3rd Parliament · 2nd Session
ABSENCE OFMr. SPEAKER.
The Clerk acquainted the House that he had been informed of the unavoidable absence of Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Deputy Speaker took the chair at 10.30 a.m., and read prayers.
Mr. POYNTON presented a petition from forty-four electors in South Australia praying the House to reduce the duties on agricultural implements.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK.- In this morn ing’s newspapers - and of course we get all our information first from that source - there is a statement to the effect that the Government proposes to ask honorable members to deal first with the non-contentious items in the Tariff. I should like to know from the Treasurer what his intention is in that regard? So far as I understand the position, we have taken the non-contentious items in the division now under consideration. I want to know if the statement in the press means anything more than that. I hope that it does not.
Sir WILLIAM LYNE. - I do not know what statement appeared in the press this morning, but I have said once or twice here that there were so many noncontentious items and so many contentious items to be dealt with. If it is the desire of honorable members to take first the noncontentious items in each division I have no objection. I do not care much whether those items are taken first, or whether the items are taken in rotation. That will be a matter entirely for the Committee to decide. It cannot ‘be done without the concurrence of all the leaders of the House and of the Committee, too.
Sir John Forrest. - That is what I wanted done at the beginning.
Sir WILLIAM LYNE.- I do not intend to make any proposal unless the Committee seems quite agreeable to take the items in that way. I propose to proceed with the postponed items in division VI., and the Committee can then indicate its wish in the matter.
MAIL SERVICE: TASMANIA.
Mr. McWILLIAMS. - I beg to ask the Postmaster-General when the ordinary mail service to Tasmania will be restored. Owing to the recent strike permission was given to the contracting company to reduce the number of trips per week, but now that the strike has been settled there can be no reason why the contract service should not be resumed.
Mr. MAUGER.- Acting upon a promise I made to the honorable member for Bass, I issued an instruction this morning that the mail service should be restored, but I am very doubtful as to whether it can be restored at once.
Mr. McWilliams. - Why not?
Mr. MAUGER. - For the simple reason that the contractors tell me that they cannot procure a supply of coal. The regular service will be restored as early as possible.
Mr. McWilliams. - Does not the Minister think that the company should have coal stored for the purpose.?
Mr. MAUGER.- That is another matter.
Mr. McWilliams. - It is a matter of carrying out the contract.
– Before the business is called on I wish to make a personal explanation. It is not often that I trouble the House in that way.
– The honorable member need not apologize, when he is exercising a privilege.
– In the Saturday edition of the Melbourne Herald it was stated that I had intimated to the Government and the House that I desired to sit on Sunday. No such statement was made by me. I said quite the contrary. I think that, in a case of that kind, any reputable journal should have ascertained the fact from the speaker if its representative were in doubt.
In Committee of Ways and Means (Consideration resumed from 15th November, vide page 61 18):
Postponed item 143.Iron, Plate and Sheet, viz.: - (a) Corrugated Galvanized, ad val. (General Tariff), 25 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 20 per cent. (b) Galvanized not Corrugated, and Corrugated, not Galvanized,ad val. (General Tariff), 20 per cent.; (United Kingdom), 15 per cent.
– Since this item was postponed,I have received a petition, which I will read presently, asking that specific should be substituted for ad valorem duties. It has been suggested by a large number of influential importers that in paragraph a the duties on corrugated galvanized iron, instead of being 25 and20 percent. respectively, should be £3 10s. and £3 a ton respectively, and that in paragraphb the duties should be and £2 10s. respectively. Those sums are the equivalents of the ad valorem duties. The petition reads as follows -
We, the undersigned, hardware, iron,and timber merchants and distributors of galvanized iron respectively ask that whatever rate of duty may be levied on galvanized iron should be based on the tonnage thereof and not on its ad val. value. As the value of the different gauges of galvanized iron varies somewhat the latter method of fixing the duty is confusing to customers, and we consider it leaves an opening for fraud in relation to the invoice value thereof. It may perhaps strengthen our case to remind you that in all the States of the Commonwealth in the past the duty was always levied on the tonnage.
The petition is signed by Andrew Kerr and Company Proprietary Limited, T. Anthony and Company, Chalmers and Langford, Richard Johnson, Clapham and Morris, J. S. Kidd and Company, D. and W. Chandler, A. P. Allan, J. Stone, Morris and Meeks, Harvey, Shaw and Company, Joseph Ellis and Sons, Kemp and Sheehan, C. S. Green and Son, Jas. McEwan and Company Limited, W. Richardson and Company, Currie and Richards, Jas. Moore and Sons Proprietary Limited, John Sharp and Sons, W. H. Rocke and Company Proprietary Ltd., and J. Wright and Sons.
– What the importers propose comes to more than the present duty.
– I am informed by the officers that it is exactly the same.
– It works out to more than the present duty.
– I have not worked out the figures. I asked the officers to work out the figures, and let me know whether or not the proposalsmeant an increase, and they informedme that they do not mean an increase.
– The duty is a little less in the case of paragraph a, and more in the case of paragraph b.
– Why should we have a heavy duty when it is intended to give a bounty upon the production of the articles?
– The list of names I have read out is, I take it, fairly representative of those interested in this trade, who are, I think, importers more than manufacturers.
– They are not manufacturers of these particular goods.
-At any rate, they urgethat it will be much easier for them to pay a fixed duty.
– They do not say that they desire the particular fixed dutv proposed.
– I requested the departmental officers to let me know what fixed duties would be equivalent to the ad valorem duties ; and the information I received is that I have read to honorable members. The honorable member for Grey has said that the proposed fixed duties on the iron comprised in paragraph b are more than an equivalent for the ad valorem duties. I point out that I must depend for information on the officers of the Department; I cannot be expected to go into mathematical calculations of this nature. I hope honorable members will not accuse me of submitting this amendment without notice, seeing that I received the information only on Saturday morning. If the fixed duties be made equivalent to the ad valorem duties, and the fixed duties are preferred by the importers, then no injury can be done to others. I much prefer specific duties where they can reasonably be imposed ; and I may point out that fixed duties were the rule under the States Tariffs prior, to Federation. I intend to move -
That after the words “25 per cent.,” paragraph A, the words, “and on and after 25th November, 1907, per ton (General Tariff), ^3 103.,” be inserted.
.- I do not feel disposed to offer any opposition to the proposal of the Treasurer, in so far as it relates merely to the substitution of a fixed duty for an, ad valorem duty. It is very likely true that a fixed duty will give more satisfaction to both importers and users. But it is a very serious matter when we are asked to increase the duty from 15s. per ton to ^3 10s. petton.
– It has always been admitted that the duty of 15s. per ton was imposed in mistake.
– This commodity ought to have been made free - that was the intention of Parliament.
– No, it was not.
– As I was not in Parliament when that duty was imposed, I am not in a position to say whether or not there was a mistake, but I know that a good deal of the commodity is being manufactured under a duty of 15s. per ton.
– The only place I know of where this iron is being manufactured is at Lithgow, and I do not think that the industry pays.
– So far as I could judge, when I paid a visit to Lithgow, this class of iron was finished there pretty extensively. As I endeavoured to point out in a few words on the adjournment on Saturday, this item is intimately connected with the Manufactures Encouragement Bill ; and I say frankly that, while I am prepared- to give consideration to the iron industry by means of that measure, I am not prepared to give both a duty and a bounty.
– That will have to be done if the proposals of the Government are to have any effect.
– I have no doubt that when the industry has been established by means of a bounty, and is in a position to supply the whole of the requirements of Australia, it will be necessary to impose a dutv in order that the market may be retained. Of course, in saying that, I am probably presenting the worst aspect from my point of view. Before we pass this item we are entitled to some information as to the Government attitude- in reference to the position of this industry under the Manufactures Encouragement Bill. As I said before, if there be a bounty I am not prepared to vote for a duty ; but if the Government are content to accept a duty in lieu of a bounty, I may possibly consider the proposal. I do not commit myself on this point, but merely say that it will be a matter for consideration. We ought ito have some explanation from the Minister, so that we may know whether or not he is endeavouring to secure both a bounty and a duty in favour of this commodity.
– The bounty is granted for the manufacture of iron out of Australian ores, but this is to be a duty on imported galvanized and corrugated iron.
– The honorable and learned member for Bendigo the other night took up a similar attitude to mine on this question. He preferred a bounty on pig iron to a duty, on the commodity, which might seriously hamper other industries.
– That argument would apply to the whole ramifications of the Tariff.
– No. it would not. because in regard to other items there is no question of a bounty. 1 am prepared to vote for a bounty in preference to a duty, but we ought not to have both. The Treasurer might make a statement, explaining whether, in the event of the duty being passed, it is his intention to proceed with the Bill which grants a bounty for the production of iron used for this purpose.
– I am of the opinion just voiced by the last speaker - that it was understood that the question involved in this item was to be settled by means of a bounty, and that if a bounty were granted a considerable modification of these duties would immediately take place. I expected to hear a statement from the Treasurer to that effect this morning.
– The honorable member expects me to say quite a number of things.
– Do I understand that the Treasurer is waiting until the Committee have told him what to do?
– I am not waiting for anything; I expect to have this duty passed.
– The Treasurer would have the duty passed very soon if he would tell the Committee what he proposes to do in regard to the bounty, but honorable members object to blundering about in the dark.
– We propose to pass this duty if we are able.
– Then the Treasurer has misled the Committee.
– I have done nothing of thekind.
– I understand now that the principle of paying a bounty of 10 per cent. on galvanized iron has been affirmed. That amounts to about 25s. per ton. Surely that is a very substantial modicum of protection in itself. I should like honorable members to recollect that the processes of galvanizing and corrugating have nothing to do with the production of iron. They are processes that presentvery little difficulty. All that the manufacturers haveto do is to erect a furnace with a supply of spelter, and pass the iron through it after it has been prepared by a simple chemical process, which involves no complexity and no great skill. Numbers of boys can take part in the industry. Even if we intend to have a protective duty, a small percentage of difference between sheet iron and corrugated iron would meet all the requirements. But to impose the duty of 25 per cent. or 30 per cent. is absolutely absurd. It means a huge revenue duty, and nothing more.
– Why should the honorable member object to that?
– Because it is an absurd revenue duty. There is nothing reasonable in it. Moreover, it means a crushing imposition upon the people of the country. If there be one duty in this Tariff that profoundly affects the people, from one end of this continent to the other, it is that on galvanized iron. In many parts of Australia galvanized iron is the material from which residences are made. It is a duty which, more than any other, weighs upon the primary industries. If the proposal be agreed to, it means, for many years to come, I have no hesitation in saying, a crushing revenue tax upon the primary producers of Australia. It falls with heaviest weight upon those who are least able to bear it, and upon those who get least advantage from protective duties. The Treasurer cannot justify it onany protectionist principle, because, for many years to come, the quantum of iron necessary in Australia to provide a sufficient supply of galvanized iron will not be produced here.
– It ought to be produced within twelve months, but it will not be if the honorable member has his way.
– Theplant available for the production from native ore of all the sheet iron from which galvanized iron is made cannot be erected and put in working order in Australia for many years to come. In the meantime, if this duty be imposed, it will really mean a, revenue impost of from 25 per cent. to 30 per cent. A difference of 5 per cent. as between sheet iron and galvanized iron would be a substantial protective duty.
– I point out to those honorable members who favour a protectionist Tariff that what is proposed is merely a duty on the galvanizing and corrugating processes, and that it does not profess to overcome the difficulty regarding iron production.
– That is so ; it does not make for the production of iron from native ore.
– Not to the slightest extent. All the complexities and difficulties of iron production have to be faced at a period prior to that at which this duty will begin to operate. Galvanized and corrugated iron has been made for many years in many parts of Australia.
In most cases the sheets have been imported ; in other cases, as at Lithgow, galvanized and corrugated iron has been made from scrap iron. Now at Lithgow they are producing it from iron made from their own native ores. Therefore, I say that this duty is simply absurd on the face of it, since it relates to a finishing process of the simplest possible character. But as the duty will be so widespread in its incidence, and will affect so profoundly the primary industries of Australia and those who are engaged in building up the prosperity of the Commonwealth at such great cost to themselves and with so much deprivation of home comforts. I hope that honorable members will not consent to impose this heavy tax.
– The honorable member for Parramatta has simply been beating the wind; he has not touched the point at issue. The honorable member for Bendigo has shown exactly what this proposal means. It has nothing to do with iron which is manufactured here.
– But will it protect the black iron?
– Certainly not.
– It will simply afford an opportunity for the local manufacture of iron. The bounty granted under the Manufactures Encouragement Bill will remain in operation for only three years, and will not be sufficient in itself to enable the establishment of the industry of producing iron from native ores.
– The galvanizing industry can be established in six months
– The honorable member has talked a lot of nonsense, and has confused this duty with the bounty under the Manufactures Encouragement Bill. The two are absolutely distinct. The protectionist section of the Tariff Commission recommended that a duty of 15 per cent. should be imposed. Is this industry, after the bounty has expired, to be left absolutely at the mercy of the Steel Trust of America, or are we to have in the Tariff a duty to come into operation in 1911 to prevent its absolute annihilation? Unless honorable members are very careful the industry will be at themercy of the Steel Trust of America, with its enormous capital, which has secured control of nearly the whole industry in America, and desires to control these manufactures all over the world.
– The bounty, according to the honorable member’s own calculation, will amount to 30s. per ton.
– That is not very much, having regard to the fact that it applies to galzanized iron to be made from native ore. The object of the bounty is to encourage the galvanizing of iron produced from our native ore, and not merely of imported black iron. I do not wish the industry to be confined to the mere galvanizing of black iron introduced from abroad.
– The honorable member spoke of placing the industry at the mercy of the Steel Trust of America. Last year our imports other than from Great Britain were of the value of only , £37,000.
– I am going to fight for our own industries, and should not be mealy-mouthed in regard to a proposal of this kind, even if it did mean an increased price of1s. per sheet. It is just about time that a determined stand was made for our own industries.
– No crocodile tears !
– I certainly am not shedding any. We have vast deposits of iron ore in New South Wales, Tasmania, Queensland, South Australia, and Western Australia, and we should be prepared to grant effective assistance to their development. I wish to impress upon honorable members that we have not two duties applying to the one manufacture. The bounty is intended in the meantime to help these industries to reach a point of production at which they will be able to supply the local requirements.
– But is not the object of the bounty similar to that to which this duty is to apply?
– In the one case the iron will be made from native ore, and in the other case it is imported.
– But in both cases we have sheet and corrugated iron.
– Quite so; but in the one case we have a duty, and in the other we have not. I find that the duty of 15s. per ton has not had the slightest effect on importations, nor has it increased the price of imported iron. I knew what I am talking about, because for some time I administered the affairs of. the Department of Trade and Customs. I wish to secure the imposition of a duly that will come on after the bounty has ceased.
– I am prepared to vote for such a duty.
– In the meantime, I wish to have something to check wholesale importations.
– Then be straightforward and impose a duty on iron as such.
– I anr always straightforward j but the honorable member never is. I wish to take care that during the three years that the bounty is in operation this iron is not imported in large quantities and stored for distribution thereafter. During the three years of the operation of the bounty men will be struggling to establish the industry, and I wish to help them. I desire an effective Tariff to be passed. I certainly do not wish to see passed a Tariff that will afford no protection to this branch of the iron industry after the bounty has ceased. I should like to see iron works established not only in Tasmania, but elsewhere.
– And more than one would be established if proper assistance were given.
– I agree with the honorable member. I am in receipt of an official report which states that the duties levied upon this item are based upon the figures tendered to the Tariff Commission. I trust that honorable members will adhere to the Government proposals, and thus prevent us being exposed to the fearful machinations of” the great trust which exists in the United States.
– Cannot the Government deal with that trust ?
– I do not know that we can deal with it effectively.
– The bulk of the iron imported into the Commonwealth is of British origin.
– The honorable member is speaking as a free-trader. He is in accord with the expressed intention of his leader1 to reduce the duties levied under this Tariff to such an extent that they shall be robbed of their protective incidence. .
– He does not tell falsehoods.
– If the honorable member for Parkes would adhere as closely as I do to facts he would do a great deal better than he does. He is a party of one ; he always was, and always will be. The Government are in earnest in their endeavour to effectively protect the galvanizing of sheets which are made from Australian ore.
.- It is unfortunate that upon almost every occasion that the Treasurer rises to address the Committee he should create more opposition than is really necessary. Before making the statements that he has made, [ claim that he should have looked at the statistics relating to our importations of iron. Instead of this commodity being dumped into the Commonwealth from the United States, the truth is that out of a total importation valued at £1,069,174, no less than ,£1,032,000 worth comes from the United Kingdom. The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr. Fowler). - The Committee is very disorderly this morning, so much so that it is impossible for the debate to proceed in this way. I must- ask honorable members to restrain themselves.
– Under the old Tariff a revenue of about £47,000 was collected upon this item. I have taken the trouble to work out the amounts which a dutv of 20 per cent, would represent upon various well-known brands of iron. I find that upon “ Orb “ of 24-inch gauge it would mean £3 16s. 5d. per ton; upon the same brand, 26-inch gauge, which is invoiced at £18 15s. per ton, it would represent £4 2s. 6d. per ton. Upon “ Orb “ of 28-inch gauge, the value of which is ,£20; the duty would be £4 8s. per ton. Upon the “Redcliffe” brand of 24-inch gauge, the invoice value of which is £16 17s. 6d., the duty would be £3 14s. 3d. ; and upon the same brand of 26-inch gauge, which is invoiced at ,£18 7s. 6d. per ton, it would be £4 os. iod.
– I can buy that brand of iron in Brisbane for less than the amount quoted by the honorable member.
– Its price, of course, depends upon the gauge. Quite recently a manufacturer wrote me complaining of the duty on’ this very article. He also forwarded me a clipping from a trade circular in which the price of “Redcliffe” iron of 26-ineh gauge was quoted at £17 odd per ton.
– How long ago is that?
– About a month or six weeks- ago. Upon the plain- iron a . duty of 20 per cent, would represent amounts ranging from £2 8s. 6d. to £3 5s. per ton. The proposed duty upon corrugated galvanized iron under the general Tariff will be equivalent to £3 10s. Par ton, and under the Tariff .for the United Kingdom it will be £3 per ton. Upon galvanized iron not corrugated the proposed duty of 20 per cent, under the general Tariff is equivalent to £3 per ton, and that of 15 per cent, under the Tariff for the United Kingdom is equal to -£2 10s. per ton. To urge that these duties must not be considered in relation to the bounty which it is proposed to pay upon the production of iron is somewhat fallacious reasoning. For a considerable time to come the price of this commodity must be increased bv the amount of the duty. Consequently the individual who is engaged in the manufacture of iron from Australian ores will have the advantage of the increased price of imported iron.
– I think that I shall be able to show that he will not.
– I take it that he will. Anything which increases the price of the imported article must be of advantage to the local manufacturer.
– To the galvanizer, but not to the man who manufactures iron from the local ore.
– A bounty of 10 per cent, upon the production of iron would work out at from 30s. to 40s. per ton. If my contention be right the local manufacturer will enjoy an advantage of something like £5 per ton as a result of the bounty and the duty. It should not be forgotten that this is an article which is largely used throughout Australia. The old duty of 15s. is equal to a duty of about 5 per cent, on these imports, and. we collected at that rate of duty £47,000 on the importations for last year. The item is one which appeals to me from the primary producers’ stand-point. One of the first requirements of a man who takes up a piece of land is galvanized iron. He may be able to get a few straight spars on his holding with which to construct the frame of the buildings he must erect, but he must have galvanized iron to complete them. Recently, in South Australia, 400,000 acres of land have been made available for settlement, and have been taken up. There is not a stone to be found on that land, and the residences, as well as the necessary outbuildings of the settlers, will have to be constructed of wood and iron. The duty proposed on this item would be a serious tax upon those people.
– The honorable member suggests that we should not manufacture anything at all in Australia.
– I do not expect to be able to convince the honorable member for Melbourne Ports. If the honorable member were in England he would advocate a duty on grapes, in order that they might be grown in that country. We can produce almost anything in Australia if we are prepared to pay for it. Whilst some honorable members may be anxious that’ the articles included in this item should be produced here, we should have some little consideration for the primary producers. Under this Tariff duties are imposed upon almost everything they require - timber, iron, and the implements used on the farm. On the cheaper class of iron the duty works out at over 20 per cent., which, from my stand-point, is exorbitant. People living where stone or bricks can be easily obtained, largely escape the duty, and it becomes a sectional tax and not a general tax. I recognise that there is something in the contention that there should ‘be a difference between the duties imposed on corrugated and on plain iron, and I think that 5 per cent., which .would represent about 15s. per ton, is a sufficient margin to provide for. The only reason advanced by the Chairman of the Tariff Commission- for the duty recommended on corrugated iron is that certain works in South Australia have been closed down. The owner of these works had a few rollers with which he converted galvanized sheet into corrugated iron. . He claimed that because no difference was made in the duties between galvanized and corrugated iron under the old Tariff,, he was compelled to close down his works. For the information of the Chairman of the Commission I mav state that the owner of the works is satisfied with a margin of from 15s. to £1 per ton between the duties on corrugated and on plain iron. Most of the importations under this item will be dutiable under the second column.
– Ninety-six per cent, at least will.
– Importations to the value of ‘,£336, 7 80 came from the United States.
– Of what use is it for the Treasurer to make such a statement? Only ,£39,000 worth came from the United States.
– I have the figures before me.
– If the honorable gentleman will turn to the published statistics he will find that the importations were from Canada, £495; Straits Settlements, £187; Belgium, £215; Germany, . £215; United States, £39,194, and from the United Kingdom,£128,868.
– If the honorable member will allow me, the figures I gave were£336,780. I have just asked the officers of the Department, and I find that a mistake has been made. By some inadvertence an extra three was included in the figures supplied to me. I find that the value of the importations from the United States was £56,780, but I wish the Committee to understand how I was led to make the mistake.
– I propose to move-
That after the figures “ 25 per cent.,” paragraph A, the words, “and on and after 25th November, 1907, per ton (General Tariff), 25s.,” be inserted.
– This Tariff really seems a hopeless job. The Treasurer makes an excited and exciting speech, and calls on his protectionist friends to support the protectionist duty which he proposed, but when he used his arguments he was either not aware of the effect of his own Tariff, or else attempting to deceive the Committee. I would not accuse him of that.
– I was not doing so.
– Then he did not understand the effect of his own Tariff. It is not a question of protection to the maker of iron from native ore at all, andno protectionist can view it as such.
-If it is not imported, cannot we make it?
– Does the honorable member not know that under this Tariff black sheet-iron is coming in free?
– It should not.
– That is not the point. We are dealing with the Tariff as brought clown by the Minister. It is the free black sheet-iron that competes with the maker from native ores. It is not proposed to give him protection against it, and yet the Minister excitedly calls on protectionists to assist him to preserve the industry of making iron from native ores. That industry is not affected at all by this duty.
– Yes, it is.
-The black sheet from which plain and corru gated galvanized iron is made comes in free under the Minister’s own Tariff, and the enormous protection that the Minister now proposes is simply for galvanizing and corrugating.
– Is not that quite a simple process?
– Very simple. When Division VI.a is put into force, there will be a duty of 12½ per cent. on black sheet-iron, but at present there is none, although the Minister could ask that Division VI.a be put into force now if he liked. The enormous protection of £3 10s. and £3 a ton is all for the most simple processes of corrugating and galvanizing.
– And a machine does the lot.
– They are processes that employ very little labour, and yet it is proposed to allow this enormous extra cost to go on to the shoulders of the consumers of galvanized iron for the sake of that small industry.
– Does the honorable member mean that the local man is going to charge so much more than the foreigner ?
– By agreeing to the Treasurer’s proposal, we should be giving him the opportunity to do so. We have never been so reckless yet - not even the strongest protectionists here - as to say that we will give a duty enormously higher than is needed for the purposes of protection. By so doing we. should only give the opportunity to the roller or corrugator or tinner to charge much higher prices to the consumer.
– It does not work out that way in the case of a simple process, because there is plenty of competition.
– If this enormous duty is proposed for revenue purposes,the whole revenue will disappear under it. Not a ton will be brought in after a time, except as black sheet-iron. We shall not be doing justice to the people of Australia if we impose such terrific duties as the Minister proposes on these articles. The Minister has succeeded in carrying a proposal for a bounty of 10 per cent. to iron manufacturers. As soon as that bounty has operated and the industry is sufficiently started, the Treasurer will be able to put a duty of 12½ per cent. on black sheet-iron and other duties on other iron goods.
– Ifwe wait for that, we shall never get it done.
– The Minister is trying now to impose, not a duty of 12
– Mr. Morris says that they are not satisfied, and he gave evidence here.
– Mr. Weidenhofer says that he would be satisfied with a margin of j 5 per cent.
– I understand that the honorable member for Grey has the latest information on the point. If we impose such duties as the Treasurer proposes, for a reason which is no reason at all, because it is incorrect, upon the backs of the people of Australia, especially those in the back-blocks, and upon all the industries of Australia which use this iron largely, we shall be deserving of the reprobation of the public.
– I venture to think that it will be foundon full consideration, that the ad valorem rate is preferable to the fixed duty. Sufficient ‘grounds have not been made out by the petition or memorial signed by merchants in favour of changing the advalorem rate to a fixed rate. It may be a little more convenient in clearing goods out of the Customs, but that is not the point. The point is which method will result in securing the fairest duty and the most reasonable amount of protection. A fixed duty, whether of £3 or £3 10s. a ton, will operate equally upon small or inferior sizes or grades, as upon superior and more expensive sections and grades. I therefore do not think that a fixed duty is a fair one, and that is the reason “ why the section of the Tariff Commission with which I’ was associated reported in favour of substituting an ad valorem rate for the old fixed rate. Consequently, I cannot support the Treasurer in the change which he proposes at the request of certain merchants. The plain black sheets from which the galvanized and corrugated sheets are made are admitted duty free. The Lithgow works received consideration by the granting of a bounty under the Manufac1tures Encouragement Bill. A section of thu Tariff Commission, at the instigation of South Australian manufacturers, recommended certain duties; their recommendations did not originate in Victoria. We were informed in South Australia that there three expensive plants for the corrugation of iron, each costing about ,6 I,500, were put down under the old State Tariff, and those interested in the industry asked for a differentiation against corrugated and galvanized sheets. It was alleged that the corrugating industry was one of the strangled industries, and the Commissioners were of opinion that it should be restored to the position which it occupied under the South Australian Tariff. The three witnesses who were examined on the subject were unanimous iri the opinion that the Commonwealth duty, 15s. per ton, was insufficient for their protection against the importation of the cheap labour product of the Old World.’ Mr. Charles R. Morris, the representative of the English firm of Lysaght and Co., which makes galvanized and corrugated iron in the United Kingdom, said that the firm were not interested in the manufacture of flat sheet iron, or in galvanizing in Australia ; but had found it convenient and economical to put down a plant foi corrugating here, so as to enable them to satisfy themselves that the corrugated iron they supplied was sound and good. They had found that imported corrugated iron, when opened up, perhaps at some remote place in the interior, was occasionally faulty, and had to be returned tq Adelaide at their expense. The old Commonwealth duty of 15s. per ton was equivalent to about 5 per cent, ad valorem, and the Tariff Commission recommended that the rate be increased to 15 per cent: ad valorem, which .would be equal to a fixed rate of £2 5s. a ton. I am prepared to vote either for 15 per cent, ad valorem, or for the fixed rate of £2 5s: a ton; but that is my maximum. The Government are proposing in the General Tariff a rate of 25 per cent, ad valorem, or £>$ I0S- Per ton, and in the Tariff for the United Kingdom a rate of 20 per cent. ad valorem, or £3 per ton.
.- The proposed duties, if agreed to, will fall most heavily upon the working classes, especially upon those who have to make homes for themselves in rural and mining districts. Galvanized iron is largely used for the building of cottages in country districts, where it is often impossible to get weatherboard or other suitable material, so that, not only the roofs, but the walls as well, are made of iron. This is especially the case in new mining settlements. Galvanized and corrugated “iron is comparatively cheap building material, and for that reason, and because it is easy to deal with, it is very much in favour, and any action tending to make it dearer will cause the poorer classes of the community to suffer. The Treasurer, in an impassioned speech, spoke ot the terrible importations of the American Steel Trust. He had afterwards to admit that the figures which he quoted in this connexion were wrong ; but even had they been correct, they would not have supported his argument, because they showed that only a comparatively small portion of galvanized iron is imported from America. Nearly the whole of our importations of galvanized and corrugated iron come from the United Kingdom, whence we imported last year £1,033,118 worth, or 96.535 per cent, of the whole quantity brought here from abroad, while from the United States we got only £[36,780 worth, or about 3.440 per cent.
– But the fact that Great Britain sends all the commodity here will not console us.
– That does not affect my argument in the slightest degree. The Treasurer bases his appeal for support of this duty on his assertion that we have to protect our local people from the competition of this vast American Steel Trust, which he implied was dumping its wares upon Australian soil.
– But he withdrew that.
– He corrected the figures, but he did not withdraw the implication. The total value of the importations from all countries outside Great Britain and the United States of America is only £2796. Surely it is not worth while to trouble about that. We have nothing to fear, so far as foreign countries are concerned, and according to the figures the Treasurer’s impassioned appeal to his protectionist .friends to resist the encroachments of the American Steel Trust falls to the ground. With regard to plain iron, we import from the United Kingdom £111,998 worth, equal to 55.98 per cent. ; from Belgium, £18,705 worth; from Germany, ^45)95^ worth; and from the United States of America, only £22,301 worth. The imports from Belgium, Germany, and the United States of America, represent only 44.2 per cent. of the total importations, while from all other countries we import only £[1,074 worth. It will be seen that the duty is really directed against British importations, and that its value as a protective duty is not worth talking about.
– Where does the boasted preference come in?
– There is no .preference at all, because we already receive from Great Britain 96J per cent, of our total importations without any preference. When we come to compare the proposed duties with the old duties, what do we find? As regards corrugated galvanized iron, 26-gauge, the f .o.b. value of which is £[15 a ton, under the old Tariff the duty was 159., but under this Tariff the duty in the general column is equivalent, not to .£3 ios.; as the Treasurer said, but to £3 12s. 6d.
– As the price of that iron is continually fluctuating, those figures are no guide.
– Exactly. We have to take the figures subject to fluctuations ; but the proportions will remain about the same. Under the new Tariff the duty on corrugated galvanized iron from the United Kingdom is equivalent to ,£3 7s. 6d. As regards corrugated iron, not galvanized 26-gauge, the f.o.b. value of which is £10, under the old Tariff it was free, but under the new Tariff the duty is equivalent to 44s. in the general column, and 33s. in the preferential column. Then, as regards galvanized iron not corrugated the f.o.b. value of which is ,£16 a ton, under’ the old Tariff the duty was 15s., but under the new Tariff it is the equivalent of £3 ios. 5d. in the general column, and £2 12s. 9d. in the preferential column. There is another kind ‘ ot iron which, treated in a different way, is fast coming into competition with galvanized iron’. I refer to corrugated bi-carbided iron, which is a new substitute for galvanized iron, and runs out at £3 a ton cheaper. The new process is said to be fast superseding the galvanizing process. The treatment has practically the same effect, and in all respects the corrugated bi-carbided iron serves the purpose equally as well as does the more expensive galvanized iron. Really there is no need for imposing a duty on this particular iron, because the importing expenses run from about 56s. to 67s. a ton, constituting a very high margin of natural protection. The object of the duty, of course, is to protect the corrugation and galvanization of imported plain iron sheets, but when we look at the evidence what do we find in that connexion? Mr. Weidenhofer, representing Lysaght’s Corrugation Works in Adelaide said, iri reply to questions 50923-4, in volume iv., page 2[$66, that their corrugating plant employed six men.
– The honorable member does not think that we ought to employ six men?
– But look at the price which we are to be asked to pay for the employment of those six men.- It would be better to pay the men double the wages they are getting merely to do nothing, than to impose these duties. According to the evidence of that witness the corrugating plant of Lysaght’s Adelaide works employed only six men earning £15 a week amongst them. In reply to questions 50959-61 he said that twenty-four men required to work the three existing corrugating plants in Adelaide could “ amply “ supply the South Australian requirements, which amount to about 6,000 tons annually. Mr. Morris, another corrugator, ‘in reply to question 50507 on page 2556, gave the value of the plant employing three men at about £1,500. That gentleman, in reply to questions 50545 and 50612, and Mr. Weidenhofer, in reply to questions 51005 and 51079-81, admitted that the local product would be increased in price. The Treasurer has just told us that there is no danger of the iron being increased in price as the result of the imposition of the duty. But here is Mr. Morris, . an expert in this business, who says that the effect of the duty will be to bring about an increase in the price of the local article. In almost all cases where high duties are proposed there is a tendency towards the formation of combines. According to the evidence of Mr. Weidenhofer, there is a combine for the purpose of fixing and regulating prices in connexion with the in dustry. In reply to questions 50966-71 he admitted that three firms had combined to fix prices, namely, Lysaght of Sydney, Lysaght of Adelaide, and the Victorian Galvanized Iron Company. In reply to questions 84151-2, on page 2570, Mr. Thornley, the manager for Mr. Sandford’s Esbank Iron Works, opposed the imposition of any duty on corrugated iron.
– What has the Treasurer to say to that ?
– Mr. Thornley was very foolish.
– Then if those primarily interested in the industry make statements which are, in the Treasurer’s opinion, foolish, he must admit-
– When Mr. Sandford’s representative arrives by train to-day the honorable member can ask him what he thinks on the point.
– I am not referring to what Mr. Thornley thinks, but to his sworn evidence before the Tariff Commission. If we asserted that interested manufacturers had said foolish things which affected their own industry, the Treasurer would be the first to resent such a statement as a reflection on their intelligence. As a matter of fact the manufacturers would derive an extra profit of nearly £7,000 from the proposed duty on a plant capital of £[4,500, whilst the workers would share between them about £2,340 for their labour. It will be seen from these figures that it would pay the Commonwealth to give the employes double their wages and to keep them idle rather than to impose these duties, which would burden so large a section of the community. With regard to the question of galvanizing what do we find when we turn to the evidence? We find that in reply to questions 84151 and 84157 on page 2570, Mr. Thornley, representing the onlyfirm in Australia which galvanize iron, sheets, declared himself satisfied with a duty of 12 *</inline> per cent, on iron “ corrugated, galvanized, and galvanized not corrugated,” though preferring
– There used to be a duty of £2 per ton in New South Wales.
– Not at the time to which I am referring, when the Reid Tariff was in operation.
– There was a duty of £2 per ton when the industry was started.
– But there was an alteration of the Tariff, and at the time of which I am speaking there was no protective duty. The Treasurer was mistaken in saying that the price of the commodity was not increased by the imposition of Commonwealth duty. As a matter of fact, as soon as the Commonwealth duty was imposed,£1 a ton was added to the local price.
– What was the price before the Tariff, in comparison with the price afterwards?
– I have already said that the difference is £1 per ton.
– Has not the price of iron gone up, apart altogether from the Tariff?
– But this increase of price was coincident with the imposition of the duty, and, as I understand, had no relation to the usual fluctuations of the market. According to the Australian Ironmonger, in September,1901, the price of “ Queen’s Head “ plain galvanized iron in Sydney was £21 5s., and in November of the sameyear it was £22 5s., showing exactly the difference of £1 to which I have called attention. In the same period in Sydney, the price of the “ Orb “ corrugated galvanized iron increased from £19 to £20 per ton. In Melbourne, in September, 1901, the price of the “ Queen’s Head “ brand was£23, and was the same in November, but the “ Orb” brand increased in price, as in Sydney, from £19 to £20. In face of the facts and figures it appears to me thatthe proposed duty will prove very burdensome to large masses of the working community, who are trying to make homes of their own, and to whom cheap building materials are an absolute necessity.
– The proposed duty will not make much difference in the cost.
– Perhaps not to men in the happy position of the Government Whip, but it will make much difference to wage-earners and others of small means. In my opinion, the duties proposed by the honorable member for Grey are too high, and ought not to be more than under the general Tariff, 15 per cent., and under the Tariff of the United Kingdom 10 per cent. I wish to move; -
That after the words “ 25 per cent.,” paragraph A, the words “ and on and after26th November, 1907, per ton (General Tariff), 15s.,” be inserted.
.- I think the duties proposed by the Government are rather high. I do not intend to go into details, but merely to intimate that if either of the amendments now before us is rejected, I shall move what I regard as a fair compromise between the protectionist and the free-trade proposals. In my opinion, the iron, under paragraph a, ought to bear duties of 45s. and 40s., and under paragraph b duties of 40s. and 30s.
.- I came here this morning with the idea of doing some ‘ ‘ slogging ‘ ‘ work in disposing of the Tariff, but, as a matter of fact, the Treasurer is going the right way to prevent any progress being made. Let us, for one moment, compare the duties now proposed by the Government with the duty which was finally adopted in 1902. No one will question the protectionist inclinations of either Sir George Turner or the honorable member for Adelaide, who were, of course, chiefly concerned in the first Commonwealth Tariff. The original proposal by the Barton Government in this connexion, was a duty of 30s. per ton, but after long debate the Government accepted 15s. per ton. Yet we have the present Treasurer coming here ill-informed and ill-advised, ‘ and asking for a duty equal to 25 per cent. ad valorem. This is most singular, in face of the fact that the Barton Government were glad to accept a duty of 15s. per ton.
– The Barton Government were not glad to accept that duty.
– At any rate, the Barton Government sought to impose a duty of only 30s., as compared with the present duty of £310s. I have no doubt the Treasurer will shortly tell the country that the Opposition, on this item,are delaying the passage of the Tariff. As a matter of fact, the real cause of any delay lies with the Treasurer, who proposes prohibitive duties which even his protectionist supporters cannot accept. Whenever the Treasurer is in trouble he tries to rally his supporters by warning them against the opera- tions of the American Steel Trust. It does not seem to matter whether the item be confectionery or anything else, he seeks to frighten honorable members with the American Steel Trust as with a bogey. It has been shown that that Trust supplies only 3 per cent. of the importations, and yet the Treasurer is surprised that his supporters cannot be “brought to heel “ with such a cry. Seeing that the Treasurer is so ill-informed, the better course would be for us to go into recess, and give him time to study his own Tariff. The Treasurer, when brought to book, said that the imports from America represented £300,000, whereas the amount should have been about , £30,000.
– I said that the paper had been sent to me by the officers, and that they had not struck out a figure that they ought to have struck out.
– The Treasurer, in his first speech, said that the bulk of these goods were the product of the American Steel Trust, and, when the honorable member for Grey proved from statistics that that statement was wrong, the Government Whip, flourishing, apparently, two pieces of blank paper, said, “ We have the figures.” If the honorable member for Bourke had the figures, all the worse for the Treasurer.
– I did not say anything of the kind,and the honorable member ought not to continue to misrepresent me.
– I shall try another way of stating the situation. The Treasurer called on his supporters, and told them that the American Steel Trust was forcing goods into Australia; and when the honorable member for Grey showed the inaccuracy of that statement, the Government Whip said, “ We have the figures here.” If the Government Whip had the figures, the Treasurer did not use them.
– I said “ I have the figures here.”
– That is the same thing.
– No; it is not.
– Am I to understand that the Government Whip is better informed on these matters than is the Treasurer ? Under the circumstances, I think the consideration of this item ought to be postponed.
– Let the honorable member move the postponement !
– I should have much pleasure in moving to that effect. Let me represent the situation in still another way.
– The honorable member has not yet moved the motion for the postponement of the item.
– I said that I should have much pleasure in moving it. The Treasurer admitted that there is to be a bounty, but said that it would expire in three years. Do I understand the honorable gentleman to propose a bounty plus a duty?
– Under Division VI.a of the Tariff there is provision for a duty after the expiration of the bounty.
– The Treasurer must admit that he made a very miserable attempt this morning to explain the matter before the Committee. No one can doubt that the honorable member for Bendigo is a protectionist, and he is quite prepared to vote for a duty equivalent to £2 5s. per ton. In the 1902 Tariff the duty amounted to 15s. per ton. Surely if the Treasurer can get an increase of 30s. per ton that ought to be quite sufficient.
– It is too high.
– It is much too high; but the Treasurer is even going beyond what avowed protectionists have asked for. The honorable member for Grey has shown that 96 per cent. of the galvanized iron imported into Australia is made in Great Britain. If the Treasurer believes in his own policy he will have to agree to grant a preference to British manufacturers.
– We are having nothing but a diarrhoea of words !
– Even if I desired I could not be less accurate than the Treasurer was in dealing with this matter this morning. I came down to the House today quite prepared to “slog in” with the Tariff, but not to be humbugged by the Minister in charge of it. The proposals of the Government are so outrageous that some of their best supporters are supporting amendments against them. There is no item in the Tariff which affects the masses so keenly as this does. The best course for us to follow would be to postpone the item altogether, and so give the Treasurer time to understand its incidence. I move -
That the item be postponed.
– I am against the postponement of the item, although I am quite prepared to vote for some modification of it. At the same time I must point out that only two arguments have been brought forward against a reduction. The first is that this is an- industry that only requires a simple plant and a small amount of labour. The inference is that we ought not to encourage the industry because it does not employ 1,000 people. If that argument were to be applied to all our small industries, we should wipe out the occupations of half the people engaged in the factories of the Commonwealth. The other argument against the proposed duty is that we should penalize the users of galvanized iron. But the first argument destroys the second. If the process is so simple the competition will be all the greater. I am quite satisfied that the result will be that the price will soon be far less than it is to-day. I admit that there ‘ is something in the contention of honorable members who contend that until a protected industry is well established the consumer has to pay increased prices. But that argument does not apply in the present instance. The honorable member for’ Lang pointed out that there_are three plants established in South Australia, one of which is sufficient to supply the whole State. There are also plants in other parts of Australia, and notably those in New South Wales. The argument deduced from those facts is that there are already more plants - established in Australia than are sufficient to do the whole of our work. But if that be so the consequence will be that the price will be considerably lowered. For that reason it does not matter whether the duty which we impose is that proposed by the Government or a lower rate so long as it is effective. It was proved to demonstration before the Tariff ‘Commission that this was one of the strangled industries of Australia, and it was understood that honorable members were prepared to give consideration to those industries. It is one that is capable of great expansion.
– And how much duty do the manufacturers ask for ?
– Witnesses before the Tariff Commission show that in New South Wales a duty of 15s. per ton on galvanized iron was inadequate, and that business was practically at a stand-still. It was further stated that the experience of manufacturers was that during the term of the duty of £2 per ton a satisfactory trade had been done. That surely shows conclusively that £2 per ton is a duty which would enable the industry to be carried on successfully.
– What have the South Australian manufacturers asked for?
- Mr. Morris, in conversation with me, said that he hoped the duties proposed by the Government would te carried. I am quite prepared to support the higher duty if the Minister intends to stick to it. . But I wish to know what the Government intend to stand by. I find . various honorable members moving amendments for reductions, and it is difficult to know how we stand. I should like to have a plain statement from the Minister.
– I have already said that I intend, to stand by the duty which 1 have proposed.
– I think there is no justification foi) a reduction, and if the Minister is prepared to stand by the duty proposed by him I shall support him ; though at the same time I should be ready to support him also if he would agree to a reasonable reduction. I find the honorable member for Bendigo intimating that he is ready to go back on the recommendations of the protectionist members of the Tariff Commission. I understand that he is prepared to support a duty of 45s. per ton with a preference of 5s: to Great Britain. I think the Minister should be satisfied with that.
– A preference of 5s. per ton would mean 13^ per cent, against Great Britain as far as galvanized iron is concerned. The suggestion made is that as to paragraph- a the duty should be 45s. per ton - which is 15 per cent, against the foreigner - and 40s. per ton, which is 13^ per cent., against Great Britain, and iron under paragraph b 40s. per ton, equal to 13^ per cent, in the case of foreign imports, and 35s. per ton, equal to u§ per cent, on imports from Great Britain.
– Is the honorable member for Bendigo prepared to stand by the first proposal made by him that the duties should be 45s. and 40s. per ton? If he is, I shall support him.
– That is a very low percentage.
– I think it is sufficiently high to accomplish our purpose.
– It is a very high percentage on the process of galvanizing, but the Minister is trying surreptitiously to protect the iron itself.
– Those who do the work of corrugating and galvanizing complain that it is not sufficient, and I intend to support the highest duty, although I think it will matter little whether we support the highest or one slightly lower, as long as we secure protection to the industry. I am sure that the consumers of corrugated iron would not have to pay more than they have to pay at the present time for imported iron.
.- The honorable member for Hindmarsh is very optimistic as to the beneficial effect of the duty proposed by the Minister - far more optimistic than was even the one South Australian witness who appeared before the Tariff Commission to ask for protection.. That manufacturer urged that a differential duty of only 15s. a ton would be sufficient to meet his case, and frankly admitted that it would have to be added to the cost of the iron to the consumer.
– What would there be to prevent any starting business in opposition to him?
– I intend to read from the evidence two or three short quotations which I think will induce the honorable member to appreciate the position a little more clearly than he seems to do. Mr. J. H. Weidenhofer, the South Australian manufacturer who was examined before the Commission, on 8th November, 1905, asked -
Do I understand you to say that this 15s. is absolutely necessary to enable you to carry on the corrugating industry in’ Australia ?
His ‘answer was -
I do not think it would be worth while to do it without.
The examination proceeded as follows- -
You say 10s. goes in labour, and 5s. in interest on plant, and cost of supervision? - Yes.
The witness showed conclusively that these are actual charges that must be added to the cost of the material to the consumer -
If that is so, how is that price going to come down through competition, if it represents an absolute payment in value ? - The competition ? By saying that, I meant the competition would keep the price down to within reasonable limits - not an excessive profit would be made on it.
You cannot indicate where the 15s. is going to disappear when the price is quoted to the consumer, can you, seeing that it represents actual costs on value given ?
The witness answered weakly enough -
I suppose it would make a little difference, a few shillings.
Seeing that the people who handle this galvanized iron in Australia appear to have an understanding as to the price, does it not look as if this representation was intended to secure some little monopoly for a few people, for the corrugating iron trade in Australia?- -That is one way of putting it.
It cannot be denied that there exists practically a monopoly which it would not be worth while for any one to break into. Here are some further extracts from the examination of the same witness -
You told us that your plant, if kept going all the time, could pretty well turn out the requirements of South Australia? - I think we could, if put to the test, and had- the necessary labour. You could not do it with eight hands; you would want more hands. flow many hands would you have? - Three or four more, I suppose, to keep the machines going. There would have to’ be relays- of men - probably double the number.
Sixteen? - There would have’ to be relays of nien, for the cases would have to be opened, the corrugations done, and the cases refilled. You cannot get one set of men to do that in eight hours. We would have to work overtime.
The witness was imagining an ideal condition of affairs.
Do you mean to say you would- have to keep your plant going foi two or three shifts? - Yes.
If you had . twenty-four men, that would be the maximum ? - Yes.
I ask honorable members to note the following questions and answers -
You have told us the 15s. a ton you are asking for represents 10s. that would have to go to labour, and 5s. that would have to go for interest on capital and cost of supervision? - Approximately I say that.
That represents an addition to the cost of material? - Yes.
You told us also that about 6,000 tons of this material was used in South Australia in a year? - Approximately. I have not been able to get the details from the Customs House.
What does 15s. a ton on 6,000 tons amount to? - About £4,500.
That was to be ‘ added to the cost of the consumer. Now comes the question’ to which those I’ have quoted were intended to lead-
Would it not be better for South Australia to employ these men that you propose to give work tu in shovelling sand out of holes and into them again than to pay £4,500 additional for corrugating iron ? - That is the free-trade view.
– Who asked that question ?
– I did. This is a striking instance of the absurdity of many protectionist duties. The struggling settlers of Australia, according to this evidence, would have to bear this heavy impost for the ‘ sake of employment being found for a’ mere handful of men. A common -sense view is that it would be far better for the settlers, who would otherwise have to pay an enhanced price for their iron, to pension off all these men in order that it might come in free.
– Would not the same argument apply to scores of our industries ?
– The distinction between this industry and others is that the latter start at the beginning in Australia. I take less objection to the protection of industries that are natural to the country than I do to ‘those which are not. We have here a proposal to import the raw material and to dignify with the name of an industry the work of giving to it one or two insignificant touches.
– A Bill to prevent that is to be introduced.
– Then let it be introduced before these duties are imposed, rather than encourage the work of adding something to the tail-end of an industry and dignifying that work by the name of another industry. At least five-sixths of the total valueof this production is created outside Australia, and every one who requires galvanized iron is to be taxed in order that we may give in Australia two insignificant touches to the imported material. The proposal is so childish that I am surprised that the Committee has devoted so much consideration to it. I wish to emphasize the point that those who sought protection for this industry wanted no more than a differential duty of 15s. per ton. Recognising that the numbers are against me, I am prepared to go to the extent of supporting such a duty, and surely protectionists do not wish to vote for a heavier duty than a protectionist producer himself declared would be sufficient to meet his case. If they do they will simply impose a tax on every unfortunateindividual in Australia who has to buy this material.
.- I had not an opportunity of hearing the speech delivered by the Treasurer in submitting this proposal, but from the comments made upon it, it would appear that he put before the Committee an incorrect statement as to the importations, and had subsequently to correct it. No reason has been given either during this debate or in the evidence given before the Tariff Commission for increasing the duty to anything like the extent proposed by the Treasurer. I fail to see how it canbe justified, more particularly in view of the fact that it is far in excess of the request made by any manufacturer who appeared before the Commission. The request made before the Commission was that a duty of 15s. per ton should be imposed in the case of galvanized iron and 303. per ton on corrugated iron. That demand, was supported by Mr. Morris, Mr. Weidenhofer, to whom the honorable member for Hindmarsh has referred, and Mr. Sandford, the representative of the only galvanizing works in Australia, whose highest demand was for a duty of £2 per ton on corrugated iron. His request was supported by Mr. Wade, the representative of the workers in the industry, and Mr. Thornley, the manager of Mr. Sandford’s works, who gave similar evidence. That being so, there is no justification for the Treasurer’s proposition, and I hold that it is the duty ofthe honorable member in every case in which he proposes to go beyond the demands of the manufacturer to explain fairly and openly his reason for doing so. I do not know that any such explanation has been given in this instance, and in its absence the debate will certainly be prolonged. It is clear from the evidence given before the Commission that very little labour is involved in the process of galvanizing and corrugating iron. The proposal of the Government is intended to protect not the iron manufacturer in Australia, but the galvanizing and corrugating industries, which employ very little labour, and which in reality onlyput the finishing touches upon material imported from abroad. Everybody knows that galvanized iron is an absolute necessity to the pioneers of Australia, who use it for roofing their homes. Why they should be penalized for the sake of developing industries which provide such a. very small amount of employment can be explained only by a protectionist of the type of the Treasurer. The honorable member for Hindmarsh has made a strong plea on behalf of Mr. Weidenhofer, of South Australia, but Mr. Thornley, the manager of Mr. Sandford’s works at Lithgow, admitted that the labour employed in the galvanizing of sheets was very insignificant, and that he would be satisfied with a duty of 12½ per cent. all round.
– I am supporting that rate.
– As illustrating the small amount of labour employed in the corrugating of iron I may mention that a wit- ness in South Australia admitted that his plant, which was one of three in that State, would be able with twenty-four men as a maximum to produce sufficient iron to supply the whole of its requirements, which were estimated at 6,000 tons annually. When he was asked whether it was worth while to impose an additional charge of 15s. per ton upon the annual consumption of corrugated iron in order to employ sixteen additional hands, he declined to express an opinion. As a matter of fact, it would pay the settlers of Australia to pension off the whole of those engaged in the industry rather than to be subjected to the imposts proposed. I think that the proper course for us to adopt is to accept the amendment of the honorable member for Dalley. It is evident that the Treasurer is not well versed in the facts relating to the industry, and to afford him an opportunity of becoming familiar with them, we might reasonably postpone the further consideration of the item until a later stage.
– I think that corrugated iron stands on a par with wire-netting. The Committee reduced the duty upon wire-netting to as low a rate as possible, and I think that corrugated iron should be treated in the same way. We all desire to promote land settlement in Australia, and we know that the very first act of a selector is to erect three or four sheets of corrugated iron to provide him » with shelter. We must recollect that his means are limited. In the mining districts almost all the houses are roofed with corrugated iron.
– Cannot he buy Australian corrugated iron?
– No. Why should these people be taxed to assist an industry which is not indigenous to the country? When I resided in Ballarat, the’ miners were at liberty to take up residential areas of a quarter of an acre each. They used to build wooden-framed cottages, and cover them with corrugated iron. All the sheds there are roofed with the same material. On the mining fields of Western Australia even the walls of the houses are of corrugated iron. It is not necessary to impose a heavy tax upon this commodity, and there is no necessity to increase the old rate of duty four or five-fold. The honorable member for Perth has already pointed out that those who have asked for a duty upon it are satisfied to accept 15s. per ton, which is equal to about 15 per cent. Personally, I think that we should make this article dutiable at 15 per cent, under the general Tariff, and that we should extend a preference of 5 per cent, to the United Kingdom.
Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.13 p.m.
– I had intended, had I spoken earlier in the debate, to say something about the truly domestic nature of the commodity we are discussing, but honorable members have dealt with that already at some length. It has been pointed out that not only the pioneers of Australia, but the farmers and small householders all over the Commonwealth, depend upon galvanized iron for roofing material, as also to secure supplies of wholesome drinking water against times of drought. We know that bark roofs do not catch all the rain-fall, and what they do catch is so discoloured and impregnated with the flavour of the bark, that they are only resorted to where there is some” difficulty in obtaining galvanized iron. This domestic article, it should also be stated, te used, except for industrial purposes, almost wholly by the poorer classes, because .people of means, in building houses, prefer the use of more aesthetic tiles or slates. Once these facts are recognised we are induced to make the use of this material as economical as possible. I direct attention to the want of clearness in the explanation given by the Treasurer. It has never been properly explained to those honorable members who have not discovered the facts for themselves that what we are discussing now is not a duty on iron but a duty on two particular processes known as galvanizing and corrugating to which iron is subjected. The Minister spoke of the item as if the question involved were the imposition of. a duty upon iron j whilst, as a matter of fact, it is proposed to impose a duty upon galvanized iron and corrugated iron with- the- object of encouraging only the local galvanizing and corrugating of iron. The Tariff Commission deal with the “question remarkably well, and I propose to read a couple of paragraphs from their report. They say-
Only one firm in Australia appears to have undertaken the galvanizing of sheet iron, the manager of which admitted that the process required very little labour, and was a’ comparatively small thing in relation to the total value of the iron.
That is ‘according to the evidence of Mr. Thornley, the manager of the iron works in New South Wales. The Commission further say : -
Two witnesses in South Australia and one in Victoria said that it was not possible to galvanize sheets in Australia.
– That shows what the evidence given before the Tariff Commission is worth.
– I have seen men galvanizing sheets *at the New South Wales works.
– When a man says that he does a certain thing his evidence must be held to destroy the evidence of those who merely say that they have not seen it done. With respect to the remark made by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, as to the value of the evidence given before the Tariff Commission, I should like to say that it is at least quite as valuable as some of the ex parte statements which the honorable member and other honorable members make in this House, when they take information from one side and do not take the trouble to balance it with the evidence given on the other side. However, I read, not from ‘the evidence given before the Tariff Commission, but from the finding of the Commission in which they take care to set out both sides. Any one who reads their report must infer that there is at least one manufactory for the galvanizing of iron in New South Wales. The point, however, is that the processes of galvanizing and corrugating represent but an infinitesimal portion of the total value of galvanized and corrugated iron. The cost was placed by one witness at about 2J’ per cent., and’ by others at from 4s. to 5s. per ton. The report of the Tariff Commission goes on to say -
The manager of the rolling mills in New South Wales admitted that there was very little labour employed in corrugating galvanized sheets.
I ask the Committee to .note these facts. We all know that the corrugation of iron simply means that sheet iron is put between two corrugated rollers.
– It is stamped.
– Some of it may be stamped, but I have known corrugated iron to be produced in the way I have stated. The average cost of iron f.o.b. is from £[15 to £16 per ton, and the cost of corrugating and of galvanizing’ this iron is from 4s. to 5s. per ton, or about i£ per cent., and about z per cent, respectively. We are making a very liberal’ allowance when we say that the cost of corrugating and of galvanizing will, together, come to 5 per cent, upon the f.o.b. cost of the iron. If we assume that the iron costs £15 per ton we should impose a duty of 5 per cent., which would represent 15s. per ton. The Minister, intentionally or unintentionally - and honorable members must judge for themselves as to that - is endeavouring to secure under this item a protection upon the manufacture of sheet iron, which is not what the House intends, since a majority have agreed to the second reading of the Manufactures Encouragement Bill, the object of which is to offer a bounty of 12s. per ton for three years or until the industry is established, and at the end of that time “to impose a duty on the iron. Assuming that 5 per cent, would be sufficient to cover the two processes, the Minister is asking the Committee to impose an extra duty of 15 or 20 per cent., as the case may be, upon the actual iron sheets, which is contrary to the policy affirmed in connexion with the Manufactures Encouragement Bill. Honorable members must see that the only object of our discussion at present should be to discover what would be a fair measure of protection for those engaged in the two processes of galvanizing and corrugating. A duty of 15s. per ton would be ample in view of the small cost of the processes. I wish now to say a word about the way in which the business is being put before the Committee. I have’ commented more than once upon the absolute inefficiency of this House, not from an intellectual* but from other points of view, to deal with Tariff matters. I do hot care how big a man’s intellect may be, or how commercial, mathematical or logical may be his mind, he must have the material tq” put into his mental mill before he can produce results of any value to the people in deciding the properduties to impose upon various articles. No member of the Committee, unless he is prepared to devote his whole time to the work - which the Minister is paid to do - could collect all the data necessary to enable him to arrive at valuable conclusions with regard to all these items. From that point of view the work of the Tariff Commission must be regarded as most valuable. As, however, the Committee does not seem to attach very much importance to their work, we have a right to look to the Minister for a simple, straightforward, and trustworthy statement upon each item submitted. What have we had to-day? We have had the most lamentable exhibition that I think could possibly be presented to a number of intelligent men. No doubt, with the intention of appealing to the prejudices of certain honorable members, the Minister told the Committee that no less than £390,000 worth of galvanized iron was imported to the Commonwealth from the United States of America. Upon that statement, as a premise, the honorable gentleman built an interesting and attractive edifice, with which he appealed to honorable members in a very heated way to resist great trusts in the United States of America, preventing anybody in Australia from engaging in these industries. The honorable gentleman assumed that his figures were correct, and made this appeal to the prejudices of certain honorable members to put the duty at a high level in order to prevent the possibility of these several industries being destroyed. What followed? We had the very pitiable exhibition of the Minister having to depend upon an exposure of error in his figures by the Government Whip. The honorable gentleman suddenly realized that instead of the imports from the United States of America amounting 40 value to £390,000, their value was only about £37,000, and the whole edifice on which he depended, in his appeal to honorable members to resist the American trusts, fell like a house of cards. But there is a moral in all this. It is impossible for us to look into all these matters for ourselves; and we are entitled to expect that a Minister, receiving a substantial remuneration, submitting the various items will supply information by which we may be guided. We expect him to recognise the difficulty of our getting this information for ourselves,, and we ought to be able to rely upon every word the honorable gentleman utters as to the facts bearing upon the items under consideration. In this case it has been shown that the Treasurer is ignorant of the figures or careless as to their correctness; and even with the help of an officer behind the Speaker’s chair, is unable to give the common or garden information which we should have to guide us in dealing with matters of this sort. By the accidental presence of the Government Whip who has run over the honorable gentleman’s figures, we were able to discover that he had made a mistake of about 1,000 per cent, in those which he submitted to the Committee.
– The honorable member for Grey also corrected the Treasurer.
– That is so, and the honorable member for Grey gave the Committee a -great deal of valuable information in the early part of the debate. If we had not the information which the honorable member for Grey, and also the honorable members for North Sydney, Illawarra, and Perth gave the ‘ Committee, we should have been in the dark unless we looked up the records for ourselves. It might not have any special pertinence to this particular item, but it shows that the Committee should be careful to note that the treatment of these matters by the Minister is absolutely prejudiced from the outset, and that he is absolutely unprepared, either through want of knowledge or want of industry in obtaining the necessary information, to put before the Committee the . facts to which they are entitled when dealing with a Question of this sort. If 5 per cent, on the cost of the iron will give a handsome protection upon the two processes of galvanizing and corrugating - because we do not want to protect the iron itself - we really ought to consider only the value of those two processes. It is altogether a misleading method of calculating the proper duty on this material to take the value of £15 per ton of the material itself. If the witnesses from whose evidence the Commission thought fit ro draw the conclusion that 5 per cent, upon the original cost will give a handsome profit upon these processes, be right, we should be perfectly satisfied with that, remembering that we are not putting the duty upon the material itself, but upon the work which is now being accomplished, or was lately accomplished, in South Australia and New South Wales.
– It was suggested before lunch that galvanized iron should be placed in the same position as wire netting, upon which the Committee decided to lower the duty, but in that case the netting was a necessity in fighting a scourge throughout the Commonwealth. The galvanized iron accompanies the pioneer info every part of Australia. “ It will be found in the out-of-the-way mining camp, where after the tent comes the ‘ galvanized iron covering. It is in all ways an undoubted necessity of our development. My feeling, therefore, is that we should endeavour so far as we possibly can to allow it to reach the consumer at as cheap a rate as possible. The actual money ‘ spent in the work of galvanizing, rolling, and corrugating is not very great, and, as has already been pointed out by the honorable member for Parkes and others, it is quite clear that for a long time to come we should not have the necessary black sheets made in Australia of such a character - or quality as will be- necessary for making these articles. I do not care from whom it comes. Even if the great Trust in America, against which so much has been said, likes to come here and establish works under Australian conditions, or if any of the great manufacturers of Great Britain come here for the same purpose, we can take no exception to them so long as they conform to the conditions which we in Australia establish. But I feel that the duty, whether it is a fixed or ad valorem rate, should be reduced to such an amount as will not exceed the. recommendation made ‘by the Tariff Commission, which should commend itself to the majority of the Committee. I should be prepared to support a fixed duty so long as it does not exceed an amount which will correspond with the ad valorem rate recommended by the Commission.
– That would be £2 5s. a ton - too much.
– It would probably be about £2 a ton, but it might be less. In any case 1 think we should be justified in following the Commission’s recommendation. We have here the spelter necessary and the workers ready to do this work, but I am not prepared to impose such a duty as will make the cost to the consumer greater than is desirable, but I certainly will not be prepared to follow the Government in their proposal for a higher rate.
– In view of the importance of the item and the large number of people likely to be affected by a duty on galvanized iron, it is desirable that the Committee should give it a fair amount of consideration. We know that the article is made from plain black sheet iron. It has been said that it does not require a great amount of capital for plant or a great deal of labour to convert black sheet iron into galvanized iron. Anybody who visited the Lithgow ironworks with us a little while ago would- be well satisfied as to that. The honorable member for Parkes stated that 5 per cent, on the outlay would fairly represent the cost of the industry.
– I said 5 per cent, on the f.o.b. price of the iron.
– At any rate I think the honorable member’s figures were about 15s. per ton. We must first consider whether the public are now getting the benefit that they should- get. In order to ascertain that, I must turn to the figures furnished by the Commonwealth Statistician, Mr. Knibbs, in order to find the values of the articles. He gives the amount of plain sheet iron imported. That is on the free list. The total imported into the Commonwealth in 1906 was 458,197 cwt., of a value of £[200,034. That works out at £9 15S. Per ton. We imported of galvanized iron, plain and sheet, i,2’45,2ii cwt., of a value of £1,069,174, which shows that the average ‘ price would be about £[17 2s. 6d. a ton.
– I took £15 or £16. The price the honorable member quotes would include the 10 per cent, added for Customs purposes.
– I should take the figures given by the Statistician in preference to any information furnished by a wholesale importer or manufacturer. What I have stated will be admitted by everybody to be the fair average price of the article imported. When speaking of an average price, I want it to be understood that in this particular item there are quite a number of different kinds of iron, not only in quality but in gauges. Anybody who has handled it knows that when- you buy from 5 ft. to 8 ft. iron you. pay less than for 9 ft. or 10 ft. iron.
– It depends on the thickness*
– Not only on the thickness but on the length. Those figures show that the declared value of galvanized iron, plain and corrugated, imported, is £17 2s. 6d. per ton, and of black sheet iron £9 15s. a ton, or a difference of .£7 7s. 6d. a ton. I agree with the honorable member for Parkes and several other honorable members that 5 per cent, would be a fair thing to cover the cost. We saw that there were only a few hands engaged in the process of making galvanized iron, plain and sheet. Four boys were employed in dipping the iron, and there were two or three men at the stampers doing the corrugating. That is the whole process. The people of Australia are’ paying £7 7s. 6d. a ton for that, because the iron is in- the hands of a number of importers and there is no competition. The Committee is always in sympathy with the primary producer, and the evidence I have goes to show that he is not getting the benefit that he ought to get, simply because the iron is handled only by a few, and the cost of converting black iron into sheet or galvanized iron is not given to the people who should receive it. It would be very much better for our people - and the provisions of the Tariff allow it - to get black iron in free, and convert it at a cost of 5 per cent, into galvanized iron, so creating a number of industries whose competition would reduce the extra charge of £7 7 s. 6d. per ton for conversion to somewhere about 17 s. per ton.
– Does not the honorable member think that £7 7s. fid. a ton is a good protection?
– The honorable member knows that prices are regulated more by competition than by either free-trade or protection. Every man who has an article to sell- gets for “it what the public will pay. I believe that we can create a number of industries, which do not require a verv big capital - somewhere about £1.5°°’ as has been stated - whereby black iron mav be converted into corrugated iron. I think the proposals before the Committee will do that, even if the Government’s proposals are considered too high. By that means we should be assisting our primary industries by allowing them to get plain and corrugated galvanized iron cheaper than they have in the past. I hope the Committee will agree to a duty which will be sufficient to give encouragement to the industry, apart from ani assistance which’ we are giving to the production of black iron. I believe that by that means we should be able to supply the people with galvanized iron cheaper than they are getting it now from the hands of the importers. If further proof were necessary, it could be found in the evidence given before the Tariff. Commission. A New South Wales witness, an importer, complained that under the present duty his firm felt very keenly the competition of Australian made galvanized iron. That shows that whenever there is competition from inside against the importer the public must be getting the benefit. The state of things that obtained before Federation is shown by the evidence of a Victorian manufacturer of galvanized and other sheet iron. He said that he was much better off under the Victorian Tariff of 30 per cent. The Commission states that in New South Wales the experience of manufacturers was that during the term of the £2 per ton duty on plain and corru gated galvanized iron, satisfactory trade had been done, but that when the duty had been removed, in 1896, business felt off to such an extent that one of the mills at one factory had been stopped, and the other used intermittently. Under the old South Australian Tariff, the duty on corrugated iron was 30s. per ton, and plain sheet iron was free. Several corrugating plants, costing about £1,500 each, had been put down and satisfactory business had been done. That evidence goes to show the possibility of starting works of this kind. T.!y giving encouragement to the industry we should create inside competition, the price of the article would be reduced to the people, and by that means we should advantage them considerably, and also be creating an Australian industry.
.- I desire to put in a plea first for the consumer, considering the large number of people who are interested in this special duty. We must consider how largely corrugated galvanized iron is used. A great quantity is used for roofing purposes, The smallest house takes about half a ton of iron to roof it, and must be furnished with gutters and spoutings made of iron, which, after being galvanized, has to be twisted and turned into various shapes, so that it must be of superior quality. Galvanized iron is also frequently used for fencing material, and for the manufacture of household articles, such as buckets, tubs, ashpans. and the like. Then, in a climate like ours, no house is complete without its bath, and most baths are made of galvanized iron. Lastly, the conservation of water is absolutely necessary, and for this tanks made of corrugated and galvanized iron are extensively used. It will be seen, therefore, that sheet-iron is or immense importance to our pastoralists, agriculturists, dairymen, and miners. Are we going to penalize the whole of the producing industries of Australia by putting a tax upon its importation to encourage a very small industry ? According to the Tariff Commission’s evidence, the three South Australian firms to which reference has been made employ only about twenty hands each. The free-trade members of the Commission reported on this subject -
It was stated definitely that the margin of difference between the landed cost of imported black sheets, viz., £10 8s. iod. per ton ‘[or £1 18s. iod. over the f.o.b. price in England) afforded a sufficient natural protection after allowing for the price of local bar and rod iron, viz., £9, which price, it was stated covered a substantial profit. Witnesses stated that any duty or charge on black sheets would seriously prejudice Australian industries which were now established, some doing, a considerable export trade.
These are the recommendations of the protectionist section of the Commission -
That on galvanized or corrugated iron, plate, and sheet, there be a duty of ro per cent, (equal to about 30s. per ton). ,
We have bee 1 told that in South Australia the industry has flourished without pro.tection -
That on corrugated galvanized iron there be a duty of 15 per cent. That plate and sheet iron (ungalvanized and uncorrugated) remain free as specified under Division VIA., subdivision C. That on tanks containing goods, or empty, for every 100 gallons capacity, or part thereof, there be a duty of 33. ] f we impose a duty on the tanks in which various kinds of perishable goods are imported, we shall merely increase the taxation on those goods. Some of the raw material used by brewers is imported in iron tanks, and so, too, is mustard, as well as other commodities. These goods could not be imported in any other way, and, therefore, the tanks will continue to come in, notwithstanding the duty, and no encouragement will be given to their manufacture ‘locally. I am in favour of the amendment of the honorable member for Dalley,, who has suggested the postponement of the item.
– That will mean the continuance of the present situation.
– Yes. That is unfortunate. I am surprised that the Minister does not come here prepared with all the information necessary to guide our deliberations. Instead of being properly informed on this subject, he read figures which were entirely misleading, and was not man enough to take the responsibility of his mistake, blaming officers who, at the present time, are probably sweated and overworked.
– Is not he, too, overworked ?
– No doubt we are all overworked just now. If I had my way, we would adjourn over the hot weather. The Government are piling business upon us at the last moment, when we are all anxious to get away, and possibly in the end the Committee will be so weary of the whole thing that it will pass the items en bloc, instead of dealing with them separately, as it should.
.- I am as desirous as most honorable members that a decision should be come to on this matter, but I feel that we should not divide on a question of such importance at the risk of a misunderstanding as to the result of accepting the Government proposal. Even the Minister must admit that the proposed duty will not benefit the iron industry, which is to be encouraged by the bounties to be granted under the Manufactures Encouragement Bill. What we have to consider is- what duty should be imposed on galvanized and corrugated iron to encourage persons, to do The galvanizing and corrugating here, the black sheets being admitted free. To my mind, it is doubtful whether it is advisable to impose any duty with a view to bringing this about.
– The industry costs far more than it is worth.
– I think so. The labour given by the industry is more than counterbalanced by the increased- cost to the community of galvanized and corrugated iron.
– It would pay the public to double the wages of those now engaged in the industry, on condition that they would go out of it.
– I think it would pay us to give the few boys employed in this industry a decent wage to go out of it. The encouragement of the manufacture of iron from native ores is an entirely different thing. To put a heavy impost upon the community, merely to encourage the galvanizing and corrugating of iron in this country, is not sound economy.
– The corrugating industry is a parasitic one.
– lt practically comes under that category. The industry gives so little labour that we are hardly justified in considering it. When we were at Lithgow, we saw a few boys engaged in dipping the iron sheets into the galvanizing liquid, and passing them between rollers to corrugate them. We ought not to place a burden on the primary producers to support so small an industry as that. Out back, men cannot build houses of brick, with slate roofs, and when their homes are not constructed wholly of galvanized iron, they are, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, roofed with it. The Minister might well be satisfied with a small increase 011 the old duty. The maximum rates for which I shall vote are 30s. against foreign countries, and 20s. against Great Britain.
.- The speech of the honorable member for Cowper tended to show that galvanized and corrugated iron should be on the free list. He spoke of the average value of imported galvanized iron as £17 2s. 6d. per ton, and of imported black sheets as something over £9 per ton. The difference between those two prices -£8 per ton - surely allows a. good margin of profit for those engaged locally in galvanizing.
– Without a duty, will not importers crush out the local industry, as has been done in other cases?
– Even if there be competition, there is a very large margin of profit to work on. My proposal is to fix the duty at 25s. in the general Tariff, and 20s. in the preferential Tariff.
– No; fix the duties at 30s. and 20s. respectively.
– I am not particular about fixing the duty in the general Tariff at 30s., becausepractically all the importations come from the United Kingdom. If we fix the duties at 30s. and 20s. respectively, we shall afford ample protection, plus the advantage which the local manufacturers already possess owingto the difference between the cost of black iron and galvanized iron. I would not press this proposal upon honorable members but for the fact that galvanized iron is one of the first requirements of the primary producers. We all talk about settling people on the land. If honorable members really want to help the settlers they will adopt my suggestion. Whatever duty is imposed will practically be a revenue duty. Why should we penalize the primary producers by levying that which after all is an excessive revenue duty? I propose to alter my amendment by substituting 30s. for 25s. per ton.
Amendment amended accordingly.
.- I do not wish to prolong the debate, but I hope that the Government will not insist upon the higher duty they have imposed on this article, which is largely used by the rural population all over Australia. We have been engaged in imposing high duties on many commodities which are used by the farming and pastoral population, and it has been difficult to see how they will derive any special benefit therefrom. We are now afforded an opportunity not to impose a high duty on a Commodity which is used very largely by all persons engaged in rural pursuits. To the pastoralist, to the agriculturist, to the miner;, in fact to every one in the rural industries, galvanized iron is a necessity, and in many cases it has to be carted long distances, whereby its cost is very much enhanced. I hope that the Committee will accept the proposal to levy a duty of 20s. against the United Kingdom and 30s. against other countries. This is a case in which I think the Government might do something for the rural people, who will not benefit from many of the duties which we have been imposing during the last month or two.
.- I also hope that the Government will not insist upon levying a high duty on the articles embraced in this item, especially on plain galvanized iron, which is used more considerably than honorable members seem to think. In the interior of Western Australia it is used for the purpose of building houses. It is nailed on the inside of the studs and is papered. It is very easily manipulated, and the cottages are made to look very nice indeed. Again, hundreds of tons of the article are used in Australia, not only to be corrugated, but also for making guttering, ridge-caps, and all kinds of things.
– If it isused so generally it is strange that no attempt has been made to manufacture it in Australia.
– It is used so generally that when ironis made in Australia there will be some sense in levying a duty on plain galvanized iron.
– We shall never make iron in Australia if I continue to get such support as I shall get on this occasion.
– This article is in the same category as wire-netting. It is corrugated here. Any one who has seen a corrugating machine at work knows that it is attended to by a boy.
– No, it takes two men to put in the sheet and one to take it out.
– That might have been the case when the honorable member was inspecting a corrugating machine at work, and it must have been done merely to mislead him as to the cost of the operation. Whenever I have seen a corrugating machine at work the. process was very simple. I hope that the Committee will recognise that the first thing which a man requires, whether he is engaged on a block of land or on a mine, is a cheap house of some kind. In the country, galvanized iron is the material which is chiefly used in the construction of a house. I claim that we should make it as easy as possible for a man to procure a home in which to live. I had hoped that the duty under the new Tariff would not exceed the duty under the old Tariff. I shallbe prepared to vote for duties of 15 per cent. and 10 per cent. respectively, or something like those rates.
Motion (to postpone the item) negatived.
.- I think that it would be very convenient if the Committee would now decide whether the duties on the articles contained in this item should be ad valorem or fixed. I am pledged at the present time to vote for the imposition of ad valorem duties, and against the imposition of fixed duties. If I were afforded an opportunity to vote for the imposition of ad valorem duties, 1 should be prepared, in the case of corrugated galvanized iron, to vote for a duty of 15 per cent. in the general Tariffand 10 per cent. in the preferential Tariff ; and in the case of iron galvanized, but not corrugated, and iron corrugated, but not galvanized, to vote for a duty of 10 per cent. in the general Tariff and 5 per cent. in the preferential Tariff. I think that the Minister should take a test vote as to whether the duties shall be fixed or ad valorem. If that is not done, I might be called upon to vote against the imposition of fixed duties which would be almost equal to the ad valorem duties I prefer, whereas, if a test vote is taken, I may be able to approximate to some proposition equivalent to the ad valorem duties. I am bound to vote against the imposition of any fixed duties.
.- I agree with the honorable and learned member for Bendigo that we should decide at once whether the duties are to be fixed or ad valorem. There is no question that the price of. this commodity fluctuates so very considerably that a duty of 10 per cent. at the present time would yield more than would a duty of 7½ per cent. at a later time, and vice versâ. I do not intend to vote for the imposition of a duty higher than that which prevailed under the old Tariff. In the session of 190 1-2 this item was debated at very considerable length, and the Labour Party intimated its desire that it should be placed on the Tree list. I think it will be generally admitted by those who took part inthe discussion on that occasion that a serious bungle was made when the item was not put on the free list. Galvanized iron is used very largely in my constituency. I should say that it is used exclusively for roofing purposes. If we impose a high duty on galvanized iron, which is the roofing material used in the back country, the price of every other kind of roofing materia] will be almost certain to rise in sympathy with the price of galvanized iron. I refer to such materials as slates, tiles, and rubberoid. I shall not vote for the imposition of any duties higher than 40s. and 30s. respectively. I do not say that I will not vote for less than those rates, but certainly I shall not vote for higher rates.
.- When the former Tariff was under consideration, 1, together with many other members, was under the impression that galvanized iron would be duty free, but somehow or other, in the putting of the question, we got boxed up. After it was passed we found ourselves in the position that the article was liable to a duty, and of course we had to bow to the inevitable. If this were a proposal for the protection of a primary or secondary industry, I should vote the whole protection which the Government desire, but it is nothing of the sort; it is simply a question of giving a protection of £3 per ton to those who are engaged in the tinning and corrugating of iron. All the houses which are erected in the far western districts of Queensland are built of galvanized iron. Do honorable members intend to inflict a specific duty on the pioneers of the interior of Australia? I venture to say that even in Victoria 80 per cent. of the houses outside Melbourne are roofed with corrugated iron. If honorable members intend to penalize men for going out back and making the country what it is, by all means let them vote duties as high as the Treasurer wishes them to do. The honorable member for Fremantle has stated that it takes only a boy to operate a corrugating machine, but the honorable member for Hunter interjected that three men are required.In England I have seen women galvanizing, not only sheet iron, but other materials.. If ever there was an instance of bunkum, it is to be found in the case of this particular duty. The Treasurer made a mistake concerning the value of £300,000, and admitted it.
– The honorable member knows perfectly well how that happened.
– I accept the honorable member’s statement. I am sure that he would not, for one moment, attempt to mislead the Committee, especially in a case involving hundreds of thousands of pounds. However, the fact remains that the imports from the United States are repre- sented by a value of £37,000, as compared with £1,032,000 in the case of England. Where, then is the preference to the Mother Country? I should be willing to see a duty of 5 per cent. or 10 per cent. against foreign nations, with free ports for the United Kingdom. If the Government will consent to a substantial preference, as was wisely granted in the case of cotton goods, I for one shall be found voting with them. I shall not be found casting a vote for throwing any man or woman out of employment, but, on the other hand, I cannot load my constituents with an enormous duty of this character, merely in order to keep half-a-dozen men employed in Melbourne, or, for that matter, in Brisbane. I intend to vote for the lowest duty possible.
.- In order to test the question whether the duty be ad valorem or fixed, I move-
That the amendment be amended by leaving out the words “ per ton,” with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ad.val.”
If my proposal be accepted, the amount of the duty may be decided afterwards.
– I explained to the Committee that a communication received from the principal importers had caused me to propose the substitution of a specific for an ad valorem duty. Personally I regard it as immaterial what kind of duty is imposed, and, if it be the desire of the Committee, the Government are quite prepared to accept an ad valorem duty.
– Let us have a fixed duty.
– Quite so; but it would appear that any proposal I make, however good the reason, is the signal for objections. As a matter of fact, the Government are not wedded to a specific duty, though I regard it as the better impost of the two.
.- At the request of a number of honorable members, I have agreed to alter the duties proposed in my amendment to 30s. and 20s.
– I hope the Committee will decide on a fixed duty.
Amendment of the amendment negatived.
Question - That after the words “ 25 per cent.,” paragraph a, the words “ and on and after 25th November, 1907, per ton (General Tariff), 30s.” (Mr. Poynton’s amendment) be inserted - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 4
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Mr. Poynton) put-
That after the words “ 20 per cent.,” paragraph A, the words “ and on and after 25th November, 1907, per ton (United Kingdom), 20s.,” be inserted.
The Committee divided.
Majority …. … 28
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment agreed to.
Colonel Foxton. - I desire to state, by way of personal explanation, that during the division immediately prior to the one just taken I entered the chamber during the ringing of the bells, and seated myself on the right of the Chairman. Just before you ordered the doors to be locked, sir, it was intimated to me by the honorable member for Lang that I had been paired with the honorable member for Newcastle. Thereupon I proceeded to enter one of the seats railed off from those occupied by honorable members. While I was in the act of doing so I observed that the honorable member for Newcastle was in his place. The tellers did not record my vote on the ground that I was not strictly speaking within the chamber. I make this explanation in order that it may be recorded to explain the absence of my name from the division list.
– Of course I accept the honorable member’s explanation. I was under the impression that he was out side the precincts and was coming in, but several honorable members told me that he was about to go outside. Under the circumstances I shall direct that the division list be corrected.
– I wish to ask you, sir, whether honorable members are in order in crossing the floor after you have put the question ?
– When honorable members were crossing the floor I had not used the words “ the Ayes will pass to the right and the Noes to the left.” It was when I was making that announcement that honorable members crossed over. They had a right to so cross until I had appointed tellers.
– Quite a number of honorable members crossed over after the question was put. Had I not thought that it was disorderly to do so, I should have crossed the floor myself.
Amendment (by Mr. Poynton) put -
That after the words “ 20 per cent.,” paragraph b, the words “ and on and after 25th November, 1907, per ton (General Tariff), 20s.,” be inserted.
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 9
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Mr. Poynton) agreed to -
That after the words “ 15 per cent.,” parsgraph b, the words “ and on and after 25th November, 1907, per ton (United Kingdom), 10s.,” be added.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Postponed item 147. Mangles, Clothes Wringers, and Washing Machines, n.e.i., ad val. (General Tariff), 20 per cent.
– - I hope that, notwithstanding the mangling which the Government have just received, the Committee will pass by the poor washerwoman in the imposition of taxation. I move -
That the words “ and on and after 26th November, 1907, ad val. (United Kingdom), 12^ per cent.,” be added.
– I would point out to honorable members that last year our imports of these machines from Great Britain were of the value of £2,600, whilst those from other parts were of the value of £6,520. The protectionist section of the Tariff Commission recommended that the duty should be 20 per cent, without a preference.
Question put. The Committee divided,
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment agreed to.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Postponed item 148. Agricultural, Horticultural, and Viticultural Machinery and Implements, n.e.i. ; including Cane-loaders on wheels ; Channel-making Graders; Feed Grinders; Garden and Field’ Spraying Machines; Garden and Field Rollers; Garden Hose Reels; Garden Syringes; Horse Road Rollers and Machines; Lawn Mowers, Sweepers and Sprinklers; Roadmaking Ploughs; Road Scoops and Scrapers; Scoops; Stump Extractors, ad val. (General Tariff), 20 per cent.
– I move -
That the words “ cane loaders on wheels ; channel-making graders,” be left out.
At a later stage I shall move to embody “ cane loaders on wheels “ and “ channelmaking graders “ in item 155.
– At whose instance is the Treasurer taking this step?
– It is a recommendation of the Department in the rearrangement of the items.
.- I wish to know what there is about a cane loader which renders its manufacture in the Commonwealth impracticable. If the mining industry is to be taxed up to the hilt I should like to know why the sugar industry - which is already receiving a big subsidy from the funds of the Commonwealth in addition to a protective duty - should be relieved from taxation.
– The industry receives a protection of £^5 per ton.
– The honorable member was disposed to deny that some time ago. Why should a mere revenue duty be collected upon this.- machine whilst a high protective duty is imposed upon other machines ?
– I wish that in all his votes the honorable member would give effect to the principle which he is now advocating.
– I am prepared in all my votes to extend equal consideration to the States. But I am not willing to make an exemption in favour of one State as tlie Treasurer proposes to do. He knows perfectly well that these cane loaders ‘are used only in Queensland*
– Is that the trouble?
– The representatives of that State have already tasted blood, and naturally they want more of it. They have secured a bounty upon the production of sugar, and they have also gained an advantage under the new mail contract. Now they want more. Of course, we all know that an appetite grows by what it feeds on, and I do not blame them for compelling the Treasurer at the point of the bayonet to make an exception in favour of these machines. Why should the sugargrowers receive different treatment, from that which is extended to the miners and producers of the Commonwealth? It is idle for the Treasurer to urge that the Department has effected a re-arrangement of these articles: Who has approached the Department? Seeing that cane loaders on wheels are included in this item, what has happened to warrant their removal ? 1 shall resist the Government- proposal, and, if necessary, I shall divide the Committee upon it.
– I am much obliged to the honorable member for his little lecture. I may inform him that nobody has approached either the Department or myself in reference to this matter. Upon more than one occasion I have told the Committee that I intended to re-arrange the items relating to machinery with a view to reducing the duties upon those articles which tire not likely to be made in the Commonwealth. I have done that. I instructed the Department to consult two experts - professional men - as to the articles which could be and were being made locally. The report of one of these gentlemen is that this- class of cane loader is not made in the Commonwealth, and not likely to be.
– It is patented.
-LYNE.- Yes. It is the patent which prevents it from being manufactured in the Commonwealth, and that is the reason why I propose that it should be subjected to a lower rate of duty. But for the fact that it is patented it could be made here.
– Then we ought not to grant patents to any article unless it is made here.
– We have a patent law in operation with which I am not in agreement. I regret that the honorable member for Coolgardie should have almost cast aspersions upon me. If these articles could be made locally I should fight for a protective duty upon them. One of the gentlemen to whom I have referred is an official in the Customs Department, and the other expert is connected with the Melbourne University.
.- The warmth which has. been introduced into this debate is quite unnecessary. As the Treasurer appears to have such an- intimate knowledge of these cane loaders on wheels, I should like to know what they are. Certainly I do not know. I have never seen a cane loader which could not be made by any rough carpenter and blacksmith. As for the articles being patented, the statement is an utter absurdity. I presume that the channel grader is something like a magnified plough, and, if so, I do not know why it should be admitted free. I shall certainly vote with the member for Coolgardie in favour of retaining both these articles in this item.
.- I hold in my hand the following letter, a copy of which has been forwarded to the Treasurer -
With reference to item 148, Division VI. of Customs and Excise Tariff, viz., agricultural, horticultural, and vitic’ultural machinery and implements, n.e.i., which includes channelmaking graders, horse road rollers and machines, road-making ploughs, road scoops and scrapers, scoops, dutiable at 20 per cent, ad val., we, the undersigned, at the request of Carolin Machinery and Furnishing Company, “have examined parts of the above-mentioned implements, and we submit that, under .present conditions, they cannot be manufactured within the Commonwealth, and owing to the very limited demand for any of the above goods in Australia, we would not, and believe no other manufacturer, would, go to the expense (which would be enormous) of obtaining the necessary appliances and machinery for- the construction of these goods. Any duty placed on the abovementioned . implements would not be of any benefit to any one in the Commonwealth ; but, on the contrary, will increase the cost of forma- lion and maintenance of out country roads, thus adding to the hardships of our settlers. We -may add that we do not desire any duty to -be placed on any of these implements or machines nor parts thereof.
– Are the signatories to the letter manufacturers or importers?
– They are manufacturers who built up their industries under the old protective policy of Victoria. They distinctly affirm that they do not desire any alteration in the old rate of duty. All along the line the Treasurer has taxed the primary producers. I hold that the agricultural, horticultural, and viticultural pursuits are already sufficiently taxed. Even the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission only recommended a duty of i2 per cent, upon these articles. I would further point out that under the old rate of duty they yielded a revenue of £21,883. It is now proposed to impose a duty of 20 per cent. If an amendment to that effect has not already been moved, I am prepared to move that the articles in item 148 should remain dutiable at 12J per cent., the rate fixed under the old Tariff, and recommended by the Tariff Commission.
.- The Treasurer has been very ready to inform the Committee that the cane-loader cannot be made in Australia because it is patented. How often has the honorable gentleman insisted that other patented articles absolutely necessary in industries that derive no benefit from protection ought to be made in the Commonwealth, and that the patentees should be compelled to make arrangements for their manufacture here? When we dealt with high-class water-tube boilers used in connexion with mining, and a statement was made that they were not made in Australia because they were patented, the honorable gentleman said, “ Let us put duties on and compel the patentees to make arrangements under which they can be made in Australia.” Now, when we come to deal with a comparatively simple implement, which appears to be in limited demand, we are told thai it should be admitted free, because, being patented, it cannot be made in Australia. It was the occurrence of , just such instances as this’ in the consideration of the first Tariff that compelled “the free-trade section of the Commission to recommend, as far as possible; a uniform duty on all importations of this kind, so that one industry should not be allowed to escape ‘ taxation, whilst another was heavily taxed to make up the shortage of revenue. It would be a thousand times better, in the interests of a consistent system of protection, as well as in the interests of the country generally, that the Government should set aside these exceptions, most of which are absolutely absurd and unjustified, and propose a reasonable uniform duty which would give a certain amount of encouragement to engineering here, while it would not operate as a handicap upon those larger industries upon which engineering must depend for its existence.
.- I wish again to direct the attention of the Treasurer to the letter from the Carotin Machinery and Furnishing Company, which was referred to by the honorable member for Indi. I propose to read the letter in full.
– Is the honorable member objecting to the proposal to fix a lower dutv on cane loaders?
– I am not, but I thinkthere are some other articles in this item on which the duty should also be lower than that proposed. This . is the letter which I wish to read -
With reference to item 148, Division. VI. of Customs and Excise Tariff, viz., Agricultural, Horticultural, and Viticultural machinery and implements, n.e.i., which includes channelmaking graders -
The honorable member for Herbert said he did not know what graders were. I can inform him that they are largely used in all our development work.
– The honorable member said ‘he did not know what cane-loaders were.
– The honorable member for Herbert must have seen cane-loaders used in the sugar mills. The channel graders referred to are used for embankment work in railway and road-making. The letter continues - which includes channel-making graders, horse road-rollers and machines, road-making ploughs, road scoops and scrapers, scoops dutiable at’ 20 per cent, ad valorem, we, the undersigned, at the request of the Carolin Machinery and Furnishing Co., have examined parts of the abovementioned implements,, and we submit that under present conditions they cannot be manufactured within the Commonwealth, and, owing to the very limited demand for any of the above goods in Australia, we would not, and we believe no other manufacturer would, go to the expense (which, would be enormous) of obtaining the necessary appliances and machinery for the construction of these goods.
Any duty placed on the above-mentioned implements would not be of any benefit to any one in the Commonwealth, but, on the contrary, will increase the cost of formation and maintenance of our country roads, thus adding to the hardships of our settlers.
We may add that we do not desire any duty to be placed on any of these implements or machines nor parts thereof.
Charles H. Smith, Steelfounder, Brunswick.
Here we .have manufacturers of. these articles in Victoria saying that the duty proposed would be of no use to them, and would only be a tax on development work. In the circumstances it is fair to ask the Treasurer whether he will not add some of these articles to those which he proposes to transfer to item 155?. I think there might be a protective duty imposed on garden sprays and such things, but I do not see why we should impose a duty of 20 per cent, on ordinary agricultural implements when a duty of 12 J per cent, has already proved effective.
– Does the honorable member mean to say that we cannot make channel graders here?
– No; what I say is that manufacturers in Victoria have said that they do not require the duty.
– I have seen one of the best bore-channel graders that could be possibly be made at work in Western Queensland, and it was made in South Australia.
– The manufacturers whose names are attached to the letter which I have read say that the duty is not required.
– Does the honorable member suggest that they represent the whole of the Victorian engineering firms ? They represent only three small firms.
– I quote them as manufacturers who say that these duties are of no use to them ; and I ask why we should impose duties upon articles which are so necessary to our developmental work?
.- The Treasurer has expressed his intention to put cane loaders on wheels and channel-making graders practically on the free list. I shall vote against any such proposal. The honorable member for Herbert, who is as much interested in the sugar industry as any honorable member on the other side can claim to be, has said distinctly that these cane loaders, or unloaders as, I believe, they should be called, can easily be made in the Commonwealth.
– Perhaps they are like the glue-pots.
– The honorable member reminds me of an amendment moved by Senator McColl in the last Tariff, to the effect that three-legged glue-pots should be admitted free. We have been given, by the ‘honorable member for Capricornia, the opinion of people who are not engaged in making these articles, and who if asked to make them would expect a special price. .If the canegrowers of Queensland were asked to quote a price for potatoes, they would quote a special price, because they do not grow potatoes. I hope the Minister will reconsider his amendment, in view of the speech made by the honorable member for Herbert, who told us that any bush carpenter could make the articles referred to. I voted for the protection given to the sugar industry amounting to 50 per cent., and would do so again, but I agree with the honorable member for Coolgardie that that industry has been treated very fairly. Those engaged in it could not expect that they should be allowed to get everything they required duty free, whilst a practically prohibitive tax is imposed on the article which they themselves produce.
– In view of the amendment he now proposes, it is amusing to recall the fact that when we were discussing the proposed duty on galvanized iron, the Minister! put his back up, and said that he would fight for it to the very last. As I interjected during the speech of the honorable’ member for Yarra, I am reminded by the present proposal of an amendment moved by the then honorable member for Echuca, now Senator McColl, who desired that three-legged glue-pots should be admitted free.
– It was glue-pots and three-legged pots.
– That was better still. Trie suggestion was that in this country we could not manufacture glue-pots or threelegged pots.. With regard to channelgraders, I can bear testimony to the fact that old Mr. Cudmore sent up a channel-grader made in South Australia to Tara Station, which is owned by the Cudmores. and- it proved to Le one of the best ever made, and the forerunner of many similar graders im- ported to Western Queensland. Channelgraders are being made by Burns and Twigg, of Rockhampton ; some of their makes are in use at Barcaldine Station, and at Northampton Station there are some made by the Austral Otis Company, of Melbourne. If honorable members are disposed to give a protectionist vote, I can see no reason why they should place on the free list an implement which can be made here.
– The question is whether the duty requires to be higher) than under the present Tariff.
– I understood that the Treasurer had said that he proposed to make these articles free.
– I said 10 per cent.
– If the Treasurer sticks to his Tariff, he will not go far wrong.
– I do not know where I should be if I got a few .votes like the one taken just now.
– Does the Treasurer think he is going to have it all his own way ? If he does, what is the use of responsible Government, or of members coming here from constituencies all over Australia? If he sticks to his text, he can only at the worst, go down on it. These graders can be made in Rockhampton, and I am sure that they can be made at Walker’s, Limited, Maryborough. Where have the cane loaders on wheels been obtained from up till now ?
– I suppose they have been imported.
– They are only little trucks. You, Mr. Chairman, have seen them scores of times. I have seen youngsters in Melbourne running trucks about on four wheels, exactly similar to a cane loader.
– Let the honorable member move that cane loaders should be dutiable.
– I cannot move for increased duties. That is the Treasurer’s business. If the Treasurer will stick to what he originally said, I will support him. With regard to any article that can be made here on unionist lines, I am going to support the Government every time.
– Could not mangles be made here?
– I voted for a duty on mangles. Corrugated iron can be made here, too, but the black sheet iron is not made here. I will vote for protection for Australian corrugated iron when it is made out of Australian ore. Will the Treasurer tell me before I vote, why he wants’ to put these articles in another item.
– I have already told the ‘Committee. I am advised that there is one machine which is a patent. There may be a number of others that can be made here.
– The Treasurer’ proposes to let all these machines in free from the United Kingdom under item 155, because one of them is a patent. Cane loaders on wheels are like the frames used on the railways for carrying rails from the truck to the head of the road. They consist of four wheels running on a tram-line, two axles, which are on two clips, the platform being of wood, with pieces fastened on to keep the cane from falling off. Where does the patent come In there ? This bears out what the honorable member for Parramatta and the honorable member for Lang have told the Treasurer over and over again - that the Tariff is framed in such a haphazard way that the honorable gentleman does not know what he is doing. He allows his leg to be pulled in order to put on the free list two articles that are capable of being manufactured at any workshop in Australia. I hope the Treasurer will reconsider his proposal, and. allow the two items to remain as they stand in the Tariff.
Sir JOHN QUICK (Bendigo)” [4.35I- I desire to call the attention of the Committee to a more important matter than the mere proposal to eliminate cane loaders on wheels and channel making graders from the item.
– There is a most important principle involved.
– I see no reason why they should be deleted, but that is a trifling matter compared with the proposed increase in the duty from 12 </inline> per cent, to 20 per cent. The protectionist section of the Tariff “Commission, whose report I signed, divided the proposed duties upon agricultural implements into groups. The first included such machines as stripperharvesters and stump-jump ploughs, on which a duty of 25 per cent, was proposed. The second group included other ploughs, harrows, cultivators, and chaffcutters, upon which we proposed a 20 per cent. duty. The third group included the lighter and less expensive implements and articles, n.e.i., upon which we proposed 12J per cent. No person in Australia, so. far as I can remember, proposed that the duty on the group of articles included in item 148 should be raised from the old rate of 12½ per cent. to the proposed rate of 20 per cent. I challenge any one to put his finger upon a line in the whole mass of evidence given before the Commission showing that there was any reason or justification for increasing the duty in that way upon this group of minor articles. The conclusion was therefore arrived at by myself and my colleagues **Senator Higgs, Senator McGregor, and
– For revenue purposes?
– No; the duty had a certain protective incidence. At any rate, no complaint was made by the manufacturers, and we received no request for an increase.
– Nearly all these articles are made here at present.
– Whether they are or not, I am dealing now with applications and requests made and evidence submitted to the Commission.
– Cannot we deal with that point after we have dealt with the proposal to omit these particular articles?
– The two things are, to some extent, bound up together, but after all, what the honorable member refers to is a minor question. I am a strong protectionist, but I will not go in for protection except upon articles or machines upon which wehave been called upon to make recommendations for increased duties, and with respect to which there is a reasonable justification for such increase. On certain items, I have voted as strongly for protection as has any man in this Committee, but I shall not go strongly for it unless there is a justification for it;
– Why did the honorable member recommend a 25 per cent. duty on wire-netting?
– I thought the justification was strong; but when there is no evidence justifying an increase, I shall not go strongly for it. There is nothing to justify the increase of duties from 12½ per cent. to 20 per cent. upon this group of minor articles, and I intend to vote straight against it. Road-making ploughs, road scoops, and scrapers are not made in Australia, and I admit that on them a 12½per cent. duty is a revenue duty.
There is, therefore, no justification for an increase of duty in that case. All the protectionist members of. the Commission recommended that the 12½ per cent. duties should remain, unaltered. Protectionists are going out of their way needlessly to burden the cause of protection by proposing a large number of increases which are merely irritating, unnecessary, and unjustifiable.
.- It would be better to settle first the question of deleting from this item the two articles proposed. But I am prepared to join issue with the honorable member for Bendigo with regard to the statement he has made concerning these matters generally. The honorable member proposed a general Tariff operating against all countries outside Australia, but we have before us also a preferential Tariff. I shall be prepared to see a duty of 12½ per cent. inserted in the United Kingdom column, but I shall not be prepared to forego a duty of 20 per cent. against the foreigner.
– What is the good of that when a number of these things are patents ?
– The honorable member has done remarkably well for his State. It looks very like ingratitude for him to be harassing the Treasurer in the way he is doing. There is no more difficult thing for a true protectionist to justify than voting for revenue duties. I am tired of doing it, and am not prepared to do it to any extent in the future. What I am sent here to do is to secure proper protection for Australian industries, and not to obtain large sums of money for the general revenue in order that they may be handed over to the States. The name of protection has been made responsible for very much more than it deserves, and much more than those who advocate it desire. The honorable member for Bendigo was scarcely fair to the Treasurer in his remarks. Many of the articles included in this item partake largely of the character of machinery.
– What machinery is there in a channel -making grader?
– I will tell the honorable member for Maranoa something about cane loaders that apparently he did not know when he spoke. I have never seen them, but I am assured that they consist not only of four wheels and a platform, but also of a crab winch, with a small crane.
– Cannot we make crab winches and cranes in Australia?
– We make capital winches in Victoria. I quite agree with the honorable member for Maranoa with regard to the magnificent ironworks of Walker’s Limited, at Maryborough. I have seen them, and regard them as a credit to Australia, and to the protective policy of Queensland under which they were established. They are evidence of the benefits which have accrued to Queensland from the policy of protection. Many of these machines can be made, and I should like to see them made, here. Therefore I shall support the proposed duty. I do not feel disposed to vote for revenue duties unless they are shown to be absolutely necessary to the small States.
– I am surprised at the reason given by the honorable member for Bendigo for not supporting the proposed duties. It is not long since the honorable member for Perth told us that only three witnesses appeared before the Tariff Commission to give evidence in respect to lead piping, and that not one of them asked for an alteration of the Tariff. Yet the honorable member for Bendigo in that case recommended the imposition of a duty of 50s. a ton. How does he reconcile that recommendation with his statement this afternoon that he is not going to vote for rates that have not been asked for? What is proposed now is a revenue duty. I am opposed to revenue duties, and will not vote for 12½ per cent. on any item. We should either give protection to local industries, or allow consumers to purchase in the cheapest market.
– Will the honorable member vote for the proposal to make these rates lower?
– No. I cannot understand why the Minister proposes to strike out cane loaders.
– I do not care what is done with them.
– I think that they should be dutiable, because they are simple inventions, upon which it will be easy for local makers to improve. Then, too, there should be no difficulty about making channel graders. We have, in Australia, workmen as skilful as any in the world, but we shall not have very many of them until we give more encouragement to local manufacturing. I wish to see our inventive genius developed.
.- The honorable member for Hindmarsh - and, apparently, the honorable member for Laanecoorie, too - is opposed to the proposed deletion. The former said that as a protectionist he objected to revenue duties. The Minister has proposed the omission of certain machines, with a view to making the duty on them, if they come from foreign countries, 10 per cent., admitting them free if from the United Kingdom. No one will pretend that the honorable member for Bendigo, Senator McGregor, ex-Senator Higgs, and Mr. Francis Clarke, are not protectionists. They have been regarded as red-hot protectionists. Yet they thought duties of 12½ per cent. sufficient on all these machines. I shall vote for this proposal, not only because it is the recommendation of the Tariff Commission, but also because cane loaders and channelling machines are very bulky, and, if imported, would probably have to be brought here in parts, giving to our own people the work of re-assembling them. I shall vote for a duty of 12½ per cent., and against the proposed omission.
– I am here as a protectionist, not as a revenue Tariffist, and it seems to me that this is a revenue Tariff proposal. As the revenue from these items was last year £22,000, it is clear that a duty of 12½ per cent. would not encourage their manufacture locally to the extent to which we as nationalists wish it to be encouraged. We recognise that without protection there is little hope of establishing manufactures here, because old firms elsewhere can always bring down values, with a view to discouraging local competition. We must protect our industries from the machinations of foreign manufacturers. Of course, we all recognise that local manufacturers may exploit the local market. But the Government have definitely promised to bring in regulating measures to prevent such exploitation, and the public will be against exploitation, and can express its views in Parliament. Therefore we need not be timorous about venturing on a national policy of this sort. I, for one, am not. If further assurance were needed, we have the statement of the Prime Minister that if it be found - he does not think that it will be found - unconstitutional to pass regulating measures, the Tariff will have to be reconsidered. I accept that statement for what it is worth. If our policy proves to be ineffective or abortive, the public will clamour to have it altered, and I shall make one to alter it. But at the present stage of our national existence, we are justified in making this effort to encourage local manufactures.
– I suggest that the Minister should withdraw the amendment, so that we may vote on the item as it stands. I am prepared to move that the duty on goods the manufacture of the United Kingdom be 12½ per cent. The honorable member for Bendigo could vindicate his position by voting for a duty of 20 per cent. against foreign importations, and of 12½ per cent, against British importations.
– It is all very well for honorable members tosay that certain machines can be made here, but the fact is that they are not made here.
– I have used them, and know what I am talking about. I am as good a free-trader as is the honorable member. I love the importers as much as he does.
– The honorable member has been voting against them a good’ many times. While he was away he allowed himself to be paired by a high protectionist, with the result that he was paired with the Government all the time. I am sorry that he was not here to vote with us a little more often.
– I am sorry that I was away. Had I been present, my vote on one or two occasions would not have been oh the side on which I was paired.
– The information I have is that the machines which have been alluded to are not made in Australia. There is not much going on in the industrial world which the Customs officials of Victoria do not know about. One of my objections to them is that they know a little too much, and put what they know into their interpretation of the Tariff, making it highly protective. Will it not be time enough to impose duties when we know that machines are being made here in sufficient quantities to suit our requirements ?
– If we wait until then, we shall never put on duties.
– Anything which will tend to lighten labour in the sugar fields should be encouraged. The great difficulty is to get the work done there.
– Not this kind of work - crushing and cutting.
– This work is equally laborious and disagreeable. Anything which will enable white men to lighten their labours in the cane-fields should command the sympathy of those who believe in a White Australia. I shall have the greatest pleasure in voting to have the machines which have been mentioned placed on the free list.
.- If the Treasurer will postpone this item until tomorrow, I will send an urgent telegram to Walkers Limited, at Maryborough, asking them if they can make these grading machines, ditchers, and channellers.
– I will not postpone the item.
– That firm makes most of the machinery used in the sugar-fields, and I feel certain that it can make the machines I have named. Channel graders were used in Queensland, in the central district, twelve or fifteen years ago, hundreds of miles of channelling being cut to conduct water from the bores to different parts of the runs. These graders came from South Australia. Seeing that they were made in the country then, I do not know why they cannot be made now.
– I think that the honorable member is right about the cane loaders.
– I am positive that I am. The firm of Walkers Limited, Maryborough, can make any kind of iron work.
– I proposed the amendment because of a report made to me by the departmental officers ; I know nothing about the matter myself. Still, I am unwilling that the discussion should continue interminably, and I cannot consent to any postponement. Therefore, I wish to withdraw the amendment, leaving honorable members to take the responsibility.
– I object to the withdrawal.
– Do I understand that the Government do not propose to put these machines onthe free list?
– The representatives of Queensland say that these machines can be made there. I am not going to put them on the free list.
– I move -
That the words “Feed Grinders” be left out.
– For what purpose?
– I am submitting this amendment with a view to bringing the articles under a higher duty. That is what I intended in the first instance.
Question - That the words “ Feed Grinders “ proposedto be left out stand part of item - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 20
Question so resolved in the negative.
Amendment agreed to .
.- Before the main question is put, I wish it to be clearly understood by the Committee that the last amendment for the omission of the words “ feed grinders “ was moved distinctly by the Treasurer with the object of making these liable to a higher duty.
– He said so.
– The honorable member will not be in order in reopening the question which has just been decided.
– I am quite satisfied that a large number of honorable members thought that feed grinders’ were going to be included in item 155, and that but for the original statement which was made to the Committee the recent vote would have been different.
– Order. The honorable member must not debate the question which has just been decided.
– The question of the item, as amended, has not yet been decided.
– The omission of the words “feed grinders” has been decided and cannot be further discussed.
– I understand that another amendment is to be proposed.
.- Under the old Tariff the duty on the articles embracedin this item was 12½ per cent. I move -
That after the words “ 20 per cent.” the words “ and on and after 26th November, 1907, ad val., 12½ per cent.,” be added.
.- When I spoke on this question a little while ago, it was pointed out that nearly the whole of the implements embraced in this item are imported from the United Kingdom.
– That was pointed out to the Committee, and the honorable member told me so himself.
– That is not correct, as a number of them come from Canada.
– The honorable member told me that nearly the whole of these implements come from Great Britain.
– The honorable member misunderstood me.
– I am sorry that I did. I am acquainted with the majority of these implements, and I am under the impression that some of them come from Great Britain. I have used many implements of this kind Which have been made here. Most of those that are used in Australia are made locally, and all can be made here. In those circumstances, I do not think that a duty of 20 per cent. is a bit too high, more especially when I am prepared to propose - and I think the public will be prepared to accept - a duty of 12
.- In view of the speech which has been delivered by the honorable member for Bendigo, I feel disposed to accept his opinion in regard to this item. He has assured the Committee that, after an exhaustive examination of those who use these articles, no requests were submitted to the Tariff Commission for an increase in the old duty, and I think that reasons have been advanced to demonstrate that very likely his opinion is a correct one. The honorable member for Laanecoorie is evidently taking up the attitude that, in his opinion, the Tariff in its present form is not a protective one.
– A 12J per cent, duty is not protective.
– With his next breath the honorable member said that, in his opinion, the majority of the imported articles come from the United Kingdom.
– The honorable member is not quite correct. I said that I had been informed that most of them come from the United Kingdom.
– The honorable gentleman led the Committee to believe that, in regard to the preferential Tariff, he was prepared to fall in with that opinion.
– I propose to move for a duty of 12J per cent.
– Then, in the opinion qf honorable members who are desirous of imposing these additional duties, a duty of 12 J per cent, is a revenue duty, _ and will not give sufficient protection, but that as long as the articles come from the United Kingdom it does not matter.
– Out of £162,000 worth, only £22,000 worth of these articles come from Great Britain.
– Very likely the workers of Australia will adopt the attitude that it does not matter whether the opposition comes from the United Kingdom, or Canada, or America, if it is going to deprive them of the employment which would be occasioned as the result of the local manufacture of the implements. There is no advantage to the workers of this country from importation, whether the goods come from the United Kingdom or not.
– Let the honorable member vote for a duty of 20 per cent.
– I. am prepared to be guided by argument; but I think that thestandard adopted in regard to this item ought to guide us in regard to items which are to follow.
– The destruction of the Tariff ! That is what the honorable member is bringing about.
– The Treasurer has absolutely no’ justification for making that remark. In any case, I can say, with double emphasis, that the Minister appears to be satisfied to “ sit under ‘ ‘ the destruction. I should like to hear the item debated ; because we are now dealing with implements which are necessary in connexion with several of the great primary industries, and those concerned are certainly entitled to as much consideration as has been given in connexion with machinery used in other industries. T am inclined to think that a duty of 12 *</inline> per cent, is not enough. I am prepared to admit free, or to impose only a nominal duty, in the case of those commodities which cannot be produced in Australia on ‘ a commercial basis, and to give a measure of protection in the case of ‘ commodities which can be produced here. I am inclined to think that the honorable member for Laanecoorie has rather a strong case, of which, however, he has not taken advantage. His attitude is that as long as there is a duty of 20 per cent, against the world, a duty of 12
– There is hope for the honorable member, after all !
– lt is gratifying to heal that from one of the new recruits in this House.
– The honorable member for Melbourne Ports is a veteran protectionist.
– Judging from the votes that have been given, there are a good many “ veteran “ protectionists in the House, who, as the honorable member for Darwin pictured the Treasurer the other night, may be all right in their hearts, but not in their heads.
– If the honorable member’s heart were as truly protectionist as mine, he would be a much better man !
– I do not question the Treasurer’s heart in regard to protection, but I have sometimes questioned his head. My own opinion is that, although the Treasurer is suffering some reverses in regard to the Tariff-
– And very unfair reverses, too ! .
– What I was going to say was that, although there have been some reverses, I think this Tariff is being framed on a basis which will prove eminently satisfactory to the people of australia. It is my belief that by means of this Tariff material assistance will be given to local industries, resulting in a considerable increase in the number of employes in our factories, without inflicting any undue hardship on consumers. As I said before, this is one of the items which must of necessity be accepted as the standard for others to be discussed shortly; and I should like to hear arguments from those intimately acquainted with the subject, as to whether a duty of 1 2^ per cent, is sufficient. My vote will depend, to a degree, on the information thus given.
– The amendment of the honorable member for Laanecoorie means relief to the users of these instruments throughout Australia to the extent of £1,650, and personally, I do not think that is sufficient. The old duty under which the manufacturer has flourished is quite sufficient ; and to adopt the amendment would only mean injury to the users, without affording any further needed protection to the producer.
.- A duty of 1 2 J per cent, would be a reduction on the Tariff which has been in existence for the last twelve months. In- 1906 a duty of 25 per cent, was proposed on these agricultural implements and machinery, and was reduced to 20 per cent.
– Not at all. What we are considering are now goods n.e.i.
– If the honorable member will look at the Tariff which was fixed last year, he will find that, in a House which was supposed to be free-trade, the duty I have mentioned was fixed on harvesters and strippers.
– This House is more free-trade than the last.
– If honorable members turn to page 64 of the official statistics,, they will see item 265, with the heading “ Implements and machinery, agricultural, horticultural, and viticultural.”
– There are two or three distinct headings all relating to the same sort of materials.
– The major portion of the goods under the heading referred to were at 121 per cent.
– According to the return, the duty was i2L per cent., but only up to the 28th August.
– The goods on which 12
– That was because the bulk of the goods were imported before the date I have mentioned. According to the return, the goods on which 20 per cent, was charged after the 28th August were valued at £15)815; those on which’ 25 per cent, was charged, after the same date, were valued at £1,503; and then after the 7th December, a duty of 1¾d. per lb. was paid on 16,451 lbs. I am quite prepared to believe that these figures are right, and that agricultural implements n.e.i. were dutiable at 20 per cent, before the Commonwealth Tariff was introduced, and that, therefore, a duty of i2i per cent, would mean reduction.
– The honorable member for Yarra is entirely wrong. I find that the Excise on chaffcutters and horse gears - one of the items in the present Tariff at 20 per cent. - was 10 per cent., clearly indicating that the duty was 20 per cent., the same as now. It will be seen, therefore, that* we are not proposing to reduce the duty in any way. The honorable member, if he looks again at the matter, will find that the group of items on which these duties were placed last year are all under different headings in the present Tariff, at the same or increased duties. The items we are dealing with now are n.e.i., and exclude those on which higher rates of duty were imposed last year. I ask the Treasurer whether that is not so?.
– I think there is some variation, and that a few were at 20 per cent., though the bulk were at 12^ per cent.
– The duty of 12^ per cent, last year, according to the report, covers goods valued at £i45>796 ; the duty at 20 per cent, covers £15,000 worth of goods, and so on.
– That is from certain dates only.
– The honorable member need have no fear that it is nowsought to impose a lower duty ; and we are quite right in objecting to an increase of duty on this group of items.
– These goods have borne duties of 20 per cent, and 25 per cent.
– That is not so. The Government themselves have always made a distinction between other kinds of machinery and implements used by those engaged in the horticultural and agricultural industries. Implements and machinery seem to be distinguished at the Customs House, and have always received separate treatment by Parliament. The reason is that the bulk of the machinery which is to-day used in horticultural work is patented, and cannot be made here, even if we wished to make it for ourselves. It is idle to tax a thing which we could not make in the country, even if we had a 100 per cent. duty. I know that that remark does not apply to all the articles affected, but it .does to many of them. Another reason for the low duties was that it was always considered, even by strong protectionists, that it was a fair thing not to tax the implements of those engaged in the primary industries in the interior.
.- With regard to the remarks of the honorable member for Grey as to the omission of the words proposed, I should like to remark that he inferred - probably unintentionally that those who vote for the amendment will be bound to vote for the increased duty upon the item. That is not so. The Minister himself indicated that voting for the amendment would not bind honorable members to vote for the item. I say that by way of personal explanation. I cannot agree to vote for a high duty of 20 per cent, on this item. I think that the rate is excessive. The subject was threshed out very extensively when the 1902 Tariff was before us, and, al though a higher duty was at first proposed, Parliament ultimately agreed to 12^ per cent. The free-trade section of the Tariff Commission have recommended a duty of 15 per cent, on some articles. It is a pity that they did not differentiate and tell us exactly what they wanted. I am inclined to think that a duty of 12J per cent, is scarcely, sufficient.
– Supposing 20 per cent, were put in the first column, what would the honorable member propose to put in the second column?
– I think that the same duty should be fixed in Loth columns, because the bulk of these implements come, not from the United Kingdom, but from the United States and Canada; and the United States is a country that never has, and never will - while the people are of the same mind as they are now - give any other nation Tariff consideration.
– They would give us reciprocity.
– Yes; the kind of reciprocity that a cat gives to a mouse - they would swallow us. The United States, in reference to Tariff treatment, is hardly a country which can be held up for the admiration of mankind. What I propose to do, if I am in order, is to move that the duty be 15 per cent, in each column. I do not think that any consumer in Australia will pay 6d. more for an article because of an increase of z per cent, in the duty.
– Why is not the old duty sufficient?
– I have no evidence, except the statements of the Treasurer and -of honorable, members on this side of the chamber. The Treasurer must have had some justification for putting the duty down at 20 per cent. The honorable member for Parramatta need not laugh.
– I am laughing at the honorable member’s laboured effort to explain why 12J per cent, is not sufficient.
– The honorable member’s own friends on the Tariff Commission have recommended a duty of 15 per cent.
– In conjunction with a general scheme of revenue duties.
– If the honorable member laughs at me, he had better laugh at his friends on the Commission also. I base my amendment on the consideration that an increase of 2J per cent, will not make a particle of difference to -the purchasers of this kind of machinery.
– Why not say 17½ per cent., if the duty will not make any difference to the price?
– Because 15 per cent. strikes me as being symmetrical and fair to all parties. If any considerable portion of this machinery came from the United Kingdom, I should be prepared to make a difference in favour of Britain ; but since the quantity so obtained is small, and is not likely to increase, owing to the fact that most of the implements are subject to patent rights, I see no warrant for such a differentiation as is suggested by the honorable member for Laanecoorie.
– The honorable member should leave the honorable member for Yarra to do this kind of thing.
– I consider it to be my duty to move on my own account. A duty of 15 per cent. all round strikes me as being avery fair compromise.
– The honorable member for Laanecoorie has proposed that the preferential duty be 12½ per cent.
– I see no reason for a differentiation.
– A little more than one-third of these goods come from Great Britain.
– A great many articles imported from Great Britain were free under the old Tariff, and these are included in the third mentioned by the Treasurer. I wish to move -
That after the words “ 20 per cent.” the words “ and on and after 26th November, 1907, ad val. (General Tariff),15per cent.; (United Kingdom), 15 per cent.,” beadded.
– I wish to assure the honorable member for Yarra that I have checked the items in the Excise Tariff which affect the duties in question, and I find that every one of the articles mentioned is included in the Tariff schedule at 20 per cent.
– The item under discussion relates to horticultural, agricultural, and viticultural machinery, and the goods are used by persons most of whom enjoy noform of protection whatever. Generally speaking, our horticulturists and agriculturists have to grow their products, and find a market for themselves, selling in competition with products from all over the world. It is most essential that agricul tural industries should be conducted on an extensive scale to make them pay, and in order that they may be extensively pursued, the most modern machinery must be used. Probably as a result of similar conditions in America and Canada, the greatest improvements in implements and machinery have been made in those countries. Some years ago, our agricultural and horticultural implements were manufactured in England. But those implements have now been displaced by more up-to-date and suitable ones manufactured in the United States and Canada. I have a recollection of using an English pitchfork many years ago. The difference between such an implement and an American pitchfork is most marked. In fact, I do not know of an instance where an English pitchfork is now used in connexion with agriculture in this city. A similar change has been made with respect to a number of other machines. We have to look to the United States and Canada if we arc tocarry on these industries profitably. I am glad toknow that the inventive genius of this country has been equal to making some improvements. We are adapting ourselves to our own needs, and are producing implements that are more in accord with American types.
– Our own manufacturers ought to be encouraged.
– I quite agree with the honorable member, but for the sake of hypothetical encouragement, I am not prepared to lock out implements from America. Under the old Tariff, something like , £162,000 worth of this class of machinery and implements was imported last year, of which £140,000 worth came from countries other than Great Britain - mainly from Canada and the United States. The Tariff Commission, composed of free-traders and protectionists, investigated this matter upon evidence submitted to them, and considered not only the interests of producers, but also of manufacturers. The protectionist section of the Commission agreed to recommend a duty of 12½ per cent. upon these protected lines, whilst the freetraders proposed a duty of 10 per cent. on most lines, and 15 per cent. on a few. The interests of the primary producers must be considered as well as those of the manufacturers, and I trust that honorable members will see their way to adopt the amendment of the honorable member for Indi.
– I should like to point out that the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission were prepared to recommend a high duty of 20 per cent. on a certain group of agricultural, horticultural, and viticultural machinery and implements that it was considered were entitled to such protection. We recommended that implements and machines should be divided into three groups. In the first group we included implements and machines invented or specially improved in Australia, namely, stripper-harvesters, stump-jump ploughs, strippers, disc cultivators, horse and other power winnowers, combined corn shelter, husker and bagger, combined corn sheller and husker. We recommended that the duty on that group should be 25 per cent. In the second group, which we recommended should be dutiable at 20 per cent., we placed ordinary or common-place implements and machines, namely, ploughs (other), plough shares, harrows, cultivators n.e.i., chaffcutters and horse gear, scarifiers, castings malleable and other, plough mouldboards, wholly or partly prepared, corn shellers and corn huskers. We decided that the third group should consist of lighter and less expensive implements, specialties, &c., namely, articles not otherwise enumerated, and that they should be dutiable, as under the old Tariff, at 12½ per cent. The lastnamed group is substantially covered by the item now under consideration, and, although I have listened carefully to this debate, I have heard no statement of fact to justify any alteration in the opinion which I andmyprotectionist colleagues formed, that the duty should be 12½ per cent.
– Why did the free-trade section of the Commission recommend a duty of 15 per cent. ?
– That waspart of a general classification of the whole scheme of duties, ranging from 5 per cent. on raw materials to 10 and 15 per cent. - a cast-iron system of duties which it is evident would never work, and which apparently has been abandoned. We pointed out in our report that with reference to the third group -
Light and less expensive tools and appliances as well as specialties, parts, and novel and experimental improvements which have originated in other countries and for which there is a limited demand - should be subject to a lower rateof duty than prevailed upon such high-class ma chines as harvesters, which were either invented here, or highly specialized and made in Australia, which we thought justified a higher duty than 12½ per cent. I see no reason for altering that opinion, and shall support the amendment moved by the honorable member for Indi.
– I think it is a pity that the Government have not decided to at once give the House a holiday, so that some honorable members who were returned as protectionists may recuperate and come back in a normal state of mind, prepared to work up to the true protectionist standard. 1 am afraid that many protectionists are assisting free-traders to make the duties upon manufactured articles as low as possible, in order that the level now fixed may be taken as a standard when we are dealing later on with certain other items. We have heard a great deal as to what can and cannot be manufactured in Australia. If there is anything in this item that cannot be produced here, I think that Australia might just as well cease to attempt to manufacture anything. Those who talk so much about the primary producers ought to declare at once that we should wipe out the whole of the manufacturing industries of Australia, and should assist the Labour Party to impose a stiff land tax, so that the people will be able to secure land on which to settle.
– Surely we ought to give theprimary producer a show ?
– I am prepared to give him a show, but, at the same time, I think that we should give the Australian manufacturer a chance to carry on’ his industry.
– He is getting every chance.
– Does the honorable member say that 12½ per cent. is more than a revenue duty ? Some protectionists declare, with their tongues in their cheeks, that it is a protective duty. They know that it is not. On the last division nine honorable members who were returned as protectionists voted for the lowest duty they could obtain, and yet at the next general election they will probably pose as protectionists, and receive as such the support of certain newspapers.
– Is the Tariff to again be put before the people at the next election ?
– I hope so, if some of the recent votes are to be taken as an in- duration of what the Tariff as finally passed will be. As to the implements in the item itself, the cry of those who suggest that we cannot make cane-loaders, for instance, reminds me of the story of the black gin, who said to a carpenter, “Why, you are a funny carpenter; you can’t make a jam tin.” Then, again, is the mechanism of garden rollers, which are included in the item, so complicated that it is impossible for them to be made in Australia? Why the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission should have included the implements named in this item in the lowest group, I cannot understand. To my mind, the lowest range of duties should apply only to those machines or commodities that cannot be manufactured in Australia. I am satisfied that all the implements covered by this item can be manufactured here, and that local competition will prevent high prices prevailing. Even the leader of the Opposition has admitted that the majority of honorable members of this House were returned pledged to protection, but apparently he knew when he made the admission that he could secure the support of certain protectionists to a proposal that the protection granted should be at the lowest ebb. I repeat that unless the Government can obtain the passing of more highly protective duties than they are securing just now, they should consider the desirableness of at once giving the House a holiday, so that at least some honorable members may come back with a better sense of their duty as protectionists.
Question - That after the words “20 per cent.,” the words “ and on and after 26th November, 1907, ad. val. (General Tariff), 12½ per cent.” (Mr. Tilley Brown’s amendment), be added - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 2
Question so resolved in the negative.
Amendment (by Mr. Mahon) agreed to -
That after the words “20 per cent.” the words “ and on and after 26th November, 1907, ad val. (General Tariff), 15 per cent.,” be added.
Amendment (by Mr. Tilley Brown) proposed -
That after the words “ 15 per cent.” just added, the words “ and on and after 26th November, 1907, ad. val. (United Kingdom), 10 per cent.,” be added.
.- This proposal is another instance of free-trade under the guise of preference, and emanates from an honorable member who, on the hustings, pledged himself to support the recommendations of the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission. That section hasrecommended the imposition of a duty of 12½ per cent. all round, and I hope that the Committee will not stultify itself by voting for a 10 per cent. duty under the guise of extending a preference to the United Kingdom.
– I would point out to the honorable member for Gippsland that a duty of 15 per cent. under the general Tariff, and of 10 per cent. under the Tariff for the United Kingdom will yield more revenue than would a12½ per cent. duty all round, which was the rate recom- mended by the Tariff Commission.
– I shall support the amendment. In many instances we have extended a preference to Great Britainin respect of goods of which she has been supplying 80 or 90 per cent. of our importations. But 86 per cent. of our importations of the articles enumerated inthis item are of foreign origin, and, consequently, I shall support the giving of a real preference to the United Kingdom.
.- Upon a previous occasion I indicated that the duty upon this item, so far as the products of the United Kingdom are concerned, should be 12½ per cent. but that was conditional upon an impost of 20 per cent. being levied under the general Tariff. Therefore those honorable members who voted for the reduction as against my proposal, and expect me to vote for a duty of 10 per cent. in the present instance will be disappointed.
– The last speaker is to be congratulated upon the intelligent reason which he has assigned for his present attitude. He has told us that he intends to vote for a higher duty thanhe thinks ought to be imposed from motives of revenge. I hope that his constituents will takenote of that fact.
– I proposed a compromise, but honorable members opposite want that compromise to be all in their own favour.
– If there be any sincerity in our protestations of a desire to extend a preference to the United Kingdom, here is an item in respect of which we may extend to her a substantial preference. Only £22,000 worth of this machinery is annually imported from Great Britain, whereas no less than £140,000 worth is annually imported from other countries - principally from the United States of America. If these machines must come from foreign countries, an additional duty of 5 per cent. will not prevent their importation.
– If they must come from other countries, they ought to be admitted free.
– Will honorable members opposite assist me to recommit the item, with a view to making it free? I hope that the Committee will agree to the preference proposed, which in view of the figures that have been quoted is not too high.
.- I cannot see my way to vote for a 5 per cent. preference to the Mother Country in this instance, but I am prepared to vote for a duty of 12½ per cent. upon British goods. I ask the honorable member for Indi to adopt that rate.
– I ask leave to withdraw my amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment (by Mr. Tilley Brown) agreed to -
That after the words “ 15 per cent.,” just added, the words “and on and after 26th November, 1907, ad val. (United Kingdom),12½ per cent.,” be added.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Postponed item 149. Chaffcutters and Horse Gears; Chaffcutter Knives; Corn Shellers; Corn Huskers; Cultivators, other than disc Harrows; Ploughs other; Plough Shares; Plough Mould Board’s; Scarifiers, ad val., 20 per cent.
Amendment (by Mr. Johnson) proposed -
That after the words “ 20 per cent.” the words “and on and after 26th November, 1907, ad val. (General Tariff), 15 per cent.,” be added.
– The honorable member has proposed a reduction upon the old rate of duty. I hope that no such reduction will be made. Honorable members have had a promise from the Government that they will deal with the question of the new protection in a Bill which is to be introduced. But how can we do that if even the duties levied under the old Tariff are to be reduced? I maintainthat they should be increased.
– The Treasurer has referred to the new protection. We are aware that an Excise duty of 10 per cent. hasbeen levied upon the articles now under consideration. If we are going to disturb the duty levied under the general Tariff, we shall have to revise the Excise.
– It does not matter, because the manufacturers do not pay the Excise.
– It is most interesting to speculate whether the Excise is ever to be paid or whether effect is to be given to the conditions which would insure to manufacturers an exemption from its payment. It is thirteen months since the Excise was imposed, but up to date no revenue has been collected, and in many instances the rates of wages fixed by the Act have not been paid. It would be really interesting to know how long a period is to elapse before the new protection is to become operative. I congratulate the Government upon the celerity with which they put the old protection through, and the tardiness with which they seek to give effect to the new protection. If we pass these laws, they ought not to remain a dead letter. Either we mean what is contained in their provisions, or we do not.
– The honorable member is endeavouring to raise a discussion upon a subject altogether apart from the duty under consideration.
– I should like to learn from the Treasurer when the complemental part of this Tariff is to become effective. We were told by the Prime Minister the other evening that the new protection and the old protection were both portions of the same scheme. No difficulty has been experienced in putting the old protection into operation, but there seems to be no possibility of giving immediate effect to the new protection. In other words, the Government are keen enough to protect the manufacturer, but are very tardy in seeking to protect the worker. We seem to have no concern about the speedy operation of a law intended to benefit the workmen. It is time that the Government decided either to repeal or enforce the law.
– I wished to withdraw the amendment.
– The Committee has got into trouble repeatedly because honorable members will not pay proper attention to the business which they have themselves submitted.It makes it very awkward and uncomfortable for the Chairman to be trying to do the business of other honorable members as well as his own. In this case I put the amendment distinctly, and it was negatived. I point out that if items were to be re-opened for discussion, there would be no finality to our proceedings.
– You are quite right, sir. I confess that I was busy about some pairing when you were putting the question.
Amendment (by Mr. Joseph Cook) proposed -
That after the words “20 per cent.” the words “and on and after 26th November, 1907, ad val. (United Kingdom), 15 per cent.” be added.
Sir WILLIAM LYNE (Hume- Trea ment honorable members will be absolutely reducing the present duty upon which the Excise was fixed. I hope honorable members will not consent to reduce the duty below what it is under the old Tariff.
.- There might be some force in what the Treasurer said, if it were not well known that the Excise duty referred to is a farce. It is not collected, andis neither more nor less than a placard. From the experience of the past, we know that we might just as well do away with the Excise for any good it is. It is inoperative, and when the Treasurer appeals to the Committee not to interfere with the duty, so as to grant a preference on this item because the Excise duty was arranged in accordance with it, he has his tongue in his cheek all the time. In view of the fact that, although the Act has been in force for the last twelve months, not a penny of Excise has been collected under it, although wage and working conditions have not been fulfilled by the manufacturers enjoying the high duties. I hope the Committee will receive the statement of the Treasurer for what it is worth.
Question - That the words proposed to be added be so added (Mr. Joseph Cook’s amendment) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 16
Question so resolved in the negative.
Item agreed to.
Postponed item 150. - Combined Corn Sheller, Husker and Bagger ; Combined Corn Shelter and Husker ; Discs for Agricultural Implements ; Disc Cultivators; Drills (Fertilizer Seed and Grain), and all attachments thereto; Stump Jump Ploughs; Winnowers (horse and other power); Seats, Poles, Swingle-bars, Yokes, and Trees for Agricultural Machines, when imported separately, ad val., 25 per cent.
.- I wish to move that the duty in the second column be 20 per cent., to give a preference of 5 per cent. in the case of goods imported from the United Kingdom.
– I have a prior amendment to move. I move -
That after the words “25 per cent.” the words “ and on and after 26th November, 1907, ad val. (General Tariff), 20 per cent.,” be added.
– The honorable member cannot hope to carry that amendment.
– I point out that in the previous item chaffcutters, corn shelters, and corn huskers are dutiable at 20 per cent., and I do not see why, under this item, a combined corn sheller, husker and bagger, and a combined corn sheller and husker should have to pay a higher duty. Why should there be an increase of duty on these articles?
– There is no increase proposed.
.- I have an amendment to move which I think is prior to that submitted by the honorable member for Hunter. This item covers discs for agricultural implements, and I am led to believe that these discs cannot be made here at all.
– If the honorable member attends an up-country show he will find that they are made here by the hun- dred.
– I am very much surprised to hear that statement. I propose to read a letter dated from Footscray, which will show the information I have on the subject. The writer says -
I herewith beg to respectfully protest against the duty, of 55 per cent. imposed upon circular harrowdisc plates, and 20 per cent. on chaffcutter knives. I have been working for the past fourteen years to establish a factoryfor the manufacture of disc harrows, which I make a specialty of, quite90 per cent. of my output being derived from the manufacture and sale of these machines, but owing to insufficient protection and severe American competition I have been unable to make the headway warranted by the energy and capital I have put into the business.
The circular disc plates - of which on an average twenty-two are used on each machine - were formerly free of duty, but under the present Tariff are subject to 25 per cent. ad val. Under the old Tariff these plates, although free of duty, represented 30 per cent. of the cost of the complete machines. You will, therefore, see what an important item they are to me, and how very essential it is that I get them at the lowest possible cost.
– The writer is wrong in the statements he makes.
– The letter is a copy of one addressed to the Minister of Trade and Customs. I presume that if the manufacturer of these implements could make the discs he would do so.I intend to move the omission of the words “ discs for agricultural implements.”
.- I wish to prefer a request to the Treasurer. I do not desire that the breach between this Parliament and the State Parliament should be widened. An entertainment is to be given to-night at which I believe a number of honorable members would like to be present, and in the circumstances I ask the Treasurer to agree to adjourn at 9 o’clock. We have been here since 10.30 a.m. this morning, and if the honorable gentleman is a believer in the eight-hours principle he will grant the request. I think it would expedite business to do so.
– All I can say is that at 9 o’clock I shall be able to see how far we have got, and what we can do. In themeantime I make no promise.
Sitting suspended from 6.33 to 7.45 p.m.
– I have already pointed out that the duty proposed by the Government is the old duty, upon the basis of which the Excise is collected, and is to be col- lected in the future. I sincerely trust that the Committee will not alter it. We have let it remain, as it is in consonance with the Excise duty passed in the last Parliament.
– The reasons advanced by the Treasurer ought to receive attention. This was something in the nature of a bargain with those who have entered into the industry. The Excise duty has been fixed on the basis of this Customs duty, and it would be unwise, so long as that Excise duty is allowed to remain, to lower or raise the Customs duty.
Question - That the words “ and on and after 26th November, 1907, ad val. (General Tariff), 20 per cent.” (Mr. Liddell’s amendment), be added - put.
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 18
Question so resolvedin the negative.
Amendment (by Mr. Poynton) put -
That after the words “ 25 per cent.” the words “ and on and after 26th November, 1907, ad val. (United Kingdom), 20 per cent.,” be added.
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 18
Question so resolved in the negative.
Item agreed to.
Postponed item 151. - Churns of all kinds; Cheese Presses ; Dairy Coolers ; Dairy Refrigerators; Supply Cans.; Incubators n.e.i. ; Foster Mothers, ad val., 25 per cent.
Amendment (by Mr. Poynton) put -
That after the words “ 25 per cent.” the words “ and on and after 26thNovember, 1907, ad val. (General Tariff), 12½ per cent.,” be added.
– The “ Noes “ have it.
Several Honorable Members. - The “ Ayes “ have it.
– There was only one “Aye.”
– Are you going to insist, Mr. Chairman, that the “Ayes” or “ Noes “ when in a minority shall call one after another? I distinctly heard three voices in my neighbourhood; but the calls were identical in point of time, and may have sounded to you as one voice.
– If the honorable member had been sitting here as long as 1 have been, he could detect in an instant whether more than one voice was given for the “ Noes.” On occasions I have had to put the question two or three times, to give honorable members who I thought desired a division an opportunity to make their wish known. On this occasion I heard but one voice, though, of course, I accept the honorable member’s statement that he heard more.
Question (Mr. Poynton’s amendment) again put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 19.
Question so resolved in the negative.
Amendment (by Mr. Johnson) put-
That the words “ and on and after 26th November, 1907, ad val. (United Kingdom), 15 per cent.,” be added.
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 12
Question so resolved in the negative.
.- Churns and other implements contained in this item are essential to dairying, and we should not only reduce the duty on them, but give a preference to the Mother Country. The proposed difference of 10 per cent. just negatived may have been too great ; but I do not think that that objection should be taken to a difference of 5 per cent. I therefore move: -
That the words “ and on and after 26th November, 1007, ad val. (United Kingdom), 20 per cent.,” be added.
– What are “ dairy refrigerators “ ?
– No doubt the Minister imagines that he is going to carry this item through without an explanation. The items in the schedule are virtually the tools of trade of those engaged in the primary industries. No industry has received more assistance in Victoria, the leading butter exporting State, than has that of dairying, for the encouragement of which very large sums of money have been spent in bounties. The Ministry proposes to place a duty on churns of all kinds, cheese presses, dairy coolers, dairy refrigerators, supply cans, incubators, and foster mothers.
– They can all be made in Australia*
– These are all very bulky goods, which, of course, occupy a very large cubic space for the purpose of shipment. There is in that a much larger protection than is now sought to ‘be imposed. If we are talking seriously, as many of us have done, of making mining machinery and other articles of that kind free, why is it not proposed to extend some . consideration to the dairy industry ? Dairy refrigerators are really tools of trade of an industry which we have treated as primary, and to which Victoria- - which generally leads the way in artificial aids to national, success - has thought fit to give a very large bounty. I ask the Committee to consider that point, and also whether a duty of 20 per cent, is not ample in the case of articles of this kind.
.- It appears to me that dairy refrigerators should be put on the same footing as the articles embraced’ in item 149. I find that under item 279 dairy refrigerators may be construed to mean either refrigerating machinery, or machinery made up on the same principle as are the foster mothers. Item 299 includes “ice chests or refrigerators.” If the Treasurer will tell me whether the term “ dairy refrigerators “ in item 151 refers to ice chests I shall be satisfied.
Sir WILLIAM LYNE (Hume- Trea orable member for Moreton, who has to do with the dairying industry, and the honorable member for Parkes, do not know what the words “ dairy refrigerators “ mean.
– I take it that a dairy refrigerator is an apparatus for cooling .a dairy.
– The term means ammonia coils.
– That is just what it does not mean, I think.
– That is what I am informed it means. I thought that any one who had anything to do with dairying would know all about it.
– The Minister admits that he had to be informed, so that even he did not know all about it.
– That does not matter. The honorable member who knows everything should not ask me to inform him as to anything. The honorable member for Moreton is mistaken in imagining that the term means anything else.
.- I am not satisfied that I am so ignorant as the Minister has suggested. I should like to have a little more time in which to look up this matter. If the Treasurer will take that trouble, I think he will find that ammonia coils are specially mentioned in another part of the Tariff. I suspect that he has been trying to have a little sport at my expense.
– No. I assure the honorable member that I never use these machines, and I did not know what the words meant until I was informed.
– The honorable gentleman tried to make as little as he could of my knowledge of this matter. But I happen to know something about it.
– That is why I thought the honorable member ought to know all about it.
– My knowledge, however limited it may be, should not be set aside by the Treasurer’s ignorance, no matter how extensive that may be. The Committee is entitled to know what the term actually means.
– I have told the Committee.
– The honorable gentleman has said that it refers to ammonia coils.
-He has to look up what he told the honorable member. He is a mere automaton here with an officer at the back of the chair.
– That is what the honorable member has been all his life. He has never got any further.
– The term “ dairy refrigerator “ may include an ice chest or a mechanical arrangement for compressing ammonia, and not ammonia coils, as the Treasurer has wished us to understand. I should like to know exactly what the term includes. If it means a mechanical refrigerator, it should be placed on the same footing as the articles embraced in item 149.
Question - That the words “ and on and after 26th November, 1907, ad val. (United Kingdom), 20 per cent.,” be added (Mr. Wilks’s amendment) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 6
Question so resolved in the negative.
Item agreed to.
Postponed item 1 52 (Stripper-harvesters).
– This item and the next two items relating to strippers and to metal parts of stripper-harvesters and strippers, depend a good deal upon certain matters taking place which the Government will probably be able to submit to Parliament within a few days. I am very anxious about these duties, and in consequence of that state of things I propose to ask the Committee to defer the consideration of the three items until we dispose of the remaining items in this division.
– Surely the honorable gentleman will give the Committee some reason for taking this course !
– I have given the reason, namely, that there is certain information which the Prime Minister will probably lay before the House within the next few days, and which may affect these duties. I do not want to lose the duties through the absence of any information which the Prime Minister may be able to give.
– I think that the Committee is entitled to a more definite statement from the Treasurer than has been made. We are asked to postpone the consideration of the item, and coolly told that within a few days the Prime Minister will enable some information to be afforded to the House.
– Hear, hear.
– Might not the Government have indicated from what direction the information is to come? Has it to do with the collection of the Excise duty? Has it any reference to representations which are being made by the makers of harvesters? We ought to be furnished with specific information on those points. We should not consent to a postponement unless the Minister is able to give some clear and intelligent reason for his proposal. Is the Prime Minister under an obligation to consider somethingwhich has been placed before him by makers of harvesters ; or where isthe information to come from?
– -Tt is information to bt laid before honorable members in a memorandum relating to the question of trie new protection.
– Is that what we are to wait for?
– Part of it; in addition, I am obtaining from the Attorney-General other information, in order to show honorable members exactly what the proposals of t’he Government will be.
– In regard to new protection?
– Yes; and the object is to save two debates.
– Why should we wait for an outline of the new protection before we deal with stripper-harvesters? The new protection, I apprehend, will apply to all the items in the Tariff on which the duties have been increased, and I cannot see, since we imposed the Excise so lately-
– Is the honorable member sure that the new protection is constitutional ?
– I do not see what that question has to do with this duty.
– We can see what it has to do with the duty.
– I suggest that we might very well deal with the duty now, and. if there is anything which the Prime Minister has to communicate which materially affects the matter, the item can be recommitted.
– If we go on recommitting items, we shall never get through the Tariff.
– Are my friends in the Labour corner in this arrangement then? Have they had something to do with the proposal to postpone the items? There is a very suspicious chorus of approval from that quarter; and, strange to say, the chorus is joined in by old freetraders, who are anxious to reduce this duty in the interests of the farmers. I well remember, during last Parliament, excellent speeches, of three hours’ duration, that were made by the honorable member for Calare on the question of stripper-harvesters. This duty has always been that honorable member’s pet aversion ; and yet he desires this item to be postponed.
– I desire this item to keep company with wire-netting.
– Then the honorable member had better assist to reduce the duty at the earliest possible moment. Is he willing and anxious that the duty of £16 per machine should continue to be collected? I ask the Prime Minister whether there is some notion that there may be a reduction of this duty when we consider it, or is the postponement proposed with the possibility in view of increasing the duty to, say, £20. If the latter, I shall oppose the proposal most strongly. What is the object?
– I desire to see whether the duty cannot be increased.
-.- So I should have thought. I hope, however, that the postponement is not intended to lead to a review of the item in connexion with the Excise Act - I mean a review of the price at which these machines are supplied to the public.
– Certainly not,’ so far as I am concerned. It is not going to alter the price if I can help it.
– Then I should like to know-
– Put another bait on the hook !
– One has to adopt some attitude of inquiry when we see the Labour corner solidly behind the Government in their proposal for postponement. I should not have thought so much of protectionists in the corner concurring in the proposal, but when I see staunch free-traders, like the honorable member for Calare and the honorable member for Grey, in its favour, I wonder what is behind. I apprehend that the real reason has somewhat to do with the question of Excise. I invite the Prime Minister to say now what he has in contemplation; and if he is able to furnish a satisfactory reason, other than the bald statement which has been made by the Treasurer, I shall not oppose the postponement. But I do not intend to agree to the proposal unless something more is vouchsafed in the way of explanation.
.- The honorable member for Parramatta has made a strong appeal to the Government. We know that in the last Parliament Sir Langdon Bonython, after several days debate, rose on behalf of the Government, and proposed a duty of £12, subject to the Excise provisions. From that day until now those Excise provisions have not been carried into effect.
– It was the honorable member for South Sydney who put that proposal through.
– But the proposal for the reduced duty was submitted by Sir Langdon Bonython. It is most ominous that the Treasurer should now suggest a postponement. We are told, in a hazy way., that the postponement is in view of the production of a memorandum which the Prime Minister promised me three or four weeks ago would be laid on the table. We are now talking only of stripper harvesters, but the question really affects the whole of the items which will come under the new protection. Had I had my own way, a vote of censure would have been moved against the Government ten days ago, for the non-collection of Excise; and I should have looked to honorable members in the Labour corner for support. I think that the honorable member for Parramatta is losing an opportunity in not insisting on the postponement, not only of these items, but of the whole of the Tariff.
– Anything to postpone the Tariff!
– No; we desire to see carried into effect the law we passed long ago. I came here prepared to do work ; and the Treasurer started off by giving us wrong information. However, the honorable gentleman seems, to be in a better temper after dinner, and I think he must have been rambling round in the meantime. My own opinion is that the honorable gentleman is afraid to push these items to a division - that the true reason tor the postponement is not concern for the general public who use stripper harvesters, but a fear, in view of the non-collection of the Excise, that the Government may not find the numbers with them. When the duty of £12 was imposed twelve months ago we were promised that the benefits of the protection would be shared by the employes, and we know what has been the result. This Excise law is either a farce or it is not. I said earlier in the debate on the Tariff that 1 should be prepared to vote for higher duties, in view of the new protection, than I would other wise have supported. Are we to be kept waiting, not until Christmas, but until the Tariff comes back from the Senate before we know what the new protection proposals are? I can understand the difficulty of drawing up a memorandum, and, more particularly, the difficulty in * presenting a schedule of the industries affected. All the industries which seek the assistance df the Tariff ought to come under the new protection. I remember hearing members of the Labour Party say that they were not much in favour of giving Tariff assistance, unless the benefits were shared bv the employes and also by the consumers. The honorable member for Parramatta is justified in resisting the proposed postponement; and, as I have already said, I am sorry that the leader of the Opposition, ten days ago, did not take the opportunity presented in the fact that the Government were quite open to challenge. Had this, step been taken, the Government and their supporters would have been very awkwardly placed in explaining their position. I trust that the deputy leader of the Opposition will resist the motion until he receives further information.
– I think the honorable member for Parramatta, as deputy leader of the Opposition, is entitled to the information for which he asks. Let me assure the honorable member that I have spent a great part of to-day and a good deal of other time, with the Attor-. ney-General on the one hand, and with officers of the Departments on the other, in connexion with the memorandum referred to which is to contain a full general statement of the proposals of the Government in regard to the new protection. I remitted a first draft to the Department a fortnight or more ago, and have not yet received it back. But to-day, when pressing for it, I received the very reasonable reply that, under the circumstances caused by their preoccupation with the Tariff, the officers are so pressed with fresh matters brought before them day by day, that they find the greatest difficulty in supplying the desired information. Having spent the greater part of to-day, when able to be absent from the Chamber, in consultation with the AttorneyGeneral, the Acting Parliamentary Draftsman and others, in this connexion, I appreciate their tasks. The Government feel that if this had been simply a retention of the existing duties, it would not have been necessary to depart from the usual procedure on the Tariff. But, as we are repeating proposals which were originally submitted two years ago proposing an increase in the duty, honorable members might reasonably ask for justification of the change. Those who have supported the present rates on the ground that without them, the fair and reasonable wages which have been defined by Mr. Justice Higgins cannot be paid, were also entitled to some assurance. We have found, owing to the pressure on the officers, a difficulty in obtaining the information we desire ; but I have been pressing for it, and in the shortest possible time it will be laid before the House. Then, we trust, and perhaps not until then, that we shall be able to deal with the question at a sitting. If the proposals were made to-night, we should be met with requests for information which could be given only in part. The Committee are entitled to have the complete case; and a postponement will save its time at a period of the year when it is important that every hour should be spent to the best advantage.
– Will the Prime Minister state whether the selling price is to be affected ?
– My colleague the Treasurer, who is better informed than I am on that head, answers that question in the negative.
– I do not think that we can possibly resist the desire of the Government to conduct the business in the way in which “they themselves prefer, butI do not think that I understand the position that the Prime Minister has put. Is it intended’ that some statement with regard to the new protection shall be made without the House having an opportunity to discuss it, and then to proceed on that statement to discuss the remaining items of the Tariff?
– That is the proposal.
– At present I should be sorry to say anything in anticipation of the statement, but I can see that there will be great difficulty if a statement of the intentions of the Government in regard to some future policy - some policy on which there is a desire to receive the sanction of the House at some later! date - is to be made, and then we are to proceed to discuss the remaining items of the Tariff. For one, I should be extremely sorry to suggest that there should be any delay at all in discussing the remaining items of the Tariff. I quite agree with the Government that we ought to go on with the Tariff. But I question whether a statement of the intentions of the Government in regard to the new protection will be of much assistance to the Committee before it proceeds to deal with the items.
– It should be of much assistance.
– However, it is impossible to discuss the proposals until we know what they are ; and, in the meantime, we cannot resist the desire of the Government.
– I am afraid the explanation of the Prime Minister has not quite cleared the matter up.
– I am glad that the honorable member makes that statement about some one else. He always says it about me.
– The Prime Minister has made a statement with the object of clearing the matter up; but the Treasurer never does.
– Both Ministers have made statements, and it is because of that that confusion has arisen. I understood the Prime Minister to say a moment ago that he was awaiting information concerning some allegations which had been made by the makers of these implements.
– No; not by the makers of any implements.
– The honorable gentleman referred to their representations that they could not pay the scale of wages which has been fixed by Mr. Justice Higgins.
– No; I quoted the officers and letters. A general statement seems a simple thing to make; but we desire to make it after hearing all that can be said.
– Is that statement to be concerning Mr. Justice Higgins’ award ?
– We have to make pro posals which will be consistent with the application of his scale.
– Does that mean this - that the Prime Minister is trying to find out whether we have to increase the duty to meet the terms of the award ?
– Before the duty is dealt with, that will have to be one of the matters taken into consideration.
– I see. That practically amounts to this - that the honorable gentleman wishes to postpone this item to determine what will be the final attitude of the Government, that final attitude being based solely on the consideration of ‘ the effect of the award of Mr. Justice Higgins.
– We shall have to wait until- we hear the statement.
– I am afraid we shall. The matter is by no means clear. But I want to point this out: If Mr. Justice Higgins’ award is to come in, I do not see how it can be affected by these duties. The present duty on harvesters is £16. Suppose, we increased that duty to £20 to-morrow. That would not make the slightest difference in the ability of the makers of these harvesters to pay the wages prescribed.
– It would make a difference to the public, though.
– Not at all. The price to the public has been fixed by Statute. The Prime Minister forgets that.
– Not as to whether that is a just price or not.
– In any case, we have fixed the price.
– The proposal of the Government is to alter the price, undoubtedly.
– The Treasurer did not lead us to believe that at all. I asked him whether the price was to be reviewed.
– The honorable member said “ reduced.”
– The Treasurer said that he would not permit it to be raised.
– If I can stop it, I will not.
– But. in the next breath, the Prime Minister says that that is one of the matters to be reviewed.
– One of the matters is the price, and it is a most important consideration.
– That is the reason. I suppose, for the postponement of this item ?
– I did not say that the price would be increased. My colleague says no.
– So far as I am concerned, it will not be.
– I am not misrepresenting the Prime Minister at all.
– Oh, no.
– The honorable gentleman is going to see whether the price as fixed is a fair one, and whether it will permit the wages award to be carried out.
– Price, wages, duty - all three things have to be considered.
– In connexion with that, it is a pertinent question to ask whether Mr. Justice Higgins has made any suggestion on the matter.
– Why? Surely that is a matter that came within his purview. He had to find out how these people were getting on, and surely he had to make some reference to the question, whether they could afford to pay these wages. If the Prime Minister is going to allow this matter to be re-opened, it seems to me that the policy of the new protection in reference to harvesters is a long way off realization, and I warn honorable members who vote for the postponement of the item with this end in view, that they have nothing to gain from the postponement.
– How will the postponement injure them?
– How will it do otherwise? There is a condition - a bargain - that has been made with them. As part of that bargain we have already passed duties. Why cannot this bargain hold with regard to harvesters? Why this motion ? Why cannot the new protection be enforced as to harvesters as well as on these other agricultural implements? Why this special protection for harvesters? That is what I should like to know.
– The honorable member is laughing all the time.
– The Treasurer with his sinuosities and his’ ridiculousness makes me laugh. He is a perfect provocation to laughter the whole day through. I again ask why are harvesters being treated differently from other agricultural machinery? Why is part only of the bargain to be carried out ? I apprehend that there is no question of refusing 10 carry it out in regard to other machinery. Why is there an exception in regard to harvesters - the best paying concern of the whole lot of them, as has been proved over and over again in this House - the one item of manufacture which it has been shown beyond the possibility of cavil gives a handsome return to those engaged in the. industry? But here we are, with the men engaged in the industry declining, twelve months after the duty was imposed, to comply with the conditions imposed upon them, and asking - and apparently getting - a further postponement of the whole matter. And here is the point : if we are going to review this matter - if we are going to postpone this legislation - if we alter the conditions one iota - will they not put in a very urgent and a good plea, that the back money shall not be collected at all? I tell honorable members who are interested in this matter that all they are going to get out of it is to furnish a way of escape for these very men that they have been trying so hard to compel to toe the mark, in conceding good conditions to their employes. I do not mind saying this - that if ever there were a set of individuals in this community who ought to pay decent wages to their employes it is those who make these harvesters. The price they get for their goods, the protection which they have, and everything concerning the industry, is sufficient to enable them to pay good wages. There ought to be no hesitation in enforcing this award, since it was loyally and cordially accepted twelve months ago when the old protective duty on agricultural machinery was put through this House. Why the Government should show so much hesitation and create so much delay about this matter, I am quite at a loss to understand. I hope sincerely that we shall not only hear in a few days from the Prime Minister some reason for this unconscionable delay in the enforcement of this new protection policy in its entirety, but that also he will be able to convince the House that the makers of these harvesters have some justification on their side in thwarting this legislation for so long.
Item again postponed.
Postponed items 153 (Strippers), and item 154 (Metal parts of strippers, &c.), again postponed.
Postponed item 155. Agricultural, Horticultural, and Viticultural Machinery and Implements, viz. : - Cream Separators; Testers and Pasteurizers, Cotton Gins; Fibre Scutching Machines; Hand- workedRakes and Ploughs combined; Hay Tedders ; HorseRakes ; Lucerne Bunchers ; Maize Harvesters ; Maize Binders ; Milking Machines ; Mouldboard Plates in the rough and not cut into shape; Potato Raisers or Diggers; Potato Sorters ; Root Cutters, Pulpers, and Graters ; Sheep Shearing Machines ; Straw Stackers; Sub-surface Packers; Threshing Ma chines; Winnower Forks (wood and steel) ad val. (General Tariff), 10 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), free.
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the words “ Sheep Shearing Machines “ be left out.
– I wish to know under what item sheep shearing machines are to be included when they are left out of item 155.
– They are to go under item 164.
– Will the Treasurer explain how much he includes in the term “sheep-shearing machines?”
– The whole of the machine, from the beam down to the comb.
– I under stood that the Treasurer had agreed to free some portion of these machines. Does he remember making such a statement? I think it is necessary to know what portion is to be freed from duty.
– The whole machine is included. Does the honorable member know anything about the working of these machines?
– A machine has been placed in position in the building. The honorable member said that one part of the machine would not be dutiable.
– I was referring to the combs.
– No; I understood the honorable member to refer to the over-head brackets.
– No. I want the brackets to be included with the machinery.
– I wish to know to what part; of the complete machine this duty will apply.
– Those who are familiar with the working of shearing machines will know that they are attached to shafting and driven by motive power.
– But the shafting is no part of the machine.
– It is only part of the machine. Then there is the cutter.
– That is the machine.
– It is not the complete machine. I intended before last week to propose that shearing machines should be placed on the free list; but when in Sydney a few days ago, I was approached by a gentleman who urged that it was very unfair that they should be so treated. I learned from him, for the first time, that these machines were being made in Sydney, and at great inconvenience to myself, I accepted an invitation to visit his factory a photograph of the internal workings of which I produce. It is one of the best equipped factories that I have seen. I was very much surprised on learning that the firm in question was making the complete machine, with the exception of the comb and the cutter, which they informed me they were not likely to be able to make for some time. The factory was a revelation to me.
– Are the manufacturers settled here?
– Yes ; their works are at the foot of the Domain, on the boundary or Woolloomooloo. I have here a photograph of the premises, as well as of the internal fittings, and I was so impressed by what I saw there that I suggested that a machine should be sent to Melbourne so that honorable members might inspect it. One has been erected in the north lobby. 1 was told that this firm could manufacture the whole machine, with the exception of the comb and cutter.
– What about the tension?
– I cannot speak as to that. The firm did not ask for protection on combs and cutters, and probably they did not include the tension screws in their request. ; but as for the rest of the machinery, 1 never saw anything better.
– Has the honorable member seen the machine at work?
– It is in use in many sheds j and I may say in passing that I can shear as well as most people. This firm has invested ^10,000 or 12,000 in the industry, and I think it should receive some protection. I happen to be a very small shareholder in the Wolseley Shearing Machine Company, which carries on operations in London.
– Was not the Wolseley machine invented in Australia?
– It was invented by a station-owner, I believe, on the Darling. The machine is made in England and other places - including perhaps Germany - and is sold largely in Australia.
– I dare say that if has been patented in’ the.United Kingdom.
– And probably patented here.
– That is no great crime.
– Certainly not. After the way in which the honorable member has been raking me, I was pleased to have his assurance this afternoon as to the support he intended to give to anything that could reasonably be made in Australia. Had I not seen these works myself, I should not have thought that they were so successful.
– If they are so successful, why do thev need protection?
– The firm is not making any money. It is struggling to secure a sound footing for its invention on the market, and I hold that the manufacturers of the Wolseley and other shearing machines ought to manufacture them here.
– The honorable member sees no objection to an English patent being worked in Australia bv the patentees.
– No. I should rejoice to see anything of the kind. Some of the representatives of the Canadian manufacturers of harvesters said some time ago that if I insisted upon my proposals, I would compel them to commence operations in Australia. I said that I should rejoice at their doing so. If they did, it would mean increased employment, and the distribution of more capital in Australia. It would be far better to have manufacturers from abroad setting up local factories than to continue the old system of importing their manufactures.
– The Treasurer will agree to combs and cutters being free?
– Yes. The firm to which I have referred was very fair. I put many questions to the gentlemen whom I interviewed, and they candidly stated that they did not ask for a duty on combs and cutters, since they did not think they would be able for sometime to manufacture them. I do not know whether or not they can make the tension, but I wish to give them a chance to develope the industry which they have so pluckily started.
– I found recently that there was some confusion in the Department of Trade and Customs as to the interpretation of the term “ shearing machines.” For some time, they have been classing as a shearing machine, not only the comb and cutter, but portion of the driving gear up to the shafting.
– I propose to include everything up to the shafting.
– The shearer classes as a shearing machine the instrument that he holds in his hand, and which has been exhibited in this chamber, but the Department of Trade and Customs includes within the term the rod that guides the machine and the bevel wheel which drives it. The shafting and the brackets are classed with the motive power under the heading of machinery. There is no reason why all the driving power and shafting should not be made in Australia, butI would impress upon honorable members the fact that we should consider the probable effect of this duty on the man who has to make his living by taking the wool off the sheep by one of these machines. All machines are not equally effective. The Wolseley machine has long held sway as the best; but there is one make which the shearers will not touch. I am not prepared to say that the brand of machine to which the Minister has referred, has not given some satisfaction.
– I have been informed that it has.
– I have heard favorable accounts of the Australian invention to which the Treasurer has referred ; but the duty will not cause the manufacturer to turn out a good article. Unless the invention itself is good, the duty will not help it. It will merely have the effect of raising the price of the Wolseley machine, which I should like to see manufactured in Australia. The combs and cutters come within the category of cutlery, in the sense that certain firmsspecialize in their manufacture, and in most machines they are interchangeable. They should be made free.
– I shall take care that that is done.
– If combs and cutters are not placed on the free list, the duty will be a tax upon the industry. We have to remember that the local manufacturers have been handicapped by a duty on their raw material, and I think that, in accordance with the policy of the Government, they ought to have some encouragement. Theycould continue to import the combs, the cutters, and the tension. The manufacturers of the Wolseley machines have long held most of the Australian trade, and if they wish to keep it they should commence operations here.
.- It is all very well for the Treasurer to spring a new sheep-shearing machine upon the Committee, and to assure us that it works well.
– It is not a new machine.
– As a matter of fact, nobody knows better than does the honorable member for Darling, that the shearer depends chiefly upon the Wolseley machine. Now, it is proposed to levy a duty upon sheep-shearing machines, combs and cutters, which the shearer will have to pay. The shearers buy the shearing machines.
– They can refuse to do so.
– The Secretary of the Shearers’ Union in South Australia informed me some time ago that the shearers purchased the majority of these machines. From my own experience, I know that these men are reluctant to abandon the class of machine to which they have grown accustomed. We are being asked to sanction a serious experiment, and one which may be attended with disastrous consequences if the machine of which the Treasurer has spoken should not prove to be what it is represented to be. But I wish to know why the shearers’ tools of trade should not be placed upon the free list? The Treasurer does not hesitate to place the tools of trade of manufacturers in that category. The sheep-shearing machine is about the last article upon which I would impose a duty, especially in the light of the meagre information which has been forthcoming to-night. I do not know whether the Treasurer hasmade any announcementconcerning his intentions in respect of cream separators. He stated the other day that he gathered that there was a consensus of opinion on the part of honorable members in favour of placing these articles upon the free list. I find that the annual value of our imports under this heading is£144,032, of which only £14,000 worth are of British origin. Cream separators to the value of£13,700 are annually imported from Belgium, and £3,900 worth come from Denmark. From Knibbs’ statistics, I learn that cream separators are the only articles specified in the item which have paid any duty. I would furtherpoint out that the most popular separators are imported from Sweden and Denmark. Recently I noticed that the United States had ordered 25,000 of these machines from Sweden, notwithstanding all their protection. In my judgment, they ought certainly to be placed upon the free list, and, in the absence of the ‘honorable member for Indi, “who a few days ago gave notice of his intention to move in that direction, I intend to move -
That the words “Cream Separators” be left out.
.- The treasurer has moved to eliminate sheepshearing machines from this item, with the intention, I presume, of including them in item 164. The honorable member for Grey ‘has declared that he is not prepared to tax the tools of trade of the shearer any more than the tools of trade of other industries. I intend to support the industry which manufactures these tools of trade. The sheep-shearing machine which has been exhibited to the Committee, is exceedingly well made, and, seeing that £12,000 has been invested in the industry, it is certainly deserving of encouragement. The hat industry has received substantial assistance, and I shall support the Treasurer in his desire to include this article in another item, and to impose a high duty upon it. The local shearing machine is the Moffat-Virtue patent, and it might be given the benefit of a duty in view of the duties agreed to on woollens and hats.
– The Treasurer is asking the Committee to do business in a very unbusinesslike way when he comes forward at the last moment with inside information with respect to this shearing machine which should certainly have been placed before honorable members a long time ago. We should be told what is the output and the capacity of the company in order that we may know to what extent the pastoralists are to be taxed for their benefit. I heard one person say that these machines run hot, and that the Wolseley machine has a better joint. If honorable members will examine the machine, they will find that the principal patent is in the joint as the combs -and cutters are a very old device. I have here a list of the sheds in which the local machine is used, and ‘ it includes about 200 in New South Wales and a smaller number in Victoria. If we assume that it is used in 400 sheds altogether, that would represent not more than 10 per cent, of the total number of sheds in Australia. So that the Treasurer asks the Committee to tax 90 per cent, of the pas toralists of the Commonwealth for’ the benefit of the makers of this particular machine.
– The pastoralists can look after themselves.
– The Treasurer knows nothing about the machine. The maker probably said in the most straightforward way, “I cannot make the combs and cutters, but if you put a tax on the other parts of the machine, I shall be very much obliged to you,” and the Treasurer appears to have said, “ Very good, that seems .1 straightforward proposition. I will do it.” I should be prepared to agree to a duty if it could be shown that the local company can turn out a sufficient . number of good machines. With regard to cream separators, they are on an entirely different footing. They are purchased by people who, in many cases, are far from being in good circumstances. The 10 per cent, duty amounts to about 15 per cent, to the consumer, and means something like £3 on each machine. That is a pretty heavy tax. Cream separators of English make are no good, and as the honorable member for Grey has said, the Danish or Swedish separators are almost universally used. For the same reason as that for which the Treasurer proposes to put a duty on shearing machines, he should take- the duty off cream separators. The honorable gentleman would do well either to lower the duty proposed on cream separators or to put them on the free list.
.- I have here the hand-piece of the shearing machine made locally, and I am somewhat surprised to find that it was not made in the Commonwealth at all. There is no difficulty in the manufacture of the gearing which has been exhibited here, but the manufacturer is not making the handpieces of these machines, which are their most important part, and the part by which the shearer must make his living. I do not think in the circumstances that we are justified in imposing a tax on these machines. It would be far better to postpone the decision on the question. I have no wish to record a vote against giving any manufacturer a chance to enter upon the manufacture of shearing machines. There is one shearing machine which has a practical monopoly as if has become a favorite for the work, and gives every satisfaction. It has yet to be proved that the local ma- chines would give equal’ satisfaction, and as I have already said, the hand-pieces of the local machines are not made here.
– Some have been made here.
– There must be hundreds of thousands of these machines used in the Commonwealth, since there are a couple of thousand sheds in New South Wales alone. Shearing by machinery has now so largely displaced shearing by hand, that it is very important that the machine used should be a good one. I do not think we should be justified in agreeing to the Treasurer’s proposal, since the local manufacture of these machines would be only in the experimental stage. The matter has been sprung upon the Committee rather hastily.
– I am always springing something upon the Committee hastily ! If I waited until the proper time in the opinion of some honorable members I should wait until doomsday.
– I am not complaining of the Treasurer. I think it is a Pity that the manufacturer of these machines did not appear before the Tariff Commission. The matter certainly comes before the Committee rather suddenly. I admit that the local firm deserves as much encouragement as we can afford to give them in keeping with the policy adopted, but we should know exactly the effect of what we are doing. I think it would be better to include these machines under division VI. a. That would be in keeping with the course previously adopted in dealing with manufactures in an experimental stage. I see no reason why the local manufacturers should not have protection foi the part of the machine which they make. But that should be defined. Shearing machines, as at present understood, cover both the driving part and the hand-piece of the machine, and the duty, if imposed, should apply only to the part of the machine which is manufactured here.
– I understand that the honorable member for Grey has moved an amendment on this item, to exclude cream separators.
– I have an amendment before the Committee.
– The position is that the Treasurer has moved that sheep-shearing ma chines be omitted. No amendment prior to that can be taken unless the Treasurer temporarily withdraws his amendment.
– Does that mean that if the Treasurer does not withdraw his amendment, and it is carried, the opportunity to deal with cream separators will have passed?
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.Yes.
-Then I shall do my best to prevent the Treasurer’s amendment being carried.
– The Treasurer will withdraw his amendment.
– I want the Treasurer to give me his assurance that he will do so. I am not going to be trapped in this way. I propose to vote against a duty on cream separators, no matter what happens. I am not accustomed to being trapped, and I shall be prepared to vote against the Government proposal in connexion with every other item in the schedule if I am to be treated in this way with respect to cream . separa tors.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The Committee is dealing with sheepshearing machines, and not with traps.
– I did not say we were dealing with traps. I do not think that such an attempt at humour comes well from the Temporary Chairman of the Committee.
– - I have been very much surprised to find that since this item was submitted the Minister has indicated that he proposes to transfer sheep-shearing machines to another item, under which they will carry a higher duty. After all the representations which have been made to the effect that these machines should be placed on the free list, or made dutiable at a very low rate, I am the more surprised at the action taken by the honorable gentleman. This implement is an Australian invention. It was invented bv the late Mr. Wolseley. When he was working at the invention he lived in the vicinity of the place where I. resided, and I remember that he was looked upon as an idealist, who was attempting to accomplish the impossible. However, he completed his invention for shearing by machinery, and though he endeavoured to’ have the machines made in Australia, he was compelled to take his invention to the Old Country, and have the manufacture’ of the different parts specialized because of their intricate nature. Others have since endeavoured to copy the Wolseley machine, but in the opinion of shearers generally it is, for all-round efficiency, far above all other shearing machines. I have here the hand-piece of a shearing machine of the Moffatt- Virtue patent. One might be led to believe that, with the exception of the combs and cutters, it was made in Australia, but the card attached to it says -
Not yet manufactured in Australia, although only a question of a little time when it can also be made at the works in Sydney.
– That refers to the handpiece only.
– That is so, but it includes the intricate mechanism. On such slight evidence as has been put before the Committee, the Treasurer proposes that this particular piece of mechanism, which is of great importance to the pastoral industry, shall be transferred from an item under which it would be dutiable at 10 per cent., to another, under which it would be dutiable at 30 per cent., with a view to encourage the manufacture of the article in Australia at some future time. The Minister, in the case of almost every piece of machinery that is not made here, will always find some one who says that he is ready to make it, provided that it is put upon the high Tariff list. In the meanwhile, the industry which uses the machine has to suffer. That is a wayof getting revenue out of the primary industries that I do not care for. Should this firm demonstrate that they can make the machine, and are making it, and putting a good workable article upon the market, they may reasonably ask for consideration from this Chamber ; but it is preposterous to come along with the statement that in a little while the machine will be made here, and with a request for a 30 per cent. duty. I hope the Committee will not agree to the removal of the article from this item, with a view to making it dutiable at that high rate. If the Committee wants to benefit the primary industries concerned, it will make the article as nearly free as possible.
– Does the honorable member say that it is not made here?
– Yes; but it is said that it may be made here if the duty asked for is imposed.
.- This is history repeating itself. The inventor of this machine happened to be a constituent of mine. He was the late Mr. Wolseley, of Cobram station, now owned by Janet Lady Clarke. He had to meet the same prejudice, which existed then in a more modified form, as, Iam sorry to say, exists in Australia to-day. With his practical knowledge, as a sheep-owner, of shearing and sheep grazing, he tried his best in Australia to induce Australians to take up his invention, but he absolutely failed, because, then as now, there were in Australia those who said, “ You cannot invent anything in Australia.” Like Brennan, Whitehead, and almost every other Australian inventor, Mr. Wolseley was driven out of Australia by the prejudice of free-traders. These gentlemen had to go to England and the Continent to place their inventions which, when they are in the hands of monopolists, are brought back and foisted upon the people of Australia at an enhanced price.
– Did England put a duty on that invention?
– That is an irrelevant remark, because, as the honorable member knows, England puts no duty on that or any other machine.
– Then why did the honorable member accuse the free-traders of driving Mr. Wolseley out of Australia ?
– Let the honorable member possess his soul in patience. He has spoken to-day about 500 times to my once. We speak here of the primary producer. His so-called friends here agitate day after day. They put the primary producer in the unfortunate position that his brother Australians cannot make a machine to take the wool off the sheep’s back, and they have to send to England for it. They have also to send their wool to England to bemade into clothes, which are brought back to Australia. They have to send backwards and fowards all the time, and when Australian patriots ask that their fellow Australians, who are pioneering the industries of Australia, should have a chance, the cry is, “ Oh, the poor unfortunate primary producer cannot stand it !”
– How can the machines be made in England when there is no duty there?
– Simply because the honorable member is one of the type of men who,if I or any other man happened to have an invention which in years to come would mean untold wealth, and asked them to put a few pounds into it, would say, “ No chance. It cannot be any good.” But if I were to come from England, with spats on my boots, and a high collar, and a ‘ ‘ haw haw “ manner, the honorable member would dive his hands deep into his pockets, saying, “ This is a good thing; it comes from the grand Old Mother Country.” Let us have a little patriotism. The honorable member for Grey says, “ Wait till Australians make the machine, and then come down to the House and ask for assistance.” Australians ask the House now to assist them against the importer and the importers’ monopoly, to enable them to do the work. . When Australians’ are in a position, to make the Wolseley sheep-shearing machines, those who are “rigging” it and charging the pastoralists of Australia, what they like for it, will have to reduce their price to meet the Australian competition.
– All this pretence about Australian patriotism is based on £. s. d.
– There is no pretence. The honorable member’s sympathy, in this case as always, is with the foreigner. Mine is always with Im’ brother in Australia. I want to assist him and to build up Australia. How shall Le build Australia up if we drive Australian inventors away to Germany, France, and America? It is time the Committee took a. pull upon itself, and that the rubbish we hear about hurting this man or that man, was put an end to. Every Australian is benefited by industries in Australia, but who in Australia benefits by industries outside Australia, except a few importers and agents, .and the agents’ riggers? Many mis-statements have been made about these machines. An appeal was made for the poor unfortunate shearer. We were told. “ You are going to put another burden into the shearer’s swag, to bear his shoulders down.” The honorable member for Maranoa, the honorable member for Darling, myself, and every other member who knows anything about the industry, is aware that the pastoralists provide these machines, and that the shearers are not charged for them at all. The appeal from the other side is really not for the poor man, but for the other man. I say : Down with this false business ! Stand up for Australia and Australian industries ! Stand by the firm who want to make machines in Australia to take the wool off the sheep’s back ! Help other Australians to convert that wool into Australian clothing, and make Australia self-reliant and selfsufficing.
– This ardour is really astonishing, especially coming from an honorable member who, not long ago, urged that the duty on wire-netting used by these very same people, manufactured in Australia, and giving employment far exceeding any that the manufacturer of sheepshearing machines would give, should be reduced to a low level.
– The honorable member is entirely wrong. “ I advocated the suspension of the duty for six months.
– And the honorable member voted for the low duty which is now operative.
– Because I could not get the suspension.
– Because those very people who the honorable member is now saying should not be benefited, could not be benefited by the suspension of the duty on wire-netting, he voted against giving protection to an industry which employs more hands than the sheep-shearing machine manufacturing industry would ever employ. Could inconsistency further go than to advocate the suspension of the duty on wire-netting, and vote for its reduction to 5 per cent., and then to make this great outcry against, the reduction of the duty now before the Committee ?
– But the honorable member for Riverina does fight for Australia.
– If he was fighting for Australia then, he is not fighting for it now. If he is fighting for it. now, he was not fighting for it then.
– He is one of the most consistent protectionists in the House.
– He may be. I am not accusing him of being an inconsistent protectionist, but the “ hifalutin “ which he indulged in to-night is contradicted by his own previous vote.
– It is not “hi-falutin.” It is solid fact.
– The honorable member has taken credit to himself for all the patriotism in the Chamber. He thinks that anybody who does not agree with him, and who will not insist on a high duty on sheep-shearing machines, can have no patriotism. By so doing he accuses himself, as he voted against the high duty on wire-netting, and in favour of a very low duty, of the same want of patriotism. I do not accuse him of it.
– The honorable member should be fair. He must know that I had to vote against that duty in order to get an opportunity to vote for the suspension.
– The honorable member did not get the suspension.
– I did not get a chance. I had to vote against the duty first.
– Surely the honorable member is thinking of the suspension of the fodder duties?
– No. I had a notice of motion on the paper regarding the wirenetting duty.
– I accept the honorable member’s statement. At any rate, I am not accusing the honorable member of want of patriotism. I do not think that he does want it, but honorable members on this side of the Chamber have an equal patriotism, and if they vote to reduce duties, they do so because they think that, in the interests of Australia, in the case of those industries which, when high duties are imposed, are a tax on the community and on other industries, it would be better for the duties to remain at a lower level. It is not because they object to local manufactures being established. They wish to see all local manufactures established that will be profitable to Australia, and are willing to support them, but they hold that many of the industries for which high duties are demanded are simply parasites on and not beneficial to Australia. It is not at all necessary to indulge in the personalities that have been indulged in. The honorable member for Riverina accuses honorable members on this side of want of patriotism, and in that accusation he would have to include himself, in view of his vote on a previous occasion.
– My failure is an ‘exception. Yours is all the time.
– I think that, if we liked to debate that question, we could justify our attitude, and show that from our stand-point our action is as patriotic as the honorable member’s. The honorable member said that the inventor of the Wolseley machine had been driven out of Australia. He was not driven out of Australia.
– He was for his capital.
– I do not know about that ; but he was not driven out as regards manufacturing here. He had the patent in Australia, and could have manufactured here if he chose. No one else could have manufactured here in competition with him. He went elsewhere for his capital, and manufactured elsewhere. In one respect, if these machines could be advantageously made here, and if, by a high duty, we were not excluding other and better machines, to the injury of a large body of workers-
– It does not affect those workers at all.
– It would injure them if the machine manufactured locally, and which they were compelled to use because there was a duty against imported machines, was inferior.
– If this duty is imposed we shall have the Wolseley Company here in six months.
– The Treasurer is not a success as a prophet. I do not know whether the locally made machine is as good as is the imported or not.
– Has the honorable member seen the list of stations which are using it in his own State?
– I am not saying a word against the machine. I know nothing against it. I am willing to accept it as the best machine. But if it were not, and better machines were excluded, the worker would be injured by the likelihood of his employer buying, and compelling him to use, a cheaper machine, when better machines were obtainable at higher prices. From the Minister’s stand-point, if this machine can be manufactured! here successfully, it stands on the same footing as other machines. While, personally, I shall not object to it going on the other list, when we come to that list I shall try to reduce the rates, not because of this article alone, but because T think that on the other articles as well they are too high. The Minister has stated that the combs and cutters, which are tools of trade, are to be made free, which I think is right. One question which I raised has been satisfactorily answered.
– I wish to ask the Treasurer if he will withdraw his amendment, so that the feeling of the Committee mav be tested in regard to the proposal to put cream separators on the free list. ‘
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
– I do not know much about cream separators, and have, therefore, to rely to a great extent upon the knowledge of others. The honorable member for Cowper represents) a constituency ‘where a large number are used, and he assures me that they are imported, I think mostly from Germany.
– From Sweden. They are covered bv foreign patents.
– I understand that scarcely any come from Great Britain, and that it will be a tax on the people pf the dairying districts if they are retained in the item. Although I am loth to withdraw any tax which might have a protective incidence, in deference to the view of the honorable member and others .1 move -
That “ Cream Separators, on and after 26th November, 1907, free,” be made a new subitem.
.- 1 wish to know what it is proposed to do in regard to the other articles mentioned in the item. The Treasurer said, when I proposed to make these articles free, that a good many of them could be manufactured here, and he promised to tell us which they are.
– Quite so; but I aim not prepared to do so now.
– I have not known the Minister to be prepared with information on any item since we commenced the consideration of the Tariff. Apparently he gets through it all the better’ by not knowing anything about it.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the words “Sheep Shearing Machines” be left out.
.- I wish to point out that testers and pasteurizers, and. fibre scutching machines, cannot be made here. Hand-worked rakes and ploughs combined, and hay tedders, can be made here ; but all these things were formerly on the free list, and I think they should be made free again. They are all of great importance to the agricultural industry.
– They can be obtained free from Great Britain.
.- I think that the Committee should have some explanation from the Treasurer of his statements regarding sheep-shearing machines. He told us of an interview with certain- manufacturers, and laid on the table a sample of one of these sheep clippers. This provoked the honorable member for Dalley to deliver a most interesting address about the employment given to moulders and finishers. It now appears that his eloquence was misapplied, because these machines are not made in Australia. The transmitting gear is not necessarily part of a sheep-shearing machine; it could be used to operate a dozen other .machines. The sheep-shearing machine itself has never been made in Australia. The ticket attached to the sample which I have speaks of it as not yet manufactured in Australia, but says that it is only a question of a little time when it will be ‘made here. It is not only a question of time, but also of money and of fools. I do not feel annoyed when the Treasurer gives us no information, although that seems to irritate members of the Opposition; but I protest most emphatically against statements which are absolutely misleading. I admire good workmanship, and, on the strength of what he told the Committee, . I was prepared to protect the industry, and so, too, was the honorable member for Dalley. Now it appears that the machine is not made here at all. When I asked how many were made here, the Treasurer, or some one else, handed me a list of stations in New South Wales.
– I did not hand the honorable member a list.
– I think that the list came from the honorable member for Bourke, whom I assumed to be acting in the matter as agent for the Treasurer. If the information put before us is tainted, we shall not be able tq. get on at all. I asked in how many sheds was the machine fitted up, and was handed a list containing the names of about’ two hundred stations in New South Wales. The Treasurer said that it was all right, but apparently it was all wrong. I am prepared to stand anything within reason; but I do not propose to stand this sort of thing. If an article of this kind were being made here, i would vote a duty of 20 or 30 per cent, to protect its manufacture, but I do not propose to vote duties like that to start a factory. The Treasurer emphasized the fact that the combs and cutters are not made here; but he gave us to understand that the rest of the machine was.
– I said that they could not be made here, but that the other parts could.
– Given sufficient protection, and high enough prices, anything can be made here. No extraordinary skill would be required for the manufacture of this machine. Many more delicate instruments are made here. Any first-class cutler in Melbourne could make these combs and cutters.
– Are they not covered by patent rights?
– -The Minister said nothing about patent rights. He led most of us to believe that, bar the combs and cutters, the machines are being made here, when, as .a matter of fact, they are not.
.- The impression created in my mind by the Treasurer’s speech was that he had been to a workshop in New South Wales where he had seen these machines, with the exception of the cutters and combs, made.
– He conveyed that impression.
– Yes. I do not know whether he intended to do so. He said that the people concerned were very enterprising, and had put £12,000 into the industry. Surely that amount was not expended on plant to make gear for transmitting power or to make the friction wheel illustrated in the document which has been put before us ? Looking at the machine itself, I found that it was a well-finished piece of work, and thought that it would be a fair thing to give 30 and 25 per cent, protection to the moulders and others engaged in making it, allowing the cutlery to come in free. If these machines are not made here, I have been rather fooled. I should like the Treasurer to explain whether the fact is that the firm in question manufactures only the transmitting gear and the friction wheel, importing the sheep-shearing machines. Will the Treasurer explain to us whether it is the instrument itself which is made here.
– The honorable member would not try to understand if I aid explain.
– Now the honorable gentleman is trying to make an enemy of one who wants to be a friend. I openly said that I would support him to secure the deletion of the item.
– I do not want any one to support me, unless he can do so honestly.
– I cannot support the proposal unless it is honest.
– My information was absolutely true, and the manipulation of what ! said is scandalous.
– I am not trying to manipulate what the honorable gentleman said. What I understood him to say w-‘.s that, with the exception of the cutter and the comb, the rest of the instrument was manufactured here. Is that so?
– I did not say anything of the kind, and to prove that I did not, there is the instrument with the attached ticket, showing where it was made.
– I heard no statement of that kind.
– Lyne. - Does the honorable member think that the ticket would have been left on the instrument if it had been intended to deceive him? Let him be a man, and not a. monkey.
– Order !
– The honorable member was more of a monkey this afternoon when he could not tell the truth with regard to another item. He tried to monkey that out, and we knocked him out. I can understand the honorable member for West Sydney being annoyed. So am I. The impression I formed was that the body of the instrument was made at a workshop in Woolloomooloo.
– I certainly got the same impression.
– So completely did I accept the Minister’s statement, that, although I had the instrument in my hand, in common with other honorable members, I did not attempt to look at the label.
– Nor did I.
– I was not the only member of the Committee who was taken in. There were other honorable members - fully half-a-dozen - who examined the instrument, and admired its general workmanship. I did’ not look at the label. It was only when the honorable member foi- Calare was speaking, sir, and when I was occupying the chair in your absence, that I was as:tonished to read what was on the label. I tell the Treasurer - and it is of no use for him to get warm on the matter - that the impression I had was that the body of the instrument was made at a factory in Woollloomooloo, and that the comb and thecutter were the only imported parts. I dealt with that when I said that it was Moffitt and Virtue’s patent, and I used theillustration that one could not go into a barber’s shop which was well fitted withoutseeing similar cutlery. I shall have to re- consider my promise with regard to the item, and to vote with a view to make it liable to a higher duty later on.
– The honorable member for Dalley and other honorable members have deliberately tried to twist what I said this afternoon. I do not go by crooked ways or round about like some persons do. I held this instrument in my hand, and said that all the parts but the comb and cutter could be made here.
– That is right.
– I said that the manufacturers had told me that for some time they could not .make the comb and cutters.
– That is true.
– They said that they . had made some of the hand pieces, and so they have.
– The impression I got was that thev were making the hand piece.
– Here is the card, which is attached to the instrument. I know that in the gallery there are persons who are trying to influence honorable members, and who should not be allowed to come here. It is very improper.
– Why not? The manufacturers of this instrument have tried to influence the honorable member in its favour.
– The Minister only wants those who are on his side to be admitted.
– We do not want any one here. I do not want untrue statements to be put into the mouths of honorable members bv men who are in antagonism to these manufacturers.
– I have not been out of the chamber.
– I had the instrument in my hand with the card, showing in detail where it was made. I repeat that some of these hand pieces have been made here, but I also said, in answer to, I think, the honorable member for Maranoa, that the manufacturers were not making them generally in their factory. They have found it very difficult to manufacture them without some protection. But some- of them have been made here. I exhibited the instrument with the attached card, showing the particulars as to where it was made, and then I am accused of trying to mislead honorable members. I have had enough of this crooked conduct.
– The Committee have had enough of it, too.
– I have had enough of this crooked conduct, instigated by persons who should not be allowed to come here to influence honorable members.
– All the manufacturers are sitting in the gallery.
– I informed one man. that I did not want him to tell me anything, and he told me that’ he was the representative of the Wolseley machine. I know all about that machine just as well as does that man or any member of the House, as I am a shareholder in the company. I have used the machine very considerably, and therefore I know what its quality is. The Wolseley Company ought to be compelled to manufacture their machines here instead of sending their orders to other parts of the world. They could do it, too. That is the cause of the fat being in the fire.
– That is what the Germans do.
– Of course, they do. I do not like reflections to be made upon my straightforwardness, for if there is one thing upon which I have always prided myself, and challenged the world, it has been that ho person can accuse me of having done a crooked thing. I may not do a thing in the most bland manner-, but I defy the world to accuse me of having done a crooked thing. When honorable members are instigated to make such charges against me I resent both the charges and their authors. I have stated exactly the position. I repeat that every part of the instrument but the comb and cutter can be made here. Like the honorable member tot West Sydney, and the honorable member for Dalley, I believe that the combs and the cutters could be made here, but then, probably, for a time, the cost would be so great that it would be a very high protection which would enable the manufacturers to make them. Surely, in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, and Brisbane, we have men who could manufacture the articles at a price. The manufacturers of this instrument seem to me to be exceedingly straightforward. I did not ask them to attach the card. They brought the instrument here, and of their own motion attached the card so that honorable members should not be mistaken.
– I took the Minister’s word, and did not read the card.
– They gave me the information about the combs and cutters in the most straightforward way. I did not ask them to tell me. To my mind, they acted with more straightforwardness than I have known some manufacturers to do. The firm have invested a large sum of money in the industry, and according to their list their machines are in use in an immense number of sheds in Australia, as honorable members will see if they read it. We shall not be true to Australia, to ourselves, and to the manufacturers unless, when the circumstances warrant it, we give help to those who help themselves in the matter of industrial development.
– Now the Treasurer has got that out. I hope that he will not die of apoplexy to-night. It is a. fact that most members of the Committee had the same impression as the honorable member for West Sydney and the honorable member for Dalley.’ I ‘know that, after hearing the Treasurer, I said to the honorable member for North Sydney, “ I think we shall have to vote for a reclassification of this item.” I believed that the Treasurer had told us that the machine could be made in Australia.
– So it can. 1 did say that.
– I remember the honorable gentleman holding the instrument in his hand, and saying : “ This was made here, and the other was not.” But it appears that we have all been under a delusion.
– He did not contradict me when I said it was a well-finished article.
– The Treasurer will recollect that he did not say then anything such as he has said since. When the honorable member for Darling said he had been misled, and would have to reverse his vote, there was not a word from the Minister. It is only when honorable members on this side make a similar announcement that the Minister attacks them in what I can call nothing but a silly way. There is no need for any anger.
– One thing is certain, and that is that free-traders have no right to be lobbying about the House.
– I should like to challenge the Government to have the galleries cleared of everybody who is here on business connected with the Tariff. It seems to be the correct thing for the maker of this instrument to erect it in Parliament House; at any rate, the other day I saw it being erected in the passage-way.
– That was not right. According to my view, there is just as much against lobbying on one side as there is on the other.
– Then let all these people be outside, where they ought to be, when we are considering this Tariff.
– The representative of the Standard Oil Trust has been in one of the rooms of Parliament House.
– I know nothing about that.
– I do not say the honorable member does. I do not think the honorable member would allow that gentleman to lobby him.
– I know nothing of the individuals who get into the lobby ; somehow or other, they do not come near me. The only gentleman who has been near me in connexion with the Tariff is one of my own constituents, who is visiting Melbourne at the present time. I hope that gentleman has a right to come to see me ; at any rate, he has a good case, which I shall represent when we arrive at the proper item. Since the matter of lobbying has been raised, I think some steps should be taken, even to asking Mr. Speaker to exclude all those persons from the precincts of Parliament, so that we may discuss the Tariff free from influences which no doubt have effect. I think that that is a very fair challenge from those on this side to those on the other side. But, whoever may be excluded, we have the Secretary of the Protectionist Association of Victoria always in his place here.
– The honorable member is wrong; I am not Secretary of that Association.
– Has the honorable member resigned? Has the headquarters been removed from 66 Bourkestreet, and, if so, where is the new address, and what is the name of the new secretary? At any rate, I can congratulate the Postmaster-General on the propriety of his action since he became Minister; it is just the action I should have expected him to take. This lobbying has been a very sore point with honorable members on this side.
– I do not like lobbying at all ; I do not want any lobbyist to come near me.
– Then why not get the whole of those persons removed from the precincts of Parliament? The
Treasurer told us to-night that he suggested that the maker of this machine should erect it in Parliament House.
– Just because it has been the custom to permit of such exhibits.
– And the Treasurer gets red in the face just because there happens to be somebody here who is interested in a rival machine. Let us decide to ask the Speaker to remove lobbyists from both sides, not only from the House, but from Ministers’ rooms, where they are to be found most frequently.
– They have never been in my Toom.
– Lobbyists on one side may come only into the House, but lobbyists on the other side may go into Ministers’ rooms, and do so consistently.
– I have never seen them there.
– Nor have 1.
– They have been seen there.
– I do not think I have ever had any stranger in my room talking over these matters.
– The Prime Minister, only last year, when the harvester duties-
– I must ask the honorable member to confine himself to the item.
– To-morrow, when the Speaker takes the chair, I shall have this matter out, and see what can be done.
– It would be as well to have a clearing up.
– The matter ought to be cleared up, because what is a crime on one side is encouraged on the other.
– I see that part of this item consists of “cotton gins,” which, 1 suppose, are machines for ginning cotton. To begin with, we do not produce any cotton here.
– Oh, yes.
– Cotton is produced in Queensland.
– Very little; at any rate, we have recently decided to give a good bonus on its production. Does it not seem absurd that we should seek to encourage an industry by means of a bonus, and then, at the same time, place the tools of that industry on a dutiable list? There is no pretence that these gins are made in Australia.
– They can be made here.
– Then why are they placed on the free list, so far as the Mother Country is concerned, with a 10 per cent, duty against the foreigner. It seems clear that these gins cannot be made here under present circumstances; and, therefore, it is absurd to burden them with a revenue duty while we are seeking to encourage cotton production by means of a bonus.
– This item is practically free.
– I think all these articles ought to be free.
.- I should not have risen, but for the mysterious hints which the Treasurer has thrown out with reference to certain influences in and around this Chamber. I was the first to call attention to a false impression that the whole of. this piece of machinery, with the exception of the comb and cutter, was made in Sydney.
– I never said that.
– I did not happen to be in the chamber when this item was introduced. I was writing a letter outside, and was’ informed that the Minister intended to put these machines upon the 30 per cent. list. I then came into the chamber, and was told that the Minister had represented that the piece of mechanism exhibited by him had been made in Australia, with the exception of the cutter and comb. I took the opportunity to correct that statement, and to point out that the people whose property the article was did not claim that it was made here.
– I did not say that it was. ‘
– The honorable gentleman complained of the Wolseley influence. If there is a representative of the Wolseley firm present, he has not approached me. No one has approached me with reference to this subject. But I happen to be a country representative, whose district is interested in this matter, and I have to make myself acquainted with the needs of my electors. I had information which I was able to give to the Committee. If there is any objection to lobbying it ought not to be made by protectionists, but by free-traders.
– There was even a public notification that members of the Protectionist Association would be waiting in the lobbies to give information to honorable members.
– When was that made?
– I know nothing about it.
– I am here to get all the information I can from all sources. If a protectionist gives information to me, I will not refuse it; nor will I refuse it if it comes from a free-trade source. I do not claim to have technical knowledge in regard to these matters, and am willing to learn all I can. It comes with a very bad grace from the Treasurer to take exception to any person representing the Wolseley interest being present when the representatives of the Moffat-Virtue patent have been here, and have even been allowed to erect one of their machines in the precincts of the chamber.
.- I was well aware the Messrs Moffatt and Virtue had made hand pieces.
– I see that they have their machines in 600 sheds.
– What surprised me was that when the firm which I have mentioned sent a machine for exhibition here, they did not produce one of their own make, but an American machine. They have been perfectly straightforward in their conduct, though they have not shown much courage in not exhibiting a machine of their own make. I have been informed that they are putting up a plant for making hand pieces. If they had sent for inspection one of their own machines I think that it would have made a considerable difference in the feeling of the Committee. I have suggested to the Treasurer that as hand pieces are not being properly made here they ought not to be dutiable. I do not feel quite prepared to support an industry if it has not been fairly started. If hand pieces were eliminated the case would be very well met.
.- I do not think that the Committee is quite clear now as to which part of these machines is made locally and which is imported. The Treasurer accused honorable members of misrepresenting what he said. Some of us were under the impression that he stated that the whole of this machine was made here withthe exception of the comb and the cutter.The honorable member for Calare pointed out how misleading that statement was. Then the Treasurer asserted that he had said nothing of the kind; but, nevertheless, he subsequently repeated exactly the same statement, and I took his words down. They were, “Everything but the cutter and comb can be and has been made here.”
– That is a fact.
– But the Treasurer denied in the beginning that he had said such a thing, and immediately repeated what he denied having previously said. From the statement of the honorable member for Darling, it appears that there is some truth in the statement that the machines, excepting the comb and cutter, have been made in Australia, but those made appear to be so clumsy that the people chiefly concerned did not think it desirable to show their own but an American model.
– I did not say anything of that kind.
– On their label they say, “ Hand made; not yet made in Australia.”
– I said that the firm in question had made some of these machines, and I expected that they would have exhibited one of their own make. I was surprised when I found that it was not so.
– On the card attached to this machine it is stated that the handpiece is not yet made in Australia, but that it is only a question of time before it can be made at the works in Sydney. That is in conflict with the statement of the Treasurer.
– It means that if is not yet commercially made in Australia.
– What is the meaning of the words “ Not yet made in Australia?”
– They are used in a general way.
– They are used without qualification.
– The models are made here, and are sent to America, and after they have been proved the machines are brought out here.
– Then they are not made here, although the Treasurer in his first statement to the Committee said that they had been made in Australia, and he repeated the statement after just denying that he had made it before.
– The honorable member must accept the statement by the Treasurer that he did not use the words attributed to him.
– Quite so, Mr. Chairman, but almost immediately after his denial - in his second speech on the subject - he repeated the statement, saying, “ everything but the cutter and comb can be made here.” I took a note of his words at the time. In view of these conflicting statements, I think that we should oppose the Minister’s proposal, and that we may safely allow this machine to come in free.
Question - That the words “ Sheep Shearing Machines “ proposed to be left out stand part of the item (Sir William Lyne’s amendment) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 7
Question so resolved in the negative.
Amendment agreed to.
.- When we were dealing with item 148, the Treasurer moved the omission of the words “ feed grinders,” and a number of honor able members were under the impression that he intended to include those articles in item 155.
– I did not say that. They are to be embodied in item 164.
– I admit that the Treasurer did not say that, but, nevertheless, several honorable members were under that impression. I therefore move -
That the words “ Feed Grinders “ be inserted after the word “ steel.”
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … …11
Question so resolved in the negative.
– When this item was previously before the Committee, I mentioned that the honorable member for Angas had given notice of an amendment to include in it the words “ hand- worked cultivators.” These articles were free under the old
Tariff, and there is no reason why they should be dutiable under this Tariff. At an earlier stage of the debate the Treasurer stated that he wished to eliminate sheep-shearing machines from this item, and to insert the hand-worked cultivators.
– That was at an early stageof the evening. I then intended to submit a number of proposals which, in consequence of what took place, I abandoned.
– The Minister was evidently satisfied as the result of his inquiries that hand-worked cultivators should be admitted free.
– I proposed to include a whole list of implements.
– If the honorable gentleman will move the insertion of hand-worked cultivators I shall sit down at once.
– Earlier in the evening I explained that I proposed to delete certain articles, and to include feed grinders and a number of other machines, including hand-worked cultivators. The debate which took place, however, led me to believe that to attempt to do so would be to provoke a very long and, perhaps, an unpleasant debate, and I therefore refrained from doing so. As the honorable member for North Sydney presses me to include hand-worked cutivators in this item, I move -
That after the word “ steel “ the words “ Hand-Worked Cultivators “ be inserted.
Amendment agreed to.
.- Dealing with the item as amended, I should like to say that the arguments advanced show that we ought not to allow a preference of 10 per cent. in this case. It will be admitted that the proposed duty will not operate in the direction of protecting any Australian industry, because if any of the machines referred to in the item were made in the Mother Country they could be exported to Australia and admitted free. The bulk of these machines are made in America, and in the circumstances we might agree to give considerable assistance to those engaged in the primary industries of the country to whom these machines are of great value.
– The free-trade section of the Tariff Commission recommended a duty of 10 per cent.
-That is so, but the honorable member will admit that the pro tectionist Government did not accept their recommendation.
– The protectionist section of the Commission recommended that these machines should be free.
– It cannot be claimed that the duty proposed by the Government will operate as a protective duty, and it will probably be admitted that British manufacturers, on account of the limited Home market for these machines, will have no inducement to enter upon their manufacture. In all the circumstances, a duty of 5 per cent. should be sufficient to meet the case. I move -
That after the words “ 10 per cent.” the words “ and on and after 26th November, 1907, ad val. (General Tariff), 5 per cent.,” be added.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 4
Question so resolved in the negative.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
MINISTERS laid upon the table the following papers -
Excise Tariff (Agricultural’ Machinery) Act, 1906 - Judgment of Mr. Justice Higgins, President of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration in the matter of the application of H. V. McKay for an order in terms of section 2 (d) - (in substitution for Paper presented on 19th November instant).
Audit Acts - Transfers of amounts approved by the Governor-General in Council - Financial Year 1906-7 (dated 22nd November, 1907).
Motion (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the House, at its rising, adjourn until 11 o’clock to-morrow morning..
– I wish to protest against the number of hours for which the Treasurer is keeping us here. I, for one, am not going to stand it. I have been in this House and the precincts for nearly fourteen hours to-day. It is not a fair thing. The Treasurer promised us last week, if we agreed to the motion which he then proposed, that we should meet at 10.30 a.m., and adjourn at 11 p.m. at the latest. It will be 12 o’clock before I get home. Does he think that that is fair?
– And is it any good ?
– It is no good at all. The blood is on his own head. I will stand no more of it.
– I really moved that the hour of meeting should be n o’clock a.m. to-morrow in consequence of the honorable member complaining just now that he could not be here before n. I should have liked to make the hour of meeting 10.30 a.m., but I know that some honorable members require a little respite in the morning. The other night, when I was asked by. the honorable member for Kalgoorlie to agree to an adjournment at 11 every night, I said that I would if it were possible, and if a fair amount of work had been done; but I declined to pledge myself absolutely to do it. I have moved to meet half-an-hour later to-morrow, be- cause it is now a little past n o’clock, and I want to keep as near to the bargain as possible.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 11.20 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 25 November 1907, viewed 6 July 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1907/19071125_reps_3_42/>.