1st Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I should like to know if the Prime Minister has any information to give to the House upon the subject of a cablegram which appears in this morning’s Argus, and in which it is stated that the Japanese Government replied to a question asked in the Diet, that negotiations are afoot with a view to the removal of the discrimination against Japanese subjects in Australian legislation, and that it is believed that those negotiations will be successful.
– The cable to which the honorable member refers is this -
The attitude of the Australian Commonwealth to Japanese immigrants is attracting much attention in Japan, particularly since the conclusion of the treaty between that country and Great Britain.
The Japanese Government has been questioned on the subject in the Diet, and in reply a statement was made that the Government believed that steps had been taken for the removal of the discrimination of Australian legislation against Japanese subjects, and that it was further believed’ that those steps would be successful.
There is no discrimination against Japanese subjects that I know of in any Australian legislation, and, therefore, I do not quite understand the statement in the telegram. No such negotiations as are hinted at have been initiated, and I am unaware of any facts to which the message can allude, unless it be the arrangement which has been come to with the Japanese Government in regard to the Queensland- Japanese agreement under the treaty of 189.5.
– I understand that that has reference only to permits.
– I stated to the House some time ago that, at the suggestion of the Japanese Government, the agreement between them and the Queensland Government is to be regarded as binding, with reference to Japanese subjects who have passports from their own Government, or permits from the Queensland Government, issued before the Immigration Restriction Act became law ; and that in consideration of this Government respecting the agreement to that extent, it is to be treated as non-existent to any further extent. That is the whole sum and substance of the negotiations between this and the Japanese Government.
– It seems to me that it would be well if, in view of the contemplated conference of Premiers, and the seditious utterances of the Queensland Premier, the Minister for Defence would have the army in readiness to suppress any attempt at secession.
-I should like to know what the length of the adjournment for the Easter holidays is likely to be?
– If Parliament is to go into recess before it has been sitting a year, it will be necessary to curtail the Easter adjournment, and at present we do not see our way to a longer adjournment than from the Thursday before Good Friday to the following Wednesday.
– Canthe Prime Minister inform the House as to the business which the Government intend to go on with after the Tariff has been dealt with ?
– The business which it will be possible to proceed with this session depends largely upon the progress made with the Tariff during the next few days, and I am therefore not in a position to make a statement on the subject this week. If it is possible to do so with any degree of certitude next week, I shall do so ; but I shall avoid making a statement if I think that it might be in any way calculated to mislead.
asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice : -
-I am not aware of the truth of the allegation in the first question, though I accept the honorable member’s statement of the foot. With regard to the second query, . the matter can be determined only by a judgment of the High Court, or of the Privy Council. As the question affects the revenue of a State, it is not desirable for a Commonwealth officer to offer an opinion in regard to it.
In Committee of Ways and Means :
Consideration resumed from7th March (vide page 10787).
Division XIII. - Paper and Stationery.
Item 115. Paper, viz. : -
Manufactures of, unframed, for advertising purposes, including price lists, catalogues, fashion plates, and all printed or lithographed matter for such purposes, per lb., 3d.
White, printing (uncoated), in sizes not less than 20 x 25 inches, ad vol., 10 per cent.
Writing, cut less than 16 x 13 inches, and paper, toilet, in rolls or packets, per lb., 2d.
Browns, grey, blue, sugar, cartridge, and blotting, per cwt., 6s,
Strawboard, per cwt., 2s.
Bags, per cwt. , 7a. 6d.
N.e.i., including cardboard, pasteboard pulpboard, millboard, greyboard, leather- board, and wood board, cloth-lined boards and paper, floor paper and paper hangings, ad val., 15 per cent.
Vesta and match boxes, empty, per gross, 3d.
Cards, playing, in sheet or cut, per dozen packs, 3s.
– The State Tariffs are really no guide to us as regards manufactures of paper for advertising purposes, because their duties were imposed very largely for local or other reasons which do not apply under our altered conditions. This is an instance in which the duty cannot be passed on to the consumer, and the rate of duty should therefore not be excessive. Personally, I prefer an ad valorem to a fixed duty ; but I understand that an ad valorem duty would be difficult to collect upon these articles. I think, however, that a duty of 1½d. would be quite high enough, because this is largely a revenue duty, although, no doubt, a great deal of lithographic work is done in the States, and the volume of the work done here is increasing very rapidly.
– T think that these articles should pay a fair amount of duty, both for revenue reasons and to protect the local manufacturers. The duty will apply very largely to the pamphlets and advertisements which are imported, setting forth the efficacy of hair restorers, and the virtues of other nostrums, whose manufacturers make a very considerable profit from their sale to our people, and should therefore be called upon to spend a little of their money in giving employment to our printers. It would be unreasonable to make the duty an ad valorem one, because it would be impracticable to determine the market value of these things in the country from which they are exported. The duty, in my opinion, is not too high. It will bring in a fair amount of revenue, and will encourage the printing of pamphlets and other matter in these States.
Mr. POYNTON (South Australia).Paper patterns are largely distributed all over Australia, and prove of the greatest value to women with families, especially to those situated in the country, who have practically nothing else to guide them in making their children’s clothes. Both fashion-plates and paper patterns should be placed on the free list.
– The proposal to impose a high duty upon advertising matter seems to me to be really protection run mad. The Treasurer has admitted that catalogues and price lists are imported in connexion with the distribution of large quantities of goods upon which very heavy duties have already been paid, and yet we are asked to impose a prohibitory tax. With regard to fashion plates and designs, we should encourage the importation of everything that would enable our people to adopt the latest ideas, and the best methods in regard to dress and fashion. Surely we are not going to carry the policy of protection so far as to impose heavy taxes upon everything that would teach our people to produce the very best and uptodate goods. I shall support the exemption of such articles from duty.
– I quite agree with everything that has been said by the honorable member for South Australia, Mr. Poynton, and by the honorable member for Lang, and pursuant to the notice I have given I move -
That the words “ fashion plates “ be omitted.
Hitherto fashion plates have been issued gratis by a number of firms, and as their distribution has taken place principally through the Post-office a large amount of revenue has been derived. In consequence of the imposition of the duty the distribution of fashion plates has been very largely restricted, and the Post-office revenue has suffered accordingly.
– Fully twenty of these fashion plates go to the pound.
– I cannot say anything as to that, but I know that they are introduced into nearly every household, and that fashion plates and paper patterns run together.
– Paper patterns are another thing altogether.
– The fashion plates and paper patterns are really the tools of trade of women with families, and they should be exempted from dutv.
– As the Treasurer apparently does not expect to derive any revenue from the proposed duty, there is no reason for fixing a hampering tax.
– The estimate of revenue from this item was unfortunately omitted. We expect to derive £7,500.
Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN (Wentworth). - The more we look into this item the more ridiculous it appears. I can conceive of quite a large number of things which might be included in this item. For instance, take drawings of engines, or architectural drawings.
– This item relates to drawings and designs for advertising purposes only
– lt will be very hard to say what is intended for advertising purposes pure and simple. In many cases designs, such as fashion plates, may be distributed without any idea of direct advertising. If we impose this duty we shall, to a large extent, tax the knowledge which our people should be enabled to freely draw from all parts of the world. We allow periodicals containing all kinds of designs and plates to come infree, and there is no reason why we should tax fashion plates when they are imported separately. The greater number of articles upon which we have imposed duties are imported for general consumption, but we shall be going to an extreme in imposing a duty upon price lists and similar articles used for advertising purposes. When reforms were introduced in connexion with taxation in England, all the small irritating taxes that brought in a very small amount of revenue wereabolished, and we should endeavour to avoid overweighting the people with unnecessary duties.
– I hope the Government will not press for a duty upon fashion plates.
– I am prepared to admit fashion plates free.
Mr. CONROY (Werriwa).- Price lists and catalogues should also be admitted free, or the duty should be considerably reduced. A duty of 3d. per lb. would in some cases prove a very heavy tax, and the impost should be reduced to the equivalent of not more than 15 per cent, ad valorem.
Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN (Wentworth). - The objections urged against a duty on fashion plates apply with equal force to price lists and catalogues, and the whole of those articles ought to be admitted free. I should like to test the feeling of the committee upon the very first article mentioned in the item. It is absurd to charge a duty of 3d. per lb. upon price lists.
– I sincerely hope that the committee will reject the amendment. I know that its adoption will result in the importation of thousands of pounds’ worth of printing by large firms. The introduction of the linotype machines has already had the effect of displacing a large number of compositors, and it should be our endeavour to find employment for them by encouraging the printing of these catalogues, &c, within the Commonwealth.
Mr. HENRY WILLIS (Robertson).This is one of the lines from which the
Treasurer does not expect to derive a large revenue. In the past it has been the practice for large firms to import huge quantities of printed matter, upon which they have refused to pay duty. As a result this printed matter has found its way into the depot, where it has eventually been sold by auction to the very persons who were interested in it, for a mere song.
– In Victoria last year we collected £4,000, by a duty of 4d. per lb. That would represent £3,000 at 3d.
– The practice to which I have referred has been systematically followed by Melbourne firms, and no doubt it will be followed in the future.
– We will not sell the advertisements in future.
Mr. CONROY (Werriwa).- In view of the extraordinary declaration of the Treasurer there is a grave danger that this committee may make serious mistakes. Let me point out that so recently as last week he estimated the revenue which would be derived from a duty upon paper at £25,000. The following day he increased his estimate to £44,000 ; and now he declares that in Victoria last year £4,000 was collected from a duty of 4d. per lb. upon manufactures of paper for advertising purposes, &c. Seeing that Victoria contains a population of about one-third of the Commonwealth, it is reasonable to assume that £12,000 will be received from this source. To me, it is perfectly clear that more consideration would be bestowed upon this matter if we had not reached the fag end of the session.
Amendment agreed to.
Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN (Wentworth). - I ask the committee to consider the character of catalogues, price lists, &c. Is the duty upon catalogues and price lists to be regulated by weight? I move -
That the words “and on and after 12th March, 1902, free,” be added to the duty, “Paper, viz., manufactures of…… per lb., 3d.”
– I hope that the committee will not exempt this particular item from duty. We have already agreed to admit general literature free because of our anxiety not to interfere with the spread of knowledge ; but surely it cannot be contended that catalogues and price lists contain anything in the nature of knowledge. I know that many large firms in New South Wales are accustomed to get their printing done in America and Germany. I do not see why this work could not be done locally, thus providing employment for a large number of our own people.
– In my opinion a very great deal of knowledgeis circulated by means of catalogues and price lists. These constitute the medium through which people are informed of the latest improvements and inventions which have been made, and how they can best regulate their businesses with profit to themselves and benefit to the community.
Question - that the words “ and on and after 12th March, 1902, free,” be added to the duty, “ Paper, viz : manufactures of . . . per lb., 3d “ - put. The committee divided.
Majority … … 7
Question so resolved in the negative.
Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN (Wentworth). - Even those honorable members who think that there should be some duty on this commodity will be of opinion that the ad valorem rate which is covered by the direct duty - and the latter, I confess, is in some respects necessary on account of the peculiar character of the material - ought not to be higher than 15 per cent. The Opposition had, as a matter of principle, and without much hope of success, to vote for this commodity being placed on the free list, this being one of the lines in the Tariff which, above all others, ought to have been exempt. The Government have already agreed to the omission of one line, and the others are very much on all fours; and, therefore, I think we might compromise by fixing the duty at l½d. per lb., which, I understand, is about 15 per cent.
That the words “and on and after 12th March, 1902, 2d.” be added to the duty “Paper, manufactures of . . . . per lb. 3d.”
– The Treasurer can get rid of this item by accepting the proposed compromise. The duty of 10 per cent. which was placed on the paper which the local printer has to use, was abolished last week, and, under the circumstances, the Treasurer might save further time by agreeing to make this duty 2d. per lb.
Mr. CONROY (Werriwa).- It is remarkable that we do not hear one single argument advanced as to why a duty of 30 per cent should be placed on this particular item. We heard excellent reasons on Friday why the printing paper used by the influential newspaper proprietors should be free, it being contended that a duty on that commodity could not be passed on to the consumer ; but in the present case, where smaller men are concerned, the Treasurer, I am sorry to say, proposes to enforce a high impost. In my opinion even the proposed compromise is too high, and I should have preferred the proposal by the honorable member for Wentworth of an ad valorem duty, so that the committee and the public generally would know exactly where they stood. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports is one of those who has a happy disregard for statistics ; but does any one doubt what that honorable member’s action would have been had those interested in the particular item under discussion been able to make representations as powerful as those made by the proprietor of the Age newspaper? We should have hoard the honorable member urging that it was necessary to see price lists in order to guard against the rapacity of the importers ; but now he entirely departs from that position. It must not be forgotten that the Treasurer, by his proposal, expects to lose over £10,000 per annum in revenue.
Question - that the words “ and on and after 12th March, 1902, 2d.” be added to the duty, “Paper, manufactures of . . . per lb. 3d.” - put. The committee divided.
Majority .. … … 7
Question so resolved in the negative.
Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN (Wentworth). - I fail to see why the duty on writing and toilet paper should not be ad valorem.
Melbourne under the Victorian Tariff than in Sydney under free-trade ; and in Sydney we have been able to establish some of the finest stationery manufactories in Australia without any protection at all. For these reasons, and as I intend to move later on to reduce the . duty upon manufactured stationery to 15 per cent., I move -
That the words “ and on and after12th March, 1902, ad valorem . 10 per cent.” be added to the duty “Writing and. toilet paper, per lb., 2d.”
Amendment (by Sir George Turner) agreed to -
That the words “ and on and after 12th March, 1902, ad valorem 1.5 per cent.” be added to the duty “ Writing and toilet paper, per lb., 2d.”
That the words “grey, blue” be omitted, and that the words “ grey, blue, and other tints, and fruit bag paper” be inserted after the word ‘ sugar. “
The object of making this amendment is to prevent other tints of paper being substituted for the ordinary blue sugar paper, with a view to evade the duty.
Mr. CONROY (Werriwa).- I think we should adopt an all round duty of 10 per cent. This would save a great deal of difficulty at the Customs, and also reduce the expense of administration. The Treasurer has admitted that the fixed duty has operated unfairly, and therefore a moderate ad valorem impost would be preferable.
Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN (Wentworth). - I find that on some classes of this paper valued at 2d. or 2½d. per lb. the duty amounts to¾ d. per lb. Nearly all the fixed duties have worked out at 50 per cent, ad valorem or more, whilst the high water mark of the ad valorem duties except in one or two cases, such as boots and hats, is 25 per cent. I recognise that the Treasurer is the last man who would try to deceive the committee, but we should know exactly what we are doing in agreeing to fixed duties. I am sure that no honorable member would agree to impose anad valorem duty of 50 per cent., and there is no good reason for subjecting any goods to a fixed duty which would be equivalent to that rate. Brown papers have been manufactured in New South Wales for years past, and no arguments have been advanced for placing the paper manufacturing industry in a position of special advantage as compared with other enterprises. By reference to the duties previously levied in the States, I find that Queensland imposed 5 per cent., South Australia 10 per cent., Western Australia 15 per cent., and Tasmania 20 per cent., whilst paper was admitted into New South Wales free. There is apparently no justification for imposing such a heavy duty as 6s. per cwt., and I would ask the Treasurer to agree to its reduction to 3s. per cwt.
– I think we should first agree to the amendment proposed by the Treasurer and then decide upon the rate of duty to be imposed.
– I hope the Treasurer will agree to a substantial reduction of the duty. I understand the selling price of brown and other similar papers in Victoria is £22 per ton. Similar paper can be purchased in England at £1 2 per ton ; the freight and charges amount to £4 10s. per ton, and the duty to £6 per ton, making a total of £22 10s. According to these figures, therefore, the duty will bear a substantial reduction. Originally there was a good deal of competition between the Australian Paper Mills, the Broadford Mills, and the Geelong Mills, but now I understand that these mills are being worked as practically one concern, and the general feeling seems to be that the Tariff might very well be reduced.
– There are other paper mills at work in Victoria besides those mentioned by the honorable and learned member.
Mr. WATSON (Bland).- I think a duty of 15 per cent, ad valorem would be sufficiently high to impose upon this class of paper. The manufacturing business within the Commonwealth is in the hands of two or three firms, and it is certain that the general public will have to pay a high price for their paper if heavy duties are imposed. In consideration of the very high freight charged for such bulky material, there is no necessity for a heavy duty. Moreover, there is no likelihood of any large number’ of people ever being employed in the papermaking industry, because the local manufacturers are able to make only the rougher classes of packing paper. The Federal Paper Mills Company, which recently started operations at Botany, near Sydney, stated in their prospectus that they could practically do without any duty.
– They wrote a very strong letter asking for protection.
– In their prospectus they stated that there was a large profit to be made out of the manufacture of paper whether a duty were imposed or not. Six shillings per cwt. would be a preposterous duty, and as the incidence of a fixed duty at even 3s. per cwt. would be unfair, I hope an ad valorem impost will be adopted.
– I trust that the honorable member for Bland will not press his suggestion. The information I have leads me to believe that it would be useless to impose an ad valorem rate of 1 5 per cent, upon the cheaper kinds of paper ‘which are largely made here, and that is the reason why we adopted a fixed duty. On working out the percentages, however, we found that they ran rather high, and I had therefore intended to ask the committee to allow the amount to be fixed at 4s. per cwt., but as the acting leader of the Opposition suggests that the duty should be 3s. per cwt., I think I may fairly ask the committee to agree to that rate. At the same time I would- urge honorable members to adopt a fixed instead of an ad valorem duty, because the latter would not constitute a reasonable protection upon the cheaper lines of paper.
Amendment agreed to.
– I agree with the honorable member for Bland that a 15 per cent, rate is a sufficient duty to impose upon this class of paper. Honorable members should recollect that a paper trust has recently been formed in Victoria, as a result of which that article was sold in the other States for several pounds per ton less than it was quoted here. I am told that grey royal, for which 23s. per cwt. was being charged in Victoria, was sold for export at 19s. per cwt. I would further point out that in the prospectus of a company which has recently been established in New South Wales, it is distinctly stated that the industry does not require the benefit of any protection whatever. Surely a Victorian company which has had the advantage of a protective duty for so many years should now be able to exist without any such artificial aid.
– I trust that the Treasurer will not agree to the imposition of an ad valorem rate of 15’ per cent. In consenting to reduce the duty from 6s. to 3s. per cwt., he has in my opinion done enough. I hope that the committee will not sanction the imposition of a lower duty than 3s. per cwt.
– Surely the suggestion made by the acting leader of the Opposition constitutes a fair compromise. The work of framing the entire Tariff has been one of compromise, and I trust that the honorable member for Macquarie will not press his suggestion.
Mr. SYDNEY SMITH (Macquarie).- If the acting leader of the Opposition has come to an understanding with the Government, of which I am not aware, I have no desire to depart from it, but I regret that the committee do not see their way to impose a duty of 15 per cent.
Amendment (by Sir George Turner) proposed -
That the words ‘ ‘ per cwt. Gs. , and on and after 12th March, 1902, 3s. “be inserted after the words “ fruit bag paper,” just inserted.
Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN (Wentworth). - Of course I accept the Treasurer’s statement that there is an insuperable difficulty in dealing with this matter from an ad valorem stand-point. At the same time, I object to imposing such a high fixed duty as that now proposed, which represents a most extravagant ad valorem rate.
– The cheaper class of article, which would otherwise be imported, can be better protected by a fixed duty. As I understand that the honorable member for Werriwa desires to move an amendment, I propose to withdraw mine for the present.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Mr. CONROY (Werriwa).- I move-
That the words “per cwt. 6s., and on and after 12th March”, 1902, ad valorem, 15 per cent.” be inserted after the words “fruit bag paper,” just inserted.
By adopting a fixed duty we shall, in some instances, charge an excessively high rate. I hold in my hand a sample of paper, the f . o.b. price of which is probably £1 1 or £1 2 per ton. The cost of importation is £4, so that by imposing a duty of £3 per ton we should be giving that article protection to the amount of £7 per ton, or about 60 per cent. In my judgment it would be far wiser to fix a 15 per cent, ad valorem rate all round, which cannot involve any insuperable difficulty. If the Customs officers are unable to differentiate between the various classes of paper, how can they possibly discriminate between silk cretonnes, &c.? The Treasurer himself has admitted that the reason he cannot give way is that there are three particular manufacturers engaged in this industry.
– I did not say anything of the kind.
– The Treasurer declared that there were three manufacturers engaged in this industry, and therefore he could not give way. He really wants these things put into plain language.
– I should be very glad if the honorable and learned member for Werriwa will put into plainer language what he has said by innuendo upon numerous occasions. If he knows of anything dishonorable relating to my connexion with the Tariff, I ask him to put it into the plainest possible language, so that Parliament and the country may know that I am no longer fit to occupy my present position.
– I doubt very much whether the Treasurer is fit to occupy that position.
– The honorable and learned member must certainly withdraw that statement.
– I say that any man who interrupts me as the Treasurer does is not fit to hold the office of a Minister.
– I ask the honorable and learned member to withdraw his statement, and apologize for having made it.
– I do not think that my honorable and learned friend intended to impute any corruption to the Treasurer.
– He has, upon numerous occasions. He has a motion upon the paper in that connexion now.
– That is not true.
– I ask the honorable and learned member to comply with the ruling of the Chair.
– I comply with the forms of the House, and withdraw my statement, which was prompted by the interruptions of the Treasurer himself. If, after his long parliamentary experience, he does not set an example, he must not be surprised at the action of others.
– I think it is only right that the honorable and learned member for Werriwa should have an opportunity of absolutely disclaiming any intention to impute corruption to the Treasurer. I am sure that if there has been any misunderstanding on* the part of the Treasurer in this regard, the honorable and learned member is too generous not to distinctly disavow any intention to impute corruption. I ask the honorable and learned member for Werriwa to withdraw the imputation for the sake of his own honour and the honour of the House.
Mr. CONROY (Werriwa).- If honorable members would consider what I really did say, and not what the Treasurer says I said, there would not be any argument on the point. I said that the Treasurer was acting in the interests of three firms, and the right honorable gentleman immediately accused me of charging him with receiving a pecuniary bribe. I cannot see what possible connexion there is between the two statements. The Treasurer is right if he means that I say he considers the interests of those three firms as against the interests of the Commonwealth, but that is a very different matter from charging the right honorable gentleman with receiving a bribe. If such a course were necessary, I am quite competent to express my meaning in plain words, and to say whether or not the Treasurer did or did not receive a sum of money.
– I must ask the honorable and learned member to withdraw those words; his innuendoes are going too far.
– I did not make any innuendo.
– The honorable and learned member for Werriwa has repeated his innuendo in another form, and his language is discreditable, not only to himself, but to the Legislature.
– Then I withdraw, and shall not continue the subject. I simply point out that the representations of 80,000 miners could not avail in the matter of mining machinery.
– The honorable and learned member must know that he is not in order in discussing the item of mining machinery.
– I think I am in order in doing so for the purposes of comparison. Honorable members are naturally tired at the end of the session, and are willing in order to save time, and simplify proceedings at the Custom-house, to take all the items together, and have an all round duty of 15 per cent.
Sir’ WILLIAM McMILLAN (Wentworth). - It would be better to first test the question whether the duty shall be ad valorem or fixed, as we did on a previous item, by moving the insertion of the words “ad valorem.” From information elicited during the debate, it appears that this duty will operate very unfairly upon certain kinds of paper.
– An ad valorem duty is the proper duty to adopt, having regard to the various qualities of paper that are imported; and 15 per cent, is amply sufficient. I sympathize with the Treasurer because he can get information only from persons interested in this manufacture, but if all sources were accessible to him, he would know that on the cheap class of English brown paper, not made in the Commonwealth, the duty at 6s. per cwt. is equal to 85 per cent, on the invoiced price.
– Where does that information come from ?
– I speak on my own personal knowledge.
– I saw that information given to another honorable member in the gangway of the House.
– The honorable member for Mernda may have the gift of second sight, but I was in possession of this information six weeks ago, and my statement may be taken for what it is worth. The cost of importing this cheap class of paper is about 50 to 55 per cent., and that makes the duty absolutely prohibitive. The result is that manufacturers and users of wrapping paper have to use for some purposes a much better article than there is any need for, the colonial brown being of a better and more expensive quality. On the best brown paper imported the 6s. per cwt. duty is equal to about 36 per cent. This duty should be reduced to £2 per ton, which, added to the cost of freight and other importing charges - about £4 per ton - should be ample for protective purposes. The term “ cartridge paper “ includes all grades, from the commonest wrapping cartridge to the finest qualities used by artists and draughtsmen. The better grades are made of similar materials towritingpaper; they are not made in the States, and are used largely for educational and artistic purposes. Cartridge papers invoiced at, say 4d. per lb. and upward, should, with writing paper, be admitted free. As to blotting paper, only the commonest class is made in the Commonwealth, and it is not good enough for “desk “ use. I have repeatedly had to re-copy letters, owing to the inferiority of the blotting paper supplied for the use of honorable members ; and honorable members can endorse my statement. In view of the fact that this item has been divided, I shall defer the remainder of my remarks.
– It would be advisable to adopt the suggestion of the leader of the Opposition, and first decide whether the duty shall be fixed or ad valorem; and I support an ad valorem duty, because I find that the prices of imported paper vary from £7 to £20 per ton. According to a circular issued by the Victorian Master Printers’ Association, wrapping paper, and particularly brown wrapping paper, ranges in price to the extent I have mentioned, and the duty of 6s. per cwt. on paper, invoiced at £7 per ton, will equal. 86 per cent. ; on paper invoiced at £10 per ton, 60 per cent ; on paper invoiced at £12 per ton, 50 per cent ; on paper invoiced at £15 per ton, 40 per cent.; on paper invoiced at £17 per ton, 36 per cent. ; and on paper invoiced at £20 per ton, 30 per cent. The circular further points out that the freight charges furnish further protection ranging from 20 per cent, to 60 per cent. Under an ad valorem duty the cheaper papers will get a benefit which they cannot possibly obtain under a fixed duty, and I trust that the committee will see their way to bring this division in harmony with others in the Tariff.
– Honorable members will see that it would be far better to have a fixed rate for those lines in relation to which I have expressed my willingness to accept a duty of 3s., with an ad valorem of 15 per cent, on the other lines. If the committee impose a duty, as I believe they will, on the other lines equivalent to 3s. per cwt., it will be found that the better classes of paper will pay a heavy impost.
– How many qualities are there?
– I do not know.
– That is essential information, because if there are a great many qualities, a fixed duty is not applicable.
– A duty of 15 per cent, is equal to 3s. per cwt. on paper invoiced at £20 per ton.
– But an ad valorem duty will make a much higher impost on the better classes of paper. As I said before, I am prepared to accept a duty of 3s. in regard to the first portion of the item, and 15 per cent, in regard to the last two items.
Sir EDWARD BRADDON (Tasmania). - It seems to me that an ad valorem duty of 15 per cent, could not be considered a crushing impost, and on the cheaper classes of paper it would be considerably less than the fixed rate proposed by the Treasurer.
Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN (Wentworth). - I thought, when the matter was first debated, that there were only one or two qualities of this paper.
– There are eight or nine qualities, ranging in price from £18 to £26.
– The honorable member for Melbourne refers only to locally-made paper. The prices of imported paper range from £7 to £20.
– In that case an ad valorem rate is the proper one to adopt, and, as it would be well to test the opinion of the committee in regard to its adoption, I ask the honorable and learned member for Werriwa to amend his amendment so that it can be tested.
Mr. CONROY (Werriwa). - I am willing to accept the honorable member’s suggestion, and therefore, with the consent ofthe committee, I will amend my amendment by omitting the rate of duty. That will effect the object the honorable member has in view. In New South Wales paper of the kind we are now discussing was admitted free ; in Queensland the duty was 5 per cent, ad valorem ; in South Australia the duty on some qualities was 3s.4d. per cwt., while others were admitted free, so that probably the average duty was1s. 6d. per cwt. ; in Tasmania the duty was 20 per cent., and in Western Australia 15 per cent.; in all cases, therefore, the duty was lower than that proposed. Under those circumstances, and in view of the fact that the prices of the various qualities of the paper range from £7 to £20, it is clear that we should impose, not a specific, but an ad valorem duty.
Amendment amended accordingly.
Mr. KNOX (Kooyong).- If the amendment is pressed to a division, I shall have to support it, as I have shown myself consistently in favour of ad valorem duties in place of fixed duties ; but as I believe that an effective working compromise was arrived at with the Treasurer, I shall support only an ad valorem duty equivalent to the fixed duty he proposes.
Question - That the words “ per cwt. 6s., and on and after 12th March, 1902, ad valorem “ be inserted after the words “ fruit bag paper “ just inserted - put. The committee divided.
Majority … … 3
Question so resolved in the negative.
Amendments (by Sir George Turner) agreed to -
That the words, “per cwt. 6s., and onandafter 12th March, 1902, 3s.” be inserted after the words, “ fruit bag paper “ just inserted:
That the words, “ and on and after 12th March, 1902, ad valorem 15 per cent.” be added to the duty “Cartridge odd blotting, per cwt., lis.”
Mr. CONROY (Werriwa).- Under the original proposals there was a difference of only1s. 6d. between the duty on bags and that upon the paper used in manufacturing them, and we should, therefore, reduce this duty to 3s. 9d. in order to make it proportionate to the lower rate now levied upon the paper. If we were to fix the duty at 4s., there would still be a large margin between the manufactured and the unmanufactured article.
Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN (Wentworth). - I think that 4s. 6d. would be a fair rate to impose, but as a compromise I suggest that the duty should be. fixed at 5s.
Mr. HENRY WILLIS (Robertson).I think a 5s. rate would be too’ high. Forty-three years ago the paper-bag making industry was established in Victoria, and flourished under the protection of a duty of 4s.per cwt. The duty was increased to 6s. per. cwt., and again raised to 15s. per cwt., without leading to any very large increase in the local manufacture. As the industry prospered under a 4s. duty, I think we should adopt that rate now. However, as a. compromise has been suggested by the acting leader of the Opposition, I shall not pursue the matter further.
Amendment (by Mr.Conroy) negatived -
That the words “and on and after 12thMarch, 1902, 4s.” be added to the duty “Bags, per cwt., 7s.6d.”
Amendment (by Sir William McMillan) agreed to -
That the words’ “and on and after 12th March, 1902, 5s.,” be added to the duty, “Bags, per cwt., 7s. 6d.”
Mr. G. B. EDWARDS (South Sydney). - Most of the articles in the line, n.e.i., including cardboard; pasteboard, millboard, greyboard, leatherboard, and woodboard, cloth-lined boards and paper, and floorpaper, are not made here, and as they are used largely in a number of industries, we might very well admit them free oft duty and levy a duty upon paperhangings.
– The honorable and learned member for South Australia, Mr. Glynn, who is unfortunately absent to-day, has left with me some notes in which it is pointed out that the cardboard and. pasteboard used. in photographic work, which has hitherto been admitted free of duty, and which is not manufactured here, should be exempted. This cardboard and pasteboardhas to be free from sulphate of soda, which, if it were present in the paper would bleach the photographs. This kind of paper was, I believe, manufactured by one firm within the Commonwealth, but they failed to make a success of it, and abandoned the enterprise.
Mr. THOMSON (North Sydney).- I should like to know whether coated printing paper would be included in this line.
– I should think so.
– In that case I should like to know why any distinction is being made between coated printing paper and the uncoated printing paper which the committee have decided shall be admitted free of duty. If it is desirable to use coated paper for printing purposes, why should it not be admitted free?
– It is used for many other purposes besides printing.
– The uncoated printing paper is used for a far greater variety of purposes than is the coated paper. It was first proposed to impose a duty upon uncoated paper because itwas largely usedf or printing newspapers, the proprietors of which it was desired to tax. The committee; however, decided that that class of paper should not be taxed, and’ in view of thatdecision the reason for imposing a duty upon coated printing paper has also disappeared . It was objected that a duty uponuncoated printing paper would impose a disability upon all the printing businesses of Australia, and as the coated printing paper also forms part of the printer’s raw material it should be admitted free.
– I understand that according to the decision we gave in regard to printing paper some- classes of paper which are highly callendered, and which are largely substituted for coated printing paper, would be free. That being so, it would not be fair to make coated printing paper dutiable, and therefore I shall have no objection to placing it on the list of exemptions.
– Several classes of paper which would be subject to this duty form the raw material of bookbinders, and as these commoditiesare not manufactured here, they should be exempt from duty in the same way as the printing paper which is used by the large newspaper proprietors and printers. I shall therefore propose to add these special classes of paper to the list of exemptions. The amount of revenue which will be derived from this source is not sufficient to warrant the imposition of the proposed duty. I certainly think that millboard, greyboard, and leatherboardshould beincluded in the list of exemptions.
– I am willing to meet the honorable member by putting 1.0 per cent. only upon them.
Sir MALCOLM McEACHARN (Melbourne).I think that the Treasurer is labouring under a misapprehension in regard to surface-coated paper.
– I understand that surface-coated paper is made within the Commonwealth .
– If the suggestion of the right honorable gentleman be adopted, it will have the effect of admitting not only surface-coated printing paper, but other kinds of paper with coated surfaces. I am informed that those who are interested in this industry in “Victoria have expended £7,500 in plant, upon which they paid a duty of 25 per cent. I hope that the Treasurer will not allow surface-coated paper to be admitted free, because such a course of action would seriously affect this very important industry. I quite admit that millboard and leatherboard which are not manufactured locally should be placed upon. the free list. Upon paperhangings, I favour the imposition of a duty of 10. per cent. Those interested in the manufacture of this class of paper assure me that they would be satisfied with a 15 per cent. rate.
Mr. KNOX (Kooyong). - I have received a communication from the Master Printers’ Association of Victoria in regard to the manufacture of paperboards. This communication states -
The association most strongly protests against the imposition of the proposed duty of 10 per cent. and 15 per cent. (now being collected) on white, toned, and coloured printing papers respectively, and respectfully requests you to use your influence and vote against the perpetration of such a gross injusticeupon our trade. We remind you, in support of our request, that the present proposed Tariff permits of all books, magazines, and general literature coming in duty free, and while we do not ask for any protection as against such publications, or any “tax upon knowledge,” yet we claim that for the reason given, our raw material of paper and ink should also be admitted duty free. If not, there is a direct handicap against employment of labour in Australia, and a premium offered to have printing work done in foreign countries, while the establishment of an Australian authorship is rendered impossible for the present. As showing how differently the author and printer are treated in the UnitedStates, it is to be noted that that country refuses copyright to any literary work not set up by local compositors and printed by the local press. We feel confident that on consideration of our case you will perceive it to be your duty to vote against the injustice (now being inflicted) of. admitting the finished article (in the shape of books, &c.) free, while our raw material is taxed.
I trust that the articles which cannot be made within the Commonwealth will be exempted from duty.
– I am willing to impose a 10 per cent. rate upon those papers which cannot be manufactured in Australia, and a 15 per cent. rate upon those which can be locally manufactured. The articles upon which I am willing that the reduced rate shall’ be charged are millboard, greyboard, leatherboard, and woodboard. All the others, however, should bear a duty of 15 per cent. In connexion with surface-coated paper, I do not wish my position to be misunderstood. When I spoke previously I was under the impression that we were dealing only with surface-coated printing paper. As, however, a large number of other surface-coated papers are extensively manufactured within the Commonwealth, and as these would not be regarded in the ordinary way as printing paper, we shall have to specially mention them if we do not intend to admit them free.
– Greyboard is made here in considerable quantities.
Amendment (by Mr. G. B. Edwards) put -
That the words “ ad valorem 15 per cent. and on and after 12th March, 1902, 10 per cent.” be inserted after the word “ pulpboard.”
The committee divided -
Ayes … … … 21
Noes … … … 22
Majority … … … 1
Question so resolved in the negative.
Amendment (by Sir George Turner) agreed to -
That the words “ ad valorem 15 per cent.” be inserted after the word “ pulpboard.”
– We agree that millboard, leatherboard, and woodboard are not made in Australia, and, though there is a little difference of opinion in regard to greyboard, my information is that it is not made here.
– My information is that greyboard is made here in large quantities.
– If greyboard is made here there ought to be a duty of 1 5 per cent., whereas if the article is not made here, the duty should be 10 per cent.
– The information I have is on the best authority, and I think that greyboard should pay the same duty as other descriptions of board.
– I have information also on the best authority that greyboard is not made in the colony.
Amendment (by Sir George Turner) agreed to -
That the words “ 15 per cent., and on and after the 12th March, 1902, 10 per cent.,” be inserted after the word “ woodboard “
– The amendments already passed leave cloth-lined boards and paper and floor paper and paperhangings at 15 per cent. ; and to prevent misapprehension in regard to surfacecoated paper, which might be classed as printing paper coated, I propose to provide that surface-coated papers be added to the lines which pay 15 per cent. The Customs-house officers inform me that importers will certainly demand that surface-coated paper shall come in as printed paper ; and that, I am sure, is not the intention of the honorable member for North Sydney.
– The reason I suggested the excision of the duty on coated printed paper was the inequality caused by our previous decision in regard to printing paper. I did not intend the exemption to apply to any other but printing paper ; but if we free, as we have, uncoated printing paper we should also free coated printing paper.
– Paperhangings, if not placed on the free list, should pay no more than 10 per cent. These goods are not made in Australia ; they are used for the beautifyingof many homes ; and we should endeavour to raise the artistic tastes of the people. A duty of 10 per cent. would bring in a fairly large revenue, whereas an additional 5 per cent. might to a great extent discourage importation. I therefore move -
That the words “15 per cent., and on and after 12th March, . 1902, free,” be inserted after the word “ paperhangings “
Amendment (by Sir George Turner) agreed to -
That the words” and surface-coated paper “ be inserted after the word “ paperhangings.”
Mr. CONROY (Werriwa).- I suggest that the consideration of vesta and match boxes be postponed until we deal with the duty on matches.
– There is no objection to that course.
– I suggest that the duty on playing cards be postponed, with a view to our considering it when dealing finally with the question of excise. In England, France, and Germany, there is imposed a countervailing stamp duty as against a customs duty on imported playing cards. I am informed that playing cards are manufactured in Victoria, though I can scarcely credit that a State so beautifully pious, moral, and anti-gambling in its sentiments, should countenance such an industry. I am sure the sense of the committee will be with me in suggesting that an excise duty should be imposed on locallymanufactured cards.
– Does the right honorable member suggest that there should be an excise duty equal to the import duty?
– That is what I should like to see. In England, all excise duties are countervailing duties to a greater extent than are our excise duties here. I ask the right honorable gentleman to postpone the consideration of the duty upon playing cards until he can give an opportunity to the committee to express an opinion as to the advisability of imposing an excise duty as well as an import duty.
– The question of imposingan excise duty upon playing cards was brought under my notice by some Victorian manufacturers, but the Minister for Trade and Customs and myself, having gone thoroughly into the matter, felt that we could not recommend such a duty, and we therefore proposed an import duty of 3s. per dozen packs. It would be altogether against the principles upon which we framed the Tariff to have equal excise and import duties, so that if we imposed an excise duty of 3s. per dozen packs, we should probably have to double the import duty, in which case the business of printing cards locally would probably fall into the hands of one or two large firms, and a great many small firms who now do the work would have to cease doing it. Under those circumstances, I cannot postpone the consideration of this duty.
Sir EDWARD BRADDON (Tasmania). - I take no exception to the proposed import duty, but I think there should be a countervailing excise duty, and I hope to be able to avail myself of a future opportunity to raise the question.
Mr. CONROY (Werriwa).- As the Government have tried to regulate the morals of the community in almost every other respect, it seems to me tha t, by imposing an excise duty upon cards, they have an excellent opportunity of discountenancing gambling. If this is a protective duty pure and simple, surely 2s. per dozen packs would be a sufficiently high rate.
– I understand that the price of playing cards in England is from1s. to 3s. per dozen packs, and I am informed that packs are sold in this city for 3s. 3d. per dozen. That being so, the proposed duty is equivalent to a duty of from 100 per cent. to 300 per cent. ad valorem, and would probably prevent the importation of playing cards, in which case there would be a considerable loss of revenue.
– I think that a large quantity of cards of certain kinds will continue to be imported.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Item 116. - Stationery manufactured, viz. : - Advertisements and pictures, framed for advertising purposes ; bill files and letter clips ; boxes, cardboard, cut and shaped or finished ; mounts for pictures ; calendars and almanacs, n.e.i. ; date Cases and cards ; albums, including birthday, scrap, motto, and character ; cards and booklets, viz., printers’, visiting, menu, programme, wedding, and funeral; Christmas,. New Year, Easter, and birthday ; scraps, transfers, and paper patterns ; inkstands, ink-bottles, and ink wells ; paper kni ves, blotters, blotting cases and pads ; billheads and other printed, ruled, or engraved forms of paper, n.e.i., bound or unbound; books, account, betting, cheque, copy, copying, diary, drawing, exercise, guard, letter, music, memo. , pocket, receipt, and sketch ; envelopes, stationery packets, wrappers for writing papers, memo, and sketch blocks, memo, slates and tablets, labels, tags, and tickets, manufactures of paper, n.e.i., including printers’ matrices, inks, writing and’ printing, and ink powders ; wax, sealing and bottling, ad valorem 25 per cent.
– I move -
That . the words “ paper patterns “ be omitted.
The proposed duty is six times as great as the duty under the Victorian Tariff. In New South Wales and in Queensland paper patterns were formerly admitted free, while in Victoria the duty was 2d. per lb., and in South Australia 10 per cent. I cannot allow that this ‘duty has any protective incidence. It is purely a ‘revenue duty, and falls upon a class of goods which is largely used by the poorer classes of the community. Paper patterns are not much used by ladies who have their dresses made for them by dressmakers ; but I know that they are of great use in assisting poorer people to make their own garments at home.
– And they are especially useful in the country districts.
– Yes. These patterns are largely distributed through the post, and the people engaged in their distribution make very little profit by selling them.
– The postage on a paper pattern worth ls. often comes to 4d.
– As the ‘Treasurer has seen his way to place fashion-plates upon the free list, I hope he will deal similarly with paper patterns.
– I agreed to place fashion-plates upon the free list because I know that it is necessary to import them in order that our people may make themselves acquainted with the latest fashions in dress ; but paper patterns stand on a different footing. My honorable and learned friend put the case from the point of view of the importers ; but they are very largely made in the State by Madam Weigall, and I fail to see why the industry should not be given a reasonable amount of protection.
– They are a great educational factor in the home.
– No doubt; but perhaps the imposition of a fair duty upon paper patterns will stimulate our local talent. It may be that 25 per cent, is too high a rate ; ‘but I think that paper patterns should be dutiable, so that we may obtain revenue, and also give protection to local manufacturers.
Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN (Wentworth). - I look upon –the proposal to tax paper patterns for the making of garments as ridiculous. These patterns are really designs to which our own people should have free access, in order that they may take full advantage of the skill and genius .of other peoples of the world. They are really educational helps to our industries, and we might as reasonably impose a tax upon scientific and technical books. In view of the reductions which have been made in the duties imposed upon paper, we may very well consider what would be a fair rate of duty to impose upon the articles enumerated here. Many of these articles are practically raw materials, and an all-round duty of 20 per cent, would be sufficiently high. I hope that the Treasurer will agree to .place paper patterns upon the free list.
– I think the Treasurer has made an error in applying this duty to paper patterns.
– I am willing to take the vote of the committee upon the voices.
– It is .not the actual labour expended in the cutting out of the pattern that gives it value, but it is the idea or the design that is embodied. A design can be protected by patent, and it seems to me that it does not come within the same category as goods which may fairly be made the subject of protective duties.
Mr. CONROY (Werriwa).- I think that funeral cards, and the religious texts used in connexion with Sunday-schools and other similar institutions, and also the illuminated cards that grace so many homes, should be placed on the free list. At the proper time I shall move for their exemption from duty.
– I hope the Treasurer will accept the amendment of the honorable and learnedmember for Bendigo, as paper patterns stand in exactly the same position as fashion-plates, which it has been decided to admit free of duty.
Amendment agreed to.
Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN (Wentworth). - I do not think that inks should be placed upon the same footing as billfiles,calendars, almanacs, and similar articles. A 10 per cent. duty should afford sufficient protection to the local manufacturers, and at the same time insure reasonable competition.
– There is a duty of more than 10 per cent. upon the ingredients used in making inks. “
– I am considering the large extent to which the articles are used. I am opposed to high duties being placed upon articles of wide daily consumption, but in view of what has been pointed out, I will not pursue that matter any further. I move -
That the words “and on and after 12th March, 1902, 20 per cent.” be added.
– I hope that the committee will remember that a duty of 35 per cent. hitherto has been charged upon most of these articles in Victoria, and that the Government proposal represents a reduction of 10 per cent. upon the rate hitherto levied in that State.
Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN (Wentworth). - The remarks of the honorable member for Melbourne indicate the absolutely vicious principle upon which some honorable members have voted in connexion with “this Tariff. It does not matter what Victoriahas done in the past ; she has only one-thirdof thepopulation of the Commonwealth. If there had been a duty of 45 per cent. upon these articles in Victoria, and all the other States had admitted them free, the honorable member for Melbourne woulddoubtless have considered that a 35 per cent. duty would be a fair compromise. I would remind him, however, that a great many of the Victorian duties were imposed in the hope that they would prove prohibitory ; and I should like to know how many honorable members now sitting here would havebeen elected if they had had the audacity to tell the people that they intended to support prohibitive duties ?
A 20 per cent. duty would be sufficiently high, and I would propose an even lower rate if we had any hope of carrying it.
– A duty of 25 per cent. on most of the articles enumerated in this itemwould not represent protection to that extent. In the’ case of printing inks, fully three-fourths of the impost represents nothing more than compensation for the duties levied upon the raw materials used in themanufacture of the article. The reduction of the duty to 20 per cent. would, in many cases, leave the Australian manufacturer at a disadvantage compared with the foreigner. The full margin of protection afforded in the great majority of instances under a 25 per cent. duty would not range higher than from 5 to 10 per cent.
– I think that the honorable and learned member for Corinella has very fairly stated the case for the imposition of this particular duty. If the Government could dispense with the various revenue duties which we have been compelled to propose, no one would be more pleased than myself. As we have admitted that it is not unfair to allow a 10 per cent. margin in favour of the local manufacture, I think that the 25 per cent. rate proposed is not unreasonable. To reduce the duty to 20 percent. would be going too far.
Mr. CONROY (Werriwa). - In connexion with this item the Treasurer referred to one individual, and said thatwe ought to consider her because she was engaged in the manufacture of a particular class of stationery. I submit’ that the Commonwealth has nothing to do with the interests of individuals. Theremust be nodifferentiationmadein favour of any individual. I would further point out that the Government are soutterly reckless andwicked that they propose tomakebettingbooks, and illuminated cardswhich are used in Sunday schools,dutiableatthe samerate,namely, 25 percent. I shall certainly move to ; have copy, drawing, and exercise books placed upon the free list.
Question - That the words “ andon and after 12th March, 1902, 20 per cent.” be added - put. The committee divided.
Question so resolved in the negative.
Amendment (by Mr. Conroy) negatived -
That the words “cop)’, drawing, and exercise books” be omitted.
– Before we proceed to consider the special exemptions, I submit, for the consideration of the Treasurer, the suggestion that a small revenue duty might be imposed on etchings, oil paintings, and engravings, which are purchased by only wealthy people.
An Honorable Member. - Surely not.
– The poorer people purchase oleographs, chromographs, photogravures, and pictures of that sort.
– I thought the honorable member would have liked to encourage the importation of works of art.
– We have to place a duty on a number of articles that we would rather see duty free.
– Does thehonorable member suggest that a duty will protect the native industry?
– The honorable member for Melbourne might be expected to look at the matter from that point of view, but I do not, my idea being merely that a revenue duty of 10 per cent. might be imposed with some advantage.
– The revenue would be very small on etchings.
– The revenue would not be much on etchings, but such a duty would realize a fair amount on oil paintings and engravings.
– The revenue would be very small.
– Imported pictures are nearly always of high value, and the people who purchase them can well afford to pay 10 per cent.
– Such a duty would be all very well on pictures of high value, but it might affect other articles of small value.
– A duty of 10 per cent. would not have any material effect in preventing the importation of such pictures, and it would be an impost on luxuries pure and simple.
– I should not like to propose such a duty without more consideration than I can give to the matter at the present moment.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Paper, viz. : - Emery and flint paper and cloth, filter paper, litmus paper, pulp (for manufacturing paper), roofing, sheathing, and insulating, true vegetable parchment for packing butter for export (sizes 48 in. by 14 in., and 48 in. by 12 in.), writing (in sheets not less than 10 in. by 18 in.). Pictures (not being advertising), viz. : - Autotypes, chromographs, engravings, etchings,cleographs, oil paintings, photographs, photogravures, and water colours ; kindergarten materials ; pens ; maps, charts, and globes ; parchment (cut and uncut) ; school and drawing slates, and slate pencils.
– As to pulp for manufacturing paper, where are the protectionists who have contended that we have qualities of timber here fitted for the production of this commodity? According to the protectionists a duty on pulpwould make paper cheaper, and give an extra advantage to printers and others.
– The exemption of vegetable parchment for packing butter for export seems to apply to only one description of grease-proof paper. Has the Treasurer any reason for limiting the application 1
– This exemption is proposed in order to assist the export trade in which I understand this class, and these sizes, of paper are used.
– There are other greaseproof papers used for export purposes.
– I never heard of them.
– Such paper is used also for certain manufacturing purposes, and I think the exception ought to include grease-proof paper generally.
– - Vegetable parchment is also used for making blasting cartridges. Has the Treasurer any objection to this parchment being made free for that purpose ?
– I can agree to vegetable parchment being free only for export purposes. Cartridges have enough protection, and we want revenue.
Amendment (by Mr. Joseph Cook) proposed -
That the words “for packing butter for export; sizes 48 x 14 inches, and 48 x 12 inches “ be omitted.
– I quite agree with the amendment. This is another case of distinguishing a duty according to the purpose for which an article is used, and, apart from the equity of the case, the difficulties thus created are enormous. This vegetable parchment may be purchased by those who wish to export butter, or by those who wish to export lard, if there be such an article exported ; or it may be used for any other purpose within the Commonwealth. It is impossible to discriminate for the purposes of the duty. Unscrupulous importers may falsely represent that parchment is for use in butter export, whilst scrupulous importers will receive no consideration. The revenue to be derived from all these papers is not considerable.
– Do I understand the suggestion to be that vegetable parchment, irrespective of the purpose for which it is used, and irrespective of the sizes, shall be free ? I understood the honorable member for North Sydney to speak of greaseproof papers in general.
– I did suggest that all grease-proof papers should be free, but I do not press that point. The amendment is reasonable in the interests of administration, and desirable because it does not make invidious distinctions.
– I support the amendment ; I gave notice of an amendment to insert after the word “ parchment,” the words “for cartridges and,” but the amendment now proposed will attain my object. The honorable member for North Sydney is right to the extent that the exemption as it stands, discountenances honest trading, as every man who wanted vegetable parchment would simply buy it for butter export and cut it up.
– The object the Government had in view was to assist the export trade to some little extent, by specifying the sizes which are used in that connexion. However, the probabilities are that this vegetable parchment will be imported apparently for this particular purpose, and will be cut up and used for other purposes ; under all the circumstances, I have no objection to exempting vegetable parchment irrespective of the purpose for which it is to be used, though I cannot agree to deal in the same way with greaseproof paper generally.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Sir George Turner) proposed -
That the following exemptions be added : - “School colours in boxes, ceramic transfers for pottery, paper for fruit wrapping, not exceeding 10 inches by ‘10 inches, and coated printing paper.”
– It seems to me that all tissue-paper should be admitted free. The article is one which is not likely to be manufactured within the Commonwealth for a very long time to come, and it is very largely used for a great variety of purposes in addition to fruit wrapping. It is also a well-understood class of paper, and not likely to be confused with other kinds. I do not think the revenue will suffer very much if the duty upon tissuepaper is remitted. Furthermore, we have agreed to place paper patterns upon the free list; but we shall hamper the local manufacturers of paper patterns very seriously if we allow the foreign made patterns to be imported free, and charge a duty of 10 percent, upon the tissue-paper which they use in making paper patterns within the Commonwealth.
Mr. THOMSON (North Sydney.) - I strongly support the suggestion of the honorable member for Bland. It is a bad stipulation, and one which should not appear in any Tariff, to say that an article shall in all cases be dutiable, except where used for some particular purpose, because such a stipulation really offers a premium for fraud. Then again, why should we hamper trade by compelling the importation of this paper cut tocertain sizes, when it may be more convenient to import it in larger sizes, and to cut it locally? Another inconvenience which arises from this arrangement is that it compels merchants to keep two stocks - one of paper for fruit-wrapping purposes, and another of the same paper in larger sizes. The result must be more frequent shortages in stock, and whenever there is a shortage the fruit-growers will be supplied with paper cutdown from the larger sizes, and will be charged the duty imposedupon that paper. The distinction between tissuepaper and other paper ismoredistinct than that between some of the papers which are made dutiable and others which are placed upon the free list, and there can be no difficulty in deciding what paper is tissuepaper. I think that the Treasurer will assist the administration of his department by exempting all tissue paper.
– I cannot at the present moment accept the suggestion of thehonorable member for Bland, because my responsible officer considers that, if tissue-paper were admitted free, there would be never-ending disputes with the department as to what was tissue-paper and what was not. Another difficulty is caused by the fact that we have made “ fruit-bag paper “ dutiable at 3s. per cwt., and it is not easily distinguishable from tissue-paper. However, I will go into the matter further, and I shall take care that my honorable friend has an opportunity of proposing the exemption later on, if he desires to do so.
– Any difficulty with the Customs might be met by fixing a minimum or maximum weight per ream.
Mr. THOMSON (North Sydney) - I suggest that the Treasurer should omit the words - “for fruit wrapping,” and make the exemption read - “tissue-paper not exceeding 10 in. by 10 in.” That, it seems to me, will get rid of a strong temptation to fraud on the part of the less scrupulous importers.
– With the consent of the committee I will amend the amendment in the way suggested, upon the understanding that I shall reconsider the matter.
Amendment amended accordingly.
Amendment agreed to.
– At the request of the honorable member for Echuca, I move -
That the following exemption be added : - “Illuminated and pictorial scripture text cards.”
It was thought that these articles would be exempt from duty, but the Customs authorities are insisting upon the payment of duty at the rate of 25 per cent. Inasmuch as these cards arenot used for commercial purposes, but are bought very largely by Sunday school teachers and others for distribution among their scholars, it is thought that they may very well be admitted free.
Mr. CONROY (Werriwa).- I had intended to move an amendment in this direction myself, and I hope the Treasurer will agree to the exemption.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Sir John Quick) agreed to-
That the following exemptions be added : - “Paper patterns and fashion plates.”
– I have had it represented to me that stereo linen backing paper, and stereo flong, should be placed upon the free list. I do not know anything about these articles myself, but I think that we should be prepared to exempt from duty trade requisites, which may be introduced as the result of new inventions anddiscoveries. I hope the Treasurer will give the matter his consideration.
– The object of the Ministry is, on the one hand, to realize as much revenue as possible from duties imposed on articles which are not manufactured within the Commonwealth, and. on the -other hand, to realize as little as possible from duties on articles that are locally manufactured. In either case the effect of the Government policy is to impose the heavier burdens upon the poorer classes. Among these exemptions are oil pain tings, etchings, engravings, and water colours, and, in view of the principles on which the Tariff has been framed, I feel very strongly that we are not doing justice to the poorer classes in admitting free articles which are distinct luxuries.
– The honorable member cannot deal with that matter, because the committee have already decided that the exemptions shall stand.
– Under the circumstances, I can only express the hope that theTreasurer will see if he cannot do justice to the masses of the people.
Exemptions, as amended, agreed to.
Division, as amended, agreed to.-
Division XIV. - Vehicles : -
Item 117. Bicycles, tricycles, and similar vehicles; vehicles and parts thereof n.e.i. ; cycle parts (except tyres) plated, enamelled, polished, or otherwise-completed, or brazed or permanently joined, including cycle accessories, and motor vehicles, ad valorem, 20 per cent.
Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN (Wentworth). - An opportunity now presents itself of testing the desire of the Government to speedily dispose of the Tariff. I therefore suggest that the duty on the whole of the items in this division should be fixed at 15 per cent. ad valorem. I take it for granted that the committee will insist upon adopting the.ad valorem principle in place of the composite duties now imposed. If we subject cycles to a duty of 15 per cent., the duty on cycle parts should be reduced to 10 per cent., but with this exception, I think, we might adopt a 15 per cent. duty all round, and dispose of the division within a few minutes.
– I am, if anything, more anxious than is my honorable friend to dispose of the Tariff, and as he has made what he considers tobe a generous offer I shall meet him in a similar spirit, and suggest that the whole division should be passed as it stands without discussion.
– In connexion with the reference to “vehicles and parts thereof,” some doubt has arisen in the minds of those engaged in the trade as to whether the item will include finished as well as unfinished parts of vehicles. The coachbuilders are apprehensive that the vagueness of the -expression used may permit of finished parts being introduced free of duty.
– This will include all parts, unless they are made dutiable in other parts of the Tariff, as a large number of them are.
– I think the expression might be made a little more definite. It would be useless to impose a duty on vehicles and allow the finished parts to come in free.
– The intention is that all parts n.e.i. shall be made dutiable under this item, and finishedand unfinished parts alike will be subject to duty. In order to remove any doubt that may exist on this point, I move -
That the letters “n.e.i.” be inserted before the word “ and” in line 2.”
Amendment agreed to.
Sir JOHN QUICK (Bendigo).- I wish to draw attention to the somewhat illogical classification of this portion of the Tariff. In my judgment, the division under consideration should be divided into three parts. The first part should have reference to -finished bicycles, upon which the proposed duty of 20 per cent. is very reasonable. Then there should be a double discrimination in reference to cycle parts. The first ought to deal with finished parts, which are ready to be put into a machine, whilst the second should refer to unfinished parts, such as castings and stampings in the rough. The latterought not tobear the same rate of duty as ought the former. I suggest to the Treasurer that finished parts should bear a duty of 15 per cent., while parts in the rough shouldbe admitted at 10 per cent. That is the view of the trade as I understand it.
– This matter was very fully considered by the Minister for Trade and Customs any myself, and we came to the conclusion that there ought not to be three rates of duty, as is suggested by the honorable and learned member for Bendigo. If we admit parts in the rough at a lower duty than is charged upon finished parts under item 117, we shall be doing all that can fairly be asked by this particular industry. The mere work of putting these parts together is very small indeed. I regret that I cannot comply with the honorable and learned member’s suggestion.
– To my mind, there should be a margin of at least 10 per cent. between the rate of duty imposed upon cycles and cycle parts, otherwise machines will be imported practically in a finished state. They will be brought out in large consignments, and the only work remaining to be. done to them will probably consist of the fitting of the wheels to the frames. Prom the Statistical Register I find that, in 1900, no less than £117,644 worth of cycle parts were imported into Victoria.
– Were those not parts ready for use?
– All the brazing and enamelling is done locally.
– The straight tubing and chains are free.
– I trust that bicycle chains will be admitted free, but I know that up to the present time the Customs authorities have collected duty upon them. I repeat that any margin of less than 1 per cent. between the rate imposed upon cycles and cycle parts will constitute a severe blow to the industry.
– I also urge the Government to deal with this matter in the manner suggested by the honorable and learned member for Bendigo. Hitherto our cycle manufacturers have been able to import quite a number of cycle parts in the rough free of duty. They have not the slightest objection to paying a 20 per cent. duty upon finished machines, but they want a margin of at least 10 per cent. between the rate levied upon them and that charged upon cycle parts, in order that they may continue to give employment to our own workmen. I would point out that rims are dutiable at 15 per cent., whilst rim lengths pay 20 per cent.
– The honorable member’s information must be a little aged. They are all charged 15 per cent.
– A difference should be made between the two duties to enable our manufacturers to import cycle parts and thus provide employment to our own people in putting them together.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta).Do honorable members who pose as bicycle experts seriously contend that cycle parts will not be imported if the margin of protection proposed is not extended to them? I do not think for a moment that a duty of 10 per cent. will make all the difference between bringing these parts out in the rough, and bringing them in ready for use. We require some further reasons before we agree to this margin.
Mr. CONROY (Werriwa).- Are protectionists aware that a company proposes to start making all these parts, which will necessarily lead to the manufacture of bicycles in Australia ? A circular has been sent round by that company, but protectionist members seem to be departing from their general argument. According to the protectionist theory, the foreigner pays the duties, “which have the effect of making articles cheaper, but here we have the advocates of that policy contending that this duty will be a tax on the local manufacturer and add to the price. All this shows that protectionist contentions are mere assertions to gull the public ; and I am only too delighted to see the quandary into which my friends opposite have got themselves.
Sir JOHN QUICK (Bendigo).- I am sorry the Treasurer will not agree to a reclassification into completed and unfinished parts. I do not wish to force a new classification on the Treasurer, but I give him warning that unless he agrees to a proposal to that effect, I shall vote to reduce the duty of 10 per cent. on item 118.
– I have lis tened to the arguments, but I find no reason to change my views as to the finished parts, in regard to which we are doing the right thing, and giving ample protection. As to cycle parts in the rough, and what are called steel bars for bicycle rims, a great many arguments have been brought forward to show that 5 per cent. will not be sufficient margin. There will be a considerable amount of work, and, in addition, the Customs officers inform me that it is not likely the alteration from 15 per cent. to 10 per cent. will affect the revenue. Therefore, unless I see some reason to the contrary, I shall have no objection to make the whole 10 per cent. I cannot, however, go to the extent desired by the honorable member for Melbourne and make them free.
Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN (Wentworth). - The question from a protectionist point of view is - what is reasonable protection ? Taking all the circumstances into consideration, 15 per cent. on item 117 and 10 per cent. on item 118 will be quite sufficient for all purposes.
– Twenty per cent. is a revenue duty.
– That is all the more reason for the course I propose, though I cannot conceive 20 per cent. to be a merely revenue duty. If a duty of 20 per cent. is too high, and the Government will not yield, the only course open to the committee is to do justice, even if they bring down the average rate. I therefore move -
That the words, “and on and after 12th March, 1002, 15 per cent.,” be added.
Question put. The committee divided.
Majority … … 7
Question so resolved in the negative.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Item 118. - Cycle parts, n.e.i., ad valorem 15 per cent.
Amendment (by Sir John Quick) agreed to-
That the Avoids “including steel bars for the manufacture of rims “ be inserted after the letters “n.e.i.”
Amendment (by Sir John Quick) proposed -
That the words “and onand after 12th March, 1902, 10 per cent.” be added.
Mr. WATSON (Bland). - I do not think that it is necessary to make the difference between the duty on bicycles and the duty upon parts a very large one. For one reason, the difference in freight is very considerable. Although bicycles are not imported fitted ready for use, the wheels and frames take up a considerable amount of space, andtheref ore cost the importer a considerable amount in freight, whereas the tubing and parts go into a much smaller compass, and are, therefore, cheaper to import. Then again, the putting together of these parts is not really an industry, because it gives very little work, the various parts being sent out in most cases ready to be fitted or adjusted. Therefore I think that the advantage of 5 per cent. which is given to the importer of parts by the duty as it stands is quite sufficient. In New South Wales a large number of machines have been put together locally from imported parts, and one reason why more such machines have not been made is that, in the first instance, the importers who had control of the market established a reputation for a few brands of imported machines which has enabled them to more than hold their own against the equally as good, or nearly as good, machines which are made locally from the well-known B.S.A. parts. If bicycle parts were made here, I should be prepared to give a fair amount of protection* to the industry.
– I was at first inclined to take the view held by the honorable member for Bland ; but upon inquiry I found that there are more people employed- in the industry than I think the honorable member has any idea of. Both the workmen and the employers represent that a margin of 10 per- cent.’ is wanted, and that fact weighs very strongly with me. It seems rather strange to refuse to call bicycle-making an industry on the ground that it is. merely an assembling of parts. To my mind any employment which provides work at good wages for a large number of people must be called an industry.
Mr. CONROY (Werriwa).- If honorable gentlemen opposite were consistent, they would endeavour to abolish the use of bicycles and tricycles altogether. A man can ride 10 or 12 miles an hour on a bicycle ; but if he had to walk the whole -distance he would wear out a great many boots, and would give more employment to the bootmakers. Another argument of the kind that might be advanced from that side of the Chamber is that if men were forced to run as fast as they now ride on bicycles, they would die off ‘ more rapidly, and thus give more employment to the undertakers.
Mr. TUDOR (Yarra).- I am sorry to disagree with the honorable member for Bland ; but I would- point out that we have already agreed to a duty of 20 per cent, upon all plated and enamelled parts, so that fully two-thirds- of all the imported parts will have to pay that duty. Handles, sprocket wheels, hubs, and pedals are nearly all imported plated, polished,, or brazed ready for use.
– They could be imported in the rough.
– Yes ; but they very seldom are. Tubing and chains, I understand, will come in frees so that. the duty- of 10 per cent, would apply to a very few parts, and they are nearly all parts which, as minor articles, I should like to see placed on the free list.
Mr. THOMSON (North Sydney): - I agree with the honorable member for Bland that the putting together of bicycle parts is not an industry for which we should sacrifice revenue. Indeed, the proposal is an instan’ce of an absurd way of trying to create industries. If honorable members had been anxious to make work- in this way, there are- many other items in the Tariff which * would have furnished them with much better opportunities. For instance, why did it not occur to the Treasurer to propose the admission, of parts of furniture at a lower rate than that charged upon the completed articles? We are not adding to the wealth of the community by creating work in this way, but are, on the contrary, taking from it, and I trust that the committee will indicate its opinion of this sort of thing by voting for a duty of 15 per cent.
– Although in the first place I had some doubts on- the subject, I have come to the conclusion that a margin of 5 per cent, is too small in- this case. A great deal of work will- have to be done here if’ parts are imported in the rough, and I think that a low duty upon parts will encourage their importation in the rough:
– Then this is a protective duty ?
Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN (Wentworth)! - The honorable and learned member for Bendigo very fairly proposed a sliding scale - a duty of 20 per cent, upon the completed article, of 15 per cent, upon the partly -finished material,, and of 10 per cent, upon the’ rough material; but honorable gentlemen opposite, in voting for a duty of 20 per cent upon all the articles mentioned in item 117, have prevented that arrangement from being carried- out. The question is whether a 5 per cent, margin is sufficient. We are placed in a most unfortunate position by the present very unsymmetrical arrangement. It would have been better if the honorable and learned member for Bendigo had pressed his amendment.
Amendment agreed to.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Item 119, Vehicles, viz. : -
Barouches, broughams, landaus, victorias mail phaetons* drags, and similar vehicles, each, £12 ‘and 15 per cent, ad valorem.
Express waggons, waggons for carrying goods, single or double-seated waggons, four-wheeled buggies - mounted on springs or thorough braces and without: tops, each, £5 and 15 per cent, ad valorem.
Hansom cabs ; also single or double-seated waggons, waggonettes, and four-wheeled buggies - with tops, each, £6 and 15 per cent. advalorem.
Omnibuses and coaches for carrying mails or passengers, each, £9 and 15 per cent. ad valorem.
Tilburys, dog carts, gigs, Boston chaises, sulkies, and other two- wheeled vehicles - on springs or thorough braces, each, £3 and 15 per cent. ad valorem.
– This is one of the items that has occasioned us a considerable amount of difficulty, in view of the position taken up by the committee regarding the composite duties. We find that in the States the articles comprised in the first line have been subject to a duty in Victoria at £40 each, in. Queensland at £30 each, in South Australia at £20 each, and in Tasmania and Western Australia at 20 per cent., whilst they have been admitted into New South Wales free. Several of the States, therefore, have regarded fixed duties as the best, although these unfortunately have the effect of pressing heavily, so far as percentage is concerned, upon the lowpriced articles. The question for us to consider is whether we should adopt an. ad valorem rate or a fixed duty, and I have come to the conclusion that in this case it will be well to ask the committee to fix a fair ad valorem duty. I shall not, however, bind myself regarding subsequent items. Some vehicles are now being manufactured at prices which honorable members will scarcely be able to credit. Some classes of American four-wheeled buggies are sold in America at from £4 7s. 6d. to about £6. It has been suggested that if we imposed a low duty, some of these vehicles might be introduced, and that a large amount of work in the shape of repairs might thus be provided for our coachbuilders.
– They are never repaired.
– I should not think they would be worth repairing in many cases, unless they are constructed on principles that are quite unknown to our manufacturers. Many of the articles used in the construction of vehicles; such as trimmings and fittings and certain kinds of wood which are not produced here, are subject to revenue duties, and it would be reasonable to adopt a duty of. 25 per cent. for the manufactured article. The averages of the composite duties were 25 per cent. upon the first line of the item, and 29, 25, 26, and 29 per cent. respectively on the other lines. Of course, a fixed rate of duty would shut out the lower-priced vehicles to a large extent, but as the importations under the duties previously existing in the States were not large, I believethat a 25 per cent. ad valorem duty would meet all reasonable requirements. Considering that many of the vehicle parts are dutiable at 15 per cent., I do not think that 25 per cent. is too much to ask for in the present case.
Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN (Wentworth). - The 25 per cent. rate seems to be regarded as a sort of fetish by the Ministers and their supporters. Instead of paying due regard to the effect of any particular duty, certain rates have been adopted as suitable under all possible circumstances. Under the composite duties, at first proposed by the Government, the Treasurer estimated that the revenue would not amount to more than £l,080, made up of £500 from New South Wales,£350 from Victoria, £100 from Queensland; £50 from South Australia, £30 from Tasmania, and £50 from Western Australia. In 1899, the carriages imported into New South Wales were valued at £8,588, and the explanation of this limited importation is to be found in thefact that vehicle building is a natural industry. It has been established for many years, and I doubt whether any one could procure from abroad better vehicles than some of those made in New South Wales. As a matter of choice, most people buy locally-made vehicles, and some of the best of our buggies are made in the country towns. It is clear from the Government estimates, that a 25 per cent. duty would be practically prohibitive. These vehicles are not imported to any considerable extent, and yet the Government propose to deal with them from the same provincial stand-point as they were dealt with under the old State Tariffs. The thing is absurd; We ought to apply our common sense to the consideration of this item. It ought not to be said that when a 15 per cent. duty is admittedly as much as the most extreme protectionist can desire, we, as intelligent men, calmly imposed a. 25 per cent. duty. There are one or two figures to which I should like to direct the attention of the committee. Vehicles enjoy a natural protection beyond that given to any other article enumerated in the Tariff. This natural protection is extended not only to the completed article, but to its parts as well. According to the AustralasianCoachbuilderand Wheelwright, bolts and nuts enjoy a natural protection of 15 per cent., and this, with a duty of 20 per cent., makes the total protection upon those articles 35 per cent.; colours, mixed, with a natural protection of 9 per cent. and a duty of 16 per cent., are covered to the extent of 25 per cent., while white lead, having a’ natural protection of 16 per cent. and a duty of 19 per cent., is subject to an all-round tax of 35 per cent. Upon axles there is a natural protection of 15 per cent., and upon poles and shafts the total impost represents 53 per cent. In other words, there is an enormous natural protection which prevents these goods from being imported. To my mind a moderate duty of 15 per cent. would meet the case.
– To-night the Treasurer declared that he desires only the imposition of a reasonable ad valorem rate upon the vehicles enumerated under this item. Similarly, the acting leader of the Opposition wants what he deems to be reasonable. But to my mind both are acting most unreasonably towards the coach-building industry. Upon several occasions I have heard the coach and buggy builders of New South Wales declare that since a free-trade policy was adopted in that State, hundreds of men and apprentices have been thrown out of employment by the reason of the importation of American buggies, costing from £5 10s. to £10 10s. each.
– Mention the name of one of your informants.
– PATERSON. - Vial and Son, who manufacture as good traps as can be obtained in any part of the world. I have had one of their buggies for 27 years, and another for 18 years. I would not part with them for the best vehicles that are manufactured now, because of the inability of our coach-makers to put the same workmanship into them, on account of the competition of the cheap American buggies, which are invoiced at from £5 to £10 each. These buggies, after being used for a short period, usually collapse, whereupon the passengers are taken home in a cab, and the debris is sold for £1. The owner then purchases another buggy for £10, probably from Anthony Hordern, for even the drapers are selling these vehicles. Ever since we protected this industry in Queensland our coachbuilders have manufactured as fine traps as can be imported from any part of the world. Under the original proposal of the Government, an American buggy which was invoiced at £20, would pay a fixed duty of £5, plus 20 per cent. ad valorem, or £9 10s. in all ; whereas the duty which is now proposed represents only £7 10s. upon that class of vehicle. To levy only a 25 per cent. rate is simply to play with this great industry and those engaged in it, both masters and men. In my opinion the duties upon vehicles should be graded. The farmer’s waggons should be taxed at 33 per cent., whilst the barouches, which are used by the wealthy, ought to be charged 50 per cent. at the very least. I do not wish New South Wales to be pitted against Queensland. Only this afternoon the honorable member for Yarra said that he wanted to insure the work of cycle repairing to Victoria, whereupon the honorable member for Wide Bay interjected interrogatively - “To this State V I am very glad indeed that he did so, because I felt inclined to follow the example set by Sir George Dibbs, when he was visiting Chicago. I was disposed to say - “Damn New South Wales and Victoria if the interests of these two States only are to be considered.” I do not want the backbone of the Treasurer to give way in respect toone of the greatest industriesin Australia. If no one else moves in that direction, I intend to propose that the duties upon the various classes of vehicles shall be graduated.
– The honorable member for Brisbane claims to be a reasonable man, and we get his idea of a reasonable duty when he talks about 50 per cent. I had a notion when the honorable member first entered this Chamber that he was a revenue Tariffist, but probably we misunderstood him. At any rate, he never claimed to be an extreme protectionist, though now he describes the Treasurer and. the leader of the Opposition as unreasonable when they suggest duties of 20 or 25 per cent. The honorable member says that in New South Wales, which State appears particularly obnoxious to him, and which he never loses an opportunity of decrying, there are hundreds of coachbuilders out of work, because the market has been flooded with cheap American buggies. But it has been clearly shown that the whole importations into New South Wales last year were valued at £8,000 to £11,000, and I can say from my own personal knowledge that Australia is, and has for some time past, been practically supplying her own requirements in the shape of vehicles. A large number of coachbuilders in the State of New South Wales are pronounced free-traders, simply because their industry has everything to gain by having the raw materials imported free, and because it has been successfully established without the aid of protection. But, entering into federation, we recognise that we cannot have all our own way, and the leader of the Opposition has suggested a very reasonable course, which is in harmony with the present duty in Queensland.
– Barouches and broughams pay £30 each in Queensland, where all the duties are fixed at high rates.
– The Treasurer has stated that Queensland is practically manufacturing her own requirements now, and if that be true also of the other States, there is no necessity, at this time of day, for putting on a prohibitive duty, though I do not say that the Treasurer’s proposal is prohibitive. The only question is whether the duty shall be 20 per cent. or 25 per cent. ; and I am inclined to think that 20 per cent., or even 15 per cent., should be high water mark for a revenue duty. Cheap American buggies carry their own condemnation with them, and though they are imported into New South Wales, they do not seriously enter into competition with the good sound article. The first smash settles a cheap American buggy ; and we have the best of evidence that in all the States the industry of coach-building has been so firmly established as to be beyond the need of any protection. The committee will have lost their senses if they seriously entertain such an extreme and unreasonable proposal as that of a duty of 50 per cent. on any class of vehicles. The honorable member for Brisbane has no good authority for stilting that there are hundreds of coachbuilders out of employment in New South Wales.
– I said that Mr. Vial has told me year after year, and repeated it the other day, that but for freetrade there would be hundreds of men employed in the business, who are not now employed.
– Is it likely that the £8,000 or the £10,000 now spent on imported vehicles would provide employment for hundreds of men and apprentices] This is an industry which is peculiarly adapted to Australia, and has grown up under natural conditions. Neither the protective policy of Victoria and Queensland, nor the free-trade policy of New South Wales has developed this industry. We have some of the best timber in the world for the manufacture of all that enters into the construction of vehicles, and in addition to having tradesmen as good as can be found in any country, we are a people who, in our business and pleasures, are large consumers. The honorable member for Wentworth has pointed out the large natural protection afforded by the enormous cost of transporting vehicles of the better class ; and under the circumstances all we ought to ask for is a reasonable revenue duty.
– I cannot help referring to the illogical speech of the honorable member for Brisbane, when he makes the statement, amongst others, that this industry, which he says it is essential to establish, was so well established 23 years ago that he then bought in Sydney a buggy which he has at the present day.
– Do not distort what I said.
– The honorable member’s buggy will be like the deacon’s. “Wonderful One-hoss Shay,” and go topieces at the end of a hundred years. There is a large natural protection to this industry, and the avocations and amusements of the Australian people cause them to employ vehicles very extensively. I have been to agricultural shows in at least four or five of the great cities of Australia, and no better vehicles thanthose exhibited there could be found in any part of the world. Local vehicles, built from our own well-seasoned timber, last for years, and the industry not only employs a large number of men, but has been free from labour disputes and troubles. I am glad the Government have receded from their original position, because the rates, as at first proposed, were manifestly unfair and unjust, running from 17£ per cent. on the higher class of vehicles to over 50 per cent. on the cheaper vehicles required for ordinary business purposes. When the Treasurer, as a sort of concession, talks of a duty of 25 per cent., he suggests a rate which he himself must know is too high. A duty of 15 per cent, would give more protection than is required, but possibly that rate could not be carried. It is not at all likely that cheap umbrella-built American buggies will be imported to any extent. ‘ It has been stated that these American buggies are built for £-4 10s., but the freight has to be added to that -estimate, and, as in Australia we can build plain substantial gigs for £8 10s., it is seen that we do not need protection, which might have the effect of raising the prices -of vehicles which can now be provided very -economically. I therefore move -
That the words “ and on and after 12th March, 1902, 20 per cent, ad valorem” be added to the duty “ Barouches, &c, each £i2 and 15 per cent. ad valorem. “
Mr. THOMSON (North Sydney). - I advise the honorable member for Brisbane not to make inaccurate statements which can be closely checked by the actual facts. I do not think it becomes an honorable member, who is so often telling the committee not to indulge in acrimonious discussions and invidious comparisons of one State with another, to be continually reviling Sydney and New South Wales. His statements in regard to the coachbuilding trade there are absolutely without foundation. He says that if a duty of only 25 per cent, is imposed upon the kinds of vehicles that we are now considering the coachbuilding trade of Australia will be ruined. But the total worth of all the vehicles imported into New South Wales - where,, until this Tariff was introduced, there was no duty upon vehicles - during 1899, the Treasurer’s normal year, was only a little over £11,000, while the value of all importations from all places outside the Commonwealth was only £5,600, and eight expensive vehicles imported from England accounted for £1,190 of that sum. Under those circumstances a -duty of 25 per cent, is ridiculous. It will not give more protection than a duty of 15 per cent., but it will allow the local makers, if they choose to do so, to charge very much higher prices. In Victoria, where the duties were very high, going up to £40 for each vehicle, the value of the importations from all sources for one year was £5,900, or as much as the value of the importations into New South Wales from places outside the Commonwealth. If there were no duty upon vehicles, carriages and vehicles of all kinds would continue to be made here. The greatest protection which the industry has - and it is a permanent one - is the cost of importing vehicles from abroad. Under these circumstances, the Treasurer will do well to agree to the amendment, and he might even accept a still lower . duty.
Mr. CONROY (Werriwa).- The Treasurer asks us to agree to a duty of 25 per cent, upon barouches and other vehicles, because the coachbuilders have to pay duties upon the materials which they use in making these vehicles. But’ when we were considering the duties upon paints and varnishes the Treasurer was very anxious that the high duties which he proposed should be retained, on the ground that they make the articles to which they apply cheaper. For a similar reason the duties upon axles and springs and upon leather were fixed at 15 per cent. Now, however, we are told that, as the duties upon the raw materials used by the carriagebuilder average 15 per cent., he should have a protective duty of 25 per cent, upon his carriages. As a matter of fact, however, the material put into a vehicle is not worth half the price of that’ vehicle. But, assuming it to be worth .half the price, the builder would have paid in duty only 7£ per cent, upon its price, so that a duty of 25 per cent, would give him an advantage of 17£ per cent., instead of an advantage of 10 per cent. The fact that a great amount of employment has been given to coachbuilders iti New South Wale3 without the aid of a duty is another reason why we should not make this proposed duty too high. The effect of a high duty will be, not to prevent the importation of expensive vehicles, but to prevent the importation of the cheaper kinds of ‘waggons and buggies, which are used by people living in the country, who so much want concessions of this. kind. I trust that the committee will agree to the amendment, although I should have been ready to support a duty of 15 per cent.
Sir JOHN QUICK (Bendigo).- I agree with the honorable member for Brisbane’ that a duty of 25 per cent, is altogether inadequate, and I am sorry that the Treasurer has not submitted to the committee a more scientific scheme of protection. The. proposal to reduce the duty should be utterly scouted. The coach-making and waggon-building industry is one of the most interesting and important of the protected industries which have sprung up in the Commonwealth. Its operations are not confined to the large capitals, but the work is carried on in every country town and village, and speaking for the “Victorian workmanship, of which alone I have knowledge, I can say that it reflects the greatest credit upon all concerned. Tor that reason alone the industry is entitled to our serious attention. But there are special reasons why the protection afforded to it should be real and substantial. I have not generally during the consideration of this Tariff been an advocate for high duties, but I feel justified in pressing for a fairly substantial duty in this case; in the first instance because of the very keen competition to which local coachbuilders are subjected by American manufacturers. In America, the factories employ expensive machinery, which is often kept running night and day, and the men work from nine to ten hours a day for six days in the week. Many of the factories are engaged in what is called “special work,” and some of them turn out thousands of vehicles of the same kind every year. In some cases 26,000 vehicles are turned out from the one factory in twelve months. Consequently the American manufacturers are in a position to distribute their vehicles all over the world at ridiculously cheap prices. The wages paid are lower, the hours of labour are longer, and the output in the American factories is greater than in our own ; and the Americans are therefore able to undersell the local manufacturers, who have to pay higher wages for shorter hours, We must protect our workers against having their products swamped by cheap importations from America. It must also be remembered that a large proportion of the raw material used by Australian manufacturers is subject to duty. Those who are engaged in the trade wish to have a fixed duty of £40 per vehicle upon this particular line, and I join with the honorable and learned member for Brisbane in urging that the duty should be increased.
– I am surprised that the honorable and learned member for Bendigo should ask for such an enormous duty. I suppose that there are a large number of coachbuilders in his electorate, and that that accounts for the great interest he is taking in the duty. I have a great many coachbuilders in my electorate, and nearly all of them are free-traders. They turn out some of the best vehicles in Australia, and, I believe, one manufacturer actually supplies Victoria with some of his heavy waggons. So long as the raw materials for the manufacture of waggons are obtainable at reasonable prices, the majority of the coachbuilders of New South Wales want no protection, and the total abolition of the duty would not make very much difference to the industry as a whole. The honorable and learned member for Bendigo told us that high protective duties were needed in order to prevent our manufacturers from being swamped by vehicles imported from abroad ; but we find that the total importations of vehicles into New South Wales from beyond the Commonwealth in 1899, were valued at only £5,600. If the whole of these vehicles had been made in New South Wales the wage fund of the workmen in that State would not have been increased to the extent of more than £2,800, because it is not reasonable to suppose that the labour would represent more than half the total value of the finished article. Hence one is at a loss to understand where the hundreds of workmen referred to by the honorable and learned member for Brisbane would have found employment. As a matter of fact New South Wales makes all the vehicles she requires with the exception of a few high-class carriages, and the wages fund is not likely to be increased to any appreciable extent, even though a prohibitive duty be imposed. The honorable and learned member for Brisbane told us that Mr. Vial, of Sydney, had informed him that the imposition of a protective duty would result in the employment of hundreds of men in addition to those for whom work is now provided ; but there are no facts or figures to support such a statement. No industry is in a more healthy condition than the coachbuilding industry in New South Wales. I think a 15 per cent. duty would be quite sufficient to compensate the manufacturers for the duties that are levied upon some of their raw materials. The journal which specially advocates the interests of coachbuilders has always strongly supported a free-trade policy, and everything points to the conclusion that there is no necessity for a high protective duty.
– I regret very much that the Treasurer has seen fit to abandon his original proposal. I was prepared for the surrender of the composite duties, but I was hoping that fixed duties would have been adopted. Looking at the figures which have been quoted by the honorable member for North Sydney, one would imagine that the State of New South Wales had practically supplied all her own requirements in the way of vehicles, but such is not the case. The honorable member stated that the importations of vehicles into New South Wales from beyond the Commonwealth in 1899 were valued at £5,600, but in 1900 vehicles to the value of £7,382 were imported from the federating States, and carriages, carts, and waggons made up to the value of over £13,382 were imported from beyond the Commonwealth.
– The importers were loading up in 1900.
– Assuming that they were, the value of the carriages, carts and waggons imported from all sources, made up a total of £20,764. I venture to say that the vehicles imported by Victoria did not represent a tenth of that value. We have imported our highpriced carriages from Great Britain, and a small proportion of our very low-priced buggies and two-wheel carts from America. There is another phase of this question to which I invite the attention of the committee. I find that in 1898 New South Wales imported £47,947 worth of carriage materials, comprising buggy tops, poles, wheels, shafts, undergear, including axles and arms, and bodies in the white - that is bodies which are not painted or varnished. On the other hand, Victoria imported only £793 worth of these materials, proving incontestably that New South Wales does not meet her own requirements in the manufacture of carriages. Moreover, her vehicles were imported in practically a finished condition. That is one reason why I believe the Government have made a mistake in abandoning their original proposal. A duty of 25 per cent, upon this item will not be protective in its incidence, but will practically kill the manufacture of all the lighter vehicles within the Commonwealth. In this connexion I would point out that a circular issued by Messrs. Tye and Company, a Melbourne firm of repute, reads as follows : -
We beg to hand you copy of letter which we addressed to honorable members in November last, and submit the following particulars of cost to land an Abbott bugg3’, which arrived here per barque Amulree, on February 5th. This buggy is an ordinary pattern Abbott, made in Canada, and is first-class in every respect. All upholstering is in real leather, and consists of boot, spring cushion, and 20-inch back to seat. It is invoiced at £11 18s. 3d. at the factory, and the duty paid upon it was £6 19s. 4d., or equal to 584 per cent. The other charges totalled £8 18s. 3d., which represents 70J per cent., making a total cost of bugg3’ landed, £27 5s. lOd. or equal to 129 per cent.
The same firm quote the charges levied upon two lower-priced American buggies, which retail at the factory for 21 dollars, or £4 7s. 6d., and 28.75 dollars, or £5 19s. 9d. respectively. Messrs. Tye and Co. add -
If either of these buggies were imported under the present Tariff, the duty only on the first one would be 131 per cent. ; and on the buggy with top, 116J per cent. Had .the cheap buggy arrived per barque Amulree the charges would have amounted to 177 per cent., which, added to the duty, would represent a grand total of 308 per cent.
But what does that protection amount to 1 These cheap American buggies come into competition with all the lighter class of vehicles, and the cheaper and inferior article will always keep the deal’er article out of the market. Cheapness is the curse of the present day.
– Is it so in regard to agricultural implements 1
– It is. As soon as a farmer uses cheap implements he begins to go down. The cheap article is not to the benefit of the user. It is the cheap article that is going to injure the carriage builders of the Commonwealth, because it is absolutely impossible for them to compete and put up an honest article at anything like the price at which Canadian buggies are imported. Take the £5 buggy. With a duty of 25 per cent., the purchaser will obtain the buggy on his .hands for £10. There are about two years’ wear in such a vehicle. I have taken the risk of riding in one of these cheap imported buggies, and know that within two or three years it has to be thrown on to the scrap heap. There is no possibility of repairing it. Any person purchasing one of them has to pay a considerable amount more than he would have to pay for the better and higher-priced article of Australian make. I very much regret that the Government have departed from the rate they originally proposed, and am not prepared to say that at a later stage I shall not attempt to get a better rate of protection for the Australian carriage builder.
– I think honorable members generally are gratified that the Treasurer has given way as to the composite duty. I shall have to support a duty of 20 per cent., because I believe that the carriage industry is so thoroughly established throughout the length and breadth of the Commonwealth that it cannot be injured to any material degree. As to the quality of work that is being done by our own coach and carriage builders, I can speak from experience. The buggies they make are as good as any that can be obtained and the material is of a lasting quality. Most of the material is imported from America. The hickory, the spokes, and the hubs have to be brought from that country. The industry is protected to such an extent that to impose a duty of more than 20 or 25 per cent. is utterly unnecessary. It is most reprehensible that the honorable and learned member for Brisbane should have expressed opinions so condemnatory of the work done by the carriagebuilders of New South Wales. I speak with knowledge of the work done there, and honorable members who have had an experience of it must agree that it has been of a most satisfactory character. I hope that the Treasurer, notwithstanding the strong arguments used to the contrary, will see his way to accept the suggestion for a 20 per cent. duty, which will be a sufficient and satisfactory protection, if any protection be needed, in favour of the industry. It seems to be altogether forgotten that any one who wants an American or English carriage will have it no matter what the duty may be. Many people will insist upon importing a carriage made by a fashionable maker in England although the duty may make the price almost prohibitive.
Mr. SYDNEY SMITH (Macquarie).My honorable friend, the member for Moira, seems to have forgotten, in what he has said about the need for protection in the carriage industry, that the hickory and other timber required by carriage-builders is upon the free list. My honorable and learned friend, the member for Brisbane, has asserted that Mr. Vial had said that his trade in New South Wales had been destroyed in consequence of freetrade, and that the carriage-building industry had gone down altogether. What are the facts? In 1889, 778 carriages were imported of the value of £27,846, and 619 carts and wagons valued at £20,013 ; or a total of 1,397 vehicles with a value of £47,859. But under free-trade we find that, notwithstanding the open market, the industry prospered, because in the year 1899 there were imported only 347 carriages of a value of £8,508. There were also imported 232 carts and wagons valued at £3,937, making a total of 579 vehicles, as compared with 1,379 ten year ago, and with a value of £12,445 as against £47,859 ten years ago. Those figures show that under free-trade the carriage industry of New South Wales must have prospered, because people are certainly purchasing now as many carriages as they were ten years ago. In 1895 there were 1,136 hands employed in this industry in New South Wales, as against 1,472 employed in 1890, or an increase of 340.
– Mere repairers.
– The honorable and learned member never talks of “mere repairers” when the number of hands employed in an industry in Victoria is in question ; and I conclude that whether those employed are repairers or not they are deserving of consideration. It is wrong for honorable members to try to mislead the committee, as was done when the cement duties were under consideration. An honorable member then, with a view to influencing honorable members in favour of a high duty, made the deliberate statement that Australia had to compete against imported German cement on which there was a bounty. In order to ascertain the truth of that statement I sent a telegram to the German Consul-Gen eral, and I received a reply to the effect that there is no bounty on cement in Germany. No honorable member has a right to make statements of the kind without proof, and yet to-night the honorable member for Brisbane has acted in a similar way.
– I must protest, in protection of my own character, against the honorable member’s allegation that I have told a lie. I made a statement and gave proof of its correctness.
– The honorable member for Brisbane merely repeated a statement made to him by some person at the corner of the street, who possibly has not provided himself with up-to-date machinery, and does not conduct his business in a proper way.
Sir MALCOLM McEACHARN (Melbourne). - Many honorable members are in the unfortunate position of having to state that which is not exactly correct, although they believe it to be true. We are so situated that we have to be guided by those who supply us with information, and I think the honorable member for Macquarie will acknowledge that the statement to which he refers was contradicted by honorable members on the Government side before any question was raised by the Opposition. I am sure that the honorable member who made the statement did so thinking it was correct. I am sorry the Treasurer has considered it necessary to propose so low a duty as 25 per cent.
– I have not pro posed any duty yet.
– I am glad of that, because I purpose moving that the duty be 30 per cent., though that protection will not meet the requirements of the trade. As to the smaller importations to which reference has been made, if the statistics are consulted it will be found that a great falling off is due, in both in Victoria and New South Wales, to the fact that the people had not the same amount of money to expend on such articles as carriages and buggies.
– Can the honorable member prove that statement?
– No doubt those in the trade will tell the honorable member that they have gone through a period of very dull times, which account very easily for the falling off in the imports. The raw materials of this industry, a great part of which are imported, are subject to a high duty. Shafts undressed and other materials are admitted free, but axles pay 15 per cent. ; springs, 15 per cent. ; and six other items, such as brake-handles and connecting-rods, pay 20 per cent. Iam informed that on a buggy worth, say, £17 or £18, the actual duties paid on parts amount to £3 18s. 7d.
– That is absolutely wrong.
– I may be wrong as to the amounts, but the duties which have been given to me in detail show 130 feet of leather at 15 per cent., or £1 18s. 6d., and a number of other charges, which go to make up the £3 18s. 7d. payable on a hooded Concord buggy. Those figures were given to me as correct, and I believe them to be so. I am also informed that the largest importers of buggies in this State have hitherto had to pay very much higher duties, and will be perfectly satisfied with’ a duty of 25 per cent. on the vehicles with which we are now dealing. I intend to move for the imposition of a duty of 30 per cent.
Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN (Wentworth). - This debate should be an object lesson to the committee in regard to the extremes to which protectionists will go, after an industry has enjoyed the benefits of their policy for a number of years. We, on this side of the Chamber, have proved conclusively that the coach-building industry does not require protection. The honorable member for North Sydney showed that the total value of all the vehicles imported into New South Wales from abroad during 1899 was only £5000 odd, although there were no duties to keep them out. The value of the dutiable materials in a vehicle worth about £30 is only about £6, and the duty paid” upon those materials is, therefore, very small indeed. That disposes of the argument that the coachbuilder, having to pay heavy duties to protect other industries, should be protected in his own industry. No doubt the Americans, because of their enormous output, can produce very cheap vehicles, but very few of those vehicles come into our market. In no other part of Australia, had this Parliament been sitting there, would the proposal to increase the duty to 30 per cent. be tolerated for a moment. Here we have ‘a case in which our manhood should assert itself. Honorable members opposite are always cringing and crying about the damage that the foreigner threatens to do, as though our own people did not possess industry, intelligence, and resource; and it has been proved that in the manufacture of vehicles they can defy the competition of the world. That being so, the proposed duties are an insult to our people. The honorable and learned member for Brisbane has been throwing mud at the parent State in a way no other honorable member has done ; but his statement that vehicles which he purchased in New South Wales lasted for eighteen and 27 years respectivelyproves that excellent work is done in the coach-building trade there. Yet the honorable and learned member had the temerity to suggest a duty of 50 per cent., which would mean the absolute prohibition of vehicles of foreign manufacture. I do not believe that his constituents wish him to advocate a proposal of that kind.
Mr. MACDONALD-PATERSON (Brisbane). - Mud in its proper place is a very valuable commodity ; but if any man in this assembly has indulged in mudthrowing, it is the honorable member for Wentworth. I have never in my life spoken in a disrespectful way of New SouthWales ; but I have drawn attention to the fact that the New South Wales free-trade dog and the Victorian protectionist dog have been worrying this Tariff until the representatives of all the other States are thoroughly tired of the whole business. I have tried good humouredly to dissuade honorable members from this ultra-provincialism.
– What about the Queensland timber duties?
– The honorable member for Wentworth wants us to accept the prosperous condition of the New South Wales coach-building industry as evidence of the fact that there has been only a small importation of vehicles into that State from foreign places. Queensland used to import vehicles largely from New South Wales, Victoria, and America, but in 1900 only six vehicles were introduced from New South Wales, two from Victoria, and two from America. The imposition of duties ranging from £10 to £15 per vehicle encouraged the coachbuilding industry in all the large centres of population in Queensland, and splendid specimens of the coachbuilder’s art are now to be seen at the shows in Brisbane, Toowoomba, Rockhampton, Charters Towers, and Warwick, and elsewhere. We are encouraging our manufacturers toemploy ouryoung men in building vehicles to suit the requirements ofthe farmer, squatter, and the fruit grower, and we have found in our own forests timbers which are suitable for nearly all the requirements of the coachbuilder. The development of the industry has augmented the talent and the skill of our workmen, and the people of Queensland generally are deriving the benefit of the large local production. We are making our own tramcars in Brisbane, and the manager of the company there informs me that there are no timbers in America equal to those which are used in the construction of the Brisbane cars. It is our duty as Australians to protect Australian labour, and I am not to be deterred from doing my duty in this respect by the unfair comments passed by honorable members. The acting leader of the Opposition has suggested that some honorable members are now expressing views contrary to those to which they gave utterance when they were before their constituents, and the inference is that honorable members are acting now in a manner inconsistent with the policy which they announced to the electors prior to their being returned to this House. I cast back any such insinuation with all the contumely that it deserves. I have not said one word in this committee that is inconsistent with the attitude I assumed before my constituents. I had a dozen requests to allow myself to be nominated for the Senate, but I preferred to come to the House of Representatives, where all the fighting would be done. I have done my share of fighting, and although I was advocating a lost cause in connexion with the kanaka question, I have, to a very large extent, been successful in my representations regarding the Tariff proposals. I have not voted with a view to retaining my seat in this House. I do not want a seat in this or any other House unless my constituents are thoroughly in accord with me.
Mr. F. E. McLEAN (Lang). - The honorable member for Brisbane says that his policy in the committee is in harmony with the policy which he advocated when before the electors. But did he advocate a 50 per cent. duty on vehicles when before them? He says that altogether about a dozen vehicles were imported into Queensland last year. Will the honorable member tell us how many vehicles were manufactured in Queensland, and give us some information as to the number of hands employed?
– Paterson. - I advocated 50 per cent. duties on luxuries, and 30 per cent. on other things.
– Now that the Queensland market will be free to New South Wales and Victoria, I should like to know what the effect of these high duties will be upon the manufacturing industries of that State. The manufacture of vehicles is an industry that belongs to Australia, and requires no artificial protection. It has a volume of natural protection that practically secures the monopoly to the Australian manufacturer and artisan. I have not the figures before me, but I venture to assert that Queensland does not employ in proportion to its population more coachbuilders than are employed in the free-trade State of New South Wales, and that New South Wales is employing in proportion to her population as many hands in this industry as is any State in Australia. If more vehicles have been imported into New South Wales than into other States it is because there is a larger demand for them there. The committee is merely being trifled with when it is asked to believe that these extraordinary duties are necessary to bolster up an industry which has thrived in every State irrespective of what the fiscal policy may have been. I ask the committee not to go beyond the duty proposed by the Treasurer at all events, and I think we shall be acting with more reason if we accept the proposal placed before us by the acting leader of the Opposition.
Mr. MACDONALD-PATERSON (Brisbane). - In reply to the honorable member for Lang, I would point out that according to the latest statistics there are 90 buggy factories in Queensland, and, in round numbers, 650 hands employed in them ; while the annual output is about £100,000. The value of the land and buildings involved in the industry is ‘ also in round numbers £100,000. I read in an article some eighteen months ago that in Queensland the orders for buggies had diminished 200 per cent, in consequence of the great drought which had prevailed there for six or eight years. In Queensland the annual output of saddlery and harness alone amounts to £110,000, and the total of £210,000 for the two trades represents not more than 50 per cent, of the legitimate output in normal seasons.
Mr. G. B. EDWARDS (South Sydney). - The honorable member for Brisbane said that he advocated these high duties in the interests of the labour of the Commonwealth. If honorable members, after looking at the class of vehicles subjected to these duties, do not agree that their use is an absolute necessity for the labour of the Commonwealth, I shall give way entirely. It is assumed that they are all used as a luxury by men of wealth, but I assure the committee that nineteen out of twenty vehicles on the list are required by men who either directly earn their living from their use or are indirectly dependent upon them for their livelihood. There is nothing to be gained in the way of protection to labour by imposing a duty upon them. We shall supply these vehicles in the Commonwealth almost I irrespective of what the duties may be ; but we are entering upon a new competition, and there is a danger that if we fix these duties too high we shall have a higher rate ruling for them for some time to come. It has been proved that we have manufactured these vehicles in New South Wales most successfully, in competition with the world. We arn quite prepared to make a compromise, and I fail to see why the Government should not have accepted my amendment at once, seeing that it is so fair and reasonable, and on all-fours with the duty which has hitherto prevailed in some of the States. It is lower than the duty which has prevailed hitherto in Victoria, but in the mother State these vehicles were free.
– As I have said, the objection in this case is not so much to the introduction of the higher-priced vehicles as to the introduction of the cheaper vehicles which are coming from America, and taking the place of those which would otherwise be made here. I. should have been pleased to have the original proposal for a fixed rate accepted, but as the feeling of the committee is against that, I suggested for consideration a duty of 25 per cent. It has been said that a duty of even 20 per cent, will be prohibitive, but I think there is a good deal of force in the contention, that the lowerpriced vehicles should if possible be kept out, and therefore I shall raise no objection to the proposal made by the honorable member for Melbourne that the duty should be 30 per cent. We can test the question on the amendment now submitted, and let the committee decide.
Mr. CONROY (Werriwa). - I presume that this duty is proposed on the first item.
– It will cover the lot.
-For my part it will not cover the lot. I object to a duty of 25 or 30 per cent, upon these vehicles. I was surprised to hear the honorable member for Bendigo say that this duty is lower than that which existed in the Victorian Tariff. Under that Tariff the duty was at a fixed rate of £40 a piece, and the honorable and learned member must know that on broughams and landaus ranging from £200 to £300 a piece, a duty of 25 per cent, would be £50 and £75 respectively, or £10 and £35 higher than the duty imposed under the Victorian Tariff. The honorable and learned member also used the extraordinary’ argument that the reason why we should impose a high duty in this case was because the wages were so much lower in protected America. Does any one suppose that the drivers of hansom cabs and waggonettes will receive increased fares because there is a duty of 30 per cent. imposed on the vehicles they drive ? The suggestion to impose a duty of 30 per cent. upon these articles is ridiculous. We can test the matter upon this first line of 20 per cent., which is extremely high in my opinion, and I. hope that the committee will recognise that upon vehicles which are in common use, the duty should not be too high.
Question - That the words “ and on and after 12th March, 1902, 20 per cent.” be added to the duty “Barouches, &c, £12 and 15 per cent. ad valorem” - put. The committee divided.
Majority …. … 3
Question so resolved in the negative.
Mr. G. B. EDWARDS (South Sydney). - I move -
That the words “and on and after 12th March, 1902, 25 per cent. “ be added to theduty “ Barouches, &c, £12 and 15 per cent. ad valorem.”
I trust the Treasurer will accept that amendment, becauseitis what he has himself suggested as a proper duty for the Commonwealth.
Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN (Wentworth). - While I recognise that the Treasurer did not make any definite promise, it is nevertheless a fact that after considera tion of the whole case he did think that 25 per cent. was a reasonable duty. How was his mind altered ? By the speeches of two honorable members, which were unreasonable in the extreme, and which never touched the real point.
Amendment agreed to.
Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN (Wentworth). - There was no absolute understanding to that effect, but I believe the sense of the committee is clear. As we do not wish to occupy any time, we shall offer no opposition.
Mr. CONROY (Werriwa). - I believe I was the only member to express any opposition. I thought that a duty of 30percent. was unreasonably high, and I was prepared to debate every line, but as there has been a slight concession on the part of the Government, I move- -
That the words “ and on and after 12th March, 1902, 20 per cent. ad valorem,” be added.
Amendment (by Sir George Turner) agreed to -
That the words “and on and after 12th March, 1902, 25 per cent. ad valorem” be added.
Amendment (by Sir George Turner) proposed -
That the words “ Vehicles and all parts thereof, n.e.i. 25 per cent. ad valorem” be added.
– I wish to ascertain whether the word “parts” will include dressed spokes.
– I should say so. Undressed spokes are free.
– So far as I have been able to ascertain from the department, and those in the trade, hickory spokes are imported ready dressed, and an exemption in favour of undressed hickory spokes isa mere empty form. In Victoria undressed hickory spokes have been admitted free for many years, but dressed spokes have been dutiable. Dressed hickory spokes for the smaller wheels will continue to be imported for many years to come. It is only thespokes of the larger wheels that are made from Australian woods ; and the effect of not differentiating between dressed spokes and the wheels of which they form a part, will be that the fitting together of wheels, which is largely carried on, from imported dressed spokes will be affected.
– There is aduty of 25 per cent. on the wheel.
– Yes ; but there will be a duty of 25 per cent. on the spokes. I have just been informed that the honorable member for Moira has given notice on an amendment to place dressed hickory spokes on the free list. That, I think, should be done.
Sir MALCOLM McEACHARN (Melbourne). - I wish to ask the Treasurer what effect this will have on duties that are already passed. Take lamps, for instance.
– “N.e.i.” covers all those.
– I do not see why, if a duty of 25 per cent. is imposed on the imported-finished article, a similar duty should be imposed on the parts. There should be a difference made between the two.
– I refused to do so in the case of bicycles.
– I think that the right honorable and learned gentleman was wrong in doing that, and I suggest to him whether there should not be a lesser duty imposed in this case.
Amendment agreed to.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Division, as amended, agreed to.
Mr. SPEAKER informed the House that he had issued a writ for the election of a member to serve in the House of Representatives for the electoral district of Tasmania, in the place of the Hon. Frederick William Piesse, deceased, and that the dates appointed in the writ were as follow : - - Period of nomination from the 15th to the 20th March next inclusive; date of polling 26th March, and the return of writ to be not later than 7 th April.
House adjourned at 11.22 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 11 March 1902, viewed 7 November 2016, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1902/19020311_reps_1_8/>.