1st Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows : -
Officers will be selected for appointment in the service of the Commonwealth, or when necessary with the Imperial forces outside the limits of the Commonwealth, upon their military and personal qualifications. Due regard to those who have served in South Africa as officers or noncommissioned officers will always be observed.
Ordered (on motion by Mr. Mauger for Mr. Wilkinson) -
That there be laid on the table of this House copies of all papers and orders relating to the closing of the One-mile rifle range at Ipswich, Queensland.
Consideration resumed from 9th April (vide page 11551).
Division VI. - Metals and machinery.
Amendment (by Mr. Knox) again proposed -
That the followexemptionbe added - “ Highspeed engines.”
– When this matter was under discussion on Wednesday, I mentioned that a mistake had been made in placing turbines I upon the free list. There are a number of I other engines,called high-speed engines which do the same work, and it is unfair to those who import them - because none of these engines arc made here - that turbines should be on the free list, and the other engines dutiable. At the same time the Government are not prepared to place all these engines on the free list. We think that, under the circumstances, a fair compromise would be to make both turbines and highspeed engines dutiable at 15 per cent. The definition of high-speed engines which has been supplied to us by an expert is this : -
A high-speed engine must be capable of being run continuously for eight hours at a speed of not less than 400 F.S. per minute, and when filled with its usual means of lubrication must show no signs of its benrings becoming heated so as to interfere with its effectiveness.
I ask the committee not to place high-speed engines upon the free list, because we cannot say to what extent the revenue may be affected if they do so.
– The Treasurer has obtained a very fair definition of a highspeed engine, and I have here a number of illustrations which will do more than any description to show what complicated machines they are. I do not raise any objection to the minimum number of revolutions prescribed, because high-speed engines will work much faster than that, and some of them are capable of being driven at 550 revolutions per minute. Since we have now decided upon a definition, I will follow the Minister in his proposal to impose a duty of 1 5 per cent. upon both classes of engines, because my sole desire was to place them on an equal footing.
– As the matter stands in the order of recommittal, we should not bc in a position to deal with it in the way we desire. I suggest, therefore, that the honorable member should withdraw his amendment and allow us to bring down a proposal to subject high-speed engines and turbines to a 1 5 per cent. duty.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
– I move-
That the following exemptions be added - “Electrical, pneumatic, and hydraulic driven machine tools.”
– They are nearly all free now.
– The Mort’s Dock and Engineering Company, of Sydney, whose works are situated in my electorate, have asked that these exemptions.shouldbe made, and I presume that they find that many of the tools which will come within the classification adopted in my amendment are not admitted free of duty.
– We have had this matter looked into very closely, and we consider that the terms of the honorable member’s amendment are too wide. The present exemptions include drilling, riveting, and tapping machines and other tools used in metal working, irrespective of the motive power used for driving them. These exemptions seem to go as far as is necessary except in one respect. Our attention has been . specially directed by the honorable member for Tasmania, Sir Edward Braddon, to the rock-boring percussion drills which are not yet placed on the list of exemptions. These machines are not made within the Commonwealth, and we are prepared to include them in the free list.
– Would the Minister not place all rock-boring machines on the same footing ?
– We are prepared at the present moment to place only the rockboring percussion drills on the free list, for the reasons T. have mentioned. The committee declined to exempt boring diamond drills from duty on the ground that they were being made here. Iam sureit would be a mistake if wo were to make an exemption of the general character proposed by the honorable member for Dalley, and 1 hope he will not press it in its present shape.
– I understand that the honorable member for Dalley desires to exempt tools used for making machinery, and that his amendment is not directed to placing upon the free list manufactured articles, such as the rock-drills referredto by the Minister. His exemption relates to the tools that are used in the manufacture’ of rock-drills and other machinery, and I think the committee would act wisely in meeting the honorable member’s wishes. I am sure that those who are attempting to make electrical machinery would prefer to have no protection upon the manufactured article if they were compelled to pay a duty upon their machine tools. We should assist in the development and application of electrical machinery in every possible way.
Mr. WILKS (Dalley).- This is the first occasion on which I have asked for anything on behalf of the largest engineering establishment in Australia, which is situated in my electorate. I am not proposing that any burdens shall be placed upon the people of
Australia for the benefit of this enterprise, but that the machine tools used in such works as those ofMort’s Dock and Engineering Company, which employ sometimes as many as 2,000 men, should be admitted free of duty. These tools are used in making such machines as the rock drills to which the Minister has referred, and are intended to afford extra facilities to those engaged in an industry which is of the utmost importance to the Commonwealth. The committee are to be asked to place upon the free list such tools of trade as sausage-stuffers, pork -scorers, sticking-knives, and even threelegged glue pots, and yet the Ministry do not seem favorably disposed towards my request that tools of trade which are of the utmost importance to the engineering industry shall be exempted from duty.
Mr. BATCHELOR (South Australia).The honorable member forDalley has made a great song about the firm which he has mentioned having abstained from asking for any special assistance. But there are many other large companies and firms, especially in the iron trade, which have not approached any honorable member with a view of obtaining assistance under the Tariff. I am somewhat in the dark as to how far the amendment goes. I understand that most of the tools contemplated by the amendment are already on the free list, and I do not see why we should limit the exemptions to tools driven by any particular motive power. It is desirable that all tools necessary in the construction of engines, iron-work, and machinery should be placed on the free list, and it is the wish of the committee, and of the Government, that they should be exempted ; but we should know what we are doing.
– I must ask the honorable member to withdraw the amendment. He can then telegraph for information as to what electrical, pneumatic, and hydraulic machine tools are already upon the free list. I believe that most of them are included in the schedule of exemptions. We can afterwards ascertain whether any of these tools which are not exempt from duty should be added to the free list. At the present time the Government are forced to oppose the amendment because it is so vague.
– I am quite willing to adopt that course.
– I am satisfied from inquiries I have made that 90 per cent. of the articles which the honorable member desires to exempt from duty are already upon the free list.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
– A mistake was made by the honorable member for Richmond in giving notice of a certain amendment which I wished to move, and as a result I find my name associated with a. proposal that the materials for sewing machines should be admitted free. My desire is to subject sewing machine stands to a duty of 20 per cent., and I should like to move the amendment in that form.
– The question referred to this committee is limited to a proposal to exempt the materials for sewing machines from duty.
Mr.MAUGER. - Seeing that a mistake has been made, I ask permission to withdraw the proposal, with a view to securing the recommittal of the item at a later staged
Mr. SYDNEY SMITH (Macquarie).I think that the proposal as it appears upon the schedule of amendments is a sensible one. From a free-trade point of view it is just as good as was the speech of the honorable member for Moreton the other evening. When I first saw this proposal in print, I thought that the honorable member had at last entered the free-trade fold, and I am sorry to find that a mistake has been made in tabling it in its present form.
– I move -
That the following exemption be added : - “Saddle-trees.”
I am in receipt of information from Queensland that the saddle-trees manufactured in Victoria are not what they are represented to be. In this connexion Mr. Wieneke,. whois one of the principal saddlers within the Commonwealth, writes -
I am quite in accord with Mr. Johnson that the duty upon saddle-trees should be removed. Could we get a decent article in the colonies it might be different, but I have had the Melbournemade tree, and it is utterly unsuitable for the class of saddle chiefly required in Queensland. What I have seen are fit only for cheap saddles and light work, and are generally used about the cities. As a great portion of the population of the colonies make their living in the saddle, and are of the poor class, this duty is a further tax on them.
Every one familiar with the subject must be aware that these articles of Australian manufacture are not so well made as are the imported. I do not say that our workmen are not so skilled as are those abroad, but they do nob put the same class of workmanship into the locally-made article. A second letter bearing upon this question, which I have received from another constituent, says -
I take the liberty of addressing you on a mutter which concerns our trade generally, and that is, to use your influence to have saddle-trees placed on the free list when they come to be considered . They are now subject to a duty of 25 per cent. ; previously they came in free in Queensland. Ko doubt there will be a big fight amongst the Victorian members to help the duty ou, as there are ii few made in Victoria. I would point out that the Victorian tree is not nearly as good as the borne tree, neither in shape, timber, nor anything else, and it will be a great hardship if we are compelled to use them, which in some cases we would have to do.
Every one must know that an enormous number of saddles are used in the western portion of Queensland. The saddle is an article which is practically the raw material of the bushman. The lives of nine-tenths of the stockmen engaged in the western portion of Queensland frequently depend upon a good saddle. I, therefore, appeal to the Minister for Trade and Customs to place saddle-trees upon the free list.
– I shall heartily support the amendment. In this connexion I may mention that two or three years ago a saddlery firm commenced business in the district which I represent. Upon my last visit to Bathurst I was asked to visit this particular establishment. I did so, and was assured by the head of the firm that in consequence of the duty which had been levied upon saddle-trees and other articles, they had had to dispense with half their employes. Formerly they sold a number of saddles at about £2 5s. each.
– That is cheap.
– That is the wholesale price at which these saddles were supplied to customers in the western district. Owing, however, to the increased cost of the articles used in the manufacture, this gentleman was compelled to raise prices, with the result that his establishment became overstocked. Even protectionists do not like to see the number of employes reduced. I believe there is one establishment in Victoria where these saddle-trees are made ; but surely the whole people of the Commonwealth are not to be taxed in order to keep two or three men employed? It would be better to pay these men their wages, and allow them to walk about idle, rather than inflict such an injustice on people who have sufficient difficulties to contend with.
– If saddle-trees can be made in Victoria they can be made elsewhere.
– But the saddletrees made in Victoria are not up to the standard. The manufacturer to whom I have alluded assures me that it is impossible to turn out an excellent article with the saddle-trees supplied from the Victorian establishment. In any case, I believe that even from this one establishment very few saddle-trees are supplied.
– The establishment turns out from 20 to 25 dozen per week.
– And in order to maintain that production it is proposed to tax the whole of the people of the Commonwealth.
– The industry has been started in Sydney.
– Sydney industries are able to hold their own without protection. This duty may not appear heavy, but every little taxation ‘adds to the cost of production, and makes manufacturers less able to turn out an article which will command a trade in the various States. I do not say that the duty on the saddle-trees alone caused all the increase in price ; but the taxation on this and other articles required in the saddle-making trade has, as I have already said, had the effect of compelling a manufacturer to reduce the number of his hands. The saddle maker to whom I have specially referred, is a struggling man who went straight from the bench into the trade, without any large capital ; and immediately he had formed a little connexion, he found himself handicapped with these duties.
– Thanks to great national resources which are not affected by the fiscal question, New South Wales is in a position of which we are all proud. I do not see, however, what bearing that fact has on the manufacture of saddletrees. In the course of my life I have, perhaps, spent more years in the saddle than has any other honorable member of this Parliament, and I ought to know something about saddles. As to the relative prices of local saddles and imported saddles, I know nothing; but on the question of quality, the opponents of this duty are taking the wrong line. Saddle-trees of a quality as good as any produced in any part of the world can be made in Victoria.
– But they are not made.
– When, two years ago, the Victorian Government were about to send a contingent to South Africa, a particular pattern of saddle was asked for, and a committee of the Cabinet, composed of expert horsemen, were appointed to supervise. When the contingent reached South Africa, the saddle-tree made in Victoria received unstinted praise from the Imperial authorities, who, in letters, which I suppose are now in the Defence department, expressed the opinion that these were the best saddles that had been sent to the seat of war.
– What about the saddles of the first contingent which the present Treasurer sent to Africa 1
– I have not heard anything detrimental to that contingent. Speaking from memory, I believe that the saddles to which I have particularly ref erred were so satisfactory that the Imperial authorities contemplated adapting the pattern for general use in South Africa.
– These saddles were made from a South African .pattern sent here.
– But under the supervision of the committee of the Cabinet the saddles were altered in many ways.
– Were these saddles not made to a special order from a South African model 1
Mi’. A. McLEAN. - The saddles were made to order here, and it was demonstrated that we could turn out a saddle to any pattern asked for. I have used many locally-made saddles, the trees and every portion of which were as good as could be found in any saddles produced elsewhere. At any rate, I know that the local saddles are a great improvement on the imported article, and, as an old horseman, I should not like to use the latter to any great extent. That, of course, may be a matter of custom, but I venture to say that in Australia both saddles and horsemen are equal to those in any part of the world.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta).The honorable member for Gippsland has given us an illustration similar to many which have been used during the Tariff debate. I shall relate the circumstances under which the saddles referred to by the honorable member were made, after the supply of the saddles for the first contingent had been bungled.
– There was a similar bungle in free-trade New South Wales.
– The saddles of the first contingent were good enough, but were not of the right pattern.
– A special committee of the Victorian Cabinet was appointed to rectify previous errors. The committee directed the Victorian makers to turn out the saddle according to pattern, and practically stood over the makers while the work was being done. Is that any criiterion of what goes on in the ordinary, every-day manufacture of saddles 1 I dare say saddles equal to any in the world can be made in Victoria ; but the complaint is that the proper material is not used. There is no complaint about the particular saddles which were made in a special way under the direct supervision of experts from the Victorian Cabinet, and it would be almost impossible to get a bad saddle on such conditions. But that is not the sort of saddle which is ordinarily produced, and it is of the ordinary saddle that complaint is made. I recollect that when some of the saddles which were sent with the first contingent came back to Australia they were found almost as flat as pancakes. I want to guard myself against saying that good saddles cannot be manufactured in the Commonwealth.
– Saddle-trees can be made here to any pattern.
– Why are they not made 1
– The honorable member for Gippsland must show that ordinary saddles made in the ordinary course of business are equally as good as saddles made under the special circumstances to which he has referred.
– I say that for colonial rough riding, the colonial saddle is infinitely better for both horse and man than is the imported saddle.
– That is the statement of the honorable member, and we may accept his preference for what it is worth. I dare say that another man sitting on the same saddle would pronounce it to be of no use at all, because people have different likes and dislikes in the matter of saddles as in regard to other things. What I contend for is that we should allow the makers and the users of saddles to say what trees they will have. I do not run down the Victorianmade saddles ; but if they ave the best in the world, as the honorable member for Gippsland says they are, we need not protect their makers by placing a duty upon trees. Honorable members opposite are continually telling us that they can lick creation - that they can make engines and machinery superior to imported engines and machinery, and the best saddles in the world. But when we ask for the admission of imported goods free of duty they say - “ If you force our manufacturers to compete on ordinary terms with those of other countries you will kill our industries.” The honorable member for Macquarie has cited a case in which a saddle-maker’s business has been practically ruined through his being forced to buy colonially-made trees in preference to the imported trees.
– If the duty on trees is continued, he will have to get rid of as many hands as are employed in the whole saddletree-making business in Australia.
– According to the honorable member for Gippsland, that man ought to be growing fabulously rich ; but if those who buy his saddles prefer imported trees, he cannot refuse to supply them. The other day, when we were discussing a proposal to exempt machinery used in tanneries, the Minister told us, in regard to a particular machine which was made in the Commonwealth, not that it was equal to the imported machine, but that it would dp for. the purpose. Therefore we are to pile on taxation to keep out of the market machinery superior to and more effective than that which can be made here. Thus we see how the principle of protection eats into the heart of progress.
Mr. HENRY WILLIS (Robertson).The honorable member for Gippsland said that he has spent more years in the saddle than any other man in the Commonwealth.
– I did not say any other man in the Commonwealth ; I said any other man in this Parliament.
– However that may be, he has been many years out of the saddle, and the time he spent in it was during a period when all saddles contained English trees, because Australian trees had not begun to be manufactured. No doubt he will admit that the saddles he used in those days were excellent.
– They are not to be compared with the saddles that have been obtainable of late years.
– In those days the best workmen were to be found throughout Australia in nearly every kind of industry. Nowadays, however, those employed in the various factories are merely “hands,” and do not go through a complete course of training in saddle-making, or any other industry.
– Does not that remark apply to England?
– It applies to every part of the world. The English saddle is not suitable for Australian use, and very few English saddles are used here, except for riding about the streets on a cob. But while the Australian saddle is well made, and is used in every State of the Union, the Australian tree is not a good one. If it were better than the English tree, I should be in favour of using it in preference to the English tree, because it would make the saddle less fatiguing to both the horse and its rider, and would not injure the horse’s back. But as the English tree is better than the Australian tree, it must be used, no matter what duty may be charged upon it. I have for many years possessed the patent rights in a saddle-tree ; one of the largest houses in this city, and in every big city of the union, were my agents for it, and I obtained royalty upon the trees made. I know, however, that the Australian tree is harder upon the horses than the English tree. If honorable members want to test the truth of my statement they had better ask the opinion of the nearest saddler.
– What does the saddler know about the effect of the saddle upon the horse ?
– A first-class saddler who has a reputation to lose knows how a saddle will bear upon a horse, according to the weight of the man riding upon it.
– And cannot the saddlers also tell how different saddle-trees affect horses ?
– Has the honorable and learned member ever seen a saddletree ? It is a thing very much like a human jaw, and has to be made up before the saddle is built upon it. It is composed chiefly of wood, held together with iron. I have had a great deal of experience in connexion with saddle-trees, both as an importer and as the holder of patent rights, and I am of opinion that the English tree should be imported free of duty, so that our manufacturers may have an opportunity to copy it as they copy every good importation. Thus in time, perhaps, if we have a wood as suitable as the English beech, we shall be able to make excellent saddle-trees, and to dispense with the English article. As soon as the Australian saddle-tree is recognised as better than the English saddle-tree, people will cease to import the English article.
– A short time ago the whole of the representatives of Queensland united with others to place a duty upon timber; and now we have an honorable member from the same State asking that an article which is constructed for the most part of timber shall also be admitted free of duty. If the amendment is carried, the raw material of the colonial manufacturer will be taxed, while the finished article will be admitted free of duty. We were told that the Queensland timber was the best in the world for almost any purpose, and for the benefit of that State we were urged, on this representation, to impose a duty upon imported timber.
– We do not grow beech, which is used in the manufacture of saddle-trees, and I am quite willing that that timber should be admitted free.
– If it is decided that saddle-trees should be admitted free, I hope the timber duties will be reconsidered, so that the raw material of the colonial manufacturers may be exempt from duty. We have heard letters read from two small saddlers in Queensland asking that saddle-trees shall be admitted free, but there has been no general demand from the trade.
– One of the manufacturers who wrote to me, sends saddles al] over the Commonwealth.
– The saddlers who wrote to the honorable member for Maranoa probably did not vote for him - I am pretty sure Mr. Wieneke did not - but they knew that they could work him on the free-trade ticket in regard to this matter. This proposal should not be discussed as a manufacture of metal, because fully 75 per cent, of the material in saddles-trees is wood. The honorable member for Gippsland has pointed out very forcibly that colonial saddle-trees and colonial saddles are as good as any in the world. The honorable member for Parramatta has referred to the saddles sent away with the contingents to South Africa, but I would point out that there was no complaint made about the saddle-trees. In regard to the first contingent, the complaints as to their equipment were general, and were not confined to the articles supplied from Victoria. A son of the honorable member for Gippsland went away with the first contingent, and he used the same horse and the same saddle for fourteen months. This saddle was constructed upon a colonial tree, and Mr. McLean, junior,- said that the complaints regarding the colonial saddles were gross! y exaggerated. The honorablemember for Robertson has told us that workmen as a rule are not as good to-day as they were twenty years ago. I do not agree with that. Under the present system of specialization, much finer work can be clone right through than was possible many years ago, when one man executed work which is now performed in parts by, perhaps, a dozen. ‘
Mr. PAGE (Maranoa). - The honorable member for Yarra has referred to the saddlers in my electorate who have written to me asking for the exemption of saddletrees. In view of the secrecy of the ballot, it is impossible for me to say whether they voted for me or not, but that is immaterial, because as the representative of the district of Maranoa T am doing my bare duty in studying the interests of the electors there. I told the people in that part of the Commonwealth, when I was submitting myself as a candidate at the federal elections, that I was a free-trader, and they knew perfectly well that I was in favour of admitting free of duty not only saddle-trees, but saddles and everything else, as far as possible. No doubt the Victorian workmen are as good as any in the world, and they can make the best of saddle-trees. I am not finding fault with their work, but with the material that is put into the trees. It is idle to say that the saddle-trees and saddles sent away to South Africa with the first contingent were of superior quality, because we know that the boots and saddles with which the first contingent were equipped were found to be useless upon the arrival of the men in South Africa, and had to be replaced. The locally - manufactured saddle-tree is, as a rule, made of rubbishy timber, and is about 2 lbs. heavier than is the English saddle-tree. This extra weight is a very important consideration to stockmen and others, especially if their horses are in poor condition. I hope the committee will see their way to grant the first request I have made during the Tariff discussion.
– I regard saddle-trees as the raw material of the saddler, and therefore I shall support the proposal to exempt them from duty. “We have already allowed spokes, naves, &c, which are the raw material of the carriagebuilder, to be admitted free, and in common justice we should place the saddlers in an equally good position. My view is that if we cannot produce an article out of timber which is grown within the Commonwealth, we should admit that timber free. Yet the committee have placed a duty upon beech, which is just as much a part of a saddle as a spoke is a part of a carriage- wheel. The “ tree “ is such a necessary portion of a saddle that I desire to give the saddler an opportunity of obtaining the best possible material for its manufacture. It is of the utmost importance to stockriders and others that only the very best of material should be used in the manufacture of saddles. I have known horses to suffer from sore backs, resulting from the use of bad saddle-trees. This is one of the most important matters that has been brought before the committee, and feeling that I owe a duty to the saddlery industry, I shall heartily support the amendment.
– I am very glad that this matter has been brought forward. Numbers of our stockriders, boundary-riders, and others practically live in the saddle, and as the honorable member for the Gwydir has pointed out, it is a matter of vital importance to them that the best material only shall be used in its manufacture. The “ saddle-tree “ is the foundation of the saddle, and if that foundation be defective the saddle will soon become useless. The manufacture of saddle-trees is therefore a very important industry. Only recently we had an instance of the utterly useless saddles which would have been supplied to the troops about to proceed to South Africa had the inferior material used in their manufacture not been detected. That fact indicates the hardship which our stockriders and boundary-riders have had to endure for years. I wish to enable them to secure the best materials, and shall therefore support the amendment.
– A few honorable members have referred to the duty upon beech, which is the timber used in the manufacture of saddle-tress. But I would point out that there is no need to pay 6d. in duty upon imported beech, because there is an illimitable supply of that timber in Queensland.
– Is it the same timber as the English beech ?
– It is better, because it is tougher and will last longer. I would further remind honorable members that the saddle-trees which are imported into Australia are not used in England. At the great horse-show which was held in Dublin, not one saddle-tree was exhibited resembling the pattern common to Australia. The Australian “ tree “ is the result of much alteration and modification of the English article. The Wagga Wagga saddle is celebrated for its lines of beauty and workmanship. So also are the saddles manufactured at Ballarat and Bathurst. I have had a saddle for 22 years, and would not part with it for any saddle which can be manufactured to-day. On the present occasion I shall vote for free trees.
– I should not have spoken on this question but for remarks which have been made concerning the saddles supplied to the first contingent sent from Victoria. Personally, I had nothing to do with the selection of those saddles, but I am acquainted with the majority of the men who used them ; and I say that the fault did not lie in the saddles themselves, but in the fact that we did not appreciate the work which they would be called upon to do. We were not alone in in our lack of appreciation of the conditions in South Africa ; and it was the enormous equipment which the saddle had to carry, in addition to the man, which caused the trouble. There are no more careless riders, magnificent though they be, than the riders of Australia, who will ride long distances on hot days, and treat their horses in the most cruel and unintelligent fashion. It was this carelessness that was undoubtedly responsible for the greater part of the difficulty which arose in South Africa.
– Were not a lot of the saddles condemned before they were sent to Africa?
-They were not condemned on account of the saddle-trees, but mainly on account of the panel leather, which, however, is not a very important part of the saddle. The saddle-trees were not condemned, and no trouble was caused in South Africa on this score.
– Were the saddletrees of iron or of wood ?
– They were a mixture of iron and wood. In the light of experiment and experience, we in Victoria were able to devise a saddle which, as the honorable member for Gippsland has said, was looked upon by the Imperial authorities as the very best sent to South Africa from any part of the world. We have been told by the honorable member for Parramatta that some of the New South Wales saddles came back from South Africa completely flattened out, but he did not say that these saddles were formed on Australian-made trees.
– I do not know.
– The chances are that in free-trade New South Wales the saddles were fashioned on imported trees.
– Why should that not apply to saddles formed on Victorian saddle-trees?
– Surely it is not contended by honorable members of the Opposition that protectionist Victoria could compete with free-trade New South Wales? We have been told that this is an unimportant industry with a small turn-out ; and it is is only reasonable to suppose that 90 per cent. of the saddles made in New South Wales are fashioned on imported saddle-trees. Up to ten or fifteen years ago, the majority of the saddle-trees used in Victoria were imported ; but we can, and have, made in this State saddle-trees which are suitable to the requirements of Australia, and have answered every purpose. The allegations made as to the want of excellence in the Australian article are not justified by facts. We have already placed a duty on one part of the saddle, and the honorable member for Canobolas struck the right key when he said that saddle-tree making is an important industry. While saddle-trees do form part of the raw material of the saddle-maker, the former are a finished article in themselves, and require excellence of materials and a certain amount of proficiency in manufacture. Knowing that we can and have produced this article here, and that the maker will be subject to a certain tax on his raw material, a measure of protection is justified.
– I wonder what we shall hear next in derogation of Australian industry. It is practically suggested that in this land of the horse and the rider we do not know much about saddles, and that we have not the capacity to make a proper saddle-tree. But men of practical experience have deposed to the excellence of our local manufacture, and it is idle for honorable members to attempt to discount the evidence of the honorable member for Gippsland.
– Honorable members on this side have had quiteasmuch experience as the honorable member for Gippsland.
– I do not think so.
– That is a matter of opinion.
– No ; it is a matter of fact. Every one knows what experience the honorable member for Gippsland has had in Australia, and an honorable member must be very thin-skinned, indeed, if he thinks he is placed on a lower plane when he is compared with the honorable member for Gippsland in this connexion. The Government are further supported in their view by the failure of the imported article in Australia. The honorable member for Gwydir has told us that the horses on his property suffer from sore backs, the result of saddles made on imported saddle-trees.
– The honorable member for Gwydir does not know whether or not the sores are caused by imported saddletrees.
– The honorable member for Macquarie gladly quoted the honorable member for Gwydir as an authority, because the latter is going to vote in a certain direction ; but it is a fact that the honorable member for Gwydir believes the saddles in question to have been built on imported saddle-trees. Then we have the honorable member for Corangamite, who tells us that on his estates he uses nothing but the local saddle-tree.
– I do not think the honorable member said that.
– The question is not what the honorable member for. Macquarie thinks, but what the honorable member for Corangamite said. The note which we have received from our Customs officers on this particular item is as follows : -
A well-established industry, which has shown the desirability of local manufacture in a decided way by supplying the hasty demands for the various South African contingents.
Further inquiry has been made from saddlemakers, and one of the largest manufacturers in Victoria, who is distinguished for his very pronounced free-trade views, tells us that he uses none but the local articles, which give the greatest satisfaction. Protection has been given to the saddle-maker, and we are new considering the incidental industry of saddle-tree making, which has grown into considerable proportions under a protective duty. Why should we protect the saddle-maker and not protect the saddletree maker ? There is a protective duty on the timber used in making saddle-trees, and if we determine to alter the provisions we have already made, we shall have the saddlemaker and the timber grower protected, while a similar privilege is refused to the saddle-tree maker, who has established an industry which is a credit to the various States. I trust that, under the circumstances, honorable members will not be led away by the blandishments of the honorable member for Maranoa. It would be a privilege to vote for the honorable member’s proposal, after his pathetic and personal appeal. We all like and respect the honorable member, but in a matter of this kind we must be guided by more serious political considerations, and vote as our consciences dictate and as the necessities of the industry require.
– As one who has had an arm and a rib broken, several teeth smashed, his head knocked about, his cheek injured, with an occasional black eye, as the results of crosscountry work, I think I may pose as somewhat of an expert. I intend to support the motion of the honorable member for Maranoa, after a few words of explanation. During the last twenty years I have never bought an English saddle, because I believe that the shape turned out in the States is better for our use here. English saddles, though excellent for English purposes, are too flat for colonial use. Trotting is the custom at home, and for this the English saddle is suited ; but in Australia to canter is the rule. As regards workmanship, we can in the States get a saddle of a shape which is a sort of cross between the English and colonial saddle, and which is best adapted for our use. At the same time, we are now dealing with saddle-trees, and I do not think that any one will allege that the ordinary colonial tree, for the purpose of withstanding a smash, is as good as the’ English tree. The saddle-tree manufactured in England for colonial use is, according to the best opinions, superior to the local article.
– They have better timber on the spot in England.
– That may be, but they are subject to the conditions of free-trade, and they turn out an article of better workmanship and material. The general turnout of the English saddle, apart from its shape, is probably better than that of the Australian saddle. We know that its leather isbetter, and so is its general finish ; but the Australian saddle is better fitted for the peculiar riding of the Australians. The Englishman rides with a long stirrup leather, while the Australian rides with short leathers, and uses knee pads. As I had intended to move this amendment myself, I shall certainly vote for it.
Mr. SYDNEY SMITH (Macquarie). - I wish to remind honorable members that the English saddle-trees are generally very much lighter than the Australian saddletrees. Those who are interested in racing know that a penalty of 2 lbs. makes a great difference in a horse’s time, and, of course, any additional weight is felt by a horse used for other purposes than racing. It has been pointed out, too, that English saddlemakers are now arranging to make saddles according to the Australian shape. The honorable member for Corangamite, whohas used both English and Australian saddles, will, I think, agree with me that the English saddle-tree is lighter than the Australian saddle-tree. I do not think it is fair to tax the whole of the whole Commonwealth for the benefit of the makers of perhaps twenty dozen saddle-trees in Australia.
Question - That the following exemption be added : - “ Saddle trees” - put. The committee divided -
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Sir John Quick for Sir Malcolm McEacharn) agreed to -
That the following exemption be added : - “ Bevelling machines for glass-making.”
Amendment (by Mr. Joseph Cook for Mr. McColl) proposed -
That the following exemption be added : - “Chilled cast shares.”
– The Government must oppose this amendment. The matter has already been fully discussed, and it appears to us unfair to admit one particular kind of shore free, arid to make all other shares dutiable.
– I have here a lot of correspondence showing that in New South Wales the sellers of these shares have been obliged to increase the price of them since the duty was imposed. One country merchant writes to say that he cannot sell them profitably for less than ls. 6d. per dozen more than was being asked for them prior to the imposition of the duty. According to the price list of the Clyde Engineering
Company, the average increase made by them was ls. 7d. per dozen, and the average increase made by storekeepers, 2s. per dozen. Under their old quotations a dis- ‘ count of 10 per cent, was allowed, and under the new quotations the discount is 20 per cent. Making an allowance for that, I find that prior to the imposition of the duty, the price of cast-chilled shares to fit ploughs with Hornsby’s patent D foot, for Nos. 0 to 3, was 7s. Sd., and after the imposition of the duty 9s. 2£d. - an increase of ls. 61,d The price of Nos. 4 to 8. before the imposition of the duty was 8s. Id., and after its. imposition 9s. 7d£. - an increase of ls. 6Jd. I think that these shares should be placed upon the free list.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta).The Government are acting quite consistently in opposing this amendment. Why should any patented article be allowed to come in free, whilst something else that can be manufactured in Victoria can do the work. The fact that the local article will prove more expensive, and less efficient, is a matter of no concern to the Government, and they are content that our producers should be handicapped in the international struggle for existence. They should not stop at imposing a duty upon patented laboursaving machines, or improved appliances of any kind, but they should prohibit their introduction into the Commonwealth, and destroy any that might b)- any chance be landed here. The proposal that these shares should be admitted free, coming as it does from a protectionist honorable member, is quite a shock to us, and must also have caused surprise to the Government, who do not care to do anything to facilitate production. It is most improper for the honorable member for Echuca to endeavour to make a breach in the little Chinese wall, with which the protectionists desire that we should surround ourselves, and I admire the courage of the Government in resisting his efforts. Their action is, no doubt, absurd, but it is perfectly consistent.
– I have no doubt that the honorable member for Echuca, although a protectionist, has very substantial reasons, from the point of view of his own constituents, for this proposal. It is a matter of very great importance to the farmers that plough-shares should be obtainable as cheaply as possible. The honorable member for South Australia, Mr. Glynn, has shown that since the imposition of the duty the price of plough-shares has been increased very considerably, and that the effect has been to place a very heavy burden upon the agricultural community. The Treasurer has taken exception to the exemption of chilled cast shares on the ground that, although they are patented, and cannot be made here, they will enter into competition with the locally-made plough-shares ; but I should like to remind him that we have decided to exempt from duty disc ploughs, which are not made here, but, at the same time, enter into competition with other kinds of ploughs, which are locally manufactured. I hope the amendment will be agreed to.
– The Treasurer is mistaken in his view that these shares are patented.
– The Hornsby share is patented.
– The shares are not patented, although they fit the Hornsby ploughs, which are. I hope that in the interests of agriculturists, who are very slightly considered under the Tariff, we shall agree to the amendment.
Mr. BATCHELOR (South Australia).Many honorable members are apparently under a misapprehension. The Hornsby shares are not made here, but similar chilled steel shares, which are as good in every way, are made in Australia by foreign and other makers, and the idea that these articles are something new and specially patented is quite wrong. I have no hesitation in saying that the local manufacture of plough-shares has had the effect of materially reducing the price of those articles.
Question - That the following exemption be added : - “chilled cast shares” - put. The committee divided -
Question so resolved in the negative.
Amendment (by Mr. Kirwan) proposed -
That the following exemption be added : - “ Garment drafting machine. “
Amendment agreed to.
– On behalf of the honorable member for Melbourne, I move -
That the following exemptions be added : - Butchers’ tools or tools of trade, viz., block brushes (steel), bowls (galvanized, hand), balances (clock-faced, spring), boilers (sand), butchers’ choppers and cleavers, fillers or sausage staffers and parts thereof, fat cutting machines, hoods and gamerels of all shapes, ham and beef needles and sampling tryers, ham stringers, knives (working, siding, sticking, skinning), knives and forks (cooks’), presses (lard and beef), presses (tongue and brawn), pithing spears for killing, slaughter-house pulleys, pole-axes, pig scrapers, pork scorers, steel yards, steels (butchers’), saws (pork packers’, beef, mutton, bacon), saws (beef splitting), saws (butchers’), tenon and bow saws and extra blades and parts for same,salimeters, shoulder trays, thermometers.
This proposal is submitted at the instance of the Master Butchers’ and Live Stock Association of Victoria. I find, however, that a number of the articles included in it are already upon the free list, and I wish to ask the Treasurer if he has any objection to placing the remainder in the schedule of exemptions ?
– A number of these articles including choppers and cleavers, pole-axes, and saws of all kinds are already upon the free list. The others are dutiable under various headings, and we cannot see our way to comply with the request that they shall be admitted free.
Item 75. - Rails, fish-plates, &c. . . . ad valorem, . 15 per cent.
Amendment (by Sir George Turner) agreed to -
That the word “ fish-bolts “ be inserted after the word “ fish-plates.”
Item, as amended, agreed to.
– I move-
That the followingexemptions be added : - “Machine tools, viz. - Machines for making metallic capsules (under metal working. ) Standard ironframe plate glass polishers (under glass making). Punching and shearing machines (under metal working. Ship’s fittings, viz. : - Propellers, blades, and bosses, liners for cylinders, shafting, winches, windlasses, steering gear, feed water heaters, feed pumps, evaporaters, and auxiliary condensers ; provided such fittings form duplicate parts of, and are used in connexion with the ship in or for which they were imported ; steel and steel rimmed wheels for coal or shale trucks and waggons.
I would point out that machines for making metallic capsules, and standard iron-frame plate glass polishers are already upon the free list. The Government have made inquiries in regard to the other articles enumerated under this item, and have arrived at the conclusion that they ought to be exempt from duty. Steel rimmed wheels I understand are used in connexion with the coal mining industry, and the Government are satisfied that they are “ not likely to be made within the Commonwealth. We think, therefore, that all these articles may fairly be exempted.
Amendment agreed to.
Item 80 - Oils, viz. : - (Including Castor) . . . N.E.I., per gal lon, 6d.’”
– On behalf of the honorable member for West Sydney I desire the committee to review the dutj upon sewing machine oils. I therefore move -
That the following exemption be added : - “ Sewing machine oil.”
There is a duty of 6d. per gallonimposed upon oil used for sewing machine purposes That constitutes an extremely high rate and the honorable member for WestSydney thought that advantage should be taken of this opportunity to review the whole matter.
Mr. SYDNEY SMITH (Macquarie).This is a small matter so far as the revenue is concerned, but it may be important to some industries. We all recognize that we should tax those who are compelled to use sewing machines as lightly as possible. The matter is such a small one that I think the Treasurer might well agree to place these oils upon the free list.
– While we might be disposed to agree to the proposal of the honorable member, I would point out that the adoption of such a course would inevitably create confusion. We have already declared that oils in bottles of certain sizes shall be dutiable at a specific rate. If they are imported in bulk they are dutiable at a very much lower rate. What I fear is that if we exempt sewing machine oils from duty, a demand will immediately arise to exempt a number of oils which are used for other purposes. It would take a very long time for any person to use a gallon of oil in connexion with bicycle or sewing machine work, and I fear that if we agree to the proposal of the honorable member confusion will result.
Amendment (by Mr. Kingston) agreed to-
That the word “ viz.” be omitted, and that the word “other” be inserted before the words “in cluding castor.”
– I move-
That the following now item be” inserted : - “Solar oil, residual oil, naphtha, benzine, benzoline, gasoline, on and after the 12th April, 1902, per gallon,1d.”
This item has been added to the Tariff in consequence of representations made by the honorable and learned member for South Australia, Mr. Glynn. It has reference to oils which are used for driving certain engines. In regard to solar and residual oil, naphtha, benzine, benzoline and gasoline, the present duty is 6d. per gallon in some cases, and 3d. in others. Some of these oils are worth only 2d. or2½d. per gallon, and in view of this fact the Government propose to levy the very low duty of1d. per gallon.
– I still think that the rate proposed is much too high. Orginally, the duty operating represented £3 2s. 6d. per ton, and the amount which is now proposed constitutes a tax of over £1 per ton. The value of liquid fuel is about 30s. per ton, and as a ton contains about 250 gallons, a duty of1d. per gallon represents a tax of about 66 per cent. Such aduty, I am informed, may stop the importation of liquid fuel. From a newspaper extract I learn that this particular class of fuel is coming largely into use both in England and America. It is stated that some of the ocean steamers can obtain 15,000 tons more lifting power with 2,000 tons of oil than they can secure from 3,000 tons of coal. Some of the steamers of the HamburgAmerican line have latterly been using liquid fuel in preference to coal, and I believe that other companies, such as the Canard, andWhite Star Companies, have been subjecting this fuel to an exhaustive trial with a view to seeing whether it is advisable to substitute it for coal, or to use it in conjunction with that commodity. I also understand that the South Australian railways are considering the propriety of using liquid fuel. The Great Eastern Railway company, of England, has recently used liquid fuel in conjunction with coal for the purpose of supplying the motive power for their engines. When this matter was discussed upon a former occasion it was urged that my proposal would unfairly handicap the coal-producers of the continent.
– According to the honorable and learned member’s own statement it has largely taken the place of coal.
– No; the coal can still find as big a market as it enjoyed previously. The price is not affected, and I will show the Treasurer why. I have here an extract from an English newspaper, published on the authority of the representatives of the Cardiff coal-mining interests ; and from this it appears that in 1900 there were only 20,000,000 tons of oil turned out, as against 750,000,000 tons of coal and lignite, while there were available for export in producing countries only 5,000,000 tons of oil as against 180,000,000 tons of coal. Though liquid fuel is becoming somewhat popular, the supply conditions “prevent any injurious competition with coal. In any case we ought not to prevent suggested economies of the kind by a prohibitive duty on coal.
– We are not stopping the importation of these oils.
– Of course it is a question of what the duty ought to be, but it has been strongly urged on me that a duty of1d. per ton, or any duty higher than 10 per cent., would considerably restrict, if not stop, the importation of liquid fuel. Solar oil is used in conjunction with coal for making gas, and it appears that a much less expensive plant can be used if the two are combined. I believe it has been found in Dunedin, Sydney, Perth, and Auckland, that a mixture of solar oil and coal produces better and more economical gas with improved lighting results. For that reason I think the duty on solar oil - which duty is not quite so heavy as that on other oils, owing to the difference in value - ought to be much lower than is proposed. With a view of testing the feeling of the committee, I move -
That the amendment be amended by the omission of the figure “1d.” with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words ” ad valorem 10 per cent.”
Mr. CONROY (Werriwa).- If the committee adopt the proposal of the Government, we shall place on residual oil as high a duty as that imposed on the oils extracted from it. The residual oil is worth about 30s. per ton at the port of shipment, and, I suppose, cannot be landed here under £2 5s. per ton ; and a duty of 1d. per gallon - which is £1 per ton - will mean about 75 per cent. The duty will practically prevent the introduction of the oil to this country. One of the great advantages of the use of liquid fuel could be found in connexion with our suburban railways, on which I think it ought to be brought into use at oncein order to put an end to the smoke and dust nuisance. It is not pretended, or even urged, that liquid fuel is likely to take the place of coal. The more we look into the question, the more we find that coal cannot be supplanted in this way. We know, however, that where the cost of carriage inland is very high, it is cheaper to send a ton of liquid fuel than to send a ton of coal ; but liquid fuel cannot be expected to compete with coal in Sydney, or even in Melbourne. If it becomes a question whether a ton of oil or a ton of coal shall be sent inland, the extra heat-giving power of the one becomes a considerable factor in some of the industries carried on in the country. The use of this oil may tend, to a certain extent, to decentralize manufactures which, at present, can be carried on only in large cities or at seaport towns. One of the tendencies of the age is to resist centralization, which, in the opinion of many people, is increasing too rapidly ; and if in any way wecan equalize matters by reducing the impost on liquid fuel, we ought to do so. The effect of the duty of £1 per ton will be to prohibit the use of liquid fuel, and it cannot be right, even from a protectionist point of view, to impose the same duty on this commodity as on naptha, benzoline, and petroleum. It would be advisable in the interests of the Railway departments of States like Western Australia and South Australia - and also in the interests of the railways over a large part of Victoria - to ascertain whether liquid fuel cannot be brought into use. From information which has been afforded to me it would appear that the amount which could in this way be saved in the cost of fuel is considerable, and I trust that the Government will see their way to place residual oil on the free list. I do not complain of the duty proposed on the other oils, although from my point of view it is extremely high.
– I agree with the honorable and learned member for Werriwa that there ought to be a difference made between the cheap oils and the dearer products. Solar oil is produced in New South Wales, but naptha, benzoline, and gasoline are imported, and the duty on the latter, even at1d. per lb., will considerably interfere with certain industries. A duty of1d. on benzine, for instance, is a very serious charge, as I think I shall show when I quote some figures. This product is used for oil engines, and the Ministry have insisted on encouraging by means of a considerable duty the manufacture of those engines within the Commonwealth. But what is the use of encouraging the manufacture of oil engines when we discourage their use by imposing a heavy duty on the necessary fuel? Under the original proposal of6d. per gallon on benzine, it has been found from actual experience that a small timber scow, trading on our coasts, and fitted with an oil engine, would have to pay£240 per annum. It can easily be seen that if that £240 be divided by six, the scow will under the present proposal have to pay £40 per year extra for fuel : and that cannot be regarded as an encouragement of the use ofoil-engines. If these oil-engines for certain purposes are superior to steam engines, and enable certain trades to compete more successfully with importations, their use should be encouraged. I am afraid that the amendment of the honorable and learned member for South Australia, Mr. Glynn, whilst it may be quite right so far as solar and residual oils are concerned, will mean an increase in the duty on some of the other oils named in the schedule.
SirGeorgeTurner. - It will mean a pretty considerable increase on the duty charged on other oils.
– I suggest that the honorable and learned member should separate his proposal, and move solar and residual oil at 10 per cent., and that the Government might make the other oils free, or accept a lower duty than1d. per gallon, as their use is very important to certain trades. The duty of1d. might be obliterated, or at any rate reduced by one-half. As regards some opposition which has been shown to the use of liquid fuel, it appears to me very absurd, if in certain parts of the Commonwealth this fuel is superior to coal, and enables something to be done that otherwise could not be done in the way of industries or manufactures, that we should attempt to retard progress by prohibiting its use. As the honorable and learned member for South Australia, Mr. Glynn, has said, there need be no great fear as to the effect of the use of this residual oil on the consumption of coal. The honorable and learned member has shown that the production of oil is not sufficient to seriously interfere with the use of coal, and it is only where coal costs over 30s. per ton in Europe that the liquid fuel can successfully compete. There are cases in which, with a desire to abolish smoke or to obtain simplicity of firing, liquid fuel is used, although coal could be more cheaply obtained. We have already abandoned the duty on kerosene, which is extracted from the same raw material as are the oils under discussion, and I ask the Ministry, if they decline to remove the duty, to reduce it by at least one-half.
– The Government have not shown much discrimination in proposing to subject these commodities to a uniform duty of1d. per gallon. I understand that the honorable member for South Australiahasadopted the suggestion that a 10 per cent. duty should be placed upon solar and residual oil only, and I shall support him. One important consideration in connexion with the use of oil as a fuel, particularly upon locomotives, is that it will enormously decrease the risk of bush fires. Many of these devastating outbreaks are directly traceable to the burning of coal in locomotives as they travel through the country. In addition to this, the use of some of these oils in gas production will probably tend to considerably cheapen the cost of. the illuminant, and the use of liquid fuel will probably be greatly extended in districts where coal cannot be obtained at a reasonable cost. Therefore, we should impose as low a duty as possible.
– I hope the Government will stand by their proposal. Residual oil, in which one o£ the largest trusts in the world is interested, is a keen competitor with Australian coal. I amquite aware that benzine and naptha are used largely in connexion with electrical and other improved forms of machinery, and for purposes for which coal is not so well adapted, and I am agreeable that they should be admitted free. On the western coast of America, in the Hawaian Islands, and on the Pacific slope generally, the Newcastle coal trade is feeling the effects of the competition of residual oil. Our coal is subject to a duty of 4s. per ton in all American ports, and yet it is now proposed to allow residual oil to compete with us in our own markets without the payment of any duty whatever. Honorable members on the opposition side of the chamber must recognise that the miners will be called upon to pay a large amount of taxation under the Tariff; and it is to be hoped that they will agree to afford them a little protection. So far as residual and solar oils are concerned, the Government proposal is a very moderate one.
– It represents over 100 per cent. ad vaiorem.
– Thatcannot be proved ; the duty does not amount to even 40 per cent. According to letters with which I have been furnished from Messrs. Chas. Nelson aud Co. of San Francisco, dated 29th March, 1901, residual oil was selling in that city at 90 dollars per barrel. This firm says : -
Beyond question, the consumption of Australian coal in the Hawaian Islands, as well as on the Pacific slope, is going to diminish, as oil is rapidly taking its place.
Under the Tariff assistance is being given to industries in which only 50 or a 100 men are engaged, and surely it is reasonable that a small measure of protection should be extended to an industry in which over 10,000 men are employed in one State alone. I cannot understand why an appeal should be made on behalf of a product which is introduced here by one of the largest trusts in the world. We have imposed a duty of 15 per cent. upon all the improved machinery used in the mining industry, and it would not be fair to admit, free of duty, a commodity which is seriously competing with coal as a fuel.
Mr: G. B. EDWARDS (South Sydney).The honorable member for Newcastle has spoken very strongly in favour of the coalmining industry, and no exception can be taken to his action. At the same time I think that the honorable member’s fears regarding the competition of oil as a fuel with coal are not very well founded. It has been shown over aud over again that where fears have been entertained that certain commodities would be displaced by others as the result of inventions and developments, the actual results have quite upset all calculations. Personally I think that the use of liquid fuel, so far from resulting in less coal being consumed, will very probably lead to a still larger consumption through an extension of industries that would probably not have taken place but for the use of oil as a fuel. I believe, further, that furnaces will be devised in which some of the slack coal which cannot now be profitably utilized, will be consumed in conjunction with liquid fuel. From a protectionist’s point of view, the arguments of the honorable member for Newcastle may be sound, but the question for us to consider is whether we should impose a handicap upon an almost infinite variety of enterprises without any assurance that by so doing we shall confer any ultimate benefit upon the coal-miners. No one knows the extent to which residual oil will ultimately be used, but enough is known in regard to it for us to be able to say that it will in the future play an important part in the work of many of the manufactories which we are so anxious to see established in our midst. We all know that when steam began to be used as a motive power, it was said that horses would cease to be used, but nowadays more horses are used per head of population than were used before the invention of the steamengine. So it will be with coal. I contend that the duty upon fuel should be as light as possible. The duty proposed by the Government is equal to between 60 and 70 per cent. ad valorem.
– Not so much as that. I am informed that this oil is worth about 2d. or2½d. per gallon.
– I am assured that the duty proposed by the Government will prohibit the importation of the oil. I do not ask that this fuel be admitted free, because we must raise revenue, and I have already shown that I am prepared to compromise in regard to these duties ; but in dealing with fuel, machinery, tools of trade, and instruments of production generally, we must make the taxation as light as possible. I do not wish to labour this question, because too much time has already been consumed upon the various items which have been recommitted ; but the matter deserves more consideration than it has received from the committee.
– I think that the honorable member for Newcastle made an error in regard to the price at which residual oil is quoted in America, and that the price he should have quoted is 90 cents per barrel. Allowing three and a -half barrels of oil to the ton, that makes a ton of oil worth about 13s.1½d. The Shale Oil Company are quoting their residual oil in Yokohama at 35s. per ton, and it is not likely that a much higher price would be charged in San Francisco for Texas oil.
– I think there is a misprint in the statement I read.
– Naphtha, benzine, and residual oils are likely to enter so largely into our industrial production in the future that it would be unwise to put too high a duty upon them. I think that id. per gallon would be sufficient. If we imposed an ad valorem duty a great deal of trouble would be caused by the difficulty in determining the exact value of any particular oil, since there is now such an. immense variety of by-products of petroleum; each called by a name of its own.
– This is a very difficult question to decide without a great deal of evidence, and the danger we are likely to slip into is that of confining our ideas to one part of Australia. Reckoning 250 gallons of oil to the ton, a duty of1d. per gallon is equivalent to a duty of£11s. per ton, which is about 100 per cent. on the prime cost of the oil. Such a duty I regard as prohibitive, and I have never been an advocate of prohibition. I agree with the honorable member for Newcastle that the duty proposed by the honorable and learned member for South Australia, Mr. Glynn, would be too low; but I think that aduty of½d. per gallon, or about 10s. 6d. a ton, would be a very fair one. I desire, of course, to give a fair amount of protection to those connected with the coal-mining industry, and as a ton of liquid fuel is equal to two tons of coal, the liquid fuel would undersell the coal in man y places if there were not a duty upon it. But, at the same time, we must not forget that there are places in the interior, many hundred miles from the coast, where the cost of carriage is a very serious item in any industrial enterprise.
– The honorable and learned member voted for a duty of 30 per cent. upon hats and boots.
– Well, in voting for a duty of½d. per gallon upon residual oil, I shall be voting for a duty of 50 per cent. ad valorem. The use of this fuel willlargely assist those who are engaged in many of the secondary departments of industry, and will be of great advantage in cheapening operations in the distant parts of the interior. For those reasons I think the duty should not be too high.
– I share the view that the opinion that has been expressed that liquid fuel will, within a measurable period, unduly compete with coal, is exaggerated, because before liquid fuel can be used, considerable expenditure in the alteration of furnaces and other appliances must take place. It will, however, be of great advantage in the conduct of mining operations in the interior. At many of our inland mining centres wood is now a very scarce commodity.While I would like to see the amendment of the honorable and learned member for South Australia, Mr. Glynn, adopted, I think that the honorable member for Newcastle might well agree to a duty of½d. per gallon as a reasonable compromise.
– I think that the honorable member for Newcastle is needlessly afraid of the competition of liquid fuel with coal. It seems to me that this fuel cannot be landed here at less than 35s. a ton, which is much more than the cost of coal.
Mr.Watson. - But one ton of oil is equal to two tons of coal.
– It seems to me that the use of this fuel will open up new avenues for the consumption of coal, and thus assist the coal-mining industry. There are in and nearmy electorate in New South Wales such large gold and silver mining centres as Cobar, Nymagee, Bobadah, and Mount Hope, all of which, with the exception of Cobar, are 60, 70, or 100 miles from the nearest railway. That distance is too great to allow the crude ore to be sent away, and it is at the present time reduced in waterjacket smelters by the aid of coke. That coke has to be carted verylong distances, and to the mines outside of Cobar, which have not the advantage of railway communication, the freight upon it is practically prohibitive. As a result, mining operations in that locality are conducted upon a very small scale. The use of this oil, however, would reduce the cost of fuel to these mines, because, whilst its price is higher than that of coal, the freight upon the former would not be nearly so great on account of its lesser bulk and the ease with which it can be handled. Consequently oil would be used in reducing the ores to a certain stage. These ores, however, have subsequently to be carted to Lithgow for the purpose of undergoing a further reduction, in which process coal is used. Any increase, therefore, in the output of these mines means a corresponding increase in the consumption of coal required for the treatment of their ores.
– The imposition of a duty, therefore, can do no harm?
– If the imposition of a duty prohibits the use of this oil, and has the effect of compelling remote mining centres to remain undeveloped, thereby involving a a less consumption of coal, it will work a great deal of harm. Quite recently a company has started to cater for the requirements of New South Wales in this connexion, introducing its oil from North British Borneo. For that purpose it has erected large reservoirs in Sydney and Melbourne, and it proposes to utilize in the trade ships specially designed for the transit of this commodity, which must be dealt with in large quantities in order to be profitable. I also understand that this industry, whilst assisting to develop our resources in the direction indicated will open up fresh avenues of employment. I am credibly informed that if the duty proposed by the Government is carried the industry will be completely wiped out, and other industries which depend for their success upon cheap motive power will be injuriously affected. The honorable member for Newcastle is, to my mind, needlessly alarmed at the extent to which this article will enter into competition with coal. When the matter comes to be analyzed I think that liquid fuel will be found to be a blessing in disguise.
Mr. GLYNN (South Australia).- As the committee evidently desire that the oils in this item should be dealt with separately, I am perfectly prepared to adopt that suggestion. I should like, however, to ask the Treasurer whether the term “ residual oil” covers liquid fuel.
– That is the intention.
– I thought it was. Then I should like to withdraw my amendment, and to substitute, in lieu of the proposed duty, the rate of¼d. per gallon. Such a tax constitutes a considerable addition to my original proposal, and imposes a fairly heavy handicap upon this article as against coal. As evidencing the effect of the duty, I should like to quote from Petroleum, an American publication, of the 11th January of the present year. That journal states -
The interest in petroleumas a fuel in oresmelting plants is constantly growing, and experiments continue to be reported from various quarters. One of the latest instances is that of the American Smelting and Refining Co. of New York, which has experimented extensively with Beaumont oil at their Perth Amboy, New Jersey, plant with very successful results. The chairman is reported as saying that the company purports substituting oil for other fuels in their Mexican plants if the Government there can be induced to remove the existing duty on oil going into Mexico.
I should further like to point out what has been the effect of the use of this oil in England. In this connexion, the same publication states -
The Great Eastern Company’s engine, No. 1885, which draws His Majesty’s train between London and Sandringham, uses liquid fuel. This company has several large oil-fire engines running regularly ; they are amongst the most powerful enginesin the company, and are fitted with Mr. Jas. Holden’s apparatus, which has been adopted by railways in all parts of the world. The product (Borneo oil) has a specific gravity of9, and a flash-point approximating 200 degreesfahr, is of uniform consistency, free fromwater, and without sulphur. The chief advantages of a properly managed oil-fired engine are regular steam generation, wasteless consumption, saving of labour, freedom from dirt, sparks, and smoke, absence of sulphurous fumes, and a lengthening of the life of boilers and fire-bars.
I have several other extracts which confirm this view. My proposal is rather in the nature of a concession than of a compromise. I ask leave to substitute a duty of ¼d per gallon for the proposal now under discussion.
Amendment amended accordingly.
Mr. WATKINS (Newcastle).- I recognise that it is futile for me to attempt to secure the imposition of a duty of1d. per gallon. I feel that I am being accorded rather harsh treatment, because if a reduction from 3d. to½d. per gallon does not represent a substantial reduction, I am at a loss to understand what are some honorable members ideas of a compromise.
Question - That the words “¼d. per gallon “ be inserted after the words “ solar oil, residual oil” - put. Thecommitteedivided - Ayes … … 23
Question so resolved in the negative.
Amendment of the amendment negatived.
– Yielding to the evident desire of the committee I shall not suggest any intermediate rate, but move -
That the amendment be amended by the insertion of the words “ on and after 12th April, 1902, per gallon½d.” be inserted after the words “solar oil, residual oil.”
Amendment of the amendment agreed to.
Mr. GLYNN (South Australia). - I move -
That the amendment be amended by the omission of the figure “1d.” with a view to insert in lieu thereof the figure “½d.”
It has been suggested to me that some of these oils ought to be placed on the free list, so that I am not taking an extreme course in submitting this amendment.
– These oils are much more valuable than those with which we havejustdealt. Naphtha is worth 7d. per gallon, benzine 4d., benzolene1s., and. gasolene 8d., and I do not think that a duty of1d. per gallon is unreasonable.
– I trust the committee will make the reduction suggested. In many other cases the duties have a protective incidence, and that fact has prevailed with a large number of honorable members, who believe that not. all of the impost, if any, will bechargod to the people. In the present case, however, if we impose a duty of1d. per gallon, we shall largely diminish the use of oil-engines throughout the Commonwealth ; and that is. a serious matter. While a man may be able to afford 15 per cent. or 20 per cent. on his engine, he cannot afford a duty of1d. per gallon on the oil which he uses hour after hour throughout the year. The duty will simply mean a stoppage of the use of oilengines in places where they are almost a necessity ; and from a revenue point of view I think that the Treasurer would get a fair amount if½d. per gallon were imposed.
– Probably as much as from1d.
– Probably the Treasurer would get a larger revenue from½d. than from a duty of1d.
– This is not a large matter from a revenue point of view, and I shall not press the proposal of the Government.
Amendment of the amendment agreed to.
New item, as amended, agreed to.
– I move-
That the following exemptions beadded : - “Coal tar oil, China oil.”
Coal tar oil is used in the manufacture of disinfectants, which have been made free. The honorable member for Parramatta brought under notice the question of China oil, and the Government, on making inquiries, find that, as the honorable member pointed out, the commodity is used to a considerable extent by coal-miners. The quantity imported is not very large, and therefore I think this item may be placed on the exemption list.
Amendment agreed to.
ItemS2. - Varnishes…..1s. 9d. per gallon.
Mr. SYDNEY SMITH (Macquarie).Metal varnish is used by meat-preserving companies, jam manufacturers, . milkpreserving companies, and, in some cases, by butter makers for varnishing the tins in which their products are sent to market, and the duty at present imposed amounts to 40 per cent. or 50 per cent.Iam informed that the price of metal varnish, f.o.b., is from 3s. 6d. to 4.s. 6d. per gallon, and I am sure it is not the desire of the committee to place additional burdens on those engaged in primary industries who have sufficient to bear under the items already passed. This duty increases the cost of exportation, and unnecessarily harasses several industries which have to compete in the English markets against the world. I trust the Treasurer will agree to make some alteration in the duty on metal varnish, and I shall be glad to accept any reasonable suggestion.
– I sincerely hope the duty will not be interfered with. These varnishes are made very largely in several parts of the Commonwealth, and the whole item was thoroughly discussed on a previous occasion.
– The manufacturers of the varnish have to pay duty on the raw material.
– That is so. Members of the Opposition have not afforded much help in the way of imposing fresh duties, and there is no reason why we should now remove duties which were fixed by a deliberate vote.
– This item was thoroughly discussed by the committee before we arrived at a compromise, and nothing has been advanced to justify a departure from the arrangement then made.
– I do not think that metal varnish was brought under notice.
– Duties are imposed on the various constituents of the varnish, and the manufacturer is entitled to some protection.
Mr. SYDNEY SMITH (Macquarie).I regret that theMinister for Trade and Customs did not as readilyaccept the verdict of the committee on other items.
– The present duty was arrivedat as a compromise entered into by the Opposition.
– I do not wish to’ disregard any compromise thatmay have been arrived at, and, in view of the statement made by theTreasurer, I shall not press the matter any further.
– There is no doubt in my mind about the compromise, and I have letters from those interested who say that they are satisfied.
– I, too, have letters, but they refer to another varnish altogether - not to the metal varnish.
– I move-
That the following new line be added - “ Polished plate, each plate not exceeding 7 superficial feet, per 100 superficial feet, 5s.”
When we were dealing with the item in the first place the Government proposed a duty of 15 per cent. all round, but it was pointed out by the honorable member for North Sydney that this would confer some benefit upon the Belgian glass-makers as against the British manufacturers whose product is generally of a higher value. The feeling of the committee was that fixed duties equivalent to about 10 per cent. ad valorem should be imposed. Unfortunately, however, when we were giving effect to that view, we were not aware that some of the glass usedfor bevelling purposes was imported in very small sizes, and that the result would be to impose a duty of 19 per cent. upon the raw material against the 20 per cent. protection given to the industry. I have made the fullest inquiries, and I have come to the conclusion that a reduction of the duty from 10s. to 5s. per 100 superficial feet upon plates not exceeding 7 superficial feet would meet the case.
– For silvering purposes a reduction upon plates in sizes up to 12 feet is required.
– I know that has been asked for, but I am not prepared to go that length.
– I am informed by those engaged iu the silvering trade that the Government proposal does not meet their requirements, as the plates they use for making .glasses and mirrors range in size from 7 to 12 superficial feet. The glass introduced for the purpose of glazing large windows is brought here in much larger sizes than 12 feet, and therefore a reduction of the duty as suggested would not interfere with the revenue so far as that class of imports is concerned.
– Is the silvering trade worth making any noise about?
– We have to consider the small industries as well as others, sot long as we do not inflict injury t upon the community.
Mr. RONALD (Southern Melbourne).The glass-silvering industry is no doubt a small one, but we should not try to crush out all our infant industries. By the extension of the Government proposal, in the way suggested by the honorable member for Gippsland, we shall only do evenhanded justice to the glass-silvering industry. The raw material used in that industry is taxed up to the very utmost limit of the protection afforded, and I am assured by those who are engaged in the glassbevelling trade that the loss of o per cent, that is involved in their operations gives an advantage to the foreign manufacturer to that extent over and above the protection that is supposed to be accorded to the industry. I hope the committee will agree to extend the Government proposal.
– It is utterly impossible to satisfy the protectionists of Victoria, and I hope the Treasurer will be firm in adhering to his proposal. The local manufacturers are asking for more than we should be- justified in giving them, and I think that the interests of the community generally will best be safeguarded by limiting the reduction of the duty.
– I trust that the committee will not extend the proposal of the Government. It is very properly proposed to make some concession to the people engaged in the glass-bevelling industry, because’ their operations involve the cutting away and loss of a certain proportion of the raw material imported. If the duties as they now stand remain unaltered, those engaged in the industry will have to sustain the loss of the glass that has to be cut away. The Government propose to compensate them for this loss, but now more is being asked for. Upon all glass, in sizes up to 7 superficial feet, the Treasurer proposes to collect a reduced duty ; but the glass silverers not only claim this concession, which will extend to glass which is not bevelled, but they ask for an extension of the sizes up to 12 superficial feet. Those who are engaged in glass, bevelling say that the concession of the Government is sufficient, but the glass silverers require an additional advantage, to which they have no claim. There is no waste in” connexion with silvering, as the whole of the glass can be used, whereas, in bevelling, some waste is unavoidable.
– There is great waste in silvering, because the glass has to be cut to certain sizes for use in mirrors.
– The glass can be imported in the sizes required to suit the purposes of the trade. I think the committee will go a reasonable distance towards meeting the requirements of those engaged in the local industries by adopting the Government proposal.
Mr. A. McLEAN (Gippsland) -There is one aspect of this matter which has not yet been mentioned, that is, that the glass imported in plates over 12 feet in size is of more value than glass in plates of smaller sizes, and the 10s. duty upon the higher quality of glass would not represent a highclere? valorem impost than would 5s. upon the lower quality. Therefore, the reduction of the duty to 5s. per 100 superficial feet upon plates up to 12 superficial feet in size would tend to equalize the ad valorem impost upon the higher and lower qualities.
– I am surprised at the remarks of the right honorable member for Tasmania, Sir Edward Braddon. If there were no plate-glass industry in Victoria, he would apparently be willing to reduce the duty, but he appears to be so prejudiced against Victorian industries that he is willing to go to the extent of penalizing them. If we insert the word “ twelve” in place of the word “ seven,” we shall be doing what is fair, and will not considerably affect the revenue. I believe that plates exceeding 1 2 superficial feet should pay a higher duty than 5s., but that plates not exceeding 12 superficial feet should pay a reduced duty.
– I had something to do with the alteration of the basis of the duty upon plate-glass, though nothing to do with the fixing of the rate. My attention has since been called to the fact that injustice has been done by the rate fixed by the committee. As I was unwilling to accept the representations of the firms who communicated with me without making further inquiries on my own part, I made such inquiries, with the result that I discovered that a duty of 10s. per 100 superficial feet is equivalent to a duty of 20 per cent. ad valorem on sizes under 4 feet ; to 19 per cent. ad valorem on sizes between 4 and 7 feet ; and to 16 per cent. ad valorem on sizes between 7 and 1 2 feet. There was no doubt an injustice done in regard to the bevelling sizes up to 7 feet, because the duty was higher on the raw material than on the finished article. The silvering size is from 7 to 12 feet, and the rate upon that size is about 16 per cent. ad valorem, while upon the finished article it is 20 per cent. Therefore, if the local manufacturer has to cut to shape in those sizes, he may be at a disadvantage.
– But he has to cut to shape.
– If he has to cut to shape, he is under some disadvantage. I think that a duty of 7s. 6d. would be a fair compromise between5s. and 10s.
– I find that a duty of 10s. per 100 superficial feet is equivalent to a duty of 15 per cent. ad valorem on the raw material. I should like to know how the right honorable member for Tasmania, can, as a free-trader, justify that? It is all very well for some honorable members to say that there is nothing much in the silvering trade, but J. am assured that it is a very important part of the glass industry, and almost equals the bevelling trade. I can only attribute the Treasurer’s omission to make the necessary concession in his amended proposal to want of information, and I therefore move -
That the amendment he amended by the omission of the word “seven” with a view to the insertion in lieu thereof of the word “twelve.”
– I do not mind meeting honorable members by inserting a new line, fixing the duty on sizes between 7 and 12 feet at 7s. 6d. per 100 superficial feet.
– I accept that amendment.
Amendment of the amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment (by Sir George Turner) agreed to -
That the amendment be amended by the addition of the words, “Exceeding seven, but not exceeding twelve superficial feet, per 100 superficial feet, vs. 6d.
Amendment, as amended, agreed to.
Item consequentially amended and agreed to.
Item 98. - Medicines . . . non-spirituous medicinal extracts….. liniments, nonspirituous….. ad valorem, 15 per cent.
Amendment (by Mr. Kingston) agreed to-
That the words “ non-spirituous,” twice occurring, be omitted.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Item 99 - (Perfumery) similarly amended and agreed to.
Bill received from the Senate, and, on motion by Sir William Lyne, read a first time.
Resolved (on motion by Mr. Barton) -
That the House at its rising adjourn until
Motion (by Mr. Barton) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
– In view of the decision come to last night, in regard to the proposal of the Government to send a rifle team toBisley, I wish to draw the attention of the Minister for Defence to a report which appeared in yesterday morning’s newspaper of a meeting of the Rifle Association held in Sydney, at which Colonel Oldershaw stated that an assurance had been received from the right honorable gentleman that a vote would be granted by the Federal Government to meet the expenses of the team. The various clubs have been engaged for some time past in competing for places in the team, and the meeting to which I allude went so far as to appoint Colonel Oldershaw captain of the team. I wish to know from the Minister for Defence if he gave the assurance referred to, and if so,” whether he intends to stand by it?
– No such assurance was given by me. Speaking from memory, I am not aware that I have had any communication with Colonel Oldershaw, or with his branch of the National Rifle Association. The only person with whom I remember to have communicated is Colonel Davis, the secretary to the National Rifle Association. He was informed that the Government intended to place the sum of £2,000 upon the Estimates to meet the expense of sending a rifle team to Bisley, but that no expenditure should be incurred until the sanction of Parliament had been obtained. He was told that at the beginning, and received a second intimation to the same effect. I am quite certain, therefore, that therehas been no misunderstanding whatever between the Government and the National Rifle Association, as represented by its secretary, Colonel Davis. I can only imagine that the branch association in Sydney has received some communication from the secretary of the National Association, in which probably he expressed the opinion that the vote would be agreed to. The Government merely undertook to place a sum of money for the purpose upon the Estimates, at the same time distinctly intimating upon two occasions that no expenditure was to be incurred until the decision of Parliament should be made known.
– I would just like to add that the Victorian Association met on Friday evening last, when, owing to the doubt which existed regarding the action which this House would take, it was resolved not to choose the team. I would point out to the Minister, however, that in order to render themselves eligible on the score of marksmanship for inclusion in the team, every competitor had to pay 10s., and I should like to know if the Minister will consider the advisability of refunding this money.
– When I asked the Prime Minister last evening whether he was prepared to place upon the Estimates a sum of money for defraying the cost of sending a team to participate in the Bisley competition, I received the reply that the adoption of such a course would result only in a waste of time on the part of this House. I understand that some sort of a promise was made that this team should be sent home, and, personally, I should like to see it despatched. I would, therefore, ask whether in the event of private citizens subscribing half of the expenses of the team the Government are prepared to contribute the remaining moiety? Such a course of action would remove the faintest suspicion that any breach offaith faitli has been committed.
– The honorable member for Kooyong need not entertain any suspicion that a breach of faith has been committed. On the very same afternoon that the Cabinet dealt with this matter, it was reported in the press that a sum of £2,000 was to be placed upon the supplementary Estimates in connexion with the proposed visit of a rifle team to England. No promise was made to send a team home without the authorization of Parliament. An opportunity, however, occurred in connexion with the Coronation Bill for bringing this matter forward at an earlier stage than was anticipated, and the Government accordingly adopted that course. Seeing that Parliament has absolutely refused to provide any money to send such a body to England, I shall not go behind that decision and grant financial assistance by way of a£1 for£1 subsidy. If it is deemed advisable, as a popular measure, to send this team home, there are public-spirited and well-to-do citizens amongst us who can defray its cost with Very much more ease than any Government can obtain money from this Parliament - and I am not saying that in any uncomplimentary sense.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 4.5 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 11 April 1902, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1902/19020411_reps_1_9/>.