3rd Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
Mr. EWING presented two petitions, from fishermen of the Richmond and Tweed Rivers, praying the House to remit the duties on fishing nets and cork floats.
Mr. MAHON presented a petition from importers, merchants, traders, and dealers engaged in the importation and distribution of phonographs, gramophones, graphophones, records, and all accessories thereto, praying the House not to consent to an increase of duty on those articles.
Mr. SPEAKER reported the receipt of a message from His Excellency the GovernorGeneral, recommending an appropriation for the purposes of this Bill.
– In view of the decision of Mr. Justice Higgins, that fair and reasonable wages have not been paid by Mr. H. V. McKay in his harvester works, what action does the Government intend to take to give effect to the law passed last session to insure that fair and reasonable wages shall be paid to employes engaged in manufacturing harvesters ?
– A notice - a copy of which will be laid on the table to-morrow or next day - has this morning been served upon the firm in question.
– Is the Prime Minister yet in a position to take the House into his confidence with regard to the proposed mail contract ?
– I am awaiting a final intimation on the last point in issue, which is expected at any time.
– In view of the protracted negotiations with shipping companies re the mail tenders, I desire to know from the Prime Minister if it would not be more in accordance with the dignity and honour of the Commonwealth - which proposes by preferential trade to save the British Empire - that the Government should break off all negotiations with the companies, and, without delay, proceed to obtain a Commonwealth line of mail steamers ?
– I envy the honorable member his happy gifts of humour and condensation, enabling him to put so large a policy into so small a space. I shall take the matter into consideration.
– In view of the reports which have appeared in Melbourne newspapers, and in the Sydney press, to the effect that the Government is entering into an arrangement with the Government of Victoria to lease certain offices for a period of ten years or more, will the Minister responsible be good enough to give to the House a full explanation of the transactions in question, so as to allay the suspicion in New South Wales that another attempt is being made to delay the settlement of the Federal Capital Site question ?
– In consequence of a statement in the Argus the other day, I, this morning, went through the papers, and find that an arrangement was made by my late colleague, the right honorable member for Swan, to occupy the buildings which are being erected near the Victorian Treasury Buildings; but there is no binding agreement to occupy them a moment longer than they may be required.
– Will a forfeit have to be paid if they are given up?
– No. The State Government is erecting the buildings partly for its own use, and arranged with the right honorable member for Swan that the Commonwealth Government should occupy two floors until we desire to move. We have not agreed that notice shall be given of the termination of the tenancy, or that any penalty shall be paid.
– It is merely a tenancy from month to month.
– I should think from week to week. In reference to the additions which are to be made to the building now occupied by Commonwealth Ministers, I. find that it is intended to raise it two stories in one part, and one story in another. The new accommodation will be occupied by the Commonwealth, and we shall pay rent for it, I believe, in proportion to that now paid, while it is proposed that if the building be vacated within ten years, the sum of£1,000 be paid. That recommendation of the Department of Home Affairs was before me for approval. If we moved to the Federal Capital to-morrow we should have to retain certain offices in Melbourne, and these offices would be used.
– In the published list of trades to be brought under the proposed Excise Act, which has been referred to as the new protection, the salt workers are not included. Is that omission made designedly ?
-No authentic list has been published.
– Will all protected trades be included?
– It is difficult for me to say, but the proposed legislation will be made to apply to all trades to which the Government may think it should apply, and the list will be submitted to Parliament, so that if honorable members wish to extend its application, other trades may be inserted.
– I wish to draw the attention of the Postmaster-General to the following paragraph, which appeared in last Saturday’s Argus: -
With the advent of Cup week, the boom in the use of the Melbourne to Sydney telephone probably reached its height. Ever since the spring racing campaign opened, the receipts on the line have steadily grown week after week. Last week was a record - a long way ahead of the previous week, which was up to that time also a record. Last week there were 426 calls over the line, as against 391 the week before. This is the first time since theinauguration of the line that the number of calls has gone over 400. The receipts last week were £96, as against£91 for the previous week. With the average receipts as large as this, the line would pay handsomely. Indeed, if there were any prospect of last week’s business being maintained, there is little doubt that the Postmaster-General (Mr. Mauger) would again cut down the charges made for using the line.
I desire to ask the honorable gentleman if the Department has taken it upon itself to reduce the fee which was fixed for holding a conversation over the trunk line between Sydney and Melbourne, and, if so, whether the Minister cannot now take it upon him self, contrary to the regulations, to reduce the charge which was fixed in respect of the telephone line from West Maitland to Sydney ?
– The honorable gentle- ‘ man supposes a case and then proceeds to knock it down. There has been no change, either in the policy of the Department or in the charge for using the trunk line between Melbourne and Sydney, or the trunk line between West Maitland and Sydney.
– In July last I asked the Acting Prime Minister whether he would obtain from New Zealand some information as to the amount of freights paid by its Government for State importations in its subsidized boats. I desire to know whether the Prime Minister has received a reply from the Government of New Zealand, and, if so, whether he will give the information to the House ?
– A reply has been received to the query. I shall either lay it upon the table or hand it to the honorable member.
– Lay it upon the table.
- Mr. Speaker, I hand in the following correspondence -
Melbourne, 31st July, 1907.
I have the honour to inform you that references have already been made in the Parliament of the Commonwealth to the arrangement that exists between your Government and the line or lines of steamers that receive subsidies for carrying mails to New Zealand.
I have the honour to be,
Your most obedient servant,
For the Prime Minister.
The Right Honorable
The Prime Minister of New Zealand, Wellington.
Prime Minister’s Office;
Wellington, 21st August, 1907.
The Hon. the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia.
I have the honour to acknowledge receipt of your letter (P.M. 07/3305) of the 31st ult., regarding references having been made in the Commonwealth Parliament to a preferential arrangement said to exist between the New Zealand Government and a line of subsidized mail steamers.
In reply, I have toinform you that the only arrangement of this kind which has been entered into is in connexion with the contract between the New Zealand Government and the New Zealand and African Steam-ship Company, for a cargo steam-ship service between New Zealand and the West Coast ports of the United Kingdom. The provision in the contract affecting the matter as referred to by you is as follows : - “ In consideration of the premises the Government undertake to ship one-half of all cargo under their control from the West Coast ports of the United Kingdom, and one-half of such cargo coming forward from London by the Contractors’ line of steamers, provided that the Contractors give sufficient public notice of the sailing dates of such steamers, and that should any cargo at any time be shut out, the Government shall be at liberty to make other arrangement for the shipment of such cargo.”
This line of steamers received no subsidy from the Government. . The only consideration given was in respect of goods shipped under the above clause of the contract.
I am at present unable to say what amount in freightage was paid to the contractors, and it would entail considerable labour to get the figures. If, however, these are of importance to you, please let me know, and they will be prepared and sent to you as early as possible.
I have the honour to be,
Your obedient servant,
– Prior to asking the Postmaster-General a question, without notice, I desire to quote a paragraph which appeared in Saturday’s Argus, and which reads as follows -
The Postmaster-General recognises that the only way to effectually deal with sweating isby the employment of more hands. In this, however, he has been blocked by the Treasurer (Sir William Lyne), and the Public Service Commissioner (Mr. D. C. McLachlan). The employment of a number of temporary hands was sanctioned by them. Mr. Mauger instructed the Deputy Postmaster-General in Sydney toat once engage as many as have been allotted to him.
I desire to know whether it is a fact that the Deputy Postmaster-General in Sydney has applied for 600 additional hands, of which number only one-half has been allotted ?
– The honorable gentleman is again wrong in his facts. The Deputy Postmaster-General did not “apply for 600 hands; and everything pertaining to the permanent employment of those officials was stated by the Treasurer and also by myself on two or three occasion’.; in the House.
“COUNSELS OF THE EMPIRE.”
– I draw the attention of the Prime Minister to the following passage in the report of a speech which he recently delivered- -
Only then would they be able to obtain a population proportionate to their resources, and be able to speak in the counsels of the Empire - a right to which Australia was entitled - and only then would they be able to break through the official ties and bandages once helpful, but now hindering.
As the passage is delightfully vague, I should like to know whether the honorable gentleman is prepared to take the House into his confidence as to what form of Imperialism is there proposed, and as to what are the “ ties and bandages once helpful, but now hindering ‘ ‘ ?
– The report is as complete as one can expect. It naturally is not quite as comprehensive as my statement; but it applies clearly enough to what I was referring. Speaking of the relations of the Colonial Office with Australia in particular, and the Dominions in general -the relations which were discussed at the Conference, which have been, particularly in this State while it was a Colony, a frequent subject for discussion - I took exception to their present character. The proposal that this Government submitted for the establishment of a connexion between Conference and Conference by means of an office in which all the Dominions should be represented at one joint cost is our remedy. The “ bandages “ are the old relations which are now official obstacles in the way of that ideal.
Motion (by Mr. Deakin) agreed to -
That leave of absence for one month, on account of ill-health, be granted to the honorable member for Adelaide.
Motion (by Mr. Reid) agreed to -
That leave of absence for two months, on account of ill-health, be granted to the honorable member for Wentworth.
Mr. MAUGER laid upon the table the following paper -
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The Public Service Commissioner has furnished the following information -
In Committee of Ways and Means (Consideration resumed from 7 th November, vide page 5745):
Division V. - Textiles, Felts and Furs, and Manufactures thereof, and Attire -
– May I ask the Treasurer whether he has any statement to make to the Committee as to when he is likely to bring in the Manufactures Encouragement Bill ?
– I have taken action already. A message from the GovernorGeneral has been brought down to-day, and I shall proceed to-morrow to move for leave to introduce the Bill. At the last sitting of the Committee I stated that, in consequence of the reduction of the duty on woollens, it would be necessary to reduce the duty on piece goods by the same amount and in the same proportion, that is, 10 per cent. lower than the duty on woollens, which we decided a few nights since.
– What the honorable gentleman means is that he proposes to leave a margin of 10 per cent.
– Yes. The honorable member for Melbourne has given notice of an amendment which the Government do not intend to oppose, and . which will cause a re-adjustment of the whole of this item. I therefore propose to divide the item into one or two more paragraphs. I propose to add after the letters “n.e.i.” in paragraph a the words - “ and rubbered waterproof cloth of any material ad val., (General Tariff), 30 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent.
Honorable members will see that the item as it stands provides for duties of 35 per cent. and 30 per cent., and that in accordance with my promise I propose to reduce it so as to allow of a margin of 10 per cent. between this item and that of woollens, which was dealt with a few nights ago. I do not intend to go further than I have indicated, because the honorable member for Melbourne has given notice of a further amendment providing for the insertion of the paragraph -
– Do the Government propose to separate men’s from women’s goods?
– Not altogether. Later on I shall propose other subdivisions. But it has been reported to me that these piece goods are imported and made up here.
– Why has’ not this amendment been circulated?
– The honorable member for Melbourne has circulated an amendment, but intends to slightly alter it. That is why I have indicated at the present stage the nature of his proposition. The stipulation that these piece goods shall not weigh more than 4 ounces to the square yard is designed to rid us of a very troublesome position which has arisen in the past in connexion with the administration of the Customs Department. Such a condition will prevent the use of a superabundance of wool, since the weight must be kept down.
– What class of goods are these light dress materials? How would they be described ?
– They are used for making up. light dresses for women and children, and sometimes clothing for men living in warm climate’s. I think that honorable members will approve of what I propose to do. Much time has been devoted to this matter, and considerable information has been obtained. The proposal is in the direction of reducing in most cases the duty upon these imported piece goods, which stand in a somewhat different position from other items. The reason for the proposal to add the words “ rubbered waterproof cloth of any material “ is to afford better protection to the local industry for the manufacture of rubbered waterproof cloth. There has been a great deal of difficulty in deciding what is and what is not rubbered waterproof cloth.
– Those engaged in the waterproof cloth trade are in opposition to this proposal, are thev not?
– I do not know ; and I do not think that we should be influenced by such a consideration, provided that we are satisfied that the course proposed is a proper one to take. In such circumstances why should we be guided solely by the desire of the trade ? They sometimes want something which it might not be right to concede.
– Do the Government propose to do anything in” relation to jute?
– Jute will be on the free list. At present woollen rubbered waterproof cloth is dutiable . under item 124 paragraph a, but cotton rubbered waterproof cloth can be dealt with only under the present sub-item 124e, at io per cent, or 5 per cent., according to the country of origin. As that is an anomalous position, the amalgamation as set out in the words of the amendment is necessary. I therefore move -
That after the letters “n.e.i.,” paragraph a, the following words be inserted : - “ and rubbered waterproof cloth of any material.”
.- The use of the words “ of any material’ “ is really a departure from this line. We understand the term “ woollen or containing wool,” but we do not understand the proposed addition of the words “of any material.” I do not think those words ought to lie added to a paragraph dealing with woollen goods, unless in relation to goods that are partly woollen.
– Trouble has hitherto arisen from the fact that these goods are rubbered.
– Do they consist wholly qf wool except for the rubber?
– Yes. This will apply only to rubbered goods.
– Why not provide for it in a separate item?
– The matter has been considered by the Department, and it is . thought desirable to insert the amendment as proposed. I am guided to a considerable extent by the Department.
– Is there in Australia more than one factory where this cloth is manufactured ?
– I am informed there are manufactories, but cannot speak as to the number.
– I am under the impression that there is only one factory in Australia where rubbered cloth is made, and I would remind the Committee that this material is used by a large number of factories.
.- I have here a copy of a letter dealing with this matter, which was addressed to the Minister of Trade and Customs by S. Weingott & Sons Ltd., Wallace & Co., Perdriau Rubber Coy. Ltd., M. Golomb, and J. Sampson and Son. Perhaps I had better read the whole letter to the Committee -
We, the undersigned waterproof clothing manufacturers, Sydney, respectfully draw your attention to the impossibility of carrying on our business under the existing Tariff of 30 per cent. ad val. on waterproof cloth, and in support r.f our application for a reduction to the old rate, 15 per cent, ad val., invite your earnest consideration to the undermentioned facts : -
The manufacture of waterproof clothing in Australia finds employment for close on 500 hands.
Local proofing would be impossible for the following reasons : -
– It is not impossible, be cause it is done here.
– These are the reasons given. It will be for honorable members to determine whether or not they are sufficient.
– The writers of the letter are importers of waterproof cloth, I think.
– They are manufacturers also.
– They are importers and manufacturers, I take it.
– I do not think they have much to do with manufacturing.
– These firms give employment to 500 hands. They are manufacturers who use waterproof cloth.
– They use the imported cloth.
In conclusion, we earnestly press the claims of the large number of hands engaged in the waterproof garment making, as against the dozen or two who may be employed in the proofing process; and as indicated above, as the retention of the present duty of 30 per cent. ad val. would make it quite impossible for us to carry on against the existing monopoly, we sincerely trust that you will see the vital importance of this matter to us and those we employ in the trade.
The letter is signed by the firms whose names I have indicated. Considering the purposes for which this material is used, that the business gives employment to such a large number of hands, and that the establishment of a proofing business would mean the employment of so few in addition, I think the Committee ought seriously to consider the position. Waterproof cloth is really the raw material of an industry which gives a large amount of employment. I trust that under the circumstances the Committee will not agree to addition proposed by the Treasurer.
– The waterproof cloth in question is the raw material for making waterproof clothing.
– The clothing is made largely from imported raw material ; but the material is also manufactured in Australia
– If. we impose a duty of 35 per cent. it will evidently reduce the opportunity for maintaining the manufacture of waterproof clothing in this country.
– The duty will conduce to more waterproof cloth being made here.
– According to the information before us, that would mean a very small additional employment of labour.
– That is whatthe importers say.
– They are manufacturers as well as importers.
– I know that there is a large proofing manufactory here.
– Weingott’s are manufacturers. They may import cloth for their own purposes, but their principal business is manufacturing the clothing. The Minister, by his proposal, is running a risk of injuring one business without greatly benefiting another, because the amount of labour involved in proofing would be very small indeed. A plant that would be sufficient’ to provide waterproof cloth for all Australia would not employ much labour. By this duty we shall be likely simply to conduce to the importation of finished garments.
– That is so.
– Of course it is. The benefit of the duty would be secured by the importers of the finished article. Of course, if the Minister is prepared to take that course I have nothing more to say.
.- There are 188 hands employed ira the manufacture of waterproof clothing in Victoria. Only a very few are employed in the manufac.ture of the cloth. It is evident that it would require the employment of only a very few more of the latter to supply the whole of the Australian requirements. This is a question as between the industry of making up garments and of manufacturing waterproof cloth. Another consideration is that whilst the makers of these garments carry on their business under Wages Board conditions the manufacturers of waterproof cloth would lae subject to no such regulations. If we carry the Minister’s proposal it means wiping out the making-up industry. I am astonished that some of the Victorian members have not taken note of this fact, because I do not think that there is any doubt that the effect of the proposal will be that the chief material employed in making up will not be obtained.
– Why cannot cloth be proofed in this country ?
– They are proofing it here
– Only about twelve hands are employed in that industry, whereas there are 188 employed in the manufacture of waterproof clothing under Wages Board conditions. The contention is that double the number of hands at present employed in proofing would be sufficient to supply the whole Australian market.
– I do not think that that is so.
– How many are employed in the industry ?
– In. Victoria’, 188 are employed in making up.
– How many in the Commonwealth ?
– There are about 500 employed in the Commonwealth.
– I know that a considerable number are employed in the Commonwealth. What is proposed now is to establish this industry at the cost of another in which a large number of people are employed.
– It seems to me that the Committee are entitled to hear something from the Minister in answer to this letter. I find, on inquiry, that this question of waterproof clothing did not come before the Tariff Commission, and, therefore, we are bound now, as a Committee, to look into the matter for ourselves. The only piece of testimony of a special character that we have before us is the letter referred to. Unless the Minister, or the honorable member for South Sydney - who is now engaged in writing a letter, but who says that the statement placed before us cannot be true - is prepared to place some contrary evidence before the Committee, we have no alternative but to act, so far as we can, on this letter from the manufacturers.
– The statement I objected to was not in the manufacturers’ letter, but was made by the honorable member for Grey, to the effect that there were only twelve men employed in proofing.
– That strengthens my case, inasmuch as we have no contradiction before us of the facts stated in the letter.
– The facts stated are, I think, a sufficient answer.
– I do not think they are; and I should like the honorable member to explain how he arrives at that conclusion. This letter, of which we have all had a copy, makes a very circumstantial statement with regard to the condition of this industry ; and I take it that the Com- mittee will not flippantly throw it aside unless the Minister can give us information of a contrary character. We are not here merely to pass duties in an off-hand way without troubling to ascertain the facts. If the. Minister does not bring forward some other evidence, I do not see what the Committee can do beyond acting in accordance with the information before it. What does the letter state ? It affirms that in the Commonwealth there are 500 people engaged in making waterproof clothing from this cloth.
– I think we may take it that that is not correct.
– That is not the sort of statement to which the Committee are entitled, in answer to an authoritative and specific assertion if I may so call it. The. Minister had a copy of the letter as far back as the1st November; and, with the large number of officers he has at his command, it would be an easy matter for him to find out whether or not the statements therein are true, and, if they are not true, to give us a report from an officer which would at once carry equal weight with that to which the letter is entitled. We seem to be running in an absolutely contrary direction from that which we have followed in regard to other items. We are including waterproof cloth under this item, and so making it liable to a duty of 25 and 2.0 per cent., the latter duty being in favour of Great Britain, where large quantities of waterproof articles are made up. Whilst we are imposing a duty of only 20 per cent. on made-up waterproof cloaks and coats, we are thus proposing to’ impose a duty of 25 per cent. on the raw material from which the garments are made. That, surely, is contrary to the principle we have followed in relation to other items. I am not addressing myself to the Minister so much as to the Committee when I say that, in face of the statement that 500 people - or even if we take half that number - are engaged in making up this waterproof clothing, and of the further statement by the manufacturers that one or two dozen people can make enough cloth for the whole of Australia, it seems to me that we are being asked to so legislate as to discourage instead ofencourage this particular industry. I have no personal interest in the matter; and I shall be very glad to follow the Minister’s suggestion if he is prepared to put some data before us. But if he is going to ask the Committee to treat this circumstantial letter with scant courtesy, as coming from an interested source, and give us no argument on the other side; then I say it is of no use trying to legislate. If the Minister is going to use whatever majority he has for the mere purpose of pushing this proposal through, irrespective of its merit, it is hardly worth our while discussing it. But, I submit, we ought to be reasonable and consistent, and to give encouragement to this industry by at least placing a higher duty on the madeup articles than we do on the raw material.
.- The honorable member for Parkes seems to imagine that this manufacturer’s letter, to which he has frequently referred, has been sprung on members of the Committee. The honorable member also stated that it was impossible for me to write a letter, and, at the same time, pay attention to the matter under discussion. As a matter of fact, the letter read by the honorable member for Parkes has been before every member for a considerable time. It does not matter whether or not a member is writing a letter during the progress of this discussion ; he has by this time made up his mind as to the plausibility of the statements put forward in the letter of the manufacturers. I have not before me the exact terms of the letter, but I recollect them sufficiently to be able to say that it conveys a contradiction on its face. In the first place, it is said in the letter that local proofing is impossible. Why ? Because the makers of the local material will be competitors in regard to made-up goods. First, it is said that local proofing is impossible, and then, that the material is made locally by those who will be competitors in made-up goods. So far as my knowledge goes, I believe that proofing is done locally.
– By three firms.
– This letter is signed by five or six strong firms in Sydney alone, and they say that if the duty on the material is carried, they will be under the thumb of the existing local manufacturers of the proofed material. In the same breath, however, they said that it would only cost them a little over , £3,000 to provide a plant for themselves. I ask whether it is likely that a company like that of Perdriau would consent to. be under the heel of the Dunlop Company, for instance, merely for the sake of an expenditure of £3,000 or £4,000.
– It is said that the plant would be kept working for only two or three months in the year.
– That, I think, is an exaggeration. There is an enormous quantity of this material used in the Commonwealth; and if it be a fact that only a few men are employed, it is an additional reason for encouraging the industry. This letter, so far as it appeals to me, does not convey any argument worth considering - the real argument was that mentioned by the honorable member for Parkes, namely, that it is undesirable to impose a higher duty on the raw material than is imposed on the made-up article. That matter should be attended to. If it is true, as stated, that the made-up waterproof clothing is dutiable at a lower rate than is proposed to be levied upon the raw “material a mistake has been made.
.- If the word “waterproof” is added in this para- graph it should also be added in item 106. By that means there would be a difference of 10 per cent. between the duties on the made-up article and the piece goods respectively. This would meet the difficulty mentioned by the honorable member for Parkes.
.- I am quite with the honorable member for South Sydney in taking up a rather sceptical attitude towards the letters and circulars so frequently addressed to honorable members. It is very embarrassing and confusing to honorable members to have conflicting statements put before them by manufacturers and importers. That is why I have so forcibly advocated following the Tariff Commission where they have had an opportunity of hearing evidence, on oath, from both sides, and of judging judicially between them. But the honorable member for South Sydney should notice that in this case no evidence at all was given to the Commission. We have nothing but this letter to guide us, and the Minister either has no knowledge of the subject, or does not choose to put it before the Committee.
– What is the value of the imports?
– They are fairly substantial. There is a big industry concerned. I do not think the honorable member for South Sydney does justice to the authors of the letter when he says that it is absurd on the face of it. They do not say that it is impossible to manufacture the material here, because they admit that it is done. They state that there is already at least one substantial firm manufacturing it, and that enough can be manufactured by from twelve to twenty men in two months to supply the whole of the Commonwealth. There is another raw material in the shape of the woollen or cotton fabric, in addition to the water-proof. Upon that fabric the indiarubber surface has to be placed. It is very probable that this can be done by machinery at a very rapid rate.
– I saw the material being made. The process is not very rapid. The number of men mentioned is ridiculously small.
– I should say that the application of the indiarubber to the fabric is done almost wholly by machinery under the guidance of one man. The honorable member for Illawarra has placed in my hands a schedule showing that the value of cloth-made water-proof imported has been as follows: - 1902 , £22,000; 1903,£32,000;1904,£53,000;and 1906, £39, 000. Whilst I regard with great scepticism these ex parte statements made by manufacturers on the one side and by importers on the other - always in their own interests and not too carefully drawn for the guidance of honorable members - the statement which has been put before the Committee is one to which there is practically no contradiction, and although it may appear improbable, it is due to those who have made the statement for the’ information of the Committee and addressed it to the Minister that it should be met by some authoritative counter-statement. If, as they say, the water-proof material can be made for the whole of the Commonwealth by such a small number of people, and the industry of manufacturing the cloth into garments is so substantial, we ought to be very careful before we dismiss off-handedly and without information their statement as to the hardship which will accrue to the four or five substantial firms engaged in the industry.
Question - That the words “and rubbered water-proof cloth of any material” be inserted after the letters “n.e.i.,” paragraph a (Sir William Lyne’s amendment) - put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment agreed to.
– I move -
That after the words “35 per cent.,” paragraph A, the words “ and on and after13th November, 1907 (General Tariff), ad val., 20 per cent.,” be inserted.
The question of the duties which should be levied upon woollens was fully debated when the item of apparel and attire was under consideration, and I do not propose to add much to what was then said. I merely wish to point out that the arguments which were then advanced apply with equal force to this item in so far as the conditions of labour under high and low Tariffs are concerned. From a return which has been prepared I find that in 1878, when a duty of11per cent. was operative upon woollens, there were 736 hands employed in the Victorian woollen mills. But when the rate was increased to 44 per cent. in 1892-3, the number of hands declined from 736 to 659.
– The Bank smash occurred in 1893.
– Then I will select some other years for the purpose of instituting a comparison. In 1888, when the duty was increased to 22 per cent.-
– -That was a boom year.
– That is so. In 1888, when the duty was increased from11 per cent. to 22 per cent., the number of employes in the industry fell from 736 to 704. In 1892, with the duty of 22 per cent. in 1888 increased to 44 per cent., the number of hands employed fell off to 552. In 1899the duty was considerably less than half of this, the highest then being 271/2 per cent. and the lowest 161/2 per cent., and under the operation of the lower duty the number of hands employed increased from 552 to 917. Last year the hands employed increased to 1,315 under a161/2 per cent. duty. It will be seen, therefore, that just as the rate was increased employment in the industry decreased, and vice versa. I would also point out that Mr. Grainger, of the Ballarat woollen mills, stated in evidence before the Tariff Commission, in answer to questions 10719-10721, that three Victorian mills had closed within a year or two of 1896, when the duty under the highest Victorian Tariff was 44 per cent. Again, in answer to question 10722A-10726, he mentions two other millswhich commenced operations under the first Commonwealth Tariff, which imposed a very much lower rate than that levied under the old Victorian Tariff.
These facts show that under a high Tariff the industry suffered,’ whilst under a low Tariff it progressed. I have been asked by the honorable member for Moreton to bring before the Committee a letter which has been forwarded to him by a clothing manufacturer, and which enclosed several samples of woollen material. The writer says -
I have just returned from the Old Country after a very short stay. But, before returning, I sent a wire to have certain goods bonded, owing to the increased Tariff from15 to 30 and 35 per cent. I enclose samples of similar goods. Note. - They are now classed with woollens and tweeds and there is not a yard being made in any State in the Commonwealth, and cannot be made for the next fifty years. Indeed, some of the samples cannot be made in England, but are made in France and Germany. .. I spoke to one of the directors of the company, who told me that the Board had no idea that light dress materials were included in the new Tariff. The bonded warehouses, are full of the class ofgoods that I have sent samples of, and many of us would prefer sending them back sooner than pay the higher duty.
Any honorable member who inspects the enclosed samples will see at once that they are of materials which are not manufactured in the Commonwealth at present, and are not likely to be manufactured here during our time. It would therefore seem ridiculous, as well as a great hardship upon the people who have to wear these materials for clothing, that these high duties should be imposed upon them. After all, this duty is imposed merely for revenue purposes, and cannot in any sense be regarded as a protective duty.
– This is a protective duty.
– Not when it covers materials such as I have here.
– What are those materials’; what are they used for?
– They are dress materials, classed as woollens, and they are being charged the highest rates of duty as such when, as a matter of fact, they are chiefly cotton, and are the materials in general use for women’s summer dresses and blouses.
– I am reducing the duties on those goods to 20 per cent. and 15 per cent.
– Even those duties are exceptionally high for goods of this description, which cannot be manufactured in Australia.
– As the Tariff stands at present, the duties proposed are 30 per cent, and 35 per cent.
– That is so. And that is the rate now being charged upon them. These goods are classed under woollen piece goods, and the importers state that it will pay them better to send the goods back whence they came than to take them out of bond at the rates proposed.
– I intend to reduce the rates proposed by 5 per cent.
– The honorable gentleman must himself admit that that is not a very material reduction.
– They were dutiable at 15 per cent, under the old Tariff.
– That is so; and I submit that 15 per cent, is a sufficiently high duty to impose on such materials. But even under the Treasurer’s amended proposal the duties will be increased by 5 per cent.
– My amendment, if carried, would make the duty on them 20 per ‘cent, under the general Tariff, and 15 per cent, from the United Kingdom.
– It should be remembered that many of these goods are not manufactured in England.
– Most of them are not.
– Most of them are manufactured on the Continent ; and the general Tariff rate would consequently apply to “them.
– They do not come under the paragraph we are discussing now.
– I am dealing with the item generally, and I am not certain that they do not come under paragraph a. I repeat that the duty on these goods cannot be regarded as protective in its incidence, and with a lower Tariff we would remove a hardship which otherwise would be inflicted upon people who must have this material, whilst the effect, I believe, would be beneficial to the Treasury in bringing about an increased revenue.
.- I have here a’ letter, which I received from the Adelaide Warehousemen’s Association, dealing with this item. The writer says -
I have the honour, by direction of the Adelaide Warehousemen’s Association, to bring under notice the administrative effect of the proposed Tariff on some lines of textile goods in Tariff division 5, and the certainty of further complications with the items 108 and 118 passed by the House of Representatives on the 6th and Sill inSt. respectively.
The administration of item 124F is such that unless it is taken out altogether or the list of articles extended in e, almost everything in the way of cotton piece goods will eventually fall under f - a higher duty than silk piece goods. I have only to mention that the Customs have decided in respect to some pocketings, ordinary cotton shirtings, cotton tweeds,’ and the like, that because a microscopical examination or ar imaginative official mind traces a treated surface they are liable to 25 per cent, and 20 per cent., an increase of 15 per cent.
The Tariff Commission, as the result of an exhaustive inquiry, recommended items 124B and 124F should pay the same rate of duty as 124E, viz., 10 per cent, and 15 per cent. My association therefore ask you to have items 124B and 124F deleted, and item 118 recommitted, so as to include the articles under item 108 that are furnishing drapery and napery, as unless these articles are distinctly specified under 118 the importers are at the mercy of the administrative authorities whether the classification is to be item 108 or 118. Reference to item 108 of proposed Tariff on such’ articles as kettle-holders, polishing, tea, glass, kitchens, sponge, counters and crumb-cloths, ‘&c, will convince you that such articles are as much furnishing drapery and napery as doyleys, tray-cloths, &c, under item 118, and should fall under the same item.
– The Minister has promised to take a note of that.
– That is so.
– I saw the Minister about that this morning.
– The goods an; still being charged at ‘the higher duty.
– That has not been done for some time.
– It is being done at Adelaide.
– I may say that I received a letter similar to that which has been quoted by the honorable member for Grey, and I .saw the secretary on the subject yesterday. I find that sometimes one can get a thing done more quickly by informing the Department beforehand of what one intends to move in Committee. The departmental officers are thus given an opportunity to look into the somewhat complex questions, and make up their minds in advance of the action taken in the Committee, thus facilitating the speedy settlement of the Tariff. This matter is as stated in the letter which the honorable member for Grey has read, but I understand that the Minister promises to reconsider it in the light of the suggestions made.
– He promised to. do .so last week.
– This morning I received a letter from Dr. Wollaston, who- has looked into the matter carefully. I quote a short extract from his letter in reference to items 108 and 118. He writes -
Relating to the effect of the items 108 and 118 of the Tariff as passed by the House of Representatives, I beg to state that 118 specifically includes articles of furnishing drapery and napery, whereas 108 refers to articles not elsewhere included. As articles of furnishing drapery and napery are elsewhere included, they are not affected by 108.
I am not sure that that is an answer to the letter quoted by the honorable member for Grey, but it is as well to have the statement on record, as the letter itself has been read. With respect to the general item, 1 may say that in my district there is a woollen factory, which has battled against a good deal of difficulty, and in which the colonial material has been brought to a pretty high state of perfection, judging by the evidence given before the Tariff Commission. The company strictly fulfils the scriptural injunction against mixing, because I find that Mr. Moore, the manager, has said that they never mix cotton with wool. They prefer to trust to quality. I mention this fact because last week, when the manufacture of blankets was being discussed, a good deal was said about the admixture of cotton with wool. .
– The Tariff Commission reported that the mixing is almost entirely confined to Victoria.
– I think that, in justice to the South Australian firm, which is turning out a good article, the fact that it does not mix should be made known. I should like the Minister to tell us what is the ratio of local production to consumption. According to evidence given in Sydney by a Mr. Ripley, two years ago, the local production of woollens - I take it in New South Wales - was then valued at about £70,000, and the importations at about £700,000. If the same ratio exists between the production and consumption of the Commonwealth, there is a considerable “disparity.
– That is a reason for imposing stiff duties.
– Not a bit. If certain materials are not manufactured here; either because, for the present, they cannot be made here or because it is more profitable to give attention to other manufactures, the imposition of high rates of duty upon them means the imposition of heavy taxation upon the people, who must pay higher prices in consequence. Apparently it will be manyyears before the local production equals the local consumption in certain classes of imports.
– Then the sooner we start to manufacture these goods the better.
– I shall not elaborate my argument, because, since the consideration of the Tariff commenced, I have endeavoured in my remarks on specific duties not to exceed five minutes, knowing that if every honorable memberspeaks at length we shall be here until the Day of Judgment -though, if the Government had their deserts, that day would not be long in arriving. Heavy duties will, in many cases, prove very burdensome for many years to come, because the local production cannot meet the local requirements.
– The letter read by the honorable member for Grey refers mainly to flannelettes, which are not dealt with in the item under consideration. I am informed that if the Committee agreed to the rates originally proposed, the revenue obtained from these duties would be about £400,000 per annum, of which £75,000 will be lost by the reductions which I propose. But if the proposal of the honorable member for Lang be carried, the loss will be , £275,000. OnSaturday and this morning I went carefully through the list of articles comprised in this item, and, in accordance with a promise which I gave when the duties on woollens were reduced by 5 per cent., Ipropose to reduce the rates in this case similarly. In reply to the honorable member for Angas, I may say that 1 have instructed my officers to make an inquiry into the matter to which he refers, with a view to ascertain whether an alteration is necessary.
– Are these revenue or protective duties?
– They are mainly protective. In consequence of an amendment which is to be moved by the. honorable member for Melbourne, I have further subdivided this item, and intend to reduce the rates on certain articles to 20 per cent. and 15 per cent. The rates in regard to all the items will be reduced, with one exception, in which case there will be an increase of 5 per cent. I hope that the Committee will not seek to make further reductions, which will not only lessen the protective value of the duties, but will also immensely decrease the revenue.
.- The Minister says that he proposes to reduce the rates of duty in this case.
– Yes ; to 30 per cent, and 25 per cent. ; while on some goods the rates will be only 20 ner cent, and 15 per cent.
– The rates would still be a little too high., though I should have said nothing against rates of 25 per cent, and 20 per cent. Perhaps 15 per cent. - the former rate - was rather below what the manufacturers should get. But it must be remembered that they have been doing very well. The merchant tailors of Sydney are utterly opposed to any increase, and have passed a resolution to the effect that a duty of 30 per cent, on woollens is opposed to the best interests of the Commonwealth, and that 15 per cent, will give sufficient protection to the Australian woollen manufacturers.
– The principal business of those who passed the resolution is importing.
– They also say that the proposed rates will crush out many tailoring establishments. I do not think that the Minister wishes to do that.
– Yes, if they dare to import.
– I will not go quite so far as the honorable member in that belief. Another resolution of the tailors reads as follows -
That since Australian woollen manufacturers are unable to fill requirements, we are of opinion that if this Tariff is passed inferior woollens will be imported into the Commonwealth.
That is their opinion, which, of course, they are entitled to hold. I have in my hand one or two paragraphs in a communication from the ‘Queensland Warehousemen’s Association. After referring to the duty on woollen piece goods they state that the classification is not correct. They point out that a distinction ought to be made between piece goods used for men’s clothing and piece goods used for women’s dresses. They say -
In classing woollen piece goods a distinction should be drawn in goods that are made or can be made in Australia, and those which cannot be produced under existing conditions.
All agree, I think, that goods which we cannot produce) if not placed on the free list, should be allowed to come in at a very low rate of duty. The writers go on to say -
The piece goods which can be made include heavy tweeds and serges, chiefly for men’s wear.
We suggest a duty of 20 per cent, on this class. . The goods which cannot be made may be describe’d generally as fine texture,- light weight all wool, woollen and silk, Or woollen and cotton mixtures used in making up of ladies’ apparel or for lining men’s apparel. They include fabrics in endless varieties of designs and colourings, which ever-changing fashion demands, and they are known as cashmeres, voiles, delaines, nun’s veiling, fine twills, amazons and face cloths, Italians, Venetians, Sicilians, lustres, Biegesm Eoliennes, silk and woollen mixtures, Panama cloths, hopsacs, and similar goods under various names. For reasons well understood in the trade, many of these goods are not made in Great Britain, and the same reasons in a much greater degree will prevent their being made in Australia. The public taste demands these goods, and the Tariff cannot alter this. The high rate will hinder or prevent the making up in Australia of garments made up from these materials, the duty on ready-made articles being a very little more.
I hope that the Minister will not ask the Committee to pass higher duties than 25 and 20 per cent, respectively. I am quite prepared to support those rates.. The honorable member for Angas has referred to the mixing of wool and cotton in the manufacture of piece goods. .1 have here a sample which the Ipswich Woollen Company sent to the honorable member for Moreton, who has been obliged to pay a visit to Queensland, and who otherwise would have, exhibited it to honorable members. I have had considerable experience in connexion with this kind of ‘ industry, and I assure the Committee that, I have not seen a better sample, than this one. The goods are guaranteed by the company to be all wool. They are quite prepared to allow their goods to be analyzed with a view to discover if any cotton has been mixed with the wool. They are really most beautiful goods. I think that duties of 20 and 25 per cent, respectively will be fair to both the manufacturers and the workers.
.- I. take it that this item includes the woollen piece goods from which our clothes are made. Until a day or two ago I was under the impression that cloth was being made in Australia.
– It all depends on what the honorable member calls cloth.
– I was under the impression that cloth for making the clothes we wear was being made in Australia.
– Tweed, the honorable member means?
– I am glad -to hear the honorable member say that it is being. made here, because I have some information which I think will astonish the Committee. I find that we are only weaving into cloth the yarns which are made in other countries.
– Does the honorable member mean to say that no yarn is spun here?
– If the honorable member will keep quiet, ;he will learn something. Both here and outside, we hear a lot of “hifalutin” about what we can do in Australia. I stand here with a mind as open as that of any one in the chamber. I want to see Australia develop and forgeahead. But I aim . astonished to learn that such things have been going on as have been mentioned to me. I am informed that the weft and the warp for making cloth are imported.
Colonel Foxton. - Where?
– In Australia.
– Some one has been pulling the honorable member’s leg.
– If any one has been doing that, it has been the ComptrollerGeneral of Customs. Certain information from a very reliable source was placed in mv hands, and, thinking that it could not be quite true, I got it confirmed this morning by the Comptroller-General. I believe that honorable members will be astonished when I give the figures showing the extent to which these materials are imported. Here are samples of the weft and the warp which are imported. The weft goes one way through the cloth, and the warp the other way. These two threads are imported.
– For all Australian tweeds ?
– Let the honorable member wait until I make that statement, and then he can pick me up. I have not said that- yet.
– The honorable member left us to infer that.
– Although we have been told that pure Australian wool is being manufactured into cloth for our people’ to wear, yet I find that the weft and the warp which may be made up of old rags from London or other big cities is largely used. That may be why it is so short. Let honorable members . try the staple of the English material against that of Colonial material. Our wool in Australia is specially good ; perhaps imported yarn accounts for the quality of our cloth not being as good-. as it should be. .
– If is the best quality which can be obtained.
– I do not know that the honorable gentleman is a judge of that.
– Yes I am; I have been wearing it longer than has the honorable member.
– That does not make the honorable member a judge of cloth. I know a man who wears worse clothes than he does; and is perfectly satisfied with them ; but that does not make him a judge of cloth. The clothing for the people of Australia should be made as cheap as possible. There are many persons living inparts where they would not benefit from the operations of a woollen factory at a distance of 3,000 or 4,000 miles, especially if it were run with imported material. I have in my hand figures which I believe will stagger many persons. Last year £91,000 worth of this yarn was imported for the purpose of making cloth like that on which it is proposed to put an increased duty.
– If we add the figures for cotton yarn the result will be more surprising.
– Those figures refer solely to yarn made partly or wholly of wool. An honorable member has assured the Committee that the manager of a factory has stated that he did not add cotton. If he did not add cotton, he may have bought stuff into which somebody else had added cotton. It was not necessary for him to buy the cotton - he could buy yarn, consisting partly of cotton, for use in his factory.
Colonel Foxton. - Into what States was this yarn imported?
– I cannot say. We are dealing now, not with individual States, but with Australia as a whole, and I repeat that ,£90,930 worth of partly or wholly woollen yarn was imported for cloth making.
– The Government are proposing a duty of 10 per cent.” on yarn’s. ‘
– The Government areproposing a duty that will increase the cost of this material to the public.
– Is the honorable member’s information to the effect that the yarn of which he speaks was imported for making cloth?
– For what other purpose would it be used?
– For making socks, stockings, and other goods of that class.
– I thought that ordinary worsted would be used for knitting stockings. I have obtained my information from persons interested in the trade, who tell me that they import in the name of “ yarn.” what is known in the indus. try as the weft and the warp. If we are to impose a duty for the encouragement of cloth making in Australia, I should like to see every operation connected with the industry carried on in the Commonwealth. Why should we not spin our own yarn?
– The spinning is done in some places.
– It is spun in Ballarat.
– Let us spin all that we require. The cloth-making industry seems to be in very much the same position as that of wire netting. We use imported machines to twist imported wire into netting, and make believe that we are manufacturing netting in Australia. In the same way it would appear that wool grown in Australia is sent to other countries to be converted into yarn, in which state it is returned to Australia to be made into cloth. We gammon that the cloth so made is an Australian production. Such a state of affairs is disgraceful to Australia, and it would be foolish for us to impose a high duty for the sake of encouraging such a tricky business. We should be prepared to impose certain duties to help any purely Australian industry, but I am not going to vote to assist an industry that sends to another country for a partlymanufactured material. It was with regret that I received this information. The man who supplied it to me is thoroughly conversant with the cloth-making trade, and I spent over a week in endeavouring to authenticate it.
– Has the honorable member visited a woollen mill?
– When I desire to obtain correct information, I do not seek it from a man who is interested on the other side.
– Could not the honorable member visit a woollen mill and ascertain for himself whether the yarn was being spun there?
– I am not a Government inspector.
– But the honorable member said that he was in search of the truth.
– I am not going on a tour of inspection. The information I have obtained is confirmed by the ComptrollerGeneral of Customs.
– I will guarantee “that it is not.
– I repeat that he confirms the information I have obtained, that the weft and the warp are imported into Australia under the name of yarn. I have also learned that some years ago the Victorian Parliament granted a bonus of ^5,000 on the local production of a given quantity of cloth, and that, according to a. fairly good authority, there is reason to believe that the “ cloth in respect of which- the bounty was paid was made from imported yarn.
– I admit that there was some suspicion of that.
– And there is grave suspicion that imported yarn is now being used for the manufacture of what is known as Australian cloth. The Committee ought to recognise that we are asked to agree to a vote that will increase the price of an article which is bought chiefly by the poorer classes. Doubtless the British manufacturers laugh at us, and say, “ These people think that cloth is being made in Australia, when, as a matter of fact, we are spinning the yarn with which that cloth is manufactured.” I hope that the Minister will consider this matter, and propose an amendment with the object of insuring that the whole of the work involved in the making of Australian cloth shall be carried out in Australia. If we placed a duty of 5 per cent, or 10 per cent, on the manufactured cloth, and a duty of 40 per cent, on the yarn, I do not think that we should hear any more of the importation of yarns for Australian cloth making.
– The local woollen mills say that, irrespective of the quantity which they spin for themselves, they must im’f: port yarn.
– Then they are not making what is in the true sense of the term Australian cloth. I hope that the Committee will reduce this duty as much as possible, and that later on the duty on yarn will be increased.
Colonel FOXTON (Brisbane) [4.48].- I do not question the figures which the honorable member for Fremantle has submitted, but I would suggest to him that a solution of the problem is probably to be found in the fact that these yarns are used very largely for the manufacture of stockings, sweaters, and other goods of that class.
-We want population, not protection.
Colonel FOXTON.- We need both. Unless I am very much mistaken, the whole of the yarns used by. the Ipswich Woollen Company- which is the only woollen factory in Queensland - are spun by themselves. It is of no use to say that it is not Australian wool that is manufactured. I have been through the factory frequently. One can see there the wool as it has come off the backs of the sheep; and everything that it is necessary to do is done on the premises until the wool comes out in the shape of cloth, samples of which are now before us, and which are of a quality not to be beaten anywhere in the world.
– Within a mile from this building, some of the finest yarns in the world are being spun.
Colonel FOXTON.- As to the amendment immediately before the Committee - for the reduction of the duty to 20 per cent., with a view of making the duty on goods from the United Kingdom 15 per cent. - I say at once that I am not prepared to go so far. The honorable member who has moved this amendment must surely realize by this time that it is futile to attempt such a reduction. If, instead of doing that, he and those who think with him would join with those who are more moderate than the ultra-protectionists and endeavour to come to an arrangement to support less drastic duties, we should get on with the Tariff much quicker.
– If there are only three or four members who think that duties should be reduced considerably, they are entitled to express their opinion.
Colonel FOXTON. - I quite agree with the honorable member, but to fight in order to be hopelessly beaten every time is futile. Personally, I am in favour of duties of 25 per cent., and of 20 per cent. on goods imported from the United Kingdom.
– That is less than the protectionist members of the Tariff Commission propose.
Colonel FOXTON.- The A division of the Tariff Commission recommended a duty of 30 per cent., and, as most of these goods come from the United Kingdom, it may be said that the Government have practically adopted that proposal. But I am not prepared to go so high. I think that a duty of 20 per cent. against the Old
Country is ample. It is 5 per cent. more than we had under the old Queensland Tariff, under which the Ipswich Company was established. It is also 5 per cent. more than the duty under the old Federal Tariff. Under the circumstances, I think that an increase of 5 per cent. in the duty would be sufficient protection, and’ I intend to vote for that.
– I do not dispute the accuracy of the statement of the honorable member for Fremantle, but I deny that our woollen factories, as a whole, use imported yarns. I have been in several woollen mills and tweed factories, and know that they use none but Australian wool for the manufacture of their tweeds. I hold in my hand a declaration - signed before a Justice of the Peace - by Mr. Robert Hogarth, proprietor of the Waverley Woollen Mill, Tasmania, in which he states that all his goods are made from pure Australian wool. He does not import any yarn. His factory has been established for thirty-three years. I have been through it several times, and have also been through several other mills which are conducted on the same principle. A number of honorable members went through some Victorian factories a little while ago, and are well aware that the process of manufacture includes dealing with the wool as it comes off the sheep’s back until it comes out in the form of the manufactured article.
– I suppose they had the whole thing readied up for the parliamentary visitors ?
– Does the honorable member for Hunter think that a factory is established at a cost of several thousand pounds simply to be seen by halfadozen members of Parliament? I do not think that a firm would go to such expense, even with the object of pleasing parliamentary visitors. Because some persons find it advantageous to import yarns, that is no reason why all the woollen mills of Australia should be slandered.
– Who did that?
– The honorable member said that the manufacturers imported their yarn, and simply made it up.
– I said that yarns of a certain value were being imported.
– The honorable member stated that cloth was not made in Australia, but that the yarn was imported and made up. He afterwards qualified that statement to some extent. ButI have seen the yarn’ made here. I have seen it made in the days when a spinning wheel had to be used, such as can at present be seen at the Exhibition. Not only do our manufacturers make yarn for the manufacture of tweed, but they also sell it to those who require it for different purposes in their own homes. Therefore, it is a pity that such an unwarranted reflection should be cast on the woollen mills of Australia. I am in favour of duties of 25 and 30 per cent., as proposed by the Treasurer. I hope that the Committee, will agree to those rates in order that more Australian wool may be manufactured in this country. I received only the other day a letter stating that only 1 per cent, of the wool grown in Australia was manufactured here. It is time we manufactured more than that. By imposing a fair duty we shall enable that to be done. The proprietor of the Waverley mill sends out a certificate with every five yards of material manufactured, stating that it is made from pure Australian wool. It would be a good thing if more honorable members would visit some of our woollen factories, and see for themselves what is being done in Australia.
-59j– I was rather pleased to hear the statement of the honorable member for Fremantle, because I think that we require evidence of the ‘ kind which he brought forward in connexion with the Tariff. He is. to be congratulated on giving the Committee such information, which undoubtedly came from a good source. He tells us that £90,000 worth of yarn is imported. I do not dispute the fact, but I object to the deductions which the honorable member sought to draw from it. The main deduction was, that because this yarn is imported, we ought not to protect our woollen industry. I hope that the honorable member was not serious in advancing that argument. If he examined the facts with more thoroughness, I think that he would urge the Treasurer to insist upon a good, substantial duty. We can make cloth; and I think we should make all the materials of which cloth is composed. A story runs through my mind in connexion with the woollen industry in America. There, a writer was such an ardent freetrader that he got quite indignant over what he deemed the ridiculous action< of the American Government in allowing dirty wool to be imported at a lower duty than was clean wool. That man quite forgot that- employment was required in America - that Americans desired to have the clean-: ing of the wool. But this man went further, and said that America was being ruined by the “ hoofed locusts,” as he termed the sheep, who were said to be ruining the land. I am not an advocate of importing dirt ; and, therefore, I ask that yarn shall be manufactured here. In- 1905, Great Britain imported £700,000 worth of woollen rags - -rags gathered in the slums of the Continent, and heaven knows where. These rags were woven into the cloth which we buy as British tweed. .
– We never hear of imported shoddy from honorable members opposite. ‘
– We do not. Honorable members opposite attack Australian industries; and it is just as well that they should be given these particulars. If honorable members expended as much ardour in exposing, imported shoddy as they do in talking about Australianmadearticles, the result would be much better for our industries. I was delighted tohear the honorable member ‘ for Brisbane say that woollen goods were manufactured within his State from Australian wool, and I have it on authority that all, or nearly all, the manufacturers in Australia make their own yarn. In England, the cloth makers do not need ‘tq. make their ‘own yarn, because it is turned ‘ out by special mills. I must express my admiration for the -way in -which the re-, presentatives of Queensland fight for the industries of their State; and I desire to put in a little plea for a woollen mill in New South Wales. I have a letter, written, neither to me nor to a member of this House, but in the ordinary way of business, by Messrs. James Bergan and Sons, . woollen manufacturers, of Granville, New South .Wales, from which the following is an extract -
Unless the present Tariff on woollens, flannels, and blankets becomes law, we must close our mill. For the last ten years the woollen industry has been dead, so far as profit is con- ;cerned, in New South Wales. “ Moderate protection “ is no “ protection.” A tariff, unless sufficiently high to check British and foreign imports, is, in the protective sense, inoperative, and, therefore, no aid to local industry.
If we are to protect any industry, we certainly ought to protect the woollen industry, native as it is to the soil. Although I am an ardent believer in Australian tweeds, the number of patterns that can be turned out locally has come as an absolute surprise to me. My own . opinion is that if- manufacturers would take more trouble to advertise and place their goods before the public by means of the tailors, the sale of Australian tweeds would be vastly increased. In important towns in New South Wales,’ tailors are found to be without Australian tweeds, and customers are told that people will not buy them. What nonsense* it is to talk of people not buying goods which they have never seen ! Seeing that we produce all the raw material, the sooner we encourage the production of Australian tweeds, the sooner will people get good and cheap clothing in the place of imported shoddy.
– I agree with every word uttered bv the honorable member for New England. Many years ago, in the United States, it was impossible to buy American cloth in any tailor’s shop; customers were told that only imported goods were kept. The same thing is going on in Australia, and it would be worth our while to impose a duty of 15 to 20 per cent, to teach Australians to respect and love their own country. For my part, . I should make the duty prohibitive.
– Are the honorable member’s hats made in Australia?
– Yes; the hats I now wear are made at the Denton Hat Mills. Some of the finest woollen goods of this kind are made in Australia, but the importing habit has prevailed so long that people are ashamed to tell their friends that they wear locallymanufactured articles - it is deemed a sort of disgrace to be dressed in Australian material. I would make the Tariff so high that people would be only too glad to try Australian goods, when, I am sure, they would never dispense with them.
– But how could we make people who can afford to buy imported goods buy Australian goods ?
– We are all descendants of English, Scotch, Irish, German, and other people, who would climb a thirty-feet greasy pole to save a pound. Heretofore, the local manufacturers have had no chance ; and now that we are putting on a Tariff, we ought to determine to make the people of Australia respect their own country. If we cannot make them respect it, we can make them obey its laws.
– The world was not made in a day. McKay will come in time to recognise that, to be a Christian man he must do his Christian duty in a Christian country. We ought to impose a duty on every article that can be manufactured in Australia, and thus enable Australian manufacturers to pay Australian wages, based on civilized conditions. The differentiation ought to be high enough to enable local manufacturers to compete against the cheap-jack wages paid in foreign countries. That is the kind of Tariff that I shall vote for. I am following the Government throughout these proposals. I only hope that the Opposi-tion, staunch free-traders as many of them, are, will, like Saul of Tarsus, fall down in front of the great light of protection, ; and thank God for their conversion.
– Let us attempt to get back to something serious; because we are dealing under this, division, which begins with woollen piece goods, with an enormous portion of the imports into this country. Taking our. total imports at about £42,000,000, and writing off .£2,000,000 for spirits and narcotics, and another £5,000,000 for free items, we get a total of £35,000,000 of dutiable imports. Under this division we, deal with one-fifth of those goods, for ;£7, 000,000 worth of goods were imported last year in association with it. It is because we are dealing now with so large a proportion of our imports, and because the purpose of the Government is to add so seriously to the duty which is to be chargeable thereon, that I desire the attention of the Committee while I investi-gate the figures given by the Treasurer. I was astonished when he told us that the reduction of 5 per cent, which he proposes to make in the rate proposed in the schedule will mean a reduction of £75,000 per annum in the revenue, and that the loss of revenue would be ,£125,000 per annum if the proposal of the honorable member for Lang -were accepted. I im- . mediately went for my papers to see how far those statements are borne out by the actual circumstances of the case. The duty received last year, not on woollens only, but on the whole of the ,£7, 000,000 worth of goods imported under this division, was £650,000. I call attention to the great discrepancy between the actual facts and the statement which the Treasurer, I think, fell into an error in making. I understood him to state that a loss of revenue to the extent of £125,000 would result if the proposal of the honorable member for Lang were accepted.
– Two hundred and seventy-five thousand pounds.
– Then am I right in saying that if the rate proposed in the schedule is reduced by 5 per cent., the doss to the revenue, according to the honorable gentleman, will be £75,000 ?
– That is what my officers tell me.
– I am always sorry to find myself at issue with the Treasurer, or with what his officers say, but I am quite sure that in some of the calculations made by the officers the figures are dealt with in a manner which covers, as I am’ sure that the Comptroller-General would at once admit, a far larger area than the question before the Committee. We are dealing in this item with woollen piece goods only; but the whole division covers all classes of piece goods. The duty paid on the total value of the imports, under a maximum duty of 15 per cent, in the old Tariff, was, as I have stated, £650,000 last year, but in this one item the duty is increased to 30 per cent., or doubled. The average rate of duty under the old Tariff taken at 20 per cent, gives £650,000, and 5 per cent, of the portion represented by the amendment of the honorable member for Lang would be nearly £32,500.- Five per cent, of £650,000 would be only £32,500. There is a great discrepancy between that and the Treasurer’s estimate of £75,000. If the reduction of the proposed duty by 5 per cent, will mean a loss of £75,000 to the revenue, then the revenue estimated to be received from the whole of this division for the current year must be nearly £1,500,000, as against £650,000 last year. It must also be apparent that the Treasurer’s estimate applies to the ‘whole division, arid not only to woollen piece goods, which form but a small portion of it. I have previously asked the attention of the Committee to the question of who is to pav for the enormous increase in the duty from 15 per cent, to 3<T per cent, on these goods.
– The A section of the Tariff Commission recommended a duty of 30 per cent.
– Only’ one-half of’ the Tariff Commission made that proposal. The whole of the manufactures of woollens in the Commonwealth are infinitesimal, and are likely to remain so for years to come, as compared with the total, value of the goods imported under the whole of this division. We are all proud that woollens are manufactured in Australia, but five-sevenths of the goods dealt with in this division are cotton manufactures, which cannot possibly be made here, and for which there are no raw products here. Certainly not more than £2,000,000 worth of the £7,000,000 worth of goods represented by this division come under the head of woollens. The other £5,000,000 worth comprise cotton piece goods. There was once at Brisbane a cotton mill which made exceedingly good cotton, but it failed. I am not aware that there are any cotton piece goods made in Australia now.
Colonel Foxton. - That mill is starting again.
– I am glad to hear it, but I doubt very much whether any cotton piece goods will be made here for a great number of years. Each kind requires special machinery, and a special class of workmen. The machinery required cannot be made applicable to other kinds of goods. We come then to the question raised by the honorable member for Fremantle as to yarns. There has been exhibited on the table to-day a class of goods which are not English, and which, I presume, are German. They are manufactured of yarns which cannot possibly be made in the Commonwealth. Indeed, the grades of yarns necessary for the manufacture of these goods, which represent a dutiable value of ,£7,000,000, are so numerous that they are not likely to be made here, irrespective of whether they be woollen,’ cotton, ox worsted.
– The honorable member would like the whole of these goods to be admitted free?
– No. A duty of 20 per cent, was quite sufficient to induce mills of an important character to start operations in our midst. Under that rate, they trebled their spinning wheels and their machinery; in short, they did exceedingly well, and the Tariff Commission has recommended that they should be left alone.
– The honorable member is referring to the free-trade section of the Tariff Commission.
– I quite agree with the conclusions of that section of the Commission. The protectionist section of that body recommended the imposition of a duty which cannot be supported by the evidence tendered to it. The manufacturers themselves declared that they had done exceedingly well under the operation of a 20 per cent. duty, and that they merely desired to be left alone.
– The free-trade section of the Tariff Commission recommend that a duty of only 10 per cent. should be imposed.
– I will not vote for a reduction of the former rate. I will not be a party to destroying factories which were induced to start operations under the old Tariff.
– The Committee must feel very much indebted to the honorable member for Denison for his level-headed exposition of the position of the woollen industry. So far, the debate has been of a very partial if not ex parte character. One representative of Queensland, who is evidently displeased with the reflection that has been cast upon the purity of Australian woollens, has informed us that, in his own State, these goods are the pure merino. The honorable member for Bass, too, has assured us that in Tasmania all woollens manufactured locally are of pure quality. Now, we do not wish to live in a fool’s paradise, and we certainly ought to face the facts of the case, which seem to be rather distasteful. I was very pleased to hear the honorable member for Fremantle try to prick -the bubble which has amused Victorian residents for so many years - I refer to the idea that everything made in Australia in the way of woollens or flannels is of absolutely pure quality. A little study of the evidence tendered to the Tariff Commission would disillusion them, . because we are assured by that body that, in some cases, Victorian flannels have been found to contain as much as 81 per cent. of cotton. That is the judicial finding of the Commission. Before to-day we have heard honorable members condemn the use of flannelette because it is a cotton manufacture. They have affirmed that people ought to be compelled to use pure Australian flannel in preference to flannelette. Side by side with that statement, the claim has been advanced that Australian flannel is absolutely pure and above suspicion. But in this connexion we have to recollect the finding of a judicial body - a body which was appointed under Royal Commission, whose members were under oath, and which took evidence under oath and weighed it judici ally in order to determine the facts. These Commissioners have reported to us that Victorian woollens actually contain from 15 per cent. to 81 per cent. of cotton.
– Some of the woollen goods produced in Victoria are pure.
– That may be so. I am quite willing to believe that some woollen manufacturers are so indifferent to competition and financial results that they use all wool in their manufactures. Looking at the matter from a commercial standpoint, I should have expected those manufacturers who are condemned to use the pure article, and to compete with others who put from 15 per cent. to 81 per cent. of cotton into their manufactures, to speedily go to the wall.
– I endeavoured to get those who adulterated their products punished.
– We are not here to take up an hysterical attitude. We do not wish to live in a fool’s paradise and to enact legislation under the impression that we are the select of the world, and that we manufacture something which no other country is manufacturing. I have already referred to the finding of the Tariff Commission in respect of Victorian woollens, and I have no doubt that much the same practice prevails in the other States. I will not stand up for my own State in this connexion–
– The honorable member ought to do so.
– I do not know that the percentage of cotton used in woollen manufactures in the other States is very, much less than it is in Victoria.
– Cannot we punish manufacturers who adulterate their product ?
– I am not dealing with the criminal law, but with the Tariff. I only wish to stop the honorable member, who is an idealist, and who would have been a poet if his energies had been directed in the proper channel–
– I want to prevent the adulteration of goods.
– I am paying the honorable member a great compliment when I say that he possesses all the characteristics of a poet. He never rises in his place without uttering sentiments worthy of Ruskin in his most humanitarian moments. He is a would-be benefactor of the human race. But he is the sort of honorable member who needs to be warned against drawing false conclusions upon practical questions. We are living in a fool’s paradise if we imagine that our woollen goods contain nothing but wool, especially in view of the report of the Tariff Commission that Victorian flannels in some cases contain as much as 81 per cent, of cotton. We have these very high duties claimed for Victorian products on the ground that the raw material from which they are made is on the spot. No greater fallacy was ever uttered, because if these’ flannels or woollens contain so very large a percentage of cotton, that raw material comes from the United States of America. Some of us - and I include myself among the number, although I think I am not guilty of the credulity which I am pointing out - are willing to put high duties on these goods on the strength of the old gag that the raw material is “on the spot.” It is not on the spot. The honorable member for Fremantle has satisfied me - as I think he must have satisfied every impartial mind in the Chamber - that no less than £90,000 worth of woollen yarn is imported into this country. Is it not a strange thing that in a country in which we are imposing these extraordinarily high duties, in order to encourage the production of materials of which we imagine we have the raw material on the spot we are im- porting woollen yarn for the purpose? .
– Is the imported yarn all wool ?
– I do not suppose it is.
– The proprietors of the Victorian Woollen Mills are asking that woollen yarn should be admitted free.
– One honorable member has pointed out that varn imported from Great Britain is also adulterated. It is probably so ; because it is not possible, I understand, to make a durable article of woollens or flannel without the use of a large percentage of cotton.
– It is not necessary for flannel.
– If honorable members will take the trouble to consult some work on fabrics, they will find that experts say that flannel or (weed made wholly of wool will not wear as well as materials made with a percentage of cotton. However, that does not affect my argument. I am aware that, as a free-trader, nothing I can say is likely to influence any protectionist votes on this matter- I am not speaking with that object, but, at all events, I shall have the satisfaction of knowing that these misconceptions have been pointed out. The honorable member for Fremantle has already informed the Committee of the importation of a large quantity of yarn. When he first stated what was in the paper he was about to read, he was met with all sorts of ridiculous epithets ; but when he went on to say that the statement he was about to make was confirmed and authenticated by the Comptroller of Customs honorable members seemed surprised to learn what he said. Whilst woollens and flannels locally manufactured contain this very large percentage of cotton, and a percentage, whether large or small, of imported yarn, we have woollen manufacturers inviting us to admit yarns free, in order that imported yarns may be used to a larger extent than at the present time. Thev are, at the same time, asking us to impose heavy duties on woollen goods, on the false assumption that they are being manufactured from our own raw material.
– Yarns are not free.
– No; but the manufacturers are asking that they should be admitted free. They admit that imported, and not Australian yarns, constitute” part of the raw material of their manufactures, and they are now asking that they should be admitted free. One cannot help going back on occasions of this sort to first principles, and inquiring how long this sort of thine is to go on. We never hear any one refer to the parents of families who have to buy trousers, coats, and waistcoats for their boys, or. to the workmen who must buy their clothing. The consumer is never referred to in this Committee, because honorable members are concerned all the time about the interests of the manufacturers.
– Oh, yes ; we do talk of the workmen. We want to give them good wages. We are talking about that now.
– The honorable member for Melbourne Ports reminds me of the Irishman who thought to lengthen his blanket by cutting a piece off the bottom and sewing it on to the top. Does not the honorable member recollect that after Mr. Ramsay McDonald, the British Labour member, returned from New Zealand, he said he had found that in thai Dominion they had raised wages by 8 pei cent., but that at the same time they had raised the cost of living by 18 per cent. ? I point out to the honorable member that while seeking to secure high wages for the workman he and those who think with him are piling up these duties, and increasing the prices of the necessaries of life of the working classes. They are robbing Peter to pay Paul, and are merely taking the money out of one pocket to put it into another. I wish to know how long this is going to last. Duties were imposed on woollens as far back as 1866, and a few years later I remember being told by protectionists that they did not want that kind of thing to continue. They said they wished the Tariff to be used as a mother uses her hands under the armpits of her child to help it to walk, and that when they found they could toddle alone the duties might bc withdrawn.
– When did the honorable member hear that?
– I heard that in 1866, and I have heard it ever since. It is a hollow argument; and I use that adjective as the one which best describes it. These industries have been established now for forty-one years, and they are still calling out for higher duties. If a child helped up to manhood by the support of his mother’s or father’s arms said, “.I require stronger crutches now,” he would be pronounced a cripple, and if the people engaged in these protected industries cannot, after forty-one years, by educating labour, importing improver! machinery, and overcoming local prejudice, hold their own against importations from other countries, we should begin to consider whether they have not had a fair chance, and whether the unfortunate consumer should not be given some consideration.
– We have had civilization for a good many years, but we still have the policeman.
– Does the honorable member think it is fair to use general arguments of that kind on this item?
– If the honorable member for Laanecoorie had been present to hear some of the other arguments addressed to the Committee on the item, he would know that I am merely answering them. It is not likely that the amendment vill be agreed to, but I think the Minister will find that a duty between that which he proposes and that suggested by the honorable member for Lang will be passed.
I shall vote for the amendment of the honorable member for Lang, and, if it be not carried, for an amendment proposing the next lowest rate.
.- The honorable member for Parkes has given us a great deal of cry and very little wool. I desire that more wool shall be manufactured in Australia. The honorable member has put up a fight for the pauper industries of Great Britain and their millionaire proprietors - I call them pauper industries because those who work in the factories are paupers. I wish to put up a fight for Australian industries. It is a shame that we who produce wool in such large quantities are compelled to purchase our woollen goods from abroad. The honorable member has stated -that cotton is used by Australian manufacturers. If we need cotton we should be .able to import it free of duty; we should be able to import free everything that we cannot make here. But I cannot understand those who profess to view these matters from an altruistic standpoint arguing in favour of such conditions as obtain - in the older countries of the world. Do honorable members not ‘know that those who work in factories at Home have to live in dog kennels, a family in each room? In such places as Huddersfield, and even in Edinburgh, families live in what are known as closes, which sometimes occupy as much’ as a square mile. Tenement houses, in rows of sixty, with spaces of 10 feet between them, sometimes accommodate a family to each room. Will it do Australia any good to assist the industries which give those people employment? What we should do is to build up industries in this country, and we can do so by imposing protective duties. Honorable members talk about the dearth of, and the need for increasing, population here. We now have an opportunity to increase it. Surely, if we can make anything, we can make woollen goods. It behoves us to try to do this, seeing that we need population - to get which we must provide employment - and that we are cut off from other parts of the ‘world. We, more than any other people, should busy ourselves in developing our resources so as to obtain some measure of independence. Are we to be ever the sucking child of Great Britain? Are we not now grown to sufficient stature to be able to control our own factories? I arn ready to vote for higher duties on commodities which we can manufacture in Australia. We can remedy abuses here, and, no doubt, they will creep in ; but we cannot remedy abuses in other parts of the world. I am averse from supporting, more than we can help, industries which allow such abuses. The fine stuffs which we import now are the product of the flesh and blood of the women and children of Great Britain, and their manufacture has done much to undermine the stamina of the population of that country.
– It would be better if we could get more British blood into Australia.
– I am prepared to work for that. I put first the development of primary .production. I wish to see our primary resources still more fully developed. But how can anything be done in that direction so long as a body of landlords, sitting on the Opposition benches, defy reform ? In any case, we must protect ourselves from the cheap and bloodstained products of foreign countries..
– Are there no landlords and mining speculators on the other side of the chamber?
– - They are prepared to vote as I would vote, while the members of the Opposition are not. The honorable mem: ber for Parkes endeavoured, as usual, to depreciate . Australian productions ; but, in speaking of the amount of cotton in Australian woollen goods, he failed to mention that the Tariff Commission recorded the opinion that the second set of samples obtained by the Customs Department was no more representative than the first set for the purposes of comparison, and that an exhaustive examination “of imported flannels would, probably, disclose the fact that, on the whole, as much cotton is used in their manufacture as is used in the manufacture of the Australian article, while there is more shoddy in them. We are getting more shoddy and rubbish from abroad than we make here, because the devices for converting rags and tatters into cloth are better known elsewhere than they are here. We shall be able to control whatever industries we may establish here, the representation in Parliament being a registration of the sentiments of the community, and the public is against imposition and fraud being practised on either consumers or workers.
.-‘ I am anxious that the Committee should come to a vote on this question.
– Because I am anxious that Parliament shall, if possible, rise before Christmas.
– We should hear something from the Minister first.
– It will not matter to the honorable member for Laanecoorie’ whether we do or do not rise at Christmas, because, as a Victorian representative, hewill be on the spot in any case, whereas others will have to travel long distances to attend the meetings of the House.
– I have known instances in which honorable members responsible for the re-assembling of the House after Christmas have not attended its meetings, having remained on the mountains, or in a more pleasant climate than Melbourne enjoys during the summer months.
– Are we not to reply to aggravating speeches such as we have just heard ?
– It was brought about by the aggravating speech of the honorable member for Parkes.
– I ha.ve no desire to cause irritation, and have largely refrained from taking part in the debates, not from want of interest in the principles to which I am pledged, but because I wish to shorten the discussion of the Tariff as much as possible. I am pledged to, and have done my best to support, protectionist principles, but I have felt that there are occasions when one can best do that by maintaining a discreet silence. With regard to the manufacture of woollens, there is one aspect of the question which I desire to put before the Committee. A pound of wool, when shipped from Australia to the Old Country, is worth about is., but on its return in the shape of cloth is worth anything up to 12s., the whole of the -added value having been given to it abroad. The primary producer is not materially benefited by the exportation of his wool instead of its manufacture here. He would receive more assistance if Australian manufacturers bought more of it, and if, instead of being compelled to submit to the temporary derangement of markets at Home, he could obtain a certain market here, and have the additional value to which I have referred given to his product in Australia. Nearly the whole of the added value is represented by labour. It is because I want to see the people of Australia, and those whom we hope to see coming here within the next few years, fully and lucratively employed, that I desire this added value to be placed on the article within the confines of the continent. Much has been said about the position which is occupied by the various woollen factories operating in Australia. It has been stated frequently that they are unable to immediately supply the orders submitted to them. The mills find themselves in that position mainly owing to the restricted output which they have. Honorable members have said, and said wisely, that the real problem is the question of patterns. Last week, I was surprised to hear an honorable member on the other side say that patterns are not originated here. That is not a fact, because I have seen very many patterns which have been originated in Australia at the suggestion of those who supply the public with particular brands of tweeds. I am glad to see that the mills are taking up this question with very much greater vigour than they have displayed previously. They were conservative then, but they are prepared now to meet the popular demand, and the result undoubtedly will be a very much larger output.
– They have had designers here for years.
– Last week a statement was made by an honorable member sitting on the front Opposition bench that no patterns have been made in Australia. I contradicted the statement at the time, and can assure honorable members, from: personal knowledge, that a number of men are engaged solely in the work of designing, and that it is being carried out under most satisfactory conditions. With respect to the duty which is asked for, I have made very careful inquiries, and satisfied myself that there is no hope of the mills getting the proper machinery which is necessary not only to cope with the demand which will arise but with outside competition, which will undoubtedly exist, unless we can secure to our own people the greater part of their home market. In these circumstances, I intend to vote for the duty as proposed by the Government.
.- I must refer very briefly to the last two speeches. It is rather too much to expect the Opposition to sit silent while such wild statements are made as those uttered by the honorable member for Macquarie. What a grossly unfair thing it is- to talk of the labour of Great Britain as pauper labour !
– So it is.
– Suppose that a man gets a few shillings a week less than does another man - if he pays his way, is he a pauper? That is an odious term to apply to a man who has the misfortune to earn not so much wages as does another.
– It is a reflection on Great Britain.
– What has the honorable member to say about some workers who earn twice as much as do British workers, and spend all their wages in drink, and do not pay their debts? Are they not worse than paupers?
– They cannot be counted by millions.
– Who would ascribe that character to the workers generally because one or two are guilty of such conduct?
– In Australia, they have not to live like dogs, anyhow?
– Why should the people of the Mother Country be branded by such an opprobrious epithet as that?
– Because Great Britain deserves it.
– Is a man a pauper who earns his living as well as he can in his own country, and pays his way ?
– They cannot pay their way.
– The honorable member is contemptible when he makes use of such epithets with reference to the stock from which he comes.
– So is the honorable member, who is a much older man and ought to have more sense.
– It is simply a contemptible insult to the workers of the Mother Country.
– It is an insult to Great Britain, I admit.
– No man is a pauper who pays his way and keeps out of a Benevolent Asylum. How can the honorable member fairly apply such an epithet to any man who pays his way honestly and gets the best wages that the circumstances of his country will admit of? The representatives of labour should be the last to so brand workers, whose only reproach is that, amongst the millions who live in that little spot, they cannot get the splendid wages which prevail in newer countries. Is it their fault that their wages are lower than those which obtain in newer countries ?
– Certainly not.
– The term is not a proper one to be applied to any man who pays his way.
– Surely it is the fault of the legislation which allows them to live like that !
– That is another matter. No working man who pays his debts ought to be’ branded as a pauper. It is a gross slander to utter,. and I cast it back in the teeth of the honorable member for Macquarie, who ought to be ashamed of using such an expression with reference to millions of the class which he is supposed to represent. It is quite true that the piece rates in the woollen factories of Australia are 50 per cent, higher than the rates in the’ Mother Country.
– Then they must be bad there.
– That may be. The machinery used in the Mother Country is infinitely superior to ours; and with that machinery much more than the 50 per cent, difference in the piece rate is earned.
– Vicars’ machinery is as good as any machinery that can be found.
– I am not talking of Mr. Vicars, to whom I gave a start with his blanket contract.
– Arid he is at Home getting the last developments in machinery.
– He is back.
– With the machinery, too.
– - He is a credit to the manufacturers of Australia. When I was at the head of a Government in New South Wales, he came to me and said, “ If you give me a five years’ contract I will ask you for no protection. I will put down a plant to make colonial blankets out of colonial wool.” I decided in favour of competition, and he won against the whole world.
– His evidence before the Tariff Commission does not show that.
– Only yesterday I received a letter confirming what I have said here on a previous occasion. I suppose it will be admitted that in the Mother Country they have rather better appliances in these great industries than a young country like ours can have. Although the rates are lower there, still the earnings of the people in the woollen factories are not so bad. Let us compare the wages of adult males and females in the Mother Country with the wages of adult males and females in, say, the Victorian factories. The figures show that there is nothing of the pauper about the hands in the Old Country. An adult male in Huddersfield will earn 30s. a week, as against 37s. a week earned by an adult male in Victoria. And an adult female operator in Huddersfield makes from 20s. to 23s. or 24s. a week, as against about the same - rate here. We have had gross exaggerations about the condition of the workers in the Old Country. I -ask any reasonable man how he can expect the workers - crowded in a territory comprising 120,000 square miles, and containing a population of 42,000,000 men, women and children - to be as well off as the comparatively small number of workers-
– We do not expect them to be.
– Something will happen to the honorable member if he does not wait until the person he wants to interrupt has finished his sentence. Compared with our enormous territory of 3,000,000 square miles, we have a- mere handful of workers, ‘ and any attempt to compare the wages of the workers of the two countries is, I think, most unfortunate. Whether a man is getting high or low wages, if he pays his way, and does not go on the State, he ought not to be branded as a pauper.
– Why should it be an unfair comparison if they are both producing the same class of material?
– I mean that it is an insulting sort of comparison which treats the workers of England as if they were paupers, because they cannot get better wages than they do. It is an odious expression to apply to any man who works for his living honestly and pays his way. That is what ‘aroused my indignation.
– Does not one out of every ten persons in London die at a public institution?
– Nothing of the kind.
Mr. -Maloney. - Then the right honorable member had better consult Mulhall.
– I must not speak too positively, because I have not the figures beside me. It is absurd to make any statement without reference to the authorities, but I know that no man can describe the millions of persons who are employed in the factories of England as if they were in the position of paupers. The honorable* member for Laanecoorie spoke of the added value which would be given to Australian wool by a development of our woollen industries. I am sure that he spoke at random, because if we can use only a small quantity of the wool which we produce, the price of the article is governed by the world’s market, and not by our market.
– Last year we imported £2,000,000 worth.
– Suppose that we used in our factories 100 times more wool than
Ave do, and that our wool clip was twice as much as that which we used in our factories. The fact that we used onehalf of our clip would not affect the price of the wool by one farthing. It is just the same with wheat, as the honorable member, who represents a farming constituency, must know. If we do not produce enough wheat for the Australian market our farmers have the benefit of a protective duty, but if we produce twice as much as we require for local consumption every buyer of wheat in the country markets quotes not the local price governed by the Tariff, but the world’s price, governed by quotations outside Australia.
– The more wheat we use in Australia the steadier will be the price in Australia.
– I do not object to that proposition. I see what the honorable member means. When he referred to “ the added value” he had in mind the added value given to the article by manufacture.
– Hear, hear.
– The remark is a perfectly proper one. We all desire that our manufactures should flourish. The only question is as to what is a fair thing to do as between the factories and the public who have to use the fabrics made up by those factories. As long as we keep those two points steadily in view and do not think of the one and forget the other, we shall be more likely! to arrive at a satisfactory determination with regard to this matter. I admit that the lines on which the Opposition go are lines which my honorable friends opposite could never follow. I see the chasm which divides us, although we have both the same aims. But the Opposition do not accept the view adopted by the honorable member for Macquarie. His idea of building up the primary industries of Australia is to build up the city industries by high protective duties, the brunt of which has to be borne, not by the protected industries but by the unprotected consumer. He seems to me to transpose the argument. It is a case of talking about the roof instead of the foundations. As a nation rises in. greatness it grows in the higher forms of human industry. But the foundations of a nation are always to be found in its forms of primary industry - the forms of industry closely associated with its natural resources. My idea is that these high protective duties will handicap the primary industries of Australia. They will make them less attractive and make the town industries more attractive, and that is the very process which I believe to be wrong. When we come to the duties on mining machinery we shall have to choose between the manufacturers in the big. cities and those who use what they produce.
– I have already made that choice.
– If the mining industries had to depend on the Minister for fair treatment–
– Wait till I tell the honorable member what my proposals are.
– We do not know what they are. I only know that unless we can secure a majority against the proposals in the Tariff as it stands we shall have no new proposals.
– That is not fair.
-It is. The Government must mean what they have proposed.
– No; I have told honorable members more than once that I am having prepared a division of machinery - especially as to electrical machinery - which cannot be made here from machinery which can.
– Order. That matter must not be discussed.
– I am delighted to have that information from the Treasurer. Since; the honorable member was allowed to make the ; statement “I fail to see why I should be prevented from bringing my Rontgen rays to bear upon it. Still, I shall obey your ruling, Mr. Chairman.
– The proposals will be circulated in a few days.
– I am glad to hear it. There is a little glimmer of reason in the proposal that is to be put before us. Who has put the Minister up to it? I am very glad to hear that the Government are beginning to draw a line between things which cannot by any possibility be made in Australia and things which can.
– Protectionists always do draw such a distinction.
– That is an axiom from South Melbourne. We shall inscribe it on that pinnacle of materialistic vapour. If we cannot carry the amendment moved by the honorable member for Lang, I hope that, at all events, the duty will be reduced, because the history of these duties is not encouraging. When we look at the records we find that these industries flourished less when the duties were higher. When we agreed, in 1901, to a duty of 15 per cent. on woollens, we were told that it would spread ruin among the woollen factories of Australia. Since then the number of hands engaged in the woollen industry has been very largely increased. The mills, I am told, cannot supply for months ahead orders that have been given to them.
– Offers of orders for goods at about 25 per cent. under English cost.
– I know that the honorable member has a lot of information which we do not possess in regard to these industries. I sympathize with them very much ; but we have also to sympathize with the public. I hope that no cotton is used by mills of which the honorable member knows anything. Instead of the duty of 15 per cent. having ruined the woollen mills, we find that they have now more orders than they can supply.
– That is not so.
– They have had offers at a price.
– I am talking not of offers, but of orders, which are something very different. A man might be offered a ridiculously low price, which he would not accept,but I am speaking , of orders that have been accepted.
– Orders for goods to be delivered four years ahead.
– To be delivered a, long time ahead. . I hope that even the protectionists, in view of these facts, will not push up this duty too high. We may not be able to carry the amendment moved by the honorable member for Lang, but I hope that a proposition more moderate than that submitted by the Minister will, at all events, be accepted.
.- I propose to put before the Committee some further information to substantiate the statement made by the honorable member for Macquarie, to which the right honorablemem- ber for East Sydney has replied. What is the position in connexion with the textile trade in Great Britain? We find that this year boys’ knickers have been made at 2d. per pair, and men’s coats at from 4d. each.
– The honorable member should look over the figures for the Victorian industries, where the factories have been sweating.
– But the position here is nothing like as bad as it is in the Old Country.
– Where has the honorable member obtained his figures?
– From the report of the Royal Commission on Home Work, which was presented this year to the House of Commons. It shows that for making coats, which the manufacturer sells at 8s., a man receives from 4d. each.
-That worker is an object of sympathy to all of us.
– That is the pauper labour of England !
– I do not call that worker a pauper.
– Nor did I call him a pauper.
– Shirts are being made in Great Britain more cheaply than they are made in Japan. They are made for export at 6d. per dozen. Miss Squire, an inspectress, who appeared before the Factory Commission, was asked -
Even in the cases where the payment is at the very low rate of 6d. a dozen - that is,1/2d. each?
Her reply was -
Yes. I think, perhaps, that an individual case illustrating that might be interesting to the Committee. It is typical of a large number of these outwork cases, but it may be interesting.
– Does the honorable member intend to connect his remarks with the item now under consideration?
– I wish to show the condition of the workers, under free-trade, in Great Britain. I wish, also, to show that it is necessary to have a protective duty for the benefit of our workers.
– I would point out to the honorable member that he would be in order in referring to the wages paid to operators in the woollen industry, but that we have already dealt with apparel and attire, to the making of which the figures quoted by him relate.
– Should I not be in order in showing the condition of the workers under free-trade in Great Britain? We are now seeking to increase protective duties, and I am showing reasons why they should be’ increased. I find that there are at least 14,000 workers in Great Britain who are working seven days a week.
– Workmen have shorter hours in Great Britain than in the United States.
– An inspector of factories visited twenty homes in the month ofJuly last, at about11 o’clock on Sunday morning, and found twenty workmen engaged at that time in making articles, some of which, no doubt, were for export to other countries.
– Perhaps to Australia.
– The right honorable member for East Sydney has referred to the textile workers. We do not want to have in Australia the condition of things existing in England with regard to that trade. The report of the Chief Inspector of Factories and Workshops in Great Britain for 1 906, page 244, shows the wages paid in the industry. Spinners receive 8s. 9d. per week. In Australia, they receive from 30s. up to £2. Layers receive 6s. 6d. per week, and other workers as little as 3s.11d. per week.
– What are they making?
– All kinds of articles, I suppose. Where our workers receive 32s. a week, similar employes in Great Britain are being paid 9s., 10s., and11s.
– That is all rubbish.
– They are working under those conditions in the woollen mills; and if a girl is one minute late at her work she forfeits 2s. If she wants to start work after being late, she has to pay a fine of 2d.
– They are fined here in just the same way.
– A girl gets11s. a week, with a bonus of 2 s. per week if she is not a minute late on any day ; and if she should be a minute late, she has, as I have explained, to pay a fine of 2d. before she starts work. The honorable member for Macquarie is quite correct in bringing this matter before the Committee. I am prepared to meet the honorable member fairly and squarely in assisting in any effort to improve the condition of the workers. We should try every method to prevent our workers being employed under similar conditions. The sweating that prevails in Great Britain to-day is deplorable; and, much as we may desire to give a preference to goods imported from the Old Country, we must insure that our workmen and workwomen do not have to compete against the goods of those who pay their employes only 9s. a week, whilst our manufacturers pay them 32 s.
.- I desire to clear the air a little in regard to the construction placed by the leader of the Opposition upon what I said a little while ago. With that aptitude for which he is so famed, he twisted my remarks into a misrepresentation of my meaning.. He knows as well as I do that to speak of “ pauper labour “ is to use a well understood economic term, and conveys no reflection upon the labour per se, although it may be a reflection upon the conditions which make it imperative for people to work for wages which force them to live in a state of pauperism. The fanfare of the right honorable member - or the pyrotechnical display with which he favoured the Committee - were simply indulged in with a view of diverting the attention of honorable members from the solemn and sorry facts which I brought under their notice. The right honorable member, I think, traduced the dignity of the Committee when he proceeded to ridicule statements which showed how the life-blood of human beings and the welfare of the nation are concerned in such facts as have been disclosed to honorable members. Then, again, the right honorable member twitted me with placing secondary industries before primary industries - with putting the roof on before the foundation of the building is laid. But he knows better than any one present how difficult it is to stimulate the primary industries of this country, thwarted as we are by landlordism and by the abominable land laws of the States. It is for that reason that we cannot deal with our primary industries as we can with our secondary industries. As we cannot legislate with regard to the land as I should like to see it dealt with, we are compelled to do what we can to develop our secondary industries. The attitude of the right honorable member is that of one who has apparently grown weary in well-doing and upon whom the lassitude of age has fallen, so that if we adopted ‘his point of view we might assume to be written up over the portals of Parliament, ‘ ‘ Abandon hope all ye who enter here.” Are we to refrain from doing anything to improve the condition of the people of this country because the leader of the Opposition is tired? Are we to make no political move forward and to say that there shall be no experimental legislation because the leader of the Opposition is weary of well doing? If the right honorable member had seized the opportunities which presented themselves to him in years gone by, Australia would have been in a better position than she is in today. He might have placed himself at the head of the democratic forces of this country, instead of attempting to block their path. Instead of endeavouring to keep back the march of democracy, he might have been the man -
Who makes by forcehis merit known,
And lives to clutch the golden keys,
To mould a mighty State’s decrees,
And shape the whisper of the throne.
But instead of that, we have him supporting a policy which would degrade the worker, and put a stumbling block in the path of the young Australia party which is trying to improve the condition of the people. The right honorable member might surely find some more useful scope for the exercise of his abilities than in endeavouring to prevent us from doing what we desire to do for the development of Australia. We, I take it, are here to -
Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife ;
Ring in the nobler modes of life
With sweeter manners, purer laws.
That is what I meant by the remarks to which the right honorable member has taken exception.
.- I think that in laying down a policy for this country, it may be profitable to look to the condition of affairs that obtains in other countries. What Tariff has been found necessary there in order to establish their industries? In Canada, according to Kelly’s Tariffs of the World, the duty on woollen clothing is from 25 to 35 per cent., and in the United States from 40 to 50 per cent., while the duties in both France and Germany are very high. We are only a young country, and, in’ laying the foundations of the Tariff, we ought to draw some valuable lessons from the experience of older countries.
– Has the honorable member any figures showing the comparative production?
– Any such comparison would be in favour of the country which produces least. After all, fortunes are not made on high prices, but on the general turnover. Importing houses in Australia have succeeded, in many instances, in making large fortunes, not because of excessive prices, but because of an immense turnover. I find from the report of the
Tariff Commission that we import £2,000,000 worth of piece goods per annum. The protectionist section of the Tariff Commission say that if the whole of these goods were made in Australia we should be employing fully 10,000 men, as compared with only one-fifth of that number employed at the present time.
– Hear, hear.
– We may also learn valuable lessons from a comparison between the wages paid in Great Britain and the wages paid in Australia. I thoroughly agree that we should avoid casting any reflection on the older countries, especially on Great Britain ; but still we ought to profit by experience in our endeavour to secure better conditions in Australia. The protectionist section of the Tariff Commission recommended a duty of 40 per cent. on clothing, but the Committee agreed . to a duty of 40 per cent. for the general Tariff, and 35 per cent. as against Great Britain. In the case of blankets, the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission recommended a duty of 25 per cent., whereas the Committee agreed to a duty of 25 per cent. general Tariff, and 20 per cent. as against Great Britain.
– There is a great difference between blankets and tweed.
– I quite agree with the honorable member; a duty of 20 per cent. on blankets is as good protection as 40 per cent., or probably 50 per cent., in the case of clothing. In the present instance the Government proposal is a reduction of 5 per cent. in the duty as against Great Britain; and that is consistent with the recommendation of the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission.
– The Government proposal is to place dress fabrics on the 15 per cent. scale, and that makes a lot of difference.
– That I quite understand ; this may be a technical matter, but the proposal seems worthy of favorable consideration, though how far I may be able to agree with the proposal I am not prepared to say at this point. These are my reasons for voting for duties of 30 and 25 per cent. ; and my action is consistent with my votes on the items of clothing and blankets. Whilst I have not been able to follow the Commission in every instance, I think that in this case their recommendations are worthy of consideration; and I shall vote for a reduction of 5 per cent, in favour of Great Britain in this and other instances in this item of woollens.
Mr. FULLER (Illawarra) [6.25J. - I fail to see any justification on the part of either the Treasurer or his supporters for doubling the duty on the item under consideration. No arguments have been submitted to justify the action of the Treasurer; but it would appear that arguments are of no use in this Committee. Seeing that the Treasurer has failed to justify his action, I invite the Postmaster-General, who has been continually interrupting, to show some grounds for the increase of duty.
– I have justified my position absolutely.
– The Treasurer has justified his position just as much as he has in regard to other items. The PostmasterGeneral is a well-known protectionist, and has been secretary of the Protectionist Association of Victoria for years. According to his interjections he knows all about the woollen tirade of Victoria; and I think’ he ought, under the circumstances, to show some reason for the duty which the Government propose. The honorable member for Bourke, who is the Government whip, has been in close association with the PostmasterGeneral in fiscal matters’; and from that gentleman,- too, we are entitled” to some statement.
– The protectionist section of the Tariff Commission recommended a duty of 30 per cent.
– I regret exceedingly that the Chairman of the Tariff Commission is not here to justify his position, because his absence prevents those who took an opposite view from speaking as strongly *s they otherwise might do. The free-trade section of the Tariff Commission were quite prepared to sign a report which gave a fair presentation of the case to Parliament and the country, but they could not possibly sign a report which did not honestly do so. Under the circumstances the free-trade section were forced into drawing up a report of their own.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.45 p.m.
– The two sections of the Tariff Commission brought up separate reports on the question of woollen piece goods. In consequence of the evidence and the whole position not having been, in the opinion of the free-trade section of the Commission, placed fully and fairly in the Chairman’s report, we felt bound to bring up a report showing what we considered to be the true position of the woollen industry in Australia. I desire to draw attention to the position of the . industry before Federation. The Victorian witnesses before the Commission made very strong representations that the industry would go down unless the duties were restored to the rates at which they stood years ago under the Victorian Tariff. The industry in Victoria had the advantage of very high protection for a great number of years. The men who shrieked out loudest for protective duties for the benefit of the Australian woollen industry were those Victorians who had had the advantage of high duties in the past, and it was only because the Victorian manufacturers approached those of Tasmania, South Australia, and New South Wales, that the latter fell into line with the request of the former for higher duties. As I stated before on the question of apparels and textiles, the Committee is entitled to know from the Treasurer why, in the first instance, he proposed a higher protective duty than the highest asked for by the manufacturers who came before the Commission.
– Simply to take it off again.
– It. may be so, but, if so, it is not a fair thing to the Committee or to the country. The very highest duty on this item asked for by any witness before the Tariff Commission was 30 per cent. The Treasurer did not even attempt to justify his proposition for higher duties, nor have any of his supporters done so. Mr. Grainger, who was the principal witness for the Victorian Woollen Mills before the Commission, admitted that the history of the industry during the whole of the period before the advent of the Commonwealth Tariff had not been very encouraging, most of the mills having had to be reconstructed at one time or other, while some had gone out of existence. That was under the high protective duties of the Victorian Tariff. The figures quoted to-night by the honorable member, who moved to reduce the proposed duty now under discussion, showed clearly that during the time those high protective duties were in existence fewer operatives were employed in the Victorian woollen mills, but that under the operation of the Federal Tariff, which is the lowest that the Victorian woollen mills have had, the number of operatives reached its maximum. The names of at least four mills which had gone out of existence under the Victorian Tariff were mentioned to the Commission. Does the evidence of Mr. Grainger and other representatives of the Victorian woollen mills furnish any reason why the Committee should agree to the high duties now proposed by the Treasurer? On the contrary, even since the comparatively low duties in the first Commonwealth Tariff were imposed, the Victorian mills have been working full time, their employes are receiving to-day higher wages than ever they received during the whole previous existence of the mills, and everything, according to the evidence submitted to the Commission, shows that instead of agreeing to. a proposition for higher duties, we should, at any rate, grant none higher than those imposed by the Tariff of 1901. I wish to quote figures to show the number of hands employed in the Victorian mills in given years. I quoted the same figures in connexion with employment so far as apparel and textiles were concerned, but honorable members, and the public generally, ought to know these figures, because they show that as the duty decreased more hands were employed in the woollen mills, not only of Victoria, but of Australia. They are as follow -
There was an immediate reduction from 791 to 552 the moment the duty was increased by 11 per cent.
– Does the honorable member infer that the increase of the duty was the cause of the decrease in the number of hands employed ?
– The honorable member need not look so self-satisfied. I know as well as he does that there was in Victoria a boom which burst, and I am prepared to ascribe as much to that cause as the honorable member is, but these facts appear right through the figures long before we come to the boom time -
There was a great decrease in the duty in that case, but the number of operatives increased considerably.
– Because times had improved very much in Victoria.
– They have continued to improve very much, so far as the woollen mills are concerned, under the lower duties of the Federal Tariff- 1903 …161/2 per cent. …1,013
That is the largest number of operatives employed in the Victorian woollen mills’ during the whole of their existence. It is’ marvellous that under the lowest duty which has been applied to the industry for many years, as compared with duties nearly four’ times as high, there has been such an increasing number of operatives employed in those mills. I put that contention forward, and claim that the Treasurer, or some other member of the Ministry, is entitled to answer it. The Treasurer may put it down to boom times or anything else, but there are the facts. Before the Committee votes for the high duty asked for, the position which I have put forward should be answered. Something has been said of the’ woollen industry of New South Wales.
– Of course there are later figures available.
– But I am not in possession of them. Reference was made by the honorable member for New England to a woollen mill at Granville. Had he known anything about the gentleman who is conducting that mill he would scarcely have quoted the latter when he did. Mr. Bergan did not appear as a witness before the’ Tariff Commission, and it is well known that at various periods his establishment has been closed. When I say that I have said as much as I ought to say upon the floor of this House.
– The honorable member implies that Mr. Bergan did not speak the truth.
– I do not say that. It is a matter that I trust the honorable member will make inquiries into.
– I think that any manufacturer was foolish to appear before the Tariff Commission.
– A manufacturer was absolutely foolish to appear before the Commission if he expected the whole of its members to accept as gospel every word that he chose to utter. The reason underlying all the noise which was created in Victoria in reference to the Commission was that its members insisted upon learning something about the industry in which the manufacturers who gave evidence were interested. We desired to see their balance-sheets and to ‘ learn whether the industry was progressing.
– Its members were like the nasty Labour Party - they wanted to know something.
– That was the reason the manufacturers did not like to appear before the Commission, and that is the reason, why the honorable member for Bass declares that they were foolish to appear before it.
– They were foolish to do so, because they were not believed when they spoke the truth.
– We absolutely believed them when they spoke the truth, but when upon cross-examination they were not able to substantiate their statements we refused to accept them as gospel. It has been <;aid that the woollen industry in New South Wales was practically killed under freetrade conditions. In answer to that statement I would point out that Mr. Vicars’ establishment - and he is the biggest woollen proprietor in New South Wales - has been in existence for a great number of years. Those honorable members who saw the exhibits of his tweed at the Royal Agricultural Show in New South Wales will admit that he displayed the finest samples of tweed manufactured in the Commonwealth. It is all very well for the Treasurer to say that the industry was killed in New South Wales under free-trade conditions. But his statement is refuted by the fact that in addition to Mr. Vicars’ mills, the Parramatta Woollen Mills and the Coverwul Mills at Bowenfels are still running. Mr. Vicars himself stated in evidence that prior to Federation his firm had ma:de profits, though they were not altogether satisfactory. I would further point out that he was able to send his goods into Victoria when a duty of 25 per cent, was operative here.
– The honorable member will never persuade Victorians of that.
– Some of the Victorian manufacturers to-day are feeling the pinch of the competition from New South Wales. I wish now to refer to the condition of the woollen industry . since Federation. One would imagine from the statements which are made m various quarters that in consequence of the operation of a duty of 15 per cent, the industry was languishing. But Mr. Grainger, of the Ballarat Woollen
Mills, himself admitted that the inauguration of Inter-State free-trade had benefited his firm. Indeed the whole of the evidence presented by the Victorian manufacturers was to the effect that they had derived a very great benefit from the establishment of Inter-State free-trade by reason of the extended market which was made available to them. Mr. Grainger stated -
The effect of the reduction of the duty to 15 per cent, had been to cause them to look very much sharper after their affairs, to work at increased pressure and to turn out more goods in order to decrease the cost of production.
The fact is that under the high duties which had been previously levied in Victoria, the woollen manufacturers of this State had become very careless in the management of their businesses. They had allowed their machinery to become obsolete. The result of the opening of the Australian markets, in spite of the reduction of the duty to 15 per cent, from the high duty previously in force in Victoria, was that those engaged in the industry had to look very much sharper after their affairs and to work at increased pressure. Why had they to do so? It was in order to enable them to supply the larger demand for their goods. To-day a number of the woollen mills in Victoria, as well as in other parts of Australia, are unable to supply the demand for their goods by merchants and retailers. Mr. Grainger was asked if he had any explanation to offer as to why certain Victorian mills, which had enjoyed . so large a measure . of protection under the State Tariff, had ceased to work, and he said -
One reason was that the industry was carried oi more irregularly and without that dash which now characterises it.
In his report for 1903, Mr. Ord, the Inspector of Factories in Victoria, speaking of the position ,of the woollen industry, wrote -
I have again to report that the woollen trade industry has been exceptionally busy during the whole of this year, an average of 300 workers having been constantly employed in one of the mills. In my last report I mentioned that additional machinery had been brought from England. A complete set of carding, combing, spinning, and winding plant has .been added during the year, together with new machinery throughout various departments of the mill, and the business is extending to the other States, clearly showing that there is an increasing demand for woollens of Colonial manufacture.
When Mr.. Grainger was asked whether that portion of Mr. Ord’s report was correct, he said it correctly represented the position. The fact- is that - ever since the establishment of Federation Mr. Grainger’s company have been paying good dividends.
– Their capital was written down by one-half, and the original shareholders lost their money.
– I do not wish to take up the time of the Committee in going into the lengthy examination of the witness on that point by the Tariff Commission. The honorable member for Balaclava is specially interested in one woollen mill in Victoria, and if he looks up the evidence taken in connexion with the matter to which he* refers, he will find that it was very fully and carefully inquired into. The question arose whether the capital of the company was £30,000 or £60,000. Mr. Grainger hedged on that question from start to finish, but finally was brought to admit that on the subscribed capital of £60,000 the dividend paid worked out at’ 7
– They wrote down £30,000.
– They paid n per cent, on £60,000, whereas the real dividend paid by the company was 15 per cent, on a paid-up capital of £30,000.
– Did they pay that dividend every year?
– They paid no dividend, for ten years.
– I ask the honorable member for Bass whether he has read the evidence given by Mr. Grainger in connexion with that matter?
– Then I ask the honorable member whether I am not right in the contention that a dividend of 15 per cent, was paid on the paid-up capital of £30,000 ?
– Does the honorable member suggest that the dividend was 15 per cent, over the whole term of the operations of the company ?
– No, since the imposition of the duty of 15 per cent, under the Federal Tariff.
– That is to say that the company have paid a dividend of 15 per cent, on the paid-up capital for the last six years ?
– I will not say six years, because at the time the Tariff Commission took the evidence to which I have referred, six years had not elapsed from the establishment of Federation.
– Then five years?
– The Tariff Commission is not sitting at the present time, and the Treasurer should be able to give the Committee the information. He should be able to tell us what Mr. Grainger’s mill is paying in the way of dividends.. Does the honorable gentleman know whether the Ballarat mill is languishing for a lack of the higher duties he proposes?
– The Minister knows no more about the matter than does the man in the moon.
– And the honorable gentleman does not want to know any more about it.
– It seems to me that the evidence was not sufficient to justify a conclusion in either direction.
– The honorable member for Corio is a lawyer. and if he had read the evidence he would have come to the same conclusion as I did.
– Perhap’s from the demeanour of the witnesses; but not from the sworn evidence as it appears in the report of the Commission.
– From, the evidence given by Mr. Grainger himself. So far as the New South Wales mills are concerned we had evidence that the 15 per cent, had little or no effect on the industry in that State. They had been getting on practically as well without any duty as with the duty of 15 per cent, under the Federal Tariff. I have mentioned that it was on / in consequence of the Victorian manufacturers approaching Mr. Vicars, of the Marrickville Mills, Mr. Blackman, and Mr. Bergan, to whom I have already referred, that they came into line with the Victorian manufacturers in requesting the imposition of high duties. What Mr. Vicars said was that-
Although the duties have been in existence for nearly four years, this is practically the first occasion when we have had a taste of protection so that we do not quite know what will be its ultimate effect.
He had been carrying on the industry in free-trade New South Wales, had done a big business, and his business was improving. The honorable member .for Mernda gave us the information this afternoon that Mr. Vicars had recently come back from a visit to England. Every one knows what his business there was. It was to secure improved machinery to put into his factorv at Marrickville, and we all wish success to his venture.
– In view of the increased Tariff ?
– No. In view of the way in which he had been able to carry on his business under the old Tariff and of the way in which he found he could carry .it on in New South Wales without protection. We had evidence from Mr. C. E. Moore, a South Australian witness, that the progress qf the industry in that State was ;not due to the Tariff at all. They found that they had been carrying on the business under an old and obsolete system, and they changed their system, with the result that to-day in South Australia Mr. Moore, the principal woollen manufacturer in the State, is carrying on the industry successfully, and, according to his own evidence, ms success is not ro be attributed to the duty.
– The honorable “member will never persuade a protectionist that any industry can be carried on without coddling of some kind.
– I am giving honorable members the evidence of Mr. Moore himself. He puts it down, not to duties, but to changes of methods of manufacture. So far as Tasmania is concerned, the manufacturers there have stated that a duty of 20 per cent, is high enough for them, and that thev do not desire the high rate asked for by the Victorian manufacturers.
– It is those who use obsolete machinery who want protection.
– Honorable members generally must admit that the Tasmanian factories are flourishing and prosperous. It has been said in this chamber, and Dublished in the press, that, in consequence of the substitution of the old Commonwealth duty of 15 per cent, for the Victorian duty, the Victorian mills largely changed their output from tweeds to flannels ; but statistics do not bear out that assertion, because there was a large falling off in the production of tweeds in Victoria more than a year before the Commonwealth Tariff was introduced, the Victorian OUt.put of tweeds in 1899 being 1,051,832 yards, and in 1900, only 971,267 yards.
– Victoria agreed to Federation in 1899, and anticipated then the destruction of her industries.
– Some of the mills went in for the production of worsteds, because of the large bonus offered by the Victorian Government for the manufacture of that article.
– I do not pretend to be thoroughly conversant with the relations between the Victorian Government and the local woollen mills, but the figures which I have quoted disprove the assertion- that it was in consequence of the introduction of the first Commonwealth Tariff that the Victorian mills began to produce flannels rather than tweeds. As a matter of fact, the mills now manufacturing flannels have more work to do than .they can perform, and will not take orders, commissions given to them six to twelve months ago being yet unexecuted. What justification is there then for the proposed increase of duty ? The honorable members for Batman and Macquarie spoke of the difference between (he rates of wages here and those prevailing in the Old Country. I shall not deal with what was said about pauper labour, because those statements have been finally answered. According to the Statistical Register of New South Wales, the rates of wages in that State are similar to those in Victoria, the average wage being 20s. 5d. in New South Wales as against 20s: 9d. in Victoria. Since Federation, the tendency has been for wages to fall in New South Wales, while in Victoria, under the operation of the Wages Boards, they have risen slightly. Still, we may take it that in the two States the prevailing rates are practically the same. Examined on the subject’ of rates of wages in the woollen industry in the Old Country, Mr. C. J. Ripley, a Sydney warehouse manager, gave evidence which the protectionist members of the Tariff Commission were unable to upset. He said -
You have been informed that Australian, rates of wages are 50 per cent, higher than those ruling in Great Britain, but it is not so. Two years ago I was speaking to some of the largest manufacturers in Great Britain, who showed me their wages sheets, and I am convinced that there are plenty of mills turning out the same kind of material as is made in Australia, whose rates of wages are not 10 per cent, below the Australian rates.
The hours of labour in this industry are in Australia forty-eight, and in Great Britain fifty-six per week, the- difference being equivalent to eight weeks in the year. The free- trade members of the Tariff Commission, after careful consideration of all the circumstances, reported that -
In every £100 worth of goods produced in ‘Australia the value of the labour is £30 as against ^20 paid by the British manufacturer. Therefore,’ on an extreme estimate, the total Australian labour disability is not more than 10 per cent, of the value of the goods produced.
Putting it in another way, from a protectionist stand-point, and ignoring the natural protection of freights, a duty of 10 per cent. on the goods in question would equalize all the alleged disadvantages of the Australian manufacturer in respect of higher wages and shorter hours.
The protectionists who came before the Commission admitted that the manufacturers here enjoy a high degree of natural protection, especially in connexion with blankets, by reason of the freight, cartage, insurance, and other charges which, have to be borne by importations, so that with the 15 per cent. given by the former Tariff, their total protection amounted to at least 40 per cent. Yet the Minister, without the slightest explanation, has asked the Committee to increase the duty by 15 per cent. The whole of the evidence which was given to the Tariff Commission does not justify for a moment any proposal to increase the duty of 40 per cent. On the contrary, it shows that our woollen mills are in a flourishing and prosperous condition..
– And they do not want establishing.
– I ask the Minister to stand up and give a reason for granting any more protection. As I am reminded by my honorable friend, the woollen mills do not want establishing, but are in existence and doing well. What necessity, then, is there for the higher duty proposed? I do not wish to go into the various matters which I discussed in connexion with the manufacture of blankets. The alleged disabilities in connexion with the manufacture of woollen goods applied in connexion with the manufacture of blankets, which is part of our woollen industry. There were enumerated five disabilities, which I shall state shortly. In the first place, it was claimed that, with regard to the buying of the raw material, the conditions here are unfavorable. Now, is there any unfavorable condition in that respect, so far as the Australian woollen manufacturer is concerned ? Has a single honorable member to-night referred to that in any way ? Is there a representative on the Ministerial side of the chamber who can stand up and prove that an Australian manufacturer is placed “in an unfavorable position as compared with his English competitor ?
– It seemed to be so from the evidence, except in the case of one South Australian manufacturer. Does not the honorable member think that?
– No. The whole of the evidence shows that, so far as the purchasing of the raw material is concerned, our manufacturers occupy a more favorable position. Certainly, when we remember that the English manufacturers get their wool from Australia to a very large extent, have to pay ocean freights, insurance rates and all the other charges incidental to its transportation, have to manufacture the. wool, and pay all the various charges on” the transport of the manufactured article to Australia, it will be recognised, I think, that that natural protection against the. British competitor ought to be sufficient for any manufacturer in Australia. It has also been claimed, on behalf of the Australian’ manufacturer, that he has to pay higher wages to men who, in their turn, work shorter hours. I have shown from the figures I have quoted that the total disability in connexion with those two items is10 per cent.
– On the value of the goods?
– Yes; and if we add 2 per cent. for equipment, 12 per cent. is the total disability under which the Australian manufacturer labours. It was also claimed that he is handicapped by local prejudice. That is said to be a great factor against the use of Australian goods. But it is well known that that prejudice is fast disappearing. Before the Tariff Commission we had evidence from the manufacturers that it is fast disappearing. We know that all patriotic Australians are only too glad to use the Australian manufacture if it is anything like up to the mark.
– Unfortunately, we have only a few patriotic Australians among the gilded roosters.
– We have a few, and I do not know whether my honorable friend who talks so much about “ gilded roosters “ is wearing a suit of Australian tweed tonight.
– I am.
– Is the honorable member ?.
– I hope so; at any rate, I asked for Australian tweed.
– Those are the five disabilities under which Australian manufacturers are supposed to labour. I regret having taken up so much time, but this is a very important item, and, as has been pointed out, the division involves a matter of £7,000,000. That, as compared with the total revenue, is a very big: proportion indeed. Outside the manufacturing classes which exist in our large towns, and live under good conditions, and whose employes enjoy all the advantages of social life, do not honorable members think that we ought to have some regard for the numerous consumers in Australia? Do they not think that we ought to consider all the men who are engaged in the great primary industries of wool-growing, agriculture and mining? Are those men to receive no consideration from the Committee? It has been stated here time after time that the men who are developing the industries which have made Australia what she is, have received very scant sympathy indeed, and that the whole consideration has been given to putting on high duties in order to make our rich manufacturers richer than they are, to put money into the pockets of men who, when they went before the Tariff Commission, and were subjected to cross-examination1, were not able to substantiate their claim, and were afraid to produce their balancesheets for inspection. If they stood in the position which they would have us believe they occupy, they would have been only too willing to allow us to see their balance-sheets, and prove that they were in a languishing or strangled condition. But as they were ‘afraid tq take that course, it convinced me, and it must satisfy every thinking man in this community, that thev are doing so well that they do not want to let us know their exact position. In those circumstances, I think that the Committee, instead of raising the duties to the higher percentages which the Treasurer has proposed, will vote for the duties which have been recommended by the honorable member for Lang. In voting for the higher duties they will be raising a wall, not against the foreigner, but against the old Mother Country.
– The pauper labour of England !
– 1 regret that the honorable member has referred to the pauper labour of England. He, in replying to the right honorable member for East Sydney on that subject, said, “ Ring out the old, ring in the new.” Like the honorable member, I am a young Australian, but I am not going to ring out the old so far as the Mother Country is concerned. I recognise what she has done for us in the past, and is doing for us at the present time.
– Cannot the honorable member do anything for himself?
– I .can do as much for myself as can the honorable member.
– That is what we want to do.
– The young Australian can do it for himself without the pampering which is proposed By some members of the Committee. Recognising what Great Britain has done for us in the past, and is doing for us at the’ present time, I hope that no young Australian, not even the honorable member, wishes by a high protective Tariff to shut out the products of English manufacturers and the results of the labour of British workmen.
– Of pauper labour.
– That has been referred to quite enough by the right honorable member for East Sydney to-night. The labour which is employed in this industry in England is not pauper labour.
– Let the honorable and learned member sit down ; he has given us quite enough.
– The Treasurer does not like it.
– I do not mind a bit”; I am only thinking of the waste of time.
– It is a mere waste of time, so far as the Treasurer is concerned, for any honorable member to make a speech with which he does not agree. He would like to rush through the Tariff in one night, and then to go to the people and boast of how he had “ bulldosed “ honorable members. I have a duty to perform, not only to my constituents, but to all the people of Australia. I recognise that, apart from the manufacturing element in Melbourne and Sydney, there is a vast population engaged from one end of Australia to the other in developing our great natural resources. Whilst . I am a member of this House, I shall be prepared to do what is right so far as the manufacturing -section of the community is concerned, but, at the same time, I shall seethat the people who are developing the great resources of Australia get a just deal. As a member of the Tariff Commission, I gave this matter the most careful scrutiny, and since the manufacturers absolutely failed to prove that there was any justification for higher duties, I feel that I am justified, in the interests of the great masses of the people, in voting for the lowest possible duty that I can secure.
Question - That after the words “ 35 per cent.,” paragraph a, the words “ and on and after 13th November, 1907 (General Tariff), ad val., 20 per cent.” (Mr. Johnson’s amendment), be inserted - put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move -
That after the words “35 per cent.,” paragraph
A, thewords “and on and after13th November, 1907 (General Tariff), ad val., 25 per cent.,” be inserted.
If this amendment be carried, I shall move that the duty on imports from the United Kingdom be reduced to 20 per cent.
– I wish to remind honorable members that I have subdivided this item of piece goods in order, as far as possible, to meet the views of the Committee. A number of the items which, under the old heading, would have been dutiable at 35 per cent. and 30 per cent. will be placed in new subdivisions and made dutiable at 20 per cent. and 15 per cent. I hope that the Committee will recognise that I have done my best to meet their views, whilst at the same time providing for a margin of 10 per cent. between imported woollens andthe manufactured goods. I make this statement because I do not think that some honorable members fully understand that I propose that a great many of the items now dutiable at 35 per cent. and 30 per cent. shall be placed in new subdivisions and made dutiable at 15 per cent.
.- I want to express our grateful acknowledgments to the Treasurer for his wonderful concession. What he means is, that he has discovered that there is a number of articles in which tweed is an element that cannot by any possibility be manufactured in Australia, and he is kindly consenting to reduce the revenue duty on those.
– They can be manufactured in Australia.
– Does the honorable member think that the Treasurer would consent to reduce a duty in the way he proposes to do if he thought the goods could be manufactured here?
– It is an evidence of weakness, no doubt.
– Between these two honorable members we have a hard row to hoe, indeed ! I simply want to point out that this concession of the Treasurer’s is no concession at all.
– Oh, yes, it is.
– None whatever. Of course, if it is, I am much obliged to the Treasurer for it.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) agreed to -
That after the words “35 per cent.,” paragraph a, the words, “and on and after13th November, 1907 (General Tariff), ad val., 30 per cent.;” and after the words “30 per cent.” the words “and on and after 13th November, 1907 (United Kingdom), ad val., 25 per cent.,” be inserted.
.- I move -
That the following new paragraph be inserted : - “ai. Piece goods, woollen or containing wool, viz., women’s and children’s dress goods not weighing over 4 ozs. per square yard, ad val. (General Tariff), 20 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 15 per cent.”
The amendment which I now move differs from that of which I have given notice in one or two particulars, which I will explain. It proposes an increase of 5 per cent. against the foreigner, whilst the duty in regard to the United Kingdom would be the same as under the old Tariff. Perhaps honorable members would like me to indicate to what goods the amendment will apply. I will not attempt to explain them; I will simply give the names of the goods. They are - Bengalines, cashmeres, cashmerettes, cheviots, clan tartans, crepalines, cordehines, chenilles, crepe de Chine, dress serges, dress tweeds, delaines, French flannels, hopsacks, lustres, nun’s veiling, Silicians, taffetas, voiles, and winseys. These goods all contain more or less wool. It is very difficult to see how to differentiate between the heavier textiles worn by women and the lighter textiles, such as men use in our northernlatitudes - in Queens land and Northern New South Wales. I think it would be better to take an example from the United States Tariff, which, I. dare say, honorable members will agree is, perhaps, more systematic than our own, and, it may be, a little more scientific. I propose to quote a few figures to show that what I propose is a light duty in comparison with that charged in the United States. I quote from the Stepping World YearBook, page 1443. Notwithstanding the high duty in America 45,000,000 square yards of these light materials were imported from Great Britain. If the cloth is of the value of1s. 8d. per yard, the duty is is. 41/2d. per lb., with 50 per cent. added ; and I think the honorable member for East Sydney will agree with me that our duties are very mild in comparison. In the United States, if the value is from1s. 8d. to 2s.11d. per yard, the duty is is.10d. per lb., with 50 per cent. added, and if over 2s.11d. per yard the duty is1s.10d. and 55 per cent. To show how careful the Customs authorities are in the United States, I may say that in regard to women’s materials, if they are of the value of 71/2d. per yard the duty is reduced from1s. 41/2d. to 31/2d. per lb., with 50 per cent. added, and if the value is over 71/2d. per yard, the duty is reduced to 4d. per* lb. with 50 per cent. added. But recognising the difficulty, which honorable members will admit, if the square yard of material does not weigh more than 4 oz. it is admitted in the United States at the reduced rate, and that is in accordance with the amendment I have moved.
– How does the duty proposed by the honorable member compare with the duty in the United States?
– The duty I propose is very mild in comparison.
– Could the materials not be manufactured in Australia?
– It would be absolutely impossible to manufacture the materials here, not because there is not the ability, but simply because it would not pay to do so.In Canada they have modelled their Tariff in this connexion on that of the United States. But in the former case the weight of the stuff is reckoned at 6 oz. for the square yard, which admits of a larger range of material than in the United States. In Canada the duty is 171/2 per cent. as preference to the United Kingdom, the intermediate duty is 221/2 per cent., and the duty against the outside world is 25 per cent. It will be seen, therefore, that the duty proposed is that levied by
Canada against the outside world. A journalistic lady, who has gone into this matter, has supplied me with some data, and as she puts the matter more trenchantly than I could, I cannot do better than read her words -
Women’s dress goods - I asked Lincoln Stuart to give me an estimate for a coat and skirt, saying that I absolutely refused to take any material which was not of Australian manufacture. They could not take my order, ha’d nothing in stock, and thought that I would1 find the material, of which a small quantity has been turned out locally, quite unsuitable for summer wear. I then asked to see some Australian tweeds or serges for men’s suitings, and was offered a choice of more than a hundred very attractive patterns of beautifully finished tw’eed. Buckley and Nunn were also unable to give me anything for my own wear, but would make me up anything from their stock of men’s tweeds. But I want something cool and light, and also less expensive than the men’s stuff, although it seemed to me to be excellent value for the price asked. So, not being able to afford the really good Australian product, there is nothing left me, but to buy a woollen material, which never has been, and most likely never will be, made here, and pay the extra cost.
I did not confine my inquiries to the city shops, I tried Geo. Stirling and Sons, and Love andLewis, in Richmond, so as to get a fairly representative idea of how. all sorts and conditions of women fare under the Tariff. At the last-named place, I was shown dress lengths, of which an enormous quantity are sold, and the price has ad’vanced from 7s. 6d. to 10s. . . .
With reference to the dress stuffs question, it appears that because our mills have been able to turn out an excellent suiting for men which pays them well, every woman in the Commonwealth is to be penalized, though she is not even given the chance of refusing the local product. The reasons given for the infinitesimal output are as follows : - The fashions change so rapidly, that it is only the great European manufacturers, with their enormous production, and practically world wide markets, who can afford the expense involved in the multiplicity of patterns, designs, and colours, which have become a recognised necessity of even the lowest priced goods.
America, in 1905, imported from Great Britain and Europe 45,000,000 square yards of dress material, and as her fiscal policy cannot possibly be construed into a leaning towards foreign products at the expense of her home industries, this fact may reasonably be considered to have some bearing on our Tariff. Buckley and Nunn’s manager assures me that the Albion Mills’ representatives fully recognise the fact that in the interests of the wage-earners there ought to be a difference in the duty upon men’s tweeds and women’s dress stuffs, in favour of the latter, and more, they are prepared to support such a proposition. I am sending; in concrete form, the response to my’ request at Buckley’s for patterns. The Australian material is not procurable, except in the shape of a suiting tweed, whilst the choice offered by the imported goods speaks for itself. My observations, necessarily limited as they have been to a couple of hours’ time, point strongly to one conclusion. The retailers are practically unaffected’ by the duty. Clothes will continue to be bought, and the woman who goes shopping with 20s. of her husband’s wages in her purse will hand it over just the same. The difference will be that she will get very much less for it than she used, which inevitably means, in the case of diminutive incomes remaining stationary, much real hardship and privation.
– Does the honorable member mean to say that the Geelong mills cannot turn out women’s dress goods ?
– I do not say that the Geelong mills cannot turn out ladies’ dress goods, but they cannot turn out the variety that fashion dictates. Fashion is queen; and I suppose there as many patterns as there are inhabitants of the United Kingdom. None of the materials to which I refer could possibly be manufactured in Australia.
Women’s Dress Stuffs.
The question of the duty on these goods is so involved with the woollen industry as to necessitate its discussion in connexion with the conditions now prevailing in that trade. On Saturday last, I went over the Albion and Union Mills, Geelong. The former turns out travelling rugs and tweeds, the latter confines itself to the manufacture of blankets and flannels. Both establishments are making additions to their buildings, for the installation pf new plant. The manager of the Union Mill informed me that he did not in the least fear the competition of the imported article; that a steadily increasing demand for his goods had set in, and his mill is working at high pressure to fill orders. The duty just agreed upon, from his po’nt of view, is eminently satisfactory. At the Albion Mill, an immense variety of men’s tweeds were in process of making, and the manager told me that every six months between two and three thousand new patterns and designs were originated and made up. I asked what he could show me that would do for dress material, and he produced a pattern of a coarse, loosely woven white serge, suitable for seaside wear, as the so.le product of his recognition of women’s sartorial needs. When, however, he showed me the process of manufacture, and explained to me the time, expense, and labour involved in the setting of a pattern, I did not wonder at his preference for making men’s suitings. He told me that the manufacturers in the European centres, holding, as they do, the trade of the world in dress fabrics, are able to turn out, comparatively speaking, a mile of stuff, where an inch would suffice in Australia. And that is all the difference between profit and loss. At the best, he could not expect to sell more than fifty yards of each pattern he made, and the expense of altering his gear every time he put on a fresh design would be prohibitive. This confirmed what I had been told by Buckley and Nunn’s manager, and I then inquired what chance there was of fine cloths such as are used for opera coats and mantles being made here. He said, “ None, for many a year to come.” As to Astrakhans, sealettes, and materials which are extensively used for trimmings, he was” emphatically of the same opinion. There i>: an aspect of the proposed duty, so far as it -affects wage-earners, which I think is deserving of some consideration. I have not been able in the time at my disposal to simplify the information given, but will submit the available particulars. An immense number of women and girls’ are employed in making up women’s clothing, underwear, dresses, blouses, mantles, jackets, and cloaks.
Amongst the firms who have launched out extensively in this way are Messrs. Foy and Gibson, Ball and Welch, Robertson and Moffat, Robson and Bussell, and Buckley and Nunn. The number of hands employed, and the amount of wages paid by the latter firm for the year, according to the return furnished under the Factories Act, is available, and will serve as an index to the proportions which the industry has reached. I am informed by experts that the Australian workers are second to none in the world. But if the raw material which forms the basis of their employment is heavily taxed the manufacturing firms will be compelled to close up this branch of their business, and import the ready-made garments from Great Britain and Europe, which the lower standard of wages prevailing there will enable them to do at a profit. Anything less than a margin of 15 per cent, on apparel and attire as compared with woollen piece “goods will conduce to this course. Regarding the difference in the wages paid here and in England, the manager of the Albion Mill told me that operatives here, working the statutory number of hours, receive 40s. per week, as against 16s. and 18s. for the same work and longer hours in the British mills.
There are 300 women and girls employed by Messrs. Buckley and Nunn in making women’s apparel. Their total wages for the year 1906 were £”9,066. I am informed that there are thousands of pounds’ worth of goods in bond both here and in Sydney, and that those to whom they are indented will not feel inclined to pay if what they consider a .prohibitive duty is charged on the woollen stuffs. I, as a staunch protectionist, if I could eliminate the idea of the Braddon “ blot ‘- from my mind-
– What has the Braddon “ blot “ to do with this?
– By the Braddon “blot “ we have to raise far more revenue than we need. Direct taxation would be very much simpler and better. We could follow the good example of the honorable member for East Sydney when he introduced the land and income taxes in New South Wales.
– By making this item free would we not force direct taxation?
– The honorable member can fight this matter in his way, and I will fight it in mine. Queen Fashion in her decrees makes changes every year and in parts of every year, and whenever she holds up her hand her votaries - the ladies - bow down and worship her ; but, be that’ as .it may, many varieties of these delicate textiles cannot be manufactured even in Great Britain.’ Great as the British manufacturers are, they cannot compete in these finer materials with the manufacturers of the Continent. The majority of these fabrics are manufactured on the Continent.
.- The Committee ought to feel indebted to the ‘ honorable member for Melbourne for bringing this matter forward and enlightening the Government. After the great amount of consideration given, as we are told, to this Tariff by the Government, it is very interesting to find that a private member, who has not identified himself with the intricacies of fiscal disputation, should be able to throw a light upon this most important item, which will lead to a complete re-adjustment, so far as it is concerned, of the incidence of taxation.
– The honorable member for Melbourne is one of the oldest and best protectionists in Victoria.
– He has shown more discrimination in connexion with this item on a vital point than have the Ministry and the Department and all their experts put together.
– They helped me very much.
– They are going’ to help the honorable member by accepting the amendment. I am glad that that is so, because, if they did not, the honorable member would probably not have carried it, good as it is. It was very instructive to. listen to the honorable member’s statement about the lady who brought this trouble under his notice. Some protectionists have the idea that they have only to impose a. duty of 30 per cent., and the problem of Australian industry is solved. The honorable member quoted the case of a lady who is an enthusiastic protectionist, and has the strongest possible aversion to wearing anything that is not made in Australia. She made a tour of all the shops, from Buckley and Nunn’s to those in Richmond, in her frantic endeavour to” get a piece of Colonial tweed that she could have made into a summer dress. In spite of her enormous efforts, she had to admit-
– Let us take a division.
– Nothing of the sort.” The honorable gentleman is becoming wonder*fully impatient. If we had gone to a division ten minutes before we did we should have won on the last occasion. We had several members away whom we could not pair, but we will have a recommittal of that line, which will play the part played by salt in the old Tariff. This case affords an instructive example to us of an Australian lady anxious to wear an Australian dress, but unable to obtain a suitable material owing to a number of trade difficulties, which even the most enterprising and intelligent manufacturers cannot overcome. Indeed, it is well known that manufacturers, even in the Mother Country, with” their marvellous powers, cannot compete with Continental countries in certain lines. It was proposed by the Government to impose a duty of 30 per cent, on dress materials of a kind which could not possibly be made here - thereby placing a heavy handicap upon the women of Australia. This is a class of light dress stuff which is absolutely necessary in this warm climate. How could we expect the women of Australia to wear Colonial tweeds on a summer day like this? Even the Treasurer has been ill all day in consequence of the suit that he is wearing. The honorable member for Parkes, who has a new suit of Colonial tweed, has been suffering in like manner. It is a grand material, but a little heavy for summer. I am glad that this proposition has been made, and that the Government .have accepted it.
.- I desire to propose an amendment to make these goods free of duty. I have listened with the greatest possible pleasure to the honorable member for Melbourne, who has. made out a very strong case for the articles to be free. No one would accuse him of being a free-trader. He is a protectionist of the protectionists, and he has told the Committee that these articles cannot be produced here. A duty, therefore, cannot be in any way protective, but must be merely for revenue purposes.
– Does the honorable member for Melbourne say that the goods cannot be made here?
– Not under present circumstances.
– The honorable member went so far as to state that the British manufacturers were unable to make some of the materials which were produced on the Continent. If it is impossible to make them in England, it is reasonable to suppose that, for a time at least, it will be impossible to make them in Australia. The honorable member for Melbourne has stated that he would be prepared to advocate the admission of these articles free if it were not for the Braddon “ blot.” What the Braddon “ blot “ has to do with the question of free-trade or protection, I cannot understand, especially in view of the fact that the honorable member is in favour of direct taxation. I therefore move -
That the amendment be amended by leaving out the words ‘* ad valorem (General Tariff), 20 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 15 per cent.”
– I hope that honorable members will not agree to place these articles upon the free list. The duty proposed by the honorable member for Melbourne is merely a revenue duty-
– What was the rate, which was previously operative?
– It was 15 per cent. The honorable member for Melbourne merely proposes that the duty shall be 20 per cent, against the foreigner, and that the old rate shall operate in regard to the manufactures of Great Britain.
– But the Treasurer admits that it is merely a revenue duty, and not. a protective dutu
– It is a revenue duty, no doubt. I am willing to meet the honorable member for Melbourne by substituting 5 ozs. for 4 ozs.
– Would it not be better to make it 6 ozs., as is done in Canada? ‘”
– No: -‘‘The moment that I give way in the slightest degree, the honorable member asks me to go further. ‘ ‘
– I ask leave to ‘amend mv amendment bv substituting the -figure “5.” for “ 4.”
Amendment, by leave, amended accordingly.
– As a protectionist, and not a revenue tariffist, I shall vote for these items being placed upon the free list. The proposal of the honorable member for Barrier offers a splendid opportunity to those honorable members who are always so solicitous for the welfare of the working classes to give effect to their protestations. I was selected as a protectionist, with the reservation that there should be no revenue Tariff so far as I could prevent it. I regard this proposal as one of the most effective means for bringing about direct taxation, which will accomplish that which the honorable member for East Sydney has so much at heart, namely, the development of our primary industries, and which will avert the possibility of our being called upon to establish industries with pauper labour to compete with the pauper labour of other countries - as he himself said we should have to do.
.- The statement which the honorable member has just made is a repetition of a despicable calumny which I long ago refuted. I regret that he should begin his career as a member of this House-
– The statement is upon record in Hansard.
– That does not sanctify the calumny by any means. So far from my attitude having been that which the honorable member has suggested, it was that, in view of the fact that labour in Australia is paid rates so much higher than those which obtain elsewhere - a fact in which I delighted - I did not wish to see it placed in competition with the poorer classes of labour in the older countries of the world. I looked upon Australian labour, devoted to the development of Australian natural resources, as being sure of maintaining its happy pre-eminence. I looked with apprehension upon the prospect of Australian labour competing with the labour of Belgium, and with labour even in the Mother Country, which - according to the statements made by honorable members this evening - is paid an altogether inadequate wage. It is my abhorrence of low wages which has kept me free from these industrial experiments. I hope that the honorable member will abstain from adding fresh circulation to despicable calumnies which put men in the light of being destitute of proper feeling for their fellows. I do not think my public career has put me in that light before the people of Australia.
– The calumny has been refuted over and over again.
– It has been refuted over and over again, and I regret that the honorable member for Macquarie should have stated it again.
– I must, of course, accept the right honorable gentleman’s withdrawal. I read the statement in Hansard. I read that the right honorable gentleman used the words that in the plenitude of time, when our millions shall have become tens of millions, we shall have a crop of misery which will enable us to compete with the pauper labour of the Old World.
– That is what was said absolutely.
– IL is an absolute twist of my words in a published statement. Words were taken out in order to give the statement that complexion. It was an absolute forgery on my published statement.
– I quite understand that the right honorable gentleman is able at once to appreciate anything in the nature of twisting.
– I thank the honorable member. He will gain a very unenviable reputation very soon.
.- I rise to support the amendment moved by the honorable member for Barrier. I cannot for the life of me understand what possible excuse a protectionist Government can find for proposing the imposition of such duties as these, nor can I discover what excuse a free-trader can offer for voting for them; nor, further, what possible excuse the members of the party to which I belong can put forward for doing so. I see absolutely no justification for the proposal. It was stated before the Tariff Commission and in this House, and it is very obvious, that it is quite impossible to produce these goods in Australia in any extent or variety, whilst they must be regarded as. the raw materials of a dozen or more industries. They are. necessaries to, I suppose, ninetynine one-hundredths of the population of the Commonwealth. To impose such a burden as was contemplated by the Government in submitting duties of 35 and 30 per cent, on these goods is, on the face of it, outrageous. Now the Treasurer says that he is prepared to reduce the proposed duties to 20 per cent, and 15 per cent. The duty can be proposed for no other purpose in the world than that of raising revenue, and I venture to say the honorable gentleman will raise abundant revenue from his so-called protective duties. It is one of the most astounding things in the history of economics, and especially in the so-called non-experimental legislation, that it is impossible to put duties up sufficiently high to prevent the importation of certain articles. Let honorable members consider the revenue that is derived through the Customs of the United States of America, where the duties imposed are, as the Treasurer told us the other night, like grown men compared to children when contrasted with the duties imposed under our Tariff. Yet, as a matter of fact, in the United States thev find it almost impossible to deal with the surplus revenue that comes into the Treasury. They have a pension fund there which has been growing each year, and, notwithstanding the fact that pensioners in the ordinary course of nature are supposed to die, these become more vigorous and more numerous each year. It would be well, in the interests of the industries of the country and in the interests of the consumers, who form the bulk of the population, to place these articles on the free fist. Some of them were formerly dutiable at 5 per cent. I see that denims were, though I do not know whether they are, included in piece goods.
– No, they are not.
– I remind honorable members that the higher the duties imposed upon these articles the higher will be the duty required on the finished articles in the manufacture of which they are used. The manufacturers will say, “ If you cannot let us have our raw material free, we must ask you to impose heavier duties on the finished articles.” In connexion with this item we have an opportunity to give every one in Australia fair consideration, and in the circumstances I shall certainly vote to have these goods placed on the free list.
– Before the question is put I should like to say that I realize that to a. large extent but not wholly these are revenue duties. If honorable members will look at the wording of the item they will notice the phrase, “ Piece goods, woollen or containing wool.” The goods are then described and the reference to “ 5 ounces “ is to provide that they shall not contain too much wool. I recognise that in the ordinary sense these are revenue duties rather than protectionist duties, but Ipoint out that to admit them free of duty would involve a loss of revenue to the extent of £200,000 a year.
– What was the total amount of revenue collected under this item last year?
– The item as presented in this Tariff is subdivided some what differently from the way in which it was included in the old Tariff. I may say that about £7,000,000 was the value of these imported piece goods, and I am informed that the goods included in this item were responsible for , £200,000 of duty. That being so, it is rather a serious thing to propose that these goods should be admitted free. I do not in this instance speak from the stand-point of a protectionist, but we cannot afford to give all our revenue away.
– The estimated revenue under the whole item is only £300,000.
– That estimate is made up of parts of a number of other estimates. The estimated loss of revenue to which I have referred is not my own. The Comptroller-General of Customs, from whom I havemade inquiries, tells me that he estimates that to admit these articles free would involve a loss of £200,000.
.- Honorable members can allthe more readily vote for the free admission of these goods in view of the statement just made by the Treasurer. During the last New South Wales elections the State was placarded with references to the high taxation imposed by the Federal Government as compared with the small amount of taxation imposed by the State Government. The State Government complained of the vast sums of money that were in consequence being placed in the hands of the State Treasurer. As a result, I understand that at the present time in New South Wales it is proposed to abolish the State income tax, or at least to raise the amount exempted from taxation to £1,000. That proves that we are raising too much money through the Customs, and are consequently handing over too much to the States Governments. The Treasurer has admitted that these are not protective but purely revenue-producing duties, and he is asking the Committee to agree to them merely for the purpose of raising £200,000 through the Customs. I trust that honorable members, and especially those who are (protectionists, will not support the Treasurer’s proposal. There are members of the Committee who describe themselves as “ democratic protectionists.” They say that they are prepared to impose even prohibitive duties on goods which can be manufactured in Australia, but that they are prepared to allow articles which cannot be manufactured in Australia to come in freeof duty. In dealing with this item, an opportunity is afforded those honorable members to show that they are true to their platform pledges.
– As a free-trader the honorable member should vote for the free admission of everything.
– I have voted for the free admission of articles on which purely revenue duties were proposed. Three or four years ago I voted for the free admission of practically every article. When ever now I have been told that a duty is merely revenue producing, I have voted for the lowest possible rate. The Treasurer has admitted that the articles to which this duty applies, cannot be manufactured here, and so, too, has the honorable member for Melbourne, a protectionist of protectionists, who has been referred to by the PostmasterGeneral, himself a leading protectionist, as one of the most scientific and able protectionists in Australia. That being so, I appeal to those protectionists who on the platform have again and again stated that they are prepared to allow to come here free goods which cannot be. manufactured in Australia, to vote to allow these, goods to be admitted free. The honorable member foi East Sydney has pointed out on many occasions that the burden of high duties falls mainly on the shoulders of the poor, and in days gone by, it was his great triumph that he was able to largely remove them, and, by imposing direct taxation, to make the rich bear their share. I am glad that to-day he is prepared to take similar action, and to lift a burden from the poor, even, I take it, at the risk of allowing the imposition of direct taxation.
.- I am not concerned with the motives of honorable members who vote for low duties, or for the remission of duties to deplete the revenue. If they can get a majority of the electors to agree to some policy which they favour, they will be able to give effect to it, whatever the state of the revenue, while if they cannot secure a majority, effect cannot be given to it. But in any case, no one need have any anxiety for the revenue. If I were a member of the Labour Party, and regarded the depletion of the revenue as the shortest road to direct taxation, I should not vote steadily for rates which will increase our Customs returns by £2,000,000 a year, which seems to be the probable result of’ this Tariff. Members of that party may sincerely believe that by increasing duties they will diminish revenue ; but the experience of the United States of America, which is very instructive on this point, is that, notwithstanding rates almost twice as high as the highest here proposed, the Customs returns became so enormous that the authorities did not know what to do with the money, with the result that their infamous pensions system was established, under which from 150,000,000 dollars to 200,000,000 dollars a year are being paid to the grandchildren of those who fought in the war forty years ago, - and there are now more pensioners than there were ten years after the war»
– The American pensions system is not so bad as the Victorian Public Service pensions system.
– -Then the Victorian system must be a very bad one. In my opinion, judging by the immediate results, the effect of this Tariff which the Labour Party is supporting will be to give an overflowing Treasury.
– The returns, so far, point to a probable increase of £2,000,006 a year. The Treasurer, in introducing the Tariff, estimated an increase of .£986,000 to commence with.
– Is it possible at this stage to correctly estimate the probable increase?
– It is not easy, but, in my judgment, these high duties will prove veryfruitful. The immediate effect of the Tariff was to cause the bonds to become congested. At the present time, merchants are taking out of bond as little as possible, hoping that the rates proposed by the Government will be reduced, so that the normal revenue will be larger than that which we are now getting. The bonds are now crammed almost to bursting point, be- “ cause merchants are clearing only what they absolutely require for immediate use. In view of this probable large increase of revenue, a loss of £200,000 need not be ‘ seriously considered. The women and children of Australia are being cruelly taxed, and in this instance free-traders and protectionists can honestly join in an attempt to lighten their burden. I do not care how poor a man is, he likes to see his wife and children dressed, not only decently, but with a certain amount of taste. Surely that is a laudable and natural feeling. Surely we want to see the masses dressed tastefully and well. Why should this be the luxury and prerogative of persons who have an abundance of money, .and can buy the more expensive forms of dress material? It appears that this is a cheap, seasonable material, which is capable of producing ai becoming raiment. In these circumstances there ought not to be any doubt about accepting the amendment of the honorable member for Barrier.
– I am sorry to hear the honorable member say so.
– I jump at the chance of accepting the amendment, because it will not impair the protectionist policy of the country.
– Oh, yes, it will.
– Surely the honorable gentleman cannot change his position every five minutes.
– I have not changed my position at all.
– A little while ago the honorable gentleman said that this is a revenue item–
– It is not altogether a revenue item.
– At any rate, it is mainly and substantially a revenue item, and it is putting a burden of £2,000,000 a year more on the people. Surely’ we can give the women and the children the benefit of this line.
– We are not putting a burden of £2,000,000 more on the people.
– It is something like that.
.- I cannot understand the argument of some honorable members as to our having an overflowing Treasury. That may be so in one State, but it is not so in the others. In legislating for the Commonwealth we should bear in mind the necessities of the various States.
– It may be so in this year, but it may not be so in following years.
– As the honorable member interjects, it may not be so in another year. Every one anticipated that, as the result of the inquiries by the Tariff Commission, there would be an increase in the duties, and therefore many persons imported largely before the Tariff was submitted. Whether that rate of importation will be maintained in the future or not, I am not aware.
– The importations which have taken place since the Tariff was brought down have been heavier than formerly.
– The more goods they imported before the Tariff was submitted, the lighter the revenue must be just now.
– The honorable member for Barrier, who has submitted this amendment, is very anxious that we shall incur a large expenditure on a system of old-age pensions and other schemes, and therefore it is necessary that we should have an ample revenue. It has been acknowledged by, I think, the leader of the Labour Party that they could not hope to get sufficient revenue from their land tax proposal to deal with the question of defence, and, therefore, they will have to get money from some other source. ‘ We have had a number of free-traders here ‘who have always posed, I think, as revenue tariffists.
– And we are getting more revenue than we like.
– Even the free-trade members of the Tariff Commission have recommended a duty of 10 per cent. on this item. I think that we should have a duty on the item, which has hitherto brought. in a large sum to the Treasury. The Commonwealth has been built up under a protective or revenue-producing Tariff. That should be remembered. We should think of the necessities of the States which we represent, and place the Treasurer of the Commonwealth in a position to return to them from the revenue he receives sufficient to keep them going.
– There is one phase of this question which seems to be in danger, not of being overlooked, but of causing some honorable members to vote in a direction in which, perhaps, they should not vote. It is quite certain that a very large proportion of honorable members have been returned in favour of a protective Tariff for one purpose, and one purpose only, namely, to establish industries. They are not in favour of Customs duties for the purpose of raising revenue at all, and if they had their way that would be the last means to which they would resort for that purpose. It has been admitted by the Treasurer that that is the only reason why he asked the Committee to agree to this item.
– I did not say that it was the only reason.
– I utterly fail to see how any man who was returned on a ticket in favour of protection for the sole purpose of stimulating native industries, or who was returned in favour of, if he had a choice, raising revenue by direct means, can, no matter who else may do so, vote for this particular item. The honorable member for Bass has said that the Commonwealth has been built up under a protective or revenue-producing Tariff. But the Treasurer came into the House to destroy that Tariff. It is his every-day boast that he is not a “ shandy-gaff” protectionist, and that he came here to establish protection on a scientific and glorified basis. From time to time he advocates a duty of 40,or 30, or 25 per cent., and if he had his way he would propose still higher duties. Therefore, the Treasurer wants to destroy the Tariff of which the honorable member for Bass is so proud. He comes here now for the purpose of promoting protection and destroying a revenue Tariff. I must remind him that at the last election he was not averse, if necessary to imposing a tax on the unimproved value of land for certain purposes, and I was very glad to hear it. I do not know that he is averse to direct taxation in other forms; I am not, and never have been. A great many other honorable members are in exactly the same position. When the honorable gentleman gets up, and says that this duty is proposed, not for protective purposes, but simply for revenue purposes, I claim the vote of every honorable member who was not returned on a revenue Tariff basis. In view of that statement, every honorable member of that class must vote directly with the honorable member for Barrier. It is clear that no honorable member who believes in direct taxation can for a moment cast his vote in favour of an item when the honorable member for Bass has declared that the very purpose for which he wants it is not to build up protection, but to get revenue. That destroys the very purpose for which we, as a party, came into Parliament. It destroys the very purpose for which the Treasurer and his party came in, and that was to establish industries. He says that this duty will not establish an industry, but will raise revenue. That is the last method of raising money for which I shall vote.
Question - That the words “ ad. val. (General Tariff), ‘ 20 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 15 per cent.,” proposed to be left out, stand part of the ‘ amendment - put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment of the amendment negatived.
.-I move -
That the amendment be amended by adding after the words “ 15 per cent:” the words “ and on and after 13th November, 1907 (General Tariff), 10 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 5 -per cent.”
– That amendment cannot be received. . We have refused to. omit the duty of 20 per cent.
-I submit that my amendment is in order.
– After these words have been inserted, we can add the words” and on and after 13th November “ such and such a rate of duty.
– If the Government are going to take up this attitude, Heaven help the Tariff.
– I submit, Mr. Chairman, that the position is that the Committee has negatived a proposition to omit the words “ 20 per cent.,” appearing under the heading of “ General Tariff,” and the words “15 per cent.,” appearing under the heading of “ United Kingdom.” The fact that the amendment still provides that the duties shall be 20 per cent, and 15 per cent., does not debar ah honorable member from proposing that the proposed duties be reduced to 10 per cent, and 5 per cent. This is not a case in which the Committee has refused to disturb the words of a clause in a Bill. The position is altogether different. The Committee has just refused to place a certain item on the free-list, and I submit that it is competent for an honorable member to move an amendment of the amendment which is not inconsistent with that decision. The proposal submitted by the honorable member for Grey would not be. inconsistent with it.
– The motion, as put from the Chair, was, “That the words proposed to be omitted stand part of the question.”
– The Government, will not facilitate the work of dealing with the Tariff by insisting upon a too rigid adherence to the rules.
– That is a matter for the Chairman.
– The Committee should consent to every facility being given for the submission of amendments.
– I submit that, in view of the way in which the motion was put from the Chair, we have decided that the duty of 20 per cent, shall remain part of the item, arid that the amendment of the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Grey is not in order.
– From the outset of our consideration of the Tariff schedule in detail, you, Mr. Chairman, with the -general consent of the Committee, have given facilities for amendments proposing the lowest duties to be put first. When an honorable member has proposed a reduction which another honorable member has considered insufficient, he has had to give .way,’ and I would suggest to you that the desire of the Committee would be best met by giving the utmost facility to thoroughly test every question at every stage.
– The amendment just proposed provides for a lower rate of duty than that proposed in the amendment with which we have just dealt.
– The Committee has just negatived a proposal that the item be free, and, therefore, with a view to secure that fair play which we all desire, I think that an amendment providing that the duties be reduced to 10 per cent, and 5 per cent, should be facilitated. I am very often opposed to suggested reductions, but I think it is right that every facility for testing the feeling of the Committee should be given. I .would suggest to you, Mr. Chairman, that if a rigid adherence to the Standing Orders would not permit that to be done, you would find honorable members almost unanimously supporting you in an effort to facilitate effect being given to the will of the Committee.
– I understand that the honorable member for East Sydney has raised a point of order in regard to the question which has just been decided. Since we have been in Committee of Ways and ‘ Means for the consideration of the Tariff, every facility has been given to honorable members to obtain a. vote upon a proposal to fix duties at the lowest rates. But the position with which we are now confronted is different from that with which we have been faced in most other instances. The honorable member for Melbourne moved that a new sub-item to follow paragraph a be inserted, and the honorable member for Barrier moved an amendment to omit certain words. The question put from the Chair was, “ That the words proposed to’ be omitted stand part of the item.” The point of order should, in my opinion, have been taken at that time. I put the question deliberately, and I think that the Committee thoroughly understood what I was doing. It was stated that an honorable member did not .understand the question, and I then put it again in order that it might be thoroughly understood what honorable members were voting upon. But now it appears that an honorable member, had a further amendment to move.
– Surely we can add to the motion that has been carried ?
– There is this objection to that course : The Committee has already decided a certain question.
– It only decided that certain words shall stand ; not that other words should not be added.
– The Committee having decided that certain words shall stand, it is not possible to alter them.
– To add other words is possible.
– If I were to allow that to be done in this case, I could not prevent another honorable member from moving that on and after a subsequent day a different duty should be. imposed. I have been ruling against that procedure, because if such a course were permitted there would be no finality. It would be possible for one honorable member after another to move different rates of duty to come into operation on successive days.
– The effect of the decision is to tie the Committee up.
– That was not the intention. But as the question is already decided, I cannot allow another amendment in the manner suggested.
– These difficulties have always been met in a very simple way. They have occurred several times. When there has been an obstacle in the way of the Committee voting on a lower rate of duty than that before the Chair, invariably, when the Chairman has ascertained that an honorable member has wished to test the feeling of the Committee on the lower rate, the amendment before the Chair has been temporarily withdrawn to enable that question to be decided. That has been done over and over again. All that we have done so’ far is to decide that certain words shall remain part of the question. We have done nothing more. So that the amendment which has been withdrawn can now resume its former position; It can easily be seen that if honorable members are tied up by these formal difficulties there is a very simple way of dealing with them. It does not conduce to the transaction of public business to deprive honorable members of an opportunity of expressing their views.
– I am not doing that.
– The honorable gentleman can make a suggestion to remove this difficulty. There has been a. very narrow division, and if a large number of honorable members are blocked from having an alternative proposition submitted, it will not conduce to the speedy transaction of business.
– Do not start animosities. I do not wish to do anything unfair.
– I am sure that the honorable gentleman does not, and, therefore, I want him to act up to that attitude.
– I am afraid that I cannot do anything.
– The honorable gentleman raised a point of order. There was no necessity to do that.
– Of course I have no personal interest in preventing an hon orable member from moving an amendment. I suggest that if honorable members do not approve of the duty of 20 per cent. they should negative that proposition, and then another amendment can be moved that the duty be 10 per cent.
– That course would reverse what has been our procedure.
– We are trying to get over a difficulty which has cropped up.
– The Committee having affirmed that a certain rateof duty shall be imposed on and after a certain date, surely the question of how long that duty is to remain at that rate is within the power of the Committee. The real question has not been put yet. The hands of the Committee are not tied as to whether a lower rate of duty shall prevail after a certain date. The power of the Committee to date the rates of duty is absolute. If it be supposed that such a procedure as I say is permissible might be used for blocking the course of business, would it not be time enough to deal with that case when it arises, without making it an element in deciding as to our present action ? Such possibilities ought not to be considered as elements in a situation which has no such extreme features about it.
– Do I understand, sir, that you have ruled that the Committee having decided that certain words shall not be omitted, we are now precluded from moving that certain words shall be added to the motion as it stands.
– It all depends what the other words are.
– Can I move to add other words? With all respect to you, my contention is that it is of no moment to the Chairman what the words that I propose to move are, so long as they are not contradictory of the words already agreed to, and so long, of course, as they are relevant. I want to know from you whether the Committee is now at liberty to add any words that they may think fit, and which are relevant ? If so, there will be no difficulty.
– If such words are in order they can be moved, but until I know what the words are I cannot say whether they will be in order or not.
– I understood you to rule that it is not in order to add words. But if you say it will be in order, provided the words are relevant, I might move that on and after 14th November the duty be,
General Tariff, 10 per cent., United Kingdom, 5 per cent.
– Make the duties 15 per cent, and 10 per cent., and I will accept the amendment.
– No; 10 and 5.
– I think that the Committee might have an opportunity of expressing its opinion. lt is really not a matter of 5 or 10 per cent., but of assisting the members of the Committee to come to a decision carrying out the view of the majority. That is all that I desire. I do not wish to take the matter out of the hands of the honorable member for Grey.
– I appeal to the Committee to uphold the Chairman iri the very proper ruling he has given ; otherwise we may be led into serious trouble. The ruling of the Chairman provides an easy way out of the difficulty.
– But if that ruling be acted upon another amendment” cannot be moved.
– Not so; it will be quite competent for any honorable member, if the duty of 20 per cent, and 15 per cent, be not carried, to move that the duty be 15 per cent, and 10 per cent.
– It is desired to test the question of whether there is a majority for a duty of 10 arid 5 per cent. It may eventually turn out that there is a majority for a duty of 15 per cent, and 10 per cent. ; but the other question ought to be decided first.
– That has always been done.
– Our desire is that the Committee should be got out of the difficulty, which I can assure honorable members is owing to no fault of the Chairman.
– I do not say that it is.
– But a difficulty exists ; and it can be got rid of without creating the bad precedent of leaving open the possibility of amendment on amendment, which might keep us until the Christmas after next..
– The course hitherto adopted has not yet been .abused.
– Why; should we create a bad precedent when we have, presented to us a legitimate way of getting out of the difficulty ? It is understood that the amendment is to be defeated. The Treasurer has said he will agree to a further amendment, which may be moved subsequently, and, under the circumstances it would be wiser to follow the proper constitutional method.
– If this amendment for 20 per cent, is not to be passed, that will get rid of the difficulty.
– I submit that the Committee would-be quite in order in attaching any condition it chose to the proposal now before us. In Division VI. a and Division VI.b, for instance, the conditions are laid down- under which the duties shall operate, and, therefore, in the present instance, it would be quite in order to lay down any condition so long as it is , revelant.
– This is a matter which ought to be discussed without ill feeling on either side. In my opinion, the arguments that have been used in support of the Chairman’s ruling are not sound. It is said that if the ruling be not adhered to, it will be possible for members to move an indefinite number of amendments. I remind the Committee, however, that, without any such ruling, it is possible for any honorable member to move that the duty be 1 per cent., 1 1/4 per cent., and so on into the smallest fraction.
Colonel Foxton. - After a blank has been created.
– I am not dealing with the question Before the Chair, but with the arguments in support of the Chairman’s ruling. In my opinion, the Chairman had no option under the circumstances, but to give the ruling he has given ; and I am merely pointing out that the consequences, which it is feared will result from the upsetting of that ruling, may follow, even if the ruling be adhered to. Whether the amendmen before us can be withdrawn-
– If it is voted on, we shall vote it out.
– If that is to be the spirit displayed, there will be an end of all progress. Hitherto amendments have been withdrawn whenever a misunderstanding has arisen. I admit that there is something in the argument of the honorable member for Laanecoorie ; but, at the same time, it has not yet been decided which duty the Committee prefer, and, apparently, some honorable members have determined that the opportunity to decide shall not be given.
– I should like to point out that, although the Chairman put the question that certain words proposed to be omitted should stand part of the question, he never put the question that the amendment be agreed to.
– The amendment has not been put. The honorable member for
Grey moved his amendment, and the point of order was then raised.
– I do not desire to cause any difficulty in connexion with this item. I have said that I am prepared to accept the duty of 15 and 10 per cent. I do not regard this item as I do some others; and I am quite agreeable to allow the proposal for 20 per cent. to be negatived provided that the other motion be moved. I think, however, that I ought to have some fair grounds for supposing that a duty of 15 and 10 per cent. will be agreed to.
– The Treasurer cannot bargain on a point of order.
– I shall trust the Committee, and agree to the striking out of the duty of 20 per cent. in the hope that we shall agree to a duty of 15 per cent., which will cause not quite so great a loss to the revenue as would the other duty.
– The suggestion of the Treasurer will remove the difficulty, but it must be perfectly understood that every one is left at liberty to vote as he chooses.
– The procedure will be that, if this amendment be negatived, and any honorable member desires to move a lower duty than that which has been indicated, I shall first put the question of the lower duty.
Amendment (Mr. Maloney’ s) negatived.
Amendment (by Mr. Poynton) proposed -
That the following new paragraph be inserted’ : - “a1. Piece goods, woollen or containing wool, viz., women’s and children’s dress goods, not weighing over 5 ozs. per square yard, ad val. (General Tariff), . 10 per cent.; (United Kingdom), 5 per cent.” .
– We are in a still more peculiar position. You, Mr. Chairman, put to the Committee the words as well as the figures of the amendment moved by the honorable member for’ Melbourne, and it has therefore been negatived. I am anxious to facilitate business and to allow the honorable member for Grey to have an opportunity to move for the duties which he advocates. But as the whole item has been negatived, we are in a worse position than before.
– The amendment is perfectly in order. The Committee has negatived an amendment including duties of 20 and 15 per cent. Another honorable member now moves similar words with duties of 10 per cent. and 5 per cent. That isquite a different amendment from the one which has been negatived.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the negative.
Amendment negatived. .
Amendment (by Mr. Maloney) agreed to-
That the following new paragraph be inserted : - “a1. Piece goods, woollen or containing wool, viz., women’s and children’s dress goods, not weighing over 5 ozs. per square yard, ad val. (General Tariff), 15 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 10 per cent.”
– I move -
That paragraph b be left out.
I wish to point out that there are two classes of denims. One is a striped and fancy denim, with which it is very difficult to deal owing to the fact that it so closely resembles woollens.
This, the Department would like to place in a separate item. The other class consists of plain denims, which I propose shall be admitted at .10 per cent, under the General Tariff, and at 1 5 per cent, under the Tariff of the United Kingdom. The only difficulty experienced by the Department is in deciding between fancy denims and cloth. The loss of revenue involved in my proposal will not be large. I am of opinion that it would be very much better to include all denims in a separate item, and to make them dutiableat the rates I have indicated.
Amendment agreed to.
.- It seems to me that it is proposed to admit silk at a very low rate, seeing that woollens, which are a necessary of life, have been taxed at 30 per cent, under the General Tariff, and at 25 per cent, under the TarifF for the United Kingdom.
– We do not grow silk in Australia.
– But surely it is a luxury, upon which we can impose a good stiff revenue duty. Certainly it does not stand in the same category as does woollen goods.
Amendment (by Mr. J. H. Catts) proposed -
That after the figures “ 15 per cent.,” paragraph C, the words “ and on and after 13th November, 1907, free,” be inserted.
.- The Treasurer’ should certainly take into consideration the duty that has been imposed upon silk used by umbrella workers. If we retain the rate which was agreed to the other night, when a majority of honorable members were under the impression that the item had been postponed, the manufacturers of umbrellas will be very seriously handicapped. It may be suggested that the difficulty can be remedied by allowing silk which is cut in bond to be admitted free. But that would mean - that each umbrella manufacturer would have to pay the cost of the attendance of a Customs officer there, which would probably amount to £250 a year. Needless to add, such a burden could not be borne by the small manufacturers. If the Treasurer will agree at a subsequent stage to recommit the item to which I refer, I shall be satisfied.
.- I wish to add a few words to the remarks of the honorable member for Yarra, because I take it that, irrespective of whether we are free-traders or protectionists, we desire to extend fair play to manufacturers. We do not wish to charge them a higher duty upon their raw material than we levy upon the finished product. ‘
– The Treasurer says that if the difficulty cannot be overcome in any other way, he will agree to recommit the item.
– I do not wish to promise to recommit items where it may not be wise to adopt that course. I do not think it would be wise to admit silk free. It is a luxury, which produces a good deal of revenue, and, in addition, the duty upon it tends to stimulate an industry.
– Besides, all parasols are not made of silk.
– It would be a great pity if we did not impose a fair duty upon silk, “for the purpose, of stimulating the growth of the silkworm and the production of silk. But I can quite understand that the raw material for the making of umbrellas should be dealt with in some way which will not handicap the manufacturers. That is why I wish to provide in respect of the silk used by umbrella manufacturers, and also in regard to the handles-
– The handles are already provided for.
– I think I shall be able” to deal with the silk required for umbrellas in some way other than by providing for its admission free. Otherwise, I should be disposed to allow item 123 to be recommitted.-
.- I move -
That after the word “ Plushes,” paragraph d, the words “’ Sealette and Cloths imitating Furs, Astrakans “ be inserted, and after the word “piece” the word “Italians” be inserted.
I shall be glad if the Treasurer can see his way to accept the amendment, as none of the materials referred to are manufactured here.
– I do not wish to move a further amendment, but perhaps the honorable member for Melbourne will agree to insert the word “all” before the word “Italians”? These goods, are used for linings for men’s and women’s clothing, and are not manufactured here.
– I have no objection to accept the suggestion.”
– I should like to ask whether the honorable member for Melbourne understands exactly what he is proposing to do? It seems to me that he is proposing to insert in paragraph d some goods which are included in paragraph e, and dutiable under that paragraph at 10 per cent. and 5 per cent. By placing them in paragraph d, the honorable member would render them liable to duties of 20 and 15 per cent., and I am sure that is not what he desires. The Italian cloths referred to would be introduced as cotton piece goods n.e.i.
– Nothing of the kind. Some of them contain wool.
– There are not many varieties of Italian cloth that contain wool. Really the honorable member for Melbourne is proposing to increase the duties on these goods. This does not apply to Astrakans and imitations of fur, but it certainly does to Italian cloth.
.- We should not accept the amendment until the Minister has ascertained exactly what its effect would be. I think there is something in what has been said by the honorable member for Denison. If the amendment wereaccepted, all the cloths which it covers, and which are made of cotton, would be subject to a higher duty than under the item as it stands. I am not prepared to support a higher duty, where, by voting for the Tariff as it stands, I can secure the imposition of a lower duty.
.- I ask the leave of the Committee to amend my amendment by omitting the reference to “Italians.” I find that they are dealt with under the next paragraph..
Amendment amended accordingly.
– I should like the Treasurer to tell the Committee whether the amendment, if accepted, would not have the effect of raising the duty on some articles dealt with in later paragraphs of the item.
– I have just asked the Comptroller-General, and he says not.
– Can the Minister tell us what item these goods would come under if they are not dealt with as the honorable member for Melbourne proposes?
– Woollen piece goods.
.- Honorable members will find that Italian cloth containing wool comes under the first item we dealt with to-night, and would be dutiable at 30 per cent.
– I do not see how we can help ourselves in this matter. We have already passed the first item in this division, which will include all woollen piece goods or piece goods containing wool. Therefore, however much we may desire to relieve these goods of the full duty payable on woollen piece goods, we shall be unable to do so.
– I understand that the Committee is now dealing with Italian cloths.
– No; that has been struck out of the amendment.
– I wish to see Italian cloths left in.. They would not come into competition with any goods manufactured here, and the better classes of Italian cloth are made almost wholly of wool. These goods, even in the old world, have increased in price, and I think honorable members would do well to place them in paragraph d of this item, and make the concession in duty that would involve on articles which are really tailors’ trimmings. I have been assured that it will effect the purpose aimed at, while the Treasurer need not be afraid that he will suffer any serious loss of revenue.
– It is some years since I was associated with importing, but I know that lustres, lustrines, and similar materials used for linings, are sometimes called Italians. These materials were, under the old. Tariff, dutiable at a low rate, in order to assist the local makers of ‘ clothing. They are now dutiable at 5 per cent., but, if put under some other heading, they may have to pay a higher rate.
– Nearly all Italians contain a slight percentage of wool, and are, therefore, dutiable under paragraph a at 30 and25 per cent. Dealing with certain materials used by women, we fixed certain rates for weights not exceeding 5 ounces to the square yard. I should have liked to place Italians in the same category, but could not do so since they weigh from 51/2 to 6 ounces to the square yard. If Italians are inserted in the paragraph with which we are now dealing, these goods will be dutiable at 20 and 15 per cent., whereas otherwise they will be dutiable as woollens n.e.i.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Mr. Maloney) proposed -
That after the word “ piece,” paragraph D, the word “Italians” be inserted.
.- There are two kinds of Italian cloth, one containing wool and the other made wholly of cotton, of which the first is dutiable at 30 and 25 per cent., and the second at 10 and 5 per cent. The effect of the amendment will be to reduce the duty on Italians containing wool, and to increase the duty on those containing cotton.
Colonel Foxton. - Then amend the amendment by adding the words “ containing wool.”
– I am willing to do so.
Amendment amended accordingly, and agreed to.
– I move -
That the words “ Tucked Linens or Cottons,” paragraph D, be left out.
I think that these materials should be dutiable at the lower rates applicable to the materials set out in paragraph e. Linens and cottons are the wearing material of the poor, who cannot afford silks, and if we must raise revenue, let us get it from those who can best afford to pay. When dealing with goods used chiefly by the poor, which cannot be made here, let us make the rates as low as possible.
– Why does not the honorable member always talk like that?
– If the honorable member listened to me, he would know that I do. I claim to be more consistent than most honorable members.
Question - That the words “ Tucked Linens or Cottons,” paragraph d, proposed to be left out, stand part of the item - put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
– I submit paragraph e in the following amended form: -
Cotton, Linen, and other piece goods, n.e.i. ; Oil Baize ; Leather Cloth ; Dungaree ; Denims ; Moleskins and Corduroys ad val. (General Tariff), 10 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 5 per cent.
– What about jute?
– That is left out.
– That is in order to make jute free?
– Is it the intention of the Minister to put jute under item 131 with hessians and brattice cloth?
– I intend to make jute free. I am bringing the duty on all fancy denims down to 10 and 5 per cent. respectively, because there is no difference in the cloth except as regards the pattern.
– That is a very valuable concession.
.- I am glad to hear that the Minister proposes to strike jute out of this item. The printers complain of the imposition of the duty on cotton, linen, and leather cloth. Whether it is a severe impost on them or not I cannot say.
– Why not make the whole of this line free?
– I shall be only too pleased if that is done.
– Why not move an amendment?
– I think that there is something in the complaint of the printers that cotton, linen, and leather cloth - their raw material - ought not to be taxed. In order to test the feeling of the Committee, I move -
That the words “ Cotton, Linen,” be left out.
– I suggest to the Treasurer the advisableness of reporting progress at this hour.
– I only ask honorable members to finish this page.
– That is precisely what I do not want to finish. I have a very- strong objection to taking a vote on this item in a thin Committee. If it is proposed to raise the duties on these necessaries of life, let us have a >good attendance. .
– The duties proposed, are only 10 and 5 per cent.
– The Minister is raising the duty from 5 per cent, on an item which involves a sum of ,£3,500,000.
– Nearly all the importations come from the United Kingdom.
– The honorable gentleman ought not to be putting up the . duty against Great Britain.
– We are .not raising the duty.
– Having regard to the dimensions of this item, I say that it ought to be considered in a full Committee. I ask the Minister, in the interests of good feeling, to report progress.
– I am going either to get the Tariff pushed on or to give up the task.
– I think that the honorable gentleman is getting the Tariff pushed on.
– I think not. The talk from the other side is keeping the Tariff back.
– That is a foundationless charge. Most of the talk has come from the other side. I have spoken for only three minutes to-day, and I have been in the Chamber all the time.
– -These are amongst the most important items in the Tariff, and the fact that we have dealt with four paragraphs should satisfy the most exacting Minister. Immediately following these items are a large number which should, occupy our attention for only a little time.
– Unless we can deal every day with two or three pages of the Tariff we shall never dispose of it.
– There is no reason why we should’ not be able to get on quickly after we have disposed of these important duties. A vote ought not to be taken on this question in a thin Committee. We have had a reasonable debate.
– This bluff on the part of the Treasurer would not deceive the veriest tyro. As soon as an honorable member on this side makes a suggestion he is met with’ bluff on the part of the Minister. It is now 1 1. 1 5 p.m., and I think that the Treasurer might well consent to progress being reported.
.- I agree with the honorable member for Parramatta that the item is an important one, but at the same time I think that honorable members who are absent are fairly well paired.
– They are not paired.
– Every honorable member is.
– We should have won a vote on an item relating to woollens but for the fact that all were not paired.
– Every honorable member was paired.
– Some were paired afterwards with dummies.
– Nothing of the kind.
– I must ask the honorable member for Bourke to cease his continuous interjections.
– This is an important item, but in fairness to the Government it should be stated that their proposal is that a duty lower than that suggested by the free-trade section of the Tariff Commission shall be imposed.
– That is not a fair statement. The suggestion in question was made only in connexion with a general scheme that was outlined.
– The statement put before us is that the free-trade section of the Commission suggested a duty of 20 per cent. Over ,£3,000,000 worth of goods coming under this item, or at least ninetenths of the total importations, are annually imported from Great Britain, and! will be dutiable at only 5 per cent.
– Which- means that prices will be put up.
– Under the old Tariff a duty of 5 per cent, was imposed, although many of us endeavoured to make the item free. I do not think any great principle is at stake, and whilst I do not. desire late ‘sittings I agree that we might very well try to make some progress.
– It is rather unreasonableto ask that a vote on this question shall bedeferred since there is really nothing todebate in connexion with it. Under theold Tariff, the duty on these goods, withthe exception of jute - which was free - was-. S per cent. I now propose a duty of 5; per cent, on all goods of this class that are imported from Great Britain, and a duty of 10 per cent, on imports from other countries. Jute will still remain free. The value of goods coming under this heading, and imported from Great Britain, in 1906, was .£3,017,517 ; the total importations being valued at £3,309,618. That being so, it must be recognised that only a very small proportion of these goods will be dutiable at 10 per cent. Jute used for bag making will not be dutiable. I believe that every honorable member will be represented in the division on this question. I do not wish to be unpleasant tQ the honorable member for Parramatta-
– What does the honorable member wish to do to-night?
– I wish the Committee to deal with this proposal, and with two others, one of which relates to piece goods other than woollens or silks, and deals really with flannelette. As soon as we have disposed of the item relating to piece goods, I shall be prepared to consent to progress being reported.
.- I should have been glad had the Treasurer seen fit to agree to the request that progress be reported. It is all very well for those who live in Melbourne to urge that we should go on, but, having regard to the fact that many of us were travelling last night, I think it is only fair that the Government should be prepared to agree at this hour to an adjournment. At the same time, I am willing to remain here a little longer.
– Let the item go through.
– It is very easy to make such a proposition. I would remind honorable members that this is a proposal to tax the poor people of this country to the extent of £166,000 per annum. If it were proposed to impose a land tax, which would yield that amount of revenue, we should have a good deal of opposition from some honorable members who are inclined to let this item go. I hope that cotton and linen, as well as jute, will be placed on the free list. This is a purely revenueproducing duty. Not an ounce of cotton or linen material is produced in Australia.
– There is a cotton’ mill at Ipswich which is producing some cotton goods.
– What quantity ?
– I cannot say.
– If linens can be made in Australia, 10 per cent, is not high enough.’ We should have a much higher duty if it is to be protective in its incidence. But this is only a revenue producing duty. I venture to say that the effect of a duty of 10 per cent, will be to raise the cost of these articles to the consumer.. The English manufacturers will naturally put up the price. So far as printing paper is concerned, within . twenty -four hours of a preference of 5 per cent, being given to the English manufacturer, it was cabled out that the price was to be raised 5 per cent. In regard to linens, there is practically no competition outside England, and consequently the English manufacturer will have so much the better opportunity of raising prices. If linens are placed upon the free list, the tendency will be for more shirts to be made here. Already the Lieutenant-Governor of Victoria has publicly announced that a shirt was made in Australia that fitted him and was suitable for his purposes. That gives hope of the establishment . of a very large shirt-making industry. The cheaper the linen the easier it will be to make shirts in Australia.
.- If there is an item in the Tariff about which the members of the Labour Party should raise an outcry it is this duty on cottons and linens, which includes dungaree and corduroy. In the northern districts of Australia, the people derive the greatest benefit from wearing linen suits in the hot weather. The goods are brought out very cheaply, and can be obtained at a very low price. The effect of this duty will be to raise the cost to the consumer considerably. Other goods affected are denims, which arc largely used by working men, like painters, to protect their clothes. If any item should be on the free list, it is this.
.- I think that there is a great responsibility resting on protectionists in this matter. The new Tariff has occasioned a certain amount of outcry in the country, and for my own part I am not inclined to vote for duties which are not of a protective character. . I do not believe in voting for revenue duties which are advocated by free-traders. ‘ I think, moreover, that in the absence of internal competition, the raising of the duty from 5 to 10 per cent, against the. foreigner will mean that the cotton and linen manufacturers of England who, at present, work upon a margin of only 21 per cent, will be able to exclude the foreigner from the market altogether, and we shall, consequently be at the mercy of British manufacturers who are not above forming rings. Indeed, I would have voted against the duty on silks if I could have got some one to vote with me. Cottons are not luxuries in any sense. We are responsible for this Tariff, and the higher the duties for protection, and the lower the duties for revenue, the better we shall serve the purposes of protection. However,- I shall vote always, so far as I can, for freedom in the case of any articles that cannot be made in Australia.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta) £11.35]. - I” my judgment, as I have already said, this item should be voted on when there is a much fuller attendance. This is one of the most important items in the Tariff, involving, as it does,£3, 500,000 worth of importations. I doubt if there is another item in the Tariff which has the range of this, or which brings in so large a revenue. I think I only make a reasonable request when I ask that the vote shall be taken in a fuller Committee, when members have an opportunity of freely expressing themselves in regard to it. There have been votes taken to-night when pairing with regard to absent members has taken place after the’ division ; and we have not had. the fair play from the Government which we have a right to expect.
– Order !
– The least we can ask is that a vote shall be taken when honorable members are present, and not when they have to be paired as they have been to-night on some other items.
– Why are honorable members not here?
– Honorable members ought to be here, of course, but all of them are not here. Some honorable members have gone home, under the impression that the House was to adjourn, about 11 o’clock.
– The duty proposed is the old duty.
– It is not the’ old duty j and if there is an item in the whole schedule in which the Committee should stretch a point in favour of Great Britain, this is the item. These goods are not made here, and are not likely to be made here for many years ; and thev are of vital consequence to the inhabitants of the Mother Country. We can very well afford the revenue, having regard to the way in which money is coming in and is likely to come in under this Tariff. Let us recollect that every . modification made in the rate of duties means : so much more revenue. Already the scope and range of the Tariff has been so wide and expansive as to make it just as much a revenue Tariff as it is a protectionist Tariff. The framers of the Tariff seem to have had revenue in their minds as much, if not more, than the protection of an Australian industry. Therefore we could very well afford to abandon this duty, affecting, as’ it does, so large a number of the poorer classes of the community. The proposal- before us is just another instance of sham preference to Great Britain. We are told by the honorable member for Barrier that there is still a margin of £170,000 or £180,000 of imports from foreign countries, but I venture to say that a preference of 5 per cent, will not Have any appreciable effect on these importations. The duty will only have the effect of making it more difficult for the. people to obtain the goods, while it will not give Great Britain and her cotton industry one pound’s worth more. In my judgment, even if we make this Tariff protective, there is no need, in addition, to make it bear more heavily on the people of this country who use these articles.
– Therefore, the honorable member does not favour a revenue duty?-
– Not on this item, in regard to which I should be prepared to abolish the duty so far as British imports are concerned. I do not think that the matter need be delayed tomorrow.
– Will the honorable “ member agree to a vote being taken within an hour of the House meeting to-morrow ?
– So far as I am concerned, I will allow it to be taken within half-an-hour. All I wanted was to have the vote taken in a fuller Committee. I made a reasonable request to the honorable member, and he ought to have met it at once.
– I am very anxious to make more rapid progress -with the Tariff. It is heart-breaking to have two or three items debated all day and then make no advance of any moment. If we do not go faster than -we have been going, Heaven knows how long it will take. I understand from the deputy leader of the Opposition that he will exert his influence to. allow a vote to be taken on this item within an hour of the House meeting to-morrow.
House adjourned at 11.47 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 12 November 1907, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1907/19071112_reps_3_41/>.