3rd Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 10. 30 a.m., and read prayers.
Colonel FOXTON. - In presenting a petition from teachers of music in Brisbane and surrounding districts, against the duty on pianos, I have to say that it is almost exactly similar in wording to one, presented previously by the honorable member for Moreton. Had it not been, Mr. Speaker, that you have ruled such, petitions in order I should have hesitated to certify that the one I now desire topresent concludedwith the usual prayer,-‘ But what I take to be the prayer is con-‘ tained iri the following ‘words -
We respectfully urge that the duties hithertolevied on pianos are quite high enough, and that’ the - proposed increased duties should not be agreed to by the Federal ‘Parliament.
In other respects I believe that the peti-‘ lion will be found (Juke in order.
Mr. EDWARDS presented a similar petition from a number of residents inQueensland.
– In reference- ‘ to the proposed anti-trust legislation, I desire to ask the’ Treasurer whether he hasobserved the following words of the leading article in the Melbourne Argus tp-day : ‘.
It . throws all the onus of proof of innocenceupon the suspect. Things are coining to a pretty pass when - a Governnent brings down such 0* proposal. Nothing worse was done in the-. Inquisition.
– I - gather from what the- honorable member is reading, that he is referring to’ a measure- now before another branch of the Legislature. If that be so, the matter cannot be . dealt within this House. .
– I desire to ask the AttorneyGeneral, without notice, whether proceedings have been taken in the Law Courts of England to recover the sum of £25,000, which was forfeited under the recent abortive mail contract; and, if proceedings have not yet been taken,, why not?
– No writ has been issued.
– Is it not about time?
– The Government have been in communication with their solicitors in England, and opinions have just been received in connexion with the matter. But, in view of contemplated proceedings, the right honorable member will realize that it is not advisable at this stage to give full information.
– The only question I ask is why legal proceedings have not been taken.
– To answer that question would involve divulging opinions which it is not desirable to make public at ‘this stage.
– I have no desire for any information that ought not to be published.
– I desire to ask’, the Minister of Trade and Customs, without notice, whether it is a fact that senior officers, who have been employed in the Customs Department at Sydney for twenty years, and who stand high in the estimation of the heads of their branches, have “been set aside, and juniors promoted over their heads?
– CHAPMAN.- I should like the honorable member to give notice of the question.
– I wrote a. letter to the Minister on the subject.
– And probably the honorable member has received a reply stating that the matter will receive attention. The honorable member knows that the promotion of officers is a matter for the Public Service Commissioner; but if. notice be given of the question I shall “be’ glad to afford all . the information possible. The Public Service Commissioner holds that merit ought to be taken into consideration ; and, no doubt, promotion does sometimes -come very slowly to deserving men. I have asked that, if possible, special attention shall be given to deserving officers who are now in receipt of low-grade salaries of, say, ^160, and who appear from their length of service to be entitled to consideration. But we have to proceed very cautiously, in view of the large number of employes. The honorable member may accept my assurance that everything will be done to recognise the merits of officers who are doing good work, and especially at the present time, in view of the complications of the new Tariff.
At a later stage,
– Adverting to the public scandal in the Customs Department in Sydney, I should like to ask the Minister of Trade and Customs whether in the case of Mr. Brown, who is admitted to be an efficient officer, the two junior officers who were promoted over his head had their qualifications .investigated by the Public Service Commissioner or whether the appointments were made on the recommendation of the Minister?
– I should like the honorable member to give notice of that question also.
– I wrote to the Minister on the subject.
– I should like to point out that the fact of the hon.orable member writing to the Department, or singling out any officer at the request of the officer-
– The Minister does not know that.
– An honor.able member who in such a matter acts on the suggestion of the officer concerned, or bt some one interested, causes great difficulties in administration.
– This is a shameful bit of business.
– Questions are asked not merely for the information- of honorable members who ask them, but for the information of the whole House, and it is impossible ‘for honorable members to hear the answers if honorable members continue to hold conversations across the . floor, either with the Minister or with any one else. I request that during the answering of questions, attention may be paid to the Minister.
– The Minister is slandering an officer.
– I am not slandering an officer;- I do not know him, and probably he is most deserving.
– The Minister does not know that this officer wrote to me?
– I urge that such questions as these place officers in a most unfortunate and undesirable position.
– This is a scandal.
– This is not a conversation ; the Minister is endeavoring to answer a question.
– It is most undesirable that- the names of individual officers should be referred to in the House.
– The Minister is abusing his office when he permits this injustice to take place.
– I have already told the honorable member that I realize that quite a number of officers are most deserving, and that I am desirous if possible of doing something for them, but I do not think it advisable in the interests either of the officers or of the service to introduce the names of individuals, and as it were, try to use a ‘political lever to advance their interest’s. As a matter of fact, such a course may be against the best interests of the officers affected.
– This is a public question. There is a scandal.
– I must ask the honorable member to obey the ruling of the Chair, because if he does not do so I shall have to take another course.
– Mr. Speaker-
– Does the honorable member dispute my ruling?
– No, sir. I merely wish to express the hope that you will not take another course with me, because, if it is done now, you will have to do it so often.
Order of Consideration
– I desire to ask the Treasurer whether, if possible, he will on Tuesday - I am not asking any information now - oblige honorable members with some indication as to the few items of the Tariff which he promised to take out of their order? ‘ I am sure the Treasurer will see ‘that if he- did so, he would greatly convenience honorable members, who would then know what items were likely to come on for consideration. Many of the items are of great interest to honorable members, and I think that between now and Tuesday the Minister may find himself in a position to decide which items he will select. I know there are not many items which the honorable gentleman desires to take out of their order ; but it would be a convenience to honorable members to know what the course of business is to be.
– I’ did not make any definite promise that I would take items out of their order. On referring to Hansard, I see that I said that if an arrangement could be made whereby no considerable delay would be caused, I would see what could be done in this connexion, and I intend to carry out what I promised.
– I think the honorable gentleman’s promise was stronger than that.
– I should like the fight honorable member to refer to Hansard, because I know I was very cautious in what I said. I do not desire to go back on anything I have promised, and I shall make a statement on Tuesday in reference to the matter. .
– That will do.
– The House is entitled to know whether it is possible to take items out of their order, and, if so, what items are to be selected. I wish it tobe understood, however, that there must be no waste of time in debating whether or not there shall be a selection of items.
– That is what I want to avoid. I do not think there need be any Waste of time. *’ .
– I do not wish honorable members to misunderstand me, because if it appears that there is going to be any great waste of time-
– There will be no waste of time on this side.
– The honorablemember cannot answer for all.,
– The honorable member cannot answer for the honorable member for Dalley.
– Nor for . the honorablemember for Kalgoorlie.
– However, I shall make a statement on Tuesday.
In Committee of Ways and Means (Consideration resumed from 3rd October, vide page 4243):
Division II. - Tobacco and manufactures thereof .
Item 17. Tobacco manufactured, n.e.i., including the weight of tags, labels, and other attachments, per lb., 3s. 6d.
Upon which Mr. Glynn had moved, by way of amendment -
That the words “ and on and after 4th October, 1907, per lb., 3s. 3d.” be added.
.- It is not my intention to address the Committee at any great length. The honorable member for East Sydney yesterday admitted that he kne.w nothing about tobacco - that his one and only smoke had caused him such a serious illness that he had never since tried the effects of the weed. Heis, therefore, not an authority as to what can or cannot be done in Australia in regard to the manufacture of high-grade tobacco.
– Many who think they are authorities know even less than I do.
– That may be so; but the man of experience must be a better authority than the man of no experience. Unlike the honorable member, I have been a smoker for a great number of years, during which I have used both imported and. Australian manufactured tobacco. To this day, not because of the price but as a matter of ‘choice, I prefer the tobacco which is manufactured within the Commonwealth, and just now my choice is the “ Perfection “ brand, because I know that the manufacturers of it are not within the Combine. It is fighting its own battle, and I heartily indorse the admirable view expressed last night by the honorable member that Australians should stand by their own industries and utilize their own manufactures and productions. I hope that the Committee will profit by that advice, and endeavour to break down the unjust prejudice against Australian manufactures by giving, at all times, a preference to them.
– Is “ Perfection “ tobacco made wholly of colonial leaf?
– Imported and colonial leaf are used in about equal proportions.
– I have no knowledge on that point; I can only say that it is manufactured by a firm that does not belong to the Combine.” No one can deny that the Combine has placed upon the shoulders of smokers an undue impost. Whilst under the new Tariff they have been called upon to pay an increase.of only 6d. per lb., the combine, or the wholesale men, have increased the price to the retailers by9d. per lb. It was pointed out last night by an honorable member that the difference between the import duty and the Excise duty on tobacco under the New South Wales Tariff was only9d. per lb. As a matter of fact, under the Parkes Tariff, the import duty on manufactured tobacco was 3s. per lb., while the Excise was is. 3d. per lb., so that there was a difference of1s.9d. per lb. in favour of the local manufacture. What happened upon the introduction of that Tariff? A combine of one or two manufacturers immediately decided to get at the producer, and gradually reduced the price for locally-grown leaf until at last they would give only 2d. per lb. for it, ana it became quite unprofitable to cultivate tobacco.
– That was a combine of protectionist manufacturers ?
– The honorable member may so describe them, but I know that thev have always voted on the other side.
– But they were protected.
– Certainly, and they abused the protection granted to them by unduly reducing the price of the local leaf. The producers, in their efforts to hold their, own, then turned their attention to the export trade, but after the various incidental charges had been met, the return to them was so small that they practically gave up the industry.
– How does thehonorable member account for the fact that the Australian leaf brought so low a price in London ?
– It may have been due tp the action of the Combine. I know what has been the effect of the operations of combines in regard to a particular leaf, and it is quite possible that they brought to bear a lever to bring down the price of the Australian leafwhich threatened to compete with them.
– Will the honorable member explain why men should try to crush the production of a leaf that is 300 per cent, cheaper than is the imported leaf ? If they could obtain 9d. worth of tobacco leaf for 3d., why should they endeavour to do away with the means of securing the lower -priced article ?
– We have to remem-ber that these men are not only manufacturers but importers. It has been said by one or two honorable members - but I am sure that the- opinion is- not generally entertained - that it is impossible to produce in Australia a first-class tobacco leaf. I do not pose as an expert, but I have- heard experts express the opinion that we have produced in Australia a leaf that is as good as any obtainable elsewhere. The trouble in. the past has been in connexion with the curing of ‘the leaf. Unfortunately; men having sufficient capital to provide the most up-to-date methods of curing the leaf have not been encouraged to go into the industry. The work of curing has been largely left to a few Chinese, who erect forked posts on which they place strips of bark, and dry their leaf- upon them. That is not the system adopted in America, and it would not .be followed here if sufficient encouragement were given to the industry. ‘
– Surely Mr. Nevill, the great tobacco expert pf Quensland, could teach the people here” how to cure the leaf.
Mr.- Fowler. - In Queensland a splendid’ leaf- is turned out.
– I have not had any conversation with “Mr.” Nevill, but I trust the House will see .fit to suggest to the Government the desirableness of enlisting the services of Mr. Nevill to place the industry on a sound footing, so that in the course of a few years we may be able to produce sufficient high-grade tobacco to meet our requirements. All Governments, and particularly those who favour freetrade, regard the import duties on tobacco as an important source of revenue. They have hitherto refrained from encouraging the local manufacture, recognising that every pound produced in Australia means a corresponding reduction in the importations. Can any one challenge the view that, from the point of view of protection, the Government are acting wisely in proposing to grant a preference of 6d. per lb. in favour of unstemmed as against stemmed leaf? If we import unstemmed instead of stemmed leaf work which would otherwise be done in other countries will be carried out here. The stemming of the leaf would give employment to a great many people.
– It is chiefly a girls’ occupation.
– But we have to find* work for our girls. It is far better thatthey should be employed in some honest; occupation rather than that through the want of employment they should^ be driven* upon evil courses:
– There is no reason for that, while so many households in Australia, need domestic help.
– There are two sides, to that question.
– There may be in regard toindividual cases, but there is a general de-, mand for domestic servants.
– In many cases domestic service is so unendurable that girls; are prepared to do almost anything ia order to secure more freedom than it affords.
– They are not all like that.,
– At present a great many girls are employed in connexion with> the manufacture of tobacco and cigarettes, and possibly, if the Government proposal? bt: adopted, and the work of stemming becarried out by hand, a light class of employment will be found for many more..
– Girls will not get the benefit of the 6d. per lb. allowed for stemming: the leaf locally.
– Under the new protection scheme of the Government, it will be our duty to see that they do get it. We have to consider two -or three points in ‘determining the question which is now before the Committee.’ In the first place, cart we produce tobacco in Australia?
– A good deal depends upon what is the fashion, as the honorable member himself must recognise.
– That will always be the case. Some persons1 have peculiartaste, in the matter of dress, for example - a taste which they will always gratify. But I am satisfied that what has been done in other parts of the world, so far as the production of tobacco is concerned, can be accomplished in. a great continent like Australia, with its many varieties of soil and. climate. It is discreditable to us that we are not merely supplying our own requirements in this connexion, but those of other portions of the world. In all the States of the Union tobacco can be successfully cultivated, and if sufficient protection be afforded the industry, not only will the leaf be produced here, but capitalists will supply the necessary machinery and science te* convert it into a first class article for consumption. Australians should be patriotic enough to endeavour to break down the prejudice which exists against their, own productions bv extending a preference to our local manufactures. I hope that the -Committee will agree to the item, and that as a result the tobacco industry will prosper.
– I desire to say a few words upon the question of the tobacco industry. We have before us several proposals. As I understand the position, the old import duty upon manufactured tobacco was 3s. 3d. per lb., that upon imported leaf was is. 6d. per lb., and there was also an Excise -upon Australian manufacture of1s. per lb. The protectionist section of the Tariff Commission recommended that the duty upon imported leaf should be increased from1s. 6d. to rs. 9d. per lb., and that the rate upon manufactured tobacco should be increased to 3s. 6d. per lb. The Government have adopted that recommendation. The Tariff Commission also recommended an increase of 3d. per lb. in the Excise. ,
– Not the Tariff Commission.
– No. The B section of the Commission recommend no increase in the duty upon manufactured tobacco. The Government have adopted the recommendation of the A section of the Commission, and accordingly desire to impose ‘ a duty of 3s. 6d. per lb. upon manufactured tobacco. They have, however, modified their original intentions by proposing the old duty upon unstemmed tobacco, and a duty of is. per lb. upon stemmed tobacco. My own opinion is that the old duty was very largely in the interests of the manufacturers and the present Combine. The recommendation of the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission was more in the interests of the growers, and I believe that the proposals of “ the Government represent the best compromise which can be made in . the interests of the operatives, the ‘ manufacturers, and -growers. Of course, the position has also to be considered from the stand-point- of the revenue. From the report of the Ta’riff Commission, I learn that Queensland with a very high dutv. operative both upon manufactured tobacco and upon the imported leaf, “gave the greatest encouragement to the growth of this commodity. Under the old Tariff of that State a duty of 4s. per pound was levied upon manufactured” tobacco, and of 2s. per pound upon- the imported, leaf. These imposts did. not. materially decrease the importation of manufactured tobacco, but ‘they compelled the local manufacturers to use the locally-grown leaf- instead of imported leaf. So that from the stand-point of its protective incidence to the growers, the old Queensland Tariff was the most successful of any of the State Tariffs. Of course, I recognise that the climate and soil of Queensland are more suited to the production of tobacco than are those of any other State. I gather from the Tariff Commission’s reports that at the time Federation was accomplished - according to the evidence of Mr. Nevill - 46 per cent, of the tobacco consumed in Queensland was manufactured from the locally-grown leaf. About 50 per cent, of the total consumption of tobacco in that State was imported, but it was imported in its manufactured condition. At the present time only about 6 per cent, of the tobacco manufactured in the Commonwealth is manufactured from the Australian leaf. These figures speak for themselves. Of course, the question of revenue has also to be considered. With a population of 498,249, Queensland in 1900 derived a revenue of , £221,111 from tobacco, or about 8s. per head. Last ‘year the Commonwealth, ; with -a population of 4,119,000, collected a” revenue from th’is source of . £1,728,875, or about8s ‘.per head. It will be seen, therefore; that when the old Queensland Tariff was in operation 46 per cent, of - the tobacco consumed in that State was manufactured from the locally-grown leaf, and that, notwithstanding a high duty upon the imported article, the revenue received from tobacco per head was equal to that which the Commonwealth is now collecting: I admit that if we were to impose the old Queensland rates a large number of the operatives in our tobacco factories would be thrown out of employment. -That is the serious drawback which we -have to consider in that connexion. We should all endeavour to avoid displacing those who are already engaged in our factories. -But if that result were brought about there is no- doubt that a larger percentage of the community would undertake the cultivation of tobacco leaf, so that in the long run just as great a number of hands would be employed in the tobacco industry, although they would be more ‘distributed. From a protectionist standpoint, it seems to me that the recommendations of the protectionist section of “ the Tariff Commission are the most scientific.
The chief blunder that its members have made is in recommending an increase of the Excise by 3d. per lb., which would have the effect of making the margin of protection accorded to the manufacturer of tobacco from locally-grown leaf very small indeed. To a large extent they have vitiated the value of their scheme by suggesting an increase in’ the Excise whilst recommending an increase in the duty upon stemmed imported leaf. If the tobacco industry were not already established, I should be inclined to support the recommendationsof the protectionist section of the Commission that a duty of1s.9d. per lb. should be imposed upon the imported unstemmed leaf, and of 2s. per lb. upon the imported stemmed leaf. But seeing that our factories are already established, it is our duty to arrive at the best possible compromise under the circumstances. That compromise, I think, is represented in the proposals of the Government to increase the duty upon manufactured tobacco to 3s. 6d. per lb., and to impose a duty of 2s. per lb. upon stemmed tobacco leaf, and of 1s. 6d. per lb. upon unstemmed leaf, with the old Excise of1s. per lb.
.- I should like to know from the Treasurer whether it is possible for him to give the Committee any information as to how these new proposals - which have been submitted somewhat late in the day, and which embody many departures from the recommendations of the Tariff Commission - are likely to affect the revenue?
– As the honorable member told me that he wished for some information on this point, I inquired yesterday what the difference would be, and was told that it would be between £30,000 and £50,000 a year.
– Increase or decrease?
– Increase. That is not a very large amount relatively to the total revenue obtained from the duties on tobacco.
– The Minister’s statement will assist us in arriving at a decision in regard to this most intricate and important question. In discussing it we cannot lose sight of the fact that the tobacco duties are one of our most remunerative sources of revenue, but while we must study the interests of the exchequer, it is obligatory upon us, seeing thak the bulk of the men folk of. Australia are smokers, to study their interests too. I was of the opinion that, during the last few years, manufacturers and consumers alike had adapted themselves fairly satisfactorily to the conditions laid down by the old Tariff, and while I understand the desire of the Government to give as much consideration as possible to local manufacturers, I think that it is necessary to make sure that the consumers of tobacco will not be unduly penalized. It would be possible to place such heavy duties on tobacco as to reduce the quality obtainable by the smoking community. Smokers, like other consumers, are accustomed to pay certain prices for what they purchase, andif the cost of tobacco is unduly increased as the result of the imposition of high . duties, they will be compelled to accept an inferior article. However, I am assured by the Government that the proposed increase of 3d. per lb. in the first item will not have the effect of unduly increasing the price of tobacco, because other alterations are proposed which will practically leave the general position unchanged. I feel that the best thing we can do under the circumstances is to accept the altered proposals of the Government, seeing that they will hot unduly interfere with consumers, while it appears likely that they will lead to the employment of more persons in Australia, and also slightly increase the revenue. The leader of the Opposition last night spoke of the assistance which would be given to our local manufacturers if smokers consumed Australian leaf ; but, during the last few years, they have undoubtedly been indicating an inclination to do so. Speaking from memory, the consumption of Australian leaf was in 1904 something under 1,000,000 lbs., while last year it was over 2,000,000 lbs., a gratifying increase. The honorable gentleman referred to the fact that some years ago the production was 8,000,000 lbs., but the official reports show that the yield then was abnormal, and such as was never attained before, or has been approached since. The reason for it was. that one or more of the States was offering a bounty for the production of leaf, and as no conditions were imposed as to quality, growers were producing the heaviest leaf they could, paying little regard to its value for tobacco-making. The fact that the yield has since declined does not therefore demonstrate that our soil and climate is unsuitable for the production of valuable leaf, and, in my opinion, the results of the last few years show that we are now increasing our output, and at the same time improving its quality. This being so, I think we may all wish success to proposals which have for their object the encouragement of the use of Australian leaf. With reference to what has been said about differentiation between machine and handmade tobacco and cigars, the honorable member for Hindmarsh is, no doubt, perfectly correct, in stating that it is difficult to obtain good cigars by means of machinery, because the machines will not allow of the blending of leaf necessary to obtain the proper flavour. Consequently, it is necessary to keep hand-made cigars on the market for the benefit. of those who appreciate a well-flavoured smoke. It is also difficult, in the manufacture of cigars and cigarettes by machines, to prevent tobacco dust from being used. This dust is sometimes inhaled into the lungs of the smoker, a risk which is greater in connexion with cigarette smoking than with cigar smoking, and one” of the chief reasons why many medical men are opposed to the smoking of cigarettes under any circumstances. Moreover, it is doubtful whether any persons outside the Combine a:;<:. able to obtain the only machines capable of _ producing a cigar that is at all satisfactory. I am advised - and evidence to this effect was given before the Tariff Commission - that the Combine holds the patent- rights or exclusive control of these machines, one of which, manipulated by a girl, can produce, in a’ given time, “as many cigars as could be made by eight skilled cigar makers.
– That has been distinctly denied by letter and by an affidavit.
– I have a copy of the letter here.
– Can the honorable member tell me of any maker, outside the members of the Combine, who use this machine ?
– There is none.
– Then what is the use of denying the statement that other manufacturers are unable to obtain it? If 25 per cent, of the consumption of Australia is made outside the Combine, and this machine is so valuable, it is an extraordinary thing that only members of the Combine have it. This fact is -prima facie evidence, if not conclusive proof, that the denial is worth very little.
– The whole thing is very circumstantial. Any one can buy the machine, because there are no patent rights in it.
– Although the honorable member says that, affidavits can be obtained stating that no machines are used by others than members of the Combine, and that those who are not in the Combine are unable to get these machines.
– What is the reason? Is it that they have not enough money to buy them ?
– I have the utmost warrant for saying that the Combine, if it has at any time indicated that it is prepared to allow these machines to be used by others than its members, of which I am not sure., has imposed such conditions on their use that, up to the present time; nobody has obtained one. In the interests of ‘the pub: lie, moreover, it is highly desirable that encouragement should be given to hand manufacture. Seeing that the Combine is. a branch of a world-wide Trust, we should be very careful not to do anything which will improve its hold.
– It has recently given a substantial increase in wages.
– I am glad to hear it. Does that increase bring its rates up to the level of those paid by makers outside the Combine ?
– I understand that the employes are perfectly satisfied.
– If so, this is the first occasion on which I have heard of employes similarly placed who were satisfied. Judging by the rates which I have seen, I can only say that, if those people are satisfied, they aire very easily satisfied, because I do nol regard the rates as reasonable in any sense of the word. The difficulties of the grower have been amply demonstrated by speaker after speaker, and it has been shown that the great profits of the industry are received by the Combine, which is not likely to use its wealth in the best interests of the country. In order to protect the interests of the producer, the manufacturer, the wage earner, and the consumer, there is only the one effective method, namely, the nationalization of the industry. We may be able to impose conditions which will lead to a better distribution of the benefits of the industry ; but, if we are to conserve the interests of all concerned, nationalization is our only course.
– I desire to make a personal explanation, which I was precluded from making last night owing to the forms of the House. The
Minister of Trade and Customs last night misrepresented me as having expressed myself very glad of the opportunity, as a free-trader, to impose duties of Customs on narcotics, stimulants, and so forth. I did not say that I was personally in favour of such duties, because, as a matter of fact, I should prefer to see the importation and sale of spirits, as a beverage, totally prohibited. What I did intend to say was that a number of free-traders, or people who call themselves free-traders, all the world over, while objecting to duties on the necessaries of life or ordinary articles of commerce, made an exception in favour of revenue duties on narcotics and alcoholic beverages.
Mr.Bamford. - That is not the principle of the single-taxer.
– There are quite a number of single-taxers who take a similar view. The Minister interpreted my remarks into an admission that I am personally in favour of such duties. My position is that if we must go to the Customs for revenue, I prefer that it should be derived from those sources rather than from duties on the necessaries of life, and articles of ordinary commerce. In the course of the discussion yesterday, the charge was made, particularly by members in the Labour corner, that the Tobacco Combine had the control of the machines for the making of cigars.
– Certain machines.
– At first it was said that all the cigarmaking machines were in the control of the Combine, but now the charge is limited to certain machines.
– What I said was that the Combine have control of the best machines, and. allowed their competitors to use only inferior machines.
– I did not hear that modification of the. charge; but, however, it is an admission which amounts to something. This morning I have received an affidavit, a copy of which I understand has been handed to . the Minister of Trade and Customs or the Treasurer, dealing with this matter; and I propose to read it in refutation of the charges made from, the Labour Corner. The affidavit is as follows -
I,Louis Philip Jacobs, of 46a’Beckett- street, Melbourne,’ in the State of Victoria, do solemnly and sincerelv declare : -
That I am the Managing Director of the States Tobacco . Company Proprietary Limited, carrying on business . in Melbourne as manufacturers of cigars:..
That statements have been made in the Federal Parliament and elsewhere to the effect that the States Tobacco Company Proprietary Limited has the exclusive right to use certain machines for the manufacture of cigars, and that the said company holds the patent rights of the machines, or an exclusive licence to use the said machines.
That these statements have no foundation in fact, as the States Tobacco Company Proprietary Limited has not directly or indirectly, in any shape or form whatsoever, the exclusive contiol in Australia, or elsewhere, of any of the machines used bv it in the manufacture of cigars, nor does it hold any patent rights or exclusive licences to use the said machines, in Australia or elsewhere.-
That to the best of my knowledge, information and belief all the machines used by the States Tobacco . Company Proprietary Limited, in the manufacture of cigars, can be purchased or obtained bv any manufacturer of cigars, on the same terms and for the same price, as those upon which they have been purchased or obtained by the States Tobacco Company Proprietary Limited.
And I make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing the same to be true, and by virtue of the provisions of an Act of the Parliament of Victoria, rendering persons making a false declaration punishable for wilful and corrupt perjury.
Louis P. Jacobs.
Declared at Melbourne, in the State of Victoria, this fourth day of October, One. thousand nine hundred and seven - beforeme -
Thompson Moore, J. P.
A justice of the peace in and for the Central Bailiwick of the State of Victoria.
– Can the honorable member get an affidavit to the effect that any manufacturers outside the Combine can, either in this country or in America, obtain permission to use the Flynch machine?
– I do not know anything about those concerned in the making of this affidavit, but it is a refutation of the statements made by honorable members opposite, and, as a matter of fairness, I thought it should be read. I do not appear here as the champion of any Combine ; but, if statements are made broadcast in this Chamber, in regard to either a Combine or individuals it is only fair that the other side should be stated. As to the value of the affidavit, honorable members themselves are the best judges. If those statements are deemed to be untrue honorable members may carry their investigations further ; my only anxiety is that honorable members shall be in possession of a knowledge of the true position! If it be shown that the -Combine has control of machines to the injury of trade or commerce, I shall’ be only too glad to assist in any action necessairy to destroy a monopoly of the kind.
.- The honorable member for Lang, in his anxiety, as usual, to protect, the Combine, has read to us an affidavit signed by Louis Jacobs, the managing director of the States Tobacco Company, and previously a member of the firm of Jacobs, Hart, and Co., which is well known as one which tried to evade the determination of the Victorian Wages Board, by transferring its machines to Adelaide.
– What did Mr. McKay, the harvester manufacturer, do?
– I denounced McKay just as. readily as I denounce the Tobacco Combine. In the course of this discussion I have never mentioned the name of a firm, but when the honorable member for Lang rises to defend one which transferred its machines to Adelaide, and had cigars brought to Victoria in bulk-
– The honorable member is misrepresenting me. I did not rise to defend the firm, but merely to read the affidavit of Mr. Jacobs.
– And the honorable member in his anxiety to always defend monopoly
– That is incorrect, and the honorable member knows it is incorrect. That is not a fair statement to make. .
– Will the honorable member allow me to go on?
– I will not allow misstatements to be made regarding myself.
– The honorable member for Yarra must accept the denial of the honorable member for Lang.
– I do so ; but I desire to show that, the firm which the honorable member is backing up-
– I am not “ backing up “. any firm.
– Am I at liberty to show that the firm, a member of which signed the affidavit we have heard read, tried to evade the determination of the Wages Board in Victoria? Surely no member, whether protectionist or free-trader, approves of conduct of that sort?
– The firm has repented.
– I do not know whether that be so or not. At any rate, I intend to do my best to see that this industry, as between hand-made goods and machinemade goods, is put on a fair footing. It is admitted that the Combine have control of one cigar -making machine j and I may say that that machine was on view and . working at the A.N. A. Exhibi tion held a . few months ago in Melbourne. By the introduction of the new protection proposals, the Government admit the necessity of seeing that the operatives shall receive some of the benefits of the Tariff ; and, .in my opinion, while a great proportion of the cigars are made by machinery, the Excise in regard to those cigars should be raised considerably. That contention, of course, applies equally to machine-made tobacco, and cigarettes. I hope honorable members will’ not be led away by the affidavit which, has been read. Why has the Combine not come forward to disprove other statements I made last night? I then pointed out that machinemade cigars cost 6d. per 100 to manufacture, or 5s. per 1,000, while the lowest rate fixed for the Wages Board for hand-made cigars is 2s. 6d. per 100, or 25s. per 1,000, showing an advantage of £1 per 1,000 in fa ‘our of the machine-made article.
Mr. AUSTIN CHAPMAN (EdenMonaro - Minister of Trade and Customs; [11.44]. - The honorable member for Lang has called attention to a statement I made in reference to him last night ; and I regret it if I did the honorable member an injustice. When the right honorable member for East Sydney was contending that there was a protective duty amounting to about 300 per cent., I urged that it was unfair to regard it as protective only, seeing that revenue considerations were also involved. I said this-
The leader of free-trade thought in this country-
I was referring to the leader of the Opposition - admitted to-night that he has never looked on these as protective duties.
The leader pf the Opposition interjected -
I did not say that. What I said was that even in New South Wales, under free-trade, there was a considerable difference in favour of the local manufacturer.
The report continues -
– The honorable member for Lang pointed with pride to the fact that he does not let his free-trade principles interfere with his views in regard to narcotics and stimulants.
– I $id not say anything of the kind.
– The honorable member has been good enough to supply me with a proof copy of his speech. I find that the honorable member for
Melbourne, after chiding the Opposition, went on to say -
The honorable member for Lang, I understand, intends to support certain amendments which make for a revenue Tariff ; and I, as a protectionist, cannot understand how he, as an absolute free-trader, can vote for any duty. If the honorable member votes for a revenue duty he is a revenue-tariff man.
Then the honorable member for Lang interjected -
Free-traders vote for duties on spirits, stimulants, and narcotics for revenue purposes.
– I said that free-traders “ sometimes “ vote for duties on spirits, stimulants, and narcotics for revenue purposes.
– I am reading from a proof copy of the speech made by the honorable member for Melbourne, who is reported to have continued thus -
Then why do they not call themselves by their true name of revenue-tariffists ?
– Because they are not revenue.tariffists in regard to other matters.
– If report be correct, there is not an absolute free-trader in the House, which consists of revenue-tariffists, moderate protectionists, and out-and-out protectionists.
– Free-traders all the world over make an exception in regard to spirits, stimulants, and narcotics.
– So they do.
– That being so, surely it cannot he said that I misrepresented the honorable member when I remarked that he - pointed with pride to the fact that he does not let his free-trade principles interfere with his views in regard to narcotics and stimulants.
– Are there no spots on the sun ?
– The honorable member said that free-traders made an exception in regard to these matters, and I thought that I did him no injustice in speaking of him as I did. If I did. I must express my regret ; but I thought that he included himself amongst the number holding the view in question.
.- I feel that the Committee is indebted to the honorable member for Angas for the clear way in which he has marshalled the facts relating to this ‘division. Personally, I am grateful to him for the assistance which he has given me in dealing with the question. I am afraid that I cannot add much to the information put before the Committee, but I should like to point out that tobacco was one of the first plants to be colonized. Sheep-farmers, in the early days, had to cultivate it, since the outbreak of scab rendered it necessary for sheep-dipping purposes. I well remember, having seen large stacks of tobacco grown at .Glencoe, in the south-east parts of South Australia, and various parts of the Gambier district. To my mind, tobacco has no particular value, save as. a revenue producer. The less tobacco we smoke the better. For thirty years I smoked both Colonial and American tobacco, but finding that it was not doing me any good I ceased smoking nearly three years ago, and have since enjoyed much better health. In South Australia we have in force a law prohibiting the sale of tobacco to children under sixteen years of age, so that the Legislature of that State evidently considers that tobacco smoking is undesirable. We produce there a leaf as good as that grown anywhere else, and I am sure that Australians are competent to properly treat the leaf. If we are to continue to smoke tobacco in Australia, we ought certainly to supply our own requirements. We should then know exactly what we were smoking. But I repeat that smoking is after all only a habit, and that tobacco is .a luxury. During the last two days there has been so much said about this division that one would imagine we were dealing with a food, and that people would die if they were left without it. If it be true that there is a special machine used in the industry, which can be obtained only from a monopoly, I think we should take steps to see that it can be freely purchased. I do not think there should be a monopoly in Australia in respect of machinery or anything else. The tobacco workers’ will have my best assistance, and I intend to support the proposal made by the honorable member for Angas.
– During this debate much has been said as to hand-made and machinemade cigars, and we have been told that the best cigar-making machine is in the hands of a Combine. One of the witnesses examined by the Royal Commission on the Tobacco Industry was a Mr. Herschman, who most emphatically asserted that he and others could not buy the best class of machines. That statement was not refuted. Whilst the Wages Board relating to the tobacco industry was discussing the question of the wages to be fixed, reference was made to this machine, and Mr. Jacobs, who has to-day made an affidavit that has been read to the Committee, said in the presence of employers as well as of employes on the Board that others could not buy them. One of the. men had said, “ If we liked to buy these machines we should be in. the same position as you are,” and Mr. Jacobs’ rePly was, “You cannot buy them.” If he refutes my statement, I shall be prepared to submit a statutory declaration in support of it. The Combine, whose ramifications extend over Australia and America, is alone able to buy the machine referred to. That is the position even in America, where other manufacturers have resorted to the placing of a special label on their tobacco in order to indicate to the public that it is not the product of a Combine. The combination all over the .world has the sole use of the best cigar-making machines.
– I” have hitherto refrained from taking part in the debate on the Tariff, having determined that my contribution to it shall relate only to items which in the opinion of myself and others are unnecessarily high, or unfair in their incidence. We have now before us an- item which in my opinion comes within that category. During the debate on this division we have had put before us information upon all phases of the question, and it is satisfactory .to observe that most of those who have spoken have indicated their willingness to encourage the production of tobacco. I think that there is a feeling on all sides of the House that tobacco is a product which we should raise for ourselves. It has been shown that it can be and has been grown to a considerable extent, and with some degree of success, in Australia. That phase of the question was well debated during the consideration of the Bounties Bill, when the House agreed that we should assist and stimulate the growth of high-grade tobacco. The honorable member for Riverina made a very valuable contribution tq that part of the debate which relates to the history of the growth of tobacco. On the north coast of New South Wales - the district which I represent - we have grown tobacco for many years. The early settlers raised it with a considerable measure of success and profit. In the early pioneering days the industry proved a valuable source of revenue to settlers, since they were able to grow it without incurring a large expenditure in the preparation of the land. The new soil of the scrub and fresh water country, was found to be very suitable to its production. Whether the reasons for the decline of tobacco culture have, been fully stated by the honorable member for Riverina I cannot say. The honorable member declared that the Combine, which is the only purchaser of tobacco leaf in Australia, gradually reduced the price to such an extent that the growers ultimately found themselves unable to profitably carryon the industry. I believe that that is largely true, but, on the other hand, I would remind the Committee that the people of to-day are more particular in their choice of tobacco than they were. The tobacco grown in’ the early days was appreciated by its users, but it might not Le so favorably regarded to-day. Certainly our tobacco leaf has not been sought after and used so largely as it was. To overcome the difficulty this House, a few weeks ago, very wisely passed the Bounties Bill, which has for one of its objects the encouragement of the tobacco industry. If that measure prove as successful as we hope it will, the disadvantage under which we now labour by reason of our production of a tobacco which is not acceptable to smokers will to a large extent be removed. We all agree that by means of a protective duty the cultivation of tobacco can be stimulated. The great point that we have to consider is “ What is a fair measure of protection to extend to the industry?” Last night the honorable member for East Sydney stated that the ordinary price of Australian tobacco leaf is about 6d. per lb. The import duty proposed upon the unstemmed leaf is’ is. 6d. per lb. Therefore we are already extending to the local grower a protection of 300 per cent. As a protectionist, I have no desire to offer a larger measure of protection than that. I am not in favour of the new proposal of the Government to increase the duty upon manufactured tobacco to 3s. 6d. per lb. I intend to support the amendment of the honorable member for Angas, because I believe that we have made ample provision for the encouragement of this commodity. ‘
– Tobacco is grown in the district represented by the honorable member, I believe?
– It was grown there, but it was not sufficiently remunerative, and other products have, therefore, taken its place. It is agreed by all that tobacco is a fair item of taxation for revenue purposes. I notice from the statistics available to honorable members that under the 1902 Tariff, the amount derived from Customs under this heading was £938,782, and from Excise £-586,244, or a total of £i,52’5,o26. The Treasurer stilted this morning that the new proposals of the Government would swell the revenue from this source by about £50,000 annually!
– By about £30,000.
– If we impose that additional amount of taxation upon the unfortunate smokers, I think that they will be contributing more than their fair share to the revenue. Further, neither the Commonwealth Government nor the States Governments have shown that they are in need of money. Only this morning I read in the newspapers that Victoria has a surplus so large that the Premier scarcely knows what to do with it. New South Wales is in a similarly prosperous condition. Consequently, I hold that we are. not entitled to increase the taxation of the smokers of the Commonwealth by £30,000 annually. It has been urged that there is no proof that if the duty upon manufactured tobacco be reduced - as is proposed by the honorable member for Angas - the smoker would secure the benefit of the reduction. But we can only gauge what is likely to happen by what has happened. We all know that owing to the increase of the Excise duty by 3d. per lb., and of the import duty by a similar amount, the New South Wales merchants have increased the price of tobacco by 9d. a lb. all round.
– They should not have done so.
– I can show the honorable member that the price has been increased by only 6d. per lb.
– I hold in my hand the price-list of “Messrs. D. Mitchell & Co.,.Sydnev which shows that the price of tobacco has been increased by 9d. per lb.
– They are distributors.
– I can also show the honorable member the price-list of Messrs. Kronheimer & Co.
– Messrs. Kronheimer & Co. have increased the price of the leading brands by 9d. per lb.
– Exactly. I am speaking of such popular brands as
Yankee Doodle - two shades, light and dark - Havelock, Capstan and some others.;
– Does the honorable member argue that if the old rates of duty, are imposed the additional 9d. per lb. will* be remitted?
– I know that where the duties have been increased upon various items prices have been increased to; the consumer where competition has beer* restricted. If the duty upon tobaccowere reduced, I am satisfied that the price, of that commodity would also be reduced. I take it that in determining these rates we> ought not to lose sight of the interests ot the consumer. The smokers of Australia are already contributing a very large amount to the revenue, and it is the dutyof this Committee - seeing that the Government do not require the money-
– Yes, we do.
– The smokers are being asked to contribute more than their fair share of taxation. If we increase their taxation in the way that is proposed,’they will be compelled to resort to the use of inferior brands. I am a non-smoker myself, but I say that if men will smoke tobacco, they should be afforded an opportunity to obtain an article of the best quality.
– Does not the honorable member think that we can grow the bestquality of tobacco in Australia if we give the industry a proper measure of protection ?
– I know that we have been endeavouring to do so for a very long time, and that the results have not been satisfactory. I supported the payment of a bounty for the production of tobacco leaf, because I believe that it will stimulate the growth of a high-class leaf, suitable for cigars, and that, as a result, we shall be able to place upon the market a tobacco, the merits of which will commend it to popular favour. At the present time the Australian leaf has to beblended with the American. I think that the amendment of the honorable member for Angas is one. which I am entitled to support.
.- During the discussion of the Tariff several knotty problems have been presented for our consideration, but I cannot conceive of a knottier one than that which is involved in the determination of the duties upon tobacco. Although Item 17 is the particular item before the Committee, I understand that honorable members are ‘at liberty to discuss the whole of the items embraced in this division. I believe the effect of that will be to expedite business. I have no desire to be drawn into a discussion of various attractive projects, such as the nationalization of industries, which have been mentioned during the course of this debate. Before some honorable members realize their desires in that connexion many of us will be in a land that is smokeless, and others in a land which is all smoke. In my judgment, the only man who is competent to deal with this question is the individual who is possessed of .a technical knowledge of the tobacco industry. I have taken the trouble to read the mass of material bearing on this question which has been sent to me in common with other honorable members, and I must say that the authors of that material have put their cases very well indeed - so well that it is almost impossible to decide between them. Of course, we all recognise that it is from narcotics and stimulants that we derive our chief revenue. There are only nine items in the Tariff, in addition to tobacco, upon which both an import duty and an Excise duty are imposed. After listening attentively to the speeches of honorable members upon this question, I have come to the conclusion that the duties which should be imposed upon this commodity hinge entirely upon the margin which ought to be granted to our local producers. In my school days a good deal of the time of my tutor was devoted to imparting to me a fair knowledge of the differential calculus. To acquire a knowledge of that subject, however,’ is mere child’s play compared to the task of deciding the proposal now before the Committee. The manufacturers are divided into two sections, and we have in the Committee members who love the large manufacturers and detest the small, and others who say that the small manufacturers must be looked after, and go on to declaim against the evils of the Combine. But, in my opinion, we must deal with things as they are. We know that there is a Combine, and that there are small manufacturers, and we must endeavour to hold the balance of justice evenly between them. When the nationalization of the tobacco industry, or some similar change, is proposed, it will be time enough to discuss the questions involved. Under present circumstances, we must deal with the industry’ as we know it to exist. Other honorable members “ have dealt -with these proposals as they affect the growers of tobacco leaf. They say that the tobacco consumed in Australia should be made from Australian leaf. But even the honorable member for Cowper, who is a strong protectionist, and represents a district in which large- quantities of tobacco have been grown, had to admit, in reply to an interjection of mine, that land formerly cultivated for tobacco is now used for crops which are found more profitable. In my young days they used to grow tobacco on the Paterson, and it has since been found better to turn the land to other uses. But it must be remembered that the electorate of Cowper is still further north, and its climate is not. dissimilar from that of Queensland, which, so experts tell us, is admirably suited for tobacco growing. The honorable member has admitted that protection amounting to 300 per cent., which he says is his highwater mark, has not encouraged the growing of tobacco leaf. I take a similar view. Another class of the community, and the largest, affected by these proposals, is the consuming class. One of the representatives of South Australia has condemned the tobacco habit, but, notwithstanding, he says that, ‘in the interests of the revenue, he will vote for the amendment. Perhaps he knows tha.t it is necessary for human beings fo have some vices. As I get older, I shed one vice after another, but I still have a few, and, amongst them, the devotion to “ My Lady Nicotine. ‘ ‘
– Has the honorable member shed the vice of free-trade?
– I think that protection is a vice when the protectionist desires duties of 300 per cent., though the honorable member is such a cormorant that he asks for even higher protection. My attitude in regard to these proposals is this-: We cannot carry on without revenue, and the taxing of tobacco consumers is a fair way of getting it, because tobacco is a luxury, and therefore fairly taxable. But we must consider whether these proposals are sound or unsound. We have very little official information regarding the subject. It has been said, from time to time, that Parliament’ would do its business more expeditiously if it. appointed grand Committees to thresh out the proposals put before it. Under the present arrangement each man has to do. the best he can for himself. But, in this instance, we have had _ the . subject investigated and reported on by a grand committee. The Royal
Commission on the Tariff was virtually a grand Committee of Parliament, and it made recommendations for the guidance of the Government and of Parliament, in two sets of reports, known as the A and. the B reports. With regard to the tobacco duties, they agree on many Items. The Government, however, brought down its own proposals, and yesterday the Minister announced that he intends to modify them very considerably. Therefore we are now discussing the first proposals of the Government, its amended proposals, and the amendment of the honorable member for Angas, which would bring us back to the Tariff rate of 1902. In my endeavour to disentangle myself from this web of complexity, I know that this at least is certain, that the Royal Commission on the Tariff made a thorough investigation of the whole question, and, being fully acquainted with all the facts relating to the existence of combines and small manufacturers, and the making of tobacco by machines and by hand, brought forward certain .recommendations, which the Government did not accept. But Ministers have since departed from their first proposals. The Treasurer apparently wishes to keep up his revenue, and, at the same time, to build . up the tobacco manufacturing industry.
– A very creditable desire.
– No doubt. But the honorable gentleman will admit that he has a most complex problem to solve. Sir George Turner, when Treasurer, found the matter equally difficult, and, after a long debate, frankly admitted that a difference of 9d. in favour of the local manufacturers would be sufficient. The Government now propose to reduce the import duty on unstemmed tobacco, unmanufactured, entered to be locally manufactured into tobacco or cigarettes, from is. 9d. to is. 6d., which will benefit local manufacturers to the extent of 3d. per lb.
– It is estimated that the cost of stemming is equal to 3d. per lb,
– It is more than that.
– It does not come to so much.
– Apparently, the Treasurer wishes to give employment in Australia in the stemming of tobacco leaf ; but I am told that this work is done by the worst paid labour in the world. I am not willing to have such labour employed in
Australia, and I cannot conceive why protectionists desire that such labour should be employed here. I prefer that Australia should advance on fair lines, instead of being committed to a policy of forcing, which must create here evils similar to those which exist in the manufacturing centres of the old world, where human flesh and blood are used to obtain cheapness of production. I am also informed that there is a loss of one-third in the process of stemming. The local manufacturer is quite as ready to use local as imported leaf, if the public want it.’ His only desire is to make money. Therefore, lie does not . care whether the public smoke tobacco leaf grown in Maryland or leaf grown in Gippsland. But, apparently, if imported unstemmed leaf is used, there is a loss of one-third in the operation of stemming. The Treasurer admits that, notwithstanding the sources of information which he has at his disposal, and the assistance of the Minister of Trade and Customs, he is largely in a fog in regard to this matter. As Treasurer, he knows that he must make provision for heavy expenditure, and that the area of “taxation is limited. He desires to get as much revenue as he can, but, as a protectionist, he wishes to build up the tobacco industry. Thus, he is between two” fires, and must choose which to him is the lesser evil. Personally, I think that the first consideration should be the revenue, and the second the interest of the consumers, and, therefore, I lean towards the proposal of the honorable member for Angas, whowishes to re-impose the rates of the 1902 Tariff. The revenue obtained from those rates was an increasing one. Since the old Tariff was productive of a fair revenue, I think the honorable member for Angas has made out a strong case for his proposal. I find that in the case of tobacco, unmanufactured, but entered to be locally manufactured into cigars, there is a differential margin of 6d., and, apparently, that proposal is made because the cigarmaker has to be taken into consideration. The Government carry their protectionist’ ideas so far that they Would like to* seethe cigar operatives, both machine and” hand, hard at work, but, under the circumstances, it will be readily seen that what are the interests of the one class are not altogether the interests of the other. Some honorable members make a strong plea on behalf of the hand worker, but a circular has been issued by the Victorian branch, of the Federated Tobacco Workers’ Union, signed by Mr. R. H. Solly, in which no special argument is advanced on this score.
– That circular refers to ‘tobacco workers, and not to cigar makers.
– The” circular is very concise, and I suggest that the example of Mr. Solly in this respect should be followed by others who desire to place before us information regarding any industry affected by the Tariff. The following is an extract from the circular -
The Government propose a differential margin of 6d. per lb. protection to the local manufacturer on unstemmed leaf, and 3d. per lb. on stemmed leaf. This is the smallest amount of protection ever given to the industry by any Australian Parliament, the smallest previously given being . a differential margin between imported and locally . manufactured tobacco of gd. per lb. Even New South Wales, under free-trade, did not attempt anything so drastic. It is suggested the reason the Government offer the small margin of 6d. and 3d. is for the purpose of protecting the local grower of tobacco leaf. We desire to assist and protect the local grower, but the Government proposal will have the opposite effect, because there will be a much larger importation of manufactured tobacco, and thereby reduce the local market to the local grower.
A request is then made for a differential duty of gd. per lb. How can we, in one proposal, accede to all the requests of the cigar operatives, both machine and hand, and also of the maker of plug tobacco? I shall approach the question from a revenue stand-point; and if 300 per cent, protection is not enough, I do not see how we can grant any more.
– If the honorable member’s object is revenue, he ought to make the industry a State monopoly.
– That is another question, with which I shall not deal until it becomes ai live political issue. The Government have dropped the composite duty upon cigars, and now propose a fixed duty of 7s. 6d. This may be reasonable in regard to the high-priced article, but is certainly a heavy impost on the cheap cigar.
– It will encourage the production of the high-priced article.
– My belief is that a duty of 7s. 6d. will force the production of cheap cigars in Australia, because the ordinary consumer cannot afford a high price. Importers will not pay such a duty on cheap cigars ; and, although I’ have no con.stituents interested in the industry, I have thousands who are .consumers of cigars at a moderate price. Is it my duty .to do anything that will have the effect of making my constituents smoke Australian cigars made of imported leaf? Because that is as far as their patriotism is asked to extend. The Minister of Trade and Customs last night said that he did not expect the local factories would be able to supply the demand for several years to come. The result is that, in the meantime, the people who cannot afford a dear cigar will have to pay an increased price for the 3d. smoke. Then, again, the importer and the manufacturer can pass the duty on, but the question is whether the retailer can pass it on to the consumer. A retailer cannot charge fractions of a penny, and, therefore, will have to ask 4d. for a cigar previously sold at 3d., with the result that in most cases the consumer will resort to tobacco. As the honorable . member for North Sydney pointed out last night, people are accustomed to smokes at 3d., 6d., or is., and if prices be raised by fractions of those sums, the retailer will find his custom falling away unless he sells at a loss, or supplies an inferior article at the original price. The consumer first pays regard to price, and then to quality ; and though I am not a connoisseur, my experience teaches me that American leaf locally manufactured is more palatable than _ imported manufactured tobacco, the latter being too highly flavoured for my taste. I am afraid that the proposals of the Government may have the effect of injuring the retailer, who, apparently, has not many to plead his case here. I. have no desire to use the sentimental argument, but I am safe in saying that many retailers are hard set to make a living ; and we may by our votes put them in the position of earning even less profit than they did under the old Tariff. I intend to support the amendment of the honorable member for Angas. Fashion has a good deal to do with the sale of a tobacco. Advocates of Australian, wines say that they are excellent, and that once their use becomes fashionable, our trade in them will be enormously increased. The position is likely to be the same in regard to Australian tobacco leaf. There are many parts of Australia where the soil and climatic conditions are suited to the production of a first-class tobacco, and surely a protection of 300 per cent, ought to be sufficient for the growers. The honorable member for Angas proposes that we shall revert to the rate prevailing under the old Tariff, under which we secured an’ excellent revenue.
– But there has been a great deal too much profit made by the Trust.
– The honorable member insists upon harking back to the position in regard to the Trust, but I propose to confine my attention to the amendment before us. The honorable member for Angas has clearly shown that the old rate of duty led to a diminution in the imports of manufactured tobacco.
– How can it be said that the revenue was sustained under it if it had the effect of reducing imports?
– The imports of manufactured tobacco were reduced, but the imports of unmanufactured leaf were largely increased.
– Surely the honorable member would not object to our obtaining a little more revenue?
– No Treasurer objects to more revenue.
– A little more revenue would be an advantage to the smaller States.
– A swollen Treasury often leads to experiments that are. detrimental to the public interest. The people should not be taxed one penny more than is absolutely necessary to meet the requirements of government. Why should I vote for a duty which will produce more revenue’ than we really require? If I do so in this case, the man who smokes will have to pay the piper. We have to consider the manufacturer, the retailer, the consumer, and the operatives. The _ operatives, through their secretary, have said distinctly that a difference of 90. per lb. is far better than that suggested by the Government.
– That was a statement made in reference to the old proposal, and not to those now submitted bv the Government. - Mr. WILKS.- Mr. R. H. Solly. secretary to the Federated Tobacco Workers’ Union, in a letter on the subject, writes -
The Federated Tobacco Workers, therefore, respectfully request that you will use your influence, and vote for a differential duty of gd. per lb. This margin was adopted in the old Federal Tariff, and worked well.
The honorable member for Angas proposes that- we shall .-revert to that Tariff. I do not wish to be led into a discussion of the attitude of the Combine. That .is a matter which, if necessary, can be dealt’ with by special legislation-. , I recognise that , a
Combine may have a useful, as well as a prejudicial, effect on the community. and that as long as such an organization is not injurious to the community, Parliament may well stand aside. But the Legislature should always have in reserve power to deal with any combination, either of capitalists or workers, that is hurtful to the community. My electors comprise consumers and not producers of tobacco. I recognise the difficulty which has confronted the Treasurer in dealing with this complex question, but believing that .the amendment is a reasonable one, 1 intend to support if without any reference to the position of the Combine.
– Does the honorable member believe that there is a Combine?
– Every one knows that there is. I think that the Treasurer will be well advised in adopting the amendment.
Sitting suspended from 12.56 to 2.15 -p.m.
.- I desire to say a few words in regard to the document which was read this morning by the honorable member, for Lang. It does seem to me a most ambiguous one, to say the least of it. Although it is a statutory declaration, it does not disclose nearly all that it might. For instance, it says that any manufacturer is at liberty to procure similar machines to those used by the Combine “ upon the same terms and conditions.” That is very vague indeed, because I know from experience that the “ terms and conditions “ may, in given instances, be such as to absolutely forbid any other company from complying with them. I recollect an instance in which a friend of mine in Queensland desired to obtain the agency of a particular line of goods. He was told that he might do so, provided that he purchased 5,000 cases of these goods per annum. Of course, it was quite impossible for him to comply with that condition. Similarly, the Combine may have so arranged matters that a machine can be bought at a particular price,, provided that so many machines are purchased. The document, therefore, is utterly valueless, and has no- me’aning whatever. I do not object to the Combine obtaining possession of the machines under the conditions that I have indicated. That sort of thing is done every day.: Patent rights are being purchased daily. That the action of the Combine should detrimentally affect the /workers is ito ‘be deplored,- but there is no reason in the world why the Combine should not get possession of these machines. It is perfectly justified in doing anything .that the law permits it to do. ‘ I have no objection to any corporation doing anything that is permitted by the law. What we need to do is to so amend the law as. to prevent it Being used to the injury of the public. In reference to tobacco, I am sorry to say that, in connexion with the Excise upon that article no provision has been made that the leaf shall be cultivated by white labour. I think that that is an oversight on the part of the Government. In the Bounties Bill a provision to that effect was inserted.
– The Excise is not payable on the leaf, but upon the manufactured article.
– But the article must be manufactured from Australian leaf.
– The imported leaf is very largely cultivated by black labour.
-That fact very materially strengthens my argument. This morning, upon looking up some of the back files of the Brisbane Courier, I saw that my opinion in this connexion is indorsed by one of the largest manufacturers in the Empire - I refer to Messrs. W. D. and H. Wills and Company. Quite recently a meeting was held in a certain district in Queensland, at which a representative of that firm was present. He made an offer that the firm would pay the market price of all the tobacco . grown there, and give, in addition, a bonus of 2d. per lb. for all that was produced by white labour. Mr. Farham was the agent in question, and the proceedings of the meeting are reported in the Brisbane Courier* of 28th September last. In that district a great deal of the tobacco produced has been grown by Chinamen. Mr. Farham said that white labour was preferable in every respect, and, as he tersely put it, “ They wanted brain, and not muscle.”’ Those who know the Chinaman and his methods of cultivation will admit that there is not a good deal of brain work in those methods. The opinion of this gentleman is that tobacco may be grown very much more advantageously by white labour, than by Chinese.
– Then he had better employ it.
– His firm are offering a bonus of 2d. per lb. for all tobacco grown by white labour. I think that is proof of their bona fides in this matter.
They are willing to give the market, vali’0, and 2d. per lb. in addition. He is ofopinion that the tobacco grown by Chinese is not grown as carefully as it might be. The proposal is that the New South Wales Government be approached to allow of the introduction either of European or of English market gardeners for the purpose of cultivating tobacco. It is claimed that these people, by reason of their experience, would be specially fitted to give that product the necessary measure of attention.
– It is not a farmer’s crop.
– In the particular district .to which I refer, it has been made a crop. In other places the seed is sown only when conditions are favorable.
– The great difficulty experienced is to keep the grubs out of it.
– That is so, and one would imagine that the Chinaman was able to do that. ‘ But, apparently, he is not. I hold that we should offer the industry every possible encouragement. It has been said that we cannot produce tobacco of good quality, but in my own district I have been informed that tobacco has been grown which has realized more than ^100 per acre. Therefore, it is a crop which ought to be encouraged in every possible way. If this commodity be cultivated in any great quantity, a readjustment of the duties will be necessary. If the import duties fall away, a higher Excise will have to be imposed, because tobacco has always been considered an item upon which’ tax.ation might fairly be levied. Another phase of this question appeals very strongly to me. It has been urged - I think without reasonable foundation - that the finer to.baccoes cannot be grown in Australia, but nobody has yet contended that we cannot produce the coarser qualities. As a matter of fact, these can be grown in quantity. My surprise is that both sections of the Tariff Commission should have recommended the admission of tobacco for sheep wash free of duty
– The pastoralists do not use it now.
– I am quite willing to accept the statement of the honorable member. I was not aware of that fact. It did seem to me a one-sided arrangement that whilst dairymen and others should bc called upon to pay heavy duties upon whatever articles they required, the pastoralists should be allowed to escape taxation upon this item. I do not see why there should not be a duty upon tobacco required for sheep wash, seeing that we can “produce it ad libitum.
– It is a good thing, I suppose, to get rid of disease in sheep?
– But would it not be an equally good thing if the farmer had his implements free of duty? Why should he be penalized to the extent of 27^ per cent, whilst others go free? In this - and indeed in every other Parliament in Australia - there is a wonderful solicitude exhibited for the Welfare of the pastoralist. I do not see why he should not contribute his fair share to the revenue of the country. He does not pay much as it is, because he generally lives abroad. I am surprised at the action of the Treasurer in singling out one industry for special treatment in that way. In conclusion, I shall vote for the proposal of the Government. I am not sure that I am doing right, but I am inclined to favour that proposal in preference to the duties levied under the old Tariff.
– I desire to say a few words upon this question. In the first place, I would point out that the result of the adoption of the amendment of the honorable member for Angas will be that the differential duty will be considerably reduced, as compared with the proposal of the Government. The reduction, unfortunately, does not appear upon the face of the amendment. The honorable member for Angas proposes that the duty upon ‘imported manufactured tobacco shall be 3s. 3d. per lb. If that proposal be carried he will submit a further proposition to the effect that the duty upon unstemmed leaf should be is. 6d. per lb. and that upon stemmed leaf rs. 9d. per lb.
– I think it is is. 6d. all round, as in the old Tariff, which would leave a margin of 9d.
– But a considerable number of honorable members wish to make a difference between the duty on stemmed and unstemmed leaf, and if the duty on imported manufactured tobacco is 3s. 3d., that on unmanufactured unstemmed leaf is. 6d., and that on unmanufactured stemmed leaf 2s., the difference in favour of manufacturers using imported unstemmed leaf would be, taking the Excise into account, only 4½d. Various estimates have been made of the cost of stemming, but a computation, which I think is near the mark, makes it 4½d.
– The Minister said 3d.
– He has not given sufficient attention to a very important factor. When unstemmed tobacco is im ported, the importer has to pay for the stem as well as for the leaf, and to defray the costs incurred in connexion with its importation, such as freight, insurance, packing, and handling. But it is absolutely worthless for tobacco-making, so that he incurs a loss of 25 per cent, in connexion with it.- If he pays is. 6d. duty on the tobacco, and another 4jd. for stemming it, he will have paid in all is. 10½d., and, allowing for the Excise, the difference between his charges and the duty of 3s. 3d. on manufactured tobacco will be only 4jd. I do not think that .any protectionist wishes to reduce in that way the preference given to the local manufacturer. The B’ section of the Tariff Commission made a most remarkable recommendation. It suggested that the duty on manufactured tobacco should be 3s. 3d., on imported leaf, 2s., and the Excise is. 6d. In making that recommendation, its expressed desire was to encourage the growing of tobacco leaf in Australia. But the effect of adopting it would be to close every tobacco factory in the Common; wealth, whilst the best way in which to encourage the growing of leaf here is to increase the number of factories. It has been said that the leaf grown in Australia is not fit to be smoked, but I know that for a number of years leaf of a very high order of excellence has been grown here. Reference was made to a shipment to the old country which did not realize a very high price, but price is not always the true test of quality, and the market in the old country varies considerably,, from time to time, prices for a given article varying often with the season in which it is offered for sale.
– Did not experts give opinions as to the value of that tobacco?
– Yes; but other shipments have been sent from here, and one sent from Victoria ‘not many years ago, prepared by the expert imported by the State Government,- secured a high price in the London market. In the Texas an’d Copmanhurst districts, in the north, in the Tumut district, in much of the country in the electorate of Echuca, and in the electorate of Indi, there is a great deal of land which it has been proved is eminently suited for the cultivation of tobacco. The King River country is splendid tobacco-growing country. I have been all through it, and I have more than once visited the Government experimental farm and seen the work done there. ‘ Undoubtedly we can grow leaf of good quality, though the presence of blue mould has on several occasions caused a failure of crops, and want of knowledge in regard to curing is often responsible “ for poor results.
– It is wonderful that, after so many years, the experts have not given the curers a proper system to work on.
– There are both indoor and outdoor methods of curing, and the difficulty appears to be to induce the grower to adopt the more-suitable method.
– Is not our tobacco full of stalk?
– I have seen leaf grown -at the Government experimental farm which was equal to that grown in any part of the world, and contained practically no mid-rib. It was grown from imported seed, and was of splendid colour, containing the necessary oils and aroma, which high class tobaccoes must possess.
– But it was grown under experimental conditions.
– What can be grown under experimental conditions can be grown on a large scale.
– If we once produce good leaf the problem will be half solved.
– Good leaf can be grown in- Australia. We have rich river flats whose soil is composed of the constituents necessary to produce it, and no plant of* common use reproduces the chemical constituents of its soil to a greater degree than does tobacco. The interjection which I made yesterday and again to-day, that the local manufacturers have not raised their prices to the full amount of the duty, was justified bv the price-lists which they have issued. ‘ Shortly before the introduction of the Tariff, the prices pf some kinds of tobacco were increased - brands made more or less largely from Australian leaf. This was due to the fact that Australian leaf has greatly increased in value, because the crop has been smaller. The manufacturers, both in and out of the Combine, were for a time selling certain brands at a loss, and were therefore compelled to raise their prices. But the increase in prices was made at the request of the outside manufacturers, who asked the Combine- to agree to it. ‘I have no particular love for the Combine, but I feel that it is right that this fact should be stated. The increase which has been referred to was, therefore, independent of the Tariff.
– What was the amount of it?
– About zd. a lb. I am very desirous to obtain protection for local industries, and last night I interjected,, when the honorable member for North Sydney was speaking, that free-trade England gives a differential duty of is. per lb. He was disinclined to accept my statement, but on reference to page 28 of the Imperial Tariff of 1907 I find that the rate for tobacco manufactured - that is, containing 10 lbs., or more, of moisture to every 100 lbs. if unstemmed or unshipped - is 3s. per lb., and if stemmed or stripped, 3s. ojd. per lb. The intention of the House of Commons was to make the difference 4d.
– I believe that at one time it was 3d., and was reduced to Jd.
– Some weeks ago I read an account of a discussion on the subject in the House of Commons. The reason for the reduction to which the honorable member refers is that very little unstemmed tobacco is imported into the United Kingdom. Imported tobacco is mostly stemmed, just as in Australia, and is of the very best quality. There being no tobacco grown in England, there’ is no Excise; but on manufactured tobacco, cavendish, or negro head, the duty is 4s. 4d., the difference being that between that sum and 3s. 0½d. As honorable members know who have lived in England, there is little or no plug tobacco imported to that country. There is a provision that the duty on cut cavendish or negro head, manufactured in bond, shall be 3s. 10d., while the duty on manufactured tobacco in the. shape of cigarettes and so forth is 4s. 10d. If honorable members consider these figures, they will see that I have stated what is virtually the true position.
– The honorable member does not take into account the protection which manufacturers here get by the use of Australian leaf, which is their great source of profit.
– But the honorable member will do me the justice to admit that I have alluded to manufactured tobacco from abroad, and to tobacco manufactured in Australia from imported leaf. My calculation is wholly based upon the tobacco manufactured entirely from imported leaf ; and therein lies the protection to the manufacturer.
– There is the further protection that we have no duty to pay on the local leaf.
– Apparently the honorable member would divide manufactured tobaccoes into two classes ; but would he be prepared to reduce the duty on the leaf which is imported from abroad to be manufactured into tobacco, so as to give a differential duty of is. ?
– I am supporting the proposal of the honorable member for Angas.
– Then the honorable member would not support such a proposal as I have indicated.
– But what I have said has to be taken into account in the protection given.
– England is the only free-trade country in the world ; and there it is found an advantage to give the differential duty I have mentioned. I desire to allude to the proposal to give a rebate in favour of tobacco manufactured by hand. I realize at once. that to some minds such a proposal will come as something of a shock; but there are specials circumstances surrounding this industry which should be taken into consideration. The best tobaccoes in the world are made by hand ; and when we find an American importer placarding the Commonwealth from end to end with the statement that his tobaccoes are so made, we may be sure there is something in the process. I have made tobacco myself, and I know that in the process the leaf must be of a good length. Hand-made tobacco cannot be turned out with shorts or rubbish, but the “ filler,” as it is called, must be of a certain length. In a machine, on the other hand, anything may be used, even dust, so long as there is sufficient liquid to give the necessary consistency. The position of the handworkers is peculiar. Machines have been introduced, and are used almost exclusively throughout the Commonwealth; and those men, who are the most highly-skilled and highly-paid in the trade, are largely . thrown out of work. Three years are required to learn the business of twisting the strands ; and the’ men become so remarkably expert that honorable members would be astonished to see them at work. They work up the leaf in such a fashion as to secure, throughout the whole length of the strand, perfect consistency, and, at the same time, they preserve the exact length, with what is known as gold weight, each strand turning the scale exactly.
– Then machinery is a bad thing?
– I have given thehonorable member’s prejudices every latitude in the few remarks I have ‘ made ; and I stated that the suggestion of a rebate would come as a shock to some minds. If we were to discover a machine like that described by H. G. Wells in one of his works, whereby the labour of the whole of the population could be dispensed with in one day, machinery would be a bad thing.
– Is it not a fact that the machinery employs a large number of hands, and that the number of hands increases the more machinery is used?
– Yes, but I assure the honorable member that if all the Australian manufactured tobacco were made by hand labour, considerably more men would be employed than are employed now. However, I am not using that as an argument, because I know the prejudices of honorable members opposite. I realize that there are a number of people who consider that if all work were done by machinery, so long as it was done more cheaply, it would be better for the world. However, I may say that I have worked in the same room with men who were earning £6 a week on piecework in this branch of the trade.
– Who has to pay for that ? I suppose I must not ask’ that question ?
– I gave the honorable member credit for being in earnest just now. but I am afraid he is not in earnest in this, interjection. To-day those men are out of employment, and, in justice, to them, I ought to say that for many months, if not years, past, they have agreed amongst themselves that, as soon as one of them has earned £2 a week, he must give place to another who desires employment. These men, . with a great deal of justice, ask for some encouragement for hand labour.
– They are the truest Socialists I have come across.
– The men themselves never told me about . this arrangement ; I found it out by . accident and, up to the present moment, I have mentioned it to only one member of the House.
– Would the honorable member make the same difference in regard to imported tobacco made by hand labour?
– I do not know that we are concerned with that matter; but I would be prepared to differentiate between tobacco made in America by white labour and the tobacco there made by black labour. At any rate, I appeal confidently to honorable members for consideration of the special circumstances- in which these hand workers at present find themselves. .1 know that some honorable members will regard the suggestion as a retrograde step, and will be of opinion that it will cause loss of revenue ; but it must be remembered that it will operate only for a limited time, and that the loss of revenue will be infinitesimal as compared with the amount of good which will be done to a large number of highly skilled men, who have not only proved themselves good citizens, but, by their act of self-denial, have shown themselves worthy of our assistance.
.- I do not desire to detain honorable members, but since I spoke last night I have had handed to me a letter which I propose to hand to Hansard, with a view to its publication, seeing that it is full of details pertinent to the issue before us. The letter is written by Mr. G. A. Carter, cigar manufacturer, of Melbourne -
I desire to point out the serious consequence that the proposed duties will Have on the cigar manufacturing industry.
First, as a practical man of nearly- forty years’ experience, I say that no leaf has ever been grown in the Commonwealth that is fit to make a good cigar.
Second, who are thev that say that a good cigar can be made from Australian grown tobacco? The growers and cigar importers. The growers have an article to sell, and the fact that they grow rather for quantity than quality is in itself a proof that they know little or nothing about cigar leaf. The importers, such as Messrs. Frossard and Co., Sydney, and others who have written to the daily press, have little knowledge of the subject. They are not cigar manufacturers, but importers, and as such they are not interested in promoting local production, while on the other hand we, as cigar manufacturers, who have had the experience of a’ life time, and I am sure that the journeymen cigar makers will fully concur with us in saying that saleable cigars of good quality cannot be made from Australian leaf, consequently the imposition of a duty which would hamper local manufacturers in making cigars from imported leaf must tend towards the extinction of the industry. It may be said, “and with truth,” that cigars have been manufactured from, local grown tobacco. In this connexion I desire to point out that some years ago, when duties similar to those now ..1 ‘…. V we’re in force in New South Wales, cigar manufacturing was attempted on a legitimate scale, but it failed miserably. The cigars made from Australian leaf were mostly sold’ as- smuggled goods by stranded cigar makers disguised as seafaring men. The industry waskilled in New South Wales, and if manufacturers had to rely upon the local leaf, I am convinced the manufacturing trade throughout the Commonwealth would be destroyed. Theargument is often advanced that Australia must be -able to grow a good cigar leaf, because our climate is similar to that in which the best tobacco is grown. Even admitting that the climatic conditions are similar (and I do not), climate is not the only nor is it the principal consideration. Science teaches us that tobacco gets its particular and . peculiar flavour from a microbe, and until science can find a means that will be profitable to create or transfer the particular microbe that is necessary to the peculiar flavour, tobacco will continue to be what its particular surroundings make it. Certainly, by close .application to its growth, and careful maturing and selecting, Australian tobacco, could be greatly improved, and would become in course of time a pood -marketable tobaccofor plug purposes, and we may find in Australia some spot where good cigar leaf can be grown, but while we are hunting for that spot or waiting for science to teach us how to convert plug tobacco leaf into good cigar leaf, what are the manufacturers, the cigar makers, and their families to do in the meantime? Portions of the mainland of America have a climate almost identical with that of Cuba, yet notwithstanding all the care and scientific knowledge brought to bear upon tobacco culture, no leaf has been produced similar even in appearance,, let alone’ quality, to that of Havanna. Indeed, even the Cuban tobacco vary greatly in both appearance and quality. In portions of the island only a rank tobacco, -absolutely valueless . for cigar making -purposes, can be produced. The best cigar leaf comes from a narrow neck of land at the south-western extremity of the island, and the world’s 1-est cigar leaf is grown on one side of a range of hills,while on the opposite side the tobacco produced, though good, falls far short of the first quality. Florida, U.S.A., produces afine quality of cigar leaf, while the adjoining’ State of . Georgia, like Carolina and Virginia, grows no cigar leaf, though producing the best quality of .plug tobacco leaf. Further north, in-, the States of Massachusetts and . Connecticut, (particularly in Connecticut Valley, noted for the leaf used in cigar covering), a fine quality of cigar tobacco is produced. On the west coast of the U.S.A. (and if-there is any ssimi-arity . c of climate to Australia it is there), nomarketable tobacco ‘has so far been grown, although large’ sums of money have been expended”in its attempted culture. In Sumatra the position is the same. The district of Deli is separated from that of Serdang only by a river of no great width, yet-,some of the best cigar’ leaf in Sumatra is grown oon Deli Estates, washed bv the river; while on he c opposite bank, with the same climate, the same skilled* labour, and apparently under precisely tthe same conditions, it has been found impossible to produce tobacco anywhere approaching tthe Deir quality. TThese cases show that even if our climate could be shown to be identical with that of localities in which pood cigar leaf is grown, and our soil. were, similar to .that of, say, Havanna, we should still have no assurance that’
Australian grown tobacco would be or could be made suitable for cigar making purposes. On the other hand, every attempt thus far made to produce cigar leaf in the Commonwealth has failed. The question now to be decided is whether an existing manufacturing industry is to sbe extinguished in the interests of a possibleor impossible local producer, or whether the Tariff will be so adjusted as to permit of local manufacture under local conditions from imported raw material. The proposed Tariff, handicaps local manufacturers iri their competition with the sweated labour of Europe, India, and the Philippine Islands, and benefits nobody except foreigners and importers.
In addition, I should like to quote some figures in reference to Indian cigars: The first I shall refer to is known as the “Torpedo “ shape, which is 4! inches long, and weighs 2 lbs. per 100 cigars, or 20 lbs. per 1,000. These cigars .are invoiced here at 25 rupees^ or £1 13s., per 1,000, which is much lower than the cost of the manufacture of a similar cigar would be in Australia. Here the cost of making would be £2 per 1,000, while the sorting would cost- 3s., and stripping 5s. 6d., or a total of £2 8s. 6d., exclusive of the cost of the tobacco. There is another Indian cigar, of similar dimensions and weight to the “ Torpedo,” which is invoiced here at 20 rupees, or £1 7s. per 1,000, whereas the cost of making here would be £1 10s., to which has to be added 2s. 6d. for sorting and 5s. for stripping, making a total of £1 17s. 6d., again without taking into account the cost of the material. There are several other similar examples ; and in the face of such competition, what chance have our local manufacturers and workers ?
– Om that quantity of tobacco, the duty would be £7 10s.
– That may be. I suppose the honorable member would like to see all this work done by black labour. My desire is to see white labour employed all the time, even. if it does cost more.
– That is “ playing it rather low down.”
– No; because, so far as I can see, there is not a single freetrader, in the House.
– Does the honorable member for Melbourne make the deduction as to black labour, from the arith- metical statement I made just now ?
– The honorable member is very fond of cross-examining people, but I object to be cross-examined in this House.
– I am sorry to have to address the Committee so often, but T have no option when one sec tion of the Tariff Commission is challenged as it has been challenged by the honorable member for Laanecoorie. That honorable member repeats what has already been said with regard to the apparent absurdity of the differentiation suggested by the freetrade section of the Commission, of 3d. per lb. between manufactured and unmanufactured tobacco. I admit that the differentiation looks altogether insignificant, but the honorable member, unlike the Commission, is not aware of all the circumstances of the case. In the first place, a very considerable addition is made to the unmanufactured article in the shape of the water in damping, and also a quantify of glycerine, liquorice, and so forth, for all of which the unfortunate consumer has to pay tobacco price.
– Would the honorable member be surprised to hear that there is a considerable loss by reason of the moisture in the leaf as imported?
– Tobacco is assessed for duty purposes in a much drier state than that in which it is sold to the consumer. Further there is a varying but considerable proportion of local tobacco introduced which is bought at a very low rate, and pays the lower Excise duty. There again there is a considerable profit to the manufacturer, so that, although 3d. per lb. does not seem very much, I . believe the manufacturer could pay on unmanufactured leaf the same rate as is charged on the manufactured article, and still make a profit, having regard to the conditions under which he works. The honorable member joins with the honorable member for North Sydney and the leader of the Opposition in concluding that the disadvantage under which Australian tobacco growers . labour, in respect of the limited demand and the low price, is due to the difficulty experienced in connexion with curing. The honorable member for North Sydney quoted a case which he evidently thought was a triumphant refutation of the position I have taken up in this matter. He referred to the fact that some tobacco which was shipped to England because the price in Australia was too low, realized an even lower price on the London market. Surely, he, as a business man, knows that a solitary parcel or two of tobacco suddenly dumped on the London market, anyhow and anywhere - and probably out of harmony with the requirements of that market - is not likely to obtain anything but a sacrificial price.
– But I have also mentioned that the New South Wales Export Board tried a lot of sample shipments with the same result.
– I do not think that the English market for Australian tobacco has yet been properly tested. There are undoubtedly peculiarities in every market, and I do not think that* Australian tobacco has yet been prepared to meet the taste in England. The contention that the differentiation between the Excise and the duty on the unmanufactured leaf will always compel the local manufacturer, other things equal, to buy the locally-grown tobacco, and pay a fair price for it, is a matter to which I must again revert, since last night the leader .of the Opposition and the honorable member for North Sydney seemed to think that I was altogether at sea when I quoted certain facts as against the apparent reasonableness of their position. I have now another series of facts to put before the Committee in support of my contention. In Victoria, some years prior to Federation - I think it was in 1894 - a Commission inquired into the condition of certain industries in this State, and took evidence with regard to the tobacco trade and tobacco growing. At that time, the differentiation between the Excise and the duty on the imported leaf was no less than is. 6d. per. lb. It was stated by the growers of tobacco that up to a certain point they had been able to get is. per lb., anc! more, for their leaf, and that for a considerable time a profitable business was carried on by them. Then a high licence-fee was imposed upon the manufacture of tobacco with the result that the small manufacturers were crushed out of existence, and the industry passed into the hands of a combine which existed, I understand, even in those days in Victoria. What was the result? These growers were still producing a grade of tobacco for which they had been procuring is. per lb., but the price immediately dropped to 6d. per lb., and even less. That was the position, although the differential rate between the local leaf and the imported leaf was is. 6d. per lb. The control of the purchasing power having passed into the hands of a combination of manufacturers, the industry was reduced to a low ebb, and the position has since remained unchanged. From inquiries that I have been able to make, as well as from the evidence of the Commission, I agree with the honorable member for Laanecoorie that almost every grade of tobacco can be grown in Australia. But, after listening to the debate, I am still strongly of opinion that, although the Government proposals are apparently in favour of the grower the differentiation between the unmanufactured leaf and the manufactured tobacco will be insufficient to enable the manufacturer to give those conditions of price and of ready sale to the growers of Australian tobacco that they ought to have.
.- I do not propose to attempt anything in the shape of a reply since J think that more than one honorable member has made an excellent answer to those who have opposed the amendment. If honorable members desire to give further protection to the local leaf why do they not do so in a proper way ? I mentioned yesterday that I was told in Adelaide by the workers in the tobacco industry - who are very anxious that they should not be forced to use the local leaf since it would destroy their business - that they found it very difficult to sell tobacco made solely from locally grown leaf at even 2.s. lod. per lb. On the other hand, tobacco consisting of 25 per cent, of local leaf and 75 per cent, of imported leaf was readily saleable at 4s. 6d. per lb. The Excise proposed by the Government is is. per lb. An Excise of is. on 2s. 10d. will be a poor encouragement to the Australian leaf when the same Excise will apply to tobacco made of imported and colonial leaf which is saleable at 4s. 6d. per lb. The Government are really discounting the consumption of the local leaf by giving the Excise a disproportionate incidence. If they wish to help the local manufacturer they should either abolish or reduce the Excise. As it is, we are to have on tobacco manufactured solely from local leaf -the same Excise that is imposed on that made of imported and local leaf. The honorable member for Brisbane mentioned yesterday that on the southern bank of a river dividing Queensland from New South .Wales no tobacco was grown, although on the northern or Queensland side it was extensively cultivated, and that a difference of 3d. per lb. was responsible for this. As a matter of fact the difference was really is. per-lb. Under the Queensland Tariff the protection granted to the local tobacco was 2s. per lb., whilst in New South Wales it was only is. per lb.
– Tobacco is grown in New South Wales.
– So I am informed. It is somewhat significant that Queensland prior to Federation was manufacturing tobacco consisting almost wholly of local leaf. I find that in 1899 the quantity of imported leaf used there was 48,310 lbs., whilst the Australian leaf consumed amounted _ to 651,921 lbs. Since then the consumption of Australian leaf has gradually decreased, and in 1906 only 237 lbs. of imported leaf and 109,361 lbs. of Australian leaf were consumed. There are factories still in existence in Queensland, and the real explanation of the position is that the moment Inter-State free-trade brought Queensland tobacco, which is made chiefly of local leaf, into competition with that of other States, which, is not, the Queensland article was- completely beaten. It may be thought that centralization has had something to do with’ this falling off, but from inquiries I have made I do not think that it has. It is a poor testimony to the quality of Australian leaf, that the only State which really relied on it for its manufacture has been beaten by those which manufacture tobacco chiefly from imported leaf.
Question - That the words “ and on and after 4th October 3s. 3d. “ proposed to be added to Item 17, “Tobacco manufactured 3s. 6d.,” be so added - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 25
Question so resolved in the negative.
Item agreed to.-
Item 18. Tobacco, cut, n.e.i., per lb., 3s. 96!-
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the letters “ n.e.i..” be left out.
.- The effect of the distinction which will be established under this proposal will be to destroy the British export of tobacco to Australia, and to advance the foreign export. The English tobacco imported into Australia is imported in a cut form, whereas’ the foreign tobacco. is imported in plugs. Thus the effect of the distinction which it is now proposed to establish for the first time will be to. rule out the British trade with Australia in tobacco. But I do not see that there is any particular object to be gained’ by endeavouring to alter the Government proposal.
Amendment agreed to.
Item. 19 (Tobacco, cut fine for cigarettes) negatived.
Item 20. Tobacco, unmanufactured, per lb.,. 3s. 3d.
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the words “ and on and after5th October, 1907, per lb., 3s. 6d.,” be added.
– What is the meaning of this? Tobacco, unmanufactured,. 3s. 6d. ?
– This item relates to tobacco which is imported in the leaf, and which never . goes into bond. The duty proposed rests upon a scientific basis, recommended by a very practical man.
.- If the honorable member for Swan had received . a little more information he would’ realize that this line is of very vital consequence. Its object is to prevent any unmanufactured tobacco from being imported except that which is afterwards manufactured in bond, subject to the Excise duty which follows:
.- I think that- there is room for misunder- standing in connexion with this item. Apparently, unmanufactured tobacco is to be called upon to pay practically the same rate of duty as manufactured tobacco.
– The object is to compel the conditions relating to Excise to apply to it. In the absence of this line, unmanufactured tobacco could be imported, and it would escape the payment of the Excise. The line has a very express purpose. I can assure my honorable friend that if it were omitted the Excise would not be worth much.
– I am not an expert in this matter, as the honorable member for East Sydney appears to be, and., therefore, I feel justified in accepting his explanation.
Amendment agreed to.
Item 21. Tobacco, unmanufactured, but entered to be locally manufactured into tobacco or cigarettes - to be paid at the time of removal to the factory : -
Amendments (by Sir William Lyne) agreed to -
That after the figures “1s.9d.,” in paragraph (a), the following words ‘ be inserted, “ and on and after 5th October, 1907, per lb., 1s. 6d.,” and that paragraph (c) be left out.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Item 22. Tobacco^ unmanufactured, but entered to be locally manufactured into cigars - to be paid at the time of removal to the factory : -
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) proposed-
That after the figure “3s.” in paragraph (a) the following words be inserted, “ and on and after 5th October, 1907, per lb., 2s. 6d.”
.- I suggest to the Committee that in this instance a less duty than 2s. 6d.’ per lb. should be imposed. Honorable members must recognise that whilst we -have placed tobacco in as good a position as it occupied under the Tariff of 1902, the manufacturers of cigars under the Government proposals will not be nearly as well off as they were under that Tariff. According to the Minister, under the old Tariff the duty of 6s. 3d. per lb. and 15 per cent, ad valorem was equivalent on the iaverage to a duty of 7 s. 4d. per lb. on cigars, while under this . Tariff the duty will be 7s. 6d. per lb- But a cigar manufacturer will have to pay a duty of 3s. per lb: for the stemmed, unmanufactured tobacco which he imports, and an Excise of 6d. per lb. on his output, giving him an advantage of 4s. per lb. “Under the old Tariff the Excise was1s. 6d., and the duty on leaf1s. 6d., giving him an advantage of 4s. 4d.
– I am willing to accept the amendment of which the honorable member for Yarra has given notice’, making the Excise duty on hand-made cigars 3d. per lb., and on cigars partly or wholly made by machine 9d. per lb.
– We are not treating the cigar manufacturers as liberally as we have treated the tobacco manufacturers. By the adoption of that proposal, manufacturers making cigars by machines will be at a still greater disadvantage, but, as the machines make cigars very cheaply, probably they can stand the alteration. If the Minister is prepared to meet us in this matter in some other way, I shall be ready to vote for his proposal.
– It seems to me that the cigar manufacturers will be better off under this Tariff than they were under the Tariff of 1902. According to the best information which I can obtain, the old import duties on cigars were equivalent to 7s., not to 7s. 4d., per lb., and the Government now propose to make the duty 7 s. 6d. On the other hand, the leaf duty and the Excise under the old Tariff came to 3s., and under this Tariff to 3s., so that under the old Tariff the advantage was 4s., and under this Tariff it is 4s. 6d. There is not much use in protesting against these alterations, however, because the parties in the Committee have arrived at a determination as to what shall be done.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) agreed to -
That after the figures “3s. 3d.” in paragraph (b), the words “ and on and after 5th October, 1907, per lb., 3s.” be inserted.
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the words “ (c) Clippings and cuttings and. any similar waste, per lb., 4s.,” be left out.’
.- I do not understand’ this omission. The duty was recommended because the Tariff Commission had evidence that . clippings, cuttings, and other waste were being used in the manufacture of tobacco, and it was considered that their importation should be practically prohibited. I am not sure that it would not be worth while to import this rubbish under a duty of 3s. 6d.
– Very little of it will be used.
Amendment agreed to.
Item 23. Tobacco destroyed for manufacture of Sheepwash or other purposes under Departmental . by-laws. Free.
.- Why does the Minister propose to admit something free of duty ?
– The tobacco which is dealt with in this item is for use as sheepwash.
– This is a monstrous instance of rabid free-trade. The Minister will not give the colonial grower- the chance to get all the sheepwash business of Australia.
Item agreed to.
Item 24. Cigars, including the weight of bands and ribbons, per lb., 6s. 3d., and ad. vol., 15 per cent.
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) agreed to -
That the words “ and on and after 5th October, 1907, per lb., 7s. 6d.,” be added.
Item 25. Cigarettes, including weight of cards and mouth-pieces contained in inside packages, per lb., 6s. 6d.
Mr. DUGALD THOMSON (North Sydney1) Imo].- In the old Tariff the words used were -
Cigarettes, including the weight of the outer portion of each cigarette - the wording which remains in the present Excise Tariff. But here the words are -
Cigarettes, including weight of cards and mouth-pieces contained in inside packages, per lb., 6s. 6d.
– Thev ought to be uniform.
– It seems to me that the insertion of these words must increase the duty somewhat.
.- The import duty on cigarettes is 6s. 6d., but there is a duty of 20 per cent, on the materials used in wrapping, apart from the tobacco, which is equivalent to is. 3½d. per lb. This increases the protection given to the local manufacturer from 2s. to 3s., if not more, as he has to- pay only is. 6d. on his leaf, ind an Excise of 2s. od. During the discussion -of the 1902 Tariff it was found that the Melbourne branch of the
American Tobacco Company was making a profit of something like £13,400 on a capital of a similar amount. Therefore, apparently we are a little too lavish of revenue in favour of the manufacturers. The American Trust, according to the information we then, obtained, field about 66 per cent, of the total shares in the Sydney, Adelaide, and Melbourne company.
– The difference of duty is hardly worth speaking about, but the Comptroller-General of Customs, informs me that it will facilitate the operations of the Department to extend the duty to mouth-pieces and cards.
.- This seems to me a ridiculous proposal. These advertising cards have nothing to do with the tobacco.
– Is it the wish of the Department to abolish the circulation of these picture cards? Or is the Government trying to encourage their circulation by imposing a duty on them of so much per lb. ?
– I move -
That the word “including” be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “excluding.-‘’
The inclusion of these articles is, in my opinion, absolutely wrong.
– Under the honorable member’s proposal, every package would have to be weighed separately.
– A certain portion of these holders, and so forth, in, say, 100 packages, could be weighed, and then an average struck over the whole quantity, and the duty treated accordingly.
Item agreed to. .
Item 26 (Snuff) agreed to.
Motion (by Sir William Lyne) agreed to-
That the consideration of the remaining duties be postponed until after the consideration of the Excise duties.
All imitations to be dutiable at the rate chargeable on the goods they imitate, unless such rate is less than the rate which would otherwise be chargeable on the imitations.
N.E.I. menus “not elsewhere included.”
Tobacco, cut fine for cigarettes, per lb., 3s.
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) agreed to -
That the item be left out.
Tobacco, manufactured, n.e.i., made in Australia, both from imported and locally grown, leaf, per lb., is. 3d.
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) agreed to -
That the words “ and on and after 5th October, 1907,1s.,” be added.
I move -
That the following words be added : - “Tobacco, hand-made, strand, per lb.9d. on and after 5th October, 1907.”
My amendment, if carried, will give a slight advantage to the’ manufacture of what must necessarily be a wholesome and pure tobacco, as against tobaccoes which may or may not be pure and wholesome.
– I submit, as a point of order, that it is not competent for a private member to move an additional item, or any addition to a duty - that only a Minister can submit such a proposal.
– I think we had this matter threshed out when the old Tariff was under’ consideration, and, if I remember rightly, it was decided that honorable members could propose new duties so long as the total result to the revenue was not affected. The proposal of the honorable member for Boothby does not impose a new duty, but seeks to make an exception, and I think the honorable member is quite in order.
– I should like to point out that, although the previous item was amended, it has not yet been submitted to the Committee as amended. The motion that the item as amended be added to the schedule has not yet been put, and I submit, therefore, that the amendment is in order.
– I should not have risen but for the reference made by the honorable member for Angas to a ruling given by Mr. Speaker, when the old Tariff was under consideration. The ruling was upon a point of order raised by me that it was not competent for a private member to move an increase of taxation. Mr. Speaker took a contrary view, and did not qualify his . decision in any way.
– I said that as long as the amendment did not propose to increase the total result of the duty, it would be in order.
– But Mr. Speaker did not qualify his ruling in any way. WhileI do not think that the precedent is a good one-
– Why follow a bad precedent?
– The point of order was raised by the right honorable member for
Swan, but I did not want a misunderstanding to arise in connexion with the first question of the kind raised during the consideration of this Tariff, as to what’ was Mr. Speaker’s ruling on the occasion referred to.
– I would point out to honorable members that the amendment, if it provided for the imposition of an increased duty, would not be in order unless it were proposed by a Minister. I hold, however, that it provides really for a reduction, and not an increase, of the duty. The object of the amendment is that tobacco made in a certain way shall be liable to a duty of only 9d. per lb. instead . of 1s. per lb., as proposed by the Government. I therefore hold that it is in order.
Question - That the item be amended by the addition of the words : - “ Tobacco, hand made, strand, per lb. 9d., on and after 5th October, 1907.” - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 8
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) proposed-
That the following footnote be inserted : - “ Hand-made tobacco shall mean tobacco in the manufacture of which all operations are entirely carried on by hand without the aid of machine tools or machinery other than that used in the pressing of the tobacco.”
– Do I understand that the Government accept the result of the last division. ?
– It is the decision of the Committee, and I do not intend to question it.
– I thought that the Treasurer intended to be very firm about declining to allow the business to be taken out of the hands’ of the Government?
Amendment agreed to.
Cigars (a) machine-made, per lb.,1s. ; (i) hand-made, per lb., 6d.
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That after the figure “1s.,” paragraph (a), the words “ and on and after5th October, 1907, per lb., gd.,” be inserted.
.-I suggest to the Treasurer that the words contained in my amendment, namely, “ Partly or wholly made by machine,” would meet the situation, and obviate the necessity for inserting the proposed footnote.
– I have arranged to insert the footnote.
– Ido not see any proposal upon the printed schedule, which was circulated amongst honorable members to-day, to levy a dutv of 9d. per lb. upon cigars.
– I agreed last night to make a distinction between hand-made and machine-made cigars.
.- Do I understand that the Treasurer intends to accept the amendment outlined by the honorable member for Yarra?
– No, but my proposal is practically the same.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendments (by Sir William Lyne) agreed to -
That after the figure”6d.,” paragraph (J), the words “ and on and after 5th October, 1907, per lb., 3d.,” be added, and that the following footnote be added, “ Hand-made cigars shall mean cigars in the manufacture of which every operation is- performed bv hand. Provided that moulds may be used.”
Cigarettes, including the weight of the outer portion of each cigarette, per lb., 3s.
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That after the figure “ 3s.,” the words “ and on and after 5th October, 1907, per lb., 2s. gd.,” be added.
– I would suggest to the Treasurer that in the case of cigarettes he should adopt the same principle that he has adopted in the case of cigars. Indeed, there is a greater reason why a differentiation should be made between hand-made and machine cigarettes than there is between hand-made and machine-made cigars. Personally, I do not care how high the Excise or the import duty upon cigarettes may be made. I think that they are a big curse to the community in that they encourage smoking on the part of juveniles. On account of their excessive cheapness youngsters acquire the habit of smoking at a very early period of their lives. Cigarettes can be bought for 3d. a packet, and that is not a good thing.
Mr.Maloney. - Children cannot purchase cigarettes in Victoria.
– Any honorable member who goes about Melbourne with his eyes open can see children of thirteen years or fourteen years of age smoking cigarettes daily. The easiest way to prevent the continuance of this undesirable state of affairs is to make cigarettes dear. I do think that there should be the same differentiation in respect of cigarettes that has been agreed to in the case of cigars and tobacco. I suggest that the Treasurer might consider this aspect of the matter before we pass the item.
– I considered this matter both last night and this morning, and I think it would be very undesirable to insert a similar provision in respect of cigarettes to that which we have adopted in respect of cigars. I agreed to a differentiation between hand-made and machine-made cigars last evening, but I objected to making any such distinction in the case of cigarettes. The tubes or covers are made by machinery. The so-called hand-making consists of loosely rolling up the tobacco in a piece , of paper finger shaped and pushing the tobacco into the cover by means of a bit of stick shaped like a thick penholder. I have here some photographs showing how the operation is performed. I’ do not wish to make a difference of this kind when very little result will come from it. I examined the proposal thoroughly last night, and decided that the Government could not accept it.
.I desire to move the amendment of which I have given notice.
– There is already an amendment before the Committee.
– Shall I not be in order in moving to add to it the amendment of whichI have given notice?
– The honorable member would be quite in order in doing so, but I think that the . better way would be to move the insertion of a separate line, as was done in connexion’ with the alteration in reference to the duty on strand tobacco.
– Then if I shall be’ in order in doing so, I desire to move -
That the amendment bc amended by the addition of the following words : - “ and, if handmade, on and after5th October, 1907, per lb., as. 3d.”
The Minister does not understand this matter.
– I understand it thoroughly, and I told the honorable member last night that I would not accept the amendment.
– The position is this: One-fourth of the cigarettes consumed in Australia are made by hand, and 600 or 700 persons are employed in the making of them, whereas the remaining threefourths are made with machinery, and only seventy or eighty persons are employed’ in the making of them. If the Combine had to give employment in relation to its output, similar to that given by the firms making hand-made cigarettes, it would have to employ from 1,800 to 2,000 persons, whose wages would be spent in Australia, whereas the profits of the Combine are sent out of Australia. I cannot understand why the Treasurer agreed to make a distinction, giving a preference to hand workers in the cigar industry, but will not make a similar distinction in the case of the makers of hand-made cigarettes. Does he object to do so because they are women and girls? Surely, now that he has announced himself as in favour of the new protection, he should do what he can to increase employment in Australia. Every cigarette smoker of taste prefers the handmade cigarette, just as the educated cigar smoker prefers the hand-made cigar. The cases of the cigarettes are rolled and gummed by machinery because, by employing machinery, there is less overlapping of the edges of . the paper than when the rolling is done by the fingers.
– Are not some cigarettes made with leaf wrappers?
– Those are a kind of cigar. Cigars should consist wholly of tobacco, while cigarettes are made of tobacco . rolled in paper. The hand-makers slip the tobacco into the fillers by means of a tube, and ‘one has only to watch their deft fingers to know that it must take years to learn their trade. I hope that’ the Minister will not have regard to any loss of revenue that may be brought about by making the differentiation which I suggest.
Value op Dutiable Imports.
Motion (by Sir William Lyne) pro posed -
That the House do now adjourn.
.- The other night the Treasurer read a table showing the “ percentages of Customs duties collected to values of goods imported into the Commonwealth, Victoria, Canada, New Zealand, . and the United States.” It appears in Hansard on page 3981 under the heading of “Value of dutiable goods . only, including narcotics and stimulants,”’ the percentage of Commonwealth importations under the old Tariff is shown at 27.02. Under the new Tariff the duty collected is shown as 26 per cent., including values of goodsdutiable only when the produce or manufactures of countries other than the United Kingdom, and as 27.2 per cent., excluding those values. I submit that, the House is entitled to particulars of the values on which the percentage is based in each case. The percentages make it appear ..that in reality the new Tariff is lower than the old Tariff ; and . Parliament and the country are entitled to the particulars for which I ask. I suggest that the Treasurer should instruct his officers, who must have had the information before they could compile the table, from which I have quoted, to inform him as to the basis on which they arrived at the percentages.
– I do not quite understand what the honorable member desires, but I am inclined to think that I have already given the information for which he asks-
If I remember rightly, I submitted all the necessary comparisons when I delivered my statement on the Tariff generally.
– What is required are the details from which the totals are made up.
– I do not know that the Customs officials are in possession of the details to which the honorable member refers.
– What is required is the value of the imports under each duty.
– 1 shall look into the matter and see what can be done.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 4.30 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 4 October 1907, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1907/19071004_reps_3_40/>.