House of Representatives
19 September 1906

2nd Parliament · 3rd Session



Mr. Speaker took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.

page 4864

QUESTION

BOY LETTER CARRIERS

Mr HUGHES:
WEST SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES

– ls the PostmasterGeneral -aware that, notwithstanding the promise he gave some time ago in reply to a question placed oft the notice-paper by me, that the employment of boys as letter carriers in and around Sydney should be discontinued, some fifty-four boys are still employed in the capacity, being required to work long hours, for ridiculously inadequate rates of pay ?

Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN:
Postmaster-General · EDEN-MONARO, NEW SOUTH WALES · Protectionist

– I am not aware that it is so. The promise was made that boys should not be employed, and I shall have inquiries instituted, to ascertain whether the honorable and learned member’s information is correct. If it proves to be so, I shall at once put a stop to the practice.

page 4865

QUESTION

CASE OF CAPTAIN CROUCH

Mr JOHNSON:
LANG, NEW SOUTH WALES

– Is it the intention Of the Minister of Defence to place on- the table of the library the papers relating to the Crouch case, for the production of which I asked last week?

Mr EWING:
Vice-President of the Executive Council · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · Protectionist

– The Minister of Defence has informed me that the question at issue was purely for the Victorian Commandant to deal with, and that the Commandant has reported -that he has dealt with it. As to the honorable member’s request, the Minister states that pressure of public business has prevented him from going carefully through the papers, but that he will do so as’ soon as possible, and will then let me know his intentions in regard to them.

Mr KELLY:
WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES

– If the decision in this case rested entirely with the Commandant, how did it come about that the Minister refused to accept his recommendation?

Mr EWING:

– That information should be obtained from the Minister himself. I am quite satisfied as to the accuracy of the

Statement which I have made.

page 4865

QUESTION

ADELAIDE CUSTOMS FRAUDS

Mr HUTCHISON:
HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

– Will the Minister of Trade and Customs tell us when he will be able to make a statement as to what steps will be taken in connexion with the Port Adelaide Customs frauds?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES · Protectionist

– I cannot fix a date. What I do will depend upon the recommendations of the Crown Prosecutor.

Mr HUTCHISON:

– Will it be long before action will be taken?

Sir WILLIAM LYNE:

– I think that action will be taken within a very short time.

page 4865

QUESTION

PROROGATION

Mr KING O’MALLEY:
DARWIN, TASMANIA

– I wish to know from the Prime Minister if there is any truth in the rumour that Parliament will be prorogued on Friday, 28th. September ?

Mr DEAKIN:
Minister for External Affairs · BALLAARAT, VICTORIA · Protectionist

– It would be premature to commit one’s self, but I hope that it is

page 4865

QUESTION

MILITARY CLERKS

Mr PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND

– The following paragraph appears in to-day’s Age : -

A new regulation, which will have the effect of banning civilians from the position of military clerks, has been passed by the Military Board. The new regulation provides that except in given special circumstances all future military clerks shall be drawn from the ranks of non-commissioned officers and men iri the permanent forces.

Parliament expressed in no unmeasured tones its condemnation of Major-General Hutton’s attempt to bring the military clerks under the Defence regulations, and I therefore ask the Minister representing the Minister of Defence if the decisions of the Military Board are to be allowed to override the will of this House. I should like to know the intentions of the Minister of Defence before the Defence Estimates come under discussion?

Mr EWING:
Protectionist

– It is perfectly true that the House has discussed the question whether there should be military clerks not under the control of the Public Service Commissioner and civilian clerks under “his control doing similar work in the Defence Department. The opinion has been expressed that the military clerks should be placed in the same position as the civilian clerks. Speaking from memory, I believe that the Military Board has reported that the military clerks should be placed under the Public Service Commissioner; but the change cannot be made without the passing of legislation.

Mr KELLY:

– As the Minister knows, there are, working alongside the military clerks, and performing the same duties, clerks who are under the Public Service Commissioner, and enjoy better opportunities for promotion, and increments than do their colleagues who are under the Military Board. If legislation is not to be introduced to place the military clerks under the Public Service Commissioner, will the Government see that they are accorded the same privileges as the other clerks to whom, I refer ?

Mr EWING:

– The Military Board has recognised the inequality, and has suggested that it should be remedied; but it is for Parliament to deal with the matter, and it is questionable whether the necessary legislation can be passed this session.

page 4866

QUESTION

POSTAL OFFICIALS HOLIDAYS

Mr WATKINS:
NEWCASTLE, NEW SOUTH WALES

asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -

  1. Is he aware that in the State of New South Wales leave, in lieu of holidays worked, has not been granted in accordance with Regulation94, in the majority of suburban and country post offices for theyear 1905?
  2. Will he have the regulation referred to giveneffect to for that year?
Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN:
Protectionist

– I am not aware that such is the case; but inquiries are being made, and answers will be furnished as early as possible.

page 4866

QUESTION

PAYMENT OF COMMONWEALTH OFFICIALS

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

asked the Treasurer, upon notice -

Whether any further consideration has been given by the present Government to proposals which were under the consideration of the late Government : -

  1. To pay the Government servants fortnightly instead of monthly ?
  2. To pay fortnightly all the servants of the General Division, if there are any considerable difficulties in the way of a general concession of that nature ?
Sir JOHN FORREST:
Treasurer · SWAN, WESTERN AUSTRALIA · Protectionist

– This subject has been several times brought under the notice of the Government this session by the honorable member for Southern Melbourne and others. I am glad to be able to announce that the Government has been able to arrange to pay the Commonwealth Public Service mid-monthly and at the end of each month, and that this system will begin at the middle of November next. The additional expense is not anticipated to exceed £7 00 a year.

page 4866

QUESTION

NORTHERN TERRITORY

Sir LANGDON BONYTHON:
BARKER, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

– I wish to direct the attention of the AttorneyGeneral to the following passages in the report of the Government Resident in the Northern Territory for 1905 : - “ In no year since Federation has the Customs revenue been as high as in an.v one year for the fifteen years immediatelypreceding Federation, making an allowance for a corresponding decrease of revenue for a decreased population - still the shortage in revenue is not accounted for. One cause is the gradually increasing introduction of the produce of the States upon which no debits on Inter-State transfer certificates can . be claimed against them by the Northern Territory This produce of the Stales is increasing at the expense - and naturally so - of the imports from other countries. “ Placed in a nutshell, the position seems tobe that the Northern Territory was admitted into the Federation of the States as a part and parcel of South Australia. The accounts, however, between that State and the Territory are kept separate and distinct. The practical effect of this is that the Northern Territory, in its relation to the Commonwealth, through its ‘proxy, South Australia, bears the character of a separate or sub-State ; and as such, with a population of 3,374 persons, has perforce shouldered the responsibilities and burdens of Federation without being in a position to reap any of the corresponding advantages “ - and to ask him, upon notice -

Was the effect of the Commonwealth Constitution to make the Northern Territory “ a part and parcel of South Australia,” or is the Northern Territory still held by South Australia in virtue of Letters Patent from the Crown.

Mr ISAACS:
Attorney-General · INDI, VICTORIA · Protectionist

– So far as the Commonwealth is concerned, the Northern Territory is included in the State of South Australia. The internal relation of the Northern Territory to the State of South Australia, is, I think, a matter for the consideration of the State and not of the Commonwealth.

page 4866

QUESTION

WESTERN AUSTRALIAN ALLOWANCES

Mr FRAZER:
KALGOORLIE, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -

  1. Is it a fact that a higher travelling allowance is paid to officers of the Commonwealth when travelling in Western Australia than when travelling in the other States?
  2. Is it a fact that an additional 25 per cent, over Perth ratesis paid to such officers when they are travelling on the gold-fields?
  3. If the reply to the foregoing questions is in the affirmative, will he make some corresponding provision for officers who are employed permanently in those localities - where living is so costly?
Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN:
Protectionist

– The matter is one for consideration by the Public Service Commissioner, to whom it has been referred.

page 4866

TARIFF PREFERENCES : COMMONWEALTH AND UNITED KINGDOM

In Committee of Ways and Means:

Consideration resumed from 14th September (vide page 4691), on motion by Sir William Lyne -

That in lieu of the duties of Customs imposed by the Customs Tariff1902 on the items shown in the attached schedule, duties of Customs shall from the 30th day of August, 1906, at 4.30 p.m., Victorian time, be imposed as follows : -

The Schedule. “ N.E.I.” means “ not elsewhere included.”

All imitations to be dutiable at the rate chargeable on the goods they imitate, unless such rate is less than the rate which would otherwise be chargeable on the imitations. {: #subdebate-9-0-s0 .speaker-KRO} ##### Mr McLEAN:
Gippsland .- I admire and appreciate the sentiment which has induced the Prime Minister to move in this matter, and intend to vote for the resolution, because it contains a fragment of what I have been pledged to, and in part carries out a policy in which I thoroughly believe. But I deeply regret the manner in which it is proposed to give effect to a splendid sentiment. By preferential trade we should aim at consolidating and strengthening the Empire, making it selfcontained in the event of war. One of its greatest weaknesses is its inability to supply itself with foodstuffs, and its supplies from foreign countries might, in time of war, be cut off. We should aim at making the Empire self-contained, and I believe that that can be done by the adoption of a wellconceived plan of preferential trade, embracing, if possible, every part of the Empire. If the people of the mother country would do as **Mr. Chamberlain** wishes' them to do, and give a small preference to the products of the British dependencies, I believe that production would be stimulated to such an extent that before long the Empire could supply itself with foodstuffs. I do not suggest that in considering our trade relations with the mother country we should sacrifice that which is due to ourselves. We should remember that we are indebted to her for everything that we possess; for our magnificent territory and the Constitutions which enable us to freely work out our own destinies. We are also indebted to her for the protection of her flag. This protection has given us absolute immunity from foreign aggression throughout our history. Moreover, we should not forget that the mother country receives all our products into her free ports, whilst we- and I speak as a protectionist - impose heavy duties upon her goods. I would also point out that she has been very tolerant when we have passed laws which have been of no use to our own people, but which have had the effect of embarrassing her in her relations with some of our own fellow subjects and with other nations. We should remember when entering into a treaty with 'the mother country all these things. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- Would the honorable member be prepared to enter into free trade relations with the mother country? {: .speaker-KRO} ##### Mr McLEAN: -- No., because I do not think that Australia is in a position to compete upon even terms with the manufacturers of Great Britain. If we opened our ports we could not preserve our own industries. But wherever the duties are sufficiently high, to enable us to make a reduction in favour of the mother country without inflicting any serious injury upon local industries, I would be prepared to make a concession. In cases where duties could not be reduced without injuring our industries, I would give Great Britain a preference by raising the imposts against other countries. I am not prepared to say whether the duties upon the various articles included in the schedule are sufficiently high to enable a reduction to be made. {: .speaker-KNJ} ##### Mr Mauger: -- They are certainly not sufficiently high. {: .speaker-KRO} ##### Mr McLEAN: -- No duty would be sufficiently high in the view of my honorable friend. I have no sympathy with his views, or those of the Minister of Trade and Customs, who recently voted in favour of imposing a duty of 42 per cent, upon stripper-harvesters - 'although the local manufacturers enjoyed a natural protection °f 35 Per cent- I presume that the Government have satisfied themselves that the duties could not be reduced in favour of the old country, and I am content to follow their plan 'of raising duties as against other countries. What I complain of, however, is the miserably small nature of the concession - a concession which it is not worthy of us to offer. It affects only some £700,000 or £800,000 worth out of upwards of £10,000,000 worth of foreign imports. At best we cannot hope to divert more than a portion of that trade to the mother country, and the concession will Se of little or no practical value to the manufacturers of Great Britain. If I were the Prime Minister, I should be ashamed to make such a miserable offer. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Why does not the honorable member propose to make a bigger concession ? {: .speaker-KRO} ##### Mr McLEAN: -- The Minister told us that there was no time to prepare a comprehensive scheme for consideration in the closing hours of the session, and I quite agree with him. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Then why blame me for what I am doing? {: .speaker-KRO} ##### Mr McLEAN: -- This is not a party question, or one that calls for the display of any feeling. I am in entire sympathy with the movement, and am pledged to do all that I can to help it forward. Therefore, I shall be only too glad to give it any support I can. I recognise that what the Minister said was perfectly true, but I do not see that there was any need for violent hurry. We know very well that the mother country cannot reciprocate for some little time to come. {: .speaker-KNJ} ##### Mr Mauger: -- That is no reason why we should not do our share. {: .speaker-KRO} ##### Mr McLEAN: -- I quite agree with that, but there is no reason why the Government, if they have not had time to think out a proper scheme, should not defer that operation1 until the coming recess. I have another very serious objection to the method of procedure adopted by the Go vernment. We are entering into one small treaty with New Zealand, and into another with the mother country, and we shall probably be invited to make similar reciprocal arrangements with, South Africa and Canada. Have Ministers considered what this will lead to? We have given New Zealand preference over all other countries, including Great Britain, in regard to a number of articles, and we are adopting the same course with the mother country. We are in each case giving a preference upon a few lines and raising the duties upon a number of others. The goods upon which we are giving the mother country preference are to be the subject of increased duties as against New Zealand, and probably also South Africa and Canada'. If we enter into separate treaties of a similar character with other portions of the Empire, what sort of ' a Tariff shall we have - will it be a Scotch haggis or an Irish stew? It will be the most extraordinary conglomeration of duties that has ever been conceived, and will probably necessitate a large increase in the Customs staff. Surely the mother country cannot attach any value to such a preferential trade arrangement as that now proposed. No doubt her politeness will induce her to fall in with it, but does the Minister think that it will confer any benefit upon the mother country, or that she will care a rotten rush about .the concession'? Would it not be better if the Government passed the first item in the schedule in order 'to affirm the principle, upon which we are unanimous, and then withdraw their proposal with a view to considering the whole question during the recess, and preparing a large and comprehensive scheme, which would be worthy of Australia, and of some real value to the Empire? If this. miserable little fragment of preferential trade were offered to the old country, it would probably have the effect of retarding the accomplishment of the great object which we all have in .view. I think it is desirable that Ministers should consult commercial men, who thoroughly understand business matters, in connexion with a proposal of this kind. It is no reflection upon any of us. to say that we are not business men, in the sense that we are able to deal intelligent! v with comprehensive Imperial schemes of this kind. I have the greatest hopes with regard to the ultimate benefits that would accrue from ' Imperial preferential trade. I believe that it would stimulate production within the Empire, and enable us to make to the mother country some return tor the great advantages she has conferred upon us. lt is only by giving her as much of our trade as we possibly can that we can show her our gratitude. I do not think that she would expect us to open our ports and allow her goods to come in free, because it is recognised that this would mean the extinction of our industries. I believe that the people of Great Britain are quite willing that we should retain a reasonable degree of protection. But, apart from that, we could give such substantial trade advantages to the mother country as would result in diverting to her a large portion of the trade now carried on by us with foreign countries. There is another aspect of this question which we cannot afford to overlook. We know very well that the establishment of preferential trade throughout the Empire would certainly provoke retaliation on the part of some foreign countries with which we at present have profitable trade relations. If we had a large scheme submitted to us, it might be worth our while to incur this risk. But if we administer pinpricks to foreign countries, we may provoke retaliation, without conferring any substantial good upon the mother land. We should endeavour to avoid that, and take time to prepare a comprehensive scheme, which would, if possible, embrace the whole of the Empire. We should then give effect to it as soon as we reasonably could. In conclusion, I am quite prepared to vote for the Government proposal, because it follows upon the lines that 1 have always advocated. At the same time, it represents such a small instalment of the preference which I had in view, that I believe its adoption in its present form will do a great deal more harm than good, and will retard the consummation of that larger scheme which we all desire to see established. {: #subdebate-9-0-s1 .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER:
Kalgoorlie .- At this stage of the session, I cannot grow enthusiastic over the proposal under consideration. To my mind, it marks a decided departure from the general policy which has been adopted bv this House during the past few weeks - the policy of protection.. It occurs to me that, in connexion with Tariff matters, the interests of our own people should be our first consideration. Upon numerous occasions, we have heard statements by honorable members concerning the impossibility of certain in dustries being carried on unless a larger measure of protection were accorded them. If that opinion be indorsed by the Tariff Commission, I hold "that it will not make any appreciable difference to the Australian artisan whether his employment is taken from him as the result of the competition of British goods, or of the competition of foreign goods. If goods continue to be imported to his detriment, what consolation will it be to him, if thrown out of work, to know that they are of British, instead of foreign origin? I hold that the bonds which unite the mother country to her colonies should not be dependent upon any sordid arrangement, or upon any reciprocal treaty which may be entered into by various parts of the Empire, although I am: not opposed to agreements of that description. My point is that if we adopt a scheme of preferential trade wilh Great Britain at the present juncture, we may adopt one which will permit of the introduction of goods manufactured by British sweaters to the displacement of our own artisans. I do not think that . that is a satisfactory condition of affairs to contemplate. {: .speaker-KVJ} ##### Mr Storrer: -- It is not proposed to reduce the duties collected under our present Tariff. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- But the whole argument of protectionists is that the present measure of protection accorded to our industries is insufficient. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- This schedule makes, a' concession to British goods carried in British bottoms. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- According to the honorable member's statement the other day - which at the time I thought was incorrect - there are only eleven foreign-owned ships; annually coming to Australia. But,, irrespective of whether or not his statement be correct, the proposal of the Government does not increase the duties hitherto collected upon goods of British origin. It is not sufficient for us to say to the Australian artisan, who is asking for more protection, " We will protect you from the competition of the foreigner, but not from the competition of the United Kingdom." Seeing that an Imperial Conference will he held in London next year, at which the Commonwealth' will be represented, I think that we should defer action in this matter with a view to affording our representative an opportunity *to* discuss with British statesmen the possibility of a reciprocal treaty being entered into between the United Kingdom and Australia. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- All British ships employ foreign sailors. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- I will come to that point presently. I move, as an amendment - >That after the word "That," line 1, the following words be inserted, '"' in the opinion of this Committee the proposal should be deferred till the reports of the representative to the Imperial Conference and the Tariff Commission are presented to the House." {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Vote against the Government proposal and kill it at once. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- My amendmeant will do nothing of the kind. I am perfectly prepared to support a reciprocal agreement between the Commonwealth and any portion of the British Empire whose artisans observe similar conditions to our own, when we have the information to hand' which will enable us to do justice to the Australian manufacturer. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- A hundred years hence. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- I cannot understand what the Minister is talking about. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I have been endeavouring to ascertain what the honorable member is driving at. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- Yet the Minister has already declared that my amendment, if adopted, will kill die .Government proposal. I maintain that it will do nothing of the- kind. It appears to me that the Government proposal has been submitted in the crudest possible fashion. A great many of the articles enumerated in the schedule are at present manufactured in Australia. Take the item of "bicycles, tricycles, and vehicles." Does anybody pretend that they cannot be produced by Australian workmen? {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr Johnson: -- Bicycles cannot. The parts of the machines are merely put together here. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- I say that many of the best bicycles in use in the Commonwealth to-day are manufactured in Australian workshops. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr Salmon: -- Where? {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- In all the States. _ I can assure honorable members that it is so. I know that bicycles are being made in Kalgoorlie. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr Johnson: -- There might be an odd machine manufactured in the Common wealth, but they cannot be manufactured to any extent, because most of the parts are patented. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- There are no patents which prevent the whole of the machine from being manufactured by Australian workmen. Take the next item, namely, that of boots and shoes. I suppose honorable members will tell me that they cannot be manufactured locally? {: .speaker-KNJ} ##### Mr Mauger: -- The Government do not propose to reduce the duty upon them. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- But the honorable member has repeatedly declared that the existing duty is not sufficient. Does it concern the Australian workman whether the goods which cause him to lose his employment are of British or foreign origin? If the present duty is not sufficient, does the honorable member contemplate immediately this preferential scheme has been printed - altering, the duties contained therein? {: .speaker-KNJ} ##### Mr Mauger: -- Most decidedly. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- Then it. is an illogical and absurd position to) assume. {: .speaker-KNJ} ##### Mr Mauger: -- That is the honorable member's opinion. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- I am merely expressing my opinion. I should be" very sorry to speak for the honorable member. When we offer concessions to the United Kingdom they should be embodied in a proposal as to which we have made up our minds for a week at least. {: .speaker-KNJ} ##### Mr Mauger: -- We are offering the goods of the United Kingdom a 10 per cent, preference. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- But the honorable member does not wish us to make up our minds in regard to that proposal for any definite period. If complaint were made tomorrow by a boot manufacturer that' his industry was being interfered with by the competition of British goods, some honorable members would at once cry out, " Let us issue new preferential proposals." {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- It is a brilliant idea that we should impose duties so high that even the Britisher coul'd not send his goods to Australia? Would that' 'be granting preference to Great Britain? {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- In the case of goods which can be produced in Australia under conditions satisfactory alike to the workers and the consumers, and in connexion with which we can prevent prices being forced up by combinations, I am prepared to vote to give the Australian market to Australians. ' But I think it would be absurd for us to issue to-day a schedule of duties which we are prepared to impose in favour of Great Britain when upon the receipt of further reports from the Tariff Commission showing that some industry was being injured, honorable members would be prepared two or three months later on to make an alteration. It would be better for us to seek further information and to allow the schedule to stand over until early in the next Parliament. That would not involve any waste of time. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Let us have a quorum. *[Quorum formed.]* {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- But for the fact that a certain meeting of honorable members was taking place, there would have been no necessity to call for a quorum. That meeting was disturbed by the action of the honorable member for Parramatta. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I was not aware that such a meeting was taking place. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- It was not my desire that a demand for a quorum should be made. I hold that before agreeing to these preferential trade proposals we should make up our minds as to what we are prepared to grant Great Britain for some time to come. It is certainly undesirable that we should this session agree to certain proposals, and alter them as soon as further reports from the Tariff Commission are received. We ought to be thoroughly seised of the effect which British imports have upon Australian industries. {: .speaker-KNJ} ##### Mr Mauger: -- Nine 'months after granting a preference to Great Britain, Canada made an alteration in her schedule, holding that the duties were not high enough. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr Conroy: -- That was proved to be a corrupt act on the part of a Minister, and he was dismissed. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- If Canada, by her action in that regard, made herself ridiculous in the eyes of, the world, there is no reason why we should follow such a bad precedent. We have now an excellent opportunity to affirm the principle of closer trade relations with Great Britain and to say that we shall not proceed to specify the items in respect of which we are prepared to grant preferences, until the return of the Prime Minister from the Imperial Conference, and the receipt of reports from the Tariff Commission dealing with local conditions. In view of the allegations made from time to' time as to the unfortunate position of Australian workers engaged in factories affected by the Tariff, is not my proposal a reasonable one ? _ I would . point out that the item of dynamite, which appears in the schedule, seriously affects my own constituency. I have not yet been able to obtain the information I desire in regard to the allegations made by the Perry Fuse Manufacturing Company, that the Australian industry is likely to be seriously affected by the action of a British combine. In a circular distributed among, honorable members, the company states that a trust has been formed in Great Britain which absolutely refuses to sell powder to be used in Australia for the manufacture of fuse. Such a statement is serious enough to demand an immediate investigation by the Minister of Trade and Customs, and in the circumstances we should ask ourselves whether we should be justified in shutting out all competition from1 foreign countries. Imports of dynamite, gelignite, &c, from the United Kingdom in 1905 were of the value of ^280,598, whilst those obtained from other countries were of the value of .£95,223. As the Australian industry is threatened, and since, with its destruction, local competition would disappear, we might well inquire into what would be the effect of this proposal on the users of dynamite and similar explosives in Australia. We require more information for our guidance. I appeal to the Minister of Trade and Customs to supply us with the fullest details concerning these items, so that we may proceed on correct lines of granting a preference to Great Britain. I wish now to point out how necessary it is that we should amend the motion, with a view to the protection of labour. I have clearly pointed out to my constituents that under no consideration would I vote for proposals that would be advantageous to coloured workmen, even although they might be resident in some part of the British Empire. .1 know that it could hardly be said that the words " United Kingdom " could be so construed as to cover the product of coloured labour in India and other British Possessions ; but I would point out that, owing to her defective immigration laws, England's large alien population is rapidly increasing. An industry carried on in Great Britain by workmen who. are not so effectively protected as are the workers in Australia might export its products to the Commonwealth so extensively as to ultimately destroy the local industry. I wish it to be clearly set forth in the motion that no preference shall be granted except to goods manufactured by white labour. Consideration should also be given to goods carried in ships employing white seamen. The other day the honorable member for Parramatta quoted from a return prepared by **Senator Pulsford,** showing that there were only eleven foreign vessels engaged in carrying goods direct from Great Britain to Australian ports. I questioned at the time the accuracy of the table, and have since ascertained that it is absolutely misleading. Although the number of foreign vessels commencing their voyage to Australia from a British port may be, as alleged by **Senator Pulsford,** only eleven, the fact remains that his table does not apply to vessels which commence their voyage from a foreign port, and proceed *via* British ports to Australia. One may safely say that scores of such vessels annually engage in the Australian trade1. There are more than eleven French and German mail steamers annually calling at Australian ports, and a number of German tramp steamers, on their way to Australia, touch, at British ports, and take in cargo for delivery here. In view of the necessity of protecting the British mercantile marine, we should give a preference only to vessels complying with certain conditions. According to figures collected by a Committee of the British House of Commons appointed to consider the position of the British mercantile marine, in i860 there were employed on British ships 157,000 British seamen and 335 Lascars, while in 1903 the number of British seamen was only 176.000. and the number of Lascars 41.000. That is a veryserious state of affairs. Furthermore, in j 903 there were 40,000 foreigners, in addition to Lascars, or 81.000 foreigners and Lascars, out of 176,000 seamen employed on British ships. Our first duty is to the Australian people. Having considered them, we should be prepared to show consideration to the British, and. if we then have any opportunity to consider the foreigner, we might take advantage of it. I have now stated mv attitude in regard to the proposals of the Government. I am not prepared to indorse them until sufficient information is available to enable us to give an intelligent vote upon them. I do not think that we can accept this agreement until we know the views of the Imperial Conference, and obtain additional reports from the Tariff Commission, together with further information in regard to several items in this crudely-drawn schedule. {: #subdebate-9-0-s2 .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr SALMON:
Laanecoorie -- I look upon this proposal as perhaps the most important that has engaged the attention of the present Parliament, and I am not at one with those who think that its scops and the number of .articles dealt with is too insignificant. Having regard to the state of our business, and to the fact that we are near the end of the last session of the Parliament, the Government have acted wisely in displaying moderation. All will agree that it would be impossible at this juncture to deal with the Tariff as a whole, or with proposals of a more general character, although many of us would like the scope of this scheme to be extended. With regard to what the honorable member for Kalgoorlie has said as to the items of the schedule, I wish to point out to him and to other .honorable members that it is competent for the Committee to deal with the schedule in detail. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- And to finish the session next week ? {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr SALMON: -- The honorable member's question weakens an objection which he made only a few minutes ago, when he spoke of the small number of items in the schedule. Now he appears to think that it is impossible to deal this session even with the items which have been brought down. In my opinion, the Government have acted wisely in making the schedule a small one, because it is not only necessary to conserve Australian manufactures, but also because the people of the old country are undoubtedly looking to Australia for a lead in this matter. Quite recently a prominent member of the Opposition - the Attorney-General of the Reid-McLean Government - publicly stated his regret that the people of England were being deluded with the prospect of offers from this country. Alluding to the Australian Industries Preservation Bill, under discussion at the time, he said, according to the *Hansard* report of this session, page 3517 - >In England, politicians and statesmen, in order to change the fiscal system of the mother country, have made use of what they believe to be the strong crystallized sentiments in favour of preference. Those statesmen and politicians have spoken of " offers " from Australia in this connexion, though I am not aware that any definite offers of the kind have been made by any responsible public man in Australia to justify the statements which have been circulated in Great Britain and Ireland during the last three or four years. I think that many of those statements have been unjustifiable. A definite offer is now being made by the Commonwealth to the people of Great Britain, which places in a concrete and crystallized form the desire of our people; because he would be a bold man who would affirm that Australia is not prepared to give a preference to the mother country, and, indeed, to go further, and to give a preference to the whole Empire. But a proposal of a general character would be so far-reaching in its effects that it would have to be approached with the greatest caution, and viewed and discussed from every aspect. {: .speaker-KRO} ##### Mr McLean: -- Does not the honorable member think that that would be a wise and a proper way to commence ? {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr SALMON: -- I think that it is wise first to affirm the principle. {: .speaker-KRO} ##### Mr McLean: -- And to commence in a slip-shod manner. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr SALMON: -- I do not think that the honorable ' member can justly apply that term to this proposition, which is an earnest of the desire of the Government and of the people of Australia to enter into preferential trading relations with the mother country. It is better that we should proceed cautiously under present conditions than attempt to deal with a large number of items with the certainty of having to amend the Tariff again a,t no distant period. When we make trade arrangements they should be fixed for a considerable period, without liability to material alteration. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- Then why tinker with the subject now? {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr SALMON: -- I do not regard this as tinkering. In my opinion, although the proposition is not a complete treatment of this important Question, it affirms the desirability of preferential relations, which is at the present time more required than even a full schedule. {: .speaker-KRO} ##### Mr McLean: -- To carry the first item would affirm the principle. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr SALMON: -- I should be prepared to stop at that rather than not proceed in the matter at all. {: .speaker-KRO} ##### Mr McLean: -- We should all be prepared to go as far as that. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- No. The honorable' member must speak for himself. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr SALMON: -- If it were shown to be impossible to go further, I should be satisfied with an affirmation of the principle. {: .speaker-KNJ} ##### Mr Mauger: -- It would be hard to show the honorable member that it is impossible to go further. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr SALMON: -- Yes. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Are the Government prepared to withdraw the proposition after the first item has been agreed to? {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- When it has been agreed to, we shall be prepared to answer the question. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr SALMON: -- I think that we should push on until we finish with the subject. We have been told that we should be fearful of retaliation. I trust that this young nation will not, at the beginning of its national existence display timidity - I shall not use a stronger word - but will make it evident to the nations of the world that we are prepared to take our own part, and will not be daunted by threats of retaliation in such action as we consider it desirable to take. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- There is no retaliation in these proposals, though there is plenty of room for it if it becomes necessary. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr SALMON: -- At the present time we find ourselves shut out from the markets of many countries from which we might expect retaliation. Are we to lie down until those countries are pleased to tell us that they will accept our products under more liberal conditions. When preferential trade was being discussed by the people of Great Britain, it was the free-traders who were loudest in demanding retaliation. The protectionists were anxious for the support and preservation of British industries; bur it was the free-traders who, during the electoral campaign, used the word " retaliation " most effectively. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- No. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr SALMON: -- The honorable member is surely not so ignorant of the literature of the cult to which he belongs not to know what took place during the English elections. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- I know more of what happened in England during the last general election than does the honorable member. If I knew, only as much I should know very little. He must have been reading American literature. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr SALMON: -- The honorable member for Kalgoorlie, in criticising this proposition, missed the whole point. He seemed to think that a lowering of the present rates of duties is involved. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- No. {: .speaker-KRO} ##### Mr McLean: -- The honorable member said that the Tariff Commission might recommend the raising of some rates. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- The carrying of this proposition would not prevent the adoption of th'e Commission's recommendations. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr SALMON: -- That is not the question with which I am now dealing. The honorable member for Kalgoorlie said that, because he desired to protect the Australian workman, he opposed the proposition of the Government. Therefore, I take it that, in his opinion, the carrying of the motion would have the effect of placing the Australian workman in a worse position than that which he occupies at the present time. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- I said that it is urged that Australian workmen have not now sufficient protection, and that their position would not be improved if we continued to import, even from British countries, in competition with local manufacturers. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr SALMON: -- The honorable member feels that this proposal will not assist Australian workmen, and therefore intends to vote against it. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- I contend that the workman who is thrown out of employment by the importation of British products is no better off than one who is deprived of work by the introduction of foreign products. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr SALMON: -- But the honorable member must admit that under present conditions our workmen are subject to being thrown 'out of employment by the importation of foreign as well as British manufactures. Surely he will allow that the proposal to impose an additional 10 per cent, duty upon the products of foreign manufacturers will not make the position of the Australian workman any worse. On the contrary, it will tend to improve it in respect to goods which are imported from foreign sources. Perhaps the honorable member will see his way to withdraw from the position he has taken up. I presume that he has not lost faith in the Australian Industries Preservation Bill. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- I never had very much faith in it. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr SALMON: -- "Under that measure Australian workmen can be protected against unfair competition, whether from Great Britain or elsewhere. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr Johnson: -- Retaliation is already being provoked in Germany. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr SALMON: -- I am not afraid of German retaliation. Germany takes from us only such goods as suit her purposes - goods which she cannot obtain from any other part of the world. {: .speaker-KNJ} ##### Mr Mauger: -- She prohibits her subsidized steamers from transporting such of our products as would compete with her own people. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr SALMON: -- Exactly. The fear, of retaliation on the part of Germany is absolutely groundless, because she could not effectively retaliate against our producers. Germany takes our wool because her manufacturers need it to enable them to compete against their rivals in other countries, and the proprietors of the German woollen mills would be the first to resent any attempt to exclude our fleeces from that country. This is the first opportunity that has been afforded us to give effect to the wish of the people of- Australia that preferential trade relations should be established with the mother country. Although we may differ with regard to details and the extent of the preference to be given, Ave should not hesitate to adopt the principle. I trust that we shall speedily pass the Government proposals, and show the people of the old country that the utterances of our public men are indorsed, not only by the people of the Commonwealth, but by this Legislature. {: #subdebate-9-0-s3 .speaker-KYJ} ##### Sir JOHN QUICK:
Bendigo -- Like the honorable member for Gippsland, I was returned at the .last election pledged to support preferential trade with the mother' country, and I shall do all I can to give effect to that policy. At the same time, I regard the present proposal as a very small instalment of. what is required. It has been brought forward verylate in the day, shows signs of haste, and may well be described as a thing of shreds and patches. I admit that this scheme is small, and open to the criticism which has been directed against it in this House and in the country; but I am not prepared to vote for any amendment which might indicate a lack of sympathy with the great Imperial movement. It is not necessary at this period of the discussion to reiterate the powerful arguments which were presented by the Prime Minister, and which have been repeated over and over again. The scheme appears to come in conflict with a considerable amount of the work that has been done by the Tariff Commission, and I should like to know definitely whether it is equivalent to a notice to quit to the members of the Commission. **Sir William** Lyne. Certainly not. {: .speaker-KYJ} ##### Sir JOHN QUICK: -- Are we to cease our deliberations, in view of these proposals ? {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- No. The proposals do not in any' sense affect the work of the Tariff Commission. {: .speaker-KYJ} ##### Sir JOHN QUICK: -- So far as I am personally concerned, I welcome the Government proposals. I do not wish to run away from my work, but I want to know whether, in view of these proposals, we are to cease our deliberations ? {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- No; as I s,ay, they do not at all affect the work of the Commission. They merely fix the proportion of preference to be granted to the mother country. {: .speaker-KYJ} ##### Sir JOHN QUICK: -- The proposals cover a considerable amount of the ground traversed by the reports of the Commission which are now under consideration, and which will shortly be presented. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- We are now dealing merely with a question of proportion between duties. When the proposals of the Commission come in we shall preserve the proportion that is now fixed. {: .speaker-KYJ} ##### Sir JOHN QUICK: -- I wish to know whether we are to consider these proposals as determining the various items, or whether the duties are to be again raked up, and trade operations are to be again disturbed in order that the proportions may be properly adjusted. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- The Government proposals merely determine the proportion of preference to be given. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- The Commission do not consider it as .part of their duty to report upon preferential trade? {: .speaker-KYJ} ##### Sir JOHN QUICK: -- No; but under the Government scheme certain existing duties would be reaffirmed. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- No; we merely fix the proportion of preference to be given to Great Britain over other countries. " {: .speaker-KYJ} ##### Sir JOHN QUICK: -- But I say that the existing duties are reaffirmed, and are in some cases being added to by a supplementary duty of 10 per cent, upon goods imported from foreign countries. I wish to know whether this reaffirmation of duties is to remain, or whether the scheme is a merely temporary one? {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- We merely establish the proportion of duties to be paid upon British compared with foreign goods - that is all. {: .speaker-KYJ} ##### Sir JOHN QUICK: -- I think that it is desirable that Tariff matters of such great importance and magnitude should be dealt with as a whole, and finally settled under one general scheme. Most of the items dealt with in the schedule have been exhaustively investigated by the Commission, and honorable members will be furnished with a large amount of information, which might guide them in dealing with not only Australian, but international Tariff matters. The evidence will, amongst other things, bear upon the differentiation of duties between British made and foreign goods. I am not quite sure whether the differentiation recommended would be upon a uniform basis of 10 per cent. In any case, I could not anticipate the reports of the Commission. At present the members of that body feel very much embarrassed, and wish to know definitely whether the items embodied in the schedule are still to be investigated and reported upon by them with a view to their being dealt with next session. I am prepared to vote for the schedule, subject to certain omissions and modifications. The proposals in regard to the first three or four items indicate a lack of design and of due consideration of the various details and conflicting interests involved. Take the case of ammunition) and cartridges:, both of which are at present admitted free of duty. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- That is one of the old anomalies in the Tariff. {: .speaker-KYJ} ##### Sir JOHN QUICK: -- It is proposed that they should still be admitted free of duty, but that 10 per cent, should be imposed upon imports from foreign countries. One of the roost conspicuous anomalies in the Tariff isi the provision that cartridges should be admitted free of duty. They should be subject to a duty, not only for the protection of the local manufacturer, but in order to equalize the conditions in respect of the local manufacturers of cartridges and of shot. Whilst there is a duty °f *£S* Per ton upon shot, cartridges loaded with shot are admitted free of duty ; and yet, under the Government scheme, it is proposed to continue the anomaly. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- We did not desire to anticipate the work of the Tariff Commission, and therefore, although we regarded the situation as anomalous, we accepted it as it stood. {: .speaker-KYJ} ##### Sir JOHN QUICK: -- I do not think that two attempts should be made to solve one problem. The anomaly which was so apparent should have been removed. Ammunition - that is, powder - is admitted free; and in order to show how carefully these matters should be inquired into, I wish to direct attention to some of the evidence given before the Tariff Commission with respect to the manufacture of powder. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I think that we should have a few more members present to listen to the honorable and learned member. - *[Quorum formed.']* {: .speaker-KYJ} ##### Sir JOHN QUICK: -- I should like to point out that this proposed differential duty of 10 per cent, upon powder and ammunition would have the effect of closing a promising Australian industry, namely, a fuse factory belonging to the Perry Australian Fuse Manufacturing Company, of Footscray. This company has upwards of £6,000 invested in the manufacture of fuse. At the present time there is no duty levied upon that article. Owing to that fact the local industry has to contend with the severe competition of English fuse manufacturers, who are members of two or three powerful companies and syndicates. For years past these manufacturers have been doing their best to kill the local industry. It is well known that .powder is one of the main raw materials in the manufacture of fuse, and the local manufacturer has recently been brought into such severe conflict with importing firms that the latter have made arrangements with English powder manufacturers not to 'supply him with fuse powder. I will read the evidence which was given before the Tariff Commission in support of my statement. **Mr. Fred** Daniel Perry stated, upon oath - >English fuse makers have used their influence with the powder makers in the old country to prevent my obtaining powder supplies there. I have never been able to buy an ounce of powder in England. The manufacturers there will not supply me. There is a big powder combine in the old country, and every one of the members - I have written to them all - have declined to supply me. I saw **Mr. Dunbar,** of the firm of Curtis and Harvey, who represent the English powder people here, and he told me that powder was not to be supplied for fuse-making purposes out here. **Mr. Dunbar** also told me that the English powder ring had an arrangement with the principal German makers, that the latter were not to ship powder out here to compete with them. My trade with three German makers was stopped by this ring, but I am now obtaining a supply from two firms on the Continent. The ring has made every effort to stop the manufacture of fuse, and if a duty on fuse is not imposed both the Victorian factories will have to close. When that testimony was given a request was made that a duty of id. per lb. should be levied upon imported fuse. At that time it was little thought that the Commonwealth Government, which is naturally interested in the protection of this commodity, would propose to levy a duty upon fuse powder which the manufacturers of Great Britain had refused to supply to the local manufacturer, who was thereby forced to obtain it from the Continent of Europe. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- I am told that the proposed duty does not apply to fuse powder. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I have papers in my possession which show that. {: .speaker-KRO} ##### Mr McLean: -- The statement read by the honorable and learned member for Bendigo is verv similar to that contained in the circular which has been issued to honorable members. {: .speaker-KYJ} ##### Sir JOHN QUICK: -- I 'have read the sworn evidence tendered to the Tariff Commission. The circular which was recently issued to honorable members reaffirms that complaint, and states - >By the imposition of this duty it plays into the hands of the powder ring, and also places the Australian fuse maker at a disadvantage of 10 per cent, as against the English fuse makers (in whose interests the blocking takes place), there being no duty on fuse, we having to pay 10 per cent, duty on our powder. We get German powder under compulsion, having endeavoured to buy from all the English makers and from the representatives of the powder trust in Melbourne (Curtis and Harvey) and could not get any one of them to supply. The Melbourne representatives stated they would not supply any one in Australia with powder for fuse making, and that there was an arrangement with the principal German makers that they were not to ship here to compete with them. Under these circumstances we consider that until such time only as the English powder makers will sell fuse powder to Australia at ruling rates, the item " fuse powder " should be free. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- So it is. {: .speaker-KYJ} ##### Sir JOHN QUICK: -- That is news to me, and to the local manufacturers, and will remove the objection which I have urged. The Government further propose to levy a dutv of 10 per cent, upon continental dynamite. Coming, as I do, from a mining district, I am naturally interested in ascertaining how far that proposal may affect the mining industry. I am not prepared to say that it will seriously affect the industry, because it is quite obvious from the returns which have been submitted that there is a vast importation of dynamite into the Commonwealth, both from the United Kingdom and from the Con- tinent. I find, for example, that, during 1905, dynamite to the value of ^280,000 wai imported from Great Britain, and that supplies to the value of £95,000 were imported from other countries. {: .speaker-KYD} ##### Mr Poynton: -- Do those figures include dynamite which is contained in various compounds ? {: .speaker-KYJ} ##### Sir JOHN QUICK: -- I believe they refer to gelignite, which is used for blasting purposes. This item affords _ another illustration of how unexpected results may flow from the imposition of any duty the effect of which has not been carefully considered. I have been informed that the proposed duty will not have the effect of extending to British manufacturers a preference such as the Government expect. It appears that there is at present in existence a vast dynamite trust, known as the Nobel Dynamite Trust Combine. It embraces the Nobel firm, in Glasgow; a big firm in Hamburg, Germany ; the Australian Explosive Company of Melbourne; Messrs. Curtis and Harvey, one of the most powerful dynamite partnerships in the United Kingdom; and others. This trust is so worked that its profits and losses are pooled. The consequence will be that the trust as a whole will bear the proposed io- per cent, duty, and the British companies will pay their proportion of it in common with the Continental members of the trust. That being the case, there is very little in the nature of a preference in the proposed duty. It will be a preference of a very divided and doubtful character, and it may result in an increase in the selling price of dynamite to our mines. I do not wish to exaggerate difficulties, but I point to this proposal as illustrating that we have to consider all sorts of relationships before we can say with certainty in what direction a proposed preference will work. Then the Government desire to levy a duty of 10 per cent, upon foreign fuse, whilst admitting fuse from Great Britain free. Let us see how that will benefit our local manufacturers. From the return which has been circulated amongst honorable members, it appears that, in 1905, fuse to the value of £27,000 was imported from Great Britain, and of ,£1,000 from foreign countries. Where, then, is the value of the proposed preference of 10 per cent, to British fuse? Does not such a proposal amount to an absolute mockery? It represents 10 per cent, upon £1,000 worth of Continental fuse. The local manufacturers will not be benefited in any way. They desire that a duty shall be levied upon British fuse, as well as upon fuse from other countries, They principally desire a duty upon British fuse, because it is their chief competitor. They affirm that British manufacturers are endeavouring to bulldose them, to undersell them, and to prevent them from obtaining their powder. Of what value, I ask, is the proposed preference to Great Britain, or in what way will it benefit Australian manufacturers ? Is it not another illustration of the valueless character of Tariff alterations which' are not based upon proper information ? My own opinion is that these matters could have been more effectively dealt with in connexion with the recommendations of the Tariff Commission, which will bc presented in due time. I have no desire to unnecessarily magnify difficulties and. imperfections. For my part, I am willing to do all that I possibly can to dispose of as many items in this schedule as possible without delay. If the Government intend to push this proposal through they ought', if necessary, to sit day and night to that end. It is of no use leaving the matter in a position of doubt. If their proposals are not determined during the present session, it will prove that the very introduction of this scheme was a mistake. The Government should not have introduced it unless they could see their way to pass it without delay. I do not wish to join in the cry that it has been introduced merely for political advertising purposes. I should be sorry to believe anything of the kind, but, unless the Government make an earnest and determined effort to expedite its consideration, their action will certainly be open to such a suspicion. The result, so far, has been to disturb trade - to cause much unrest and distrust in trading circles. {: .speaker-KRO} ##### Mr McLean: -- That occurs every" time that Tariff alterations are proposed. {: .speaker-KYJ} ##### Sir JOHN QUICK: -- And the more frequent the alterations the greater the disturbance, and the more pronounced is the dissatisfaction with the Parliament. If these proposals are not pushed through a serious reflection will be cast upon the Government. Who has to pav for the increased duties now being collected ? If the scheme falls through, are those duties to be refunded? As a matter of law in such cases, the Government would have to refund the extra duties paid by the importers. But could any ref und be made to the retailers and consumers, to whom those extra duties will have been passed on? These facts point to the necessity of dealing with Tariff changes in a bold, determined, systematic manner. They ought certainly not to be tinkered with. I believe that this motion was submitted so late in the session as to render it impossible to give effective consideration to the items in the schedule, and to enable justice to be done to the great Imperial question of preference. I am prepared, however, to assist in keeping a House during the remaining days of the session, so that we may deal with those items that are fairly debatable. I shall do all that I can to eliminate some of the items, which, whilst not giving any fair or substantial preference to Great Britain, would operate harshly and needlessly oppress local industries. **Mr. JOHNSON** (Lang) [12.19J.-r-I shall mot speak at any length at the present stage, since, if the first part of the motion be adopted, in discussing amendments qf the schedule, honorable members can deal fully with the subjects of those amendments. The honorable member- for Kalgoorlie has submitted an amendment, which has something to recommend its acceptance, but I. am not yet sure what attitude I shall take up in regard to it, because a better amendment may be offered as an alternative. As a rule, the honorable member opposes all amendments moved by the Opposition, even when actually in accord with their purpose. Had such a. proposal as that now made by ' him been submitted from this side of the Chamber, I am sure that he would have been found voting against it. So far as he is concerned, that 'has been practical ! v the fate of all amendments moved by the Opposition. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- That is an outrageous statement. {: #subdebate-9-0-s4 .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON: -- The honorable, member has made himself conspicuous By voting for proposals which he himself has condemned. Only last night, after condemning in the strongest possible terms certain proposals submitted bv the Government, and involving the imposition of taxation upon the poorer classes of the community, which he vehemently denounced *as* unjust, he voted for them. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- I said that any proposal to impose a duty on tea or kerosene; would be strongly opposed by me. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON: -- With the full knowledge that the Government intended to have recourse to those duties, the honorable member voted for the Bill in' question. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- They do not. Why does the honorable member make such an assertion as that? {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON: -- When the honorable member for Kalgoorlie put a question to him last night the Prime Minister said that those duties, as well as a few smaller items, had been contemplated. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- The honorable member is trying for political purposes to twist the statements made by the Prime Minister. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON: -- I am 'stating the actual facts. The honorable member was not present when the statement in question was made. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- The Prime Minister said that tea and kerosene in connexion with a few other items, had been mentioned, but it was for the Parliament to decide what duties should be imposed. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- He made it fairly clear that he would propose duties on tea and kerosene. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON: -- Did not the honorable member for Kalgoorlie himself point out most emphatically that they must of necessity be mainly on kerosene and tea, since there were no other items from which the Government could hope to derive any considerable revenue. He knew that the Government would have no recourse to other items to get the bulk of the necessary £1,500,000. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I have already denied that statement. It is a deliberate misrepresentation on the part of the honorable member. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- I rise to a point of order. The Minister of Trade and Customs has just accused the honorable member for Lang of making a deliberate misstatement. {: #subdebate-9-0-s5 .speaker-KNJ} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr Mauger:
MELBOURNE PORTS, VICTORIA -- If the Minister has made any remark to which the honorable member for Lang objects, I am sure that he will withdraw it. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON: -- I do not object to such remarks on the part of the Minister of Trade and Customs ; thev are characteristic of the honorable gentleman. We all know him, and consequently we take no notice of his diatribes. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- Is the honorable member going to vote against the amendment simply because I have moved it? {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON: -- I have not said anything of the kind ; but I think it is about time that notice was taken of the fact that', whilst the honorable member expects the Opposition to support any amendment that he moves, he does not reciprocate when similar amendments are submitted by them. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- Proposals made by the Opposition are usually" designed 'to humiliate the Government. My . amendment would not have that effect. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON: -- If carried it would certainly humiliate the Government, since it would render it impossible for them to give effect to their proposal. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member for Kalgoorlie has , ridiculed the Government proposals to a far greater extent than has any member of the Opposition. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON: -- I dare say that when the time comes the honorable member will be found just as willing to climb down from the position he has taken up as he has been on other occasions when requested by the Government to do so. We shall probably have a request from him for the protection of the new industry he has started as a manufacturer of amendments. The amendment now before us is certainly better than the motion. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- Then why denounce me for submitting it? {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON: -- I am not denouncing the honorable member. I am simply pointing out his inconsistency. In the course of his speech he said that we had to consider the effect of competition on Australian workers, and that so far as they were concerned it was immaterial whether that competition came from Great Britain or foreign countries. I presume that we may accept that statement as another indication of the sentiment which his party endeavours so insidiously to cultivate. What does it amount to? It is simply an admission that he is prepared, for the sake of the Australian worker, to treat the British people as foreigners. Underlying his speech one could not fail to detect an antipathy to British workmen; and yet the party of which he is a member loudly proclaims, not merely the brotherhood of the British nation, but the brotherhood of man. I do not know how thev reconcile such conflicting sentiments. I am pre pared to admit all British goods free of duty. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- So that the honorable member would put the foreigner and the negro on an equal footing with the Britisher. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON: -- I do not wish any misapprehension to exist as to my position ; I would have no barriers against the freest possible trade with all parts of the world. Free-trade is natural trade, and the closer we follow that natural law the better for all concerned. Those who can exchange products freely with every part of the universe enjoy the highest advantages to be obtained from trading. But when I cannot get universal free-trade, or free-trade with foreign nations, I am prepared to get as much freetrade within the Empire as is possible. If I cannot get the whole loaf I will get all I can. I was twitted yesterday with being a revenue tariffist, but that charge cannot justly be made against me, in view of the political opinions which I have expressed with: no' uncertain voice during many years. I have never advocated a revenue Tariff, except when I have had to choose between that and protection. I prefer low to high duties, and the nearer we can get to absolute free-trade, the better I shall be pleased. The honorable member for Kalgoorlie is labouring under a misapprehension if he thinks that bicycles are manufactured in Australia. It is true that one may see in our capitals, and in some of our larger inland towns, the sign " Bicycle factory," but, except in a few isolated cases in which men may manufacture bicycles from start to finish practically as a hobby, there is no such thing as bicycle manufacturing in Australia. I have spoken to several persons in the trade, and they tell me that bicycles are imported in parts, and put together here. Many of these parts are patented. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- There are more American than English patents. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- What parts are patented? {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON: -- Special parts, and the patents prevent their manufacture in Australia. These parts must be imported, and a large number of persons .find profitable employment here in fitting up the various parts into the complete machine. As to strawboard, in 1905, according to the Customs returns, the importation was worth1 ,£10,319, of which *j£6,6j6* worth' was of British and £3,643 of foreign manufacture. Several manufacturers of cardboard boxes, and other persons using strawboard in large quantities, say that strawboard is not made in the United Kingdom. That country imports strawboard largely from Holland for the purpose of its own manufactures, and if it made strawboard would naturally use the local article instead of importing. Therefore, the Customs information is misleading. But, accepting the figures as they stand, even for argument's sake, the proposed preference is obviously absurd. GreaT Britain, already having the great bulk of the total trade, needs no preference. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr Hutchison: -- If she is willing to thank us for nothing, no harm will be done. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON: -- Under the circumstances, the proposal, as a preference, is farcical. It is absurd to propose a preference to Great Britain in regard to articles in which she now has the bulk of our trade. This is another instance of the want of knowledge shown in the preparation of the schedule. With regard to pictureframes {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I intend to propose two or three amendments in the schedule. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- Whenever a measure is brought forward by .the Government it is accompanied by a sheaf of amendments. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- The Opposition complain if I do not make amendments, and they complain if I do. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- We should like them to be unnecessary. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON: -- When members of the Opposition point to the existence of anomalies and absurdities, their statements are pooh-poohed by Ministers and Ministerial supporters; but afterwards, when those engaged in the affected trades approach Ministers, amendments are proposed. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- That is not fair. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON: -- I believe it to be correct. The honorable member for Parramatta pointed out the anomaly in regard to picture-frames, and now those engaged in the picture-frame industry in Victoria are making an united protest against the proposal of the Government to increase the taxation on their raw material. {: .speaker-L1H} ##### Mr Liddell: -- Are not most British pictureframes manufactured in Germany, and then sent out here? {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr JOHNSON: -- I do not,, know. Pictureframe mouldings are sent here from Great Britain, from Europe, and from America, and are imported by picture-frame makers. To put a duty upon them would be to seriously handicap the picture-frame making trade. The honorable and learned member for Bendigo has shown that some of these proposals conflict with the recommendations of the Tariff Commission, and he pertinently asks if they are intended as a notice to the Commissioners to put an end to their labours? Certainly the manner in which the Commission has been treated in this and other matters affords every warrant for a question of that kind. In the event of the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Kalgoorlie being negatived, I shall propose to insert after the word " schedule where it first occurs in the resolution the words - >Provided that this resolution shall not take effect until it has been approved by the new Parliament, shortly to, be elected. This is a proposal which should not be dealt with by a dying Parliament, because it involves serious changes in our Tariff system, in regard to which we should give the people an opportunity to express their opinion. As the matter is not one of great urgency there can be no reasonable objection to remitting it to the electors for their decision. The people can te asked whether they are in favour of placing the mother country upon a preferential basis by retaining the present duties against her, and increasing them in respect to foreign importations, or whether they would rather give preference by reducing the existing duties in respect of goods coming from the motherland. {: #subdebate-9-0-s6 .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY:
Wentworth **.- Mr. Chairman,-** {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Let us get to a division, or we shall be here all night. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- I am surprised that the Minister should appeal to me in that way. He listens complacently to honorable members who speak from the Government benches, whereas, if any honorable member upon this side of the Chamber dares to open his mouth, he is told that we shall be compelled to sit here all nighT.' Does the Minister suppose that we are to be bludgeoned into silence by a threat of that kind? He must recognise that every honorable member has the right of. free speech. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I have never failed to recognise it. I was merely appealing to the honorable member to allow a division to be taken upon the amendment. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- I propose to address myself to the amendment put forward by the honorable member for Kalgoorlie. I am glad that that honorable member has recognised that the proposals now before us are badly prepared. The amendment simply proposes that the consideration of the scheme for preferential trade with the mother country should be deferred until the reports of our representatives to the Imperial Conference, and of the Tariff Commission, are presented. So far as the Imperial Conference is concerned, 'a similar position is taken up by the Tariff reformers in Great Britain. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- We are legislating for Australia, and not for the mother country. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- I quite agree with the honorable member that there is nothing in these proposals that would confer any benefit on the mother country. The Government are, under the cover of Imperial sentiment, proposing to take a course which they could not pursue in the full light of day. The desire of all parties in England at the present time is that the representatives who attend the Imperial Conference shall be in a position to discuss every proposal upon its merits. It is essential that they should be free from any restraint such as might be imposed upon them if they were to go to the Conference with cutanddried proposals. There should be no desire upon our part to capture the position, or to make *ad captandum* appeals to party sentiment in Great Britain. We should be able to approach this matter with the same' open mind as the people of other parts of the Empire. Therefore I am heartily in accord with the first part of the honorable member's proposal. That, however, is a small matter compared with the direct challenge which he throws out to the Government in the second. The honorable member says, in effect, that he is prepared to trust the Tariff Commission, whose conclusions will be arrived at after the most careful consideration, whereas he hesitates to accept proposals which the Government have slung upon the table in the last days of a moribund Parliament. The Government proposals do not appear to be consistent. In regard to some items, the proportion of Australian trade enjoyed by foreign countries has in creased during the last few years, whilst in other instances foreign imports show a decrease. The schedule also presents many indications that the interests of our primary producers have not been fully considered. In regard to part of the first item, ammunition and cartridges, the proportion of foreign imports, as compared with British imports, has largely increased. This is an item which we might well consider from the point of view of its bearing upon our national defences, and we might even proceed to the length of imposing increased duties. In the case of dynamite, which is an important article of consumption in the mining industry, the foreign imports have fallen off. I am sorry that a larger number of members are not present to listen to the discussion upon this verv "important national scheme. Personally, I do not complain of any paucity of attendance, so long as the Minister himself is present, but from the public stand-point, it is not desirable that we should discuss a question of this magnitude whilst the benches upon the Government side of the House are almost empty. *Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.15 p.m.* {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- The amendment of the honorable member for Kalgoorlie practically challenges the whole character of the proposed preference. If we desire to extend a real preference to goods from the United Kingdom, I do not see how honorable members can do other than support it. If the Government really desire to extend a preference to Great Britain, they intend to give to British trade a stimulus in the Australian market. But what will be the actual effect of their proposals ? The claim of all protectionists is that a protective policy imparts a stimulus to the local manufacturer. Now, under the Government .proposals, the local manufacturer will obtain a greater net protection than he has enjoyed heretofore. It is obvious, therefore, that year after year he will be in a better position to compete with British goods in the Australian market. How, then, can anybody contend that the actual effect of the Government proposals will be to extend a real preference to the products of the United Kingdom? Obviously the whole scheme is a farce. Whilst we are sanctioning this scheme, it would be a pity if we did not make it Derfectly clear to the people of Great Britain that the new avenues of trade which we propose to open up to them will, year by year, become dried up by the very incidence cf the preference accorded to them. It seems to me that we are enticing British trade out of its ordinary channels, into new channels, which, by the very nature of the proposed preference, will, year by year, become less productive. Viewed from this stand-point, no possible argument can be urged against the amendment. The honorable member for Kalgoorlie wishes this and kindred proposals to be dealt with at the Imperial Conference which will be held in London next year. He desires the Empire at large to understand exactly the merits of any broad scheme of Imperial preference which may be adopted. Should that Conference entertain the view that these proposals constitute a piece of blatant preferential hypocrisy, he holds that this Committee should be informed of that fact. At the last general election, the Prime Minister did not go upon the public platform to preach a quackery " of this sort. When he visited my electorate - and I felt grateful to him for coming there - I listened almost with enthusiasm to his eloquent periods. Upon that occasion, he did not give the slightest hint that this was the character of the pre.ference which he proposed to extend to our kil h and kin over seas. On the contrary, he said that we ought to enter into some preferential arrangement with the mother country as a matter of gratitude, and because she had safeguarded our interests for so many years. Incidentally he mentioned that beneficial results would flow to Aus.tralia, but only incidentally. Where, I ask, is the affection for our cousins oversea, and our loyalty to the mother country, exhibited in these proposals? They have entirely disappeared. The reciprocal arrangement proposed is nothing but a snare and a delusion to the . English manufacturer. When the Prime Minister, in the dying hours of the -Parliament, brings forward preferential trade proposals because he made a pledge to his constituents at the last election, he should frame them ,in the light of that pledge, and not in the light of the aftermath. He told the people that he would extend an honest preference to the goods of the United Kingdom, and he ought to do it. If it is necessary to honour his pledge, why in the name of common decency does he not honour it in the spirit in which it was made? I do not propose to discuss the matter at' greater length. I understand that the items enumerated in the schedule will be dealt with seriatim. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Unless the Committee is prepared to deal with them *in globo.* {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- But if any honorable member wishes to discuss the items separately he will be afforded an opportunity to do so? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Exactly. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- Then I shallot prolong the debate. I shall support the amendment of the honorable member for Kalgoorlie, and I hope the Committee will recognise that these proposals should be dealt within the open light of day, and after proper consideration has been given to them. {: #subdebate-9-0-s7 .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY:
Werriwa -- I am strongly of opinion that the amendment should be accepted. Otherwise we shall be throwing into the waste paper basket the reports of the Tariff Commission which that body spent nearly two years in preparing, and which have been secured at considerable expense to the country. I take it that some alteration must be made in the Tariff in the near future. It may be that the Commission will recommend a reduction in the duties which are at present being collected upon certain articles. I have no hesitation in saying that the additional revenue which would be derived under the Government proposals would be borne exclusively bv the great mass of the people. Those proposals have been so framed as to involve in considerable disrepute one or two honorable members of this Committee. Do we not recollect that a little while ago the honorable member for Mernda had a dozen reasons to advance why the conduct of the Ministry was deserving of all sorts o'f reproach? But about a month before these proposals were submitted, we noticed suddenly that according to his view the Government could do no wrong. Since then he has given them all his support. It is a scandal and a reproach to the community that a member of this Committee, who is interested in the duties which may be imposed upon two articles, should be found taking part in our debates upon this question. I specially refer to the duties upon oatmeal and starch - two commodities in which the honorable member for Mernda is largely interested. Of course I am aware that he claims to be a protectionist, and is, therefore, entitled to make what he can out of the community. But that fact ought not to lead to a complete reversal of the statements which he has previously made in respect of the Government. The honorable member for Corangamite has already pointed out that at the present time oatmeal enjoys a protection of £8 or £9 a ton. Yet it is now proposed to still further raise the duty upon it. The proposal is a scandal and a disgrace to the Ministry; which introduced it. {: .speaker-KZV} ##### Mr Ronald: -- 'The honorable and learned member's speech is a disgrace to him. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- The honorable member preaches Christianity but takes very good care, by his vote, to practice exactly the opposite. He prattles about the brotherhood of man, but does everything in his power to bring about a denial of that doctrine. He is willing to support every additional tax that may be brought forward so long as somebody else will be called upon to pay it. He is content to throw aside all those feelings of charity which the very cut of his cloth ought to impose upon him. I have no sympathy whatever with him. I would refer him to the chapter upon hypocrites, and if a perusal of that does not bring shame to him, I do not know what will. I could understand honorable members who do not prate about their Christianity taking up the attitude that he has assumed. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- Why drag religion into this debate? {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- The honorable member for Southern Melbourne thinks it is perfectly right that one section of the community should profit at the expense of another. Such a doctrine comes with greater discredit from one who professes to acknowledge the brotherhood of man than from one who is admittedly out for spoil. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- The honorable and learned member would rather see the British workman suppressed by the German. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- I desire to see no workman suppressed. The honorable member boasts loudly of his independence, but he is fast coming to bow the knee to whatever proposal is put before him. The whole scheme of the Government is merely an excuse for further taxation of the great mass of the people. It does not contain a single redeeming feature. What are the great industries of Australia? Only those which are self-supporting. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- Which industries are self -supporting? {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- Only those in which the cost of production is less than that of the finished article itself. Will the honorable member be guided by the example of New South Wales? {: .speaker-KZV} ##### Mr Ronald: -- Certainly not. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- During the last five years the value of manufactures in that State h'as increased by less than .£500,000, although during that time we have been imposing on the people of New South Wales increased taxation to the extent of £1,500,000 per annum. I have no hesitation in saying that at least three-fourths of the manufactories of Victoria could stand on their own footing. If they could not they would be mere parasites, fastening themselves on the natural industries of the country. We often hear the cry that it is necessary to encourage home industries, but on inquiry we learn that the industries referred to cannot fairly be so described. If a business cannot exist without spoonfeeding it is not a home industry. Spoon feeding can be carried on only by making demands on what are truly home industriescarried on at a profit. It is ridiculous that we should be asked to impose extra duties ranging from 5 to 15 per cent, upon a number of articles which are at -present being manufactured here. This is to be done under the guise of granting a preference to New Zealand. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- The motion before us does not relate to preference to New Zealand. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- This scheme is part and parcel of the proposal to grant a preference to New Zealand. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- They are two separate schemes. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- If they are, and are not put forward as a well-considered whole, that is an additional reason why both should be abandoned. Clearly not one item in the schedule now before us is worthy of consideration. We are simply making anoffer to sacrifice, perhaps, ,£200,000 worth of trade per annum. Until men, by their unaided efforts, can show in what lines trade can be profitably carried on the politician is unable to determine those with which he should interfere. Are we going to say that we will stop something that i's profitable? The doctrine that some honorable members profess would allow them to try to appropriate to themselves the earnings of others, but I cannot understand why the moment a trade is shown to be profitable - from the very fact of its existence we must infer that it is - they should endeavour to interfere with that trade, and so to interfere with the profits of certain members of the community. Honorable members prattle about granting a preference that is really not to be given. No law that we could pass would force any citizen to carry on a trade unless it was beneficial to himself. If any honorable member is in favour of granting preferences he need not leave Australia in order to gratify tha.i wish. Is any man prepared to offer me 2s. for is. iod. ? I should be prepared to trade all day with such an individual. The trouble would commence as soon as he desired to obtain my 2s. for his is. iod., for I should not be prepared to do business. I speak in these terms, because the moment one refers to preferences in respect to goods some people become so confused that they are unable to grasp the meaning of the simplest statements regarding them. If any farmer is in favour of the granting of preference I am prepared to exchange a shorn sheep for a woolly one of the same breed, a little sucker for a fat porker, a dry milch cow for a good milking one. It is absurd to talk about forcing a preference by Act of Parliament. That is the cry of lunatics, who pretend that they think other people would do what they themselves are unwilling to do. Is any honorable member opposite prepared to grant a preference to his friends? Is he prepared to take from them in exchange for his goods less than he could obtain from some one else? If he is, he is confusing; the principle df trade with the doctrine of charity. On the score of charity one might give more to a man for certain goods than he would have to give to any one else ; but trade is conducted upon verv different lines. Trade is carried on because it is of mutual advantage to those engaged in it. The trade between nations is the aggregate " swappings " of the goods held *bv* individuals. Clearly that trade must be beneficial, or it would not be carried on. When a doctrine like this has to be supported by fraudulent and lying statements, by gross misrepresentations as to its effect, and by a gross suppression of ordinary facts, one cannot but think that it is because it has no solid foundation. We know that the fraud and misrepresentation going on are an excuse for heaping taxation on the masses of the people. Their voice is not articulate ; the voice of the great merchant is listened to. He can procure for himself a duty that he requires on a given article. In every case, we find that these increased duties are imposed on articles which the masses of the. people require. Do we ever hear a demand for a tax upon goods that are not largely used or required ? Never. The goods for which there is a general demand are required by the masses, and when we subject them to taxation, we impose a tax upon the masses of the people. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- Who pays these taxes at any time? {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- Undoubtedly, the masses of the people. Had the Labour Party been united on this question, it would have been impossible to fix upon the people the gross and scandalous taxation which thev now' have to bear. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- It was owing to the action of those who agreed to the insertion of the Braddon clause in the Constitution. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- The Braddon section did not require the imposition of a Tariff capable of raising a revenue of £9,000,000 or £10,000,000 per annum. At the inception of Federation, the States themselves were only collecting from Customs taxation a little over £7,500,000 per annum, and, at one swoop, we increased that amount to £10,000,000. {: .speaker-JUJ} ##### Mr Cameron: -- That was because New South Wales entered the Union. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- No. The Tariff was so badly framed that the very States who are most in need of revenue receive the smallest proportion. I, and two or three other honorable members, pointed out when the Tariff was before us that, whilst it would press very heavily on at least a third of the people of Australia, it would fail to provide sufficient revenue for the smaller States. It could have been so drawn that, whilst it yielded' a revenue of only £7,000,000 per annum, a much larger amount would have been returned to the smaller States than is now being handed over to them. I am beginning to be ashamed to refer to statements made bv myself in years gone by, and I make such references only because of my desire to show that the futility of much of the legislation that we have passed was predicted when it was under consideration. The only way of judging whether the proposals before us are the result of a study of the interests of the people is by trying to foresee their probable effects, and although members of the Opposition clearly foreshadowed many of the results of the Tariff, in no instance was a Ministerial supporter able to do so. The proposed preference is a mere sham, but it shows clearly that the protectionists of Australia are under the wing of the British Conservatives. If skilful and adroit politicians bring the people of Great Britain to believe that taxation on imports would be a blessing to them, no preference will be given to Australia. The natural industries of Australia are valued at more than £90,000.000, the whole of our industries being worth about ,£120,000,000. Going by the experience of New South Wales, about ,£28,000,000 worth of our manufacturing industries could exist without the support of protective taxation. Therefore, we are hindering our trade and commerce for the benefit of only something like £2,000,000 worth of industries. In my opinion, these preferential proposals, although of no value to Great Britain, will cause other countries to retaliate. No doubt bv retaliating they will injure themselves, because they will thereby further restrict their trade with us; but when prejudice and passion are brought into play, reason is stifled. When trade is hindered, two parties always suffer. No doubt these proposals are intended to inflict some measure of injury upon the trade of Germany and of the United States ; but who will benefit by that? Fifteen years ago, the Victorian Parliament was trying to discover how best to encourage trade with Germany, so that our wool could be sold to that country without the expense of shipping through England, and paying middlemen's charges. Now that we have a direct trade, and Germany is sending her buyers here, our growers thus being saved the expense of middlemen,- we are asked to throw .hindrances in its way. {: .speaker-JUJ} ##### Mr Cameron: -- The proposition of the Government will have no effect. It is an abortion. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- While the volume of trade proposed to be interfered with is not large, the proposals of the Government will be harmful and injurious to the extent to which they restrict and hamper intercourse and the exchange of products between Australia and other countries. Why should a man who is now exchanging Australian productions for American produc tions be obliged to increase the expenses of the transaction by sending his goods to America by way of Great Britain instead of direct? Why should we hamper such a trade merely to give a sham preference to Great Britain? During the past few years we have been trying to improve our methods of agriculture, which is always a slow process, because agriculturists are naturally averse to the adoption of newfangled ideas. Gradually, however, gas and oil engines are being used on farms for one purpose and another, but the Government now seek to limit their use by raising the duty on them to 22J per cent. They seem to wish to shut us out from the enjoyment of the ingenuity of the 80,000,000 persons who inhabit the United States ; because motor engines, .which are so largely used now-a-days for transport, are also to be heavily taxed. I could understand the taxing of motors if they were used merely as a luxury, but since they have become an everyday means of transport, we shut ourselves out from- the advantages of civilization, and remain in a condition of comparative savagedom, if we refuse to employ them. We have reached a stage when we must either progress or go back, and we can progress only by acknowledging moral principles. No community can advance if every one tries to prosper by living, on his neighbour. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- -Why should the farmers be helped by the Government as they are? {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- The revenue spent by a Government is collected from the, struggling mass of humanity, and should not be employed to assist one class at the expense of another. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- Does that apply to the farmers ? {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- I make no exception. No class of men should be kept going at the expense of their fellows. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- The farmers have had more direct help from the Government than any other class of the community. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member does not tell his Gwydir constituents that. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- Yes, I do. I speak what is in my mind. I do not trim my sails to suit the weather. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- If a class cannot be kept going, except at the expense of the rest of the community, it is a burden upon and an injury to the community. The Government obtains its revenue from the {: .speaker-JUJ} ##### Mr Cameron: -- Those who are being helped ought to admit that they are receiving charity. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- Yes. They have no right to swagger into our presence as if they were free and independent men, and complain that we are injuring them should we refuse to increase our assistance. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- If the honorable and learned member's ideas were carried out, we should not have a single farmer in Australia. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- Is farming kept going by the Government? {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- It is very largely helped by the granting of special concessions. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- By whom are those special concessions kept going? {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- By the working community. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- Which of our industries is profitable to the community as a whole, if it is not the agricultural industry ? Does the honorable member for Bland really think that the reduced railway rates charged upon farming produce are practically a gift to the farmers? {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- Yes. If not, why should we not get reduced railway rates upon our coal ? {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- Are not honorable members aware that if the farmers were not taxed, in order that the interest charges on the railways might be met, they would be much better off than they are at present. Many of our railways should have been constructed for less than half of their cost, and the interest bill would have been very much smaller, but for a number of log-rolling lines that were constructed in parts Qf the country where they were not needed. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- Surely the honorable member does not wish us to suppose that, at that time, he, and others belonging to the party which he represents, took no interest in politics, and did not make their influence felt at the elections. I have heard a good deal about the log-rolling politicians of olden times, but I have never seen any log-rolling compared with that which has been done in this Chamber in connexion with the imposition of duties upon starch and oatmeal. We have seen an honorable member, after recklessly assailing the Government, suddenly become a sincere and hearty supporter of their policy. Honorable members b'f the Labour Party are content to sit still and allow a logrolling Ministry to register whatever edicts it pleases, even in the direction of imposing fresh taxation upon the masses. When the honorable member for Kalgoorlie proposed an amendment last night that would have had the effect of preventing the people from being subjected to further taxation for the purpose of providing funds for the payment of old-age pensions more than half of the members of the Labour Party ran away. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- What about the freetraders ? {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- Some of the members of the Free-trade Party thought that when the labour representatives abandoned the cause of the masses, it was useless to fight any more. **(Mr. Joseph Cook. -** All I can say is that if we have abandoned free-trade, the honorable member for Bland has espoused high protection. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- I have consistently opposed free-trade.' I have not argued, as has the honorable and learned member, upon all sides of the question. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- I admit that the honorable member for Bland will never be able to argue upon all sides of a question. He will consider only the one small point that may suggest itself to him, and never be able to go any further. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- The honorable and learned member had better explain how he voted for protectionist duties upon spirits - he voted for granting protection" to Joshua's spirits. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- That is an absolutely untrue statement. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- It is absolutely true. {: #subdebate-9-0-s8 .speaker-JOC} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr Batchelor:
BOOTHBY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA -- The honorable and learned member for Werriwa must withdraw his remark. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- I withdraw the observation, and desire to say that the statement of the honorable member for Bland is incorrect. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- I was here, and saw how the honorable and learned member voted. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- The fact is that I refused to give a vote that would have had the effect of allowing one man to obtain an undue advantage. The honorable member for Bland voted upon the same side that I did, and I thoroughly approve of his action upon that occasion. The majority of .the members of the Labour Party have been found voting for extra taxation upon almost every occasion. I think it is a scandal and a disgrace that honorable members should usurp the name of labour representatives, and yet vote for imposing fresh taxes upon labour all the time. Some of them may argue that it is necessary to impose duties to -protect some of our own workmen, but I would point out that by so doing they do not lessen competition, but simply impose additional burdens upon the shoulders of the local workmen. The present proposal is a mere sham and pretence. It will not offer any advantage to the old country, or place our trading relations with her upon any more satisfactory footing. It is proposed to offer less rather than greater inducements to trade than at present exist, and we cannot legislate in that direction without seriously affecting the masses of the people. What has brought about civilization and progress ? {: .speaker-KPM} ##### Mr McCay: -- The honorable and learned member should not go back quite so far. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- The honorable and learned member believes in the regulation of trade, and I do not. Fortunately, he is now working upon the same side as myself, because he believes that it is useless to argue as to forms of government when the very foundations of government are threatened. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- The honorable and learned member does not believe in regulation of any kind. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- I would sooner be without any rule than submit to the misrule' that we have at present. Those who have vested interests will always triumph during a period of misrule. The taxation upon the masses is steadily being increased in the interests of protected manufacturers. Not one large manufacturer, who has comet forward to give evidence before the Tariff Commission, has asked that the duties should be reduced. All that they desire is that duties should be retained or increased. {: .speaker-L1N} ##### Mr Wilson: -- I should like to know whether the honorable and learned member would be in order if he occasionally mentioned preferential trade? The TEMPORARY **CHAIRMAN (Mr.** Batchelor). - That is not a point of order. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I think "that we ought to have a quorum. *[Quorum formed.]* {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- As the honorable member for Kalgoorlie pointed out, the consideration of this matter should be deferred until after the reports of the Tariff Commission have been presented to us. It is absolutely ludicrous to suggest that after two years have been spent by that body in acquiring information relating to certain industries, we should sanction Tariff alterations before its recommendations are forthcoming. Take the item of furniture, as an illustration. The Government propose to increase the duty upon it from 20 to 30 per cent. Now the bulk of the furniture which is imported into the Commonwealth comes from America, Japan, and from the East, where, quite recently, the Victorian Government have appointed a commercial agent whose special duty it is to endeavour to build up a trade with that quarter. The whole scheme of the Government is a sham and a delusion. If protection be a good thing, it is good as applied against anybody and everybody. The same remark is applicable to the proposed restrictions upon trade. If they are good for this country, they are good for every country, and, consequently, the less trade that we have the better. If the protectionist theory be a sound one, the States made a grave mistake when they decided to enter into a Federation. If protection would make each of the States rich, how foolish it was to establish Inter-State free-trade. To carry such a policy to its logical absurdity, we have only to imagine Victoria divided into twenty small districts with protective barriers against each other. No doubt scores of little souls would argue that such a state of affairs would be productive of good. The effect of the protective policy adopted by Victoria during ten years prior to Federation was that, apart from the natural increase of population, there was an exodus of 111,000 persons. By reason of its system of taxation, it did not offer sufficient inducements to retain the young and active members of its own community. But since the advent of Federation, by reason of the extension of trade which has taken place, there has been a steady increase of population in Victoria, so that this State is now holding her own better than she did previously. Personally, I have never regarded a protectionist as anything better than a semi-Socialist. {: .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr Ewing: -- The honorable and learned member has said that he is worse than a Socialist. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- In some instances, he is. Men like the Vice-President of the Executive Council are prepared to plunder under the law. There is a penalty exacted for robbery, but there is no penalty for legalized plunder. The Minister representing the Minister of Defence is a semiSocialist of the worst type. There is less excuse for individuals of that character than for others, because they favour plundering the masses, but object to be themselves plundered in turn. To allow any section of the community, no matter how influential or numerous it may be, to benefit at the expense of another section is unjust. It is our dutv to sweep away privileges of every description. But, instead of doing that, we are perpetually endeavouring by means of legislation to bolster up one class of the community at the expense of another. When once the masses of the people recognise that fact, the same desire for spoliation which now characterizes other selfish members of the community will take possession of them. There are only two methods by which a man may live. One is by working for himself, and the second is by living upon the earnings of others. I am thankful to say that I have never supported legislation which would confer a benefit upon one set of individuals as against another set. I would call your attention, sir, to the state of the Committee. *[Quorum formed.-]* I called attention to the want of a quorum because of my desire to show the light and airy way in which the Committee is prepared to deal with a question of this kind. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- But what about those who remain to listen to the honorable member's argument? {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- There ought to be at least twenty-five honorable members present. If the honorable member thinks that he is the sole representative of the Labour Party, well and good.; but I' hold that his party should be present. {: .speaker-JOC} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr Batchelor: -- Will the honorable member discuss the question before the Chair? {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- I am simply pointing out that the Committee is so unfit to legislate on this question that we find it diffi cult to keep a quorum. I suppose that attention has been directed nine or ten times to-day to the absence of a quorum. The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.That is not the question before the Chair. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- Then I shall make it the question, sir, by drawing attention to thi? absence of a quorum. *[Quorum formed.]* This is the tenth or eleventh occasion on which we have had to-day to ask for a quorum. {: .speaker-K4I} ##### Mr HUME COOK:
BOURKE, VICTORIA · PROT -- It is just as good a way of wasting time as any other that could be suggested. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- I hold that honorable members ought not to absent themselves. If this were a proposal to grant a preference to Great Britain by reducing duties to the extent of 10 per cent, the Opposition would doubtless agree to it as an extension of our freedom which has been so hampered in various directions. Such a preference would widen the boundaries of trade, and to that extent would be advantageous. But, as a matter of fact, this proposal will not increase the preference to Great Britain. Its only effect will be to multiply the disadvantages under which we labour in trading with other people. I do not wish to occupy the time of the Committee by dwelling upon matters of this sort. {: .speaker-KLM} ##### Mr Maloney: -- Hear, hear. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- I would remind the ' honorable member that nearly every honorable member who has spoken to this question has addressed himself to almost empty benches. I do not believe in a body of men voting blindly upon a question. The evils of party government have never been more strongly exemplified than they are by the way in which the Labour Party are tossed backwards and forwards at the will of the Government. {: #subdebate-9-0-s9 .speaker-10000} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: -- I again ask the honorable and learned member not to digress from the question before the Committee, and also call upon honorable members not to interject. I think that the honorable and learned member has been drawn away from the question upon more than one occasion by interjections. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- That is so, sir. One good reason for accepting the amendment moved by the honorable member for Kalgoorlie is that Ministers have changed their minds so often that if we gave them a little further time for consideration, they would probably bring forward another set of proposals. The more the motion is discussed, the more apparent it will become that it should not be accepted in the form in which it has been submitted. It is a sort of dragnet. I do not know on whose behalf it is proposed to increase the duties on pickles coming from foreign countries, bur I am confident that it is solely to benefit one or two manufacturers who have made representations on the subject to the Minister. I suppose that it was necessary to include one or two of these items in the schedule, but I would point out that starch again figures in the list, as if its inclusion in the preferential treaty with New Zealand were not sufficient. Starch and one or two other items appear to be a sort of King Charles' head. It would seem that unless starch or oatmeal is included in these schedules, a supporter will be lost to the Ministry. I do not wish to point out the discreditable condition to which we are being reduced by the action of the Government in taking advantage of opportunities of this kind to draw honorable members to their side. I trust that at the general elections some section of the people will have their eyes opened to the enormity of what is going on." But what can one expect when a leading daily newspaper in Victoria shows such absolute ignorance of the meaning of the word "liberal" as to apply it to the protectionist party. If " freedom " means anything at all, it means not only freedom of trade, but freedom of conscience, freedom of worship, freedom of speech, freedom to do what one pleases, provided one does not interfere with the rights of one's neighbour. It is scandalous that proposals of this kind should have been introduced at the fag end of the session. Every one is convinced of their falsity. Every one recognises that it is not proposed to grant any true preference to Great Britain. The Government proposition is merely an excuse for exacting further duties, the ultimate effect of which must be - if retaliation is indulged in - serious injury to the very trade which the Treasurer boasted a few weeks ago was increasing by leaps and bounds. He seemed to desire to take credit to the Government for the increase in the trade they propose now to try to limit. If trade were not advantageous to us, I could understand proposals for prohibition. If we stopped the trade of Australia to-morrow we should have, within a month, thousands of our fellow-citizens homeless and destitute, walking the streets. Fortunately the ingenuity of man has succeeded in devising means to evade the intentions of Parliament in imposing heavy taxation. As a young and a prosperous community, we can bear a fairly large share of taxation without absolutely restricting our trade or degrading the condition of our workmen to the level of that pevailing in some of the older settled countries. But we do not appear to recognise the evil we are doing in educating the commercial community up to the belief that the best way to grow rich is to find some method of escaping the heavy taxation imposed upon it. We are trying to cultivate among the people a spirit which must tempt them to break the law, and so to lower the standard of commercial morality. After all, most men feel in their hearts that there is no real crime in evading the payment of Customs duties, especially when carrying on a work without which the country could not succeed. We have made our Customs taxation so high that many of those engaged in business feel that, in evading it, they are not breaking the moral law, but are merely freeing themselves from irritating and disastrous restrictions upon trade. Our Tariff offends the spirit of justice and equity ; and the creation of this attitude towards the law on the part of certain merchants is fraught with dangerous consequences to the community. We cannot have an, large section breaking the law without lowering the tone of commercial honesty, and, as a consequence, the .morality of the whole community. The New South Wales frauds have been due to the protectionist policy, and, according to a gentleman who has recently been speaking at Toorak, with whose views in this matter I am in agreement, the effect of a high Customs Tariff is to force merchants, to be fraudulent. That, I think, will be evident in Victoria, if a full inquiry ever comes to be made. Then, again, instead of our merchants being encouraged to try to prosper by their enterprise in finding {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr Hughes: -- How does the antisocialistic party get. its funds? {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- A good deal has been said about that; but I could not help laughing when the honorable member for Gwydir asserted that large contributions are being sent in. What an audacious remark to come from a member of the Labour Party, which is admittedly collecting £150,000 a year from the various unions. {: .speaker-JOC} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr Batchelor: -- Order ! {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- The honorable and learned member has spoken on all and sundry other questions. Is he in order in dragging in this matter too? {: .speaker-10000} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: -- I have already called the honorable and learned member to order. {: .speaker-K4E} ##### Mr CONROY: -- The industries which did not get all that thev wanted from the first Parliament are succeeding with this Parliament at the fag-end of its last session. I wish all success to those who are honestly carrying on their business, but I refuse to use my official position to assist manufacturers to build up enterprises at the expense of the community. Men have no right to lean on Parliament, and those who do so. instead of being good and useful citizens, should be regarded as objects **Mr. JOSEPH** COOK (Parramatta^ [4.0]. - I have listened to the series of speeches, made for the most part by the supporters of the Government proposal, with some surprise. Nearly every honorable member has unqualifiedly condemned the proposed reciprocal arrangement, and has finished up by declaring his intention to vote for' it. The honorable member for Gippsland said that the proposal was paltry and utterly inadequate and could not by any possibility deceive the people of the mother country. He urged the Government to delay the further consideration of the question until an adequate proposal could be prepared. Nothing could have been more unsparing than his denunciation of the schedule. Then the mover of the amendment declared that the schedule had been crudely drawn and was certainly not worthy of the approval of Parliament. The Chairman of the Tariff Commission said that the proposal was something in the nature of an afterthought, and certainly could not be regarded as an adequate fulfilment of the pledge made to the people at the last election. Incidentally, he wished to know whether it was to be interpreted as a notice to quit to the Tariff Commission. I do not wonder that the honorable and learned member should begin to turn. The Commission has been buffeted about so consistently, and has been shown so little consideration and courtesy by the Government that had I been in the position of the Chairman I should long ago have thrown my commission in the faces of Ministers. I should not have submitted to the snubs which have been so repeatedly administered to the Commission. I do not think that the action of the Government has been creditable, or that the Commission has acted with proper spirit in submitting to the treatment meted out to them. The honorable and learned member for Bendigo denounced the; Government proposal as a thing of shreds and patches. Then the honorable member for Laanecoorie said that whilst the scheme of preference was not all that he should like, it was really an earnest of our desire for preferential trade and would receive his support. It seems to me that the arguments used by the supporters of the scheme afford the strongest reason why we should reject it. If it be a thing of shreds and patches, should we not insult the old country by offering it to her? If it is a paltry proposal shall we do ourselves any good by putting it forward? The whole scheme was summed up very succinctly by a member of the British House of Commons, who is now travelling in Australia. Upon being asked what he thought of the Government scheme, he looked through the schedule and said, " There is nothing in it, but it seems to be in the right direction." So he falls into line with every supporter of the proposal in practically denouncing it as a sham. The honorable members referred to, however, declare that they intend to vote for it because otherwise their action would be liable to misinterpretation in the old country. But the people of Great Britain are not likely to be deceived by any such sham offer. If we are going to give preference to Great Britain - and I take it that we are unanimous in the desire to do so - we should offer some substantial advantage to her. Which would do our cause the greater amount of good - to offer a preference which has been denounced by every one of its advocates as a sham, or to wait until we can frame a reasonable proposal that will confer some substantial benefit? The idea that the people of the old country could be misled by such a scheme of preference as that now under our consideration must be based upon the assumption that our kith and kin on the other side do not investigate such matters with the particularity that might be expected. Having regard to the grave responsibilities which are thrown upon them as the leaders of the movement for the establishment of preferential trade throughout the Empire, this proposal will be .searched thoroughly in the old country, and the statement of its advocates that it is a sham, a paltry thing of shreds and patches, inadequate .and unsubstantial, 'will be closely scrutinized by the leaders of the movement. Therefore, in our own interests and in those of the movement which we all pretend to have at heart, it would be infinitely better to defer the consideration of the matter until we are able to give a substantial preference - something more than a mere earnest of our desire to' be brought into closer trade relations with the mother country. That seems to be the way of self-respect, so far as Parliament is concerned, and the way of success, so far as the movement is concerned. It would be the proper course to adopt, having regard to the rest of the Empire, and what has been done elsewhere. Our proposal stands entirely apart from any suggestion that has been made in any other part of the Empire. It has, at any rate, the stamp of novelty, because it is utterly unlike any preferential trade scheme that has been evolved elsewhere. Canada gives a substantial preference to the motherland to the extent of a 33J per cent, reduction of duties. This reduction has been modified slightly upon one or two articles only. The people of South Africa have also responded, not by increasing the duties against foreigners, but by decreasing the imposts upon British goods. They have reduced their duties by only *z* per cent., but still the movement has been in a downward direction. There has been no talk of increasing duties against the foreigner as a means of diverting trade into British channels. The people of South Africa and Canada have behaved in a wholehearted manner. They have shown that they really desire to be brought into closer relationship with the old country in all matters connected with their moral and social welfare, and are prepared to make some sacrifice. Here, however, it is proposed to increase duties against the outside world. It is proposed to build up a higher wall against the foreigner, but not to remove one brick to facilitate the introduction of British goods. What benefit could Great Britain derive from a proposal of this kind? Only £800,000 of foreign imports out of a total trade of £38,000,000 will be affected. We propose to divert trade into British channels to the extent of only : per cent. The honorable member for Gippsland was quite right in describing this proposal as paltry and pettifogging. It will deceive no one, and will not bring us a scrap nearer to' the consummation of closer trade relationship with the rest of the Empire. It 'has been urged that this is a late period of the session, and that the Government had not time to frame a schedule covering a wider range. The Government must bear the responsibility for any delay that may have taken place. This proposal is not the result of an after-thought. It is acknowledged on all hands it is in the terms of a compact made with the people of Australia on the hustings three years ago. The Prime Minister told us in glowing terms that he pledged himself to the people of this country three years ago that he would make some such proposal. Therefore, there is no excuse whatever for saving that there has been no time to elaborate a more comprehensive scheme. This little thing of shreds and patches is all that the Govern- ment have to offer after three years' hard labour. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- Why not say three years' penal servitude? {: #subdebate-9-0-s10 .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Anybody who brings forward a proposal of this kind deserves penal servitude for life in a political sense. I venture to say that the Government scheme will not assist the preferential trade movement in the old country one iota. On the contrary, it will seriously retard it. It must do so, because it bears upon its face its sham character. It does not even touch the fringe of the subject. It is an unworthy contribution to a great sentiment, and there is nothing at all substantial in it. If I were in the old country, and if I were charged with responsibility in connexion with this Empire movement, I should take up this schedule, and look first at its range. I should see that it covers about twentyfive items, and that from its range and scale it can do nothing to develop the total trade of Great Britain. From the standpoint of its extent, it is not worth consideration. It does not touch the heart of the subject. I should also observe that it is not proposed to remit a single duty which is at present levied upon the exports of Great Britain. Consequently I should say, " This scheme will not help us to get any more of our goods into Australia, because the goods which it is proposed to divert into British1 channels cannot be touched. For the most part, they consist of specialities which are covered by patents, and which cannot be manufactured in Great Britain." A further examination of the schedule would reveal that of the goods which can be produced in Great Britain, a very careful selection had been made of those which are being manufactured in Australia. I should realize at once that the Government proposals would not allow British merchants to send an extra pound's worth of goods into the Commonwealth in competition with the Australian goods. In short, I should recognise that the scheme means protection for the manufacturers of the Commonwealth,, and not a diversion of trade to Great Britain. Then I should ask, " How do these proposals square with those which have been made in other parts of the Empire?" I see no proposal to extend a preference to any other portion of the Empire than to Great Britain. What we require is an Empire scheme. Both South Africa and Canada have already made offers for reciprocal trade with the rest of the Em- pire. But no such proposal is crystallized in this schedule. We offer to Great Britain a preference upon only twenty-five articles, some of which she cannot produce at all. The remainder we are producing here, and shall continue to do so in increasing quantities. Consequently there is nothing in the whole scheme from the stand-point of the United Kingdom. Out of the£800,000 worth of trade which it is urged will be affected by these proposals, we can only hope to divert about£100,000 worth into British channels. But whilst it may be possible to accomplish that, we must recollect that the scheme does not stand alone. It mustbe viewed in its proper setting. It represents merely a fragment of the Government policy. Another part of that policy is a reciprocal agreement with New Zealand. While under the proposed British preferences we may hope to annually divert £100,000 worth of additional trade into British channels, under the New Zealand agreement we shall exclude trade with Great Britain to the extent of £150,000 annually. Nothing could be more contradictory than the way in which these two preferences have been negotiated. Under the New Zealand agreement we reduce the duties which have hitherto been levied against that country in some instances, but in the great majority of cases we increase them against the foreigner. Under the British preference scheme, New Zealand is treated as a foreign nation. In other words, that scheme will strike a blow at the New Zealand agreement. We give to New Zealand a slight preference, but take care that she does not derive any benefit from it, owing to the neutralizing effect of other preferences. The New Zealand agreement, on the other hand, will wipe out every atom of trade that we might otherwise divert to Great Britain. Almost simultaneously we have been imposing specific duties which will divert trade into other than Empire channels. We have excluded trade from Great Britain to the value of £100,000 in the matter of spirits alone. Canadian harvesters we have completely excluded. No doubt the Minister of Trade and Customs regards that work as a triumph of statesmanship. Doubtless it is, from a protectionist point of view. The Government propose to ; give Great Britain something with one hand, and to take away from her more than they give with the other. Then they imagine that British merchants lookingfor avenues of. business will be deluded into the belief that they are receiving a substantial preference from Australia. In my judgment, this scheme will meet with very short shrift at the hands of the British people. They will at once recognise the hollowness of it. I submit that there is only one way in which we can show our *bona fides* in the matter of trade with Great Britain, and that is by doing what has already been done by other British communities, such as Canada and South Africa. They have extended a substantial preference to the goods which Great Britain actually sends there. In this connexion I shouldlike to say a word or two regarding the proposal which I put forward the other day. It has been criticised in various quarters, although the Minister disposed of it in a few sentences. After struggling with the word " infinitesimal " for three minutes, he decided that the proposal itself was an infinitesimal one. and accordingly dismissed it in a very contemptuous fashion. I notice that the newspaper which supports him in these proposals has also fallen into an error. Of course, honorable members upon this side of the Chamber recognise that they can never expect to have their views accurately reported in that newspaper. Needless to say that, in discussing my pro- posal. it could not avoid being personal. It never can. It is so busy with personalities that it has not time even to pretend tobe accurate. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- How about the other newspapers? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I venture to say that, in his calmer moments, the honorable member will admit that there is no newspaper in Australia which is so personal as the *Age.* {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- Is not the Sydney *Daily Telegraph* personal ? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Not to the same extent. In discussing this matter the other day, the *Age* entirely misrepresented the position. My infinitesimal proposal, which the Minister so contemptuously brushed aside, is equivalent to an all-round reduction of 2 per cent, upon British goods. I venture to say that that represents a more substantial concession to Great Britain than does the South African preference of 21/2 per cent. That country has lowered her duties against goods from the United Kingdom to the extent that I have indicated but has limited those duties to a small range. Therefore I maintain that my proposal of an all-round reduction of 2 per cent, upon the duties levied upon British goods is even a more generous one. That is the scheme which the Minister dismissed in a single sentence, and with the remark that it was so infinitesimal that its incidence could scarcely be discovered. I recognise that it does not represent verymuch in the nature of a concession to the mother country, but nevertheless it is a step in the right direction. It is a step towards the removal of the barriers which are now interposed between Great Britain and Australia. It would not have harmed the protective policy of Australia if effect had been given to it. To quote again the words of the honorable member for Laanecoorie, it would have been an earnest of our desire to grant concessions in respect of the trade we are now doing with the mother country. I think that there is a great deal of justification for the amendment moved by the honorable member for Kalgoorlie. His is a twofold proposition. In the first place, he urges that the question should be deferred until the reports of our representatives at the Imperial Conference have been received, and in the second, that it should remain in abeyance until the Tariff Commission has reported upon these matters. The honorable and learned member for Bendigo was right in protesting to-day against the cavalier treatment meted out to the Commission. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- He concluded that speech by a statement that he would assist the Government to deal with the schedule. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- In, that respect, his attitude was much like that adopted last night by the honorable member who, after denouncing the Government proposal 1 then under consideration, stood behind them when- we proceeded to a division. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- The honorable member for Parramatta, after saying that he was in favour of a certain Government proposal, voted against it. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I favoured neither of the two proposals then before us, and took the only consistent course open to me. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- Does the honorable member support the amendment now under consideration ? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I am inclined to support it. It is a step in the direction of formulating a substantial proposal for preference based on mutual concession. That, I take it, is the underlying motive. The honorable member desires that we shall consult with those who are earnestly engaged in discussing this problem in other parts of the Empire. I think that he is suggesting a most effective step. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- To " down" the Government proposal. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Every honorable member who has spoken to-day has said that it ought to be " downed." No stranger arguments for the rejection of the Government proposal have been advanced than those urged with so much pertinacity by certain honorable members who intend, nevertheless, to vote for it. Who could: have denounced it more strongly than did the honorable and learned member for Bendigo? He spoke of it as a thing of shreds and patches, and said that the action of the Government was an affront to the Tariff Commission. Then, again, the honorable member for Gippsland declared that it was an inadequate proposal, and that no one would be deceived by it. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- The honorable member is quoting only the opinions of the Opposition side of the House. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- It is a question not of sides, but of votes. I am pointing out that some of those who intend to vote for the motion have denounced it as not being' calculated to further our ultimate aim. The amendment would pave the way to a more substantial preference. The Tariff Commission was appointed to inquire not into the matter of preferences, 'but into the effect of certain duties upon Australian' industries. The chief argument with which the Government set out in making this proposal is that the present Tariff ought not to be reduced. In view of the fact that the Commission was appointed to inquire into that question, have they a right to make such an assumption? I take it that the Commission has been considering whether certain duties ought to be reduced and others increased, although, as a matter of fact, they have made no recommendation for a reduction of duties. {: .speaker-KYJ} ##### Sir John Quick: -- -We proposed a reduction of Excise duties. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- With a view of securing increased protection. That kind of reduction, paradoxical though it may seem, is not a reduction. The Government might have paid the Commission the compliment of consulting it as to the incidence of the duties in this schedule which they seek to impose. I shall not discuss the fiscal question in connexion with this motion, except to say that I do not think this is a straightforward way of securing further protection for Austraiian industries. If the Government desire to secure increased 'protection let. them take specific action. They ought not to attempt to gain it under cover of offering a preference to the mother country, when in reality, no preference is intended. The schedule is misnamed. Instead of being described as one to provide for British preference, it ought to be named "A schedule providing for further Australian preference as against not only Great Britain, but the rest of the world." The Government had Australian, not British, preference in view when they framed it. I do not regard this as an honest and straightforward method of securing increased protection. If the Government seek further protection for Australian industries they should not attempt to gain it under cover of granting a preference to British imports. If we are going to give the old country a preference, let us do so by the only way open to us - by a reduction, however slight, of the duties now imposed against her. I carefully framed my amendment the other day so as not *to* offend the susceptibilities of the protectionists, my object being to give them an opportunity to show their willingness to make some small sacrifice by giving a substantial preference as the Australian contribution to the settlement of the great, pressing, and all-important question of Imperial reciprocity and closer Imperial trade. {: #subdebate-9-0-s11 .speaker-KYT} ##### Mr KNOX:
Kooyong -- I am and always have been in favour of the establishment of such complete and systematic trade relations with the mother country as would show the 'people there that we are in earnest in our desire to cement the Empire in a true commercial union. The Government have in an adroit way brought- forward a schedule containing items to which many honorable members are distinctly opposed. But whilst many believe that it *is* in reality, only a sham preference that the Government propose to grant Great Britain, . I am prepared to affirm the principle of preferential trade. I shall not go back upon the principle which I told the electors I was prepared to support. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member does not forget that we have already affirmed the principle. {: .speaker-KYT} ##### Mr KNOX: -- I know that we have. I wish the Committee to clearly understand that so far as some of the items in the schedule are concerned, I think that there is just cause for resenting the interference of the Government with the functions of the TarifF Commission. There is certainly justification for me assertion that that Commission, which has devoted much time and research to the work intrusted to it, has been flouted by the action of the Government, but I take a ^different view from that adopted by the honorable member for Parramatta, who said if he felt that he had been flouted in this way he would, if he were the chairman, fling his commission in the face of the Government. The Tariff Commission has cost the country a very large sum of money, and on behalf of the whole community has discharged a very important duty. I hope that the members of it will recognise that apart from any duty which thev may owe to the Government by which they were appointed, or to the Ministry now in office, they have a responsibility to the 'people, and that notwithstanding that they may resent the interference of the Government, they will prosecute their work in the interests of the community. They have a duty to perform which is far above the little party suggestions made by the Government. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- And therefore this Parliament should support them. {: .speaker-KYT} ##### Mr KNOX: -- I think that when we come to vote upon the items it will be found that the Parliament will support them. The Government are endeavouring, on the eve of a general election, to expose those who are against increasing duties in this way to the charge that they are opposed to preferential trade. I am not content to allow myself to be thus wronged, and, therefore, wish to clearly define my position. We. who oppose this proposition do so because we regard it as incomplete and immature, and think that it should not be brought forward at the fag end of the last session of *the* Parliament, when there is not time for the long, serious, and thoughtful consideration which it deserves. I understand that the schedule has been described by one honorable member as a thing of shreds and patches, whereas what we require is a systematic proposal which may be regarded by politicians at home as something of value. Under the circumstances, I am irresistibly driven to the conclusion that what is desired on the present occasion is, not so much to give prominence to an overture of goodwill towards Great Britain, as to secure increased protection for certain industries. That in itself may be necessary, and if the attempt were otherwise made might prove acceptable to Parliament. But assistance to industries should not be asked for in this way. I earnestly hope that the Committee will affirm the principle underlying this proposition, and that the Government will find that, in their own interests, as well as in the interest of honesty of purpose, they should not try . to force the schedule through Committee. {: #subdebate-9-0-s12 .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS:
Robertson -- In this proposition we have again the old story that the poor man must be taxed still more in order to provide profits for the manufacturers. The object of the schedule is to give more protection to the manufacturers by imposing heavier taxation on the masses of the people. I have looked through it carefully, and I find that protection is being given to lines of production which years ago it was contended did not require more assistance. For instance, it is proposed to raise the duty on starch from 2d. to 2jd. per lb-, although the honorable member for Mernda, who is one of the chief manufacturers, publicly stated last week that, in the first instance, he begged the Government not to impose a duty of 2d. He did not desire more protection, and objected to further interference with his business. He did not wish even as much as a duty of a penny. Further protection is also to be given to manufacturers of boots and shoes. It is well known that certain lines of boots and shoes coming from America are much, better than are made in this country. These lines virtually command the market, having taken the place of English lines. That is because, owing to better processes of manufacture, their appearance is better, and they give more satisfaction. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- They are made of paper. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- Not the best kinds. In America, as in Victoria, manufacturers will make anything that they are asked to make, and of any material ; but the best boots and shoes on the Australian market come from America. They have driven out the best English lines, because the British manufacturers keep to the sizes which they have been making from time immemorial, whereas the Americans make intermediate sizes, and thus cater better for the wants of the people. The proposed increase in duty will increase the price of boots to the consumer by at least 12 £ per cent. This increase will fall very heavily on the working classes, and will not materially benefit Great Britain. Then it is proposed to tax the raw material of the painter, who, I suppose, is the worst-paid artisan in the community, and follows the most dangerous occupation. This is whipping the willing horse to death. Wh'at advantage would be gained by a higher duty on lamp-black, seeing that it is impossible to establish the manufacture of lamp-black and similar materials here, because of the insufficient demand? An increase in the duty on strawboard is also proposed. A well-known firm has amassed wealth by making strawboard in Victoria, having practically a monopoly of the trade. Those who use strawboard as their raw material say that its manufacture does not require additional protection, yet the Government propose to raise the duty. {: .speaker-K99} ##### Mr Johnson: -- Only strawboard of the coarser qualities is made in Australia. - {: .speaker-K4I} ##### Mr HUME COOK:
BOURKE, VICTORIA · PROT -- The local companies have brought about a reduction in price three or four times. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- I hope that these reductions will continue until the manufacturers are content with a fair business profit. This increase in duties only adds to the wealth of those who are already sufficiently well-to-do. Reverting to the proposed increase in the duty on boots and shoes, I might say that the head of Anthony Hordern's boot department told me that a bigger profit is made on Australian than on .imported boots. I have always taken an interest in the effect of the Tariff on the price of boots, because thev are in universal wear, and those who have the largest families have most to pay when revenue is obtained by the imposition of duties upon them. The effect of the Government proposal will be to force poor persons to buy the cheapest Australian boots. While, in Australia, boots of as good a quality as come ' from any part of the world can bc made, there are very cheap lines in which the thin side of split leather is used for uppers, and the thicker portion for soles, which children kick out in a week. It is mere hypocrisy to speak of the Government proposal as preferential. **Mr. Chamberlain,** the author of the preferential trade movement, has said that we in Australia must not increase our rates of duty against the people of Great Britain, because' to do so would be to prevent that country from having a preference. He said that our present rates are in many cases already prohibitive, and to give a preference they must be reduced. He stated further that, while the protected manufactures now in Australia must be left as they are, protective duties should not be imposed on British imports with the object of bringing into existence other manufactures. He stated that twenty-five years ago Canada was not manufacturing so many commodities as at present, and that had preferential trade relations been previously established between that country and Great Britain, the latter would have enjoyed a much larger trade, with the Dominion. Under increased protectionist duties, however, industries had been fostered, and since they were not native industries they could not be done away with without raising a great clamour on the part of those who would be thrown out of employment. **Mr. Chamberlain** further stated in regard to Australia that it would be too late to think of entering into preferential trade relations twenty-five years hence. He remarked that the Australian people, like those of South Africa, must understand that it would be necessary for them to give a real preference to Great Britain by reducing the duties upon British goods, and thus encourage the interchange of British manufactures for the primary products of the Commonwealth. Under such conditions, he said, a natural and mutually beneficial trade would be carried on. He urged that no attempt should be made to bring into existence further industries that would enter into competition with those of Great Britain, and cause a falling off in British imports. In spite of all this, it is now proposed to establish fresh industries, and to keep out of our markets goods with which our people cannot dispense at present, because no adequate substitute can be offered bylocal manufacturers. I repeat that an increased duty upon boots and shoes imported from foreign countries would place addi tional burdens upon the poorer classes of the community. Why do little children go to school bare-footed, with their boots slung over their shoulders? {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- Thev do that in Queensland because thev like it. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- In some other places, at all events, they do it because they are so instructed by their parents. They go bare-footed in wet and cold,, as well as in fine and genial, weather, so that they may do all they can to keep down the boot and shoe bills. The Government proposal is intended to afford increased pro.tection to a number of our industries, and will prove burdensome to those who cannot afford to pay more by way of taxation. It is intended to impose a heavier duty upon the raw materials of painters, who are among the most poorly-paid tradesmen in the community. It is also proposed to place an additional dutv upon starch, and we have the public statement of the honorable member for Mernda that the increase is not necessary, and that all that he, as a manufacturer, desires is to be left alone. {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr Austin Chapman: -- Did the honorable member hear him explain that as duties were increased prices were reduced ? {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- I am quite aware that that result is brought about where a reasonable amount of competition takes place. I have every desire to see prices reduced. But the poorer classes of the community who use boots and shoes that are imported from foreign countries will have to pay an additional 12 J per cent, for their goods, whereas the wealthier classes who use the superior English-made boots will not be placed under any additional disability. The citizens of the Commonwealth are willing: to extend to Great Britain the advantages of a Tariff preference, but the Government proposal cannot be regarded as anything more than a hypocritical pretence in that direction. If it be desired to give preference to the old country, we should reduce our duties as against British imports instead of increasing the duties upon foreign goods, and so causing the consumers to pay high'er prices. In connexion with the reciprocity agreement with New Zealand, we have deliberately increased certain duties as against Great Britain, and that agreement, taken in conjunction with the present proposal, will place Great Britain at a disadvantage rather than confer any benefit upon her. If we reduced our duties in favour of Great Britain the manufacturers of the old country would take the steps necessary to enable them to supply us with the articles now drawn by us from foreign sources'. I recently saw in Sydney a motor-car of French design, which was made in England, and I understand that the manufacture of such vehicles was undertaken in the old *country* with a view to supplying the needs of the residents there who are prejudiced against foreign manufactures. In the same way, I am sure that the British manufacturers would take advantage of any opportunity we might afford. them to increase their trade with the Commonwealth. It seems to me that it is the quintessence of hypocrisy to contend that any substantial preference will be given to the old country under these proposals. The only result that can follow from the adoption of the Government proposal will be an increase in the protection now accorded to industries which are in need of no further assistance. The consumers will have to pay increased prices, and in some cases raw material used for manufacturing purposes will become dearer. I do not think that the scheme proposed reflects any credit upon the Ministry. The main object seems to be to afford increased protection to industries which are being carried on principally in and around Melbourne. {: #subdebate-9-0-s13 .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr THOMAS:
Barrier .- I shall vote against the Government proposal. I cannot view with favour at present any scheme for the establishment of preferential trade relations with the mother country. I am not only opposed to the principle of preferential trade, but I regard the proposal that has been submitted by the Government as perfectly farcical. *It is very fortunate for* the few Conservatives who were returned to the House of Commons at the last election that this scheme was not launched prior to the time at which! they were seeking the suffrages of the electors. If the people of England had known exactly what preferential trade with Australia would mean - as indicated by the Government proposal - **Mr. Chamberlain** would have met with even less success than he did. The Government proposal would have proved a most effective weapon in the hands of his opponents. I take it th'at the main idea of those who advocate preferential trade is that any arrangement entered into shall be mutually beneficial. There is no doubt something in sentiment, but business considerations are of still greater importance. The people of England have shown very little concern for preferential trade, and as an illustration of this fact, I may quote the circumstance that the torches used in connexion with, **Mr. Chamberlain's** birthday celebration at Birmingham were made in Germany. Mv idea is that people in England did not view the matter seriously. They evidently preferred business to sentimental considerations. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- The torches were used as an illustration. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr THOMAS: -- I was not aware of that. However, ,a. general election has. taken place in the old country, and the people have practically declared that they do not care anything for preferential trade. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- The honorable member knows that they voted upon every other subject but that. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr THOMAS: -- I know that preferential trade was the great question upon which the Conservative Party went to the country. I admit that other matters were placed before them, but that was the great question raised by **Mr. Chamberlain.** As a matter of fact, the Conservatives who did not support him upon the subject of preferential trade, were defeated at the polls. That was notably the case at Greenwich, where the son of the late Prime Minister of England, who was a Conservative of Conservatives, but who refused to follow **Mr. Chamberlain** upon this great question, was rejected. I presume that the Government are advocating the proposals under consideration in the sincere belief . that they contain something which will confer a benefit alike upon Great Britain and Australia. But I should like to know what advantage they will confer upon the mother *country.* This morning the honorable member for Gippsland asserted that whilst he was in favour of reciprocal agreements, he would not admit the products of the United Kingdom if they would seriously interfere with Australian industries. I was very glad to hear the interjections of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports whilst the honorable member for Kalgoorlie was speaking. I venture to say that the dialogue which ensued conclusively demonstrated the hollowness and sham of these proposals. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports stated that if the present duty upon boots were not sufficient to enable them to be manufactured in Australia, it should be increased against the goods of the mother country, and that a still larger measure of protection should be granted to the local industry in respect of boots from foreign countries. I do not object to that view being entertained by a protectionist. *It seems to me to be a logical one for a protectionist. But I hold that it is farcical to say that _we are prepared to encourage trade with Great Britain in the matter of boots and shoes, if we are only willing to extend a preference of 10 per cent, to her as against other countries, and are prepared to levy a sufficiently high impost upon her manufactures to exclude British boots. If a man must be thrown out of work, possibly he would prefer to be displaced by an Englishman rather than by a German. But he does not wish to be displaced at all. An individual who thought that he was likely to lose his employment owing to the competition of his brother, would fight against him. I hold in m.y hand a circular which, was recently issued under the auspices of the Melbourne Trades and Labour Council, and which reads - Trades Hall 'Council, in conjunction with the Iron Trades Council. Indignation mass meeting. In the old Trades Hall, Lygon-street, Carlton. Tuesday, September iS, igo6, at 8 o'clock. To protest against the action of the Melbourne Harbor Trust in giving preference to a foreign tenderer for the manufacture of a steam hopper barge while there are at present hundreds of skilled mechanics in the iron trade out of work. The " foreign tenderer " referred to in that circular is a British manufacturer. Any man whose, employment is threatened naturally regards the individual who wishes to deprive him of it as a foreigner. {: .speaker-KVJ} ##### Mr Storrer: -- Would the honorable member, favour an all-round increase of the Tariff? {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr THOMAS: -- I am not a protectionist ; but it is perfectly logical for the protectionist to argue that it is equally necessary to protect local industries from British competition as from foreign competition. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- That is not the point. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr THOMAS: -- - Then what is the point ? {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- In the one case, a man would starve in the interests of patriotism. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr THOMAS: -- Exactly. I need hardly remind honorable members that a New South Welshman is not anxious to be displaced by a Victorian, nor does a Victorian desire to be displaced by a Western Australian. I take it that there are some honorable members who believe that a reciprocal trade agreement with the mother country would benefit the commerce of' Britain. There might be something in the contention if England were owned by Englishmen, but, as a matter of fact, it is not. The whole of England is owned by about 600 or 700 individual landholders. I think that a very material alteration ought to be made in the condition of affairs there, before we make sacrifices to bolster up the trade and commerce of Great Britain. I do not by any means regard that trade as a vanishing one. I do not believe that it was ever larger in volume than it is now. I have here a copy of the New South Wales *Hansard,* covering the third session of the fifteenth Parliament of that' State. It contains the report of a. speech which was delivered by the honorable member for Parramatta, who at that time was the representative of Lithgow. He said: - >I shall read one or two passages from a book which I hold in my hand before I sit down. We are told : - " The Duke of Hamilton alone gets £143,000 per annum in royalties. It is said that so unreasonable are his exactions that for several years he has succeeded in producing a sort of special local depression of trade in Lanarkshire. His method of blackmail is this : he grants leases for twenty-one years at fixed rents, varying from £500 to £5,000. These are payable whether the mines are worked or not. . If worked, royalties varying from gd. to is. 6d. per ton are exacted the moment a certain output is attained. What is the consequence ? The hewers' wages have been forced down to rod. per ton, while the ducal highwayman's spoil averages is. 3d. per ton. I knew of an instance in the West of Scotland where the following occurred : - A company sank ,£50,000 in order to get at a seam of coal. They reached it, but found that rent and royalty would absorb every penny of profit. Not only would there be no interest on capital, but even the wages of superintendence would be nil. In these circumstances the landlord was importuned to make some abatement of his dues for the sake of all concerned. He was obdurate, and the machinery has consequently been idly corroding for five years. In another instance a number 'of philanthropic gentlemen in Cumberland some short time ago, when the scarcity of employment was very great, offered to sink £20,000. in raising iron ore on the estate of a flinty-hearted landlord. He demanded a royalty of 2s. 6d. per ton on the ore that might be raised. The directors found that with this handicap they were bound to be losers, inasmuch as they could import ore more cheaply from Spain. They accordingly with great reluctance abandoned their undertaking. A still more startling example of landlord robbery is to be found in the Barrow Haematite Steel Company. It has a share capital of ^2,000,000. For years not a penny was paid in dividends. Three noble lords, Devonshire, Buccleuch, and Muncaster, divided between them both the site of the town and the minerals under and around it. They received from the company as their dues ^,'126,000 per annum, while the numerous hands who swelter at the furnaces have to content themselves with an aggregate of ^63,000 a year." > >The honorable member then went on to say - >If there is one thing in England to-day which is crippling trade and preventing her competition with foreign nations in the race for life, it is this question of royalties, which is eating the heart and soul out of both capital and labour in the industrial life of England. I agree with the honorable member that royalties have the effect which he attributes to them. He went on to say - >All this, of course, is done in the name of the sacred rights of property. Governments only exist, we are told, for the preservation of property. The sooner we knock out this old idea, or any idea of property as attaching to land, the better for this and every other country. I quite agree with the honorable member, who proceeded to say that - >A legitimate attempt must be made in this time of distress and depression to assist them on to the soil, and never minding so much the sacred rights of property. I agree with the honorable member for Parramatta, who when he delivered this speech was a representative of Lithgow, that the enormous royalties paid to the ground landlords of England are a handicap on her trade and commerce. I fail to see why we should be called upon to make any sacrifice for a country that can afford to allow men like the Duke of Devonshire and the Duke of Buccleuch to draw these enormous rentals. Before we ave asked to take this action, the people of England should themselves set their house right, and do away with' the enormous royalties which! now tend to handicap their operations. I take it that, in offering to grant a preference to Great 'Britain, the Government anticipate receiving something in return. In answer to1 an interjection as to what Great Britain could do for Australian trade, the Minister of Trade and Customs remarked that at the present time she imposed a duty on Australian wine, and, judging by that observation, I am inclined to believe that he considers that England should .allow our wine to enter duty free. I take it also that some honorable mem- bers believe that England, in return for any concessions which we make her, will grant a preference to colonial wheat. If she grants a preference to Australian wheat as against that from Russia, Egypt, and other countries outside the British Empire {: .speaker-KHC} ##### Mr Higgins: -- Gladstone first made such a proposal. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr THOMAS: -- I may say with all humility that I disagree with some of the proposals made by Gladstone. For instance, I may remind honorable members that he once wrote an article on " Church and State," which was replied to by Macaulay, and I must confess that I agreed with the views embodied in that answer. If England granted a preference to Australian wheat, the price of bread in the old country would be increased. That is a natural assumption), since we should derive no advantage from such a preference unless the people of the United Kingdom were prepared to give something more for their wheat than they are now doing. {: .speaker-KHC} ##### Mr Higgins: -- Would the price of bread be increased by a rise to the extent of 2s. per quarter? {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr THOMAS: -- It it were not, I am satisfied that the landlords would, at all events, increase the rentals of their tenantry. If the price of flour be increased, a corresponding rise must take place in the price of bread. I am not prepared to advocate anything that would have that effect. The Government propose that a preference shall be granted in- respect of only British goods imported in British bottoms. The motion does not require that only white British sailors shall be employed on such vessels. Goods brought out in British ships manned by foreigners would under it be entitled1 to a preference. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- Foreign capital is invested in British ships. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr THOMAS: -- What might be described as a British vessel, controlled by a board of directors sitting' in England, might, as the honorable member for Newcastle has pointed out, be owned by a company in which foreign capital had been largely invested. I should not be prepared to support a proposition of this kind that did not provide, as proposed by the honorable member for Kalgoorlie, that the men employed on British vessels conveying British products to Australia should be white British subjects. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- If the motion were so amended, would the honorable member support it? {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr THOMAS: -- I do not know that I should. I might be disposed to support the granting of a preference to British goods brought out in British ships worked by white British subjects ; but I certainly would not be induced to vote for the granting of a preference to British goods merely on the ground that they had been brought out in ships- that were nominally British-owned. If the Government proposal were carried it might tend to the advantage of shareholders in British shipping companies, but I fail to see what gain would accrue to the producers of Australia. Whilst I should certainly prefer to see all vessels entering our ports flying the British flag, rather than those of other nations, I willingly admit that but for the German and French mail steamers we should not have had the accommodation now afforded us by the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, and the Orient Steam Navigation Company. Their entry into the Australian trade caused the other two companies to hustle more than they would otherwise have done. I repeat that whilst the Government proposal might tend to slightly advantage British shipbuilding firms it would not confer any great benefit on the mother country. The proposed preference granted is so small as to be really farcical. It seems to me that it is an/ electioneering placard, rather than an indication of a genuine desire on the part of the Government to grant any substantial benefit to Great Britain. " Preferential trade with Great Britain " is a high-sounding phrase which appeals to some extent to the sentiments of the people, but I feel that there is nothing in it so far as Australia is concerned, and that little, if any, advantage would be derived bv Great Britain from this proposal. I shall therefore be prepared to vote against it. {: #subdebate-9-0-s14 .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES:
West Sydney .- The proposal of the Government is one which deserves attention for at least one reason ; it is the first attempt to distinguish between the British producers and those of other countries. I am not going at this stage to discuss the question at any length, but I wish to set forth as clearly as possible my attitude in reference to it. I gather that the Opposition, and generally those who oppose the motion, do so on the ground that it does not go far enough, and is not a real preference. I am willing to admit that it does not go as far as it might ; but even if the motion went further than it does;_ those who now oppose it would not be more likely to vote for it: indeed, they would, I apprehend, be less inclined to do so. If a much more extensive schedule had been submitted, giving Great Britain a very real preference over other nations, the same objections would have been urged. It is a singular thing that those who are imperialistic in tone and sentiment and favour the ideas put forward by **Mr. Chamberlain** during the war, are arrayed against the first attempt which has ever been made to give practical effect to them. In the report of a lecture delivered by **Mr. de** Lissa, who is connected with the British Empire League, of which the honorable and learned member for Parkes is President, appear a number of excellent reasons why the various parts of the Empire should be drawn closer together, and preferential trade was .mentioned as one of the ways of doing this. I understand, however, that the honorable and learned member for Parkes is quite opposed to the proposition of the Government. Honorable members opposite as freetraders are highly, pleased at the downfall of **Mr. Chamberlain,** but as Imperialists, they bewail the coming into power in England of a party opposed to the imperialistic idea, whose members are what are known as " Little Englanders," and, during the late unfortunate struggle between Great Britain and the Boers, were regarded as the enemies of their country. The attitude of the Opposition towards the British Government presents a contradiction for which I think party motives are responsible. My only objection to the proposition, apart from the fact that it does not go far enough, is that preference to Great Britain is accompanied by an increase of duties on goods from other countries. But I can hardly blame the Government for the course which they have taken, because, no doubt, in their opinion, there must be a barrier between the manufacturers of Great Britain and those of this country, to equalize the conditions. Therefore, they verv properly from their stand-point retain against Great Britain the original Tariff which this Parliament in its wisdom imposed, and raise tho Tariff against other countries. I regret that the proposition is not to lower rates in favour of British goods, retaining the old rates against foreign goods ; but what has been done is perfectly justifiable and logical, so far as a Protectionist Government is concerned. The honorable member for Kalgoorlie has moved an amendment providing that preference shall be given only in respect to goods made by white British workmen. But, with the exception, perhaps, of the clothing trade in the east end of London, I think that none but white British workmen, are employed in the United Kingdom. Unfortunately, the fact that goods have been made by a white man and a Britisher is not a guarantee that they have been made under decent conditions, because it is only too true that many white British workmen are compelled to labour for wages which are insufficient, and under conditions which are disgraceful. The honorable member has also given notice of his intention to move that preference shall be given only in respect to goods brought here in ships, manned exclusively by white British seamen. The Navigation Commission, of which I have the honour to. be Chairman, found that the number of British seamen is steadily . decreasing both absolutely and relatively, so that the condition of theBritish mercantile marine is becoming very serious. Anything which can be done to arrest this tendency, which may, without exaggeration, be termed a fatal one, should be adopted ; but if we provide that preference shall be given only in respect of goods imported on vessels manned exclusively by white British seamen, the result will be that Great Britain will be unable to take advantage of the proposal. I do' not hesitate to say that, during the whole of the present year, not one ship entering any port of Australia and coming from Great Britain, has been manned exclusively by British seamen. Of course, some vessels may have had amongst their crews only one or two foreigners, but, speaking generally, I do not hesitate to say that the carrying of the proposed amendment would prevent Great Britain from taking advantage of our offer. It is not desirable to make an offer under terms which practically prohibit its acceptance, though we are at liberty to. impose what conditions we think right, so long as the preference will be effective. I think, therefore, that the honorable member would do well to amend his amendment, and if he does not do so, I shall make the attempt by providing that preference shall be given only in respect to goods imported in British ships of whose crews 80 per cent", are British seamen. Taking into account Lascars, about 66 per cent, of the seamen on board British vessels are white Britisheis. Therefore, it will be seen that if the British ship-owners were told that they could not take advantage of the preference so long as they employed one foreign sailor, they would be unable to accept it. As an Englishman, I wish to be fair to England, and as an Australian I wish to be fair to Australia, and I cannot support what I know would be a hollow pretence, because I am very desirous that Great Britain shall obtain a real preference. At the same time, I am very anxious to encourage the employment of Britishers on board the vessels of the British mercantile marine, and I think the condition of 80 per cent. Britishers would do this. Subject to what I have said, and under the conditions which I have mentioned, I see nothing objectionable in the proposition of the Government. {: #subdebate-9-0-s15 .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER:
Wide Bay .- This seems to be an occasion when one should declare his fiscal views. The honorable member for Parramatta is always desirous of knowing my position in regard to fiscal matters. I arn entirely against preferential trade, because I think that nothing could be more hollow and absurd than for a young community like Australia to seek to give' preference to Great Britain. I think that the proposals, if carried into effect, would be mischievous so" far as we are concerned, and of no advantage to the Empire. According to our public men, we require every penny of the revenue which we get from various sources, and yet it is proposed to return a certain amount to the people of Great Britain, who do not require it. At such times as these, we have brought to our minds the full force of **Dr. Johnson's** declaration that patriotism was the last refuge of political rogues and vagabonds. We are asked to grant a preference to Great Britain, in order to build up the Empire - an Empire that is by no means tottering, and that has made no appeal to us for trade advantage. . The people of Great Britain, who have recently been to the polls, have declared in a straightforward, manly fashion that they are fullycompetent to look after their own affairs in their own way. We are making an offer to Great Britain in the face of a declaration of her people against preferential trade. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- There has been no such declaration. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- The working classes of Great Britain declared at the last general election that they were not prepared to impose any duties upon imported foodstuffs. Just prior to the last election I had the advantage of conversing with a number of the leaders of the labour movement in Great Britain, and I ascertained from them that the great majority of the working class desired to have their food free of duty, and were, at the same time, prepared to compete with their products in the markets of the world. It is true that attention has been drawn to the fact that those Colonies which impose high protective duties make it difficult for British manufacturers to extend their trade, and that they would be glad to see a reduction of duties. It has been clearly indicated by the cable news from Great Britain within the last few days that the advocates of preferential trade are disappointed because it is not proposed to give preference to Great Britain by means of lowering the duties as against British goods. I have not noticed one instance in which the Government proposal has been received with acclamation in Great Britain. The reason is not far to seek. It is plain that the proposal can confer no benefit upon the old country. We are starting out upon a journey which has no definite objective. We are asked to direct our efforts to bringing about a community of interest between all parts of the Empire. The present proposal is limited to Great Britain, and every other portion of the Empire that desires to enter into preferential relations with the old country must propose similar terms, or others more favorable. It seems to me that this may lead to the serious embarrassment of some of the self-governing Colonies whose circumstances are more necessitous than ours. It is proposed that we shall make what practically amounts to a payment to the old country - a payment in regard to which we shall have no control. It has been urged that we ought to give some preference to Great Britain because of the protection which she affords us. That is a view with which I have no sympathy whatever. Great Britain will protect herself and her trade, and every part of the Empire, to the best of her ability. She will fight her enemies wherever thev can be most effectively dealt with, and, no doubt, every one of her Colonies, including Australia, would readily come to her assistance if she became involved in war. It is desired that we should make some return to Great Britain in respect of the obligations under which she is said to have placed us, and it is now proposed to do this in the worst possible way. {: .speaker-KYD} ##### Mr Poynton: -- Does not the honorable member think that the object of the proposal is to obtain more revenue? {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- If I believed that the Government had brought forward their proposal with that object, I should express my opinion of them in terms very different from those that I am now employing. {: .speaker-KYD} ##### Mr Poynton: -- Will not the increased duties have the immediate effect of producing more revenue? {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- Undoubtedly; but that is the least objectionable part of the proposal. If that provision were left our, I should feel very much more inclined than I do at present to vote for the scheme. I could not honestly charge the Prime Minister with insincerity. .Be has repeatedly expressed himself in favour of preferential trade, and0 with an eloquence which few could excel has endeavoured to point out the great advantages that would be derived by the mother country and her self-governing Colonies from the establishment of better trade relations. I think that he is entirely mistaken in the view he takes. The present proposal would lead to nothing but recrimination and mischief. If it is made more easy for the manufacturers of Great Britain to send their goods into Australia, the old country will not derive any benefit, but her position will ultimately be worse than if no preference had been granted. It would be impossible to guard against fraud and other mischievous results. The Imperial Government would not undertake to maintain a large staff of officials whose sole duty it would be to ascertain whether the goods exported to Australia were produced in Great Britain or imported from abroad in a partly or wholly manufactured state. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- They maintain a large staff of officials to perform that class of work at present. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- The work done in that direction is exceedingly limited, and I am sure that the authorities would not undertake to exercise the rigorous supervision that would be necessary if such a scheme as that proposed is to be effective. -The object of those who advocate preferential trade is to assist the manufacturing industries in the old country, and toincrease her population, power, and influence. If French manufacturers wished to export their goods to Australia and to obtain the advantage of the preference accorded to British manufactures, they would establish works in Great Britain. That might be exceedingly desirable under some conditions, but some of the leading statesmen of Great Britain, who have been amongst the foremost advocates of preferential trade, have been most anxious to encourage an emigration policy which would afford an outlet for the surplus population of the motherland. It is said that there are already too many people in Great Britain, and it is desired to chase some of them away. As **Mr. Hardie** said some time ago, some persons look upon the surplus population of Great Britain as so much vermin, as a menace to the State, winch should be removed by affording facilities for emigration to other lands. The policy that underlies the idea of establishing preferential trade relations with the motherland would only tend to aggravate the present difficulty by adding to her population immigrants from those countries against which the higher duties imposed by us would operate. From every platform we shall shortly hear of the advantages that would result from according preference to Great Britain, and of the danger of German competition with British manufacturers in the markets of Australia and other parts of the world. We shall be told that British trade is decaying, whereas, as a matter of fact, it is now expanding. In my opinion. Great Britain is prosperous because the present Government look largely to maintaining the peace of the world rather than to engaging in quarrels. It is true that there may be danger in pursuing a peace policy whilst other nations are preparing for war. If there be anything in a nation having an ideal, there is no doubt that that ideal can be best attained by the peace of the world being maintained. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- Only the Colonies will suffer, and that does not matter very much. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- If the honorable and learned member refers to Australia, all I can say is that if Australians are what they profess to be, no nation can conquer them. There are plenty of Powers which might harass them, but if they are equal in stamina and resource to the Boers of South Africa, no nation in Europe can wipe them out. I see the Minister of Trade and Customs in his place, and I should like to put before him my ideas in reference to these proposals. I am quite prepared to support them if he will drop the subject of preferential trade altogether. We are in need of the revenue which we are asked to sacrifice, but even if we were not, I hold that the policy of protection - although it may occasionally run mad - is a logical one to advocate. If we increase the duties upon imports, we do so with a view to fostering our industries and to reducing prices. These proposals emanate from a country which is, comparatively speaking, poor, and they represent a gift to Great Britain, the richest country in the world. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- Is the honorable member speaking of her aggregate wealth or of her wealth *per capital* {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- I am speaking of her aggregate wealth. {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- That is not a fair comparison. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- In my opinion, Great Britain is too wealthy to-day. There are far too many people there who are possessed of boundless wealth, and who revel in luxury that leads to decadence, both in public and private life. She is rapidly nearing the stage depicted by the poet when he wrote - >Ill fares the land to hastening ills a prey, > >Where wealth accumulates, and men decay. It has never been the policy of Great Britain to produce conditions of that sort. They have been developed during these lateryears by a number of persons who are not of British origin, and who are not imbued with British ideas. In my opinion, many persons who have amassed wealth in the United States are now settling in Great Britain, and doing irreparable injury to its people. These are the individuals whom we are seeking to help. In so doing we are playing into the hands of the landlords of Great Britain. I trust that the Government will not press this matter. I do not desire to support amendments, because I am opposed to theprinciple underlying the Government proposals. I am surprised that so few honorable members have stated plainly whether they are in favour of preferential trade or not. I recognise that the Government are quite justified in taking the course which they have followed, because the Prime Minister stated in his manifesto that he was in favour of preferential trade. I realize that those who are opposed to that policy will find themselves in a minority. But simply because it may be unpopular to oppose preferential trade with Great Britain, I shall not hesitate to express my views upon the subject. When I come to examine it, I am irresistibly reminded of the parallel of five or six members of one family, who all engage in different businesses, and who agree to purchase from each other everything that they require, irrespective of price. Such experiments have always resulted in good feeling for a time, but ultimately in tremendous upheavals. Similar results will follow if preferential trade between Great Britain and her Colonies becomes general. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- Look at the great upheaval which has occurred as the result of South Australia and Victoria trading with one another. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- The view taken by the honorable and learned member is far too circumscribed to enable him to appreciate the meaning of my argument.He imagines that we can extend a preference to Great Britain to-day and abolish it to-morrow. But I would point out to him that the Government do not propose to enter into an agreement which will come to an end at a certain date unless it is renewed. Either we intend to extend a real preference to the mother country or we do not. {: .speaker-L0Y} ##### Mr Wilkinson: -- There is no reciprocity upon the other side. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- The Government proposals represent a generous gift to Great Britain by her daughter- {: .speaker-KW6} ##### Mr DUGALD THOMSON:
NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- Does the honorable member call it a " generous" gift? {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- Yes. From our point of view, it represents a loss of revenue. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- We shall gain revenue from foreign countries. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- Should we derive less revenue if we imposed upon goods from the United Kingdom the same duties that it is proposed to levy upon foreign goods? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- We should obtain more. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- Then the Government proposals represent a gift to the traders of Great Britain. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- The increased revenue which we shall obtain is estimated at £64,000 annually. That will be derived from the increased duties which we levy upon foreign goods. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- I take it that if no attempt had been made to extend a preference to Great Britain, the duties upon goods from other countries would not Have been increased ? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I do not say that. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- In matters of policy, we should understand exactly what the position is. It occurs to me that the Government do not desire to extend a preference to Great Britain so much as to secure a larger measure of protection for our own manufacturers. When we examine the schedule we cannot fail to recognise that it will be of a highly protective character, because all the goods specified therein filter through Great Britain. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Under the Commerce Act the origin of the goods must be plainly marked upon them. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- But the Government of Great Britain will decline to have an Excise officer in every factory to ascertain whether partially manufactured goods, which constitute the raw material of British manufacturers, are of foreign origin. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- If they do not deal with the matter we shall have to do. so. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- That is impossible. The bulk of the goods exported from the United Kingdom are in a partially manufactured condition when they reach there. That statement applies not merely to iron ore. but to a great number of other articles. If there be anything in the policy of preferential trade, it must be intended to attract people from Europe to Great Britain. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Not necessarily from Europe. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- The idea is to provide more employment, and. consequently, to attract immigrants to Great Britain from the rest of Europe. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Great Britain has to find employment for her own people. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -But Great Britain maintains open ports. The German, the Frenchman, the Belgian, and the citizen from the United States all find a welcome there. *Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.4.5 p.m.* {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- The reasons advanced in favour of this policy will not stand close investigation. The honorable member for Gippsland has indicated that he is prepared to support it, because of sentimental and patriotic considerations. The comity of nations does not rest on such sentiment. I venture to say that the good feeling existing between the peoples of the world is not due to preferences enjoyed by some nations over others, and I do not think that we shall promote good feeling^ between the people of Great Britain and Australia by the adoption of this motion. I take exception only to the preferential proposals embodied in it. If it be the desire of the Government to raise the Tariff, I shall be prepared to impartially consider any such proposal ; but if these duties are to be raised only for the sake of granting a preference to Great Britain, the proposal is unsound. I do not complain of the attitude of the Government. The Prime Minister, when before the electors, declared that he was in favour of preferential trade, and he is, therefore, justified in submitting a motion designed to carry out the pledge which he then gave. I regret, however, that he should have done so at the fag-end of. the session. The matter might verv well have been allowed to form the subject of an appeal to the people. I propose now to briefly indicate what, in mv opinion, will be the effect of this policy. The Government propose to give a preference to British goods carried in British bottoms. It would be much better to collect on British imports the duties imposed on like imports from other countries, and out of the revenue so derived to return to the British people an amount representing the difference in duties that we desire to make in their favour. If that money were handed over to trustees in Great Britain, to be distributed amongst the white workers engaged in producing these goods, a more equitable result would be obtained than that, which would be achieved by the adoption of this motion. We have no guarantee that if the motion be carried- one penny of the advantage gained by importers of British goods in British bottoms will reach the workers of Great Britain. Another point is that it is almost certain that the people of Australia would not be able to obtain these goods at a lower price than they would if no preference were granted. The price of imports of British goods which cannot be manufactured here will be determined by that of similar imports from other countries, so that we shall lose a considerable amount of revenue without reaping any advantage. The good feeling prevailing between the nations will not be disturbed by the adoption of this scheme. It has been said that if we pass it, other nations will indulge in reprisals. I do not think that they will, and I do not wish to deal with this question from such a paltry stand-point. {: .speaker-L0R} ##### Mr Lee: -- Did not Germany make reprisals on Canada? {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- I should -not be influenced by any such consideration. If we grant a preference to Great Britain, we lay ourselves open to reprisals on the part of other nations. {: .speaker-JWA} ##### Mr Carpenter: -- How do other nations treat our goods at the present time? {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- Just as we treat those which they export to Australia. They impose such duties as thev think necessary to raise revenue to carry on their government. {: .speaker-L0Y} ##### Mr Wilkinson: -- In some cases they grant preferences. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- They may extend the most favoured nation treatment to any country they please. Many of them have a long history, and are governed by able men, and, so far as this matter is concerned, we ought not to pose as a, guiding light to them. We certainly ought not to try to influence the policv of Great Britain. She has not made a demand for preferential treatment ; but some of her politicians - doubtless with the most laudable objects, and not from any desire to serve their own political purposes - have made proposals for preferential trade. Their object is no doubt to strengthen the national ties between the Colonies and the motherland. The honorable member for Gippsland has said that we should agree to this policy out of consideration for what the mother country has done for us. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- He qualified that statement by saying that the interests of the Australian workers must first be considered. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- We have to remember that Great Britain has left the Colonies free to work out their own political salvation. That is the distinguishing feature of her Colonial policy. {: .speaker-L0Y} ##### Mr Wilkinson: -- Does the honorable member think that Great Britain could have done anything else? {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- The character of the Britishers is such that they are determined, wherever they reside, to settle their own affairs without outside interference. Where self-government has been granted to them they will not submit to dictation, es- pecial ly when they feel that they are more familiar with the local conditions than are the Home authorities. That policy has been attended by better results than has that adopted by other nations, and it affords another reason why we should pause before we agree to this proposal. The only result of its adoption will be to give to some manufacturers in Great Britain a present of Australian money. Our coffers are not so well supplied that we can afford to do anything of the kind. I would point out that a foreign manufacturer who established a factory in Great Britain could export his goods to Australia and secure a preference at our expense, although he would certainly not pay his workmen any more than was paid in other industries at Home. If my suggestion were adopted, however, the money handed over to trustees in Great Britain would be distributed amongst needy workmen there, although I am inclined to think that they would not accept such a gift. This proposition on the part of the Government is undoubtedly premature. There is another reason why I do not consider it would be attended by satisfactory results. Weknow that there is something in what is described as " the incentive of difficulty." If a Government be allowed to proceed on its way undisturbed, it soon falls into decay. The position is the same with regard to the individual. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWILLIAMS:
FRANKLIN, TASMANIA · REV TAR; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; CP from 1920; IND from 1928 -- If that be correct, this Government ought to be fairly lively. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- In my opinion the Government have no one to keep them in order. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- That is rough on the Opposition. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- The Government appear to have nobbled the Opposition. Difficulties do much to develop the character of a people, and to build up a sturdy race. If the policy initiated by the Government is to be carried to its logical conclusion, it means that all the British peoples are to lean on each other. They are to support each other without regard to what is taking place in other parts of the world. That would not be a safe position to take up. It would lead to weakness and finally to disaster. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWilliams: -- Does the honorable member wish to see Britishers in various parts of the Empire pulling against each other ? {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- Such a thing would be impossible. Does the honorable member for Franklin think the community of feeling among British people a mere fleeting thing? It is not the so-called silken bonds which tie the English-speaking people together, but the similarity of their systems of government, and of character, and their sense of justice. Threats of reprisals by foreign nations would not deter me from supporting the proposition of the Government if I thought it a wise one. I am sorry that apprehension seems to be felt by some regardingthe growing importance of the German nation. Germany must make progress because of her improved methods of government. That progress cannot be checked at all events not safely, by a proposition of this kind. But there is in Germany and other foreign countries a party opposed to aggressive warfare. There are in European countries and in the United States large organized bodies of workmen, whose aims are similar to our own. They are determined that the nations of the earth shall not be dispoiled to enable one Government to impose its will upon another, and they will take great care that no dictator is permitted to bring disaster upon peoples with which he has no just quarrel. Therefore it would be apity to depart from our determined and settled policy to initiate a sort of Britishzollverein. If I thought that such a course would be of assistance to the Empire I would support it, even at some slight expense to Australia; but as I am convinced that it will not, I am opposed to it. I regard the amendment as intended to defer a decision upon the motion. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- Does not the honorable member think it desirable that, before passing the schedule, we should have the opinions of the members of the Tariff Commission in regard to its items? {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- I think that very desirable. If the Government were to withdraw the preferential part of their proposals I would support the motion. {: .speaker-L0R} ##### Mr Lee: -- The honorable member would support higher duties with a view to obtaining more protection? {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- Yes. {: .speaker-L0R} ##### Mr Lee: -- No preference is given by the Government proposal. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- The Government hang out the patriotic flag, and say, " We are imposing higher duties on the imports of foreign nations in order to benefit Great Britain," but, in my opinion, if we need additional revenue we should collect and keep it, and if we wish to assist the people of Great Britain we should settle a certain amount upon trustees for distribution among her workmen. The difference between the rates of duties on foreign and British imports ma;; be sufficient to prevent industries from growing up here. Indeed, rings may be formed whose efforts will be directed to the prevention of the growth of Australian industries. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWILLIAMS:
FRANKLIN, TASMANIA · REV TAR; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; CP from 1920; IND from 1928 -- Are not our present duties high enough? {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- Protective duties should be sufficiently hightobuild up native industries. The worst taxation is that imposed by means of a revenue Tariff. Freetrade is a logical policy, and protection is justified by the fact that it tends to build up industries in new countries ; but revenue duties cannot be defended, although their imposition was necessary in the first instance to enable the Government to obtain revenue for the administration of the affairs of the Commonwealth. I prefer protective to revenue duties, because they produce little or no revenue, and thus force the imposition of direct taxation. {: .speaker-L0R} ##### Mr Lee: -- Under direct taxation, people know what they are paying. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- Yes ; and are quick to discover and to protest against extravagance. {: .speaker-JWA} ##### Mr Carpenter: -- They object more strongly to direct than to indirect taxation. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- The poor are kept so closely at work that they have no opportunity to lobby and to point out to Members of Parliament how they are suffering. The more we skin and oppress them by means of duties, the less opportunity have they for making their sufferings known. There is a celebrated statement of Pitt to the effect that he could so impose taxation that the last rag could be taken off a man's back, and he would never complain, because he would not know what was being done; but the science of government is better understood now. In Pitt's days, the franchise was a very narrow one. In the country from which I come, four men in one division returned a member to Parliament. There was a tax on newspapers, and on nearly, every form of popular instruction. But those days have gone. The honorable and learned member for Corio seemed to indicate by an interjection that he is of opinion that I am opposed to bringing Australia and Great Britain into closer relations. Quite the contrary is the fact. But I do not think that any proposition of this kind will have that result. A money payment to Great Britain, such as that which we are making under the naval agreement, would be better than the proposition of the Government, which, if adopted, would result in every kind of entanglement and trouble. The "nations of the world are conducting their affairs each in its own way ; but I believe that the British system of government is the best yet discovered, and that the cause of its success is that its underlying principle is expressed in the words " righteousness exalteth a nation." {: #subdebate-9-0-s16 .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN:
Angas .- On a question of this magnitude, the Government should have stuck to their first impression as to what is due to the Empire, and should have proceeded by motions affirming the general principle. No doubt, it was a clever move to abandon the proposals which were submitted with sufficient elaboration last year, and to take advantage of the Executive power to immediately impose certain rates of duty by way of giving a so-called preferenceto Great Britain. But mere smartness, and an assumed anxiety for the welfare of the Empire, go very ill together. The possibilities for good or evil of the development of the principle of reciprocal trade between the various parts of the Empire, by means of preferential duties, are so great that the Ministry should have hesitated before making what may be in party politics a clever move, but forestalls the consideration which should be given to the general principle involved. There has been 'a great difference of opinion, extending over several years, as to the wisdom of preferential trade. The subject was mooted as far back as the Ottawa Conference, when, I think, it was suggested that a duty of 5 per cent, should be imposed upon all imports from other than British possessions, while **Mr. Hofmeyer,** in 1894, suggested the imposition of duties, beginning at 2 per cent., upon commerce from beyond the Empire, as a subvention towards naval defence. That policy did not meet with the approval of men who were then eminent throughout the British Possessions. **Sir Wilfrid** Laurier, in 1902, mentioned in connexion with this attempt to base preferences upon a scheme of Imperial defence, that there was a school in England and in Canada, which was even represented in the Canadian Parliament, " which wanted to bring Canada into the vortex of militarism, now the blight and curse of Europe." He was not prepared to indorse such a policy, this policy has been tried and abandoned. It was tried by the Empire years ago. There was a time when Canadians were obliged, under a system of preferences established by the Imperial Government, to take their sugar from the West Indies, while the West Indies were compelled by the same fatuous policy to import their fish and lumber from Canada. The result was remonstrance, discontent, and irritation, until, in defiance of Downingstreet, both countries took the law into their own hands, and upset the .principle of preference. {: .speaker-KNI} ##### Mr Harper: -- That was compulsory preference. {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN: -- Yes ; an attempt to force preferential trade on the British Possessions, such as is now being repeated by the Government without the adoption by Parliament of any prefatory resolution. In order to indicate the continued hesitancy that has been shown in regard to the adoption of this policy, I need only remind honorable members that this matter was mooted at the Imperial Conference of 1897. By a majority vote it was decided that the Premiers of the various Colonies should refer the matter to their respective Cabinets. That 'the Premiers were not particularly enthusiastic upon the subject was shown by "the fact that at the Conference of 1902 **Mr. Chamberlain,** who was then Secretary of State for the Colonies, had to complain that the Premiers had not carried out their promises - that, in fact, nothing had been done. In view of the doubt expressed by this hesitation, and the differences of opinion as to the objective, it was scarcely right for the Government to take advantage of their executive powers to lay upon the table a series ofl resolutions which immediately came into force. No two portions of the Empire regard preferential trade from the same point of view. It is looked upon by **Mr. Chamberlain** as a means towards the end of Imperial consolidation - a type of consolidation that Australia is scarcely likely to favour. Upon the 23rd May, 1902, **Mr. Chamberlain,** addressing the representatives at the Imperial Conference, said - >If you are prepared at any time to take any Share - any proportionate share - of the burden of Empire, we are prepared to meet you with any proposal for giving YOU a corresponding voice in the policy of the Empire. This shows what he had in his mind. The end that he hoped to attain was not so milch fiscal preference as the adoption of a scheme for the political consolidation of the Empire. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- What would that mean? {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN: -- I do not think that it would mean consolidation of the Empire in the true sense. The Empire would not be cemented any more closely by placing upon the Colonies Imperial shackles such as those contemplated by **Mr. Chamberlain.** Assuming that what I have described was the end held in view by **Mr. Chamberlain,** namely, that he proposed to establish a system of Inter-Imperial free-trade, that is not the policy now proposed by the Government, nor is it the policy of which we have heard so much talk in connexion with Canada. **Mr. Vince,** the secretary of the Imperial Tariff Committee, in the first of the publications issued with the sanction of **Mr. Chamberlain,** said - >The system of preferential Tariffs proposed by **Mr. Chamberlain** and the Colonial Premiers is the initial step towards Imperial free-trade. I should like to know whether the Government proposal is intended as a step towards Imperial free-trade? If so, I think that the protectionists in this House will hesitate to adopt it. There is much diversity in the suggestions that haVe been made, and much conflict as to the meaning of preference. Here we seem to look upon a scheme of preference - at any rate as far as the Government is concerned - as a method of increasing the protection against the foreigner rather than of reducing it in favour of the United Kingdom. So far as the consolidation of the Empire in the true sense is concerned, I think that the Empire will best be cemented by the cultivation of that autonomy which has been the real source of our loyalty to the mother country. The Canadians, so far from believing in the preference desired by some of the preferential traders in the United Kingdom, object to any system that is not based upon higher duties against the foreigner. On the 6th August, 1903, the Canadian manufacturers, by resolution of their representative association, declared that, in the matter of a *quid fro quo* for favours received, Canada must not offer anything tending to the curtailment of her manufacturing industries. The same policy was adopted by the Melbourne Chamber of Manufactures in 1904, when a resolution was passed declaring that it was impossible to give preference to .Great Britain under the present Tariff, and that they might as well close their factories as do so. It appears to me that, in considering this question of preferential trade, honorable members have lost sight of the fact that India will have to be consulted, and that, so far as she8 has spoken upon the subject, she has declared against preferential trade. In 1897, **Mr. Chamberlain** said - >Undoubtedly the fiscal arrangements of the different colonies differ so much among themselves, and differ so much from those of the mother country, that it would be a matter of the greatest complication and difficulty to arrive at any conclusion which would unite us commercially in the same sense in which the Zollverein united the Empire of Germany. That was his opinion at that time, and I think that he was right. In the British Budget speech of 1904-5, the total trade of India was given as being valued at ^175,000,000 annually, of which ^77,000,000 fell to the share of the United Kingdom. **Mr. Brodrick** stated that the exports of the United Kingdom to India were valued at ^40,000,000 annually, an amount equal to the value of the whole of the exports from the old country to Australia, Canada, and Cape Colony combined. As a matter of fact, something to the same effect was said by the Right Honorable John Morley, the present Secretary of State for India in the last Budget delivered a few months ago. He reminded the members of the House of Commons of the large interest which India had at stake, and stated, in effect, that artificial complications that might strike at the position which India occupied in relation to the rest of the Empire, and as a growing exporter to foreign countries, should not be introduced. **Mr. Brodrick** also stated in 1904-5 - >The stake of the United Kingdom in the, trade of India, and the stake of India in the trade of the United Kingdom, is such that we are entitled to claim a first place for India in nil the discussions that may take place as regards the trade of the Empire. I contend that both history and authority are opposed to the adoption of preferential trade. I do not wish to refer in any detail to the working out of the preferential scheme that was abandoned forty or fifty years ago. In 1842, Canada im- posed a duty of 3s. per quarter upon wheat imported from the United States, and the United Kingdom responded by lowering the import duty upon wheat coming from Canada to is. per quarter. What was the result?' In 1846, when the corn laws were repealed, and the preference in favour of Canada went by the board, there was a great deal of talk that bordered upon sedition, to the effect that the Empire was falling to pieces because this artificial preference had been removed. **Mr. Gladstone,** in a despatch written at that time, said - >It would be a source of the greatest pain to Her Majesty's Government if they could share in the impressions that the connexion between this country and Canada derived its vitality from no other source than the change of commercial preferences. I have stated that authority is also against the system of preferences. **Dr. Petritch** the eminent Austrian economist, writing in the *Economic Journal,* in 1904, said - >It must be observed, too, that **Mr. Chamberlain's** preferential scheme would entail an entangled network of treaties, far more complicated than the negotiations of the AustroHungarian Zolland Handels-bundniass. There does not seem the faintest ground for believing that the difficulties in conciliating so manifold divergent interests will be less. **Sir Robert** Giffen, the leading statistician in England, and one of the foremost writers upon economics and financial subjects, stated in the *Nineteenth Century,* of May, 1 903 - >Reciprocal or preferential arrangements between the mother country and the colonies are most dangerous economically and politically. It is a complete misconception that they are in the same nature as a Zollverein, which is a measure of pure free-trade, but happens not to be_ possible for the British Empire as a whole- It does not seem to be possible. There never has been a system of Inter-Imperial free-trade between the portions of an Empire scattered all over the globe. No scheme of Federation even has ever been possible except upon the basis of geographical contiguity. The question is - does the mother country want this scheme of preference? From 88 to 90 per cent, of the shipping that comes here hails from Great Britain. It is sometimes said that some artificial stimulus is required, because our trade with the mother country is declining, whilst our commercial1 relation's with' foreign countries are being extended. As a matter of fact, there has been no decline in the total trade with the mother country. There may have been a decline over the last ten or fifteen years in the proportion of our total imports from the United Kingdom, but that fact, instead of being a subject for regret, merely makes a healthy variation of exchange. In 1891, the importations into Australia from the United Kingdom, represented 70 per cent, of the total of our imports. In 1905, the proportion of British imports to the total was 60 per cent. I am taking these figures from the last Budget papers. We must remember that there is now much more direct trade carried on between foreign countries and the Commonwealth than existed some years ago. We carry on a greatly increased export trade directly with Germany and other countries, and there is also a great increase in the direct import trade. Besides that, our trade with British Possessions has also largely expanded. So that the conditions generally are healthy. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- They are hot in proportion. {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN: -- They are in proportion. In 1891, the imports into the Commonwealth from British Possessions represented a little more than n per cent, of the total imports, and in 1905 a little more than 14 per cent., while the imports from foreign countries had increased from 18 per cent, to 25 per cent. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- What has been the increased percentage of trade between foreign countries and Australia? {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN: -- I have already given thai information. I think it is about 26 pet cent, of the total of our import trade, and that in 1901 it was a little more than 18 pei cent. Consequently, I say that there has been a corresponding increase in our trade with British Possessions generally, and that it represents a healthy development. At a later stage, I shall point out the significance of the change in the proportion of our trade which is done with foreign countries. I maintain that under these .proposals the United Kingdom is not likely to be very much benefited. Indeed, it is quite possible that Great Britain may be struck a blow by foreign countries. For instance, her imports are chiefly from foreign countries. In 1902, of forty of the chief raw materials imported into the United Kingdom, two-thirds were from foreign countries. So that by imposing a tax such as has been suggested bv some preferential traders, we should strike very disastrously at the chief trade of the United Kingdom. I would further point out that in 1902 £40,000,000 out of £41,000,000 worth of her imports of raw cotton came from beyond the Empire. In July of the present year, the sixth Chamber of Commerce of the Empire adopted a resolution by 105 to 41 votes - twenty-one remaining neutral - in favour of preferential trade upon the ground that thereby "the bonds of union will be strengthened, and the British Empire largely freed from dependence upon foreign countries for food and supplies." But the delegates who voted for that resolution appear to have forgotten a few facts which are very pertinent to the issue. For instance, they forgot that of the fresh meat imported into the United Kingdom in 1905, 155,000 tons came from Argentine, 130,000 tons from the United States, 90,000 tons from New Zealand, 15,000 tons from Europe, and only 13,000 tons from Australia. Consequently, in the matter of fresh meat, we do not appear to be in a position to free the United Kingdom from dependence on foreign countries for food and supplies. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- Do the figures which the honorable and learned member has quoted include rabbits? {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN: -- I think that the honorable member had better give notice of these ultra-analytical questions. I come now to the imports of chilled and frozen beef. Of the imports into the United Kingdom under this heading in 1905, the United States contributed 55 per cent., the Argentine 40 per cent., and other countries, including British Possessions, only 5 per cent. Then again, India - which is a neglected factor in the matter of preferential trade - is the largest, exporter of wheat to the United Kingdom. British India is at the top of the list, and- then come Russia, the Argentine, the United States, Australasia, and Canada in that order. It is no wonder that on 91th January, 1896, **Mr. Chamberlain,** the great protagonist of preferential trade, said - >This proposal requires that we should abandon our system in favour of theirs, and it is in effect that while the Colonies should be absolutely free to impose what protective duties they please both on foreign and British commerce, they would be required to make a small discrimination in favour of British trade, in return for which we are expected to change our whole system, and impose duties on food and raw material. Well, I again express my opinion when I say that there is not the slightest chance that in any reasonable time this country or the Parliament of this country would adopt so one-sided an agreement. He particularly emphasized the fact that the working classes of England were not likely to consent to such a change. They have not consented to it, because in September, 1905, the Trades Union Congress, by a card vote, rejected the proposal as a departure from free-trade, whether in the direction of protection or of preference or retaliation. They rejected it by 1,253,000 votes to 26,000 - a most emphatic justification of the prophesy of **Mr. Chamberlain** in 1896. Then, if I may be permitted to refer to the recent elections in England, I would say that, although various questions were put before the people, their verdict must be regarded as a very popular pronouncement against **Mr. Chamberlain's** policy. Further, the Canadian farmers do not want, preferential trade. **Mr. Arthur** Fisher, the Minister of Agriculture in the Dominion Parliament, speaking at Montreal in January, of the present year, said - >Canadian farmers had not demanded and did not want preferences on their food products; that under existing conditions the United Kingdom absorbed all the food products that Canada could send, and paid prices for them that yielded a fair profit to the producer, and that the productive capacity of the present agricultural population would not allow Canada to grow more. A similar statement is made by **Mr. H.** R. Whates, in his recently published book, *Canada, the New Nation.* Australia, upon the other hand, may lose by the adoption of this policy. Upon reference to the appendices of the last Budget statement, I find that, in 1905, our total trade was valued at ^95,000,000, of which ^27,000,000 was with foreign countries. When we come to analyze our trade with foreign countries we shall find that it is a trade which! ought not to be disturbed. It is not a trade with countries which compete with lines that come from the United Kingdom, but a- natural trade which must exist, and which cannot be shaken except at the expense of the manufacturing industries which require raw material, and the general consumer. That ^27,000,000 worth of trade is distributed over nineteen leading countries, showing that it consists of that diversity of products which is at the base of all international exchange. But the main point to be remembered in connexion with our trade with foreign countries is that the variation in the total is chiefly caused by an increase in the exports from Australia. For instance, in 1903 the imports from foreign countries into Australia were valued at ,£12,975,000, and our exports to thiem at ^12,717,000. But in 1905 our imports from foreign countries, instead of increasing, receded to ^9,887,000, whereas our exports increased to ^17,619,000. I have no desire to burden honorable members with too many statistics; but whilst comparisons continue to be made we ought to analyze them, with a view to seeing what is really the cause of the variation in the totals. If a preference is to be extended to the United Kingdom, let it be a real preference, which will benefit that country. Let us reduce our duties in her favour rather than give an increased measure of protection to our industries as against foreign countries. That is the opinion which is entertained by the best statesmen in Canada. **Sir Wilfrid** Laurier, in speaking at Toronto on 2nd March last, according to a report which appears in *The Times,* said - >It is easy for us to give a preference to Great Britain. We have only to lower our duties. It is not easy for the people of Great Britain, because they cannot do so without altering their Tariff policy. It is far more difficult for the United Kingdom to reciprocate with us than it is for us to adopt the true policy of reducing existing duties in favour of imports from that country. That is the policy against which the manufacturing' industries of Australia seem to be strongly opposed. It appears to me that the people of the United Kingdom simply ask us to leave them alone in this matter. The working classes know perfectly well that a policy of this sort cannot possibly cure the admitted evils of distribution. They are aware that under the present fiscal system of the United Kingdom trade has enormously increased during recent years, th'at, though labour does not yet occupy the ideal position that we should like to see it occupy, the amount which has been paid in wages (here has increased within forty years, from £300,000,000 to ,£700,000,000, notwithstanding that the wholesale price of the products has fallen in the meantime as much' as 30 per cent. I say that a country like Great Britain, with a total trade of between ^900,000,000 and ,£1,000,000,000, with a commerce which touches almost every sea - faced as she is with the stupendous task of developing practically new civilizations in Egypt and India from a copy of her own - is not one which, us **Mr. Chamberlain** said in 1903, is likely to become - without a specific of this sort - a decadent nation. That was the burden of his gloomy prediction of what would happen unless the scheme of which this proposal is declared to be an instalment were adopted. I do not think that it is necessary to trespass further upon the time of honorable members. We are not likely to benefit the United Kingdom by the introduction of this system. The schedule is a pettifogging one. It is proposed to grant Great Britain a preference in respect of some goods 90 or 95 per cent, of which are under existing circumstances imported from that country. It is perfectly clear that in some cases as much as nine-tenths of the imports in respect of which a preference is to be granted come at present from Great Britain. That being so, the proposal is u sham. This policy is not justified by experience or by general considerations of reason. It does not express the consensus of opinion throughout the British Possessions, or the deliberate opinion of the United Kingdom, and it is therefore our duty to give time for further consideration by rejecting the proposal's of the Ministry. {: #subdebate-9-0-s17 .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER:
Gwydir -- r have listened practically all day to the speeches made on this very important question, and but for one fact should have felt it my duty to reply to a number of arguments raised by the Opposition. In the circumstances, however, it is unnecessary for me to deal with them. The honorable and learned member for Angas has elaborated very ably the reasons why from his point of view the motion should not be adopted. He gave us an illustration of what would be the effect of this policy upon British trade. He pointed out the way in which he thought this proposal would be accepted by the British people, and finally, like other members of the Opposition who have urged the rejection of the motion, said that he would favour the granting of preference in another form. The honorable and learned member would support the granting of preference to Great Britain by reducing the present Tariff wall against her, instead of raising it against the foreigner. {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr Glynn: -- Personally, I do not believe in that. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- In this respect the honorable and learned member has merely expressed the view of other members of the Opposition, who, after arguing against the adoption of this policy, have concluded by declaring that they would grant a preference to Great Britain, but not in the way proposed by the Government. The deputy leader of the Opposition so expressed himself, and his leader on various occasions, during the last three or four years has given utterance to a similar view. Thev recognise that sooner or later, no matter what Government is in power, this question will have to be determined, and it seems to me that they adopt this attitude in order that, should they ever take office, the way will not be closed to them to try to do their duty to the Empire. The Opposition have referred again and again to the preferences granted by Canada and South Africa to Great Britain, but they appear to have lost sight of the fact that those countries are not restricted as we are by such a constitutional provision as that embodied in the Braddon section. Unlike the Commonwealth, thev are not' required by their respective Constitutions to raise annually a. certain revenue. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- That tells against the honorable member. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- The honorable member should wait until I have concluded mv remarks on this point. I wish to show that, having regard to the existence of the Braddon section, we are not as free as is Canada to grant a preference to the mother country by exempting certain goods from dutv. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Had my amendment been carried, it would have meant an increase, not a decrease, of revenue. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- I am not dealing with this question merely from a revenue stand-point, and I do not think that the honorable member is likely to convince, the Committee that his proposal to make an all-round reduction of our *ad valorem* duties in favour of Great Britain is a better one than that put forward by the Government. It would be worth while replying in detail to some of the arguments raised by the Opposition, against this scheme if it were not for the fact that thev all admit that they are prepared to grant preferential treatment to Great Britain, although, they think that the course proposed by the Government is a wrong one. The regrettable feature of party politics is that an Opposition always feels it necessary lo oppose every Government proposal. But for party considerations honorable members would fearlessly express their opinions on all questions. It is regrettable that in a Parliament like this honorable members should be prepared in order to secure party gains to resort to subterfuges which are not even in accordance with common sense. I may say at once that I am in favour of preferential trade within the Empire. I support such a policy, not because it is in accord with the views of mv .constituents, or because it is calculated to meet my 'political necessities, but for the reason that I believe it to be absolutely essential to the consolidation of the Empire. We must have regard to something more than the fiscal policies formerly in operation in the States, or that which has been adopted by the Commonwealth. We must look beyond our mere parochial requirements. We are part of a great Empire, and it is out duty to endeavour to safeguard its ..trade and commerce from the attacks threatening it on every hand. The honorable and learned member for Angas has quoted statistics relating to the trade between Australia and the United Kingdom as well as foreign countries. His figures bearing on the cotton trade with America were interesting, but those circulated by the Government present cogent reasons for the adoption of this policy. We find on referring to the memorandum circulated by the Minister that in 1904 the value of imports from Great Britain in respect of which a preference is proposed was £1,7.56,097, while the value of similar imports from other countries was .£750,779. The returns for 3905 show a remarkable falling off in our trade with Great Britain. In that year the value of these imports 'from the mother country dwindled away to ,£1, 549, 654 - a reduction of over .£200,000 in twelve months - whereas the value of those imported from other countries increased to £$61,848. In other words, what' England lost in respect of the sale of those goods in the Australian market was gained by the foreigner.. These figures are far more to the point than are those relating to trade with America. {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr Glynn: -- We cannot deal with . the question of preferential trade without touching on Australia's growing export trade with other countries. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- That is another point. The figures I have quoted tell strongly in favour of preferential trade with Great Britain. We can remember the time when not a foreign flag was to be seen flying on vessels at the wharfs of Melbourne and Sydney. The whole of our sea-going trade was then carried bv ships flying the Union Jack. Year after year, however, as the result of subsidies granted to foreign shipping companies to carry goods into the markets of Australia and to capture the business formerly secured by British ships, the vessels of other nations have entered the Australian trade. Yet our friends tell us that there is no d>anger. I say that these facts are evidence of the existence of the greatest danger, and afford cause for alarm to every patriotic citizen of the Empire. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr Henry Willis: -- The foreign ships which come here take away our products. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- Those products were formerly taken away by British ships. But there is another matter to which I wish to refer. Whan, the nation was developing and rising to a position of supremacy, not only on the ocean, but as a manufacturing country, the policy which suited her needs was that which brought about the repeal of the corn laws, with a view to giving cheap bread to her people and obtaining cheap labour for her industries. But the policy which suited Great Britain sixty years ago does not meet her needs to-day. Other countries have developed their industries, and are foi lowing close upon the the heels of the mother land. To say that England could do to-day what she did sixty years ago is like requiring the full-grown man to do that which was good for him when he was a child. England must look to her laurels. In spite of what may be said to the contrary, British trade is threatened all along the line, and by Germany even more than by America. I could prove that by quoting from *Mulhall* and other authorities, if I had the time. If we desire to see her retain, her supremacy, we must show our patriotism by lending a hand to the mother country as the full-grown child assists its parents. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr Henry Willis: -- What does the honorable member propose? {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- We should give a preference to Great Britain. The honorable member is opposed to that. He had a great deal to say about the poor people who, as the result of the Government proposition, will have still heavier taxation to bear; but the workers of Australia, who are the backbone of the country, would be very slightly consoled by his sympathy if Great Britain were overwhelmed in a great International conflict. The talk of the honorable member and others is worthless. What we must do is to secure the Empire against attack. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr Henry Willis: -- What does the honorable member propose? I cannot follow him. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- I favour the proposition of the Government. I think, too, that the goods to which the preference applies should be goods carried in British ships, and what is still more important, they should be British goods, not merely goods imported into Great Britain and shipped thence to Australia. The Government proposal is to give preference to any goods shipped in British bottoms, no matter where produced. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- No, it is not. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- That is practically what it amounts to. Even before Federation, I saw the need for ear-marking the goods of other countries, to prevent their importation here in British bottoms as British goods. I agree, too, with the honorable member for Kalgoorlie that the ships to which the preference applies should be manned by British seamen. I would not go to the length of compelling them to be manned wholly by British seamen, because that is impracticable. We might all support a provision requiring that a certain percentage of the crews of the vessels shall be Britishers, but to require them to be wholly British would be to make the preference nugatory. . {: .speaker-KYD} ##### Mr Poynton: -- It would not be enough to require that they shall be British subjects. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- No. I would draw the colour line. A certain percentage should be white British subjects. I could not follow the honorable member for Wide Bay. The Government impose additional duties on many articles which cannot be made in Australia and are imported from the United Kingdom,- and from foreign countries. It is in regard to such articles that we can best build up a preferential system. It is objected by some that Australian trade will be injured. But we owe a duty to the future inhabitants of this country, and that is to establish manufac tures which will sooner or later make it self-reliant and independent of other countries. A few of the articles on the schedule, however, are the subject of patent rights, and can be made only in America. No doubt they would be sent from that country to England, and exported thence to Australia. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- That could not be done. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- I presume that it would be attempted. I do not see what wisdom there is in providing for preferential duties in regard to such articles; but where Great Britain and other countries are competing we are justified in giving a preference to the former, if we shall not injure ourselves by so doing. It is said by. some that in increasing the duties we are increasing the burdens of the Australian taxpayer, but that is not the case. Is it not possible, even though British imports may have a preference of 10 or 12 per cent, that foreign countries, by me ms of shipping subsidies, and the reduction of profits, will still manage to compete? It is the element of competition which prevents the taxpayers from being unduly burdened. {: .speaker-KYD} ##### Mr Poynton: -- Does a duty on rea make that article cheaper? {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- No, because tea is not produced in Australia. It is very likely that the result of these preferential duties will be that foreign countries will lower the prices of their goods to the level of English prices. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr Henry Willis: -- In that case, Great Britain will not get any more trade than she is getting now. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- That is quite another matter. I am showing that the fears alleged to be entertained as to the position of the poor working man are groundless. I regret that the Government have omitted from the schedule an item which every believer in the policy of protection would like to see included. Since the inception of Federation the opinion has been almost unanimously held by those who wish well to Australian industries, that that which deserves protection and consideration more than any other is the iron industry. The first Parliament appointed a Committee, which afterwards became a Royal Commission, to inquire into the whole subject. That Committee made inquiries for several months, and in due time reported. It suggested that the iron industry should receive as much consideration as had been extended to others. Even members of the Opposition have again and again stated that they would assist to develop that industry. Yet up to the present time nothing whatever has been done by this Parliament to afford the requisite encouragement. Every proposal that has been brought forward in that direction has been set on one side. Upon the iron industry practically depends the prosperity of the agricultural implement, mining machinery, ship-building, engineering, and other allied industries of the Commonwealth. And yet nothing has been done to give it the assistance which it deserves. In what position should we be placed if our supplies of iron from abroad were suddenly cut off Many of our most important manufacturing industries would be brought to a standstill. Would it not be wise for us as a young country to devote our utmost energies to the development of our iron resources, so that industries in which iron isthe most important raw material may be safeguarded from injury by sudden disturbances beyond our borders. The Government recently took action upon the recommendation of the Tariff Commission - a body which sat three years later than the Iron Bonus Commission - to protect an important Australian industry against unfair competition on the part of foreign combines, and I think that we might fairly have expected that before this some effective measures would have been adopted to promote the development of our iron industry. The Government may plead that all their efforts in thepast have been thwarted, but they should certainly have endeavoured, in connexion with the proposals now before us, to show their sympathy with the great iron industry. In no country in the world has that industry been developed without material assistance from the Government. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- And for the most part, that assistance has been given by way of bonuses. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- That was not the case in England. I find by reference to the Scrivener's *History of the Iron Trade in England,* that from 1782 to 1795, the duty on foreign bars was £215s. 2d. per ton, and in 1797 it was increased to £34s7d. During the period from 1798 to 1802, the duty was £3 15s. 5d. ; in 1804, £4 17s.1d.; from 1806 to 1808, *£5* 7s. 33/4d. ; and from 1809 to 1812, £5 9s.10d. per ton. From 1813 to 1825, if the iron were conveyed in British bottoms it was admitted at a duty of£6 10s. per ton, whereas if it were carried in other than British vessels it was subject to a duty of £7 18s. 6d. per ton. That is how the iron industry was developed in the mother country, and we here see the explanation of the way in which Great Britain has managed to become the greatest of all manufacturing countries. If we go further, we find that iron slit or hammered into rods, and iron drawn down or hammered into bars less than £ inch square, was dutiable at the rate of £20 per ton. Wrought iron, not otherwise enumerated, was dutiable at the rate of 50 per cent., and steel and manufactures of steel were subject to a similar impost. The firm establishment of the iron industry has been the foundation of England's greatness. By its means she has acquired her present supremacy. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr Henry Willis: -- The honorable member is talking about protection and not preferential trade. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- Free-traders in their ignorance declare that protection is one thing and' preferential trade is another. Protection is a system whereby the industries within a country are assisted. Preferential trade, however, is the method adopted to protect the trade of the different portions of an Empire from outside competition. One is provincial protection and the other is Empire protection. In America, the iron industry was developed by very much the same means that were adopted in England. Whilst the iron industry of America was in its infancy, Great Britain did everything that was possible, not only by means of treaty intervention, but by Acts of Parliament, to crush it out of existence. In 1806, Lord Brougham, in the course of a speech in Parliament, declared that- it was well worth while to incur a loss upon the first exportation in order by the glut to stifle in the cradle those rising manufacturers in the United States, which the war has forced into existence contrary to the natural course of things. Then we find that **Mr. Robertson,** a member of the British Parliament made a memorable speech which was quoted by Henry Clay in 1832. **Mr. Robertson** said - >It was idle for us to endeavour to persuade other nations to join with us in adopting the principles of what was called free-trade. Other nations knew, what we meant by free-trade, was nothing more nor less than, by means of the great advantages we enjoyed, to get a monopoly of all their markets for our manufacturers, and to prevent them, one and all, from ever becoming manufacturing nations. That was the object which she had in view after she had established her "manufacturing supremacy about 1840. Having done that, she sought to strangle every competitor. That was the policy which Cobden imagined would continue when he advocated the remission of the corn duties. He believed that England would ever remain the' only manufacturing nation under the sun, and that other countries would produce only the raw material with which to feed her artisans. Since then, changes have taken place which have- demonstrated the absolute wisdom of the statements which I have read. A similar condition of affairs obtains here to-day. Other nations which are competitors with Great Britain are doing all that thev possibly can bv means of dumping and other processes known to modern trade, to strangle the iron industry, and, indeed, any other industry which we may endeavour to establish. In this connexion, history is repeating itself. In Australia to-day, we desire to build up the iron industry, although we are not prepared to render it that aid which has been rendered to it by every country in which it has become successful. In this connexion, I may, perhaps, be pardoned for quoting some figures which indicate the importance of this trade. I find that, during 1904, the material imported into the Commonwealth upon which duty should have been paid was as follows: - Iron and steel, bar1, rod, angle, T, ingots, blooms, slabs, &c, 40,670 tons, or enough to keep four rolling mills in operation ; galvanized, plate 'and sheet, 51,395 tons, or sufficient to keep twenty-five mills employed in rolling. To prepare the bars for this quantity would require fifty-four mills. Of plain and sheet iron we imported 16,222 tons, which would require four mills to roll and prepare it. Yet this is the industry to which no assistance is offered bv the Government. If we were manufacturing iron in excess of our own requirements, and had to export it to Germany, we should have to pay 10s. per ton upon scrap, 30s. per ton upon bar, 15s. per ton upon blooms, ingots, and rails, 50s. per ton upon corrugated, and 30s. per ton upon plate and sheet. That is how the manu facturer in any part of the British dominions is treated by this foreign competitor upon whose behalf honorable. members opposite plead so earnestly. Under the American Tariff, we should have to pay the following rates: - Pig and scrap-iron, 16s. 8d. .per ton ; blooms and slabs, from £2 6s. 8d. to £2 10s. per ton; plates, from £2 6s. 8d. to *£4* 15s. 4d. per ton; bar, *£2* 16s. per ton; sheet, from *£5* 14s. 8d. *to £5* T 2 S. Per ton; rails and fish-plates, from *£1* i2s. 8d. to *£1* '17s. *46.* per ton ; galvanized and corrugated iron, *£6* is. 4cl. per ton. Under the Canadian Tariff, we should be required to pay the following rates : - Scrap-iron, $1 or 4s-. 2d. per ton ; pig-iron, $2.50, or ros. 5d- per ton; ingots, blooms, and slabs, $2, or 8s. 4d. per ton; and bar-iron, $7, or- 29s. 2d. per ton, in addition to bonuses. I say that if this is the treatment which the Empire is to receive at the hands of countries where trade was formerly free, it provides the strongest argument that can possibly be urged in favour of a self-contained Empire. Upon the present occasion, we have an opportunity of remedying, to some extent, admitted evils. It is no argument to say that because we are not laving a foundation for the establishment of blast furnaces, which would produce more iron than we require in the Commonwealth, we should not grant some relief to those who are struggling in the iron industry to-day. If the Government are consistent they will include in this schedule some provision whereby the local manufacturers of iron will be benefited. They have to compete with more than the Canadian, the German, and the British manufacturers had to compete with when they were laying the foundation of the iron industry in their respective countries. They have to compete, not only with the great capitalists of England, but with the gigantic steel trust of America., which in itself is almost sufficient to overawe any manufacturer who might otherwise have the courage to attempt to embark upon this industry. Yet because we are threatened with apparently insurmountable obstacles, the Government, whilst professing protectionist principles, are content to sit idly by and allow the present opportunity to pass without attempting to afford the iron industry that relief which they ought to render it if they believe in the policy which they were returned to expound. I wish now to refer to a statement which is made by James {: type="A" start="M"} 0. Swank in *Iron in all Ages.* Speaking of the iron industry in America, he says - >It was not until our second war with Great Britain that the duties were so increased as to be really protective of domestic industries against foreign manufacturers (competition). But these duties were subsequently reduced, and again all our industries languished. If the industry could not succeed in America, with all its potentialities, without the support which was rendered to it by a paternal Government, how can it possibly be developed in the Commonwealth without State assistance? He continues - >The Tariffs of 1824 and 1828 again revised them, but subsequent Tariff legislation was for many years sci fitful, and in the main so unfriendly, that no American industry can truthfully be said to have been placed upon a substantial basis of prosperity until after the adoption of the Morill TTariff at the beginning of the civil war in 1861. The protective policy which was then reaffirmed, has since continued in force, without material modification, and the marvellous progress of the country iin the years that have since elapsed is mainly the result of its beneficent operations. It is unnecessary for me to make any further quotations. I would that I could believe that the omission from this schedule of any provision for the iron industry was due to the temporary failure of the Minister to recognise his duty in that respect. I should like him to agree to the insertion in the schedule of an item providing that in respect of imports from the United Kingdom of blooms, billets, slabs, angles, tees, rounds, flats, squares, and all other sections of rolled iron and steel ; iron, sheet or plate, black or galvanized, up to 5-16ths of an inch, a. duty of 12^ per cent, be imposed, and that on such imports from other countries a duty of 25 per cent, be imposed. I also intend to propose that on pig-iron, imported from the United Kingdom a duty of 10 per cent, be imposed, and a duty of 20 per cent, be placed on imports of pigiron from other countries. I would agree to the insertion of a proviso that these duties should not be imposed upon pig-iron until those now attempting to manufacture it in Australia were able to produce a marketable article suitable to the requirements of our people. Unless the Government are prepared to assist the establishment of the iron industry in various parts of Australia, where it can be successfully carried on, they will lay themselves open to a charge of inconsistency. By inserting in the schedule the provision I have mentioned thev would do no more for the iron industry than they have done during the present session for a number of other trades. The Minister may say that the articles I have enumerated are the raw materia] of other manufactures, and therefore should not be taxed. I would point out. however, that the total value of the iron used in the construction of a locomotive is only -£60, or 2 per cent, of the cost of the manufactured article, and that this serves to show that the granting of a duty of 12^ per cent, in favour of the iron industry would not seriously prejudice any other trade. We have already granted the manufacturers of harvesters a much higher duty. If some of the statements that have been made are correct, we have fortified that industry by granting it protection to the extent of 50 or 60 per cent. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr Henry Willis: -- Who pays that duty? {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- If he bought a machine under certain circumstances the honorable member would pay it. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr Henry Willis: -- Then the users of harvesters are being taxed to the extent of 50 or 60 per cent. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- I thought that the old familiar "gag" would once more be trotted out. I would point out, however, that whilst we have protected the local industry from the attacks of a gigantic trust, we have taken care that the increased dutyshall not be passed on to the users of the machines. Whilst protecting the manufacturers we have safeguarded the interests of the employes, and the users of the machines. In adopting that policy the Government have cut the ground from under the feet of the Free-trade Party. It is a new system of protection under which regard is had for the interest, not only of the manufacturer, but of his employes, and also the consumer. As the result of a report by the Tariff Commission, the Government considered it necessary to rush through the House legislation for the preservation of a local industry, and in these circumstances they surely cannot refuse to encourage another industry which during the last five years they have professed a desire to assist. There is nothing to prevent their granting assistance to that industry under this schedule, and I intend to move at the right time the insertion of the items which I have already outlined. Under present conditions a man who proposes to build a first-class modern furnace has to pay as high a duty as 20 per cent. on some of the articles which he requires for that purpose, whilst at the same time he receives no protection. In his efforts to establish the iron industry he is penalized by being taxed in respect of material that cannot be produced in Australia. I appeal to the Government for the extension of some consideration to the iron industry. I admit, in passing, that until these preferential proposals are in full working order, certain Australian industries will receive some benefit from them. The Government are greasing the fattedpig. They are considering the interests of those engaged in certain industries which are already well protected, whilst at the same timethey are doing nothing for an industry which is at the foundation of most of the great manufacturing trades, upon which the success of a nation largely depends. The Government ought to lav the foundation stone of our industrial supremacy in the southern seas by granting protection to an industry which supplies all that is necessary in connexion with iron and steel manufactures. I trust that I am wrong in assuming that they do not intend to take action in that direction. At least I hope so. No doubt the Minister will explain why some proposal of the kind is not embodied in the schedule. I am not making this suggestion on behalf of my own constituents, because it is not likely that iron and steel will ever be made in the electoral division which I represent. I am making an appeal on behalf of a national industry which is essential to the welfare of Australia, especially if we are to be in a position to defend ourselves in times of international trouble. I do not hold narrow parochial views. I desire that this country, like Canada, shall have its own blast furnaces, and provide, not only the implements necessary for production, but also the weapons of warfare. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr Henry Willis: -- The honorable member should let us know what he proposes. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- If the honorable member were not so dense, he would know what my position is.I shall bring forward my proposition when the schedule is reached. No doubt the Minister of Trade and Customs will give a sufficientreason for the omissionto which I have referred I hope that he will tell us that he is pre pared to prevent the Australian iron Indus try from being strangled by American trusts and German competitors. If he does, I shall be satisfied. If he does not, the Government must explain why they are not assisting an industry which is of much more importance to the future of the country than' any other in the schedule. {: #subdebate-9-0-s18 .speaker-L0R} ##### Mr LEE:
Cowper .- No doubt the Ministry will take into serious consideration the suggestionsof the honorable member for Gwydir. I should not be surprised to see a Bill introduced at once to provide for the encouragement of the iron industry about which hehas spoken so eloquently. If the Minister does not do something on the lines suggested by the honorable member, he will lose his title of high priest of protection. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- No one can take it from me. {: .speaker-L0R} ##### Mr LEE: -- The honorable member for Gwydir will run the Minister very close. Formerly the honorable members for Melbourne Ports and Bourke had a good deal to say about the necessity for establishing the iron industry, but since they have been supporting the present Ministry they have not troubled much about it. No doubt if the honorable member for Gwydir ever becomes Minister of Trade and Customs, he will try to carry his proposals into effect. I remember him when he was a free-trader of free-traders. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- How long ago? {: .speaker-L0R} ##### Mr LEE: -- About twenty . years ago. When we used to earn our bread by the sweat of our brow we were both freetraders. I have remained a free-trader, but the honorable member has changed since he got into Parliament. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- I was a protectionist nineteen years ago. {: .speaker-L0R} ##### Mr LEE: -- I remember that on one occasion the honorable member declared that none but a madman would support prelection. To-night he has told us that the iron industry cannot be established in Australia without protection; but it is being successfully carried on at Lithgow, in New South Wales. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- It was crushed out once before. {: .speaker-L0R} ##### Mr LEE: -- A contract has been entered into between Messrs. Sandford andCompany and the Government of New South Wales for the supply of steel rails, to be made from native ore. and that contract will be carried out in its integrity. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- The Government give a preference of 7 per cent, or 10 per cent. Surely that is protection. {: .speaker-L0R} ##### Mr LEE: -- It is not protection through the Customs House. The Minister will not propose a duty on pig iron, because he knows that to do so would injure the small manufacturers round about Melbourne and Sydney whose raw product it is. There was very little British sentiment in the speech of the honorable member for Gwydir, who discussed protection' rather than preferential trade. The honorable member for Wide Bay told us that the imports.from Germany are increasing, but that is only natural, since our exports to that country are increasing still more rapidly. The honorable member also suggested that the £64,000 which is to be. derived from the new duties might be handed over to a trust for distribution amongst British workmen. The Minister of Trade and Customs would not do a thing like that. I suggest to our prospective Minister of Defence, the honorable member for Wentworth, that the money derived from the protection which is now being sneaked in bv the back door would be better devoted to increasing our naval subsidy. That would show the pen pie of England that we are in earnest. The fair name of Australia is, being besmirched by the proposals of the Government. We are trying to make the people of England believe that we are giving them preferential treatment, when we are not doing anything of the kind. The new duties will affect trade amounting to about £900,000, and £64,000 is to be derived from the higher rates levied on foreign imports. . {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- - It is estimated that £64,000 will be obtained from the new duties if England gets from 25 to 30 per cent, of the trade now done by foreign countries. {: .speaker-L0R} ##### Mr LEE: -- There is no evidence that England will get any of the trade that is now done by foreign countries. I think it reasonable to suppose that they will retain what trade they have. We are not giving preferential trade to Great Britain x we are merely sneaking in protection by the back door. If the Government think that our duties should be higher, let them say so. As a matter of fact, England is in a worse position since the alteration of the Tariff in connexion with the New Zealand agreement and the proposition which we are now discussing. Under the New Zealand agreement duties are raised against England. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- We are not dealing with that matter now. {: .speaker-L0R} ##### Mr LEE: -- Nevertheless, my contention is right, that, so far as the Australian market is concerned, England was in a better position before the preferential proposals of the Government were introduced than she occupies now. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- If the honorable member will read the speech of the honorable member for Parramatta he will find that he is wrong. {: .speaker-L0R} ##### Mr LEE: -- I do not want to read that speech or any other. The more we look into this proposal the more hollow it seems. It will not bear investigation. Not the slightest advantage will be conferred upon Great Britain. We shall merely increase the duties on foreign goods, which will come here to the same extent as previously, and shall derive additional revenue to the extent of £64,000 per annum. We shall thus increase the already large surpluses which are causing embarrassment to the Treasurers of New South Wales and Victoria. If these proposals had the true ring about them thev would have been welcomed in England, instead of being received with coldness and indifference. Our markets will not be rendered more easy of access to British manufacturers, and no appreciable stimulus will be given to British trade. I do not blame protectionists for endeavouring to prevent our industries from being wiped out, but we should run no risk of that kind in connexion with a reasonable scheme of preference to the old country. We should not aim by means of increased duties at adding to the already large incomes of men like **Mr. McKay** and **Mr. Sandford.** There is no necessity to grant further protection to the industries that will be affected by the increased duties, because the evidence given before the Tariff Commission shows that they are flourishing. I shall have much pleasure in supporting the amendment, because I think that we might very well defer our consideration of the proposal to extend preferential treatment to the old country until we have received the reports of our representatives at the Imperial Conference and of the Tariff Commission. So far as the iron industry is concerned, it has already been started, in New South Wales, and although it may not be firmly established, large contracts have- been entered into with the New South Wales Government which will prove of great assistance to it. The Government by introducing these proposals have administered a slap in the face to the Tariff Commission, and have endeavoured to increase the protection granted to certain industries in an underhand way. {: #subdebate-9-0-s19 .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr WATKINS:
Newcastle .- As one who believes in establishing preferential trade relations with the mother country, I am . dissatisfied with the proposals of the Government. They are utterly different from anything that I have ever been led to expect. According to my idea we should enter upon an arrangement for preferential exchanges with the mother country by accepting from her such goods as we cannot produce, and by getting her to take from us such of our products as she needs, upon terms that will be mutually beneficial. The Government appear to me to have selected as subjects for preference a number of articles which are being produced here, with the .assistance of the highest protection which the Tariff affords. As a protectionist, I would not say that the imposition of higher duties would not l>e warranted in certain cases, but if further protection is asked for by industries which are already safeguarded against foreign competition by the imposition of the highest duties levied" under our Tariff, much stronger arguments could be adduced in favour of granting assistance to industries which enjoy only a small measure of protection, or are left to. bear the brunt of free competition with the products of the outside world. I do not regard the Government scheme as one for the establishment of preferential trade, so much as one that is designed to give more protection to certain industries. We find that the duties are to be increased upon articles which now bear imposts ranging from to to' 35 per cent., and I see no reason why these should have been selected for special treatment. If it had been desired to encourage our industries some consideration should have been shown for those which were put on one side when the Tariff was under consideration. One of these was mentioned by the honorable member for Gwydir, and there is also the wire-netting industry, which affords employment to 400 or 500 men in Svdney alone. Several proposals have been brought forward for the protection of the iron industry, but nothing has been done to afford the required assistance. The honorable member for Cowper referred to the fact that the production of iron had been entered upon in New South Wales, but I would point out that the contract secured by **Mr. Sandford** at Lithgow will not be more than sufficient to provide three or four months' work for one blast furnace. So far as wire netting is concerned, I find that last year our imports were valued at .£335,197. No consideration is shown- for this industry, whereas a high duty was- placed upon barbed wire, in the production of which very little labour is employed. I have come to the conclusion that the time has arrived when we should come to some understanding as to the method according to which protection is to be extended to our industries. Are we to develop really national industries, or are our notions as to the extent of the protection required by any industry, to be regulated by the developments which have taken place in any particular State or electorate. If the Government proposals are accepted, I shall certainly do what I can for those industries which have hitherto been neglected. {: #subdebate-9-0-s20 .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY:
Wentworth -- I should like the Minister to give ' me some information in respect of the item " Watches and jewellery." I desire to know why it is included in the schedule, because, as the result of information which has come into my possession, I regard with grave suspicion any proposal to increase the duty upon the articles mentioned, either directly or indirectly. Honorable members will doubtless recollect that, about the month of May, 1905, the Tariff Commission took evidence in Sydney. At the conclusion of its sittings it departed for Melbourne, and at the time it was thought that it would not return to Sydney. Shortly afterwards three gentlemen visited that city for the purpose of forming a union of employes in the watchmaking and jewellery trade. They intended to call a public meeting for the purpose of establishing that union. A friend of mine, **Mr. C.** W. Oakes, the member for Paddington in the State Parliament, was, as one respected alike by employers and employes in that industry, asked to take the chair. Before he consented to do so, he naturally inquired what benefits the gentlemen in question expected to be conferred by the establishment of the union. They replied that they anticipated they would obtain an eight-hours day and other advantages. **Mr. Oakes** pointed out that they already enjoyed those advantages. After some further conversation he remarked, " You people are not philanthropists. Now who is paying your expenses?" They replied that" their expenses were being paid by Victorian employers. It ultimately transpired that their object in calling this meeting was not really its ostensible one - to form a union of employes - but to talk claptrap at the meeting, and so entice their gulls to sign a petition for presentation to the Tariff Commission, setting out that the only way in which the interests of the trade could be safeguarded was by an increase in the duty upon the articles mentioned. I feel sure that the adoption of such tactics will not be approved by any honorable member of this Committee. When duties are sought to be raised by such back-stairs influences, it is about time that we viewed with suspicion any proposal to increase the imposts at present being levied upon these *articles.* Consequently. I should like the Minister to explainwhy they have been included in the schedule. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I will do so when the particular item referred to by the honorable member is under consideration. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- I would prefer that the Minister explained the position now, because, I anticipate that these proposals will be dropped. I can see by the smile upon his face that the Minister possibly intends to retain this placard for use during the coming elections. Therefore, I should like him to explain now the reason why the item is included in the schedule. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I would rather do it when the separate items are under consideration. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- I have outlined a very serious attempt which was made to trick the members of the Tariff Commission- {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I do not think that it is serious. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- Is not the gaining of signatures by false pretences serious in the eyes of the Minister? The Minister knows that a petition was prepared for presentation to that body after it had returned to Melbourne. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I do not. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- Then the Minister is singularly ignorant of what has taken place. The facts are as I have stated. I did not mention the matter to the Committee this afternoon, because I did not then have the permission of **Mr. Oakes** to doso. Since then I have sent him an urgent wire, to which I have received a reply authorizing me to mention his name in relating this incident, of which I speak confidently from memory. The matter is a very serious one, and I should have hesitated to think that the protectionist party would be guilty of such tactics. {: #subdebate-9-0-s21 .speaker-KNI} ##### Mr HARPER:
Mernda .- At this late hour I do not intend to do more than intimate my reasons for supporting the proposals of the Government. As a believer in the principle of preferential trade, I advocated its adoption before my constituents. I believe that such a policy would confer material benefit upon this country. At the same time I think that the Government proposals represent only a very small instalment of the preferential principle. It is not sufficient to satisfy those who are really in favour of preferential trade. I shall reserve to myself the right *to* attempt to modify some of the items contained in the schedule. {: #subdebate-9-0-s22 .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWILLIAMS:
Franklin -- I have always been a strong advocate of preferential trade. I have a very lively recollection of reading with great pleasure the speech which was delivered by the Prime Minister upon the hustings prior to the last election, when he made fiscal peace and preferential trade the two chief planks in his platform.When the Reid Government assumed office - although they were pressed for time - they set apart a special day to enable him to deliver an oration upon the same subject - an oration which extended over four hours. Since the inception of the Commonwealth the honorable and learned member for Ballarat has occupied office for about four years. He has advocated this policy during the whole of that period, but he has taken no definite action. Yet on the eve of a general election he has brought forward a miserable abortion in the form of miscalled preferential 'trade proposals, to which we are asked to subscribe. I have taken the trouble to examine the schedule, and the chief imports into Australia. I find that, out of £23,000,000 worth of imports from the United Kingdom, we propose to offer a so-called preference upon less than £1,500,000 worth. Last year we imported from the United. States goods to the value of £4,500,000, and from Germany goods to the value of £2,643,000, or a total of £7,130,000 worth. As against that sum, we imported goods from the United Kingdom and from British communities to the value of £28,500,000. The present Prime Minister is the high priest of preferential trade in Australia. He has claimed to be so upon the public platform and in this House. What will tie the opinion of preferential traders in England when they realize that the proposals under consideration are the best that he is prepared to offer them. They will say that they constitutean absolute insult. I disagree with the views that have been expressed with regard to the attitude assumed by **Mr. Chamberlain.** I believe that preferential trade within the Empire is one of the greatest principles that has been enunciated by any public man in Great Britain during the last two decades. When the great fight for preferential trade was going on in England, the Government and the Parliament of the Commonwealth did absolutely nothing to assist **Mr. Chamberlain.** They allowed him to fight his own battle and fail ; but now, when there is in office in Great Britain, a Government pledged to oppose preferential trade - so that there is no likelihood of our securing reciprocal treatment - we are asked to subscribe to a socalled scheme of preference. The Government proposal is a wretched, miserable one. It gives no real preference to Great Britain, whilst under the reciprocal agreement with New Zealand the imposts on imports from the old land are absolutely increased. As an earnest supporter of preferential trade, I cannot help thinking that this proposal has been put forward for electioneering purposes. The Government first of all raised the cry of " Australia for the Australians," and finding that it fell flat, they brought forward this proposal for preferential trade. During the last fortnight, the duties on agricultural implements, imported from the old country, have been doubled. That course was adopted whilst this motion was actually in type. The Government findingthemselves caught like rats in a trap, have brought forward this proposal as a means of raising an attractive electioneering cry. They find themselves in danger of being crushed between the two great parties which are to fight out the issue that will be of supreme importance in November next; and they recognise that it is necessary to have some war cry. This, however, is not an honest proposal to grant preferential trade. It is not a proposal to reduce the duties on imports from Great Britain. The honorable member for Wide Bay said that justice must be done. Shall we do justice to Great Britain if we fail to reduce our duties on imports from that country? She provides us with a market for the exports of many of our primary producers. What would become of our butter, fruit, and wheat industries if she did not throw open her ports to us? If England were to-day to enter into a preferential agreement with Canada in respect to butter, wheat, and fruit, she would, so to speak, bring the Commonwealth to her knees within a fortnight. What would become of our export trade if she treated us as we treat her? {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr Fisher: -- We should be in the position that we now occupy. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWILLIAMS: -- We should have an enormous surplus of the products that we now export to England, and great harm would be done to our primary producers. I know very well that little sympathy is extended in this House to the primary producers of Australia. Every Tariff item that has been discussed since I entered the House has pressed heavily on those engaged in primary industries. The political horizon of many honorable members does not extend beyond the Melbourne factories. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- The honorable member is now talking bunkum. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWILLIAMS: -- The honorable member is on a good wicket. There is no primary industry - no agricultural . industries in his constituency. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr Fisher: -- Is not the miner a primary producer ? {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWILLIAMS: -- I am referring more particularly to those engaged in the agricultural and dairying industries. I dare say that honorable members who are prepared to tax the tools of trade of other primary producers would cry out if a proposal were made to tax the tools of the miner. I for one should oppose such a proposition. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- I am prepared to support the imposition of a 20 per cent. duty on mining machinery, if, as in the case of harvesters, the selling price be fixed and the interests of the workers be conserved. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWILLIAMS: -- The Minister of Trade and Customs has never proposed to tax the tools of those engaged in other industries. The tools of those engaged in the agricultural industry are alone absent from the free list. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- As the result of our proposal, in regard to harvesters, the price of the machines will be reduced, and the workmen protected. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWILLIAMS: -- The less honorable members talk about the duties on harvesters the better. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I shall have byandby a good deal to say in regard to it. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWILLIAMS: -- I am sure that the Committee will be glad to have from the Minister an explanation of the items in the schedule. I object to this proposal being put forward as embodying all that the preferential traders of Australia are prepared to offer Great Britain in return for the enormous advantages she has conferred upon us. I should be pleased to support an increase of duties on all goods imported from foreign countries with a corresponding reduction of the present Tariff on goods imported from the old country. I desire that Great Britain shall be given a real preference. I have no sympathy with America and Germany, because they shut out our exports and treat us as foreigners. Honorable members mav, if they please, make the Tariff prohibitive as against imports from foreign countries, but we ought to be prepared to deal generously with our own flesh and blood in the rest of the Empire. Although the statement made by the honorable member for Newcastle in regard to the imports of wire-netting was challenged, I find that it was quite correct. Last year from Germany alone we imported barbed wire of the value of over £10,000 ; wirenetting valued at £83.000 ; other classes of netting of the value of £i6t,ooo; and netting coming . under the heading of "n.e.i." of the value of £86,700.- Over £250,000 worth of barbed wire and netting was imported from Germany. In respect of such imports a preference might well have been given to Great Britain. It is difficult to understand the principle on which this schedule has been framed. The Government seem to have selected certain items at random. Last year, we imported from Germany woollens of the value of over £53,000; velvets valued at £38,000; apparel of the value of £85,000; hosiery of the value of £64,000 ; electrical machinery valued at £39,000 ; fancy goods valued at £72,000; and glassware, &c, of the value of £57,000. All these large items have been omitted from this schedule. Most of the items in respect of which Great Britain is supposed to be granted a preference are free. On the grounds that this proposal is a miserable sham and an insult to the intelligence of every man who believes in granting a preference to the old country, I shall vote for the amendment. If it be defeated, honorable members will have to make an effort to recast the schedule. {: #subdebate-9-0-s23 .speaker-L0Y} ##### Mr WILKINSON:
Moreton -- I find myself in the position of having to oppose the Government proposal. My attitude may seem to be somewhat in conflict with that which I took up when the reciprocity treaty with New Zealand was under consideration, but I would point out that the conditions of labour in that country are similar to those prevailing in Australia. As has been remarked before this evening, it matters very little to the Australian worker whether his employment is destroyed by the German or the British manufacturer. Works on the economic, social, and industrial conditions of Great Britain disclose a condition of affairs which, so far as the misery and hardship which the present system entails on the workers of that country is concerned, is unsurpassed. The *White Slaves aif England* discloses a sad condition of things prevailing in British industries, some of which will be affected by this proposal. The protection granted against imports from Great Britain and other manufacturing countries is not sufficient to make good the difference between the conditions of the workers there and here. Had the Government brought forward a proposal to increase the duties all round as against Great Britain as well as against Germany, France, and other foreign countries, I should have been prepared to support it. I see no reason why we should make any differentiation in favour of Great Britain when the industrial conditions there are as bad as those prevailing in foreign countries. A good deal of sentiment has been imported into the discussion. We have been told again and again of our indebtedness to the mother country, but I think that she owes us far more than we owe her. It is Australians who have developed the resources of this country and made it a splendid appanage of the Empire. If Great Britain had not bestowed selfgovernment upon us, we should have taken liberty to rule ourselves in spite of her. The people of the British race, no matter where they may settle, will not be kept in leading-strings. We had evidence of that in the eighteenth century, when Great Britain attempted to dictate to her American Colonies, now the United States of America. It was then seen that people of British descent will not submit to undue interference. Therefore, I do not feel grateful to Great Britain because we enjoy representative institutions. Nevertheless, I am as patriotic as those who are loudmouthed in their professions of sentiment. But I must be loyal, first of all, to the Australian workman. I do not wish him to be degraded to the level of the workmen of those countries from which we import. It seems to me that we are being asked to penalize ourselves for the sake of a few manufacturers in Great Britain who are not Britishers, but very largely sweaters from the eastern States of Europe. Some of these are the lowest, most cruel, and most inhuman employers that' the world knows - Lithuanian Jews who sweat the child labour of Great Britain to' an abominable extent. Weare being asked to benefitpersons wholive (like leeches upon the British people, by adopting proposals which will enable them to make their fortunes still larger. A reason why we should not go still further is that next year the subject will be discussed by an Imperial Conference, andwe shall then have been supplied with all the reports of the Tariff Commission, which, during a long series of arduous sittings, has studied this question among others. The honorable member for Franklin referred to the primary producer ; but it seems to me that there is. some danger there. The Minister proposesto move an amendment which will improve the proposal, by providing that preference shall be given only in respect to British goods carried in British ships, and the honorable member for Kalgoorlie wishes to go further, and to stipulate that these ships shall be manned by white labour. I am with the honorable member in that; but I think that there will be the risk of playing into the hands of the British shipping ring, from whose exactions we have already suffered, if we put an end to the competition of foreign shipping firms. French. German, and American lines now compete with British lines for the transport of our butter and other products, and this competition keeps freights down to something like a reasonable figure. If we give a practical monopoly in certain lines to British manufacturers and British shipowners, our primary producers may suffer more than they do at the present time. Were it proposed to make an all-round increase of duties, I should support such action ; but I do not think that we should give preference where the conditions of labour are not so good as they are here, and no better than they are in foreign countries. Question - That the words proposed to be inserted be so inserted - Mr. Frazer's amendment - put. The Committee divided. AYES: 14 NOES: 22 Majority ... ... 8 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the negative. Amendment negatived. Amendment (by **Mr. Johnson)** negatived That after the word "schedule" first occurring, the following words be inserted : - " and provided that this resolution shall not take effect until it has been approved by the new Parliament shortly to be elected." {: #subdebate-9-0-s24 .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
Minister of Trade and Customs · Hume · Protectionist -- I move - >That after the word " follows," line 5, the following words be inserted : - "on goods other than goods which on that date have been landed in Australia, or are on board any vessel which has left its last port of clearance for Australia." The object of the amendment is to permit of the payment of duty at the old rate upon goods which were shipped or landed prior to the first date of the collection of the increased duties. I find that unless this provision is made, a good deal of hardship will be inflicted upon a number of persons who have goods in bond or on the water. I have no power to admit such goods at the old rate of duty. {: #subdebate-9-0-s25 .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS:
Robertson -- This seems to be a most extraordinary proposal. I cannot see how it would be possible to prevent the importer from passing on to the consumers the increased duty that is now being levied. Although some firms may not pass on the duties to the consumers the great majority of traders will do so. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- What has that to do with my proposal? {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr Fisher: -- The Minister is proposing to give away revenue. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- The proposal is to give the importer or dealer the benefit of the increased duty that will be paid by the consumer. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I do not propose to charge the increased duty. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- But that will not prevent the importer or dealer from making the consumer pay an increased price in keeping; with the higher duties levied since the proposal was tabled. The Commonwealth will lose revenue, and the additional profit will pass into the pockets of the importers. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I am asking the Committee *to* authorize me to subject *goods* upon the water and in bond to the old rates of duty. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- But the Minister must know that there is a reason for declaring that these duties shall be charged on and after to-day. The reason is that they will be passed on to the consumer. If we declare that they shall not be charged to the importer for six months, how are we to prevent him from passing them on to the consumer? We shall be most improperly making him a present of the difference between the old and the new rates of duty.. **Mr. FRAZER** (Kalgoorlie) fi 1.22].- I think that the proposal of the Minister is a most improper one. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- If I were to come from Heaven I could not please the honorable member. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- I take it that a resolution imposing Customs duties takes effect from the moment it is submitted, because it is necessary to protect the revenue. If we adopt the proposal of the Minister, we may not only lose thousands of pounds upon goods which are now upon the water, but we shall' empty our Customs houses of these items. Any increase in price will be immediately passed on to the consumer. The retailer will have to pay that increase and we shall really be making a present to the importers. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- The honorable member should talk sense. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- The Minister has done nothing all day ^ but sit at the table and grunt out insults when suggestions have been offered. Before the Committee are asked to adopt the proposal which he liassubmitted, they should be informed of the value of the goods at present upon the water and in bond which will be affected by our decision, which marks an entirely new departure. {: #subdebate-9-0-s26 .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr WATKINS:
Newcastle .- . What the honorable member for Kalgoorlie has said may be partially true in respect of those goods which have been withdrawn from bond up to the present time. But it is not true' of any other goods. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- They represent a very small quantity. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr WATKINS: -- I do not anticipate that there will be any very considerable withdrawals before this matter is decided. I would further point out to the honorable member for Kalgoorlie that the proposal of the Minister will not touch any of the goods which were shipped after these resolutions were tabled. Much as I believe in taxing importations from a protective stand-point, I do not believe in penalizing those who had given orders for goods prior to this legislation- Being enacted. **Mr. WEBSTER** (Gwydir) (11.28].- It appears to me that those honorable members who have risen so excitedly to take objection to the proposal of the Ministerhave been a little bit premature. They have failed to recognise that the schedule contains items in respect of which the old duties have not been increased. All that the Minister asks is that the new rates of duty shall not apply to goods which have already been consigned to the Common- wealth. To my mind, that is a fair proposition. It will be an outrageous thing if we do not recognise the justice of it. When I hear the honorable member for Kalgoorlie, with his usual assurance, declaring that the increased duty will be passed on to the consumer, I cannot help feeling sorry for him. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr Mcwilliams: -- The Minister's proposal has never been applied to Tariff matters generally. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- The honorable member for Robertson has argued that the Minister's proposal will impale the consumer upon the horns of a dilemma. That is to say he will have to pay the duty which would have been collected here, irrespective of the proposition of the Minister of Trade and. Customs. That; in my opinion, is a preposterous and ridiculous conclusion. The honorable member for Robertson fails to realize that the existing duties will be collected on all goods shipped before the schedule is passed. It is only equitable that goods should be allowed to enter the Commonwealth on the conditions under which they were shipped. {: .speaker-L0R} ##### Mr Lee: -- That is never done. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- We have never had a proposal of this kind before us previously ; we have always had under our consideration the imposition of a Tariff as against all countries. {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr Glynn: -- Which is quite a different matter. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- That is so. This is quite a new feature in our legislation, and, under the circumstances, I think the proposal of the Minister for Trade and Customs is one that ought to be adopted. {: #subdebate-9-0-s27 .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN:
Angas .- I intended to make a suggestion on the point which has been raised. I have in my mind cases in which there have been shipments of English goods in foreign vessels, some of which have arrived after the tabling of the resolution. It would be rather unfair in cases where prices could not be affected, that the new duties should apply. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- The desire is to encourage British shipping. {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN: -- I am dealing with cases in which, after the resolution has been tabled, foreign vessels - I have in my mind an Italian vessel - have arrived here with English goods. The quantity of these imports is such that prices cannot be affected ; and the case is quite different from that of a general tax which undoubtedly does regulateprices. Therefore, I think there is a good deal to be said for the proposal of the' Minister. {: #subdebate-9-0-s28 .speaker-KDD} ##### Mr G B EDWARDS:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- I hope that the Committee will assent to the proposal of the Minister. If the honorable gentleman had not submitted a proposal of the kind, we should probably have been the first to declaim against the injustice of enforcing the duties against shipments made in full reliance on the Tariff as existing at the time. Much of what has been said about the duties being passed on to the consumer, irrespective of whether they are approved by the House or not, is not found to be correct in the light of the experience of those who import. In the last few days two cases have come under my personal observation which support my contention that the duty is either imposed or remitted to the consumer, in accordance with the decision arrived at by this House. I was inquiring about the purchase of a motor car, and I was informed that I should have to pay £20 extra on account of the proposed duty. I feel quite convinced, however, that if this amendment be passed by the Committee I shall purchase that motor car for £20 less than I otherwise should. Another case was that of some wood work, which I imported, and on which I had to pay the increased duty. Inthis case also I am convinced that if the Minister's proposal be carried, and he follows up that decision by remitting the collections made, I shall obtain a refund. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- We shall be inclined to challenge the honorable member's vote. {: .speaker-KDD} ##### Mr G B EDWARDS:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- In the case I have just cited I should be influenced to the extent of about 2s. 8d. Whether or not we agree with the main proposals of the Minister, we ought to assent to any motion which is based on absolute justice, and which keeps faith with the mercantile world, and ought not to be carried away by the hysterics of gentlemen who have no acquaintance with the operations of commerce. It is a fact that in some instances duties are charged when they are not imposed ; and, though we cannot absolutely provide against that sort of thing, we may rely on the ordinary conditions of trade to adjust matters. If a duty is remitted we may safely depend on competition to prevent its being imposed on the consumer. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- In the present instance we are simply saying. " Clear your ship and the bond of particular articles, and then we shall start to collect duties." {: .speaker-KDD} ##### Mr G B EDWARDS:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- What we say is that on and after a certain day all goods shipped from foreign parts to Australia shall pay the difference of duty which the Committee intends to impose. I am not arguing as to the policy of whether those extra duties ought or ought not to be imposed. It is well known that I am in favour of preference, but against the increased duties. But if we do adopt the policy, let us do so with the least possible friction and injustice; and from the latter point of view I commend the proposal of the Minister. {: #subdebate-9-0-s29 .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER:
Wide Bay .- I have careful ly read the amendment; it is one which in my opinion ought to have been introduced a great deal earlier. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Is the honorable member swinging round, too? {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- Swinging round where? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- To this proposal. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- I am here to take what steps I think necessary for the protection of the revenue. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member does not say so! {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- The Opposition seem to be either incapable of performing or unwilling to perform the functions of an Op position. This is not an unimportant matter. I know of no instance where a matter of this kind has been dealt with in the way proposed in any British Parliament. The object of the imposition of duties is to raise revenue, and the very day on which a resolution imposing duties is submitted to Parliament they are collectable in order that the interests of the Crown may be protected. This is a proposal at the last moment, though possibly it has been fully considered by the Government, to alter the whole practice followed in the imposition of duties of Customs and Excise. If we inaugurate this system, Parliament will never be able safely to go back upon it. Why are these duties imposed at all if we are to wait for some months before they are collected? I would ask constitutional authorities like the honorable and learned members for Bendigo and Darling Downs to cite, if they can, a single instance where a matter of this kindhas been dealt with in this way. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member might ask at the same time if they can cite an instance where a schedule of this kind has ever been proposed? {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- There would be no difficulty in doing that. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- In a British Parliament ? {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- Yes. This matter is sufficiently important to be above all party tactics. It is a question whether Parliament shall lay down an absolutely new principle and practice in the imposition of taxation. I warn the Minister of Trade and Customs that if he inaugurates this system, so long as the Government remain in power they must follow the course here proposed in every instance, even though the need for the money to be raised by the taxation proposed should be most urgent. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Why so? {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- Because this will form a precedent, and if it is just to do it now, it will be just to do it again. Should the Government at a time of dire necessity as, for instance, in the event of war, require to impose duties to raise money, they must follow this precedent if it is now admitted that it is a just course to pursue. Some little difficulty may have arisen in the Minister's mind regarding some injury which might be done to some particular shippers. But these are risks which must be. taken, and to which every trade contract must be subject where new duties are imposed. That is a well-recognised principle. The Minister says that he has not the power to make an exception of any importer's goods. It is a wise law which forbids the exercise of such a power. The Minister is able departmentally to deal with the alteration of the incidence of duty - within his powers under the Customs Act- in certain instances, but these are not instances which arise in connexion with the impositionof new duties for a specific purpose. A Government' is justified in submitting new taxationonly by the need for the revenue which it will produce. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWILLIAMS:
FRANKLIN, TASMANIA · REV TAR; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; CP from 1920; IND from 1928 -- That is not the reason for this Tariff. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- I am not arguing whether this Tariff can be justified on its merits or not. Honorable members have argued that this is a fair and reasonable proposal, and I am pointing out what it involves. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- Does the honorable member say that there can be no taxation with- out a necessity for the revenue which it will produce? {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- Yes. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- What about the proposed land tax? {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- We require the money and more than the money which that would produce. The honorable member appears to be oblivious of the fact that we cannot provide for old-age pensions because we have not the money. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- That is not the purpose of the proposed land tax. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- What is the reason for the proposal of the Government in that connexion if it is not that they have not the money to finance the scheme. The honorable member would appear to have been absent from recent discussions in this Chamber. I ask the honorable member for Newcastle if there were a demand for money, and high duties were imposed to provide it, should we wait until the last ship that left port after the duties were announced had arrived here before we proceeded to collect the duties? {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- That is not the present case. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- 1 think it is. If I am to understand from the honorable member that it is not the object of this proposal to raise money, I ask why the increased duties are proposed? {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- For the specific purpose of protection, and Ministers say for preferential trade. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- If the intention is not to raise money, we have only to strike out the third column of the schedule and all the trouble will be at an end. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- These are special conditions. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- There are always special, conditions alleged! when art anomaly is proposed that cannot be otherwise defended. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- It is only the honorable member who says that it cannot be defended. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- I am, of course, expressing my own opinion. I do not claim all the wisdom of the world. I express my views, imperfectly, I admit, and whether they have weight with the Committee or not does not concern me. I will point out some of the anomalies that will arise. Fast ships leaving ' foreign ports may arrive here carrying goods of a certain character in six or seven weeks. Duty will be paid on those goods immediately on their arrival. Two months later a sailing ship may arrive from the same European port carrying goods of the same character. But in the meantime a certain course is taken, and the. goods will not be dutiable. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- Does the honorable member say that one vessel will arrive two months later than the other, although she left at the same time ? {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- Does not the honorable member knew that such things frequently occur? How often does a sailing ship, leaving an American port, take four or five months to reach Australia? A steamer from Europe will frequently beat a sailing vessel by eight weeks on the voyage to Australia. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- Does the honorable member think that vessels at sea would know that some goods were to be exempt from duty? {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- If this kind of proposition is to be carried out it would pay shipping companies to send out scouts to inform vessels of what was being done in Australia, with regard to our Customs Tariff. But that is only a side issue. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Is the honorable member " stone-walling " this proposal ? {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- No, but we should not regard such a matter lightly, simply because the Opposition and the Government have come to an agreement. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- If it were really an important matter the honorable member would not be dealing with it. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- The leaders of the Opposition are supposed to be the guardians of the interests of the people of Australia as much as are the Government. But so far from discharging his duty, the leader of the Opposition appears to be assisting in every way to enable government to be carried out as it should not be. No more important constitutional proposal has come before the Committee than this. I, for one, protest against a proposition of such fundamental importance being brought forward at the last moment, and pushed through with the concurrence of the leader of the Opposition. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- He knew . nothing about it. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- That makes it so much the worse. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- If the honorable member regards this as a great constitutional matter why, does he not move that progress be reported? {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- I do not think that honorable members fail to appreciate the importance of the proposal. I will state my objections to it briefly. If we inaugurate this principle it will be followed in succeeding Parliaments. It is a fundamental alteration of the principles under which Customs and Excise duties are collected. If followed, it will defeat the very object of the Government in a case of national emergency, when revenue is required to be raised. It is, in my opinion, an altogether unwarranted departure from the principles which have been hitherto considered to be necessary to safeguard the interests of the people, and properly safeguard the finances of a self-governing State. {: #subdebate-9-0-s30 .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- If all the dire consequences which the honorable member for Wide Bay has predicted would take place from this comparatively innocent action of the Minister, it would be a dire calamity indeed. The honorable member has a special fondness for lecturing the poor leader of the' Opposition. I am getting accustomed to these lectures. No matter what 1 do, I am lectured. Whether I support the Minister, or whether I object to what he proposes, I am subjected to precisely the same treatment. No matter what attitude I assume, some honorable members are always ready to bludgeon me. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- No. one uses the bludgeon as much as the honorable member does. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I am afraid of that fog-horn voice of the honorable member for Maranoa. The sooner he takes it awayto Maranoa the better. It wants clarifying a little. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- It is as clear as the honorable member's voice, anvhow. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member does not say so ! {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- There is nothing rotten about it. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Certainly not. Mr.Page. - The honorable member can imitate it as much as he likes. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I cannot dothat. I can only try. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- The honorable member for Maranoa has brains behind his voice, at any rate. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Here is an instance of brains. Look at them ! {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- Insulting again. The honorable member is nothing but a mass of insults. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Did not the honorable member hear the insult flung at me? I protest against this insulting behaviour of the honorable member for Maranoa. Lately I have never got up to address the Committee, but, without the slightest excuse being given- {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- It is an absolute lie ! {: #subdebate-9-0-s31 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member must withdraw that phrase. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- He is a liar, and I am not going to withdraw it. He knows that he is. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member must withdraw those words. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- It is true enough, and I am not going to withdraw. We have had quite enough of **Ms insulting** and lying statements in this House. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Will the honorable member withdraw those words? {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- No, I will not withdraw them. Do what you like with me. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- May I point out that the honorable member for Parramatta was the first to offend by saying that the honorable member for Maranoa is always insulting him ? {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I am sure that the honorable member for Maranoa will see that it is necessary for him to withdraw the words. Do I understand that he refuses to' do so? {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- Do you think that I am going to stand the honorable member telling such lies? {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order ! Do I- understand that the honorable member declines to comply with my request? {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- I will withdraw the words, but I shall think it all the same. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member must withdraw the words unreservedly. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- I do so. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- May I now, sir, call your attention to a statement of the honorable member for Parramatta, which really caused the disorder, and which was to the effect that he never gets up here but the honorable member for Maranoa constantly insults him. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I said nothing of. the kind. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- The honorable member did, and that is what made me say that he told a lie. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I did not. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- The honorable member did. He really does not know what he says. He just blathers away. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order ! {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- I submit, sir, that the statement to which I have referred was distinctly out of order, and should be withdrawn. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I do not remember hearing the words. It is probable that they were used; but there are so many interjections going on that at times it is impossible for me to hear what is being said. I am sure that if the honorable member for Parramatta made the remark, and it is offensive to the honorable member for Maranoa, he will withdraw it. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- What I did say, sir, was that for the past two or three weeks I have never risen to address the Chamber but the honorable member for Maranoa has persistently interrupted me. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- The honorable member said that I persistently insulted him. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order ! {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- I submit, sir, that the honorable member for Parramatta, if he used the words, should withdraw them. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- If the honorable member made use of the words I am sure that he will withdraw them. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I had no intention of using the words if I did. I do not think that I did use the word" insulting. " {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- The honorable member used the word right enough. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I used the word " insulting " in regard to other interjections. I was not then referring to the honorable member. I repeat that for the last two or three weeks when I have risen to speak the honorable member has persistently interjected without a solitary excuse for doing so. All this trouble, it appears, comes from my supporting the Minister. I begin to think that it does serve me right for having the temerity to do so. That seems to be entirely the prerogative of honorable members in the comer, and it must not be trenched upon. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- Will the honorable member mention one instance where I have insulted him? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I have never said that the honorable member did. I wish he would not be wrong-headed about the matter. He has insulted me to-night pretty well. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- Not until the honorable member had offered an insult to me. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- This is not the first time the honorable member has done so, and without the slightest provocation. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order! {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I suppose I shall have to put up with it. I intend to support the Minister on this occasion, because he says that to-day. there are British goods in foreign bottoms on the seas. I therefore submit that, in the interest of the integrity of the schedule, as well as to do a simple act of justice, we should support the Minister. {: #subdebate-9-0-s32 .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
Minister of Trade and Customs · Hume · Protectionist -- The leader of the Opposition has referred to a point which I desired a little earlier to make clear. The reason for my submitting the proposal at all is that some cases have come under my notice where an application has been made to get a refund of the extra duty on British goods which have arrived in foreign bottoms. I have no power to grant the request. Where, through no wilfulness, but simply through ignorance of what has taken place, merchants have brought British goods to Australia, or had them shipped before they were able to communicate, those goods should not. be liable to extra taxation, simply because they are carried in foreign bottoms. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- Could we not exempt British goods coming in foreign bottoms, and leave the practice in other respects alone ? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- The motion I submitted was sent to me from the office, but I have just got another motion drafted which I think will restrain its application in the way suggested. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- It is a legitimate allowance to make, I think, in regard to British goods carried in foreign bottoms. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- There is not very much in the whole thing. The other daya case came under my. notice where the importer of a shipment of Kent hops was liable to pay extra duty to the amount of £400. {: .speaker-KYJ} ##### Sir John Quick: -- That was under the New Zealand reciprocal agreement. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- That case occurred in Sydney. When the importer saw me, I tried to ascertain whether there was not a provision under which his case could be dealt with, but I found that I was absolutely helpless, and that he would have either to send back the goods or to pay the extra duty. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- Did those goods come in a foreign bottom? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- Yes. What the honorable and learned member for Bendigo refers to is a case where some goods come in under the preferential agreement with New Zealand. I believe that the Prime Minister is now communicating with that Colony on the subject. Two more cases involving considerable sums arose today, and I had no power to grant relief. I think that we ought not to charge the additional duty on British goods in such circumstances. We ought not to do anything which might be construed as sharp practice; we have no desire to do anything of the kind. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr Henry Willis: -- What is the Minister's proposal? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- My proposal is to protect British goods which were afloat in foreign bottoms before this motion was submitted. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr Hutchison: -- Would not the Minister's proposal go further than he desires it to do? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- I wish to make sure that it will not do so, and the Minister for Home Affairs is now drafting an amendment which will insure my proposal not going further than I have indicated. {: #subdebate-9-0-s33 .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr WATKINS:
NEWCASTLE, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP; FLP from 1931 .- The proposals now under consideration are totally different from those contained in an ordinary Tariff. We are proposing to extend preferential treatment to British goods introduced in British bottoms, and we have to guard against injustice. As far back as March last a consignment of Holbrook's sauce arrived here in an Italian vessel, and was placed in bond. When the importers, after this motion had been introduced, sought to release it they were asked to pay duty upon the higher scale imposed under this schedule on British goods brought out in foreign vessels. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- The shipment was in bond when these duties came into operation. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr WATKINS: -- That is so. Under the schedule as it stands they are liable to pay a higher duty than that imposed by the Tariff, since they were brought out in a foreign bottom. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- Would it not be sufficient to make an exemption covering such cases ? {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr WATKINS: -- That is all I desire. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- That is as far as we ought togo. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr WATKINS: -- It would be unfair to subject British goods brought out in foreign bottoms prior to the introduction of this motion to the higher rate of duty. When they were shipped the importers did not know that a preference was going to be given in respect of goods imported in British *bottoms.* {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- Would the honorable member extend the same consideration to the importers of foreign goods? {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr WATKINS: -- Could we be reasonably asked to do so? {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- The importer of such goods, like the importer of British goods in foreign bottoms, did not know when he ordered them that these special duties were about to be proposed. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr WATKINS: -- As to the argument that if the proposal were adopted a dangerous precedent would be created, I would point out that there are many precedents upon which I think we might well improve. Injustice may arise in connexion with the imposition of a new Tariff. Let me give an illustration. Shortly prior to the imposition of the Federal Tariff, vessels discharged at Sydney a considerable quantity of cargo, and it was admitted free of duty. They then proceeded to Newcastle, but before consignments of the same goods which were at the bottom of her hold could be landed there, the Tariff was imposed, and they were subjectd to the new duties. An effort should be made to remove such anomalies. {: #subdebate-9-0-s34 .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH:
Corio -- It seems to me that the further we go in the direction of granting exemptions, as proposed by the Minister, the greater will be the confusion. I understand that these preferences are to be granted in the first place to British goods brought out in British ships. If we are going to extend this preference to British goods that were afloat in foreign ships when the motion was submitted, it seems to me that we should extend the same treatment to foreign goods which at the time were afloat in British ships. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- And to foreign goods that were in foreign ships. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- Quite so. There is no doubt thatevery Tariff when first imposed gives rise to injustice. Even the New South Wales Tariff created anomalies and difficulties. The Ministry is endeavouring to remedy an apparent injustice, but I should like to point out that, in addition to the consignees of British goods in foreign ships, foreign goods in British ships, and foreign goods in foreign ships, many . others will be adversely affected by this proposition. Importers have entered into contracts extending, perhaps, over two or three years, in the belief that the Tariff would not be altered, and they suddenly find that under this proposal the price which they have to pay for goods from America, Germany, and other foreign countries has been increased. If we desired to strike at the root of all these injustices we should have to do away with the Tariff. Any alterations of the Tariff must necessarily give rise to anomalies, and whilst the Minister may be endeavouring to do justice to the importers of certain goods, he will find that there is a much wider area to which his proposal cannot be applied. As the honorable member for Wide Bay has said, the Minister is proposing to create a precedent that may hereafter be used against us, and we shall be expected to apply it to all preferential Tariffs that may be imposed. It would be a mistake for the Minister to tinker further with the motion. {: #subdebate-9-0-s35 .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS:
Robertson -- As this discussion 0has developed, it has brought the Minister to his senses. He stated that the proposed concession would apply to all goods on the sea, and t.t goods under the control of the Customs. I think that he went to the length of saying that a refund would be made. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr Fisher: -- That is in the proposal. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- That was the impression conveyed to me and to other honorable members who have addressed themselves to the question. The honorable member for South Sydney stated that he has some goods coming here upon which: he will receive a refund. He told us that he had priced a motor car, and if the duty were remitted the amount would be deducted from the price now asked. The Minister was not quite civil when honorable members took him at his word, and as matters have developed he has brought down the simple proposal that English goods imported in foreign bottoms shall be given a preference as if they were British goods. I take it that the desire of honorable members is to give a preference to British goods, and the accident that some of them have come out in foreign bottoms may very well be overlooked. As to the difficulties which have been mentioned, which the Minister saw in the beginning, and which were alluded to by the honorable and learned member for Angas and the honorable member for South Sydney, any one who has done any importing knows that there are attached to bills of lading invoices showing the goods imported, and whether they came out in British or foreign bottoms. There- fore, there is no difficulty about getting this information, either in regard to goods under the control of the Customs, goods which! have been released from Customs control, or goods which are now on the water. It seems to me that the motion has been drawn in the most slovenly fashion. There are two sets of duties. The first set are to be imposed - >On dutiable goods the produce or manufacture of the United Kingdom, and imported "direct in British ships. If they had not been imported in British ships, what then ? I should like the Minister to -answer that question. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I am not going to answer anything. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- I understand that if they are imported in foreign ships they will not receive a preference. The second set of duties are to be imposed - >On dutiable goods not the produce or manufacture of the United Kingdom, or not imported direct in British ships. Therefore these duties will not apply to foreign goods imported in British ships. Does the Minister know anything of commerce? I thought that he knew something of business, and had the astuteness and shrewdness of a commercial man. Yet he makes a proposal such as this to common-sense men of affairs, and when asked a civil question he declines to answer it. He is an incompetent, unfit to be at the head of the Customs Department. He makes the ignorant proposal that British goods coming out in foreign bottoms are not to be given a preference. Are they not still British goods? On the other hand, foreign goods coming out in British bottoms are not to be subject to the higher rates of duty. What an ignoramus we have at the head of the Customs Department. Is the Minister an imbecile? Is he unable to answer questions? {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member must not refer to the Minister in these terms. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- I ask is he a simpleton or a cypher? He will not give *0* concession to British goods coming out in foreign bottoms. What an idiotic provision to be brought forward by a Minister of Trade and Customs ! He does not know trie ABC of commerce, and sits mute. Then, again, foreign goods coming out in British bottoms are not to be subjected to the higher rates of duty. The Minister, who has had many years of experience, comes here with notes prepared by his subordinates, and tells us that upon certain articles the importers want a rebate. He is a cypher, a mute. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr Hutchison: -- I rise to a point of order. I should like to know whether the honorable member is in' order in repeatedly using the word "cypher" and similar terms - whether he is not guilty of constant iteration ? {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -If the honorable., member continuously repeats the words referred to he will be guilty of tedious repetition. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- Certain, words in our vocabulary are not parliamentary, and therefore imlay not be used in the course of debate. Instead of using, such words, which would fully express my meaning, I have to employ three or four other words. Surely I may be allowed to say that the Minister is a. cypher and a mute. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I must ask the honorable member not to follow that line of argument. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr Hutchison: -- The honorable member is using shockingly offensive terms. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- Would I be in order in saying that the Minister was shockingly offensive ? {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member will not be in order in making direct or indirect references to the Minister in the way that he is now doing. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- It would appear that, if British goods are not imported direct in British bottoms, they will not obtain the benefit of the preference. Any man of experience or commercial knowledge would never have brought down such 'a stupid proposal. It further appears that if foreign good's are imported in British bottoms they will receive the preference. That is not the object of the Government proposal, which, on the face of it. is intended to give a preference to British goods over those of foreign manufacture. I asked the Minister, in effect, whether that was the intention of the Govern ment, and he rudely declined to answer me. Any honorable member is entitled to a civil answer' from a Minister. The position that I took up previously was a perfectly legitimate one. However, as I understand the Minister has agreed to limit his proposal to British goods which are now in transit in British bottoms, the amount involved will not be considerable. Had it been applied generally, it would have entailed the Commonwealth in a loss of £150,000. **Mr. HUTCHISON** (Hindmarsh [12.41]. - To my mind, honorable members are entirely missing the point at issue. In the past it has been the practice - as soon as a resolution imposing Customs duties was tabled - to proceed to collect those duties. In the present instance, however, the Minister proposes to subject British goods which are now upon the water in British bottoms, and British goods which are in bond, to the old rates of duty. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- Will the Minister extend the same consideration to the importer of foreign goods? {: #subdebate-9-0-s36 .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- I do not think so. We want to extend a preference only to British manufacturers. For the first time in the history of this Parliament, when a resolution imposing Customs duties has been tabled, we are going to refrain from collecting those duties in respect of British goods which are now in British bottoms or in bond. I understand that the Minister of Home Affairs is at present engaged in drafting an amendment which will make our intentions perfectly clear. We merely propose to place all British goods upon one footing, and all foreign goods upon another. {: .speaker-KYD} ##### Mr Poynton: -- What about ships which employ black crews? {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- I am entirely at one with honorable members in regard to the employment of white seamen. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- It is proposed to extend a preference to the British manufacturer, but not to the British sailor. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- The resolution states that the goods specified in the schedule shall be " the produce or manufacture of the United Kingdom." As honorable members are aware, there is very little coloured labour employed in the United Kingdom, although there is a great deal of alien labour. But we are not asked to deal with alien labour at the present time. To my mind, it would be most unfair to penalize British goods, or to compel British ships to carry only Britishers. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- Would the honorable member support a proposal that 80 per cent. of the seamen employed upon such ships shall be Britishers? {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- I should like to see all Britishers employed. At the same time, I am not satisfied that it is a fair thing to tell the mother country that she must do something which we are not prepared to do ourselves. Would the honorable member subscribe to the doctrine that 80 per cent. of Britishers should be employed in all our factories and mines? {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- There is a great deal of difference between the employment of aliens here, and their employment upon the high seas. {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- I do not think so. However, these considerations are somewhat apart from the amendment. I think that the Minister's proposal is a very fair one, and therefore I shall support it. **Mr. Mcwilliams** (Franklin) [12.49]. - I agree with those honorable members who urge that the Minister is adopting a very extraordinary attitude in regard to this matter. I have never known of a Tariff under which an allowance has been made for goods which were either upon the water or in bond. Here is a proposal that all goods which are on the water or in bond are to be relieved from the increased duties, and I. agree with those who say that this proposal makes a direct gift to the importer. I believe this is the introduction of a principle, which, so far as I have read, has never been acted upon in any British Parliament. It is a proposal to give the importer a free gift of all the duty, while permitting him to charge that duty on to the consumer. In the case of the proposal the other day to double the duty on agricultural implements, there was no suggestion that implements in bond or on the sea should be freed from the proposed increase. On the contrary, a resolution was suddenly introduced giving the Customs authorities power to collect the duties even before we had discussed the merits of the proposal. That was in order to protect the revenue, and to let the consumer know that what he paid in the way of extra price on account of the duty would go into the revenue, and not into the pockets of the importer. An important proposal of the kind now under consideration! should have been discussed when that question was before us. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- It was a course which suggested itself when cases came before me. Mr.McWILLIAMS. - a proposal of this kind should have received the careful consideration of the Cabinet, and the opinion of expert officers should have been obtained. The Minister of Trade and Customs has informed us that the proposal is just as it came from the Customs authorities. I submit that the Customs authorities ought not to draft motions for submission to this House without those motions receiving the consideration of the Cabinet. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- I believe the motion was drafted in the House. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWILLIAMS: -- I am certain the Minister of Home Affairs never drafted this motion, which cannot have been seriously considered by any one. It is ungrammatical merely thrown together. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- It was "thrown together " by the Crown Law officers. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWILLIAMS: -- I venture to say that the Minister would not take any responsibility for the drafting of the proposal. We are informed that the Crown Law officers drafted the motion, but I think there must be a mistake somewhere. The meaning is that for the next three or four months - because it takes about that time for a. vessel to sail from England to America - importers may charge extra prices while being absolutely freed from the duties. If the proposal had been that the conditions should apply only to British goods in British bottoms, there would have been some point in it, because it is notintended to increase the duty in connexion withBritish goods. My own opinion is that the moment the report of this discussion is published to-morrow, the prices pf the goods mentioned will be raised to the consumer. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- No one knows that better than the Minister. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- We do not know anything of the kind. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWILLIAMS: -- If a man had in his store £1,000 worth of these particular goods, and had another £1,000 worth on ship-board, would he wait until the goods arrived by ship before he increased his prices? The moment a duty is imposed, it is passed on from importer to wholesale merchant, and from wholesale merchant to retailer, and so to the customer; though in many cases the customer pays not only the duty,but, especially when there is a broken amount, a great deal more than the duty. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- In the case of the harvesters, the Minister conceded that very point. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWILLIAMS: -- He did. If there has been a prolonged discussion it is entirely the fault of the Minister, who, after allowing his resolution to go into Committee, now springs upon honorable members, without the slightest warning. - indeed, without the proposal being circulated - one of the most important principles that has been dealt with by this Committee in connexion with the Tariff. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- Would it be fair to call this preference to importers? {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWILLIAMS: -- I really think it proposes a preference to the importers at the expense of the consumer, and at the expense of the revenue. Now the Minister is so dissatisfied with the proposals himself that he is prepared to revise and alter the whole scheme. This is on a par with what has happened in connexion with almost every proposal submitted to Parliament during the present session. The Government measures do not receive the consideration which they ought to receive before they are submitted, and then, after a long discussion has taken place upon them, they are revised and re-drafted. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- And when a fair criticism is offered upon them the Minister becomes impatient. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWILLIAMS: -- I consider that the criticisms offered upon this proposal have been very fair. The honorable member for Wide Bay did honorable members of the Opposition some slight injustice when he delivered a lecture to us because we had thrown ourselves into the arms of the 'Government to bring about what he said, and what, I think, would be a serious departure from the proper constitutional practice followed in. connexion with the collection of Customs duties: The honorable member overlooked the fact that the first voice raised in opposition to the proposal was that of the honorable . member for Robertson, who is a member of the Opposition, and he also overlooked the fact that two of the strongest supporters of the amendment, the honorable members for Newcastle and Gwydir, are members of the party to which he belongs. The question is one in connexion with which all party considerations should be set aside. It is aquestion whether we shall make agift to importers for four months of the duties which they would otherwise have to pay. and permit them at the same time to . collect them from the consumers. Believing, as I do, that it offers a distinct advantage to the importer to which he is not entitled, whilst the consumer would be called upon to pay an increased price for his goods, I cannot support the proposal. {: #subdebate-9-0-s37 .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
HumeMinister of Trade and Customs · Protectionist -- I wish to substitute an amended proposal for that which is now before the Committee, and, in order to do so, I ask leave to withdrawmy amendment. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN: -- Is it the pleasure of the Committee that the amendment be withdrawn? {: #subdebate-9-0-s38 .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY:
Wentworth -- Before permission is given the Minister to withdraw his amendment, I should like to know whether the honorable gentleman has now definitely made up his mind as to what he is going to do. Will the new proposal embody the real Ministerial intention? Some time after midnight, during a debate of unprecedented importance, the Minister brought down his first amendment upon his own proposal ; he now wants to withdraw it and substitute this, and I should like to know whether the Ministerial intention is clearly defined in the new proposal which he desires to submit. There could be no more serious indictment of the slipshod manner in which the Minister carries out his work than the course the honorable gentleman has adopted on this occasion. It is a proof of the hopeless confusion into which his own want of preparedness has landed him. If the honorable gentleman is not prepared to say that the amendment which he now desires to submit expresses definitely and finally the Ministerial intention, I shall object to the withdrawal of the amendment now before the Chair, or shall insist upon a division on it, because I should like to see the honorable gentleman voting against his own recently moved amendment. {: #subdebate-9-0-s39 .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER:
Kalgoorlie .-I have no desire to interfere in any way with the policy of the Government or with their desire to carry a measure which they consider of great importance. After we have got away from the heat occasioned by the introduction of this proposal, and on a fuller appreciation of the difficulties surrounding it, I would appeal to the Minister to consider whether he cannot attain the object he has in view of doing justice to some men who are 'going to import goods by putting this provision in the Bill which must follow as a consequence of the passing of these resolutions. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I cannot put it in the Bill unless we have it here. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- I think that the Minister could do what 'I suggest. We had a ruling on the question the other day in connexion with the selling price of harvesters. The Minister will recollect that I raised the point as to whether or not the selling price could be inserted in the Bill if it were not dealt with in the Tariff resolution, and it was subsequently decided that it could be inserted in the Bill. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- This is a different tiling altogether. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- I think it is not. There is no technical objection to the Minister adopting the suggestion that he should give this proposal more mature consideration, and if he thinks it necessary to submit it later in the Bill to be founded on these resolutions. The honorable gentleman must admit that his proposal is a serious departure from a well-established practice, and that we do not know how many thousands of pounds of revenue it will involve. The honorable gentleman might say whether he is prepared to accept the suggestion I have made. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- If I could insert the provision in the Bill without including it in these resolutions I should not have the slightest objection, but I am not sure that I can do so. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- If the honorable gentleman finds that he cannot insert the provision in the Bill he can overcome that difficulty by dealing with the matter in the Committee of Ways and Means as he might deal with it now. We can then get time to look into the consequences of the proposal. The Minister will admit that I am entitled to ask for an expression of opinion. {: #subdebate-9-0-s40 .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS:
ROBERTSON, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906 -- WILLIS (Robertson) [ i.i2l. - When the Minister first submitted this proposal I spoke to it. At that time the; honorable gentleman was. not quite clear in his mind as to what he wished to do. When I asked him for an explanation, as I was quite justified in doing, he was insulting to me. I have before me the original proposition of the Minister. It has been handed to me by the deputyleader of the Labour Party. In order to justify myself in asking for information. I will place it upon record. It was as follows : - >On goods other than goods which, on that date, have been landed in Australia or are on board any vessel which has left ils last port of clearance for Australia. Now the Minister wishes to withdraw that proposal, and to substitute 'another one. I maintain that I was justified in asking for a clear definition of what he meant to do. But he treated my inquiry offensively, although it was a perfectly civil one. He makes the admission that he moved an amendment that he did not understand, simply because it was handed to him by an officer. The Minister took the responsibility of submitting it to 'the Committee, and it was only when he discovered that it was unintelligible that he stated that it was not drawn by himself, but by an officer. I again protest against the Minister's conduct towards me when I asked him a civil question. {: #subdebate-9-0-s41 .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr PAGE:
Maranoa .- With regard to the incident which took place about an hour ago between myself and the deputy-leader of the Opposition, I desire to say that I have since seen the report of what took place, and find that I was in the wrong. The honorable member did not refer to me as making insulting remarks about him every time he got up. The remark was made to another member of the House. In view of that fact, I withdraw everything I said, and humbly apologize to the honorable member for having said it. **Mr. JOSEPH** COOK (Parramatta) [1.18J. - I should like to say that I am glad to hear the remarks of the honorable member for Maranoa, and am sorry for the part that I took in the incident. {: #subdebate-9-0-s42 .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY:
Wentworth .- In view of the fact that the Minister wishes to remodel his amendment at the eleventh hour, I do not think that I should be doing my duty to the country or to the Constitution I am sworn to uphold if I did not see that there was a quorum present to hear the Minister withdraw the proposal which he himself introduced. I am told that many honorable members are at supper. I shall not disturb them, but shall allow the Minister to do in privacy what I feel sure he would be ashamed to do if there were a quorum present. Amendment, by leave, withdrawn. {: #subdebate-9-0-s43 .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
Minister of Trade and Customs · Hume · Protectionist -- As there has been such a long discussion over what I think was a very innocent and a very just proposal- {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- Surely the Minister does not think that it was innocent now? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- I do. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- **Mr. Kingston,** if he were here, would not think that it was innocent. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- He would support me, I am sure. As I find that in Committee on the Bill I can move an amendment to the. same effect I shall wait until that stage is reached. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr Henry Willis: -- I rise to a point of order. The Committee was asked to permit the Minister to withdraw his amendment, and I raised my protest against that leave being granted. I desire, sir, to take your ruling as to whether he is in order in proceeding with another amendment while that amendment is still before the Committee. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I understand that the temporary Chairman ruled that the leave of the Committee to withdraw- the' amendment was granted. Honorable Members. - Hear, hear. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr Henry Willis: -- But I protested against the leave being granted. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- It is quite possible that die temporary Chairman did not hear the protest of the honorable member. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr Henry Willis: -- I think that he did. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I feel sure that the temporary Chairman would not have ruled as 'he did if he had heard the protest of the honorable member. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr Henry Willis: -- I shall move that his ruling be dissented from. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I would point out to the honorable member that he should have taken that course before the Minister was allowed to proceed. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr Henry Willis: -- What question is before the Committee now? {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The Minister, has the floor, and is proceeding to move another amendment. Therefore the honorable member would be out of order in moving now to dissent from the ruling of the temporary Chairman. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr Henry Willis: -- Immediately I raised my protest the temporary Chairman gave his decision, and left the Chair, so that I had not ar. opportunity of dissenting from his ruling. As I walked to the table, sir, you resumed the Chair, and I spoke to you about the matter. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- It is teo late to dissent now. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr Henry Willis: -- It is not too late. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- When I resumed the Chair the Minister of Trade and Customs was speaking. I understood that it was prior to that honorable gentleman being called that the decision was given by the temporary Chairman, and therefore fresh business has intervened. The honorable member should have taken a point of order as soon as the decision was given. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr Henry Willis: -- I took a point of order at the time. An honorable member is unable to raise a protest until a decision is given by the Chair, and from the decision of the temporary Chairman I now dissent. Certainly the Minister was on his feet, but so was I. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order ! The Minister of Trade and Customs will please resume his speech. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- I have ascertained that when the Bill is in Committee I shall be able to move an amendment dealing with British goods alone. I was under the impression that they must 'Be, .dealt with in the motion before the Committee. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I think that the Minister ought to move the amendment now. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- I do not wish to waste any more time. When the amendment was suggested by the honorable member for Kalgoorlie, I ' did not think that it could be made when we were in Committee on the Bill, but I find that it can be. I do not desire at this hour to continue the discussion. I shall proceed with the schedule without asking honorable members to put in the amendment at the present stage.. {: #subdebate-9-0-s44 .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY:
Wentworth .- There are two points to which I desire to refer. In the first place the Minister obtained the leave of the Committee - one honorable member only dissenting - to withdraw his amendment on the express understanding that he intended to submit another proposal. {:#subdebate-9-1} #### Honorable Members. - No". {: #subdebate-9-1-s0 .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- If honorable members did not form the same impression as I did I shall say. no more on the point. The Minister refused to adopt the suggestion of the honorable member for Kalgoorlie in the first place because he said that he did not think that the amendment could be made constitutionally. He sent his delegate to a representative of the Department of Trade and Customs, who, I presume, is an authority on constitutional law, to see if it could be done. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- The honorable member is quite wrong. I did not send to an officer of my Department, but to a very much higher official. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- I regret, then, that I made that statement. I am sure now that the Minister has made the fullest possible exposure of the hopeless want of preparation in connexion with this proopsal. He has kept us here until this hour trying to save him from the pitfalls which he has dug for himself. Under these circumstances, I think the least he can do is to agree to report progress and allow us to discuss the whole question to-morrow, when we shall be in a fitter state than we are in now. Certainly he has shown that the Committee is not in a fit state to proceed with the business. Now that he has left the Chamber, sir, I think that we should have a quorum. *[Quorum formed.].* I would simply point out that, but for the wanton waste of public time on the part of the Minister, who introduced an- amendment, and finally, after a lengthy discussion, withdrew it, we should have been dealing three hours ago with the items in the schedule. Paragraphs 2 and 3 agreed to. {: #subdebate-9-1-s1 .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER:
Kalgoorlie .- I have given notice of my intention to move - : >That after the words " On dutiable goods the produce or manufacture of the United Kingdom," in the heading to the fourth column, the words " by white British workmen " be inserted, and that after the words " and imported direct in British ships" the words "manned exclusively by white British seamen " be added. As this amendment was circulated amongst honorable members some days ago, it is unnecessary for me to discuss it at any length. It is designed to grant preference to white British workmen as against other white competitors. If it be reasonable to grant a preference to British workmen employed on shore, it is equally rea.sonable to extend that preference to British workers on vessels carrying these goods to Australia. I nave already presented figures showing that nearly onehalf of the men employed in the mercantile marine of Great Britain to-day are foreigners, or coloured British subjects. The position is sufficiently serious to justify the adoption of my amendment. I should not have submitted it in its present form but for the fact that the Government propose to protect British workers against other white workers, and that I think that, if the Government proposal be adopted, we should provide that the protection shall apply exclusively to white British workers. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr Henry Willis: -- As this is a farreaching proposal, I wish to know, **Mr. Chairman,** if it should not be inserted in the Bill, rather than in the motion? {: #subdebate-9-1-s2 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- While personally I might think it better to move the amendment in connexion with the consideration of the Bill, the honorable member will not be out of order if he moves it now. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- In view of the attitude which I adopted in regard to the proposal of the Minister, if that is to be dealt with in connexion with the consideration of the Bill, I have no great objection to allowing this to be similarly treated. But I wish to get from the Prime Minister the assurance that advantage will not be taken of the forms of the House to prevent me from obtaining an expression of opinion in regard to it when the Bill is being dealt with. {: #subdebate-9-1-s3 .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr DEAKIN:
Minister of External Affairs · Ballarat · Protectionist -- Of course, I give that undertaking. In the meantime, I ask the honorable member to recollect the application of the principle of *de minimis.* Laudable as is his intention, if he attempts to attach these conditions to importations, however small, of particular classes of goods, he will create a very embarrassing situation. The whole question is about to be considered, not merely with reference to certain classes of goods, but affecting the British marine, by a Navigation Conference, which will be held at the beginning of next year in London. All the British Possessions will be represented, and an endeavour will be made to arrive at uniformity of treatment in connexion with British shipping. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- Just as preferential trade will be discussed at the Imperial 'Conference. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr DEAKIN: -- The opportunity to which I refer is such as cannot be obtained in dealing with1 this question now. It. would be extremely embarrassing to the Customs officials if their work involved inquiries about ships and their crews, such as he proposes. A Navigation Conference can lay down broad lines of the better application of the principle which he wishes to enforce. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Are not these arguments "against the adoption of these proposals ? {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr DEAKIN: -- I ask the honorable member to consider the matter further. The question how to encourage .Britishers to serve on British ships will also come before the Conference. He therefore need have no apprehension that his proposals will not be brought forward, even if he does not press them in connexion with this present legislation, which only indirectly allows its consideration. {: #subdebate-9-1-s4 .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS:
Robertson -- I should like to know from the Prime Minister whether the heading of the fifth column, which reads - >On dutiable goods not the produce or manufacture of the United Kingdom, or not imported direct in British ships - does not mean that foreign goods, imported in British ships, shall not be liable to the higher impost ? {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- The duties set out in the fourth column are to be imposed. in respect to goods made in Great Britain and imported in British ships. All other goods willi be dutiable in accordance with the provisions of the fifth column. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- I suggest that the Government should give attention to the matter. **Mr. KELLY** (Wentworth) [1.48J. - I understand that each column must be considered by itself, and it seems to me that, if they are treated as separate and distinct, no duty is provided for goods the produce or manufacture of some country other than Great Britain imported in British ships. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- Goods not the produce or manufacture of Great Britain are dutiable at the higher rate, no matter by what ship thev come. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- If the Prime Minister is satisfied, so am I ; but I think that the question will be raised in the Courts. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr Deakin: -- Both the Customs officials and the law officers of the Crown are satisfied with the wording of the heading. Item 136 (a) - Ammunition and cartridges n.e.i. (British) free, (other) *ad valorem, 10* per cent. {: #subdebate-9-1-s5 .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr WATKINS:
Newcastle .- I desire to know what the item ammunition really includes. Would it embrace the blasting powder that is used by coal miners? Under the Coal Mines Regulation Act in New South Wales the miners are restricted to the use of blasting powders - many of which are of Swedish or German manufacture - that are upon the permitted list adopted in Great Britain. No locally-made powder could be used by coal miners in New South Wales unless it had passed the test to which all powders on the permitted list are subjected at Woolwich, and, therefore, the proposed dutv, whilst not benefiting the local industry, would impose an increased tax upon the coal miners, who have to buy their own powder. {: #subdebate-9-1-s6 .speaker-KYJ} ##### Sir JOHN QUICK:
Bendigo .- I should like to know whether fuse powder, such as is used in making fuses for mining purposes, would come under the heading of ammunition? I find that, according to the Tariff, explosives are included under various headings, namely, *(a)* ammunition, *(b)* fireworks, *(c)* fuses, *(d)* powder, sporting, and *(e)* explosives, n.e.i., free. The question is whether fuse powder would come under the heading of explosives n.e.i. It has never been admitted free, "but as I understand the interpretation of the Tariff, it would be admitted free if it came under the head of ammunition. I should like to have an authoritative interpretation by the Minister. {: #subdebate-9-1-s7 .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
Minister of Trade and Customs · Hume · Protectionist -- The question referred to by the honorable and learned member was raised' in connexion with a letter received bv me from the Fuse Manufacturing Company. I consulted the Comptroller-General, and he supplied me with the following information : - >The resolution does not cover anything except the specific articles mentioned in the Tariff under the head of ammunition and cartridges n.e.i. Therefore, the fuse powders to which the writers refer is not included, and, as the resolution stands, there will be nothing to prevent the introduction of foreign fuse powders as heretofore. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- What . about blasting powder for use in mines? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- I think that that would come under the head of explosives. {: #subdebate-9-1-s8 .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr WATKINS:
Newcastle -- 1 understand that as the item reads at present blasting powder, as used in mines, unless it is manufactured in England, will be taxable to the extent of 10 per cent. I think that it would be .unfair to impose a duty upon blasting cartridges when there is no possibility of the imported article being displaced bv a local product. If the locally-made powder could be used by coal miners, I should not raise any objection; but, as I have already explained, under the Coal Mines Regulation Act in New South Wales, the miners are permitted to use only powders upon the English permitted list. I could not vote for a duty that would merely increase the cost of the explosives to coal miners without conferring benefit upon any industry in the Commonwealth. The blasting powders used in coal mines are made up in cartridges, 'which would be taxable as cartridges n.e.i. I move - >That after the word " cartridges " the words " except cartridges used for blasting purposes that are on the permitted list of England " be inserted. I may point out that, owing to the restrictions to which they are now subject, the coal miners have to pay iod. per lb. for permitted explosives, whereas they were formerly able to purchase blasting powder for 6d. or 7d. per lb. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- They will get their powder from England instead. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr WATKINS: -- No. It is a continental powder which is used for blasting purposes. {: #subdebate-9-1-s9 .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY:
Wentworth .- The more we consider this proposal the more hopeless apparently becomes our position. We all know that it is proposed to amend the Tariff by substituting this item for item 136. But I would point out that, under the existing Tariff, there are certain articles upon the free list. It occurs to me that the better way of dealing with the matter under review would be to retain the items which at present appear upon the list of special exemptions. The proposal outlined by the Minister would absolutely wipe out those exemptions.' {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Not so far as Great Britain is concerned. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- But it would wipe out the exemptions, so far as goods from other countries are concerned. The best way of dealing with the matter would be to insert a proviso that the special exemptions under the Customs Tariff Act of 1902 shall continue in force in all cases. We should then know exactly where we are. But, instead of agreeing to adopt that sensible course, the Minister is "bullocking" through proposals which will seriously affect the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of people. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Do not waste time. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- The Minister's only anxiety appears to be to push this measure through. But I would point out that a great proportion of the imports that will be affected bw his proposal involve the livelihood of a class of the community which cannot afford to pay an additional 10 per cent, upon their necessaries. No harm can result from the adoption of my suggestion, and the same objection could not then be urged against the action of the Minister in " bullocking " these proposals through in the closing hours of a moribund Parliament. {: #subdebate-9-1-s10 .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
Minister of Trade and Customs · Hume · Protectionist -- I cannot tell the. honorable member for Newcastle exactly the quantity of blasting powder and cartridges that will be affected by this proposal. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- The Minister ought to know. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- I ought to be a walking encyclopaedia, ,no doubt. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- The Minister has brought forward this proposal. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- But I cannot tell what amendments honorable members may submit. I recognise that it is not fair to tax powder or cartridges which are chiefly used by miners if it is possible to avoid doing so. If there were any local industry in existence, I could understand the desire of honorable members to put business in its way. But I am informed that in England a combination exists, and it is very difficult to learn how far it contributes to keeping up the price of these articles. I ask the honorable member for Newcastle not to press his amendment tonight, and I promise that I will institute strict inquiries as to what the effect of its adoption would be. Should it not be too far reaching I am quite prepared to afford the Committee another opportunity of dealing with his proposal at a later stage. I give the assurance that if it is possible to make the exemption without the effect being too wide- , {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- Let us report progress: it is not fair to go into such a controversial question at this late hour. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Why not make the exemption at once? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- I promise the honorable member that, if I can see my way to make the exemption without doing injury- **Mr. Kelly.** Why not do it now? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- I will not do it in a hurry, when I do not quite know what the effect of the exemption will be. I am quite in sympathy with the suggestion, and, if the matter is allowed to rest to-night, I shall have it thoroughly investigated. If the honorable member requests that' the question be placed 'before the Committee again, I shall accede to the request. **Mr. HENRY** WILLIS (Robertson) £2.12]. - I think the suggestion that has been made is a very reasonable one; but should other work"ing_ men, such as those who are employed shooting dingoes, not have their ammunition free? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Those men's cartridges do come in free. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- But it is proposed to place a duty on cartridges which come from Belgium and other foreign parts, and those are the cartridges which are more suitable than the British cartridges for the work. Cartridges made in Canada are classed as foreign. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- The Minister lias promised another opportunity to consider the matter. {: .speaker-L1D} ##### Mr HENRY WILLIS: -- The Minister declines to report progress, and, therefore, the discussion must go on. Will the Minister consider the advisability of placing the cartridges I have mentioned on the free list? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I do not think so. {: #subdebate-9-1-s11 .speaker-KVJ} ##### Mr STORRER:
Bass .- I trust that the Minister will not favorably consider the proposal of the honorable member for Newcastle, because I do not approve of class legislation. All such explosives for mines should be exempt. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr Fisher: -- And also for quarries. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- All kinds of blasting powders would have to be exempt if one be exempt. {: .speaker-KVJ} ##### Mr STORRER: -- It would be a difficult work for the Customs authorities to ascertain what particular goods were going to be used for. A certificate might be given that the goods were to be used for coal-mining, but they might be used for any purpose afterwards. {: #subdebate-9-1-s12 .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member for Bass evidently does not know anything about the matter. Does the honorable member know that the Coal Mines Act of New South Wales makes this a class matter? As pointed out by the honorable member for Newcastle, the miner is permitted to use only certain classes of powder. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- Is the miner confined to the use of foreign explosives ? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Only explosives which have been tested at Woolwich are on the approved list. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- That list includes some English explosives. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- But I understand that there is a trust mi the old country - a foreign trust - and that all the powder is in the hands of a few people. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Nobel's people. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I do not know, but the effect of the Minister's proposal would be to place the power in the hands of that trust", and increase the cost to the miner, who must have the particular powder, because the inspectors will not allow him to use any other. The amendment would really release the miner from a piece of class legislation to which he is bound by a State Act. {: #subdebate-9-1-s13 .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER:
Wide Bay .- The honorable member for Parramatta has pointed out clearly that the best and safest explosive for coal mines is not made in Great Britain but is made abroad. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I did not say that at all. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- I may be permitted to differ from that view. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- In many instances, appliances for the saving of lives in mines have their origin in foreign countries, and I presume that the honorable member for Parramatta was speaking of the special class of compressed powder, from which there is less danger at the time of the explosion. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- The honorable member for Parramatta denies having said that the best explosives come from outside Great Britain. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- What I say is that the explosive is controlled by a trust which ramifies through Great Britain as well as through Germany. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- This explosive is manufactured in other countries than Great Britain. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- According to the inspectors, and according to the test, the best explosive is Nobel's. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- What I am speaking of is a compressed powder, so packed that a fuse can be safely and easily inserted. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- It is exploded with a cap. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- That is the more effective method. If this explosive is not manufactured in any other country than Great Britain, there can be no advantage in exempting it, because it will be free. And even if it be manufactured outside Great Britain, it ought to be admitted free as a tool of trade, not only of those who work in mines, but also of those who work in quarries, railway cuttings, and so forth. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr Webster: -- They can use the powder that is manufactured here. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- Where danger to life is involved, we should not ask them to use anything inferior. They must be able to get the best, and the safest explosive. I am speaking of matters I understand. {: #subdebate-9-1-s14 .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr WATSON:
Bland .- The proposal to exempt a particular form of explosive manufactured in a foreign country is opposed to the whole idea of preferential trade. The underlying principle of this preference proposal, I take it, is to encourage the use of British-made goods, in preference to those made in foreign countries. If we exempt this particular explosive, there is no reason why we should not abolish the whole schedule. I can understand honorable members who are against preferential trade, and object to the Ministerial proposal as a whole, desiring to cut it down by whittling away item after item. But it seems to me that it is ridiculous for those who favour preferential trade to say that some explosives which are made on the Continent should be exempt. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- The honorable gentleman does not describe this as preferential trade ? {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr WATSON: -- It is an instalment of it, and, as far as it goes, it seems to me that it ought to be made effective. It is ridiculous to propose to give Great Britain preference in the matter of explosives, and then to exempt any foreign-made explosive from the operation of the law. With respect to the statement that the particular form of explosive used in coalmining is made only in countries other than Great Britain, although I do not for a moment pose as an expert on this subject, I have a clear recollection of seeing expert statements to the effect that these high and safe explosives are made in Great Britain. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- This is not a. high explosive. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr WATSON: -- I shall put it in this way to satisfy the honorable member : I am prepared to assert that explosives on the list permitted to be used in coal-mines in New South Wales are made in Great Britain. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr Fisher: -- Some of them are. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr WATSON: -- I do not say that all are, but I dispute the suggestion that only explosives made outside Great Britain can be used in New South Wales. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- That is not what was said. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr WATSON: -- That is, I think, what honorable members gathered from some of the statements that have been made. As a number of explosives which are permitted to be used are made in Great Britain, surely if we have any serious intention to extend the preference proposed we should insist on preference for these British goods. I am not certain that the extension of the 10 per cent, preference to British goods will increase the cost of the articles to the consumer by anything like that amount. I should be sorry to think it would. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- Not when they are all in a trust? {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr WATSON: -- If the trust is so complete they will extract the last possible penny from the consumer whether there is a duty on the foreign article or not. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- Then where would the preference come in? {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr WATSON: -- We could secure at least that the articles should be made in Great Britain. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member does not half-argue protection lately ; he is red hot. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr WATSON: -- The honorable member for Parramatta gave away some of the case he has been trying for months to build up. He told us then that trusts and freetrade could not possibly run together. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I never said such a thing in my life. The honorable member for Bland spends all his time in attributing to me statements I never uttered. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr WATSON: -- If the honorable member chooses to deny the statement he is welcome to do so. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I do deny it. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr WATSON: -- I do not think that the honorable member reads his own speeches to know what he has said. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable mem ber makes more reckless statements than does any other member of the Committee. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr WATSON: -- That is a reckless statement which the honorable member could not substantiate. In his remarks on these Tariff questions the honorable member has tried to prove that free-trade countries are free from trusts. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I say that I have never done so. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr WATSON: -- My remarks, to which the honorable member took exception, had nothing whatever to do with protection. I said that if trusts existed the imposition of duties would have no effect, so far as the price of an article is concerned. The whole object of the trust is to extract from the consumer every possible penny for the article supplied, and if the trust is effective it will secure it, whether there is a duty on the article or not. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- They may make it cheaper. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr WATSON: -- I do not think so. Just as the honorable member for Barrier has argued that a tax on land will not increase the rant because the land-owner in any case will get from the competing prospective tenants the full market value, so I say that in regard to commodities where a trust has absolute control, it will. extract-the last possible fraction from the consumer. Whether there is a duty or not, the trust will get its pound of flesh. Therefore, it matters very little if there is an effective trust whether duties are imposed or not. In my view, this amendment cuts against the whole scheme of preference. To increase the duty on foreign explosives by 10 per cent, will not necessarily increase the price of them bv that amount, and so far as concerns the explosives mentioned as being used in coal mines in New South Wales, it seems to me that those who believe in preference have a right to give some form of encouragement to British manufactures in this respect. {: #subdebate-9-1-s15 .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member who has just resumed his seat is all rocky in his economic views, I am afraid. The case that he put in reply to the honorable member for Barrier shows that he needs to correct his opinions somewhat. For instance, he said that the explosives trust was getting all it could out of the consumer, and that, therefore, it could not get any more. That may be true, and still the price of explosives may be raised. The effect of the duty may be to prevent competition from manufacturers abroad outside the trust. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- I take it that the honorable member for Bland was arguing on the basis of the trust having absolute control. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- I understood that the honorable member for Parramatta himself said that the trust, embracing both British and continental manufacturers, controlled the .whole business. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The trust may have absolute control of the manufacture of a particular explosive, but there may be other competing explosives which reduce prices. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- That may be so. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- That is the whole point. I am informed that there is a trust which has control of the particular powder that has been mentioned, and that it is absolutely certain if this duty is imposed the price of its product will be increased to the miners. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- It may lead to a serious accident through miners using some other powder, because it is cheaper. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I believe that the powder in question is prescribed by the Chief Inspector in New South Wales. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- But more than one powder is permitted to be used. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The duty maylead to serious consequences in that respect. The points to bear in mind are that the miner must use this powder, and that, therefore, any increase in the duty will mean an increase in the price charged to the miner. {: #subdebate-9-1-s16 .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY:
Wentworth .- The Minister of Trade and Customs recognises that the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Newcastle is a good one, which merits his consideration. , {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I am considering it. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- It would be just as well to accept it straight away. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I must have time to consider the effect of it. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- Will the Minister give us the same facilities with regard to the whole schedule? We ought to have the same opportunity- for consideration as he asks for himself, especially as he is better able to obtain information with regard to these matters than private members are. He' asks us, however, to swallow the pill without any sugar coating. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I will give an opportunity for reconsidering the matter, but I do not know how far the amendment will operate, nor what its bearings are. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- What sort of opportunity shall we have? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- A Bill embodying resolutions passed in Committee will be submitted later on. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- In that case I shall not object to what is proposed. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- Will the Minister make the same promise in regard to dynamite? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I do not know that I can about dynamite. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- In view of the Minister's promise 1 will withdraw the amendment. Amendment, by leave, withdrawn. Item agreed to. Item136E - Dynamite (British), free, (other), *ad valorem,* 10 per cent. {: #subdebate-9-1-s17 .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr THOMAS:
Barrier .- I shall vote against this item. I understand that the whole of the dynamite that comes to Australia is under the control of a trust that has works in England, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, and Holland. In view of that fact, I cannot see any necessity to put on this duty of 10 per cent. It would certainly mean an additional expenditure of that amount upon dynamite. If the Minister will give me the same promise as he has given to the honorable member for Newcastle I shall be quite willing to allow the item to be discussed on another occasion. These items are all exactly on the same footing. ' Why then should the one item be treated differently from the other? Of course, if the Minister will not give me that assurance, I shall test the feeling of the Committee now. {: #subdebate-9-1-s18 .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWILLIAMS:
Franklin -- I see no reason why we should remit the duty on an ordinary article of use for one class of miner any more than for another class. I am quite with the honorable member for Barrier in that regard. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- There is no protection for Australia involved in this proposal. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWILLIAMS: -- Whether there is or not I am not prepared to put a tax on a tool of trade of the miner any more than on a tool of trade of the agriculturist. If it is proposed to omit one description of explosives it is against all common sense to retain the duty on dynamite. To my mind, cartridges and dynamite stand oh precisely the same footing. If the Minister is going to reconsider one item I see no reason why he should not reconsider both items. We all know that the miners, even although they do receive, perhaps, the highest rate of wage that is paid in Australia, earn their money, especially those who work in coal mines. Why should we put a duty on an article which they have to purchase at their own expense in order to enable them to earn their daily bread? {: .speaker-L0R} ##### Mr Lee: -- Why should the miner be treated differently from the farmer? {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWILLIAMS: -- I did my best to get the farmer's tools of trade excluded from additional taxation, but because I failed in that effort that is no reason why I should help to put a tax on a tool of trade of the miner. {: #subdebate-9-1-s19 .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY:
Wentworth .- The further we proceed with the consideration of the schedule, the more confusing does the position become. We came to a definite conclusion as to what ought to be done in order to protect the coal-mining industry. We now find that it is necessary to take a similar step in regard to another great industry of a kindred nature. But the Minister, while prepared to give the Committee further opportunity to deal with one item, is not prepared to deal in a similar way with this item. I presume that the apostlesof a scientific Tariff will try to show that this new Tariff has been drawn up on a scientific principle. We find that there is no provision made for according the preference just as it is required by the decline of British imports in proportion to foreign imports. In the case of the item under consideration, we find that the proportion of British imports to foreign imports was greater in 1905 than in 1903. In other words, there is not the same necessity for granting a preference to British imports in this case as there was in the case of the item which the Minister has agreed to reconsider. If this is a scientific Tariff, then a preference of 5 per cent. ought to be sufficient in the case of this item if a preference of 10 per cent, is required in the case of the other. If the ratio of increase in imports is maintained, then in the course of a few years British dynamite, &c, will command practically the whole market here. Therefore, the Minister should be prepared to ask for a smaller duty on foreign dynamite, and also to consider at once the very reasonable suggestions put forward by the honorable member for Barrier and others. Will he arrange for a recommittal of this item in the same way as he has arranged for a recommittal of the other item? Let us deal with all kindred items at the same time. If he would agree to my suggestion then we could proceed with the consideration of other items ; but if he will not, we shall have to test the opinion of the Committee. {: #subdebate-9-1-s20 .speaker-KYJ} ##### Sir JOHN QUICK:
Bendigo .- I feel somewhat doubtful about this item, and therefore I should like to get further information. If it be true that the dynamite trade is in the hands of a huge trust on the Continent, as well as in the United Kingdom, which pools the profits and losses, as I am assured it does, then "this additional duty of 10 per cent. would be paid, partly by European firms, and partly by British firms. In that case,' there would be no substantial preference; but there would undoubtedly be imposed a revenue tax which would be a burden to the mining industry. I should be prepared if a substantial advantage in the shape of protection were gained to strain a point ; but I certainly shall not be a party to imposing a revenue tax on the mining industry. As this is one of those items which seem to stand on the border line, I do not wish to take up a determined attitude at the present stage. I should like to be able to further consider the item before making up my mind as to what should be done, and I therefore join in the suggestion that we should not now arrive at a final decision. There is no other item in the schedule respecting which I hold stronger views. {: #subdebate-9-1-s21 .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr THOMAS:
Barrier -- I hope that the Minister will agree to reconsider this proposal. Under the reciprocity agreement with New Zealand, the Broken Hill mines alone will have to bear additional taxation to the extent of £10,000 per annum, and if this duty will increase the cost of dynamite by 10 per cent., it will add another £2,000 per annumto the burden of taxation borne by the Broken Hill mining companies. It is unfair that this additional impost should be imposed. If this item were postponed until to-morrow, we should have an opportunity to ascertain! what its effect will be. I understand that there are no dynamite factories in Australia, so that the imposition of this duty will not be beneficial to Australian workmen, and I am inclined, therefore, to agree with the view expressed by the honorable and learned member for Bendigo. If, as the result of the imposition of this duty, we were able to produce in Australia dynamite as good as that now being imported, we should have no cause for alarm ; but, as at present advised, I think that the only effect will be to increase the burden of taxation borne by the mining community. The mining industry gives employment to thousands of workers. It is certainly more important than what have been described as the strangled industries of Melbourne." Substantial protection has been extended to manufacturers of harvesters, but the mining industry is one of infinitely greater importance, and I fail to see why we should do anything calculated to cripple or harass it. {: #subdebate-9-1-s22 .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER:
Kalgoorlie .- The Minister has made a certain promise in regard to one of these items. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I am not going to extend that promise to every item in the schedule. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- I do not ask the Minister to do so. So far, he has made no attempt to answer the objections that have been urged to the imposition of this duty on dynamite. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- If I had to give an answer to all the conundrums put to me, I should be constantly on my feet. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- This question seriously affects my constituents. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- As the salt duty affects South Australia. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- The Minister has agreed to extend special consideration to explosives used in the coal mines of New South Wales. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I am now rather sorry for it. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- The honorable gentleman has not replied to the statement of the honorable and learned member for Bendigo that, so far as these explosives are concerned, a monopoly controls the markets of the world. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Such an assertion has been made, but I cannot say whether or not it is correct. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- The statement was made inCommittee yesterday morning that the principal members of the combination are Nobel and Co. and Curtis and Co. {: .speaker-KYJ} ##### Sir John Quick: -- I received information from constituents of mine. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- And I received information from a person who is interested in the other direction. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- Those who say that dynamite is used in the mining industry, do not know what they are talking about. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- The honorable and learned member represents a few farmers near Geelong, and therefore thinks that he knows all about the mining industry. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- I know more about dynamite than the honorable member does. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I had intended to move the omission of the word " dynamite," with a view to the insertion of other words. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- To what words does the honorable gentleman refer? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- To " Explosives, n.e.i., *ad valorem* 10 per cent.," and so forth. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- That would include gelignite. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- Does the honorable gentleman not intend now to move that amendment ? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I am advised that dynamite does not include three or four other explosives mentioned in the Tariff, and I gave notice the other afternoon of an amendment. We are, and have been from the first, collecting a duty on gelignite and certain other explosives, and I propose to omit the word " dynamite" and insert the other words to which I have referred. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- It seems to me that the item must include other high explosives besides dynamite, since last year the importations from the United Kingdom were valued at .£280,598, and from other countries at .£95,223. It is of the utmost importance, and concerns, the lives, not only of the coal miners, but also of the gold miners, and all other users of explosives, that they shall be able to obtain the safest and best material, and, as the Minister is not prepared with information on the subject, I shall endeavour, if he will give me the opportunity, to ascertain by telegram to-morrow, from the experts in my constituency, whether suitable safe supplies can be obtained from the United Kingdom, or whether it is necessary to import from foreign countries as well. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- If I do, will the honorable member give me the rest of the schedule ? {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- So far as I am concerned, if the Minister makes the promise I shall go home to bed. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I intend to make one or two amendments, though they are not important, and if the Committee will, without undue discussion, let me have the rest of the schedule, I shall do what the honorable member asks, and, if it is desired, recommit it. {: #subdebate-9-1-s23 .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER:
Wide Bay -- I hope that if ever the Minister of Trade and Customs becomes Prime Minister he will provide for the making of explosives in the ' country. Explosives, especially nitrogenous compounds, should not be used when thev are old, and therefore it is not safe to purchase them in a distant land. In my opinion, their manufacture should not be conducted by private enterprise, but should be in the hands of the Government, and no doubt many members of the Opposition, though generally opposed to the nationalization of industries, would favour this proposal. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I am in favour of it, and tried to have it done in New South Wales. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- In my opinion, the Government should manufacture explosives, not only for defence purposes, but also for ordinary, industrial purposes. The best explosives should be available for use in coal mines, which are generally well ventilated, to get rid of noxious gases, and also for use iri gold mines, which often, have no mechanical system of ventilation. Explosives should be prepared in Government workshops, and properly tested before being sold to the public. {: #subdebate-9-1-s24 .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH:
Corio -- According to the honorable member for Kalgoorlie, I can know nothing about this subject, because I represent a farming community. It may be news to him that in Corio is the only factory in Australia where gelignite and dynamite are manufactured, and that therefore I can profess to know a little about the industry upon which Kalgoorlie, where thev have scratched a few holes in the ground, and think themselves of great importance, so largely depends. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- Does Kalgoorlie depend upon the supply from the Corio factory ? {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- To some extent. Only 7 tons of. dynamite were imported into Australia last year. And yet we have heard a great screech from ignorant people with regard to the injustice that will be done to the local users of dynamite. Since the date upon which the duties were increased no dynamite has been imported. I have seen a telegram from the Customs De- partment in Western Australia, from which it appears that the only place at which it was proposed to collect the duty on dynamite was in Western Australia. As bearing upon the question of the collection of duty upon explosives, I should like to read the following statement contained in a letter addressed to the Prime Minister by the representatives of British Explosives manufacturers doing business in Australia - >Under the heading " Arms and Ammunition " in the schedule there is a sub-heading "dynamite." We would respectfully inform you that the particular compound known as "dynamite " is an obsolete explosive, so far as Australia is concerned, this explosive having been displaced by other nitro-glycerine compounds known as gelatine dynamite, gelignite, and blasting' gelatine. When, therefore, those haring a knowledge of the trade read the proposal *re* dynamite they naturally concluded that it was intended to be operative in regard to gelatine dynamite, gelignite, and blasting gelatine, and that these nitro-glycerine compounds would be taxable if imported elsewhere than from the United Kingdom in British ships. Upon inquiry at the Customs, however, we learn that such is not the case, but that the schedule will be read literally as printed, and that should, for example, a German shipment of gelatine dynamite, gelignite, or blasting gelatine arrive, the 10 per cent, duty will not lie collected. The honorable and learned member for Bendigo stated that two firms had a monopoly of the world's supply. {: .speaker-KYJ} ##### Sir John Quick: -- I said that there was a universal trust which included continental and British firms. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- -There are five distinct British firms which are importing explosives into Australia, namely, Messrs. Curtis and Harvey Limited, the British Explosive' Syndicate, the National Explosive Company Limited, London, Messrs.. Kynoch Limited, Birmingham, and Nobel's Explosives Company Limited, Glasgow. {: .speaker-KYJ} ##### Sir John Quick: -- At least three of those firms are members of the trust. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- I very much doubt if there is a combine among the manufacturers of explosives, because I remember that at the time of the South African war there was a great fight for the contract to supply cordite to the British army after the failure nf the makers at Walbeck Abbey to meet the demands made upon them. The Minister apparently recognises that it is necessary to give some extended definition of the term " dynamite," because he has affixed a footnote to the schedule indicating that the term dynamite includes gelatine dynamite,' gelignite, and blasting gelatine. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- All those compositions are known in the mining industry as " dynamite." {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- I think that we should have a quorum. *[Quorum formed.]* {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- The new proposal of the Minister is to substitute for the word " dynamite " the words " explosives, n.e.i." I would point out to him that the latter term would cover the powder which is used by Perry's Australian Fuse Manufacturing Company at Footscray, as to which, if they have not an injustice, they have a grievance. I think that the importers of British gelignite, dynamite, and glycerine would be satisfied if the Minister were to make the item read, " Dynamite and other explosives containing nitroglycerine." The adoption of that course would meet .the growing importation into the Commonwealth of German nitroglycerine compounds. I find that in 1905 the Commonwealth imports of dynamite from the United Kingdom were valued at £280,000, and those from Germany and the Continent at approximately £95,000. In an official return which has been prepared by the Customs authorities, I find the following : - >Only in Western Australia have the Customs officials kept a record of the separate quantities of each description of explosives in this class. Apparently in the other States all the imports have been " slumped " under the heading " Dynamite, &c." As a matter of fact no dynamite has been imported, the imports consisting entirely of the other explosives named. The figures supplied by the Customs Department show that the imports into Western Australia have been as follows: - The fact that the United Kingdom was able to send us £242,000 worth of dynamite in 1903. and £280,000 worth in 1905, and that only small quantities were imported from Germany, Sweden, and Holland shows that the Australian market has practically been captured by the mother country. I trust that the Minister will substitute for "Explosives, n.e.i." the words " Dynamite and other explosives containing nitro-glycerine." {: #subdebate-9-1-s25 .speaker-KYJ} ##### Sir JOHN QUICK:
Bendigo .- I quite agree with the honorable and learned member for Corio that the effect of the Minister's proposal would be to tax the fuse powder which is used by Perry's Australian Fuse Manufacturing Company, at Footscray. That is most undesirable. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I do not know what the effect of the amendment suggested by the honorable and learned member for Corio would be. {: .speaker-KYJ} ##### Sir JOHN QUICK: -- Will the Minister take time to consider the matter ? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I have promised to do so in regard to the three items. {: .speaker-KYJ} ##### Sir JOHN QUICK: -- Then I shall not press my objection any further. Amendments (by **Sir William** Lyne) agreed to - >That the word " dynamite " be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words " Explosives, n.e.i." ; that after the words " per cent." the words "on and after the 14th day of September, 1906, at 4.30 p.m. Victorian time " be inserted. Item, as amended, agreed to. Item 136 (c), Fuse, agreed to. Item 73 (a), revolvers, pistols, air guns, &c, *ad valorem* (British) 15 per cent., (other) 22½ per cent. {: #subdebate-9-1-s26 .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY:
Wentworth .- I should like some explanation of this item. During the last three years the proportion of British imports to the total imports has increased to £2,267 as compared with the total of £6,734 in 1905 from £2,839, as compared with £9,094 in 1903. Why is it considered necessary to impose this extraordinary duty of 2 2½ per cent. ? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- This is simply taken from the present Tariff. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- But for some reason the duty has been increased by 7½ per cent. and I should like to know why. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Simply because it gives a preference to Great Britain. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- I understood that the idea is to give a preference on British goods which we imagine need a preference. It seems rather a sham to grant a preference by putting up the duties on goods which do not require it, even bv lowering them ; and this seems to be a Case in point. Item agreed to. Items 73 (b) (Rifles, n.e.i., &c), and Division VI. (a - Rifles, military and match) agreed to. ItemIIIA, Wicker, bamboo, cane, or wood, all articles n.e.i., made of, whether partly or wholly finished, including bellows, casks, shooks, sashes and frames, timber bent n.e.i., wood cut into shape and dressed or partly dressed for making boxes or doors, walking sticks and canes, *ad valorem* (British) ao per cent., (other) 30 per cent. {: #subdebate-9-1-s27 .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY:
Wentworth .- I desire to know what " shooks " are. We ought to know what they are before we are asked to impose a duty upon them. Whatever they are, I am satisfied that the import is decreasing. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I do not know what " shooks " are, any more than does the honorable member. Amendment (by **Mr. Kelly)** negatived - >That the word " shooks," line 3, be left out. Item agreed to. Division X. *(o),* Buckets, wooden ; Division X. *(r),* Last blocks, rough turned; Division X. *(s),* Lasts and trees, wooden; Division X. *(t),* Wooden type, wooden type cases, and tvpe cabinets and cases, agreed to. Item 124, Bicycles, tricycles, and similar vehicles; vehicles, n.e.i., and parts thereof, n.e.i. ; cycle parts (except tyres), plated, enamelled, polished, or otherwise completed or brazed or permanently joined, including cycle accessories and motor vehicles, *ad valorem* (British), 20 per cent., (other) 30 per cent. {: #subdebate-9-1-s28 .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH:
Corio .- I wish to direct attention to an amendment of this item of which I have given notice. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- An amendment has also been suggested by the honorable member for Yarra. I should like a little more information in respect to these amendments. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- I take it that, with regard to all these items, the purpose of preferential trade is to prefer the goods of the British manufacturer to those of the foreign manufacturer, whilst at the same time no injury is done to the Australian manufacturer. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- The difficulty is that it is impossible to say what proportion the value of these parts bears to the total. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- There is no difference between this and other items in the schedule. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- There isthis difference - that many of these articles cannot be made in England, because they are patented articles. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- The patents for some adjustable handlebars have run out long ago. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- They are not used in England. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- They are used here, and can be made here; they are only bent tubes. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- I am advised that upon all these items the proposed preference will amount to a difference of about 9s. 2d. to the importer. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- I do not think it will make that difference. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- These articles are necessary in the manufacture of Australian bicycles. I have referredto handle-bars, which include the" Kelly," "Ideal," "Hussey," and " Adjustable. " Then there are American rolled threaded spokes, wood rims, duck roller brakes, chain guards, bells, and lamp brackets. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- It is ridiculous to say that 10 per cent. on these articles will amount to 9s. 2d. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I am informed that although there is no accurate information as to these parts their value is not very great. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- Will the Minister, in the circumstances, postpone the item? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- No. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- Then I shall have to press for my amendment. If English manufacturers can import these parts free from America, and then under the preferential trade proposal export them to Australia, the Australian manufacturer would be placed at a disadvantage, seeing that he has to get these goods from America. I am assured that all the parts to which I have referred are patented. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- Some of them are not. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- The statement put into my hands by those who are in a position to speak on the subject is as follows: - >Item 1. Handle-bars : - The "Kelly," "Ideal," "Hussey," and adjustable : - These are all proprietary lines duly patented, and cannot be made in Great Britain. > >Item 2. Spokes : - The American spoke is what we call in the trade a rolled thread. The English spoke is a cut thread, thereby weakening the spoke, whereas the rolled threaded spoke has the contrary effect - also the American nipple used with the rolled threaded spokes are extra long, and fit either the wood or steel rims, whereas the English manufactured article fits the steel rim only. > >Ditto 3, *re* wood rims; ditto 4, *re* duck roller brakes; ditto 5, *re* chain guards; ditto 6, *re* bells; ditto 7, *rc* lamp brackets. The answer to item No. 1 meets all these different items. It seems to me that if the Committee are satisfied that these articles must be obtained from America, they should be pre pared to accept the amendment I suggest. I assume that, in endeavouring to give a preference to British manufacturers as against foreign manufacturers, we do not desire to do anything which would handicap the Australian manufacturer. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- Manufacturing in this case means fastening together a few imported tubes. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- But they have to be imported, and we want our manufacturers to import them from the cheapest market. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- Why cannot we make them here ? {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- My amendment does not in any way affect the duty between Australia and England. It relates to that between England and the United States. Am I to understand that the honorable member for Bland admits that wood rims have to be imported? {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- They are imported from America simply because they are cheap. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- Not a wood rim for a bicycle is used in Australia that is not made in America. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- They can be made here. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- Has the honorable member ever known a wood rim to be made in Australia? {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWilliams: -- Dees the honorable member, as a protectionist, say that wood rims cannot be made in Australia? {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- I think they can be, but until they are made in Australia it is unfair to prejudice the local manufacturer. As soon as they are made in Australia I shall be in favour of increasing the duty against Englishmen and foreigners alike, but at present we cannot impose a high duty without hampering the trade. I move - >That after the words "except tyres" the words " Handle-bars - the ' Kelly ' Ideal ' Hussey ' and Adjustable ; the American rolled thread spokes; wood. rims; duck roller brakes; chain guards; bells; lamp brackets," be inserted. {: #subdebate-9-1-s29 .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY:
Wentworth .- It is encouraging to hear from a protectionist like the honorable and learned member for Corio, sound, strong free-trade arguments such as he has used in favour of his amendment. The honorable and learned member wants to buy his wood rims anywhere, wherever the market is cheapest, and will only support a local wood-rim industry when it has been established and become self-supporting. That is, I say. a sound free-trade argument. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- It seems to me that the Free-trade Party has been extinct in this House lately. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- There is no need for us to advance free-trade arguments whilst we can find a champion for our principles in the honorable and learned member for Corio. He objects to impose high duties for the benefit of an industry that cannot stand by itself. In view of the arguments which he has used, I do not know but that I shall be prepared to indorse anyrequest he makes for the postponement of the matter under review. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- Will the honorable member support the amendment? {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- Does the honorable member for Yarra think that I shall vote against a solid free-trader like the honorable and learned member for Corio? I trust that the Minister will give us an opportunity of reconsidering the proposal at an early date. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- Perhaps the Minister has information at his disposal which would enable him to reply at once. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I do not intend to say a word. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- No; the Minister is going to " bullock it through." But surely he will postpone the item in view of the serious injury that is likely to occur to one of the established industries of Victoria. {: #subdebate-9-1-s30 .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR:
Yarra -- I trust that the Minister will agree to the amendment. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWilliams: -- Another protectionist gone wrong! {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- I am very anxious that the people who make bicycles in Australia shall get the parts which they require at the cheapest possible rate. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- Cheap and nasty ! {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- By no means. If the honorable member for Corio would strike out from his amendment " chain guards, bells, and lamp brackets," the Minister might very well agree to the part of it relating to adjustable handle-bars, spokes, wood rims, and brakes. Eighty per cent, of the adjustable handle-bars which are used in Australia come from America. They cannot be made here because they are patented. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- That remark applies only to some of them. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- Ninety per cent. of the adjustable handle-bars used here are patented, and cannot be made in Australia. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- That is not correct, I think. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- I have taken the trouble to obtain reliable information. Ninety-five per cent. of the spokes used in Australia are imported from America. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- They are not patented. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- They are not, but the English spoke is not used because it is too heavy, and because it has a cut thread, and is thereby weakened. As the honorable member for Bland is well aware, the American bicycle is lighter than the English. InAustralia makers have evolved a machine that stands midway between the English and American in respect to lightness. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- The Australian machines are mostly made from B.S.A. parts. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- The frames are English, and they, with the brackets, sprockets, hubs, and heads, represent five-sixths of the cost of the complete machines. Thevalue of the other parts for which we are asking an exemption represent from 30s. to £2. All the wood rims come from America. The duck roller brake is an American patent. A number of cyclists will not use any other kind of brake, because they know that a grip brake is apt to stop the machine too suddenly. When it is applied to the front wheel it is likely to throw the rider over the machine. I would ask the honorable member for Corio to limit his amendment to adjustable handle-bars, without specifying particular patents, spokes and nipples, wood rims, and duck roller brakes. Mr.Crouch. - If the Minister will accept that proposal I am quite agreeable. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr TUDOR: -- I hope that the Minister will agree to that modification of the amendment. Question - That the words proposed to be inserted be so inserted - put. The Committee divided. AYES: 6 NOES: 24 Majority ... ... 18 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the negative. Amendment negatived. {: #subdebate-9-1-s31 .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH:
Corio -- I am very sorry that the honorable member for Wentworth, by interjection, said that Australian manufactures are cheap and nasty. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- I did not. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- The honorable member madethe remark in very general terms, and used it also, I think, as a free-trade argument. I am pleased to get the straight pronouncement on behalf of free-traders that they regard Australian manufactures as cheap and nasty. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- It is quite easy for the honorable member to repeat a statement which is not correct. I have already denied that I made the remark which he is imputing to me. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- It is just as well that bicycle manufacturers! and others should know what the honorable member has said. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I would point out to the honorable member that he must accept the disclaimer. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- There is nothing offensive in what I said. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order ! The honorable member for Wentworth denies having made the statement attributed to him, and the honorable and learned member must accept his denial. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- Does he deny having stated that Australian manufactures are cheap and nasty ? {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- I do. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- I am surprised that he should have made such a denial. Does he deny that he made that statement on behalf of the free-trade party? {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- The honorable and learned member ought to be sensible. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- If the honorable member did notsay it he thought it. {: #subdebate-9-1-s32 .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY:
Wentworth .- The honorable and learned member for Corio might have covered his retreat in a more dignified way. I wish to state at once that in the course of his speech the honorable and learned member said that if we had to import goods it was only reasonable that we should obtain them in the cheapest market. I subsequently remarked that I welcomed his as a convert to free-trade, and I referred sarcastically to the taunt so often hurled at the free-trade party that they favour cheap and nasty imports. I was applying to the honorable and learned member the charge so frequently made against the freetrade party that they support the policy which he had just advocated. I certainly did not refer to Australian industries as " nasty." Item agreed to. Items ii6a toii6g - Boots and shoes . (British), 30 per cent., (other) 40 per cent. {: #subdebate-9-1-s33 .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY:
Wentworth .- The statistics show that there has been a very large decrease in the proportion of foreign boots and shoes of these kinds imported during the last few years. In 1903 foreign goods to the value of £162,580 were imported under this heading as against importations from the United Kingdom of the value of only £81,430. Last year, however, £58,073 worth were imported from the United Kingdom, and only £55,682 worth from foreign countries. In these circumstances, why should this enormous preference be granted? {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr Salmon: -- We wish the remaining proportion of foreign imports to give place to British imports. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- If it is not considered necessary to grant a preference of more than 10 per cent. in favour of British imports which show a proportionate decrease as compared with those from foreign countries, why is it necessary to give the same preference to another line of British imports which is more than holding its own ? {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Mr Salmon: -- The reduction in the imports of these goods from foreign countries is due to the fact that Australian manufactures have taken their place. Our desire is that the remaining proportion of foreign imports shall give way to imports from the United Kingdom. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- If the Australian manufacturer is able to cut out foreign imports under existing circumstances, the increased protection afforded him by this " preference " should place him in a better position to annihilate British imports. The Opposition desire to grant a real preference to Great Britain, and that being so, I move - >That after the words " 30 per cent.," the words " and on and after the 20th day of September, 1906, *ad valorem* 25 per cent.," be inserted. {: #subdebate-9-1-s34 .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- If ever there was a case in which we might reasonably make a small reduction of duty in favour of British imports this is one. It is monstrous to increase the duty as against foreign imports from 30 per cent. to 40 per cent. This matter was very fully discussed when the original Tariff was under review, and the duty was then fixed at 30 per cent. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- That was a big reduction on the Victorian rate. {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- The Victorian duty was 5s. per pair. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- And some sorts of boots were then selling at 4s.11d. per pair. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The Victorian duty was considered outrageously high, and I think that the honorable member for Bland voted for an *ad valorem* duty of 30 per cent. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- Yes. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member should have tried to increase the duty to 10s. per pair. He might then have been able to get his boots for 2s. 6d. per pair. Thirty per cent. should satisfy the most clamorous protectionist, and should account for the difference between the wages paid here and those paid in England and America, from which countries most of our importations come. {: .speaker-KLM} ##### Mr Maloney: -- In Japan the wages amount to rod. per day. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Our imports from Japan are not worth considering. {: .speaker-KLM} ##### Mr Maloney: -- The war put a stop to them. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- At any rate, I am not prepared to raise the rates to 40 per cent., in order to give a preference to Great Britain. Question - That the words proposed to be inserted be so inserted - put. The Committee divided. AYES: 5 NOES: 24 Majority ... ... 19 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the negative. Amendment negatived. Item agreed to. Items 117A, Boots and shoes, n.e.i., and 117B, Rubber sand shoes, agreed to. Item 115. - Watches, clocks, and chronometers, n.e.i., and parts thereof, time registers and detectors, opera, field, and marine glasses, pedometers, pocket counters, kinematographs, kinetoscopes, phonographs, graphophones, gramaphones, cameras, and magic lanterns, including accessories, *ad valorem* (British) 20 per cent., (other) 30 per cent. {: #subdebate-9-1-s35 .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY:
Wentworth .- The Minister promised that he would give us some explanation with regard to this item. I have explained my reasons for questioning the wisdom of imposing any additional duty upon the articles enumerated.. I have shown that signatures to a certain petition were obtained under false pretences in New South Wales, and that this proposal should not be allowed to pass without the fullest investigation. If the Minister's explanation is satisfactory, nothing more need be said. {: #subdebate-9-1-s36 .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
Minister of Trade and Customs · Hume · Protectionist .- Our importations of watches and clocks, which apparently come from Great Britain, are of considerable value, and it was mainly in consequence of this fact that I was induced to consider the question of including this item. Upon, inquiry, however, I found that in this case, as in that of strawboard and others, although the imports appear in the returns as British products, 90 per cent. of them come from the Continent, and are merely forwarded through . Great Britain to the Commonwealth. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- I suppose that the Minister will insist upon certificates being furnished as to the country of origin? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- Yes; under the Commerce Act, it is necessary to indicate the country of origin of every imported article, and in the future we shall have better opportunities of ascertaining the real extent of our trade relations with the mother country. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- I presume that under present conditions the goods are shipped to England under one invoice, and to the Commonwealth under another, and that there is not necessarily any corrupt intention on the part of the importers. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- I think that the honorable member's impression is correct. I do not say that the importers are practising any intentional deception. {: #subdebate-9-1-s37 .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY:
Wentworth -- In view of the statement of the Minister, I think that we should consider the advisability of striking this itemout of the schedule. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- It is very probable that, after consultation, I shall adopt that course, but I do not wish to do so at present. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- I can see the difficulty in which the Minister is placed, but I should like him 'to promise that we shall have an opportunity to reconsider the matter. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I shall promise nothing. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- I suggest to the Minister the propriety of consenting to a recommittal of this item in the event of any honorable member desiring it. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I have already told the honorable member my opinion in reference to watches. The chances are that I will agree to the recommittal of the item, but I do not wish to make a definite promise. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- I trust that the Minister will recognise the force of my contention. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I have recognised it all along. I have very grave doubts whether watches ought to be included in the schedule, but I do not wish to make any promise regarding a recommittal of the item. {: .speaker-KYJ} ##### Sir John Quick: -- If the Minister consents to strike out " watches " he will also have to strike out " explosives." {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I promise the honorable member for Wentworth that I will do what is fair. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY: -- I am content to accept the Minister's assurance. Item agreed to. Division XI. (/) *(g)* (i'), Ships' compasses, ships' chronometers, microscopes, telescopes, spectacles, &c, agreed to. Item 109, Furniture, agreed to. Item 78 (h) Engines, gas and oil, and highspeed engines and turbines, water and steam, *ad valorem* (British), 12½ per cent. ; (other) 22½ per cent. {: #subdebate-9-1-s38 .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY:
Wentworth -- I should like to know whether this item includes completed vehicles which are propelled byany particular form of power? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I do not quite understand the application of the word " turbine," or whether turbines can be made in Australia. Item agreed to. Items 85 (a) paints and colours - ground in liquid, and 85 (b), prepared for use, agreed to. Division VII. *(a) (d) (c) (d) (e) (/) (h)* (7) (i), Ceramic colours ; colours, artists'; dyes ; lamp, ivory, bone, and vegetable blacks ; London purple and Paris green; prepared glazes for pottery; sulphate of copper, and ultramarine blue, agreed to. Item 122 (f), paper, strawboard (British),1s. per cwt. ; (other),1s. 6d. per cwt. {: #subdebate-9-1-s39 .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr WATSON:
Bland .- I think that the Minister might consider whether there is not room for an amendment of this item in regard to strawboard. Only a few minutes ago the stated that a very large proportion of the strawboard which is listed as coming from Great Britain is of continental manufacture. I am informed upon very good authority that absolutely the whole of it comes from the Continent, chiefly from Holland. In the mother country, I understand, there is not a single factory which produces strawboard. {: .speaker-K4I} ##### Mr HUME COOK:
BOURKE, VICTORIA · PROT -- It is made, I think, at Colleyhurst. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr WATSON: -- No, that is millboard. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- Is it made in Australia? {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr WATSON: -- There is one factory in Australia at Broadford which is conducted by **Mr. McDougall.** He has arranged a trust under which the other factories which previously existed have agreed to shut out competition. This is a question which ought to be considered when the Tariff Commission's recommendations are under review. There is no question of a preference to Great Britain involved, because that country does not manufacture strawboard. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- Strawboard is theraw material of a factory in Sydney. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr WATSON: -- It is not only the raw material of a factory in Sydney, but of establishments all over the Commonwealth. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- Why not accept the Government proposal as a temporary measure of protection? {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr WATSON: -- Because the industry already enjoys a protective duty of about 25 per cent. Until the Tariff Commission report as to how far the existing combine is taking advantage- {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- How can it be a combine if there is only one factory in existence in the Commonwealth? {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr WATSON: -- Originally there were three factories engaged in the manufacture of strawboard, butthey have arranged that only one factory shall produce that article. {: .speaker-K4I} ##### Mr HUME COOK:
BOURKE, VICTORIA · PROT -- They deny that there is a combine. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr WATSON: -- There is not much doubt about the accuracy of my statement. Not only is there a combine, but they have made arrangements with the paper mill' at Liverpool, in New South Wales, under which the latter is prevented from manufacturing strawboard, and thus competition is prevented. These are reasons why we should defer the consideration of this question until the recommendations of the Tariff Commission are before us. If strawboard were manufactured in Great Britain, I should be quite willing to support the imposition of a preferential duty. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- Why not accept the Government proposal as an instalment of justice to the combine? {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr WATSON: -- I think that they are receiving justice now. I think the Minister ought to reconsider the matter; and if he is not inclined to do so I shall most decidedly vote against the item. **Mr. G.** B. EDWARDS (South Sydney) fore it more information than the Minister has yet given to induce it to approve of such a measure of protection on an article which is the raw material of hundreds of little industries in Australia. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I find that this is another case like that of the watches. {: #subdebate-9-1-s40 .speaker-KDD} ##### Mr G B EDWARDS:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- I understand what the Minister means ; and that bears out my contention. The return shows that strawboard of undeniably foreign manufacture has been brought into Australia as British. I think that the Minister goes so' far as to say that 90 per cent. of the strawboard is brought here under such circumstances ? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I do not say that. I was then speaking of the watches. {: .speaker-KDD} ##### Mr G B EDWARDS:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- At any rate, I believe that the percentage is. not 90 per cent., but 100 per cent. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- There is a strawboard factory in Manchester. {: .speaker-KDD} ##### Mr G B EDWARDS:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -But does that factory export strawboard to Australia? I venture to say that not a single sheet of English strawboard has been imported into Australia since this duty was imposed. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I do not know that, {: .speaker-KDD} ##### Mr G B EDWARDS:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- I do not think that the Minister does know. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Strawboard is made at a factory in Manchester, but whether it is exported here I do not know. {: .speaker-KDD} ##### Mr G B EDWARDS:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- A large number of manufacturers in Australia depend on strawboard as their raw material, and yet the Minister proposes, without good advice, to raise the protection to this extraordinary extent. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- The advice was all right, according to the return ; but I found out afterwards, through communications from various persons, that it was not a proper return, just as in the case ofthe watches. {: .speaker-KDD} ##### Mr G B EDWARDS:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- There is no fraud ; the simple fact is that this has been called English strawboard, either because it comes along with a quantity of English goods, or because it is purchased in England. I am advised that this strawboard is manufactured in Holland and Manilla, and that most of the importations are from the former country. Consequently, any preference to England would be inoperative ; and, having regard to the figures, it seems perfectly clear that the only idea underlying this proposal is to give largely-increased protection to local1 manufacturers of strawboard. The price of strawboard ranges from 50s. to 65s. a ton, so that the proposal to impose a duty of is. 6d. per cwt. means a much larger measure of protection than ought to be accorded to any manufacture. The item itself is too small,' and almost insignificant, for the Minister to take such a firm stand in regard to it ; and there is also the fact that, although there is a factory in Great Britain, he believes the larger proportion of the imports come from foreign countries. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- That is so. {: .speaker-KDD} ##### Mr G B EDWARDS:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- Is the item worth contending for? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I do not feel strongly about it. {: .speaker-KDD} ##### Mr G B EDWARDS:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT -- Having had a most important division on bicycle handlebars, we are now contending on the question of strawboard, which cannot prove of any very great importance as a matter of preference to British manufacturers. It has been contended, and I believe truly, that if there are manufacturers of strawboard in Great Britain they do not export to Australia. We had a long controversy on this topic when the Tariff was under consideration, and it was generally conceded that more thain sufficient protection was granted to the local manufacturers. Now, however, it is proposed to increase the protection by 50 per cent. The proposal affects about three people in my own constituency, and I have reason to believe that about 100 industries will suffer if the item be agreed to- **Mr. JOSEPH** COOK (Parramatta) t'J - 5 7 H--1 - If ally °f these items goes beyond an)' question of Tariff preference, it is this item. The Minister has introduced a schedule which proposes British preference, but there is no British industry which could be preferred under this item; therefore, a much more serious question arises. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- The Customs return appears to show that there is some importation from England. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- But the article imported is not made in England. {: .speaker-K4I} ##### Mr HUME COOK:
BOURKE, VICTORIA · PROT -- I say that the article is made in Manchester {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- All those engaged in using strawboard sa,y that there is not is. worth of the article imported which is made in England. {: .speaker-K4I} ##### Mr HUME COOK:
BOURKE, VICTORIA · PROT -- I have seen forty or fifty faked telegrams all saying the same thing, and all apparently inspired. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I would advise the honorable member not to make statements of that kind. I imagine that there are honest men engaged in this industry in Australia - men as honest as the honorable member himself. **Sir William** Lyne. If the honorable member will sit down, I shall consent to omit the item. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I tell honorable members plainly that it is a question whether this item should honestly be in the schedule. {: #subdebate-9-1-s41 .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH:
Corio -- It is a pity that the Minister should bring down protective proposals, and then, because free-trade members raise some objection, he should then withdraw the proposals. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Is this intended to be a purely protective proposal ? If so, it is dishonestly before the Committee. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- If the proposal is incidentally protective, all the better, because it is time we had some decent protection in Australia. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- That is another matter. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- Patriotism is protection, and protection is patriotism, and it seems that the Minister- {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- There has been a. mistake. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- If the Minister says that the item was introduced in error, that, of course, alters the case. {: #subdebate-9-1-s42 .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
Minister of Trade and Customs · Hume · Protectionist -- I said just now that the returns show a large importation of these strawboards from Great Britain, and that was the reason why the item was included in the schedule. It appears that the returns are misleading, because there is only one small factory in Manchester, and I believe that really no Englishmade strawboard is being sent out here. Honorable members will understand that as one deals with these matters letters are received which explain where information on various questions is to be obtained. I find that nearly all the strawboard imported here from Great Britain is made in Holland. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- British manufacturers import the strawboard they use from Holland. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- Quite so. It is imported into Great Britain from Holland, and is sent out here under different invoices. When it comes here in that way it is assumed that it has been made in England. I did not wish to take the matter into my own hands, but I had a feeling that the item would be of no value so far as preference to Great Britain is concerned. I admit that 'although in some cases the proposals I am submitting might have a protective influence so far as Australian industries are concerned, it must not be forgotten that this is a preference and not a protective schedule. I am sorry that an honorable member who has taken a great interest in the strawboard business is not present, but 1 cannot refuse to take action because he does not happen to be here. {: #subdebate-9-1-s43 .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH:
Corio .- As I understand the position, there is one small factory in Great Britain engaged in making strawboard. Because the bulk cf the strawboard imported bv Australia comes from the Continent, the Minister is not prepared to stand by an item which would help people in England to establish the industry there, and the one small factory there is to remain a small factory. It is not difficult to understand what the history of the business has Been. If honorable members will consult the *Encyclopaedia Britannica,* they will find that strawboard used to be made in England. I can surmise that the industry was removed to the Continent .to secure the advantage of cheap labour, and the British working man is permitted to suffer through the lack of patriotism and foresight cm the part of the British people. That thev returned freetraders at the last election is their own fault. I am sorry that the Minister should take the course he proposes to take rather than a course which would assist to build up a strawboard industry in Great Britain. We are to understand that the £6,637 worth of strawboard imported from the United Kingdom in 1904 was made on the Continent, and merely passed through the United Kingdom in transit to Australia. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- There is no doubt about that. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- The Minister has made inquiries and we must accept his statement as that of the responsible person. Then the strawboard imported to Australia to the value of £7,799 »n 1903, *£8,* 472 in 1904, and £6,637 in ,1905, was continental or foreign straw- board, and merely passed through the United Kingdom. I shall see that this information is given to those in England who are lighting for preferential trade and Empire reciprocity. It appears that the foreigner is to be encouraged, and those of us who desire to give a preference to English manufacturers are to be prevented from doing *so.* It is right that we should establish the manufacture of strawboards in Australia, and we should take advantage of every opportunity, whether under a. preferential trade proposal or under a proposal for protection, to build up our Australian industries. I am sorry that an honorable member who is a protectionist has spoken againt this item. My constituency is interested in the matter, because the paper mills, near Geelong, make the basis of strawboard. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- No. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- If the Minister will postpone this item, and the honorable member for Bland will! visit the mills next Saturday, I shall be able to show him where the basis of strawboard is made. I admit that there is something in what has been said about Sands and McDougall having been connected with the business, and we should be prepared to do what we can to resist the operations of any combine. But the honorable member for Bland says . that there are some paper mills at Liverpool, in New South' Wales, and so a trust, under the Anti-Trust Bill, will be immediately created. If this Committee had sufficient determination to establish Austraiian industries, something might be done, but we cannot expect that very much will be done when we have ,a Minister who is prepared to back down because three or four free-trade members are continually bobbing up and making a row. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- This will read well in Geelong. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- Indeed it will. I am sorry the Minister will not allow the item to stand. I hope that the next time items of this kind are brought forward a proper defence of them will Be made. {: #subdebate-9-1-s44 .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member for Corio has been talking for the last few minutes to the Geelong protectionists and the Geelong newspapers. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- I admit that I have. What is the harm in that ? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- It is to be hopedthey will profit by what the honorable member has been saying. I should like to remind him once more that he is not taking a proper view of this matter. If he desires that three or four strawboard mills should be established in Australia by means of a Tariff there is a straightforward and above-board way to bring that about, but he should not, under cover of a schedule like this, sneak in further protection for the manufacture of strawboard. This is a scheme for British preference, or it is nothing at all. In this case there is nothing in Great Britain of this kind to prefer, and therefore to impose the duty as suggested in this schedule is to prefer, not British strawboards, but Australian strawboards. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- Why should the honorable member desire to wipe out Australian industries ? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Will not the honorable member see that that is not the question we are considering? No one desires to wipe out Australian industries. The question is whether they are to be given protection in a straightforward manner, or under cover of British preference. This is not a proposal for protection, but for a preference to British goods. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- Does not the honorable member want to see our working men employed ? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I am as anxious to see the honorable member's constituents employed as he is himself. But this is not a question of Tariff at all. It is a question of morals. It is a question whether we should sneak in under cover of preference a proposal for further protection. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- When there are men walking about unemployed, I will not scorn any means to help them. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Regardless of whether the means are right or wrong? I am surprised to hear such a statement from the honorable member. Item agreed to. Items 144 (a), *(b), (c), (d),* and (e) Pickles, 78 *(c)* Cutlery, and 78 (m) Plated Ware and Plated Cutlery, agreed to. Item 53 (a) Starch, including starch in powdered form", per lb. (British) 2d., (other) 2½d. {: #subdebate-9-1-s45 .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY:
Wentworth -- I think that honorable members require a certain amount of stiffening with regardto this item, I learn from people interested that no preferential duty is required in the case of starch. Indeed, any duty higher than a certain amount actually operates detrimentally to the local industry. I move - >That the words " and on and after 19th September, 1906,1½d." be inserted after the figures "2½d." {: #subdebate-9-1-s46 .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I think the Committee ought to reduce the duty in this case. We were told the other day by the honorable member for Mernda, who speaks as an expert, that no increased duty is required on starch. He preferred that the duty should not be interfered with. The bulk of our imported starch already comes from Great Britain. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- Some from India. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Out of £14,000 worth imported, only about £2,000 worth comes from foreign countries. All the rest comes from Great Britain. The Committee would be perfectly justified in reducing the duty. {: #subdebate-9-1-s47 .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWILLIAMS:
Franklin .- I have objected to duties on the tools of trade of agriculturists, and have endeavoured to assist in preventing the tools of the miner being taxed. Now I hope that honorable members will assist in reducing taxation on what is really a tool of trade of the poorest of the poor - namely, the washerwomen. {: #subdebate-9-1-s48 .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY:
Wentworth .- The Minister does not seem inclined to reduce the duty, although we know on the authority of an honorable member, whose judgment is worthy of respect, that it is not required by the trade. I think that if he were present to express the view which he takes of the proposal, it would be to the advantage of the country. It is on that ground that I earnestly appeal to the Minister to postpone the consideration of the item, or to allow a recommittal, so that that honorable member may have an opportunity to state clearly the reasons which have actuated him. {: #subdebate-9-1-s49 .speaker-KVJ} ##### Mr STORRER:
Bass -- The present duty on starch is, I understand, 2d. per lb. According to the honorable member for Parramatta, the imports of the article last year amounted to about £12,000. I come from a State which needs all the revenue which it is possible to get. If the duty on starch were reduced by id. per lb., it would lose 25 per cent. of the revenue which it has been receiving from its importation. {: .speaker-K8L} ##### Mr Thomas: -- It would be retained in the pockets of the poor laundry women. {: .speaker-KVJ} ##### Mr STORRER: -- Unfortunately the major portion of the money would be retained in the pockets of the Chinamen. For the reason I have stated, I think that the duty should be retained as it is. {: #subdebate-9-1-s50 .speaker-L0R} ##### Mr LEE:
Cowper .- Since the honorable member for Parramatta objected to protection being sneaked in under a proposal for preferential trade, I think that the free-traders should not now try to sneak in free-trade. I want to be consistent. When the time comes to reduce the duty on starch 1 shall be prepared to assist in that direction, but this is not the proper time to make the attempt. It is not necessary for the Minister to propose an increased duty of £d. per lb. on foreign starch because only a small quantity is imported from foreign countries. If the duty were raised the taunt would be continually cast in the teeth of some Ministerial supporters that it was done in order to safeguard the interests of the honorable member for Mernda. I think that the Minister might very well agree to withdraw the item. I do not see my wayclear to support the amendment. {: #subdebate-9-1-s51 .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY:
Wentworth .- I am glad that the honorable member for Cowper has become a sudden convert to consistency. I believe that during the course of the sitting he has contended that any preference to Great Britain should be in the direction of an honest preference. At that time he stated that the duties on British goods should be lowered, but now he says that they should not. He has taken up two separate positions in the one debate. Whatever position he adheres to, he will be committing an outrage upon his principles. {: #subdebate-9-1-s52 .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I would suggest to the honorable member for Wentworth that we should be on stronger ground if we allowed the duty on starch to remain exactly as it is, and to take off the additional duty of Jd. per lb. which the Government propose to put on. {: #subdebate-9-1-s53 .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY:
Wentworth .- I am willing to consider the statesmanlike suggestion which the deputy leader of the Opposition has made, but I anticipate that in the quarters where knowledge is most preferable in this regard it will be received with disfavour. I have, done my best to give effect to the views which have been put before me, and I now ask leave to withdraw the amendment, with a view to the omission of the item. Amendment, by leave, withdrawn. Item agreed to. {: #subdebate-9-1-s54 .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER:
Gwydir .- I desire to move the amendment relative to pig and manufactured iron, which I outlined when I was speaking to the general question. I propose to include in the schedule blooms, billets, slabs, angles, tees, rounds, flats, squares, and all other sections of rolled iron and steel- iron, sheet or plate, black or galvanized, up to five-sixteenths of an inch in thickness, to be subjected to a duty of 12J per cent, when imported from the United Kingdom, and 25 per cent, when imported from foreign countries. On pig-iron, which is not dutiable at present, I propose to levy a duty of 10 per cent, when imported from the United Kingdom, and 20 per cent, when imported from foreign countries. I wish to know whether the Minister is prepared, in the interests of the industry which he has so long desired to assist, to accept the amendment I have outlined. He has made concessions to certain members of the Opposition. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- To those who are against the Australian worker. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- They are to a large extent. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- That is a falsehood. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order ! {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I withdraw that remark, and say that the statement is a gross inaccuracy, and that the honorable member knows it. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- The Minister has shown some liberality. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- In the matter of strawboards. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- We have done more for the Australian workers than the prattlers opposite have done. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- My desire is that the Minister shall lead an important Australian industry into a safe haven. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member is indulging in heroics, because he knows that he cannot secure the passing of his amendment. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- I object very strongly to the suggestion made by the honorable member for Parramatta that I am not sincere in putting forward this proposition. If I were, as the honorable member is, the representative of a town in which the iron industry has been carried on for some time, there might be some warrant for his suggestion that I am influenced by personal considerations, but, as a matter of fact, I stand to lose more than I shall gain by making this proposal. I ask the Minister whether he is prepared to accept it. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- He could not accept it, because it is out of order. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- He could at least urge his colleagues to agree to the insertion of such an item. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- On a point of order, **Mr. Chairman,** I should like to know whether it is competent for a private member to move an amendment involving an increased charge upon the people. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Up to the present time I have not heard the honorable member move any amendment. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr Page: -- Is it not a fact, **Mr. Chairman,** that in commencing his speech the honorable member read a certain amendment which he said he begged to move ? {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member certainly read an amendment which he said he intended to submit, but up to the present I have not heard him formally move it. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- You are quite right, sir. I have not yet moved any amendment. I have simply indicated a proposal which I invite the Minister to accept. The honorable gentleman sits silent as a sphinx, as though the iron industry interested him not a whit. He seems willing to allow it to be sacrificed to the gigantic trusts of America. Will he belie the professions of his political life-time by doing nothing for an industry which affects so many manufactures? In New South Wales, as he is aware, a certain gentleman has made a contract with the State Government to supply iron made from native ores. He is doing this without assistance from the Commonwealth Parliament, and is paying duties to the amount of 20 per cent. on some of the material used for his furnaces. Will not the Government stretch out a hand to assist this deserving citizen in his attempt to develop the iron industry ? If the Minister remains silent now, the time will come when others will have a good deal to say about his action. I am surprised, too, that his colleagues who have expressed so much anxiety for the establishment of iron foundries in Australia will not do something in the matter. However, I do not feel disposed to detain the Committee longer, seeing that it is now almost 6 o'clock in the morning, and we have been sitting for nearly twenty hours. Therefore, in order to test the feeling of honorable members, I move - >That the following words be added to the schedule - " Pig, rolled, and plate iron under the following designations : - Blooms, bullets, slabs, angles, tees, rounds, flats, squares, and all other sections of rolled iron and steel, sheet or plate, black or galvanized, up to 5-16th inch thickness, *ad valorem* (British), 12½ per cent. ; (other), 25 per cent. Pig iron, *ad valorem* (British), 10 per cent. ; (other), 20 per cent. I hope that honorable members will not shelter themselves behind any technical point, but that those who believe in protection will have the courage to vote for the amendment, and that the free-traders, if any are left, will vote as their consciences dictate. It will not be very creditable if I am defeated by a point of order raised with a view to shirk a division on the question. I do not expect that a point of order will be raised by free-traders, because they will have the sense to see the wisdom of allowing a vote to be taken. However, I shall not prolong my remarks, because earlier in the sitting I spoke on the question at some length, and I feel that it would not be likely to have any greater effect if I kept talking for another half hour. {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- The honorable gentleman {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Does the honorable able member rise to a point of order ? {: .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr Kelly: -- Yes. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I rule that the amendment is out of order, for two reasons. As it involves the imposition of taxation, it cannot be moved by a private member, and as dutieson metals are not proposed in the schedule, it is a proposal for the addition of an item which cannot be added. {: #subdebate-9-1-s55 .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER:
Gwydir -- I move - >That the Committee dissent from the Chairman's ruling. I have in my hand a copy of a ruling that was given by **Mr. Speaker** upon the 12th November, 1901. When the Tariff debate was proceeding, the Chairman of Committees ruled that a private member could move an amendment in the direction of increasing a duty. It may be argued that whereas a private member may move to increase a duty already proposed, he cannot propose the imposition of a. new duty. I maintain, however, that if a private mem- ber can propose an increase of duty which would have the effect of adding to the taxation imposed upon the community, he should, upon the same principle, be able to propose an entirely new duty. My proposal would have an effect similar to that of the amendment which was ruled in order upon a former occasion. The difference between one proposal and the other is merelyone of degree. The principle underlying them is the same. The Chairman, upon the occasion referred to, ruled that a duty might be increased upon the motion of a private member, and therefore that a private member could propose the imposition of increased taxation upon the community. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- The increase of the duty might result in decreasing the taxation. {: .speaker-KXK} ##### Mr WEBSTER: -- Quite so: but in the case referred to, as, in the present instance, it was assumed that it would result in adding to the taxation imposed upon the people. Upon -the 12th November, 1901, **Mr. Speaker** ruled as follows : - >Therefore, ruling as I have to rule, that neither standing order 171 nor standing order 247 applies to this case - as we are now dealing with a resolution in Committee only, and the Bill stage will come later - and falling back on standing order No. 1, which incorporates the practice of the House of Commons.. I am bound to decide that the Chairman has correctly determined the practice in this House, which is that duties on items may be increased, and that other items which are mentioned in the Tariff, on which no duty is proposed may be proposed as subjects for duty, and that in that way the House will have the freest possible hand in debating the Tariff. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Would it not be better to refer the matter to **Mr. Speaker?** {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I may point out that the Committee is quite competent to come to a decision with regard to the rulings of the Chairman. That is provided for in standing order 228. {: #subdebate-9-1-s56 .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Constitutionally and otherwise, this is a most important matter, and I would suggest that you, sir, should accept a friendly suggestion and permit the question to be referred to **Mr. Speaker,** who has already given a ruling upon it. **Mr. Sneaker** might now be asked to apply his ruling to this particular case. {: #subdebate-9-1-s57 .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr WATSON:
Bland .- I think that you, sir, will recognise that notwithstanding the existence of the standing order it would be extremely inconvenient if we had two sets of rulings governing the proceedings of the House and the Com mittee respectively. Although I admit that, so far as the standing order is concerned, your interpretation is quite correct, I think that it is highly desirable that the Speaker should be consulted, and that a ruling should be given which would serve as a guide for both the House and the Committee. {: #subdebate-9-1-s58 .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER:
Wide Bay .- When the honorable member for Gwydir intimated that it was his intention to move an amendment upon the schedule, and mentioned that a decision had been given by **Mr. Speaker** upon a former occasion, the circumstances were brought vividly to my mind., At that time I held that a private member was not in a position to move an amendment which would have the effect of increasing taxation. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- All the same, it is a very handy power for Parliament to possess. We have whatever power the Speaker likes to give us. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- It may suit some people to conduct their proceedings in a happygolucky, manner, but I . think that we should proceed according to strict constitutional methods, which are the only safe ones to follow. I believe that the decision upon the amendment submitted to **Mr. Speaker** upon a former occasion, the amendment having the effect of increasing taxation, was contrary to the Standing Orders, and to the practice of all British Parliaments. I then raised a point of order as to whether a private member could do as was desired, and it was suggested that the question should be submitted to the Speaker for his decision. After argument, **Mr. Speaker** gave a certain decision - a decision which I still think was wrong. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- The honorable member for Moira says that in the Victorian Parliament it was always done. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- I then said- >I was responsible for raising this point of order, but as debate has taken place on the matter I do not think it is necessary to now speak at any length. The Crown has submitted a Tariff estimated to bring in a certain amount of revenue for the purpose of carrying on the Government of the Commonwealth, and on the very first item it is moved by a non-official member to increase the taxes on the people. I know no precedent whatever for increasing the total amount asked for bv the Crown ; and it must inevitably follow, if the increase be made, that the Crown will receive a larger amount, which must be extorted from the subjects of the Commonwealth. That, as a principle, is fatal to constitutional government; and at the same time, without going into reasons, I think it is against the spirit and even the letter of our own Standing Orders. I have nothing further to add upon the present occasion. I am still of opinion that the ruling which was then given by **Mr. Speaker** was wrong, and that the present ruling of the Chairman of Committees is in accordance with the practice of the House of Commons. {: #subdebate-9-1-s59 .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY:
Wentworth .- It appears to me that the case which has just been cited by the honorable member for Wide Bay is by no means upon all-fours with that upon which you, sir, have just given your ruling. **Mr. Speaker** said - >I am bound to decide that the Chairman has correctly determined the practice in this House, which is that duties on items may be increased, The proposal of the honorable member for Gwydir is not to increase a proposed duty, but to insert an entirely new item in the schedule. **Mr. Speaker** went on to say - and that other items which are mentioned in the Tariff on which no duty is proposed may be proposed as subjects for duty. The Tariff upon that occasion corresponded with the schedule which is now before us. I submit that the Committee should not agree to the motion proposed by the honorable member for Gwydir, but I do think that it would be advisable to refer the question which has been raised to **Mr. Speaker** for decision. I agree with the honorable member for Bland that it would be better to obtain a definite ruling from the highest authority in the House. Therefore, I suggest that in a friendly way the matter should be referred to **Mr. Speaker** for his ruling. {: #subdebate-9-1-s60 .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH:
Corio .- Although I do not think it is competent for the .honorable member for Gwydir to move the insertion in the schedule of a new item, I disagree with the ruling which has just been given. That ruling is based upon two grounds, first, that no private member can move to increase a duty ; and, secondly, that the item to which the proposal of the honorable member for 'Gwydir relates, is not contained in the schedule. As to the first point, I think that you, sir, are wrong, but as to the second, I ami of opinion that you are right. I believe that the honorable member for Gwydir can move to increase any duty specified in the schedule, but I do not think that he would be in order in moving the insertion of an entirely new item. There is a decision which was given in the Victorian Parliament in 1874 bv the then Speaker, who said - >The practice of the House of Commons, as far as I can gather, has been that in Committee of Ways and Means honorable membershave been allowed to substitute one duty foi another, and in 'Committee of the Whole to increase or decrease a duty, but not to impose a new duty, upon an article not included in the Tariff proposed by the Government. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member for Gwydir has moved to- refer my ruling to **Mr. Speaker.** I should like to point out that under standing order 228, this Committee has full power to settle its own methods of procedure. Still, it is wise that the rulings of the Chairman of Committees should not come into conflict with those given by. **Mr. Speaker.** Standing order No. 171 states: - >No amendment for the imposition or for the increase of a tax, rate, or duty shall be proposed by any non-official member in any committee on any Bill. It appears, therefore, that it is only in Committee upon a Bill that an honorable member cannot move to increase taxation. Therefore, our rules being silent as to the method we should adopt to decide whether a private member shall or shall not be allowed to propose increased taxation, we have to fall back on standing order No. 1, which states that, under such circumstances, we shall have recourse to the practice and procedure of the House of Commons. In *May,* 10th edition, page 532, we find the following. - >Responsibility of the Crown and Parliament regarding taxation. - The principle that the sanction of the Crown must be given to every grant of money drawn from the public revenue, applies equally to the taxation levied to provide that revenue. No motion can, therefore, be made to impose a tax, save bv the Minister of the Crown, unless such tax be in substitution, by way of equivalent, for taxation at that moment submitted to the consideration of Parliament ; If in the schedule there had been mention of various qualities! of iron, it would have been competent for the honorable member for Gwydir to move an amendment that there should be included some other sort of iron, provided the amount involved did not exceed the amount specified in the schedule as originally introduced. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- How could the amount of taxation be guaranteed if the items were altered ? {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- That question is not governed by the amount collected, but by the amount of the percentage on the particular item. *May* proceeds - nor can the amount of a tax proposed on behalf of the Crown be augmented, nor any alteration made in the area of imposition. In like manner, no increase can be considered by the House, except on the initiative of a Minister, acting on behalf of the Crown, either of an existing, or of a new or temporary tax for the service of the year; nor can a member, other than a Minister, move for the introduction of a Bill framed to effect a reduction of duties which would incidentally effect the increase of an existing duty, or the imposition of a new tax, although, 'the aggregate amount of imposition would be diminished by the provisions of the Bill. Then we have another authority, *Bourinot,* who in the third edition of his work, chapter vin., page 594, says, in reference to the imposition of taxes and ways and means - >It is now a fixed principle of constitutional government that all propositions for the imposition of taxes should emanate from the Ministry. In the session of 1S71 **Mr. Speaker** Cockburn recommended to the House the adoption of British practice in this particular, and the Commons have ever since acquiesced in its wisdom. As a consequence no private member is now permitted to propose a dominion tax upon the people; it must proceed from a Minister of the Crown, or be in some other form declared to be necessary for the Public Service. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- I submit that *Bourinot* is not much of an authority to us, seeing that we have to fall back on the House of Commons. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The difference between *Bourinot* and *May* is that the former is generally much the clearer. {: .speaker-F4R} ##### Mr Watson: -- But *Bourinot* looks at the question from the Canadian standpoint. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- That is true, but he is to a large extent governed by *May.* It is not necessary to quote *Todd* on the matter, but the opinions expressed in that work are practically on the same lines as those I have already referred to. Coming nearer home, we have a work of reference in *Blackmore's Practice of the House of Assembly;* and every one will admit that **Mr. Blackmore** is a very high authority, so far as Australian Parliaments are concerned. **Mr. Blackmore** says - >It is a constitutional principle that no burdens shall be imposed upon the people, except such as are necessary for the Public Service. Such necessity can only be made known to Parliament by the Crown through its responsible Ministers. A new tax, therefore, cannot be im posed, nor can an existing tax be increased, except on the recommendation of the Crown. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- *Todd's Parliamentary Government* is entirely against you, **Mr. Chairman.** {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- No; *Todd* is not against me. I have here a long ruling given in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly by Speaker Barton, whom we recognise as a great authority on these mat*ters. Without reading the full text, I may say that Speaker Barton distinctly rules that it would be out of order for a private member to introduce any proposal for additional taxation. I have here a whole list of rulings given in the Victorian Parliament to the same effect by Speaker Lalor and others. When I first heard of the proposed amendment I told the honorable member for Gwydir what was my opinion on the point. I informed him that while it was true that **Mr. Chanter,** a previous Chairman of Committees, had decided that such an increase could be proposed, and that that decision was upheld by **Mr. Speaker,** I personally was opposed to it. If such proposals were permitted, it would disarrange the whole of the public finances, and, further, there could be no finality to any schedule of taxation. It would be open to any honorable member to propose the most ridiculous item if it were once admitted that any one but a responsible Minister could submit items. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- It would abrogate Ministerial responsibility. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- That is so, and I thought it would be unwise to allow the amendment to be proposed. I am pleased that the point should be submitted to **Mr. Speaker.** I do not regard such a proceeding as being in the nature of a reflection upon my decision ; I am only too pleased to think that the Committee regard the point as of sufficient importance to warrant such a step. Question resolved in the affirmative. *In the House:* {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The Committee have desired that I should refer my ruling to you, **Mr. Speaker,** for decision. The honorable member for Gwydir submitted an amendment on the schedule which is before the Committee of Ways and Means proposing that duties should be levied on various articles : Pig, rolled, plate, iron - blooms, bullets, slabs, angles, tees, rounds, flats, squares, and all other sections of rolled iron and steel, sheet or plate, black or galvanized, up to 5-1 6th inches thickness ; and also a duty on pig iron of 10 per cent, on dutiable goods, and 20 per cent, on dutiable goods not the produce of the United Kingdom. I ruled that the amendment is one which involves additional taxation, and should not, in my opinion, be introduced by any member other than a Minister of the Crown. I ruled that an amendment involving taxation could not be moved by a private member, and that metals, not being a part of the proposed schedule, the amendment involved new taxation, and was not therefore in order. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- I understand, **Mr. Speaker,** that you are prepared to hear debate on the question. {: #subdebate-9-1-s61 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Sometimes when a matter of this kind is submitted to me for ruling, if it is new to me, and if I have not given it consideration immediately before, I have been prepared to hear discussion on the point, but at the present rime I am ready to give my ruling. On the 12th November, 1 901, a question was raised during the consideration of the first 'Uniform Tariff, and if honorable members will refer to the ruling I then gave they will find that, without quoting the various reasons I then submitted, it was in substance as follows : - >Therefore ruling, as I have to rule, that neither standing order 171 nor standing order 247 applies to this case - as we are now dealing with a resolution in Committee only, and the Bill stage will come later - and falling back on standing order No. r, which incorporates the practice of the House of Commons, I am bound to decide that the Chairman has correctly determined the practice in this House, which is that duties on items may be increased, and that other items which are mentioned in the Tariff on which no duty is proposed may be proposed as subjects for duty, and that in that way the House will have the freest possible hand in debating the Tariff. Honorable members will see that the amendment now before the Committee of Ways and Means does not come within the scope of that ruling, because there is no item in the schedule now before the Committee dealing with the articles proposed to be made dutiable by the amendment. The amendment would introduce as subjects for duty items which are not in any way before the Committee. If there had been any item before the Committee dealing with any of the articles referred to in the amendment, it would have been competent for the honorabe member for Gwydir to have proposed the imposition of a duty on them, if none were proposed by the schedule or to increase the duty if a duty were proposed by the schedule. There is one other way in which the honorable member might have secured his end. If there had been any items the subject of duty in the schedule for which the articles which he desires should be dutiable might have been substituted without increasing the amount of the duty to be levied, he would have been in order in proposing the substitution. As I gather that the honorable member did not desire to substitute duties on these articles for duties on any other articles dealt with in the schedule, and that these items were not already before the Committee in any way, I must uphold the Chairman's ruling, and rule that the amendment cannot be moved. In the case of the Tariff considered on the 12th November, 1901, every conceivable item was before the Committee, because there were not only items on which it was proposed that duties should be levied, but there was also a very considerable free-list. In this case there is no free-list, and therefore a very large number of the items included in the amendment could not be dealt with by a private member. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- On the point of order, as the ruling of the Chairman is being confirmed by you, sir, it will be regarded as a precedent. In the circumstances, might I ask to what extent the Chairman's ruling is confirmed. The Chairman ruled on two grounds - that the amendment was not in order because it was a proposed increase of duty by a private member, and secondly, because there was ,no item of the kind in the schedule. There is a distinction there, and you have yourself made a distinction. If the Chairman gives his ruling on both grounds, and you confirm his decision, it appears to me that von will rule against your previous decision, given on the 12 th November, 1901. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- I repeat my ruling to which I have referred, and on that ground I rule that the amendment is out of order. I do not at present see that the Chairman has taken any other ground. The Chairman has ruled, first, that an amendment involving, new taxation cannot be moved by a private member, and secondly, that as metals form no part of the schedule before the Committee, the amendment could not be moved. I support the Chairman on the second ground stated. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Mr JOSEPH COOK:
PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The two grounds are part of one and the same ruling. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- They amount practically to the same thing. So far as both are concerned, I see nothing in them in conflict with the ruling I gave on the date to which I have referred. {:#subdebate-9-2} #### In Committee: Resolutions, as amended, agreed to. Resolutions reported. {: .page-start } page 4965 {:#debate-10} ### CONSTITUTION ALTERATION (SENATE ELECTIONS) BILL Bill received from the Senate, and (on motion by **Mr. Deakin)** read a first time. {: .page-start } page 4965 {:#debate-11} ### SPECIAL ADJOURNMENT {: #debate-11-s0 .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr DEAKIN:
Minister of External Affairs · Ballarat · Protectionist -- Before moving that the House do now adjourn, I move - >That the House, at its rising, adjourn until half-past two p.m. That will give honorable members a little rest. I take advantage of the opportunity to announce that we propose at half-past two to take the Constitution Alteration Bill, giving power to take over the whole of the debts of the States, and the Bill which has just been received from the Senate with that for special duties. We shall require to obtain an absolute majority of the House to pass each of these three Bills amending the Constitution. Honorable members have already had an intimation that we hoped to bring them forward after half-past seven to-night, and if possible then and there to decide the fate of the three measures. If we obtain an absolute majority for the three it will save a further demand on the time of honorable members. I mentioned the matter to the leader of the Opposition and he has agreed to the course proposed. Question resolved in the affirmative. {: .page-start } page 4965 {:#debate-12} ### ADJOURNMENT {: #debate-12-s0 .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr DEAKIN:
Minister of External Affairs · Ballarat · Protectionist -- I move- >That the House do now adjourn. I am very glad indeed that by the stress which honorable members have been good enough to place upon themselves we have disposed, so far as we can dispose of it, at this stage, of a difficult and intricate question. Question resolved in the affirmative. House adjourned at 6.30 a.m. (Thursday).

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 19 September 1906, viewed 6 July 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1906/19060919_reps_2_34/>.