2nd Parliament · 3rd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
– I desire to ask the Minister of Trade and Customs whether he will lay on the table the complete reports of the Tariff Commission relating to the items which were the subject of motions moved by him last night, to be considered next week?
– I shall be pleased to lay them on the table as soon as possible now that there is. no need to keep the public uninformed of our intentions.
– I desire to say, by way of personal explanation, and in reply to the statements made last night regarding my attendances in this Chamber, that I have consulted the attendance-book, and find that I have not been absent one day during the session, and have only once missed being present at the opening of the proceedings, while I have remained in the Chamber as much as possible during the sittings.
– The honorable member is one of the most regular attendants here.
– Honorable members who themselves attend here frequently can vouch for the correctness of my remarks.
Honorable Members. - Hear, hear.
Mr.KELLY asked the Minister representing the Minister of. Defence, upon notice -
In view of the fact that allowance has not been made for the payment throughout1906-7 of the salary of a Deputy Adjutant-General, while a new office of “Assistant Adjutant-General “ is proposed to be created, is it intended, after General Finn’s retirement, to place the Deputy Adjutant-Generalship and the InspectorGeneralship in charge of the same officer,or is it intended that the former office should lapse?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows: -
As no provision exists on the Estimates for the office of the Deputy Adjutant-General’ after the 31st December, the position will not be filled. Certain amendments to the Regulations and Standing Orders regarding the allotment of duties of the Inspector-General and members of the Military Board are contemplated, and will be submitted in due course.
asked the Minister representing the Minister of Defence, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Minister of Home Affairs, upon notice -
Whether he will make arrangements for the South Australian Federal Electoral Rolls to be printed in Adelaide?
– The answer to the hon orable member’s question is as follows: -
When the rolls for South Australia were last required to be printed, the Government Printer, Adelaide, was unable to undertake the work, consequently it was done in Melbourne, where the type now stands. The Government of South Australia was recently afforded an opportunity of printing the rolls for that State, but for the following reasons it is not considered desirable in the public interest to accept the offer made : -
– Is not some latitude allowed as to form?
– No. A certain form has been specified; so that in future the rolls may be used as registers, in order to save trouble and expense.
Motion (by Mr. Austin Chapman) agreed to -
That leave be given to bring in a Bill for an Act relating to postal rates.
Bill, presented, and read a first time.
Debate, resumed from 2nd August (vide page 2295), on motion by Sir William Lyne -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
.- Although I have carefully read the information submitted to the House by the Minister of Trade and Customs, and have listened with extreme attention to the speeches of honorable members who have preceded me, I have been unable to discover any justification for the proposals now before us. The right honorable member for East Sydney, in addressing himself to the question, ridiculed the extraordinary choice of productions set down for encouragement, and deplored the slipshod manner in which the measure has been drafted. . But he accepted the proposal, because he thinks that it may possibly have some small effect , in promoting settlement upon the land. The right honorable member for East Sydney, spoke eloquently about pandanus, of which he knows nothing, and of the Minister, whom he knows only too well. The honorable and learned member for West Sydney, after trying to burlesque the right honorable member’s attitude, gave as his only excuse for supporting the measure the fact that it already had the support of his fiscal leader, in return for whose election support he, by the way, seems to keep up his sleeve never anything better than a stiletto. This honorable and learned member favoured the encouragement of the fish and egg industries, subjects with which his political character and political experiences entitle him to deal as an authority. Although the honorable and learned member tried to ridicule the speech of the leader of the Opposition, he wasonly too glad to follow his lead, and is indeed ready totry to win his support on all occasions when he really needs it. The honorable member for Laanecoorie, who also entered the lists last night, uttered’ a panegyric on Australian qualities, thinking, perhaps, that, by eulogising the good qualities of his electors, he might blind them to his own deficiencies.
– Are we not a grand lot of fellows?
– We are; but I do not think that much public good is gained by always reciting the fact. It was curious that the honorable member, in speaking of the inventive faculties of our people, used a cry which I think is the meanest invention ever discovered by the necessities of a political party; I refer to the provincial catch cry of “Australia for the Australians.”
– That is the only stock-in-trade which the Ministerial party has left.
– No doubt. I shall not refer at greater length to the honorable member for Laanecoorie, because I believe that he supports the measure from the deepest conviction of the value of its provisions, quite apart from the inherent good qualities of the Australian people. The other honorable members to whom I refer found their sole groundfor supporting it in the remote possibility that the tillers of the soil may derive benefit from it, and that a small number of persons may be induced to leave the great centres of population to settle on the vacant land of our country districts. But where is it proposed that they should go? Where is it that cocoa, coffee, cotton, rice, and rubber are most,likely to be grown ? Are not the proposals in the Bill inducements to persons to leave the healthy and pleasant conditions of residence in the southern States to be maroonedon the fever-stricken shores of the Gulf of Carpentaria? Now, the expenditure of a few miserable thousands per annum is thought to be sufficient to bring about the splendid results which the Minister professes to anticipate in the passing of the Bill; but the bounties have been apportioned socarelessly as to make it extremelyunlikely that beneficial results; will accrue. It is proposed, for example, that a bounty of £4,500 per annum should’ be paid’ for the production of raw cotton, at the rate of 10 per cent. on the value of the cotton produced. In other words, it isproposed to Provide a bonus on. ayearly output of £45,000. Now, the importation of raw cotton into Australia last year was valued at only £20,962, and1, in the preceding year, at barely £12,000; so that it is proposed to encourage the production of twice as much raw cotton as was required by the Commonwealth last year, or of four times as .much as was imported in 1904. Of course, honorable members who support the proposal may take refuge in the excuse that the bounty, by inducing the overproduction of raw cotton, and thus making it a drug in the market, will indirectly foster the industry of cotton spinning. But surely it is a curious anomaly that a bounty that sets out to encourage raw cotton production will eventually ruin this verv industry by fostering overproduction, and a consequent slump in prices. The Minister does not seem to understand his own measure. Clause 7 allows the GovernorGeneral to make regulations, ‘ not inconsistent with the Act, prescribing all matters permitted to be done, and especially for varying the amount set out in the fourth column of the schedule as the maximum payable in respect to any goods. The fourth’ schedule indicates that not more than. ,£50,000 is to be ‘paid away in any one vear. But the duration of the bounty period will range from five to ten years, and thus it comes about that the total sum to be asked for - if the provisions are intended to be acted upon as they stand - will be £305,000, .instead of the £500,000 anticipated by the Minister. But what is £190,000 to the Minister? He does not seem to have fully understood the meaning of his own Bill. The measure contains a provision for the payment of the standard rate of wages in any industry in respect of which a bounty may be claimed. I desire tol know whether the Minister intends to standardize the rates of wages throughout the industries” affected by the measure. Will the same wages rule in the cocoa, coffee, cotton, and condensed milk industries? The Minister does not appear to have considered the subject. Clause 5 reads as follows : -
Every grower or producer who claims bounty under this Act shall’ specify the rates of wages paid in respect of the labour employed by him in growing or producing the goods, and, if the Minister finds that the “rates so paid are below the standard rates paid in the place or district in which the goods are grown or produced, he may order the bounty to be withheld.
I think that we are entitled, at this stage, to be informed as to the intentions of the Minister. A number of these industries have not been brought into existence in Aus: tralia, and there is, consequently, no standard rate of wages here at the present time. Now, how can the Minister .prescribe a standard rate of wages when he has .nothing to guide him in Australia? Is he anxious to encourage the employment of white labour in the cultivation of cotton in the Northern Territory at the rates of wages paid in India or to the negroes in the southern States of America ? A number of the articles included in the schedule are essentially the products of tropical countries. This applies particularly to cocoa, coffee, cotton, rice, and rubber. I deeply regret that we have had no evidence placed before us as to the possibility of growing cotton, for instance,, with white labour. I desire that only white labour should be* employed in Australia, but I do not wish ta throw away money in an effort to establish an industry which cannot be carried on by means of white labour with any hope of success. Sir George Le Hunte, the Governor of South Australia, recently issued a very valuable report, in which he pointed out that in his opinion it would be impossible to carry on the cultivation of products such as cotton, and coffee in the Northern Territory by means of white labour. In addition to this, we have the experience gained in connexion with the sugar industry in Queensland. Every year we spend a large sum of money - a sum which is to be increased by nearly 100 per cent, during the current year - in assisting the sugar planters of northern Queensland to carry on their operations bymeans of white labour. It is estimated” that the sugar bounties payable this year will amount to £278,000, as compared with £148.000 paid last year. In the past we were told that the payment of the bounty would result in white labour being substituted for black, but, unfortunately, we find at the present time that a larger area than ever before has been planted by black labour, and1 is now under cultivation. If by this enormous expenditure we have failed to substitute white labour for black labour in the cultivation, of sugar, what possibility is there of our insuring the employment of white labour in the production of cotton and similar commodities bymeans of a paltry bounty, such as that now proposed ? I am anxious to see a White Australia, and I desire that the northern portion of Australia, should be settled : but I am not going to be trapped into giving my support to a political placard, such as the measure now before us. The Bill contains a most ridiculous provision in clause 6 which reads -
The employment of any aboriginal native of Australia or of any coloured person born in Australia, and having one white parent, in the growing or production of any of the goods specified in the Schedule shall not prejudice any claim to bounty under this Act.
In other words, the half-caste child of one white and one black parent would be entitled to the bounty, whereas the child of two half-caste parents who were each the offspring of one white and one black parent would be debarred from any benefit. Thus, in effect, the bounty could be claimed by those having black blood in their veins only when they most nearly approached the alien race. I am firmly convinced that this measure is nothing but a political placard. The Government have noticed that the farmers are making preparations to give their verdict against them, and they are now hoping to escape by placing a little salt on the tail of the agricultural industry. Ministers hope to placate the commercial community by establishing penny postage, and the farming community are to be mollified by means of this miserable sham. If the Government really wished to confer benefit upon the producing interests why did not they make provision for cold storage transit facilities between here and the old country? For the first time for many years they have entered into a mail contract without considering that important matter. One part of the Government report submitted to the House in connexion with this Bill speaks of the farming interest, and says -
This interest could best be dealt with by making arrangements with regard to transit, cool storage, &c.
Why. then, did not the Government show that they had a real interest in the welfare of the producers by. providing cool storage facilities? They regard it as necessary to conciliate the farmers, and very properly so. They have trifled with proposals which are calculated to take away the land from the farmer. They are entirely at the dictation, and dependent for office upon the support, of a party, one of whose main planks when carried into effect will be to bring the value of Australian land down to zero.
– The honorable member should talk a little sense for a change.
– I am glad to see the honorable member in the House fora change.
He is generally only too glad to absent himself, so that the Government may pass their measures without criticism.
– The honorable member is enough to drive any one out of the House.
– The honorable member does not absent himself merely while I am addressing the House; he is absent twenty - three hours out of the tweny-four.
– The honorable member is always speaking.
– I understand that the leader of the Labour Party maintains that the plank in the Labour platform to which I have referred will not have the effect of bringing land values down to zero. I would recommend him to go back and study his own land tax proposal. The farmers know exactly what such a proposal will mean, and they are prepared to give a solid verdict against the Government. The right honorable member for East Sydney stated that he would support the Bill in the hope that some of the seeds proposed to be sown would fall upon other than stony ground. When I see a Bill of this character, however, I am mainly concerned with the consideration as to who will have to supply the seed that is to be recklessly thrown away. We are not so fabulously rich that we can afford to throw away , £50,000 per annum for ten years ; and I am not prepared to devote the taxpayers’ money to the purposes contemplated unless we have some definite guarantee that beneficial results will accrue. The chief duty of honorable members is to recognise their responsibility as trustees of the Australian taxpayer, and in that capacity I shall offer an unremitting opposition to the passing of this Bill.
– I regret that I cannot support this measure. It is primarily a Bill which is intended to benefit the tropical portions of Australia, at the expense of the more temperate zones. I have never been able to understand the policy which seeks to bolster up those individuals who are not prepared to enter upon an industry unless they receive adventitious aid, whilst totally ignoring those who have the courage and ability to embark upon enterprises on their own initiative, and to make them successful. With the exception of the Item of tinned fish, the whole of the articles enumerated in this Bill are tropical products.I make bold to say that no more farcical proposal was ever submitted to a deliberative body than that to develop the preserved fish industry in Australia. I hold in my hand the statement upon which we are asked to sanction the payment of a bounty for the encouragement of that industry. Speaking of the Tasmanian coast, it says -
The barracouta, kingfish, and rock cod appear periodically in such vast numbers that frequently the supply is greatly in excess of the local demand. Owing to the absence of proper fish-curing establishments, large quantities have at times been known to be wasted, or merely utilized as manure.
What are the facts of the case? There have been practically no kingfish caught upon the Tasmanian coast during the past twenty-five years. I will undertake to say that there have not been a hundred kingfish a year caught upon that coast during the past quarter of a century. So far as barracouta are concerned, it is a fact that we did establish a preserving industry in Tasmania, but it was killed because the people would not purchase its product.. The barracouta is the very coarsest of fish - it really resembles young shark - and the people will not eat it.
– There is a lot of it eaten in Victoria.
– Because, under the Victorian Tariff, any decent fish in a preserved state was shut out, and thus the people were compelled to live practically upon offal.
– The statement comes well from an announced protectionist - from one who was elected to this House as a protectionist.
– The honorable member must be thinking of himself when he begged the protectionists to take him under their wing.
– That statement is not correct. I never approached the protectionist body for the purpose of getting a single vote.
– If the honorable member desires a day’s amusement, and chooses to indulge in angling in Australian waters. I will guarantee that more than half of the first twenty barracouta which he captures are absolutely worthless, because of a worm which renders them unfit for human consumption.
– Thatworm is present only during certain seasons.
– It is present in barracouta during the entire year. I can assure the honorable member that at the present time these fish are a scourge on the Tasmanian coast.
– The honorablemember really does not know what he is talking about.
– I understand thoroughly what I am talking about. The use to which most of the barracouta caught is put is that of making manure. This manure is sold at the rate of £2 per ton, and as evidencing how plentiful the fish. are,. I may mention that quite recently one boat fishing near Hobart caught 180 dozen within a few hours. I repeat that the barracouta is a scourge which is destroying the more edible fish in Bass Strait. I have already mentioned that the experiment of preserving these fish was tried in Tasmania, but without success, and, after all, one ounce of practice is worth any amount of the theories of the Minister of Trade and Customs, and the honorable member for Bland. That industry was killed because of the want of a market for its product. In this connexion, I would point out that American preserved salmon are retailed to-day atas low a price as 4d. per lb. tin, inclusive of the duty of1d. per lb. If that impost were abolished, they would be sold at 3d. per lb. tin. What must the wholesale price of those fish be ? Further, it is well known that in England those engaged in the preserving industry cannot touch herrings when their price is more than 2d. per dozen. What fish can we preserve in Australia?
– The Tasmanian Statistician denies absolutely what the honorable member is saying.
– Before the Bill emerges from Committee the Minister will be afforded an opportunity of writing to any person engaged in the trade to ascertain whether or not my statements are accurate.I repeat that there are not 100 kingfish of any size caught off the Tasmanian coast yearly. These fish were there in enormous quantities twenty-five years ago. Indeed, they were then so numerous that they were sold for manure. But during the past quarter of a century they have practically disappeared. The barracouta is not a fish which the people will consume in any quantity.
– I can assure the honorable member that he is quite wrong.
– In Tasmania they can be bought for 2½d. or 3d. per yard. , Only the very poorest members of the com- munity will eat them, and frequently, when a fishing smack comes into port, any person who feels so disposed, can visit it, and take away half-a-dozen of these fish for nothing. They are only used as manure.
– Trevally and other fish are put to the same use.
– What really edible fish is sold in Australia which it is within the power of the poorer classes of the community to purchase?
– That is because the hawkers have to pay a market due in every suburb that they visit.
– It is well known that the Tasmanian coast is the best coast in the southern hemisphere for fish, and yet I can assure honorable members that the Tasmanian Government not very long since had to take very rigorous steps to prevent the whole of the fishing grounds of that State from being depleted for the purpose of supplying the Melbourne market. I know that the matter was brought under the notice of the Minister of Trade and Customs. As a matter of fact, the Tasmanian Government actually seized a Victorian fishing smack which was violating the Tasmanian regulations.
– It was fishing inside Tasmanian bays and harbors.
– It was fishing within Tasmanian jurisdiction.
– Its members were fishing at an island which is a lot nearer to Victoria than it is to Tasmania, and the Government inspector was on board the boat.
– The party were fishing under conditions which the Tasmanian fishermen were not permitted to enjoy. I hold that the statement upon which we are asked to support this particular bounty is incorrect. The kingfish, I admit, is a good edible fish. It is as far ahead of barracouta as a pork chop is ahead of a piece of old ram. The proposal of the Government, so far as preserving barracouta is concerned, will be an absolute failure, because the people will not purchase that fish. Now, I wish to ask the Minister why he has practically confined the Bill to the tropical parts of Australia ?
– What extra bounty does the honorable member suggest?
– My complaint is that States which have not been spoonfed - which have had to depend uponthe enterprise of their own people to develop their industries - are now asked to assist other persons who have not the pluck to embark upon industries for themselves.
– The Tasmanian industries were built up under a protective Tariff.
– The Tasmanian Tariff was not so protective in its incidence as is our present Tariff.
– It was a higher Tariff.
– The Tasmanian Tariff was levied almost entirely for revenue purposes,although incidentally it afforded a certain amount of protection. In that State persons are engaged in canning, drying, preserving, and exportingfruit. They do all these things without receiving any assistance from the Government. Yet they are now asked to bolster up industries in other States where the people are not prepared to do the same thing for themselves. What has been the history of the bounty system in Australia? Take the whole of the bounties which have been paid inVictoria as an illustration. Of course the desire underlying, that system is to assist our primary and secondary industries. But I would ask what primary industry in Victoria has been able to stand alone after the bounty has been withdrawn? What has become of the beet sugar industry?
– A bounty was never paid upon beet sugar. The Victorian Government merely loaned so much to a mill.
– The honorable member is splitting straws. There is no doubt that State assistance was rendered to the beet sugar industry for the purpose of establishing it, and that the effort failed.
– Owing to the action of one of the honorable member’s half leaders.
– The anxiety that some honorable members display to cast upon the shoulders of others the responsibility for a failure is remarkable. Attempts to establish industries by means of bounties have not succeeded.
– Was not the Victorian butter bonus successful ?
– Will the honorable member say that those engaged in the primary industry were materially assisted by that bonus?
– That was not the honorable member’s statement.
– If a bonus was necessary to establish the industry in Victoria, how is it that New South Wales and Queensland started without such assistance, and are developing a very much larger industry ?
– The Victorian bonus led the way.
– New South Wales led the way in the establishment of butter factories.
– Is any honorable member prepared to suggest that the enormous export trade in butter, which has been developed by New South Wales and Queensland, would not have been started but for the granting of the Victorianbutter bonus?
– No one has suggested anything of the kind.
– I am glad to hear it. The great primary industries of Australia have been established without assistance in the form of bounties.
– Do not forget the woollen mills of Tasmania.
– The woollen industry is not a primary one. I am referring to the great primary industries of Australia, such as the growing of wheat, fruit, and other products which are now being exported in such enormous quantities. Those industries were not established by means of bounties.
– But the export trade in wheat secures a big bounty in the shape of special railway freights.
– The bounty given by the Commonwealth for the production of sugar by white labour has not been a success. The history of the movement is not such as to warrant its repetition. Although we shall shortly be paying away £250,000 per annum in respect to the sugar bounty, the fact remains Chat in Australia, where it is grown, sugar is £4 or £5 per ton dearer than in England, where it is not. That does not suggest a very satisfactory outlook. But what do the latest figures show ? Notwithstanding that coloured labour is to absolutely cease at the end of the present year, we find that during the years 1904-5 the production of sugar in Queensland increased from 120,000 tons to 130,000 tons, and that practically more than half that quantity was produced by means of black labour.
– At one time the whole of the sugar produced in Queensland was grown by black labour.
– Although, as the result of the sugar bounty and the Tariff Australia is paying something like £250,000 per annum to encourage the growth of sugar by means of white labour, the total increase in our output between 1904 and 1905 was less than 10,000 tons. I believe that, provided that the labour difficulty can be overcome, there is a great future before the cotton-growing industry in Queensland, and honorable members are aware that I am not, and never have been, an advocate of black labour in Australia. Already the production of cotton in Queensland is being given a trial. I have read with the greatest interest the pamphlets showing the work done by Dr. Thomatis, who has, at the present time, about 100 acres under crop. If the cotton industry is to succeed, it will be the result not of a bounty, but of the pluck and energy of such men. The proposed bounty will add nothing to the brains or energy of men of the stamp of Dr. Thomatis. They have the pluck and the industry to enter upon this new undertaking, and an industry so established will be on a much firmer basis than one which men enter chiefly with the desire to secure the bounty payable in respect of it. The finances of Tasmania are not in such a flourishing position as to warrant my voting for the granting of bounties in this direction. Tasmania is suffering so severely under the financial provisions of the Constitution that every £1,000 paid out of her Treasury means a reduction in the wages of the lowest-paid men, such as railway employes, policemen, State school teachers and others, in the Public Service of that State. We are not in a position to pay bounties for the establishment of certain industries while the men who have to contribute to those bounties have built up others without any assistance whatever.
– The bounty is to come out of our one-fourth of Customs and Excise revenue, and we are not to get any more.
– If the implication of the honorable member that the States are receiving that which they expected to receive were correct, the position would be different. But the House knows full well that for nearly twoyears, such States as Queensland have not been receiving 75 per cent. of the Customs and Excise revenue collected in those States. The intention was that they should do so; that is the spirit of the Constitution, but unfortunately, according to the letter of that instrument, this is not being done. In these circumstances, we have to remember that we are called upon to grant these luxuries, whilst the absolute necessities of the smaller States are suffering. I am not prepared to support a Bounties Bill for which no need has been shown. Not one argument has been advanced to prove that the industries in respect of which these bounties are to be applied cannot be established - if they will pay in Australia - wholly as business transactions, or as commercial speculations. If bounties are to be given for the production of cocoa, coffee, cotton, and so forth, why should they not also be paid in respect of the production of wheat, apples, and preserves? Why not treat all alike? If there is to be a system of spoon-feeding, why should not all our producers participate in it? The Government proposal will be a direct incentive to men lacking the enterprise to embark on these industries without assistance, to set to work at the expense of others who have had sufficient pluck and energy to build up the industries in which they are engaged.
– The Opposition desired the other night that a bounty should be paid in respect of astronomy.
– That is nonsense.
– The honorable member will not accuse me of desiring that such a bounty should be given. I regret that I cannot support anything in this direction with a view to encouraging the settlement of the people on the land. Indeed, I do not think that these bounties will have that effect.
– Then, what will assist us in the direction mentioned by the honorable member ?
– If we removed harassing restrictions, gave the people free access to the land, and made the position of those in the back blocks better by granting improved postal, telegraphic, and educational facilities, we should do more than we should ever be able to do by the granting of bounties.
– Does the honorable member believe in State-aided cables?
Mr. McWILLIAMS. No. I believe that the cables should be dealt with on exactly the same lines as are our telegraph services throughout Australia. I regret that I am unable to support this Bill, and I trust that in Committee we shall impose such restrictions on the payment of these bounties as will prevent the country being exploited as it has too often been by men who start out merely to obtain a bounty, rather than with the object of establishing a permanent industry.
– I think that the honorable member for Franklin touched the key-note of this question when he asked what might have appeared to be a somewhat irrelevant question. During the course of his speech, he inquired why we should not give bounties for the production of wheat and other products. A bounty on wheat is unnecessary, because our wheat industry is now facing the markets of the world. But the question asked by the honorable member points to the supreme test to be applied in dealing with milters of this kind. Everything depends upon a judicious selection of the industries to be assisted in this way. We are indebted for the whole of our national wealth to the exporting industries. Mere production for local consumption does not, to my mind, mean wealth. But any industry which, having been assisted to a small or even to a considerable extent, is eventually able to compete in the markets of the world, must bring wealth to the country. Although it may cost something at the outset to establish such industries, as soon as they are fairly set going on sound lines they are sure to yield a return. The honorable member for Franklin referred to the attempts which have been made in Victoria to establish industries by means of bonuses. I think that his statement that, with the exception, perhaps, of the butter industry, we have very little indeed to show for that system, is practically correct.But the butter industry was one that fulfilled the conditions that I would impose in regard to the adoption of a bounty system. It is one for which our soil and climate are suitable, so that it cannot help succeeding. The industries which have established themselves in Australia already - the pastoral, agricultural, and mining industries - are primary in more senses than one. They are primary in the order of development, and also in the sense that they require the employment of very little skilled labour. The returns given by the pastoral and agricultural industries are very easily won in Australia. I do not think that there is any other place in the world in which a crop of wheat can be sown and garnered at less expense than in this country. That is why t!h.e agricultural industry has so readily established itself here. There are other industries, which it is more difficult to enter upon, but which, if established, will eventually yield good results, and it behoves us to see if we cannot offer inducements for their establishment.’ There are immense potentialities in this country if we can put labour on our land. For some of the productions to which it is proposed to give a bounty, we may look for a good home market, and. later, for an export trade. According to the Minister’s figures, the value of the cocoa imported into Australia is about ,£205,000 ‘per annum, and, of the rice, £226,000. Those sums ave considerable, and I think part, and perhaps eventually the whole, of the money might well be paid to our own people. The importation of preserved fish is valued at /280.000 per annum, and of condensed milk at £194,000 per annum. Possibly the milk-preserving industry may, in the future, follow the lines of the buttermaking industry, so that we shall have a large export trade in preserved milk. I am more doubtful about the success of the flax and hemp industries, and the proposals for encouraging the production of rubber, -coffee, and cotton deserve much wider consideration than it is necessary to give to some of the others, because thev are tropical products. Both sides of the House have expressed adherence to the white labour policy, and we are therefore bound ‘to consider how our northern territories can be developed with white labour. The leader of the Opposition said, some time ago. that he would rather see that country remain undeveloped than allow a departure from the White Australia policy, and most people would agree with him to a very considerable extent. But we have a duty in providing for, to use a phrase which has recently come into use, the “ effective occupation “ of our territory. In my school days the population of the world was estimated at 800,000,000, while it is now estimated at 1,580,000,000. If it continues to increase at that rate, we shall not be allowed to hold land which we are not using. We know that one of the nations of Europe, in particular, makes no secret of its intention to enlarge its navy, in order to extend its colonial influence, and to increase its commerce. Therefore, having adopted the policy of a White Australia, we may be called upon to justify our occupation of the northern parts of the Continent, and are thus placed in a position which compels us to do something for their development. The importation of raw cotton into Australia last year was valued at only £20,962 ; but there is a good deal to be said in favour of an attempt to establish cotton-growing here. I have a friend connected with the Geographical Society, who takes a great interest in the matter. Recently, in reply to a request for information as to the prospects of cotton-growing by white labour in the northern parts of Australia. I received from him a letter in which he writes -
The cultivation of our special new Australian variety of cotton….. can be very profitably worked by white labour, provided the Federal Government will import a proper supply.
He sends two sheets of. a letter received from Dr. Thomatis, Bh.D’., of Cairns, one re his coffee, of which, my friend has a splendid sample, and the other re the cotton, “which,” my friend writes -
He continues to improve, and for which he has a market at is. 6d. per lb. Such a price for a cotton yielding one ton of lint (ginned cotton) per acre, seems much too “good to be true, but I have a letter from a Mr. Hedley, of Sunday ‘Island, King’s Sound, Western Australia, to whom I sent seed/ that even in his almost barren island, the trees yielded ‘in the first nine months 112 bolls per tree, equal to i£ lbs. seed cotton, equalling 1,200 lbs. per acre, and that although they had experienced a drought for that season, the cotton trees did not appear to be affected by it. The tree comes, into profitable bearing on the second year, and is perennial.
I have also a copy of some reports issued to various Governments by Mr. John Bottomley, who says -
I left England at the close of 1903, for the purpose of collecting information for the British Cotton-Growing Association, as to whether cotton could be successfully cultivated in Queensland under present conditions. On my arrival in Australia. I was commissioned by the Governments of Queensland, South Australia, and Fiji, to report on the cotton question in those States. I have traversed the whole of Queensland and the Northern Territory of South Australia, and visited many of the islands in the Fiji group, and the results of my investigations have been embodied in reports to the British Cotton-Growing Association, and to the Federal and State Governments of Australia.
I do not intend to make many quotations from his. report, nor to consider his suggestions as to what might be done by means of black labour, because we wish to employ only . white labour ; but, in a report to the late Premier of South Australia, he says -
Many years ago several attempts were made to establish cotton-growing in Queensland, but after a trial lasting for several years, the industry was abandoned, and at the present time is non-existent. Although cotton had been grown in the early history of Queensland, it was not until the time of the American civil war that the industry became important. In 1862 14,344 lbs. of cotton were exported, of an average value of is. nd. per lb.; and from that date up to 1871 8,000,000 were exported. A large bonus, granted by the Government on every bale of cotton exported, helped to stimulate the industry. Later on it was decided to abolish the subsidy, and very soon cotton ceased to be cultivated. Then the idea of manufacturing their own cotton fabrics in the State came to the front, and lead to the second period of cotton-growing. The Queensland Parliament sanctioned the payment of a. large sum of money to the first factory which turned out a quantity of cotton manufactured goods. With’ this inducement a company was formed, and a factory established at Ipswich ; and thus with the prospect of a market at their doors, the farmers at West Moreton again included cotton among their crop. This revival, however, was short-lived, lasting only from 1890 to 1897, when financial difficulties brought the operations of the cotton manufacturing company to an end ; and by this misfortune cotton-growing was stopped for a second time. It was proved, however, that cotton could be grown, and experience was gained as to the soils to be selected. Errors were made in planting on rich alluvial ground, where the plant grew vigorously, but produced wood rather than cotton fibre. One difficulty attaching to the cottongrowing industry is the amount of labour demanded in picking, and although the work is light, it involves an outlay of much time, and this renders the crop only profitable when cheap labour is available for the” purpose. Hence the Federal laws, which prevent the introduction of cheap coloured labour, seriously affect the question of re-starting the industry. But hopes are entertained that cotton may be grown in districts where the white farmer can cultivate it on small holdings, capable of being managed by a white family with occasional hired labour. I have spent about six months in Queensland, acting on the Commission appointed last January by the State Government for the purpose of ascertaining whether cotton could be successfully grown by white labour. An officer of the Department of Agriculture accompanied me’, -and we both traversed the State, interviewing farmers, examining soils, &c, and the results of our investigations were embodied in a report which the Government forwarded to the British CottonGrowing Association of Manchester. We came to the conclusion that’ cotton could be successfully cultivated by the farmers in small and easily worked areas (from 5 to 10 acres) as an adjunct: to other crops; but that it could not be successfully grown in large plantations in the absence of cheap coloured labour. That is the view I still hold. I found, however, that in Queensland the farmer wished to be guaranteed a minimum price for several years before undertaking the cultivation of cotton. The Queensland farmer is quite aware that to cultivate cotton successfully’ it is necessary to receive some measure of protection from the coloured labour of the tropical countries. If tropical Australia is to enter into competition with- other countries in the production of cotton, the conditions must be equalized as respects labour, or he must receive protection by the granting of a bonus or the fixing of a minimum price. The successful establishment of cotton cultivation in the Northern Territory at the present time will depend to a large extent on the prevailing economic conditions, especially on the possibility of cultivating other and more profitable crops than cotton, as well as on the supply of labour and ihe facilities for transport.
As there is a possibility of something being done in the direction of cotton-growing in our northern districts, we are bound to offer encouragement to the industry. We cannot satisfactorily attempt to hold our northern country if we are not prepared to do something for its development. I agree with what other speakers have said as to the need for protective legislation. The establishment of a Federal bureau of agriculture was proposed at a very early stage in the history of this Parliament by the honorable and learned member for Bendigo. The Minister, in introducing the measure referred to the need for obtaining assistance from the Departments of the States, and, so satisfied have I always been that it is necessary to work in co-operation with the States, that I moved an amendment to the motion of the honorable and learned member, to the effect that pending the establishment of a Federal Bureau of Agriculture, assistance should be sought from the States Departments. I also think that some means should be provided for obtaining expert opinions as to the localities in which various products could be grown to the greatest advantage. It would be useless to leave it open to farmers to. embark upon the cultivation of crops in localities entirely unsuitable as to soil and climate. Unless something is. done in the direction I have indicated, a large amount of money will be wasted.. We shall have a repetition of the experience gained in Victoria in connexion with vineyards which were planted in unsuitable localities solely with the object of obtaining the bonus offered by the Government. Considerable areas near Melbourne were planted with vines, under the encouragement of the bonus, but. grass is now growing amongst the vines, and sheep are grazing in the vineyards.. The State should be divided into districts suitable for the growth of specified products, and the bounty should be payable on l, inrespect to operations carried on under conditions which would offer a reasonableprospect of success. I think, that we have a very important work to perform in- regard to the industrial development of the Commonwealth, and particularly in regard to the occupation of the Northern Territory, but I trust that before any definite steps are taken the whole question will be very carefully thought out. . If reasonable care is taken in connexion with the regulations, good results may be brought about.
– If we go on as we are now proceeding this will be known as the placard session. Flags and banners are being displayed for election purposes, and, in connexion with the measure now before us, an attempt is being made to blind the farmer to the effects of other legislation passed by us which has had a detrimental effect upon his industry. I wonder what benefit the proposed bounties will confer upon the great producing interests of this country ? We were told by the Minister in a “ highfalutin “ way that the measure would tend to attract people from the cities, and settle them on the land where they would have an opportunity to make a living, ‘ and to even grow rich. Just imagine a man going out into the country, and starting a plantation of rubber trees which would have to grow for nine years” before they would yield any return. Just fancy taking an unfortunate member of the unemployed out of the city streets, and dumping him down upon a rubber plantation. He would have to sit in the midst of his trees for eight or nine years before he would handle a penny as the result of his labours. I understand that a rubber tree when tapped produces about 1 lb. of rubber per annum, and that the highest value of 1 lb. of rubber is 6s. . 6d. Therefore, a planter would have to wait for nine years for a tree that would produce 6s. 6d. per annum. What a magnificent prospect this would open up to men who are unable to do any good for themselves in the city. Some of the provisions of the measure are most amusing. Take, for instance, the case of peanuts. It is proposed to encourage the production of peanuts. Why, peanuts were grown in Australia when I was a boy. I used to row with my father across the Hunter River, and dig up peanuts by the bushel. No bounty is required for the establishment of the peanut industry. The measure seems to me to reduce legislation to a farce. It is proposed to give a bounty for the production of coffee. That is another commodity that we are producing here. Recently, when I was in Queens land, I visited a plantation, and saw the proprietor, who told me that he was able to do all the work required in looking after the coffee plants, except during the picking season. I asked him whether he could produce coffee by means of white labour, and he told me that he could do so if he were paid 5s. per lb. for the berries.
– Let me tell the honorable member that planners have never yet employed black labour in coffee growing in Queensland.
– Although I do not live in Queensland, like the honorable member, I can inform him that this gentleman to whom I have referred does employ black labour. He told me that he used black Australian labour, that is, aboriginal labour. Surely the honorable member would allow the native blacks to work upon the Queensland plantations?
– Decidedly. The honorable member is now on a different footing altogether.
– I am speaking of black labour. The coffee planter told me that he gave the aboriginals tobacco and clothing, and, during the time that they were engaged in picking the berries, paid them wages. He represented that it was absolutely impossible to pay the wages demanded by white labourers. The work of picking the coffee berries can be very well performed by children, and the cost of gathering the crop would be altogether too heavy if adult white labour had to be employed at 6s. or 7s. per day. Our consumption of coffee is not very great, and I should like to know what we should do if we produced coffee more than sufficient to supply the home market? How could we expect the product of our bounty-fed industry to successfully compete in the markets of the world ? Then, again, it’ is proposed to offer a bounty for the production of condensed milk. For years past there have been condensed milk factories in New South Wales, and, I believe, ‘ also in Victoria. It appears to me that in nearly every case it is proposed to give a bounty in respect of an industry which is already established, and that the Ministry desire to confer an advantage upon some one who is looking to them for assistance. Thedifficulty in connexion with the condensed milk industry has not been to establish factories, but to turn out a high-class article. I could have understood the action of the Minister if he had decided to employ experts, fully acquainted with the successful methods adopted in other parts of the world, to advise those, engaged in the industry here. I know of one factory where they produce good milk, as a rule; but. now and again, a bad lot of milk is placed on the market. Every effort has been made to discover the reason, but without avail. If the Minister would bring out an expert, who could point out where mistakes were made, and overcome come of the difficulties now experienced, he would confer benefit upon the community. With regard to the proposed bonus for the production of rice, I understand that some Japanese have recently gone to the Goulburn Valley with a view to cultivating rice. It would almost appear that the Government desire to give a bounty for rice to be grown by coloured labour. If rice is a product that we can with advantage grow in this country, there should be no necessity to offer any bounty. The New South Wales dairy expert, whose report is quoted in the papers laid on the table by the Minister, points out that some stimulus is required to be given to the condensed milk industry. He knows better than that, because he points out -
But the greatest reason why more condensed milk is not made in Australia is lack of knowledge with regard to the fine points of manufacture. Many thousands of pounds have been lost in experimental work, and one enthusiast lost as much as ^30,000 in endeavouring to make a satisfactory milk. It is much more difficult to make condensed milk here than in the colder climate of Europe. There are two reasons for this, the main one being that fermentation proceeds so rapidly in this warm climate that the milk is really unfit for condensing by the time it reaches the factorv. if it receives only the ordinary treatment which ihe farmer usually gives his milk to be used for butter-making. The knowledge possessed by the average farmer here regarding the changes :bat take place in milk is not on the whole equal to that possessed by dairy farmers in the elder countries of the world.
How will the payment of a bounty affect that industry ? Then this dairy expert says that the industry requires some stimulus. He tells us that the cost of the milk which is contained in a lb. tin is id., that the value of the tin itself is Jd., and that the total cost per lb. tin is He further in forms us that these tins are retailed at 7d. I take it, therefore, that they could be purchased wholesale for 4d. per lb. If that does not allow a sufficient margin of profit to induce private enterprise to embark upon the preserved milk industry, I do not know what will. Then we have the magnificent fish industry. This morning, we have heard a good deal in reference to barracouta. I think I know the difference between a garfish and a shark, but that is about all. I do not know what a barracouta is - I have never seen one. But so far as the tinned fish industry is concerned, I hold that we shall not be able to compete with the salmon and other fish which are imported. Any bounty which we may grant for that purpose is not likely to make the industry a success. What is the value of the fishing industry in other countries? In Canada, the product is worth between ^5,000,000 and ;£6, 000,000, and there are 93,000 persons engaged in the industry. I claim that if an industry be natural to a country, it will develop itself, Here is an industry, the Canadian product of which is worth -£51 per head of those engaged in it, and we are asked to grant a bounty of £d. per lb. to assist in its development here. Does anybody imagine for a moment that such a scheme will be successful? In Newfoundland, the value of the produce is about ^2. 000.000 annually. The United States fisheries are worth ^10,000,000, and employ about 212,000 people - an average return of ^47 per head. In Italy, the value of the annual product of the industry is estimated at ^700,000, and the industry employs about 100,000 fishermen - an average return of £7 per head. I have no doubt that if I had time to study the paper which has been circulated by the Government in connexion with this Bill, I should be convinced that the Minister did not inquire thoroughly into this matter before submitting his proposals. If he attempted to assist the agricultural industry by proposing to impart instruction to those who are engaged in its various branches, at the expense of the State, 1 should be prepared to support him. Such a course would certainly bestow some advantage upon the producers. The honorable member for Herbert has stated that the other night certain members of the Opposition wished to grant a bounty to promote the study of the science of astronomy. I do not know whether he meant that we wished to weigh the stars, and to pay so much per lb. upon them. When he is compelled to advance arguments of that sort in support of the Bill, his position must be extremely desperate. Then we are asked to grant a bounty to encourage the production o(f olive oil when, as a matter of fact, it is already ‘being produced in South Australia.
I understand that the olive oil produced there is very good. Only the other day, I saw that the Premier of that State had made some disparaging remarks in reference to olive oil, and that when Sir Samuel Davenport called his attention to the fact, and forwarded him some samples of the locally manufactured article, he stated that he had spoken of an article which was produced when he was a boy.
– Mr. Price was referring to imported olive oil.
– At any rate, he admitted that the ‘local article was a good one. That being so, where is the necessity to grant a bounty to foster its production? The idea is an absolutely erroneous one. To my mind, there is a good deal of comedy in this Bill. Underlying it is the idea of putting before those who are engaged in farming pursuits this placard - “ See how we are endeavouring to help you.” Under the Bill the Government will be robbing the potato grower and every other man in the community to bolster up industries which can be established naturally. They will be taking from the wheat growers a contribution to Sir Samuel Davenport, and to the coffee plantations of Queensland. If there be anybody in Australia who is in need of assistance from the State, I claim that it is the man who frequently loses his crop of wheat. Surely he is deserving of some consideration, seeing that he is compelled to toil a’ll through the seasons - whether they be hot and dry or cold and wet - and at the end .of the harvest may find himself without any return whatever. In conclusion, I claim that we have no right whatever to levy tribute upon one section of the community for the purpose of benefiting another. .
.- The honorable member for New England has argued that we should not grant bounties to encourage industries which are likely to be established naturally. Had’ that policy been adopted in the past, I venture to say that the development of Australia would have been very much retarded. We mortgaged both our present and our future in order to develop the resources of this continent by building railways and telegraphs, and in a hundred other different ways. We did far more than private enterprise would have done under the circumstances. Whilst I admit that most of the industries enumerated in this Bill will eventually be established ‘under natural conditions-
– They exist now.
– I propose to speak of an industry in which I was engaged in my youth. I know something about the cotton industry, and I am not one who is prone to waste the time of the House, and to feel most assurance upon matters concerning which I am most ignorant. I agree with the honorable member for Franklin and the honorable member for New England that the cotton industry, will eventually be established in the Commonwealth, irrespective of whether we grant a bounty to it or not. But the .question we have to consider is, “ Will it not pay the Commonwealth to set aside a certain sum of money to encourage the early establishment of that enterprise, in view of the important part which it is likely to play in our economic and industrial development?” Australia, I think, is more favorably situated than is any other country for the production of cotton. We are near the most populous Empires in the world, the inhabitants of which are nearly all clad in cotton. I refer to the Chinese and Japanese Empires. It may be that by-and-by wool will enter more and more largely into the texture of the clothing of their people, but at the present time cotton is the fabric with which their myriads clothe themselves. If Australia ‘had to supply the demand for cotton of the Japanese alone, this particular industry would be one of the most important in the Commonwealth. According to a memorandum that I have before me, they imported during the first six months of 1904 151,693,259 lbs. of raw cotton. My view is that not a pound of the cotton required! bv Japan need come from any other place than Australia. I think it was the leader of the Opposition who said last night that industries which were successful in other parts of the world might prove a failure in Australia. I interjected at the time that they might improve in Australia. We have ample evidence that there is something in that contention. In Andalusia, Spain, as well as other places, very fine wool is produced, but when the sheep from those lands were acclimatized in Queensland and other parts of Australia, they improved to such, an extent that to-day there is no finer wool in the world than the merino of Australia. Although I am not an expert, I think I can safely make that statement.
Our climatic conditions in certain circumstances will improve staples, whether animal or vegetable, that have practically reached the acme of perfection, under the climatic conditions of other parts of the world. Great and vast as our pastoral industry is becoming, with all the subsidiary returns obtained from it, I believe that in the cotton industry we have one that will by-and-by assume much greater proportions. I should like to see the pastoral and every other industry in the Commonwealth grow. In reply to the interjection of the honorable member for New England, who said a few minutes ago that the industries in respect of which bounties were proposed to be given were all peculiar to Queensland, I may say that I believe that cotton will Le successfully grown in the northern parts of Victoria, as well as over a large part of New South Wales, a certain part of Western Australia, and certainly in the Northern Territory.
– It will be grown in all that northern belt.
– That is so. The Commonwealth is within a zone which, so far as its climatic conditions are concerned, will admit of the growth of cotton in twothirds of the territory. I am speaking, not as a Queenslander, but as one who desires to see established in Australia an industry that iwa 11 assume proportions of which we have at present but a very “slight conception. I have a number of reports from men who have engaged in the cotton industry. I have already mentioned that, as a youth, I had something to do with it, and I know that .cotton can. be produced with a minimum of labour. It is not costly to grow. The chief difficulty is experienced at the time of picking. I should be one of the last to advocate the establishment - especially by Government subsidization - of any industries which would take away our children from school. When, cotton was being grown in Queensland some years ago certain arrangements were made by the Council of Education - not the Department of Instruction that we now have in that State - to allow children a certain time off in given seasons of the year. That is a principle in which I do not believe. Mechanical science and invention have solved more difficult problems than those relating to the picking of cotton. I confess that knowing what I do about the growth of cotton. I thought it was almost impossible to secure a machine that would pick it without also picking- the withered leaves from the bottom of the pod, and allowing them to mix with the cotton, which would thus be rendered useless. According to a recent report from America, however, the difficulty of picking cotton by mechanical means has been solved, and cotton can now be picked by those means at a very much cheaper rate than is possible by the employment of low-paid negro child labour. Australian inventors have shown before that their mechanical genius is quite equal to the conditions with which we have to contend. We have already invented several machines that have been adopted in other parts of the world. In the Mallee country the cost of clearing by ordinary means was so great that the land would have been practically useless, but for the invention of the stump-jumping- plough. Stripper harvesters and other machines peculiar to Australia and Australian conditions have also been invented. Given proper encouragement we shall find amongst our own people not only the enterprise, but the mechanical genius necessary to enable us to cope with all the difficulties that are likely to confront us in the establishment of the industries enumerated in the Bill. As to the quality of the staple, the honorable member for Franklin paid a well-deserved compliment to Dr. Thomatis. of Cairns, with respect to the celebrated “ Car 0vanica “ species of cotton which he has produced there. The virtue of that cotton is that it is a perennial j its fibre; is long and fine, and it commands at present a high price. So far as I have been able to judge, however, its yield’ is not so great as is that of the ordinary shrub cotton grown in other parts. It is certainly finer, and is, I believe, a cross between the Peruvian and Sea Island varieties. Last season we produced in Queensland cotton which, according to the reports, was of excellent quality. Honorable members, doubtless saw a paragraph published in the press during the present week, to the effect that some of the cotton produced in Queensland last season was sent to the Liverpool market, and that bids were made for it, although it was ultimately withdrawn from sale The brokers stated that it was worth from rod. to nd. per lb. The average price obtained for cotton sent from America to England is from 4½d. to 5½d. per lb., so that the incident shows that the quality of the staple has not deteriorated under Australian conditions, but that, like merino wool, it seems to have improved. Objection has been raised to the encouragement of- the cotton industry, because, on a former occasion, when the Queensland Government subsidized it to a considerable extent, -a satisfactory result was not achieved. I have on previous occasions tried to account for the failure of the venture, and I hope I shall not be accused of tedious repetition if I briefly recount the causes. I have been asked privately, and also in the House, how it was that the industry was not established’ at that time. Mr. Daniel Jones, the expert associated with the Agricultural Department of Queensland, has given his reasons, one of them being that we were not sufficiently acquainted with the conditions of culture essential to success. But to my mind the chief reason was that in those days we planted all sorts of seeds, and secured a mixed staple that would appeal to the experts in the cotton manufacturing centres of the old world just as successfully as would a bale of unclassified wool. There are other honorable members who know more about wool than I do, but I think they will agree that the value of our clip would be considerably reduced if, instead of properly classifying our product we adopted the system which- was adopted in the case of cotton. We had the Uplands. New Orleans, Sea Island, Egyptian, and other varieties growing. The farmers in those days walked along the drills and sowed a mixture of all kinds, with the result that we secured a mixed crop, which was not worth nearly as much as it would have been had we sown particular varieties. Further than that, in those days we had no experts to advise us. We had insect pests which we did not know how to combat. Long and tedious delays were also experienced in securing the returns from the crop sent to the old country, because it was conveyed, not in steamships, as would be the case to-day, but in sailing vessels. At that time we had but little railway extension. The cotton crop had to be brought, bv means of bullock waggons and horse drays, into centres, where it was ginned ; nowadays it would be conveyed to those places by rail. The delay to-day would be infinitesimal as compared with what it was before, and I am satisfied that, under present conditions, a very much smaller return would pay the farmer. In those days, the bounty given by the Queens- land Government was distributed in such a way that, although indirectly it doubtless enabled the purchasers of raw cotton to give a slightly increased price, the farmers themselves did not receive the benefit of it. It was given chiefly to landlords, and it led to the accumulation of large estates, rather than to the encouragement of small holdings devoted to the growth of cotton. All of these conditions helped at the time to bring about the failure of the industry. The conditions to-day are entirely different, and I think we should now embark upon the enterprise under far more favorable conditions. Whilst we are free to admit that the industry must grow, it may take thirty, forty, or fifty years to do so naturally, whereas, as the result of the stimulus proposed by the Government, it might become a big industry in the course of five or ten years. Is it worth while spending this money to bring about in ten years that for which we might, under normal conditions, have to wait fifty years ? We are wise in providing this little nest-egg, so that we may reap the advantage of the industry at an earlier date than we should otherwise do. In dealing with this Question, some honorable members appear to have lost sight of the possibility of manufacture. We are ‘ now importing a certain quantity of cotton to be mixed with wool in the manufacture of certain goods. We have a small quantity of machinery for the manufacture of cotton, and it has been demonstrated that, within the Commonwealth, cotton can be manufactured of a quality Quite as good as anything that has been produced in any other part of the world. I may be. twitted with the fact that although cotton manufacture was encouraged in Queensland by means of a bonus, it proved a failure. I am compelled to admit that that was so, though the time at my disposal does not permit me to fully explain the circumstances. It is sufficient to say that the enterprise got into the hands of men who were anxious, not to encourage the industry, but to make money by the sale of their property. Machinery which used to employ about 100 hands, who were not ill paid, is now lying idle, covered with white lead and grease. That machinery ought to be working, and, if in use, would give employment to some of those who are now living on the charity of the State. The Queensland duty on cotton-piece goods at the time this experiment was made was the same ‘as the present Commonwealth duty. I should like to see the rate raised, to ‘give more encouragement to the growing and manufacture of cotton by our own people. The inhabitants of the northern parts of Australia, like other peoples living in hot climates, are largely wearers of cotton, and the possibilities of the cotton industry there are therefore enormous. Capital has been made of the fact that the cotton expert of the Queensland Agricultural Department has stated that the cotton-growing industry should succeed without the aid of a bounty. I have already admitted that it will do so, but it will take longer for that to happen than it is wise for us to wait. He has shown that the cost of production is about ^£3 16s. 2d. per acre, and letters received from persons engaged in the cultivation of cotton last season inform me that £9 per acre has been netted, by their enterprise.
– They were working on small areas.
– In Australia there are not large plantations such as are to be found in the southern States of America, and I hope that cotton-growing will always be done here on small areas, so that, instead of having large numbers of men living in barracks upon big estates, without home ties, and caring not how the country is ruled, so long as they have food, clothing, and shelter, we may have numbers of small holdings, each supporting a comfortable home, and may thus rear a sturdy yeomanry, always ready and willing to use their rifles in defence of their property and of the Commonwealth. The great need of this country is homes, and, by the establishment of small holdings, we shall increase the number of homes, and the work of the farms will be dane largely by the owners and their families. I hope to go into this matter in greater detail when the Bill gets into Committee. There are also immense possibilities in the development of other industries which the Bill seeks to encourage. When speaking in this Chamber a short time ago-, I referred to the possibility of profitably producing castor oil in Australia. I am not entirely enamoured of the proposal to encourage the production of China oil, because I do not think that we can compete against the coolie women of India, who are employed to follow the drills, and, by pulverizing” the soil with their fingers, to extract the nuts and remove little lumps and. stones. There is no reason, however, why the castor oil industry should not thrive in Australia. The castor oil plant is sometimes grown as an ornament in gardens in Victoria, and grows wild in the northern parts of New South Wales and in Queensland, the seed germinating almost anywhere. The crop is not difficult to harvest, since the fruit grows in bunches, and is easily hulled by .the thrashing process, while the percentage of oil in the berries is very large. I do not see why Australia should not meet her own requirements in regard to castor oil, and I am glad that the Government are offering a bounty for its production. I am also in favour of the proposed bounty for the production of fibres. A short time ago, the Queensland Government distributed a large number of plants to encourage the production of sisal hemp, and those who are experimenting find that the crop is likely to prove profitable. It has “ been argued that these industries will be established by natural development, and, no doubt, that is so ; but it will pay the Commonwealth to stimulate production, so that we mav get returns ten, twenty, or thirty years sooner than would otherwise be the case. I have much more information here, but have occupied the house sufficiently long at this stage, and will therefore conclude by promising my hearty support to the measure, and expressing the hope that its passing will result in the greater development of our agricultural and rural industries.
.- It is my intention to support the Bill, because I think that its provisions, if carried into effect, will do good bv stimulating the development of industries, some of which have already been entered upon to a slight extent, and thus giving more employment to labour. I have been in favour of the bounty system ever since, in my early days, the Tasmanian Government, by paying a bounty for the production of woollen goods in the State from which I come, brought about the establishment of woollen mills there. The woollen industry has led to the expenditure of a large amount of money in Tasmania, and the production of goods which are the best of their kind made in Australia, and, perhaps, as good as any similar goods made elsewhere in the world.
– The Victorian bounty for the production of worsteds was a failure.
– I am speaking, not of Victoria, but of Tasmania. I have a little more taste than the honorable member possesses, inasmuch as I do not interject when others are speaking, and, although he has lived longer in the world than I have, I trust that he will take a lesson from my good example. Neither am I in the habit of imputing to the Government bad motives for their proposals-, by such suggestions as that which we have heard in regard to these bounty proposals - that the intention ls to obtain support from the industries which it is proposed to benefit. One of the industries to be encouraged is that of coffeegrowing. When in Queensland some time ago, I had a long conversation with a man who had been’ so engaged there. He told me that, if he could have obtained another id. per lb. for his berries, he would have been able to make the industry profitable, but, under existing conditions, he had to abandon the work, and, when I saw him, he was driving two horses for a Chinaman.
– No doubt we should all do well if we were given assistance at the expense, of other people.
– He told me that he had established a home, and had cultivated a certain area of land, but had afterwards to abandon his farm. If encouragement can be given to the enterprise of individuals such as he, it will be a good thing for the Commonwealth, and will tend to prevent the drifting of population from the country to the towns. The honorable member Tor New England, speaking about the milk industry, said that our climate is too hot for it.
– I said nothing of the kind. I was reading from a report. I object to having placed in my mouth words which I have not uttered.
– If the honorable member desires to make a personal explanation, he may do so when the honorable member for Bass has finished his speech.
– The honorable member unfortunately thinks only of his own State. He forgets that the climate of Australia varies so much that the conditions of the Commonwealth are suitable for the production of almost any crop, if the proper situation is chosen. The” honorable member said that we were going to rob the wheat-growers in order to encourage the growth of other products. I am in favour of encouraging persons to come to the Commonwealth, and to engage in the production of any commodities which can be grown here with advantage. By adopting this policy, we shall confer great benefit upon the wheat-growers, be cause the greater our population the more wheat will be required for home consumption. It will be to the advantage of our wheat-growers if they can dispose of the whole of their product, locally instead of being obliged to sell it in competition with growers abroad. We should do well ‘ if we could settle a large number of white men upon the cultivable land of the Northern Territory. We should then have a number of defenders upon whom we could call in time of emergency to repel any attempt at invasion on our northern shores. It seems to me that that is the best kind of provision we could make for the defence of Australia. The honorable member for the Grampians stated that we should aim at growing products suitable for outside markets, rather than direct our energies to meeting our own requirements in the manner contemplated by the Bill. I entirely disagree with the honorable member. The greater the extent to which we produce what we require the more wealthy we shall become, because we shall keep in the country the money that now has to be sent to parts beyond the seas. A great deal has been said during this debate with reference to the desirability of establishing a Bureau of Agriculture. I had some remarks to offer on this subject when the motion of the honorable and learned member for Bendigo was submitted some time ago. I think that we have rather neglected our duty in failing to deal practically with this matter.. My view is thai it would be -a good thing for the Commonwealth to establish a Bureau of Agriculture, and to issue a publication suitable for farmers all over the Commonwealth, which would supersede the agricultural journals now published by the States Governments. It would be very interesting, for instance, for Tasmanian farmers to be able to read information relating to the doings of agriculturists in Queensland and vice versa. An agricultural journal issued bv the Commonwealth would be very much more useful than any State publication of a similar character. .1 think that we have, to some extent, overlooked the importance of this matter, and I trust that the Government will take steps at an early date to establish a bureau which will enable the States Governments to dispense with their present Departments of Agriculture. I am not quite clear as to the effect of clause 4. It appears to me that the bounty could be paid to any persons who had anything to do with the production of an article.
For instance, it would appear that the bounty might be claimed by a man who ground coffee of Australian growth. I know that there is a difficulty in the matter, and, although, as was pointed out by the honorable member for Moira, the producer may obtain an indirect benefit, the bonus is not actually paid to him, and I think that we should aim at handing over the money to the producer direct.
– By way of personal explanation, I desire to say that I did not make the statement that our climate was too hot to permit of the successful manufacture of condensed milk. I was merely quoting from the report of the dairy expert of New South Wales, who says -
Many thousands of pounds have been lost in experimental work, and one enthusiast lost as much as £30,000 in endeavouring to make a satisfactory milk. It is much more difficult to make condensed milk here than in the colder climate of Europe. There are two reasons for this, the main one being that fermentation proceeds so rapidly in this warm climate that the milk is really unfit for condensing by the time it reaches the factory, if it receives onlythe ordinary treatment which the farmer usually gives his milk to be used for butter-making The knowledge possessed by the average farmer here regarding the changes that takeplaceare in milk is not on the whole equal to thatpossessed by dairy farmers in the older countries ofthe world.
.- I wish to give the Minister of Trade and Customs every credit for his desire to promote primary production by means of bounties. I believe that the judicious expenditure of a reasonable amount of money in this way will be attended by excellent results, but I am sorry that I cannot compliment my honorable friend upon the manner in which he proposes to apply the principle of the measure. There is no doubt that the success of the scheme must, to a large extent, depend upon the supervision exercised, and it appears to me that the Government have commenced at the wrong end. Whilst I am as strongly in favour of bounties as are most honorable members, I think that we should first either establish an agricultural bureau of our own or make suitable arrangements with the States Departments to supervise the operations to be carried on under the Bill. The Minister told us that it was intended to utilize the services of the States Agricultural Departments. But I think that arrangements should have been made beforehand, in order that we might know how the money was to be applied. Although I am a strong believer in the payment of bounties under certain conditions, I think that a great deal more good would be done if we provided for a thorough system of agricultural education. In no country in the world do the people on the land require more education than in Australia. In the older countries of the world people follow the same occupation from youth to old age, and generally walk in the steps of their fathers. Australia, however, is a more progressive country, and the people are continually changing from one occupation to another. We frequently find people who have saved money by working as miners, or in business, or labourers who have been thrifty, investing their money in land and entering upon the occupation of farming. These men had no previous knowledge of the industry, and yet there are few callings in which technical knowledge with regard to the latest and most improved methods is more necessary. An unskilled farmer placed on good land, whilst doing no good for himself, impoverishes the soil by slovenly cultivation or may neglect to apply the proper fertilizers. The State is in a much better position than is any private individual to collect and distribute useful information relating to the cultivation of the soil. We should educate our farmers with regard to the most approved methods of cultivation, the best kinds of machinery, the best seeds to sow, and the purposes to which certain soils can be best applied. Under the Bill, it is intended to spend a large sum of money, the greater part of which could have been much belter applied to the purposes I have indicated. I admit, however, that bounties may be made very useful if they are offered under proper supervision. In the first place, we should be extremely careful to offer bounties only in regard to such industries as may reasonably be expected to achieve success after the initial cost of their establishment has been incurred. A bounty should never be paid with a view to bolster up an industry that will not stand after the difficulties of establishing it have been fairly overcome.
Sitting suspended from 1 to 2 p.m.
– When the sitting was suspended, I was pointing out that in my opinion it would be a very great mistake for this Parliament to authorize the payment of a bounty to any industry which could not be profitably carried on after the initial cost of establishing it had been overcome. The real object of granting a bounty is to compensate the pioneers in any particular industry for the experimental work which they undertake, and for the inevitable loss incurred in transplanting that industry to another country. No doubt it is difficult to ascertain what industries are likely to prove remunerative after they have been established. The Minister has submitted to us a number of figures which are very useful, so far as they go. They show the extent to which these industries are already being carried on in the Commonwealth, and the quantity of their products which is being imported. No doubt that is very valuable information as showing the margin of the home market which is still available. But we require a great deal more than that. In saying this, I wish to assure the Minister that any word of criticism which I may offer to the Bill is offered in the most friendly spirit, and with a sincere desire to make it as perfect a measure as possible. But in asking this House to authorize the payment of a bounty for the establishment of new industries within the Commonwealth, the Minister should be able to inform us of the conditions under which these industries are conducted in other countries. He should be in a position to tell us of the nature of the soil, and of the climate necessary for, and of the wages which are paid in, these industries in foreign countries. We should then be in a position to form an independent judgment as to whether suitable conditions for their establishment prevail in Australia. I would strongly urge the honorable gentleman when the second reading of the measure has been disposed of, to postpone its consideration in Committee until he has collected, and is in a position to place before honorable members, information of the character which I have indicated. The Bill is essential lv one for Committee. Speaking generally, my own opinion is that the industries which are specified in it, and which are carried on in all other parts of the world by means of the cheapest coloured labour, cannot be successfully established in Australia under existing conditions. Reference has been made to the cotton industry. There is no doubt that that industry is a splendid one wherever local conditions are adapted to the production of the article. It is one of the largest industries in the world.
Speaking from memory, Great Britain, in 1903, exported more than £66,000,000 worth of manufactured cotton, and more than £7,000,000 worth of yarn, or a total of over £73,000,000. Her next largest exports were iron and steel, the value of which was only about £30,000,000, or very much less than one-half. Her third largest line of export was woollen goods, the value of which amounted to something more than £^25,000,000. These give us some idea of the magnitude of the industry. We cannot ignore the fact that in other parts of the world cotton is produced by” means of very cheap labour. I agree with the honorable member for Moreton, that in paying the proposed bounties we should keep in view, as far as possible, the establishment of small holdings and family industries. But I may mention that I went verv carefully into this matter - I collected all the information that I could obtain - and that I was not able to discover that cotton could be profitably produced’ even bv families. We Know very well that in Queensland the cotton industry is bv no means a new one. During the period succeeding the American war, when the prices ruling were as high as is. 8d. and is. 9d. per lb., it was carried on with a fair amount of success, but as soon as prices dropped to the normal level it had to be abandoned. I very much fear that under our present labour conditions the enterprise cannot be successfully established in the Commonwealth, although nobody would be better pleased to see it firmly established than I would. Of course, any industry which is suitable to our soil and climate, and to our labour conditions, occupies an entirely different position. In this connexion I am very pleased to notice that provision has been made in the Bill for the development of the fishing industry.’ The Government proposal opens up an entirely new field. Hitherto there has been very little done in the way of deep-sea fishing, around the coasts of Australia, and I think that a small expenditure in that direction can be thoroughly justified. °
– Outside our territorial limits. ,
– Wherever a payable supply can be procured. I think that we are justified in incurring a little risk to test the possibilities of that industry. There are other enterprises mentioned in the Bill which are suited to our soil and climate and to our conditions of labour. I refer to the fibre, flax, and vegetable oil industries. I do not see why they should not be successful here. ‘But I should like the Minister to obtain all possible information regarding the cost of producing these commodities in other countries, so that we may be in a position to deal with the matter intelligently. If he will do that, I believe that the House will be disposed to assist him to establish any industry which has a reasonable prospect of being successfully carried on after the initial cost of its establishment has been overcome.
– ft is my intention to support the second reading of the Bill, and I am glad to know that there is every prospect that it will be carried. In the course of this debate many good, practical speeches have been delivered by honorable members, as the result of personal knowledge. I listened with a very great deal of interest to the remarks of the leader of the Opposition, and I am extremely pleased to find that he intends to support the measure. For many years this Parliament has been contemplating action upon the lines laid down in the Bill, but up to the present nothing has been done beyond offering a bonus for the production of sugar by white labour - a matter which is exclusively to the advantage of Queensland and New South Wales. The products covered by this Bill, however, may be grown over a verymuch wider area, and it seems to me there is substantial reason to hope that, at no distant period, some of them may bear a very important relation to the “manufactures and commerce of Australia. There is one particular in which, I trust, the measure will have an important effect, and that is in regard to the establishment of the cotton-growing industry in the Northern Territory. So far as climate and soil are concerned, there is no doubt that the Territory is eminently suited to the industry. I know that it is said that nothing can be done without the employment of coloured, or cheap, labour; but it ma-y yet be proved that that is not so essential a factor as many people imagine. In this connexion I listened this morning with very great interest to the able speech which was delivered by the honorable member for Moreton. The honorable member for New England, during the course of his remarks, referred to the fact that the olive oil industry is already established in South Australia. That is perfectly true. He also mentioned the name of Sir Samuel Davenport - a name that is held in the highest honour there. Sir Samuel Davenport started the olive oil industry in South Australia more than fifty years ago, and that industry to-day is still in a struggling condition. The reason is that the local product has to compete with the very inferior and highly adulterated article which comes from across the seas. The olive oil produced in South Australia- is pure, wholesome, and in every way excellent, and I am disposed to- think that the people of the Commonwealth would be wise if they consented to pay a little more for that article in preference to using the a d m i t te d 1 v inferior oil from abroad. I believe that, there, is a great future before the olive oil industry - that the time is not far distant when sufficient olive oil will be manufactured in the Commonwealth to meet local requirements, and that, eventually, it will figure amongst our exports. Last night the leader of the Opposition asked the Minister who is in charge of this Bill whether he could name one article of those enumerated in the measure which was being successfully produced anywhere in the Commonwealth at the present time. I can answer that question. There is no doubt that the- vicinity of Adelaide is admirably suited to the growth of the olive tree. As you are aware, Mr. Speaker, the olive tree contributes to the landscape a colour which is a distinct feature of the locality.- There is one matter, the importance of which I wish to emphasize. I refer to the fact that in the administration of this measure everything possible should be done to insure that the advantage of the bounties shall go to the growers. I am informed that at present, in South Australia, the olive grower receives 6s. per cwt. for his berries, and that it costs 2s. 6d. per cwt. to gather them. The manufacturer produces from 1 cwt. of olivets 2 gallons of oil, and that quantity yields 16s. If these figures be accurate, it seems to me that the manufacturer distinctly comes out on top. I know that there must necessarily be great difficulty in dealing with the individual grower; but I trust that by means of co-operation it may be possible so to bring the manufacturer and the producer together that their interests will be identical. I have much pleasure in supporting the motion.
.- There seems to be only one view -in regard to the provisions of this Bill. I may say, however, that I fail to find in it any provision as to where the articles in respect of which the bounties are to be paid shall be grown. It is quite true that the areas in which they may be grown may be prescribed, but as we have power to acquire territory beyond Australia, it would be as well, unless we intend to extend the bounty to producers outside the Commonwealth itself, to clearly define in the Bill where these products shall be raised. I mentioned trie matter to the Minister at the close of his speech on the motion for the second reading of the Bill, and I believe that the law advisers of the Crown share my view. I understand that a more specific provision will be inserted.
– If it’ be necessary, but the regulations will make it absolutely plain. Of course, the intention is that these goods shall be produced in Australia
– I am not sufficiently well versed in the law to be able to say that if we do not prescribe in the Act itself the places in which these products shall be raised, the Government may not extend the bounty to articles produced in any Commonwealth territory beyond Australia.
– I think that we should not do so without the express assent of Parliament.
– When the honorable gentleman who is a lawyer says that he « thinks “–
– I have not locked into the question, but that is my view.
– I availed myself, of an opportunity to consult the secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department, and whilst he was not prepared to express a definite opinion, he said that he thought it would be better to state in the Bill itself where these products shall be grown. That is the first point I wish to make. It is evident that the Bill is not going to be treated as a party measure. Indeed, the interest aroused by it has not been sufficient to give rise to even a keen debate. Yesterday we were discussing the effect of certain prescriptions consisting of tonics and so forth for the use of individuals. This is a prescription by the Parliament to which none of our patients will object. It is a golden prescription which all will cheerfully take. It can do no harm even if it does no good. Of all the schemes designed to encourage industries, I think that the bounty system is the best. Arguments have been advanced in favour of it by honorable members on both sides of the House., and I congratulate the Minister upon the introduction, of a Bill forecasting an expenditure of £500,000 which has not aroused any severely hostile criticism. I am pleased to say that the sugar bounty has been a great success. There appears in this morning’s issue of the Argus an article that is so far from being correct that to those not acquainted with the true position it must be absolutely misleading. It is singular that those who talk most freely about the bounty system seem to have the least knowledge of it. I admit at once that the position of the Commonwealth in regard to the granting of bounties is a very technical one, and as the article to which I hare referred in the Argus deals with the question, I presume that I shall be in order in further alluding to it since this measure also relates to the granting of bounties for the encouragement of primary industries and manufactures. It is stated in the article that if there had been no duty, sugar would have been cheaper, and that if there had been a duty, and the local production of sugar had not increased, more revenue would have been secured. The point is that in the latter event, we should not have had the industry. We cannot have both the industry and the revenue. The further statement is made that the bounty has not enabled the white growers to make the progress that was predicted. The position is quite the reverse. I mav state that the figures quoted by the Argus are not accurate, although I have no desire at this stage to refer very fully to them. They leave entirely out of account the effect which I and others stated last year would be produced by the bounty.
– I think it would be convenient, and it appears to me to be desirable, at this stage, to state the position in which honorable members stand in discussing the sugar bounties in relation to this question. I recognise, as the honorable member for Wide Bay has said, that inasmuch as the Bill is ‘one relating to bounties, a reference to the sugar bounty is relevant. The honorable member is, therefore, at liberty to refer freely to the sugar bounty in so far as it illustrates any argument in relation to this measure; but if his reference to it took the form of a justification of its payment, or an exposition of its general policy,he would be anticipating the debate which must necessarily occur on the Budget, and I should have to prevent his making any such further allusion to it on this occasion. The honorable member will see that any matter relating to the sugar bounty which bears upon or illustrates the question now under consideration, may be dealt with by him, but that any statement which may be made in justification of the sugar bounty, or relating to it exclusively, must be reserved until the Budget is under consideration.
– I desire to refrain from making any statement that will not be in order. The article in question is misleading, although I do not say that it is wilfully misleading, and I shall avail myself of another opportunity to refer to it. It appears that it is possible to clearly misstate the facts in relation to these matters for no other purpose than to damage, in other parts of the world, the interests of the northern part of Australia. The question is near akin to that now under discussion, because the result of the sugar bounty absolutely bears out the contention that the system is a valuable one for promoting agricultural settlement. . Like the sugar bounty, the bounties under this Bill are, according to the Minister, tobe paid to the actual producers.
– Hear, hear.
– There is one important distinction, however, between the sugar bounty and those now under consideration. The sum paid by way of bounty to the growers of sugar by white labour is the exact amount - less £1 per ton - which they themselves contribute to the revenue by means of the Excise duty. Under this Bill, however, no Excise duties are to be imposed. I am not an advocate of the imposition of an Excise duty for the purpose of paying a bounty, but I mention this because I feel that if we were to impose an Excise duty, in addition to the bounties we propose to pay, no one would say that we were making a gift to those who are to produce these goods.
-An Excise duty ought always to be accompanied by a correspondingly high import duty, so as to make the consuming public pay it.
– The protective duties imposed on some of the articles, which are to form the subject of these bounties, are higher than that imposed on sugar. It is because these proposals are not involved in another great question that we hear so little about them.
– Would it not be better to abolish the bounty and Excise, and to increase the duty ?
– The honorable member will see that his question would lead the honorable member who is speaking to discuss the sugar question.
– Then I shall make no further reference to it. The honorable member for Gippsland remarked that I should agree with him that bounties ought not to be given continuously - that only industries that were native to the soil should be bounty fed, until they were able to maintain themselves without assistance in the shape of a contribution from the whole of the people. Speaking generally, that is a sound principle, but at the same time I am not one of those who think that money spent in this way is lost if it accelerates in any way the production of commodities which can be manufactured here, and tends to encourage settlement. It is particularly desirable that the northern parts of Australia should be settled, and I would rather expend a large sum of money in promoting their settlement than’ in paying for the maintenance of Defence Forces, because the presence of population there will be a more efficient means of defence than we can provide in any other way.
– It is wonderful what arguments can be found for these propositions when they are looked for.
– In my opinion, the northern parts of Australia cannot be settled more cheaply and in a more statesmanlike and efficient manner than by the payment of bounties for the stimulation of productions which will enable persons to earn their living there.
– That argument has been used by the Prime Minister in support of high protective duties.
– Protective duties have done a great deal of good in many instances.
– The honorable member is coming on.
– I cheerfully admit that, when the Tariff was under discussion, I advocated the imposition of a duty of 30 per cent. on boots, and the leader of the Opposition said that he thought it a very fair thing.
– I opposed that duty very strongly.
– It is useless to ignore the difficulties which face us in connexion with the occupation of the northern parts of Australia. The settlement of semitropical regions wholly by white races has not been successfully attempted in any other part of the world, but our legislation in regard to ‘the sugar industry shows that it can be brought about.
– Has the sugar bounty proved successful?
– Yes ; startlingly so.
– More than half the Queensland sugar is grown by black labour.
-Although honorable members have been supplied with authoritative information on the subject, theyseem wholly ignorant of the facts. Seventy per cent. of the sugar produced in Queensland this year has been grown by white labour.
– That is not shown by the last figures.
– It is shown by the figures in the printed statements supplied to me.
– There is an error in the tables. They do not work out accurately.
– I am not responsible for that. But I stated last year that it would be found this year that the bounty had been a magnificent success, and that has happened. I hope that the bounties provided for in the Bill will be equally successful.
Mr.Joseph Cook. - There is no difficulty about getting results if one will pay enough for them.
– A few years ago I heard it said, even by residents of Queensland, who should have known better, that the growing of sugar by white labour under a bounty system would never prove a success, because it was physically impossible to carry out the industry under those conditions. But even the leader of the Opposition has had to admit, since visiting the State, that it has been beyond doubt a success. I cannot, however, deal with the subject in detail at the present time, though nothing would give me greater pleasure than to be allowed to do so. I refer honorable members who wish for accurate and full information in regard to the wholequestion to some articles which recently appeared in the Melbourne Herald.
The writer of those articles is among the few persons who have a clear and full knowledge of the subject. I hope that, in Committee, the date for the coming into operation of the bounty system will be made not earlier than the 1st January, 1907. I make this suggestion because it is provided that the bounties shall be paid only for the production of articles by white labour. Now, a number of personsin Queensland are committed until the end of the year to agreements requiring them to employ coloured labour, and I should like an opportunity to be given to them to take advantage of the proposed bounties.
– The honorable member merely wishes to divert employment from one industry to another.
– The difficulty which I have in mind is this : Many persons in Queensland have entered into agreements, having currency until the end of this year, to employ coloured labour, and therefore cannot take advantage of the bounty proposals until next year, because bounties are not to be payable in respect to production by black labour. A Mr. Wells, who, the leader of the Opposition, if he met him during his recent visit to Queensland, knows to be a very straightforward man, has spent at Childers, in my electorate, over£1,000 in preparing ground and planting sisal hemp.
– The honorable member, then, is looking after the interests of his own constituents.
– I knew nothing of the Government proposals until they were announced, and did not read them in detail until the Bill had been laid upon the table.
– Has the experiment been asuccess?
- Mr. Wells has not yet obtained a crop. As a sugar-grower, he is under agreement to employ a certain number of coloured labourers until the end of theyear, and, unless the coming into force of the bounties is postponed until the beginning of next year, will be prevented from taking advantage of these proposals.
– A provision might well be inserted in the Bill, indemnifying those who, prior to its passing, had employed coloured labour in any of the industries which it is proposed to encourage, but prohibiting the employment of any but white labour in the future.
– Did Mr. Wells plant hemp in anticipation of a bounty ?
– I do not think so. But, in any case, I do not think that he should be deprived of the benefits of this measure.
– On the contrary, I am inclined to give such persons all the more consideration.
– That is a remark which should be generally applauded. There is no extreme urgency in this matter, and another reason for postponing the operation of the bounties is the fact - I have often heard it mentioned in this Chamber - that our agriculturists are not in close touch with what we do here, and therefore it takes some little time to make them acquainted with the provisions of our legislation. I desire to know whether the Minister proposes to take power to so distribute the £50,000 per annum, which it is proposed to set apart for bounties, that, in the event of certain production not being entered upon, he may increase the bounties for other productions.
– No, though I propose to move the insertion of a clause which will enable the Minister to slightly vary the payments, if necessary. In no case is the expenditure to exceed £50,000 in any oneyear.
– What I wish to know is whether, in the event of all the industries named in the Bill not being started, the Minister will have power to increase the bounties paid to those which are started. I ask for enlightenment on this subject in order that I may know exactly what I am voting for, because, when I support a measure, I take full responsibility for its effects, whether good or ill. I am opposed to giving the Minister power to increase the bounties paid for one article by applying the sum voted by way of bounty for the stimulation of the production of something else which no attempt is made to produce. I do not mean that I would not give consideration to am- proposal brought before Parliament for increasing a bounty, but I am against the granting to the Executive of what I may call legislative powers. I have no complaint to make with regard to the administration of the present Minister of Trade and Customs, but I do not believe in conferring too much power upon the Executive.
– The honorable member voted enthusiastically in favour of giv ing the Minister very large powers under the Commerce Act and the Industries Preservation Bill.
– I take the full responsibility for my action in those matters, and I trust that the measures referred to may be wholly successful in their operation. I am not prepared, however, to grant power to the Minister to allocate the money proposed to be devoted to bounties in the manner that may seem best to him. If the amount available for the payment of bounties in connexion with the encouragement of any particular industry is not claimed, it should not be devoted to any other purpose until Parliament has been consulted. There is no dispute with regard to the principle of the measure, and I do not think that there is any need’ to discuss it at any great length. I hope that the Minister will give consideration to the matters to which I have directed attention. It is pleasing to note that honorable members are unanimous in regard to the expenditure of £500,000-
– Who says that the House is unanimous?
– Hardly a discordant note has been sounded. Even the leader of the Opposition was in an optimistic mood with regard to the object of the Bill.
.- I shall support the motion for the second reading of the Bill, but I shall reserve to myself the right to ask the Minister to reconsider some of the items that appear in the schedule, and the incidence of the proposed bounties. We have in the dairying industry in Victoria an example of the successful application of the bounty system, and there is no doubt that bounties properly applied are very beneficial in their influence. I have another case in my mind, however, namely, that of the Victorian prospecting vote, and it appears to me that it is proposed to apply the bounties under the Bill in much the same way that that vote is distributed. If the whole or half of the amount now devoted to prospecting in Victoria were spent in one definite direction, beneficial results might ensue, but, under existing circumstances, the money is frittered away in carrying on a number of small and independent operations. I venture to think that the Bill has in it a very great deal of the same element. For instance, the whole of the amount proposed to be devoted to the bounties might be advantageously applied to conducting a systematic experiment in connexion with the cultivation of cotton in areas suitable for its growth. The importations of cotton into Great Britain are valued’ at £^55,000,000 per annum, and the production of cotton would undoubtedly become one of out most important industries if it could be successfully carried on here. We have indisputable evidence that excellent cotton can be produced in countries situated between 40 degrees north and 35 degrees south of the Equator. Dr. Thomatis, the well-known Queensland expert, has been most succssful in experimenting with cotton, and has shown that with proper attention cotton can be grown in that State with enormous profit. I feel, therefore, that we should be perfectly justified in supporting the Minister if he brought down a businesslike scheme for the encouragement of the growth of cotton within the Commonwealth. The sum of ,£4,000 proposed to be devoted to bounties for the encouragement of cotton growing would be entirely inadequate. The Minister may not be aware that the British Association of Cotton Spinners, in Lancashire, are prepared to send experts to any part of the British Possessions for the purpose of giving information with regard to the production of cotton. I suggest that he should place himself in communication with that body. They have spent a considerable amount of money in Egypt, and have been successful in promoting the growth of cotton in that country. If the Minister had had any serious intention to encourage the production of cotton in Australia, he should have been prepared to devote a very much larger sum to the accomplishment of that object. We should arrange for the systematic cultivation of cotton under white labour conditions, in order to ascertain whether the industry can be successfully carried on here. So far as I can learn, cheap labour is required in other countries to carry on the work of picking the cotton and dressing it with due regard to economy. It has been stated, however,’ that machinery is being introduced with successful results in the southern States of America. I hope that that is true. Whilst I should be only too glad to see the cotton growing industry established here, I would not be a party to any attempt to palter with it. A cotton mill was in operation at Ipswich, in Queensland, some little time ago, but it was closed down because of the failure of the growers to maintain a sumcent supply. I do not think that the industry would be helped on to any appre- ciable extent by the payment of a bonus of £4,000 per annum to the growers. We should endeavour to guard against making a mistake similar to that which has been committed in connexion with the Victorian prospecting vote. Although some portion of the money is usefully applied, the results obtained are entirely out of keeping with the large expenditure incurred. The vote is mainly of benefit to members of Parliament, who are able to obtain small grants for expenditure within their electorates. I should like to know how the bounties are to be allotted, and who will control the expenditure. We shall certainly require the assistance of experts to advise us in regard to the operations that are to be carried on under the Bill. As the honorable member for Gippsland pointed out, we are apparently starting at the wrong end. We ought to employ a number of experts capable of giving advice and assistance to those who desire to embark in the various industries that it is proposed to encourage. I shall support the second reading of the Bill, but I earnestly urge the Minister to consider the question of providing proper machinery for carrying it into effect. The principle of the Bill is all right, but I am afraid that unless the Minister proceeds on lines different from those which he has apparently laid down, the measure will fail to achieve its object.
– The honorable member for Kooyong has pointed out that the amount provided for bounties is not sufficiently large. I would point out, however, that, if we were to offer verv large bounties, we might induce some persons to embark in enterprises with the sole object of securing the Government grant. The amounts proposed to be offered are not very large, but it must be understood that in some of the industries that it is proposed to encourage, the initial work has already been done. It has already been demonstrated that there is an enormous area in Australia which is specially adapted to cotton cultivation. The cotton plant is not a difficult one to grow. As a matter of fact, it flourishes like a weed, and I see no reason why Australia should not become just as great a producer of cotton as she is of wool. In this connexion, I may mention that cotton has been grown by means of irrigation upon the Darling at the Pera bore. I may also tell honorable members that upon the western edge of the central division of New South Wales - a drought-stricken area - one of my constituents, a Mr. Greig, has grown quite a number of tropical products. This’ gentleman has been experimenting with a variety of these products for many years past. He was a great friend of the late Mr. Ferrier, the wheat experimenter, whom Australia did not appreciate at anything like his true value, although outside this Continent he was regarded as a very clever scientist. Mr. Greig astonished many persons at Nyngan by exhibiting a number of tropical products which he had grown there, either by means of irrigation or in some other way. One of these commodities - I refer to millet - he forwarded to certain manufacturers, who offered him £4 per ton more than they were prepared to pay to other producers of millet, if he would supply them with an article of equal quality. Unfortunately the tendency of mankind seems to be to remain in the old grooves as regards production. Consequently most people urge that we should go in more for the growth of cereals. I contend that we should not. The list of articles the production of which it is ‘proposed to encourage by means of bounties is not as comprehensive as it might be. Nevertheless, it comprises a beginning. I recollect that only a few years ago the general opinion was that it was impossible to grow .wheat upon the western side of Dubbo. But some men, who were laughed at for their pains, proceeded to grow cereals in the doubtful area, with the result that to-day the biggest wheat-growers in New South Wales are located many miles west of Dubbo. These pioneers are not appreciated as they should be. The cultivation of cotton does not require a very good soil, and the plant itself takes less out of the soil than does any other with which I am familiar. I understand that the bounty proposed to be granted under this Bill is limited to raw cotton. If it is intended to assist the production of manufactured cotton, we shall have to compete with a class of labour that I hope will never find employment in our cotton factories In the United States 75 per cent, of the labour employed in these establishments consists of children under fourteen years of age. The cotton there is manufactured by child labour, and many of the employes are even younger than the laws of the States themselves prescribe, whilst the degeneracy of the people is such that, from time to time, the cotton factories have to send out agents to induce whole families to enter these establishments, where their health is utterly .ruined. I trust that in Australia - which I believe, from every point of view, is the finest country in the world - we shall never reproduce the conditions which have made for the degeneracy of the race in older lands, In dealing with this Bill, I wish to emphasize that the list of articles which it includes is not nearly so comprehensive as it might be. I recollect that, in giving evidence before the Royal Commission upon western lands in New South Wales, an economic botanist pointed out ihat there was an immense field there for the production of perfumes from indigenous shrubs which flourish in the drought-stricken areas. He stated that some of the most valuable perfumes in the world can be produced from them. During the course of this debate reference has been made to the development of our fishing industry by means of deepsea trawling. In Victoria there are indications from time to time that a very large quantity of fish is going to waste. I hope that our efforts to establish this industry upon a sound basis will bear good fruit. The point has been raised that there may be more claimants for the bounties provided in this Bill than the money which we vote will satisfy. Under such circumstances, I hope that the bounties will be so allocated that each will receive a little assistance. At the same time, I feel that if these bounties prove of any value a demand will probably be made for their continuance. When vested interests have been created they will naturally desire to retain the assistance as long as possible. The question, therefore, arises whether it would not be wise to make provision for the gradual reduction of the bounties until they reached the vanishing point. I think that the Bill constitutes a fair attempt to develop tropical industries. In this connexion, I believe that the Northern Territory offers us a very promising field. We must always recollect that in our wheat production we have to compete with the markets of the world, whereas Mr. Volker, who was recently in charge of the Hawkesbury College, has expressed the opinion that cotton grown in small areas - even if the industry paid the present Australian rate of wages - would prove more profitable than would wheat growing. Cotton picking in the open fields is a much more healthy life <th’an is cotton manufacture, and there is no reason why this industry should’ not achieve very large dimensions. There are other phases of this matter upon which I will not touch at the present stage. I congratulate the Government upon the introduction of a Bill, and later on I think that the principle which it embodies should be applied to several other industries, for the productions of which, as our population increases, there will be a market. I have already mentioned one of these. Upon our abandoned gold-fields there is an immense area of Crown lands available which would grow an unlimited supply of fruit, for which there is a grand market in the old world. In my opinion, it is quite time that we diverted public attention to these matters. In New South Wales a very valuable and interesting periodical - the Agricultural Gazette - is issued monthly. In my judgment, we should be acting wisely if we established a central organ of that kind to circulate information relating to our waste lands. These lands, I am convinced, would, if put to a proper use, yield higher returns per acre than does the production of cereals.
.- I am pleased t’hat the Government have taken action in this direction. There are a number of agricultural and other industries which, for lack of knowledge and encouragement, have not been taken up as they should have been; but the bounty system will do something to provide the incentive necessary to promote their growth. Great difficulty and inconvenience is experienced in establishing a new industry. In my own district some years ago an effort was made to promote the growth of oil plants, and notably the castor oil tree. Farmers there were loth, however, to enter upon the industry. It was entirely new to them ; the machinerynecessary for the extraction of the oil was not at hand, and although those who interested themselves in the movement claimed that the district was well suited for the * growth of such products, the effort failed. By means of bounties, some of these initial difficulties might be overcome, and the avenues of production largely widened. T know that some honorable members are anxious to assist these industries, but would prefer to do so by means of Customs duties. Our experience of that system of encouragement is. however, that as a rule the advantage is derived by the wrong man, and does not go to the’ actual producer. Under the bounty system we can take care that the man who does the pioneer work in these industries shall receive a direct benefit. The position in regard to the production of sugar by white labour is an illustration of what can be done. Had assistance been given to that industry only through the medium of Customs duties, a number of those now reaping the advantage of the bounty system would not have received anything like the same encouragement. In the granting of bounties we should not confine our attention to the encouragement of new forms of production ; we ought to look to some of those which promise to be material factors in our wealth production. Owing to lack of knowledge, great difficul tv has been experienced by our wheat growers. In certain districts unsuitable seed has been sown, with the result that those districts have been declared unfitted for wheat cultivation ; but happily, as the result of the establishment of experimental farms, these blunders are now being obviated. Seed wheat, suitable for sowing in the dry districts of the interior, has been obtained, and the farmers have secured good returns from crops grown in districts where their efforts were at one time fruitless. It would be wise for the Minister to give some encouragement to those who conduct experiments with the object of improving our wheat production. I have known for some years the gentleman mentioned by the honorable member for Darling, and am aware that he has devoted much of his time to the production of wheat suitable for the drier parts of the interior, working with another gentleman - the late Mr. Ferrier - who at one time received official recognition. Such experiments ought to be encouraged. The development of rust-resistant wheats, and of wheats suitable for the drier districts of Australia, and for milling and food purposes, ought to be promoted by every means in our power. These are matters that mightwell receive the attention of the Minister now that he is distributing his favours in the shape of bounties. Any one who does useful work on the lines I have indicate is a public benefactor, and should receive some official recognition and encouragement. The production of cotton is to be encouraged under this Bill. Some experiments have been made in the growing of cotton in New South Wales ; hut so far as I am aware, nothing has been done there to make it a marketable com.modity. Two or three years ego a gentleman planted1 some small experimental plots at Parkes, and assured me that he obtained excellent results. From the samples which he showed me, I am inclined to think that it is possible to develop the cotton industry there, and to make it a commercial success. The same remark will apply to Queensland, and also, it would seem, to the Northern Territory.. A difficulty is experienced in inducing people to invest their* capital in these new forms of production, but by means of the bounty system, something may be done in that direction. I notice that it is proposed to grant a bounty of¼d. per lb. on sweetened or condensedmilk, and of¾d. per lb. on powdered milk. I fail to see why this distinction should be made. If there is to be a differentiation, it should be in favour of the condensed milk. From inquiries I have made, I know that a considerable amount of capital has been expended on condensed milk works. At present, there is a very large trade in that commodity, and the imports, particularly from Switzerland, are considerable. I am informed, however, that the local manufacturers are unable to place upon the market an article equal to the imported milk.
– They can do so.
– And it is being done.
– I am told that they have not succeeded in placing on the market an article that will keep as long and secure as ready a sale as the imported milk. I had the privilege some time ago of visiting a factory, the proprietor of which went to the expense of journeying to the old country, and visiting the Swiss factories in order to procure information that would assist him in his industry. He came to the conclusion that there was a trade secret in relation to the preparation of this commodity, the knowledge of which was limited to a very few producers, and gave them practically a monopoly of the trade.
– The bulk of that at present distributed in Broken Hill is made in Australia.
– I do not wish it to be inferred that I consider that condensed milk cannot be made here, but it has been said that those engaged in the local trade have not been able to place on the market a condensed milk equal to the imported article.
– The local article is at times equallygood. but I am informed that there are failures.
– Quite so. The local manufacturers in some cases are unable to maintain a regular standard, and to produce a milk that will keep as long as the imported article.
– Some of their issues are satisfactory, while others are not.
– That seems to indicate a lack of knowledge.
– A lack of care and cleanliness.
– I do not think that such a remark would apply to the factory that I visited.
– The lack of cleanliness may be the fault, not of the factory, but of the suppliers.
– There may be something in that contention, but from what I can learn, a great deal of care is being exercised to secure cleanliness. The proper treatment of the cattle and accessories connected with the production of this milk are important factors, but I do not know that in this respect there is a great difference between the imported and the local article.
– Some of the imported goods are lacking in that respect.
– I was informed by the manufacturer to whom I have referred that he had arrived at the conclusion that there was a secret method of preparation which he was unable to ascertain. He says that he went to great trouble, and incurred much expense in inquiring into the question, and endeavoured, without avail, to secure from Europe the services of a competent man to take charge of his factory. If that be so, in view of the large consumption of condensed milk, I think that the Minister would be well advised if he granted a bountythat would assist our manufacturers to discover where the fault lies, and to enable them to place upon the market an article which is as good both in its keeping qualities-
– Or secure the services of an expert to teach them.
– That might remove the difficulty, but I know that there are engaged in this industry dairymen who have expended much money in trying to solve it. They should receive some encouragement. I would commend this view to the Minister. The possibility of developing the fishing industry has already been referred to, and some consideration is to be given to it. There is another matter to which I wish to allude, and that is the need to develop forestry. That may seem a far-fetched idea; but it is a fact that the destruction of trees has been carried on to such an extent in New South Wales, and, I think, in the other States too, that we are within a measureable distance of the time when we shall have great difficulty in obtaining timber for our local requirements. In the electoral division which I represent, country which was originally heavily forested, has been« ruthlessly cleared, with a view to improving it’ for pastoral purposes. The district was recently swept by bush fires, and as a result, fences, originally erected at comparatively small cost, because of the accessibility of timber, were destroyed, while it is now being found very expensive to replace them, because of the comparative- scarcity of timber. Encouragement should be given to the growing of timber trees. Some landholders have already recognised the increasing need for timber, and are making plantations; but it is found difficult to obtain young trees. Good work in producing stock for this purpose might be done by the subsidizing of nurseries. I do not see anything in the Bill, to which to take much exception. The Minister, in order that the benefits to be given shall not go wholly to the employers, but shall be shared by the employes in the industries which are to be encouraged, has provided that reasonable rates of wages shall be paid. I wish to point out, however, that there is a tendency, when industries are protected by Customs duties, or fostered by the payment of bounties, for them to become parasitical in their nature, because those interested in them are never willing to give up the advantages which they are obtaining at the expense of the community, and’ urge the continuance of these benefits as essential to the existence of their enterprises. I foresaw that trouble of this kind would arise in connexion with the sugar bounties. We were told when the bounty was first proposed that, after a certain number of years, the industry would be carried on with white labour without needing further assistance. But we have since found that those connected with the industry are not disposed to forego the bounty, and it seems to me that the only way in which its extinction can be pro- vided for is by the introduction of a sliding scale, whereby the rate of bounty will gradually be reduced until it vanishes altogether. I think that a sliding scale should certainly be provided for in the Bill. In Committee, I shall do what I can to make the measure as perfect as possible. I trust that the Government willi shortly establish an Agricultural Department to assist the development which theBill is designed to encourage. Such a. Department need not clash with, or be a. duplicate of, the Agricultural Departmentsof the States, but, as a central bureau, may give much assistance to the States Departments.
.- I have not heard the debate which has taken place in connexion with the Bill, and therefore the important matter to which I wish to direct the special attention of the Minister may already have been brought beforehim by other honorable members. I have been informed by a gentleman in New South Wales who is intimately acquainted with the circumstances under -which an attempt was made to manufacture condensed milk in the Illawarra district, that the proposed bounty of d. per lb. on theselling price of condensed milk would amount to 6r.lv 5 per cent., and would bealtogether ineffective. I rise, therefore, to ask the Minister to make special inquiries into the matter, and, I hope that, if he finds that the facts are as I havestated, he will, to make his proposal effective for the establishment of this important industry, see that the rate is increased.
– The House and the country are to becongratulated upon the introduction of theBill, and upon the conversion of the leaderof the Opposition to a recognition of the fallacies of free-trade, he having announced himself in favour of the encouragement of industries by the bounty system provided for. It ig very pleasing to those of us whofor so many years have battled for the establishment of industries in Australia to find ‘ that he is now coming to our assistance. Last night he tried to prove that there arebounties and bounties, and, in reply to a question as to why he did not see his w.iclear to establish the iron and steel industry here bv the granting of a bounty forthe production of iron and steel, said that. that industry was in a different category, and was succeeding in New South Wales without the assistance of a bounty. The-
Government of the State, however, are practically paying a bounty to a certain person for the manufacture of iron, and steel, though the payment is not in that form. It is very pleasing that both sides of the House are now resolved that the industries of Australia shall be encouraged, fostered, and protected either by bounties or by duties. The right honorable gentleman must have known, and could have mentioned with pride, the fact that in Lord Howe Island, which for many years was under the administration of the New South Wales Government, and is now, I believe, under Commonwealth control, coffee beans have been grown, and exhibited in Sydney, www have been claimed to be superior to any grown in any other part of the world.
– Coffee has been grown in Queensland for years past.
– Coffee has been grown in various parts of the Commonwealth, but it has not been put upon the market, because of the competition which has been permitted, owing ,to the prevalence of free-trade principles. I am glad that the honorable member is supporting the Bill, and intends to help our industries in that way. He is awakening to a recognition of the fact that persons will hot embark in industries unless they can P.Ut their productions on the market at a profit. Those who have made themselves acquainted with the magnificent resources of the Commonwealth know that there is nothing which cannot be produced within our borders.
– We could produce anything at the expense of the community.
– Whatever we produce will be produced at the expense of the foreign manufacturer and producer and to the advantage of our own people, whether manufacturers, producers, or workmen. The honorable member for Gippsland told us that flax had been grown in Gippsland for many years, and I know that it has also been produced in other parts of Victoria and in other States. There is no article in the schedule that cannot be produced in Australia. The leader of the Opposition took exception to the provision in clause 5, which provides that persons claiming the bounty must satisfy the Minister that thev have paid fair wages to those employed by them. I consider that this is a desirable provision, because we should avoid doing anything that would have a tendency to reduce the wages paid to our workers. We should not devote the public money to the encouragement of industries unless they can be carried on under such conditions that they will confer benefit upon the workers as well as upon the employers. I do not understand1 how any one could object to that principle. Some years ago an application was made to the Minister ofLands in New South Wales ‘for permission to occupy a reasonable area of land upon the Murray River for the purpose of producing cotton, rice, and tea - articles which some persons may be rash enough to say cannot possibly be produced in Australia. It has, however, been demonstrated that all these products can be grown here. I am informed that one or two persons have entered into an arrangement with the Victorian Government for the occupation of a tract Of land on trie Murray River, with a view to the cultivation of tropical products such as I have indicated. Queensland is not the only State in which cotton can be produced. It has” been grown in Victoria and New South Wales.
– I have a sample of cotton grown in the Gippsland district.
– Cotton can be grown pretty well all over Australia.
– I contend that we should make up our minds to grow all the cotton required to meet our own requirements,’ so that we may render ourselves independent of supplies from abroad, and, at the same time,. afford profitable employment for our people. The honorable member for Gippsland has indicated that- cotton can be grown in his constituency, which has a comparatively cold climate, a short summer, and a long winter. The climatic conditions on the northern borders of Victoria are very different, and yet cotton can be grown there. About twelve or eighteen months ago the mayor of Echuca received from the Director of Agriculture, in Queensland, a small parcel of cotton seed which he handed over to the curator of the local gardens. The seed germinated, and1 the plants were cultivated under natural conditions, and the product from them has been declared by experts to be equal in quality to anything they have seen. I sincerely trust that the Minister will take the utmost care to satisfy himself that proper labour conditions are observed by those who claim the bounty. The leader of the Opposition made a fewhumorous comments upon the provision in clause 6, which relates to the employmentof aborigines. I think that the action of the Minister in inserting the clause is to be highly commended. We should endeavour to afford every encouragement to the small remnant of our aboriginal natives to engage in suitable industrial pursuits: The colour line indicated by the leader of the Opposition was never intended to be drawn to the exclusion of our aborigines. Some of the blacks are very_ well trained, and are capable and reliable workers, and every opportunity should be given to them to obtain employment, so that we may, as far as possible, be relieved of the necessity of spending the taxpayers’ money in affording them relief. I hope that this Bill will mark the beginning of a system under which assistance will be granted to all desirable industries. If the members of the Opposition will join loyally with the Government in this movement, there will be no further occasion for the display of the heat that has marked some of our political controversies in the past. We shall be able to heartily join hands in furthering the interests of the State. With regard to the cultivation of the olive, it has been my pleasure to notice the beautiful groves of olive trees round abount Adelaide and in other parts of that State. The olive tree has also been successfully cultivated in Victoria and New South Wales. Mr. J. Ednie Browne, when he was Conservator of Forests in New South Wales, caused some olive trees to be planted in that State, with the result that they flourished and bore heavy crops of fruit of the highest” quality. I believe that there are great possibilities before the olive oil industry in Australia. The honorable member for Barker spoke upon this matter from a practical point of view. He told us that, whereas the olive growers were receiving only 6s. per cwt. for their berries, the oil manufacturers were obtaining 1:6s. for the oil extracted from that quantity of fruit. In such a case, it would be the duty of the Minister to step in and see that fair payment was made to the growers before any bounty was granted to the oil manufacturers. With regard to flax, I would point out that most of the operations connected with the production of a marketable article can now be performed by means of machinery, and that there is no reason why we should not have a large output of that commodity. I am very pleased that the Bill has been so well received, and I trust that it will soon become law, and have the effect of promoting the establishment of valuable industries. I hope that it marks the beginning of a new era in connexion with the encouragement of the production of commodities which can be grown with advantage in the Commonwealth.
.- I hope that this Bill will speedily become law. I recognise that the Queensland sugar industry is really being assisted by the payment of a bounty, and that any proposal which has for its object the establishment of new industries in Australia is one to be encouraged and commended. At the same time I hope, that the Minister will take pains to guard against the same result following this experiment which attended the payment of a bounty upon cotton manufactures in Queensland. At Ipswich, a cotton factory was established, which was nourished by means of a bounty, but for some unexplained reason as soon as that bounty had been expended, the factoryclosed its doors. We ought to insert in this Bill a penal clause to prevent that sort of thing. To my mind five years is a fair period over which to extend the bounty. The bounty system is really another method of affording protection to industries. I recognise that industries can sometimes be established by means even better than a protective Tariff. I should like to quote one of these means, which was mentioned by the leader of the Opposition in speaking at Toowoomba in 1901. He said -
If industries cannot be established without protection, let the Commonwealth Government establish them, because then we can be quite sure of the condition of the factories, of proper wages being paid, and of decent hours being kept. There would be no one to sweat, because there would be no one to make a profit.
I would prefer that system even to the bounty system.
– This Bill has the hearty support of all sections of the House - a fact which augurs well for the development of the great natural resources of Australia. The system of assisting new industries by means of bounties may almost be said to be the freetrader’s phase of protection. I have the conviction that the bounty system mav be very well associated with protection. To-day the honorable member for Gippsland emphasized the necessity which exists for instructing our people in all branches of agriculture, with a view to developing cnr resources. Really there is no subject to which a Government can devote its energies with more profit than that of teaching our agriculturists how to develop the resources of the land upon which they live.
I have always advocated that they should be given a proper academic training in agricultural chemistry - that the young farmer should be taught, not only what seed and products he can grow to the best advantage, but what particular commodities his soil is best capable of producing. I am very glad, indeed, that the measure is receiving hearty support from all sections of the House. There is just one phase that we ought to bear carefully in mind. We ought to prevent these bounties from’ being exploited upon behalf of the promoters of any industry. To this end I think that a clause should be inserted in the Bill which will have the effect of prohibiting any individual from participating in the bounty, if. so soon as it is withdrawn, he intends to allow the industry in which he is engaged to perish. Unfortunately that has been the disastrous consequence of the bounty system hitherto. The adoption of mv suggestion would insure that the industry, and not the individual, would receive the full measure of the bounty. When we have done that, we shall have accomplished all that we can for the country in this direction. The evil which is usually associated with fostered industries is that their managers grow careless regarding the quality of their product. This Bill represents a new phase of protection, and if it should prove successful, it will go a long way towards making Australia one of the foremost producing countries of all the necessaries of life. With regard to the fishing industry, I hold that the Commonwealth probably possesses fish of as fine a quality - and quite as large in quantity - as does an v country in the world. I cordially indorse the proposal to encourage this industry by the payment, of a bounty, especially as it is to be ‘paid upon results.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Bill read a second time.
In Committee :
Clause r agreed to.
Clause 2 -
There shrii’ be payable out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, which is hereby appropriated accordingly, the sum of Fifty thousand pounds per annum during the period of ten years commencing on the first day of July, One thousand nine hundred and six, for the payment of bounties on the production of the goods specified in the schedule.
Mr. DUGALD THOMSON (North c;,.ciP.. [“4.12]. - I understood that the Minister intended to submit an amendment to this clause. If the sum of £50,000 annually is to be expended by the Min’ister - assuming that some of the articles enumerated in the schedule of the Bill are not produced in the earlier> years of its operation - it can. only be expended by an increase of the bounties payable upon others. I do not think that he has any intention of that kind.
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the word “Fifty” be left out, with a view .to insert in lieu thereof the words “ Five hundred,” and that the words “ per annum “ be left out. 0
– It seems to me that we should be acting wisely if we specified the various years during which the bonus of £50,000 is to operate. Under the Minister’s amendment it would be quite possible for him to disburse £100,000 one year, nothing the next vear, and £300.000 for the following year.
– The expenditure is governed bv the schedule.
– I think that a matter of principle is involved, and not a mere detail.
– If the full amount of ,£500,000 be appropriated for the purpose of paying these bounties, I take it that there will be no further need for us to make an annual appropriation.
– There would not be in any case-
– I think that there ought to be. These bounties ought to come up for review each year.
– ] do not think that would be fair.
– I do.
– We should not induce any one to undertake the work if the bounties were subject to revision every year.
– Why not? I fail to see why there should not be some provision to enable us to see, for instance, what is being done - whether the money is being thrown into a bottomless pit, or whether it is being devoted to the objects named in the Bill. I certainly object most strongly to the immediate appropriation of the total amount. It would be far preferable to leave the clause as it stands, so that we should have an annual appropriation of £50,000 rather than that we should appropriate the whole amount, leaving the Minister free-
– Not at all. This clause will be governed by the schedule. “Under this clause we shall appropriate the whole amount, subject to the conditions set forth in the schedule.
– But the Minister proposes to amend the schedule so as to make it more elastic.
– I am merely going to move an amendment with regard to the regulations.
– Clearly for the purpose of making the schedule so elastic that the Minister may* transfer portion of the amount voted from one item to another.
– I desire to be reasonable, and it seems to me that if any sum is not absorbed in respect of a particular bounty, we should be empowered to devote it to another item in respect of which the amount appropriated has been exhausted. I shall have to readjust the schedule in view of the statements made by a number of honorable members during the debate on the motion for the second reading that the amount proposed to be appropriated in respect to some of these items is too small. I propose, if I have the power, to make an alteration in respect of the Excise duties on one or two of these articles, so as to improve their position, and I must so adjust the schedule as to meet amendments that may be made in that regard. I propose that we shall appropriate the total sum of .£500,000, but re-adjust the schedule, as from the remarks that have been made during the debate I believe that the bounty proposed in one or two cases is not large enough. If there is any serious objection, I shall not move any amendment of the clause that will enable me to make an alteration, but shall move to amend the schedule when we come to it. I -hope that that will satisfy honorable members opposite.
– L am sorry that none of the legal members of the House are present.
– I do not need them ; I prefer their absence.
– The Minister proposes to so amend this clause as to provide that the sum of .£500,000 shall foe appropriated during the period of ten years. My point is that the schedule will not sufficiently bind the Minister to an expenditure of .£50,000 per annum, nor to its annual distribution according to the terms set forth therein. If the honorable gentleman’s proposal be carried he may spend £100,000 or £200,000 in any one year, and a smaller proportion in any of the remaining years. There is a matter of policy involved. . In my opinion the adoption of the Minister’s proposal would not be of assistance to those who embark upon these industries, since their position would be less assured than it would be if we passed the clause as it stands. What we need to insure is that the total sum of £500,000 shall be paid during the ten years’ period. If we do not make that intention clear, the Minister may do an injustice in expending, with the best of intentions, more than ,£50,000 in any one year. If there is a necessity for an increased bounty being offered owing to the number of people entering upon any one of these industries, the honorable gentleman or his successors will always be able to appeal to Parliament for a further vote.
– I wish the honorable member would cease ; our trains will be leaving very soon.
– I desire to assist the Minister. My disposition is not to embarrass him in any way, but I wish to take up a position that I shall be able to substantiate when it is necessary to do so.
– I do not know whether the Minister intends to proceed with the consideration of the Bill this afternoon, but if he proposes to alter the schedule this clause should remain as it is. The Bill has been discussed on the understanding, that it is intended to devote not more than £50,000 in any one year to the payment of these bounties. It is true that the Minister stated that he might propose an amendment which would possibly provide for an annual expenditure of more than £50,000, but the House debated the motion for the second reading on the understanding that a sum not in excess of £50,000 per annum would foe devoted to the payment of the bounties. If the Minister is going to carry out his intentions by amending the schedule the clause should be allowed to remain as it stands. It will not fetter the honorable gentleman in any way.
– I think it will.
– It will not fetter him unless he wishes to spend more than ,£50,000 in any one year. If the Minister is not to be limited to an expenditure of ,£50,000 per annum, we may have a sum of £100,000 or £150,000 devoted to the payment of these bounties in any one year.
– The honorable member forgets that there will be no expenditure in respect of many of these bounties for three or four years, so that as the Bill now stands, the bounties will extend over a period of only two or three years.
– Surely the Minister does not desire that in the event of only £10,000 per annum being expended during the first two years, he shall have power to expend £130,000 during the third year.
– If a very large number of claims were sent in what harm would there be in adopting that course, as long as not more than the total of £500,000 were spent during the ten years’ period? Complaint has been made that the amount set opposite some of these items is not half enough, but when I propose to meet that objection, it is said that I must not do so.
– I think the complaint was that the percentage was not high enough.
– No, the complaint was in regard to the amount to be paid in respect to certain products.
– Personally, I think that the sum proposed is quite sufficient. As the honorable member for Wide Bay has said’, if it be necessary, later on, to make any variation in the amount payable, it will be quite time enough for such a proposal to be brought forward when Parliament is in possession of the facts.
– The Bill was discussed by the House on the assumption that £50.000 per annum was to be expended for a period of ten years. That means a total of £500,000, and the Ministernow asks the Committee to agree to such an appropriation.
– But he desires to be at liberty to expend possibly £200,000 in one year.
– There is no difference, so far as the total amount is concerned; it is only a question of method.
– As to the method of paying out these bounties, and the rate per annum. The House has agreed to the second reading on the assumption that the annual expenditure will not exceed £50,000, and the clause as it stands will give effect to that understanding. The Minister says that he desires to make some alteration, and I suggest that he can carry out his object by altering the schedule.
– I should like to point out that a number of honorable members left the House on the clear understanding that this Bill would not be taken to-day beyond the second-reading stage.
– I do not wish to proceed further this afternoon.
– It is most unfair to proceed with the consideration of these clauses and try to press them to a division.
– We do not desire to do so.
– I understand that the Government are awaiting a message from the Senate in regard to the contract for the mail service to Europe, which apparently is being mildly “ stone-walled.” The consideration of the Budget proposals might well be postponed until Wednesday, which would give us more time to consider them, while this measure could be disposed of on Tuesday.
MINISTERS laid upon the table the following papers : -
Royal Commission on Customs and Excise Tariffs - Spirits and the Distillation of Spirits - Section 36 of Progress Report. - (Recommendations.)
Financial Problems of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia - Memorandum by the Honorable Robert Harper.
Ordered to be printed.
Return showing the names of all persons temporarily employed in the Public Service during the year 1905-6, their periods of employment, and the remuneration paid to them.
That the Bill be recommitted for the reconsideration of clauses 25 and 48.
In Committee (Recommittal) :
Clause 25 (Appealto law officer).
– The honorable member for Parramatta asked that an appeal should be expressly provided for, to remove a doubt as to the meaning of this clause, and, although I have been advised that its meaning is quite clear, I move, to meet the honorable member’s objection -
That the following sub-clause be added : - “ 3. The applicant may, within the time and in the manner prescribed, appeal to the Supreme Court against any decision of the law officer refusing any application for the registration of a design.”
Amendment agreed to.
Clause, as amended, agreed to.
Clause 48 (International arrangements for protection of designs).
– I have moved the recommittal of this clause in order to secure an opportunity to inform honorable members that it follows the English legislation, and is based on the terms of the convention, whereby the rights of third parties are preserved. The Crown Law officers advise that it should be retained in its present form.
Clause agreed to.
Bill reported with, a further amendment. Motion (by Mr. Groom) agreed to -
That the Standing Orders be suspended to allow the Bill to be passed through its remaining stages this day.
Bill read a third time.
– This morning the honorable member for Perth asked that the reports of the Tariff Commission dealing with the items covered by the resolutions moved in Committee of Ways and Means last night may be laid on the table, so that honorable members may have the fullest information when dealing with those very important propositions. I understand that the Minister has now laid these reports on the table, but I rise to impress upon the Government the necessity of making them available as soon as possible, so that honorable members may understand the grounds on which the Tariff Commission, after months of investigation, arrived at unanimous recommendations. .
– I shall have great pleasure in complying with the request, which is reasonable.
-Quite reasonable, in view of the amount of “ Toshua “ in the proposals of the Government.
– The full reports of the Commission would have been laid on the table, and circulated, had it not been necessary to avoid giving, either directly or indirectly any intimation as to the probable action of the Government, or the time when action would be taken.
– I wish to ask the Prime Minister a question with regard to a matter which the Fremantle Municipal Council have brought under my notice. Upon the 25th April last, the Council sent to the Prime Minister a copy of a resolution passed by its members relating to the delay in dealing with certain charges against employes of the Commonwealth. On the 3rd May the Town Clerk received a formal asknowledgment of his letter. After waiting for six weeks, he again wrote to the Prime Minister, and asked for some reply, and on the 29th June he received a communication, simply stating that the matter was one for the Public Service Commissioner - that power to deal with public servants was vested in the Commissioner by Act of Parliament. The Fremantle Council complain that there has been undue delay in forwarding to them an answer which merely conveys information which might have been imparted when their letter was formally acknowledged. Of course, it is an open question whether it is desirable for municipal bodies to pass resolutions such as that indicated : but I am not now discussing that point. Honorable members know that a great deal of criticism is directed to what is called red-tapism in Government Departments. The opinion is held outside that there is a good deal of unnecessary delay in answering correspondence addressed to the Government Departments, and I think that the delay to which I have referred calls for some explanation.
-The procedure, although it may appear to be purely formal, is rather important, because it arises out of a very extraordinary attempt on the part of a municipal body to establish a political precedent of a most improper character. The right of criticism exists in every citizen of the Commonwealth, and no meeting, however small, which has representations to make, either as to the conduct of Federal business or the administration of the Federal Departments, is unworthy of notice. On the contrary, it is entitled to consideration. But when a number of citizens, who are appointed under State laws for the transaction of municipal business, meet, not simply as citizens of the Commonwealth, but as a municipal council, they are, in my opinion, disqualified while discharging those functions from expressing any opinion upon the administration of the Public Service. If that were not so, not only would the municipal council be justified1 in criticising the Public Sendee of the State, but, naturally, the State Legislature would l» entitled ‘ to express an opinion as to the manner in which the council treated its employes. In the same way, if the Municipal Council of Fremantle were to bc permitted to criticise the Public Service of !he Commonwealth, we should lie justi fied in criticising their methods of discharging their municipal functions. Under such conditions, we might ‘have a number of bodies, large and small, neglecting their own business for which they were elected in order to devote their time to the discussion of each other’s methods, without my advantage to the public. Therefore, whilst we recognise the fullest right of criticism on the part of every citizen of the Commonwealth, we cannot admit any right in a municipal body, as such, to review the policy of the Commonwealth or the administration of its Departments in any particular. We are responsible only to the electors, and not to such of them as happen to bc municipal councillors. There is some legal connexion between the State Legislature and the local bodies which arc brought into being under legislation passed by it ; but between these creations of State laws and this Legislature there is no possible relation, and no possible scope for mutual criticism. I did not desire to treat the resolution passed by the Fremantle Municipal Council contemptuously, and, therefore, wrote, in the first place, simply acknowledging the communion lion, and on the second occasion setting it aside. I had hoped that the resolution had been passed merely by accident, and that, upon reconsideration, the Fremantle Council would desire the matter to rest. Inasmuch, however, as it h-ss now been brought before Parliament, T trust that it w’11 bc recognised that the Commonwealth. although it owes the fullest responsibility to all its citizens, can acknowledge none to municipal councils, as such, nor to arnot her bodies constituted for local government purposes, nor even to the State Legislatures creatin.11 them.
-SPEAKER. - 1 have to report that I have received the following message from the Senate: -
In reply to message No. 6 of the House of Representatives, dated 27th July, 1906, transmitting for the concurrence of the Senate a resolution in reference to the agreement between the Postmaster-General and Sir James Laing and Sons Limited, for the carriage of mails between Brindisi and Adelaide, the Senate acquaints the House of Representatives that the Senate has agreed to a resolution on the subject, as follows : - “ That the Senate approves the agreement made and entered into on the 7th day of July, 1 1506, between the Postmaster-General, in and for the Commonwealth, and Sir James Laing and Sons Limited, for the carriage of mails between Adelaide and Brindisi, as per schedule, with the following modifications : -
Proviso to clause 3 -
Provided that, in the event of the PostmasterGeneral requiring the ‘period of transit’ on the voyage from Brindisi to Adelaide to be reduced to six hundred and twelve hours, the period of six hundred and twelve hours shall thenceforth be deemed to be the ‘period of transit’ for each voyage from Brindisi to Adelaide, and each such voyage shall be completed within that period.
Proviso to clause 6 -
In last two lines leave out ‘failing mutual agreement be determined by arbitration in the manner provided in the said “ general conditions of tender ‘’ ’, insert ‘be determined by mutual agreement, subject to approval of Parliament, bv resolution.’
Proviso to clause 15 -
After the word ‘legislation’ insert ‘directly’ ; after the words “with the consent of insert ‘or subject to approval by ‘, and after ‘ Parliament ‘ insert ‘by resolution’.”
That the message be considered forthwith.
– - I move -
That the House concur in the resolution as amended by the Senate.
Only one alteration has been made in the proposed contract, namely, the proviso to clause 6. This simply means that, in makins, any fresh arrangement for an accelerated service - as is provided for in clause 6 - the Postmaster-General must ask Parliament to ratify it.
Question resolved in the affirmative. .
House adjourned al 4.50 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 3 August 1906, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1906/19060803_reps_2_32/>.