House of Representatives
13 August 1902

1st Parliament · 1st Session



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

page 15051

QUESTION

NEWSPAPER POSTAGE

Sir LANGDON BONYTHON:
SOUTH AUSTRALIA

– Last week the conference of colonial Premiers in London had under consideration the question of reducing the cost of sending newspapers from Australia to Europe - a matter in which the public are much concerned - and I now wish to ask the Acting Prime Minister what attitude the Government are likely to take up in regard to the subject ?

Mr DEAKIN:
Attorney-General · BALLAARAT, VICTORIA · Protectionist

– The information which I have received shows that the resolution arrived at was general in its purport. It left to each Government the task of considering in what way, and to what extent, it could make a reduction in the postage upon newspapers. . It will be for the. PostmasterGeneral to consider the matter, and to present proposals to the. Cabinet,the members of which are, I am sure, prepared to give them the most favorable considera tion.

page 15051

QUESTION

PEARL-FISHERIES COMMISSION

Mr R EDWARDS:
OXLEY, QUEENSLAND · PROT; FT from 1913; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910

– Can the Acting Prime Minister say when Judge Dashwood’s report on the pearl-fishing industry will be available? The people interested in that industry are naturally anxious to know what the commissioner’s recommendations are.

Mr DEAKIN:
Protectionist

– A proof of the report was to have been sent to me from the Government Printing-office this morning, but it has not yet reached me. I expect, however, to receive it to-day, and so soon as it is corrected the document will be laid upon the table.

page 15051

QUESTION

SOUTH AUSTRALIAN DRILL INSTRUCTORS

Sir LANGDON BONYTHON:

– Bearing on a matter to which I referred last week, I would like to ask the Acting Prime Minister whether his attention has been directed to a statement made by the Lieutenant-Governor of South Australia at a review held in Adelaide last Saturday. This is the statement to which I allude : -

Colonel Stuart and officers of the military forces of South Australia, - The review to-day reflects great credit not alone on the commanding officers, but also on the non-commissioned officers by whom the men have been drilled. For halfacentury I have been in the habit of witnessing reviews in this and other parts of the world, and if this review had been on the other side of the world, at Aldershot, you, Colonel Stuart, and the officers under you, need not have been ashamed of your men. I congratulate you, Colonel Stuart, on the admirable training of the forces you will hand over to your successor, Colonel Lyster, and I congratulate you, Captain Clare, upon the men of your Naval Brigade, who are quite worthy to march with the Military Forces.

Before sitting down I would also ask the Acting Prime Minister whether he has received any communication on this subject from the Government of South Australia, and, if so, whether there is any objection to making its nature known to this House?

Mr DEAKIN:
Protectionist

– The expressions of opinion in South Australia, which have been published in the press, have been read by me. The Government of that State have communicated with this Government on the subject by a telegram, the general purport of which was that, so for as they can judge, their troops compare favorably in point of drill and discipline with those of the other States, and they are, therefore, at a loss to understand why the extra cost which they consider will be involved by the appointment of the drill instructors has been incurred.

Mr GLYNN:
SOUTH AUSTRALIA, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

– Do the Government propose to do anything in the matter if the statement that the South Australian drill sergeants who competed for the positions which have been filled up were incompetent is incorrect ?

Mr DEAKIN:

– The Minister for De fence naturally acts in these matters upon the advice of his chief military officer. The telegram and other papers which I have re ceived have been forwarded to him, and, no doubt, the matter will be reported upon by the general officer commanding.

page 15052

QUESTION

FEDERAL PRINTING

Sir JOHN QUICK:
BENDIGO, VICTORIA

asked the Treasurer, upon notice -

When will the return showing the cost of Federal printing be presented to the House ?

Sir GEORGE TURNER:
Treasurer · BALACLAVA, VICTORIA · Protectionist

– The return is not yet complete, but as its preparation has been a Jong time in hand, and it may be a little while longer before I can get the information I require from some of the States, I propose to lay upon the table what information I have, and to substitute, later on, an amended return containing full information. I think that that will meet the views of my honorable and learned friend.

page 15052

QUESTION

DUTIES ON PARCELS

Mr MAHON:
COOLGARDIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

asked the Minister re presenting the Postmaster-General, upon notice -

  1. Does the Post-office collect customs duties on parcels from oversea ; and under the special

Tariff of Western Australia on inland parcels received in that State?

  1. Is the Post-office being reimbursed for this service by the Customs department and by the State Government of Western Australia ; and,’ if not, will he take stepsto secure payment in future.
Sir PHILIP FYSH:
Minister (without portfolio) · TASMANIA, TASMANIA · Free Trade

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

  1. The Post-office collects customs duties on parcels from oversea; and underthe special Tariff of Western Australia on Inter-State parcels received in that State.
  2. The Post-office is not being reimbursed for this service either by the Customs department or by the State Government of Western Australia. The question of obtaining payment is under consideration.

page 15052

QUESTION

DETENTION OF BICYCLES

Sir JOHN QUICK:

– In asking the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -

  1. Whether it is true that the Collector of Customsin Melbourne has impounded and refused to deliver to the agent of the importer (Sam. Keam and Co., of Bendigo) certain American Dunlop bicycle tyres unless and until a royalty of 2s. 6d. per tyre, alleged to be due, is paid to the Dunlop Tyre Company ?
  2. Under what law - specifying the number and section of the Act - has this been done ?
  3. Will patentees be required in future to enforce their patent rights at their own expense in the ordinary courts ?

I desire to explain that I have placed this question upon the business-paper at the earnest request of a constituent, who says that the answer given by the Minister on a previous occasion was not correct, and that he wrote to the department in reference to the matter two months ago, but received no answer.

Mr KINGSTON:
Minister for Trade and Customs · SOUTH AUSTRALIA, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · Protectionist

– The answer given last Friday was not correct; the Minister was misinformed on the subject. The answers to the honorable and learned member’s questions are as follow : -

  1. The goods are found to be under detention under the practice referred to in answer to question of the honorable member on last Friday. The matter boa been wrongly omitted by the Victorian Customs office to be brought under the notice of the State Minister.
  2. It was claimed by the Victorian Customs office that the action taken was justified under the Trade Marks Act, 1890, No. 1140, section 15.
  3. The whole matter is under consideration, and it is not intended to bring the aid of the Customs to any action in aid of patentees or trade mark owners which is not required by law and which is in restraint of trade.

page 15053

QUESTION

ALIEN IMMIGRATION

Mr O’MALLEY:
TASMANIA, TASMANIA

ask asked the Acting Prime

Minister, upon notice -

Whether it is a fact that a Basuto boy from South Africa was landed in Melbourne from the troopship Norfolk on the 2nd instant; and, if so, did he pass the educational test prescribed by the Immigration Restriction Act ?

Mr DEAKIN:
Protectionist

– TheNorfolk, being purely a troopship, was not inspected with the same care as ordinary vessels. The Customs officer has no knowledge of there having been a Basuto boy on board, and both the disembarkation officers, who made inquiries from some officers of the contingents brought here by the transport, have been unable to trace him, though they have been informed that a lad answering the description marched with the contingents through the streets.

page 15053

CUSTOMS TARIFFBILL

In Committee (Consideration of Senate’s requested amendments resumed from 12th August, vide page 15049) :

Division VI. - Metals and machinery.

Item 77, Mangles. . ad valorem 20 per cent.

Request. - That the duty be reduced to 10 per cent.

Mr KINGSTON:
South AustraliaMinister for Trade and Customs · Protectionist

– The Government are not able to accede to the request of the Senate by reducing the duty on mangles from 20 to 10 per cent, but, with a disposition to compromise, we propose that the rate be fixed at 15 per cent. I therefore move -

That the amendment requested benot made, but that the duty be reduced to 15 per cent.

Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN:
Wentworth

– Although this is not one of the most important items in the Tariff, there was a considerable discussion upon it when it was last before the committee, the general feeling of honorable members on this side of the Chamber being that the duty proposed was far in excess of the rate necessary to protect the manufacturers of these articles. I do not suppose that mangles are very difficult or costly to manufacture, but they are bulky and heavy, so that the cost of importing them must be large. That being so, I think that a duty of 10 per cent. would afford quite sufficient protection to the manufacturers, and I therefore move -

That the motion be amended by the omission of the figures “ 15,” with a view to insert in lieu thereof the figures “10.”

Mr KINGSTON:

– When the item was last under discussion, there was a majority of 25 to 14 in favour of a duty of 20 per cent. That being so, I think honorable members will be inclined to believe that the Government are straining a point in offering this compromise.

Question - That the figures proposed to be omitted stand part of the motion - put. The committee divided.

AYES: 24

NOES: 21

Majority … … 3

AYES

NOES

Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Amendment negatived.

Motion agreed to.

Item 78, Manufactures of metal, viz. : - Agricultural, horticultural, and viticultural machinery and implements, n.e.i., including shares and plough plates out to shape, horse gears ; and road-making ploughs, scoops, horse road rollers, and machines, ad valorem, 15 per cent.

Request. - That the duty be reduced to 10 per cent.

SirWILLIAMMcMILLAN(Wentworth). - With a view to shorten debate, I suggest that honorable members might be permitted to discuss the duty to be imposed upon machinery generally, and that the Government should consent to a test vote being taken upon this request. The Senate have proceeded upon the general principle of reducing the all-round duty of 15 per cent. upon machinery to 10 per cent., and one vote should suffice to test the feeling of the committee.

Mr CONROY:
Werriwa

– We might discuss the whole of the requests relating to the reduction of the duty upon manufactures of metal, excepting the proposal that horse-shoe nails should be placed upon the free list, and take a test vote upon the item now before us.

Mr KIRWAN:
Kalgoorlie

– It would be of advantage if we could take a vote upon the general question whether the duty upon machinery, including mining, agricultural and all other classes of machinery, should stand at 15 per cent. or 12½ per cent., or be reduced to 10 per cent., as requested by the Senate. It is desirable that we should dispose of the Tariff as quickly as possible.

Mr MAUGER:
Melbourne Ports

– The new-born zeal on the part of the Opposition with reference to the speedy disposal of the Tariff is to be commended, but it would be scarcely fair to allow all the requests of the Senate relating to machinery to be decided by a test vote upon the item now before us. Many honorable members hold strong views with regard to the reduction of the duty upon agricultural machinery, but would be prepared to support the imposition of a higher duty upon engines.

Mr Thomas:

– Yes ; they want to make the “ other fellow “ pay the duty. That is a scandalous thing.

Mr MAUGER:

– Whilst I agree with the honorable member for Wentworth that we should have a general debate upon the requests of the Senate relating to this division, I do not think one vote should settle the whole question.

Mr KINGSTON:

– I move-

That the amendment requested be not made.

After very long debates, the committee decided that a 15 per cent. duty should be imposed upon agricultural, horticultural, and viticultural machinery, and it is of the highest importance that we should encourage the manufacture of these goods in our midst. We must not forget that whilst it is highly desirable in the interests of the agricultural community that their implements should be manufactured here, the industry is deserving of special encouragement, because it affords employment to a large number of skilled labourers. Moreover, the facilities afforded to our agriculturists in the shapeof cheap machinery largely assist in the development of that industry which is the backbone of all our resources.From all I can hear, hardly any request of the Senate has caused more alarm than the proposal to cut down the protection afforded to the manufacturers of agricultural machinery.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– Where?

Mr KINGSTON:

– In all the States. The collectors of Customs have been asked to report upon the probable effect ofa reduction of the duty. I do not propose to quote their opinions in all cases, and I need only refer at present to the report of the Collector of Customs in New South Wales, who says : -

It is a matter of doubt as to whether manufacturers could progress to any extent in this State if the suggested reduction were given effect to. At any rate it will be a severe blow to intended expansion of trade.

Mr Conroy:

– Did the Minister promise to dismiss the officer if he did not write that?

Mr KINGSTON:

– Only a mind which we cannot envy could suggest such a dirty act.

The CHAIRMAN:

– I am sure that upon reflection the honorable and learned member for Werriwa must see that he has made a very offensive remark. It must be withdrawn.

Mr Mauger:

– The matter ought not to be allowed to rest there. We are getting tired of these repeated insults.

Mr Conroy:

– I withdraw the expression which I used.

Mr. Madges. Members are growing tired of these insults.

Mr Conroy:

– Why does the honorable member come here as a paid advocate ?

Mr Mauger:

– I would direct attention to the insulting remark made by the honorable and learned member. We are continually being subjected to such insults, and it is your duty, sir, to protect honorable members from insulting insinuations.

Mr Conroy:

– I am glad that the honorable member is able to feel that it is an insulting insinuation.

The CHAIRMAN:

– If the honorable and learned member for Werriwa applied the term “ paid advocate “ to the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, I trust that he will withdraw it.

Mr Conroy:

– I withdraw the remark.

Mr KINGSTON:

– I am sure that no honorable member will discount any opinion to which Mr. Lockyer sets his hand.

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

– But we are not going to take our policy from the collectors of customs.

Mr KINGSTON:

– I am not suggesting that we should do so, but when information is sought from certain sources I am only too glad to supply it. I should like to read the reports of all the collectors.

Sir William McMillan:

– Do they refer to the revenue aspect of this matter ?

Mr KINGSTON:

– The question which they were asked had reference to the probable effect of the adoption of the amendments requested in the Tariff by the other Chamber.

Sir William McMillan:

– Who is Mr. Lockyer ?

Mr KINGSTON:

– He is the collector of Customs in New South Wales, and a most valued officer. He was asked to report generally upon the effect of the amendments requested by the Senate. There was nothing to check the collectors from reporting generally, and they did so.

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

– Is it permissible to have a third House under the Constitution?

Mr KINGSTON:

– It is not a question of a third House, but is simply one of skilled officers speaking freely upon this matter. If, however, honorable members prefer not to have their information on the subject, I shall not offer it. But in this connexion I should like to quote from the report of a deputation which waited at my office, and which was received by my officers. The report reads -

On the 31st July, a deputation consisting of Messrs. Forwood,Reid, and Evans, representing the South Australian Chamber of Manufactures, waited on Mr. Smart, to lay before him the views of their Chamber relative to the suggested amendments by the Senate on the duties passed by the House of Representatives. Mr. Forward said, with reference to the above, that the trade in South Australia are practically convinced that if the duty is reduced to 10 per cent., as proposed by theSenate, a large number of them will have to give up manufacturing altogether. They will hardly be able to get along with the15 per cent., but the 10 per cent. would be fatal, and the consequence will be that a number of things that are manufactured now will be imported instead. In South Australia, it was only after the imposition of the 1885 Tariff, which imposed a duty of from 20 to 25 per cent. , that we were able to get a start in the manufacture of these goods. Before the 1885 Tariff the duty imposed on mining and agricultural machinery was 5 per cent. Since the imposition of the higher duty, factories have grown up largely in South Australia, the men have been well trained, and to-day we can turn out work very much cheaper than we could before. Most of the manufacturers are determined that they will not lose their trade simply because they are manufacturers only - they will become importers as well. Several of the Victorian manufacturers have informed me that it will be impossible for them to manufacture under the proposed duty.

Another gentleman represented -

One of the strongest points in asking for a higher duty is that a duty of 10 per cent. will simply be playing into the hands of the American and German manufacturers. In America, machinery for export is sold at specially reduced prices, and with the cheap labour prevailing in other countries, it is impossible for our manufacturers to compete against it.

In connexion with this matter we have received all sorts of letters, and there is no doubt whatever that the position is - as has been put repeatedly, and with considerable strength - that this House did all that it could reasonably be asked to do when it reduced the rate upon this machinery to 15 per cent. If a further reduction be made it will be to the danger, if not the extinction, of many manufactures, and must result in increased importation from abroad to the loss of Australia. I ask honorable members to consider whether the industry is not worth preserving, and also to declare that 15 per cent. is a fair duty to impose. In this connexion I know - as was pointed out by the honorable member for Grampians - the cruel competition to which Australian manufacturers are exposed. Their ideas, which conform to local requirements and which are properly the subject of their personal ownership, are copied, the designs are taken elsewhere, and some trifling alteration is made in them so that the inventor, instead of having the full benefit arising from his invention, not only loses it, but is subjected to competition from which he ought to be free. I have no desire to invite a lengthy debate upon this subject. We are all familiar with the arguments upon both sides. What is a 15 per cent. rate? It is practically what the acting leader of the Opposition suggested as a fair all-round drag-net rate after levying special duties upon stimulants and narcotics, and with a special fixed list upon various articles. It seems to me that we cannot reduce the protection afforded without withdrawing all pretension to give encouragement to an industry which is well worthy of it, which is already fairly established in our midst, but which has been exposed to cruel risks from which it ought tobefree.

Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN (Wentworth). - I thought that during the last fifteen months I had been able to form a tolerable idea of my right honorable friend’s character, and I did believe, notwithstanding his well-known obstinacy, that he at least possessed some sense of humour. That he should quote the opinion of the manufacturers of any State as proof that we should retain a 15 per cent. duty upon machinery is ludicrous in the extreme. Does he think that any manufacturer in the world who has a regard for his own interests would refuse to accept even a prohibitive duty if we offered it to him? The thing is ridiculous. But the right honorable gentleman has made a still greater mistake. He has actually intruded into this debate the opinion of one of his officers - the New South Wales Collector of Customs - who has nothing whatever to do with the policy of this country. If the Minister had said that that officer had reported upon the revenue aspect of this question, his opinion might have been given without dragging in his name.

Sir Malcolm McEacharn:

– Was not that opinion given as the result of a deputation ?

Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN:

-The Minister told us that he had given instructions to Mr. Lockyer and the other collectors to report to him upon the effect of the Senate’s requested amendments, but when I asked whether those reports did not refer to the revenue aspect of the question the Minister did not give me a direct answer.

Mr Kingston:

– Yes, I did.

Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN:

– When the Treasurer submits his figures to this House, honorable members know very well that they are the result of the information which he has received from his own officers throughout the Commonwealth. . It is, therefore, unnecessary to drag in the names of those officers. The reasons adduced by my right honorable friend why we should differ from the amendments requested by the Senate are not worthy of him.

Mr Salmon:

– Is there any other source from which he could obtain the information ?

Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN:

– At this time of day I am not going to instruct the Minister, and I am sure that my right honorable friend would not take my instruction, even if I proffered it. We are now approaching the end of this long struggle upon the Tariff. Honorable members have differed very materially during the course of the debates which have extended over the past nine months. The enormous divergence of opinion was well illustrated by the interjections of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports. We also know that instead of the compact which was entered into being honorably carried out, many honorable members who believe in extreme protection have declared that they would vote for every duty that would prohibit importation. But upon several occasions we were, I might almost say upon neutral ground, because even if the war did not cease there was more or less a temporary truce. As far as my recollection of the debates goes, when the committee came to discuss the question of the duties to be levied upon machinery, honorable members from both sides of the Chamber got very closely together. Now, putting aside the large distributing forces which must form a part of every State, and which, to my mind, are just as necessary as is any other part of our industrial life, we have the great primary producers of Australia upon the one hand and the great manufacturing industries upon the other. Now, what was the feeling of the committee when ‘they came to deal with the question of the duties to be imposed upon machinery ? We felt that we were not dealing with an ordinary item under a protective Tariff, but with the actual tools of trade of various industries. As honorable members know, we have not merely to deal with the tool of trade which is necessary in the simplest arts of agriculture, but with the most complicated scientific machinery used in all the industries connected with manufacture. In this connexion, the first thought which strikes one is - “ Are we, as a manufacturing and producing country, to face the competition of the world.” Honorable members must recollect the peculiar character of the Australian continent. Although by communication we are now in closer touch with the outside world than we were formerly, we are still more or less an isolated community. Even with this large continent we are a mere handful of people, and we must face the fact that we over-produce, and that under a protectionist system we must over-manufacture. Consequently, under the very system which we have been creating in this Parliament, we must face the question of the disposal of not only our surplus products, but also our surplus manufactures. There is one thing which protection cannot do, and that is to give efficiency in the skill of the workman, and to give nice, complicated, scientific adjustments to the most modern machinery. What is the good of protection if in this industrial life we have not the most modern inventions in machinery ? It is all very well to impose a duty on say locomotives to such a point of ‘ prohibition that we import none; but while we are using a locomotive which perhaps would take only twenty cars in a train, there might be invented and patented in another part of the world a locomotive which would enable a train, at the same expenditure, to draw 40 cars. That is what protection cannot do, and fortunately for the interests of the inventor patents have been granted all over the British Empire to protect the man of genius against every person who desires to pirate the fruit of his brains. Are we going at the very outset of the Commonwealth to strike a blow at the very machinery which is so necessary to give us that superiority in manufacture and in production which is required once we begin to export our produce 1 The use of machinery lies at the very bottom of our industrial life, and in a young nation like this, which must rely more or less on the inventive genius of the larger populations of the world, it ought to be free. I should like to give an instance of the wisdom of this policy.

Fifteen years ago I had the good, or bad, fortune to offer a coal mine in London - I suppose at the time the largest coal mine in Australia. We required to sink to a depth of 1,100 feet, a thing which had never been done before in a coal mine. The colliery had to be opened out and the industry carried on under conditions which had never prevailed before in that business. It was absolutely necessary, for the maintenance of the industry and the preservation of the lives of the people, that we should have- the best mechanical appliances which the world could produce. England and Scotland were ransacked by the directors of the company, and the machinery which at the time, if not now, was equal to any machinery in the world, came from 50 or 100 firms, and of course it was supplemented by some of local manufacture. We laid tribute on the world ; we sank our shaft 1,100 feet; we created a business which, since that day, has been’ keeping 2,000 men, women, and children in comfort, and everything which human wit could do in order to make that property productive, and protect human life was done. Are we, a handful of people isolated from the centres of the world, to put an embargo on the very privilege which we ought to enjoy 1 Such a policy is unstatesmanlike. In support of a z-eduction of duty we claim not merely the voices of the primary producers, who get precious little out of the Tariff, but also the voices of the industrial manufacturers, who, to the disgrace of Australia be it said, in the future, if these embargoes are imposed, will be behind the rest of the world as regards the use of scientific appliances. We have no right to impose an embargo on science and skill, or to do anything which would prevent the industrial life of Australia from competing with the rest of the world. We must recollect that whenever a man of genius invents a new mechanical appliance, it becomes available to nearly the whole world. Are we going to put an embargo on the use of that appliance 1 Again, when we wish to engage a professor of chemistry or a great railway expert, do we depend on our colonial stock?. Do we not go to America, England, or elsewhere in order to secure the talent of the world? Are not the mechanical appliances which we are importing and on which there should be no embargo the most effective capital which could be introduced 1 My honorable friends on the other side have to deal with this question from the stand-point of the industrial life of the future. We are now forcing manufactures not merely in Victoria, but in all the other States. Within ten years, I venture to say, ‘ under this Tariff, if it is not amended, either we shall have a large surplus stock of manufactures or we shall have men unemployed. What are we going to do then 1 Are we going to make our industries simply commensurate with the area and the wants of Australia t Are we never going to aim at the destiny of Australia in the eastern part of this world? Do we not expect, as time goes on, if we have the industrial brain and the intelligence of our forefathers who made the English nation the greatest manufacturing power under the sun, to export to every part of the eastern world 1 Certainly we do. Once a mau of genius invents any mechanical appliance, it becomes by right of purchase at a certain price the property of the Japanese, the Chinese, or the Indian, just as much as it becomes ours. There is no fear of those people shutting out the mechanical appliances of the world, putting an embargo on genius, or hesitating to ‘get a professor or an engineer from any part of the world. I am not opposed in any sense to the rise of the manufacturing industries of Australia. I believe that within 20 or 30 years, without one jot of duty, we should have had manufacturing industries which would not merely have provided for the wants of Australia, but would have made us the emporium of the eastern world. But, taking it for granted that this position is forced, I wish to see the industries of Australia placed on the same basis as the best industries in all parts of the world. Will the honorable member for Melbourne Ports deny that to-day, largely by reason of these duties, and largely from the want of an active and healthy competition, there is employed in Victorian manufactures machinery which is far behind the times 1 That is one of the great dangers of this protectionist system, especially if it is carried to a point which almost prohibits importation. We lose the strengthening element of a healthful competition. Do honorable members wish to -bolster up industries when they are behind the rest of the world ? If so, the system must break down. We should not have any duty affecting an industry unless that it is of such a moderate character that, if the industry does not keep in touch with the march of civilization and the march of science, it will inevitably go down. I feel that the Government might give way on this item. I would point out to Ministers and their supporters that here we have an opportunity to pursue a broad line of public policy, by agreeing to the sensible proposal of the Senate. I think if that course be taken it will go a long way to smooth the differences between the House’s. I feel strongly on this matter. I make no distinction between the machinery of the agriculturist and that of the miner. I submit that all machinery - everything which is necessary to a man for carrying on his industry and which can come under the general title of tools of trade - ought to be absolutely free, or, if not free, subjected to the least possible duty. I move -

That the motion be amended by the omission of the word “ not.”

Mr. MAUGER (Melbourne Ports). - I wish in the first place to draw the attention of the honorable member for Wentworth to’ the statement that honorable members on this side of the Chamber have advocated the imposition of prohibitive duties. I have not heard that term mentioned once. We recognised from the very first that this would be a compromise Tariff. To talk of it being prohibitive-

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– The honorable member speaks of 25 per cent, duties.

Mr MAUGER:

– That rate is not prohibitive. Imports have continued to come into Victoria under duties ranging as high as 35 and 40 per cent. We have never had anything approaching a prohibitive Tariff in this State, and no one knows it better than does the honorable member for Wentworth. It has been recognised by leading protectionists on the public platform in Victoria, and in the course of parliamentary debates, that owing to financial requirements this Tariff must be a compromise, and for any one to contend that it contains a prohibitive item, or that -a prohibitive duty has been proposed in connexion with it, is simply to ring the changes on words. The honorable member for Wentworth has referred to overproduction in Victoria. In what line has that taken place 1 In a report relating to the establishment of grain elevators here, an unbiased judge, Mr. Mathieson, exCommissioner of Railways in Victoria, has pointed out that even the export of wheat, as compared with that consumed in the home market, is of comparatively little importance to the wheat-growers of Victoria. The same remark will apply to both producers and manufacturers in any country. I commend Mr. Mathieson’s report to my honorable friends opposite. It is worthy of perusal.

Mr Fowler:

– Does not the export price fix the rates ruling in the home market ?

Mr MAUGER:

– If it were not for the home market the wheat-growers would be in a bad way at the present time.

Mr Brown:

– Which is more profitable to the wool-grower - the home or the foreign market ?

Mr MAUGER:

– I am not discussing that matter. What line of manufacture in Australia is in a position to export? To talk about over-production at this stage of our industrial development is simply to anticipate a condition of affairs which, I think, is not likely to occur for at least 50 years.

Sir William McMillan:

– Nonsense !

Mr MAUGER:

– I hope that my honorable friend is right, and that at an early date we shall be able to overtake our home market. But there is no indication of it, and I am afraid there is no possibility of it under this Tariff. The honorable member for Wentworth has asserted that we have obsolete machinery in Victoria. Where is that machinery? The honorable member must be acquainted with our various manufactories, and surely he will admit that in our boot, hat, and other leading industries we have the very best machinery, and employ the most skilled workmen?

Mr Thomas:

– Imported machinery.

Mr MAUGER:

– That is not the question. The honorable member for Wentworth has urged that we ought to obtain the latest patented machinery from all parts of the world, and the honorable member for Barrier now says that the up-to-date machinery used in Victorian factories is imported, thus proving that our duties have not prevented its importation. The honorable member knows that in all the better classes of manufacture, . Victoria is doing better than is the State he represents. Highclass hats, boots, and clothing have been, and are being,made in Victoria to an extent not equalled in any other part of the Commonwealth, yet the honorable member for Wentworth talks about obsolete machinery.

Sir William McMillan:

– Does the honorable member mean to say that all the machinery used in Victorian factories is as up-to-date as is that employed in England ?

Mr MAUGER:

– The machinery in our leading factories is equal to anything to be found in England. Those factories send men to England every twelve months to pick up the latest ideas.

Mr Fowler:

– The machinery in some of the Victorian woollen factories would have been broken up in England long ago.

Mr MAUGER:

– If some of my honorable friends had been in the British Parliament, they would have been turned out long ago. One swallow does not make a summer. I cannot say that all our mills have the best machinery, but I do say that those which are commanding the market, and producing the best material, send experts to England from time to time to obtain the best machinery in the world.

Mr McDonald:

– The honorable member thinks that they cannot obtain better machinery ?

Mr MAUGER:

– I have not said that such is my opinion, nor have I indicated that it is.

Mr Fowler:

– When was the latest woollen-weaving machinery introduced into Victoria?

Mr MAUGER:

– Within the last six months. It was ordered before the duty was altered. I visited the Ballarat Woollen Mills last week, when a new wing was opened, and I was assured by the manager that they had the latest and best machinery.

Mr Fowler:

– Then the industry is not being ruined by the reduced duties.

Mr MAUGER:

– My honorable friend is edging away from the question. I am not discussing high or low duties. What I contend is that, in the leading lines of manufacture in Victoria, the very best machinery that can be secured in any part of the world is employed, and that the duty upon machinery has not shut it out. The honorable member for Wentworth has also referred to the genius of invention. I have the fortune or misfortune to be an Australian native, and I claim that Australiayoung and unimportant and insignificant as it is in the eyes of some honorable members opposite- has given to the world some of the best inventions known. What about the torpedo?

Mr Mahon:

– Some of the best inven tions in fiscal statistics?

Mr MAUGER:

– I do not know what that has to do with machinery. Surely my honorable friend will not reason that Australians are not just as capable of inventing machinery of all kinds as are any people of equal number in any other part of the world? To urge that, because we propose to develop our own industries, we are going in any way to stifle genius is to contend what is contrary to experience.

Mr O’Malley:

– W - What about the stumpjumping plough?

Mr MAUGER:

– Yes. Take agricultural machinery. It cannot be disputed-

Sir William McMillan:

– That does not affect the question. I did not say a word against the genius of Australians.

Mr MAUGER:

– The honorable member said that if we imposed the enormous dutyof 15 per cent. genius would be shut out, manufacture would be stifled, and all sorts of disasters would overtake us.

Sir William McMillan:

– The honorable member has done his best to bring that about.

Mr MAUGER:

– I have done my best to bring about the opposite result ; and in advocating the policy of protection I am anxious that we should follow the example of the nations that are leading the world. It is a notorious fact - and the honorable member for Grampians knows it - that the combined harvester, an agricultural implement invented and manufactured in Australia by an Australian firm, is being copied at the present time by a Canadian firm which has branches here, and can tranship and transfer without the slightest trouble. To that firm the duty will be no bar. Foreign manufacturers are sucking the brains and the inventive genius of Australian people, and yet we ate asked by some friends of the Commonwealth to give them an open market without any restriction. The manufacturers have not appealed for free machinery ; and the workmen are petitioning us to impose the reasonable duty of 15 per cent. proposed by the Government.

Mr Winter Cooke:

– Have the users of machinery asked for this duty?

Mr MAUGER:

– I can assure my honorable friend - and the honorable and learned member for Darling Downs will verify the statement - that users of machinery are urging that, in their own interests, as well as in those of the Commonwealth generally, Australian manufacturers should be supported. At a conference of farmers, held recently in the electorate of Darling Downs, one of the leading farmers of the district said that he had used Australian machinery, and could commend it. He appealed to his fellow farmers to do their best to support it.

Mr McDonald:

– The same people desire black labour.

Mr MAUGER:

– The honorable member for Moira does not support black labour, and he will tell the committee that farmers in Victoria, where we have machinery manufactories, have been better served than have those of New South Wales. Even the producer is not urging that these duties should be imposed. Notwithstanding the insinuations that have been made, I have no monetary interest, either direct or indirect, in any manufacture. I am here to advocate the interests of our workmen and those of our own people generally, and I trust that the duty proposed by the Government will be agreed to.

Mr MAHON:
Coolgardie

– I think that the committee will acquit the honorable member for Melbourne Ports of having any personal interest in any duty which may come before us. . No one has made any such suggestion, and I am sure that so far as this side is concerned he stands acquitted of any interest of the kind. The honorable member as well as the Minister for Trade and Customs spoke very strongly about foreign manufacturers who had stolen the patterns of Australian machinery makers. When the Tariff was before us on a former occasion, I cited a case showing that the ideas of a foreign manufacturer had been stolen and utilized by a local maker of engines. So that all these sins - if they be sins - are not confined to one side. Probably there are just as many offenders on one side as there are on the other.

Mr Kingston:

– To what case does the honorable member refer?

Mr MAHON:

– To the case in which a man utilized the design of the Crossley oil engine, and constructed a kind of compromise engine. In these circumstances I do not think the Minister has a right to advance that argument as a reason for maintaining this duty. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports said that there was no possibility of the local market being overtaken for 50 years. If that be so, we cannot have a stronger argument in favour of reducing the duty or making all machinery free, because the more machinery we have in the country, andapplied to our natural resources, the greater our production will be. I cannot understand why the honorable member for Melbourne Ports shouldbe so anxious about the home market, seeing that it is already largely secured to Australia. I should like him to explain why he urges, as an argument in favour of protection, that local production cannot overtake the home demand for 50 years to come. If the statement be true, it is an argument in favour of allowing machinery either to come in free, orat as low a duty as possible, in order that production may be stimulated, and that we may be able to overtake the home demand. The Minister for Trade and Customs mentioned that there had been an enormous increase in the output of factories in South Australia after 1885, when the duty was increased from 5 per cent. to some higher figure, but the right honorable gentleman omitted to state, and it was a most important omission, that Broken Hill broke out just about that time, and created a demand for machinery such as had never existed in South Australia before. He also omitted to mention that Kalgoorlie and other Western Australian gold-fields have since been discovered. I do not think the right honorable gentleman was as candidas he might have been. He is sometimes very outspoken, but I do not think that in this instance he has placed before us all the facts which should have been within the knowledge of his collectors of customs. If he is getting the collectors of customs to formulate his policy for him, it ought at least to be formulated upon a knowledge of the whole of the facts, and not upon the knowledge of only a portion of the facts. The whole of the facts should be submitted, and fairly considered. We ought to lower this duty in justice to the great agricultural and mining industries of Australia. If we cannot agree to the free admission of these implements and machines, we should at least make the duty imposed upon them as low as possible. There is no likelihood of the Senate going back upon its decision in this matter. I draw the Minister’s attention to the fact that the motion requesting the reduction of the duty upon this item from 15 to 10 per cent. was carried in the Senate by a majority of four in a House of twenty. Twelve voted for the suggested reduction of the duty, and eight against it. It is significant to note that of the minority of eight, three were Victorians.

Mr Tudor:

– I suppose they had no right to vote, because they were Victorians?

Mr MAHON:

– I should be sorry to suggest anything of the kind, but I do say that it is a significant thing that nearly half the minority opposed to the reduction of the duty should be Victorians, and that only five honorable senators from the other States should be found to agree with them.

Mr Kingston:

– The honorable member is not quite fair in leaving the sixteen pairs out of consideration.

Mr MAHON:

– I find that amongst the pairs there were two more Victorian senators against the reduction of the duty. Despite the dissent of the Minister for Trade and Customs, I consider it significant that there should be only five of the 30 honorable senators from the other States anxious enough about the duty proposed by the Government to vote for it.I hope that the Minister, when he rises again to instruct the committee, will place the whole of the facts before us, so that we may be able to give an intelligent decision.

Mr KENNEDY:
Moira

– I do not propose for a moment to traverse the whole of the ground covered by this duty. We have heard objections raised to the opinions given expression to by different authorities. First of all, we are told that the Minister has no right to consider an expression of opinion from the officers of his department. Then we are told that the opinion of the manufacturer is not entitled to consideration; then, that the opinions of the employes of the manufacturer are not worth considering.

Mr Thomas:

– Who has said this ?

Mr KENNEDY:

– It has been said by different members of the committee. We have been told that the opinion of the primary producer, the user of these machines, is alone entitled to consideration. Let us for a moment view the . situation from his stand-point, more particularly as it applies to agricultural implements and machinery. What is the position? I venture to say that it cannot be refuted that since we have had the agricultural machinery industry firmly established in Victoria, under a duty similar to that now proposed by the Government, the Victorian agriculturists have been much better served than they were when they had to depend upon imports. As to the inventive genius and mechanical skill of our people, it is only since the establishment of the manufacture of these implements in Australia that we have been able to meet the requirements of the people. The double-furrow and multi-furrow- ploughs as they exist to-day are purely .Victorian inventions and manufactures. The stumpjump plough, the stripper, the winnower, as we know it to-day, and the travelling chaffcutter and automatic bagger are also Australian inventions. This shows that we can make machinery and implements in. Australia to meet our requirements, and an immense proportion of these implements in use are made within the Commonwealth.

Mr Mahon:

– The free-trader does not say we cannot do it, but the protectionist says it cannot be done unless the local manufacturers are protected.

Mr KENNEDY:

– The free-trader says that the agriculturist can get these implements cheaper under his revenue duties. The representative’s of free-trade in this instance propose a duty of 10 per cent., and the protectionists say that that is not sufficient to insure the manufacture of these implements and machines within the Commonwealth, but that a duty of 15 per cent, is sufficient for the purpose. There is only a difference of ls. in the £1, but it involves a considerable difference in the cost of the implement. For this reason : With the duty at 10 per cent., very little, if any, of this machinery will be manufactured within the Commonwealth, while with the advantage of a 15 per cent, duty, a considerable proportion, if not the whole of it, will be made here. As a proof of that statement I may say that the duty under the Victorian Tariff upon implements and machinery was 15 per cent., and all the implements subject to that duty were manufactured locally and used by the Victorian agriculturists. Strange to say, in the neighbouring State of New South Wales, where attention was given to the same lines of agriculture, but where they had no duty upon agricultural implements, little, if any, of the agricultural machinery employed was manufactured in that State. The agriculturists of New South Wales were buying their implements from the Victorian and South Australian manufacturers, and were paying the same price for them as were the Victorian agriculturists. The honorable member for Canobolas will not deny that the farmers in his district using strippers and harvesting machines manufactured in Victoria paid exactly the same price for them as did Victorian agriculturists. They did not get any rebate because they bought the implements from Victoria. Consequently, it will be seen’ that there was no impost and no tax whatever upon the Victorian agriculturist because there happened to be a duty in Victoria upon agricultural implements and machinery. The same result will follow the proposal made by the Federal Government. I share the opinion that the revenue duty of 10 per cent, which is requested will crush the Australian manufacturer out, and that the extra 5 per cent, proposed “by the Government gives him a bare margin upon which to continue his industry. The competition between manufacturers, and their known ability to adapt agricultural implements and machinery to the requirements of the Australian farmer, will enable the industry to -be successfully carried on without any increased cost whatever to the man using the machinery. As one who has been and is to~day using these implements, and as one who is every year purchasing these machines as they are invented and developed, I can say on behalf of the Victorian farmer - and I think I can say the same on behalf of the agriculturists of New South Wales and Queensland, because the conditions of agriculture are almost identical - that the development of this industry within the Commonwealth under a 15 per cent, duty will impose no tax whatever upon the argriculturists of the Commonwealth. »

Mr. KIRWAN (Kalgoorlie). - The honorable members for Moira and Melbourne Ports have been very strong in what they have said as to the wonders that have been accomplished under the high Tariff imposed upon machinery in Victoria, and they are very keen in their opposition to any reduction in the duty imposed upon agricultural and mining machinery. But it will be remembered that some time ago, when the question of the duty that should be imposed upon machine tools used in connexion with city manufactures existing in Melbourne was before this committee, those honorable members developed very strong free-trade tendencies.

Mr Kennedy:

– No ; I differed from the honorable member for Melbourne Ports on that point.

Mr KIRWAN:

– I speak generally of Victorian members, and I know that the honorable member for Melbourne Ports particularly exhibited very strong free-trade tendencies where a number of individuals engaged in city trades were concerned. A comparison has been made between New South Wales, where free-trade has obtained, and Victoria, where there have been high duties imposed on machinery; but from the latest issue of Coghlan I find that the number of hands engaged in manufactures of metals and machinery in New South Wales under free-trade conditions is considerably greater than the number employed in Victoria under high customs duties.

Mr Kennedy:

– Omit the number engaged in smelting works in New South Wales, and what will the honorable member find ?

Mr KIRWAN:

– Under the heading “ Metal works, machinery, &c.,” the latest issue of Coghlan gives the number of hands engaged in New South Wales as 11,901, and the number of hands engaged in Victoria as 9,423.

Mr Kennedy:

– Those figures do not meet the position,

Mr KIRWAN:

– Those figures are in reply to honorable members on the other side, who seem to think that we on this side are not the friends of Australian industries, and that we have not faith in the inventive powers of Australians. I claim that it is honorable members opposite who exhibit a want of faith in the Australian people. We on this side do not fear but that the Australian people will be able to hold their own if we have free ports. We have greater confidence in the Australian people, and it is honorable members on the other side who are the “ little Australians “ who seem to lack faith in themselves, and who think that without support the Australians will not be able to hold their own. After all that has been said upon the subject, both here and in the Senate, I do not think it calls for lengthy discussion now ; but, as the members of the Senate request the reduction of the duty to 10 per cent., while a majority of the members of this committee favour a duty of 15 per cent., I think that the Government might well consent, as a compromise, to an all-round duty of 12i per cent. While there are strong reasons for very much reducing the duty upon agricultural machinery, there are still stronger reasons for reducing, and even for removing, the duty upon mining machinery, and in New Zealand mining machinery has been placed upon the free list. Furthermore, while an. attempt has been made to impose duties to assist the agricultural community, thare are no duties which can be regarded as in any way benefiting the mining industry, because the mineral output of the country cannot beincreased in price by the imposition of import duties. It is hardly necessary to impress upon the committee the great importance of both mining and agriculture to the country. The total annual production of those two industries is worth about £40,000,000, whereas the total annual production of the manufacturing industries of which we hear so much is only about £28,000,000, while many of the industries included in that term cannot benefit by protection. It seems to me, therefore, that we are sacrificing the larger interests of the Commonwealth to its smaller interests. I hope that an till-round duty of 12-J- per cent, will be agreed to.

Mr BROWN:
Canobolas

– If I understand the honorable member for Moira aright, he. argued that the manufacture of machinery has been developed more largely in Victoria than in New South Wales, because of the protective policy of the former State. I would therefore like to point out to him that the development of that industry cannot depend solely upon the existence or non-existence of a protective duty,, but is largely governed by the law of supply and demand. To my mind, the chief reason why the manufacture of machinery is an industry which has been developed tq a greater extent in Victoria and in South Australia than in New South Wales is that the agricultural development of those States has been spread over a longer time than that of New South Wales. On page 504 of Coghlan’s Seven Colonies, a table will be found giving the acreage under agriculture in each of the several States for a series of years. By referring to that table it will be seen that in 1861, while New South Wales had only 265,000 acres under crop, Victoria had 410,000 acres, and South Australia 400,000. In 1881 the New South Wales acreage had increased to- 578,000 acres, the Victorian acreage to 1,435,000 acres, and the South Australian acreage to 2,156,000 acres. In 1891 New South Wales had 846,000 acres under crop, but in 1S99 the State made a great advance to 2,440,000 acres, while in that year the acreage under crop in Victoria was 3,155,000 acres, and in South Australia 2,238,000 acres. New South Walesmade her big increase inagricultural development between the years 1895 and 1899, and then commenced an immense demand for machinery in that State. The increase in cultivation was due to the opening to selection of large areas of land which were formerly not available. Those who secured that land speedily put it under crop, and then an immense demand was created for agricultural machinery to reap the crop. The creation of a demand for agricultural machinery resulted in the establishment of works for the manufacture of agricultural implements, which would otherwise have not been brought into existence, and the original inventors of the stripper - the Meadow Bank Company - shifted their works from South Australia to New South Wales. With regard to the contention of the honorable member for Moira, that the farmers of Victoria were better off so far as agricultural machinery is con- cerned than the farmers of New South Wales, I would remind him that about three years ago Victorian manufacturers were supplying agricultural machinery more cheaply to New South Wales farmers than to the farmers of their own State, who paid for the protection afforded to them. This fact caused such a feeling of dissatisfaction among the Victorian farmers, however, that the practice had to be discontinued, and a bond was entered into among the Victorian manufacturers not to supply machinery more cheaply in New South Wales than in Victoria, though, I know that despite that bond, New South Wales fanners were still able to secure Victorian machinery more cheaply than it could be bought in Victoria.

Mr Kennedy:

– The honorable member cannot give me a single instance in which implements of any class were sold more cheaply in New South Wales than ‘ in Victoria.

Mr BROWN:

– I can give the honorable member instances, and the names of those who bought the machinery. Owing to the great demand for agricultural machinery in New South Wales, the Clyde Engineering Company, which is a firm not usually classed among the makers of agricultural implements, Messrs. Ritchie Brothers, and other firms entered largely into the business , of making farming machinery. But these firms found that they Were unable to keep pace with the demand which was so suddenly sprung upon them, and many farmers had, therefore, to look elsewhere for their implements. So, too, in Victoria and New South Wales it is not protection that has been responsible for the establishment of agricultural implement manufactories so much as the demand for agricultural implements. With a sufficient demand, industries will arise, whether protected or not, but if there is no demand they cannot be created by the highest duties in the world. The Minister for Trade and Customs spoke of the encouragement given to inventive genius by the imposition of protective duties, and instanced the great improvements made in farming implements in Victoria and South Australia. No doubt such improvements have been made, and will continue to be made, because I think the inventive genius of Australia, when given a fair opportunity, and not restricted by unenlightened patent laws, is second to none in the world ; but I do not think that any more complicated or ingenious invention has been made in Australia than the sheep-shearing machine, which is a New South Wales invention. The pastoral industry has never been protected, yet an invention has been produced which can accomplish what was formerly held by experts to be an impossibility. Similarly new inventions and improvement in farming machinery will con tin ue to be made, whether we have protective duties or not. If, as some of the protectionists claim, the farmers will not have to pay increased prices for their implements, what benefit do the manufacturers expect to derive from the duty? It is certain that the duty cannot fall upon the foreign manufacturer. The farmers will not be able to secure better prices for their produce, because they have to compete in the open markets of the world. The Minister for Trade and Customs has admitted that the grain duties can operate only in times of drought and distress, and that if the farmers wish to derive any benefit from the Tariff, they should pray for a continuance of drought conditions. It is unfair that the agriculturists, who derive no benefit from the Tariff, should be asked to bolster up manufacturing industries by paying heavy duties upon their machinery. I should prefer to see agricultural machinery admitted free of duty.

Mr O’MALLEY:
Tasmania

– - I had hoped that after all the discussion which has taken place upon the Tariff honorable members generally would have refrained from further debate. Some honorable members appear to think that good machinery cannot be made in Australia ; butI would point out that the Melbourne Tramway Company, after having had a most unsatisfactory experience with imported machinery, have for some years given their contracts to local manufacturers. I shall support the retention of duty at 15 per cent., and I hope that we shall at once proceed to a vote.

Mr FOWLER:
Perth

– I shall not detain the committee at any length, because I am afraid that further discussion would be useless. When the honorable member for Melbourne Ports spoke in very optimistic terms of the position of the manufacturing industries of Victoria, he reminded me of an article which I read some little time ago. Mr. J. H. Curle, a gentleman who represents the Economist, one of the best financial magazines in the world,recently paid a visit to Victoria, and expressed the opinion that the equipment of the mines in that State was in some cases 30 years behind the times. Some honorablemembers may he inclined to sneer at Mr. Curle, but he is a man of world-wide experience in mining matters, and in view of the unsatisfactory position now occupied by the mining industry in Victoria, the probability is that there is something radically wrong in the methods at present adopted. Mr. Curle speaks not with a view to injure mining interests in Victoria, but simply with a desire to see a promising field for investment worked to the fullest advantage. He recognises that there are large and valuable deposits of gold in Victoria, and he urges that the best and most up-to-date machinery should be employed in their development.

Sir John Quick:

-Who is Mr. Curle?

Mr FOWLER:

– He is recognised as an expert of world-wide experience.

Sir John Quick:

– I never heard of him.

Mr FOWLER:

– Perhaps that is because the honorable and learned member does not pay much attention to the course of events beyond his own State. It is remarkable that Victorians discover that they are behind the times only after they leave their own State. Many of them havemade this discovery on visiting the mining fields of Western Australia, and I should be sorry indeed to see the policy which has proved so injurious to. Victoria extended to Australia in general, and my own State in particular.

Mr McDONALD:
Kennedy

– The suggestion made by the honorable member for Kalgoorlie that the duty should be fixed at 12½ per cent. is a very fair one. The retention of a high rate of duty will have a most injurious effect upon the mining industry, which is taxed very heavily under the Tariff. Those who are engaged in mining do not derive any benefit from protection, and it is only fair that they should be supplied with the machinery they require at the lowest possible rates. In my electorate one mining shaft is being sunk through granite country to a depth of 3,000 feet. This work will involve an expenditure of from £60,000 to £80,000. Another shaft will be sunk to a depth of 2,500 feet, and a third to a depth of 1,800 feet. When these shafts are completed, the companies interested will have to obtain very powerful and expensive machinery. Much of this will have to be imported, and if we impose a heavy duty upon mining machinery we shall largely hamper the operations of those who are engaged in these important enterprises. I should like to see mining machinery admitted free of duty, but, under the circumstances, I shall support the request of the Senate.

Sir MALCOLM McEACHARN:
Melbourne

– The honorable member for Perth has stated that the mining machinery employed in Victoria is of the poorest quality, and is far behind the times. Some eighteen or nineteen years ago, I had considerable experience in connexion with mining enterprise in Western Australia, and as a member of the board of directors of one company, and as a shareholder in other companies, I found the directors in every case determined to obtain machinery from England. The result was failure, and ultimately they had to send to Bendigo for their mining equipment. The authority mentioned by the honorable member apparently does not know that different kinds of stone call for the employment of special classes of machinery. I undertake to say that at Bendigo they crush their stone and obtain the gold at less cost than in any other part of Australia. Not only is that so, but they recover all the gold. Mr. Curie has probably been accustomed to deal with ore containing refractory elements, and requiring the use of the cyanide and other processes. Even in this respect, however, Victoria and the other States are quite abreast of the times, and the locallymanufactured machinery is fully as good as, if not better, than the imported article. I can quote one instance to show that the imposition of a duty upon machinery will confer considerable advantage. In connexion with certain works we were large importers of cars, and the various parts thereof. The result of the operation of a duty which was imposed upon these was to call attention to the desirableness of manufacturing them locally, and consequently we find to-day that we can manufacture them at very much less than the price of the imported article, plus the duty. Formerly they cost more than £800, but they can now be manufactured for less than that sum.

Sir William McMillan:

– Then why is the duty necessary ?

Sir MALCOLM McEACHARN:

– To encourage others. Unless we give encouragement to manufacturers, the importers will obtain their own prices, and these articles will never be produced locally.

Mr. CONROY (Werriwa).- Only yesterday the Minister for Trade and Customs declared that the imposition of a duty upon any article increased its price if there was any importation. He also admits that in regard to agricultural and mining machinery there is importation, so that by levying the proposed duty we shall be taxing the farmers and miners to the extent of 15 per -cent. Letters were quoted by the right honorable gentleman to show that the manufacturers of these machines must be -allowed to charge the agriculturists and miners at least an additional 3s. in the £1 for their purchases. Of course, their request is a most natural one. If I were a manufacturer enjoying the benefit of a high protective duty, I could even go to the extent of doubling the wages of my workmen without personal loss. The honorable member for Melbourne has referred to the Bendigo mines. ButI should like to point out to him that the quartz there is a very free-milling one. That is the reason why mining operations there can be carried on cheaper than they can be anywhere else in Australia. A yield of about 4 dwts. to the ton has been found sufficient to pay working expenses. I know of no other place in the Commonwealth where such a free-milling quartz can be obtained in sufficient quantities. Usually the quartz is mixed with pyrites, and consequently the extraction of the gold is more expensive than it otherwise would be. But the question with which we have to deal is whether the present duty increases the price of mining and agricultural machinery, and in this connexion we have the admission of the Minister for Trade and Customs that it does. Surely a duty of 10 per cent., or 2s. in the £1, should be ample for any manufacturer ! To my mind 15 per cent. is far too high a rate to impose. It must also be remembered that every time we increase the cost of mining machinery, we diminish the productivity. The Sydney Colliery Company spent £30, 000 in machinery alone, but it is questionable whether the work would have been proceeded with had there been a duty upon it.

Sir Malcolm McEacharn:

– If the machinery had cost £50,000 it would have made no difference.

Mr CONROY:

– Despite what the honorable member asserts, I happen to know that the funds of the company were practically exhausted before they reached the seam of coal. That is an instance in which the operation of a duty would have absolutely prevented production. How will any farmer benefit by the imposition of the proposed duty ? Will he obtain a larger crop because he is compelled to pay £8 or £9 more for each machine that he uses? Yet the Minister for Trade and Customs admits that if the manufacturers cannot raise their prices to that extent they will be unable to continue operations. He is the author of a new doctrine, and one which cannot possibly be expected to mislead the great bulk of the electors. I shall content myself with recording my vote upon this item, and will not trespass upon the time of the committee by discussing the succeeding items.

Mr. SYDNEY SMITH (Macquarie).The district which I have the honour to represent is keenly interested in the matter under consideration, because it uses machinery to a very large extent. In the case of one large industry established there, I am told that, under the original proposal of the Government, it would have had to pay in duty upon machinery imported just prior to the introduction of the Tariff no less a sum than £15,000 or £20,000. I am glad to say that that industry was started under freetrade conditions, although the Minister for Trade and Customs wished to claim that it commenced its operations as the result of the protection afforded by this Tariff. One consignment of that machinery was in Sydney Harbor three days before the Tariff was submitted, but because an entry was not passed in the interim duty was charged upon it. The unfair feature in connexion with this part of the schedule is that machinery for. scouring, carding, washing, spinning, and finishing the manufacture of fibrous material is exempt from duty. Thus all the appliances required by the woollen manufacturers of Victoria, notwithstanding that they have enjoyed the benefit of a 30 per cent, duty during the last twenty years, in addition to the natural protection afforded them by reason of over-sea freights, have been placed upon the free list, whereas the miners and agriculturists who have to depend largely upon the export of their produce to the markets of the world are to be severely taxed. The natural protection afforded to the woollen manufacturer constitutes the natural drawback to the miner and agriculturist. The latter have to send their surplus products to England and other outside markets and compete with the imports from Prance, Belgium, and Germany, where, according to the Minister for Trade and Customs, low wages and protection reign supreme. I do not ask for any favour, but simply urge that, as regards machinery, the primary producer should be placed upon the same footing as the manufacturers of woollen material in Victoria. Tools of trade of nearly every Victorian industry, which are largely protected in other ways, have been placed on the free list. I have been astonished that the primary producers have received so little consideration at the hands of honorable members. I thought that the representatives of mining and agricultural constituencies would have been sufficiently numerous to succeed in placing mining and agricultural machinery on the free list. It is impossible for the manufacturers of Victoria, even if they had the greatest skill available, to manufacture patented machinery without the consent of the patentees. Being compelled to import the latest improved machinery, primary producers are charged a duty of 15 per cent., and, therefore, .are seriously handicapped in their efforts to compete in the great markets of the world. A most unjust

Tariff has been framed. The- miner and the agriculturist are taxed not only on the clothing, boots and shoes,’ and everything they require, but also on their machinery. I cannot understand the action of the Government in not agreeing to a reduction “ of this duty. In New Zealand, a strong protectionist country, all agricultural and mining machinery is admitted free, because it was found advantageous to encourage the primary producers. But in Australia the primary producers, who are trying to get a footing in the markets ,of the world, are handicapped with a duty on their machinery. I shall vote in favour of the request of the Senate, and if we are defeated in the division, I shall then vote in favour of a reduction in the duty to 12^ per cent.

Sir JOHN QUICK:
Bendigo

– I think it is to the interests of the primary producers to have their machinery manufactured on the spot, and that they should not be dependent on importations from foreign countries. I may tell the honorable member far Macquarie that the primary producers of Victoria have long been under that impression. The primary producers know that the circumstances and conditions of Australia may be altogether different from those of distant countries, and they think it is desirable that we should have a number of artizans and manufacturers here who can not only manufacture but repair machinery required by Australian conditions. What would be the use of primary producers importing machinery, which, if it got out of order, could not be repaired ? Naturally, the process of repair is associated with the process of primary manufacture. It has been found by the primary producers in Victoria that it is to their interests, both in the first instance and afterwards, to use locally made machinery. In Victoria, the local manufacturers are able to produce all the up-to-date agricultural and mining machinery which is required. I do not say that they have yet been called upon to produce all classes of machinery which may be required in all parts of Australia, but they will be able to do so before long, and if they do not, new manufactures will grow up in the States where there are peculiar conditions requiring a special class of machinery. As illustrating the capacity of Victorian manufacturers of mining machinery, I may tell the honorable member for Barrier that recently the directors of a large mine at Charters Towers called for tenders all over Australia for the manufacture and erection of a very large battery and plant. They requested a Bendigo firm to send in a tender, and it was in a position within 48 hours to tender for the required plant, showing that in Victoria there have grown up a number of manufacturers who are not only capable of supplying the needs of Victoria, but who are able to a very large extent to supply the needs of various parts of Australia.

Sir William McMillan:

– Does not that show that they do not want any protection?

Sir JOHN QUICK:

– They do, because there may be directors of some companies who are interested in the importation of machinery from outside countries. It is highly desirable that an inducement should be offered to these companies to use Australian productions, and a 15 per cent. duty is only a light impediment in the way of importing machinery and other requirements. To give another illustration of the capacity of the Victorian manufacturers of mining machinery, I may mention that quite recently I was informed by Mr. Henry Gore, a director of the Victorian Estates Company, who have a number of mines at Moolort, that originally they imported their machinery from England, at an enormous cost, but that after it had been erected and thousands of pounds paid in duty, it was found that it could have been made here at less cost. He told me that the next order for machinery was given to the Phoenix Foundry at Ballarat, and that it cost less than did the imported machinery.

Sir William McMillan:

– An excellent free-trade argument - no duty is required.

Sir JOHN QUICK:

– In the first in stance, the London directors refused to give an order to the local manufacturers, and went to the expense of paying the duty. The existence of a duty helps to draw the attention of directors and others who are interested in the erection of machinery to the fact that it can be made locally. I submit that the duties on this line have been reduced so very largely from the original Victorian standard, that the time has now come when we ought to say that we have arrived at the irreducible minimum.

Mr THOMAS:
Barrier

– The honorable and learned member for Bendigo is extremely anxious that the mining industry should pay a tax on its machinery. On one occasion he asked that a machine to cut soap should be admitted free. Does not the same principle apply in one case as in the other? On another occasion the honorable member for Melbourne Ports asked that a machine to make glass bottles should be put on the free list. The miner or the agriculturist is just as important as the man who makes soap or the man who makes glass bottles, and if, by the logic of those honorable members, it is necessary in the interest of these manufacturers that their machinery should come in free, why not allow the miner to have his machinery free ? The honorable and learned member for Bendigo used the argument that it did not pay the manufacturers to make the machinery for these two industries.

Sir John Quick:

-Because there is not sufficient demand for it, while there isa sufficient demand for mining machinery.

Mr THOMAS:

– All we have to do, then, is to impose a duty, and the article will be made here. Soon after the House first met we were all invited by the Melbourne manufacturers to visit their establishments. I accepted the invitation, and I assert that a man cannot visit a manufactory of any size in this city without finding that the indispensable machinery has been imported. Even rice cannot be cleaned here without using imported machinery. The head of the firm of Robert Harper and Co. is, I suppose, a good business man. In his manufactory we saw an abandoned Melbourne boiler, side by side with Huddersfield boilers. I asked him why he used foreign articles, subject to duty.

Sir Malcolm McEacharn:

– We make as good boilers here as can be made anywhere. The abandoned Melbourne boiler may have been worn out.

Mr THOMAS:

– Why was it not replaced with a locally-made boiler ? Thinking that the information might be of some advantageto Mr. Harper, I mentioned that the honorable members for Bendigo and Melbourne Ports would tell him that he could get boilers made here, and that it was onlyprejudice which made him use an imported boiler. I said to him - “ Those two honorable members assert that you can obtain cheaper and better boilers from local manufacturers, and that it is only prejudice that causes people to go elsewhere for such goods.” He did not take my advice. As a business man, it paid him to import his machinery, notwithstanding that he had to pay £1,500 duty upon it. He told me that he paid the duty and did not grumble. I replied - “But you want a duty on rice to make up for it.” Mr. Harper informed me that he paid £1,500 duty on two boilers and some other machinery which I saw, and that statement was made in the presence of the honorable member for Darling and several others. In the same establishment we saw machinery which had been imported from Hungary being used to separate rice. It is true that, in some parts of the Commonwealth, excellent machinery is manufactured. Our mining companies use locallymade machinery whenever they can do so, and there is an advantage in doing so. If I were a director or a manager of a company I should obtain locally-made machinery - even if I had to pay a slightly increased price for it in the absence of any duty - provided that it was as good as any I could import, for the reason that there is an advantage in being able to supervise its manufacture, and to see that everything is correct.

Mr.Kingston. - The honorable member’s patriotism would induce him to accept a . 15 per cent. duty ?

Mr THOMAS:

– No, I object to any such compulsory increase in price. Those who use machinery should be given an absolutely free hand. The honorable member for Moira said that a duty of 15 per cent. on agricultural machinery had a protective incidence, whilst a duty of 10 per cent. would be only a revenue-producing one. My opinion is that a duty of 15 per cent. on mining machinery is not of a protective character. Its imposition will not cause all machinery required in Australia to be obtained from local manufacturers. The mere existence of such a duty would not cause some men to have their orders carried out here. The engineers are asking for duties ranging from 30 to 35 per cent.

Mr Mauger:

– No, from 20 to 25 per cent.

Mr THOMAS:

– When this matter was before us on a former occasion, I, in company with other honorable members, received a communication from the engineers of Melbourne, urging that duties ranging from 30 to 35 per cent. should be imposed. Is’ it wise to tax mining machinery to the extent of 15 per cent. solely for revenue purposes? If it is desired to get at the mining companies they can be reached by means of an income tax. I admit that while we have power under the Constitution to impose such a tax, we are not likely to use that power ; but if, for example, the Commonwealth obtained £10,000 a year less from Broken Hill companies in respect of the duty on mining machinery, the Government of New South Wales would be able to impose upon them an increased income tax. At the present time they pay an income tax of only 2½ per cent.,a rate which as applied to mining companies is, in my opinion, rather low.What has taken place under this Tariff? Since its introduction one company in Broken Hill has been required to pay £6,800 by way of duty on machinery and other things. That company is now importing electrical and other machinery, which, it is asserted, cannot be obtained here, and upon which they will have to pay within the next few days about £1,000 by way of duty. During the last twelve months 1,700 men have had to leave Broken Hill owing to the lack of employment. I admit that that want of employment is not due mainly to this Tariff. It has been caused to a large extent by the reduction in the price of lead ; but is it wise for. us to tax a company to the extent of £6,800 in ten months, and thus make it more difficult for it to carry on operations ? The company to which I refer has made during the ten months in question a profit of £70,000, and the £6,800 paid by them by way of customs duties is equivalent to about 10 per cent. upon that sum.In urging the committee to allow the mining companies to obtain their machinery as cheaply as possible, I do not ask that all taxation on machinery should be remitted, althoughI should willingly vote, as I, have done, against every item of taxation. If the mining companies can obtain better work in Bendigo than elsewhere, let them do so. We have heard a great deal about a battery made in Bendigo ; but, although the Broken Hill market has been free for years to the manufacturers of machinery in that city, how much machinery have they sent there ? Is it due to blind prejudice, like that displayed by Harper and Co. - who preferred to pay £1,500 in duty rather than have their machinery locally made - that so little machinery has been obtainedfrom Bendigo by the mining companies in Broken Hill? All the indispensable machinery used in the hat, boot, rice-cleaning, and many other manufactories in Victoria, has been imported. Iventure to say that without that machinery not one of those manufactories would carry on.

Mr Poynton:

– The manufacturers are all free-traders so far as their machinery is concerned.

Mr THOMAS:

– That is so. I do not care much whether soap-cutting or glass- bottle-making machinery is allowed to come in free or not, although I should vote to make it free: but I think it is of the utmost importance that the duty on mining machinery should be removed. Upon the same grounds as those on which the honorable and learned member for Bendigo was prepared to vote against the duty on soapcutting machinery, I am ready to vote to make mining machinery free.

Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN (Wentworth). - The desire of the Opposition is that the duty shall be fixed at 10 per cent., but I think that an arrangement ought to be made so that, if the Government succeed, an amendment may be moved that the duty be fixed at 1 2½ per cent.

Mr Kingston:

– Why not move to that effect now ?

Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN:

– How can I do so?

Sir George Turner:

– There is nothing to prevent it.

Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN:

– If the motion is negatived the duty will remain at 10 per cent., and surely we should be able to move, after the division has been taken, that the duty be fixed at 12½ per cent. ?

The ACTING CHAIRMAN (Mr. McDonald). - I would advise the honorable member to move to amend the motion by omitting the word “ not.” If that amendment is carried the duty will stand at 10 per cent. ; if it is defeated it will be open to the honorable member to move that the motion be amended by the addition of the words - “ but that the duty be 12½ per cent.”

Amendment (by Sir William McMillan) proposed -

That the motion be amended by the omission of the word “ not.”

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

– I feel that I ought to raise a protest against these duties. Whatever the honorable and learned member for Bendigo may say, there can be no doubt that these duties will act harshly in their incidence upon the greater portion of the primary producers of the Commonwealth. It seems to me that it is of the utmost consequence that in a country like this, which for many years to come will have to depend upon its primary industries - and upon the prices obtained for its products in the markets of the world - the producers should be enabled to obtain their means of production as cheaply as possible. I was speaking quite recently to an expert from England - I refer to Mr. Thomas, a gentleman who is interested in the proposed bonus on iron - and he assured me that England to-day can compete both as to skill and enterprise with every country in the world. I was delighted to obtain from him such testimony to the splendid capabilities for production which are operating to-day in England. The honorable and learned member for Bendigo has told us - and it is a most astounding statement for any honorable member to make - that a duty is necessary in order to develop mechanical skill.Follo wing the Socratic method, one needs only to put to him a question in order to show how absurd is the statement. If Tariffs develop mechanical skill, why is it that those countries which have the most perfect system of protection are at the very lowest ebb in that respect ?

Mr HUME COOK:
BOURKE, VICTORIA · PROT

– America, for instance.

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

– America is not the most notable type of protectionist country. I should say that China enjoys that distinction. She has adopted the most effectual means of shutting out everything from her shores ; she has carried protection to its ultimate point, and to its logical conclusion, and yet she is the most backward country on the face of the earth so far as mechanical arts and appliances are concerned.

Mr HUME COOK:
BOURKE, VICTORIA · PROT

– Tell the committee something about America.

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

– I do not know that I can say anything about America, save that what is in America is favoured. The honorable member, of course, assumes that American ingenuity is the result of American protective duties.

Mr HUME COOK:
BOURKE, VICTORIA · PROT

– I did not say so.

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

– The honorable and learned member for Bendigo said so. He said that we require to impose these duties in order to develop this skill and ingenuity, and that we cannot have those qualities operating in our arts and sciences in Australia unless by means of protective duties. I have said in reply, that in Canada, where they have the most perfect system of protection, it has not developed this skill. The honorable member for Bourke asks - “What about America?” Honorable members opposite have only one country to which they can point, and that is America. The reply is : that there is only one America in the world, and that no other nation in the world can be like America, no matter how much they may try, and no matter what duties they may impose. There is no use in quoting America at the end of every verse and chapter of this debate. Why not go to other countries of of the world, where the protective system has been in operation even longer than in America? Why do not honorable members quote the European countries - the celebrated Belgium about which we have heard sp much, Germany, France, or Russia 1 In none of these . countries will they find that the people have acquired anything like the skill and ingenuity which the people have acquired in free-trade England. I say we do not need to argue upon the contention that it is necessary to impose these protective duties in order to give people a particular kind of brain, and to bring about a particular kind of development. The honorable and learned member for Bendigo also told us - and it is as well that the people of Bendigo should understand the position - that we require this modicum of protection only as a kind of ad vertisement, and in order to prevent Bendigo directors sending to England to get worse machinery than can begot in Bendigo. The honorable and learned member’s statements were to the effect that in Bendigo they can beat the world in the manufacture of mining machinery ; that people who have any sense at all always go to Bendigo for their requirements ; but that because of the perversity and senselessness of the directors of large enterprises there, he desires that these duties should be imposed as a slight impediment - but especially as an advertisement for the Bendigo manufacturing firms. The honorable and learned member to-day whittled down the case for Bendigoprotection to an absurd point in saying that they want only a slight impediment, and do not desire to prohibit the importation of the machinery that will compete with the Bendigo machinery. If protection is a good thing, why not build a wall which will shut out all machinery made elsewhere? When we can supply the people of Australia, who require this machinery, very much better than can anybody outside, would it not be the greatest kindness to the people of Australia to restrict them to the Australian market, which is so infinitely superior to idi others, and I apprehend cheaper too ? Surely the honorable and learned member has not had the courage to state his case as he ought to state it. If I believed, as he does, that we have only to tax the people enough to ‘make them prosperous, and to give them acute brains, ingenuity, and mechanical skill ; if I believed, as he evidently does, that we have only to shut out the foreign article to give the people inside the ring a cheaper and a better article, I would not argue as the honorable and learned member has done to-day. His apologetics were miserable in the extreme, and they sound strangely when contrasted with the triumphant declaration which he made on his entrance into this Parliament. Then he sounded a positive note of absolute triumph. To-day he has nothing but miserable apologies for the system in which he believes, and which he says is going to effect this great revolution in the mechanical skill of the workmen of Australia. We ask simply that the people may be allowed to go to whichever market suits them best. Honorable members have to-day been taunting the honorable member for Barrier, because he said that if he were buying machinery he would probably go to Bendigo for it. I see nothing inconsistent in that. My own experience of the practical aspect of these matters is that whenever we find a protectionist talking loudest about protection, we shall find him hunting with the greatest keenness for the free-trade market for himself. I undertake to say that there are not three honorable members on the other side who, when they require a suit of clothes, will inquire particularly if they can get them of cloth made in Australia. They always go where they can get best value for their money, and if they find the imported cloth is cheaper and better, they go for it every time. The Victorian mills could be kept going night and day if the protectionists of Victoria were sufficiently patriotic to wear only the locally-made material. It is the essence of free-trade that a man should be allowed to go to any market he chooses. If he chooses voluntarily to buy at a higher price in the local market, all the more credit to his patriotism, but is quite another thing, by means of duties imposed by

Ministers with the assistance of their majority, to compel a man to pay a certain price for what he requires when he really has not the means to do it. I protest that the argument of the honorable and learned member for Bendigo to-day was of the most feeble description. Either he believes that protection is a good thing for Bendigo or he does not, and if he does, why docs he come here as a miserable apologist for it, and say that all we want is a slight impediment to the entrance of machinery from foreign parts ? What does the honorable and learned member mean by “ foreign parts”? We have been told that all the competing machinery comes from Canada and America. Does the honorable and learned member believe that Canada is a foreign country ? He has been foremost in the federation movement ; he is an Imperialist of the well-known brand and order, and yet we hear him talking of England and Canada, and every other British country, as though they were foreign countries, and should therefore be kept at a distance when our manufactures are concerned. I say that I welcome the competition of these people, who live within the same Empire as ourselves, and who have something to send us which it will be to our advantage to receive. That is the Imperialism that I believe in - the Imperialism of free-trade, which is the only safe and sound policy to apply so far as our trade relations are concerned. I protest against the honorable and learned member speaking of these portions of the Empire as foreign countries. I feel that we ought to accept the request of the Senate. It is a moderate proposal, framed with a knowledge of the requirements of this great continent, of the relative importance to be attached to our primary industries, and having reference to our development. I think, therefore, that we ought readily to agree to make the requested amendment, instead of quarrelling with the Senate in this matter, as Ministers propose to do.

Mr R EDWARDS:
OXLEY, QUEENSLAND · PROT; FT from 1913; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910

– I do not propose to say very much upon this matter, which was thrashed out when these items were previously before the committee some months ago. On that occasion I voted for a duty of 15 per cent. as against the duty of 25 per cent. then proposed by the Government. To-day, I am inclined to accept the suggestion submitted from the other side that the duty should be 12½ per cent., because I think this is an opportunity to meet the

Senate, and to compromise matters with that Chamber. Though a supporter of the Government, I am not prepared to say that they have dealt very liberally so far with the requests submitted by the Senate. It is quite true that they have proposed to meet the Senate by accepting a particular word instead of the word originally used, and by agreeing to the request to make amendments consequential upon a misprint ; but I ask the Government to go a little further on this occasion, and, at least, accept the suggestion of the Opposition to compromise matters by agreeing to a duty of 12½ per cent., and allow the division which is about to be taken upon this motion to decide other motions dealing with duties under this heading.

Question - That the word “not,” proposed to be omitted, stand part of the motion - put. The committee divided.

AYES: 25

NOES: 22

Majority … … 3

AYES

NOES

Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Amendment negatived.

Amendment (by Mr. Kirwan) put -

That the motion be amended by the addition of the following words : - “ But that the duty be fixed at 12½ per cent.”

The committee divided.

AYES: 23

NOES: 24

Majority … … 1

AYES

NOES

Question so resolvedin the negative.

Amendment negatived.

Motion agreed to.

Item 78. Manufactures of metals, viz., . nails, n.e.i., viz., horseshoe nails, 5s. per cwt.

Request. - That horseshoe nails be added to the special exemptions.

That the amendment requested be not made.

There was a very long debate when this item was last before the committee, and after due consideration of all the facts for and against, a majority decided in favour of a duty of 5s. per cwt.

Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN (Wentworth). As we on this side of the Chamber are anxious that there should be no unnecessary delay in dealing with the Senate’s requests, I am willing to accept the last decision of the committee as a test vote in regard to all these requests in connexion with manufactures of metal. The fact that there is a difference of only one between the strength of the two parties will be a sufficient indication to the Senate of the position here.

Motion agreed to.

Item 78. Manufactures of metal, viz., engines, gas and oil, and high speed engines and turbines, water and steam ; engines, boilers, pumps, machines and machinery, n. e. i. ; . . . . mining machinery, n.e.i. ; electrical machinery and electrical appliances, n.e.i., ad valorem, 15 per cent.

Request. - That the duties be reduced to 10 per cent.

Motion (by Mr. Kingston) agreed to -

That the amendments requested be not made.

Item 78. Manufactures of metal - Special exemptions. Drill wheel hoe cultivators.

Request. - That the words “drill-wheel hoe culti vators “ be omitted with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ hand -worked seed wheel drills and hand- worked cultivators.”

Motion (by Mr. Kingston) agreed to -

That the amendment requested be made.

Item 78. Special exemptions. Strawsonizers.

Request. - That the words “and other field - spraying machines “ be inserted after the word ‘ strawsonizers. “

Motion (by Mr. Kingston) agreed to -

That the amendment requested be made

Item 78. Special exemptions. Turbines, steam and water.

Request. - That the words “ turbines, steam and water,” be omitted.

That the amendment requested be made.

These articles were by mistake left in the list of exemptions after they had been made dutiable.

Motion agreed to.

Item 78. Special exemptions. Linotype, monotype,monoline, and other type-composing machines.

Request. - That the words “linotype, monotype, monoline, and other type-composing machines “ be omitted.

That the requested amendment be not made.

The desire of the Senate is that these machines should be subject to duty, but we cannot agree to that. We are not slavishly following our own ideas, because we proposed in the first instance that type-setting machines should be dutiable. Our respect for the decision to the contrary arrived at by the committee induces us to resist the request of the Senate.

Mr. BROWN (Canobolas). - I am afraid that the Minister’s explanation is not very lucid. The Senate is proposing to come to the assistance of the Government in providing revenue by placing these machines upon the dutiable list, but it would almost seem as if the Minister were ranging himself on the side of the free-traders. I should like to know what reason the Minister can advance for exempting from duty type-setting machines which are imported by the wealthy newspaper proprietors for the purpose of displacing labour, when he is readyto tax the poor farmers by imposing a duty upon their agricultural implements?

Mr. MAHON (Coolgardie). - I think the Minister might be a little more explicit concerning his proposal to disagree. I do not quite agree with the honorable member for Canobolas, because the Minister has been consistent throughout in imposing taxation on the poor, and allowing the rich to go free. Nobody except the rich newspaper proprietors could afford to buy linotypes, but the type used by the poor printers was subjected to a duty by the Government.

Mr CROUCH:
Corio

– I am sorry that the linotype and similar machines are not subject to duty. I voted with the Government on a former occasion in favour of imposing a duty, but I do not intend to support the Senate in imposing taxation upon the people. This House only should have the right to impose taxation.

Mr GLYNN:
South Australia

– I think some ofthe machines here named were originally placed on the free list, and that others were afterwards included.

Sir George Turner:

-Twoof the machines were.

Mr GLYNN:

– I think that under all the circumstances we had better adhere to our decision.

Motion agreed to.

Item 78. Special exemptions…..

Any machinery, machine tool, or any part thereof, specified in any proclamation issued by the Governor-General, in pursuance of a joint address passed on the motion of Ministers by both Houses of Parliament, stating that such machinery, machine tool, or port, cannot reasonably be manufactured within the Commonwealth.

Request. - That the following words be added : - “And that it should be admitted free.”

Motion (by Mr. Kingston) agreed to -

That the amendment requested be made.

Item 78. Special exemptions. Porcelain fittings, zinc.

Requests. - That the word “complete” be inserted after the words “ porcelain fittings;” that the word” bar “ be inserted after the word “zinc.”

Motion (by Mr. Kingston) agreed to -

That the amendments requested be made.

Item 78. Special exemptions.

Request. - That the following words be added : -Zinc blocks for marine boilers ; grinding and polishing discs, lens cutting machines, lens drilling machines, lens measures ; machines for the manufacture of lathing out of metal sheets ; manganese steel parts - that is, parts that are made of steel containing not less than 1 per cent. of manganese and that are used for and are worn in grinding, or crushing, or pulverizing material by coining in actual contact therewith ; punching and eyeletting machines ; striking knives and plugging chisels ; metal mitre-boxes, dowel plates, dowel rounders, caulking iron, viz. : - Single crease (or making), horsing, sharp, spike, trenail, jerry, deck, and reaming (or blisters), pen mauls ; cold chisels, surface plates ; spoke trimmers ; bricklayer’s line pins ; farrier’s knives ; gasburner taps (or plumber’s combination tool).

Mr KINGSTON:

– Honorable members will recollect that the words “manganese steel parts “ were contained in the Tariff as it left this Chamber without any special definition. The Senate, however, has defined those parts to mean “ parts that are made of steel containing not less than 1 per cent. of manganese, and that are used for and worn in grinding, or crushing, or pulverizing material by coming in actual contact therewith.” That is an elaborate definition ; but, of course, the desire underlying it is to protect what are generally known as manganese steel parts. In a great number of cases it will be found that steel parts, which cannot properly be described as manganese steelparts, contain more than 1 per cent. of manganese. I think that the provision was chiefly intended to apply to what are known as Hadfield’s steel parts. These, I am informed, contain 14 per cent. of manganese. If we extend the exemption to all steel parts containing only 1 per cent. of manganese, I think we shall be extending it in a way that we do not desire. After conferring with my officers, I am inclined to believe that if we insert the figures “10 “in lieu of “ 1,” we shall be mailing all the provision that is necessary.

Sir MALCOLM McEACHARN (Melbourne). - I should certainly like to know more about this matter before refusing to accede to the request of the Senate. It appears to me that the whole provision is qualified by the words “that are used for, and worn in grinding, or crushing, or pulverizing material by coming in actual contact therewith.” If 1 per cent. of manganese is sufficient to temper steel so that it can be used in contact with these materials, the provision is right as it stands. By substituting 10 per cent., the committtee may altogether nullify the Senate’s intention.

Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN (Wentworth). - Honorable members are now dealing with a highly technical matter of which they have had no notice : consequently, they have had no means of obtaining accurate information upon it. They are practically asked to vote in the dark. Evidently we do not understand what was the intention of the other Chamber in inserting this definition, and, therefore, it would be wise to postpone its consideration until to-morrow.

Mr KINGSTON:

– Of course, honorable members understand that we merely desire to secure the insertion of a provision which will confer a special exemption in favour of the steel which we do not manufacture locally. The report of my officer is as follows : -

From inquiries made, it appears that manganese is present to some extent in all steel castings and machinery parts. Mr. James Martyn (Steel Company of Australia) states that the proportion of manganese which is naturally present in pig-iron sometimes reaches per cent.

It is evident that the1 per cent. stated in the request of the Senate is unduly low, and, if approved, would lead to very great difficulties, and possible encroachment on the revenue to an extent not intended.

Mr. Martyn has the best authority for stating that Hadfield’s parts contain 14 per cent. of manganese. It is submitted that in place of 1 per cent., 10 per cent. be substituted. This would, he thinks, severely limit the importation, and meet the objection raised by manufacturers.

If honorable members think that, in exempting steel parts containing not less than 10 per cent. of manganese we are going too far, Iam quite willing to substitute 7 per cent. I therefore move -

That the amendment requested be amended by omitting the figure “1,” line 7, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the figure “7,” and that the amendment, as amended, be made.

Motion agreed to.

Item 79.Rails,fish plates, fish bolts, tie plates, switches, points, crossings, and intersections for rail ways and tramways, ad valorem, 15 per cent.

Request. - That the duty be reduced to 10 per cent.

Motion (by Mr. Kingston) proposed -

That the amendment requested be not made.

Mr. CONROY (Werriwa). - I would point out that the States are the chief users of the articles enumerated in this item. Has the Minister yet determined whether or not the States can be compelled to pay the duty upon these materials?

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

– Are they paying it at present?

Mr Kingston:

– The duty is being collected.

Mr CONROY:

– Apart from the States these articles will be used only by the few railway companies to which Parliament has granted power to construct lines, and by mining companies which use tramways in connexion with their properties. Under the circumstances I think that the committee might accede to the request of the Senate.

Motion agreed to.

Item 80. Rolled iron or steel beams, channels, joists, girders, columns, trough and bridge iron or steel, not drilled or further manufactured ; shafting, cold rolled, turned or planished ; also bolts and nuts, ad valorem, 15 percent.

Request. - That the duty be reduced to 10 per cent.

Motion (by Mr. Kingston) agreed to -

That the amendment requested be not made.

Item 81. Iron and steel - Galvanized, and tinned plate and sheet, 10 per cent.

Request. - That the articles be added to the special exemptions.

Motion (by Mr. Kingston) proposed -

That the amendment requested be not made.

Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN (Wentworth). - Honorable members will recollect that in the first instance the committee decided that galvanized iron should be admitted free. By some sort of a side wind, however, I find that it is only to be thus admitted upon the issue of a proclamation.

Sir George Turner:

– The honorable member is mistaken. At the present time it is dutiable at 15s. per ton, but when Division VIa. comes into operation it will bear a duty of 10 per cent.

Motion agreed to.

Item81. Iron and steel. - Machinery, machines and ports, reapers and binders, ad valorem 1 5 per cent.

Request. - That the articles be added to the special exemptions.

Motion (by Mr. Kingston) agreed to -

That the amendment requested be not made.

Item 81. Iron and steel. - Other machinery, machines orparts, referred to in proclamation, ad valorem 15 per cent.

Request. - That the articles be added to the special exemptions.

Motion (by Mr. Kingston) agreed to -

That the amendment requested be not made.

Item 81. Iron and steel. - Wire-netting, ad valorem 10 per cent.

Request. - That the article be added to the special exemptions.

Motion (by Mr. Kingston) agreed to -

That the amendment requested be not made.

Item 81. Iron and steel. - Spelter, ad valorem, 10 per cent.

Request. - That the article be added to the special exemptions.

Motion (by Mr. Kingston) agreed to -

That the amendment requested be not made.

Division VII. - Oils, Paints, and Varnishes. Item 84. Oils. - Castor, China, colza, linseed, gasoline.

Request. - That the words “China” and “gaso line “ be omitted.

Motion (by Sir George Turner) agreed to-

That the amendment requested be made.

Item 84. Oils - Solar oil, residual oil, naphtha, benzine, benzoline, gasoline, per gallon, id.

Request. - That “ solar oil, residual oil” be added to the special exemptions.

Sir GEORGE TURNER:
Protectionist

– Originally we proposed a duty of 3d. per gallon, which was shown to be very high, and which was reduced to½d. The proposal of the Senate is that solar and residual oils shall be made free. If these articles are imported they ought to pay some duty, and we think that ½d. per gallon is a sufficiently low rate to charge.

Mr Henry Willis:

– How much per cent. is that on the oil - 50 per cent.?

Sir GEORGE TURNER:

– I forget the percentage, but I do not think it is anything like 50 per cent. If I recollect aright we proposed that the duty should be reduced from 3d. to1d., and ultimately it was agreed all round that it should be fixed at ½d. Under these circumstances I move -

That the amendment requested be not made.

Mr. CONROY (Werriwa).- This request might very well be complied with. When this item was last discussed the Minister for

Trade and Customs pointed out that liquid fuel might come into competition with coal, and for that extraordinary reason he suggested that we ought to impose a duty. I have read statements in which honorable members on the other side have rejoiced over the possibility of the discovery of petroleum in Western Australia. If they really fear that it would compete with coal they must hope that the report that it is likely to be found in that State is untrue. Others of us hope that liquid fuel may come into use on suburban railways. It would do away with all the smoke, which would be a very great boon. It would also be of great service to the men who are engaged in iron manufactures. Iron can be heated much more easily by the use of liquid fuel than by any other means, and if we are going to establish ironworks it is an absolute necessity that the fuel should be cheap. It would be of very great advantage to many machine manufacturers and others to be able to get cheap liquid fuel. I have spoken to two manufacturers on the possibility of its coming into use, and each of them said that he was making an inquiry’ with a view of ascertaining whether its use might notbe of considerable advantage to his business, and that if it did give the advantage which was claimed for it, it would be a great boon. Both manufacturers expressed the hope that when that time arrived they would be able to get their supply free of duty. It is worth only 30s. a ton, f.o.b., and the duty is equal to 10s. per ton.

Mr Watkins:

– Benzine and naphtha will go into the factories, andliquid fuel into the big steamers.

Mr CONROY:

– I do not think it can compete with coal in the factories.

Sir Malcolm McEacharn:

– Spreckles’ steamers are being fitted up now for liquid fuel.

Mr CONROY:

– If the use of liquid fuel would cheapen the cost of transportation, it would be a very fine thing for all the coast towns. Surely we are not going to cling to an old style of fuel when a new one is introduced. I believe that in the Mudgee district, right down towards the head of the Colo, we may hope for the discovery of oil at some time or other. Surely the honorable member for Newcastle would not close up the works lest the oil might be used in place of coal in some directions ? At a time when we are trying to introduce motor engines with a view of opening up communication with Central Australia, would it not be a good thing if liquid fuel, which is their motive power, could be brought in as cheaply as possible? Under any circumstances, does not my honorable friend think that the duty ought not to be more than¼d. per gallon ? In some parte of Western Australia and South Australia, where the. supply of wood is scarce, it would be a great advantage to. be able to use liquid fuel for engines.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:
Robertson

– I hope that the Government will not insist upon refusing to make the requested amendment. When I was endeavouring to get a supply for the purpose of driving an engine, I found that the duty in Victoria was just sufficient to keep liquid fuel out of the market. I also find the federal duty of ½d. per gallon effective in keeping the article out of the market. No fuel oil can be obtained in Australia to-day. It costs from 13s. to 15s. per ton at the port of shipment, the freight and landing charges run from 15s. to 18s. per ton, and the duty of ½d. per gallon is equivalent to 10s. 5d. per ton. I do not think I am justified in voting for a duty of 50 per cent. on the cost price of an article which is coming into general use. When we learn from the honorable member for Melbourne that Messrs. Claus Spreckles and Co., of SanFrancisco, are about to fit up their steamers running to Sydney for the use of fuel oil, surely we are not going to impose a prohibitive duty of this character ? In an article which appeared in the Australian Mining Standard of 24th April last, it is stated that a duty of½d. per gallon is equal to 10s. 5d. per ton, or about 50 per cent. of its capital value, and that that rate is absolutely prohibitive. I draw special attention to that statement, because the Treasurer is of opinion that a duty of ½d. per gallon is equal only to about 25 per cent. If he is able to secure a duty of 25 per cent. upon this line, I take it that he will be satisfied.

Sir George Turner:

– We have a fixed duty upon all other oils.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– I have before me a memorandum prepared by an expert who thoroughly understands what can be done with residual oil, its cost, and all its possibilities. .

Sir George Turner:

– Is it written by Mr. F. C. Robertson ?

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– Yes. He writes -

The present duty of½d. per gallon is prohibitive, being equal to 75 per cent. on the first cost of the oil at the port of shipment, and no oil for fuel purposes can be imported until it is removed.

Sir George Turner:

– Who is Mr. Robertson?

Mr Watkins:

– He is connected with the Standard Oil Trust.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– He is the representative of a company which has interests in some of the South American Republics, and in Russia and the United States. Certainly he is interested in placing this oil upon the Australian market. He is interested just as any other man might be interested in placing upon the market a particular article which he believed would be of immense benefit to the community. He continues -

There is no possible chance of this class of oil being produced in the Commonwealth ; our only source of oil supply is from kerosene shales, and the residue from the distillation of these is a slag, and not an oil, and no distilled oil could be produced at a cost low enough to allow of its being used for fuel purposes.

All classes of the community would directly or indirectly benefit by the introduction of fuel oil, as by its use the cost of haulage and manufacture will be materially reduced. One ton weight of fuel oil is equal in calorific value to two tons of the best coal, and could, therefore, be carried at half the cost.

That is a very important statement. We can readily see that manufacturers in remote places, to which the cost of carriage of coal is considerable, are at a great disadvantage for want of fuel such as this. The memorandum continues -

The farmers would benefit because their grain and wool could be carried on the railways at lower rates than at present. There are no sparks from engines using liquid fuel, and consequently this fruitful source of loss by bush fires would be entirely prevented.

The miners would be benefited, because many mines at present unpayable, owing to the excessive cost of pumping and haulage, could be carried on successfully. The low-grade propositions at Broken Hill, Bendigo and Ballarat, to say nothing of longer distances such as Kalgoorlie, Cobar, Charters Towers, etc., could frequently be worked economically with fuel oil, when they have to be abandoned under present conditions, and thousands of extra miners would probably be employed.

Those who desire to see these low-grade ores worked successfully should assist in reducing this duty so that residual oil can be introduced into Australia.

The coal miners would not be injured, but instead, employment would be found for a large number of extra hands. (1.) Because the tank steamers would load with coal on their return journey, taking the Australian coal to the eastern markets, which would otherwise be supplied from Europe or Japan.

These paragraphs should appeal to the honorable member for Newcastle. The importation of this oil would bring grist to the mills of the miners of Newcastle, whom he so well represents, but who would not be well represented by him if he allowed himself to be carried away by the statements of the Minister for Trade and Customs, and voted for the Government proposal. Another reason why the coal miners would not be injured, according to Mr. Robertson, is -

Becauseresidual oil would enable the brown coal deposits of Australia to be worked successfully, as it is necessary to have some substance of this description in order to make briquettes from it, and residual oil is the cheapest and best article for the purpose. The manufacture of these briquettes, and the production thereby of a cheaper and more economical fuel, would be of immense benefit to the manufacturing industries of Australia.

The last paragraph should appeal to the honorable member for Melbourne Ports who desires to keep the workmen of Victoria employed. It is especially interesting to Victoria where immense deposits of brown coal exist. In order to make that coal a marketable commodity, it is only necessary for residual oil to be introduced and used. Very recently a gentleman requested me to obtain for him samples of brown coal from Gippsland. He desired to see whether it could not be manufactured into briquettes and placed upon the South Australian market, but I was unable to obtain any large quantity for him. This matter should come home to the Minister for Trade and Customs, who is always anxious to see the people of South Australia placed upon an equal footing with those of other States. If the importation of liquid fuel into Australia is encouraged, South Australia will be greatly benefited, for she has large quantitiesof shale in the far north. Reference was made to those deposits by the State Premier, Mr. Jenkins, when he said that although his Government would not undertake now to enter upon the iron industry, they might do so in future, because they had a large body of low-grade coal, and it was possible that a superior kind of coal might be found.

Mr Kingston:

– He did not put it quite so encouragingly.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– No ; probably because he is not quite so well acquainted with South Australia as I am. The reduction of this duty would be a great advantage not only to Victoria and South Australia, but to Western Australia, and the representatives of those States should support the requested amendment. Mr. Robertson continues -

Some of the iron manufacturing industries cannot be carried on successfully against American competition under the present protective duties, unless they are allowed the free use of this fuel. For instance, the famous American malleable castings are made by its use, and rivetting machines and nail-making machines, and all work where a steady unvarying heat is required, this bi-product must be employed if the best article is to be produced at a reasonable cost.

Residual oils can onlybe brought to Australia by the shipment of entire cargoes -

That is a very important feature of the memorandum, for unless there is a large local consumption there willbe no encouragement to bring the oil here - and if a duty is imposed the additional price would make this fuel available only for a few special industries, and would put it beyond the reach of the mines and railways up country. The Indian Government will pay 30s. per ton for as much of this fuel as they can obtain, and taking this as the cost to Australia (which is much further from Borneo or Sumatra than India) it would cost 40s. laid down at the sea port with the duty added, which is prohibitive.

Residual oils can never compete with coal for ordinary uses, nor where that fuel can be carried at a reasonable cost. It is only because of the saving in freight on long haulages by rail that it can compete up country. It is only used in iron manufactories, because a perfectly steady strong heat can be obtained from no other fuel.

He concludes by saying -

This duty is prohibitive, and no fuel oil can be imported while it remains, and therefore no revenue will be derived from it.

If the duty is reduced, the Government will be able to raise a very large amount of revenue from the importation of this residual oil. As it stands, however, the duty is prohibitive, and consequently no revenue can be obtained from it. I would ask those who have hot received a copy of this memorandum to consider these new facts.

Sir George Turner:

– I have considered all of them.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– The Treasurer says that he desires a duty of 25 per cent One is almost ashamed to say that he if willing to support such a duty, but rather than see this oil kept out of the market, I shall be prepared to vote for a duty of 25 per cent. in order that those who desire to use it - and, in some cases, people will be compelled to use it - may have an opportunity of doing so. I hope the Government will accept a compromise, such as I trust the acting leader of the Opposition will be prepared to submit.

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

– I have not troubled the committee much in the discussion of these requests of the Senate ; but I think this is a subject upon which the committee does not seem to have been well informed. When the matter was previously discussed here I did my utmost, as did also the honorable member for South Australia, Mr. Glynn, to point out the great importance that this liquid fuel was beginning to assume in the manufacturing world. It seems to me that if we refuse to make the requested amendment to exempt liquid fuel from duty we shall be setting our backs against the march of enlightenment and progress in manufacturing methods. It is definitely ascertained now that this fuel must in the near future play a very important part in manufactures. I think there is nothing in. the argument that its use is likely to affect in any disastrous degree the value of the coal deposits of this country. In all these inventions it would appear that that which we immediately fear is the very thing that never comes to pass. It was believed that the introduction of the steam-rail car would mean that horses would no longer be required, but we find that subsequent to its introduction more horses have been employed than ever before. So I say that upon the introduction of this liquid fuel we shall find that more coal will be used than has ever been used before. This fuel has some specific advantages over coal and for certain classes of work, and in certain localities it will be very much to the advantage of those who require steam power to use it. The cost of the freight upon it will be much less than upon coal, and it is also more easy to handle. Again in many respects it is a much safer fuel than either coal or wood. That must be evident from the fact that at a moment’s notice, by simply turning a cock, we can stop a fire in case of an accident due to inability to get water into a boiler or anything of that sort. Any one who has had a practical acquaintance with large works must know the difficulty and danger attaching to the operation called “drawing the fires “ in the case of accidents where ordinary fuel is used. I have here a very valuable article, appearing in the issue of Mature for 19th June, 1902, upon the subject of liquid fuel for steam purposes. The writer is not like some of the authorities quoted pro and eon on this and other subjects, whose information is worked up to buttress or support one side or the other of the fiscal contention. He is simply dealing with the subject from the point of view of one who hails a modern advance in methods of manufacture. He says -

The possibility of burning a liquid fuel with very great advantage in most circumstances, as compared with a solid fuel, has been so long recognised, that it is astonishing the practice has not been more generally adopted. The success that has been gained in the hist few years, however, will undoubtedly lead to a greatly extended use in the near future.

He goes on to explain the economical difficulties of its use which, he says, have been overcome. He says -

For this reason, engineers who have perfected the methods of burning liquid fuel have always considered the possibility of its use becoming limited in certain circumstances, and all modernappliances are so constructed that with slight trouble coal alone may be used in them to the best advantage. One of the great claims to be considered in favour of liquid fuel is the ease with which the burners can be extinguished, and the coal fires substituted, thus enabling consumers to take every advantage of fluctuations- in the - price of both fuels. For marine purposes this is most desirable, since at many ports liquid fuel would be far mora economical to ship for boiler use than a suitable steam coal, whilst the vessel trading from a port-such as Cardiff or Newport - would naturally replenish her bunkers with the steam coal at hand.

This is very largely what the supporters of the requested amendment have contended. It is claimed for liquid fuel that it has distinct advantages in certain directions, and, when we have been spending so many months in trying to assist various manufacturing industries, we should not put an embargo upon certain manufacturers by actually prohibiting the use of this fuel, for that is what the high rate of duty proposed by the Government actually amounts to. The writer of the article, to which I have referred, goes on to give an analysis of liquid fuel and to explain its use, and he shows it to be a very economical fuel, indeed, contrasting favourably with coal in most instances. He says further, on the subject of a definite trial of liquid fuel -

We are indebted to the carefully recorded results obtained by Mr. Urquhart, ou the Graz and Tzaritzin railway, for probably the best published figures of the relative merits of solid and liquid fuel. In the winter he found that liquid fuel was 41 per cent, in weight, and 55 per cent, in cost, better than anthracite coal ; or compared with bituminous coal, 49 per cent, by weight, and 61 per cent, in cost, better. This was under the worst climatic conditions, and, as might be expected, in summer better results still were obtained . It must be borne in mind that these figures were deduced from the work of a large number of engines.

There are some honorable members who look upon this fuel as being in the experimental stages of development. They think that no practical trials of it have been made, but ths writer refers here to a foreign railway on which this fuel has been used for some time with successful results. Coming nearer home, he says, speaking of England -

In this country the pioneer of liquid fuel on our railways is Mr. James Holden and his company; the Great Eastern Railway has now more than 60 engines burning it either alone or in conjunction with coal. In a note presented at the International Railway Congress, 1900, Mr. Holden gives the following particulars of express trains running between Liiverpool - street and Cromer. The distance of 138 miles is covered in 175 minutes, with a four minutes stop, on a consumption of 14-4 lbs. of tar residues per train mile, and an equivalent of 5 lbs. per mile of coal which is used in raising the steam necessary for starting the oil injectors. In the same paper it is stated that on railways working with wood fuel a saving of 50 per cent, has been effected by burning liqued fuel.

Mr Watkins:

– On what railway in England do they burn wood ? I did not think they had any wood in England which could be used as fuel.

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

– I do not knowany more than the honorable member, but the writer of this article says that in a paper written by Mr. Holden, who is the manager of the Great Eastern Railway in England, the statement is made that on railways working with wood fuel, a saving of 50 per cent, hasbeen effected by. burning liquid fuel.

Mr Watkins:

– Everything would depend upon the circumstances in which it was used.

Mr Salmon:

– What was the price of the wood 1

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

– I do not know the price. I know that wood fuel is very cheap in many parts of the world, and in many parts of the Commonwealth. I know also that in some of the mining districts of the Commonwealth it is very dear. I know that to my own cost, because I have been in a mine which has been pumping for the last eighteen months - and pumping my money away at the same time - and the expense has largely been due to the use of wood fuel. In the case of a mine like that, and of many mines throughout the Commonwealth, where it is difficult to get wood fuel, this liquid fuel would be an important assistance. Again, liquid fuel would be of very great assistance to farmers who drive small engines in connexion with farming operations, such as chaff-cutting, and so forth. I believe it will no more interfere with the great interest with which the honorable member for Newcastle is concerned - the coal deposits of Newcastle - than with the man in the moon. All these are things which we require to assist us in our manufactures, in keeping us up to date, and in enabling us to march abreast of the times. We must take advantage of every modern improvement and invention, and it will be a suicidal policy for this committee to hold out for the very high rate of duty which Ministers persuaded us to adopt on a previous occasion. It does not appear to be a very high duty, but in proportion to the value of the material, it is a very serious tax. The Prime Minister, when approached at home on the subject of the duty upon this liquid fuel, and asked to allow it to come in free in the interests “of mining investors in 1 Western Australia and elsewhere, made the most absurd reply that I ever heard upon this question. He is reported to have said that to persist in what was proposed would be to set the coal-miners against the goldminers. I do not think that in this matter we have anything to do with either coalminers or gold-miners, but with the’ whole body of the people of this Commonwealth, who are interested in steam, in manufactures, and in enabling the Commonwealth to produce as cheaply as possible all that she requires.. I repeat that it will be suicidal for this committee, by holding out for the excessive duty proposed, to shut out this liquid fuel, which, on the best information we possess, is shown to be a coming thing, which must play an important part wherever it is found necessary to raise steam or use steam power. There is nothing in the contention that it is likely to interfere with our coal mines. This fuel will be used for raising steam where it will not be raised if we have to depend upon the use of coal. For the reasons I have given I hope the committee will agree to alter its original decision and accept the requested amendment of the Senate. In addition to its use as fuel, this material has been used with very great advantage in some cities of the world for pouring upon the streets, instead of water, for the purpose of laying dust. The experiment in some of the cities of America has been reported upon very highly, and for this purpose it is reported to be cheap, expeditious, and efficacious. If we could only obtain the material cheaply enough it could be used for a similar purpose here, when very frequently we are unable to obtain a sufficient supply of water. Its advantage in this respect is due to the fact that owing to its natural characteristics it does not evaporate, but is mixed with the material forming the streets. For the reasons I have stated, I hope honorable members will not be induced £o impose a duty upon this article, in order to guard against something that will never happen.

Mr. GLYNN (South Australia). - I suppose it will be in order for me to move that the motion be amended by the omission of the word “ not,” and if the amendment should be lost, it will then be competent for any honorable member subsequently to move an alternative amendment. Assuming that that is so, and in order to test the question, I move -

That the motion be amended by the omission of the word “ not.”

Mr Watson:

– I hope we shall come to a vote quickly.

Mr GLYNN:

– Yes; the matter has been elaborately debated by the honorable member for Robertson, whose speech has been well supplemented by the remarks of the honorable member for South Sydney. I only wish that the honorable member for Newcastle, who is really the cause of all the trouble-

Mr Watkins:

– I have not spoken.

Mr GLYNN:

– No; but the honorable member spoke before on this subject. I wish he had been out of the chamber at that time, as we should then have been enabled to get this article admitted free. A mistake was made by the Government originally in putting this on the same line as kerosene with a duty of 3d. per gallon. When the Treasurer found that he had made a glaring mistake he agreed with me that it should be made free. Then the honorable member who represents the coal-fields district of Newcastle arrived, and sat near the right honorable gentleman for some time. There was a sudden change in the Treasurer’s opinion, and I can only surmise that it was due to the vicinity of the honorable member for Newcastle. If the honorable member had not entered the chamber at the time this article would have been free of duty. I should be sorry to characterize the fears of the honorable member for Newcastle as absurd, but he is certainly displaying an extraordinary degree of nervousness. In 1900 the total output of coal and lignite was 750,000,000 tons, and the quantity available for export 180,000,000 tons, whereas the total output of solar oil and liquid fuel was only 20,000,000 tons, of which only 5,000,000 was available for export. Although I know that in some of the Great Eastern Company’s locomotives oil is used as fuel without the admixture of coal, I have seen it stated in a publication called Petroleum that very good results have been obtained by mixing the oil with coal. Therefore the use of oil, by increasing the efficacy of coal, is likely to increase its consumption. I hope that the honorable member for Newcastle will help us to secure the reduction of this duty.

Mr Watkins:

-We compromised last time.

Mr GLYNN:

– No ; we were absolutely beaten in the attempt to secure as a compromise the reduction of the duty to¼d. per gallon. The present rate of duty,½d. per gallon, is equivalent to 33 per cent., so that a duty of¼d. would be equivalent to 16½ per cent., and I am informed that the oil cannot be imported under a higher rate of duty than 10 per cent. ad valorem.

Mr. BROWN (Canobolas).- It cannot be contended that this duty is necessary to encourage the local production of these oils, because we have no oil mines within the Commonwealth, so far as our present information goes. But the objection appears to have been raised that solar and residual oil is likely to compete in public favour as a fuel with coal, and that to protect the coal mining industry we should legislate against the importation of liquid fuel.From the inquiries which I have made, the fear that the importation of liquid fuel will reduce the consumption of coal appears to be groundless. The honorable memberfor Newcastle will remember that when we were both members of the State Parliament a leading politician there opposed the construction of the electric tram which now runs down George street, upon the ground that it would take away employment from the ‘buses, and injure the farming community by reducing the quantity of horse feed required in the metropolis. Electric trams have now, however, been laid in George, Pitt, and Castlereagh streets, and the system has been extended to many of the suburbs; but, so far as I can gather, the consumption of horse feed in Sydney is larger to-day than it was before electric trams were known there. Similarly, I think it will be found that the introduction of liquid oil will bring about an increased consumption of coal, and thus materially assist the coalmining industry. I understand that this oil is very suitable as a fuel in remote places where coal, because of the cost of transport, cannot be used, and where wood is scarce. In my own electorate, and in other parts of the inland districts of New South Wales, machinery is largely used for pumping water from wells, tanks, and rivers, and to do other farm and station work. It would be impossible to use coal to generate the power required, and oil engines are therefore generally employed, because of. their simplicity and cheapness in working.

Mr Watkins:

– But the oil which is now under discussion is not being used there.

Mr BROWN:

– I am informed that it can and will be used. If machinery is to be used for the development of farming, grazing, and mining in remote districts, it can be used only where cheap fuel is obtainable. In most places, coal would be altogether too expensive a fuel, and, therefore, if no other fuel could be obtained, machinery would not be used there. But if a cheaper fuel can be obtained, the assistance which will be given to the development of these industries by the use of machinery will indirectly lead to a very large consumption of coal in various manufacturing processes in places where it can be profitably used. In this connexion, I might instance the history of the Cobar copper mine, where originally they employed wood for smelting purposes, but the process was so expensive that they had to suspend operations. With the extension of the railway to Cobar, however, they were able to obtain coke, and to carry on their operations profitably, the matter which was made locally being sent to Lithgow for further treatment. Although a comparatively small quantity of coal is used at Cobar, the various processes connected with the refining of the ore, which are carried out in other places, requires the use of a very large quantity of coal, and in the same way the development of mining, pastoral, and agricultural industries by the aid of machinery will increase the consumption of coal. An article, which appeared in the Melbourne Age last Tuesday, shows that, whereas the consumption of oil in California up to June, four years ago, was about 1,000 gallons per annum, it has now increased to 1,000,000 gallons per annum, and the honorable member for West Sydney pointed out that by the use of oil on their roadways they are able to control the dust fiend. If it were possible to keep down the dust in cities like Melbourne and Sydney, business people would effect a great saving, and all who live or are employed in them would be greatly convenienced. The protectionists have accepted duties of 15 per cent. as providing reasonable protection to many of the main lines of industry, such as the manufacture of machinery, and I think, therefore, that 15 per cent. would be a very fair rate to impose on these oils, even from a protective point of view. As they are so largely used to promote the infant industries of our back country, I should like to see them introduced free of duty, but under no circumstances should the duty be more than about 15 per cent.

Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN (Wentworth). - I understand that there is a great deal of difference between solar oil and residual oil, and that whilst the former commodity would not be much affected by this duty, residual oil would be entirely excluded from our markets. I do not think that the Government desire to impose a prohibitive duty, and perhaps when it is represented to them that the present duty would have the effect of shutting out residual oil, they will agree to meet the Senate to the extent of exempting residual oil.

Mr Watkins:

– It would be far less objectionable to admit solar oil free than to place residual oil on the list of exemptions.

Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN:

– Not even protective duties can alter the ordinances of the Almighty, and we cannot expect petroleum springs to well up out of the ground simply because we impose a duty. If the amendment is defeated, the honorable and learned member for South Australia, Mr. Glynn, might test the feeling of the committee with reference to exempting residual oil only.

Question - That the word “not,” proposed to be omitted, stand part of the motion - put. The committee divided.

AYES: 22

NOES: 15

Majority … … 7

AYES

NOES

Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Amendmentnegatived.

Motion (by Mr. Glynn) proposed -

That the motion be amended by the addition of the words “but that the duty be fixed at¼d. per gallon.”

Sir MALCOLM McEACHARN:
Melbourne

– I am under the impression that residual oil is not liquid fuel, although the discussion has been conducted on the assumption that it is. The oil used for liquid fuel purposes is the crude product of the wells before it is subjected to the refining process. Residual oil is used for gas-making purposes, and large quantities are utilized by the Metropolitan Gas Company of Melbourne. I know that liquid fuel is the oil as it comes from the wells in Borneo or Russia. Two trial shipments of crude oil from Russia and Borneo respectively have been sent to Australia for use as liquid fuel. If residual oil is not liquid fuel, I can see no advantage in reducing the duty.

Mr GLYNN:
South Australia

– I originally proposed that liquid fuel and solar oil should be placed on the free list, but the Treasurer stated that “ solar oil “ and “ residual oil “ were the terms that should be used.

Sir George Turner:

– There is no doubt that liquid fuel would come under this head.

Mr GLYNN:

– We may take it for granted that the Tariff will be administered so as to bring liquid fuel within the scope of the duty.

Mr CONROY:
Werriwa

– A duty of¼d. per gallon would be equivalent to 20 per cent. ad valorem., and that is surely a sufficiently high impost to place upon a commodity which is not produced here. Moreover, it is worthy of consideration that if we agree to the proposal of the honorable and learned member for South Australia, Mr. Glynn, we shall go a considerable way towards meeting the wishes of the Senate.

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

AYES: 18

NOES: 20

Majority … … 2

AYES

NOES

Question so resolved in the negative.

Amendment negatived.

Amendment (by Mr. Conroy) put -

That the motion be amended by the addition of the words “ but that the duty be fixed at 25per cent. ad valorem.”

The committee divided.

AYES: 19

NOES: 21

Majority … … 2

AYES

NOES

Question so resolved in the negative.

Amendment negatived.

Motion agreed to.

Division VIII. - Earthenware, cement, glass, china, glass, and stone.

Item 87, Cement, Portland, Plaster of Paris, and other like preparations having magnesia or sulphate of lime as a basis, also gypsum, not prepared, per cwt.

Request. - That the duty be reduced to6d. per cwt.

Sir GEORGE TURNER:
Protectionist

– I move-

That the amendment requested be not made.

The original proposal of the Government was that the duty upon this item should be 1s. per cwt., but without a division the committee adopted a rate of 9d. per cwt. We are now asked to reduce that to 6d. per cwt. That the present duty is not a prohibitive one is evidenced by the fact, that during the past six months we have collected £20,000 from this source, or at the rate of £40,000 per annum. If the reduction requested be made, unless there is a much larger importation, we shall sustain a loss of revenue of at least £13,000 a year. Cement is nowbeing manufactured in most of the States, and I am informed that in Queensland the industry is rapidly expanding. Moreover in connexion with an article of this sort we must realize that our manufacturers can only command the Australian market, whilst those of Europe are able to send their surplus stocks here, and to sell them at a very low rate indeed. In this connexion I am sorry to say that the Metropolitan Board of Works have recently accepted a tender for a considerable quantity of German cement at a price which shows that the contract must have been cut very fine indeed.

Mr Watson:

– There is only a difference of 2d. per barrel between the prices.

Sir GEORGE TURNER:

– But a contract was let a few weeks ago at a much lower rate. I repeat that cement is being produced very largely in the different States, and in view of the conditions under which our manufacturers labour as compared with those of other countries who are able to send their surplus stocks here, and to sacrifice them, we should be acting very unwisely if we reduced the duty at present operating. Indeed, I am very doubtful whether we did not go too far in agreeing to a reduction from1s. to 9d. per cwt.

Mr. CONROY (Werriwa).- Of course the Treasurer forgot to remind the committee that cement is very largely used in the erection of dwelling houses, and that by increasing the duty upon it, and thus lessening the number of houses to be built, we shall be adding to the number of people who are forced to herd together in single rooms. Thus the illiteracy of the masses will be increased, and they will be more likely to fall in with protectionist view’s, seeing that they will be unable to distinguish between right and wrong. Having supplied the Treasurer’s omission, I shall now resume unseat.

Sir MALCOLM. McEACHARN (Melbourne). - I feel that the committee would do wrong to concur in the request of the Senate. On a previous occasion I went very fully into the figures relating to this item, and the position is even worse now than it was then. We have here a state of trade which is certain to revive the old system, and should that happen steamers and sailing vessels would be only too glad to take cement as ballast. The volume of trade is not going to be nearly as great as it has been, so that freights will be reduced, competition increased, and the difference in favour of the local manufacturer consequently lessened.

Motion agreed to.

Item 93. Glass, . . .

Special exemptions. - Instruments for measuring the density of liquids.

Request. - That the words “including hydrometers, saccharometers, lactometers, salinometers, and barkometers,” be added.

Sir GEORGE TURNER:

– Under our reading of the Tariff the articles have been free, but the addition of these words is requested in order to make it certain that they are free. I move -

That the amendment requested be made.

Motion agreed to.

Division IX. - Drugs and Chemicals.

Item 104, Insecticides, sheepwashes and disinfectants n.e.i., free.

Request. - That the words “ including coal-tar preparations for such purposes,” be added.

Sir GEORGE TURNER:

– Insecticides, sheepwashes, and disinfectants were made free by the committee, and the addition of these words is requested by the Senate in order to make certain that coal-tar preparations, which ought to come in under this head, shall also be free. I move -

That the amendment requested be made.

Motion agreed to.

Division X.- Wood, Wicker, and Cane.

Item 111, Wicker, Bamboo, Cane, or Wood’ - All articles, n.e.i., made of, . . . advalorem, 20 per cent.

Request. - That axe and other unattached tool handles be added to the special exemptions.

Sir GEORGE TURNER:

– This question was discussed here on several occasions. The wood for making a large number of handles can be obtained locally, and the wood for other handles is imported free. This is a case where we think we can meet the view of the Senate to some extent. Therefore, I move -

That the amendment requested be not made, but that the duty be fixed at 15 per cent.

Mr KIRWAN:
Kalgoorlie

– I move-

That the motion be amended by the omission of the words “15 per cent.”

In the case of item 60, the Senate asked that parasol, sunshade, and umbrella-handles, sticks, and fit-ups, whether mounted or not, should be added to the special exemptions, and the committee, at the instance of the Government, agreed to the request ; but now, when the Senate asks that axe and other unattached tool-handles shall be placed on the free list, they propose to disagree with the request, with the addition that the duty be reduced to 15 per cent. I think that we ought to divide on the motion in order to show their inconsistency.

Question - That the words proposed to be omitted stand part of the motion - put. The committee divided.

AYES: 21

NOES: 15

Majority … … 6

AYES

NOES

Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Amendment negatived.

Motion agreed to.

Item 111, Special Exemptions -

Wicker, bamboo, cane, or wood, manufactures of . . .

Canes and rattans.

Request. - That the words ‘ ‘ manufactures of “ be omitted, and that after the words “ canes and rattans” the word “unmanufactured” be inserted.

Motion (by Sir George Turner) agreed to-

That the amendments requested be made.

Division XI. - Jewellery and Fancy Goods.

Item 114, Jewellery and imitation jewellery

Special Exemptions. - Jewellery, viz., cameos and precious stones, unset.

Request. - That the articles be made dutiable as jewellery at 25 per cent.

That the amendment requested be not made.

Mr. CONROY (Werriwa). -I agree with the statement of the Treasurer that however advisable it might be, it is impossible to get the duty which ought to be collected on these articles. At the time when we were dealing with the item of jewellery, I pointed out that a duty of 25 per cent. was far too high. It has been pointed out to me by men who arecarrying on large jewellery establishments, that it is possible for a person to pack in a very small compass from £4,000 to £5,000 worth of jewellery.

Sir MALCOLM McEACHARN (Melbourne). - I think that the Senate made a mistake in regard to this duty, and that the misunderstanding arose owing to the action of an honorable senator who asked those in the trade whether anything could be done for them by imposing a duty. It was suggested that a duty upon cut opals might assist the trade. The honorable senator made a mistake, and I hope and believe that the Senate will be prepared to agree to what we propose now to do. I have a petition - of course, it is too late to present it now - signed by 100 persons in the trade, urging that the Government should be supported in their action. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports has a petition signed by 200 workmen, requesting the committee to disagree with the Senate’s proposal.

Motion agreed to.

Item 115. Watches, clocks……

Special exemptions.

Request. - That “surveyors’ compasses” be added to the special exemptions.

Motion (by Sir George Turner) agreed to-

That the amendment requested be made.

Item 115. - Special exemptions.

Microscopes, telescopes, spectacles, except gold, silver, or plated……

Request. - That the words “gold-plated or silver” be inserted before the word “ plated.”

Motion (by Sir George Turner) agreed to -

That the amendment requested be made.

Division XII. - Leather and Rubber.

Item116, Boots and shoes……

Men’s sizes above 5, ad valorem, 30 per cent.

Request. - That the duty be reduced to 20 per cent.

That the amendment requested be not made.

Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN:
Wentworth

– I do not understand what actuated the Senate in refraining from touching the other lines of boots. Although we have allowed a duty of 30 per cent, to be imposed on men’s hats, there is some distinction between the manufacture of men’s hats in which machinery is involved, and the manufacture of boots.

Mr Mauger:

– Surely the manufacture of boots requires the use of machinery.

Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN:

– The manufacture of boots is not so complicated as is the manufacture of hats. I do not want to go into what has already been said on this question, but I think that when the matter was last before us, it was clearly proved that the manufacture of boots in Sydney had increased by leaps and bounds without any duty, and that at the introduction of the Tariff the industry in Sydney was not only a very large one,’ but that one or two boot factories there were rather an improvement upon anything to be found in Melbourne. No doubt when high protective duties are imposed an industry is increased and forced, but very much to the detriment of the interest of consumers. I shall have to divide the committee on this motion.

Mr. SYDNEY SMITH (Macquarie).In requesting the committee to agree to this motion the Treasurer stated that a mistake had been made by the Senate. I think that the mistake made by it was in failing to request an all-round reduction to 20 per cent. It is all very well for the right honorable gentleman to talk of protecting industries, but in New South Wales we have succeeded without any protection in establishing the industry. The output there is greater than in Melbourne, where, in some cases, the boot manufacturers have worked under protective duties ranging as high as 100 per cent. The price of boots has been raised to a considerable extent in New South Wales since the imposition of the duty.

Mr Mauger:

– But what about the quality 1

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– The honorable member is always talking of quality. I remember that upon a certain occasion a pair of boots was produced in this chamber, the soles of which consisted, for the most part, of cardboard. They had been purchased in a boot shop in Melbourne, and no doubt were sold cheaply under the protective system. It would be much better for the purchaser to be able to obtain a good pair of boots.

Mr Mauger:

– They were purchased in Sydney.

Mr. SYDNEY SMITH.I am coming to that matter. The following night another pair of boots was exhibited, which, it was said, had come from a certain firm in Sydney. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports told me that they were made by the Sydney Co-operative Boot Company.

Mr Mauger:

– I have a sworn affidavit to that effect.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– I caused the matter to be investigated, and a gentleman who took the trouble to inquire into it on my behalf received a letter stating that the Co-operative Boot Company - which consists of a body of workmen - never turned out a boot at the price quoted. They sent him a pair of boots sold at 5s. 3d. or 5s. 6d., which they said was the cheapest made by them. Those boots were very different from the pair exhibited by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports. It seems to me that the pair exhibited by my honorable friend opposite could not have been obtained from Sydney and shown here on the night following that upon which the first pair was produced.

Mr Mauger:

– The boots were bought three months before.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– Imagine a pair of boots of that description being held for three months. If the honorable member had examined the boots he would have seen that they were never made to sell. If they were they were certainly a disgrace to the maker.

Sir William McMillan:

– They were made in Victoria.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– Of course. I believe they were made for the occasion in order to help . the Government to carry the duty proposed by them. Although the Victorian manufacturers have had their own market secured to them, and the markets of New South Wales open to their goods, the boot manufacturers of New South Wales have been able without any protection to turn out a cheaper and a better class of boots, and to manufacture them in greater numbers. I think the honorable member for Melbourne Ports must admit that to impose such a heavy duty as ‘that proposed by the Government will be to inflict a great hardship on the general body of the people. Only a few evenings ago an honorable member sitting on the Government side of the House told me that since the imposition of the duty he had been called upon to pay 5s. 6d. per pair more for his boots than he had previously paid for them in Sydney. I admit that the Senate has not gone far enough. If I had my way I should make all boots free. “When we had free boots in New South Wales they were cheap.

Mr Mauger:

– Made of brown paper !

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

– I went through a factory the other .day and was told by the manager that he sent nearly all his boots to Melbourne.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– No doubt all the boot manufacturers will have to go to New South Wales. They will be able to produce better boots in Sydney than they can do here, judging by the class of machinery that the manufacturers of Sydney have been using, as compared with that employed in Victoria. Good machinery has been shut out of Victoria, owing to the- heavy duties, with the result that the people cannot afford to buy the best class. If the cement industry established in my own electorate had been started after the introduction of the Tariff, and if the duty originally proposed by the Government had been passed, it would have cost those engaged in that industry over £15,000 for duty on the machinery required to commence operations. I raise my protest against the Government proposal. I know it is useless to do so at the present time, but I hope that the time will come when the people will have an opportunity of speaking on the question. I believe that this policy which has been adopted, contrary to the Maitland speech, will work seriously against the best interests of the Commonwealth, and I enter my protest against the iniquities of the Government.

Mr MAUGER:
Melbourne Ports

– I desire to state with reference to the boot I exhibited that Mr. A. E. Pizzey has sworn an affirmation to the effect that he bought it in George-street, Sydney, at the Cooperative Boot Shop. He gives the date, and my honorable friends opposite can see the affirmation. I can add that the magistrate, before whom the affirmation was sworn, is Mr. John McM’ahon, J.P., of Brunswickstreet, Fitzroy. Under the’ circumstances, for honorable members to say that the boot was not bought in Sydney is only beating the air.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– The Co-operative Boot Company say that they never turned out a boot like it.

Mr. CONROY (Werriwa).- This matter has not yet been discussed from the point of view of revenue, and it must not be forgotten that by imposing a duty of 30 per cent, we are depriving the Commonwealth of a tremendous amount of revenue, because that duty is almost prohibitive. This view of the question is one which should influence honorable members coming from the smaller States, because in so far as their supplies are drawn from Melbourne and Sydney, the people ‘of the smaller States will have to bear this taxation, while their States will lose the revenue. I think I am well within the mark when I say that a 15 per cent, duty will return from £100,000 to £120,000 more revenue than a 30 per cent, duty, and that is a very large sum to vote away in a light-hearted manner. It cannot be said “that this duty is proposed solely for protective purposes, because, as has been well shown, New South Wales, without a duty at all, had only 500 less hands employed in the boot trade than Victoria, and even that difference was steadily diminishing. The reason for that was that the industry there was conducted upon solid lines, and the manufacturer was not drawing from anybody any more than he was entitled to as the reward of his skill and industry. In Victoria the position was totally different. In that State the manufacturer was hedged round by a ring fence of protective duties, and was drawing money from the rest of the people. It must be remembered that the people of New South Wales constitute onethird of the population of Australia, and I ask honorable members opposite whether they really think that it is fair that a 30 per cent, duty should suddenly be imposed upon so large a section of the people of the Commonwealth * We are now a Federation, and, whatever our individual opinions may be, we ought not to try to force them upon large sections of the population who do not agree with them. The request of the Senate in this instance, that the duty should be reduced to 20 per cent., is one which I think this committee might well agree to. Ministers have referred to the fact that upon similar lines, in connexion with which in our opinion the duties ought also to have been reduced, no request for a reduction of duty has been made by the Senate. But they will remember that that is due to the absolute

I departure from election pledges of one honorable senator, who has since become rather renowned in South Australia.

The CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable and learned member is out of order.

Sir John Quick:

– This is very unfair. “What would the honorable and learned member think if members of the Senate “referred in that way to individual members of this House1?

Mr CONROY:

– I shall say, at all events, that there has been a departure from election pledges in the other Chamber, and that some honorable senators did not vote as they should. I refer honorable members to the discussion which took place at a recent meeting of shareholders in the “Wallaroo and Moonta Copper Company.

The CHAIRMAN:

– I insist that the honorable and learned member shall not make any reference to members of the Senate.

Mr CONROY:

– Without making any references to the Senate, I will say that a reference to the report of the last dispute amongst the shareholders in the Wallaroo and Moonta Copper Mine will supply a very good reason why the Senate has not requested us to reduce all these duties to 20 per cent.

The CHAIRMAN:

– Order ! The honorable and learned member is now doing indirectly what he would not be allowed to do in a direct way.

Sir Malcolm McEacharn:

– The honorand learned member is defying the Chair.

Mr CONROY:

– Is the honorable member for Melbourne prepared to back the Wallaroo Company ?

Sir Malcolm McEacharn:

– I am prepared to say that the honorable and learned member persistently defies the Chair.

The CHAIRMAN:

– I must ask the honorable and learned member to observe the standing orders, which absolutely insist that no allusion shall be made to the actions of the Senate.

Mr CONROY:

– It is rather difficult for me to say that I was not alluding to the actions of a senator, but at the particular moment when you called me to order I was alluding to the action of a particular shareholder in the Wallaroo, and Moonta copper mines. I am surprised that the honorable member for Melbourne - who, I understand, is not interested in the company - should be prepared ti battle in his behalf.

The CHAIRMAN:

– I hope that the honorable and learned member will not commit the offence again.

Mr CONROY:

– I was pointing out that we are sacrificing from £100,000 to £120,000 of revenue, and that a duty of 30 per cent, is altogether too high. Fortunately another election will come along shortly, and if it were not imminent I believe there would be a revolution, because the people will not submit to increased taxation of this kind. It is idle to say that it is for the benefit of the public, because’ one body of manufacturers in New South Wales has shown that they are able to do without this duty. I enter my protest against the motion, and I hope the requested amendment will be carried. I have been very much pained to learn from the Minister for Trade and Customs, that there is no likelihood of the Senate insisting upon any of the requested amendments with which we do not agree. If there is anything in that statement, we shall observe the course of the honorable senator to whom I have referred with further anxiety.

Mr BROWN:
Canobolas

– With the exception possibly of the duty upon fuel oil, this line represents the high water mark of protection as favoured by the Government. Though the duty of 30 per cent, here proposed is not intended particularly for revenue, but to some extent to discourage importation in the interests of local manufacturers, I notice from the return submitted by the Treasurer giving the amount of revenue collected under the Tariff, from the 9th October to 30th June, that on this line of boots and shoes a revenue of £17,950 was collected in New South Wales, £7,538 in Victoria, £7,190 in Queensland, £3,950 in South Australia, £11,309 in Western Australia, £1,447 in Tasmania, or a total revenue of £49,384 for all the Commonwealth. This revenue has been derived not merely from New South Wales, where there was formerly no duty, but very largely from Victoria, where we were told the boot industry has been built up under the fostering care of a protectionist Tariff to a position of almost absolute perfection. I regret that the Senate, instead of confining its request to men’s sizes above 5, did not ask us to review the whole duty, but, no doubt, a large part of the revenue which has been received from this duty has been paid upon importations of men’s boots. That is certain to be the case in connexion with the Western Australian revenue. Seeing that the working classes are not able to purchase the best make of boots, and, therefore, require more boots than other people, I think we should not do anything to increase the prices which they have to pay, but while I should like to see the duty made still lower, I feel bound to support the request of the Senate.

Question - That the amendment requested be not made - put. The committee divided.

AYES: 21

NOES: 16

Majority … … 5

AYES

NOES

Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Item 120. Leather manufactures, n.e.i. . . . composition belting . . . ad val re, 20 per cent.

Request. - That the words “composition belting” be omitted, and that the new line be inserted, “Composition belting, ad valorem, 10 per cent.”

That the amendment requested be not made, but that the duty upon composition belting be fixed at 15 per cent.

I think that the request of the Senate in connexion with composition belting was made upon the supposition that that article is not made here, while leather belting is made here, whereas, as a matter of fact, composition belting is manufactured within the Commonwealth to a considerable extent, and some of the materials used in its manufacture are dutiable. I am further informed that machinery has lately been imported into New South Wales for the manufacture of composition belting.

Motion agreed to.

Item 121. Leather, n.e.i……..

Special exemptions. - Leather, viz. , Crust or rough-tanned or tanned hogskins, goat, and Persian sheep, and skivers, pump-butts weighing not less than 48 lbs. each hide.

Request. - That the words “or tannedhogskins” and the word “and” after the word “ goat “ be omitted, and that the word “hogskins “ be added after the word “ hide.”

Motion (by Sir George Turner) agreed to-

That the amendments requested be made.

Division XIII. - Paper and stationery.

Item122, Paper, viz: -……..

Special exemptions. - Writing, in sheets not less 16 by 13 inches.

Request. - That the words “ and typing” be inserted after the word “writing.”

Motion (by Sir George Turner) agreed to -

That the amendment requested be made.

Item 122. Paper, viz….. Browns and sugar. . . . tinfoil paper, per cwt. , 3s.

Request. - That tinfoil piper be added to the special exemptions.

Motion (by Sir George Turner) agreed to-

That the amendment requested be made.

Item 123. Stationery. manufactured, viz., . . .

Special exemptions.

Request. - That paper shavings and waste paper for paper-making, stay-paper and stay-cloth under departmental by-laws, be added to the special exemptions.

Motion (by Sir George Turner) proposed -

That the amendment requested be made.

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

– It seems to me that instead of leaving it to be defined by departmental by-laws what description of material is to be exempt from duty as stay-paper and stay-cloth, we should insert a definition in the Tariff. I have had some experience of the delays and inconvenience caused by this practice of interpreting the Tariff by departmental bylaws. I have been informed by an importer that he has a large quantity of this material now upon the water, but when it arrives here, if these departmental by-laws are not framed - and they are not likely to be - he will haveto pay duty upon it, against the evident wish of the committee. I therefore move -

That the motion be amended by the addition of the words “and that the words ‘ under departmental by-laws ‘ be omitted, with a view to insert in lien thereof the words ‘ gummed on one side, in rolls out to a width of not more than one inch.’”

I think it is wrong to depend toomuch upon departmental by-laws, especially when we have an autocratic administration at the Custom-house. We should decide whether any article should be dutiable or otherwise, and importers should not be called upon to pay duty at the caprice of the Customs officials.

Mr Kingston:

– There is no objection to the amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Motion, as amended, agreed to.

Division XIV. - Vehicles.

Item 126, Vehicles, viz., . . . Hansom cabs ; also single or double-seated waggons, waggonettes, and four-wheel buggies with tops, 25 per cent.

Request. - That the duty be reduced to 20 per cent.

Sir GEORGE TURNER:

– I move-

That the amendment requested be not made.

The Senate was very evenly divided upon this item, and the proposal for the reduction of the duty was carried by a majority of only one. We decided that the six different groups of vehicles dealt with in this division should be subject to a duty of 25 per cent. The Senate have reduced the duty to 20 per cent. in three instances, and have allowed the duty to remain at 25 per cent. in the others, but I can see no reason why two different rates of duty should be adopted. If the duty had been reduced in all cases to 20 per cent., we might have been able to discuss the matter. As the Senate appear to have been very evenly divided, and as the duty is one which will afford protection to an important industry, employing a large number of skilled artisans, I think we should adhere to our original decision.

Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN (Wentworth). - The fact that the Senate did not do its duty completely should not deter us from complying with their request, so far as they have proceeded in the right direction. The principal reason urged for the reduction of the duty was that the import charges upon such bulky articles as vehicles are so high as to afford sufficient natural protection to the local manufacturers without any duty. Certainly such a high duty as 25 per cent. is not required, because if the natural protection is added the advantage to the local manufacturers will amount to 50 or 100 per cent. ad valorem. In New South Wales we have been able to manufacture buggies and other classes of vehicles in nearly all the small country towns without the aid of any duty whatever, and we should not now retain a duty which would be practically prohibitive of imports.

Question - That the amendment requested be not made - put. The committee divided.

AYES: 20

NOES: 15

Majority … … 5

AYES

NOES

Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Item 126, Vehicles, viz., . . . Tilburys, dog carts, gigs, Boston chaises, sulkies, and other two-wheeled vehicles, on springs or thorough braces, 25 per cent.

All parts thereof, namely, wheels, tyred and bolted, bodies, under-gear, under-carriages, and tops, 25 per cent.

Request. - That the duties be reduced to 20 per cent.

Motion (by Sir George Turner) agreed to.

That the amendments requested be not made.

Division XVI. - Miscellaneous.

Item . 132, Brushware, n.e.i., 25 percent.

Request. - That the following new line be added : - “Painters’ and Paperhangers’ brushes,” and that the duty be reduced to 20 per cent.

That the amendment requested be not made.

There was a majority of one in the Senate in favour of this requested amendment, but I do not think we ought to reduce the duty. The manufacture of brushes affords employment to a large number of artisans, and also enables many blind people to earn fair wages.

Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN (Wentworth). - When this matter was previously before the committee, I spoke very strongly regarding the unfairness of imposing a heavy duty upon the tools of trade of painters and paperhangers.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:
Robertson

– This is an item which was not thoroughly discussed when it was previously before the committee, and I think that upon the occasion in question something was said by the Minister to the effect that perhaps justice would be done in another place. Working painters have assured me that the class of brush which they require to do their best work is not and cannot be made in Australia.

Mr Mauger:

– The Painters’ Society of Victoria have petitioned this Chamber to the very opposite effect.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:
ROBERTSON, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906

– I was also assured by Mr. Houston, a wholesale importer in Sydney, that the best class of brush is not manufactured within the Commonwealth. I would further point out that, as a class, painters are very poorly paid. I do not know of any trade the members of which receive such small wages. Their employment is intermittent, and yet it is now proposed to make them pay 3s. 6d. for their brushes by the imposition of an excessive duty.

Mr Kingston:

– But the entire cost of an article does not represent the duty upon it.

Mr HENRY WILLIS:

– At any rate, the proposed duty constitutes a heavy tax upon the working man. By its imposition we shall not assist the blind of the community, because these articles- cannot be manufactured within the Commonwealth.

Mr. MAUGER (Melbourne Ports).Notwithstanding the taunts of the acting leader of the Opposition, I think that I know the sentiments of the journeymen painters upon this question quite as well as he does.

Sir William McMillan:

– Who said that the honorable member did not 1

Mr MAUGER:

– The honorable member said that he doubted my statement upon the subject. He can accept it or not, just as he. chooses. I am perfectly certain that the journeymen painters, who are using Victorianmade brushes, stated, in meeting assembled, that- they are quite equal to any articles that are imported.

Sir William McMillan:

– Do they constitute the whole of Australia 1

Mr MAUGER:

– I think that they know more about this matter than does the honorable member. Probably in Sydney they do not manufacture brushes equal in quality to those produced in Victoria. In this State, however, we have the testimony of the wholesale men, of the vendors, and of the journeymen painters that the locally-made brushes are equal to anything that is imported. I am aware that years ago they- entertained the silly prejudice of my honorable friend. The poor struggling painters, about whom he is so uneasy, have not entered any protest against the imposition of the duty.

Sir William McMillan:

– The honorable member’s little Pedlington does not constitute the whole of Australia.

Mr MAUGER:

– No ; but these painters are as good workmen as are the journeymen painters of New South Wales, and are thoroughly familiar with the qualities of Victorian brushware. They wish. to obtain locally everything which can be advantageously produced, and that is a proper sentiment to encourage.

Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta .- The honorable member for Melbourne Ports has again given evidence that he has a knowledge of everything under the sun, from a pin to a mighty steam hammer. Nothing, comes amiss to him. He knows everybody’s business, what the ledgers of private individuals contain, and is, apparently acquainted with everything that has happened from the beginning of time.

Mr McCay:

– Yet the honorable member is not grateful.

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

– The honorable member does not know how grateful I am.

Mr Kingston:

– It would be much better if the honorable member would tell us what the Opposition knows.

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

– We do not know anything, but the honorable member for Melbourne Ports is a perfect walking encylopaedia. He always uses the expression, “We know,” as if “ We, us, and company “ were the embodiment of Victoria. I wish to tell him what the painters of New South Wales say in this connexion. They declare that these brushes should be placed upon the free list. I think ihat we should exempt the painter’s tools of trade from duty, just as we have exempted those of almost every other occupation. Why should we single out the painter for exceptional treatment? Surely if it is a good thing to put the tools of trade of the mechanic, the mason, and the carpenter upon the free list, it is equally good to admit the painter’s tools of trade free. Why is this distinction made ? Is it more difficult to manufacture painters’ brushes than it is to produce other tools of trade ? We have been told by the Treasurer that the action of the Government is prompted by consideration and pity for the blind of Australia.. I have an idea, however, that we can find better occupations for : the blind of the community, and something-‘ more suited to their unhappy condition, than is the manufacture of brushware.

Mr Crouch:

– What is it?

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

– If the honorable and learned member -will go to any of the blind institutions- and inquire, he will discover that there are plenty of other occupations in which they engage.

Mr Crouch:

– They are employed largely in the manufacture of brushware.

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

– If the honorable and learned member will permit me to know one little thing - and that of a negative character - I would say that they are not largely engaged iri the manufacture of painters’ brushware. They produce plenty of other articles which it suits them to make very much better. There is absolutely nothing in the statement that the proposed duty is required in the interests of the blind of Australia. But even if such action were of material consequence to that afflicted class I still hold, that the painters should not be singled out for special taxation, even in so good a cause. If we must give consideration to the blind, let the tax be distributed over the whole of the industrial enterprises of the country. I do not know why the Senate allowed this duty to remain even at 20 per cent. I think that their request, to impose that rate upon the tools of trade of the painters should be scouted. The other Chamber ought to have endeavoured to place these articles upon the free list. There is absolutely no reason why the painter should be subjected to special taxation as compared with other artisans, and, for that reason, the least we can do is to agree to the moderate request of the other Chamber.

Mr POYNTON:
South Australia

– I trust that the Government will accede to the request of the Senate. A few minutes ago the Minister for Trade and Customs interjected that the proposed duty did not amount to the whole of the 3s. 6d. which is charged for the class of brushware required by painters. From his manner one would think that a brush would last a painter for a long time. I venture to say that if the Minister were engaged in casual painting he would complain very bitterly of the present duty. I would further remind the honorable member for Melbourne Ports that he does not know all the working men in the world. Quite a number of painters in South Australia have complained to me of this very heavy duty. A painter’s brush has a very short life, and very often he has to purchase two or three in a month. Moreover the work of these men is intermittent, dangerous, and unhealthy. Indeed, there is no body of tradesmen which has to submit to more broken time than have the painters. The action of the Government in refusing to accept a reduction in this duty is simply monstrous. The least they could do is to approve of the request of the Senate.

Mr. SYDNEY SMITH (Macquarie).Afew minutes ago the honorable member for Melbourne Ports stated that the painters had made no protest against the imposition of this duty. I remember having brought this matter before the committee upon a previous occasion, when the Government deliberately promised me that they would grant a recommittal. But - through a misunderstanding, I admit - the promise was not kept, and so we were not able to discuss the question again. Some time ago a deputation of painters waited upon me in the precincts of this Chamber, and after they had submitted a sample of brushes I asked them to set forth in a letter the information which they had conveyed to me. I received a letter in these terms -

We, the Master Painters’ Guild of Victoria, respectfully submit to your notice the following list of brushware, which are our everyday tools of trade, and which we contend should be free from duty to place us on a similar footing to other trades : -

Ground brushes, 6and 8 ounces.

Sash tools, Nos. 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

Distemper, 2 tie 8, 10, 12 ounces.

Copper bound distemper, 8, 10, 12 ounces.

Kalsomine brushes, Nos.8, 7, and 6.

Paperhanging brushes, 8,10 and12 inches.

Varnish brushes, 4 and6 ounces.

A painter uses brushware to the value of £7 per year. The duty on this at present amounts to £1 16s. 9d., showing the disadvantages we labour under compared with other trades.

The tools of trade in the hat industry, which has the advantage of a heavy protective duty, have been made free. The tools of trade in nearly every protected industry in Victoria, like their machinery, have been placed on the free list. But in the case of painter’s brushes the annual tax per head amounts to £1 16s. 9d.

Mr Kingston:

– How do they make out that a duty of 25 per cent. on £7 worth of brushes per annum comes to £1 16s. 9d?

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– It ill becomes the Minister to take exception to a difference of1s. 9d. in a statement of this kind by a gentleman who possibly may not be so well up in figures as he is. The writer goes on to say -

Painter’s brushware to about the value of £5,000 was imported to this State during last year, notwithstanding these high rates. This in sufficient proof of the necessity of having these brushes made free. To do a first-class job we must have these imported brushes at any cost.

The letter is signed, on behalf of the Master Painters’ Guild, by Mr. J. McDougall as president. The Minister has admitted that the duty on a painter’s brushware would amount to nearly £1 1 6s. 9d. per annum. Why should the painters’ tools of trade be taxed when the tools of trade of the protected industries of Victoria are allowed to come in free ?

Mr Mauger:

– That is not correct.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– The honorable member knows that in the bootmaking industry, which is heavily protected, in some cases to the extent of 100 per cent., all tools of trade are allowed to come in free.

Mr Mauger:

– That is not correct.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– All the tools of trade which the honorable member could think of were placed on the free list; and if any have been omitted, it is a wonder that hehas not asked that they should be included. Nearly all the tools of trade which are required by the protected industries of Victoria in the shape of machinery are free.

Mr Mauger:

– Not nearly all.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– Seventy or 80 per cent. of them are free. When we asked for a concession to our great primary producers - the miners and the agriculturists - the honorable member said “ No,” and now, when we ask for a concession to the working painters, who use these brushes, we are met with a refusal.

Mr Mauger:

– Working painters do not want them.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– If painters are called upon to do any work, and cannot get the necessary brushes here, they must get them where they can. The writer of this letter says that the brushware which is required to do first-class work cannot be purchased in Victoria, and the proof that it cannot be obtained here is found in the fact that painters’ brushware to about the value of £5,000 was imported into Victoria last year. It is not the workers of New South W ales, but the workers of Victoria, who have asked me to propose that painters’ brushware be placed on the free list. I have placed their representations before the committee, because I believe that a gross injustice is being done to a large body of deserving men.

Sir GEORGE TURNER:

– Thehonorable member for Macquarie has told us that there has been a large importation of brushes into Victoria, but if he knew anything of the Victorian Tariff he would know that brushware was a very large item, including an immense number of brushes altogether dissimilar from thosewhich hehas mentioned, and even the writer of the letter he read only specified a very few articles which he thinks ought to be free, or, if not free, not dutiable at a heavy rate. The honorable member has also made a great song about a number of articles which are used in various trades having been made free. He forgets that we have made the others free, because they are not being manufactured here.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– These brushes are not being made here.

Sir GEORGE TURNER:

– The honorable member asks why we should impose revenue duties on articles which are the tools of trade of our workmen, and he would lead us to believe that we cannot make painters’ brushes. If he had suggested a reduction in regard to two or three lines, I could have understood his attitude, but his proposal is that the reduction should apply to every line. Painters’ brushes are used very largely by the Melbourne Tramway and Omnibus Company, and a certificate has been given to a Victorian manufacturing firm by the assistant manager, in which he says -

I am pleased to be able to assure you that the paint brushes we obtained from your good selves, and which we have been using now continuously fora good many years are, in our opinion, of excellent material and workmanship. Our men are quite satisfied with them for our use, and we, as a fact, use hardly any but those of your make for our work, and we think them quite as good as imported brushes. You are at liberty to use this as you like.

It must be remembered that the Tramway Company have to do a great deal of fine work in connexion with the painting of their trams, as well as in other directions. A great deal of special work has also to be done in the railway workshops, and the secretary to the Railways Commissioner has written to the same firm, saying -

In reply to you r letter of the 8th inst., I am directed by the Acting Commissioner to inform you that during the period of your contract with this department,1896 to 1899, 90 per cent. of the paint brushes supplied were of colonial manufacture, and were purchased at a lower price than the imported brushes, and gave satisfaction in use. I am to add that duringthe contract period, 1893-1896, only colonial-made paint brushes were used.

A scenic artist, Mr. Phil Goatcher, wrote as follows : -

In accordance with the request contained in your letter of the 8th instant, it affords me pleasure to be in a position to state that the brushes manufactured and supplied by your firm for scene painting compare very favorably in every sense with imported brushes of a similar character:

Messrs. James Moore and Co., a well-known Melbourne firm, write as follows -

Re the quality of the brushes manufactured by you :I have used these for a considerable number of years past, and have found them very satisfactory. They are, for the great majority of works, quite equal to the imported brushes which I formerly used, and a better brush could not be desired.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– They do not say that they are quite equal to the imported brushes for all purposes.

Sir GEORGE TURNER:

– Messrs.Delves and Co., of Ballarat, have given this firm a certificate of the same kind, whilst similar letters have been received from a number of other persons whose names are given in the Hansard report of the debate in another place in which these letters were quoted. Messrs Groth and Co., of Sydney, who will probably be known to honorable members from New South Wales, have given large orders for paint brushes to be manufactured here, and Messrs Gilkes, Massey, and Co., of 262 George-street, who are apparently well known in Sydney, sent the following letter to a Victorian firm: -

Please forward us twelve dozen 5-in. tin whitewash brushes, as last (branded “ Tudor”).

They appear to think that the name “Tudor” is a very good one, and that it enables them to sell their brushes. Whether they are sold as being of colonial or German make I cannot say. What do the workers say in regard to this duty ? The secretary of the Painters, Paperhangers, and Decorators Society of Melbourne, writes as follows : -

I am instructed, by resolution of my society, to inform you that, as practical users of colonial paint brushes for many years, we are quite satisfied with them, as we consider them equal to the imported article. We therefore hope that you will be successful in your endeavour to retain the reasonable measure of protection passed by the House of Representatives.

The Secretary of the Victorian Coachmakers’ Society, whose members have to do very fine work, wrote as follows to a Victorian firm : -

I am instructed to inform you that my society, at its meeting on the 6th February, carried the following resolution : - “ That we approve of the Government proposal of 25 per cent. on brushware, as it will protect an industry in whichthe articles manufactured locally are giving general satisfaction, both as to quality and price.”

Sir William McMillan:

– That is a quid pro quo.

Sir GEORGE TURNER:

– All these communications were quoted in another place.

They show very clearly that the Victorianmade article is a first-class one ; but simply, because of one or two particular brushes, in regard to which some one has written to my honorable friend, we are asked to reduce the rate for the whole line. It is peculiar that although the ranks of the Opposition contain three or four honorable members from Victoriawho hold free-trade views, not one of them was asked to bring this matter- before the committee. The request was made to an honorable member from New South Wales. Of course honorable members from that State have a perfect right to bring the question forward, and I do not object. It is clear that those who sell brushes in New South Wales are very anxious to obtain the Victorian-made article, and that the manufacturer’s name should not appeal upon it. This is a case in which we should afford a reasonable amount of protection. I spoke very briefly when introducing this request, and I should not have risen again but for the remarks made by the honorable member for Macquarie. The honorable membermade so much of the matter that I felt that in the interests of those engaged in the industry I should place these facts before the committee.

Mr Henry Willis:

– Are the Sydney orders of recent date ?

Sir GEORGE TURNER:

– Yes. The Victorian manufacturers are receiving so many orders from Sydney that their men are compelled to work overtime in order to keep up with the demand.

Mr SYDNEY SMITH:
MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT

– I thought these brushes were made by the blind.

Sir GEORGE TURNER:

– I do not know that they make paint brushes, but they make other kinds, and I see no reason why we should not give a reasonable amount of protection. I fail to see that a duty of 25 per cent. is unreasonable, and in the circumstances I hope that the committee will stand by their previous determination.

Mr. G. B. EDWARDS (South Sydney). - All that the Treasurer has said does not do away with the fact that it is proposed to inflict a glaring injustice upon one class. Seven columns of the names of tools of trade of various manufacturers and workmen appear on the list of special exemptions, and, on examining them closely, honorable members will see that the painting trade is the only one which has been omitted. As we have exempted every other tool of trade used in the Commonwealth, it is idle for the Treasurer or the Minister for Trade and Customs to tell us that the fact that these brushes are made here is a warranty for imposing a duty upon them. There should be no distinction made if we are going to deal justly, and as the request involves only a matter of 5 per cent., it seems to me that the Government are adopting an extraordinary position in fighting for the retention of the duty in the interests of a few brushmakers, as compared with the whole of the people engaged in the painting industry. If, as they say, the brush-making industry is so successful that those engaged in it are compelled to work night and day in order to keep up with the demand, surely a difference of 5’per cent, cannot ruin those engaged in it ? Although the honorable member for Melbourne Ports - who sometimes stands here as the representative of, and pleader for, the bone and sinew of the country - says he represents the painters, I tell him that he does not. Painters in other States have told me that they feel this duty. If any one tells me that a painter does not think it unjust that his tools of trade should be taxed to the extent of 20 per cent., while those used by other workmen, including even those of the plasterers - -whose tools are small - are allowed to come in scot-free, he cannot know anything about human nature. There is not a single point of justice in the Government proposal. It will not stand, and I ;am surprised to see men in responsible positions pleading for this signal injustice to an important craft. It has been said that the committee has only been approached in regard to this question by the master painters. Who approached this committee with regard to the 101 duties that have been placed on the Tariff? Who approached the committee with regard to boots ? Who approached the committee in regard to caps and hats’?

The CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable member is out of order in referring to those matters.

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

– My excuse for being out of order, Mr. Chairman, is that you allowed a dozen honorable members who spoke before me to be out of order.

The CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable member is in error in making any such statement. I have asked every honorable member to keep to the question before the Chair, and I now ask the honorable member for South Sydney to do so.

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

– You may have asked them to do so, but they have not done it, and I am only replying to statements made by honorable members who have not kept to the motion before the Chair. You, sir, know as well as I do that there is no member of the committee more amenable to remarks from the Chair than I am, and I say the discussion has wandered away from the question before. I shall only say now that it seems to me to be an extraordinary thing that this proposal should be made in the interest of what must be a twopennyhalfpenny industry. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports shakes his head, but I can refer him to an industry in connexion with which £2,000,000 worth of stuff has gone in and come out of a factory in a year, and yet all these industries are taxed right through for the purpose of supporting these twopenny-halfpenny industries in Victoria. Why should we tax the whole country to uphold one or two factories here? We are told that the brushmakers here are working night and day to execute their orders, and under the circumstances this proposal is only a greasing of the fatted sow. I say this is a scandal and an injustice, and I protest against such a signal injustice as .a proposal to tax the tools of trade of one class of workmen when we have exempted those of every other class of workman, and the machine tools used in connexion with every manufacture in the Commonwealth.

Mr. BATCHELOR (South Australia).A most extraordinary heat seems to have been generated over this difference between 20 and 25 per cent, on the small portion of brushware included in this item. I was disposed to vote with honorable members opposite, as it seemed to me rather anomalous that the tools of trade of painters and paperhangers should alone be taxed to the extent of 25 per cent., but after hearing the resolutions that have been carried by the Painters’ Society, by the workmen and master painters as- well, I am inclined to alter my opinion.

Mr Spence:

– ;They were only praising the brushes manufactured here.

Mr BATCHELOR:
SOUTH AUSTRALIA

– The honorable member is quite mistaken. I listened attentively to what was said, and the resolution quoted not only praised the locallymade brushes, but also requested that the duty on brushware should not be lowered. We find that the coach painters are also doing the same thing. I suppose their reason is that they believe that the effect of the duty will enable them to get good material made within the State in which they live ; and they consider, as I do, that that will be for the benefit of the community generally. Under these circumstances, I am not prepared to go against the wishes of the men engaged in the industry.

Mr. CONROY (Werriwa).- A duty of 25 per cent. is a charge of 5s. in the £1, and we have now a statement from the Treasurer that so far as the painters are concerned they must pay this 5s. in the £l on their tools of trade, because in his opinion is. in the £1, the duty which the Senate requests us to fix, is too low a duty. Surely that is a statement which the painters throughout Australia ought to take notice of ? It shows how little the interests of that class are considered by the Government. The Government propose to take 5s. in the £1 from men like these in order that they may hand it over to some syndicate in connexion with something else which they possibly favours. I suppose that next week we shall know how much is to be taken from the people to hand over to a particular syndicate. There is no use in addressing reasonable arguments to persons who are without knowledge, and who are unable to understand arguments founded upon reason. The fact that there is a science of political economy is, apparently, unknown to honorable members on the other side. The Minister for Trade and Customs could not think of allowing liquid fuel to be admitted free because it would interfere with the coal mines. The right honorable gentleman, if he could, would stop the sun shining that there might be perpetual winter, and that employment might be given to men in getting coal out of mines. All this shows the curse of having had a legal Ministry at the head of affairs in dealing with the Tariff. It is the worst thing that could happen to any community.

The CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable and learned member must confine his remarks to the item.

Mr CONROY:

– I am pointing out that it is a great misfortune that in connexion with this Tariff Ministers should set themselves up here as advertisers for a particular firm or firms they know. We have frequently had the spectacle of a Minister rising to say that some firm he knows, friends of his own, have sent him letters saying that we should do this or that.

Sir Malcolm McEacharn:

– The honorable and learned member’s statement is not true.

Mr CONROY:

– The honorable member for Melbourne may not have been present when these things have been said, but we who have been here have heard them said a dozen times. In dealing with varnish, we had a Minister getting up and giving the name of a particular firm, who he said had taken the prize at some exhibition, and tonight the Treasurer is giving the name of another firm.

Sir George Turner:

– I have not mentioned the name of a firm to-night.

Mr CONROY:

– The Senate has here made an extremely moderate request that the dutyupon these articles should be lowered to 4s. in the £1, and the Government still say that they must get 5s. in the £1 . The request being a reasonable one, we cannot expect the Ministry to agree with it. I am certain that the want of knowledge exhibited by the members of this legal Ministry has done more to set the people of the Commonwealth by the ears than anything else. I do not know where we shall be in the long run, but fortunately an election will very shortly come on, and we shall have an opportunity of setting things right by abolishing these duties.

The CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable and learned member must confine his remark’s to the question before the Chair, or I shall have to order him to discontinue his speech. I have called him to order frequently for commenting upon Ministers and their actions.

Mr Conroy:

– I think I am entitled to do so.

The CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable and learned member is not entitled to wander from the question before the Chair.

Mr CONROY:

-I desire to comply with your ruling, but I think I am in order in pointing out that a proposal of this kind is not in accordance with the dictates of reason.

The CHAIRMAN:

– The honorable and learned member must know that he is trifling with the Chair. I have stated the motion on two or three occasions. The action of the Government, their reason or want of reason, and the probability of a future election, have nothing to do with the question before the Chair. The honorable member is not in order in referring to any of these matters.

Mr CONROY:

– I shall not dispute your ruling. I would point out that even if we agreed with the amendmen t suggested by the Senate there would still be a duty of 20 per cent., or a tax of is. in the £1, upon these articles. Ministers will not agree to that proposal, but I trust that they will be compelled to do so. I shall at all events support the amendment which the Senate has requested us to make.

Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta). - I move -

That the motion be amended by the omission of the word “ not,” with a view to adding the words, “except as to painters and paperhangers’ brushes, which shall be free.”

Sir George Turner:

– That is going further than the request of the Senate. They ask for a reduction of the duty to 20 per cent., and the honorable member asks that these articles shall be free. I think the amendment is not in order.

Mr. BROWN (Canobolas).- I gathered from the remarks of the Treasurer that the manufacture of brushes has reached such a stage of perfection in Victoria that the local manufacturers are able not only to supply local requirements but also to supply to a considerable extent the requirements of the whole of the Commonwealth. Though the manufacture of brushware has been brought to such perfection here there is still a considerable importation into Victoria. I find that for the eight months dealt with in the return submitted by the Treasurer, the revenue derived in Victoria from these duties amounted to no less than £4,328. Possibly that revenue is derived from the class of brushes which the Senate wish to have exempted from duty.

Sir George Turner:

– No; a different class of brushes altogether ; hair-brushes, tooth-brushes, and brushes that are not made here.

Mr BROWN:

– I can quite understand that whitewash brushes and other rough brushes could be readily made in all the States, but there may be considerable difficulty in the manufacture of the finer class of brushes,and upon these a more reasonable duty, such as that requested by the Senate, might be imposed. New South Wales has not previously had the benefit of a protective Tariff and, according to the theory of the protectionists, the brush-making industry cannot have been developed to any great extent in that State. We might expect, therefore, that the importations into New South Wales would be very much greater than the importations into Victoria; but that is not the case. Although the Tariff in this respect is designed for purposes of protection, it produces a considerable amount of revenue, and, according to the return to which I have already referred, the revenue from the whole of the Commonwealth under this item amounts to £15,937. Naturally, those who have to pay the duty are desirous of some relief, and I am not prepared to say that it falls most heavily upon ordinary painters ; but the return shows that a large importation is taking place, despite the dimensions and perfections of the brush-making industry in Victoria. Prom the evidence adduced I am disposed to support the requested amendment.

Mr Deakin:

– I beg to submit that the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Parramatta is not in order. What we areauthorized by the Constitution to do is to make any of the omissions or amendments requested, with or without modification. What is the principle underlying the honorable member’s amendment? If it be competent for us to ignore what we ourselves have done, and what the other Chamber has done in this Bill, by reducing a duty without any limitations, it must also be competent for us to ignore it. by increasing a duty to any extent. For instance, we sent up a proposal to fix this duty at 25 percent. The Senate requests that an amendment be made reducing the duty to 20 per cent. According to the interpretation of the section in the Constitution involved in the amendment now proposed, we should be able to say - “We shall rebuff you by making it 30 per cent. or 35 per cent. instead of 25 per cent.” I think that illustration puts the position as well as any argument I could use. What the Constitution means is, simply, that this House may, if it thinks fit, make any of such omissions or amendments with or without modification. In this instance, the Senate have requested us to amend an item by reducing the duty from 25 to 20 percent. We may make that amendment or we may make it with any modification, by reducing the duty to any rate between 25 and 20 per cent. But it is only within those limits that we can act. We are estopped from increasing the duty by our own original proposal, and from decreasing it by the request of the Senate. If we went beyond those bounds we should not be making the requested amendment with a modification; we should be ignoring the Senate’s request, and making an altogether new proposal. If the contention of the honorable member were correct, we should have this extraordinary position : that whereas, if the Senate exercised the right which it has in regard to certain kinds of legislation to make amendments, we should, in dealing with the measure afterwards, be confined to the scope of those amendments, where the Senate, having no right of amendment, but simply a right to make requests, we should be allowed to substitute altogether new proposals. The object of the procedure in which we are now engaged is to enable the two Chambers to draw nearer together ; but if the interpretation of the honorable member were adopted, it might be a means of pushing them further apart. I venture to submit that the honorable member’s proposal is not an amendment with a modification, but something which, going behind the former decisions of the House of Representatives and beyond the request of the Senate, it is not competent for us to consider.

Sir William McMillan:

– I think it would be well for the honorable member to withdraw the amendment. To my mind the contention of the Attorney-General is a perfectly sound one. If the case were otherwise, it would be possible, in dealing with the requests of the Senate, to open up anew the whole of the questions dealt with by the items to which they refer.

Mir. Joseph Cook.- The AttorneyGeneral has put only one part of the case. I take it that the section of the Constitution means that we may treat the Senate’s requests as a whole, if we choose, instead of dealing with them individually, as in the present instance. Suppose the Senate requested the reduction of the duty upon certain articles, and wished to have the duty upon other articles intimately related with them increased, surely it would be permissible for the House to deal with the two requests together, and to harmonize the Tariff accordingly ?

Mr Deakin:

– I admit that it may be necessary to consider the bearing of one item upon another, but contend that the case put by the honorable member does not affect my position, which is, that if the Senate requests a reduction, we can agree to that reduction or offer a smaller reduction, or stand by our original decision, but cannot increase the duty. To make an entirely new proposal is not to make an amendment with a modification.

Sir John Quick:

– I think that the position of the Attorney-General is unanswerable, and that our action is confined between the previous determination of this House and the request of the Senate. We cannot increase the duty to which we have agreed, and we cannot decrease it below the rate suggested by the Senate. The honorable member’s proposal is not a modification of the Senate’s request ; it is a new proposal.

Mr McCay:

– The actual wording of the Constitution is -

The House ofRepresentatives may, if it thinks fit, make any of such omissions or amendments with or without modification.

We are, therefore, specifically limited to the consideration of each request as it stands alone, and the contention of the honorable member for Parramatta that we are at liberty to deal with the requests as a whole, with a view to harmonizing the Tariff, is not sustained by the Constitution. The Attorney-General’s position, that our action is confined between the rate of duty originally proposed and that requested by the Senate, is I think, correct.

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

– I thought from the first that the other side were right. I do not press the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdra wn.

Question - That the amendment requested be not made - put. The committee divided.

AYES: 17

NOES: 14

Majority … … 3

AYES

NOES

Question so resolved in the affirmative.

Mr. BATCHELOR (South Australia).As a matter of personal explanation I desire to say that I had intended to vote on the other side, but neglected to cross the floor of the chamber in time.

Item 132. Brushware, viz. . . n.e.i., ad valorem., 25 per cent.

Request.- That the duty be reduced to 20 per cent.

Motion (bySir George Turner)agreed to-

That the amendment requested be not made.

Item 134. Cordage and twines, n.e.i. . .

Special exemption - Cordage, viz. , unserviceable.

Request. - That the words “used for papermaking “ be added to the special exemption.

That the amendment requested be not made.

At first we were inclined to make this amendment, but, we found that, as all unserviceable cordage is free at present, the amendment would restrict the operation of the exemption.

Motion agreed to.

Item 136. Explosives, viz., ammunition and cartridges, n.e.i., free.

Request.- That the articles be made dutiable at 10 per cent.

That the amendment requested be not made.

When this item was dealt with by the committee previously honorable members were practically unanimous that explosives should be placed on the free list, and we propose to give expression to the undoubted wish of the committee.

Motion agreed to.

Item 136, Explosives. - Special exemptions.

Request. - That “fuse cotton” be added to the special exemptions.

Motion (by Sir George Turner) agreed to-

That the amendment requested be made.

Item 136. Explosives, viz. . . . - Powder, sporting, free.

Request. - That the article be made dutiable at 10 per cent.

That the amendment requested be not made.

Motion agreed to.

Item 137. Photographic dry plates, sensitized films and paper, ad valorem, 15 per cent.

Request. - That “ sensitized films and paper” be added to the special exemptions.

That the amendment requested be not made.

A considerable sum of money has been expended in securing the necessary machinery for making sensitized films and paper within the Commonwealth. It is the desire of a large number of photographers who use these materials that they should be made within the Commonwealth, because they are thus enabled to procure it fresh and of good quality. They consider that the commodities should be made here, and that they should be dutiable.

Sir MALCOLM McEACHARN (Melbourne). - If this motion is put to the vote I shall have to support the Government, although when the matter was previously before the committee, I advocated the free admission of thesearticles. I was then acting undera misapprehension, and, instead of advocating the free admission of sensitized films, I should have sought to exempt from duty albumenized paper, which I believe is sensitized here. I believe that we should inflictgreat injury upon an industry in which a large sum of money has been invested if we acceded to the request of the Senate.

Motion agreed to.

Item1 37. Special exemptions.

Request. - That prepared plates for engravers and lithographers be added to the special exemptions.

Motion (by Sir George Turner) agreed to-

That the amendment requested be made.

Miscellaneous. - Special exemptions. - Articles imported by and for the official use of the Governor-General or States Governors.

Request. - That the specialexemption be omitted.

That the amendment requested be not made.

The general practice has been to permit of the free introduction of articles for official use, and I think it would be unwise for us to depart from the custom that has been followed for many years.

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

– For some years past there has been a growing disposition on the part of the States Governments to keep correct books of account between the various departments, and that is all that is required in connexion with the matter under consideration. It seems to me that it would be wise to charge duty upon all goods imported for the official use of the Governor-General or the States Governors, and, if necessary, to increase their salaries to a corresponding degree. I am quite in accord with the request of the Senate, and fail to see any necessity for exempting these articles from duty.

Motion agreed to.

Miscellaneous. -Special exemptions. - Scientific instruments and apparatus imported by and for use in universities, colleges, or public hospitals.

Request,. - That the words “ imported by and” be omitted, and that the words “ under departmental by-laws” be added.

Motion (by Sir George Turner) agreed to-

That the amendment requested be made.

Miscellaneous. - Special exemptions. - Surgical and dental instruments and appliances (not being furniture), viz., amputating, cupping, dissecting, examining, ear, eye, mouth, nose, throat, midwifery, also operating, veterinary.

Request. - That the word “ optical “ be inserted after the word “surgical.”

Sir GEORGE TURNER:

– I move-

That the amendment requested be not made.

I would point out to the committee that under the Tariff in its present form surgical instruments for dealing with the eye are exempt from duty. The Senate has requested that we should insert the word “ optical, “which, however, might be held to include eye-glasses, spectacles, and a variety of articles which we do not desire to admit free. I think that the wording of the exemption in its present form is ample to cover all that is required.

Motion agreed to.

Request. - That in regard to all items consisting of more than one division, each subdivision shall be lettered alphabetically.

Sir GEORGE TURNER:

– I am glad to say that the Government are thoroughly in accord with the last request of the Senate, and I therefore move -

That the amendment requested be made.

Motion agreed to.

Sir WILLIAM McMILLAN (Went worth). - I think that we may congratulate ourselves upon now having completed our consideration of the Tariff. Whether we can congratulate ourselves upon the work that has been done, or look to future results of that work without some amount of trepidation, I do not know. At any rate, so far as honorable members upon this side of the Chamber are concerned, they are very glad that their labours are at an end.

Mr KINGSTON:
Protectionist

– I can assure honorable members opposite that we share in the sentiments which have been expressed by the acting leader of the Opposition, and I trust that the work performed will be for the good of all. I move -

That the date of any of these amendments shall be the date of its being made in the Bill by the House of Representatives.

Motion agreed to.

Resolutions reported.

page 15103

ADJOURNMENT

The “Drayton Grange” Commission - Recruiting in Military Forces - Customs Administration.

Motion (by Mr. Deakin) proposed -

That the House do now adjourn.

Mr CONROY:
Werriwa

– I notice that to-day the Executive Council appointed a commission to inquire into the accuracy of the statements which have been made regarding the condition of the transport Drayton Orange. Whilst I was perfectly willing that such a commission should be appointed, I regret to learn that it consists of Members of this Parliament. I do not object to its personnel, but I do think that it is not a good thing for us to initiate the practice of constituting commissions from amongst politicians. There is a danger that in future it may be regarded as a precedent, and that the party in power may use it to make purely political appointments. We do not desire anything of that sort. Of course, all Australia is interested in the present inquiry, and I think therefore, it would have been wise to appoint men who were more in the nature of judges, and who would be free from any suspicion of political bias. I admit that in this case no such suspicion can arise, as the members constituting the board of inquiry have been selected from all sides of the Parliament. I merely wish to protest against commissions being appointed from amongst politicians unless they are called upon to deal absolutely with si political question, and we must not forget that perhaps the administration of the Defence department may be called in question.

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

– I wish to draw the attention of the Acting Prime Minister to the fact that I recently addressed two letters to the Minister for Trade and Customs, of which I have received no acknowledgment. This practice of leaving communications unanswered is not peculiar to the Customs department ; it applies to some other departments. I trust, therefore, that the Acting Prime Minister will take steps to remedy it. It would not hurt the departments to acknowledge communications which are forwarded to them. I am aware that in some of them printed forms are kept for acknowledging the receipt of correspondence, so that the services of. a boy only are required to address the envelopes. But when honorable members do not know where their communications have gone, they are naturally led to believe that the department is not conducted upon business lines.

Mr McCAY:
Corinella

– I am sorry that the Acting Minister for Defence is absent, but perhaps the Attorney-General will be good enough to take a mental note of my complaint. In the forces of the Commonwealth for some months past the maintenance of the strength of the various corps has been prevented by the issue of an order, at the instance of the Government, which prohibits them from recruiting. I think that no one will question the accuracy of my surmise when I say that no essential changes in the organization of the forces are likely to occur during the present year, and if the practice of prohibiting the maintenance of the existing strength of the various units be continued for a few months longer, the forces will get into such a depleted condition that at a later stage practically double work will be involved in their reorganization. On a previous occasion, I brought this matter before the House, and the Minister directed that the practice of recruiting should be permitted. But on the very day of his departure from the Commonwealth, the Government issued instructions that the system should be discontinued, and with most ludicrous results. This is a matter of considerable gravity. If the Government do not wish to cripple the forces of the Commonwealth for several years, they will remove the embargo of which I complain. I am quite satisfied that the military authorities cannot have advised the Government to continue that embargo, and if it is continued they will have the satisfaction of knowing that they are seriously interfering with the efficiency of the forces in every part of the Commonwealth. It is a question of starving the maintenance allowance of the forces, and if any money is saved it is saved in an illegitimate way. The removal of the embargo does not involve the passing of the amount for expenditure in the coming year. But it does involve the maintenance of proper efficiency in the troops. I happen to know that more than one commanding officer has said officially that he will not be responsible for the continued efficiency of his corps, unless he is allowed to recoup the inevitable drainage of the men away from his command. The policy has been to keep men passing through the ranks. Tq have men going out and none coining in is most ridiculous, and I cannot understand how the Government permit it to continue.

Mr. SYDNEY SMITH (Macquarie).I understand that it is the intention of the Government to-morrow merely to propose the second reading of the Post and Telegraph Rates Bill, and then to ask the House to adjourn. I have brought several matters under the notice of the Minister for Trade and Customs, and I shall be glad if he can acquaint me with the departmental decisions before I leave Melbourne to-morrow. In one case some delay is alleged to have taken place in the settlement of a dispute with regard to some tanners’ machinery. In another case, Messrs. Vale and Son, of Auburn, near Sydney, have been trying to obtain a decision from the department with regard to certain goods alleged to be dutiable. Like others in the trade, they are anxious to ascertain whether the goods are dutiable or not in order that they may be able to act in a business-like way. The Minister knows that whenever a dispute arises in regard to certain items in the Tariff it is impossible to do any business, because, until it is known whether the goods are dutiable, a price cannot be fixed. “While a disputed matter is unsettled it causes considerable trouble and inconvenience to the firms who are concerned. I shall be very glad if the Minister can give me some information about the two cases I have mentioned.

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

– It would require some hours to discuss the many difficulties which have arisen since the Tariff was introduced; but, amongst others, I might instance the fact that we cannot get any settlement of the question of the drawbacks on sugar. I have brought it before the Minister several times, both privately and publicly, but we cannot get a decision. Apart from that matter, I hear of all kinds of difficulties which are experienced by commercial men. The other day, I was told by a gentleman, who was perfectly prepared to pay any duty which might be demanded under the law, that he had to submit to his goods being put into a bond, at his expense for cartage and rent, pending the ability of the department to pass the entry which he presented in Sydney. It really calls for an inquiry by the Minister. It is a disability which ought not to be allowed to exist. It is imposing extra taxation on the traders of the community. I desire to ascertain from the Acting Prime Minister how far the Government have secured the co-operation of the Imperial authorities in the proposed inquiry concerning the treatment of the troops on the Drayton Grange. When I first heard of the episode, it seemed to me that we had no real effective power of holding an inquiry, and that the Imperial authorities ought to be represented on the Royal commission, otherwise the inquiry might end in. smoke. I do not quite agree with the strictures of the honorable and learned member for Werriwa that the appointments - political appointments as he called them - are ill-advised.

Mr Conroy:

– I said that with the personnel of the Royal commission I did not quarrel.

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

– The Government have picked out two honorable members in whose report the House will have the utmost confidence. Probably they are the two best men who could have been selected for the purpose from both sides of the Chamber. I do not believe that any injury is likely to result from the selection of members of the House to make an inquiry of this sort. I think that they are well qualified and able to conduct an inquiry, and, providing that the Ministry show the tact and discretion which have been displayed in selecting from each side an honorable member who has the confidence of the whole House, we need not fear the result of the inquiry which is demanded.

Mr Conroy:

– Supposing we have to attack the Defence department on account of their report 1

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

– I do not think we shall, because both sides are well represented. .But I consider it is important to secure the co-operation of the Imperial authorities. The men were under the Imperial Army Act and regulations up to the point at which they were discharged, and, if we do not secure the co-operation of the Imperial authorities, the inquiry is likely to end in a fiasco. That we should endeavour to avoid, because, undoubtedly, there seems to have been grave mismanagement or maladministration.

Mr KINGSTON:
South AustraliaMinister for Trade and Customs · Protectionist

– Honorable members are no doubt aware that there is a very considerable strain on the Customs department.

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

– It has existed for some time.

Mr KINGSTON:

– No doubt; but it will disappear shortly, owing to the completion of our labours in connexion with the Tariff. Apart from the difficult work in connexion with the initiation of one uniform system for six different States, the fact that the House has been in session for over a year has prevented that Ministerial attention being given to departmental matters, without great difficulty, which ordinarily could be given with ease. No doubt there has been a great strain upon the officers. Last Friday, for example, I was without the services of both the ComptrollerGeneral and the Collector of Customs in Victoria. Mr. Stephens was able to return last Monday to his work ; but I regret to say that the Comptroller

General, Dr. Wollaston, will probably have to apply for leave - which, of course, if applied for will be granted - and that a prolonged absence on his part may be necessary. I do not think that any effort is being spared by the officers to cope with the exceptional circumstances. As to the complaint made by the honorable member for Parramatta that certain letters have not been replied to, all that I have to say is that I took those letters as appertaining more particularly to myself. I thought that it would be considered better if the matter were attended to and the complaint remedied rather than that the honorable member should be troubled with a formal acknowledgment?

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

– The complaint relates not only to the department of Trade and Customs.

Mr KINGSTON:

– In view of the relations which exist between Ministers and other honorable members, I did not consider that honorable members were likely to make a point of the matter to which the honorable member for Parramatta has referred, if attention were paid to their requests. As to the matter to which the honorable member for Macquarie called my attention, and which was referred to by the honorable member for Parramatta last Thursday - in regard to a question affecting the Custom-office - I have only to say that it was put right before midday on Friday. Unfortunately, I did not have an opportunity of informing them that their wishes had been complied with, before they left for Sydney on Friday, but no doubt they are perfectly satisfied that what they required has been done. Every attention is also being paid to the other questions. As to what has fallen from the honorable member for South Sydney, I really believe that he is mistaken in saying that owing to the plethora of work at the Customs department certain goods were put into bond, instead of the entries being accepted at once. If the honorable member will let me have for my official information all the facts relating to the complaint, it will be looked into. I am very sanguine that the authorities in New South Wales would not have permitted anything of the sort, although I have no doubt that a report setting out the particulars stated by the honorable member was made to him. I venture to say that when the true facts are placed before him, they will be shown to bear a very different complexion. I have no doubt that if such a thing had taken place, it would have been reported to head-quarters.

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

– I am assured by a personal friend of the truth of the statement.

Mr KINGSTON:

– We shall look into the matter, and I hope that when it is explained the honorable member will find cause to withdraw the charge he has made against the Customs authorities. Instructions have been issued that in all cases of disputes as to duty, a deposit of the duty shall be accepted, and that the owners of the goods shall be allowed to have them. The question of drawbacks is a very troublesome one, and we have been compelled to consider it very carefully. I have come to the conclusion - and I am supported by the result of official analyses - that in some cases the State has been got at. I allude especially to a case in Tasmania, in which an official analysis disclosed that while we were allowing drawback at the rate of 50 per cent. on sugar, the quantity of sugar contained in the jam was really not more than 36 per cent.

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

– The Government can guard against that.

Mr KINGSTON:

– We have first to ascertain the facts, and we propose to guard against such a thing., When we looked into the question again, the analyst reported that better results had been obtained from a different sample which had been submitted to him. I am sure I have the honorable member’s sympathy in my desire to protect the revenue.

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

– The right honorable gentleman has; but I have not his sympathy.

Mr KINGSTON:

– I think we shall be able to arrange the matter.

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

– Will the Government give them interest?

Mr KINGSTON:

– We will give them everything to which they are entitled. I think we shall be. able to arrange so that proper drawback will be allowed while the revenue of the Commonwealth will be protected.

Mr DEAKIN:
AttorneyGeneral · Ballarat · Protectionist

– In regard to the question of commissions, I have only to say that as their objects differ immensely, their character should also differ. The case to which reference has been made is one in which it appeared to the Government that the kind of elements we combined by appointing some honorable members, as well as professional men, who have been chosen to constitute the commission, was the best that could be obtained. I admit that in some cases it would be desirable to have a commission consisting of men removed entirely from military or political influence.

Mr Conroy:

– Supposing the Defence department is proved to be at fault?

Mr DEAKIN:

– In that case the department will receive an exposure as thorough as is required. The matter of recruiting to which attention has been called is very important. Inquiries will be made to discover the reason for the course adopted, which I feel sure was taken on the advice of the general officer commanding. With regard to the Imperial commission, of course there wouldbe every desire to obtain the very valuable assistance which sucha commission could render, but we must first deal without loss of time with the Australian incidents - the accident that happened at Albany, and in the case of the Norfolk, that which occurred at Adelaide. These, perhaps, were the main causes of the loss of several lives. We do not need any Imperial commission to deal with them, but there may be other questions upon which the findings of an Imperial commission would be very valuable.

Question so resolved in the affirmative.

House adjourned at 11.47 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 13 August 1902, viewed 7 November 2016, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1902/19020813_reps_1_11/>.