3rd Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Mr. Beale’s Report : Secret Drugs, Cures and Foods.
Mr. LIDDELL (Hunter) [2.31].- I desire to move the adjournment of the House to discuss a definite matter of urgent public importance, viz., “The publication of Mr. O. C. Beale’s report on Secret Drugs, Cures, and Foods.”
Five honorable members having risen in their places -
Mr. LIDDELL. - I should not have taken this step but that I think that the question with which I desire to deal is one of urgent importance. I recently submitted a motion which the Acting Prime Minister declined to entertain.
Sir William Lyne. - I declined to allow it to be passed without discussion.
Mr. LIDDELL. - If any one is to blame for the delay in proceeding with the Budget debate, which the submission of this motion will involve,it is the Acting Prime Minister, who declined to take the action which I urged was necessary. I wish to preface my remarks by saying that the subject is a somewhat delicate one to handle, and I am confident that the representatives of the press will eliminate from their reports any unnecessary - matter, the publication of . which would be calculated to defeat the object that I have in view. This is not a frivolous motion. It relates to a question in which I have for some time taken a deep interest. No less than two years ago, when Mr. Beale was appointed as a Commission to inquire into the question of Secret Drugs, Cures and Foods, I foresaw exactly what has happened. I have nothingto say against Mr. Beale as a man, but I objected strongly to his appointment asa Commissioner to inquire into matters of which he was entirely ignorant. No doubt he is well versed in the manufacture of pianos, and is familiar with the construction of sounding boards and steel frames for such instruments, but I fail to see that he was in any way qualified to inquire into such a matter aswas intrusted to him. There are, two points that I desire to emphasize. In the first place, Mr. Beale was not a suitable man to appoint to carry out this work-, and, in the second place, he has presented a report, of which no less than 950 copies have been printed by the Government, the circulation of which is a serious menace to public morals. Iurge most strongly upon the Ministry that all available copies should be immediately destroyed, and that if any be preserved they should be kept under lock and key.
Mr. SPEAKER.- I should like to remind the honorable member that whena paper has been laid upon the table of the House, and by vote of the House has been ordered to be printed, it is no longer in the custody of the Ministry. In such circumstances, it is in the custody of the House, and may be dealt with as honorable members think’ fit.
Mr. LIDDELL. - It is unfortunate that many papers are laid at short notice on the table of the House, and that honorable members very often do not know what they contain before an order is made for printing them. I think I shall be able to submit evidence showing that the Acting Prime Minister knew little ofwhat was in Mr. Beale’s report.
Mr. Fuller.-On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, I should like to know what is the position in regard to copies of this report that are now in the possession ofthe Government, and have not been circulated.
Mr. SPEAKER.- The same rule applies in all cases. Wheneverapaper is laid on the table of the House, and is ordered to be printed, the usual number of copies are obtained, and distributed in the ordinary way. As soon as a paper is laid on the table, no Minister has any further control over it. It is then in the custody of the House, which controls its distribution.
Mr. Joseph Cook. - I should like, Mr. Speaker, to obtain some information from you in regard to this question. Let us assume that 1,000 copies have been printed’, and that 500 have been distributed. In whose custody are the remaining 500 ?
Mr. SPEAKER. - They are under the control of the House. Unless the House orders a paper to be dealt with in any special way, precisely the same rule is followed in every case. Ministers have no more control over papers laid on the table of the House . than have any other honorable members. The House may determine what shall be done with them.
Mr. Joseph Cook. - What becomes of these papers, Mr. Speaker? Are they held in your custody?
Mr. SPEAKER. - They are in the custody of the officers of the House.
Mr. LIDDELL. - Then I can appeal only to the House, and, I am sure that honorable members will view this matter as I do. Let me briefly review the’ facts leading up to Mr. Beale’s appointment. . This gentleman, who is interested in the manufacture of pianos, was about to take a trip to England, when, being probably a friend of the Prime Minister-
Mr. Mauger.- He is a very able and earnest man.
Mr. LIDDELL. - He may be an earnest and able man, but I contend that he was not the right man to select for such a duty. A professional man whose training would allow of his treating the subject in a proper manner should have been intrusted with the work.
Mr. Page. - We see now the cloven hoof . The Government have “ scabbed “ the .honorable member’s union.
Mr. LIDDELL. - It was. unwise to appoint as a Commissioner, for this. purpose,, a- man who simply makes a hobby of the study of such questions. Is it right to appoint a quack to inquire into the operations of quacks? There is an old saying, “Set a thief to catch a thief,” but I do not think the Government acted wisely in appointing a man like Mr. Beale to dealwith a subject like that of secret drugs, cures, and foods. I am sure that the hon- 01 able member for Maranoa will agree that a man of Mr. Beale’s qualifications, who takes up a subject like this simply as a hobby, is not the right person to represent abroad a country like Australia.
Mr. Page. - The same might be said of the honorable member’s position as a member of Parliament. A doctor may be a good man in his own line, but sometimes, he is. no good as a politician..
Mr. LIDDELL. - I am happy to saythat at the last general election a great many of the citizens of Australia declared that I was a fit and proper person to represent them in this House, and that they regarded me as a better man than the Labour candidate who opposed me. I hope that the honorable member will not attempt, by irrelevant interjections, to lead me away from my subject, since if any one should be interested in matters of this kind it is thelabouring classes, whose interests are particularly at stake. They suffer most from the operations of quacks, and it is for their sake and for the future of Australia that I. make this appeal. Mr. Beale, as I have said, has made a hobby of this subject. He went abroad with letters of in- , traduction from the Prime Minister which opened to him the doors of various places on the Continent, England, and America, and probably added materially to the pleasure of his trip. The one qualification which he apparently possessed - the one point which the Prime Minister urged. in favour of his appointment when I put a question to him - was the fact that he- had! acted on .a Royal Commission appointed by the Government of New South Wales ti> inquire into the diminution of the birthrate. That Commission presented a report of which the State Parliament thought fit. to direct that not more than twelve copies:’ should be issued. That report is so carefully guarded that, according to Mr. Bealehimself, it is almost impossible for even’ a member of the Commission to obtain access to it. Notwithstanding that fact, Mr. Beale in his report to this Parliament,, which has been distributed amongst honorable members and placed in the. variousrooms of the House, most unguardedly callsattention to several paragraphs in’ it. For example, in paragraph 5 of his report Mr_ Beale writes -
Before me is a copy of the second .volume or the report of the New’ South Wales Royal Commission. It was printed three years ago, only” twelve copies produced, these .being jealously guarded, even against the members df the Commission itself. For all the use they have been they might as well never have been printed at- . all. There upon page after page, are photographs 0f the advertisements of obscene creatures who corrupt society at its core and live like larvae upon their own poison and the corrupter! it causes. The announcements appear to-day, just as before, only more of them. To debauch :ind degrade humanity is a profitable trade. On those pages are also photographs of numbers preparations to prevent births, of contrivances towards obscene practices (things that even the experienced surgeons upon the Commission h:i.i never heard of) and photographs of pamphlets instructing in vicious and even criminal acts.
Mr. Wise. - The honorable member by his action will cause this information to be widely distributed through the medium of H Hansard.
Sir William Lyne. - The honorable member is advertising this matter far more widely than it has hitherto been.
Mr. LIDDELL.- The Acting Prime Minister, by his action, has compel /ed me to take this step. I certainly do not wish to advertise these matters; but the surgeon’s knife occasionally must cut deeply. I am here to do my duty, and no sneering remarks from the Government benches will influence me in the slightest degree. Mr. Beale refers to various paragraphs of the report of U-s New South Wales Commission, namely, paragraphs 4, 13, 24, 27, 28, 29, 49, 50, 51, 52, 84, 85 el seq., 118, 119, and 176; to 244. He, as it were, picks out the plums of this particular report, and refers to them in his own report, which is now being published by the Government broadcast. Paragraph 24 of Mr. Beale’s report, for example, deals with a physiological fact which medical men themselves would hesitate to publish outside a purely medical work. Paragraph 28 actually goes so far as to give a full description of a simple mechanical method of performing a criminal offence, for which, in New South Wales I think, capital punishment is inflicted. Yet Mr. Beale, in his ignorance - in his crass ignorance - describes this method, which, if placed in the hands of irresponsible persons, though they might be innocent, might have the effect - of making them criminals. Furthermore, in paragraph 33, he deals with a question which has created a considerable amount of commotion in medical circles in the old country. I allude to the taking of lead for a certain purpose. Now I do not like to refer pointedly to these matters, but just to illustrate what I mean, I may say that this is a practice which originally sprung up in the Midland counties of England. It was discovered, as it were, by accident; and then it spread gradually throughout the counties year by year, until now it has reached London. Yet we find Mr. Beale transporting this information from the old country - bringing, as it were, to Australia the seeds of a noxious^ plant, and setting them in favorable soil. In paragraph 820 Mr. Beale makes unguarded references to the use of narcotics. He points out the various drugs which may be used for producing narcotic effects. It is well known that the habit of taking drugs, such as opium and cocaine, is one which grows on the community. Yet, in this report, without any disguise’ those drugs, and the methods of using them, are set forth. Furthermore, in paragraph 827, Mr. Beale gives a list of drugs which are exceedingly strong poisons, but which are sold openly, without any restriction, in tabloid form by every chemist. If a criminal wished to dispose of a person he would find ready to his hand a means of obtaining drugs for’ the purpose of carrying out his nefarious purpose.
Mr. Hutchison. - Criminals will know all about the- matter, now that the honorable member has called attention to it.
Mr. LIDDELL.- I have already explained my reason for calling attention to the matter. Mr. Beale also gives a long list of a number -of drugs which are used for a criminal purpose. It is of no use my bringing this matter under the notice of honorable members unless I point out clearly and distinctly the great risks entailed in the publication of the report ; that is what I wish particularly to do. Mr. Beale has not dealt in any way with the question of infants’ foods, which I regard as the most important of all. The other matters to which he refers are such as ought to be taken up by the States Parliaments ; I can hardly see what the Federal Parliament has to do with them. As to infants1 foods the Federal Parliament has some control; but we find that this subject is entirely forgotten in the report. Mr. Beale says that he has been so busy reporting as to other matters that he has not had time to give any attention to infants’ foods.
Mr. Mahon. - Why did Mr. Beale single out one quack and leave all other quacks alone?
Mr. LIDDELL. - I .do not know ; I cannot exactly understand what Mr. Beale’s method is. He is a gentleman who has, apparently, simply procured . a pastepot and pair of scissors, and cut out huge slabs of advertisements for embodiment in his report. In addition he has interlarded his report with a lot of rhodomontade and much grandiloquent language; and I should like to quote a paragraph or two in order to show honorable members that he was not the sort of man to appoint on ‘a mission of this delicate character. On page 12 he says - iS. Worse than anarchic, worse even than Antinomian, this gospel of nihilism leads further than was intended by the sciolist Mr. Malthus, its forerunner; the Manchester economist Mr. Mill, its missionary; and Mrs. Besant, its seer and specific promulgator. She, the esoteric, first amongst the Mustai, the would-be regeneratrix of mankind, so placed the evil leaven that it should not fail. Her gospel pullulates and spreads - a true zymotic scourge. Pity that all three names - out of many more such - are British, and as sure as Eratostratus, of immortal remembrance.
I quote these paragraphs to show that Mr. Beale was not the man to carry out a mission of this sort. He has not had the technical education necessary to qualify him ; and, consequently, he has practically failed in his mission. Everybody will grant that the subjects dealt with are most important, and of the greatest interest; but, as I said before, Mr. Beale was not the man to select for the work. Many of the words which. I have quoted I could not find in a dictionary.
Mr. Mahon. - Mr. Beale is a bigger quack than any quack he has dealt with.
Mr. LIDDELL.- I think he must be; and for that reason I entirely object to his being selected to make such a report, The Prime Minister, the Acting Prime Minister, or whoever was responsible for placing the report on the table, could not possibly have known its contents, or it would never ha.ve been proposed that it should be published. No one regrets more than myself that I should have to make these remarks; but I have had the matter under my eye .for a considerable time. When Mr. Beale was appointed I anticipated what would happen; and the. report proves that I was correct. I urge the House to order that the copies of the report not yet put into circulation should be destroyed, and every endeavour made to recall those copies which have already been distributed.
Mr. Chanter. - Does, the honorable member not think that he is advertising the report?
Mr. LIDDELL. - I have more than once explained why I am, unfortunately, compelled to take my present course.
Mr. Chanter. - These references will make everybody desire to read the report.
Mr. LIDDELL.- I asked the Acting Prime Minister if he would get the opinion of some qualified medical man as to the nature of the report. The honorable gentleman did not see fit to comply with my request ; but, after he had received a warning from some men who considered that their interests were affected by the publication, he sought the advice of the Crown Law officers. It would have been much better to seek the advice of a medical man before laying this ridiculous report on the table. I say again that I think Mr. Beale, who is a piano manufacturer, was not the man to send on a mission of this character ; and I regard the publication of his report as a very grave danger to the public.
Mr. JOHNSON (Lang) [2.55]. - I desire, briefly, to support the action of the honorable member for Hunter in. bringing this report under the attention of honorable members. . ‘
Mr. Chanter. - Has the honorable member read the report?
Mr. JOHNSON. - It is a volume of con:siderable bulk, and we have a great number of other documents, dealing with the Tariff and other matters, to peruse. While . I have not had time to read the whole of the report, I ‘ have read sufficient to be seized of its dangerous character in many respects. At the same time,, I do not altogether condemn the report, which is very exhaustive, and indicates an immense amount of research on the part of Mr. Beale. What Mr.. Beale’s qualifications are for this kind of work I do not know; but he seems to have gone to great trouble in interviewing a large number of people, competent to speak with professional knowledge, on the various matters and subjects investigated. Mr. Beale, it seems to me, after collecting this information, has presented it to the House in the main as he received it, interspersed with occasional comments and curiously expressed dissertations of his own. I make no complaint against Mr. Beale for supplying the report; my complaint is against the Acting Prime Minister - or whoever is responsible for circulating it - for not taking the trouble to read it before it was circulated, and getting it carefully edited by a competent medical gentleman who would have eliminated its objectionable features. The Acting Prime Minister does not seem to have informed himself in any way as to the general character of the contents of the report. Much of the report, it must be admitted, is of a very valuable character to the general public, because it warns people of the danger of certain drugs which are very largely availed of.
Mr. Wilks. - Why restrict the circulation, if the report can do so much good?
Mr. JOHNSON.- There are portions of the report which are valuable, and which would do a great amount of good if generally circulated; but there are other portions dealing with prohibited practices in connexion with child-birth and cognate matters. Unfortunately, the report affords a vast amount of knowledge which it is not desirable to disseminate amongst the general public, and which, if circulated, would only tendto increase the very social evils which a missionof this kind was designed to counteract. Upon page 16 of the report there is a reference to the growinguse of a particular drug, which I_ shall not mention specifically, because I have no desire to advertise it unnecessarily. The report quotes the following from the British Medical Journal of 24th February, 1906 -
During the last twelve years the attention of the profession has repeatedly been drawn to the prevalence in the midland counties of cases of plumbism in women, caused by the ingestion of . . . with the object of procuring abortion.
Mr. Salmon. - I rise to a point of order. The question which we are now discussing is one in regard to which I think one of our Standing Orders might verywell be employed. I therefore call attention to the presence of strangers.
Mr. Wilks. - Does the honorable member wish the galleries to be cleared?
Mr. Salmon. - Yes.
Mr. Wilks. -Then we shall have a long discussion upon the matter. There is no necessity to clear the galleries.
Mr. SPEAKER. - Standing order 55, which governs the position that has now arisen, reads; -
If at any sitting of the House, or in Committee, any member shall take notice that strangers are present, the Speaker or the Chairman (as the case may be) shall forthwith put the question “ That strangers be ordered to withdraw,” which shall be decided without debate ; provided that the Speaker or the Chairman may, whenever he thinks fit, order the withdrawal of strangers from any part of the Chamber.
Under that standing order I shall put the question. The question is, “ That strangers be ordered to withdraw.”
Mr. Crouch. - Will the term “ strangers “ include the representatives of the press?
Mr. SPEAKER. - Yes.
Question - That strangers be ordered to withdraw - resolved in the negative.
Mr. JOHNSON. - I intend to say nothing to which exception can be taken, and nothing more than is absolutely necessary to justify the position which I have taken up . in regard to this matter. When the point of order was interpolated, I was quoting from a paragraph which was published in the British Medical Journal of 24th February, 1906. That paragraph continues -
In Birmingham, Leicester, Derby, and especially inNottingham and Sheffield, as well as in the colliery districts adjacent to these towns, the practice has grown, so that now cases of poisoning from this cause occurring in the course of a year are to be numbered by hundreds.
The report goes on to say that cases of blood poisoning, due to the use of this drug, are gradually spreading to other portions of the United Kingdom. What we have to guard against is the introduction of these evil practices into Australia. I fear that the circulation of Mr. Beale’s report will so add to the knowledge of the members of the community, both as to the names of drugs which can be used, and other means which can be employed to bring about similar’ results, that these practices will spread to an alarming degree, so that we shall soon have cause to complain of the general prevalence of exactly the same evil as that of which the British Medical Journal complains in regard to the midland counties of England. Had the report merely called attention to the evils, with the object of impressing upon Parliament the necessity for imposing restrictions upon the sale of certaindrugs, it might have accomplished a great deal of good. But, unfortunately, it gives the formulae of some prescriptions which are dispensed by chemists.
Mr. Salmon. - Probably the honorable member means that the report specifies the contents of certain preparations.
Mr. JOHNSON. - In some instances, what is practically the formulae is published. At any rate, the contents of some of these preparations are specified in simple language, which anybody can understand, so that it will be easy for inexperienced persons to obtain and make up the ingredients for themselves. The report also describes the mechanical means by which a certain result can be brought about. Of course, this is a very delicate subject to handle, and one upon which in public I cannot unduly enlarge. I shall, therefore, content myself with calling attention to this aspect of the report, and with impressing upon the Acting Prime Minister the necessity for fulfilling the promise, which he made some time ago, that he would obtain the opinion of an independent medical gentleman upon the question of whether it was advisable to allow the document .to be circulated. I also hope that he will withhold from circulation all the copies which have not yet been distributed. At any rate, I trust that, for the present, the advice tendered by the honorable member for Hunter will be adopted.
Mr. Wilks. - Why “for the present” only ?
Mr. JOHNSON.- I do not think that the Acting Prime Minister should go so far as to destroy these documents, but he certainly ought to treat them as confidential reports, so far as the Government and honorable members are concerned. Of course, the circulation of those portions of the report which simply warn the public against the use of various drugs and explain their effects upon the human system are calculated to do a great deal of good, and all I ask for is the proper editing of them to prevent undesirable information, which ought to be suppressed, from being supplied to the viciously inclined in the interests of public morals. The honorable member for Hunter has acted rightly in drawing the attention of the Government to the danger of circulating the report -in its present form, and I hope that the discussion upon the present occasion will awaken the Acting Prime Minister to a sense of his duty in this connexion.
Mr. WILKS (Dalley) [3.8].- The motion submitted by the honorable member for Hunter ‘covers a wider area ‘than the question of whether or not Mr. Beale’s report should be circulated. It practically embraces the whole ground which is traversed by that document. I have taken the trouble to read the report, and I also listened very carefully to the remarks of the two honorable members who have already addressed the House upon the matter. To my mind, they have failed to advance any sound reason why Mr. Beale’s report should not be circulated. It is said that hypocrisy is the homage which vice pays to virtue. But in this matter the House cannot afford to be hypocritical. Honorable members are men of the world as well as parliamentarians, and we are all aware that the vices to which reference is made in Mr. Beale’s report - are not unknown in this community. I say that both the honorable member for Hunter and the honorable member for Laanecoorie can accomplish good work if they devote themselves to sifting from the report the good which it contains with a view to assisting the Government to frame the necessary legislation dealing with this matter. The author of the report is not a political friend, but is rather a political enemy of mine. That consideration, however, does not influence me in the slightest degree. When I am told that the document is the product of a man with a hobby, I at once recollect that the best treatises in the world have also been produced by men with hobbies. After perusing Mr. Beale’s report, I have come to the conclusion that he has collected from . all parts of the world most useful information upon the subject which - he was commissioned to investigate. At the same time I am of opinion that the report was drafted by a gentleman who possesses a medical training. Whether that training was a sound one. I am not in a position to say, but the medical jargon employed in the report and the knowledge of drugs which it exhibits convince me that it was not written by the gentleman whose name it bears.
Mr. Liddell. - Can the honorable member show that?
Mr. WILKS. - It is apparent upon the face of the report. T ask honorable members whether it is wiser to expose the evil practices with which the report deals or to allow those practices to continue? I regret to say that they are already too rampant in Australia,, and, consequently, the sooner we legislate in respect of them the better. The honorable member for Hunter has stated that infants’ foods are not touched upon in the report. I would point out to him that the question of the composition of these foods is dealt with in that document.
Mr. Liddell. - Mr. Beale says that he had not time to deal with that question.
Mr. WILKS. - If the honorable member will peruse the report carefully he will find that it sets out what are the component parts of Nestle’s food and other preparations for infants. The leading journals of Australia do more injury to the public by prurient suggestions than this report can possibly do. -The very wording of the “ quack “ advertisements which they publish imparts more information to those who are criminally inclined than does Mr. Beale’s report. Whilst I admit that the Government are capable of rendering good service to the public in this connexion, I maintain that the press, by refusing to publish advertisements from men of a certain type, can accomplish much more. I care not whether these harmful- preparations .are made in Australia or elsewhere - they should be dealt with’ drastically. It seems to me that the fiscal proclivities of the author of the report have carried him too far, in that he has not dealt with Australian preparations to the extent that he should.
Mr. Joseph Cook. - Surely he would not allow his fiscal opinions to intrude themselves into a matter of this sort.
Mr. WILKS. - Mr. Beale has certainly put an enormous amount of labour into the preparation of his report. Whether he has received the assistance of medical men-
Mr. Salmon. - He acknowledges that he has, and gives his authorities.
Mr. WILKS. - It must be admitted that there are practices in vogue in this community which are debauching our people, find the information contained in the report should be the foundation of legislation having as its end their suppression. Every man who loves his country, and has family ties and affections, must recognise the evils which are wrought by the practices to which I refer, and the loss which the country suffers bv the limitation of population. It has been suggested that, if the facts stated in the report are widely disseminated, advantage will be taken of them by criminals. But the criminal class is the keenest-brained class in the community, and does not find it necessary to go to a report of this character to obtain information. Those who are making gain by producing abortion, and by similar practices, are already well equipped with information as to methods, and those who are not can get such information as they require from the channels from which medical men like the honorable members for Laanecoorie and Hunter have drawn their knowledge. A layman can go to any wellstocked library and obtain any information he may desire on this subject. The members of the criminal community have not found it necessary to wait for this report to know what drugs will secure a certain end with safety to themselves. It would be as reasonable to contend that certain works in our public libraries should not be open to inspection as it is to say that this report should not be circulated. We all know that medical works are available for reference in the public libraries, the only stipulation being that they shall not be removed. The circulation of this report broadcast would probably tend to lessen the practices which we must all deplore. At the present time unfortunates rush to quacks for the remedies which are exposed in this book, because they know nothing of their evil effects, and are the victims of imposture. But if they read the report they would know what terrible results follow the use of certain drugs and certain methods of treatment. Unfortunately, the drug habit and the craze for taking patent medicines is growing in the community. Mr. Beale states that there is, properly speaking, no such thing as a patent medicine ; that the so-called patent medicines are compounded of secret drugs, and that their base is impure spirit, so that there are thousands of persons who think themselves teetotallers, but are daily drinking worse liquor than they could buy at the bars of hotels.
Mr. Crouch. - The publication of the report, has already had the effect of causing the proprietors of Warner’s Safe Cure to advertise that they have removed the alcohol from it.
Mr. WILKS. - I am not going to give any of these firms an advertisement by mentioning their names. It is well known that alcohol is the base of a number of patent medicines. I am not a whisky drinker, but if I were I would rather buy good whisky than drink the impure spirit which one gets in a patent medicine. The exploitation of the community by the sale of patent medicines and pills is .an exceedingly profitable business. If you, Mr. Speaker, armed yourself with three bars of soap, a shilling’s worth of tincture, and a pill-making machine, and had the audacity of some of the impostors who sell these medicines, you would soon be three times as rich as any medical man in the Chamber. The publication of the report will be a good thing for the medical fraternity, because it exposes the practices of quacks. Macbeth says, “Throw physic to the dogs,” and after reading the report one is quite inclined to take his advice, and would be glad to throw some of the so-called doctors to the dogs, too. The individual who suffers from ‘ weariness, the invalid, the’ unfortunate who does not enjoy the highest blessing of Nature, all run after the panaceas which are advertised so openly. They do not know that a pill which is retailed at 2s. od. a box costs only Jd. a box to manufacture. The exposure of complexion preparations which the report contains is in itself very valuable, because many of our- women are destroying their skins by using such preparations. Then men who. like myself, are not too “ thick in the thatch,” are foolish enough to run after hair restorers which are retailed at 4s. a bottle, although 1,000 gallons of the mixture could be made for is. The only question that might well be asked before the report is widely circulated is, Has Mr. Beale over-stated his case? If he has, he should suffer. , But he has given his authorities, and hai told us where he has got his information. He points out that in other countries there is legislation much more advanced than ours for dealing with the sale of drugs and medicines. In Germany there is very drastic legislation against the evils from which we suffer so greatly in Australia. I hope that these evils will be legislated against here, not in the dim and distant, but in the immediate, future. Last Parliament we were fighting over the Commerce Act, whose object was to minimize trickery and deception in regard to the importation of food and apparel. Although a member of the Opposition, I supported that measure, and I shall support a measure to protect the public health and morals. The members of the Labour Party should be the loudest in advocating the introduction of such legislation, because thousands of working people fly to patent medicines from which they vainly h’ope to benefit. They are deceived by bogus testimonials, and the report shows how some of these testimonials are obtained. By the expenditure of a few thousands on advertising, impostors have obtained a large sale for their wares, and are doing great harm to the community
Mr. SPEAKER.- The honorable member’s time has expired.
Mr. WILKS.- I think that the report should be widely circulated. I do not believe in secrecy in these matters.
Mr. CROUCH (Corio) [3.25]. - I agree with the honorable . member for Dalley that the circulation of the report would not do harm, but might do great good, and I would point out to the mover of the adjournment, that- the constant references which have been made to the report have done more to let the public know of its existence than any other course that could have been taken. Personally, I am glad that the matter has been brought forward. I should like to see the report put into the hands of all married women. There is no doubt that abortion is becoming a common practice in the daily life of the community, with the result that President Roosevelt has so greatly deplored. While we are trying to attract grown immigrants to our shores, we are ruthlessly destroying the unwanted babies. As a ‘ working solicitor, I have occasion to use Taylor’s Medical Jurisprudence, and I should like teachings such as are contained in that book to be placed before the people at large. The honorable member for Lang admits that he has not read this report.
Mr. Johnson. - I said that I have not read- the whole of it.
Mr. CROUCH. - It is pointed out in it that the drugs which are used to procure abortion produce disastrous effects, and are extremely dangerous.
Mr. Johnson. - That will not deter persons from using them, while to make them more widely known will increase immorality.
Mr. Page. - The honorable member has a poor opinion of the women of Australia when he says that;
Mr. CROUCH.- Dr. Arthur Ball has’ stated in the British Medical Journal, in regard to a certain drug - honorable members will find the passage on ‘page 18 of the report - that -
The mother of a large family died after suffering for weeks from agonizing headaches. Other patients became temporarily insane,- and had convulsions. All suffered from severe colic and headache, and a blue line on the gums, and became” profoundly enaemic.
Then Mr. Phillips, in the Materia Medica, says -
Only by the production of such violent irritation of’ the abdominal and pelvic organs as generally endangers life can the pregnant uterus “be stimulated to expel its contents.
In the same work, Mr. Robert Bartholow says -
The abortifacient effect of . . . drugs cannot be obtained unless by the administration of a quantity sufficient to endanger life.
Well, now, the circulation of these statements by great authorities would be of untold value.
Mr. Liddell. - These facts should be made known ; but should be circulated in a proper form.
Mr. CROUCH.- It is pointed out that the drugs which are used as abortifacients are more dangerous to the lives of .the mothers ‘ than effective for the destruction of child life, and that they produce cancer, insanity, and terrible suffering. If women knew the probable consequences of many of these drugs they would never take them. It is the duty of the honorable member for Hunter and of the House to see that such information is put into the hands of the people.
Mr. Liddell. - What should be circulated is not a report like this, but one supervised by a medical man knowing how to draw up a report.
Mr. Batchelor. - This is professional jealousy.
Mr. CROUCH.- When a girl arrives at years of discretion she should be taught the consequences of certain acts. The report shows the disastrous consequences which follow the use of certain drugs. I do not know how the press will report the debate, but I was opposed to the exclusion of the reporters because I know that the decent newspapers are verv careful what they report, in regard to police court cases,, anddebates like this. If, however, it is made known” that the use of the drugs mentioned in the report will bring pain and disease and perhaps death to the users, I think thai: the warning will do great good.
Mr. KNOX (Kooyong.) [3.30].- The principal question before the House is whether it is desirable to increase the circulation of Mr. Beale’s report ; the question whether he was a proper person to make, the necessary investigations is one with which we are not concerned at the present moment. He appears to have collected a large amount of information, and as I understand that the circulation of the report is’ in the hands of the officers of the House, I urge, Mr. Speaker, that some restriction be put upon it until there has been further discussion. I have no hesitation in joining with others who have urged the undesirableness of allowing the report in its present form to be indiscriminately distributed. There are medical works which professional men consider should be read Only by medical men. I trust that, as the outcome of Mr. Beale’s report, we shall have a new departure in legislation, which will result in good to the Commonwealth. At the present time we hear much of the necessity for an increased population, and a consideration of the measures necessary to prevent the distribution of appliances designed to diminish the birth rate is one of the most serious that could engage the attention of this Parliament. The prevention of birth by- illicit means is not only detrimental to the welfare of the Commonwealth, but injurious to the very fibre of our womanhood. Manywomen are being seriously injured, and the practices to which reference has been made during the debate are likely to leave their mark on posterity. The position of France, with its diminishing birth rate is causing grave alarm, and year after year the birth rate in the Commonwealth is also diminishing. This, question is a most serious one, and it demands our earnest attention. Whether Mr. Beale’s report be good or bad, I hope that its presentation will lead to the introduction of legislation which has be- “ come a pressing necessity. I am sure that neither you, Mr: Speaker, nor the Acting Prime Minister, would countenance the indiscriminate distribution of literature likely to have a harmful effect on our people, and I am confident that every care will be taken to so curtail the circulation of this report that it will not fall into the -hands of those who, from mere lust for information or curiosity, are likely to apply themselves to a consideration of it. One cannot but regret that_the galleries were not cleared, in order that this matter might be freely discussed, but I am sure that this debate will be delicately handled by the press. We are indebted to the honorable member for Hunter for the action he has taken, and if, as the result of the motion, the circulation of the report is carefully controlled, he will have cause to con- gratulate himself. I trust that Parliament will soon have an opportunity to legislate on the subject of the report. It has been dealt with by the great German Confederation, whilst it is also being dealt with by the United States of America, and our population will be on a more satisfactory basis when our people determine to adopt President Roosevelt’s suggestion that we should “keep our cradles full.” Unfortunately, the general tendency appears to be in the direction of restricting families. The measures taken to violate the ordinary laws of nature are striking at the very vitals of our family life and at our existence as a people. They are not only leading to the demoralization of our women, but are striking a blow at the stamina of the mothers of the children of the Commonwealth.
Mr. Mauger. - And the higher we- go in society the worse is the position.
Mr. KNOX. - I cannot say where these practices commence or where they end, but I would direct the attention of honorable members to the statistics, which show that our birth-rate is declining. The position is very serious. We desire to build up a virile and powerful race; but the methods now being adopted to restrict the-birth-rate are striking at the root of our position as a nation. I appeal to you, Mr. Speaker, as well as to the Acting Prime Minister, to curtail as far as possible the circulation of this report. It would be well for the Government to consider the desirableness of appointing a Committee,, consisting of such men as the honorable member for Laanecoorie and the honorable member for Hunter, to deal with this question, and to report as to what steps should be taken in regard to it.
Mr. SALMON (Laanecoorie) [3.40J.- The discussion of this question has taken a very desirable turn. I drew attention to the’ presence of strangers in the House, because I wished to place before honorable members certain information which I could not disclose in the presence of a mixed audience. I am sure that the House will pardon me for suggesting that such an extreme step should be taken, when I explain that I felt that the presence of women in the galleries would limit the discussion to an extent that was undesirable.
Mr. Spence. - The report of the proceedings would have appeared in Hansard.
Mr. SALMON. - Had the galleries been cleared, the debate would not have been reported by Hansard. The honorable member foi” Hunter has referred almost wholly to the first part of Mr. Beale’s progress report, and, although it is true, as has been said, that it makes but slight reference to the question of infants’ .foods,. I presume that that subject will be dealt with more fully in the second volumeThere are in the first part of the reportstatements which might afford a certain amount of gratification to the prurient, minded. But, as the honorable member hassaid, the surgeon’s knife has to cut deeply it has often to cut into healthy tissue,, in order that a festering sore may be removed. There is no doubt that, in thiscommunity - and every civilized country is. undergoing a similar experience - a persistent and regular attempt is being made by many people to escape from their just andnatural responsibilities. Honorable members have no idea of the extent to whichthese practices are carried on. One cannot enter a chemist’s shop in any part of the Commonwealth without being shown, if oneasks for them, all sorts of nostrums that are claimed to have a certain effect.
Mr. Wilks. - In many cases they are exposed to the public gaze.
Mr. SALMON.- Undoubtedly. All” chemists are alike. High and low, reputable and otherwise, all cater for this inordinate public -demand. Honorable mem-, bers who are not connected with the profession have no idea of the extent to whichthis trade is being carried on. If, in orderto curb it, we have presented to us a report that, in some respects, may give slight offence, the benefit that will flow from its presentation will more than compensate for any failing in that regard. I am not goingto attempt to defend the introduction into the report of what some people may regard as extraneous matters, but I would remind” honorable members that, in the opinion of many people, those so-called extraneous, passages are very necessary.
Mr. Wilks. - A lot of padding.
Mr. SALMON. - I do not know that thev are. Perhaps, in his desire to showthat there is good authority for his actions. Mr. Beale has gone to the highest of all” sources-
Mr. Liddell.- - Has the honorable member read the report?
Mr. SALMON. - I have read a good” deal of it, including that part to which thehonorable member has referred. TheBiblical references which are to be found in the report are not so entirely out of” place’ as thev would be in a technical or scientific volume.
Mr. Johnson. - Does the honorablemember think it is desirable to publish in- formation concerning the means by which illegal practices may be persevered in?
Mr. SALMON.- I would remind the honorable member that, in the report, the disclosures of the practices to which he refers, are invariably accompanied by warnings as to their awful results. The dangers attendant upon a resort to the mechanical methods to which reference has been made are clearly shown.
Mr. Johnson. - That will not prevent their being resorted to.
Mr. Page. - The honorable member for Laanecoorie says that the appliances can be obtained at any chemist’s shop.
Mr. Johnson. - That is a matter for legislation.
Mr. SALMON. - I hope honorable members will take a reasonable view, and, though they may not agree with all in the report, will see in it an earnest and honest effort, which reflects the highest credit on Mr. Beale, to cope with what is admittedly a great and almost universal evil. There is nothing that this country, in common with other countries, is suffering from more, and nothing that is doing more damage, than the particular practices referred to. The Tariff and all other similar questions might be left entirely alone, if we could, by one stroke, abolish those practices, which have such terrible effects on our civilization. Although it may be said that this report may do some harm, and lead to illicit practices by individuals here and there, it will, in the main, have a very potent effect in purifying our methods and raising the tone of our civilization. The honorable member for Hunter refers to it as a “ ridiculous “ report ; but that is ‘ an adjective which should not have been applied. One of the best authorities in the history of Great Britain - a man who, I am sure, no one would describe as prurient or as a prude - I refer to the late W. E. Gladstone - wrote the following letter, as shown on page 38 of the report, to Dr. Pomeroy. who had done magnificent work in this connexion -
Dear Dr. Pomeroy, -
I send a line of hearty pood wishes for your renewed and apparently indefatigable efforts.
I have no title to examine or condemn, and no competency to enter into particulars, most of all as regards the medical side of the subject. But I can find no words strong enough to express my sense of the sacredness of the cause to which your labours are devoted ; or of the degradation which, if and in proportion as that cause should be defeated, threatens the whole human race within the range of the controversy.
I remain, my dear sir, with strong sympathy,
W. E. Gladstone.
Hawarden, Sept. 2, 1890.
Mr. Wilks. - That is the opinion of a most illustrious man.
Mr. SALMON. - It is an opinion which finds a re-echo in the robust speech of the honorable member for Dalley - a speech we were all delighted to hear.
Mr. Liddell. - Was Mr. Gladstone expressing, an opinion on the publication of this report?
Mr. SALMON. - No, but he was expressing an opinion on the labours of a. man who was working in exactly the same direction as that taken by this report.
Mr. Liddell. - No one objects to that.
Mr. SALMON. - Under the circumstances, I do not see’ why the honorable member for Hunter brought the matter before the House. Something has been said with regard to objectionable advertisements; and I admit that one of the almost insurmountable obstacles in theway of reform is the greed of certain sections of the press for those expensive advertisements.
Mr. Fowler. - That is at the bottom of the trouble ; put an end to the advertisements, and we put an end to the evil.
Mr. SALMON.- Undoubtedly. A few years ago, in the Victorian Parliament, a Bill dealing with the subject was passed ; and the effect has been topurify the press of the State. I only wish that in the other States there was the same high standard.
Mr. Batchelor. - Was there not a Bill passed earlier in South Australia?
Mr. SALMON.- No; I think the Victorian Bill, which was passed in 1895 or 1896, was the first of the kind in Australia. I may say that it was introduced by the honorable member for Bourke, who was then a member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly. The title of the Art is the “ Indecent Advertisements Act.” an^l it has had a most salutary effect. Finally, in my opinion the Government should go much further than merely to issue this report. The Government should absolutely prohibit the importation of every one of those nostrums ; not only those which are used for the purpose indicated by the honorable member for Hunter, but a number of others which are either harmful in their action or absolutely valueless. These nostrums should be prohibited by name,. and not allowed to enter the Commonwealth ; and, further, there should be legislation in order to prevent unscrupulous traders - chemists and druggists, and the like - placing on the market local drugs and concoctions of a similar character. Not until we are able to do this, in addition to arousing public opinion and public indignation - as I feel sure such reports as this are bound to do - can we hope to make any real progress. I do. not feel that this report should be suppressed. I do not go so far as to say that it should be placed in the hands of every married woman in the community; but.it ought to be in the possession of every medical man, and in the office of every newspaper within the Commonwealth. Newspapers which did their duty would refuse to accept any advertisements such as those which are dealt with in such a trenchant ‘fashion in the report. The time of the House has not been wasted in this discussion; and I sincerely hope’ that the result will not only be, .as I have indicated, to cause the circulation of this report in the proper channels, where it will do most good, but the creation of a Strong public opinion, which will assist in removing from Australia-, at any rate, what is not only a stain and a stigma on- our civilization, but one of the most stubborn obstacles . in preventing that national progress we all hope to see, and which, I am sure, we all hope to deserve.
Sir WILLIAM LYNE (Hume- Trea, surer) [3.50]. - I do not think that the hon>orable member for Hunter was quite correct in some of the statements he made when giving his reasons for submitting this motion. The honorable member came to me last evening, <and showed me a notice of motion which he intended to’ place on the business-paper, and asked me whether I would accept it as an unopposed motion. That was, in effect, asking me to accept a motion which would have the effect of preventing the circulation of Mr. Beale’s report ; and I told the honorable 1 member that I could not do anything of the kind. The honorable member then informed me that the following day he . would move the adjournment of the House” on the question ; and he cannot blame me, as he seemed to desire, for any” delay that has taken place this afternoon. It would have been an unwarrantable and improper action on the part of the Govern: ment to permit a motion of the kind pre- “sented to me to be placed on the businesspaper as unopposed, and the discussion has shown that I am right in that view. Though I regret the loss of time, which might have been devoted to the consideration of other questions, I do npt think the discussion this afternoon will be without result ; at any rate, it can do no harm, and probably may do some good. The honorable member for Hunter, in the course of his remarks, cast some unnecessary insinuations, which one honorable member described as jealous insinuations, against the gentleman who has devoted an immense amount of time and energy to the preparation of this report. Whether or not Mr. Beale wrote the whole of the report himself, I am not aware, but no. one can glance through the report - arid I admit that, personally, I have done no more - without acknowledging the labour which must have, been bestowed upon it. I remind the honorable member for Hunter that Mr. Beale was held in sufficiently high ‘regard to be made a member of the Commission appointed by the Government of New South Wales to investigate the question of the decline of the birth rate. Mr. Beale’s fellow- Commissioners on that occasion were the Hon. Charles MacKellar, M.B. ; the Hon. Sir Normand MacLaurin, M.D., LL.D. ; Mr. Coghlan, the present AgentGeneral for New South Wales; Dr.
Mr. Wilks. - A leading surgeon.
Sir WILLIAM LYNE.- That is so. The other Commissioners were Mr. Edmund Fosbery, Inspector-General of Police ; Mr. Holman ; the Honorable Thos. Hughes, Lord Mayor of Sydney ; Mr. Edmund Wm. Knox, General Manager of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company; Mr. Littlejohn,” President of the Chamber of Commerce; the Honorable John Brady Nash, a leading’ physician; and Dr. Thomas Pato’n, Government Medical Officer. It will be seen that Mr. Beale was in the company of an irreproachable and responsible set of men.
Mr. Liddell. - The Acting Prime Minister is in the company of good men in this House, but that does not make him any better.
Sir WILLIAM LYNE.- I think it helps to make me better; because if we rub shoulders with men as good as or better than ourselves we cannot fail to be benefited. The report issued bv that Royal Commission was of a most important character ; and his association with and energetic work upon the Commission was the origin of the appointment of Mr. Beale to investigate the subject on behalf of the Commonwealth. He having done good work previously, when he offered his services to the Prime Minister they were accepted. Mr. Beale undertook the work as what some might call a hobby; and the honorable member for Dalley has told us that some of the greatest reforms and discoveries are the result of the labour of men with hobbies. A man who undertakes a work of this character for the mere love of the work throws his whole heart into it; and the results are usually a great deal more effective than are the results of the labours of professional men and others, who a.re sometimes apt to treat subjects rather callously. The report is the product of a gentleman who entered into the work with such enthusiasm that he unearthed information which no other man in the community was likely to take the trouble to secure. That is the sort of man required to deal with this subject - of vast importance, not only to Australia, but to Great Britain, and, probably, to other countries. I can repeat what has been so well said before that, -instead of lamenting that we have not a growing population and endeavouring to induce immigration, it might be well for us if we devised some means of checking the practices described in this report - that would do more for Australia than any other scheme that could be devised. The Prime Minister was quite right in accepting the services of Mr. Beale, and ought to be’ commended, instead of attacked, for his action. Mr. Beale travelled over the world gleaning the information contained in this report; and I contend that, instead of doing harm, the circulation of the report, showing as it does the dire consequences of the practices referred to, even to the loss of human life, will do considerable good. If the grave dangers therein alluded to are brought within the knowledge of people who resortor are likelv to resort to such practices, they may be induced to pause. It has been said that the information necessary to carry out those practices can be obtained at any chemist’s, or from books in any library ; but that information is not accompanied by the facts as to the fatal results which may follow.
Mr. Wilks. - The report is a warning light.
Sir WILLIAM LYNE. - It is a great warning ; and I differ entirely from those gentlemen who object to the circulation of the report. If it is to be suppressed what was the object of appointing a Commissioner to investigate the subject, and to present his report ? If that report is to be relegated to a cupboard in the vaults, and is never to be seen again, why should the Government have taken any action in regard to the matter?
Mr. Wilks. - Will the Acting. Prime Minister base legislation upon Mr. Beale’s report ?
Sir WILLIAM LYNE.- I think that the report will stir this House and the entire community to a realization of their duty. I am not sure that the Commonwealth can enact the necessary legislation to deal with what is an admitted evil in the various States. Probably that is a matter for the States to deal with.
Mr. Wilks. - We might extend the provisions of the Commerce Act.
Sir WILLIAM LYNE. - Yes, so far as the importation of goods from oversea are concerned. One of the great objects of that Act was to deal with matters of this kind.
Mr. Page. - Why does not the Acting Prime Minister put the Act into operation?
Sir WILLIAM LYNE.- I did put it into operation so far as the law allowed me to proceed. I may tell honorable members that in consequence of the trouble experiencedI might almost say the impossibility - in putting that part of the Commerce Act into operation a new clause has been drafted to overcome the difficulty.
Mr. Page. - Bring it down and we will pass it.
Sir WILLIAM LYNE. - It is ready for submission to the House whenever the opportunity may offer. That clause has been drafted mainly because of the evils alluded to in Mr. Beale’s report, and because of the difficulty experienced in carrying out the intention cif the Commerce Act. If the report has no other effect than to prevent the importation of these objectionable drugs it will- have accomplished a great good. The public will call upon the States Parliaments to pass the necessary legislation in . respect of such drugs where that legislation is not already in existence. I think that the keynote of the question was struck by the honorable member for Laanecoorie when he declared that no trouble would be experienced but for the high rates which are paid to various newspapers for the publication of certain advertisements. . Therein lies the curse of the whole thing . In every State there should be a law to prevent the publication of such advertisements. I hope that the States will take notice of Mr. Beale’s report. I trust that that document will have the effect of arousing them to action, and I can promise honorable members that whatever little addition is required to make the Commerce Act effective in this matter will very soon be made. If there is one thing in which we should be interested it is in the preservation of the child life of the community. We should see that the opportunities’ for preventing the increase of the birth-rate which have hitherto offered shall be minimized or shall continue no longer. There is another phase of this question that we have to consider. . lt is time we recognised that the members of this community, and especially those who have to toil hard for a livelihood, shall be paid a sufficient wage to enable them to maintain their wives and families in comfort instead of compelling the women of the community to become mere drudges.
Mr. Page. - A man cannot keep a family on 27s. 6d. a week.
Sir WILLIAM LYNE. - That is what I am referring to. It has been one of the aims of my life to place the working classes in such a position that women shall not be obliged to become mere drudges, and in which the men will have sufficient means not only to provide for their families, but to rejoice at their large number. I do not intend to allow this matter to rest where it is, and I say that there should not be very much restriction imposed upon the circulation of Mr. Beale’s report. Its ‘ circulation will not do any harm - I believe that it will accomplish good. The reason why I have stopped its circulation is not because I view the matter from the stand-point of the honorable member for Hunter, but because of a legal opinion which I have obtained as to the liability attaching to persons who circulate it in the absence of an amendment of the law. According to the opinion that I have received, members of Parliament are exempt from liability, but other persons are not. If it is necessary to amend the law so as to place the public in as strong a position as honorable members themselves occupy, I believe it is the duty of the Government to see that that amendment is made.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta) [4.7]. - I propose to say a word or two upon this motion; and I shall not occupy more than five minutes in doing so, be cause I notice that the honorable member for Hunter has only twenty-five minutes in which to make his reply.
Mr. SPEAKER.- The honorable member for Hunter has only seven minutes in which to reply.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK.- After a very cursory glance at Mr. Beale’s report, it has occurred to me that it might be revised with very great advantage. What I suggest to the Acting Prime Minister is that on this important matter he might very well obtain such medical advice as is available to him. I have seen some formulas published in the report with the utmost minutiae.
Sir William Lyne. - I have no objection to do as the honorable member suggests.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK. - I think that the adoption of that course would accomplish all that is reasonably necessary.
Sir William Lyne. - I promised the other day that I would do something of the kind.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK.- In Mr, Beale’s report some formula are published with the utmost detail. Consequently I very much question the wisdom of broadcasting it. The object which I have in view might easily be achieved by eliminating certain formulae.
Mr. Salmon. - Unfortunately, one can obtain all the preparations in question by asking for them by name, without any formulae.
Mr: JOSEPH COOK.- That is, assuming that one knew their names.
Mr. Salmon. - Their names are advertised in the press.*
Mr. JOSEPH COOK.- If one did not know the names of . these secret drugs, ‘ in all probability he would not ask for them. I think that the report should be thoroughly overhauled, and ‘ if need be, revised, with a view to eliminating some of its details before it is made public. It is the bounden duty of every man who loves his country, “and who has any regard for its future, to do everything that he can to bring under the notice of the population the harmful effects of the use of these drugs. But there is a right way and a wrong way of doing this, and it may be that by the indiscriminate dissemination of literature of this kind we may defeat the very object that we have in view. However, as the Acting Prime Minister has promised a thorough review of the whole matter–
Sir William Lyne. - I do not mean to say that I shall agree to the report being unduly cut up.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK.- I ask the Acting Prime Minister to see that the report is competently reviewed. That is all that Iask.
Mr. LIDDELL (Hunter) [4.10]. - I have no desire whatever to press the Acting Prime Minister too far in regard to this matter. If he will meet me half way I shall be perfectly satisfied. I feel particularly proud of his admission that my action to-day has stirred the House.
Sir William Lyne. - I did not say that. I said thatMr. Beale’s report would stir the community.
Mr. LIDDELL.- At any rate, I am particularly pleased that I have brought the matter before the House, because I hold that my action has been entirely justified. It is to be regretted that” unless an honorable member moves the adjournment of the House, it is almost impossible to induce the Acting Prime Minister to take action in regard toany matter. Over and over again I have endeavoured to bring forward questions, but I have been assured that everything would be all right if I neglected to take action. I am, however, gaining political experience, and I have learned that it takes a pretty strong mustard plaster to have any effect upon the Acting Prime Minister. He has made a very animated defence of Mr. Beale. That proves to me that I have been upon the right track.
Sir William Lyne. - I was not going to allow the honorable member to attack him without replying to his statements.
Mr. LIDDELL. - From the animated manner in which the Acting Prime Minister defended Mr. Beale it is evident that his character required some defence.
Sir William Lyne. - Nonsense. The honorable member seldom talks anything else.
Mr. LIDDELL.- Of course, I could not expectevery honorable member to agree with the view whichI entertain upon this matter. At any rate, I have succeeded in drawing attention to the nature of Mr. Beale’s report. Some honorable members entirely missed the point which I desired to make, namely, that that report, although in some respects a valuable one, has been drawn up in a most harmful form, and that consequently it needs to be revised before being circulated. I strongly urge the Acting Prime Minister not to permit of its distribution in its present form.
Question resolved in the negative.
asked the Acting Prime Minister, upon notice -
Is he aware of any proposal to transfer the Island of Tahiti from France to Germany? If so, will he cause representations to be made to the Imperial authorities with a view of opening up negotiations with the French Republic to arrange, if possible, for the transfer of the Island to this Commonwealth?
– The Government understand that no such proposal has been made or is contemplated.
Consideration resumed from 10th September (vide page 3046) of motion of Sir William Lyne -
That duties of Customs and duties of Excise be imposed according to the following Tariff (vide page 1648)…………
.- Last evening, when the appealing looks of honorable members compelled me to ask leave to continue my remarks, I was dealing with the question of the “new,” protection. I do not know that we have any particular right to call the development and extension of a protective policy, the “ new “ protection. Really, it is not new protection at all. It is the same old protection, but it involves writing down the contract which was formerly implied. Protection always contained an implied contract. Nobody ever seriously proposed to levy protective duties for the sake of benefiting the manufacturers. The object was to increase the number of industries in which members of our population might be profitably employed, and to enable those employes to earn a comfortable livelihood. But for that consideration few of us would be protectionists. No one would vote for protection merely to give an advantage to the honorable member for Mernda, to Mr. Joshua, or to some other manufacturer. The object of protectionists is to establish industries whereby a large number of personsmay make a living which they could not otherwise gain, and the new protection is proposed to make the attainment of that end more certain. Under the old protection, it was found that sometimes manufacturers who had been protected from foreign competitors took advantage of their position, or were forced by internal competition, to cut down the wages or lengthen the hours of their employes, sweating those who should have been prosperous. That happened notoriously in Victoria, and, I think, in other States. Hence it has become necessary to legislate for the protection of the employes, to insure that the manufacturers shall not be the only persons to benefit by the import duties. Parliament should have no hesitation about . providing that every award of a Court or Wages Board relating to a protected industry must be complied with. The community is protecting, certain manufacturers from outside competition in order that all engaged in certain industries, may enjoy humane conditions, such as reasonable hours and fair remuneration, and if we do not make the attainment of that result certain, we shall not secure the real advantages of protection. To merelyerect a fence against importation is not protection in the true sense, because it does not insure the . establishment of an industry under humane conditions for all connected with it, and makes possible the existence of sweating such as we hear of in other parts of the world.- In Adelaide an agreement was arrived at in conference between the employers and employes in the agricultural implement-making business, which the .Court certified to as reasonable,’ and ° the industry was thereupon granted exemption from Excise. But it behoves the Government to see that the conditions of the agreement are complied with. ‘ If, as is alleged, there has been evasion, or if there is a refusal to give information, the Government should collect the Excise for which Parliament . has provided. Parliament provided for the collection of Excise duties on agricultural machinery where fair conditions were not being observed, and the Labour Party now propose in regard to all protected industries that the Commonwealth trade mark or a stamp duty shall be used to obtain a similar end.- The collection of Excise or the imposition of a stamp duty in connexion with any industry would be adopted as a penal measure, and the imposition of a stamp duty would present fewer difficulties than the collection of Excise.
– How would the Government ascertain what the consumers have to pay?
– I am not dealing with the protection of. the consumers.
– I arn referring to the proposals of the honorable member for South Sydney.
– They were divided into two parts. He provided for the protection of the workmen, and the protection of the consumers against extortion ; I am dealing now only with the- protection of workmen. While the protection of the consumer would be a useful measure, the protection of the worker is inseparable from any system of true protection. Protection was imposed to benefit all primarilyconnected with the protected industries, manufacturers and employes alike. The use of the Commonwealth trade mark in this connexion was proposed by the Labour Party at my suggestion, because that mark has no connexion with the workers’ trademark. The attachment of the latter to goods would signify merely that they had been made by members of a trade union, and there would naturally be a good deal of opposition to its use. It would not mean that the goods had been made under reasonable conditions as to hours and remuneration. But the attachment of the Commonwealth trade mark to any article would mean that the conditions of industry which produced it were controlled by either a Federal or a State authority. Those sections of the Trades Marks Act which’ relate to the Commonwealth trade mark would require/some little amendment to make its application wider, but the use of the mark is advocated merely to insure that the goods- bearing- it have been made under fair conditions as to’ remuneration and hours of labour’. Employees complying with the” award of an Arbitration Court or the decision of a Wages Board would have the right to affix the Commonwealth trade mark to their - goods. In Victoria Wages Boards exist in regard to most pf the industries which we desire to protect, and - in some of the other States all such industries come under an Arbitration Court. Where there are neither Wages Boards nor Arbitration Courts, it is only fair that an attempt should be made to bring legislation into line.
– Then the new protection’ will do nothing for industries which are now regulated?
– It’ would only insure ‘
– That which exists’..
-It will make it more certain, though it will probably not give the employes a penny more. What we propose is to regulate and bring under control industries which are not regulated and under control.
– What does the honorable member mean by saying that the employes will not get one penny more under the new protection ?
– In certain circumstances they will not get a penny more.
– They will get the benefit of the increased duties.
– A Wages Board might, and probably would, decide that, having regard to the new conditions created by the additional duties, it was only fair to fix a higher rate of wages.
– Still the new protection would not guarantee anything of the kind.
– It would guarantee the observance of the determination of a Wages Board, or the award of an Arbitration Court.
– What would be the position in States where no Wages Boards exist?
– The new protection would bring those States into line with those which have Wages Boards.
– It might mean a reduction of wages if a Wages Board decided that a reduction was desirable.
Mr.BATCHELOR.- We shall cheerfully take that risk. Wherever the manufacturers have uncontrolled power, and are able, so to speak, to set their employes at each other’s throats with a view to reducing wages, the tendency is for wages to be reduced.
– The tendency is also to organize the workers to fight for better wages.
– That is true. Where the rates of pay have already been regulated the tendency of the new protection will not be to increase them. In South Australia, when the Excise Tariff (Agricultural Machinery) Act was passed wages were ridiculously low in the implementmaking industry. They were far less than they ought to have been, having regard to the magnitude of the industry and the importance of the work of those engaged in it. The employers and employes, however, met in conference, and agreed to an advance right along the line.
Thus, although the new protection did not in itself provide for an increased wage, its effect was to cause employers and employes to meet in conference, and to agree that the wages of 75. per cent. of the men in the trade should be raised. That, I think, would be the effect of this system upon all industries in respect ofwhich wages had not been regulated. It is reasonable to assume that in every industry to which the determination of a Wages Board applies an increase in wages has already taken place, in anticipation of increased protection being granted. It is important to consider for a moment the uses to which this machinery might be put. Those observing the award of an Arbitration Court or the determination of a Wages Board would, of course, have a right to use the Commonwealth trade mark. In such cases it would simply be necessary for an employer to send to the Registrar of the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Court an application for the use of the Commonwealth trade mark, and to submit at the same time a schedule of the wages paid by him. If no opposition were offered to the application - and in such cases opposition would be rare - the request would be granted. But where an application was opposed the Court would have to deal with it.
– Would it not be necessary to simplify that process ?
– Application would have to be made to the Court only when a request by an employer was opposed. The chances are that the adoption of the system of new protection advocated by us would lead to employers and employes in many cases meeting in conference and arriving at an agreement as to the rates of wages to be paid.
– Instead of assuming that every man is not paying fair rates of wages, and compelling him to prove to the satisfaction of the Court that he is, would itnot be more reasonable to assume that all are paying fair wages, and to bring before the Court only those who are reported hot to foe doing so?’
– I do not think so. It must be remembered that we are offering to protect employers, and to warn off competition, subject to the condition that reasonable rates of wages are paid by them. In such circumstances is it not fair to ask the employers to prove that they are paying reasonable wages?
– The decision of the Court in one case could be made a common rule.
– Quite so. Does the Minister think that the procedure he has suggested would be simpler than that which I have outlined?
– We have the same object in view, but what I have in mind is the desirableness of adopting a simple procedure.
– The procedureI have suggested would be simpler than that mentioned by the honorable member. We might appoint inspectors to report whether or not the stipulated conditions were being observed.
– We must first have a standard.
– That is so. If an application be opposed it must be determined by some tribunal, and I do not think a more suitable one could be suggested than is the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration.
– It would never be able to cope with the work thus thrown upon it.
– I believe that within a year or twothe decisions of Wages Boards or Courts of Conciliation and Arbitration would apply to every industry to which protection on these conditions had been granted.
– I would remind the honorable member of what has already been done in South Australia under the Excise Tariff (Agricultural Machinery) Act.
– Remember what has not been done under it by the Government.
– The Government have taken every possible Step to carry out the Act. Although that Act has been in operation so long all the agricultural implement makers have not been before an Arbitration Court, and it seems to me that it would be unfair to penalize the manufacturers in one State before the Court afforded an opportunity of dealing with manufacturers and employes in all States. It is said that in South Australiathere is collusion between employers and employes in the agricultural implement making industry.
– I do not think the word “collusion” is the right one to employ in this connexion.
– The honorable member is probably correct.
– I do not think that there is any collusion.
– Not between masters and men.
– If I may so put it, there seems to be “ forced collusion.”
– Then it is a case not of collusion, but of coercion.
– There was collusion amongst the manufacturers to prevent the presentation of the return for which I had asked in the House.
– So far as that aspect of the question is concerned it is evident that some of the employers must have a very weak case since they refused to supply information which would have enabled the House to ascertain whether or not the conditions imposed by the Court were being observed. The Minister of Trade and Customs has suggested that the adoption of the procedure I have outlined would lead to a congestion of business’ in the Conciliation and Arbitration Court. I would remind him that the number of trades being brought under the operation of Wages- Boards is increasing so rapidly that it is unlikely that the Court would be called upon to deal with the conditions of labour in many industries. There might be for some little time a congestion of business, but in this connexion there are certain facts of which we must not lose sight. The Legislature of New South Wales recently passed a Conciliation and’ Arbitration Act under which the Court was charged with the control of the whole of the industrial conditions of New South Wales. The State Parliament was not deterred from passing such legislation by any consideration as to the congestion of Court business that was . likely to result from it, and it would be absurd for us to stay our hand on the ground that the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Court would have too much to do if our proposal were carried out. The Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration could alone deal with applications that were opposed. It may be suggested that the matter might be left in the hands of the Minister, but I should be strongly opposed to anything of the kind. If a scheme could be devised by. which this work could be distributed among the State Courts I should not object so long as the whole matter remained under Federal control. The alternative to the use of the Commonwealth trade mark is the imposition of st. stamp duty. I am inclined to think that such a duty would be paid only in rare instances. It is probable that every employer would recognise that it would pay him to comply with the conditions ; but we must take care that the alternative scheme shall be such that it will not be difficult for manufacturers and employers generally in the protected industries to comply with the conditions laid down. All enumerated goods leaving the factory must bear either a duty stamp or the Commonwealth trade mark ; and probably,- in practically all cases, it would be the Commonwealth trade mark. There would be no difficulty, however, in affixing a duty stamp in the event of manufacturers objecting to the conditions . attaching to the use of the Commonwealth trade mark.
– Has the honorable member tried to draft a Bill yet?
– At present we are only discussing the principle. Does the honorable member suggest that the proposal could not be carried out by means of a Bill ?
– I think it is impracticable.
– The honorable member has not, I think, looked sufficiently into the matter.
– I heard the leader of the -Labour Party deal with the matter at great length, and I have also listened to the honorable member.
– The honorable member for Parkes spoke after the leader of the Labour Party had spoken, and I did not gather then that lie had any ground for the opinion he has just expressed. 0
– We can never prove that a thing is impracticable until we have tried to practice it ; that is the meaning of the word, as the honorable member knows.
– The fact that it might Le difficult to draft a Bill is no argument against our trying to do what we believe to be right. Personally, I believe the difficulty to be very much over-rated ; indeed, I fail”, to see the obstacles which present themselves to the honorable member’s mind. However, as I know the honorable member would not make, the remarks ihe has unless he saw some difficulty. I acquiesce so far in -his view as to say that if there be a difficulty it is not sufficient to justify us in withholding our hand.
– I do not thin* that the scheme will work out.
– I think it will, and that is where we differ. I take it that one of the questions we have to consider in relation to the stamp duty is, who would police the measure and see that it was carried out? In reply to that, I say that the rival manufacturers, the work people and the public, would be all interested in policing the measure. We must remember that, in all probability, it would seldom, if ever, be necessary to impose a duty stamp; because it would be simpler for manufacturers to comply with the conditions as to wages. As to the suggestion, in which the honorable .member for Parramatta is specially interested, that there should be a Commission or Committee to report on alleged cases of extortionate prices being charged by manufacturers, there is no difficulty whatever in having such a body. There would be no difficulty in a-. Committee of the kind obtaining authentic information as to the prices charged when goods left the manufacturers’ hands, though it would, admittedly, be impossible to follow the goods until they reached the consumer. Although it would not be possible to go beyond manufacturers’ charges, it would be useful to have authentic information as to what those charges really were, in case of any alleged extortion.
– The honorable member is aware that in some trades manufacturers have their own retail shops all over the suburbs.
– There would be -no difficulty in such cases in ascertaining the prices at which the goods were sold.
– Does the honorable member propose that all the shops should bc visited, and the retail prices ascertained ?
– Why does the honorable member suggest that the retail prices should be ascertained?
– If a manufacturer debited his goods at a reasonable price to his different branches, the goods would have to-be followed to the retail shops-
– If that is the only kind of objection the honorable member sees, I should say there would be no difficulty in carrying out the legislation.
– A body of 10,000 inspectors could not carry out the work.
– We do not require 10,000 inspectors, but only two or three sensible men.
– Why should we require to have a great number of inspectors merely to ascertain the prices which manufacturers were charging for certain goods?
– What has that to do with the price to the consumer?
– I have already said that this proposal will not bring about the millennium; it does not propose to infallibly protect the consumer from unjust charges imposed by some one between the consumer and the manufacturer. We are now dealing with proposed protection to manufacturers, and in return for that protection, we say that manufacturers have no right to charge extortionate prices.
– The scheme, as printed, shows the object to be to protect the consumer.
– And it does protect the consumer, though it is not proposed to follow up the goods in all cases.
– Then the consumer will not be protected.
– The proposal will not completely protect the consumer, though it will protect him from unfair imposts by manufacturers. The charge is that protection enables the manufacturer to fleece the consumer, and the remedy proposed is to appoint a Commission which will investigate and report on any attempt in that direction.
– The honorable member during this debate has been libelling the retailer, and not the manufacturer.
– What sort of language is that to use? Am I libelling anybody?
– The leader of the Labour Party did the other night.
– I am not concerned in protecting the leader of the Labour Party,who is perfectly well able to look after himself. I am responsible for only what I myself state. Another objection to the proposal is that, if carried out, it will give rise to frequent Tariff discussions in the House, because, on the reports of the Commission, the Government might feel it incumbent to suggest an alteration of duty. In my opinion, however, the mere fact that such a Commission was in existence would have a deterrent effect on manufacturers who designed any serious imposition, and would thus keep down prices to the consumer. Under the circumstances, it would probably never be necessary for the House to discuss a proposed alteration of the Tariff, and, ever if an alteration were submitted, it would refer merely to the duty oh some particular article.
– Suppose that this imaginary Commission found that a retailer was charging exorbitant prices, why should that offence be visited on the manufacturer who had sold the goods at a reasonable price ?
– There is no suggestion of the kind in the proposal. What is wanted is publicity, and, in such a case as that cited by the honorable member, it would be shown by the investigation of the Commission that the manufacturer was innocent, and that it was some middleman who was guilty.
– Then what is it proposed to do with the middleman ?
– There is no remedy under the present proposal, which deals only with protecting the consumer from the manufacturer.
– What is to prevent the manufacturer selling as his own middleman ?
– No doubt it might be possible to evade the law in that way ; but because that might be so in odd cases owing to unscrupulous and dishonest men-
– The world is full of them.
– There are many dishonest men in the world, no doubt, but there are many more who desire to obey the law. The world is not composed of dishonest and unscrupulous men ; the honorable member for Parkes and others of us are still here. It is suggested to me by an honorable member that, even if there were some evasions, the conditions would be very much better than they are at’ present, ‘ or than they would be under freetrade, when no attempt is made to ascertain whether the consumer is being exploited. Under free-trade, the consumer can be exploited by means of corners.
– Under a proper system of free-trade, all corners break up.
– There never yet has been a proper system of free-trade.
– That is the misfortune.
– And I do not think that up to the present there has ever been a proper system of protection ; and probably there never will be. That, however, should not deter us from doing what we can in the direction of perfection. Some honorable members take the view that what they call “grandmotherly” legislation is incompatible with real progress in manufacturing. In reply, I point to Germany, where there is a most paternal Government, which controls, in great detail, both employers and employed. Yet that country has shown the greatest manufacturing progress of any nation during the past two decades. It is, therefore, impossible to say that a paternal Government is incompatible with progress.
– The progress of Germany is due more to the facilities provided for technical and other education than to protection.
– The facilities for education are all part of the system. I do not desire to say that all the progress of Germany is due to protection. But I ask the honorable member not to raise another question ; I have no desire to over-state my ease, or make it appear to cover larger ground than it really does cover. All I say now is that paternal government, in itself, cannot be held to be incompatible with progress.
– We must not attribute to protection what is due to another cause.
– Admittedly ; I mean no more than I say, and I ask no one to attach more meaning than I intend to my- words. ‘We are told by .manufacturers that they do not wish to be hampered by the necessity of supplying so many returns to the Governments of the State and the Federal Government. I do not know that the Federal Government have ever required manufacturers to make any returns beyond the suggestion’ now made in the proposal with which. I am now dealing. Seeing that we are giving manufacturers protection in the widest possible market in Australia, and shutting out competitors on certain conditions, there ought to be no objection to our requiring certain information with a view to secure the protection of the consumer. I do not think that we ought to stay our hand because there are some initial difficulties in the way of enacting legislation of this kind. I- do not believe that it is beyond our power to overcome those difficulties. . We must recollect that in the matter of the establishment of Wages Boards Victoria showed the way to protect workmen from the worst evils of Sweating. This1 State affords a splendid example of what may be done in the direction of regulating industry.
– Which does the honorable member think is the more effective - Wages Boards or Arbitration Courts?
– The honorable member has put a conundrum to me. In some cases the Arbitration Court is more effective, whilst in others the reverse is the case. Other things being equal, I should prefer to see industries controlled by Wages Boards. I believe that the control of an industry by persons engaged in. it is better than its control bv any Court - no matter how able and experienced may be its members - because it is impossible for a Court to get such evidence placed before it as is daily before the members of a Wages Board. Victoria was not deterred from establishing Wages Boards by the fact that their creation would constitute an attempt to regulate industries. Similarly this Parliament ought not to be deterred by initial difficulties from putting its hand to tha plough in an endeavour to protect our workmen. There are one or two other matters to which I desired to refer, but, having occupied so much time, I do not feel justified in trespassing any further upon the patience of the Committee. Consequently, I shall reserve my remarks upon the Commonwealth Public Service untilanother occasion. I had also intended to deal with the question of immigration, but I shall leave that to the honorable member for Darling, who, I understand, will deal with it exhaustively. I hope that the Government will not be content with addressing the public servants of the Commonwealth upon the necessity of altering the Public Service Act, but will let us know exactly what their proposals are in the way of amending that Statute. That it needs alteration I am convinced. That responsibility and power should always be allied goes without saying.-
– Except in the case of the present Ministry. They have the responsibility but not the power, whereas the Labour Party have the power but not the responsibility. ‘
– The honorable member is quite wrong: The Government have the power to deal with the matter to which I am referring, and I hope that they will show that they have a proper sense of their responsibility by submitting an amending Bill to the House. I thank the Committee for the attentive hearing which they have accorded me.
.- I have listened with very great attention to the speech of the honorable member for Boothby. I feel that we shall have to do something in the direction indicated by the Prime Minister at Ballarat when he dealt with the great question of scientific national protection, which means protection alike for the manufacturer, the worker, and consumer. I had hoped to hear something more about this matter, but after listening to the honorable member for Boothby I fear that the adoption of the “ new “ protection would necessitate the creation of huge machinery and the appointment of persons who, to bring the matter within the range of practical politics, would need to be able to affect the operation of the great law of supply and demand. That, I contend, is incompatible with the possibilities of to-day. I do not propose to occupy the time of the Committee at undue length, but I wish to deal with a statement which was made at Wagga, and with another which was made in this House by the Acting Prime Minister to the effect that economy had been practised by the Commonwealth in its administration. It is impossible for us to ignore the fact that our expenditure to-day is close upon £6,000,000, whereas the expenditure originally incurred by the Federation was only £3,733,218. We cannot escape from the position that the original Ministerial expenditure was only £275,000, whereas to-day it ranges between £400,000 and £500,000. The “ other “ expenditure schedule in the Budget Papers shows an increase from £275,000 in 1901-2 to £1,900,000. If these figures evidence economy, I do not know the meaning of that term.
– The services which have been taken over by the Commonwealth account for that increase.
– I know that the figures include the cost of all the services.
– I suppose that the honorable member’s business is a little more expensive to conduct now than it was when he first started operations?
– That is so.. I am willing to allow for that, but I maintain that the figures which I have quoted do not evidence the practice Of economy. Before I have finished I think that honorable members will agree with me that there is something wrong with the financial management of the Commonwealth. I can quite understand the difficulties which have to be encountered. Members have to administer the affairs of a huge concern comprising six States, they have to do. a great deal of work in this House, and they have very little time at their disposal in which to do what a man in business must do, namely, see that his banking account does not get into disorder. The proposals of theGovernment, itis anticipated, will yield an increased revenue of nearly £1,000,000. The total amount which the Treasurer estimates he will receive during the current year is £13,745,200. In 1905-6 the total was £11,885,000. In that year we returned to the States, approximately, £7,385,000. But during the current financial year it is estimated that we shall only return to the States - despite an increase of £2,000,000 in our income - something like £361,000 more than we returned to them in 1905-6. Surely that indicates that there is a huge expenditure in progress.
– The Premier of New South Wales is complaining because we are returning the States so much.
– I think that we were full up of New South Wales yesterday on account of the elections there.
– But the Premier of that State is complaining that we are returning too much revenue to the States.
– The Premier of NewSouth Wales will probably complain when he gets to heaven - if he ever gets there.
– It is the honorable member’s crowd which is full up of the elections in New South Wales.
– The honorable member has alluded once or twice to the “ push “ in the Opposition corner. He really should not do so, because his references are destructive of that parliamentaryetiquette to which we have been accustomed. I now wish to dra.w attention to the increase in “ other “ expenditure. I do not like it. It demonstrates that there is no efficient check. For instance, I find that an amount of £8,000 is provided in connexion with quarantine, although it was understood that noexpenditure would be required for some time. Then, too, the Governor-General’s expenses have been increased from approximately £4,000 to £8,’ooo. This amount is exclusive of the sum fixed by Parliament, namely, £15,000. Enormous in- creases have taken place in other Departments. The expenditure upon “ contingencies “has also increased from £3,360 to £6,200. Upon a previous occasion, I drew attention to the large expenditure under this heading, and I say, without fear of contradiction, that it evidences a want of proper supervision over financial matters. Lower down on ‘the list, I note an expenditure of £23,000 for electoral purposes. I do not know whether the item may be regarded as an ominous one, because we have already had dark hints as to what may happen if we do not pass the Tariff. The Department of Home Affairs also discloses a considerable increase in expenditure. These increases do not accord with the statement of the Prime Minister as to the economical administration by the Commonwealth. I propose now to deal briefly with the Tariff and I hope to be able to add to the information which was imparted yesterday in this connexion. I trust that we shall very soon have a statement from the Acting Prime Minister as to what course the Government propose to pursue in regard to the payment of duties which may subsequently be reduced. My office happens to be rather centrally situated, and only to-day I was waited upon by members of the mercantile community, who hold that the Government are collecting duties which Parliament is not likely to approve, and that their action - unless a refund be granted - amounts to nothing more nor less than robbery. Last night,’ the honorable member for Darling stated that in my zeal for the traders of the community, I omitted to remember the workers. May I point out to him that in considering the traders, I am also considering the workers. Surely the interests of one class is identical with that of the other. Some proposal of the kind that I outlined yesterday, would, if adopted, go a long way towards relieving the uncertainty which is experiencedby members of the mercantile world in paying the existing rates of duty. I do not propose to weary honorable members with figures relating to the Tariff, but I should like to point out that it contains something like685 items, in connexion with 238 of which the rates of duty are unaltered, and I hope there will not be much discussion. But in regard to 421 items huge increases are proposed, in some instances amounting to over 200 per cent., and in others to 300 per cent., and even more. Such duties are not pro tection, but prohibition. I admit that protection was asked for by the Victorian communityas a whole; but it will be found that the Government propose to tax every live industry in the Commonwealth, including industries which in this State were originally assisted with bonuses. The butter industry is one of these. I have received from the electorate of the Acting Prime Minister a number of letters containing complaints against the taxation of this industry. Five or six articles used in it are heavily taxed.
– What arethey?
– Acids, oil, salt, paper, scales, and box timber are all taxed. The Minister has promised to give rebates in connexion with butter boxes which are exported ; but those rebates will not reach the dairymen, who have to slave from morning to night to provide a living for themselves and their families. It must be remembered that Australia exports butter. Our butter makers have to pay heavy railway freights to send their produce to the seaboard, and must then pay ship freights for a journey of 16,000 miles, after which they have to face competition from all parts of the world. Under these circumstances there ought not to be heavy duties on the requirements of the dairymen. Last night the honorable member for Fremantle showed how another primary industry, mining, is taxed. Mining has done more than any other industry to bring Australia to the front. But my connexion with a small mine at Chiltern enables me to say that the duty on candles alone will increase our expenditure by £100 a year.
– Candles will be cheaper than they have been.
– I am stating what is absolutely correct. History repeats itself, and it is nearly time that we had another mining revival. It was coming, but the effect of the Tariff upon investors has been such that there will be less mining than usual, and a consequent falling off in employment, although it is the desire of the Government to increase employment. In my electorate, dairying, agriculture, mining, and sheep grazing are largely followed ; indeed, I know of no other district in the State where those industries are so well developed. But all of them are heavily faxed by the Tariff, and none of them can benefit by import duties. It is true that there is a duty of 3d. per lb. on butter, of ios. each on cattle, of 2s. each on sheep. I say “ Thank you “ for them ; but they will be absolutely inoperative. Probably they have been imposed in the hope that they will gull farmers who axe not thinking men. Then there is a duty on straw. “But the duties on agricultural produce operate only in times of drought, when the railway authorities are being asked to carry produce and chaff for half rates, to enable our starving stock to be kept alive. The effect of the duty of 30 per cent, on wire netting will be to protect the rabbits and to injure those who have to cope with that pest. I regard protection as ‘a necessity, and a policy such as that outlined by the Prime Minister at Ballarat would bring about the millennium, and provide a haven of refuge and peace for politicians. But we should tax only such articles as are used and consumed by the whole community, and only in proportion to the consuming power of the people and their ability to pay. The Acting Prime Minister informed the honorable member for Riverina the other night that an enormous quantity of wire netting is imported’, and that there is only one firm in Australia which manufactures wire netting - a. Sydney firm. Therefore, the huge duty of 30 per cent, savours of favoritism to an individual manufacturer. From a protectionist stand-point, it might be a right duty to impose, but the necessities of the people and the exigencies of the case demand that wire netting shall be admitted free. Furthermore, the machines by which wire-netting is made cannot be manufactured in the Commonwealth, and are charged duty at the rate of 25 per cent. Is that fair to the agricultural and pastoral interest ? It seems to me that the Tariff has not been very carefully arranged. . Yesterday I endeavoured to get the Acting Prime Minister to make an explanation in regard to it, which I think would save time. In my opinion, the duties which have been proposed in regard to the various items have not been carefully considered. The honorable member for Dalley painted a humorous picture of the manner in which the Acting Prime Minister and the Minister of Trade and Customs drew up the Tariff. I agree with him in thinking that the Tariff was introduced hurriedly, because leakage was taking place. I should like to know what truth there is in the rumour that a State Department - I do not know which - “ lifted “ 300 chairs forty-eight hours before the Tariff was introduced. Was there a leakage of information which brought, that about?
– How many pounds of tobacco were cleared?
– A’ great quantity of goods was removed from bond shortly before the introduction of the Tariff, importers clearing everything which they thought would be made dutiable, or on which the duty would be increased. But no one was likely to regard it as possible that a duty would be placed on old casks. Yet I know that, nearly a fortnight before the introduction of the Tariff, a broker in Melbourne rang up every wine and spirit merchant and bought every old cask he could get. That action would make it appear that there had been a leakage of information. The evidence is made stronger by the fact that the gentleman concerned is credited with being the distiller who assisted the late AttorneyGeneral to prepare the schedule of duties relating to spirits, which was passed last Parliament.
– Considering how many persons knew the recommendations of the Tariff Commission, I think that information was withheld from the public very successfully.
– With regard to the duty on bottles, I should like to read some figures from an authenticated invoice which, I understand, has been published in another form. The home cost of 578 gross of bottles of a certain kind was £299 19s. 8d. ; deducting the profits of the manufacturer, their actual manufacturing cost came to about £262 ns. nd. ; the cost of bringing them here was £323 10s. 3d. ; and the old duty would have been £40 18s. iod. By ‘ measurement, the consignment occupied 5,796. cubic feet of cargo space, and under the new Tariff was dutiable at iod. per cubic foot, or £240 ios., making the total cost of the bottles landed in Australia £563 ros. 3d. Under the Tariff of 1902 bottles coming in full were not dutiable, but under this Tariff they are dutiable. It would be impossible to say how many millions of filled bottles are imported, but the Government are very modest if they really think that they will raise only an .extra £1,000,000 by the Tariff. . It is difficult to forecast by how many millions the revenue will be increased under it. I regard it as being exceedingly wrong,- and highly improper.
Whilst I believe in the policy of protection, I am not a protectionist run mad. I shall be found voting for duties which will in my opinion build up our industries and expand the output of our natural products. I do not know whether or not the success of Victoria under protection has been taken into consideration by those responsible for the framing of the Tariff. A few evenings ago, whilst the honorable member for Maranoa was speaking, the Treasurer said that Victoria had experienced the benefits of a protective policy, and that it had made her the most self-contained of the. States. That is true, but when did she enjoy the benefits of that policy? Was it not at a time when, with a short ocean carriage, she had a splendid free- trade dumping-ground in New South Wales, and also in Queensland ? The Treasurer has lost sight of the fact that in those days Sydney was referred to as a workingman’s paradise, because boots, shoes and clothing could be purchased there at rates lower than obtained in Victoria.
– The free-trade Statist of New South Wales showed at that time the cost of living wa’s less in Victoria than in New South Wales.
– It is idle for the honorable member to attempt to draw a red herring across the track. With only a short ocean carriage separating her from a huge market capable of taking all her surplus products,. Victoria, under her policy of protection, unquestionably did well, but to-day the position is different.
– The honorable member was returned as a protectionist.
– I was not returned on the good name of the honorable member. Let us view the position which might present itself if one were inclined to support the arguments advanced by Mr. Carruthers. I say all honour to New South Wales. She is the parent State, and has, in my humble judgment, opportunities immeasurably superior to those enjoyed by Victoria. She has a larger population as well as a huge stream of visitors that is never seen here, whilst she has alsothat which would help to make Victoria great, if she had it - untold wealth in her coal and iron deposits. Since the Establishment of Federation she has made immense strides in respect of the very matters, that helped to make Victoria. No doubt she possesses many advantages, but when the Premier of New South Wales talked about this Tariff having been proposed by Victorian people for the benefit of Victorians, he must have overlooked the composition of the Federal Government. We find in it three representatives of New South Wales - all most powerful men. We have also to remember that the Prime Minister was away for some time, and took no part in this work.
– But. the three representatives of New South Wales are at heart Victorians.
– They are better New South Welshmen than is the honorable member.
– The honorable member for Parkes should tell that story to the marines; the sailors will not believe it. Then again, we have in the Attorney-General a representative of Queensland1, and we know that the interests of Queensland and New South Wales run, to a large extent, together. We also have, in the Postmaster-General, the chief organizer of the Protectionist Party in Victoria ; but I think that he has been got at to some extent by his colleagues, who have induced him to agree to the imposition of huge taxation, which will be crippling in its effects. I propose again to allude to a point raised last night by the honorable member for Darling, and which has since been dealt with far more trenchantly than I could hope to deal with it. We know that the Conservative Party - if it exists - has its own newspaper, and that the Liberal Party also has a newspaper of its own. Why should not the Labour Party have a Labour journal ?
– It has six.
– I understand that a leading newspaper in Queensland is conducted in its interests. That newspaper has dealt with the question of the nationalization of industries, as well as with the proposed imposition of a Federal progressive land tax. It has discussed all the planks in the ideal programme of the Labour Party, and it dealt the other day, in a common-sense, refreshing manner, with the probable effects of the Tariff. It declared that it would mean to the worker an increase in the cost of living ranging from 3s. to 5s. per week, and it spoke the truth wEen it asserted that it would take the trade unions years to secure a corresponding increase in wages. In these circumstances, therefore, how can honorable members of the Labour Party support such a policy?
– The honorable member was going to support it.
– I am taking exception to the Tariff, as I might under other circumstances take exception to the honorable member. I am at liberty to analyze and criticise it, and am perfectly satisfied that the honorable member, notwithstanding his strong protectionist proclivities, will feel called upon to insist upon a reduction of the duties on certain lines, which I have in mind. I wish, for the moment, to. deal with the question of rebates, to which I alluded last night. A good deal has been said as to the action of those who are passing on the increased duties to the consumers, who, it is said, would not benefit by any rebate. How could the present position be avoided? Let us take the case of the Standard Oil Company. To my mind, it has dealt” honorably with its customers. Although it has increased by 2d. per gallon the price of its oil, it has put in writing a promise that it will rebate the extra charge if the duty be removed. Certain figures have been submitted, together with al declaration that they correctly represent the quantity of oil that the company has now in hand, and I repeat that they have taken up an honorable stand. We cannot find fault with them when they raise their prices and promise to grant a rebate under certain conditions. We do not know what are their circumstances. We cannot say whether or not they are in debt.
– The Standard Oil Company in debt?
– If the impost be removed they will have to reduce their prices, although they may have paid duty; on a quantitv of kerosene.
– That is so. Every honorable member must be glad that we are now getting at close quarters. The sooner we are at close quarters the better for the trading community and for my friends, the consumers, in whom I take just as much interest as does any honorable member. I desire now to refer to the position which the Federal Parliament occupies in the estimation of the people. At the risk of being toasted or roasted, as was the honorable member for Brisbane, I assert that we are not conducting the business of the Commonwealth in a way calculated to impress the States with our ability. We are indulging in pin-pricks that are hurtful to the States. It is, after all, the pinpricks of life that cause the most annoyance, and I believe that the pinpricks that we are administering to the States are giving rise to considerable inconvenience. I heard with apprehension the utterances of the leader of the Labour Party, in which he strongly deprecated the continuance of the Braddon section after 1910. I recognise, also, with some concern, that there was a departure from the political proprieties when the Acting Prime Minister objected to the scheme submitted to the Conference of Premiers by the ex-Treasurer. The right honorable member for Swan, under instructions from the Prime Minister, attended the Conference of Premiers at Brisbane, and - at a time when there was a feeling of unrest throughout the States - very properly said that the Federal Government were prepared to substitute for the Braddon section a scheme under which a fixed sum, representing as nearly as possible the interest annually payable on the debts of the States as at the inception of Federation, would be returned to them. I regret to find amongst the people resident in that part of Victoria which my business and my duties as a member of this Parliament require me to constantly traverse, a feeling that we are not only proposing under this Tariff to subject them to huge taxation, but contemplate depriving the States of their rights under the Braddon section, and, in addition, intend to introduce a system of direct taxation. The utterances of the Acting Prime Minister and others on the Government side of the House have engendered among the community the belief that we are in for a warm time, so far as Federal expenditure is concerned. The Government propose to take over the Northern Territory - to lift South Australia out of a dirty pair of shoes, and to put the other five States into a clean pair - but I hope that this House will never consent to an expenditure of something like £3,500,000 upon such an undertaking. Then, again, the establishment of the Federal Capital is likely to involve an expenditure of some millions, whilst a Federal system of old-age pensions would also involve a very heavy outlay. I have not previously mentioned the question of oldage pensions, because I did not consider it necessary to do so. The States are doing the work.
– Not all of them.
– I would, if possible, bring all the States into line, in so far as that question is concerned, but
I am not prepared to create another huge Federal Department; I am afraid to assist an creating any more Federal Departments. The area to be covered by the Federal Parliament is so great, and the population of the Commonwealth is so limited, that if we are to deal with various questions really associated with the States we shall have not only to double the present membership “but probably to quadruple the number of Ministers.
– And double their -salaries ?
– I have no doubt that the honorable member could accomplish a great deal more work in his Department. Hi’s early experiences and his well-known business capacity eminently fit him! for a much higher position than he now occupies. I view with considerable alarm the probable increase of Federal expenditure, and the possibility of the Commonwealth and the States coming into conflict. I believe that if they do come into conflict in relation to financial matters the States will win.
– Perhaps the wish is father to the thought.
– No. I cannot lose sight of the fact that I am a member of the Federal Parliament, and that it was intended by the people who voted for the Constitution Bill that this should be the national legislature. My desire is that the Parliament shall rise superior to petty considerations and parochial arrangements, and that it shall, in the fullest sense, realize the hopes of the people. It would be idle to expect perfection to be achieved within the first few years of its existence. I have no doubt that the financial possibilities were considered by those who framed the Constitution, who felt that, by virtue of the restrictions imposed on us, we should be compelled to “go slow “ for ten years. We have not gone too “slow”; indeed, there has been a disposition to go too “ fast.” If my words of warning have any effect, I shall consider that I am rewarded. A man can only do his duty; and if he does it fearlessly, even his opponents will respect, while his friends will admire him.
.- Nothing can do more harm to the Commonwealth than to encourage the existing friction between the States and the central authority, or to create a wrong impression in the minds of the people as to the management of the Australian finances.
The criticism on the Budget has been mainly directed to two matters - the increased expenditure,, and the complaint that the Government have not brought forward a definite financial policy. The honorable member who first referred to the increase of the expenditure was the honorable member for Swan ; and the statement he made, having regard to the fact that he has for so many years been a responsible Minister in this House, is one likely to very greatly misrepresent the position of the finances in the eyes of the public. The honorable member said that the total departmental increases were £339,484 ; whereupon the honorable member for Coolgardie interjected - “ Additional services have been transferred.” Then the honorable member for Swan said -
Even allowing for that, the departmental expenditure of the Commonwealth is growing very rapidly. I do not make that statement in any hostile spirit to the Government. I am merely pointing out what I have felt for a long time, namely, that the departmental expenditure of the Commonwealth is increasing too rapidly.
A similar view was taken by the honorable member for Indi in his opening remarks to-day. Speaking of the increased expenditure, that honorable member said that it was due to uneconomical management. Any honorable member who thinks at all must know that Commonwealth expenditure must go on increasing as more Departments are transferred. The question is not whether the expenditure is increasing, but whether the increase is justifiable. What do we find in regard to the increased expenditure in the various Departments? The total increase, as the right honorable member for Swan pointed out, .’ is £339,484. Let us see how that total is made up, because it is desirable that honorable members should have their attention directed to it before they conclude that the amount is unjustifiable. The increase in the Department of External Affairs is £14,340, including .£2,850 for Commonwealth offices in London., and £4,795 for the development of Papua. A sum of £5,516 is put down under the head of “ miscellaneous,” which includes an increase from £1,209 ,to £20,000 for the purpose of advertising the Commonwealth. That £20,000 is not shown in the total increases, because there have been large savings in other directions. I venture to say that every honorable member will agree that that is a justifiable increase; indeed, I think that even the honorable member for Indi would agree with me in that respect, although, after having made his onslaught on the Commonwealth finances, he does not stay within the Chamber to listen to any answer to his arguments.
– I raised an objection to the sum of £20,000 as being too small for so important a work.
– Exactly, and yet we are told that the management of the Commonwealth is not economical. In the Department of Home Affairs, the increase in the expenditure amounts to £23,406 ; and I am sorry that the honorable member for Indi is not here, because I understood him to say that there was an item of £23,000 for election expenses. If I am right in believing that the honorable member did make a statement to that effect, I do not know where he obtained authority for it, because I cannot find a single £1 here under such a head. The total increase in this Department of £23,406 includes £15,996 for the new. Meteorological Branch, and £5,800 for the Census and Statistical Branch. These, of course, are increases consequent upon the transfer of new Departments; and.no one can say that there is any extravagance. In the Department of Trade and Customs, the total increase is £25,949. That includes the new Quarantine Branch, for which £8,500 is provided. There is an increase in the Central Staff of £4,590, of which £500 is for extra clerks ; . and £4,000 is provided to reimburse the States for administering the Commerce Act. The. increase in the Patents Branch is £3,231, which includes provision of £1,225for two extra Deputy-Eixaminers, and £2,000 for printing. The work of this Department is increasing, and if it does its work as well as we hope, the expenditure must increase still further; but we must not forget that the fees will also increase. In the Department of Trade and Customs, there is an increase of £5,329 in New South Wales in connexion with the Landing Branch, and the appointment of three additional examining officers and eleven assistants. In Queensland there is an increase of £2,171 ; in Victoria, £1,957 ; and in Western Australia, £1,799, for officers and travelling expenses. Nearly all these increases are caused by the extension and development of the work of the Department. In the Defence Department there is an increase of £89,514. That is divided into £10,323 for the Navy, and £79,449 for the Military - the latter being again subdivided into£46,000 for the
Militia, £26,400 for the cadets, and £6,100 for rifle clubs. No one will say that this is not a reasonable and economical amount to spend on defence. Another Department in which there has been a very large increase is that of the PostmasterGeneral, and there the figure is £181,891. In the Central Staff the increase is only £2,200. In New South Wales the increase is £60,250, and £18,000 of this is for salaries, and £4,236 in the Mail Branch, while £25,000 is a repayment of anadvance from the Government Savings Bank for money order purposes. In Victoria the increase is £58,250. This includes £15,700 for telegraph and telephone instruments, and £5,000 for repairs and maintenance. In Queensland the increase is £19,506, of which salaries represent £7,635 ; repairs and maintenance, £7,440 ; and allowances to non-official postmasters, £3,400. There is an allowance to non-official postmasters in every State; and when we hear so much about sweating in these non-official offices, no one will object to the expenditure.
– It does not seem to matter so long as the labour is cheap !
– It is too cheap in some cases.
– If a change had not been made the Department would have goti into trouble.
– In South Australia the increase in the Department is £13,824, and of this sum, £3,100 is represented by instruments; £3,159 by salaries; and allowances to non-official postmasters account for £2,000. In Western Australia the increase is £13,697, of which salaries represent the large increase of £10,000. In Tasmania, the increase is £13,926, including salaries, £3,432, and cable guarantee, £8,781.
– The financial experts ought to listen to this speech.
– The trouble is that honorable members opposite make what may be almost described as slanderous charges, and then leave without listening to any possible explanation. In regard to works and buildings, the increase is £347,093. The amount is made up of £216,050 as a special vote for defence purposes, and £131,043 as a general increase in the expenditure. Of this general increase theDepartment of Trade and Customs takes £21,538, including new Customs House at Fremantle, £7,500; trawler, £12,000. The Home Affairs Department has an increase of £6,000 for a. store at
Darling Island, Sydney. In the Defence Department, there is an increase in the ordinary expenditure on new works and buildings of £30,840, of which New South Wales takes £12,000 for rifle ranges and barracks, and Victoria takes £6,000 for the same purpose. The increase on new works and buildings in the Post and Telegraph Department amounts to £92,994, of which New South Wales takes £24,000 odd, including £7,000 for the General Post Office, Sydney, and £8,000 for telephone exchanges. In Victoria the increase is £39,000, including £16,400 for the General Post Office, Melbourne; £14,000 for telephone exchanges; and £12,000 for the undergrounding of wires. In Queensland the increase under this head is £21,800, including an item of £14,300 for the General Post Office, Brisbane. In South Australia the increase is £11,300, including £8,000 for the Adelaide telephone exchange. In Tasmania there is a small item of £830 for sundry small offices; with £10,000 for telephone lines and exchanges; and £10,000 for wireless telegraphy. When honorable members consider what these items mean, I do not know how it can possibly be said that there is anything but economical management. Is there a single item there which the public have not been demanding day after day ?
– They have demanded much more than appears there.
– And the very people who are condemning the alleged extravagance are those who are making the. demand. Have we not had continual complaints about the defective telephone exchanges both in Melbourne and at Windsor?
– And just complaints.
– Quite so. But the moment there is expenditure in order to remove defects, the Commonwealth is charged with extravagance. As I said before, it is not a question of whether the expenditure is increasing, but a question of whether the increase is justifiable ; and I contend that every figure I have read represents a legitimate increase. There is no wild extravagance; and it is absolutely wrong to so misrepresent the financial position of the Commonwealth. Such misrepresentation is less pardonable - in fact, it cannot be too strongly condemned - on the part of honorable members on the floor of this House. We must further remember that the people of the States now decline to tolerate the services which they were compelled to accept under the control of the separate States. The public now expect more facilities and conveniences, simply because the whole of’ Australia is paying, and not the individual States.
– Since the initiation of Federation there have been remissions, amounting to £100,000, in the cost of letters and telegrams.
– I always think it is monstrously unfair that the financial management of the Commonwealth should be misrepresented in the way in which some people delight to misrepresent it. We constantly hear honorable members demanding increased expenditure - urging Ministers to provide the public with greater telephonic and telegraphic facilities, for example - and later on we behold these same individuals suddenly starting another Kyabram reform movement, and declaiming:. “Ten years ago, the expenditure was so much, but today it is so much. Let us reduce it.” They then commence to absolutely ruin all the Departments of State by impairing their efficiency, and after the fit of economy has passed, the evil which they have wrought has to be remedied. The special vote this year in the matter of defence represents a total sum of £216,051. It is to be expended upon harbor and coastal defence, the establishment of a small arms and cordite factory, and upon guns,lights, and emplacements for fixed defences.
– The establishment of a cordite factory is merely a placard. It has been upon Government programmes for years.
– The honorable member is entirely wrong.
– The honorable member for Flinders does not consider that the expenditure by the Commonwealth has been extravagant. He says -
I have never agreed with, but have often disputed the criticisms of those who have accused the Federal Government of extravagance, because I have never seen positive evidence of extravagance in any particular direction.
I particularly commend these words to those honorable members who occupy the Opposition side of the Chamber, and who, . whilst frequently declaring that they are in entire agreement with the honorable member, make speeches which are altogether at variance with his utterances. It was the honorable member for Flinders who initiated the discussion which has taken place upon the future financial policy of the Commonwealth. I do not see that there is any necessity for the Government to bring forward a definite financial policy outlining their intentions two or three years hence. The honorable member for Flinders himself admits that for a few years the new Tariff will yield a large revenue. Surely the Government must have experience of the operation of that Tariff before they will be in a position to frame their financial policy. Before the end of the present Parliament chey will have had some experience of the working of the Tariff.
– And it is only by experience that they can ascertain the. amount of revenue which it is likely to yield.
– Exactly. At present the Government can only indulge in guess work. Just now the honorable member for Indi declared that the Treasurer had altogether underestimated the revenue which would be derived from the duty upon bottles. I repeat that it is only by experience that we can ascertain the revenue-producing capacity of the Tariff. It will be time enough for the Government to bring forward their financial policy when we have gained that experience. T listened with considerable interest to the criticism of the honorable member for Flinders upon the finances of the Commonwealth, because I expected to hear him make some suggestions. I had very closely followed his speeches from the date of the last election, and I recognised that he was seized with the large expenditure that we are bound to incur in regard to the transfer of the Northern Territory, the payment of- oldage pensions, the initiation of an improved defence system, and the construction of the transcontinental railway. I naturally concluded that he had some idea as to where the money necessary for these undertakings was to be found. But he only made two suggestions in this connexion. The first was that we should have recourse to the good old loan system - to what he was pleased to term “ short-dated loans.” He declared that certain items of expenditure should be charged to capital account, whereupon one honorable member interjected that he meant loans’. The honorable member for Flinders then replied that he meant short-dated loans with a sinking fund. If the loans were short-dated they would, nevertheless, be loans, and would not relieve us of much trouble on that ac count. His other suggestion was that we should resort to the miserable policy of retrenching the Public Service. Whilst I hold that it is all very well to retrench the Public Service if out income is absolutely short, I object to the suggestion that we should retrench our employes in order o that we may expend the savings thus effected, upon public works.
– How can we retrench postal officers who are in receipt of £110?
– Of course there is no possibility of the thing happening in this Parliament, but I recollect the memorable occasion upon which the honorable member for Flinders - in order to prevent the unfortunate employes of the Victorian Public Service crying out at his scheme of retrenchment - took good care to disfranchise them: without consulting the country upon the subject at all. During the “course of his speech the honorable member referred to the Braddon “ blot.’”
– The State Treasurers do not call it a “ blot “ now.
– No. It is to be regretted that Sir Edward Braddon is not alive today to receive the praises of the people who in the first instance so loudly condemned his proposal. In regard to the formulation of a scheme in substitution for the Braddon section of the Constitution, I admit that I favour the suggestion of the honorable member for Flinders. He holds that we ought to guarantee the annual return to the .States- of a fixed sum such as he conceives was in the minds of the framers of the Constitution - an amount equal to the interest payable upon the debts which were in existence at the time Federation was accomplished. Such an amount represents about £500,000 in excess of their three-fourths of the present’ Customs revenue. In my judgment there is a great deal of merit in that proposal. It would permit of the States Treasurers knowing exactly what they were to receive from the Commonwealth, and it would render our finances independent of the finances of the States. I altogether dissent, however, from the view entertained by the honorable member regarding the action of the- Treasurer in authorizing the payment of increments to civil servants in receipt of salaries up to £160. Notwithstanding that the honorable member was told that such a careful and cautious Treasurer as Sir George Turner had . paid these increments under the authority of Supply Bills, he ‘ declared that in so doing Sir George Turner had acted wrongly, and that it was never intended that the increments should be paid without the approval of Parliament. The discussion which took place in this House when the Public Service Bill was under consideration shows conclusively that it was the intention of all parties) that these increments should be automatic, and that they should actually form a part of the salaries fixed by the schedule to that measure for particular offices. The honorable member for Flinders spoke as if these increments were to be given to officers for doing practically nothing. Thereupon the honorable member for South Sydney infer jeered -
The only proviso is that the Public Service Commissioner must certify that the officer has done his work well.
The honorable member for Flinders then said -
That is a condition precedent to the payment of the increments. But the Public Service Act expressly provides that these increments .shall not be paid until Parliament approves of them.
The only reference bearing upon that aspect of the matter is contained in the ordinary provision that no payments shall be made until the. sums necessary have been appropriated by” Parliament. The honorable member for Flinders continued - ‘
I must strongly insist that that is what is intended, and ‘that the adoption of any other policy would have been simply madness. To have conferred a right to these increments upon public servants - we have seen the results of doing that in some of the States - altogether apart from the consideration of whether the finances of the Commonwealth would, permit of such increases being granted, would have been absolute moonlight madness. Take the case of a boy of a similar age who enters a merchant’s office or a bank. He does not receive annual automatic increases.
– We do not want to reproduce in the Public Service of the Commonwealth similar conditions to those which obtain in some of our banks.
– Exactly. The honorable member for Flinders continued -
Pie does not get annual automatic increases. He has usually to show the stuff of which he is made, and it is only then that be obtains an increase.-
That is exactly what is intended by the provision in the Public Service Act requiring that before an officer is entitled to his increment the Public Service Commissioner must certify that he has done his work well. In this connexion, I find the present Prime Minister said -
I hope the Committee will yet see its way te indorse-
– I am not committing myself.
– That all these increments, even in the fifth class, shall be the reward of good work done, and shall be held out as a recognition of that good work.
In another place, he said -
The Commissioner is to give his certificate in every case in which it is shown, putting it broadly, because I have not the exact words, that the officer has made an energetic effort to fulfil his duty, and has performed meritorious pub inservice. … If he has done his best and really devoted himself to work energetically during the year, though he may not have done so well as another, if he has really grappled with his work he will, on getting the Commissioner’s certificate, be entitled to increase up to the maximum of the fifth class.
The matter was discussed at considerable length in this Chamber, and’ that idea was repeated again and again. As showing the intention of Parliament that these increases should form part of the salaries of officers’, I wish to quote the remarks of Mr. Allan McLean. That gentleman said -
The Bill provides that a certain salary shall be paid to any person entering the service, an’1 if provides - or it is intended to provide, as I understand with the amendments yet to be submitted - that every young man who does his duty in the service shall get certain increments.
– Yes, up to ^160.
– Therefore, that forms portion of the salary which Parliament itself fixes.
– But the salaries are subject to annual review.
– Are we going to annually review the salary of every officer of the Commonwealth ?
– We have a right to do so.
– We do it every year.
– At a later period, also, the same idea was repeatedly expressed. Any one who reads the report of the debate which took place on that occasion will know that the intention WaS that the increase should be given, as would be the case in a bank or merchant’s office, when an officer had proved himself entitled to it. As . the honorable member for Nepean pointed out,, probably the difference between a public servant and a bank clerk in a similar position would be that the bank clerk would prove himself entitled to an increase, and not get it, while the other would get it in any case. In my opinion, the Treasurer acted rightly in regarding the increments as part of the salaries fixed by Parliament, once the Commissioner had certified that they had been gained by meritorious service. No greater wrong could be done to the community than for Parliament to induce parents to place their youths in the Public Service, and after the lads had given their early years for a low salary, to refuse them increases when they were worth more. Parliament would act scandalously if it did such a. thing.
– I agree with that.
– It would be breaking faith with those now in the service, and.it would have the effect of keeping good men out of it. The Commonwealth can find the money necessary to pay its employes, and it should not use their money to spend on public works. We cannot expect to have a good service unless we keep faith with our employes in regard to the terms of their engagement. Coming now to the question, how is the money necessary to carry out the proposals of the Government to be obtained, I would point out that it will be early enough if the Government bring forward a definite financial’ policy before” the end of this Parliament. This year we shall have enough to do in considering the Tariff, and it is impossible to say at the present time what the Tariff will return.
Mr.W. H. Irvine. - We cannot effectually deal with the Tariff unless we are given some idea as to what the financial course is to be.
– We know that theTariff cannot be framed wholly on protectionist lines, because that would give us a much bigger free list than we can afford to have. But the Government have provided for a return which, I think, will be sufficient to meet their expenditure. If experience shows, a year hence, that the return will not be sufficient, the Government will have to say whether they intend to impose further revenue duties, or to raise money by taxation’ of another kind. Putting aside the proposed transfer of the Northern Territory, and the construction of transcontinental railways, which would require the borrowing of money, the only big item which remains is the expenditure on defence, for which this year £1,077,833 is provided. I agree with the honorable member for Kooyong that hitherto we have merely played with the question. I cannot understand how the people can be so blind to, the danger which threatens us f rom the proximity of great powersin the
East. Our sincere thanks are due to those newspapers which have done their utmost to create in the public recognition of the position, and of what they owe, not only to themselves, but to the white race of which Australia is the outpost. On Monday last an excellent article on the subject appeared in theAge. It was only one of several such which have appeared there. And we must not forget the magnificent work which has been done by the Sydney Bulletin. In season and out of season that newspaper has done its utmost, with cartoons and letterpress, to awaken the people of Australia, and especially our young people, to the need for providing for the defence of the country. If there is one thing which would justify direct taxation it is defence, which is really a kind of insurance. The owners of buildings do not hesitate to insure them against destruction by fire and other agencies, but they do not contribute anything for the insurance of either land or buildings against the attacks of an enemy. The private wealth of Australia is enormous, and it is outrageous that its possessors do not contribute anything directly to pay for its defence. The total private wealth of New South Wales in 1904 has been estimated at £375,752,000, of which sum £264,492,006 represents the value of land and buildings.
– The private wealth , of Australia is £1,000,000,000.
– The value of land and buildings in Victoria is estimated at £222,598,941. The value of the unimproved land alone in Victoria is £131,599,078, and in New South Wales £136,417,000. It seems to me mean and contemptible to rest content for our defence with a contribution of £200,000 to the British Navy. I think that a small direct tax should be imposed on wealth to provide for an adequate defence. My idea is that the proceeds of such a tax should be ear-marked, and used for defence expenditure alone.
– Does the honorable member advocate a land tax?
– A tax on all wealth to provide for its protection. It may be said that we are safe in the hands of the British Government. We hope that if there were a war, the British Government would prevent our annexation by another power, and would retake the country from Japan or any other enemy; but in the meantime we should have suffered an immense loss. Why should we not, like men, provide, not merely a mosquito fleet, but a proper fleet, for our defence? A contribution of Jd. in the £1 would, in three or four years, provide an adequate navy,’ and would relieve Great Britain of the trouble of looking after us. If defence were removed from the ordinary expenditure of government, a large sum would be available for other purposes. I do not propose to go into details in connexion with the Tariff ; their discussion must be reserved until we deal with) the individual items. I regret that the freetraders or revenue tariffists have not followed the example of their leader, the right honorable member for East Sydney, who frankly stated that fifty-two protectionists and twenty-three free-traders having been returned, it is hopeless to talk o.f fighting the battle of free-trade. Freetraders, in speaking for lower duties, have given the Committee all the old arguments in favour of free-trade. We have heard until we are tired of hearing it, that burdens are being imposed upon the primary producers whom protection cannot benefit. If it is not too late to -restate the case for free-trade, it cannot be too late to restate the case for protection. It has never been done better than in the magnificent report which Alexander Hamilton made to the American House of Representatives in 1791. To my mind, his paper on the merits of protection, and the advisability of establishing manufactures has never been equalled or answered. The advantages of the establishment of manufactures he sets forth as follows : -
Division of labour.
He pointed out that when all kinds of industry obtain in a community each individual can find his proper element, and call into activity the whole vigour of his nature. History tells us that if a nation is to be great, it must be as self-sufficient as’ possible. That position was put very strongly by Sir John Madden, who in
Victorian politics belonged - -to ‘ -the .freetrade party. He said- . . . that labour must be sufficiently abundant to give all a chance, and it must be sufficiently varied to give an opportunity for the exercise of that taste and inclination, which were so characteristic of human nature. . . . They might take it for an assured fact that the world stood upon its own labour and industries. No country had ever succeeded in living a long life that had depended’ on the industries of countries outside itself. This was plainly written in the story of nations of the past. It was easy to follow their rise, growth, decadence, and fall, and it was an easy thing to see that where the industries were non-existent, or where they were ruined that was the fatal germ that made an end of countries that once had been great. The same story was written about them all. If Victorians would have their country thrive, and become great, they must , maintain their industries.
– When the sitting was suspended,. I was speaking of- the desirableness of having a diversified range of occupation for our people. Without it, progress is impossible. Hamilton has said that one of the reasons why manufactures should be established is that they would promote immigration. We constantly hear the cry that we should encourage immigration; but what do many of those who advocate that course propose to do with the people whom they would induce to come to Australia. They tell us that they would settle them on the’ land. We know perfectly well that the Commonwealth Government at present has no land on which to settle them. In that respect we are utterly powerless; but, by the establishment of industries, we can do something to induce, people to come to Australia. The very men who are crying out for immigration are, as a rule, those who object’ to the steps taken to secure the establishment of new industries. If we create a demand for skilled labour, we shall not need to trouble about immigration schemes ; immigrants will soon come to Australia when employment is available for them. I am strongly in favour of immigration, but I am not in favour of bringing one man to the Commonwealth unless we have either land on which to settle him, or an occupation in which he may be profitably employed.
– There is plenty of work for him on the farms.
– Where are immigrants to be employed on the land?
– There is plenty of work for farm labourers in all the States.
– When the honorable member for Brisbane, replying to a statement made by another honorable member, that he had had 500 men ready to go to Queensland, exclaimed, “ We did not want those men at the time ; we needed them six months later,” he put “the position in a nutshell. What were those men to do in the meantime? That was the inquiry put to the honorable member for Brisbane, and I think that I might well make the same reply to the honorable member for Wilmot. Some years ago, two immigration Commissioners from the old country visited my district, amongst others in Victoria. At the time I happened to hold an official position, and they called upon me and explained that they were seeking employment for a number of agricultural labourers. They mentioned that they intended to call on certain farmers carrying on operations upon a large scale, and I warned them that they should put to them the question “ Are you prepared to guarantee agricultural labourers employment all the year round?” I pointed out to them that if they did not make such an inquiry, they would probably be misled. They would undoubtedly be told that men could not be obtained in sufficient numbers to carry on harvesting operations, but I said it might not be explained to them that as soon as the harvest was over many hands would be turned adrift. The difficulty we have to solve is that of securing permanent employment for such workers. I was very much struck by some remarks made by Archbishop Clarke, shortly after his arrival in Victoria, in regard to the position of our manufactures. His observations impressed me, because they were those of an educated man coming from a manufacturing country, which is supposed to glory in the blessings of free-trade. When he was interviewed, he said -
He was surprised to find in this city that there were not more mills, factories and workshops……. Now, no (Treat city could live on itself. It must have established in its midst productive and remunerative undertakings. This country was full of raw material. They had the wool, the timber, plenty of coal mines and precious metals. But this was not a manufacturing country, and it struck him as being strange and singular that wool should be sent from Melbourne to England to be manufactured in the looms of Lancashire and Yorkshire, and then sent back to Australia, not even the high duty imposed making up for thelosses to the people of the country incurred through not having manufactured the goods on the spot. One of the first needs was more mills, factories and workshops to enable them to manufacture for them selves and not depend so much on other countries outside. Skilled labour was wanted ; if the mills could be established there would bethe demand for the labour.
Mr. R. J. Jeffray, who in the old days was a pronounced free-trader, and whom many old Victorians will remember, recently visited this State as a representative of the Board of Trade, and at a meeting of the Chamber of Commerce, said -
He did not pretend he was not a free-trader, but free-traders here had fought the battle and have lost as far as any practical results were concerned. Every community which hoped to become a nation had to be as self-sufficient as. possible, and therefore must strive, perhaps by protection, to have a diversified range of industry.
I think it was the honorable member for Echuca who declared that protection could do no good for the farmer ; we were inferentially told the same thing by the honorable member for Indi. Hamilton puts very strongly the benefit which the farmer receives indirectly from protection. He says -
The exertions of the husbandman will be steady or fluctuating, vigorous or feeble, in proportion to the steadiness or fluctuation, adequateness or inadequateness, of the markets on which he must depend for a vent for the surplus which may be produced by his labour, and that such surplus, in the ordinary course of things, will be greater or less in the same proportion. For the purpose of this vent a domestic market is greatly to be preferred to a foreign one, because it is, in the nature of things, far more to be relied on. To secure such a market there is no other expedient than to promote manufacturing establishments.
It is surprising to find of what value manufacturing industries are to our primary producers. I was much impressed by a return which the present Attorney-General, when Minister of Home Affairs, had prepared by the Victorian Government Statist, showing the annual production of the Australian manufacturing industries relatively with that of the agricultural, pastoral, and mining industries. The figures, taking 1903-4 as a typical year, are -
The significance of the figures lies in the fact that the manufacturing production total of £71,699,298 is not only almost equal to the total output of all the other industries, but includesno less a sum than £40,000,000, representing the cost of raw material of Australian origin. These figures demonstrate the value of our manufacturing industries to the producers of raw material in Australia. If we increase those industries we shall gradually move towards a point at which we shall be able to utilize nearly the whole of our raw products. We are constantly told that those engaged in primary industries have to sell their produce in themarkets of the world. That is, no doubt, true ; but what is the reason for such a state of affairs? Is it not due to the fact that the chief manufacturing centres are to be found in other parts of the world? If we had great manufacturing centres in Australia - if we attracted more people here by offering employment to them - those engaged in our primary industries would find a market at their own doors, and would secure a very much greater profit than they are able to obtain when they have to pay for the carriage of their produce to the old country. It was said by the honorable member for Indi that we were taxing the farmer in every direction. He seems to have overlooked the very large free list for which” provision has been made. That free list would be much larger if we had not to depend for our revenue upon a great many itemswhich have been made dutiable. It is surprising, as has already been pointed out, that the free-traders, who constantly urge that they alone sympathize with the primary producer, should propose to tax him most heavily under this Tariff. I do not propose to discuss the Tariff in detail, but I may say at once that I was returned at the last general election as a thorough protectionist, and not as a mere convert to protection for the sake of securing a seat in this House.
– And not as an “ effective protectionist.”
– Quite so; we have not yet been able to ascertain what an effective protectionist is. I was returned as the representative of a district which, with the exception of one or two mining fields, comprises farming and grazing holdings; and I say without hesitation that what led to my predecessor losing his seat was a fear on the part of many of the electors that he was not an out-and-out protectionist. I was greatly surprised when I went over the district to find what a strong hold the policy of protection had taken upon the farmers and graziers there. I do not consider that the old
Tariff was by any means an effective one.
– There is room for improvement in the present one.
– There may be room for improvement in respect of some of the items. How can it be said that the old Tariff was an effective one when under it the increase in the number of factories in this State was only 3.1 per cent., and the increase inthe number of factory employes only 6.7 per cent., whilst during the same period the increase in imports into Australia was 16.7 per cent.? In the case of imports from Great Britain there was an increase of 12.4 per cent., whilst imports from Germany increased by 29.6 per cent. I have here a table comparing the’ imports into Australia for the six months: ended 30th June, 1906, with those for the six months ended 30th June last. Practically all the goods on the list can be produced in Australia, and the fact that imports have increased so largely shows that the old Tariff could not have been effective. The table, which I have prepared from returns by the Commonwealth Statistician, is as follows: -
In the case of paints, colours, and varnishes, the increase was from £178,000 to £207,000, and even in the case of soap there was an increase by £6,000. We cannot regard as effective a Tariff under which there can be such increased importations as these figures disclose.
– The importations cannot be stopped, because our own factories are doing very satisfactory business at the same time. The importations only show how prosperous we are.
– If we have an effective Tariff, it will induce investment, and we shall see our manufactures doubled. Such a Tariff will not set up prices permanently or shut out competition.
– If the Tariff be high enough, it will create trusts.
– We can deal with trusts when they are created ; and it is much easier to deal with local manufacturing trusts than with foreign combinations of the kind. If inquiries are made, we find that British and American manufacturers, rather than lose the Australian market, are prepared, as was the case under the Canadian Tariff, to establish local manufactures. When . the International Harvester Company were shut out of Canada, they, in a very short time, spent several million dollars in establishing works at Hamilton, in Ontario, and; according to the Premier of that Province, they now employ 1,500 hands, who with their families populate a whole village.
– Canada is going ahead, whereas we are stagnant.
– The duties in Canada are higher than in Australia.
– Exactly. When Mr. Beale travelled through Canada and America he found that, as the result of the Canadian Tariff, 122 firms in the United States of America had decided to establish branch works in the Dominion, where £10,000,000 was accordingly invested. Exactly the same results would follow a thoroughly protective Tariff in Australia if manufacturers could rely on the Tariff being maintained. That is the sort of policy we ought to adopt. We do not want a policy followed by the result mentioned in the cables the other day, when the lamentable fact was disclosed that a contract for 100,000 pairs of horseshoes had been given by Great Britain to United States manufacturers on account of the lower tenders of the latter. “ In establishing a protective policy in Australia, we are only following the example of other countries in the world. The United States of America has tried both protection and free-trade, and never made such progress in manufactures as under protection; and Canada and European countries present the same example. About two years ago, an American writer, dealing with “ Political Problems of Europe,” said -
The tendency of the Continent has for a number of years been in the direction of higher custom tariffs. One of the most general characteristics of European development in the present generation has been this growth of nationalismthis intensifying of the patriotic spirit - which has demanded at any sacrifice the development of national resources. Germany has, of course, this spirit of nationalism in its most intense form, but it has been the keynote of the political life throughout Europe. This development of nationalism has fostered a belief in the value of a protective Tariff, and that belief has been greatly strengthened by the outlook which all European countries have had on the unexampled development of the United States under the influence of Protection.
Even Japan, which may be regarded as the last born df the nations, and which has been adopting the best methods to be found throughout the world, has not hesitated to adopt a protective policy. That country in this respect is far ahead of Australia, though they have not been so long as we have been an established nation. The Japanese, however, have the courage and the national spirit to endure a temporary loss in order to obtain the permanent gain which attaches to a self-sufficient nation. We know perfectly well that immediately after a protective Tariff is introduced there may be an increase in prices ; but it is certain that as soon as domestic manufactures are established internal competition brings down those prices. Surely we in Australia, whether or not we immediately benefit from protection, have sufficient patriotism to make a little temporary sacrifice in order to permanently increase the wealth of the country, and advance the interests of the community. A good deal of difference of opinion has been expressed as to the number of items in which the Tariff differs from the recommendations of the Tariff Commission. I have run through the items rather hastily, but I think the figures I am about to quote are nearly correct. In the sub-divisions I find altogether 687 items, and, if we take the portion of the Tariff in which a preference is given to Great Britain, and also the general Tariff in cases where there is no preference, we see that out of the 687 items, the Tariff agrees with 538 of the recommendations of the Commission, showing a dif- ference in regard to only 149. The greater differences which have been alleged by honorable members are arrived at. by contrasting the general Tariff with the recommendations of the protectionist section of the Commission ; but we have to remember that the general Tariff is . raised in order to give preference to British- goods. No doubt preference is a grand ideal, to attain which some men have worked magnificently. Their efforts, however, appear to have been disastrous to themselves, because we find that the health of Mr. Chamberlain, who led the fight in Great Britain, has been practically ruined, and we know what the result has been to our own Prime Minister, who led the fight from Australia. But the sacrifice of these men has done a great deal for the future of the British race-. It is a pity that the public cannot rise above the old party cries of free-trade and protection, and regard the question from a national point: of view. At the same time, I must say that when the extension of preference is; all on .one side, we cannot’ be so enthusiastic as we should if it were reciprocal. Still,, a beginning has to- lie made. I have no objection to> supporting preference, but I am not going to- have preference at the expense of Australia. That, it will be remembered, is practically what the honorable member for Swan said’ in his speech the other night. I see no objection to first fixing the Tariff to suit our own people, and them raising it against foreign nations, in order to give Great Britain a preference. The honorable member for Bendigo said that he was not in favour of preference being given in the way proposed ; but the honorable member made rather contradictory statements. With reference to the report of the protectionist section pf the Tariff Commission, he said their recommendations were of a substantially protective character, designed to protect our industries against the whole, world, including ‘Great Britain. At another stage of his remarks he said -
I am not prepared to agree to a reduction of duty upon any class of goods - even in favour of Great Britain - which would be prejudicial to manufactures.
If these are the views of the honorable member, I thoroughly agree with them, though I’ do not see how he can say he is in favour of any preference, unless he agrees to higher duties as; against the foreigner.
– I said I would he prepared at a later stage to submit my views in respect of the items on which I should be willing to accept reductions.
– The statements of the honorable member appear to me to be contradictory.
– No; There are some classes ‘ of goods, such as cutlery, on which substantial reductions could be made in favour of Great Britain.
– I can only say that I shall support the Tariff in the direction of making it thoroughly protective. With such a Tariff we should have some fiscal peace ; but, otherwise, we may rest assured that the people who believe in protection will maintain the fight. There is one matter to which I had not intended tb refer, but, as it has been the subject of some comment in the course of the debate, I do not like to pass it without a word. I allude to the relations of the Commonwealth and the States. Nothing has caused me so much regret as the speeches made by members on the floor of this House, in which they practically stir up and fan the flame of discontent in the States as against the Commonwealth. If there is one place where we might expect to find defenders of Federation it is within these walls. There has been much miserable turmoil and trouble caused by some politicians’ in New South Wales over the Capital Site question. We are told by those politicians that the Commonweath Parliament is to blame because- the bond in the Constitution has not been carried out. Personally I have always been strongly in favour of carrying out the provision of the Constitution, and having the Federal Capital established as soon as possible. In every election that I have contested I have taken that view, although it was unpopular in Victoria.
– Where would the honorable member like the Federal Capital to be?
– I do not think there is any place to be compared to the Monaro district. However, this Parliament has done all that it can to further the settlement of the question. We selected a site, and it is singular that, when the New South Wales Government . sent out Mr. Oliver as a Commission of one ip inspect various sites he recommended- a site in the southern Monaro district. Subsequently the Daily Telegraph, of Sydnev, which did not approve of that site, sent out a Commissioner on its own behalf ; but when that Commissioner returned he supported the choice of Mr. Oliver. Now, because the Commonwealth Government do what the New South Wales Government desired, an effort is being made in that State to make political capital out of the situation. Wherever the blame for the delay lies, it does not lie with the Commonwealth.
– What steps have been taken by the Commonwealth towards a settlement?
– I do not see how it is possible to please honorable members opposite. They ask that some steps shall be taken immediately, but the moment a proposal is made to delay the Tariff for a short while, in order to deal with two formal measures like the Commonwealth Salaries Bill and the Parliamentary Witnesses Bill, strong protests are raised.
– The great objection is not taken to the introduction of those two Bills, but to the introduction, at this stage, of the Judiciary Bill.
– I know that that is the objection of the honorable member. But last night, on the motion for adjournment, the honorable member for Indi found fault with the Government because they would not state their intentions as regards the Tariff and get the work done, and yet he was one who supported the motion for adjournment to-day, which resulted in the wasting of two hours over a discussion of Mr. Beale’s report. Such conduct seems to me most inconsistent, and, under the circumstances, I do not see how we can at once deal further with the Federal Capital question.
– Does the honorable member think a Federal Capital is needed ?
– I do not care whether a Federal Capital is needed or not. It is one of the conditions of the Constitution, and the bond ought to be carried out as soon as possible. It is monstrous to hear honorable members declaring that the Commonwealth is treating the States badly. We know perfectly well that we are simply experiencing the same trouble that every Federation has experienced. We shall get beyond that stage much more quickly if the people of the various States exhibit a little more consideration, and if the States Governments display a trifle more of national feeling. I am not by any means sorry that the great anti-Federalist leader in New South Wales received the bad knock which he has experienced during the last day or so. I am only sorry that during the recent campaign there was not in that State a leader of a national party.
– If there had been there would not have been a grease spot left of the New South Wales Premier.
– We must always be prepared to defend the Federation. It should be our aim not to fan the flame of discontent which exists between the States and the Commonwealth, but to tell the people that what are known as “ pin-pricks “ are inseparable from the inauguration of a Federal system of government. My surprise is not that there have been so many of these pin-pricks, but that there have been so few. If honorable members will only inform the people of the difficulties which other Federations have experienced - if they will only tell them that friction must inevitably accompany the taking over and the administration of the departments of five or six States, and reducing them to uniformity - they will find that the great majority of the electors will listen to them like reasonable men. . At least that has been my experience. The moment the position has been put to them in that light they have realized that things are not half so bad as they might have reasonably expected.
– That is because the honorable member is a wise man.
– It is because I do as any man possessed of a national spirit would do - put the true position of Australian nationalism before the people. We have Federation, and it has come to stay. Conseauently the sooner we resolve to get the full benefits accruing from Federal union the better will it be for us, and for the country that we represent.
.- I desire to say a few words in reference to the Treasurer’s Budget deliverance, and also in regard to the Tariff proposals of the Government. Honorable members cannot fail to observe that ever since Australia sprung into nationhood the question of immigration hasbeen revived. When we were called upon to deal with the defence system of Australia during the first Commonwealth Parliament we very early discovered that although some millions sterling had been expended upon a so-called defence policy that money had been absolutely wasted. We had not nearly sufficient guns even of a small calibre, we did not possess sufficient rifles to arm a small force, we had, it was true, plenty of frills and feathers - in other words, plenty of officers adorned with gilt lace, who were provided with luxurious quarters, and who received extravagant allowances for their own tables, horse feed and pocket money. But for all practical purposes our expenditure upon defence was an utter failure. We desire a larger population in Australia, not only for developmental purposes, but also for defence purposes. Since Federation was accomplished we have witnessed the awakening of the eastern nations, and particularly of Japan. Consequently, it behoves us to set our house in order, so far as our defences are concerned. During the last Parliament the present Prime Minister endeavoured to ascertain if it was not possible to attract immigrants to Australia and to provide them with land upon their arrival. With this end in view, he communicated with the States Governments, some of whom had the courtesy to reply to his letter, but none of whom had any land to offer for the purpose indicated. It seems necessary to remind those honorable members who were not members of the last Parliament that after twelve months’ effort on the part of the present Prime Minister that gentleman had to declare that he was not prepared to advertise our resources in the old country for the purpose of attracting immigrants until something had been done by the States to provide them with land upon their arrival. I propose to show the Committee what is being done in connexion with immigration in New South Wales, and I venture to say that when another drought overtakes us, as it inevitably will, if some action be not taken by the Commonwealth to protect the interests of Australia, we shall experience one of the most serious disasters that could befall us, owing to the action of the States in attracting immigrants to our shores. At the present time thousands of these people are coming to Australia, 75 per cent. of whom are destined to become missionaries to prevent others from being lured here by misleading statements. This is the class of advertisement which appears in the English newspapers -
” 500 Farm Hands wanted immediately by the Government of New South Wales. Wages are from 15s. to 20s. per week, with lodging and rations. “ Passages for £10 by the magnificent steamers of the Orient-Royal Mail line, leaving. London every fortnight for Australia.
500 Farm Hands Wanted immediately by the
All approved passengers booking by the
will be met on arrival at Sydney by a Govern ment Officer and employment found for them.”
Free Passages to Farm Labourers, Australia. - £6 contributed towards £12 passage of agriculturalists, agriculturists, and female domestics. Miners, artizans, general labourers also assisted ; 5,000 navvies and labourers wanted ; 8s. a day. Met on arrival at Sydney and placed in employment. Hetherington’s, 163A Strand. - Lloyd’s Weekly News, April 14, 1907.
Here is another -
New South Wales Government. - Wanted by the New South Wales Government for guaranteed employment at first-class wages, 3,450 coal miners, farm hands, labourers, and domestic servants. Lindsay’s (selecting agents for the New South Wales Government), 115 Hopestreet, Glasgow. - Evening News, Glasgow, May 11, 1907.
Here is still another - 35s. and lodgings for farm hands, 200 wanted. Australia, Free passage. Apply Emigration offices. - The Diss Express and Norfolk and
Suffolk Journal, May. 17, 1907.
Still another advertisement reads - 1,000 men wanted, 7s. per day. For ablebodied men, such as navvies and others used to outdoor work, there is a very great demand at wages from 6s. to 7s. per day in country districts, where living is extremely cheap, and work is carried on without interruption from bad weather throughout the twelve months. One employer is in need of 1,000 ablebodied pick and shovelm en, and. on the Government water conservation scheme on the Murrumbidgee River work cannot be proceeded with owing to lack of labour.In order to meet local demands the Government of New South Wales are offering assisted passage rates at £8 per adult to artizans and general labourers, and £6 to £8 per adult to farm hands and female domestics. Full particulars can be obtained from the local agents for the various steam-ship companies, or from the Agent-General for New South Wales, London, E.C. - Kentish Express and Ashford News, February 23, 1907.
Another of these misleading advertisements reads -
To Australia for £6. - Although scarcely a year has elapsed since the New South Wales Government entered upon its campaign to attract emigrants to its shores, the work is progressing very rapidly. During the last six months assisted passages have been granted to 1,498 carefully selected emigrants, of whom the majority are farmers and farm hands. These now travel the whole distance of 12,000 miles for the sum of £6, and the Agent-General for New South Wales states that all who havegone have been readily provided with work. - Lloyd’s Weekly
News, May 5, 1907.
– I say that these statements are lies.
– Has the honorable member any statistics upon the matter?
– The honorable member talks about statistics when immigrants have come to Australia and have had to write back to their friends telling them that they were starving !
– I have had a wide experience of labour, and I do not think that statement is true.
– Men have been brought out from England as the result of misleading statements, and to-day are walking the streets with sore feet in a vain endeavour to find work.
– The New South Wales Government have already confessed their inability to find employment for new arrivals, and are offering ios. per head to the police to obtain work for them. Here is still another advertisement-
There has been such an expansion in the coal trade that hundreds of miners are needed at the various collieries on the north and south coasts, wages from 8s. per day upwards, men sometimes making 12s. to 15s. per day. But all other kinds of mining need -men also. Two thousand miners are required . at Broken Hill, several hundreds at the Cobar Copper Mines at from us. to 22s. per day, and small mines all. over the country - whether they be copper or gold or tin - are advertising for men. Again, the Commonwealth Oil Corporation is asking for some hundred men for railway construction, and will soon be requiring an equal number of shale miners. The New South Wales Government is also commencing the construction of a railway of over 300 miles in length. This line will take five years to construct, so that continuous work can be guaranteed. Men, therefore, who are accustomed to the pick and shovel, and who understand blasting and rock cutting, need have no hesitation to come to New South Wales, as the prospects offered them are better than anywhere else.
These statements are untrue and misleading. Dr. Arthur says that there is need for miners, especially at Broken Hill ; but men are walking about there looking for shift work.
– That is not correct.
– I say that it is.’” I know that the statement that wages at Cobar range from ns. to 22s. a day is not true, and Dr. Arthur must have known it, because all the facts were published in connexion with an award made by the Arbitration Court. There is no room for miners at Cobar, because there is no shortage of labour there. Then, as to Barrenjack, there are enough men there. Not long since I had a conversation with the head manager of the big shale works in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales. He had 1,800 men working for him at the time that it was stated in- England that 2,000 men were wanted.
– Mr. Sutherland told me that he could find employment for 2,000 men.
– I spoke to him since this announcement, and he then told me that he had plenty of workmen, and that he had no complaint against them. He spoke highly of the Australian as a most adaptable workman, better than the Canadian or any one else. He said that they would not need to import experts, with the exception of a few head men, and made no complaint about a shortage of labour. The Great Cobar Copper Company has recently been sold to an English company., and Mr. Kendall, junr. , the son of the principal man who completed the purchase, not long since went through the northern part of England, telling coal miners there that men were wanted at Cobar. According to a statement made to me by a man who was induced to come out, he was offered 8s. a day from the time of sailing until arrival at Sydney, and from 11s. to 14s. a day upon arrival at Cobar.
– I suppose that Mr. Kendall, junr., was authorized by the company to make the offer.
– I should like to draw the attention of the Government to the terms under which the men were brought out to Cobar.- As I have previously stated, I have not known a case in which men engaged under contract have not been misLed. This is a glaring instance of the kind. The agreement was made for the Great Cobar Company Ltd., in the name of Mr. G. H. Blakemore, and was signed by Mr. T. M. J. Watkins and Gerald T. Elkington, directors, and N. Johnson, secretary. It is dated the 1st July, and provides -
The men came out by the Ormuz. When the vessel arrived at Port Jackson, a youth rounded them up on deck in a very condescending and patronizing way, gave them a few shillings each, took them straight to the railway station, and sent them away to Cobar.
– How many were there?
– In a telegram which I received to-day, it is stated that men are arriving every day ; that fourteen are working, and that three refused to work until the company carry out the promises made in England. In the meantime, local men are walking about without employment. That information comes from the secretary to the Miners’ Association of Cobar. I do not know how many came out by the Ormuz. As the agreement provides for the payment to the men of the current rates of wages, they cannot enforce the promise made to them in England by Mr. Kendall. The three men who refused to go to work are said to’ be penniless, dependent on others ; and announce that as soon as they earn the necessary money they will return to England.
– Are they competent miners ?
– The honorable member for Kooyong knows that mining directors and managers do not engage men and pay steamer fares for them -unless_ they are satisfied that they are competent.
– Competent miners could get work at Broken Hill to-morrow.
– They are getting work at Cobar by displacing others.
– The others struck.
– That is not correct.
Mr. Bruce Smith. I have read enough to know that it is.
– The honorable member should not believe all that he hears. The newspapers are so much in the habit of giving partizan statements that they are now unable to tell the truth. There was a strike of engine-drivers at Cobar, and the miners had a case before the Arbitration Court. Practically men were being engaged in England at the time that the trouble was on. The Contract Immigrants Act allows men to be brought from Great Britain under contract, but provides that they must not be so brought during the existence of industrial troubles, and although technically on the “ 1st July the trouble had been settled bv the intervention of myself and Mr. MacDonell, who worked very hard to bring about a settlement, there was practically, though not technically, a breach of the law, by reason of the canvassing which had been going on beforehand. When immigrants come out Government agents do not meet them to provide them with work; because there is no work available. A copy of a circular issued to the police force practically admits that.
– What does the honorable member mean by “ practically admits “ ? Why does he not read the admission ?
– I wish to shorten my remarks as much as possible.
– If the men to whom the honorable member has referred were misled, they have an action on their contract against the Cobar Company.
– Lawyers are always saying that people have their remedy at law, but it is insulting to tell a man who has not 6d. in his pocket with which to buy tucker that he has a remedy at law. It is the man with money who wins in the law courts, and any poor man would be a fool to bring an action against the Great Cobar Company Limited. The men will be better advised not to bother about it; and to try to get work elsewhere. As an illustration of what takes place under the present system, I mav say that ah immigrant was told in Sydney that there was plenty of work on the stations. This being shearing time, thousands of men are now engaged in connexion with the wool clip. This man asked where the stations were, and he was told “out west.” He made inquiries as to the road there, and found that he would have to cross the Blue Mountains. He started, and last Saturday was met on the mountains,* footsore, weary, and clean knocked up, by three men who were returning from Lithgow after an unsuccessful search to obtain employment there. They had asked at every factory, mine, and other establishment in and around Lithgow, but could not get work, and they said that there were fifty others in the same position. Meeting the immigrant, they were asked how far it -was on to the stations, and they said about 200 miles. To an Australian such a distance is nothing, but it fairly broke this man’s heart, and he turned round and. tramped back to the city with them. There are scores of similar cases. There will be no openings for men until we have more industries to give employment. As far as New South Wales is concerned, there is practically no railway construction going on just now. The North Coast railway will be commenced some day ; but there are already available for the work a sufficient number of navvies. The Premier of the State says that last year he brought out 8,000 men. But the representatives of Melbourne constituencies know that a number of them have come over to Melbourne. Artisans and mechanics were induced to come to Australia on the understanding that employment would be found in the iron industry, and, being unable to obtain work in Sydney, many of them tramped to Melbourne to compete with men working in the iron trade and, owing to short time, receiving wages as low as 25s. per week. The Labour Party do not object to immigration, but we hold that the people in the old land should not be misled as they have been by various advertisements. Dr. Arthur has misled them. In support of that statement, I shall read a letter which he wrote to Mr. Marshall Lyle, secretary of the Victorian Branch of the Immigration League -
We are putting collection boxes on the Himalaya and Medic, both leaving to-day. Can you dr the same, or get your Government to do so? This is a splendid work, which requires to be organized. All these hundreds of passengers are potential .immigration agents. Don’t mix up immigration and land setlement in your pamphlet. In fact, rather issue two. In the immigration book everything must be couleur de rose. No hint about difficulty of getting land. You need not be afraid you will be rebuked. Even when Queensland offered cheap farms in London there was only one applicant. As regards land settlement for home (Victorian) consumption, you can be as pessimistic and as indignant as you please. The blacker the better, though don’t get too much on the line. “ What is the use of inviting the immigrants here when we have nothing to offer them.” That would chop off subscriptions. Anyhow, don’t do anything to frighten off immigrants, because competition for them is so keen in Europe, and even if conditions change for the better in Victoria you might find that it was of no avail, as you have given the place a bad reputation.
That was an admission on the part of Dr. Arthur that he knowingly colours advertisements published by him in the old world with regard to employment in Australia. The honorable member for Parkes has asked me to quote the circular in which the police of New South Wales were offered 10s. in respect of every immigrant for whom they -found employment.
– I asked the honorable member merely to quote that part of it .which would bear out his assertion.
– The circular is as follows -
Sydney, 20th April.
Sir, - I have the honour - by direction from the Premier to bring the following matters under your kindly notice.
In view of the increasing numbers of immigrants that are now arriving week by week we have to use every means, to get in touch with employers of labour in the country districts whomay be able and willing to take such immigrants and supply them with different classes of work.
We have got into touch with large numbers of pastoralists, farmers, and other employers, who have intimated their requirements from time to time, but unfortunately we find that, we are frequently not able to supply the exact class of labour needed at the time, and when, it arrives in due course the vacancy may not exist. I have, therefore, found it necessary to take some steps to secure an immigration officer in each of the hundred leading towns of’ this State who would inform this Department of any demand for labour in his district, and also receive, despatch, and advise where necessary any new arrival in search of work: If we knew that there was a fair demand for labour of a certain class in any district we might then safely send a certain number of immigrants to the immigration officer there with, the confident hope that they would be dulyplaced, although we might not be able to indicate the exact employer to whom we were despatching each immigrant.
I recognise very fully that your officers have, already so many ‘multifarious duties that it is. with the utmost reluctance I felt myself compelled to ask the Premier to allow me to request you to authorize your officers to undertake another one, but in view of the fact that, it is impossible to get sufficient services from private persons in many districts, and that no other class of public officers can do this workso well, I feel .emboldened to trespass again upon your kindness in the event of your being able to allow the officers in the chief districts to assist in this way.
The Premier has approved of an honorarium of 10s. each for every immigrant received from headquarters and suitably provided with employment through the agency of such officers.
I have been authorized also to ask all other Government Departments who have officers inthe country towns to urge such officers to keep in touch with the Police Department and inform the local representatives of that Department of all cases which come under their notice where immigrants can be effectually placed in rural labour. I therefore would express the hope that, you will be able to assist in the way indicated by allowing your country officers to undertakethe duty of reporting to me any avenues of employment for immigrants as agricultural’ labourers, mechanics, miners, or general labourers, to receive any immigrants dispatched to thecountry by this Department, and to help them. in every way to get suitable employment.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your obedient servant, (Sgd.) H. C. L. Anderson, Director,
– The honorable member does not find fault with that circular ?
– The honorable member must be very dull witted. He appears to have forgotten the statement I read just now, showing that workers in the old land were told that they could obtain employment as soon as they arrived here.
– The honorable member led us to believe that the Premier of New South Wales had taken these immigrants in hand and offered an honorarium of 10s. per head to the police who found work for them.
– The men came out here and foundthat they could riot obtain employment.
– The circular set forth a general arrangement which was to apply to all immigrants.
– But how does it compare with the advertisements published in English newspapers, in which districts where work could be found were specifically mentioned ?
– The circular does not apply to them.
– It shows that the Government are unable to find work for these men. We have investigated the facts, and have absolute proof that immigrants have been unable to find work. I know a welltodo man in Sydney, who states that a great many of these men have called on him and asked for work. He has a son who is. qualifying to act as a wool classer, and who was informed by Mr. Anderson that a job could not be found for him.
– How many of the 8,000 immigrants were unable to find work?
– Why does the honorable member expect me to answer that question ?
– The honorable member has made a definite charge.
– I have compared definite statements published in English newspapers with a circular showing that the police of New South Wales have been invited to look out for work for these men. I saw several strapping young men who had been induced to come to Australia, only to find that no employment awaited them. When they called on Mr. Anderson, he told them that he did not know where they could find a job. The statement that men were required for theBarrenjack works was untrue, and I repeat that statements published by the Immigration League, and by Dr. Arthur, were knowingly coloured with a view to attracting immigrants.
– The honorable member does not blame the New South Wales Government for all the representations made by Dr. Arthur?
– I do, because the letter which Dr. Arthur wrote to Mr. Marshall Lyle is defended by Mr. Carruthers. This letter, which Mr. Carruthers says was a private one, was written on the official paper of the League, was copied into the League’s letter-book, and the postageon it was paid by the League.
– I am not trying to clear Dr. Arthur, but the honorable member is endeavouring to make Mr. Carruthers responsible for all Dr. Arthur’s statements.
Mr.SPENCE.- The honorable member by his interjections compels me to elaborate my remarks. Here is a statement recently made by Mr. Carruthers -
There was work in the Newcastle coal mines for a further thousand persons during the next twelve months. He wanted 5,000 navvies for authorized public works. Where was he. to find them? That was the number wanted if the railway works, the Barren Jack scheme, sewerage works, and other works for which Parliament had given its authority, and for which they had the money to pay, were to be carried out. Work had never been brisker at the Clyde, and the other works at Auburn, and the manufactories had been unable to fulfil all the Government orders. There was room for one thousand miners at Broken Hill to-day, but competent miners could not be picked up in the streets. They had to be trained to the work. Eight thousand immigrants had come to this State last year. Where were they to-day ? They were not at the Queen’s Statue, but were out in the country developing the industries, and giving work to others.
– That does not indorse Dr. Arthur’s statement.
– This is what Mr. Carruthers, when speaking at Mosman in July last, had to say about Dr. Arthur’s letter to Mr. Lyle -
He knew that Dr. Arthur was a little perturbed in his mind because a private letter of his had been published. Well, if they all had their loveletters, say, published, they would be found to contain a number of things that they would not put in them if they knew that they were to appear in the newspapers. His advice to Dr. Arthur was not to worry. They could all understand that, when one was writing to a man considered to be a friend, and unguardedly wielding the pen, or not perhaps expressing himself as clearly as possible, and not in a manner to stand hypercritical review, a man was liable to make a mistake.
– The Premierof New South Wales does not indorse the representations made by Dr. Arthur as to the wages the men would receive.
– We know that the Premier of New South Wales declined to take action in regard to the advertisement inserted by the Orient Steam Navigation Company. A deputation waited upon him, and he cannot deny that he was aware of the nature of the advertisements published in England.
– He has never officially indorsed them.
– He has declined to do anything to counteract their effect. His whole attitude towards them is one of approval. He boasts of the number of men who will be required on works that have not yet been started, and also of the miners wanted for Broken Hill. We sent men to inquire, but we did not learn that 1,000 men were wanted there. The honorable member for Newcastle will also tell the Committee that more men are not required for the coal mines of New South Wales.
– There ought to be room for 200 good miners for Broken Hill. I would take fifty to-morrow.
– Is there room for
– I think there ought to be, but I could take fifty of them.
– I was at Cobar quite recently, and it was quite evident there is no room for the men who have been brought out from England by the State Government. They were brought out under contract, and were induced to come by misleading promises of pay from the time they started. They left their families in the old world, and are, of course, keenly disappointed that they are not. able to send money home. This is an unhealthy way in which to encourage immigration.
– Could not the men recover under the contract ?
– The contract does not state that money is to be paid beyond the current wages when they start work, but they signed the document without examining it, and, therefore, have no case at law. If this sort of thing is to go on, we shall have a number of people brought out who, though, no doubt desirable immigrants, will be induced to come here under a misapprehension. If these people meet nothing but deprivation and suffering, 75 per cent. of them will become missionaries as against immigration to Australia, and this is a serious matter in view of the fact that an item of £20,000 is down on the Estimates for the purposes of advertising Australia.
– Does the honorable member mean that 75 per cent. of the immigrants have been unable to find remunerative work?
– The honorable member, who has been through the mill, knows that if men find themselves circumstanced in the way I have described, when they arrive in Australia, they will write warning letters to intending immigrants. The question is not whether or not they have failed to obtain work, but whether or not they have been misled. Surely there is no honorable member who will defend the misleading of people ? That there are large numbers of unemployed in Australia is very evident. In Ballarat public subscriptions have been raised, and £180 obtained from the State Government, in order to provide work for the starving unemployed in levelling land in Ballarat East, and in New South Wales, in an exceptionally prosperous time, there are numbers of unemployed. If a drought were to occur the situation would be most serious. I do not know how many honorable members have ever had experience of being out of work, with a wife and family to support, and credit gone, but I contend that there ought to be openings ready for the men who have been induced to emigrate to Australia. But no attempt is being made to find openings. One of the effects of the present policy is that the working men of Australia are taxed in order to bring others out to take their places. In New South Wales a constable is paid 10s. in order to get work for these men, and the possibilities are that men may be squeezed out of their places in order to make way for some of the immigrants. Some of the men have gone to work on farms in New South Wales for 10s. a week. I do not know how many there are in such a situation; but certainly the circumstances require full inquiry. The Commonwealth Governmentought to take a hand, and see that the truth is published in England. There certainly ought to be somecheck on the action of the States in view of recent events. Dr. Arthur isan enthusiast who presents the attractions of New South Wales in bright colours and that appears tobe the moral principle which guides some people in this matter. Such men as Dr. Arthur, however, were probably never out of work in their lives, and cannot conceive the position of a new chum stranded in a strange country. What is the position of those men in Cobar, where no fruit or vegetables can be grown at any time, and the cost of living generally is high? I give credit to the Govemment for placing £20,000 on the Estimates for the purpose of advertising Australia, but it is urgent that steps should be taken to present in the old land the absolute truth of the situation here. Because we of the LabourParty champion the cause of the poor, and object to assisting immigrants to take the places of the men who are already here, we are charged with opposing immigration. If our policy of unlocking the lands were carried out, there would be room for any number of immigrants. From the thirteenth to the. sixteenth century is reckoned as the period during which the workers in England and Europe were well off, inasmuch as there was then but little poverty. It took two hundred years in England to reduce the workers to poverty, by restricting them to one parish, and compelling them to wear certain kinds of clothing, with stipulated hours of work and wages. But even those efforts were not altogether successful until the land wastaken from them, and then they very quickly became poor. A great deal is talked about providing work in factories, but what is the good of such a policy, if there are no people settled on the land to buy the manufactures? In New South Wales the first efforts were directed to bringing out farmers, but, in order to show the unsatisfactory nature of the position, I present for examination by honorable members the following table -
This shows that a number of our own people, many of them the trained sons of farmers from Victoria, are unable to obtain land in New South Wales - that the State Government, which approves of money being spent in paying the passages of immigrants is doing nothing to give those already here the chance of utilizing the uncultivated land.
– Are the cases cited by the honorable member not those of ballots for an upset price?
– The figures show the number of applicants and the number of blocks available. I know one man who spent about £400 attending ballots.
– Many attend those ballots in the same spirit as that in which they enter sweeps; they hope to obtain land in order to sell it.
– That does not alter the fact that there are many more applicants than blocks.
– Many are not bond fide applicants.
– I do not think that the honorable member is right. Under the law in New South Wales the Land Boards have to inquire into the bona fides of the applicants, and only bona fide applicants are permitted to ballot. The remark of the honorable member is a reflection on the Boards appointed to deal with these matters.
– They may be bond fide applicants, but not bond fide settlers.
– They are bond fide settlers. But even if people do gamble for land in the way suggested, it only means that there must be a bond fide settler somewhere.
– But those who win the ballot get the land from the State at less than its value.
– The honorable member constantly shifts his ground. What I say is that if there are those speculators it only shows that there is a bona fide settler somewhere, Or otherwise it would not pay to speculate. Unless there were more blocks than applicants, the speculator would not appear; there would be no room for him if the circumstances were different. I do not pretend that the Land Boards are not imposed on sometimes ; but there is no. doubt that the land is kept” locked up, seeing that although theGovernment resumed three estates, they offered only 350 blocks. It would appear as though the Opposition in this House would take care that nothing is done, because,so far as the Commonwealth Government are concerned, they have no power except that of taxation. The only way in whichto make room for immigrants is to unlock t the land.Victoria is the worst sinner in this respect, and the population is leavingto such anextent that there are over 11 , 000 fewer ratepayers in the shires and 3,000 more uninhabited houses than there were six years ago. I should. like to read a few words written by Mr. Marshall Lyle, a member of the Immigration League - “ Do you know that there are 56,245,760 acres in Victoria, and that of this area 34,518,526 acres are occupied, but that of the latter only 4,269,877 acres are under cultivation? “ Do you know that from 1891 to the 31st December, 1906, Victoria has lost by net emigration by sea (by excess of departures over arrivals) 77,068 persons, of whom 24,428 have emigrated to New Zealand?
These words occur in a little pamphlet entitled The Peril of Melbourne; it proves that the decrease in the population is entirely due to land monopoly ; and the same may be said of New South Wales. The big estates now average over 31,000 acres. Each year they seem to increase in dimensions, while the smaller estates decrease. This fact evidences the incapacity of the States Governments to satisfactorily deal with the problem. I hold therefore, that the Commonwealth should take charge of immigration matters, and should also attempt to get our lands thrown open for settlement. I have called attention to this matter because the honorable member for Brisbane, amongst others, advocated unrestricted immigration. Now the country which has had most experience of immigration is the United States. There it has been found necessary to provide a great many restrictions upon the admission of immigrants, but, notwithstanding the efforts in this direction, a good deal of imposition is carried on. Whilst I recognise that we are further removed from the old world than is America - that we are not exposed to the same dangers - I think that we shall do well to note what has been the experience of that country, with a view to ascertaining if we cannot devise an effective check upon unrestricted immigration. In America it has been laid down as a principle that any immigrant arriving there must come of his own free will. He must not be induced to come there.
– How long is it since legislation to that effect was enacted?
– What I have stated has been laid down as a general principle in the United States, and, as a matter of fact, out of 1,000,000 immigrants who arrived there last year, 11,400 were refused admission.
– Did America adopt that policy when it had only a population of only 4,000,000, as Australia has?
– It is not a question of what America did at all. The honorable member knows, sufficient of social development to recognise that it is useless to institute a comparison between conditions which are. absolutely dissimilar. The conditions of life have utterly changed during the past century, as the honorable member * knows.
– But the conditions and the problems of to-day are- differentiated by the difference between our population and that of the United States.
– No. The social conditions of the people have utterly changed during the past century. In order to protect herself, America has found it necessary to do many things which we have not. As evidencing the restrictions which are imposed upon immigrants there, I may mention that in 1904 those persons who were refused admission included the following : - Idiots, 16 ; insane, 33; paupers, 4,798; suffering from loathsome or dangerous diseases, 1,560; convicts, 35; anarchists, 1 ; prostitutes, 9 ; procuresses, 3 ; assisted immigrants, 38 ; contract labourers, 1,501 ; returned one year after landing, 300 ; returned three years after landing, 479; relieved in hospitals, 6,440; total, 15,2^3. So serious have matters become in regard to the admission of persons into America under various pretexts that the authorities have despatched an inspector to the European centres from which immigrants come. This officer has made certain startling discoveries. He found that throughout Europe there is a systematic arrangement under which agents receive a commission from the various steam-ship companies upon the sale of tickets to immigrants. Further, these companies have an arrangement under which they are willing to incur liability in respect of the introduction of persons suffering from contagious and loathsome .diseases. Thev lodge the $too fine to which thev are liable before these persons are shipped. In that way many of these persons secure admission into the United States. Some of them also gain admission to that country through Canada. ‘ In 1903 the United States barred 7,480 persons, who sought to be admitted under contract. There the admission of persons under contract is regarded as a most serious evil. But the secret system, to which I have referred, permits of the introduction of a most undesirable class of immigrants. It has further been discovered that some of the foreign Governments are aiding and abetting the agents in their action. Hence we n require special alertness on the part of the Departmental authorities if we are to keep out undesirables. In this connexion, I wish to quote the following statement from the report of the Immigration Commissioners, which was presented to Congress -
As a rule, both those who resort to alien labour and alien labourers themselves are of exceptional mental acuteness, and the former, however high their repute in the community where they reside for probity, exhibit that same -obtuseness of moral perception which finds expression in the widely prevalent notion, even among some of our worthiest citizens, that it is rather a credit than otherwise to outwit a Federal Customs officer and escape payment of duties on property confessedly dutiable.
We have had experience of that sort of individual in Australia. I do not propose to say any more upon this question. It seems to me that the sooner the Government appoint a High Commissioner the better. We want immigration to Australia to be regulated, and we desire to prevent people from being misled. In listening to the speeches of some honorable members who are new to this House, it occurred to me that a number of those who cry* out for immigration are not prepared to do. anything in the way of providing the new arrivals with an opportunity to develop our latent resources. The honorable member for Fawkner said that there was plenty of room for them upon the land under irrigation. .When I asked him where there was room he replied, “ Upon the borders of the Murray.” The idea of attracting immigrants to Australia without a penny in their pockets, and saying to them, “ There is a grand opportunity for you to establish an irrigation settlement upon the borders of the Murray “ is a very ludicrous one. Surely the honorable member knows that a great deal must be done before land can be prepared for irrigation ? The Commonwealth cannot undertake that task. It is not within its power to do so. But certainly we ought to do something. Honorable members in the Opposition corner do not seem to have agreed upon a leader yet, but they are unanimous in declaring that we should not interfere . with the individual who possesses a large income, or with the land monopolist. They are npt prepared to burst up the big estates, or to knock out the speculative “ gamblers’ “ value which was spoken of by the honorable member for Parkes. It is pure idealism for the honorable member for Fawkner to talk about establishing irrigation set tlements upon the Murray, seeing that we are powerless to make a move in that direction. I wish now to connect mv remarks with the Budget and Tariff proposals.
– Only £20,000 is provided upon the Estimates for immigration purposes.
– We may be coming to a crisis in Commonwealth affairs, in that we may soon have to face some very big financial problems. Apparently, the members of the Opposition corner are going’ to associate themselves with the main Opposition in fighting against direct taxation. When before the electors they denounced that fearful and wonderful creature of the imagination, which the leader of the Opposition called Socialism, and which must have appeared to him in a sort of nightmare. If what he described is Socialism, the strongest anti-Socialists are the members of the Labour Party. Although, when we went to the country an effort was made to bring about the return of only two parties, there are now four or five. The members of what I may call the Opposition Corner Party - at all events the Victorian members - knew that they had not the slightest chance of being returned as supporters of the right honorable member for East Sydney. They declared themselves to be antiSocialists, but they had to come in under the banner of protection. Now, however, they are shaping as pure revenue tariffists, and seem ready to vote for duties as low as would be supported by those who were once free-traders, but are now revenue tariffists, who would take off duties from the luxuries of the rich, and place them on the necessities of the poor. I should be willing to. vote for straightout free-trade, with no duties at all ; but in default of it, let us have a Tariff which will keep out foreign imports. There has been a new development in regard to protection. The old idea was that if big duties were imposed, plenty of work would be provided for everybody. But, since the Labour Party has come into existence, what is called the new protection has come about. Do the members of the Opposition Corner Party object. to this new protection, or are they . opposed to effective duties because they will cause a loss of revenue, and make direct taxation necessary? Their mission seems to be to defend the big land-owners, who are able to take care of themselves. To do that, they will sacrifice the manufacturers. The honorable member for Bendigo sits with the Opposition Corner Party ; but he has been a fairly consistent protectionist.
– What attitude does the honorable member take in regard to the Tariff? He has .been a member of this Parliament for seven years, but I do not know how he stands on fiscal matters.
– I am not a revenue tariffist, though I would vote for freetrade pure and simple. But even the freetraders know that there is no chance for free-trade, and single-taxers, like the honorable member for Lang and others, are now revenue tariffists. The Government has good reason for not declaring a finance policy, in view of the uncertainty of the state of political parties. Members see that men who disowned the leader of the Opposition in Victoria - I do not know what the Queenslanders did - running as protectionists, are now falling in behind the right honorable member. Ever since 1877, the Tories of Victoria have been revenue tariffists. The Flinders-lane crowd labelled themselves free-traders, but always voted against free-trade. They opposed direct taxation, and voted for a revenue Tariff. The honorable member for Flinders has stated that he objects on principle to taking from men rights which have been given to them by the State. But if existing rights are not to be disturbed, why are we here? All legislation is an ‘ interference with existing conditions. His declaration is equivalent to saying that whatever is must be. My view is that the State expected those to whom it alienated its land to utilize it, and that it has the right to recover, by means of a progressive land tax, the value which has’ been given to it, not by its owners, but by the community at large. If there has been confiscation, it has been on the part of the land-owners, not on the part of the community in taking back from them what is its own. With regard to the contention that the States alone should impose direct taxation, I look upon it as ‘a splendid move on the part of those who wish to shield the big land monopolists. Every State Parliament has a second Chamber, composed of rich landholders, who have never been known to vote for -land taxation. Therefore the States Parliaments will impose very little direct taxation. The revenue derived from direct taxation in Australia at the present time amounts to only £2,815,064.
– Does that include muni- 0cipal taxation?
– That is the revenue from stamp duties, probate duties, and land and income taxation. In New South Wales 1,500 persons have incomes exceeding £20 a week, 600 exceeding £40 a week, 434 exceeding £100 a week, and seventy exceeding £400 a week, and last year the amount upon which income-tax was payable increased by £2,000,000. The Commonwealth, however, has returned so much money to the States that its Premier now proposes to relieve these unfortunates of taxation. In Victoria thewealthiest people are, first, the graziers, then the merchants, then the brokers, and then the manufacturers. The amount of income tax paid in 1906-7 was £314,304, of which 1,246 persons belonging to the commercial classes paid £19,374, and 1,491 graziers paid £23,435. There were 249 merchants, 95 manufacturers, and 263 graziers possessing incomes of more than £1,000 a year. The income tax payments of, 1,003 graziers averaged -£i5 14s. 4d., of 956 merchants £15 ns., of 520 manufacturers £11 16s. 5d., and of 167 brokers £11 8s. When we are dealing with the items of the Tariff it will be interesting to remember that the merchants of Victoria are doing so much better than the manufacturers. If we are to have an effective Tariff, that w’ill enable us to supply our own requirements, where shall we obtain the revenue necessary to provide for the government of the Commonwealth? I believe that direct taxation is a more equitable system of raising revenue than is the imposition of Customs and Excise duties. A .revenue Tariff is the worst of all systems. It presses heavily upon the poor .man and those having large families, whilst under it the men who are profiting by the 1 about of the working classes do not pay their fair proportion of taxation. The proposals which the Labour Party submitted in the last Parliament had not as their object the raising of revenue, and before the close of the present Parliament we shall have to provide for direct taxation for revenue purposes. If the Government is to carry out its’ scheme of coastal defence, if it is to provide for old-age pensions,., and for the carrying out of a number of other proposals in its programme, direct taxation for revenue purposes will be inevitable. I wish now to deal with the Tariff, which, I am afraid, was rather hastily put together. It is somewhat strange that, although the Commission was occupied for two and a-half years in inquiring into the operation of the old Tariff, scores of circulars should be distributed amongst honorable members by certain interested parties.
– From those who are dissatisfied ?
– I take it that they come chiefly from those who are dissatisfied with the present Tariff. There are in it anomalies which will have to be corrected. Where the protection granted to an industry is less than the duty on the raw material used in that industry a cause of grievance undoubtedly exists ; but no Government or Commission could frame a Tariff that would satisfy all parties. The Tariff Commission, comprising as it did an equal number of free-traders and protectionists, was able to cross-examine witnesses, and was thus in a better position than we are to get at the actual facts. I do not think that much attention should be given to these circulars, since we cannot cross-examine those who issue them. The merchants appear to be having a good time. They have been increasing the prices of goods on which no additional duty has been imposed, and are apparently making a haul. The consumers are crying out ; but so far as the increased charges of retailers are concerned, one cannot have a great deal of sympathy for the. consumers, since, by means of a very small contribution, they could become shareholders and obtain their supplies from a co-operative store, and thus share in the profits. No doubt some of the big merchants are chiefly responsible for the increase in prices that has taken place. I associate the principle of co-operation with the proposal of our party that the interests of consumers shall be conserved. Protection, as I understand it, is practically a confession of the failure of private enterprise. It is an admission by capitalists that without the assistance of the general community they cannot successfully carry on their operations. The protective policy is an arrangement whereby the poor man agrees to pay away some of his money to assist the capitalist to build up manufactories. We have an illustration- of this in the position of Victoria. A dutv is imposed to encourage a manufacturer, and byandby he is able to- -so establish his busi ness that he can under-sell the importers. The duty may then be removed. Enterprising capitalists should recognise that they have simply to invest in a manufactory enough money to enable them to fight the importers until they can build up a sound business; but the average man has not sufficient courage to do this. The result is that the community appeal to Parliament to impose a tax, knowing that in the case of every new industry to which it relates that impost will result in a rise in prices which will enable a sound business to be built- up. The whole community has morally a share iri every factory set up under protection. The people of Victoria, who have had a good many years of protection, are morally shareholders in all the factories which they have assisted to build up. The manufacturers are appealing for help, declaring that they desire to pay Australian wages to Australian workmen, but cannot do so whilst they have to compete with the products of the poorlypaid labour of other countries. We are prepared to help them to give effect to their desire. Experience shows, however, that very often as soon as a manufacturer gets his factory going he pays his- men as little as possible. Some manufacturers have become notorious sweaters. They secure the cheapest labour, and are prepared to fight either’ the workers’ organizations or the Wages Boards. If a community is to be taxed to help the manufacturers to carry on their ‘ industries, that community is entitled to be protected. We have more right under a protective policy than we have under a free-trade policy to grant that protection. The Labour Party, therefore, say that they desire to make a bargain to insure that manufacturers shall pay to the workers the higher wages which they say they could pay if certain duties were imposed. The new protection means that the workers are. to receive that which is promised them by the manufacturers. It is only on that condition that I intend to support a protective Tariff. Nothing is to be gained by imposing duties if the whole benefit arising from their imposition is to be secured by the manufacturers. I recognise that the importer is in a better position than is the manufacturer, since he has not to engage a large number of em,ployés, and does not run the risk of having his business disorganized by strikes. That being so, there is something to be said for a policy that might encourage importers to become manufacturers. As a matter of fact, there are large importers who are also engaged in manufacturing industries, and find that the combination is a paying one. It is admitted, for instance, that it pays shirtmakers to import the cotton goods that they require, because freightage on made-up goods is greater than that on tightly-rolled-up cotton goods, and people naturally invest their money in those transactions which are easiest to carry on, and which probably return quite as much profit. There is also more risk attaching to manufacture than to importation ; and these are the main causes why protective policies have been adopted. But, after all, a protective policy is only a confession that those engaged are unable to carry on their industries without some aid ; and, that being so, those who extend the aid have a perfect right to see, that the manufacturers keep to their bargain. The critics of our proposal take the extraordinary stand that, because it is not absolutely perfect, nothing should be done. But I state, as a principle, that there is nothing in our social system that is not unsatisfactory ; we are, as yet, only at an evolutionary stage, and only in time will the present imperfections’ disappear. The question is which at the present moment, out of many alternatives, is the best. And my view is that if protected manufacturers are not willing to keep to their bargain they ought to be left to the mercy of the world’s competition. There is an idea that this Tariff, if approved of, will continue for many years; but that is not possible, in view of the rapid changes in indus-. tries caused by the improvement in machinery. For this reason I favour strongly the appointment of a permanent Commission, entirely non-political, to keep watch over our industries, and to be prepared to offer recommendations. This would be a kind of Commission winch has never been attempted before, seeing that its special duties would be to watch over the interests of the consumers. In order to give honorable members an idea of the immense developments in machinery, 1 may mention that the Standard Oil Company make their own bottles by machinery, and turn out 10,000,000 i day. There is a machine used at th’-j’ places where our matches come from, which splits 10,000,000 sticks a day, and a boy can work the machine. In Pennsylvania the wool has been taken off the sheep’s back, and made into clothing in 6 hours 4 minutes, while a steer has been killed, and the skin turned into shoes in 24 hours. Then 260 needles are used in one machine, where one only was used a few years ago. Fruit baskets, at the rate of 12,000 a day, are made by a machine to which one little girl can attend. There are weaving machines which run automatically during the dinner hour ; and ore man can make woollens for 300 persons, or boots and shoes for 1,000 persons, or bread for 200 persons. We can understand the position from some interesting calculations made by Professor Hertzka, of Austria, who is admittedly a great student and mathematician. He says that, taking the Austrian population at 22,000,000, it would be possible, with modern machinery, for 5,000,000 ablebodied men, working thirty-six days per year, to supply all the necessaries of the population ; further, that if .these men worked 2 hours 12 minutes on 300 days a year, it would be possible for them to supply all the luxuries, in addition to the necessaries. This summary gives us in condensed form an idea of the marvellous advance that the world is making. We can easily see that this increased productivity, due to machinery, if carried into all industries, will rapidly cause them to overstock the markets. There is an interesting statement by Upton Sinclair,, in his book, entitled the Industrial Republic, to the effect that in 19 13, following the presidential election of .1912, there will be a revolution in the United States and I shall not go into the details of his calculations; but he makes the startling announcement that this revolution, brought about by peaceful means, will be the climax, so to speak, of the present social system. He points out that it will be brought about by two main forces. On the one side . there is the piling up of compound interest on the wealth of the few millionaires, who control the railways and other industrial projects - a piling up of interest which decreases the wages of the workmen all the time. On the other hand, he shows that the United States, France and Germany are competing for the world’s markets, which, owing to that competition, will by 1913 be completely glutted. This is a serious position, in which Australia is interested. So far, those competing countries have been producing for profit in the world’s markets ; and when the markets are glutted in the way prophesied, what will happen? In 1893 there was a serious depression in the United States, and over a million workmen were thrown out of employment. In 1903 another disaster would have been experienced but for the outbreak of the Spanish-American War. Upton Sinclair predicts that in 1912 the markets to which America- is exporting will be glutted, and that the great Trusts, being unable to sell their goods at a -profit, will close their doors. As a result, he anticipates that 5,000,000 workmen will be thrown out of employment - a number equal to the population of Canada. What will happen then ? Will they sit down and starve in the midst of plenty ? Certainly not. The writer then pictures what, in his opinion, will take place. Briefly, it is this : The President of the United States will walk into “the offices of the great railway magnates, and say, “We recognise that you cannot carry on these railways at a loss, but, nevertheless,’ they must be earned on. We will buy them from you at a fair valuation, and we will pay your workmen the ordinary rates of wages.” He will do the same with the factories. Whether or not . that prediction will be realized I cannot say ; but, at all events, it is a most interesting one. In Australia we have been developing our resources upon different lines.
– But the demand of the world is not a fixed quantity which can be ascertained and supplied.
– The honorable member is apparently overlooking the productivity of this age. Why is the United States exporting? Simply because she has supplied her home market. Having done that, she is obliged fo look for markets abroad. These- considerations suggest that whilst the present competitive system continues - although the markets of the world are not so handy to us as they are to other countries - Australia, in the matter of some commodities, and notably in regard to wool, is comparatively safe. At the present time, the world’s supply of wool is short of the demand. Both in the United States and Europe the number of sheep is decreasing, and, consequently, those countries have to look to Australia for their supply of wool. Probably for some years we shall also be safe in respect of the supply of butter and fruit. But in regard to other commodities we shall be obliged to look to our home market. The competitive system will force changes upon us, irrespective of our will. Those who talk of anti-Socialism frequently speak as though we could prevent changes taking place. In Australia the party ‘which is really safeguarding the national interests is the Labour Party.
– It is descended from the party which broke- up all the machines about sixty years ago.
– It is the party which desires to arouse the people to a recognition of the fact that the workers should share in the advantages which science has conferred upon mankind. I do not believe that any industry should be conducted simply with a view to profit-making on the part of a few. Within a few years we shall be able to count upon an outside market only for a few commodities, and hence it will be necessary for us to study our home market. Consequently, Ave cannot permit our natural resources to remain undeveloped. In order to insure their development we must throw open our lands to settlement. I say that the Labour Party is really the Conservative Party in Australian politics, because the palliatives which it is struggling to apply would have the effect of staving off any such disaster as that predicted by Upton Sinclair. If the capitalistic patty had their way they would oppose every improvement in the lot of the working man. They would fight it ignor ants , and in opposition to their own interests.
– Australia has been made without the aid of the Labour Party.
– Those who claim to be true Socialists denounce the members of the Labour Party. Why ? Because they say that we are delaying the inevitable catastrophe. But we believe in slow development. We believe in evolution. The capitalists of Australia are blind leaders of the blind. They would run us over an abyss and involve .us in an industrial cataclysm. We d’esire to see where we are going. We are willing to give the employer a sufficient measure of protection to enable him to pay a reasonable wage. We desire that the workers shall enjoy a fair share of the benefits accruing to him.
– How can the honorable member guarantee that?
– I have not heard of any member of the Opposition attempting to ascertain if it can “be. done. We recognise that there are weak spots in our proposal, but the leader of the Opposition has frankly admitted that the country has declared for protection, and the question therefore arises, how are we going to try to protect the worker by insuring to him the advantages for which he hopes? Our proposal has been explained by the honorable members for South Sydney and Boothby. The honorable member for Parkes seems to regard it as impracticable, and the honorable member for Flinders says that, in his opinion, the Commonwealth trade-mark is unconstitutional. As to that, I would rather take the opinion of a former member of this Parliament, who has become a Justice of the High Court. Every factory paying wages recognised by a proper authority to be fair will have the right to affix to its goods the Commonwealth trade-mark, but other factories would be penalized by having to pay stamp duties. In 1900, the number of establishments in New South Wales was 3,077, employing 60,779 hands, while under the Tariff of 1902, the number of establishments increased to 3,632, and the number of hands to 68,036. By the way, I might mention that the number of boys under the age of sixteen employed is 1,634, and the number of girls under the age of sixteen,1,572, or one-tenth of the whole number of females employed, which is not very satisfactory. The domestic industries employ 34,103; those connected with perishable products, 3,737 ; and other industries, 30,196 hands. In connexion with metal work and machinery, 13,339 hands are employed .; in the industries connected with manufacture of food and drink, 10,888; in the clothing and textile industries, 16,611 ; in the bookbinding and printing industries, 6,360; in the vehicle-making industries, 2,276; in the production of raw materials, 2,696 ; in the industries connected with the manufacture of stone, clay, and glassware, 3,191 ; and in the wood- working industries, 4,923. I find that even articles of food and drink can in most cases be branded with stamps. In very few instances indeed will it be necessary to put the brands on bulk quantities.
– What about butter?
– Butter is sold in boxes, which can be stamped.
– Would every yard of cloth be stamped?
– It is frequently stamped now. I have seen blankets stamped with a statement as to their composition - so much cotton and so much wool - and I was surprised to notice how plain the marking was. All the industries which I have mentioned are organized, and the employes connected with them are being paid wages which would entitle them to use the Commonwealth trade-mark. In regard to very few industries would the stamp duty be required. Some honorable mem1 bers seem to be prejudiced against the Commonwealth trade-mark because they associate it with the union label. It is a mark which the Commonwealth would allow those to use who pay what are recognised as fair rates of wages. With regard to the protection of consumers, I think there should be appointed a Department free from political influence, whose duty it should be to collect information such as is not now collected, and which could foe better collected by it than by the Statistician. We know that new machinery is constantly being substituted for old to decrease the cost of labour. Long ago, 98 per cent. of the labour used in spinning and weaving was dispensed with by the aid of ‘ machinery. The introduction of new machinery cheapens production, and thus constantly alters conditions. Whatmay be a reasonable Tariff now may, three years hence, give an advantage to manufacturers at the expense of consumers. The experts whose business it will be to collect information and watch developments will be acquainted with these facts, and should report accordingly. The recently issued number of the Journal of Commerce rather favours our proposal for the’ protection of the workers. The output and the labour cost are shown in that journal, and it is not suggested by it that our scheme is impracticable. The honorable memberfor Parkes professes to see great difficulties in the way of an attempt to follow up prices. I would remind him that the shearers in every shed annually deal with the question of prices. Under the agreement made with the employers the men have a right to see the invoices of the goods supplied to them in order that they may guard against excessive charges. If that bepossible in sheds 500 miles from a State capital surely trained men appointed by the Commonwealth Government should be able to do what we suggest.
– A Commissioner would be necessary at every large establishment. ;
– No. I am putting an extreme case. The honorable member has more faith than I have in the power of competition to regulate trade.
– There is no analogy between a shearing shed and a big emporium.
– The honorable member said that we desired to follow the goods to the consumer. That is done in the case of the shearer.
– After the sale has been made to the consumer. Fancy putting a Commisisoner into the millinery department of Foy and Gibson’s stores to determine whether or not prices were reasonable.
– Every one is familiar with the prices charged by retailers. Their price lists are open to all, but we need to make an inquiry regarding manufacturers’ charges. The cost of an article must be affected from time to time by the introduction of labour-saving machinery. We have in Australia a limited number of factories, for the most part centrally situated, and it seems to me that such a Board as we have suggested would be able from time to time to report upon them. If we had a protective Tariff it might be said in the course of a few years that it was too high, in view of the fact that the cost of production had been reduced since the date of its imposition. A standing Commission could keep a watchful eye onsuch matters.
– Supposing a manufacturer sold to a middleman at a reasonable price, would the honorable member send the Commissioner on to the middleman ?
– If we get at the cost to the manufacturer as well as at the cost of the goods to the man who buys from the merchant, we shall know what is being done. Let us take the case of the hat industry, and assume for the purpose of the argument that a hat is made in Collingwood for 5s. 6d., and is sold at 66 Bourkestreet for 10s. 6d.
– I wish I could make the honorable member prove that statement.
– I thought it was freely admitted that that is what takes place.
– The honorable member is absolutely wrong.
– At all events, the merchant comes between the retailer and the manufacturer. A manufacturer will not sell direct to the retailer.
– Neither will a large number of the principal manufacturers in Great Britain do so. One mill tried to sell direct to the retailers in Australia, but it failed in its efforts.
– Then the honorable member supportsmy contention that the merchant comes between the retailer and the manufacturer. How could we control him? The Labour Party do not propose to do so.
– They propose to control the price to the consumer.
– No such statement has been made.
– It was made by the honorable member’s leader.
– It was not. But there has been a proposal to protect the consumer.
– What is the distinction ?
– We intend by means of the force of public opinion for one thing, to protect the consumer. If it was stated in the House that unreasonable prices were being charged for certain goods there would soon be an outcry against those responsible for such charges. Would the honorable member for Parkes say that we should not inquire into the operations of a trust or combine?
– I do not say that we should not do so, but I do say that it would be impracticable.
– Will the honorable member tell us why he thinks so?
– The burden of proving the practicability of his scheme is on the honorable member.
– We are not proposing to do all sorts of silly things. Instead of asking the people to subscribe money to help a man to start a manufactory, we should do away with middlemen. We know that merchants and others stand between the manufacturer and the consumer, and if we had a Commission to inquire into all these questions, and to report from time to time, good would be done. If the Commission reported that the Tariff on certain goods was too high, then the honorable member would have the opportunity for which he is always seeking, to lower the duty. We might eventually come down to free-trade. It would seem that the alternative is to do nothing. There are some who favour the policy of leaving things alone; but those who do so are generally comfortably off themselves. We assert that great good could be done by a Commission of the kind, and it would be for Parliament to deal with the reports submitted. In regard to combines, for instance, the reports of a Commission might be very effective. The other day it was stated that a proposal was afoot to form a sort of combine in the confectionery trade; but there is no Commission, or any other body, to inquire into the matter. Then, again, a meeting of the Country Storekeepers’ Association of New South Wales was held the other day-
– The honorable mem* ber objects to combination in all trades but his own - the Labour Party and the union.
– I object to nothing except the honorable member’s persistent failure to understand the proposal. I had expected the honorable member to give fair consideration to a proposal which, at least, aims at good. The report of the meeting of the Country Storekeepers’ Association contained the following: -
A long discussion took place on the question of warehousemen dealing direct with consumers, and it was ultimately decided to boycott, if practicable, any warehousemen found to be carrying on this kind of business.
The convention also condemned the practice of storekeepers and traders introducing their customers to warehousemen, wholesale merchants, and manufacturers for the purpose of purchasing goods (except goods usually sold on commission), not held in stock by the storekeepers.
These are the sort of arrangements which are made for the purpose of securing profits for the middlemen, .and, after all, the great importers are only middlemen, some of whom make fortunes in twenty-five years, only employing a few sweated clerks to aid them. As between the importer and the manufacturer, I would stand by the latter, because he does utilize the products of his own country, and takes certain risks in connexion with competition, labour agitation for bigger pay, and so forth.
– An importer earns only 5 per cent, on the turn over, and there are many not receiving that amount. .
– Whatever the percentage, many of them do exceedingly well. I know there are many failures ; but the path of private enterprise is strewn with skeletons.
– Judging by what the honorable member knows, he ought to be a rich man by now ! *
– I have never made an effort to be a rich man; I have been too busy trying to educate people to a better appreciation of the problem before, us, though I do not seem to have made much progress with the Opposition. We ought to be making all our goods in Australia, where the climate and other conditions are so favorable, but we desire to see all hands get fair play. We have passed anti-trust legislation with the aid of the Labour Party ; and although we are called Socialists, it will be observed that in the la.-.t Parliament we supported legislation in order to -secure competition amongst local manufacturers. This shows that we have no desire to introduce revolutionary changes. But, to my mind, the competitive system is doomed, though it may last longer in one country than in another. Upton Sinclair mentions that Australia and’ New Zealand are the only countries where anything is being done to restrain the juggernaut of capital; and this result is very largely due to the influence of the labour organizations. In the earlier stages of evolution the system was “eat or be eaten “ ; and this was followed by subsequent stages of “ enslave or be enslaved,” “ kill or be killed,” and now, since we have arrived at “cheat or be cheated,” our desire is to get into the purer air of co-operation. The struggle for life under present conditions is contrary to al! law, Divine or otherwise. The struggle for life is typified by the villain of the drama, whereas the struggle for the life of others is the truly humane principle. Professor Drummond, in his Ascent of Man, says -
The Struggle for Life is in part a disruptive force. The Struggle for the Life of Others is wholly a social force. The social efforts of the first are secondary, those of the last are primary. And had it not been for the stronger and unbreakable bond which the Struggle for the Life of Others introduced into the world, the organization of societies had never been begun.
We claim that the social . instinct is one that ought to underlie all our legislation - the consideration of the well being of the whole people rather than the consideration of a special section or class.
As the story of Evolution is usually told, Love - the evolved form, as we shall see of the Struggle for the Life of Others - has not even a place.
To interpret the whole course of Nature by the Struggle for Life is as absurd as if one were to define the character of St. Francis by the tempers of his childhood. Worlds grow up as well as infants, their tempers change, the better nature opens out, new objects of desire appear, higher activities are added to the lower. The first chapter or two of the story of Evolution may be headed the Struggle for Life, but take the book as a whole and it is not a tale of battle. It is a Love story.
That spirit permeates the whole of Professor Drurnmond’s writings. The old theory that every step in the path of progress was the result of a struggle for life is altogether unsuitable to the present age. We are now beginning to pay more regard to the interests of the whole people.
– The writer does not eliminate the element of struggle?
– He speaks of the struggle for the lives of others.
– It is, nevertheless, a struggle.
– In this Parliament we are struggling for the lives of others. We are endeavouring to improve the lot of the individual. Members of the Labour Party claim that those who are the most downtrodden are receiving our first consideration.
– That is a very convenient application of the honorable member’s theory.
– The competitive system is one which cannot endure. The wage system is merely a system of wage slavery. Whatever the future may have in store I know not, but I do believe that a change will come rapidly. To talk about permanency in connexion with the. competitive system is to ignore the actual conditions of life. I am sorry that I have trespassed so long upon the time of the Committee. I trust that the attempt which we are about to make to improve the lot of industrial employes will be absolutely justified. It is entirely a new proposal.
– It is very, very old.
– Honorable members seem to, at least, agree that it is desirable that we should abolish sweating, and for that reason I trust that the experiment which we are about to make will be successful.
House adjourned at 10.48 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 11 September 1907, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1907/19070911_reps_3_38/>.