply as pure oil. The best protection that we can give to an industry is to allow those engaged in it to obtain the materials they require as cheaply as possible.

Sir MALCOLM McEACHARN:
Melbourne

– I think that the committee will do well to retain the duty. I have received information from manufacturers in Melbourne approving of a duty of 6d. per gallon, and I am informed by the Victorian Varnish Company, of Melbourne and Sydney, that the duty should not be increased, but that if it is increased they would like a reduction in the duty upon varnishes and paints, which shows that they are satisfied with the present duty.

Question - That the words, “and on and after 19th February, 1902, 3d.,” be added to the duty. “ Castor, China, Colza…… per gallon, 6d.” - put. The committee divided - Ayes … … … 22

Noes … … … 27

Majority … … 5

Question so resolved in the negative.

Amendment negatived.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I wish China oil to be placed on the free list. It is used largely by coal miners.

Sir George Turner:

– It is used for other purposes.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Colza oil is, but China oil is used almost wholly by coal miners. If it is admitted duty free, it will not make any difference to any State except New South Wales, and perhaps Victoria. The revenue could not suffer to any material extent. Although the tax is insignificant from the stand-point of the continent as a whole, still it is very severe on the miners.

Sir George Turner:

– What quantity would a miner use?

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I suppose he would use a gallon a week. I ask the Minister to consent to place China oil on the free list.

Mr Kingston:

– The officers say that more than half of it is used for other purposes.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Have they ascertained the figures for New South Wales ?

Mr Kingston:

– That is the information they give on the spur of the moment.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– There is hardly any China oil used here except in New South Wales.

Sir GEORGE TURNER:
Protectionist

– I have not sufficient evidence at present to justify the statement that it is not used for other purposes than coal-mining. The information has been given by the officer on the spur of the moment. While he has a good general knowledge, he may make a mistake in regard to its use in States with which he is not so familiar as he is with Victoria. I shall ascertain the whole quantity that is imported, and see what other purposes, if any, it is used for. If I find that a very large quantity is used for the purpose the honorable member mentions, I think we might assist the coal-miners to that extent by omitting the item later on.

Mr Batchelor:

– What about colza oil?

Sir GEORGE TURNER:

– That is largely used for mining purposes, I know. With regard to kerosene and one or two of the items here, I am obtaining, the fullest and most reliable information I can as to the actual receipts on each line of the Tariff in each State. I have had considerable difficulty in getting information from Western Australia, the officers there being so far away, and misunderstanding what was required. I shall not have the information for perhaps a week or ten days. As soon as it is received it will be circulated, so that honorable members may be in a position to see how the revenue from each item is coming in, and we shall then deal as quickly as possible with two or three items which are postponed, such as kerosene. In the meantime, I ask the committee to deal with only “ lubricating (mineral) “ and “ mineral n.e.i.”

Mr REID:
East Sydney

– I believe that lubricating oil is absolutely necessary for all machinery, and is used almost entirely for that purpose.

Sir George Turner:

– It is only half the price of the other oil, and it is only subject to half the duty. We took that into consideration in fixing the duty at 3d. per gallon.

Mr REID:

– It is an article which I should like to see, if not put on the free list, subjected to as small a duty as possible, because it is one of those oils out of which the users never get anything. The rope-makers and the tanners get paid for the oils they use in the price of the rope or the leather they sell. I am told that the rope-maker pays altogether for the oil he uses in making his rope about £18 per ton, and gets £80 per ton for the oil in the rope he sells. The tanners get paid in the same way for the oil they put into the leather. In this case, however, ‘the users get only the immediate use of the oil in the

I machinery. In Victoria some years ago, five or six I believe, there was a duty of 1 6d. per gallon. It was found that it did no I good, but did some harm, and it was re- pealed.

Sir George Turner:

– It must have been j a long time ago. j Sir Malcolm McEacharn. - Not so long ago. 1 Mr. REID. - My information is that it is I not so long since it was repealed. It was found that it was a hindrance instead of a benefit, and the State Parliament took off the duty. I shall be very glad if the Government can do something liberal in that line.

Sir MALCOLM MCEACHARN:
Melbourne

– I was going to make use of the very” remarks which the leader of the Opposition has addressed to the committee. I would advocate either that the article should be admitted free, or that the duty should be reduced. In Victoria the article was duty free before the Federal Tariff was introduced. The duty was taken off, I understand, in the interests of protection. The imported lubricating oil was compounded with Victorian animal oils, and I am informed that the effect of the imposition of this duty has been to take away from Victoria the trade we had in Tasmania. The railways in Tasmania always took this oil from us in the past, but will not take it now in consequence of this duty. It is a matter which might well be inquired into. I feel sure that there is information that the Treasurer has not got which might be useful to him.

Sir George Turner:

– I had the information, but it is a very small matter.

Sir MALCOLM MCEACHARN:

– It is a considerable matter to those who have got industries established, and who have hitherto had the trade of the adjoining States. I ask the Minister whether he cannot make the article free, or agree to some reduction of the duty.

Mr WILKS:
Dalley

– This duty, although it is imposed for revenue purposes, is undoubtedly a burden on the industry. That is a cry which ought to attract the attention of protectionists. The duty amounts to from 20 to 50 per cent, on the value of the article. Mineral oils for lubricating purposes are by-products of the kerosene-making industry. They are imported from the United States, and sold by the Standard Oil Trust. I trust that the

Ministers will see their way clear to reduce the duty.

Mr FOWLER:
Perth

– I wish to draw the attention of the Ministers to the incidence of the Tariff in connexion with the item “ mineral n.e.i.” It includes an article which is undoubtedly going to be very generally used in the near future. I refer to what is called crude oil or liquid fuel.

Sir George Turner:

– Notice has been given to exempt that article. We shall raise no objection to its being placed on the free list.

Mr G B EDWARDS:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– I am glad to hear that statement from the Treasurer. Judging from the experiments which have been made in the old world, I look upon crude oil as the coming fuel. We ought to facilitate its use in every way.

Mr Reid:

– What about our coal mines in New South Wales ? I want them protected.

Mr G B EDWARDS:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– It is the cheapest fuel we can get.

Sir JOHN QUICK:
Bendigo

– Cocoanut oil is largely used.

Sir George Turner:

-It comes under the next item - “ n.e.i.”

Sir JOHN QUICK:

-I wish it to be placed under this heading so as to be subject to a duty of threepence instead of sixpence per gallon, because it is largely used in the manufacture of soap and other articles.

Sir George Turner:

– We are admitting the copra free for the purpose of manufacturing it.

Mr Wilks:

– We are making the oil in Balmain.

Sir JOHN QUICK:

– Some of the soapmakers consider that if this raw material was not dutiable before, it should not be dutiable now.

Mr CROUCH:
Corio

– After the announcement made by the Treasurer that it is intended to put on the free list crude mineral oil, such as is used for fuel, some statement ought to be made regarding the intentions of the Government in respect to kerosene. I see no reason why mineral oil used for illuminating purposes should not be treated upon the same footing as is mineral oil intended to be used as fuel. I hope the Ministry will put kerosene on the free list and thus make a valuable concession to the people throughout the country, and particularly the farmers and miners, who have to use it as an illuminant.

Mr Reid:

– I hope that the appeal made from both sides of the committee will have some weight with the Government, and that thev will agree to a reduction of the duty.

Sir MALCOLM McEACHARN (Melbourne). - I would urge the Government to reduce the duty to 2d. Lubricating oils go entirely to waste, and as they are used very largely in mining and other operations, the duty should be reduced to as low a figure as possible. If the duty of 3d. per gallon is retained, it will do great injury to the industries in which it is largelv used.

Sir GEORGE TURNER:

– We have already determined that castor oil and other similar oils shall be subject to a duty of 6d. per gallon, or at the rate of 20 per cent., and I am told that a duty of 3d. per gallon upon these lubricating oils would represent about the same percentage ad valorem. Surely the industries in which these oils are used are not in such a bad state that the difference between 2d. and 3d. per gallon would be a matter of any great importance to them.

Sir MALCOLM McEACHARN:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · PROT

– These oils are used to a far greater extent than is castor oil.

Sir GEORGE TURNER:

– And they are much cheaper, and are subject to a much lower rate of duty. Either these oils should be subject to a duty of 3d. per gallon, or should be admitted free.

Amendment (by Mr. Joseph Cook) proposed -

That the words, “per gallon 3d., and on and after the 1.9bh February, 1902, free,” be inserted after the words, “Mineral, n.e.i.”

Mr Reid:

– Since the Minister for Trade and Customs has £500,000 more of revenue than has the Treasurer, I would appeal to him to make the concession asked for.

Mr KINGSTON:
Protectionist

– I am glad that the right honorable gentleman has referred to that matter, as it gives me an opportunity of explaining to the committee that there is no truth whatever in the statement which has appeared in the press. It is an invention of the enemy - of the conservative portion of the press.

Sir GEORGE TURNER:

– The revenue we expect to derive from the duty on these oils is £20,000, and if the committee are prepared to deprive us of that source of revenue, I cannot help it.

Question - That the words “per gallon 3d., and on and after 19th February, 1902, free,’” be inserted after the words “Mineral, n.e.i.” - put.

The committee divided -

Ayes … … … 17

Noes……… 31

Majority … … 14

Question so resolved in the negative.

Amendment negatived.

Amendment (Sir Malcolm McEacharn) - put -

That the words “per gallon 3d., and on and after 19th February, 1902, per gallon 2d.,” be inserted after the words “ Mineral, n.e.i.”

The committee divided -

Ayes………18

Noes……… 30

Majority ……… 12

Question so resolved in the negative.

Amendment negatived.

Motion (by Sir George Turner) agreed to-

That the consideration of the duty “and kerosene, per gallon, 3d.,” be postponed.

Mr CONROY:
Werriwa

– I would direct the attention of the committee to the fact that palm oil and cocoanut oil, both of which are largely used in the manufacture of soap, will, under the proposal of the Government, be taxed to the extent of 6d. per gallon, whilst other oils, n.e.i., will be required to pay only 3d. per gallon. As the Sunlight Soap Company, in Sydney, is the only company which manufactures palm and cocoanut oils, the adoption of the Government proposal will practically compel all competitors to purchase from that firm. Therefore the duty should be reduced to 3d. per gallon.

Sir George Turner:

– It is the same rate as operates in the case of vegetable oils.

Item, as amended, agreed to.

Item S1 - Paints and Colours, viz. : -

Ground, in liquid, partly or wholly prepared for use,1s. per cwt. and 15 per cent, ad valorem.

Colours Dry, Dry White Lead, and Patent Dryers and Putty, per cwt.1s.

Mr WILKS:
Dalley

– I move-

That the words “and on and after 19th

February, 1902,1s.” be added.

My object in submitting this amendment is to destroy the composite character of the proposed duty. I would point out to the committee that under the Tariff which formerly operated in New South Wales, paints and colours were admitted free. In Victoria, where a duty was applicable to everything from white lead to paints in tins for household purposes, the system has been anything but a success. Indeed, it has been an abject failure. That the effort to encourage the manufacture of white lead has been a failure in this State, is proved bythe fact that to-day it is being made only in small quantities by Messrs. Lewis and Whitty. Honorable members are also aware that the Messrs. Patterson, who claim to have discovered material upon their property suitable for the making of paints and colours, received a subsidy from the Victorian Government. Despite this encouragement, however, the industry has collapsed, and the Government has seized the machinery. The imposition of the proposed duty upon anti-fouling and anticorrosive paints, which are used for painting the bottoms of ships, will directly affect the employment of several thousand men.

Sir George Turner:

– Surely they do not find their own paints.

Mr WILKS:

– No, the paints are found for them. But the point is that in Eastern ports, where labour is cheap, these paints are admitted free. The result of the imposition of the proposed duty will be that ships will not undergo repairs within the Commonwealth, but will proceed to Eastern countries and be docked there. If the Minister for Trade and Customs is not prepared to concede all that I ask, I hope that he will consent to the payment of a drawback upon anti-fouling and anti-corrosive paints when they are used in connexion with shipping. Australia does not produce either white lead or colours, and I would point out that upon the poorer classes of paints, which cost 10s. per cwt., the proposed composite duty would work out at about 38s. 6d.

Mr Kingston:

– When the honorable member tells us that the poorer article costs 10s. per cwt., the composite duty cannot represent more than 25 per cent.

Sir MALCOLM McEACHARN:
Melbourne

– I would strongly urge the Government to discard the composite duty, although I cannot go the length proposed by the honorable member for Dalley, because I know that those who are chiefly interested in this matter would be satisfied with the Victorian duty of 2s. and 4s. per cwt. I would point out to the Minister that steamers like the Kalgoorlie have to be docked every six months. To paint the vessel I have mentioned absorbs 14½ cwt. of material,which costs £78 18s. 7d. Under the Tariff which formerly operated in Victoria the duty upon that material was £2 18s.; but under the present Tariff it represents no less a sum than £1211s. 3d.

Sir George Turner:

– What sort of paint is used?

Sir MALCOLM McEACHARN:

– It is a composite paint which is not manufactured here.

Sir George Turner:

– The duty may be high on some very valuable article not much used.

Sir MALCOLM McEACHARN:

– The composition to which I refer is used very considerably in painting all ships that are docked here. In the case of anti-corrosive composition - I am referring entirely to paints that are not manufactured here - the old Victorian duty was 4s. per cwt. The present duty is 14s. 6d. per cwt., an increase of 10s. 6d. per cwt. On anti-fouling composition there is an increase of18s. 6d. per cwt., the proposed duty being £1 2s. 6d. per cwt., as against the former duty of 4s. per cwt. On water-line composition the duty is £111s., as against 4s. under the old Tariff, an increase of £1 7s. per cwt. Let me say in dealing with these particular items that, if these enormous increases of duty are imposed, steamers will not be docked and painted here. Therefore, while the States themselves are spending money in providing largely increased docking accommodation, the Federal Government will be doing what they can to drive away from our ports ships requiring to be painted and repaired. I think therefore that I have made out a very good case.

Sir GEORGE Turner:

– For reducing the duty to ls. per cwt. t

Sir malcolm mceacharn:

– I ann not advocating the reduction of. the duty to ls. per cwt. If I have anything to bring forward I endeavour always to put it before the committee fairly. I do not advocate a reduction to ls. per cwt., because those interested would he perfectly satisfied if a duty were imposed similar to that which prevailed under the Victorian Tariff. The majority of the articles on which this heavy duty is to be collected are used in the manufacture of paints. Take white lead, for example, which is not made here.

Mr Mauger:

– The honorable member is wrong ; it is made here.

Mr Kingston:

– The duty on white lead is only ls. per cwt.

Sir malcolm mceacharn:

– It is explained that -

White lead, which is the largest item in the oil and colour trade, and is practically the basis of all prepared paints, is not manufactured in any of the States, although it was recently announced in one of the Melbourne dailies that a company was formed in April, 1900, for the purpose. So far its manufacture is not on the market, and past experience of white lead manufacture in the various colonies does not induce any hope of its success.

Mr Kingston:

– What does the honorable member say is the value of white lead 1

Sir malcolm mceacharn:

– It used to be about £18 per ton; 1 do not know what it is now. I am making this appeal for the painting trade generally, and especially in regard to the particular compositions that are used for the painting of ships.

Mr Kingston:

– What docs the honorable member say is the average price of the compositions required for the painting of ships 1 sir malcolm mceacharn.-

Twelve cwts. cost £54 10s. ; those are actual figures taken from actual payments. Quite apart from the fact that a composite duty is objectionable - and I said at the outset that I should vote against composite duties - I would urge the Government to do away with it, and fix a duty that will be acceptable to all parties concerned. The Government have before them the example of the rate under the old Victorian Tariff, which was 2s. and 4s. per cwt.

Sir GEORGE TURNER:
Protectionist

– The proposal as I understand it is simply to have a fixed duty of ls. per cwt. on these articles. It has been pointed out that some of the paints embraced by this item are of very great value, but the Government worked on an average of about 30s. per cwt. A fixed duty of ls. per cwt. upon that value would be about 3 per cent., and the addition of 15 per cent. ad valorem makes an average duty of IS per cent. We certainly think that an average duty of 18 per cent, is not unreasonable on articles such as these. If we were to take off the fixed duty of ls. per cwt, and leave the impost at 15 per cent, ad valorem, the duty would still be very heavy on the class of paints to which the honorable member for Melbourne refers. The fixed duty of ls. therefore makes practically no difference. The proposal to have only a dutv of ls. per cwt. is something to which we cannot agree. If we fixed only an ad valorem duty of 15 or 20 per cent, the impost would still be high on the class of paints referred to by the honorable member for Melbourne. Such a course would not get over the difficulty suggested by him. Seeing the way in which the prices of these goods vary, it. seems to me that this is one of the class of articles to which we may very fairly apply a composite duty. At the same time I do not want to do anything that would drive work away from any of the States. We must oppose the amendment, but any other reasonable suggestion might be considered by us.

Mr. WILKS (Dalley). - My proposition would destroy this composite duty. I suggested before the adjournment for tea that we should leave the fixed duty of ls. per cwt., and abolish the 15 per cent, ad valorem duty. Reasons had been given by various speakers why this should be done, and I suggested that the Government should be satisfied with a specific duty. Under the old Victorian Tariff, the duty was 2s. per cwt.

Sir George Turner:

– No; 4s. and 2s. per cwt.

Mr WILKS:

– So far as New South Wales is concerned, I would point out that the paints referred to by the honorable member for Melbourne, are used only for j the painting of ships. They are patent I preparations, and are very expensive. The ; composite duty proposed by the GovernJ ment would make their use prohibitive, and j the result would be that ships that are now I docked in Sydney for the purpose of being repaired, would have their work done in other ports. These patent compositions are not made in the Commonwealth ; they are admitted free into eastern ports, and vessels trading between Australia and the East would have their painting work done in those ports. The result would be that so far as my electorate is concerned, from 500 to 600 men would be thrown out of employment.

Sir George Turner:

– By the imposition of this one duty?

Mr WILKS:

– Yes. The cost of the paint would be increased by this duty to such an extent as to become almost prohibitive. It has to be remembered that paints of all descriptions have hitherto been admitted free into New South Wales. I ask the committee not to impose the duty proposed by the Government. There is no established paint-making industry in Victoria. Messrs. Patterson Bros., who were subsidized by the Victorian Government, failed in their efforts, and the Government had to take over the machinery on which they had a mortgage.

Mr Ronald:

– The honorable member does not know anything about Patterson Bros/ works ; I shall refer to them.

Mr WILKS:

– The only local manufacturers of white lead in any quantity are Lewis and Whitty. The difficulty in regard to this composite duty is that many firms import paints which, although of exactly the same name, have different values, and the authorities will not be able to gauge accurately the values of the various paints presented to them. On behalf not only of the industry to which I have referred, but of the building trade, which uses paints and colours very largely, I urge the Treasurer to consider the desirability of agreeing to a reduction of this heavy duty. Apparently he is willing to meet the proposal made by the honorable member for Melbourne, and the object which that honorable member wishes to attain can only be secured by the imposition of a fixed duty. Whether that duty shall be ls., 2s., or even 2s. 6d. percwt. is a matter for the committee to determine. I would sooner see a fixed duty of even 2s. per cwt. than a composite - a fixed and an ad valorem - duty.

Sir GEORGE TURNER:

– Under the old Victorian Tariff there was a duty of 40s. per ton on paint ground in oil, and 80s. per ton on paint ready for use, or 2s. and 4s. per cwt. respectively. In Queensland they do not appear to have differentiated between the two, but they imposed an allround duty of 3s. per cwt. In South Australia there were duties of 3s. and 4s. per cwt. collected probably on the same lines as were the duties under the old Victorian Tariff. In Tasmania there was a duty of ½d. per lb. which would be equal to 4s. 8d. per cwt., while New South Wales admitted these paints free.

Mr Wilks:

– And most of the repairs to ships are effected in New South Wales.

Sir GEORGE TURNER:

– Yes ; but does my honorable friend mean to tell the committee that the effect of this duty of 8 per cent, on the average will be to throw some 600 men out of work ? I am afraid that he must be drawing on his imagination to some small extent when he makes that statement. I do not think that the rate of duty proposed here, or any alteration of it which may be made, would have the effect of sending out of the States the work to which reference has been made. I admit that there is some force in the arguments which have been used, and I shall be glad if possible to meet the wishes of the committee in the matter. If we are to make any alteration at all it should be on the lines of a fixed duty. I think, perhaps, there may be a good deal of difficulty in arriving at the value of some of these articles, but we should differentiate between partly prepared and wholly prepared paints. We might fairly meet the difficulty by having a fixed duty, as there appears to be a feeling in the committee that importers and manufacturers would prefer that to an ad valorem duty. We might, under these circumstances, accept the basis adopted in Victoria and South Australia, and agree to a duty of 2s. per cwt. on paints ground, in liquid, and 4s. per cwt. on paints ready for use. I think that might be considered a fair compromise.

Mr. RONALD (Southern Melbourne).A good deal has been said as to our being unable to produce these paints, and as to our not having the material wherewith these dry colors are manufactured. We have been told that there is no white lead made here, and that Patterson Brothers failed to do what was expected of them, even though they were subsidized by the Victorian Government. The mistake was that the Victorian Government did not satisfy themselves that the necessary pigments were there before they gave a subsidy for the manufacture of the paint.

I happen to know the ground, and I know that the necessary pigments were never there, and that is the reason the subsidy did not produce the results expected.

Mr Wilks:

– And the Government have got the machinery. That is all I said.

Mr RONALD:

– They have the machinery because they put their money on the wrong horse to begin with. I am sure they will not repeat such an experiment. That is the explanation of Patterson Brothers’ failure, but there are others in the State who have produced these paints, and they are being produced here at the present time in large quantities. I wish to direct special attention to the serious way in which we have handicapped paint manufacturers already, by the revenue duties we have imposed upon linseed oil and methylated spirits, which are very largely used as raw materials in the manufacture of paint. The duties we have imposed upon the raw material in the case of this industry reduce, almost to vanishing point* the protection afforded by a duty of even 4s. per cwt. If we are going to raise revenue upon the raw materials of this industry, surely it is only fair to give its production some substantial protection. I appeal to honorable members not to ruthlessly destroy this industry, which is finding employment for a large number of men at excellent wages. The work is scientific and skilled work, and the wages paid in the industry range from £6 to £3 3s. per week, while boys are paid from 30s. to £1 per week. The industry employs a large number of men, and those engaged in it have entered into large monetary obligations in the establishment of the necessary plant.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– How many men are employed 1

Mr RONALD:

– I can give the honorable member the exact figures for one firm, which will prove that it is not an insignificant industry. I do not hold with the theory that if an industry employs only two men and a boy it is not worthy of consideration. If it employs only half a man, and he has an interest in it, we have no right to destroy his interest. The honorable member for Dalley has been lamenting that this proposal may lead to some 600 men being thrown out of work. That is all a myth. There is no likelihood of any such thing taking place. A duty of ls. per cwt. upon paints that cost from 12s. to 29 a

SOs. per cwt. is not going to make the slightest difference in contracts for the painting of ships. Such a duty is trifling and insignificant when estimated upon the price of the paint. It must be remembered that we are able to produce all the paint required, and can enlarge the output to meet all demands made. I therefore ask the committee not to be influenced by any suggestion that the imposition of such a duty is likely to throw men out of employment. The only likelihood of men being thrown out of employment in this connexion would arise from the injury which might be done by refusing the very moderate protection asked to enable those who have invested largely in this industry, and who turn out an article which gives the utmost satisfaction to all who use it, to continue the production of that article. I hope that the Government proposal will be “maintained, and failing that, that there will be an emphatically protectionist duty imposed. Revenue without destruction should be our motto again in this case, and- we may do serious injury to a large and promising industry unless we can give liberal terras under this head, seeing that we have already taxed those engaged in it to the utmost limit upon the raw materials which they use. If we are going to do justice we must compensate those engaged in this industry for that heavy taxation.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Why did the honorable member vote for it ?

Mr RONALD:

– For the reason that we have to protect other industries as well, and the whole thing hangs together. If we are going to have a patchwork in the Tariff, with a free-trade page here, and a protectionist page there, it will be very mixed up by the time we have done with it. We have imposed duties upon raw materials of this industry for the purpose of protecting the local industries established for the production of those raw materials, and to be consistent we should now insist as far as we can upon a reasonable protection for this industry. The Government proposals in their original form are no more than adequate to meet the case. We may have to accept a proposal, making a differentiating duty of 2s. and 4s. per cwt., but I would prefer the original proposal.

Sir EDWARD BRADDON:
Tasmania

– It might simplify proceedings if we knew exactly where we were. I understand that the Treasurer proposes some drastic alterations, and that the composite duties are to be done away with.

Sir George Turner:

– No. I preferto keep these duties, but to meet the wishes of the committee, I am prepared to agree to a fixed duty of 2s. per cwt. upon paints ground in liquid, and 4s. per cwt. upon fully prepared paints.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Would that be an equivalent to these duties 1

Sir George Turner:

– Not upon the highpriced paints referred to.

Sir EDWARD BRADDON:

– I understand that the composite duties are to be dropped.

Sir George Turner:

– I will not drop them unless the other proposal is accepted.

Sir EDWARD BRADDON:

– I am under the impression that Ministers will have to drop the composite duties whether the other proposal is accepted or not.

Sir George Turner:

– If the committee decide in that way, we cannot help our- selves

Sir EDWARD BRADDON:

– I have some idea of the Ministerial position, and I believe they have really abandoned the composite duties in this case. We may now hope for a moderate ad valorem or specific duty to cover the exigencies of the case.

Mr MAUGER:
Melbourne Ports

– I am sorry we have to give up the composite duty, because on the better classes of paint it would undoubtedly be the right thing. Still I recognise that the feeling of the committee is against it. I think that the Treasurer is going as low as he can in agreeing to 2s. and 4s. per cwt.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– I congratulate the honorable member for Southern Melbourne upon his speech to-night. I am afraid that he knows no more about this subject than other honorable gentlemen do. At any rate, his speech was not very enlightening. He got np to demolish the arguments of the honorable member for Dalley, but what he said confirmed the honorable member’s statements in regard to the efforts of the Victorian Government to galvanize into activity the business of Messrs. Patterson Bios. Some time ago we heard that the Victorian Government has a beet sugar plant on their hands, and now we find that they possess paint-making machinery as well. I wonder that they do not hold an auction, and get rid of some of their machinery. The honorable member for Southern Melbourne told us that the paint-making industry could not be established here because the necessary ingredients for making the paint are not to be obtained in the State. If that be so, what an idiotic thing it was for theVictorian Government to pour out itsmoney in the attempt to establish the industry here ! It shows the length to which the protectionist policy and the hungering, unintelligent desire to establish impossible industries will drive people. The honorablemember asks for a high duty upon paint, because we have put high duties, which he voted for, upon the raw materials, and he says that unless these high duties are imposed scores of men and boys will be thrown out of employment. How many men and boys are employed in the industry he doesnot tell us. The Government estimate to obtain about £27,000 a year from the dutiesupon paint, and I believe that if that money, which we are taking out of the pockets of those who use paint, was distributed amongstthose who are employed in the paint-making: industry, it would give them all very handsome pensions. As against the few persons, who are employed in the manufacture of paints, there are thousands of persons in the great industrial centres of New South Wales who use paint. From the revenue point of view New South Wales will have to stand the brunt of any reduction of these duties.

Sir George Turner:

– Victoria contributes £9,000 a year; which is about the same on the population basis.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– Is not that the clearest proof that the high duties which they have had in Victoria have been of noavail 1

Sir George Turner:

– There are moreindustries in which paint is used in Victoria than in New South Wales.

Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– That is very strange, in view of the fact that New South Wales contributes more to the revenue from the duties on paint. We ask that the requisites of a great industry may not be excessively taxed. It is not fair thatthe whole Commonwealth should be taxed because a few men and boys areengaged in Victoria in the compounding of paints.

Mr O’MALLEY:
Tasmania

– It seems, to me that the declamation of members of the Opposition amounts to this : that-

Mr Reid:

– I never heard of a painter rising to eminence in politics.

Mr O’MALLEY:

– The late William McKinley was a very good painter, and Abraham Lincoln used to paint houses in Kentucky. Wehavereachedaperiod whenthe boys and girls must have work provided for them. At one time the only employment for women was to find some one to marry them, but now they are becoming self-reliant, and competing with the men, and they are entitled to the same protection, and to the protection of themen aswell. Theleaderof the Opposition must have worked and struggled as a boy in order to get where he is. I hope that the committee will accept the proposal of the Treasurer, and save further debate.

Mr REID:
East Sydney

– No one appreciates more than I do the eloquence of our distinguished friend from Tasmania. But our humanity has a wider range than his. His thoughts are concentrated upon some shanty near Sandridge, where two or three attenuated children who ought to be at school are eking out a miserable existence under most unhealthy conditions, while we are championing the cause of thousands of bright, intelligent youths who are learning one of the healthiest trades under the open air of heaven. Why should the thousands of boys who are painters have to carry an iniquitous load of taxation because two or three misguided parents have put a few unhappy boys into some unhealthy shanty in some crowded slum near Melbourne? As one of the representatives of a city of great commercial development, I wish the committee to consider the interests of the shipping ports of Australia. In the docks, compositions of rare excellence, which cannot be made here, are used, and those

*Tariff.* [18 Feb., 1902,] *Tariff.* 10103 pensions for these rickety mysterious industries of Victoria. I should be prepared to deal handsomely by them - either to pension them or to take them into a State where they can find good employment without any of these exactions from the bard-working classes of Victoria. I hope that the Minister for Trade and Customs will reply to what I have said. **Sir MALCOLM** MCEACHARN (Melbourne). - I hope that the honorable member for Dalley will withdraw his amendment, and allow the proposal of the Government to be carried. I can assure him that it is one which will be accepted by those who are interested. In the lower class of paints the difference will be about ls. per cwt., and in the other class - that which is dry - 3s. per cwt. {: #subdebate-6-13-s10 .speaker-KDD} ##### Mr G B EDWARDS:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- I hope that the honorable member for Dalley will withdraw his amendment. We have agreed- - I was opposed to it - to put a tax on the raw material used in making paint. If we are going to pursue any policy at all we must pursue a policy of justice. Here is an industry employing a number of hands, and if we tax the material those engaged in it use, it seems to me that as a matter of justice, we should tax the goods coming in to compete with their manufactures. For that reason I hope that the honorable member for Dalley will withdraw his amendment, and let us accept the Government's new proposal. That is not so good as it ought to be, but it seems to be a fair compromise. **Mr. CONROY** (Werriwa).- The honorable member for Tasmania made an appeal on behalf of certain boys, who, he said, are employed in this industry. During the last fifteen years, the number employed in all the factories in Victoria has increased to the extent of 2,500, so that out of every 8,000 boys coming to the age of, say 21 years, only from 160 to 170 a year have been able to find employment in factories. For the sake of that number, we are asked to impose taxes, diverting many thousands of pounds per annum from the pockets of the people. The country could afford to give every one of these new hands a couple of thousand a year each. Surely in the face of the figures I have quoted, honorable members will not argue that large industries are springing up every week, and giving employment to a large number of persons. The first thing that the committee has to do is to strike out the composite duty. We have not the responsibility of framing the Tariff, and we only accept a duty of this kind when it is forced upon us. **Mr. WILKS** (Dalley).- Out of deference to the general wish of the committee, it is my intention directly to ask leave to withdraw my amendment, but I wish to place on record the fact that this duty will materially affect about 600 men in my electorate. It has been the custom, when an amendment has been moved affecting so many men, whether there was a possibility of winning or not, to go to a vote. I do not intend to press for a vote. I see that the Government are prepared to abolish the 15 per cent, *ad valorem* duty, and, in its place, to propose a duty which is not so bad as their original proposal, though not quite so good as I should like to see. As this side cannot take any responsibility for the Tariff, and as it has always been my endeavour to assist the Government in the interests of the general welfare of the Commonwealth, I ask leave, with great regret, to withdraw my amendment. Amendment, by leave, withdrawn. Amendment (by **Sir GEORGE** Turner) proposed - >That the words, "and on and after 19th February, 1902, ground in liquid, 2s. per cwt.; prepared for use, *is.* per cwt.," be added to the duty, "Paints ... ls. per cwt. and 15 per cent, *aci valorem."* {: #subdebate-6-13-s11 .speaker-KYR} ##### Mr KIRWAN:
Kalgoorlie -- I do not rise to oppose the amendment, but to express gratification that the Government have decided to amend their original proposal in such a form that it will be much improved. I wish to draw the attention of the committee to the singular fact that this amendment is exactly identical with the suggestion that has been made by those engaged in the hardware trade. Whilst it is very gratifying that the item should be improved in this way, it shows how much the Government are controlled by the manufacturers. It would not have mattered how much the committee had discussed the question, but, merely because a suggestion is sent along - at any rate, it is very singular that it comes in this way - it is immediately adopted by the Government. {: .speaker-KWT} ##### Sir George Turner: -- I did not know that they ever made that suggestion. {: .speaker-KQU} ##### Sir Malcolm McEacharn: -- I am not aware that they made it, either. {: .speaker-KWT} ##### Sir George Turner: -- It was my own suggestion to fall back on this rate. {: .speaker-KYR} ##### Mr KIRWAN: -- This is but one of many suggestions which have come from that particular quarter. It does not matter what representations are made on behalf of the tens of thousands who consume numerous articles of daily use or on behalf of the great industries of Australia, but when a suggestion of this kind is sent forward by manufacturers, it is at once adopted without the slightest question. **Sir MALCOLM** MCEACHARN (Melbourne). - As one who advocated the adoption of the proposal made by the Government, I am surprised to hear the honorable member for Kalgoorlie say that it came from any Hardware Association. {: .speaker-KYR} ##### Mr Kirwan: -- I have got it here. {: .speaker-KQU} ##### Sir MALCOLM MCEACHARN: -- I assure the honorable member that I have not received any notice from the Hardware Association. I knew nothing about it. It has come entirely from those who are interested and engaged in the painting trade. {: .speaker-KYR} ##### Mr Kirwan: -- Every member got one. **Mr. CONROY** (Werriwa).- I ask the Treasurer to be good enough to withdraw his amendment, to enable me, or the honorable member for .Dalley, if he desires to do so, to take the sense of the committee on the question of whether the duties shall be ls. and 2s. per cwt. respectively. Amendment, by leave, withdrawn. Amendment (by **Mr. Wilks)** proposed - >That the words "and on and after 19th February, 1902, ground in liquid ls. per cwt. ; piepared for use, 2s. per cwt.," be added to the duty - "Paints . . . ls. per cwt. and 13 per cent, *ad* *valorem."* {: #subdebate-6-13-s12 .speaker-KPM} ##### Mr McCAY:
Corinella -- I should like to know where we stand. I understood that the proposal of the Government was to be regarded as a compromise. I wish to know whether, in the event of the amendment being defeated, the Government intend to adhere to the duty originally proposed, or to adopt the suggestion made by the Treasurer a few minutes ago? {: .speaker-KWT} ##### Sir GEORGE TURNER: -- I thought there was a general consensus of opinion after the Opposition and the Government had. given way upon their respective proposals, that my suggestion should be accepted without a division. It is hardly treating us fairly to now move a further amendment. This has occurred on several occasions when I have endeavoured to meet what appeared to be the wish of the committee with regard to the rates of duty to be imposed. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The Government never meet the committee unless some honorable member on the Government side makes a suggestion. {: .speaker-KWT} ##### Sir GEORGE TURNER: -- I think I have accepted perhaps too many suggestions from the Opposition. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr Thomson: -- Then do not accept any more. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- We want no favours from the Government. {: .speaker-KWT} ##### Sir GEORGE TURNER: -- That being so, I shall follow the course that I have hitherto pursued - namely, that of finding out what is fair and just, and of accepting any reasonable suggestion, from whichever side of the chamber it may come. I do not wish honorable members opposite to think that they are receiving any favours from us. When I find that any of our proposals is likely to inflict injustice, I am only too anxious to make any reasonable amendments. I care not whether my honorable friends look upon that as a gift or as something to which they are entitled. We have discussed this item for a considerable time ; and as the consensus of opinion was that the offer I made should be accepted, I do not think that we are being treated fairly. **Sir EDWARD** BRADDON (Tasmania). - I hope this matter will be disposed of within the next few minutes, and that no difficulty will arise between the Government and the Opposition. I am sure that the Treasurer has no desire to repudiate anything he has engaged to do. He has said that he would accept a compromise, and I am sure that he will adhere to that. I also venture to think that he will carry his proposal. **Mr. JOSEPH** COOK (Parramatta).- The only thing I object to in the statement of the Treasurer is the taunt that members ou this side of the chamber are not treating him fairly. We have been discussing oils of various descriptions all the evening, and the right honorable gentleman has never suggested a compromise, except at the instance of some honorable member on the Government side of the chamber. If the Government would meet us half way in regard to all these matters we should be delighted, and I do not know that we should fight the Tariff any further. Tonight we have been endeavouring to effect a compromise with reference to the duties proposed upon oils, but we have not been able to obtain any concession from the Government. It is only because the compromises that have been suggested have been so one-sided that we feel constrained to press our point whenever we have an opportunity. Amendment negatived. Amendment (by **Sir George** Turner) agreed to - >That the words "and on and after 19th February, 1902, ground in liquid 2s. per cwt., prepared for use 4s. per cwt.," be added to the duty - "Paints . . . ls. per cwt., and *la* per cent, *ad valorem."* {: #subdebate-6-13-s13 .speaker-JUU} ##### Mr CLARKE:
Cowper -- I move- >That the words "and whiting," be inserted after the word ' ' putty. " I would point out that whiting is being manufactured in New South Wales, and I hold a certificate from the curator of the Technological Museum, that it is comparatively free from iron. I also have in my possession two other certificates from firms of painters who have used the article in question, and who give it the highest testimonial. I am further advised that sufficient whiting can be produced locally to supply all the requirements of the Commonwealth. I therefore ask the Government to agree to the amendment. **Mr. MAUGER** (Melbourne Ports). - I hope that the Ministry will accept the amendment, more especially as it has reference to a New South Wales industry. By adopting it, the committee will show that we are not by any means selfish. I know it is possible for all the requirements of the Commonwealth to be supplied with the local article. **Sir EDWARD** BRADDON (Tasmania). - If there is a sufficiently large production of whiting locally to supply the whole of the needs of the Commonwealth, I fail to see where the necessity arises for the imposition of a duty. {: .speaker-KWT} ##### Sir GEORGE TURNER: -- I am in possession of information that very large quantities of the material required for the manufacture of whiting can be supplied by New South Wales and South Australia. I understand that the value of whiting is about *£3* per ton. Honorable members are aware that whiting is one of the component parts of putty, but as there seems to be a very large supply of it available, and no reason exists why it should not be prepared within the Commonwealth, the Government will raise no objection to the amendment. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- The amendment means a protection of about 33 per cent. {: .speaker-KWT} ##### Sir GEORGE TURNER: -- Upon the value of the article I admit that the proposed dutv is somewhat high. In view of the fact that we are imposing a tax of only ls. per cwt. upon putty which includes a certain quantity of oil, it might be wise perhaps not to go to the extent proposed by the honorable member for Cowper. I would suggest to him that he should be content to accept a duty of 6d. per cwt. upon whiting, which would probably be a fair amount, considering its value. **Mr. CLARKE** (Cowper). -I am prepared to accept a duty of 6d. per cwt., and therefore I ask the permission of the committee to withdraw the amendment. Amendment, by leave, withdrawn. Amendment (by **Mr. Clarke)** proposed - >That the following words be added - "Whiting per cwt. 6d." {: #subdebate-6-13-s14 .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr THOMSON:
North Sydney -- I would point out that *£'i* 2s. 6d. per ton is the value of whiting within the Commonwealth. That is the price quoted in the *journal qf Commerce.* But that amount does not represent the value upon which we : calculate the rate of duty. The rate of duty is calculated upon the value at the port of shipment. In this connexion honorable member's must recognise that it costs at least *£1* per- ton to bring whiting to our market. That charge, in itself, represents a natural protection of 50 per cent. I do not doubt the accuracy of what has been stated in regard to its manufacture in New South Wales, but I would ask if the industry did not arise under free-trade conditions ? {: .speaker-JUU} ##### Mr Clarke: -- It has not risen very much. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr THOMSON: -- It is not " sufficiently established," as the Minister for Trade and Customs would say. We know that the right honorable gentleman recently advanced the doctrine that an industry ought to be " sufficiently established " before it was entitled to the benefit of a protective duty. Honorable members should recollect that whiting is used within the Commonwealth for a great many manufacturing purposes, such as the production of carbonic acid gas, &c. Therefore, we ought to consider whether it is wise to levy a tax upon it, seeing that it already enjoys a natural protection of 50 per cent. **Mr. CONROY** (Werriwa). - I ask the honorable member for Cowper to withdraw the amendment. The course which he has taken is a departure from the rule which has hitherto been followed that private members must not introduce increases in the Tariff save through the medium of Ministers. Even from a constitutional stand-point it is not a good thing that they should be allowed to do so. If any proposal of this kind is to be submitted it should be submitted through the Ministry. That is the only way in which the committee should be vailed upon to consider any increased duty. The arguments advanced by the honorable member for North Sydney are sufficiently strong in themselves to warrant the committee in opposing the imposition of this duty. It is clear that the industry has been carried on in New South Wales without the artificial aid of a duty, and if we are going to increase the price of whiting may we not be imposing still further disabilities upon those who manufacture paints, seeing that whiting constitutes one of their raw materials. **Mr. REID** (East Sydney).- I beg to congratulate the honorable member for Cowper upon the great service he has rendered to New South Wales by bringing this whiting industry under the notice of the Government. I can only regret that the Ministry have not shown sufficient care to discover it for themselves. It is a novel situation that representatives from New South Wales have to supply information relating to important industries in that State, which employ hundreds of hands, whilst every small concern within a radius of five miles of Melbourne has several honorable members keen to proclaim its great importance and the pressing necessity which exists for giving it the advantage of a protective duty. This is the one conspicuous matter which the honorable member for Cowper has brought before the House during the present prolonged session, and I congratulate him upon it. **Mr. O'MALLEY** (Tasmania). - I protest against the statement of the honorable and learned member for Werriwa that no private member should exercise the right of moving to increase a duty. In this connexion I would point out that Ministers are the servants of private members, and private members and Ministers are the servants of the people. That is all. Amendment agreed to. Item, as amended, agreed to. Item 82 - Varnishes. - Varnish stains, lacquers, enamels, japans, liquid sizes, patent knotting, oil and wood finishes, petrifying liquids, damp wall compositions, and lithographic varnish, ls. per gallon and 15 per cent, *ad* *volorem.* {: .speaker-KWT} ##### Sir GEORGE TURNER: -- I purpose asking the committee to amend this item, so as to provide for the imposition of a duty of 2s- per gallon, and to add to it the words "Terebine and liquid dryers." {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- And gold size. {: .speaker-KWT} ##### Sir GEORGE TURNER: -- We have included liquid sizes. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- They do not include gold size. {: .speaker-KWT} ##### Sir GEORGE TURNER: -- The proposal of the Government, as it appears in the Tariff, is the imposition of a duty of ls. per gallon and 15 per cent, *ad valorem.* That we purpose altering to provide for a general rate of 2s. per gallon, which is sufficient to fairly protect those engaged in the varnishing industry. Our object was to make the more valuable varnishes pay the higher rate, but these are chiefly used in connexion with coach-building and similar industries. The committee having shown by the vote on paints and colours that they prefer a fixed rate, and as a fixed rate appeared in many of the old State Tariffs, we think it wise to accept the general feeling and propose a duty of 2s. I move - >That the words "Terebine, liquid dryers, and gold size " be inserted after the words ' ' lithograpic varnish." **Sir MALCOLM** MCEACHARN (Melbourne). - I would point out to the committee that the Protectionist Association of Victoria proposed a duty of ls. 6d. {: .speaker-KNJ} ##### Mr Mauger: -- That was a mistake. {: .speaker-KQU} ##### Sir MALCOLM MCEACHARN: -- I hold in my hand a letter from the importers suggesting that the duty should be 2s., and objecting to the composite duty. I am very glad that the Government have agreed to make the duty 2s., and I am pleased to see that on this, as on many other occasions, we can do them the justice of saying that they have been perfectly fair in the proposition they have put forward. Amendment agreed to. **Mr. THOMSON** (North Sydney).- This proposal has been put forward again as a compromise, and the Treasurer took a great, deal of credit for offering the Opposition a compromise on the last item. That compromise was, however, the rate of duty fixed under the old Victorian Tariff. {: .speaker-KWT} ##### Sir George Turner: -- Did I not say so? {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr THOMSON: -- Yes ; but the right honorable gentleman was quite indignant that we did not jump at it as a very reasonable thing. What is the compromise offered on this occasion ? It is proposed to impose a duty of 2s. a gallon on varnishes. That was the duty under the old Victorian Tariff. In the other States where there were fixed duties, there were imposts of 6d. and1s. 6d. a gallon ; yet we are asked to accept the offer of the Government as a compromise. If we are going to accept the high level of protection represented by the old Victorian Tariff, we on this side of the committee might just as well give away the whole free-trade side of the question. Another point is that the manufacturers themselves are willing to accept a duty of 1s. 6d. per gallon. {: .speaker-KQU} ##### Sir Malcolm McEacharn: -- *No ; the* manufacturers want 2s. a gallon. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr THOMSON: -- If we are to have any compromise in this matter, it ought to be a reduction on the highest fixed duty that existed in any of the States prior to federation. Here we have not a reduction of the highest fixed duty, but the highest fixed duty itself. That is no compromise. It represents the high level of protection, and I think that honorable members of the Opposition are in duty bound to oppose this proposal. I move - >That the words "and on and after1 9th February, 1902,1s. 6d." be added. **Mr. HENRY** WILLIS (Robertson).On looking up the State Tariffs which prevailed prior to the 8th October last, I find that in Victoria there was a duty of 2s. per gallon on varnish. That was equal to 40 per cent, on the varnish of inferior quality, and 7 per cent, on varnish of superior quality. In Victoria, where varnish of inferior quality is made- {: .speaker-KNJ} ##### Mr Mauger: -- That is an incorrect statement.? {: #subdebate-6-13-s15 .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- I have before me the report of a Victorian commission which sat and took evidence on this and other matters, and which was composed exclusively of protectionists. {: .speaker-KPM} ##### Mr McCay: -- That report is eight years old. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- The report is not eight years old. The local manufacturer of varnish himself gave evidence before that commission, and stated that he did not produce a superior class of article. {: .speaker-KNJ} ##### Mr Mauger: -- What was the name of the manufacturer ? {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- The name is not given ; but the report which, I think, we might accept as one that was adopted by a protectionist Parliament sets forth that - >Numerous objections were made to the duty of 2s. per gallon on varnish by witnesses in various trades. Painters and decorators wished for a reduction on the ground that it was a hindrance to their business. They use, they say, Victorian made varnish for some purposes, but not for the best descriptions of work. Requests for a reduction or abolition of the duty were also made *by* agricultural implement and carriage-makers, and a cartridge manufacturer. The carriage-builders and cartridge-makers do not use Victorian varnish, which they state is not suitable for their purposes, and they consider that the duty is detrimental to their industries. The quality of Victorian varnish was said by most of the witnesses to be inferior to that of imported and unsuitable for many kinds of work, bub this was denied by the principal manufacturer, who affirmed that the adverse opinions expressed were due to prejudice, and that he manufactures various qualities of varnish ranging in price from 4s. 3d. to 21s. per gallon. He ascribed some inferiority in his varnish to his inability to obtain sufficiently good imported linseed oil, and hoped that a superior oil would soon be manufactured in the colony. He would not at present ask for a higher duty on varnish, bub said he would be pleased if the rate were increased from 2s. to 2s. 6d. per gallon. The industry is not extensive : the largest factory employed but eight hands in this work, and we could only hear of two makers. We were told that the manufacture is very simple, employing little labour, and this appears to be borne out by the figures before us. In one factory eight hands made nearly 12,000 gallons in a year, and, as the annual consumption of the colony is about 40,000 gallons, aboub 27 bands could atthe same rate make sufficient for our internal trade. It is not probable that the trade could spread beyond the limits of Victoria, as long as a heavy duty remains on linseed oil, which is one of the principal ingredients used in the manufacture. The price of varnish ranges from 5s. per gallon to 28s. per gallon ; a duty of 2s. per gallon, therefore, equals 40 per cent, on the lowest class, and 7 per cent, on. the best descriptions. The average rate, according to the Customs returns, is approximately 22½ per cent. Then the commission go on to say - >We recommend that the duty should remain as at present. > >The honorable member for Melbourne Ports is seeking to impose upon the .Commonwealth a duty on varnish very much higher than that borne under several of the old Tariffs. In New South Wales this article was admitted free. In Queensland there was a duty of 25 per cent. ; in South Australia 6d. pei gallon ; and in Tasmania ls. 6d. per gallon. It will thus be seen that the Government proposal is no compromise. It is seeking to enforce upon us the high duty which prevailed in Victoria, where an inferior article which is not suitable for the requirements of the trade is produced. Even if the duty be imposed it will not be the means of producing a better class of varnish, because it appears that the manufacturer is not able to make it. We shall find that an import duty of 2s. per gallon will amount to something like £3,000 a year, while the wages of the men employed in the local industry, assuming that they receive £100 a year each, would not exceed £2,700 per annum. Therefore, the people will actually be required to pay a duty in excess of the full amount of wages earned in the manufacture of this article. I shall support the amendment. {: #subdebate-6-13-s16 .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN:
South Australia -- I have received a statement from Harland and Son, amongst the largest importers of these goods in the State of Victoria, and I desire to refer to the suggestions they quote as having been made by various persons to the Minister for Trade and Customs and the Treasurer. The Trades Hall representatives are alleged to have suggested, through a deputation, that the duty should be ls. a gallon and 5 per cent, *ad valorem.* {: .speaker-KNJ} ##### Mr Mauger: -- That is wrong. {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN: -- It is significant that they wish for a duty lower than that advocated by the honorable member for North Sydney. {: .speaker-KNJ} ##### Mr Mauger: -- It would be significant if the statement were not wrong. {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN: -- I cannot contradict that, but as Harland and Son have put this statement before honorable members, I think we may assume that they are telling the truth. The Treasurer or the Minister for Trade and Customs could easily tell the committee whether a deputation representing thi? Trades Hall made any such suggestion to the Government. {: .speaker-KEW} ##### Mr Kingston: -- I will guarantee they did not. {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN: -- Messrs. Harland and Son's circular states that the Trades Hall representatives on a deputation suggested a duty of ls. per gallon and 5 per cent, *ad valorem,* which is equal to 17 per cent. Surely there is some truth in that statement, and it is not made merely with a view to cheat members of the committee into agreeing to a lower rate of duty than would otherwise be imposed upon this article. The proposal of the honorable member for North Sydney is that there should be a duty of ls. 6d. per gallon, and that would be equal to 17 J per cent, *ad valorem.* So that the Trades Hall representatives seem to suggest an absolutely lower duty than that suggested by the honorable n:ember. The coachbuilders are said to have made another statement. I wonder if that is true ? {: .speaker-KEW} ##### Mr Kingston: -- I gave them facilities for expressing their views. I would not receive deputations ; but I arranged that their statements should be taken down. {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN: -- This is one of the suggestions which, I suppose, the Minister for Trade and Customs turned a deaf ear to. I suppose he saw the communication from these people ; but did not receive them. There have been cases in which the right honorable gentleman would not receive people in connexion with the Tariff. {: .speaker-KEW} ##### Mr Kingston: -- I did not receive any deputations. {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN: -- Perhaps this is one of the deputations the Minister would not receive. However, the point is that they were willing to make a communication of this sort, and it shows that they are willing to have a lower rate of duty than the honorable member for North Sydney has proposed. The circular states that the coachbuilders represented to the Commissioner of Customs that there should be a duty of 10 per cent, *ad valorem,* or as an alternative, ls. per gallon. The honorable member for North Sydney is asking for a duty of ls. 6d. per gallon. It is also pointed out that the composite Tariff rate now abandoned by Ministers was equal to 28 per cent, *ad valorem,* while the old Victorian Tariff rate was equal to 22J per cent, *vd valorem,* so that there was not very much difference between the 2s. rate and the *ad valorem* incidence of the composite rate. I think the honorable member for North Sydney ought to be supported in the amendment he proposes, which is equivalent to a duty of 17-J per cent, *ad* *valorem.* {: .speaker-KWT} ##### Sir George Turner: -- What do Harland and Son recommend ? {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN: -- They recommend a duty of ls. 6d. per gallon. **Mr. MAUGER** (Melbourne Ports). - I wish to correct the statement that the Trades Hall asked for a duty lower than the Government proposed. The Trades Hall deputation who waited upon an officer of customs, asked for nothing of the kind. The Trades Hall would support the proposal of the Government, because they recognise that varnish of the very best quality can be, and is being, 'produced here, and is being used by some of the leading coachbuilders. The honorable member for Robertson has quoted from a report which be has been told several times is se en years old. The Legislative Assembly of Victoria placed their Tariff on the statute-book after that report had been presented. That has also been stated times out of number, and yet the report is continually being read as though it were something new, and as though it were a discovery to which honorable members should attach great weight. {: .speaker-JRR} ##### Sir Edward Braddon: -- We may have the sense to listen to it, though the Victorian Assembly had not. {: .speaker-KNJ} ##### Mr MAUGER: -- We have listened to it repeatedly, and the Victorian Assembly deliberated for five months upon the Tariff proposals in connexion with which that report was presented. Seeing that the Victorian Tariff was framed after the presentation of that report, it is plain that the people of Victoria, through their representatives, did not place the slightest reliance I upon it. It was recognised as a free-trader's I report. My honorable friends opposite may j laugh, but the protectionists on the com- J mission presented a minority report, which the honorable member for Robertson has not referred to, because it did not suit him. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr Willis: -- There is nothing in it. {: .speaker-KNJ} ##### Mr MAUGER: -- They only point out that they disagree with the findings of the majority. The minority report was accepted and acted upon by the people of Victoria through their representatives *in* the Legislative Assembly, and what, therefore, is the use of quoting the majority report as representing the opinions of the people of Victoria? Varnish, it appears now, is another thing which we cannot make. In the name of Heaven what can we make - except soldiers and politicians? It is admitted that we can make them first class, but I am of opinion that t we can make first-class articles of any kind. We should leave off fouling our own nest and singing the praises of other people. Do not honorable members opposite think it is now time that we praised our own industries and our own workmen, and agreed that they are as good as Germans or other people whose praises they have been singing 2 The honorable member for South Australia has admitted that this is a compromise upon the original proposal of the' Government. The composite duties have been abandoned, and we ask the committee to accept a duty of 2s. per gallon, the rate fixed in connexion with other similar items of manufacture. We have agreed to a duty of 4s. in some cases and 2s. in others, and we propose the lower duty in connexion with these varnishes. I hope the committee will not yield to the solicitations of honorable members opposite. **Mr. POYNTON** (South Australia).Seeing that this article is the raw material of a number of tradesmen, the honorable member for Melbourne Ports ought to be satisfied with a duty of less than 20 per cent, upon it. I presume that the coachbuilders are as good an authority on this subject as the honorable member, and they say that while a large quantity of varnish is made in Victoria, the high class and more expensive varnishes are not made here, and this duty is high upon the lowclass varnishes produced. There is a very large body of men interested in getting varnishes at a reasonably cheap rate. I remind honorable members that we have agreed to a duty of 15 per cent, upon a great deal of agricultural machinery, and to a similar duty upon woollens, and yet we are here being asked to put a duty of 20 per cent, upon a raw material, which is used by thousands of men all over the Commonwealth who are outside the coachbuilding trade altogether. Men who make a living by painting and decorating houses, and who purchase their own materials, will, if this duty is carried, have to pay the extra amount upon varnishes they purchase. Although I appreciate the reduction which the Treasurer has suggested, the duty is still beyond the average duty imposed before the Commonwealth duty was in existence. We are being asked to adopt the Victorian duty, equivalent to 20 per cent., which was the highest duty imposed in the States. If we had a duty of ls. 6d. imposed it would be equivalent to an *ad valorem* of 17 J per cent., and that should give a fair amount of protection in this instance. Coachbuilders are asking for a duty of ls. per gallon, and I think that would be a very fair duty. {: #subdebate-6-13-s17 .speaker-KEW} ##### Mr KINGSTON:
Protectionist -- I 'should like to say, with regard to the statement that the coachbuilders suggested a lower duty - the last speaker said a duty of ls., and some other honorable members told us it was a duty of ls. and 5 per cent, *ad valorem* - it is true that the coachbuilders were represented in the matter, and I have here a shorthand report of the suggestions made by the deputation, as taken down by an officer of the department. I find in that report no record of any such request. I see that in the *Argus* report something was said about a duty of ls. and 5 per cent., but I feel sure that is wrong. {: .speaker-JRR} ##### Sir Edward Braddon: -- Misreported again ! {: .speaker-KEW} ##### Mr KINGSTON: -- Yes ; and really I am not at all staggered, as that kind of thing is becoming so frequent, from the source I have mentioned. **Mr. REID** (East Sydney).- The honorable member for Melbourne Ports seems to be taking charge of the Ministerial business, and he has now got to the length of speaking about what " we propose " and " we submit." It gives some support to a rumour that the honorable member is acting as the dry nurse of the Government in dealing with this Tariff. Might I suggest to the honorable member when he is so impatient about the reading of a document some years old, that a. much more recent document issued by the Government throws a very strong light upon the item before the committee. The Government are proposing for us the highest duty in connexion with this article which existed before federation, and that is the Victorian duty. The people of Australia were told by the Prime Minister, speaking for the whole of the Government, at Maitland, that the Victorian Tariff would not be the model taken by the Government for their Tariff, and was in fact the very last one that would be taken, because the right honorable gentleman regarded it as an extreme protectionist Tariff. He said that the aim of the Government would be to frame a Tariff which would be a happy medium between the two extremes of free-trade in New South Wales and the high Tariff in Victoria. Yet here we find the Treasurer and his colleague bringing this maximum Australian duty forward as if they were making a very graceful surrender of their position. It seems to me that the proposal made by the honorable member for North Sydney is a perfectly reasonable one, and might very well have been accepted. I admit that the Government have now made a much better proposal than the one which was the result of a great deal of deliberation. Are we now to 'suppose that as the Government have steadily given up these composite duties one after another, they have determined not to force that principle upon the committee in connexion with the Tariff? {: .speaker-KWT} ##### Sir George Turner: -- The right honorable gentleman should never suppose anything. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- I admit we ought never to suppose anything based upon what Ministers do ; but seeing that they have given up the composite duty in the case of so many articles, we ought to be in a position to suppose that they intend to give them up in all. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- The committee carried them in the case of cigars. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- Then I congratulate the cigar people upon their success, but it only strengthens the force of my observation. The Government have adhered to the composite duty in one case, and have given it up in other cases, and I wish to know if there is to be any consistency. Surely the principle is a good one or a bad one ? If it is a good one why not adopt it right through, or, at any rate, to the extent which the Government originally proposed ? However, as there is still a doubt, we are not yet in a position to assure the people of Australia that the Government have given up these composite duties. When the rabid Minister for Trade arid Customs was in a position in the most misgoverned State in Australia - South Australia - which he has desperately, but unsuccessfully, attempted to occupy here, the duty on varnishes, varnish stains, and enamels was only 6d. per gallon, and the duty on things like petrifying liquids and dampwall compositions, 10 per cent. Yet we are told that a duty of 2s. per gallon is a triumph of moderation. The varnish industry in Victoria began in 1854.-, so that it has been in existence for 48 years, and it now employs two men, three boys, one traveller and clerk, and a carter and handy man - in all seven persons. £10 a week are divided between those seven persons in wages, and while the proprietor of the factory was well off when he started, he has lost everything in the enterprise, which now practically belongs to a wholesale grocer. In addition to the factory he manages an adjoining hotel. The factory is a dilapidated shanty, but the hotel is going strong. He sells his varnishes considerably below the prices charged by other people, because of their poor quality. Is the Treasurer proud of a composite undertaking of that sort ? I submit that the proposal of the honorable member for North Sydney is thoroughly reasonable, and while I do not wish to see unnecessary divisions, I think that, by way of protest, we should place upon record our desire to carry out the Maitland programme in this matter. It was only because of that programme that the life of the Ministry was possible. It was there promised that there would be a fair compromise between the exorbitant Victorian Tariff, which produced the monstrosity to which I have just referred, and the free-trade policy of New South Wales, and I ask Victorians, who are enjoying the advantages of federal union, to help us in securing the performance of the promise made at Maitland. We are fighting the battle of the manufacturers now - the battle of the thousands who use paints and varnishes, against this one man who runs a hotel and grocery store in conjunction with a varnish factory. Surely a duty of 17^ per cent, ought to be sufficient protection when added to the expenses of importation. {: .speaker-KWT} ##### Sir GEORGE TURNER: -- I do not think that it is fair for honorable members to read statements which have been supplied to them, for which they take no responsibility, concerning individuals engaged in trade. They do not give us the author of their briefs. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr Reid: -- The right honorable member never tells us who is the author of his information. {: .speaker-KWT} ##### Sir GEORGE TURNER: -- I do when I am asked. Honorable gentlemen do not know what damage they may do by this conduct to men who are endeavouring to earn an honest livelihood. We should know whether the statements which are read from type-written documents are made in Germany or in Victoria. This gentleman who, we are told, cannot make varnish here, took the only gold medal awarded at the Centennial Exhibition in 1888-89. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr Reid: -- Perhaps that was for hisgrocery exhibits. {: .speaker-KWT} ##### Sir GEORGE TURNER: -- I think that when we are discussing matters of importance we should treat them in a proper spirit, and not in a manner calculated to make us the laughing stock of those who read the reports of the debates. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr Reid: -- -The conduct of the Government in regard to the Tariff has already made them a laughing stock. {: .speaker-KWT} ##### Sir GEORGE TURNER: -- This gentleman has also taken gold medals in Albury and Philadelphia. My information is gained from a billhead issued by him, and which we must accept as correct. I think that 2s. is not an unreasonable duty, in view of the fact that several of the ingredients used in the manufacture of varnish have to pay duty for revenue purposes. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr Thomson: -- But the duty on the raw materials is not higher now than it wasunder the Victorian Tariff. {: .speaker-KWT} ##### Sir GEORGE TURNER: -- I am inclined to think that it is. I think that there are duties on some materials which were formerly admitted free. {: #subdebate-6-13-s18 .speaker-KYD} ##### Mr POYNTON:
South Australia -- I stated early in the evening that the coachbuilders waited upon the Minister for Trade and Customs, or bis deputy, and suggested a duty of ls. per gallon upon varnishes, but I find from a circular now in my possession that the Amalgamated Society of Coachbuilders and Wheelwrights suggested a duty of ls. per gallon and 5 per cent, *ad* *valorem.* {: .speaker-KWT} ##### Sir George Turner: -- The honorable member said that the suggestion came from the Trades Hall. {: .speaker-KYD} ##### Mr POYNTON: -- I have also a report from Messrs. Harland and Son, in which it is stated that a deputation from the Trades Hall suggested a duty of ls. per gallon, and 5 per cent. It states in this circular that there was a request made to the Minister for Trade and Customs by the coachbuilders to have the duty on varnish fixed at ls. per gallon, but that must have meant ls. per gallon and 5 per cent, *ad valorem.* I still think that a duty of 22-J per cent, is too large on an article which is used by so many persons who earn their living at decorating work. If we have a duty of ls. 6d. per gallon, which would be equal to {: #subdebate-6-13-s19 .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR:
Yarra -- A statement has been made from time to time about what the Trades Hall representatives on a deputation recommended, and it appears to find favour only on this occasion. As to this item, two members of that deputation, members of the Trades Hall Council, and representing a union, did recommend a duty lower than that which the Government proposed, but in every other case they recommended a duty either as high as that which the Government proposed, or higher. Of course, in the latter instances, our honorable friends on the other side ignore any proposal which was made by any such deputation for any increase, and assume that they were nobodies. I was surprised when I heard that any member of the deputation referred to had recommended a decrease, and the gentleman to whom I wrote for information told me that it had been introduced by myself and another member of the House, and that I would find a report of the proceedings in a certain newspaper, which I did. My impression was that they did not object to the Victorian duty being imposed on this particular line. Honorable members on the other side unwittingly, I believe, assume that this is the Victorian duty. Under the Victorian Tariff the duty on methylated spirits was only ls. per gallon. The honorable and learned member for Werriwa, who professes to have a great knowledge of chemistry, will know that methylated spirits, as well as linseed oil, enter largely into the composition of varnish. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr Thomson: -- It is only 6d. now. {: .speaker-KWT} ##### Sir George Turner: -- Methylated spirits are free now. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- Three shillings per gallon, believe. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr Conroy: -- The honorable member's statement was that the duty would make it cheaper. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- The honorable andlearned member has never heard me say any such thing. I have stated that internal competition will bring the imported article down to a fair price. No doubt some honorable members on the other side would like him to run the Commonwealth, but I trust that he will never be in that position. Without internal competition the importer will do as he has {:#subdebate-6-14} #### Tariff. [18 Feb., 1902,] Tariff. 10113 {: #subdebate-6-14-s0 .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- In Victoria the duty was less than it is now. I believe we have carried a duty of 3s. per gallon on methylated spirits, and the excise duty is 6d. per gallon. I trust that the committee will reject the amendment of the honorable member for North Sydney. I am prepared to vote for a duty of 2s. per gallon all round, but if we do not get that, I intend to ask the committee to make a separate line of "lithographic varnish." In the manufacture of this varnish, the linseed oil has to be burnt, and as it takes nine gallons of oil to make eight gallons of varnish, honorable members will see that it will make the manufacturer's position considerably worse. J have here a price-list from a reputable English firm, showing that the price of lithographic varnish varies from 6s. 9d. to 10s. 6d. per gallon. The ACTING **CHAIRMAN (Mr. Batchelor).** - I do not think that the honorable member can move to make a separate line of lithograph varnish, because the committee has already added words to the item. **Mr. HENRY** WILLIS (Robertson).In order to prove that the manufacturer produces a first-class varnish, the Treasurer read from a bill-head that he had received medals in various parts of the world, and complained at the same time that we make statements as to the manufacture of this material without bringing forward any satisfactory evidence in support of them. {: .speaker-KWT} ##### Sir George Turner: -- I did not say that. I said without giving the name of the author of the statements or taking the responsibility of them. {: #subdebate-6-14-s1 .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- Subsequently to the award of these medals at Philadelphia and elsewhere, evidence was taken in this State by a commission of reputable men, whose names are on record. I have read the evidence, as possibly the Treasurer has done. The manufacturer, whose name I cannot call to memory, gave evidence, also many consumers, whose names are there given. When I sent to the library for the report, I was told that the only two copies they had are in the Chamber. They are not on this side, and as the Treasurer and the Minister for Trade and Customs have repeatedly quoted from the report, which they will not allow me to do- {: .speaker-KEW} ##### Mr Kingston: -- I can assure the honorable member that during the whole of the proceedings on the Tariff I have not quoted once from the report. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- I was under the impression that it had been quoted, but I must accept the Minister's disclaimer. My copy is in the hands of the *Hansard* staff, otherwise I should beableto read the minority report which does not affect the varnish trade whatever. The Treasurer was in a state of great indignation just now, because we would not . mention names. I never mention names if I can help doing so. In most cases I can help myself, and I do not give the names. But as he wishes to know what the names are, I would refer him to that report, which is voluminous. A great number of manufacturers in all trades gave evidence, to the effect that the varnish was not suitable to their manufactures, and without exception it was admitted, even by the manufacturer himself, that he could not produce a varnish suitable to their requirements. So that all that has been brought out by the leader of the Opposition, and supported by his followers, is borne out by the evidence given before the Tariff Commission. The Government should propose a reasonable compromise between theVictorian duty and the low duty in South Australia or Tasmania, and should not force on the Commonwealth once again the highVictorian tariff that has been, I suppose, an absolute failure. The leader of the Opposition stated that there were sev,en men and one or two boys employed in the industry. The commission stated that there were but eight hands employed, and that they could hear of only two men being engaged in the industry. All that has been contended has been proved, and I hope that Ministers will show some consideration for the people of Australia, and fix a duty that will be acceptable to the Opposition. {: #subdebate-6-14-s2 .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID:
East Sydney -- I think that the strictures passed by the Treasurer upon me and other members of the Opposition were entirely undeserved. If there is any personal character given to our consideration of these items it arises from what I have always considered a most regrettable fact - that when there is an attempt to fasten burdens on the people, the names of certain manufacturers in Melbourne are quoted on the other side of the Chamber. Their namesare brought in here not for the purpose of relieving the people from burdens, but for the purpose of taking money out of . their pockets. If any personal tone has been introduced, or if references have been made to manufacturers, it has arisen mainly from the fact that a large number of objectionable propositions have been passed through the committee, by the use of the names of individuals as being embarked in a certain industry. It is our duty on this side, as against this onslaught on the public on behalf of individuals, to endeavour as far as we can, to protect the great mass of the people from these burdens. The great mass of the men who use this varnish, and upon whom this proposal comes as a tax, have no medals to show, butthey are men who pay their way, carry on a lawful calling, and vastly outnumber themen for whom the Government are standing up. W e have not had handed to us a list of medals gained by. individual manufacturers. The Government are in that position. They are in close communication with the manufacturer, and the moment some reference is made to his industry, and the fortunes of his enterprise, as bearing on this item, they have such admirable information about all these items that a Minister of the Crown is able to jump up at once to tell the committee where he won his medals, and what he won them for. The men who make varnish have opportunities of communication with the Cabinet, which the great mass of the men who have to pay this duty have not. {: .speaker-KEW} ##### Mr Kingston: -- I think not. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- The wonder Ls that the Government have these things at their fingers' ends. On this side we labour under very great disadvantages. Why do not the Government put in our hands the information they get from their officers, about items we are discussing ? Why should we not all be on a fair level? Why should the Government have a preserve behind this Chamber, where they can dig out information at a moment's notice,which is not in the possession of the members of the committee? {: .speaker-KEW} ##### Mr Kingston: -- I said before that the officer is accessible to any honorable member. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- Of course he is, but we do not keep the key. {: .speaker-KEW} ##### Mr Kingston: -- That is not fair. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- I admit that it is not fair. I was not aware that the officer was accessible to honorable members. But still I would point out to Ministers that even then we have no time to inquire into the accuracy of the information we get suddenly, while an item is before the committee. If Ministers would lay upon the table the papers containing the information which they have - not confidential information, but that which can be made public - it would help us very much. Not having the facilities which the Government possess we have to take all the information we can get, so long as we satisfy ourselves that the source from which it comes is a reliable one, and I generally take care to do that. The Treasurer makes a very sad mistake when he suggests that it is a proper thing for us, even when we illustrate our argument by reference to particular industries, to drag the names of individuals before the committee. I think it is an improper thing to do. I might be tempted to do it if my statements would help the man, but I would not drag in his name if I were saying something calculated to injure him. As I was saying what might have that tendency, I was doubly careful not to give a clue to the name of the individual concerned. Someone must be here to look after the interests of the nameless thousands who use this article. It is perfectly evident that whenever any individual Victorian manufacturer is concerned, he can make sure of a protective duty, but any appeals made on behalf of the thousands of people in other States who have had the advantage of freedom from taxation, are disregarded. Surely this proposal is moderate and reasonable enough, even from the protectionists' point of view. The Victorian manufacturer, now that he has the whole of the Australian markets open to him, should be content with less protection than he has hitherto enjoyed. A duty of ls. 6d. per gallon should afford to the Victorian manufacturer of varnish more real protection than did a 2s. duty under the Victorian Tariff with the markets of the other States locked against him. I am disappointed that the Government have not given up these composite duties altogether, because they will only serve to keep up a bitter conflict to the end of the Tariff. I am glad that the Government have abandoned the composite duty in this case, but I could not sit and. listen to the attack made upon the honorable member for North Sydney, as if he were proposing something of a revolutionary character. South Australia has hitherto imposed only a moderate duty upon varnishes, and Tasmania has levied duties ranging from only 10 to 15 per cent. - chiefly 10 per cent. I wish to discourage useless divisions as far as possible, but this is a matter of sufficient importance to justify us in taking a vote upon it. {: #subdebate-6-14-s3 .speaker-KLB} ##### Mr MAHON:
Coolgardie -- One article included in this item is lithographic varnish, which is really a reducing fluid used by lithographers. We have already placed upon the free list the tools of trade used by printers, and I notice that artists' colours and ultramarine blue are among the special exemptions. It seems to me that there is no real consistency in placing one article in the dutiable list, and others in the free list. {: .speaker-KWT} ##### Sir George Turner: -- Some of the articles are made within the Commonwealth, and some are not. {: .speaker-KLB} ##### Mr MAHON: -- Although my information was derived from the best authority, I was unaware until the honorable member for Yarra spoke this evening that lithographic varnish was made in the Commonwealth. I think that before we impose a duty upon an article which enters into consumption to such a small extent, the committee should be informed as to the number of people engaged in making it. {: .speaker-KWT} ##### Sir George Turner: -- I do not suppose any men are engaged simply in making one kind of varnish, but they are employed in, making other things as well. {: .speaker-KLB} ##### Mr MAHON: -- Surely the Treasurer would not ask us to impose a special duty upon lithographic varnish, because those engaged in making it are employed in its production for about one week in the year. A number of the articles used by printers, which have already been placed on the free list, would be made here if sufficient encouragement were offered. I could name a great number of articles used by printers that could be made here much more readily than could lithographic varnish. As the honorable member for Yarra has made a special point of protecting the varnishmaking industry, I do not propose that lithographers' varnish should be placed among the special exemptions, but the committee should be supplied with some information as to the number of persons engaged in making it before being asked to agree to the duty. {: .speaker-KWT} ##### Sir George Turner: -- I could not possibly tell the honorable member that. {: .speaker-KLB} ##### Mr MAHON: -- If any considerable number of men are employed I should be very sorry to interfere with their means of livelihood ; but we have already recognised the principle that it is not desirable to tax the general community for the sake of protecting industries in which only two men and a boy are employed. {: #subdebate-6-14-s4 .speaker-K7X} ##### Mr CRUICKSHANK:
Gwydir -- This is one of the cases in which I intend to vote for the lower duty. I have had a great deal to do with building operations, and have had an opportunity of judging of the advantages arising from the use of varnish, and I do not think that the small amount of employment given in the manufacture of the article would justify us in imposing a heavy tax upon those who use it. **Mr. REID** (East Sydney). - I omitted to make one statement which I think it is only fair to place before the committee. I referred to a manufacturer in Melbourne, and the very adverse conditions under which he laboured. I now have great pleasure in stating that the son of this manufacturer started a varnish factory in Sydney some few years ago, and that he employs two or three times the number of hands that are employed by his father, and pays away twice the amount of wages per week. I believe in encouraging enterprises of this sort as much as I can, and when I was at the head of the New South W ales Government I gave directions that when an article was made within the State, the manufacturer should have an opportunity of tendering for that one article apart from any others that might be required at the same time. I hope the Commonwealth Government will adopt a similar practice. In this particular case I made it possible for the manufacturer to obtain Governmentcontracts by tenderingfor the supply of the one commodity produced by him. I also omitted to mention another large varnish factory in one of the suburbs of Melbourne, in which the proprietor of the establishment and two boys are employed in making varnishes for bedsteads. In order to show that I was not indulging in any exaggeration when I was speaking of the large number of people who use varnish, I desire to mention some of the industries in which it forms one of the articles of consumption. They include coach-building, house-painting, furnituremaking, Japanning works, bedstead works, shipping and boat building, agricultural implement works, and many others. In addition to this, the Treasurer when he speaks of the assistance given to these industries must remember that the protection now afforded is much less than was formerly extended under the Victorian Tariff. **Mr. TUDOR** (Yarra). - I was pleased to hear the leader of the Opposition state that there is a flourishing varnish factorv in New South Wales, the proprietorof which employs three times as many men as are engaged in the industry in Victoria. We were told, however, that he pays only twice the amount of wages. It would appear that the men employed in New South Wales are receiving in proportion 33 per cent, less wages than are those similarly engaged in Victoria. Question - That the words, " and on and after 19th February, 1902, ls. 6d." be added - put. The committee divided - {: #subdebate-6-14-s5 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Following the usual course, I shall votewith the " Noes," to allow of the matter being further discussed. Question so resolved in the negative. Amendment negatived. {: #subdebate-6-14-s6 .speaker-KWT} ##### Sir GEORGE TURNER:
Protectionist -- In order to prevent a difficulty arising by reason of the Chairman having had to give a casting vote, I think that both sections of the committee should now meet each other by agreeing to a duty of1s. 9d. per gallon. I therefore move - >That the words, " and on and after 19th February, 1902,1s. 9d." be added. Amendment agreed to. Item, as amended, agreed to. *Special Exemptions.* - Oil, viz. : - Fish, including cod (unrefined), seal, whale, penguin, petroleum (crude), degras, sod, naphtha, benzine, merbane, and turpentine, colours (artists) . . {: .speaker-KWT} ##### Sir GEORGE TURNER: -- I move- >That after the word" sod " the word " wood" be inserted, and that the word "benzine" be omitted. In this connexion I would point out to the committee that naphtha and benzine are mineral oils, and practically stand on the same footing as gasoline, which we have already declared shall be dutiable. As it would be impossible for the Customs department to distinguish between them, it would be wise to omit naphtha from the free list. {: #subdebate-6-14-s7 .speaker-KDD} ##### Mr G B EDWARDS:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- Before we consider the list of exemptions I should like to remind the Minister for Trade and Customs that a few weeks ago I submitted to him a communication from the leading Sydney merchants who are interested in importations of paints and varnishes, complaining of the duties which are charged upon outside cases. According to the regulations the duties are chargeable where the goods are not free or are subject to a fixed duty. Of course these goods were not subject to fixed, but to composite. Now that the composite duties have been discarded in favour of fixed duties, I wish to know whether these outside packages will be admitted free ? {: #subdebate-6-14-s8 .speaker-KQU} ##### Sir MALCOLM McEACHARN:
Melbourne -- I wish to point out some of the anomalies which exist in connexion with this matter. In many cases the packages cost more than the goods, as they cannot possibly be manufactured within the Commonwealth, as no manufacturer in England will send his goods out in bulk to be repacked and relabelled at the discretion of the Australian importer. Also the duty on packages is, in some respects, anomalous. For instance, if paint is imported in 14-lb. iron kegs shipped loose, these packages are "outside" packages, and, by a recent decision of the department, are exempt from duty. If, however, the same kegs are packed in casks to. insure delivery in better condition they become " inside " packages and are consequently dutiable. The duty on packages also seriously affects the smaller buyer, as it increases as the size of the package is reduced, Should paint be imported in 28- lb. kegs there is no duty on the packages. If, however, the same paint is imported in 7-lb. tins, such as are required by the ordinary painter, duty is payable on about 5s. per cwt., if in 1-lb. tins on 13s. per cwt., and if in½-lb. tins on 22s. per cwt. for the packages alone. This is an important matter to consider, especially as it applies to the smaller man. **Mr. REID** (East Sydney). - I was going to mention the point which has been raised, by the honorable member for Melbourne. As stated by him under a recent decision of the Customs department, iron kegs containing white lead, varnishes, &c., are exempt from duty. But the practice exists of sending out kegs of this material packed in casks to insure their landing in better condition. Under the decision to -which I have referred the outside casks would probably be admitted free, but the inside kegs, which are practically outside packages, would be dutiable. Then, as the. honorable member for Melbourne has said, there would be a duty of about 5s. per cwt. upon the packages containing paint if it is imported in 7-lb. tins, of 13s. per cwt. if it is imported in 1-lb. tins, and of 22s. per cwt. if it is imported in½-lb. tins. As the Minister for Trade and Customs knows, most journeymen painters buy these 7-lb. tins. They would thus be placed at a distinct disadvantage as compared with those who obtained their paint in bulk. However, I think the miscellaneous section is the best place at which to deal with matters of this sort. {: #subdebate-6-14-s9 .speaker-KEW} ##### Mr KINGSTON:
Protectionist -- Now that we have substituted a fixed duty for a fixed duty with an *ad valorem* rate, I believe some of the points of complaint which have arisen will disappear. The particular matter which has been referred to by the leader of the Opposition and the honorable member for Melbourne has not yet come before me. But I will look into it. It is a matter upon which I would not like to commit myself offhand. I would further remind honorable members that the whole question of packages is a very interesting one, and we have provided for its discussion in the latter part of the Tariff. I do not intend, therefore, to anticipate its discussion at this stage. Amendment agreed to. {: #subdebate-6-14-s10 .speaker-JRR} ##### Sir EDWARD BRADDON:
Tasmania -- I take exception to the first of the exemptions in connexion with paints and colours. - artists' colours. I fail to see any reason why they should be on the exemption list, whilst all other colours used b)' workmen in various trades are dutiable. {: #subdebate-6-14-s11 .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- A complete work of art comes in free. {: .speaker-JRR} ##### Sir EDWARD BRADDON: -- It cannot be pleaded that this exemption favours the working classes, or that it favours any industry which calls specially for such protection as is given by exemptions of this kind. Surely artists can afford to pay duty on their colours *1* They will be rewarded, according to merit, in proportion to what they produce. The small amount of duty levied on their colours would be something so inconsiderable that there is no reason why we should pay any attention to it. I move - >That the words "Colours, artists'," be omitted. {: #subdebate-6-14-s12 .speaker-KPM} ##### Mr McCAY:
Corinella -- I must agree with the right honorable member for Tasmania. The duty on ordinary colours is 4s. per cwt. I cannot conceive that any artist would be seriously handicapped by being called upon to pay 4s. per cwt. more for his colours. {: .speaker-KEW} ##### Mr Kingston: -- He might have to paint a cyclorama. {: .speaker-KPM} ##### Mr McCAY: -- Even on such a work as that an artist would not use .many cwts. of colours. This exemption reminds me very much of the cartoon in *Punch* depicting two country people looking at a picture, and one of them remarking to the other that the paint used upon it must have cost £5, let alone the labour of the man in laying it on. This exemption seems to be conceived in very much the same spirit. I do not think that a duty on artists' colours would save any of the States from insolvency, should they be threatened with such a disaster : but it does look like the refinement of ingenuity to allow artists' colours to come in free. {: #subdebate-6-14-s13 .speaker-L17} ##### Mr WILKS:
Dalley -- I am pleased that such a stout protectionist as the honorable and learned member for Corinella is able to see the anomaly of allowing artists' colours to be free when all other colours are liable to a duty. Tins proposal shows that Ministers must be votaries of the fine arts. I would remind them that when I pleaded the cause of other artists - men who paint ships, men who labour long and do not give their wares to the wealthy alone - the Government could not see their way clear to place the particular preservatives used by them upon the free list. As a free-trader, the only point I can see in the Government proposal is that the amount of duty on artists' colours would be so small that it would not pay to collect it. {: #subdebate-6-14-s14 .speaker-KQP} ##### Mr MCDONALD:
Kennedy -- Are the Government going to accept the amendment ? {: .speaker-KEW} ##### Mr Kingston: -- The 15 per cent, *ad valorem* duty on colours has been struck out, and all that remains is a duty of 4s. per cwt. We do not think that an artist is likely to use more than two or three cwt. of colours in a week. {: .speaker-KWT} ##### Sir George Turner: -- The duty on colours is now only 4s. per cwt. Mr.McDONALD. - I would point out that in nearly "every one of the schools throughout the Commonwealth, artists' colours are largely used ; and a dutv of 4s. per cwt. would amount to a good deal on the total quantity consumed in these schools. I know the way in which most vendors of these articles put on the prices. I regard a duty on artists' colours as a tax on education. We should endeavour to cultivate art in some shape or form amongst the young people of the Commonwealth. {: .speaker-KPM} ##### Mr McCay: -- Has the honorable member worked outwhat the duty would amount to on a set of tubes ? {: .speaker-KQP} ##### Mr McDONALD: -- During this year I have already spent something like *£2* on art materials, and although no duty is imposed, I have no doubt that I have paid from 20 to 30 per cent, above the cost of the articles in New South Wales. In Victoria10d. and ls. is demanded for tubes which can be obtained in New South Wales for 8d. each, or 7s. Cd. per dozen ; while in Tasmania ls. 3d. or ls. 6d. each is charged for the same articles. Artists' colours should be retained on the list of exemptions. {: #subdebate-6-14-s15 .speaker-K5D} ##### Mr O'MALLEY:
Tasmania -- I hope the Government will retain this exemption. We all admit that this is not a country of art. Whoever buys a picture worth anything in this country ? Last year Pierpont Morgan paid more for one picture than the whole of Australia spent on works of art. Although this item may seem to be small, the children of the poor who go to the public schools, and from whom the artists come, would have to pay the duty. Artists' colours are not manufactured in the country, and consequently the strugglers, the masses, from whom all the genius of' the world comes, would have to suffer if a duty were imposed. **Mr. REID** (East Sydney). - I rise only to point out that the attempt of Ministers to mollify the honorable member for Kennedy is scarcely a happy one. They said that now that the duty of 15 per cent. *ad valorem* was taken off, the matter was not worth fighting for, just as if they did not exempt artists' colours from the ls. duty as well as from the composite duty. {: .speaker-KEW} ##### Mr KINGSTON: -- The right honorable member is a little mixed in regard to this matter. Although it is not worth while grumbling about this proposal, the trouble of collecting the duty on artists' colours at the rate of 4s. per cwt. seems likely to be of such an extent that it is difficult to decide what is the right policy to adopt in the circumstances. Had. the larger duty prevailed, it might have been worth while to collect it on artists' colours, but as that has been struck off I am inclined to think that the exemption should stand as it is. **Sir EDWARD** BRADDON (Tasmania). - Will the two right honorable Ministers in charge of the Tariff come to some agreement on this subject. One of them tells us that it is utterly useless to attempt to charge a duty on artists' colours, while the other says that it is not advisable to collect it, because it is so small. The argument that the collection of the duty would involve a certain amount of trouble is absolutely absurd, and if it were applied all through the Tariff we should have nearly everything on the free list. {: .speaker-KEW} ##### Mr Kingston: -- What is the consumption of artists' materials in Australia ? {: .speaker-JRR} ##### Sir EDWARD BRADDON: -- We do not know. This may develop art in the community ; canvases by the mile may be covered by artists if they find that in so doing they will not be called upon to contribute to the revenue. **Mr. REID** (East Sydney). - I cannot allow this proposed exemption to go without protesting against the invidious class distinction sought to be made. Ordinary painters who have to paint in the broiling sun from day to day have to pay 4s. per cwt. for the paint they use, but the average artist who sits in a luxurious studio, puts on an . ounce of paint a month, and then scrapes it off, and perhaps uses the same paint a dozen times over, is to have his colours placed on the aristocratic free list of this conservative Administration. The Government proposal is utterly absurd. It will cost twice as much for the Customs to prove that colours are exempt as it would cost to collect the duty. Question - That the exemption " colours, artists' " proposed to bo omitted stand - put. The committee divided - {:#subdebate-6-15} #### Ayes ... ... ... 19 {:#subdebate-6-16} #### Noes ... ... ... 13 {:#subdebate-6-17} #### Majority ... ... 6 Question so resolved in the affirmative. Amendment negatived. Progress reported. {: .page-start } page 10120 {:#debate-7} ### ADJOURNMENT Captain Creswell's Report. Motion (by **Mr. Barton)** proposed - >That the House do now adjourn. {: #debate-7-s0 .speaker-JR7} ##### Sir LANGDON BONYTHON:
South Australia -- I should like to ask the right honorable the Prime Minister when the report of Captain Creswell will be printed and distributed amongst honorable members. {: #debate-7-s1 .speaker-009LR} ##### Mr BARTON:
Minister for External Affairs · Hunter · Protectionist -- The report has been laid on the table, and now goes on to the Printing Committee, who are charged with the duty of determining whether such documents shall be printed. Question so resolved in the affirmative. House adjourned at 10.51 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 18 February 1902, viewed 6 July 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1902/19020218_reps_1_8/>.