1st Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Mr. BARTON laid upon the table the following paper -
Despatches from the Commander-in-Chief in South Africa, and extracts from the proceedings of two general courts martial relating to the sentences on Australian officer!) in South Africa.
Ordered to be printed.
MANUFACTURE OF TOBACCO.
– I wish to know from the Minister for Trade and Customs if arrangements have yet been made to enable tobacco to be manufactured in bond 7 This if a matter of ‘urgency, as a number of men are now out of employment.
– It is intended to permit the manufacture in bond of tobacco for export.
DUTY ON BAGS.
– I desire to know from the Minister for Trade and Customs if oro bags arc upon the free list 1 There appears to be some doubt upon the subject, because two mine managers have addressed me in regard to it.
– Ore bags are free. Some mistake may have been made in regard to their treatment, but, if so, it will speedily be rectified.
– Is the Customs department charging duty upon chaff bags? I understood that bran bags, chaff bags, and other sacks were to be admitted free.
– I cannot answer the honorable member’s question off-hand ; but if he will give notice of it I will get precise information for him. There is evidently some little misapprehension somewhere on the subject of bags.
TRANSFERRED OFFICIALS’ INCRE- MENTS.
– A few days ago the Treasurer informed me that the Cabinet was about to again consider the question of graining increments to officers transferred from the public service of New South Wales to that of the Commonwealth. Has anything been done in the matter since?
– The matter has been dealt with in a manner satisfactory to my honorable friend.
ALLOWANCES TO POSTMASTERS.
– Has the Prime Minister received any communication from the Postmaster-General in regard to the question I asked the other day with respect to the remuneration of postal officials t
– My honorable friend will, ]’ think, find satisfactory information in the return which is to be furnished.
NON-DELIVERY OF LETTERS.
– In asking the question which appears upon the notice paper after my name, I wish to show that ‘ there is a good and very pressing reason for asking it. When I brought the matter under the notice of the House last week, I stated that I had in my possession a letter addressed by a lady to Mr. George Adams, thanking him for some small trinket which he had sent to her.
– That letter has done service in the cause for years.
– As it is dated only a few days back, and was written by a lady known to very many honorable members, and above suspicion, I may let that observation pass.
– Is the right honorable member in order in making a speech upon the subject 1
– I wish to call the right honorable member’s attention to Standing Order 93, which says that in putting a question -
No argument or opinion shall be offered, nor any fact stated, except so far as maybe necessary to explain such question.
I ask the right honorable member to conform to the standing order.
– I am endeavouring to show that there- is an urgent reason for asking this question.
-The right honorable member cannot be allowed to do that. He must neither use any argument nor offer any statement of opinion or fact, except so far as may be necessary in order to make his question clear.
– Then, if necessary, I shall take other means, which will involve a still greater expenditure of time to make the matter public. I desire to know from the Prime Minister -
Whether it is the intention of the Government that the Post Office department, in the_exercise. of the powers conferred by section 57 of the Post and ‘Telegraph Act, shall open and intercept all letters, of however private a character, addressed to any of the persons proclaimed under that section, i.e., if those persons shall he deprived of all the rights of Commonwealth citizens in respect of the carriage of their correspondence through the post.
– The answer to the right honorable member’s question is as follows : -
In the exercise of the powers conferred by section )? of the Post and Telegraph Act no discrimination can be exercised in the method of dealing with letter’s addressed to any of the persons proclaimed under that section.
asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice -
-The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows : -
It has been decided that officers and men for the coronation contingent shall be selected exclusively from those who have served, or are serving in South Africa. Under this rule only officers who have served in South Africa will be eligible for selection .
Consideration resumed from 11th April (vide page 11700).
Division VIII. - Earthenware, cement, china, glass, and stone.
– Under the Tariff as it stands, empty bottles are charged at the rate of 20 per cent, upon their invoiced value, and when the matter was last under consideration it was shown that the natural protection obtained by the local manufacturer of bottles amounted, owing to the heavy freight upon them, to something like 150 per cent. The prices charged for the bottles made by the largest bottle factory in the Commonwealth, which is situated in Melbourne, are nearly three times as great as the invoice price of bottles manufactured in England and in Germany. Empty bottles are required for the use of winemakers and bottlers, and of brewers, and a very great tax is put upon their industries by the high price of the locally manufactured bottles. Since we desire that our industries may grow in importance and in volume, it is necessary that we should not place upon them taxation which can be avoided ; but, while the invoiced price of claret and hock bottles manufactured in
Germany is from Ss. to Ss. 6d. per gross, the price of the Victorian made bottles is from 24s. to 28s., or an average of 26s. per gross. It is stated that, although the locally made bottles are in appearance as good as the imported bottles, they are not nearly so strong for resisting the force of the corking machines. In any case the difference between 26s. per gross charged locally, and Ss. or Ss. Gd. per gross charged in other countries seems to me to be so enormous that it is unfair to put an additional tax of 20 per cent, on the imported bottle. As it is, the cost of the imported bottle is from 100 to 150 per cent, on the invoice value ; natural protection in the way of freight, packing, and various charges should, I think, be sufficient to -satisfy the most rabid protectionist. Although I believe I should have been justified in proposing “that this line should be placed on the free list, as necessary to wine makers and beer bottlers, as any other raw material is to other manufacturers, still with a desire to save time, and to arrive at a fair compromise, I suggest a duty of 1.0 per cent. It will give about 160 per cent, protection, together with the natural protection, in favour of the manufacturers in any of the States. I think when we consider the enormous interests of the wine-growers alone, and the manner in which they have been taxed in other directions, it would be better that the local bottle industry should fail than that we should put such an exorbitant rate as 20 per cent, on empty bottles required by our manufacturers and traders. I trust that the Government will see fit to agree with my proposal. I feel sure that if the Treasurer has looked carefully into the matter he will recognise that the protection which already obtains for local manufacturers is sufficiently large. I move -
That the following new item be inserted : - “S8a. Empty wine and beer bottles, on and after lOth April, .1902, ad valorem, .10 per cent.
– I cordially support the amendment, but I cannot see any reason why it should be restricted to wine and beer bottles. There are many industries requiring bottles in which to pack articles, such as for instance pickles and sauces. I should like the honorable member to go further and include in his amendment all bottles used for manufacturing purposes.
– It has been stated by the honorable member for South Australia, Mr. V. L. Solomon, that the invoice price of these bottles is8s. per gross, and that the local makers charge an average price of 26s. per gross. He proposes to reduce the protective duty of 20 per cent, to a revenue duty of 10 per cent. I do not see that it would make any appreciable difference to the purchasers of the bottles, because, at the outside, it would not mean a difference of more than 9d. or 10d. per gross, according to the figures that have been submitted. I do not see any reason why the committee should reverse its decision that an all-round duty of 20 per cent, should be placed on bottles. I agree with the honorable member for South Sydney that it is somewhat unreasonable to select for specially favorable treatment certain industries, more especially the wine industry, to which we have given a very large measure of protection. We have not attempted, as in the case of beer, to impose an excise duty on wine. Considering the very small difference it could make to the purchasers of bottles, I cannot consent to the amendment.
Question - that the words proposed to. be added, be so added - put. The committee divided -
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
New item agreed to.
– I move -
That the following new item be inserted: - “89A. Bottles over 5 fluid drams and not exceeding 12 fluid ounces in capacity, when containing goods not subject to ad valorem duty, except flasks containing spirits and bottles containing wine, per dozen 2d.”
We have imposed a duty on imported empty bottles, and if we retain the Tariff as it is then, as regards these particular bottles, the importer will be able to have an advantage over the local producer.Whilst the local producer will have to pay duty on his bottles, the importer will practically get his supplies free, which I do not think can be defended. The amendment will commend itself to honorable members. The flasks containing spirits are of a much more valuable character, and if we let them come in at the rate of 2d. a dozen we should make a mistake.
– It will be remembered that some time ago the honorable member for Bland raised the question whether small bottles, whose cost was large possibly in proportion to the value of the contents, should be allowed to come in duty free, and suggested that bottles of the smallest sizes - I forget up to what capacity - should be made dutiable when they contain goods.
– I think I referred to 6-oz. or8-oz. bottles.
– This amendment is a very considerable enlargement of the proposal of the honorable member, and will include a very large number of bottles. In the first place the difficulty of charging on these packages will be intensified, and secondly, similar goods to those which the bottles contain, if manufactured here, have already a considerable protection, and the manufacturers could well afford to overlook a slight advantage in the bottle in favour of the imported article. Since the honorable member for Bland made his proposal, which I was inclined to think was a reasonable one, as regards the sizes lie named, the duty on wine and .beer bottles has been reduced to 10 per cent. The only reason for that is one that applies to all bottles. The better way out of the difficulty now would be, instead of making this distinction, to reduce the whole duty on bottles to 10 per cent. The proposal of the Government recognises that locallymade bottles are not as cheap as those which are imported. Ti they were as cheap there would be no disadvantage to the local packer. The proposal of the honorable member for Bland has something to recommend it, but in going from 6 ounces to 1 2 we shall be admitting an enormous number of bottles as subject to this duty, and giving the Customs officials an extra amount of unnecessary work. It is only in regard to the smaller sizes that the difficulty complained of will exist. For this reason I should be inclined to move that the limit be 6 ounces. Beyond that size the goods of the same sort as those within the bottles, if manufactured in the Commonwealth, are already protected. Perhaps the Chairman would not consider it to be in order for me to. move that the duty upon all bottles be 10 per cent. If thuc is out of order, I feel inclined to move that the limit of size be 6 fluid ounces.
– I do not think that, under the ruling the Chairman has already given, it would be in order for the honorable member for North Sydney to move that the duty on all bottles be 10 per cent. If it were in order it would not meet the position I have pointed out. Nor do I think it would be a wise proposal from the revenue stand-point. Some perfumery bottles are comparatively valuable, and are admittedly luxuries. I. do not see why we should not get more than 10 per cent, by way of revenue out of that variety of white flint glass bottles. It is a class of bottle that is not made in the Commonwealth, and we are entitled to get a reasonable degree of revenue therefrom. In many cases the bottle is of more value than the perfumery. The only way to meet the difficulty is to place some duty, whatever it be, upon bottles that come in as packages. As to the size, honorable members are aware that under the Tariff as we have passed it bottles of a capacity of under 5 fluid drachms are free. Therefore there is no disparity between the local and the foreign manufacturer in regard to those bottles, and it is not proposed to touch them. But I suggest that bottles over 5 drachms and under 6 fluid ounces in size should be charged at 2d. per dozen, or 2s. per gross. I do not know the class of bottles that the Ministry desire to exempt. It may be that there are just as good reasons, for covering those between 6 and 1 2 ounces in size as those below 6 ounces. I should like to hear something further on the question of size as between 6 and 1 2 ounces before making up my mind. I am not at all particular about the size. My only idea was to keep below bottles of the size of the smaller beer bottles. If, for instance, the amendment of the Minister covers flasks and bottles equivalent to baby wine bottles, I do not see that there is any danger in passing the item in the form suggested by the Government.
– -The duty suggested, 2d. per dozen, will impose a considerable addition to the duties on some cheap lines of pickles, sauces, and so forth, which already pay a specific duty. The honorable member for Bland, in his effort to get at the more expensive class of glass bottles used for perfumery, would not go far enough, because I know myself that perfumery is sometimes imported in glass bottles costing 10s. apiece, and packed in morocco cases. A duty of 2d. per dozen on these would be practically nothing. But I notice that, further on, the Minister for Customs proposes to omit the words “ non-spirituous “ in regard to the item of perfumery. This would have the effect of imposing the full ad valorem, duty of 20 per cent, on all forms of perfumery. I believe the effect would be to impose a duty of 20 per cent, on the bottles and morocco cases as well as on the perfumery. It is a pity we cannot go back on the whole item and reduce the size of the bottles to a maximum of 6 ounces, and then, in accordance with the decision previously made by the committee, we could make the duty on bottles 10 per cent. It is open to the Ministry to consider the advisability of a further recommittal to place all .bottles on a level. There is no reason why we should make an exception in favour of beer bottles and deny it to pickle and sauce bottles, which are imported very largely indeed. If the present proposal were reduced to a maximum of 6 ounces I should be willing to support it. But to go up to 12 ounces would further tax a great many items upon which we have already imposed a duty.
– The only difference between us seems to be as to the limit we should fix in regard to the maximum. The Government suggest that we- should strikeout “12” and substitute “9.” I understand from the officer that the weight of argument is in favour of 9 ounces. I therefore move -
That the amendment be amended by the omission of the figures “12 “ with a view to insert in lieu thereof the figure “ 9.”’
– I accept the Minister’s proposal.
Mr. G. B. EDWARDS (South Sydney). - If honorable members turn back to the item affecting. pickles and sauces they will see that a specific duty is imposed upon them. The effect of imposing a duty on bottles of smaller sizes will be to inflict an extra duty of 2d. per dozen on such commodities. The committee considered that the duty on sauces and pickles was sufficiently high, and we should take care that we do not increase it by the duty we place npon the bottles in which such goods areimported. Nearly all these goods are imported in bottles below the size of 9 ounces. The smaller size bottles go down to 4 ounces, or not more than 6. Some of the finest kinds of pickles, sauces, olives and chutney are imported in small bottles. The amendment seeks to impose a heavier duty than, the committee have already agreed to.
– Eight-ounce bottles are very small, there being. 22 ounces to the pint.
– But the Government propose to impose the duty on 9-ounce bottles, which will affect the small bottles used for capers, mustard, and similar commodities.
– The honorable member for South Sydney is quite correct in his contention. The amendment will raise the duty by 2d. per dozen on the bottles used.for chutneys, capers, and certain pickles, and will also raise the duty on halfpints and over quarter pints from ls. to ls. 2d. The object of the Minister could be attained by aiming, only at perfumes and essences, and in that way the desire of the committee might be carried out. We do not wish to discuss all the back items, and I ask the Minister to postpone the item under discussion for an hour, while he makes further inquiries. If the Minister will not grant my request it may be worth while our entering into a discussion of the items with which we have already dealt, but which are affected in the way I have indicated by the amendment before us.
-I can assure the honorable and learned member for Werriwa that I have no desire to be discourteous. If the arguments the honorable and learned member has put forward commend themselves to honorable members, possibly some step may be taken which the Ministry would not like. But that does not call upon me to answer every contention a<hvanced against the Government proposal. I have often had to restrain myself in order to save time..
Mr. CONROY (Werriwa).- The duty on pickles is already extremely high, and the question of that duty is raised by the amendment now before US
– The. honorable member will not be in order in discussing the item of pickles on the amendment before us.
– I submit that the amendment has the direct effect of raising the duty on pickles, and the Minister does not propose- to take any step to prevent that effect. Under the circumstances, I move -
That the committee dissent from the ruling of the Chair on the ground that, as the effect of the amendment upon item 89a is to directly raise the duties under item 43, the- committee will be in order in discussing the effect on items under that head.
– My ruling was that the honorable and learned member could not discuss the duties levied upon certain articles enumerated in item 43, but I did not object to an incidental reference to the effect of the proposed amendment.
– As I understood the position, the honorable and learned member for Werriwa -was proceeding to discuss the whole question of the duties imposed under item 43, which is a very different matter from making, merely an incidental reference to the effect of those duties.
– I submit that the Chairman ought not to accept the motion in its present form as one of dissent. The honorable and learned member for Werriwa was discussing the duty upon pickles, sauces, chutneys, olives, &/., when he was informed that he must refrain from so doing. Thereupon he intimated his intention to dissent from the ruling of the Chair.
The effect of a particular duty is a fair subject for discussion, but the. honorable and learned member was going much beyond that.
– When the honorable and learned member was speaking, he distinctly intimated his intention of debating the duties imposed under item 43. I ruled that he would not be in order in doing so, and thereupon he dissented from my ruling. His motion, however, makes it appear that I ruled he would not be in order in discussing the effect of those duties. I did not so rule.
– If I had understood the Chairman’s ruling as clearly as I do now, I might not have expressed my dissent from it. I think, however, that I ought to be able to make more than an incidental reference to the duties levied under item 43. Where any proposed tax has a direct effect upon another item in the Tariff, it appearsto me that we are entitled to discuss the matter in all its bearings. However, in. view of the feeling of the committee, I ask leave to withdraw the motion.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
Mr. CONROY (Werriwa).- I ask the Minister for Trade and Customs if he will agree to the recommittal of item. 43 to allow of the duty upon bottles of smaller sizes being reduced to 4d. per dozen?
– I cannot promise that.
– To my mind it is very wrong for the Government to go back upon a previous decision of the committee, and to impose a duty of8d. per dozen upon smaller sized bottles, when we have already affirmed that they shall be dutiable at 6d. per dozen. We have already decided, after- full consideration, that the duty in this case shall not be more than 6d., and it is now proposed to make it Sd. It is true that this is only with respect to the smaller sizes, but they are most used by the poorer people. I protest against any alteration of this kind in the Tariff when the matter has been so fully discussed before.
Mr. THOMSON (North Sydney).- To make the position more clear,I point out that, where the article contained in bottles is subjected to an ad valorem duty, there is a duty payable upon the bottles also, and there is, therefore, some reason in the objection taken in this case on the part of the local factories. While pints are dutiable at 2s., half-pints ls., and quarter-pints 6d., in the case of the half-pints there are two bottles to be counted, and each will cost nearly as much as a pint bottle. In the case of quarter-pints, there- are two bottles- costing each nearly as much as a half-pint bottle, and to that extent there is some disadvantage in the smaller sizes to the local factories. It is only upon that ground that I personally agree to some alteration being made, but I should still like to keep the size as low as possible. I agreed to accept the compromise offered by the Ministry with respect to 9 ounces, and by that acceptance I consider myself bound.
Amendment of the amendment agreed to.
Amendments (by Mr. Conroy)negatived -
That the amendment be amended by the omission of the figure “2d.” with a view to insert in lien thereof the word “ free.”
That the amendment beamended by the omission of the figure “2d.” witha view to insert in lien thereof the figure “1d.”’
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Item 99. - Glycerine…… ad valorem 20 per cent.
– I move -
That the following exemption be added : - “ Unrefined glycerine for explosives.”
The case for this proposal is a very brief one. Explosives, of which this article forms a very important ingredient, are allowed in free, and the duty upon glycerine is therefore a tax upon raw material. I hope the Government will see their way to put it upon the free list. The local explosives companies have not been too well treated from a protectionist point of view, and to tax their raw materialis, under the circumstances, adding insult to injury. Without further waste of time I ask the Government to accept my proposal, and I think they will have no difficulty in carrying it.
– If the amendment were carried in the form suggested, it would mean that we should have to exercise supervision, either by locker or visitation, upon the manufacture of explosives, and to trace the imported article up to the time it was used. That would involve, probably, a greater expense to the users of explosives than the duty of 20 per cent., to which we have agreed, would amount to. I admit that the duty was fair enough while we had a duty upon explosives, but, as the committee, by a large majority, determined that explosives should be admitted free, there may be some case made out in favour of this proposal. Still, glycerine, which is a by-product in the manufacture of soap and candles, is undoubtedly made very largely here. We have already declared that glycerine, refined and unrefined, should carry a duty of 20 per cent., and, if we reduce the duty upon unrefined glycerine to 10 per cent., I think that would meet the case. If my honorable friend will be satisfied with that suggestion, I shall be prepared, later on, to bring up a line providing for a duty of 1 0 per cent, upon unrefined glycerine.
– I am satisfied.
– I must ask the Treasurer to accept this proposal. There is a certain amount of unrefined glycerine made in Victoria, but it is not used here, and there Ls absolutely no necessity for a duty upon it. A duty to be protective must stop imports, and this duty does not and cannot stop imports. Glycerine will, of course, be made where soap and candles are made, but the only persons to whom the glycerine manufacturers can sell locally are those engaged in the manufacture of explosives. The local manufacturers of glycerine, by exporting the article to London, can sell it at the London current price of £3 2 a ton ; but they take advantage of the duty in “Victoria, in order to get a price here of £43 a ton. Under these circumstances I do not think the duty upon glycerine should be allowed to remain, when its effect is only to tax such an industry as the explosives industry. I appeal therefore to the committee to support the proposal of the honorable member for Southern Melbourne. Since we decided to admit explosives free, I have seen men who came from a place called Deer Park, not far from Footscray, where explosives are made, and they have told me that their positions are imperilled, as practically the only industry in that small district is the manufacture of explosives. If that industry is wiped out, it will mean the loss to these men of their livelihood. Many of them are buying houses at Deer Park through building societies, and the closing of the explosives factory there will mean to them the loss of the whole of their earnings and their savings for a lifetime. It is suggested to me that possibly if we do not put a duty upon glycerine, we may wipe out the glycerine industry. If I thought that would be the effect of the proposal I would not support it. I can assure the committee that the only effect of the duty is to enable the manufacturers of glycerine to make an exaction upon those requiring it locally for the .manufacture of explosives. I moved some time ago that glycerine should be admitted free, but the motion was lost sight of in some way, and I trust that the honorable’ member for Southern Melbourne will now press the amendment he has moved.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta).It is wonderful how environment influences one’s views. The honorable and learned member for Corio is anxious to have this compound, so terrible in its potentialities, placed upon the free list, and one cannot help thinking that he would not be so anxious were it not for the fact that he is a member of a distinguished order who deal largely in explosives. I am of course referring to the honorable and learned member as a soldier. I suppose it is because the honorable and learned member is a soldier that he wishes the committee to exercise a little common sense in regard to this matter, although while the Opposition have been pointing out in connexion with a hundred other items on the Tariff that the effect of a duty is to make the article upon which it is imposed dearer in the country in which it is made than in the country to which it is exported, he has never before risen to support that argument. Now, however, he tells us that the effect of the duty upon unrefined glycerine is to make glycerine manufactured in Victoria cheaper in London than it is in Melbourne. While the duties affected merely things which the people eat or drink or use, the honorable and learned member never took the trouble to inquire into their effect upon prices. I agree with him that unrefined glycerine should be placed upon the free list, and I hope that when we come to deal with other duties which more nearly affect the people who are engaged in building up the industries to defend which the explosives he speaks of are chiefly required, he will be equally anxious to have them removed.
– -As this amendment originally stood upon the business paper in my name, I. wish to say that I regard the offer of the Government as a very fair one, and that I think the time of the committee will be saved by accepting it.
– It was very gratifying to those on this side of the chamber to hear the honorable and learned member for Corio make such a beautiful free-trade speech. He tells us at the tail-end of the discussion upon the Tariff what we have been trying to get honorable members opposite to recognise all through the piece, that freetrade will give smiling faces, happy homes, and full bellies. I intend to vote for the free admission of unrefined glycerine. One might have expected the honorable and learned member to take a similar stand in regard to the duties upon foodstuffs, clothing and boots, but although we had a sudden outburst from him in regard to machine tools - which he desired to place upon the free list - he has not gone further. I should like to hear of his thorough conversion, and to see him sitting upon this side of the Chamber.
Mr. RONALD (Southern Melbourne.)I am willing to accept the compromise offered by the Government, and therefore I ask leave to withdraw the amendment.
– I object.
Mr. HENRY WILLIS (Robertson).Unrefined glycerine is an article the manufacture of which requires no protection at all. The manufacturers of explosives gave evidence before a Royal Commission some years ago to the effect that they were at the mercy of the soap and candle manufacturers in regard to the supply of unrefined glycerine, and the same conditions practically prevail to-day. I have been informed by the late “Victorian Minister for Lands that the members of that commission were nearly all protectionists, and that most of their recommendations were accepted by the Victorian Parliament.
– No ; most of them were free-traders, and the Victorian Parliament altered their recommendations very largely.
– The commission recommended a duty of £d. per lb., which was equivalent to an ad valor-em duty of 10 per cent. - a very high protective duty. No argument, however, can be advanced for protecting this industry, and I trust that the committee will insist upon allowing the importation of unrefined glycerine free of duty.
Mr. CROUCH (Corio).- I wish to point out to the committee that for years past no glycerine has been imported into Australia. My position is an absolutely logical one. If the honorable member for Maranoa could show that the duty has prevented the importation of glycerine, I would admit that it is a protective duty. The only reason for keeping it on is to force the manufacturers of explosives to pay high prices for the locally-made glycerine, and this will mean absolute ruin to men who have put the savings of their lifetime into the business of making explosives. If honorable members knew that the explosives industry would be entirely wiped out if the duty were continued, they would support my views.
– Why will the duty upon unrefined glycerine ruin the local manufacturers of explosives ?
– The effect of the duty has been to allow the Victorian manufacturers of soap and candles, who get only £32 per ton for the glycerine they export to London, to charge £11 per ton more to the local manufucturers of explosives, and with the duty on explosives removed these manufacturers cannot continue unless they are able to get their raw material as cheaply as it can be obtained by manufacturers in other parts of the world.
– Honorable members opposite say that duties make things cheaper.
– If the honorable member cannot see the difference between the proposed duty and a protective duty, he must be very dull indeed.
– What does the honorable and learned gentleman call this duty 1
– I call it an extortion and an exaction, and I shall not consent to the withdrawal of the amendment.
Question - that the following exemption be added : - “ Unrefined glycerine for explosives” - put. The committee divided -
– On the 7th March last, in a division on an amendment proposing to reduce the duty on strawboard to 9d. per cwt., the votes for the ayes and noes were equal, and it became my duty to. give a casting vote, and I voted with the noes. Objection was taken to my action by certain honorable members, who stated that I should have given my vote in favour of reducing taxation. I desire to bring under the notice of honorable members a case in the House of Commons- where the Chairman in circumstances that appear to me exactly parallel voted in the same way as I did. A motion was made in committee of supply that a sum not exceeding £155,667 be granted for missions and embassies abroad, and an amendment being proposed to reduce the amount by £10,000, the lower amount was proposed to the committee. When a division was taken the numbers were equal, whereupon the Chairman declared that the committee having hesitated to affirm the proposed reduction of the vote, as submitted to it on the responsibility of the Executive Government, and as, if the proposed reduction were negatived, the committee would have an opportunity of voting upon any reduction ofthe whole vote which might be moved, he declared himself with the noes. The entry I refer to will be found in the Commons’ Journals, No. 124, page 371. I shall follow the practice which I have adopted in the past, and which is indorsed by the Chairman of Committees of the House of Commons, by giving my vote with the noes.
Question so resolved in the negative.
– Is it possible,, sir, for an honorable member to make any remarks on that point 1
The CHAIRMAN. - I have taken this course so that honorable members- can refer to the journals of the House of Commons, but no argument on. the Chairman’s vote can be used.
Item- agreed to.
Division X. - Wood, wicker, and cane.
Item 103. . . . Timber undressed being Oregon, in sizes* of 12 in. x 6 in. (or its- equivalent) and over, per 100 super feet,. (id., from 28th February, 1902.
– I do not propose to ask the committee at this moment to review the duty on this item. It was recommitted at the instance of the Treasurer, through a little misunderstanding of some remarks I made one Friday afternoon when we were about to adjourn. The right honorable and learned gentleman thought that this was the only way in which I could deal with the subject, and so, with extreme fairmindedness, he included the item in the list of recommittals. I shall deal with, the subject when we come to review the exemptions under this division.
Item agreed to.
– With the permission of the committee, I shall move my amendment in. this form -
That the following exemption be added : - “Hickory spokes dressed, 2 in. and under in diameter. “
In Australia we have no hickory, and no reasonable substitute for hickory, for the manufacture of buggy wheels and light vehicles. The duty as it stands is 25 per cent, on dressed hickory spokes. It is not a protective, but a prohibitive duty, and seeing that the spokes are the raw material of the- carriage-builders, it is’ only fair that’ it should be abolished. I should have no objection, if the interests of’ the revenue so required, to vote for a small revenue duty, but it could yield only a very small sum, and would, perhaps, be irritating, in its incidence. I trust that the Government will accept my proposal. I can state, from personal knowledge and experience, that the materials used as a substitute for hickory spokes, throughout the dryer portions of the States, altogether fail for the purpose for which they are substituted.
– For a number of years in Victoria we had a duty on these articles, and when in the rough they were duty free. So far as I can find out, the duty has not been operative, and. the spokes have come in. dressed. Therefore I agree with my honorable friend that it will be wise to allow them to come in dressed.
– I think it will be better to name the diameter at first intended.
SirGEORGE TURNER.- My honorable friend has had greatexperience,and he thinks that the sizeof 2 inches will cover all herequires. I think that we might well leave to him the determination of the size.
Amendment agreed to.
Item 104. Wicker, bamboo, cane, or wood, . . wood cut into shape for making boxes or doors . . . ad calorem, 20 per cent.
– I move-
That the words “and dressed or partly dressed” bo inserted after the word “ shape.”
In one portion of the Tariff it is provided that wood cut into shape for making boxes or doors shall be liable to a duty of 10 per cent. A large quantity of wood for the purpose is imported in the rough, and it is imported in the exact sizes because the importers are able to get the small sizes at a considerably reduced price. As the wood in the rough would be dutiable at the rate of ls. 6d. per hundred superficial feet it seems rather unfair to charge these if in the rough at the rate of 20 per cent., which is considerably higher. The amendment means that if these goods are dressed or partly dressed, they will be liable to the duty, but, that if on the other hand they are imported in the rough, as they are largely,and the dressing is done here, the mere fact of their being cut into smaller sizes is not to make them liable to duty at the heavy rate. I think that the alteration is a reasonable one to which the committee may well a,gree.
Amendment agreed to.
– As regards this item honorable members know what the position was. We were discussing an amendment by the honorable member for Corangamite in relation to the wood for butter boxes, when it was necessary to complete our work in order to get a fresh print of the Tariff made. We promised then to move that the exemptions be reviewed in order to enable the matter to be proceeded with from the stand-point the honorable member took. As it stands the Tariff is against his wish, and it will be necessary for him to move an amendment to give effect to what he desires.
– One or two omissions from these exemptions were made when the committee waslast dealing with this item.
– I wish to move an amendment placing all New Zealand white pine on the exemption list. I wish, to point out to the committee that the New Zealand Parliamentin its last session gave the Executive power to impose an export duty of 3s. per 100 feet on logs of New Zealand pine either squared or unsquared, a duty of 2s. on fitches of white pine, and 3s on kauri. In view of that fact, I think the Government ought to review the dutv proposed to be placed upon New Zealand pine.
– To what extent is the export duty to be imposed - on all the timber, or only on timber of certain sizes ?
– On timber of certain sizes. Aflitch is a piece of timber 12 in. x 6 in. A piece of timber 10 ft. x 6 in. would come out of New Zealand duty free. In Victoria we have an export of butter which amounted to 16,000 tons last year, and there were required to carry that quantity 640,000 butter-cases. The local consumption of butter is apart altogether from that quantity. It has been argued that a rebate might be allowed on the boxes exported. Rut there is a considerable amount of waste attaching to this timber. It cannot be used for butter-boxes immediately it is imported, but has to be stored and seasoned. There will be no rebate on the waste timber, and consequently there will be a loss in that respect. It is contended that Queensland timber would be more suitable for boxes in the case of butter for local consumption. But the number of boxes used locally is nothing like the quantity used for sending butter abroad. Moreover, very few butter boxes are returned to the producer. Those who have seen butter unpacked will well understand that the grocer, when he turns out a box of butter on to his counter, would find it rather an awkward business to preserve thebox. Most grocers simply knock off the sides of the box, damaging it to such an extent that it would be of no use to return it. I am told by men engaged in the trade that they do not get back 50 per cent, of their butter boxes. It is argued that a reason why New Zealand white pine should be taxed is that it enters into competition with other timber for building purposes. But I am informed that that is entirely a mistake. Timber merchants tell me that New Zealand white pine is nota durable timber, and that if used even for inside building work, within a short period it becomes so rotten that a lead pencil could 4>e pushed through it. A case may be cited. At the second Melbourne Exhibition great difficulty was experienced in procuring Baltic pine and other kinds of timber. There was a large quantity of New Zealand white pine in Melbourne at the time, and it was used inside the building. K believe that it was as much as the wood >could do to remain sound until the close of the exhibition. A certain amount of surplus wood was left upon the ground. It was not there for anything like twelve months, but when the workmen came to remove it, the lower boards in particular were so rotten that they could not be picked up, but had to be shovelled into the drays. These facts show that -.the timber is altogether unsuitable for ^building purposes, and will not be used in -that respect. Queensland timber is, I admit, very superior to New Zealand white pine. It is too good for butter-boxes. It is a pity to use it for that purpose when it is much more suitable for superior work. A large quantity of New Zealand timber is’ also used in the making of fruit cases. I am told that when the logs are cut up there is a certain amount of the off-cut which is -.of no value for ordinary commercial pur>poses. This waste timber is used for the manufacture of fruit cases. The fruit line is cut so very close that it does not pay manufacturers to make up these cases. The : scraps of timber are bought by the fruitgrowers themselves, and in their spare time -they make up the cases they require. I am credibly informed that these off-cuts are sold An the Melbourne market at as low as 5s. ;per 100 feet. The Queensland members will agree with me that if a duty were imposed on New Zealand white pine it would be impossible to procure anything like the quantity of Queensland timber required at the present time. We should practically have to rely on New Zealand for years to . come, and consequently a heavy tax would be levied on the fruit and butter industries of the Commonwealth. At present 80 per cent, of the butter boxes used in the Commonwealth are exported. Is it worth while collecting duty on the New Zealand pine when rebate will have to be paid on SO pei1 cent, of the boxes made from it ? This duty will not so much affect the large factories who as a rule export their own butter, but it will fall heavily upon the man who makes his few cases of butter per week and puts it upon the market, whether in Melbourne or Sydney. He will secure no rebate on the timber used in the boxes. He will pay duty upon that timber, and pay something for the profit upon the duty paid by the importer, and the merchant who buys his butter will secure the refund, which will never reach the producer. I know that the honorable member for Richmond feels strongly upon this subject. He tells us that the farmers in his electorate are protectionists. But I believe that they do not use their own locallygrown pine for export purposes. They prefer to use New Zealand white pine. In places where there are factories managed by farmers with their own capital, this particular class of timber is not used, owing, as I am told, to the attendant risk. I move -
That the following words be omitted, “ of sizes 12 inches x (i inches (or its equivalent) or over.”
– I should like the Chairman’s ruling as to whether it would be competent for me to move that wooden type and other accessories of the printing trade be added to the exemptions.
The ACTING CHAIRMAN (Mr. V. L. Solomon). - I think it is open to honorable members to move any addition to the list of exemptions.
– The honorable member for Corangamite is perfectly right when he says that on the last occasion I spoke rather strongly on this subject, but I would rather the view were taken that when men who have been accustomed to deal with the protected industries of Victoria, New South Wales, or any other States, come into their heritage of the control of the producing interests of Australia, they will act fairly towards the whole continent. There is no need to enter into a dissertation on the responsibilities of honorable members who claim to be protectionists. The responsibilities outside our electorates are as important as are the responsibilities inside, and no policy ian possibly succeed which disregards the great principle that is supposed to underlie tree-trade, and certainly does underlie protection - namely, that we must not contemplate merely how the policy will be beneficial or acceptable to our own constituents. If we deal with this question at all, we must deal with it in absolute fairness, and no representative of a farmer’s constituency would dare to go back to his people and tell them that he voted for a duty on butter, bacon, cheese, and other agricultural products, and refused to impose a duty for the benefit of those engaged in the timber industry. It would be a forlorn hope for either free-trade or protection if honorable members of any party were found trifling with their responsibilities in that way. I would rather believe that all honorable members, even those representing the farmers of Victoria - who, I take it, are as manly and straightforward as any other people - are prepared to accept the responsibility of telling their constituents, who are protectionists, and have returned protectionist members, that it is absolutely essential they should suffer the drawbacks as well as enjoy the benefits of that policy.
– Queensland members voted against a duty on saddle-trees.
– I was not present when the duty on saddle-trees was under discussion, but I took care to be paired for the division. I do not think it is well for parties to quarrel about matters of this kind. I am prepared to believe that if any representative of a dairying district in Victoria votes against the proposed duty, he will do so in accordance with principles which he believes to be right. The honorable member for Gippsland, who exercises a great deal of influence in regard to this matter, must know that if we can make out a case, we are bound to get the votes of protectionists in Victoria. I shall, as briefly as possible, make out my case, and leave it to the judgment of honorable members, and, believing that they will do what they deem to be their duty, I am prepared to accept their decision. The first question is whether there is, in Australia, timber suitable for making butter boxes. I am not arguing this question from the point of view of Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales, or any other State. What we, as representatives in the Federal Parliament, have to consider is whether suitable timber is grown in Australia ; we are making laws, not for any individual State, but for the Australian Commonwealth. Is there suitable timber in New South Wales? According to the Forestry department of that State, the quantity of pine available for the making of butter-boxes is absolutely unlimited. I am now speaking of districts in the north - the Clarence, the Richmond, the Brunswick, and the Tweed. The next question is whether this timber is suitable. Mr. Crowe, who is, I believe, a. competent dairy expert in the State of. Victoria, states that the Richmond River and Queensland pine is resinous or gummy, and liable to injure the butter. That statement had much weight with the butter producers of Victoria.
– Where did Mr. Crowe come from ‘?
– I do not know, nor do I know where Mr. Crowe got his information, but I am sure that no competent man, with any sense of responsibility, should havemade such a statement. Against the opinion of Mr. Crowe there is the fact that in thedistrict of Tweed River, for the last three years, the whole of the timber used for butter-boxes has been local pine, without any objection to its use being raised.
– Is local pine used in all the local butter factories 1
– The Byron Bay Company, which deals with nearly £150,000 of produce annually, do not, it is true, use Australian pine for the export trade, bub the smaller boxes used in the local tradeare made at the local mills. Apparently those interested in that company do not. think that the local pine injures the butterused locally. The Forester for the northern, coastal district of New South Wales, after pointing out the trouble that besets Mr. Crowe, writes -
I feel certain that these difficulties would be overcome if the timber were properly seasoned. It is 1113’ firm opinion that a great quantity of our local timber is used under the impression that it is the New Zealand article.
In point of fact, a considerable quantity of timber leaves Richmond River, and, reaching Sydney, there loses the stigma of being the local article, and is then worked up as New Zealand pine, and comes back to our local factories. Much of the pine used in my electorate is local pine, which has been rehabilitated or purified by a trip to Sydney. Mr. Guthrie, analytical chemist of New
South Wales, makes the statement that apparently neither the New Zealand nor the New South Wales timber affects the butter. In order to be perfectly fair, I roust say that from internal evidence in Mr. Guthrie’s report, the experiments do not seem to have been quite fair, because the New South Wales pine used apparently was better seasoned. At the Richmond River factories, since there hoa : been some agitation on this question, boxes made of local material ha-ve been filled with butter and kept for months, and the butter has not ‘been prejudicially -affected in any way. Thus we have the Forester .of the northern coastal district of New South Wales, the Tweed River factory proprietors, partly the Byron Bay ‘Company, and Mr. Guthrie, with” the local experiments, all pointing to the same conclusion - that the timber is suitable, so far as non-injurious effects are concerned. If any honorable member wants further proof of the suitability of Australian pine tor this purpose, it is not in my power to give it ; and what has been stated should satisfy any reasonable person. One objection to the local pine is that it is somewhat heavier than that imported. The local boxes are lib. 3ozs. heavier than those made of New Zealand pine: in other words, a New South Wales box filled with butter weighs about 6’51bs. 15ozs., while a New Zealand box similarly filled weighs -641bs. 12ozs. The difference is so slight that the ship-owners offer to disregard it, so that there is no real objection upon the ground of weight. The honorable member for Corangamite has asked why our dairy farmers do not use the local timber. I would point out that if the importing classes in Australia had had their way no local product would be used for any purpose whatever. To defeat them takes time. Before the importance of properly treating timber intended for the manufacture of butter-boxes was fully understood, it used to be the practice to bring such timber to Sydney and dump it into the pellucid waters of the harbor, where it was allowed to remain until it had become if not perfectly sodden, at least seriously deteriorated. Naturally timber treated in that way was unsuitable for butter-boxes. But with experience our people have gained wisdom, with the result that every butterbox made recently in New South Wales from local timber has been eminently satisfactory. I am quite satisfied that if we allowed New Zealand white pine to lie in the waters of Sydney Harbor until it had become -sodden, the Victorian farmers would not -care .about using it in connexion with the export -of their butter. Nearly all the representatives of the State of Victoria were returned to the national Parliament as protectionists. The essence of the doctrine of protection is that native industries do not spring into existence unaided. The term “ protection “ implies the fostering care of the Government. It means that, in its desire to establish industries in which the people can find employment, the State imposes duties upon articles which can be locally produced, or offers bonuses to encourage their production. Hitherto no protection has been given to the timber-industry in New South Wales. Although two mills of the many there treat 4,000,000 superficial feet per annum, the industry has not been fairly started. Im this connexion I might ask the honorable member for Corangamite, as a protectionist, whether he is aware that the Victorian Government have paid the farmers of the State of Victoria .£132,000 by way of bonus for the export of agricultural produce. Although the whole of that money did not find its way into the right pockets, undoubtedly its payment gave an immense fillip to the butter and dairying industry. The honorable member voted for duties upon boots, hats, and umbrellas, all of which are made in the great centres of population, and yet he refuses to mete out the same treatment to the timber-getters, who work in the mountain fastnesses, and live as laborious a life as does any class in the world. I should like to ask him if Victoria had not fertile lands before winegrowing started. What has established that industry ? The duty upon colonial wine ! What forced the Victorian dairying industry so rapidly into its present position 1 The aid extended to it by the State. All I ask is, that ‘the same consideration shall be extended to the timber industry. We are told that we cannot supply the necessary timber at the price at which it can be imported. But I would -point out that the mill-owners in the Richmond electorate undertake to supply it at the same price. If those supplying timber to Byron Bay and to the Tweed River factory charged a higher rate they could not obtain the trade. Moreover, as it takes 7 feet of timber to make a butter-box, a duty of ls. per 100
Superficial feet would ‘mean a tax of one seventy-fifth of a penny only upon each pound of ‘hatter. It is obligatory upon protectionists >to vote “for a duty upon timber, just as they voted for a duty upon nails. I contend it has been .proved that our local timber is suitable for the manufacture of butter-boxes. I therefore object to allowing all timber to be imported free of duty ostensibly for that purpose. If we are powerless to prevent white pine intended ito be used for the -manufacture of butter-boxes entering free of duty, that fact should be clearly specified. Surely honorable members will assist in preventing our market from being flooded with timber which comes in ostensibly for the manufacture of butterboxes, but which is used for other purposes 1 All Oregon timber has been rendered dutiable at only 6d. per 100 superficial feet simply because Broken Hill, which absorbs but one-tenth of the Oregon used within the Commonwealth, desires it should be free. Thus a portion of the home market has been absolutely closed to our own people. Now a number of honorable members desire ‘the free admission of New Zealand white pine, under the belief that it is intended only for the manufacture of butter-boxes, when, as a matter of fact, it will be used for other purposes. That is not fair treatment to accord to the timber industry. Honorable members opposite entered this House pledged to free-trade with the whole -world as far as an £8,000,000 Tariff would permit, and, therefore, I expect .no assistance from them. But I do ask the party which professes to be a national one not to degrade the great principle of protection by reducing this question to one of whether or not it is specially in the interests of their own constituents. I confidently leave the matter in the hands of the committee.
– I have been deeply touched by the impassioned oration of the gifted and intellectual member for Richmond upon the subject of butter-boxes. I regard him with unstinted admiration, because he has been almost the only man in this Chamber who has followed the Ministry through all its advances, retreats, and manoeuvres with unvarying regularity. The trumpet call has always found him at his post, whether he has been required to go forward, backward, sideways, or to stand upon his head. He has always been ready, upon any conceivable subject, Jo perform any evolution which the Ministry required, but he .always did it in a matter-of-fact, business-like way, which appealed to us upon -ordinary grounds which all could understand. But when the-honorable member soars into ‘the higher regions of parliamentary eloquence upon this subject, and reproaches other honorable members for degrading the .principle of protection, we know very well that, if he ‘had represented a vast area of the interior of Australia where there was one tree to 100 square miles, he would have been dozing peacefully upon the Ministerial benches. The sacred principle of -protection would have had to do the best it could without any assistance from my honorable friend. Without going into this -matter further I do think the time has come when both sides of the committee should co-operate with the Government to bring it to an end. I am quite prepared to see the whole of this business put through in time to have the Tariff sent on to the Senate when they meet on the 23rd of this month. There are only a few items left, and now that we have had a pretty fair investigation of the Tariff we ought to co-operate in the interests of public time, and deal with the final stages of the measure as promptly as we possible oan. If, however, my honorable friend is to enter upon these musty subjects about fostering industry, the flood of butter-boxes, the machinations of the importer, and the extra farthing which somebody is clamouring to take out of the pocket of somebody else, we shall .get on a very false .track. I hope the committee will come to a division as no matter has been more fully thrashed out than this question of butter-boxes.
– I have no wish to repeat what I have already said upon this subject, and I agree entirely with the remarks made by the leader of the Opposition ; but the ‘eloquence of the honorable member for Richmond on this subject of butter - boxes requires some little attention from those who hold views differing from his own. The honorable member referred to the responsibility of members of the committee to deal with this and other matters apart from the special interests of their own constituencies. But it appears to me that if there is any honorable member who has specially dealt with the matter from the stand-point of the effect of this duty upon his own electorate, it is the honorable, member for Richmond. He has pointed out that there is practically an unlimited supply of timber in the constituency he represents, and .he is prepared to compel the dairy farmers of Australia to use the timber which comes from his district and from Queensland, no matter at what price, in the exportation of their butter. The honorable member contended that the timber is suitable for butter boxes, and quoted Mr. Crowe, who has given an opinion against the alleged suitability of Queensland timber for the purpose. I can quote as another authority, Mr. Taylor, of Taylor and Company, who is one of the largest timber merchants in Sydney. Mr. Taylor has been dealing with the north coast districts of New South Wales particularly, for considerably over 30 years, and he has pointed out to me in a letter, that it has never been proved that the Richmond River pine is suitable for the exportation of butter. Further, with regard to the quantity available, he states that there is an absolutely unlimited demand for the Richmond and Tweed River timber in Sydney. We know that the Richmond River pine is a splendid wood, but the fact is that the mills upon those northern rivers are not able to supply it in sufficient quantity ; and at the present time those who wish to use that timber in Sydney have to go short. If a duty were put upon timber in such a way as to bring the importation of New Zealand pine suddenly to a standstill, what would the position of the dairy farmers be 1 We have exported 100,000,000 lbs. of butter from New South Wales and Victoria during the last year ; and, as we are dependent upon the price which the article will bring in the foreign market, it is necessary that our dairy farmers, who have had to suffer from drought, and from labour troubles, during the past year, should be able to send their product away at a cheap rate if they are not to be placed in a very much worse position than they are in at present. The result of a stoppage of the supply of butter-box timber would be absolutely ruinous to this national industry. The honorable member for Richmond has told us that the essence of protection is the fostering care of the Government. That does not apply to the dairying industry, because we know that no duty can be imposed which will benefit the dairy farmers so far as the price of their produce is concerned. All that they desire is to be left alone to carry on their industry as cheaply as possible, that they may make some profit for themselves, and not to be taxed at every turn, as they have been by this Government. On the question of the price of this timber the honorable member told us the additional price due to the duty would be infinitesimal ; but so far as New South Wales is concerned an addition of one penny per box on the number of boxes used in connexion with the dairying industry would amount to considerably over £4,000 in the year. It would come to about the same in Victoria, and it must be admitted that that would be a very considerable addition to the burdens already put upon the dairying industry of Australia by the present administration. We were told by the honorable member that the dairying industry of Victoria was built up by the fostering care of the Government j but no honorable member representing Victoria will support that statement. We know perfectly well that it was not the duty of threepence per lb. that built up the dairying industry of Victoria ; but the fact that that State struck very hard times, and the people were compelled to look round to see what industry they could take up that would keep them going. The honorable member for Moira well knows that some of them came over to our district of Illawarra and saw what we were doing there. They went one better than us in establishing creameries, and the result was the establishment of this dairying industry. I ask the committee, in the interests of the important dairying industry of Australia, not to add to the burdens already placed on those engaged in it under this Tariff, by agreeing to this duty, but to permit New Zealand pine to come in free.
– The honorable member for Illawarra is quite right in asking for full consideration for the dairy farmers of the Commonwealth. There are members present who will vote for this duty who are as keen upon that point as himself. But the honorable member confines his consideration to one class of producers in the Commonwealth, and he is prepared to deny to the timber-getters, who are also primary producers, a meed of protection which would not be higher than a revenue duty.
– There is a difference in principle between the two.
– There may be a difference in principle, but I should like to hear the right honorable gentleman on that point. I admit the difficulties under which the dairy farmer has to labour, but the timber-getters, pioneering in the mountains and making roads to what are practically the waste lands of the Commonwealth, have also to labour under difficulties, and surely it is not too much to ask of townsmen and dairymen, who have greater advantages than the timber-getters, that they should give this small meed of protection, if it can be called protection, to those engaged in the timber industry. This duty would not amount to more than 10 per cent., and I understand that the Government still stand by their original proposal to give a rebate upon butter-boxes sent to a foreign market. Surely that is a reasonable proposal. I am pleased to note that while honorable members who are opposed to this duty at first contended that we could not produce a pine suitable for these butter-boxes, they are now forced to admit that Queensland pine is not only equal, but superior to New Zealand pine for this purpose. I admit that it is dearer, and that timber may be shipped from New Zealand to Sydney and Melbourne at a cheaper rate than that at which it can be brought from Queensland to those ports. We suffer under that disadvantage because of the greater shipping facilities between those ports and New Zealand, and the people of New Zealand have taken full advantage of them. I do not think it necessary now to debate the question at great length. I have stated my views clearly, and I think it is the duty of honorable members of the committee to vote for this duty. If the New Zealand timber continues to be imported it will be a revenue duty, and if it does not the margin between the price of New Zealand pine and Queensland pine will not be such as to cause the daily farmers to suffer to any great extent.
– When this matter was being discussed before I studied it a little, and made a few notes on the subject. I find, upon referring to them, that the Australian imports of New Zealand pine amounted to from 22,000,000 to 24,000,000 feet, and that Queensland’s capacity in the supply of pine for butterboxes was limited to 1,500,000 feet.
– Where does the honorable member get the information that Queensland cannot supply this timber ?
– I can give plenty of proofs. I can, for instance, quote Mr. Moore, - . of Melbourne, who during last year made one-half of the butter-boxes used for the export of Victorian butter. I got my information partly from the statistical register of Queensland, and partly also from letters written to the Argus by Mr. Robert Blair, who is, I believe, an expert in timber matters, upon whose statements I can rely. Mr. Moore asked for quotations for 1,000,000 or 1,500,000 feet of Queensland pine, and he could not get it supplied.
– We have 11 billion feet available, according to a special wire we have here on the subject.
– It is all very fine for the honorable member to talk about having so much available. When Mr. Moore asked for quotations for 1,000,000 or 1,500,000 feet of timber, he found that that quantity of timber was not available. Growth and availability are different things. Another fact which tells against the Queensland timber is that New Zealand has been exporting pine to Queensland, although, under the Queensland Tariff, there was a duty of 4s. per 100 feet upon New Zealand pine, and the freight was equal to another 2s. fid. or 3s.
– Does the honorable and learned member know the extent of Queensland?
– Of course, I do ; but the whole of the timber growing in Queensland cannot be turned to account to meet the demand of any particular year. In 1S99 there was a shortage in Victoria, and the box-makers could not get the supplies they wanted. Why did not Queensland send her timber to Victoria then ? The proposed duty will be a tax upon the fruitgrowers and dairymen of the continent, while utterly inadequate as a protective duty. I have here quotations which show that the price of Queensland pine in Victoria is 15s. Id., while the price of New Zealand pine is lis. 5d. Without referring to the difference in quality-
– The difference in quality is in our favour.
– The information supplied to me is that Queensland pine is inferior to New Zealand pine, both because of its weight and because of its odour. I understand that Mr. Moore made, last year, half the total number of boxes used in the export of butter from Victoria. If he had used Queensland pine it would have cost him £18.,S54, but, as he used New Zealand pine, the cost -was only £14,270, a saving of £4,584.
– The honorable and learned member is quoting the price of Queensland dressed pine against the price of New Zealand undressed pine.
– That is not so. I have quotations from an agent for the Queensland pine. With regard to the proposal to give a drawback, I would point out that, as only one-twentieth of the fruit put into boxes is exported, very little relief would be given by it.
– And the wrong men would get it.
– Yes. A fruit-grower, writing to the Argus, says that not onetwentieth of the fruit grown in Australia is exported, and that, as the apples sent to London, South Africa, and New Zealand are sent by salesmen, the)’, and not the growers, would obtain the rebate. This writer also states that last year he obtained on the average only ls. 9d. per case gross for his fruit, of which ls. 3d. went to meet various charges, so that all that he got for his profit and as a reward for his labour was Gd. per case. It is now proposed to tax him and .others at the rate of Id. or. 1½d. per case upon that small amount. Queensland cannot supply, even in the case of butter boxes, more than onefifteenth of the total requirements of the Commonweath. The -matter has been brought under my notice by letters from various sources. A protectionist at Brunswick, who employs a very great number of men in the timber trade, has told me that he strongly objects to this duty, and I have had letters from places like Angaston, Tanunda, and Clare, pointing out that its imposition will be heavily felt by the exporters of fruit.
– While I have supported the policy of protection throughout the discussion of the Tariff, I have never been influenced by State considerations. I recognise in this case that no amount of protection can make timber ^suitable for particular purposes unless it is naturally so. I think that the honorable member for Wide Bay is mistaken when he says that it has been admitted that Queensland pine is superior to New Zealand pine for the malling of butter-boxes. I have been in communication with the chairman and other prominent members of the Dairying Association of Victoria, and they tell me that, although the matter has ‘been under consideration for months, it has not yet been demonstrated -to ‘them that Queensland -pine is suitable for the making of butter,boxes
– What -evidence do they require?
– They want to be satisfied on the point, but they do not say by what particular means. The Victorian dairy .expert, upon whose opinion our dairymen place the greatest reliance, reports against the Queensland pine. I am not prepared to say that Queensland pine of the best quality has been submitted to him’; but it is evident that the pine he has seen is not -equal to the N«w . Zealand pine. Then, we have the admission of the honorable member for Richmond that his constituents do not use for export purposes the .pine growing at their doors.
– I stated that some of the companies do not use it, but that those who have used it for export purposes have not had .complaints. It is not fully used in my district.
– The ‘honorable member for Corangamite, who has made a visit to the district, was told -when there that, although they used the local pine for butter intended for local consumption, they did not use it for butter intended for export. I am as anxious as any one to encourage the timber industry, but I recognise that the dairying industry is one of the most important in the Commonwealth, and that we cannot afford to run risks in regard to it. As I told the Government when the matterwas under consideration before, if they can suggest effective means whereby the dairymen will get the benefit of the rebate, I shall support the proposal, but I have not heard any such means suggested. To give a rebate to the exporter would not benefit the producer. Upon the information before me, I feel that I must vote to place New Zealand pine upon the free list.
– I hope that, in the interests of the dairymen and of the fruit-growers of the continent, New Zealand pine will be made free. We have been informed that the average price of fruit last year was ls. 9d. .per case. That being so, the proposed duty is equivalent to a tax of from 12s. to 14s. upon every acre under fruit on the continent. I do not yield to the honorable member for Wide Bay in my sympathy with the timbergetters. They should have fair -play ; but we should not be generous to them at -the expense of our fruit-growers and ‘dairymen. If Queensland timber is as .suitable as, if not superior to, New Zealand .pine, why cannot it successfully compete against it? Do honorable .gentlemen profess to be afraid of the greater skill -of the New Zealand timber-getters 1 The honorable, member can only tell us of one advantage which New Zealand has, namely, her greater shipping facilities. Does he mean to say that those facilities are the equivalent of the drawbacks which New Zealand has t ‘For instance, New Zealand has the drawback of an export duty of 3s. pei” 100 feet, equivalent to about 25 per cent, on all pine. Notwithstanding that New Zealand has clapped on an export duty of 25 percent, the Government still want a 10 per cent, tax imposed on New Zealand pine. I should have thought that that immediately this very substantial protection to Queensland timber-growers had been imposed by New Zealand, the ‘Government would have withdrawn their advocacy of the duty. Either it was insufficient before or it was not. If it was deemed to be a reasonable tax before, “they must see that with this 25 per cent, export duty in New Zealand it must be an extortionate and unreasonable impost. With the proposition of the Government there would be a tax of 4s. 6d. per 100 feet in addition to the cost of transit, which is said to run from 2s. 6d. to 3s. That brings the tax on the New Zealand product before it gets to our market up to 5s. 6d. per 100 feet, and I suppose it is worth 12s -or 14s. per 100 feet here. It is taxed by freight and export duty and . other charges to the extent of nearly 50 per cent, on its value. On the top of that imposition we are coolly asked to impose a further duty of 10 per cent. I wonder what the honorable member for Wide Bay will call a fair amount. Whatever point there may have been in his argumen t concerning the revenue aspect before the export duty was imposed in New Zealand can no longer apply. There is a tremendous duty imposed by the New Zealand Government, because they’ do not wish their pine to be sent here. But still it will come here and compete with Queensland timber. That is the best proof we can have of its superiority, in a commercial sense, over the Queensland timber. Of what use is it that in ‘Queensland, they have 11,000,000 feet of pine available? Availability, I take it, means commercial availability. New Zealanders are paying an export duty of 3s. in addition to a freight of 2s. >6d., and “yet they are selling their pine in ‘Queensland in competition with the local pine. We are informed in Sydney, that, notwithstanding all this availability of Queensland timber, it .cannot be got in that city, and cannot be brought down there in ‘Sufficient quantity to enable the merchants to look upon Queensland as a source of supply. They have sent to every available place in that State where they thought it was likely to be had, but they have not been ;able to get a supply. The whole market of Australia is available, and what other opportunity is required to develop this Queensland industry ? It does not appear to satisfy honorable members. The fruit-growers and the dairymen are the best judges of this matter, I apprehend, and they say that if a duty of 10 per cent, is imposed, the y will still be compelled to use New Zealand timber’, because they .cannot get Queensland timber. If we imposed the duty, it would not help ‘Queensland timber-growers very much, but it would be a tax on a number of people who are struggling to keep their head above water, as, perhaps, no other people in the continent are doing. No class of the community earns its living in a harder way than do the fruit-growers and the dairymen. When we hear the honorable member foi’ (Richmond talk about matters of high principle, we enquire where the effect of the duty will fall, and in nearly every case we find that he is keeping his eye upon the interests of his own electorate. There is no doubt that he is a great authority on high principle when it finds its home in the Richmond electorate. He has fared well at the hands of this Parliament. He has obtained a free gift of £2 on every ton of sugar that his constituents will produce. That will account for a good many ‘lapses on his part. When he has been dealt with so generously, he mow turns round and says, “ I shall take a little of the drawback of protection.” I was delighted to hear the honorable member admit to-day that protection has certain drawbacks as applied to individual interests. It is the first time we ha-ve had an admission of the kind, but he skips over that, and says that we must have the drawbacks of protection as well as the advantages. As he has got some very solid advantages, he is prepared for any little drawbacks which may come, particularly when they mean a further advantage to his electorate. I believe that half the timber used in New South Wales comes from his electorate. Excellent timber grows on the banks of the northern rivers, and I have seen the hardships involved in getting it out of the forests and made available. But the honorable member told us today that we are doing nothing with regard to our timber industry, and that in New South Wales it was only just beginning to exist. Strange to say, with all our drawbacks in New South Wales - with our free ports, and everything else - our sawmills are more than twice as many as the Victorian saw-mills, and exceed the number of Queensland saw-mills. That does not look as if our timber-getting industry was in a state of decline. It looks rather healthy, from the view point of the figures to which we must go sometimes, if we wish to see the revenue condition of affairs. What reason does the honorable member give for the fact that the timber is not used 1 He says that notwithstanding that our timber is as good as any other, and that it can be produced as cheaply, still, people will not use it, as they have a slight prejudice against it. Those to whom it is a matter of vital concern as to whether the boxes are odourless are the best judges, and to them we had better leave the question of prejudice or otherwise as affecting local interests. I wish to know why all these protectionists think there is a prejudice against the use of local timber. If the dairymen of Victoria were all strong rampant freetraders, I could understand the allegation being made, but do honorable members mean to tell us that the protectionists of Victoria, who wish to bolster up and help every industrial enterprise, will not buy this timber because of a silly prejudice 1 We may be very well assured that the reason why Queensland pine is not competing with New Zealand pine is because the latter is the better and cheaper article. Since we began the consideration of the Tariff, matters have changed very materially in favour of the Queeusland industry, and, if this duty was supposed to be a fair one at the time of its imposition, its retention is not needed, because New Zealand is now imposing double the amount of the tax on the export of the article. Therefore, the
Government should confess that they had no intention of protecting this industry, or, if they had, they ought promptly to withdraw the duty, since one twice as large has been imposed in another place. But, in contradistinction to that, we have the statement of the dairymen and fruit-growers that they will still be compelled to buy New Zealand pine, and, if they are, it will be bought at such prices as will impose a very heavy tax on them.
– The honorable member who has just sat down has quite mistaken the action of New Zealand in this matter. New Zealand butter-box timber comes here in small sizes. We are anxious to get for our people the work of cutting up the wood for local use. New Zealand is similarly anxious. Therefore New Zealand has placed a tax on timber of large size, allowing other sizes to go .untaxed. There is no alteration of the previous condition of things, because the sizes she has exported to Australia will not be affected by the imposition she has levied, and will come in free, so far as her export duty is concerned. It is all very well to say that our proposal is one of retaliation. Nothing of the sort is the case. The rela-tions between Australia and New Zealand are of the best character. May they always be so ! We have the disclaimer of the Premier of New Zealand to the effect that nothing of the sort is intended, and that he rather hopes that when Tariff matters are settled here arrangements may be carried to a successful conclusion foi’ the reciprocal advantage of both New Zealand and Australia. I .look upon this matter of the imposition of a duty for the benefit of a Queensland industry as one of the most important subjects we have been considering. A large number of duties have been imposed for the encouragement of the manufactures of other States. Queensland has not been going in to any large extent for the manufactures affected by those, duties. I like to see reciprocity in these matters. Honorable members should not say that they will vote for one proposal because it suits their particular State, whilst on the other hand thev will not vote for a similar proposal made on exactly the same principle because it does not happen to suit their State. A Tariff framed on considerations of that sort will not be mutually satisfactory to all Australia. We do not want to have a Tariff that will be suitable to two or three States, and which will not suit the rest. The honorable member for Gippsland has complained that the drawback will not go into the pockets of those who pay the duty. But we can and will provide for that. Of course there are certain classes who will take advantage of others, and there are classes who are more capable than are others of taking care of their own interests. We propose that the timber shall be admitted subject to duty, on the understanding that on the export of the boxes the duty paid on the timber used in their manufacture shall be remitted. We propose no rebate so far as concerns the internal trade. We can protect the. internal trade to a much greater extent than we can protect the foreign trade. AVe full)’ recognise the advantage of the drawback to enable the butter which is sold in a market to which we cannot apply Australian protection to compete on terms which will not compel it to carry an impost from which its competitors are free.
– The local price must be regulated by the export value.
– A thing can be sold for a variety of purposes. If it is sold with the knowledge that a tax which has been paid upon it will be returned in a certain event, those who buy the article for the purpose of export, and who get a greater value for it than they would otherwise secure, can make an allowance to those who have previously paid the duty. We can provide, in the clearest possible terms, that every penny, with an allowance for waste - and there will be no trouble about that - which has been paid shall be returned on the export of the boxes ; and, if a provision of that sort is made, I cannot, for the life of me, understand what is unfair in respect of it. If a merchant buys the butter at a certain rate, the person who sells it knows that the merchant will get a rebate on account of the box. What more can be wanted 1
– That does not assist Queensland.
– The protection we get in the home market assists Queensland. If we provide for the return of every penny of duty that has been paid on the timber we meet the difficulty which has been urged.
– The small men sell to the local merchants, and do not know whether the butter will be exported or sold locally, so that they cannot get any of the benefit from the rebate.
– By co-operation and other means producers will be able to get the whole benefit from this rebate. There are public men, amongst whom I may mention the honorable member for Gippsland himself, who I am sure will explain to the producers the advantage to which they are entitled in this respect, so that they may make arrangements to secure to a considerable extent the benefits of this drawback proposal.
– Will not the drawback result in nothing but New Zealand timber being used for export purposes ?
– I think not. And here I should like to say that I do not complain of my free-trade friends in this matter. So long as work is done cheaply they do not care whether the Australian workman is employed or a negro from the other side of the world. But as regards those honorable members who desire our own people to increase and prosper the case is very different. Is the protection which they advocate in regard to butter for instance not to apply to the box in which it is packed ? This Queensland industry has been pooh-poohed by those who know nothing about it. Yet, 56 members of the Queensland Parliament have petitioned in favour of what is now proposed by the Government, and have urged that we should give the matter serious consideration. Do we believe for an instant that these representative men make statements which are without foundation in fact? Nothing of the sort. In regard to her timber and butter trade Queensland has come to the front rapidly, and the quality of her products is’ second to none. She has made strides which would be a credit to any of the States, and which were not made, I venture to say, in the early history of any of the States in this respect. Figures have been quoted from Mr. Blair, who probably has got into a groove in his business out of which he is not ready to move. But those very figures prove that Queensland has come to the front very rapidly, and I only hope that she will keep up the rate of progress she has made. The figures were for 1899 and 1900. In 1899 Queensland imported enough pine for 175 tons of butter. In 1900 she imported only enough for 125 tons of butter, showing a considerable falling off in one year in the importations of pine. The honorable member who quoted the figures said he had no idea of the export of butter. I will give him the information. In the year in which Queensland imported New Zealand timber foi! 1 25 tons of butter, there was an export of over 500 tons of butten, and the remaining 375 tons were packed in. boxes made from. Queensland! timber. So far from there being, a natural protection in this case the’ reverse is the fact. These facts speak eloquently of the policy we ask the committee- to adopt. I am able to speak, with an absolutely unbiased mind on this subject. We are asking the committee to do nothing except apply the same principle right through. Not knowing- that Queensland could produce boxes of good wood we were prepared to deny protection, and admit the timber free. But we now know that an industry has been started, and is advancing, with, the imports from New Zealand pine falling off. As soon as the point was raised whether local pine was suitable for boxes for the export of butter, I wired to my collector of Customs- in. Queensland asking him to get all possible information on the subject, and his answerwas -
Have-consulted makers- of boxes and managers of butter factories, who are unanimously of opinion that Queensland pine ia particularly suitable for making butter boxes ; nothing else is used here.
That gives an additional reason why the figures of 1901 were not quoted. Another report contains the following : -
The manager of the factory has tried the New Zealand pine, and it was- of no use.
Then figures are given showing that the butter exported from Queensland in 1896 was only 8,000 lbs., that in 1897 it was 417,000 lbs-., in 1898 it was 970,000 lbs., in 1S99 it was 1,157,000 lbs., and that in 1900 it was 1,303,000 lbs., an advance in the five years from 8,000 lbs. to practically 1,400,000 lbs.
– All shipped in Queensland pine boxes.
– Practically so, and no complaint was made of the quality of the timber. Are we to take it that all Queensland is mad, or that there is a combination between timber -getters and managers of butter factories to deceive us 1
– Queensland butter brings the highest price on the London market.
– There is no doubt about that, and the . statement that the
Queensland- timber is not suitable for butterboxes is given the lie-direct. The suitability of the timber is proved by its use by people who are as interested, in the reputation of the product as is anybody in Australia. In the face of such evidence, I cannot think that any more proof is possible: the quality has been tried, and the results are before: us. The question remains- whether this committee; which time and again has provided for duties of various descriptions, beside which a duty of 8- per cent, hides itsinsignificant head, are going to depart from the principle which has hitherto guided them-, and refuse encouragement to an industry which is one of the largest, and bids fair to be one of the greatest in Australia - an industry for which the sister State has a. right to demand consideration at our hands.
– I agree with, the leader of- the Opposition that the division on this item ought to be taken as soon as possible. This question, with, the cognate question of duties on timber generally, was well threshed out ‘ some time ago, but in consequence of what has fallen from the lips of several speakers on the present occasion, I cannot give a silent vote. Queensland may’ have been a little too much in. evidence in the remarks of some honorable members who advocate this duty ; and I hold that a large section of northern New South Wales is as much interested as the adjoining State. I do not now speak as a Queenslander, but as an Australian, as I have always done for the last 30 years, although resident for most of the time in Queensland. This is a question of the Commonwealth against every other country in the world. Any part of Australia, whether in Victoria, South Australia, or any other State, which produces the necessary timber, should be utilized for the industry, the encouragement of which we are now- advocating. I was very much amused at the observations of the honorable and learned member for South Australia, Mr. Glynn. Like all lawyers by training, who have not personally participated in commercial and financial life, the honorable and learned member presentedarguments which in this instance are devoid of practical value. The principal argument’ of the honorable and –learned member was contained in the question, where was the Queensland industry when this [timber was required for use in Victoria 1 The honorable and learned, member urged that Queensland timber was not even now being used in Victoria,, and he quoted figures supplied by a Victorian butter box manufacturer, showing that a certain number of boxes had been made in a period of years, and that it would have cost more to make these boxes- of Queensland: timber than it did to make them of New Zealand timber. But that was- really begging, the question. The people of: Queensland and northern New South Wales claim- protection, not for the purpose of maintaining an existing industry, but for the purpose of developing, an industry which is still in an embryonic state. We have odorless timber of thequality required, and yet, because we ha-ve not had time or facilities to place it on the Victorian market, it is contended that, we ought not to have the reasonable protection proposed. We wish to have an opportunity of competing, in the future. As has been previously pointed out, there is, in. NewZealand, an export duty on one form or the other of this class- of timber. That, export duty does- not mean retaliation as against Australia ; it means that this particular timber is getting, scarce’ in New Zealand, where it is required for the butter export trade.
– How is it that there is not an export duty on the smaller sizes ?
– It is recognised in New Zealand as elsewhere that the smaller sizes employ labour in their production. Are we to depart from the principles under which the States of: Australia have agreed on union? We ought not to disregard resources in the shape of such timber, even if it be grown-, at Port Darwin. No matter in what part of the Commonwealth there may be timber suitable either for the export trade or for internal use, that timber ought to be utilized in preference to timber from abroad admitted free. If we put our heel on Queensland and Northern New South Wales, the Commonwealth will become a very unhappy family. South Australia and Victoria have no pine, and Western Australia produces-only hardwood,; and yet it is proposed that our beech, which is used for saddle-trees, and our pine and our cedars are to be discarded in. favour of timbers from abroad. I am sorry that the principle of unit)’ of interest has- been lost sight of. It would appeal-, as the Minister for Trade and Customs has said, that some honorable members advocate admitting, everything free, no matter from whence it comes, irrespective of quality, if. it only be cheap, while utterly neglecting the interests of the Commonwealth. The export duty imposed: in. New Zealand isindicative of the- belief of: a-, growing scarcity of timber in that State* As- the old world is considering the coal supply of the future,. SO’ New Zealand is beginning to pay close attention. to> the supply of- this particular class of timber for tha- dairying industry.
Mi-: KENNEDY (Moira.).- I recognise that this question is a. somewhat complicated one, and that a; great conflict of opinion exists- as- to whether Queensland timber for the manufacture of butter and. fruit boxes- can be supplied as- cheaply ascau the imported article.
-. - For fruit-boxes, New Zealand pine, other than white pine, is chiefly used;
– Kauri is used to some extent. Regarding, the action of: theNew Zealand- Government, I doubt whether the- export duty will apply to such timbers as are used in the manufacture of butterboxes. The statement made in the press was to the effect that all timber above 10- inches by 1.0- would be subject to the export duty. Moreover, those who have been using New Zealand pine entertain very grave doubts regarding: the suitability of Queensland pine for the manufacture of butter-boxes. I do not agree with the Government as- to the effect of- the proposal to grant a drawback, upon pine imported for this purpose. My experience is that the man who pays the duty does not get the benefit of the rebate. I feel confident that in nine cases out of ten those who pay the import duty will not derive the advantage intended. So far as my information goes, we have not a reasonable substitute within the Commonwealth for New Zealand white pine in the manufacture of- butter-boxes. I would therefore suggest tothe honorable member foi- Corangamite that he should amend his- proposal by inserting the words “ New Zealand white pine.” If it cwn be proved; by those who urge thatsuitable New South Wales or Queensland’ timber can be supplied as cheaply as can New Zealand pine;. and. that it is equallygood, for other purposes, I shall be prepared to support the imposition of a duty.
– In reply to the honorable member for Moira, I would point out that a large proportion of the fruit-cases manufactured in New South Wales have been made from off-cut kauri. If that timber be subject to a duty upon entering the Commonwealth, the price of these fruit-cases must be enhanced to an extent the growers are unable to bear.
– Does not the honorable member know of his own knowledge that a great many of the fruit-cases made in Sydney are manufactured from local timber 1
– A very large proportion of the cases manufactured in Sydney are made from New Zealand kauri. Upon the Richmond River some are made from colonial pine ;. but, though there has been a market in Sydney for New South Wales pine to the extent of many millions of feet per yeal’, that State has never been able to fully supply it. The honorable member for Richmond knows well enough that the, mills upon the Richmond River are small factories, which turn out only a very limited quantity of their own timber.
– Colonial pine was not worth 4s. per 100 superficial feet two or three years ago.
– I know that as much as 14s. per 100 superficial feet has been offered for good colonial pine, and yet the supply has not been equal to the demand. The output from the Richmond River district is a very limited one in comparison with the consumption of New South Wales. In spite of the good prices which have been sometimes offered, that output has not materially increased of late years. I would further point out that not only fruit-cases, but meat-cases are made largely from kauri pine. I do not object to Queensland kauri competing with pine from abroad ; but I hold that we should not increase the cost of our products, which have to compete in the markets of the world, simply because Queensland is not able to supply timber upon equal terms with that which has to come at least as great a distance. Then, again, tallow casks are made largely from kauri staves. I have never heard protectionists urge that an industry should be protected to the detriment of much more important ones. Why was the duty on wire-netting remitted? Because the protectionists recognised that, although the imposition of such a tax might, to some extent, benefit those, engaged in that particular industry, they would be inflicting a serious injury upon the agricultural and pastoral industries of Australia. Let the timber industry of Queensland flourish, but do not let it thrive at the expense or the destruction of other important industries. There are not good ports for the shipment of timber in New Zealand. They have bar harbours there, as they have in Queensland ; and I think that on the whole the Queensland ports are better than the New Zealand ports for this purpose. So that there is no natural difficulty in the way ; and if there were, are we going to make it our business to try to revolutionize nature - not to do the best we can with the best she has given us, but, to the injury of our large industries, cast aside the good she has provided? The Treasurer stated that the New Zealand export duty was not imposed because of this Tariff, and the honorable and learned member for Brisbane said it was imposed because New Zealand was getting short of this timber, and desired to keep it for her own industries. The honorable and learned member is absolutely wrong, and he will admit it himself when he is informed that sawn and dressed timber is exported from New Zealand without any restriction, and New Zealand is prepared to supply at present, as she has done in the past, any quantity of that description. But there was an intimation made by the New Zealand Premier, in reply to a deputation, after this Tariff was announced, that if it was persisted in, he would have to retain the dressing of the timber in New Zealand, and to do so would have to meet the proposal of the Tariff by a countervailing duty on logs and flitches. If this duty is not imposed, I have no doubt we shall very soon see the removal of the New Zealand export duty. I propose now to refer particularly to the butter-box timber of Queensland. I do not say that it is not suitable for butter export. The only statement that can be made against it is that it has not yet been fully tried. Timber for timber, it is better than the New Zealand white pine, but its very good qualities involve the objection that it requires a great deal more seasoning. It is very well known that Queensland and New South Wales pine requires a very much longer period of seasoning. I believe that upon that ground there may be some objection to its use, but I am not prepared to say that when thoroughly seasoned it is not a perfectly good timber for the exportation of butter.
– There are artificial means of seasoning.
– That is so, but they are not generally adopted, because of the cost. The usual method of seasoning timber in Australia is simply to allow it to dry naturally. If it is kiln dried the effect is to add to the cost. There are other purposes for which Queensland and New South Wales pine is used. It is used for building purposes, and in that connexion its greatest competitor is Oregon timber, which we have allowed to be introduced at a very low rate of duty for the larger sizes. For building purposes Oregon timber is brought in in the larger sizes, and is cut down here. I point out that the question of price is a very serious one. What is the use of protecting the industry and causing a higher price to be charged to the users of New Zealand pine - who must still continue to use it, because they cannot get Queensland pine at a price that even with the duty will allow competition ? I refer honorable members to the Queensland statistics of 1900, and they will find that at the mills in Queensland the average price of softwood timber was8s10d. per 100 feet. That includes all sizes, logs as well as boards. That is a very high figure when it is remembered that butter-box timber can be got in New Zealand for about fis. per 100 feet. So that, even with the duty, there would not be that assistance given to the Queensland timber industry which is anticipated, and whilst that assistance would not be given, the users of the New Zealand timber would have to pay this duty. Then, as to the output in Queensland, we have some information also from their own statistics. It has been stated that this business can be developed to any extent. So it can, if the price required is obtained. Close to their own mills the Queensland saw-millers haveamarketalready naturally ; but if the timber is to be sent to a distant market the trade can only be developed by an increase of price. I will show the development that has taken place in Queensland itself under the Tariff that existed there, and which was said to have stimulated greatly the production of softwood timber in Queensland - in fact it was said that the duty imposed there was necessary for the industry. Before that duty on timber in Queensland came into existence, going back as far as 1887, the quantity of softwoods and cedar produced in Queensland was 43,000,000 feet, only 1,600,000 feet of which was cedar. The quantity produced in 1900 was 60,000,000 feet. Of hardwood, in 1887, 25,000,000 feet were produced, and in 1900 40,000,000 feet. The increase in the thirteen years during which the Tariff was operative is therefore shown to be just one-third on softwoods and cedar, and that is exactly the proportion of the increase of population. But the production of hardwood timber, which had to fight its own way, has increased by one-half. It is clear from these figures that the Queensland softwood timber industry is not a rapidly developing one. I say that for many years it is impossible to anticipate that, with any duty, no matter how high, Queensland timber can be supplied in anything like sufficient quantities to satisfy the demands of Australia.
-paterson. - It is not given a show.
– It has had a show in the free market of New South Wales for years.
-paterson. - It has not begun. No one thought that the butter industry would develop, as it has done, so quickly.
– It could not take advantage of the other markets for the very good reason that the output was not greater than the demands of the local population. It is not merely butter that has to be considered in this case, but tallow, meat, fruit, and other cased or casked goods. Supposing this duty were to operate, what would be the effect? Not that Queensland would get the trade by proper competition, as we all wish her to do if she can, but that through this duty Queensland would secure the trade, we will say, of the eastern side of the Commonwealth. Is that not going to seriously affect other industries? It would mean that timber would be shipped dressed from Queensland, to save the cost of bringing down the waste, and the saw-mills of the Southern States would lose the work which they at present have, in sawing and dressing timber.
– What matter, so long as the mills of the Commonwealth are going?
– Yes; but the honorable member is claiming that this will be for the good of the whole Commonwealth. I say that if Queensland can do this naturally, it is her proper province. The trade belongs to her, and she should take it. But, if it cannot be done naturally, the other States will be asked to put up a barrier for the benefit of Queensland saw-millers, which would have the effect I have stated upon the Southern saw-mills of Australia. The Treasurer considers that in providing for a drawback he has done all that is necessary to meet the objection ; but as the honorable member for Moira has pointed out, there is no security that the drawback will go’ to those who pay the duty. I point out in addition - and I wonder Queensland members cannot see it - that that drawback would practically destroy any business in butter-boxes made of Queensland timber. This very proposal of the Minister destroys every opportunty for the supply by Queensland of butter-box timber, and for the selfevident reason that the makers of butterboxes produce them in advance of requirements, and do not know when they make them whether they are going to be exported or not. The buyers must be able to get from the makers boxes upon which they can get the drawback if they should export. The result will be that the makers of butter-boxes will have to use New Zealand pine entirely. Even if they could distinguish which would be for local use and which for export, no merchant would keep .two large stocks of timber for the same purpose, and meet depreciation, heavy insurance, and the other disadvantages which that would entail. They would simply keep to the New Zealand pine, and for butter-box purposes the Queensland timber would not be used. Again, when the boxes are supplied, and even when the butter is sent to the merchants, it is not known how much is going to be exported, and how afterwards are we to trace the butter-maker to whom the drawback should be paid ? We cannot prove whose butter it is, and it will be impossible to trace it. I do object to any distinction being made between white and other New Zealand pine in this amendment. If the duty affecting New Zealand pine generally should not be carried, it will be time enough then to take a vote upon the question of white pine. Important industries are affected, not only by the white pine, but also by the other varieties. There is no restriction whatever upon Queensland proving her ability to compete. As regards wages, the New Zealand timber-worker is under equal or better conditions. There is nothing to prevent Queensland in the matter of freight, because I undertake to say that she can get freight as cheaply from the neighbourhood of the Queensland forests as from New Zealand if a shipping trade in Queensland timber is opened. Even if the natural facilities of Queensland were not equal to those of New Zealand, I say we should hesitate before we impose disabilities upon those industries in Australia which have to depend upon an exporting market. I believe that if we impose this duty, Queensland will not be able either to supply the quantity of timber required, or to supply timber at a price which consumers can afford to pay for it, and, therefore, our producers will have to submit to a higher price for New Zealand pine, which they will have to continue to use, merely to give a very problematical advantage to the timber industry of Queensland.
– I think it incumbent upon me, as the representative of one of the chief pine-growing districts in Australia, to make some reply to what has fallen from the honorable member for North Sydney. Those who ask for a duty upon New Zealand pine do not say that Queensland can at present supply all the soft timber required by the Commonwealth for the making of butter-boxes, and we are, therefore, offering what we consider a reasonable compromise, in suggesting that a drawback be allowed upon all timber used in the packing of produce exported from the Commonwealth ; but what has been said by the honorable member for Richmond tonight, and by the honorable member for Darling Downs, the honorable member for Wide Bay, myself, and others to-night and at various times, should be sufficient to prove that the timber resources of Queensland are more than adequate to meet the ‘requirements of the Commonwealth for all time to come, and are, indeed, practically unlimited. The suitability of our pine for making butter boxes is unquestionable ; I hold in my hand documents which irrefutably prove that. That it has not met with its desserts in Victoria is due to the fact that it has not been sufficiently tried. I was one of the first to see the possibilities of the timber industry in Australia should federation be accomplished, and I also foresaw that the development of that industry might be greatly hampered if we allowed timber to be imported from New
Zealand. Honorable members must bear in mind that we have kauri growing on the coast of Australia as w’ell as in New Zealand, but the white pine imported from New Zealand does not grow in Australia. The New Zealand white pine grows in swamps, and a lot of it has been burnt and killed by bush fires, and is, therefore, thoroughly seasoned. But, nowadays, seasoning that used to require the stacking of the timber for three or four months can be quite as effectively done by passing the planks as they come off the sawbench through a kiln. Honorable gentlemen who say that the Queensland hoop pine, which the people of Melbourne are so proud to grow for ornamental purposes, taints the butter packed in it, and has a resinous smell, know nothing about it. I have worked amongst it for ten or twelve years, and I know that the resin comes from the bark alone. Of course, if the timber is cut, and allowed to lie in a swamp for a week or two, it becomes mouldy, and smells horribly, and, no doubt, if it is not seasoned properly, and is floated up a stinking river like the Yarra, it may taint the butter packed in it. But if that happens it is not the fault of the pine. Prior to the imposition of the Tariff I wrote to a man who has been engaged in the Queensland timber industry for more than 25 years past, and in reply to my inquiries as to the suitability of Queensland pine I received the following letter, dated 26th September last : -
I am in receipt of your letter of the 16’fch September, also Return showing importation of timber, &c, by the various States.
A return for which I moved on the 7th June last, and which was laid upon the table some time in August.
I consider the figures of Queensland speak for themselves, and should serve as a splendid illustration of the resources of the State as a timber-producing country. You will notice that in 1900 only a little over 1,000,000 feet was imported into Queensland, as against over 70,000,000 to New South Wales, and. over 80,000,000 to Victoria.
I want to emphasize those -figures, because we are not anxious to take away the trade of New South Wales and Victoria, but to protect the trade of Queensland.
– But you have wonderful timber in Queensland. Why do you import?
– Our timber is not all growing where it can be cut and rolled down the mountain side straight into a 33 m 2 river. Queensland is a country of magnificent distances, and a great deal of the timber grows in vast jungles and scrubs, remote from railways and rivers. Although we have a population of only about 500,000 people,, we have built nearly as many miles of railway as have been built by any of the other States, but we have not yet constructed railways to tap all our timber resources. Therefore, we want the assistance of the Commonwealth to obtain this timber, and when we get it we shall be able to supply the wants of New South Wales and Victoria, and even of the mining district of Broken Hill. The writer goes on to say -
We have no occasion to import timber to Queensland, and it is only the want of better facilities for reaching the scrub lands (railways I mean), that prevents our becoming a very large exporting people. With reference to the statement that our pine is unsuitable for butter boxes, the persons who make these statements are evidently prejudiced or ignorant of the quality of our pine timbers. There is absolutely no truth in the statement that Queensland pine taints the butter, and only recently the butter manufacturers thought .they were paying too much for boxes here, and they got one shipment from New Zealand, which convinced them that they were getting a far superior article in their own State ; and some of the shipment, I am informed, still remains and is not tit for use. These very men now will tell you that our local pine is unequalled for boxes.
I have another letter from the chairman, of the Silverwood Dairy Factory Company, one of the largest butter and dairying concerns in Queensland. I wrote to him on the 23rd. October last, and this is the reply I received -
I have your letter of the 23rd October to hand,, asking me to give you my opinion as to the suitability of the Queensland, pine for butterboxes.
I moy remark that our company has used Queensland pine for this purpose for many years past, both for the colonial, intercolonial, and. European trade, and we have never found any objection taken to it in the direction of the wood, tainting the butter in any way. The point to be considered is that the timber must be perfectly dry. Many of our timber yards have not been particular in this regard, and some of our factories have had trouble from that cause : but, as you can readily see, it is easily overcome, as it is only a question of thoroughly maturing the timber before making into boxes. We have found the timber very much better than the New Zealand for shipping, as the boxes hold the nails well, and, being a hauler pine, it does not crack so easily as the New Zealand white pine. For my own part, I see no reason whatever to prevent our pine being used in the South for the purpose named, for we have subjected it to every trial, and the only complaint has been when, as we have stated, the timber has been green.
I could quote the evidence of other managers, but I shall content myself with reading the opinion of the manager of the North Ipswich Butter Factory -
I have to apologize for the delay in replying to your letters, inquiring my opinion as to suitability of Queensland pine for butter-boxes. We have used the New Zealand pine for boxes, but find that tho Queensland pine is in every way equal to it, and in some respects superior. The New Zealand pine is very liable to crack, and is much more brittle, whereas the Queensland pine is a tougher and harder wood, and if well matured is as good a butter-box as can be got in these States. Other Queensland factories that have been large users of New Zealand pine for butter-boxes fully agree with me as to the above statements. Before replying to your inquiries, I consulted the Silverwood and other factories, and they all agree with me in what I have pointed out in my letter.
These opinions are expressed by men who have had experience in the export trade of butter from Queensland during the last five or six years. I have made these quotations because I thought that they would carry more weight with the committee than would the expression of my own views. The imposition of this duty concerns Queensland very directly. We do not’ wish particularly to secure the trade of Victoria and New South Wales. In Queensland we have had -a protective duty. Honorable members may ask why it was imposed. Our export trade, in wool and gold, has been about three times as large as our import trade. Ships have been willing to bring anything to us, and to take anything away rather than to return empty. They have brought Oregon pine, Norwegian pine and New Zealand pine, potatoes, and onions. I have seen New Zealand potatoes and onions sold on the Brisbane wharf at less than the prices ruling in Auckland and Wellington. Why? Because the ships came to Queensland to take away our produce. Queensland wishes to export more than she imports. She wishes to export some of her timber, and she asks the aid of the Commonwealth to attain that object. She does not wish to compete with the swamp-bitten pine of New Zealand.
– I suggest that we should get to a division on the item at once. I think the honorable members for North Sydney and Parramatta have said all that is to be said, and said it so convincingly that even Ministers must be satisfied, if anything in reason would satisfy them; and the .longer we go on with the discussion the worse the case -for the Government is becoming. The Minister for
Trade and Customs made a brief speech which was intended to be domineering and masterly, but which was pure bunkum. The honorable member for Moreton made a speech which, if Victorian, especially Melbourne, members have any respect for themselves, should effectually drive them away from his camp. He has called the crystal waters of the Yarra a stinking and dirty stream. Perhaps, if the discussion is continued, something of the same sort may be said, and the case of the other side Wl become worse. AVe have to deal with fifteen other items, which we on this side hope to see finished this evening. Let us finish them.
– Honorable members on the protectionist side have forgotten to use one argument. They say that they wish to give employment to timbergetters in Queensland. A much more easy way to achieve that object would be to pass a law to prevent the use of axes. If penknives had to be used it would take twenty times as many men to cut down a tree. I indorse the remarks of the honorable member .for Parramatta.
Mr. EWING (Richmond).- After the expression of opinion which we have had, and the knowledge which one has obtained in another way, I feel that the proposal with regard to butter-boxes cannot be carried. I desire to propose, the insertion of the word “white” between “New Zealand” and “pine.” I am quite satisfied that the honorable member for Corangamite will withdraw his amendment temporarily to allow me to move that amendment.
Mr. MANIFOLD (Corangamite).- I am placed in a very awkward position. Much as I should like to convenience the honorable member for Richmond, I cannot see how I can agree to his suggestion when I am associated with honorable members who are in favour of admitting all New Zealand pine duty free.
– I appeal not only to the honorable member for Corangamite, but also to his supporters, to allow the honorable member for Richmond an opportunity to move a prior amendment. It is most unusual for a request of this kind to be refused.
Mr. EWING (Richmond).- I appeal to the acting leader of the Opposition, Sir Edward Braddon. I am quite sure that with his permission no request of this kind will be refused. It is clearly not fair or right to deny to an honorable member the opportunity to move an amendment. I appeal to the common sense and manliness of the honorable member for Corangamite to withdraw his objection.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta).- It is all very well for the honorable member for Richmond to make this selfish grab. By his amendment he will place us in the position of having to vote against the free admission of certain New Zealand pine. We wish all New Zealand pine to be duty free, but because he cannot get all New Zealand pine taxed, he wishes to tax the fruit-growers on the pine they use, and to allow the dairymen- to get in their pine duty free. I appeal to honorable members on the other side, who have fruitgrowers us well as dairymen to represent, to make no such invidious distinction as he seeks to draw.
– On every conceivable occasion the Government have done what they could for the purpose of facilitating a decision on any item. Whether the suggestion has emanated from one side or the other, we have never adopted any other course than to add our weight to a request for the withdrawal of an amendment to allow a prior one to be moved, and now for the first time in the course of the session, it is suggested that that should not be done.
Sir EDWARD BRADDON (Tasmania). - The honorable member for Corangamite I believe is quite ready to withdraw his amendment to allow the honorable member for Richmond to move his amendment, which, I need hardly say, we shall oppose.
Mr. MANIFOLD (Corangamite).- After further consideration I ask leave to temporarily withdraw my amendment.
Mr. CONROY (Werriwa).- It will be just as well that honorable members on this side should know where they are. The original amendment can be carried, and that is the reason why the Government are prepared to take certain steps. They think that by drawing a red herring across the track they can put honorable members in the position of having to vote in a particular way. I do not wish to be placed in the position of having to vote against one proposition in order to carry another. I desire to get a1 straight out vote. If the amendment is carried straight away, honorable members on the other side, if they like, can then propose a limitation.
Mr. THOMSON (North Sydney). - I would point out to the Minister that he is not giving the Opposition an opportunity of voting upon the proposal of the Government. I do not wish for a moment to interfere with the withdrawal of the amendment by the honorable member for Corangamite. Out of courtesy it is quite right to give him that opportunity, but, out of courtesy also, the Opposition should be given an opportunity of voting upon the proposal of the Government which the Ministry themselves intend to desert. Certainly their own supporters who are interested in dairying, having got what they want in regard to butter-boxes, will probably vote so as to leave the fruitgrowers and other industries in the lurch. That is not fair to the latter or to the Opposition.
-I think that the fairest way of doing business, when there is a proposal for taxing half-a-dozen articles, is to give the committee an opportunity of voting on each one. It is not fair to put them altogether, because some honorable members may be in favour of one and some of another.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment (by Mr. Ewing) proposed -
That the word “white” be inserted after the words “ New Zealand.”
Amendment (by Mr. Joseph Cook) proposed -
That the amendment be amended by the insertion of the words “ and kauri “ after the word “white.”
– May I ask the honorable member for Parramatta the reason for adding the word “kauri”? What is the timber used for ? Do they want to draw a line between the dairyman and the orchardist ?
– Yes. We say that what is good for the dairymen is also good for the fruit-grow ers.
– The position has been put in a concrete manner by a gentleman who is qualified to speak upon the subject. This gentleman is interested in the Victorian butter industry. He estimates that the proposal of the Government would amount to a tax of something like 2l,d. per butter-box, or about Ss. 6d. per ton of butter. The export of butter from Victoria at an early date may be expected to be something like 17,000 tons ; that from New South Wales, 12,000 tons; South
Australia, 2,000 tons; and Tasmania, 500 tons; or a total of 31,500 tons of butter for the Commonwealth. At the estimated rate, this duty would amount to about £13,000, which would be a severe tax upon the industry. It has been said that we should place this embargo upon the butter industry for the purpose of developing the Queensland timber trade. The gentlemen to whom I referred supplies me with figures, showing that New Zealand timber can be landed here at from 10s. 6d. to 12s. 6d. per 100 feet. Queensland timber cannot be landed under from 15s. to 17s. 6d. per 100 feet, showing a difference of from 4s. 6d. to 5s. per 100 feet in favour of the New Zealand timber. Further, the New Zealand timber is accessible, whilst the Queensland timber is isolated, far away from any roads or railways, and it is considered that it would take something like three years to construct a railway line. Let honorable members who desire to support the Queensland industry controvert these specific and concrete facts if they can. I shall support the proposal that white pine be made free, and I am not going to draw a line between the dairying industry and the fruit industry.
– I must confess that the debate on this question this -afternoon forcibly reminds me of the- experience I had many years ago amongst the Iroquois Indians. The grand Sagamore told n]e that he had never heard of any country but Iroquoisland It seems to me that some honorable members present have never heard of any districts but those in their own States. This has not been a Common-, wealth debate. I sat here in amazement and heard my honorable friend the member for Richmond lash himself into a fine fury of wild wrath about the pine of the Richmond River, and its superiority over any other pine on earth. One might have thought, listening to him, that no pine was grown anywhere else except on the Richmond River. My object is to persuade honorable members to lift themselves out of parochialism, and make them realize that this is a Commonwealth. “We do not belong merely to New South Wales, or Queensland, or Tasmania. I said the other day that Tasmania was too small for me, and I repeat it. Our ideal in this Parliament is not to maintain the old parochialism and provincialism, but to consider the proposals that come before us in the light of the interest of the whole Commonwealth. The other day I was over in South Australia, where a man said to me - “ You don’t belong here.” I said - “ Certainly I belong to South Australia, because I belong to everywhere that is included within the Commonwealth Territory.” In this Parliament the representatives of New South Wales should realise that, although their subordinate allegiance is to that State, their paramount allegiance is to the great Commonwealth. They are not here to look after the local dog-fights in their own States, but to consider the interests of Australia. The greatest duty any honorable member can render to his own State or party is, when he finds it going wrong, to chastise it until he gets it back on to the true path of democratic righteousness. That is the position to-night, and, therefore, I shall vote for making New Zealand pines free. I do not look on New Zealand as a foreign country, but as a prospective part of the Commonwealth. We can never make a man believe exactly as we expect him to believe ; we may flog him into being a hypocrite, but not into being a true believer in progressive righteousness. What is the meaning of protection ? It is to maintain and sustain industries and keep them advancing ; it is not to try and galvanize dead corpses into living people. It would beanother matter if Queensland could supply this timber and guarantee that there should be no crippling of this great dairying industry, which has made Australia. In another year or two, when Queensland has proved herself capable of supplying the vast requirements of this industry, it will be time enough to talk about protection ; but Queensland has not yet, proved herself capable of doing that. My desire is that we should be lifted out of Tasmanian or Queensland parochialism, and I am trying now to talk from a Commonwealth point of view. The States spent thousands of pounds in bonuses for thu development of the dairying industry, which we, as a Commonwealth, are not going to cripple. I shall vote not only for white pine, but all kinds of New Zealand pine being placed on the free list. In a few years, if we are still here, and it can be shown that Queensland can meet the requirements of the dairying industry, I shall have pleasure in helping to impose a duty.
Question - That the words “and kauri,” proposed to be inserted, be so inserted - put. The committee divided -
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment of the amendment agreed to.
– The view of the committee, though not expressed by a large majority, leaves no doubt as to the meaning of honorable members ; and if kauri be free, so must also white pine. I suggest now that the amendment be not persevered with, but that the exemption be left simply at “ New Zealand pine, undressed.”
– I understand the Minister to suggest that all New Zealand pine, undressed, be free, and I dare say that may express the opinion of the committee, who have a right to determine what the policy shall be. But those who hold that opinion should have indicated their position, earlier in the discussion of the Tariff. Let there be a straightforward policy pursued in a manner that is consistent with the dignity of honorable members and this Chamber. It was indicated by the Government that they intended to give a rebate on butter-boxes and fruit-boxes. Every possible opportunity has been offered the committee to assist fairly the great timber industry in Queensland, and we have to accept the adverse decision arrived at. I do not think, however,’ that the committee have done justice to that great State.
Amendment as amended negatived.
Amendment (by Mr. Kingston) agreed to-
That the words “of sizes 12 inches x 6 inches (or its equivalent) or over” be omitted.
– I move-
That the following exemption be added : - “Oregon, undressed, in sizes of 12 inches x6 inches and upwards (or its equivalent) for mining purposes.”
I cannot move in favour of admitting all Oregon timber free, because the committee have already decided that it shall be dutiable at the rate of 6d. per 100 superficial feet. In view, however, of the vote which has just been taken, I feel justified in asking that Oregon intended for mining purposes shall.be included in the schedule of exemptions. If it be advisable to admit New Zealand white pine free, in order that a pound of butter may be exported to London at the lowest possible rate, I think that the safety of the men engaged in some of the largest mines in Australia demands that the timber used in those mines shall also be exempt from duty. It has been said that the Broken Hill mining companies oughtcheerfully to pay the tax. levied upon Oregon, because of the enormous dividends which they have derived in times past. In this connexion, however, I would point out that the condition of things at Broken Hill was never so bad as it is at the present time. As evidencing this fact, I may mention that whereas the Broken Hill Proprietary Company made a profit of £87,579 for the half-year ended May, 1901, the profit derived during the following six months represented only £44,000, a decrease of £43,000. Similarly for the half-year ended December, 1900, the British Broken Hill
Proprietary Company made a profit of £23,000, whilst for the succeeding half-year it incurred a loss of £3,363, or a difference of £26,000. For the six months ended 30th June, 1900, the Sulphide Corporation made a profit of £89,000, as against £36,524 for the corresponding period in 1901, a decrease of £52,476. During the half-year ended 30th June, 1901, the North Company incurred a loss of £916, and in the following six months a further loss of £7,164. The South Company during the half-year ended 30th June, 1901, made a profit of £12,573, but during the following six months the profit derived was only £8,695, a falling-off of £5,87S. Thus the five leading Broken Hill mines derived £120,000 less profit during the past half-year than they did during the preceding one. This fact evidences how necessary it is to avoid imposing additional taxation upon the mining industry. The Barrier mines spend £100,000 a year in timber, and as they obtain 120,000 tons of bullion annually, it will be seen that they have to spend nearly a pound in timber for every ton of bullion extracted from their ores. I shall watch the division upon this question with very great interest in view of the last vote of the committee.
– Honorable members are aware that at the present time the mines at Broken Hill are suffering from the serious decline which has taken place in the price of lead. Already they have had to dispense with the services of a large number of hands. To South Australia it is of the utmost importance that the Broken Hill mines should prosper, because of the railway revenue which that State is justified in anticipating from the Barrier traffic. The special feature about Oregon is that its tensile strength is equal to that of most other timbers, whilst it is relatively lighter. Consequently, the miners themselves can accomplish much more work in a day than they could if they were obliged to use heavier timber. For that reason particularly, apart from the necessity for safeguarding the lives of the men - a matter which was discussed upon a previous occasion - it is of the utmost importance that Oregon, for mining purposes, should be admitted free. I shall, therefore, support the amendment.
Mr. FISHER (Wide Bay).- The present proposal is a perfectly consistent one on the part of the honorable member for Barrier, than whom there is no sounder free-trader in this Chamber. But why he should confine his proposal to Oregon for mining purposes is best known to himself. I deny, absolutely, that Oregon is the. only safe timber that can be used in mining. On a previous occasion I pointed out that in the Mount Morgan mine, where only Australian hardwood is used, not a single accident has occurred, whilst the percentage of accidents at Broken Hill is as high as that of any mine within the Commonwealth.
– What is the size of the ore bodies at Mount Morgan as compared with Broken Hill 1
– Some of the workings at Mount Morgan are almost as wide as are those at Broken Hill. The idea of some honorable members seems to be that no assistance should be given to an industry which is native to Australia. The desire of some of the most violent protectionists in Victoria appears to be to destroy any industry which exists in another State.
– What is Australia paying to get rid of the kanaka ?
– If the question of the employment of kanaka labour is a Queeusland one I am prepared to debate it with the honorable member. I understood, however, that it was an Australian question. The timber industry in the Commonwealth will continue to be a great one, and in this connexion it is neither reasonable nor just to treat Queensland in the way that she is being treated. I ask the committee to give that State some consideration, and to impose a duty of at least 6d. per 100 superficial feet upon Oregon. .To my mind, a duty of double that amount would have been a, sufficiently low one to levy.
– I think that honorable members representing Queensland may just as well cease talking on behalf of that State. We may as well pack up our carpet-bags tomorrow, as they are all we have left - because the £400 is gone - and be off, because we will get nothing from either Government or Opposition. We have had honorable members voting here against the interests of the timber resources of the north-eastern districts of New South Wales and of Queensland. I have been ashamed of the action of the committee to-night, and I have been disgusted with the action politically of honorable members on the Government side. What is the good of our wasting our time here? I respectfully and seriously invite all Queensland members, no matter on which side they may usually vote, to abstain from further attendance in this House if this is the way the great Commonwealth of Australia is to be conducted. We may just as well leave at once, because I am quite sure that, if there were not a single member here representing northern New South “Wales or Queeusland, those districts could not have had worse treatment than they have had at the hands of this Commonwealth Parliament up to the present moment.
– I trust the honorable member for Barrier will not press this amendment. Honorable members will recollect that nearly the whole of the previous discussion upon the duty upon Oregon timber was upon its use in mines. The use of Oregon for other purposes was scarcely mentioned. My honorable friend brought his facts forward very well, and worked up his case strongly, and seeing that the feeling of the committee was that this article should not be admitted free, he himself moved that the duty should be 6d.
– The vote on butter-boxes had not been taken then.
– This vote had not been taken then, but the honorable member will recollect that the feeling of the committee was strongly against admitting this article absolutely free, and finding that honorable members were not likely to go the length he desired, he did the next best thing by coming forward with a compromise proposal, which he managed to carry by a majority of about three. I fail to see how the fact of our having, decided that some particular pine shall be admitted free - and it was being admitted free when we dealt with Oregon timber before - should justify the- committee now in altering the decision then come to. If we were justified in making this alteration on that ground we should be justified in going back upon all we have done, and declaring that all other kinds of timber should be admitted free. The honorable member for Barrier did very well indeed in getting the duty reduced from ls. to 6d.
– Honorable members think more of butter-boxes than of the safety of men.
– I do not wish to go into the question of the safety of men. We discussed that matter before. Some will say that this timber is used in the mines because it will secure the safety of the men, and others will say that it is so used because it can be obtained very much more cheaply than other kinds of timber. Under all the circumstances the honorable member ought to be satisfied with the victory which he obtained, and he should not attempt to alter the decision of the committee now.
– We have heard a couple of speeches from Queensland representatives full of lamentation. . The honorable member for Brisbane told us that he has lost his £400, but he still has his carpet-bag. I doubt whether New South Wales members have their carpetbags, and they certainly have lost the £400. New South Wales as a State has suffered more through this Tariff than any other State in the union. Every industry in New South Wales has been penalized under this Tariff. The honorable member for Barrier selected timber for mining purposes, Oregon timber 12 by 6, but as a matter of fact Oregon timber is in almost every case imported in” large sizes, and is sawn in this country, whether used for mining purposes, for building, or for ship-building. I should like to put in a plea on behalf of a growing industry, particularly in New South Wales, and that is the ship-building industry. Oregon is used in that industry for deck -planking, for deckhouses, and spars. Surely Ministers do not desire to penalize the ship-building industry 1 Surely they desire to see it a thriving industry in Australia- ? They will not bring that about by the imposition of a duty on this timber. I shall certainly support the honorable member for Barrier in his proposal. I think that all the States have by this time got beyond the whining stage. They are in the union for better or for worse, but I regret that New South Wales has not obtained more victories than she has. Though honorable members from Queensland may have lost their £400, they still have their carpetbags, and .they are able to take back to Queensland a heavy sugar duty, which the people of New South Wales will have to pav.
– I have not spoken all the evening, as I wished to .have a vote taken, but there have been a great many innuendoes suggested as to the way in which the protectionist party has been voting. I have always considered that the truest principle upon which a protectionist party can vote is to allow what we cannot grow in the country to be imported free.
On that principle we are justified in admitting free, timbers which are not grown in this country, and that is all we have done this evening. I. feel that there is some difference, however, between Oregon pine and New Zealand pine, because Oregon pine is used almost solely by rich companies possessing mines that are being developed and are dividend-paying. This is not the case with kauri pine or New Zealand pine, because the boxes made from those woods are used by small dairymen and fruit-growers, who are the backbone of the country. We find that the most suitable timber for the manufacture of butter-boxes is New Zealand pine, and if we handicap the industry by compelling the use of timber which will make the boxes heavier, and is therefore unfitted for the purpose, we will handicap it for all time. I believe that I have followed upon true protectionist lines, because, in considering the Tariff, I took a considerable list of timbers which I found were produced in the Commonwealth, and in every instance I have voted in such a way as to encourage the use of those timbers in. order to give employment to our own people.
– We grow Kauri pine, and the honorable member has just voted for the free admission of Kauri pine.
– I did not know that Kauri pine was grown in Queensland.
– That is just the kind of information the honorable member has upon the subject.
– It was principally for New Zealand white pine that I voted, but Kauri pine was introduced at the last moment, and the two were taken together. It has been said rather warmly to-night that Queensland has received nothing, but I do not know that any State can be said to have received very much up to the present. It appears to me that we are battling here for hopes for the future, and I know of no representative who feels that he has been able to get very much for his particular State. I merely desire to say that, in the vote I have given, I have followed the principles which I enunciated on the introduction of the Tariff.
– The honorable member for Barrier has tried to lead the committee to believe that no other timber is suitable for the Broken Hill mines but Oregon pine. If he will go to Mount Morgan he will see something that will be an eye-opener for him. There is nothing but Queensland hardwood used in that mine, and as the honorable member for Wide Bay has said, there has never been a single accident there. Can the honorable member for Barrier say that of the Oregon pine used at Broken Hill ? No, there have been many accidents there. He has told us that, while honorable members have voted to have butter- box timber free, they are prepared to let the lives of the miners rip. What sort of a comparison is that to make 1
– Is there timber enough in Queensland to make a saddle-tree 1
– I have never tried it, but I have made pack saddles out of Queensland timber, and hope to do so again. The honorable member came before the committee with a long list of mines, and told us how much they have lost. He was very careful, and so was the honorable member for Kooyong, not to tell us how much they have made out of those mines. There are mines there that have taken millions of money out of the bowels of the earth, and the honorable member would have us believe that they cannot afford to pay 6d. per 100 feet on the pine they use. The statement is preposterous. The honorable member must take honorable members of this committee to be fools when he tells us that Queensland cannot produce the timber. With respect to the remarks of the honorable member for Brisbane, I do not follow the lead of that honorable member. I was sent to this House as a free-trader. When there is a glut of timber in Queensland they make us out in the West pay the piper. When there was a fire at Longreach and Barcaldine they made us pay nearly double the price for timber that we previously had to pay, so that I have not much sympathy with the Queensland saw-millers. Still I cannot sit in this Chamber and hear honorable members run down a State which I believe to be one of the best in the group. So far as packing up our bags and clearing out is concerned, that is very far from my views. If the honorable member for Barrier will only send us an order for timber from Broken Hill he will find that we can supply more timber from Queensland than wil] make saddle - trees, and it will be timber amongst which the miners can safely work. The honorable member for Barrier is the lieutenant, and the honorable member for Kooyong the captain ; what one says the other bears out. A good deal has been said about the honorable member for Mernda being interested in matters connected with the Tariff ; but nothing has been said about others who are fighting for their own interests, and putting money into their pockets. The honorable member for Coolgardie has stated that Queensland has done well out of the Tariff by getting the duties on sugar.
– So she has.
– Every member of the Opposition when on the hustings supported the “ White Australia “ cry, and nothing was said then against Queensland being paid the price of carrying it into effect. So far as I am individually concerned, I do not want protection for the timber industry of Queensland ; but if it is said that Queensland has benefited by the “White Australia” movement. I say that Western Australia has also benefited by it. If I had my way there would be no coloured labour in Australia. Queensland is quite able to look after herself. She is now suffering from one of the most severe droughts that has ever overtaken her since responsible Government there; but I do not agree with the honorable member for Brisbane that she is going bankrupt. Everything that I have acquired is in Queensland, and is going to stop there, because my opinion is that Queensland is the best State in the union. If a duty on timber is necessary to save Queensland, I say, “God help her.” All. I ask is that Queensland be .given the same treatment as the other States.
Mr. KNOX (Kooyong). - The honorable member for Maranoa has led the committee to understand that the regrettable accident’s which have happened at Broken Hill from time to time are attributable to the use of Oregon for timbering the mines, and in explanation, I desire to say that during my association with the district no accident which I can recall has occurred there which is attributable to the failure of the- timber used. The timber used in Broken Hill is the safest for the men, and best suited to the interests of the companies.
– The honorable member for Kooyong, in a former speech, very properly referred to the fact that the matter now under discussion is of considerable interest to South Australia. But all the representatives of South Australia ask for is that those engaged in the industries of the State may be left unhampered, and allowed to take advantage of their geographical position and resources. Last year there was a shrinkage in the railway revenue of South Australia, amounting to about £120,000, and it was caused chiefly by the decline of the mining industry at Broken Hill. We have a stronger moral case for coming here as mendicants than the representatives of Queensland have, because for years past, although we had been administering our Northern Territory at a considerable loss, which, last year, amounted to £100,000, and which could have been wiped out with the assistance of black labour, we have declined to allow the introduction of that labour. If Queensland should be compensated for the abolition of a profit, why should not South Australia be similarly treated for the continuing loss which she has incurred ? I leave it to the committee to decide which State has dealt with the question in the truest federal spirit. Then again, before federation we had a separate Tariff in force in the Northern Territory, some of the duties in which were six times as productive as the duties imposed by the Federal Tariff. But the representatives of South Australia in the convention did not ask for the continuance of that Tariff, and the State is prepared to bear the loss which she must sustain because of its removal. All we ask is that our industries and the development of our resources shall not be hampered. If a duty is placed upon the importation of Oregon timber, our railway revenue will be diminished, and an injustice will be done to our State. ‘
– Some honorable members appear to have fallen into an error in regard to the conditions prevailing at Broken Hill. One or two of them spoke as though hardwood is used in mines only in Queensland. As a matter of fact, I think that the Broken Hill district is the only district in which Oregon is used in place of hardwood ; but that is due to the fact that the Oregon is particularly suitable to the square-set system of timbering which they have adopted there. While hardwood is very strong, it is brittle, and not as suitable for the Broken Hill district as the tougher Oregon, which crushes, and gives warning of a collapse. I was for many years general secretary to a mining association having an accident fund, and while I know that accidents occurred occasionally because of defective timbering, there were not more accidents of that kind at Broken Hill than at other places. It has been said that big dividends have been made by those interested in the Broken Hill mines ; but many of the industrial enterprises for whose benefit we have imposed protective duties have also paid large dividends, though that was not considered a reason why the duties should not be imposed. At the present time the outlook at Broken Hill is most serious, and the only way in which we can help the mining industry there, upon which many hundreds of men are dependent for employment, is to allow this timber to come in free. The committee have agreed to many exemptions, in order to .allow various industries to obtain their raw material as cheaply as possible, and it is only fair to give a similar concession to the mining industry at Broken Hill. Whatever the rate of duty imposed, Queensland timber will not be used at Broken Hill, because it is not suitable for the work that would be required of it there. This is a case in which a very big industry and a very large body of people can receive some assistance that is in keeping with the policy which the Government say they have adopted.
– I hope that the Government will accept the amendment. Even the protectionists on the other side can well join with us on this side in securing the exemption of this article. It is not one which is produced in Australia, and therefore they will be well within one of the canons they have laid down for themselves if they assert that it shall not be subjected to a duty. If a duty is imposed on this timber, it is made so much the more expensive, and the more expensive it is, the larger the amount of capital that is buried in the earth. A very large amount of money has already been buried because by the use of the timber in that way a still greater sum has been won from the earth. If we cut down the price of the timber by one-tenth, will there not be a still greater rate of profit made, a bigger amount of capital secured, and a larger share of work provided for every one 1 The rate of profit has become so small at Broken Hill that over 2,000 less men are employed there now than were employed eighteen months ago. Some of the mines are merely “hanging on by the skin of their teeth “ in the hope that there may be a rise in the price of lead If the price of the article should increase, far more employment will be given.
The honorable member for Darling has pointed out that this is tantamount to giving a bonus to the mines at Broken Hill for carrying on their operations. So it is in one respect, but the rest of the community do not pay one farthing towards that bonus. By allowing this great industry to- get all the materials it requires duty free, we shall be rendering very considerable assistance, and thereby creating employment for a large number of men. In order to develop the iron industry, the Government propose to give a bonus of £200,000 a year.
– No ; the total sum is limited to £250,000.
– At all events it is proposed to give a bonus of £250,000 to try and give employment to men in the iron industry. Do not honorable members see that if we leave the mining industry alone, there may be a chance for the companies at Broken Hill to find employment for the 2,000 men who have been thrown outof work? We are not asked to impose the duty for revenue purposes. The Ministry who would not take a bold stand in order to retain the tea duty, or to retain a revenue of £40,000 or £50,000 from the excise duty on spirits, are making an appeal to the committee in the matter of getting a revenue of £5,000 from Oregon timber. I hope that honorable members will assist the State of South Australia - whose finances are embarrassed - bv leaving the mining industry alone.
– I submit that the committee cannot pass the amendment in its present form. The phrase ‘for mining purposes” means that the entry of the timber will be made for mining purposes ; but after it is imported, how can the Government insist that it shall be used for those purposes only ? It will leave the door open for the free introduction of this class of timber. I understand, however, that Oregon timber is used on a larger scale for other enterprises. Honorable members might as well get up and claim for the building industry the same concession as is claimed- for only one place in the Commonwealth, Broken Hill. The duty on this article was fixed at 6d. at the instance of the honorable member for Barrier, and now he asks the committee to go back on its decision, simply because there is a desire to introduce the wood for butter-boxes duty free. Those honorable members who supported him on the previous occasion will require some very strong reason from him for abandoning the position which he then took up. I do not altogether agree with the words that fell from the lips of the honorable and learned member for Brisbane. Speaking on the question of the timber industry generally, he said that the Government, and the Opposition alike had abandoned the interests of Queensland. That statement is not correct, because the position of the Ministry, likewise the position of the Opposition, has been consistent right through. It is unfair to the Ministry to say that they have taken up the position of abandoning any of the interests of Queensland. The Minister for Trade and Customs has consistently taken up this attitude - “ If you can show me that there is an industry in the Commonwealth, which is really native of the soil, which gives employment to a large number of people, and which shows a reasonable prospect of flourishing, I shall feel in duty bound to support it.” The action of the committee to-night was not the result of any proceeding on the part of the Minister or of the Treasurer. It is unfortunate that the remarks which fell from the honorable and learned member for Brisbane should go forth to Queensland, because they will be read as though the Minister for Trade and Customs, when he came to deal with an industry of New South Wales, South Australia, or Victoria, stood firm ; but when he came to deal with an industry of Queensland, he abandoned his position. Right through he has stood up manfully for all the leading industries of Queensland. In the framing of this Tariff, its industries have received reasonable protection. Perhaps we should like to have got greater protection, but on one item to-night, the sense of the committee was against us, and we must bow to its will. We deeply regret its decision, because we believe that there will be created in the minds of the people of Queensland a belief that its industries are mot getting fair treatment when they observe the treatment which has been accorded to other leading industries in the Commonwealth. At the very beginning of its career it is desirable to promote throughout the Commonwealth a feeling that all its industries are going to be treated similarly, whether by free-traders or by protectionists. The Government have tried to do all they could to promote the interests of that great northern State from which we come, so that there is no necessity for us to pack our bags and clear, as the honorable and learned member for Brisbane suggests. We are going to stand by the Government, and there is a great deal of good work which we believe will yet be done by the Government on its behalf. We have suffered a, temporary defeat, but the great State of Queensland is not going to collapse simply because one industry - and a very large one, too - has not received its proper protection. I hope that the committee will consider the interests of that great State, and give it some slight protection even in this matter.
– The honorable and learned member for Darling Downs tried to make a comparison between timber for building purposes and timber for mining purposes. If timber is put into a building of any kind, the life of the timber will be the life of the building. Mining is somewhat different from those building enterprises in which Oregon timber enters so largely. The millions of feet of Oregon timber that go into the Broken Hill mines every year are buried and lost. It is an expensive item in the working of a large mine. If we wish to assist in any way the primary industries of the country, we ought to make as cheap as possible the price of an article which is so largely used in various enterprises. It is quite true that the company at Broken Hill is a very rich one. It has paid enormous dividends ; but it is now sharing in the general decline of prices. When a mine is being managed expensively, and the cost of its raw material is great, the dividends are reduced, and the miner has to suffer in sympathy with the general reduction all round. It may be that he does not suffer directly a loss of wages, but there are numerous small economies which come into vogue immediately when the returns from the mine are low, or when the cost of its raw products is high. Anything which tends to depress mining also affects those who are engaged in mining operations, whether they be employers or employes. We should do well to give the mines their supply of Oregon timber duty free. We are told that in Queensland there is plenty of hardwood which could be used as a substitute. Supposing that there is, I venture to say that considering the cost of transit to the Queensland seaboard, and thence to Broken Hill, geographically the Oregon timber in its native forests is nearer to Broken Hill than is the Queensland hardwood. It is strange that if all this good hardwood timber exists in Queensland, it does not come into general use. We have heard much lately of the marvellous resources of Queensland. I wish that the timbers from that State were brought to the other States at a commercial rate, so that they might compete with the imported timber. Then I believe that no man, whether he were a free-trader or a protectionist, would decline to give them a slight preference. No free-trader known to me deserves the stigma that is sometimes put Upon the party to which I belong, of being a foreign trader. He is only a foreign trader to the extent that he can buy his goods to greater advantage in the foreign market. I have yet to learn that if a man ca n buy his goods close to his own door at the same rate at which he can buy them elsewhere, he will not prefer the locally produced article. If Queensland wishes to bring her hardwood into general use, for goodness’ sake let her merchants introduce it to the markets of the world, and if people can obtain it in quantities, at as cheap a rate and of as good a quality as timber obtained elsewhere, they will use it. Then, and then only, will they prefer Queensland timber to the Oregon, which they have been using for years past. In the meantime Oregon is a necessity at Broken Hill. Mining there is of so dangerous a character that reliable timber is the most important article by means of which the product of the mines is obtained. At this time of depression, particularly, when everything in connexion with the mines shows a downward tendency, we should not add to the burdens which oppress both the mine-owners and the workmen. To do anything which would further add to the expense of working the mines would be to strikeablow at those who are working for wages, as well as at those who are responsible for the working of the mines. Therefore I trust that the proposal to make this commodity free of duty will be received with sympathy by the committee.
– I have not yet heard any honorable member state the amount of’ timber from Queensland that has been used in the Broken Hill mines. This Tariff has been in operation since October last. We have had imposed first, a duty of ls. j secondly, a duty of 6d. per 100 feet superficial on the timber. Has the Treasurer any idea of thi; quantity of Queensland timber that has been used in Broken Hill ? As a matter of fact none has gone there. I say emphatically that hardwood timber cannot be used in the Broken Hill mines. I speak as a miner. There are cuttings there -100 feet wide. I have noticed with pride the way in which the Minister foiTrade and Customs has always spoken up in connexion with matters affecting his own State. But in this particular instance he has lost sight of one of the most important factors affecting South Australia. The Broken Hill mines are more to South Aus. tralia than anything else she has got. Does he not know the acute financial position South Australia is in, owing to the falling off in the railway receipts on the Broken Hill line 1 Does he believe that he will help South Australia by creating another source from which the Broken Hill timber is to come ? In Port Pirie there are 12,000 souls living on the Broken Hill mines, in addition to those engaged on the Broken Hill railway line. Does he wish to throw out of employment hundreds of men - connected with the mines, and with Port Pirie 1 This matter is more serious to South Australia than any other proposal which has been before the committee. It has been represented that Queensland has received nothing from this Parliament. What has Queensland not received that the other States have got ? Has not Queensland participated in the duties imposed for the bene. fit of industries under this Tariff? Has she not received more in connexion with the sugar duties than any other State has received ? Have not burdens been imposed on the other States to help the Queensland sugar industy? It is a libel on the Federal Parliament to say that Queensland has received no advantage from what we have done. I challenge honorable members to go to Broken Hill and see for themselves whether hardwood is suitable for that particular class of mining. It is because Oregon timber will stand the strain, give more warning, and will not snap, that it is essential to be used there. I have been there, and know the kind of work that is clone. There is no mine in Australia to compare with the big Broken Hill mine. If honorable members wish to endanger the lives of men more than they are endangered to-day in Broken Hill - and goodness knows the danger is great enough - they will legislate to put hardwood into the mines. The great bulk of the mines of Australia consist merely of a narrow lode, with a short space across from the footwall to the hanging wall. But in the great mines of Broken. Hill there is a space between the footwall and the hanging wall so wide that only this particular class of timber is suitable. I trust that this timber, which is essential for the protection of men’s lives, will be placed on the free list. Whatever duty is imposed, this class of timber must be used ; but the work would be rendered still more difficult than it is at the present time.
– I have some difficulty in understanding the attitude of the Opposition to-night. The proposed duty is not prohibitive, or in the least degree protective. I doubt if there is in the world a smaller revenue duty than the 6d. per 100 feet on this class of timber.
– The duty is very little more than 3 per cent.
– There isnoanalogy whatever between the proposed duty and a duty on butter-box wood. The wood for the boxes comes from a foreign country, but the great bulk of it is used for immediate export, whereas the Oregon, which is used in mining, remains here. Queensland does not require any consideration in the matter, seeing that this is a purely revenue duty. Honorable members who call themselves free-traders have complained, until we are tired of hearing the complaint, of protectionists howling out for duties on the manufactures of Melbourne. But we now have free-traders contending for protection for a rich company who require no protection whatever.
Question - That the following exemption be added : - “ Oregon . . . for mining purposes “ - put. The committee divided -
Question so resolved in the negative.
Amendment negatived. ,
Mr. MASON (Coolgardie). I move
That the following exemption be added : - “Wooden type,’ type cases, type cabinets, and cases.”
Metal types have already been made free, and wooden type and the other articles mentioned come within the same category.
Amendment agreed to.
– I move-
That the following exemption be added : - “Axe handles.”
After their action to-night, the committee will not ask timber-getters to pay 20 per cent, on the axe-handles which they use in their business. Storekeepers have raised the price of axe-handles by 2d. or 3d. since the introduction of the new Tariff.
– On a previous occasion I proposed that axehandles and other unattached tool handles should be placed on the free list. “ While I have sympathy with the amendment of the honorable member for Wide Bay, I fail altogether to see why the handles of tools other than axes should not also be exempt. I move -
That the amendment be amendedby the insertion of the words, “ and other unattached tool,” after the word “axe.”
– I am surprised at the action of the honorable member for Wide Bay in asking that axe-handles should be placed upon the free list. After all that the committee have been told regarding the wonderful forests which exist in Queensland, we suddenly discover that there is no industry equal to the task of making an axe-handle.
– The direction to the committee is that the exemptions under this division shall be reviewed. Under item 104, however, it has been decided to make axe-handles dutiable, and I must, therefore, rule the amendment out of order.
– I move-
That the following exemption be added : - “Bamboo clouded.”
I believe that this particular article is used largely in Sydney, and to some extent in Melbourne, in connexion with the manufacture of a certain class of furniture. The “ clouding “ is done by the bamboo being smeared with mud in certain places and afterwards heated. As this article constitutes the raw material of a certain branch of the furniture trade, I think it should be placed upon the freelist.
– The Government have no objection to the proposal.
Amendment agreed to.
Exemption, as amended, agreed to.
Division XII. - Leather and rubber.
– I move-
That the following exemption be added : - “Leather pump-butts, weighing not less than 48 lbs. each hide.”
I would point out that these butts are made from a special class of hide which cannot be grown in Australia. They are chiefly used for making buckets and clacks in connexion with mining pumps. I am told that some difference of opinion exists upon the question of whether the raw hides ought not to be imported from England and tanned locally, but experts in my own district assure me that the work of tanning cannot properly be done within the Commonwealth. I am bound to say, however, that on the other side I have received the following telegram from a firm in New South Wales : -
We positively deny Mr. Abbott’s statement. We can, and do, makes leather pump-butts here.
I prefer to accept the evidence of experts in my own district, and accordingly ask that these articles shall be placed upon the free list.
– The Government agree to the amendment.
– I am extremely sorry that the Government have agreed to the amendment. I shall not occupy time in discussing the matter, but shall contentmyself with entering my protest against the constant assertion that we cannot manufacture this article or that within the Commonwealth.
– I intend to support the amendment. These leather butts are manufactured from the square portion of the thickest section of bullock hides, and can be grown in any part of Australia. At the same time I am inclined to think that it would be impossible to obtain butts weighing 48 lbs. unless they were made from buffalo hide, which comes from the Northern Territory and Northern Queensland. I shall support the amendment, although it appears to me to specially single out the people of Victoria for consideration at the expense of the rest of the Commonwealth.
– As one who has used these pump butts for many years, I must say that I do not think any colonial pump butt leather is equal to the English leather. The use of the local article is a continual source of annoyance, and complaints are made about something going wrong with the pumps. This pump butt leather has always been free under the Victorian Tariff. We have not hides of the necessary thickness here, and there appears to be some special method of preparing them, which is not known in this country.
– It strikes one dumb to hear honorable members say that this material cannot be manufactured in Australia.When we have suggested that certain machinery should be admitted free, because itis not manufactured within.the Commonwealth, the argument has been advanced a dozen times, that something is made in Victoria which will do just as well. Why is that argument abandoned now 1 I desire to ask why the weight of the pump butts which may be admitted free, should be fixed at 48 lbs.? Why should a pump butt weighing 47 lbs. have to pay duty, when one weighing 48 lbs. is to be admitted free ? Honorable members, of course, are thinking only of large pumping plants, but why should not butts required for smaller pumping plants be admitted free? Is the size of an engine and the weight of water it can lift to determine the Tariff to be imposed t I suppose I should have no chance of getting all kinds of butt leather admitted free, but I move -
That the amendment be amended by the omission of the figures “,48,” witha view to insert in lieu thereof the figures “ 28.”
Sir JOHN QUICK (Bendigo). - I hope the committee will not accept the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Parramatta. I have proposed 48 lbs. as the weight, after consultation with manufacturers, merchants, and others interested in this particular matter. I have submitted my proposal to meet the difficulty with respect only to these pump butts, but if the weight is altered, as the honorable member for Parramatta has proposed, it will have other effects which I do not desire.
– The fact that the honorable and learned member for Bendigo and the manufacturers have approved of this weight of 48 lbs. should not have any particular force in this discussion. We are ready to support the exemption of this article of that weight, because it cannot bc mode in the Commonwealth, but we should like also to see pump butts of a lower weight introduced free.
Amendment of the amendment negatived.
Amendment agreed to.
Harness, saddles, leatherware, and whips - minor articles for mountings, including haines, bits, and stirrups, not gold or silver, or gold or silver plated.
Leather, viz : - Crust, or rough-tanned hogskins, goat, Persian sheep, and skivers.
Amendments (by Mr. Kingston) agreed to-
That the words “ or gold or silver plated “ be Omitted.
That the words “or tanned “ be inserted after the word “ tanned.”
Exemptions, as amended, agreed to.
Division XIII. - Paper and Stationery - Item 115. - Paper. . . . Browns, and sugar, grey, blue, and other tints, fruit-bag paper . . . percwt., 3s.
– I move -
That the words “tinfoil paper” be insorted after the word “ paper.”
Tinfoil paper is essentially a wrapping paper, and is used, as honorable members well know, for wrapping tea. It has been put to mc that as a wrapping paper it should pay the same duty as other wrapping papers. At present it pays a duty of 15 per cent., and that is equal to 6s. per cwt. I understand that the Government raise no objection to the amendment I propose.
Amendment agreed to.
Royal Assent reported.
House adjourned at 10.50 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 15 April 1902, viewed 6 July 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1902/19020415_reps_1_9/>.