3rd Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2 p.m., and read prayers.
Mr. POYNTON presented a petition from farmers of Blackrock, Petersburg, and Orroroo, South Australia, praying for a modification of the duties relating to agricultural implements.
– I desire to ask the Minister of Defence, without notice, whether he is aware of the series of rifle matches at present being conducted at the Women’s Exhibition, in which women are showing such remarkable proficiency with the Francotte and Winchester rifles, that not a single shot had been fired off the target during two days, whilst in many cases the possible has been made; and whether, in view of these facts, he will give the women of Australia an opportunity of perfecting themselves in rifle-shooting?
– I shall be glad to do anything that will further the laudable end which the honorable member has in view. The questions of method will require very special considerations.
– I desire to ask the Postmaster-General, without notice’, a question relating to the delivery of Tasmanian mails to the members of this House. I may explain that members of Parliament have at various times encountered great difficulty in getting their letters. Last Saturday week I telephoned down to the General Post Office to inquire why our mails had not been delivered. I telephoned twice, but I did not get my letters until Monday, although they arrived in Melbourne at 9 o’clock on the Saturday morning. To-day, I suppose, the steamer arrived at her usual time - 9 o’clock thismorning. I tried to get a telephone message through to the General Post Office, -but could not succeed. The mail has not yet been delivered. I ask now, as I cannot get any % satisfaction . elsewhere - although I telephoned to the Deputy PostmasterGeneral - whether the PostmasterGeneral will take this matter in hand himself, and see that we, who are members of Parliament, are not placed at a. great disadvantage because we happen’ to meet in this place?
– I have taken every pos- ‘sible step to facilitate the delivery of mails to honorable members. As you are aware, Mr. Speaker, I have arranged for a box to be kept at the office, and for a messenger to go down to get mails every hour and bring them up to Parliament House.
– Apparently he does not do it.
– That is not. my fault. I can only put the machinery in motion, and do my best to see that arrangements are carried out. I will confer with Mr. Speaker, and ascertain why the arrangement has not been observed. I will certainly do all that I can to afford every, possible facility to honorable members to get their letters.
– I desire to say, in justice to the officer concerned, that I have just now asked the Serjeant-at-Arms whether the letters were sent for as usual to-day, and he tells me that they were.
DUPLICATION OF CUSTOMS DUTIES.
– I wish to ask the Minister of Trade- and Customs a question, without notice, whether he is aware of a duplication of Customs duties under which sardines are taxed at id. per lb., when imported in oil, whilst if they happen to be imported smoked, they are also taxed 1/2 d. per lb. as smoked fish? I wish to inquire whether the principle of duplication, which is certainly an anomaly in the case of sardines, runs throughout the Tariff?
– There are bound to be certain anomalies in connexion with a Tariff covering so many items, and I am glad to have such instances pointed out, so that I may take steps to remove them.
– I desire to ask the Treasurer a question, without notice. I gather that he has received a report from’ Dr. Tidswell respecting the rabbit extermination experiments in New South Wales. I desire to know whether any representations have been made to him with a view of giving those interested in the result of the experiments, information as to the nature of them ? Has the Government come to any decision as to its future attitude regarding the matter?.
– In reply to the honorable member’s question, I desire to state that those interested have not approached me - I do not know whether they have approached the Prime Minister - re- f arding the matter to which he has reerred. I think the honorable member must mean experiments on the mainland. I saw something about the matter in the press, but I have not been approached. As regards future action regarding these experiments of Dr. Danysz, I . intended to see the Prime Minister this -morning in order to learn what course it was proposed by the Government to take, but was not able to do so. My own feeling is that the experiments ought not to be repented on the mainland.
– Arising out of the question asked by the honorable member for Calare, I desire to refer to a previous question asked by myself. It may be remembered that I asked whether inquiries had been made respecting the attempted introduction of a rabbit disease into Australia, and whether the Government would ascertain the name of the New South Wales sheep breeder who had attempted to introduce the disease ? I . may say that I have very , grave doubts whether the gentlemanwhose name many of us know - has not surreptitiously introduced into Australia a rabbit disease which, if it spread amongst our sheep, might be calamitous. I press the Prime Minister to obtain further particulars if he can. In the meantime, I wish to ask the honorable gentleman whether he will obtain the name of the pastoralist who was on the steamer Moana, having with him .the germs of a rabbit disease that he was bringing into Australia, which germs were seized and thrown overboard by a. steward? It is a serious matter to Australia, and I hope that the Minister will cause the most careful inquiries to be made.
– The inquiries that I have instituted so far have not been successful. I recognise, however, that the matter is a very serious one, and that if anything of the kind has occurred we should endeavour to sheet it home to the offender.
– I wish to ask the Treasurer whether, seeing that Dr. Tidswell’s report on Dr. Danysz experiments has been ordered- to be printed, he will direct that the last report supplied by the South Australian Commissioners, Dr. Johnson and Mr. Giddings, is also published?
– I shall consult the Prime Minister, in whose Department, I think, the papers to which the honorable member has. referred are at the present time.
– I desire to ask the Minister of Defence, without notice, whether he will state what kind of rifle is being supplied to the- Cadets at the present time, and whether it is his intention to supply them in future with a heavier rifle than they are now using?
– The Senior Cadets are using the .303 rifle, which is the same as is used by our troops so far as “weight is concerned. The Francotte rifle is used by Cadets in Victoria. The rifle that is used by Cadets in New South Wales is the Westley-Richards. I may also inform the honorable member that the English military authorities have been considering a suitable rifle for Cadets. .We have a sample here, and it may be’ possible for us to adopt it, and so provide a uniform rifle throughout Australia. However, I am not quite sure at present.
– I wish to ask the Treasurer, without notice, whether, before the duties on paper are discussed by the Committee of Ways and Means, he will favour the House with a return showing the duties collected on paper .since the imposition of the new Tariff ? I desire to know the quantity of, value of, and revenue collected upon paper taken out of bond since the new Tariff came into operation.
– In reply to the honorable member’s question, I have to state that I shall confer with the Comptroller of Customs, with a view to obtain the information which the honorable member desires. I will give it to the House as soon as I receive it.
– I wish to ask the Postmaster-General whether the reported falling-off in the revenue from the Inter State telephone service is due to its being impossible to carry on a conversation between Melbourne and Sydney through any of the suburban telephone bureaux?
– It is quite possible.
– Having tried recently, without success, to establish communication between Melbourne and Sydney through a local telephone bureau, I thought that the falling-off in the revenue might be due to a similar want of success on the part of others. Will the PostmasterGeneral cause inquiries to be made, and make a statement on the subject?
– Arrangements can be made to be connected with the local bureaux. All that is necessary is to leave a deposit either at the central or the local office with which “it is desired to be connected.
– That is not the point.
– Will the PostmasterGeneral look into the matter?
– Yes, I am anxious to afford every facility to the public.
– Can the Minister of Trade and Customs inform the House whether the treacle recently seized, in the belief that it was opium, has been sold and, if so, what profit was derived from the sale?
– If the honorable member can introduce the Department to a probable purchaser, I shall be much obliged to him. I shall make inquiries into the matter.
– Will the Minister of Trade and Customs cause inquiries to be made as to the. efficacy of a virus used in the New Hebrides for the destruction of rats? I am informed that it has proved an absolute failure.
Mr. AUSTIN CHAPMAN. I shall beglad to make inquiries.
– I wish to ask the Postmaster-General whether it is true, asreported in the press, that postal officials in Adelaide have been supplied with helmets made in China.
– I find that the Deputy Postmaster-General of South Australia, in the exercise of powers recently delegated to him, has accepted a tender, through the State Tender Board, for the supply of a certain number of helmets manufactured in China. I ‘ have issued instructions that the order shall be cancelled, and that the Deputy Postmaster-General shall be asked on what authority a tender was accepted under such conditions.
– I wish to know under whose instructions the Deputy PostmasterGeneral of South Australia accepted the tender through the State Tender Board, and whether there is not a Government policy with regard to the use of locally-made articles ? .
– There is a very clear Government policy in the direction mentioned by the honorable member. Our policy and also, I believe, the regulations have been distinctly violated.
– Who issued the instructions to the Deputy PostmasterGeneral ?
– With a view to carrying out the policy of. decentralization, a number of duties have been delegated to the Deputy Postmasters-General. It has been urged that too much of the work of the Department is concentrated in the central office, and one of the unfortunate results of our efforts to remove that cause of complaint is that the Deputy Postmaster-General at Adelaide has misunderstood the policy of the Commonwealth, as well as his instructions-, and got himself and the State Tender Board into trouble.
– Will the PostmasterGeneral cause inquiries to be made as to the correctness of the statement made in the Western Australian press, that temporary letter carriers are being paid in that State at the rate of 3s. 46. per day, and, if he finds the report to be correct, put an end to the system?
– The employment of temporary letter carriers at the rate named is contrary, not only to the regulations, but to the Public Service Act, and instructions that have been issued. If it be found on inquiry that the statement is correct, an order will be issued that the practice shall be at once stopped.
– Will the Prime Minister inform the House whether final arrangements have yet been made with the London County Council for a site for the proposed Commonwealth Offices in London ?
– Our offer is still before the London County Council, arid we expect early to receive an answer.
– Will the Prime Minister state whether it is his intention to ask the House to sit on Saturday? I seek the information at this stage so that we may make our arrangements accordingly.
– My honorable colleague the Treasurer hopes that the progress made with the Tariff will be such as to render it unnecessary to ask the House to meet on Saturday; but if it is not, he trusts that honorable members will be prepared to meet on that day.
Rebate of Duty on Timber for Fruit and Butter Boxes. - Exemption of Hat-Mill Machinery.
– Reverting to a question which I put to the Minister of Trade and Customs some time ago in regard to a rebate of the duty on timber used for the making of butter boxes and fruit cases, I wish to know whether the Minister will explain how it is proposed to make “the rebate practically available to those whom it is intended to reach?
– As I informed the honorable member for Cowper yesterday, the whole matter is now receiving attention, and we hope to be able to make arrangements that will be satisfactory to all concerned.
– I wish to ask the Prime Minister, as a matter of Victorian fiscal history, when there first appeared in the Tariff of this State a provision that a refund of the duty paid on hat-mill machinery should be made as soon as that machinery was established in a factory? As the honorable gentleman is aware, under the new Tariff, machinery for the hat-making industry, has been entirely differentiated from the machinery required for other industries, and I understand that the exemption which appeared in the Tariff of 1902, as introduced by the right honorable member for Adelaide, was simply a continuation of a Victorian practice.
– I was not even aware that such a practice existed. The only case that I can recall of a refund of dutybeing granted by the Victorian Parliament related to machinery required for a papermill at Geelong.
– That was an exceptional case?
– It was. I was not aware that- there had been any other.
– Does the Prime Minister know ‘ of any reason why there should be a duty of 20 per cent, on mining machinery, while machinery for hat mills is exempt?
– Order. The matter to which the honorable member has now referred on two occasions is one for the consideration of the Committee of Ways and Means when dealing with the Tariff, and it would be quite improper for me to allow an explanation of it to be asked of the Prime Minister, or for the Prime Minister to comply with such a request.
– The Prime Minister may, for reasons of health, be unable to be present when the Tariff is being discussed, and, therefore, I may not have the opportunity suggested to appeal to him as one familiar with the fiscal history of Victoria to tell us why this exemption, for which, so far as I know, nobody knows the reason, has been transferred from the State Parliament of Victoria to the Federal Parliament.
– That circumstance would not alter the rule to which I have referred.
– Arising out of the question asked by the honorable member for Parkes, I wish to ask the Prime Minister if he has noticed the statement which appeared in the Age of this morning claiming that the Federal Tariff has resulted in prosperity to New South Wales by leading to the investment of ^3,000.000 in various manufacturing industries in that State?
– Order !
– I am leading up to a question.
– It appears very clear to me that the honorable member for Riverina is anxious to get in some information which should certainly not be conveyed in the form of a question.
– I wished to ask whether the Prime Minister will send a telegram on the subject to New South Wales?
– The honorable member did not ask that question.
– I was going to ask it.
– The honorable men.ber evidently was more anxious to get in a particular statement, which was not in order in the form of a question.
– I ask whether the Prime Minister will send a telegram, through you, sir, on behalf of the House congratulating New South Wales on the increase of her industrial, prosperity since Federation was accomplished?
– I shall probably have another opportunity to communicate on this and other matters.
– I ask the Prime Minister, without notice, if, when he is sending his telegram to the Premier of New South Wales congratulating the State-
– I did not propose to send a telegram.
– I understood that the honorable gentleman proposed to comply with the request of the honorable member for Riverina.
– I pointed out that there might be’ some other opportunity.
– Does the honorable member wish a similar telegram to be sent to Western Australia ?
– I wish to ask the Prime Minister whether, should he comply with the request of the honorable member for Riverina, he will not also send a telegram to the Premier of Western Australia, regretting that the Tariff submitted by the present Government will inflict serious injury upon that State?
– Order ! That question cannot be answered.
– I ask the Postmaster General, without notice, . whether orders have been given for the printing of the proposed uniform Commonwealth stamps, and, if so, whether they are to be printed in Melbourne?
– We have not yet reached that stage. We have yet to call for designs.
– I ask the PostmasterGeneral, without notice, what provision, if any, has been made to relieve the congestion of work on the telegraph line between Sydney and Brisbane?
– The Department is arranging to erect an additional line to the New South Wales border, and it is now proposed to’ ask- the Treasurer and the House to provide the means for continuing it to Sydney.
asked the Minister of External Affairs upon notice -
What steps have been taken to obtain the removal of the embargo on the entry of cattle from Australia into the Argentine, and with what results?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows -
Reference to my previous reply on 13th November will show that the Government of the Republic intimated it’s preparedness to consider the removal of the prohibition upon receipt of an official notification that Australia was free from cattle disease.
The required notification was made, and the decision of the Argentine Government” is awaited.
In Committee of Ways and Means (Consideration resumed from 26th November, vide page 6673) :
Postponed item 163. Steam Road Rollers,’ including ‘ Scarifier attachments, ad val., 25 per cent.
– I move -
That the words “ and on and after 28th November, 1907, Item 163. Locomotives, Traction and Portable Engines, Steam Road Rollers, including Scarifier attachments, ad val. (General Tariff), 30 per cent.; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent.,” be added.
I move the amendment in this form to avoid the difficulty which arose from the adoption of the course followed yesterday, when I moved that item 162 be left out, with a view to insert a new item, in the expectation that the debate on the amendment would be concluded at a reasonable hour. The item “ was, as it appeared in the Tariff, left out, and at a late hour we discovered that it was necessary for the Committee to sit until the new item had been dealt with, otherwise there would have been no legal power to collect duties on the articles included in the item.
– I very much question that. I do not think that is the legal position.
– I am acting under advice. I do not wish to have anytrouble regarding the collection of the duties. That is one reason why I asked the Committee to continue sitting last night until the new item proposed had been dealt with.
.- The new proposal is practically an amalgamation of items 163 and 164.
– .163 and part of 164.
– In the Tariff, as it stands, there is a note attached to item 164.
Subject to rebate under the conditions specified in the Schedule hereto.
That note does not appear as attached to the new -item proposed in substitution for item 163, and I think I am entitled to ask for some information with respect to the departure from the original Government proposal. - Sir WILLIAM LYNE. (Hume- Treasurer) [2.29]. - The proposed new item 163 includes part of item 163 and part of item 164, as the Tariff now stands. There is. a note attached to 164, as the honorable member has stated, and no alteration is proposed in the matter.
– Then the honorable gentleman wishes to carry this under false pretences.
– I wish to do nothing of the kind. The honorable member must recollect that if the amendment I have moved is agreed to, the new item will be inserted in the Tariff as it stands, and whatever conditions attached- before will continue in force.
.- The Treasurer proposes to include in this item, locomotives, traction and portable engines, and road rollers. In this.connexion I wish to refer honorable members to a voluntary statement made to the Tariff Commission by Mr. Harrington, of Walker’s, Limited. He was one of the principal witnesses examined in Queensland, and he appeared before the Commission, asking for high protective duties. The only reference to portable engines is in the statement of this witness. Honorable members will find it at page 2188 of the Minutes of Evidence, wherein a duty of 33J per cent, is requested. Mr. Harrington, not on crossexamination, but voluntarily, said -
I would go even so far as to strike out my request in relation to traction and portable engines, because I do not wish to trench upon the agricultural industry.
The witness came before the Commission asking for protective duties, but he felt, as every honorable member here must feel, that if the duties as proposed by the Treasurer were imposed they would press severely on the agricultural and mining industries so far as traction engines are concerned. He voluntarily suggested that those machines should come in free. In the interestsof the agricultural and mining industries [ suggest, to the Committee that both traction and portable engines should be put on the free list. Traction engines are used for the carriage of ore in many parts of the Commonwealth. They are not made here.
– Yes, they are. Mr. FULLER. - Where ?
– Here, in Melbourne.
– We had no evidence of that placed before us. I move -
- That the amendment be amended by leaving out the words “traction and portable engines.”
– Only the other day, in Collingwood, a new engine of this kind was made, all but 5 per cent, of it of Lithgow iron.
– The honorable member is referring ‘to the new Collingwood steam road roller, known as the “Coon.”
– It was a combined steam road roller and traction engine, made by the Otis Company. The honorable member for Batman is a member of the local council, and knows all about it. It is nonsense to say that it was not made here. Every one who saw it said that it was one of the best that had ever been seen in Australia.
.- I do not agree with the 30 per cent, and 25 per cent, duties as proposed by the Treasurer, but will agree to a duty of 25 per cent, all round on this group of engines.
– I forgot to say that 25 per cent, was the recommendation of the Tariff Commission.
– In support of a duty of 25 per cent, all round, I should like to read a quotation from evidence given in Queensland by Mr. James Ford Pearson, engineer of Walker’s Limited. Maryborough, one of the biggest foundries in Australia. On page 2209 of the Minutes of Evi’dence appears the following
Do you think you could turn out traction engines on the same scale as John Fowler and Co., of Leeds? - I have turned out several, and although they have not been altogether as highly painted up as are Fowler’s engines, they have done practically the same work.
Have you turned out the engines at as low a cost as Fowler’s? - No. We get a bigger price, because our engines are made to perform special work.
How much more do you get relatively? - About 15 to 16 per cent. more.
Can you explain why the Clyde Engineering Company did not ask for duty upon traction engines? - Because Mr. Noake their manager, is the agent for Messrs. Fowler and Co.
I should also like to draw attention to a passage in our report as follows -
We have been informed that the firm of J. Renshaw and Co., of Queen’s Bridge-street, South Melbourne, has lately built some six horsepower portable engines for the Victorian Mining Department equally as pood as, but at a cost of about 15 per cent, more than, imported engines of the same type. The Austral Otis Engineering Co. has built several portable engines in sizes up to 12 horse-power. At present, the same company is constructing two heavy earthscooping traction engines, each of 80 horsepower, and each to cost ^1,200. These machines can be made here, and would form an important addition to the iron trade of the country.
– Did the Commission take any other evidence regarding the quality of traction engines alleged to be made in Queensland?
Sir JOHN QUICK__ I know nothing more than what the engineer says - that they were substantially equal to the imported, but a little higher in price.
– Would the honorable member regard that as conclusive evidence in a Court of law ?
– I am now dealing with the practicability o.f manufacturing these engines in Australia, and showing that it is all moonshine to say that it is impracticable or impossible. There is the evidence, not of a Victorian, but of a Queensland industry, where it is even more advanced than in Victoria. I have here a letter from the representative of the Austral Otis Company, in which I am informed that at least 200 traction engines will be required in Australia next year, and that at an average price of £800 each they would represent a value of ^160,000, of which it is estimated that ^60,000 would be spent in wages in Australia. It is also stated -
We are prepared to begin the manufacture at once, if the duty is retained. We would supply 8 horse-power engines of similar type to the best imported, as under : - 8 horse-power single cylinder traction engine, ^720; 8 horse-power compound traction engine, £825; 8 horsepowersingle cylinder portable engine, “^325.
If it be possible for Australian firms to construct large horse-power locomotive engines, why should it not be possible for them to turn out small portable engines?
– I support the proposal of the honorable member for Illawarra, to omit traction and portable engines from this item. The Minister has told us that the Austral Otis Company made a traction engine for the Collingwood City Council ; but, I suppose, he means that the company made a steam roller which may be used as a traction engine. Traction engines, properly speaking, are largely used on farms, and are altogether different from such machinery as the famous Coon road roller. If the Collingwood road roller were placed on a farm, it would be bogged for ever, on account of its weight.
– Traction engines are made in Australia.
– That is not so. Under the old Tariff traction engines and’ portable engines were free; and they are used on. every farm in the time of threshing, and also for ploughing, pulling down trees, and so forth. Portable engines are also largely used in initial mining work; and the fact remains that up to the present they have not been manufactured commercially in Australia.
– Excuse me ; “they have.
– I call a commercial transaction a transaction in which . an engine can be made for a reasonable price,for the use of people in opening up the country.
– I know a firm that turned out twenty such engines.
– The honorable member said that he knew all about the MooreHeskett process, though when he said that by this process 5 tons can be turned out in a few hours, I think he must have meant 5 lbs. ; at any rate, the honorable member appears to be the only one who has seen this process. However, the main point is that traction and portable engines are used by primary producers, both in agricultural and mining pursuits, to a very considerable extent.
– And also in pastoral work.
– Exactly ; and they are not in the same category as locomotives and steam road rollers. The Minister seeks to include scarifier attachments, but, in my opinion, there is no necessity for that, because, I suppose, the scarifier is meant for tearing up metal. In any case, duties of 30 per cent, and 25 per cent, are altogether too high. I am sorry that a great many honorable members who are interested in the opening up of the country-
– And in the destruction of the iron industry.
– I can assure the Minister that there is no desire to destroy the iron industry. I might also add that portable engines are largely used as part of pumping plant for irrigation purposes ; and irrigation is a work we ought to encourage.
The Treasurer, who is supposed to have the interests of the whole country at heart, is found siding with the men who live in the cities - is found siding with the honorable member for South’ Sydney and the honorable member for Hindmarsh - in an endeavour to impose heavy taxation 011 people who are developing the country’. It is time a protest was raised against such a policy. The honorable member for Hindmarsh is an absolute prohibitionist, and admits the fact.
– I do not admit anything of the kind.
– The honorable member votes for prohibition, if he does not admit he is a prohibitionist.
– The honorable member is a protectionist in “spots.”
– I am not a protectionist for the horseshoe-nail industry in my constitutency, as the honorable member is.
– I. must ask honorable members once more to cease interjecting and holding conversation across the chamber.
– In reply to the honorable member for Bourke, I should like to say that I do not go round and lobby for one particular industry in my own electorate. We ought to take a broadminded view of the whole question of the Tariff.
– As the honorable member did on the item of milk !
– I must ask the honorable member for Bourke to cease his interjections.
– Attention might also be called to the honorable gentleman who is acting as Minister.
– I must also ask the honorable member for -Indi not to interject. These interruptions are so continuous that it may become imperative for me to take some other course.
– I am very sorry that I have stirred up so much feeling and strife.
– Will the honorable member address himself to the question?
– I feel this item to be one of considerable importance to primary producers from one end of Australia to theother. We must avoid taking a narrowminded view. We ought not to confine our attention to the interests of Adelaide, Melbourne, and Sydney,- forgetting the men who are developing the resources of the country in the northern parts of Queensland, the back-blocks and the north-west of Western Australia, and in the Northern Territory. The primaryproducer is always ready to give the manufacturer fair encouragement. In the past manufacturers of some of the items under discussion have enjoyed duties to the extent of 12
– That is not true; I was never a free-trader.
– Upon some occasions, the honorable member will vote for revenue duties, whilst upon others he will support the imposition of extraordinary protective duties.
– Mr. McDonald, the statement of the honorable member that I am a sudden convert from free-trade is offensive to me.
– I am sure that the honorable member for Corangamite will withdraw the statement, seeing that it is offensive to the honorable member for South Sydney.
– I withdraw it. I would not for the world be offensive to the honorable member. I have too much respect for him. I am very much reminded by this debate of a cartoon which appeared in Punch the other day, and which depicted the Treasurer in charge of a cart, and leading a certain party.
– Does the honorable member intend to connect his remarks with the question now before the Chair?
– Yes. Upon this cart were traction and portable engines–
– Is it in order for the honorable member to refer to the Treasurer as a traction engine?
– Perhaps it would be more in accordance with tradition if I had said that the Treasurer was depicted in charge of a bullock waggon. I think, upon reflection, that it was a bullock waggon. Upon this waggon were traction and portable engines, and in front of the donkey which represented a certain party, was a bunch of carrots labelled “ New protection.” I do riot know what was the condition of the carrots, but I fear that they were not very sound in some respects. As the result of the promise given by the Treasurer, members of the Labour Party are prepared to vote for duties which under other circumstances they would never have dreamed of supporting. Even the honorable member for Maranoa is prepared to vote for almost prohibitive duties.
– - During the debate which took place last evening, I made a statement to the effect that the patent rights which attached to Messrs. Babcock and Wilcox’s boilers had expired. I promised to produce the book upon which my information! was based or to apologize to the honorable member for Parramatta. I am happy to say that I have escaped the necessity for offering the apology by producing the information. From page 12 of Messrs. Babcock and Wilcox’s own catalogues entitled “ Steam,” I find a picture of the latest type of tubular boiler which they manufacture, which was covered by patent No. 6623. in the State of Victoria. This patent was registered on the- 25th March, 1889, and expired in the same month of 1903.
– The honorable member for Corangamite, like most of those who are opposed to the manufacture of any commodity in Australia-
– That statement is absolutely incorrect.
– In my opinion the honorable member is opposed to the manufacture of Australian commodities, inasmuch as he refuses to extend to our industries a sufficient measure of protection to enable them to successfully compete against the outside world. He has stated that these portable engines are not manufactured in the Commonwealth-
– I said that they were not commercially manufactured.
– I take it that the honorable member means that they have not been manufactured and sold here. As a matter of fact there are five establishments in my own electorate which are making portable engines and selling them in Australia. I hold in my hand a photograph of a portable engine of which Johnson’s Foundry has manufactured twenty, all of which have been sold in Victoria.
– In what year did they manufacture them?
– Fourteen or fifteen years ago. I also have here two plates of a 12 horse-power portable engine of which Mr. Renshaw, of South Melbourne, has made four, which are working in Victoria to-day. . His price for each of them was £221. I have still another plate of a six horsepower engine and boiler, of which the same firm has manufactured six, two* in 1905, two in 1906, and two during the present year. If any honorable member doubts the accuracy of my statement he has only to visit the establishment in question, where he will see an 8£ horse-power portable engine and boiler which has ‘ been manufactured to the order of the Metropolitan Board of Works. Twelve engines of the same type have’, been sold for ^227 each. Is any other evidence necessary to prove that this class of machinery is being manufactured here commercially ? There is not a man in Australia who can doubt the efficacy of the steam road roller which was manufactured to the order of the Collingwood City Council.. It burns the minimum, quantity of coal, it is doing its work efficiently, and it was made in Australia. If engineering firms in. this State had to .manufacture the whole of the road rollers required ‘ in Australia they would - be in ‘ a. position ‘ to pro7duce them at a very much reduced price. We all know that a start has to ‘be made at some’ time. In the first instance a manufacturer has to incur considerable expense before he can produce an article, but in later- years he can manufacture, it at a much cheaper price. The Collingwood Council, who have received, and rightly received, great credit for paying a little more for their road roller, have put the. other councils in a position to prosure road rollers at a” very much ‘ cheaper rate ‘than has prevailed hitherto. Traction engines have been made satisfactorily in Australia. We are told that in these matters the principal consideration is the economical working of the article. I am informed that every user of machinery which has been made in Australia during later years has expressed his- willingness to give a certificate as to economical consumption of coal, durability, and capacity to do the work required. Here is a photograph of a portable engine of a special Australian pattern which was made not with a square firebox but with a round firebox, so that the stumps would not interfere with or disarrange the engine.
– They could not get out the ashes.
– No less than twenty of this patented portable engine have been put on the market. Men do not buy a new invention for fun’s sake. They generally satisfy themselves that it is worth buying. This portable engine was satisfactory to the user. If the honorable member does not like that one, then like Cheapjack in the market he can take his choice from the other samples of locally-made engines which are shown in these phonographs. T ought not, perhaps, to blame the honorable member for Corangamite for advocating the proposed reduction of duty. Many of his constituents, being human beings, are selfish to a certain extent, and they,’ like all free-traders, wish to secure as free a market as they can in the purchasing of commodities. I can assure the honorable gentleman that within a .quarter of an hour’s walk of this building portable’ engines have been manufactured, and the manufacturer has informed me that in point of price they compare very favorably with imported engines. First of -all > we are told that it .is years since these articles were made. As a matter of. fact, the engineering trade in Australia, at any rate in Victoria, did far better thirty years ago than it- is doing now!. ‘ Why ? . Because the- protective Governments .of Victoria in their wisdom, imposed such a duty. ‘that the articles ‘could be manufactured here. -What was good for Victoria cannot be otherwise than beneficial to Australia as “a whole. The. agriculturist, the- grazier, and the mirier are dependent upon the men- in the towns,- arid therefore they -should be prepared to give and take. I ask the representatives of mining districts, “ Is it wise to. have only one avenue of employment for men?” Are they so much wedded to the mining industry, to working in the bowels of the earth, that they do not want to bring into existence other avenues of employment for their sons and their daughters’ husbands? There is no man in the city, but will concede to the agriculturist the right to . live in the same sense in which he wishes to ‘live. , But the agriculturist knows very well that in large cities there is a ready market in which he can always get satisfactory prices for his products. I realize that it is necessary to export certain commodities which we overproduce. That is essential, and also beneficial to us as a whole. At the same time, it behoves us to see that one and the other are protected in a certain sense. I do not believe that certain honorable members represent the true feelings of primary producers when they urge the Committee to discourage the manufacture of an article in Australia.
.- I am one of those who hold that the great bulk of these engines ought to be made in Australia. I think that, unlike the hot-air engines, they are made to only a very limited extent. In Australia there is a very large market for portable engines. They are used in every State, and are in great demand. I- believe that if there was a properly equipped factory they could be turned out as well as locomotive engines are turned out. It is an industry which we ought to try tq establish in our midst. At the same time, we ought, not to impose too high a duty. I ask the Treasurer to listen to a letter which I received a day or two ago, and which pretty well speaks for itself. Writing on the 23rd of. November, my correspondent says -
I beg to call your .attention to the injustice which the proposed duty of 25 per cent, on portable engines will entail on a mining company iri which T am interested. This is the Wilberforce Gold-dredging Company,’ situated near Beech; worth.
– We had that over and over again last night.
– I. wish to draw the attention of the honorable gentleman to the actual sum which is involved.
– I know all about that.
– The company is operating in’ the Indi electorate. Prior to the introduction of the Tariff it ordered from England a 30-horse-power portable engine - a very large class of engine. Out of £8,000 expended’ on the mine, over £3,000 has gone in the purchase of engines, boilers, &c, made in this country - a fact which I think the Treasurer has not grasped. The letter continues -
Owing to the fact that the depth of the alluvial ground necessitates a type and size of portable engine never kept in stock by machinery merchants, and,, indeed, never made except to order, the directors were compelled to cable to England for the building of this special engine. The duty on this engine will amount to not less than £250.
That is a very large sum for the company to be called upon to pay in Customs duty.
– That was calculated on a duty of 25 per cent., but the Treasurer now proposes to levy a duty of 30 per cent.
– I believe that with duties of 20 and 15 per cent., respectively we could establish the industry of making portable engines.
– Will the honorable member agree to a minimum of 20 per cent. ?
– No ; I think it would be better to fix the duties at 20 and 15 per cent, respectively. If we did, we should not penalize the industries which have to use portable engines. I want to see the industry started, but I do not wish subsidiary industries to be handicapped too much. I hope that, on reconsideration, the Treasurer may see his way to agree to my suggestion.
– I cannot.
– There seems to be a. doubt in the minds of some honorable members as to the possibility of making portable engines in Australia. That comes to me as a very great surprise. So far back as I can remember, in the various States portable engines have been made, and made very well indeed. There is nothing extraordinary in the making of a portable engine. But I .feel quite sure that very few traction engines have been made in Australia. Not long since I was looking round Australia for traction engines. In Sydney I found several of Fowler’s traction engines, for which the owners had no use, and could find no sale, as so few of them are used in that State. I was told that more of them were in use in Victoria. It appears that there is very little demand for traction engines, because of the enormous expense caused by wear and tear when the engines are used on the roads to draw heavy loads. Besides, it is only on excellent roads that they can be used in that way. According to the evidence quoted by the honorable member for Bendigo, Mr. Pearson, a Queensland manufacturer, has stated that he can make engines which will work as effectively as Fowler’s best, though they have not the same finish, which is not surprising, because in no country in the world can better engineering finish be given than in. Great Britain. I believe that Mr. Pearson’s engines can do the work required of such ‘ machinery. He says that while he charges from 15 to 16 per cent, more, the sells a better article than the Fowler engine. Therefore a protective duty of 15 or 16 per cent. would give Mr. Pearson all that he asked for when giving evidence before the Tariff Commission. The honorable member for Bendigo, as Chairman of the Commission, recommended a duty of121/2 per cent. on some of these engines, and J take it that he had in his mind traction engines.
– No; we expressly recommended a duty of 25 per cent.
– The Quick section of. the Tariff Commission recommended 121/2 per cent. on steam road rollers, including scarifiers, while the Fuller section, adopting a different classification, recommended 15per cent. The Quick section recommended 25 per cent. for other machinery, which, I take it, included portable engines. In Australia manufacturers are in the habit of giving more power per nominal horse-power than is given with imported machinery. That is a failing on the right side which is always noticeable in young countries..
– Are not these engines made in New South Wales?
– Traction engines are a drug in the market there. 1 know of half-a-dozen which are housed in Sydney. There is no sale for them, because the roads are so bad.
– They should be sent to Victoria, where the roadsare good.
– More of such engines are used in Victoria. In this State a good portable engine can be made, arid we have it on the evidence of a manufacturer that 16 per cent. is a sufficiently high duty to impose on traction engines.
– A good traction engine, made in Melbourne, was shown at the Royal Agricultural Show, and afterwards sold in the open market.
– They can be made commercially here, all that is asked for being a protective duty of 15 or 16 per cent. The Minister’s proposed rates are 30 and 25 per cent. I cannot understand that proposal, in view of his utterance in favour of 25 per cent., and in the face of the recommendation of the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission that the rate should be 121/2 per cent., and from 15 down to 10 per cent. for other similar machinery. I think that we shall be adopting the happy mean if we agree to rates” of 20 and r5 per cent. If the Minister wishes to make progress, he should adopt the line of least resistance. He can accept, with honour, rates of 20 and 15 per cent. ; but if he sticks out for higher rates he will be ignominiously defeated, as he was yesterday.
.- I was rather surprised by the outburst of the honorable member for Corangamite. I do not understand why he , asks that portable engines shall be treated differently from other similar engines. He says that they are used on farms, but so, too, are stationary engines. Why should a portable engine be admitted free and a stationary engine be made to pay duty? Does the honorable member seeany particular virtue in the fact that an engine is mounted on wheels instead of being bedded ?
– A portable engine has its advantages for a farmer; but I cannot see why in a Tariff a distinction should be drawn between portable and stationary engines.
– Portable engines are necessary for opening up and developing thecountry, while stationary engines are used merely for driving chaffcutters and other machinery.
– I cannot see the logic of the honorable member if he says that that is a reason for differentiating in the Tariff between the two classes of engines.
– These facts must have weighed with the Committee in1902.
– No; the Committee was influenced then, as many honorable members, I am sorry to say, are influenced to-day, by too great a desire to coddle and nurse the farmers. All kinds of social legislation is passed by the Commonwealth and State Parliaments, but the attempt is always made to lexemptthe farmers from its restrictions, and honorable members are trying to exempt them largely from the payment of duties. Farmers should, of course, receive as much consideration as other classes of the community ; but the fact that one kind of engine is more useful on a farm than another is not a reason why it should be imported duty free. Instead of the question asked being “ Can we make these engines successfully?” honorable members wish the Committee to consider only the fact that the farmers use them.
– And what the farmers will have to pay for them if a heavy duty is imposed.
– That question has not been raised.
– Yes ; most distinctly.
– As to the matter of price a great deal depends upon whether or not there is a competing industry in Australia. If no portable engines are made in Australia the purchaser will undoubtedly pay more even if there be no import duty. If honorable members in the Opposition corner are. prepared to accept a duty of 20 per cent, on portable engines and traction engines, I shall say no more. Personally, I shall vote for duties of 25 per cent, and 20 per cent. Seeing that we have laid it down that we will impose duties of 20 per cent, on motive power engines, we cannot expect to have a higher duty on these engines simply because they are on wheels. All motive power engines should be treated in the same way.
– We shall vote for duties of 20 per cent, on foreign-made engines and 15 per cent, on engines from the United Kingdom.
– That is absurd. . Surely we ought to act on logical lines ; or at least honorable members should pretend to be logical. It would really be too ridiculous to differentiate in. motive power engines. A locomotive is an infinitely more complicated machine than a traction engine. It is probably the most highly complex machine in existence. But it is not suggested that we cannot successfully make locomotives in Australia. Even the honorable member for Illawarra would not propose to place them on the free list. But why should locomotives pay a higher duty than portable engines?
– Because it has been demonstrated that locomotives can be made here commercially.
– Does the honorable member put that forward as a reason? He must be a curious kind of protectionist. If he votes for protection only on goods which the farmer and miner do not use, I am puzzled to know what duties he will support. If the farmer used locomotives the honorable’ member would say that they could not be made in Australia. 1 hope that honorable members will, agree to make the duties the same for all machines doing the same kind of work and having about the same degree of complexity.
.- Under the 1902 Tariff portable engines and traction engines were admitted duty free. The honorable member for Illawarra is proposing to revert to the position. I shall support him, though I must admit, from what I know of the feeling of the Committee, that there is not much hope in that direction. At the same time, the good sense of the Committee ought to induce us to reduce the proposed duties materially. According to the opinion of the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission, the duty should be 25 ,per cent. The Treasurer asks us to make it 30 per cent, with a preference of 5 per cent, in favour of Great Britain. Take an 8 horse-power single cylinder traction engine such as is commonly used. The price is about ,£650. With a duty of 25 per cent, the price would be increased by ,£135. The price of a compound engine is about ,£785. The proposed duty would mean an increase of £150, or thereabouts. Surely the local manufacturer does not require so great a.n addition to the price of imported engines before he can begin to compete. The question is not, as some honorable members and the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission think, whether these engines can be made in Australia, but whether they can be made at a reasonable price. I do not think that traction engines can be made here at a reasonable price, simply because the Australian market is too limited. According to the report of the protectionist section of the Commission, Mr. Thomas Irons, of Sydney, stated- that there was not a sufficient demand for traction engines at the present time to’ justify their manufacture in Australia. There was no doubt in his opinion that a firm would start to make them if the duties were prohibitive. But the plant would be expensive, and a great deal of capital would be lying idle in stock on hand to meet occasional demands. If these engines cannot be made here at a reasonable price, the probability is that more harm than good would be done by imposing a high duty. If people who are now using traction engines cannot purchase them on account of their dearness, a great many men will be thrown out of employment. So that, looking at the question from a broad stand-point, we should lose more than we should gain by a heavy duty. To add £150 to the price of an article worth £750 is to go beyond the bounds of reason. Witnesses before the Tariff Commission stated that they could produce these engines in Australia only at an advance of 15 per cent, or 16 per cent, on the English price.
– What is the honorable member in favour of?
– I think that trac-tion and portable engines should be allowed to come in free, as under the 1902 Tariff, but seeing that the Committee are not likely to agree to that, I am prepared to be reasonable and to vote for a duty of 12J per cent or 15 per cent. Considering the heavy freight, those would be reasonable duties. The honorable member for Fawkner quoted a very pertinent instance in relation to portable engines. The Great Wilberforce Gold Mining Company did their best to get a suitable engine made in Australia, but they could not get a 30 horse-power engine turned out here according to their requirements.
– Cannot the honorable member get a fresh yarn? We have heard all that before.
– So long as the facts ‘ are true, due weight ought to be given to them. The price of the 30 horse-power engine they required was ^£1,150. After being landed in Melbourne, it cost ^120 to get it to the mine. A duty of 25 per cent, on such an engine would increase the price by ^250. That means a 2d. call on 30,000 shares to pay the duty. Such a heavy tax is one which many mining companies could not afford to pay. Even if only one mine were closed down, it would mean a great loss of employment. We should look at this question as business men. If honorable members do that, I am quite sure that, even if we do not succeed in having these engines placed on the free list, the duty will be lowered considerably.
.- I wish, in the first place, to correct the misstatement made by the honorable member for Corangamite, that road rollers are not portable engines. As a matter of fact, the only difference between a road roller and an ordinary traction engine is that the wheels are in the centre instead of at the side of the machine. It has been said that the effect of this duty will be to increase prices. When the Collingwood City Council proposed to purchase a new road roller, it obtained prices from several importers, but as soon as it determined to call for tenders, and so to invite local competition, the importers reduced their prices by ;£roo. The Council secured a road roller from a Melbourne firm for ,£25 less than it could obtain an imported one. It was made under the present Tariff, and we wish the duty .to remain. In other parts of the world where these engines are! made the workers receive 28s. per week, as against a wage of ,£3 6s. per week paid for the same class of work in Australia-1 As to the Great Wilberforce Mining Com-, pany, to which the honorable member for Indi has referred, I may say that it made’ no inquiry as to the desirableness of ob-, taining locally the engine in question.
– That is not true.
– The honorable, member must withdraw that statement.
– In obedience to your ruling, sir, I do so.
– The manager of the mine, stated that had he known that the enginecould be made here he would have placed- his order locally, and that if the present duty remains, . he will obtain in Australia the two additional machines that he requires. We ought to be prepared to encourage this industry. At the present time, it is practically impossible, owing to slackness of trade, to apprentice a boy to the engineering trade, and one of our largest foundries, which, prior to Federation, wasemploying’ 600 men, has now only 250. hands: I hope that honorable- members who were returned as protectionists ‘ willstand by their election pledges and vote for a protective duty.
.- I should consider that I was unmindful of my duty to the great primary industries if I supported any attempt to hinder them. It is my intention to heartily support every.’ proposal to abolish duties on machines that we cannot make here. “ The machinery and engines now under consideration car* readily be made in Australia, and I am, therefore, prepared to vote for a protective duty. I fail to understand the attitude of so-calied protectionists who desire a revenue duty to be. imposed. ‘ They would make the Tariff so low as to render it impossible’ to establish the industry in Australia, and so to give rise to the healthy* competition that we desire. It is my intention to support duties of 25 per cent.and 20 per cent, on this item, and I dis-! agree with those who say that such duties will greatly increase the prices of these engines. The result of a healthy local com–’ petition is to bring down the prices of im-‘ ported machines.
– But the local market is not sufficient.
– The foreign manufacturer has a great advantage over Australian firms, since he has a larger turn-over, has been longer established, and can obtain cheaper labour than is available here. If it is desirable to develop the iron industry, and to secure an increased population in Australia, honorable members should vote for effective protection.
– Why not have a duty of 20 per cent. all round ?
Mr.FOSTER. - Because we wish to give a preference to Great Britain, so long as in doing so we shall not interfere with Australian industries.
– Does the honorable member think that a duty of 20 per cent. will be effective?
– Yes ; so far as imports from Great Britain are concerned; but I am willing to vote for a duty of 25 per cent. on imports of this kind from other parts of the world in order that a preference may be granted to the Mother Country. I am not prepared to injure local industry by voting for the imposition of an ineffective duty on British imports. I am surprised at the attitude of the honorable member for Barrier, who is opposed to preferential trade. If I think that anything less than a duty, of 20 per cent. would be ineffective, as against British imports, why should I vote for a duty of 15 per cent. ?
– The honorable member favours preference to Great Britain, but would make the duty on British imports so high as to exclude them.
– No. I am. prepared to afford every man in Australia an opportunity to buy British-made engines, but if he desires to dp so, he ought to be prepared to pay a little more for them, or the British manufacturer should be ready to pay this duty and land his engines as cheaply as he can. We have been asked what consideration we are extending in this matter to the miner. I have been associated with mining, both as a speculator and as a worker, and am satisfied that the establishment of this industry in Australia will enable those engaged in mining to obtain their machinery cheaper later on. The position will be the same in regard to pumping engines for irrigation purposes. Irrigation, together with the making of ensilage, and the storing of other fodders in times of plenty, will lead to the salvation of the Commonwealth.In the days to come the engines included in this item will be in great demand, and we cannot do better than so legislate that their cost will be reduced. I am surprised that some honorable members should imagine that the miners and farmers have so restricted an outlook that they would have us legislate only for to-day. They are quite prepared to bear their share of any burden involved in the establishment of industries native to Australia, and to support such legislation as will attract population to Australia, and enable her to offer an effective defence in the day of need.
– My experience as a politician convinces me that no speech made duringthe consideration of the Tariff is likely to affect a single vote; but I hope to influence some votes by a quotation. I quote from a letter received from Messrs. Welch,Perrin and Company, English manufacturers, the statement that an 8-h.p. traction engine costs£650, and I wish to inform the Committee that Messrs. Cliff and Bunting, of North Melbourne, manufactured an 8-h.p. traction engine this year, which they exhibited at the Victorian Agricultural Show. It was subsequently sold to a farmer for £6oo, and is now working satisfactorily at Shepparton. I make the point that the price put upon the imported engine is £650, and that a local manufacturer has sold for -£600 a similar engine, which is giving complete satisfaction.
. -The question is not whether these ‘engines’ can be made in the Commonwealth, but whether they are being made here in sufficient numbers to enable those who require them to obtain them at a reasonable price. Apparently, in view of the volume of importation, this has not been done in the past. I do not wish to make an appeal on behalf of the poor squatters and farmers. I wish to see justice done, but, while we should have every regard for the secondary industries, we should not forget the interests of the primary industries on which they depend. In my opinion, those who are prepared to pushtheir protectionist principles to the point of prohibition on behalf of the secondary industries are the worst enemies of those industries. If the miners, squatters, and farmers did not use machinery, the workshops of the secondary industries would speedily be closed up. I am afraid that very often honorable’ members are interviewed by the promoters of secondary industries, and, as a result of’ the representations made to them, are induced to forget the interests of the primary industries. I am just as anxious asare my protectionist friends to see the manufacture of engines and machinery promoted, but I do not wish to see the primary industries heavily handicapped by prohibitive taxation upon the machinery and implements they require for their development. These portable and traction engines are very largely used in the pastoral, mining, and farming industries of the Commonwealth. If they are to progress, labour-saving appliances must be used even to a larger extent than at present in those industries. I can inform the Committee that the mineral recovered from the mining property at Nymagee, in the electorate of the honorable member for Darling, which abuts upon my own electorate, is conveyed a considerable distance to the nearest railway station by means of a traction engine. In my own electorate during the drought of 1902-3 the owners of one station spent £120,000 on fodder imported to save their stock; and a large quantity of that fodder was conveyed from the’ nearest railway station by a traction engine. Along the Lachlan there are numbers of settlers engaged in irrigating large and small areas, and traction engines are largely used in that kind of work.
– The portable engine is also used.
– That is so, but the preference is given to the traction engine because it can be so easily moved about. These engines are also used on farms in connexion with . the threshing of wheat and chaffcutting, because by their means the necessary power required is conveniently transferred from one part of a farm to another.
– What percentage of the farmers in Australia own traction engines - 2 per cent. ?
– The percentage is not a large one, but I wish to see it increased, because every farmer who is in a position to employ one of these engines on his farm will be able to do a great deal more work than he can do without it. If this class of machinery can be obtained at a reasonable price farmers will be in a position to make use of it who must do without’ it if the price is considerably increased as the result of the imposition of a prohibitive duty. It is in the interests of the farming, mining, and pastoral industries that I wish to have these engines placed upon the market at something like a reasonable price. I prefer that they should be manufactured in Australia, but imported engines of this description should not be shut out if they cannot be produced here at a reasonable price. The experience of the Wilberforce Gold Dredging Company is a striking illustration of the effect of these duties. They have presented a petition to this House, the facts stated in which have not been controverted. They have expended something like £10,000 in mining development. Their work is not carried on in the back blocks of Queensland or New South Wales, where they might have some difficulty in obtaining information as to the development of manufacturing industries in the Commonwealth. Their operations are carried on in the vicinity of Melbourne, and they have informed honorable members that they have purchased £3,000 worth of machinery from Victorian manufacturers. It is clear, therefore, that if they could obtain the engine which they found indispensable for their work from the Victorian firms from whom they purchased their other machinery, at a reasonable figure, they would have done so. They have said that they were obliged to import a 30 horse-power engine, because they could not get their order for such an engine executed here.
– Because they did not inquire.
– It is all very well for the Treasurer to tell the Committee that they did not inquire. They inquired for ,£3,000 worth of machinery, and it is therefore reasonable to assume that if they could have secured the 30 horse-power engine in the Commonwealth they would have done so rather than go to the expense of importing it. They made inquiries, and were unable to get it here. In the interests of hypothetical production, the Treasurer submitted a duty of 25 per cent, on these machines, which would represent a tax of £250 upon this company in the purchase of the engine referred to. Not satisfied with- that, the honorable gentleman yesterday proposed to jump the duty up another 5 per cent., making these engines dutiable at 30 per cent. I can give another instance. I have here a letter which I suppose other honorable members also’ have received, from the firm of Welch, Perrin, and Company, of Melbourne. They state that under the old Tariff they were selling three lines of 8 horse-power single cylinder, compound cylinder, and portable engines at £650, £750, and £285 respectively; and the mere imposition of the increased duty has had the result of increasing the price of these engines to .£785>. £9°S> and £341 respectively. The Chairman of the Tariff Commission has said that the Austral Otis Company are prepared to produce smilar 8 horse-power engines for -^”720, £825, and £325 respectively. This indicates, assuming that those engines are identical - and, so far as I can judge, they are - with the engines put on the market here by Messrs. Welch, Perrin, and Company, that there is an advance in the case of the Otis Company of ,£70 in the price of the 8 horse-power single cylinder; of £j5 in the price of the 8 horse-power compound cylinder engine; and of £40 in the price of the 8 horse-power portable engine. This means that, if these high duties are imposed, and the engines are made locally, on the basis indicated by the Otis Company, the farmers, graziers, and miners will have to pay that much more for them than they have been paying. That is the hard pounds shillings and pence side of the question. It means ‘a considerable additional burden to the primary producer. Is it reasonable that he should not be considered in this matter at all ? Should not his interests have weight with the Committee? I have presented to the Committee concrete facts, first regarding the mining” company I have indicated, and next as to the difference of price between those two reputable firms- the Otis Company and Welch, Perrin and Company.
– Are the mining companies and those importing firms primary producers ?
– I did not claim that they were. I am showing to what extent they are helping the primary producer by supplying him with his machinery. I should like to see these machines on the free list, but, if I cannot get that, I propose to vote only for that amount of taxation which .will not be severely felt by the primary producer. I do not pro* pose to move any amendments myself, but I shall support those that have been indicated. The Treasurer seems to overlook the fact that in the great protectionist countries of Canada and New Zealand a great many of these engines are on the free list’, or were kept upon the free list until such times as they could be produced locally., other means- such as bounties in Canada - being adopted to bring them to that stage. But here, the Treasurer proposes a heavy 30 per cent. tax, practically saying to the primary producer, “ You will have to buy these machines at that price, or do without them.” In that way he proposes to encourage the secondary producer. His policy is largely that of killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. If he penalizes the primary producer to that extent he will find that it will react upon the secondary producer, and that, instead of helping the latter, this prohibitive Tariff will be really a detriment to him.
– I wish to say a few words in reply to those who have stated that these engines cannot be manufactured here. The very best of them can be. I have here an issue of the Australasian of August last, which contains a picture of as .fine a traction engine as ever was seen in Australia, made by Cliff and Bunting, of North Melbourne.
– Is it on wheels?
– And do they go round?
– Several honorable members have made very wild statements. This is what the Australasian said about that traction engine -
One of the exhibits at the Royal Show which is sure to attract and hold the attention of the majority of visitors next week will be a handsome, well-balanced, and serviceable traction engine, designed and manufactured by Messrs. Cliff and Bunting, of North Melbourne. This engine - a photograph of which appears in the pictorial pages - is the outcome of years of practical study of Australian conditions and needs. It has been designed and built in Australia, every part has been made in Australia, every feature has been carefully thought out, and “the result is an engine which will give satisfactory service under all conditions - on metal roads, on earth roads, and in paddocks hauling or ploughing. The excellent quality of the material used throughout not only .insures great strength, but materially reduces the weight of the engine,which is just seven and a-half tons, so that it is well within the weight limit allowed on bridges’ and culverts. The strength and lightness, combined with wide road wheels, means that no injury is done to metal roads, whilst heavy loads can be hauled in swampy paddocks where weightier engines would stick fast. . . . Two-speed gear is fitted ; quick speed for use on good roads and to make good time, and slow speed for use on rough or bad roads, or when there is a heavy load behind. The reverse is a single eccentric, very easy to handle and with little liability to wear. One of the features of the engine is the wonderful ease’ with which it is steered.
– How does it compare in price with that of the imported engines ?
– The price is. not given. The honorable member’ for Batman knows more than I do about the combined road roller and traction engine made recently for the Collingwood City Council, and regarding which I was questioned this afternoon. That honorable member was to a large extent instrumental in having that work done here. The Collingwood. Council invited tenders for it. The tenders came in, but a movement was started to get the machine made here. The moment it was discovered that the Collingwood Council had decided to have it made here the outside tenderers reduced their price by £100. I am told that the price of the accepted . engine .was 25 per cent, less than, the importers’ tender price. The honorable Member for Calare made certain quotations -o’f importers’- prices. Those importers will do exactly as the other importers, did’ .in -the case of the Collingwood engine. The moment, they, know there is going to be opposition here, and that good engines are being made here, their, price to the farmer “will come down immensely, and the farmer will benefit very largely, from the fact ‘that we are protecting an engine which is made here, and which they can > -use. The honorable’ member for Calare, when ‘ he” looks at the “picture in the Australasian of the traction engine 1 have mentioned, will admit that he never saw a j better- machine. It is suitable to Australian’ conditions. Just as the harvester people applied their inventive powers to turning out a harvester fitted foi; Australian conditions, and have also adapted other agricultural machinery to Australian conditions, so the local makers have adapted this machine, to Australian requirements. The practical position before us to-day is that, by putting a’ good duty on these imported machines, we shall give employment to our own people, and’ get machines made, like the one I have just shown to honorable members, as good as any ever built.
.- This item raises the whole question of whether we are to resort to revenue or protective duties. I have been all my life a very ardent free-trader, but I have never yet conceded, nor am I now going to. concede, the expediency of revenue duties.- I have to ask myself,, in view of what has been said this afternoon, which of the three :duties proposed - ‘15 per - cent., 20 per cent., and 30- per cent. - is likely to prove most effective so far as production in this country is. concerned, and- which will be productive of the most revenue. Although, what the honorable member for. Calare has said is no doubt true, that if a duty is imposed somebody has to pay it, it is alsoperfectly obvious that if so low a duty- isimposed as not to encourage people in this country to make the article, those who import it will be able, in the absence of opposition, to form a- complete ring to fix prices, as all trusts do, by arrangement and not by competition. The one great fact that? the twentieth century and the last years of the nineteenth century have made abundantly clear is that the day for the fixing of prices by competition is either past or passing, and that all prices will in the future be fixed by arrangement.’ We, in this Parliament, deliberately propose to pass a law to compel men, within certain limits, to” pav. certain wages andsell at certain prices. Honorable members should not merely say that, if we impose a certain duty, prices will rise to the extent. of that duty; because, I presume, it will not be denied that we can make eighthorse traction engines in Australia. If E had charge of all the industries in the country, and were all-wise - a supposition which, seeing that I am not on the Treasury benches, is obviously absurd - I should protect the iron and steel industry beyond alf others, as the one that requires the most skill and affords the greatest opportunitiesThere are more ramifications every day in this modern world of ours springing from the engineering industry than: from any other. Although machinesevery day replace or displace skilled labour, yet, as a matter of fact, the great machines are becoming in themselves so marvellously -complex, as to demand the highest skill and intelligence in theirmanagement, and particularly in their making.’ It cannot be said that it is impossible to make a traction engine in Australia. Such an engine does not differ, excepting in its wheels, and in its potential speed, from a’ locomotive. The honorable member for1 Boothby, who is an engineer, has said that the locomotive engine is the most complex:’ of all, and, no doubt, that is true enough. The question whether we canmake, traction engines is . not to be debated, because it is very obvious that we can ; and that we have not done so– if we have not - is entirely owing to the fact; that insufficient inducements have been held”, out.’ Now, we have come, through no ac”rtion of mine, or -of persons thinking- with - me, face to face with Government proposals^ to’, .’raise’ a Large amount”, of. revenue. . The? necessity for this step may partly be attributed to the constitutional blot, which compels us to raise four times more revenue than we require. We are not asked to say whether engines shall be free or dutiable, but whether the duty shall be 15 per cent., 20 per cent., or 25 per cent. The honorable member lor Calare is one who will cheerfully vote for a duty of 15 per cent. But that duty, added to insurance and freight, and taking into account the difference in the value of the articles here and in the place of origin, is equivalent to at least 22 per cent. or 23 per cent. The honorable member for Calare and others are, therefore, in favour of imposing a revenue duty to that extent. They tell us that such a duty is not sufficient to be feltby the people, or, at any rate, not to be appreciably felt ; but directlyit is proposed to add another 5 per cent., we have presented to us pictures of the most terrific and awesome character as to the consequences. The honorable member for Wilmot told us that a certain machine would, under such a duty, cost £100 more than formerly, and the honorable member for Calare told us of another machine which would cost £70 more. If an engine - I do not care what sort - can be made in this country, it will compete with imported engines, and prices willfall - that prices fall in competition is very obvious. I have, or had, in my possession a letter from a kerosene oil company, I do not know which, to the effect that if the duty of 3d. per gallon be taken off certain oils, then another company will have a monopoly, and prices will rise; that is to say, directly there is a monopoly prices rise. A man must be blind, or shut his eyes to facts, if he does not realize that there are importers’ rings just as there are manufacturers’ rings. Rings are not confined to any particular class ; wherever there is profit there we find a ring, just as wherever there is carrion there we find the crows. That being the obvious fact, we have to ask ourselves whether, as a matter of hard and solid fact, the imposition of another 5 per cent. will not result in a lower price rather than in a higher one. I learn to my great satisfaction, that farmers are in the habit of purchasing traction engines quite frequently. I have worked for farmers myself many times; and I only knew one man who had a traction engine which travelled with a thresher round the country. Farmers must be more prosperous than they used to be, or than they say they are; and I should be glad to see many of them possessedof engines. It is of no use pointing to the poor farmers as victims. The farmers have had ample consideration, and the operative and skilled artisan ought now to receive some attention. Since we have to raise a large revenue, why not raise it in a way that will give employment to numerous people? I will not vote for a revenue duty ; the mere fact that I am told that a revenue duty is proposed is enough to cause me to vote against it. I know only one effective way of raising revenue, and that is by direct taxation - not necessarily on land - and, if I am forced to choose, I shall not support very low duties, because I hate taxation that falls on the shoulders of very poor people. But he is not a poor person who can buy a traction engine worth from £200 to £700. Personally, I am not a very poor person, but, at the same time, I cannot afford to buy a fraction engine. I have been hesitating a long while about getting a very flimsy sort of pumping apparatus, and I find the price, to me at any rate, quite prohibitive. The Treasurer has proposed duties of 30 per cent. and 25 per cent. ; but he is an enthusiast, and, when he says 30 per cent., he very often means 20 per cent., and is very glad that is understood to be his meaning: Therefore, I shall vote for the same duty on this item, as I did on the last.
.- Yesterday we had an exhibition of what is generally termed in political circles “ getting in out of the wet,” and to-day we have had the most shameless display of the kind known since the creation of this Parliament. The honorable member for West Sydney is the apostle of free-trade; and has scores of times, on the floor of this House, contended that duties increase prices. Yet he tells us to-day that the imposition of the proposed duty will mean decreased prices. If the honorable member is right, his argument would apply to every item we have dealt with in this Tariff. Much as I value my positionmuch as I appreciate the honour conferred upon me by my constituents - I would sooner walk out of Parliament to-morrow, than give such an exhibition as we have witnessed to-day. How far is the honorable member for West Sydney from the fact, when he says that duties decrease prices? The duty now proposed bythe Government means an increase from£650 to£785 on one class of portable engine; on another class of engine, from£750 to ,£905 ; and on another, from £285 to £341. On the very engine under discussion, under the old Tariff, there was protection, including freightage and other charges, amounting to 33 per cent., whereas the proposed duty means a protection to the extent of 40 per cent. The honorable member for Bendigo told us today that the Austral Otis Company, which is primarily interested in this duty, can manufacture eight-horse power single cylinder engines at £720; eight-horse’ power compound engines at £825 ; and eight-horse power portable engines at £325. But the Austral Otis Company have increased their selling prices on these lines by £l°, £l5> and j£40 respectively. What becomes then of the honorable member’s argument that the imposition of this duty will have the effect of reducing the price of these engines? The high price of horses at the present time renders it almost obligatory that a large number of farmers shall use portable engines to provide them with motive power. The one purpose which they have in view is to cheapen the cost of production. Yet the Committee are asked to sanction - in the interests practically of one firm - a proposal to increase the cost of these machines to the extent that I have indicated. I venture to ‘say that if the Committee assent to that proposal, this firm will take full advantage of its position. It will have its pound of flesh, and, in doing so, I do not suggest for a moment that it is any worse than is the average individual. Upon the first class of machine, it will have a margin of £65 upon which to increase its price directly this duty is imposed. Upon, the second class of engine, it will have a margin of £80, and upon the smaller engines, it will have a margin of £60. The Committee, I regret to say, have already authorized the collection of duties upon the tools of trade of the producers, as well as upon the necessaries of life. But if honorable members were to visit the various factories in the city of Melbourne, they would find that in nine cases out of ten. the tools of trade and the raw materials of these establishments have been placed upon the free list. If they had not been out in that category, the manufacturers of Victoria would have been in the lobbies of this House pestering honorable members. I recollect my experience when the 1902 Tariff was under consideration. Upon that occasion, the boot manufacturers engaged in lobbying for the purpose of getting a duty of 30 per cent, imposed upon boots. What happened subsequently? They invaded the room occupied by the free-trade members of the House, whom they requested to abolish the duty of 15 per cent, which was being collected upon leather, on the ground that leather was their raw material.
– Boots are cheaper now than they have ever been.
– That is the argument of the Postmaster-General, who is interested in an industry which has received . a protection amounting in some instances to 150 per cent.
– I am not interested to the extent of a fraction in any industry in Australia. The honorable member should not make that statement.
– Then the PostmasterGeneral is very much maligned. The only industry in which he has exhibited a very great interest is that of hats, and upon the lower class of hats, a duty has been levied which is equivalent to 150 per cent.
– By way of personal explanation, may I’ be permitted to say that I am not interested either directly or indirectly to the extent of a single penny in any manufacturing industry in Australia.
– The honorable member for Grey has departed somewhat from the item under consideration by introducing the question of the duty imposed upon leather.
– I am quite aware of that; but I was induced to transgress bv the interjection of the Postmaster-General. If there be any class in Australia which deserves consideration at our hands, it is that of the primary producers. Can honorable members point to a single line in this Tariff which will benefit either the ‘ farmer or the miner? The products of the miner have to compete in the markets of the world, and the same remark is applicable to those of the farmer. I say that it would pay our primary producers to pension off the men employed in the manufacture of these engines, ‘ if, bv so doing, they were permitted to obtain their tools of trade and the necessaries of life at the lowest possible rate. I have had some experience of the lives which our farmers lead, and I know the difficulties with which they have to contend. I am acquainted with men in the arid portions of South Australia, who have obtained from their holdings very little more than seed-wheat, and the necessary flour upon which to live. As a matter of fact, I have seen them maintaining their families, not upon bread, but upon boiled wheat. Yet this Committee will go into heroics if it can provide work for twenty men, altogether ignoring the fact that by its action 500 individuals are being penalized. I have known men upon the land whose wheat crop did not average one bushel per acre per year for practically ten Years, and during some of those years, wheat realized only is. 4d. per bushel.
– No man would remain upon the land under such circumstances. How could he possibly live?
– I will tell the honorable member. To a very great extent, these men live upon the local storekeepers. They starve their families and look forward to brighter times. I have known men who settled upon arid areas when they were young, and who have quitted them practically at the end of their lives without a penny.
– That may be seen every day in Queensland and all the world over.
– Why should men who have to undergo such difficulties be penalized ?
– There are less cases of insolvency amongst farmers than in any other class.
– That is not so.
– It is absolutely true, as the statistics show.
– Why should these men be penalized in respect of every tool of trade which they may require?
– That is all right; stick to the text.
– I am sticking to the text.”
– No. The honorable member told us that for ten years the farmers got is. 6d. a bushel. That is a tale, because we know different.
– It is not a tale. Here is an apostle of protection in the person of the honorable member for Darwin, who was in South Australia at the time, and knows that what I said is an absolute fact. For a number of years, I have seen wheat sold at is. 4d. a bushel in the out-ports.
– The honorable member said is. 6d.
– No; I said that the farmers did not average more than a bushel of wheat to the acre, and that it realized only is. 4d. For years I saw the men sow their seed, and where I expected to see a crop, I saw red fallow land ; no wheat came up at all. Yet, With honorable (members who live in a fine climate, and are surrounded by the manufacturing interests, the only consideration, apparently, is to pile on duties, ostensibly to create labour. It does not matter to> them what duties are imposed, so long as they create labour in the towns, if it be created for only ten, twenty, or thirty men. It concerns them very little whether they penalize hundreds of primary producers who cannot possibly derive any advantage from the Tariff. What did the Prime Minister say only a few years ago in regard to the imposition of duties levied on agricultural implements, which I declare are essential to enable agriculturists to contend with climatic conditions, vermin, and various other things, in the poorest country, whither they have been driven, by land monopoly? Yet, the Government propose to increase their burdens. I trust that the Committee will fix as low duties as possible on these tools of trade, which are essential to cheap production by primary producers, and which, as time goes on, “will be used still more largely.
.- Mr. Fowler, I think you will admit that as a rule, the last speaker is a pretty warm sort of chap, and is fairly consistent. Tonight he has told you that he would rather walk out of public life than do certain things; that he would rather take a political cake-walk out of this assembly than go back on his free trade principles. We must all admit that he is about the most consistent man in this Parliament in advocating the extension of free-trade. If the Committee had been voting on the lines which he has stated right through the consideration of this Tariff, probably he would have found other honorable members keeping him company. I had the pleasure of sitting with him in the first Parliament. At that time the only weak spot he had - and it has been weak ever since that date - was a small patch of Tariff matter, but a bit of salt went over “the patch and removed the difficulty.
– That is not correct.
– The honorable member knows that he did not fight very strongly for free-trade principles in connexion with one item in the first Federal Tariff, and that a bit of salt prevented the disease from spreading.
– I rise to order, sir. I have already explained my position on the item to which the honorable member has just referred. If he will extend to me the ordinary courtesy which is extended to an honorable member he will accept the facts as described in Hansard. I was rather surprised to hear him again referring to the matter, especially when he, amongst others, agreed to a compromise, and afterwards asked me to break away from it.
– - That is not a point of order.
– I generally extend more than ordinary courtesy to my fellow members, and particularly to the honorable ‘ member for Grey. We are not here, however, for the purpose of cultivating personal friendships. I do not believe that there is a stronger friendship between two members of the House than exists between the honorable member and myself. I do not know how it may be affected by my remarks this afternoon. I trust that the honorable member will not be fractious under my observations, because he can pepper us very strongly when he likes. He has rubbed it in strongly in his last speech. He, in common with others when it suits their purpose, imposes a self-denving ordinance, so far as Tariff matters are concerned. I do not think that the electorate of Grey is full of industrials to manufacture anything. I have not vet heard that it was a teeming mass’ of factories. And when the honorable member says he is prepared to take a political cake-walk out of the chamber rather than do certain things, I take the liberty of saying that probably the policy which he is advocating is a just and useful policy to a constituency in which there are no strong vested interests, no thousands of men engaged in factories, no hundred varieties of industries which- require or ask for assistance. It is just as well, sir, for me to throw that sidelight. The honorable member for Dalley, when he addresses you, does not pretend to defend this item on economic grounds any more than he would on any other grounds ; but he says openly that as honorable members rise in their places they show that they are freetraders or protectionists, in patches, just as it suits them, and he generally finds that the patch which is put most strongly before the Chair is the patch in their own electorate where a particular industry, is concerned. So far as pestering is concernedeither by personal approach or in any other way - let me tell the honorable member for Grey that not on any item have I been approached directly by either importer or manufacturer. . That is the stand which I took on the first Federal Tariff, and the stand which I take on this Tariff. Certainly I have received their circulars, but that has been all. If ever they have got near enough to speak to me, in my electorate or elsewhere, I have asked them to keep off the Tariff question, and to allow me to deal with it as a man who is responsible to his constituency for his votes. I do not ask any one else to share my responsibility. I wish the honorable member for Grey to understand that I have no recollection of the incident to which he referred just now. I do not question that it occurred as he said. Probably the way in which I then dealt ‘ with any attempt at pestering has prevented any one from attempting to pester me in connexion with this Tariff. Referring to the item before the- Chair, I suppose that the largest engineering estab.lishment in New South Wales is in my electorate. There’ are also many similar establishments there. Out of all those firms not one of them by letter, to say nothing of a personal interview, has approached me in regard to this - item. There is a clear statement of my position, sir. I would not pursue that course any longer, only that I wish to make my case clear. When I was before my electors during the last campaign, I said openly’, “ So far as the doctrine of free-trade is concerned on the necessaries of life, such as food supplies, &c, I shall endeavour to get you the lowest possible duties. But as regards” any other question when I find men, either free-traders or protectionists in patches, fighting to get a little assistance for their own electorates’, I shall take care that, as your representative, I shall not be slow in demanding a little share of that protection for my electors.” That is a frank, open statement. Perhaps, sir, you may say that it was a foolish statement for me to make, but I made it, and am answerable to my constituents. I am now carrying out, rightly or wrongly, my self:imposed policy at the last election. Yesterday, when a similar item was submitted, the plea put forward was that it would be all right if it did not affect mining machinery.
You, sir, pleaded withhonorable members not to put penalties on the great mining experiments of Australia. You put that plea pretty strongly before the Committee. You said that you would not be like the honorable member for Dalley - . such a practically low-minded individual as to fight for your electorate. You declared that you would not do such a thing, that you were such a noble-hearted, elevated patriot, that all you thought about was the ruination of your State.
– Who said that?
– I must not take too much liberty, because it was said by an honorable member who at present is handcuffed. I would not like to be sitting in the chair, sir, and to be referred to as I am referring to the honorable member for Perth, who is generally very calm in his speech, and very careful as to his statements. When he put that position to the honorable member for Dalley, he put it very nicely. In fact, with a sort of sorrowful air, he said that he stuck up for his electorate, but that he, like the honorable member for Grey, would rather walk outofParliament than do such a thing as he indicated. “In may. State,” ‘ he said,’ “ the engineers are more benefited by the successful running of mining ventures than by anything else.” So, Mr. Fowler, I find that even that honorable gentleman had a patch. I do not wish to speak rudely, but my nature is a bit rough. I think that there is just as much human nature to the square inch in yourself as there is in the carcase of the honorable member who is addressing you. Yesterday, you were looking after your State. To-day, when this particular industry is concerned, I am looking after, not only my electorate, but alsomy State. We have dealt with the item of mining machinery, and now that we are dealing with another item, what is the plea put forward? The plea is made on behalf of somebody else - poor struggling men who buy traction engines at . £400 or£500; poor individuals who walk into an engineering establishment and give an “order for a piece of machinery costing from . £500 to £1,000. Poor devils!
– It will take a good traction engine to shift us off this item.
– And it will take a good traction engine to shift me off my vote. A 60 horse- power locomotive engine such as the honorable member may affect would not take me off my track. It is all very well for the honorable member for Swan - who yesterday almost burst himself in voting protection for the nail industry - to interrupt me. I ask him now to do a little on behalf of the engineerng establishments of Australia.
– But the honorable member is a free-trader.
– The honorable member is a free-trader, is he? He voted for 40 per cent. on nails yesterday.
– The honorable member is a free-trader ; I am not.
– I would like to see the honorable member give a little protection to the engineering trades. What have they done that they should not receive it?
– I am going to give them some.
– I do not wish to pursue that argument any further, but to refer to the item before the Chair - to locomotives, traction engines, and other things. Some honorable members desire to have a revenue duty, but I ask them to abolish their idea of getting revenue by this means, and put the articles on the free list. If they think that those who use these engines will have a severe tax placed upon them, let them not vote for a duty of 15 or 121/2 per cent.; because that will be imposed upon the users, and will be of no benefit to the engineering fraternity. There is no compensating advantage in imposing such low duties. With them it is only a question of imposing heavy duties on articles which, according to their own statement, are the tools of trade of the down-trodden masses, for that is the way in which they put it to you, sir. If they hold that view, do not let them fool with the question at all. Let the honorable member for Swan, and those who think with him that the duty is a severe imposition upon people, and cannot encourage local manufacture, put the articles on the free list. I will show them what sort of an animal I am. If I. cannot get an effective duty, I will vote to place the articles on the free list.
– The honorable member has told us that about twenty times.
– If I have, I do not tell it to slow music, as the honorable member tells his story, nor with one-half of the bumptiousness which he exhibits, approaching the table like an inflated balloon, as he has done on very many occasions, and telling the Chairman that he will not allow this member or thatmember to doubt his veracity. Let me respectfully tell the honorable member for Swan that the honorable member for Dalley mav be allowed to say one or two words regarding the attitude which he is going to take up. Sir John Forrest. - Yes.
– I thank the honorable member very much for his condescension. With regard to locomotives, even the State of New South Wales has got out of its free-trade ideas. A few years ago its Government refused to purchase locomotive engines for running on their railways, and made arrangements for some to be manufactured at the Eveleigh workshops under Government control by their own workers. The free-trade press of New South Wales accepted that arrangement with the warmest praise, because it meant work for the engineering fraternity. I was very pleased indeed to think that the railway workshops of the State were going in for the manufacture of locomotives. I am only showing you, sir, that .they all have little patches of protection upon them. That is a patch which I hope to see enlarged before the debate in regard to machinery is concluded. : Honorable members have said that in the past the demand for traction engines has been so small that it did not pay engineering firms to attempt to manufacture them. An engineering” establishment cannot be started except with a larger expenditure on plant. The man who thinks that he. can start with . a file, and 2s. 6d. in his pocket, will soon file his schedule. We have heard a good deal about the great amount of plant lying idle in the nail-making industry, which employs twenty men ; but I ask those who voted for a duty of 40 per cent, to protect that industry, why they should be frightened to give 30 per cent, to protect the immensely larger engineering industry ? One engineering firm alone in my electorate pays from £150,000 to £170,000 a year in wages. If a man is going to make a splash at all, he should do it for the engineering and iron-working trades, which are national in their character. Engineering establishments are not confined to Victoria and New South Wales. If the Tariff encourages manufacturing, there will be engineering establishments, not only all along the eastern sea-board, but also in Western Australia as well. The trouble of the Western Australian people to-day is that, if they import from the eastern States, they have heavy freights to pay; but with engineering establishments of their own they will be able to get what they want locally. Although the new grouping of items which the Treasurer has brought forward is an improvement, it still leav.es things in an unsatisfactory position. Why should steam turbines be placed on the free list, and a duty of 25 per cent, be imposed on high-speed engines - both of which are used for practically the same purposes? Great Britain leads the world in the manufacture of this kind of machinery, and it will be some time before we can make equally good machinery of the kind here. But the differentiation to which I refer is an anomaly. Both turbines and high-speed engines should be on the free list, or both should be dutiable at 25 per cent. Coming to the question of preference, I have throughout showed the hollowness of the preferential trade proposals. They have been used to secure a lower Tariff, and I have been glad to avail myself of them to bring about the reduction of duties on articles of ordinary consumption. But I am not willing to pretend to do something for the engineering industry, and then take away any advantage by imposing a low duty upon British importations. I ask the Government to go for rates of 30 and 25 per cent. , if they can get them, or, if not, for an all round rate of 25 per cent.
– Twenty and 15 per cent.
– I would sooner have this machinery placed on the free list than impose merely revenue duties on it.
– If our manufacturers cannot make it under a protective duty of 20 per cent., they should not try to do so.
– Why did the honorable member vote for the imposition of such heavy duties upon woollens and hats? Mr. Tilley Brown. - I” have not voted for the imposition of heavy duties.
Mr. WILKS. honorable member gave many votes for much higher rates than 20 per cent.
– If he did not, he is the rata avis of the Victorian protectionists, and the honorable member for Grey is a bird of like character’ in the labour flock. Honorable members know the great dimensions of the engineering trade, in which the wages paid to artisans are from 80 to 50 per cent, higher than are paid in other trades. If any criticism is to be offered on the subject of change of attitude, I shall be very pleased to do my own attacking, instead of allowing others to attack me. I have stated my position here, and I stated it when before the electors. Those connected with the engineering industry have not appealed to me personally, but, as high duties have been voted for the protection of mere mushroom industries. I shall he very glad to support duties for the protection of a substantial industry. But there must be reason in roasting eggs, and I do not wish to go to extremes.
– A duty of 30 per cent, is very moderate.
– It is moderate compared with duties of 75 and 50 per cent., which have been imposed upon other items. A duty of 30 per cent, should be the high water mark so far as the engineering industry is concerned, and it is a very reasonable rate to ask for. I hope that the Treasurer will not allow trie protection given to the engineering industry to be cut down by preferential trade proposals. Sir William Lyne. - We must have preferential trade.
– No preference was given last night.
– That was because we could not get what we wanted.
– I hope that it will not -be given in this case. It is only a device to reduce rates. It is absurd to say that we cannot make steam rollers here. They are the simplest machines to make, and I was glad to know of the manufacture of the machine on which the Treasurer performed baptismal rites at Collingwood.
– That is a traction engine, too.
– Yes. Not many have been made here, because there is- not a Targe demand for them; but that does not prove that they cannot be made. I shall be satisfied with reasonable duties for the protection of engineering ; but, seeing that my constituents have to pay heavy duties on clothing, food supplies, and other requisites, I should” be worse than a fool if I did not try to get something for them.
– I should not take part in this debate had it not been for the strange speech of the honorable member for Grey- I take this opportunity to point out, I hope once and for all, that others as well as he represent farming constituencies, and have .the interests of the farmers at heart. It will not help his cause to put the farmers in a’ false position bv making them appear antagonistic to an Australian policy. The bulk of them are in favour of an Australian policy, because they know that they owe their existence as farmers to it. Does the honorable member think that the Committee will accept such an exaggerated statement as he’ made ?
– It was quite true.
– The honorable member for Grey , said that in a part of South Australia the farmers for ten consecutive years existed on boiled wheat, that that was their staple food. I have eaten boiled wheat, and know that it makes a good article of diet ; in fact, I use it in preference to some of the oaten and maize meals.
– But the honorable member would not like to live on it.
– No one would like to be confined to one diet. I have been a farmer, and have undergone as many hardships and troubles as any farmer in the country; but 1 do not believe it possible that for ten consecutive years farmers in any district have had to live on boiled wheat, with a yield of half a bushel to the acre, which they sold at is. 4d. per bushel. The farmers in my electorate have suffered as much as those in the northern parts of South Australia. They are called upon to suffer greatly at times, by reason of droughts.
– How does the honorable member propose to connect these remarks with the subject of* portable engines ? He is making a second-reading speech.
– I am dealing with the contention of the honorable member for Grey, that traction engines should not be made dutiable, because farmers who have been in the terrible position which he mentioned are forced to buy them for use instead of horses. I challenge the honorable member for Grey to find in any State 500 bond fide farmers - I am not alluding to large pastoralists - 5 per cent, of whom are employing traction engines and other powerful engines. The 5 per cent, might use them for threshing purposes, travelling round with them from farm to farm, making a levy upon the farmers who use them. A farmer who understands his business knows full well the advantage of breeding a high class of stock. There will always be a demand, both in Australia and outside, for ten times the number of horses we can breed in this country. The arguments used to induce the Committee not to agree to a substantial duty, in this instance, are the most extraordinary I ever heard coming from a so-called farmers’ representative.
– The honorable member’s argument” seems to be that we should increase the duty on powerful engines to induce farmers to breed more horses.
– I say nothing of the kind. Some honorable members who represent mining or farming constituencies look at a matter of this kind simply from the point of view of their own electorates, and appear to be incapable of regarding it from any other aspect: Consider it from the miner’s point of view. Will it be denied that the miner has been benefited by industrial legislation, by means of which importers’ monopolies have been compelled to bring down their prices? The reduction in the cost, of machinery has enabled the employers to pay better wages than they could otherwise have done. In years gone- by, before Victoria and other States, entered into the manufacture of machinery; from a serious, point .of -view, prices were joo per cent, higher than they are to-day.
– That is the old argument - high prices for flour make bread cheaper !
Mi. CHANTER.- What I say as to machinery cannot be contradicted ; statistics prove it. I know of no farmers who use steam rollers, traction engines, and powerful engines of other classes. I know of very large capitalists “who may. sometimes want them for extensive irrigation works ; but when I speak of a farmer, I mean a working man whodrives his own .plough and tills with his. own implements.
– The honorable member ought to have a much larger class of that kind around Deniliquin.
– I quite agree with the honorable member. Will he deny that the farmer is benefited by a Tariff such as this?
– I thought the honorable member was going to show how the miner is benefited. ‘
– I have done so. T have shown that a Tariff such as this tends to give the miner constant ‘employment, and that he benefits ‘ from . the competition caused by the internal manufacture of mining machinery.
– I must ask ‘the’ honorable ‘ member not to enter into a general discussion of free-trade and protection.
– We have had such arguments from the honorable member for Grey without any check.
– I was not in the. chair when the honorable member for Greywas speaking; but if I allowed the honorable member to enter into a general discussion, it would open up the whole Tariff, from beginning to end. . .
– I sat patiently listening to other honorable members who enitered into general considerations. The honorable member for Grey made statements which I believe to be absolutely incorrect. I wish to prove that not only, has the miner benefited from industrial legislation such- as we are now engaged in.dealing with, but that the fawner has also benefited.
– I do not. wish to curtail the honorable member’s remarks, but I cannot allow a general discussion to take place on this item.
– I was not opening up anything at all new, but was simply replying to statements made by the honorable member for Grey, which can, I think.be easily refuted. I ask honorable .members whether the manufacture in Australia of such machinery- as we are now considering has not had the effect of lowering prices ? The farmer and* the miner have also ‘been benefited by opportunities being afforded for their sons to enter into-, other; fields of employment.’ A miner does not; want his sons to be always miners.
– That is what -Grahams Berry told the Victorians thirty years ago.
– And he was perfectly, right. It has been- demonstrated that thou-, sands and thousands of miners’ sons, and of miners themselves, have drifted from the mining fields into our manufacturingindustries. The same is the case ‘ with farmers’ sons. ‘ ‘ -.
– And many of the men. in the industries of Melbourne had tr* drift ov’er to Western Australia to get work in the “mines there.
– The greed for gold has -induced men to go,- sometimes to ‘theArctic Regions, and .at other times to the hottest of countries. The point is, however, that our farmers and miners have not been- driven out of Australia,’ and we want ‘ them to remain . here. The mirier is; as much interested in our manufacturing; industries ‘as are other classes, not only? from the point of view of his own benefit, but for the sake of the community of which he is part. I know hundreds, of cases, especially on the Bendigo field, with which I am well acquainted, of miners who have left the mines and entered into industrial - occupations. How would a farmer be benefited by the policy df those honorable members -who, by placing such machines as we are considering upon the free list, would drive our manufacturing industries out of the Common- wealth? Will not the farmer be benefited by such an increase of industries as will increase the population of Australia? If the factories are emptied, whom are we going to depend upon to fight for Aus-‘ tralia if a time of stress should come? We cannot depend upon those who want to keep our chimneys from smoking and our wheels from revolving. The farmer knows that he is benefited from the prosperity of our manufacturing industries. They create for him a large home market. He has two markets to depend upon, one of which he can to a certain extent control, whilst the other is beyond his control. His home market is increased by affording profitable employment to thousands of workmen. I challenge another statement made by the honorable member for Grey. .He said that the effect of every Tariff that has been passed had been to increase the price of every article upon which a duty was imposed, and that the farmer had to pay more for everything he ate and everything he used. Well, a good farmer does not usually require to buy much to eat. He produces that for himself. As for prices, will any one deny that until the policy of protection was applied in Australia, every machine and every article was dearer by too per cent, than is the case to-day? That is a statement that cannot be contradicted.
– Because all over the world processes have been cheapened to a large extent in the meantime.
– I can give the honorable member instances where prices have been at a certain figure in one State, and considerably higher or lower in other States, as the case may be, according to whether the price of imported articles was affected bv local manufactures. Competition has brought the price down
– What about co-operation?
– That, is quite another matter. I sincerely hope the Committee will bass_ this item with the duty, proposed. t ask’ honorable members to break down once for all the feeling that we cannot make these goods to advantage. Australia has determined upon a protective policy.. The details of the Tariff may require rearranging from time to time, but duties should be so fixed that every one may know that for all time capital may safely be invested in Australian industries. We should let it go forth to the world that capital may be invested in our industries with some hope of return. We can make in Australia all that we require,- and if the majority of honorable members are true to their election pledges, they will vote for a truly protectionist policy, such as is embodied in this Tariff.
Question - That the words “ traction and portable engines,” proposed to be left out, stand part of the amendment (Mr. Fuller’s amendment ‘ of Sir William Lyne’s amendment) - put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment of the amendment negatived. Amendment (by Mr. Fuller) put -
That the amendment be amended by leaving out the figures “ 30,” with a view to insert in lieu thereof the figures “ 20.”
The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the negative. Amendment of the amendment negatived. Amendment (by Sir John Quick) proposed -
That the amendment be amended by leaving out the figures “ 30 “ with a view to insert in lieu thereof the figures “25.”
.- I wish to supply a little information for the benefit of our protectionist friends. The Tariff Commission were told repeatedly by those interested in this industry as workers, that a duty of 25 per cent, on machinery of this kind was of no use whatever to them. If honorable members desire that protection should be afforded to this industry, they must, therefore, vote for much higher duties than 25 per cent.
– What do honorable members in the corner say to this?
– The effect of a duty of 25 per cent, would simply be to add to the cost of all the machinery included in this item. It would not lead to any appreciable -development of the industry In Australia. That is the opinion of those who asked the Tariff Commission for higher duties. Those who wish to be considered consistent protectionists, should, in this case, vote for higher duties than are now proposed, or leave this machinery dutiable at the rates levied under the old Tariff.
– I wish just to say that I should like very much to have been able to secure a duty of 30 per cent., but, as I find that I cannot do that, I am prepared to accept the amendment of the honorable member for Bendigo.
. -I am- very sorry to hear the Treasurer make that admission. We have heard from the honorable member for Perth that if we intend to protect this industry, we should not impose lower duties than those proposed by the Government. I have been very much, surprised by the action of the honorable member for Bendigo in moving his amendment. It must not be forgotten that if the duty imposed under the general Tariff were fixed at 25 per cent, instead of 30 per cent, as proposed bv the Government, it would mean a duty of 20 per cent, on imports from the United Kingdom, because the majority of honorable members are pledged to preference. The Treasurer should have stood by his Tariff, - and I say that the honorable member for Bendigo was bound to support him, if only for the reasons stated by the honorable member for Perth.
-5S1- - I asls- the Treasurer whether he proposes that the duty all round shall be 25 per cent. ?
– That depends upon the Committee.
– If not. the Treasurer, in accepting the amendment, is’ sacrificing the people’s interests.
– I cannot allow such remarks to be made. I challenge honorable members, and especially protectionists, to say that I am sacrificing protection in any way. If they are not prepared, to a very large extent, to leave it to me to decide what I can get, some one else had better be given charge of the business. I know what I can get, and what I cannot get, and what I can best do in the interests of those who desire the highest protection we can secure for them.
.- In reply io the honorable member for Perth, let me say that I am a protectionist, and can exercise my right to vote as such without any dictation from free-traders. I made up my mind, when the Tariff was introduced, that I would vote for duties of 25 per cent, and 20 per cent, on this item, and that is how I intend to vote, whether the Government accept the amendment or not.
– I wish the honorable member for Bendigo to explain whether, in moving his amendment, he is prepared to accept a duty of 20 per cent, in the second column, or whether he does not think that 25 per cent, is the minimum of effective protection for this industry. I can understand the honorable member being against preference, but surely he must be aware that if 25 per cent, is considered a fair duty under the general Tariff, honorable members will look for a duty of 20 per cent, on imports from the United Kingdom.
– Certainly; I said so.
– Then the honorable member does not believe that 20 per cent, is a fair duty. He is going against his own recommendation, although he said that he was prepared to stand by the recommendation of the protectionist, section of the Tariff Commission. I say that if we are not to have effective protection for this industry, it is better that this machinery should be admitted free. I have no wish to penalize the users of these machines, unless we can benefit the manufacturers and workers of Australia. I have been prepared to agree with some of the recommendations of the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission, but I have never been prepared to vote for duties below those they recommended. It would now appear to be a fact that the Chairman of the Tariff Commission is prepared to accept a lower duty than that which he believes will give effective protection.
.- A duty of 25 per cent, on this item is recog nised as a fair duty by Silverthorne and Adair, who have the largest foundry in Kalgoorlie.
– The honorable member proposes that they should be given a duty of only 20 per cent.
– Wages in this industry are 50 per cent, higher in Kalgoorlie than in Melbourne or Sydney, and if a duty of 25 per cent, is sufficient for Kalgoorlie, manufacturers in Melbourne and, Sydney should be ashamed to ask for a higher rate of duty. In view of the increased cost of labour, a duty of 25 per cent., as applied to .the industry in Kalgoorlie, would be worth 50 per cent, to the industry in Melbourne. At page 2022 of the Tariff Commission’s report it will be found that Mr. Silverthorne asked’ for a duty of 25 per cent.
– Why did not the hon7orable member vote for that duty?
– Because - I thought they were asking for too much. If the Western Australian manufacturers secured that rate of protection, the bigger factories with better facilities in Melbourne and Sydney would secure the same rate. If manufacturers at Kalgoorlie can hold their own with a duty of 25 per cent., those engaged in the industry in Melbourne and Sydney should be able to carry on with the duty imposed under the old Tariff.
– We heard yesterday that the honorable member for Fremantle did not care whether they could manufacture these machines in Western Australia or not.
– Who said that?
– To-day the honorable member states- that if manufacturers in that State are given a protection of 25 per cent, they can carry on. I wish to show that he is prepared to destroy the Western Australian industries. He says that they can carry on with a 20 per cent, duty.
– I did not say so; they have said so themselves.
– The honorable member must be aware that they cannot carry on with a lower duty. By voting for the amendment, he would decide in favour of- a duty of only 20 per cent, on imports from the United Kingdom. That is the position. The honorable member has led the Committee to believe that he thinks a duty of 25 per cent! a fair duty.
– I did not say it was fair ; I said that they asked too much.
-We have to consider not merely the manufacturers of Victoria and New South Wales. I have more consideration for the smaller States, where manufactures cannot be carried on on the same scale as in the larger States. I do not wish to see any industry in Western Australia or in South Australia destroyed in the way the honorable member for Fremantle proposes they should be. If the Committee does not. carry a duty of 30 per cent, in the General Tariff, I shall claim the vote of the honorable member for Fremantle in favour of a duty of 25 per cent, on imports from the United Kingdom.
Question - That the figures “ 30,” pro- posed to be left out, stand part of the proposed amendment (Sir John Quick’s amendment of Sir William Lyne’s amendment)” - put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the negative. Amendment of the amendment agreed to. Amendment inserting the figures “ 25 “ agreed to.
.- I desire to move in regard to the United Kingdom column that “ traction and portable engines be free.”
– We have already decided that traction and portable engines shall remain part of the item.
Amendment (by Mr. Hedges) .proposed -
That the amendment be amended by leaving out the figures “ 25,” with a view to insert in lieu thereof the figures “ 15.”
Question - That the figures “25,” proposed to be left out, stand part of the proposed amendment - put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the negative.:
Question- That the figures “15,” proposed to be inserted, be so inserted - put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the negative. Amendment (by Sir John Quick) proposed
That the figures “20” be inserted in the’ blank created by leaving out of the proposed amendment the figures’ “ 25.”
– Now we see the ridiculous position in which” we are placed. The honorable member for Bendigo, as Chairman pf the Tariff Commission, recommended a duty of 25 per cent, as that which ought to be imposed ; and we have “agreed on that duty in’ the general Tariff. I must say that the Treasurer has not shown his usual” astuteness ; because,” although ‘ he might not have the support necessary to carry a duty of 30 per cent., there were still sufficient to enable him to obtain a duty of 25 per cent, all round. Having agreed to allow 25 per cent, to be fixed for the general Tariff, the Government are now practically forced to accept a duty of 20 per cent, as against Great Britain; and’ that is certainly not sufficient protection. In the case of the previous item there was no preferential duty ; but now it is proposed to give a preference which will be’ injurious to the industry. I invite the honorable member for Bendigo to withdraw’’ the amendment, because, in my opinion, the preferential duties are destroying the Tariff. For my part, I shall vote against the amendment. I am sorry to think that honorable members, who went before the country as protectionists, should be found, supporting the amendment of the honorable member for Bendigo. We find honor-, able members like the honorable member for Echuca voting for a duty of 15 per cent. ; and yet, before his constituents, he called himself a protectionist. How can honorable members justify such votes?” Why ‘do such honorable members not come’ out in their true colours and call themselves free-traders? I like honorable mem-‘ bers to act consistently with the opinions they expressed when before the electors.
– I rise to a point of order. The honorable member for Hindmarsh has referred’ pointedly to me, ‘and said that ‘ I expressed certain opinions to’ my constituents, and that I have voted in’, another direction in this House. Is. the honorable member in order in so referring to me?
– I heard the honorable member stand up in his place anr! say that he was pledged to the recommendations of the Tariff Commission.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.45 p.m. Amendment of the amendment agreed to.
Amendment (Sir William Lyne’s), as amended, agreed to. - Item, as amended, agreed to. ^Postponed item 164. (a) Engines (including traction and portable), n.e’.i. ; turbines; winches, n.e.i.- ; boilers, n.e.i: ;. pumps ; windmills.’ (b) Elevating and conveying machinery ; pile-driving plant ; economizers ; cranes ,- beer engines ; cloth- folding and’ measuring machines ; wool and other presses; lifts; water and gas meters. fc) -Ma-‘ chines- and machinery, n.e.i., at’, val. (General’ Tariff), 30 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), “25 per cent. ….
Subject to rebate under- the conditions specified in the schedule hereto.
.- I move -
That the words “and on and after 281A1 November, 1907, Item 164 (a) Pulley blocks and travelling blocks ; pneumatic elevators and conveyors ; steam turbo-blowers ; telphers ; apparatus for the liquefaction of gases, ad val. (General Tariff), 5 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), free, (b) Machines and machinery, n.e.i., ad val. (General Tariff), 30 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent.,” be added.
– Can the Treasurer give us any information regarding the addition which he proposes of apparatus for the liquefaction of gases?
– I understand that this apparatus is not being made in the Commonwealth. Some honorable members may not be. aware of the fact that pulley blocks and travelling blocks will include the tackle connected therewith. The point was raised by the honorable member for Indi as to whether the foot-note -
Subject to rebate under the conditions specified in the schedule hereto, will be retained. I may inform him that it will have no application unless an asterisk is retained.
– 1 should like the Treasurer to explain what this apparatus for the liquefaction of gases really is? It is of the utmost importance that we should know what we are voting, for.
.- I desire to know under what item of the Tariff air compressors are included. Do they come under paragraph a of this item?
– No, under paragraph b.
– I would point out that steam turbines are dutiable at 5 per cent, under the general Tariff, and are free under the Tariff for the United Kingdom. Now, the only engines which enter into competition with steam’ turbines, and which, in many instances, do the same work, -are high-speed engines. At the present time these bear a duty of 20 per cent.
– High-speed engines are included in item 162, which has already been passed.
– I wish to make highspeed engines having a piston speed of 500 feet or more per minute, dutiable at 5 per cent, under the general Tariff, and to admit them free under the Tariff for the United Kingdom.-
– I would point out that the item which the honorable member is desirous of amending has already been passed.
– Seeing that steam turbines are the motive power for the turboblowers, why cannot we include in this item high-speed engines which do the same work? I therefore move -
That the amendment be amended by inserting after the word “ blowers,” paragraph a, the words “ and high-speed engines having a piston speed of 500 feet per minute or over.”
– That matter has already been dealt with in item 162.
– How about turboblowers? Unless my proposal is ruled out of order, I intend to persist in it. Steam turbines and high-speed, engines practically do the same work in certain places. I understand that the Department urges some objection to the adoption of the course which I propose, because it alleges that it is difficult to differentiate between slow-speed and high-speed engines. But I would point out that in only a few instances, would it be possible to introduce a slow-speed engine under the description of a high-speed engine. In other words, there would have to be a misdescription of the goods. The argument advanced by the Department is not a good one, inasmuch as it might be urged with equal force in regard to every item of the Tariff. Because, in a few instances, it may be possible, under a wrong description, to introduce slow-speed engines as high-speed engines, I do not see why the latter should be refused admittance at 5 per cent, under the general Tariff, or why they should not be included in the free list under the Tariff for the United Kingdom.
– I wish to point out that high-speed engines are included in item 162, which has already been agreed to. A steam turbo-blower may be constructed on exactly the same principle as a steam power, but it is not considered a motive power at all. All these items, and the one to which the honorable member has referred, are included in item 162. The only way in which that can be altered is by recommitting the item, and taking out the article, because I do not intend . to mix up motive power with secondary machinery. Item 162, I repeat, deals with motive power. I hope that the honorable member will not move the amendment. I do not know whether the Chairman thinks it can Le moved, but I think that we shall have to recommit item 162 before anything can be done in that regard.
– It is a most difficult tiling for me to- decide in this technical matter. But if I am assured by the Treasurer that high-speed engines are included in item 162, the honorable member for Capricornia will be out of order in moving the proposed amendment; otherwise, I would have accepted it.
– On a point of order, sir, I understand that we have passed motive-power machinery n.e.i. at 25 per cent., or whatever the duty is, but that we may elsewhere include any particular part of that machinery in any item. The Tariff has been dealt with throughout on the understanding that the term “n.e.i.” means “not elsewhere in the Tariff included,” and does not mean “not elsewhere in this item included.” If you, sir, look through the other items in the same way, you have to look through a number of different divisions to see what the term “ n.e.i.” means. I wish to have a ruling, because it will govern, not merely the amendment which the honorable member for Capricornia wishes to move, but many others.
– Then we could include helmets in this item?
– We might include any article in this item. I submit that we have to exhaust the Tariff in order to ascertain whether any article is not elsewhere included. If that be right, the honorable member, of course, will be in order in proposing the insertion of any relevant article.
– But this is not relevant.
– It is. relevant, because it is machinery.
– That does not make it relevant.
– The honorable member will not suggest for a moment, I suppose, that a high-speed engine is not machinery ?
– Certainly not.
– It is a motive power.
– I understand that, but it certainly would be included in the general term “ machinery “ if it did not happen to have been already dealt with as motive-power machinery. I contend that the proposed amendment is relevant to the item with which we are dealing. Suppose that motive-power .machinery had not been dealt with, then the proposed amendment of the honorable member ought to be quite in order, because he says, “ We are dealing with machinery generally, and I want to include . under the head of machinery admitted at 5 per cent., one kind, namely, a high-speed engine.” As against that, it is said, “ Oh, but that particular kind of machinery comes under motive-power machinery, with which we have already dealt.” I submit that we have dealt with only motive-power machinery n.e.i., and in order to find out whether that fact prevents us from dealing with the insertion of high-speed engines here we have to ascertain what the term “n.e.i.” means. I hold that it means motive-power machinery not elsewhere included in the Tariff. If that is the meaning of the term, it is left open to the honorable member to include the article anywhere else in the Tariff.
– I point out to the honorable member for Flinders that the phrase ‘-‘n.e.i.” as used in item 162 refers to that particular item, and to any similar article not specifically mentioned in the item. If it applied throughout the Tariff, then under groceries, textiles, or any other head, honorable members could drag in. certain items already dealt with, and deal with them again, and there would be no finality to our dealing with the Tariff. As it stands now, item 162 refers to specific articles, and the term n.e.i. in the item includes similar articles not elsewhere included in the item.
– May I respectfully point out to you, sir, where a ruling like that will land you?
– Does the honorable member intend to dissent from my ruling ?
– Then I cannot allow any discussion on it.
– I take it, sir, that there is no rule to prevent me from pointing out to you a resulting anomaly.
– Six or seven honorable members rose in their places. when the honorable member did, and if I were to allow him to question my ruling, every other member of the Committee, if he so desired, must be allowed to do so. If the honorable member considers that mv ruling is wrong, the better way will be for him to move that it be dissented from.
– Are we to understand, sir, that in future you are going to classify these items? .
– That is the effect of the ruling.
– I am not desirous of taking uponmy shoulders more than I have already done. I point out to the honorable member that if his contention is correct, thenevery item with which we have dealt in the way of machinery could be repeated so that there would be no finality in our dealing with the Tariff. I am not here to decide what a turbo blower or high-speed engine is. I can only be guided by the Minister andhonorable members.. The Treasurer has stated that a high-speed engine is a motive power.My interpretation is that it comes tinder paragraph b - n.e.i. - of item 162, and that its insertion in 164 cannot be moved.
– May I refer to the fact, sir, that a clearer definition of the term “n.e.i.,” if wanted, ought to be put in the Customs Act? It defines the term as meaning “ not elsewhere included.” If there is only one “ n.e.i.” item attached to machinery, it is clear that all machinery not specified falls under it. But if there is another “ n.e.i.” item connected with steam machinery there may be some confusion.
– There is motive power n.e.i.
– Although there may be two “n.e.i.” items there may or may not be confusion. It will depend upon whether the two are exclusive of one another.
– Then there is the question of whether a high-speed engine is motive power or not. .
– The terminology cannot be altered now, but it may be cleared up afterwards in the Customs Act.
– The honorable member for Capricornia may not be precisely in order in. urging that high-speed engines should receive consideration-
– Order ! I have already ruled that the amendment is out of order.
– I have not risen, sir, to question your ruling, nor to deal with the matter with which the honorable member for Capricornia attempted to deal, though I agree with him that there is great inconsistency. The Treasurer has indicated his opinion that the term “n.e.i.” applies to. items not elsewhere included in the item which we are considering.
– And motive power is not included anywhere else.
– If the Minister of Trade and Customs is of the same opinion he will have to alter the administration of his Department–
-I do not think so.’
– Because it has always recognised the term “n.e.i.” not as applying to only the item in which it appears, but as applying to the whole Tariff.
– Machinery would come under the “ n.e.i.” paragraph of item 164, although it did not consist of pulley blocks, pneumatic elevators, and conveyors, steam turboblowers or telphers. Other machinery of any kind not elsewhere mentioned in any part of the Tariff would be dutiable at the- rates set out in paragraph b. Any other interpretation would entirely change our Customs administration. The Treasurer, however, has given it as his opinion that only machinery not elsewhere included in this particular item will come under the rates fixed in paragraph b.
– That will change the whole administration of the Department.
– The classification of this Tariff is quite different from that of the last Tariff.
– If the Tariff is to be interpreted differently, we should know it, because the change will seriously affect its incidence, and our votes.
– And will cause confusion.
– It will prevent confusion.
– Does the Minister say that the letters “ n.e.i.” apply only to the enumeration in paragraph a of this item, and not to the whole Tariff ?
– This Tariff is arranged differently from the old Tariff. All motive power machinery is dutiable under item 162, and the letters “ n.e.i.” in paragraph b of that item refer only to motive power machinery not specified in paragraph a. Motive power machinery is not dealt with in any other item in the Tariff.
– I was speaking about item 164.
– Item 164 is in the same position. Machinery not enumerated in paragraph a will be charged the rates applying in paragraph b to “n.e.i.” The Tariff has been re-arranged deliberately, so that the letters “ n.e.i.” shall apply only to machinery of the kinds grouped in each particular item. There was not the same grouping in the old Tariff, and unspecified goods had to be brought under whatever item the Department thought they properly belonged to.
– But there may be some mistakes in the grouping.
– Machinery grouped in other items is not affected by the duties imposed by this item. The machines in regard to which the honorable member wishes to move an amendment come under item 162, and could not be brought under any other.
– I have decided that point. .
.- The confusion which has arisen is due to imperfect classification.The Minister has told us that all motive power machinery is dealt with in item 162.
– I have already settled that point, and cannot allow it to be discussed.
-I do not wish to discuss it. What I wish to know from the Minister is whether all the machinery dutiable as “ n.e.i.” under paragraph b of item 164 must be exclusive of but cognate to the machinery specified in paragraph a, namely pulley blocks and travelling blocks, pneumatic elevators and conveyors, steam turbo blowers and telphers.
I understand that a great deal of machinery will be dutiable as “ n.e.i.” under, paragraph b of item 164, which cannot by any stretch of the imagination be regarded as relating to pulley blocks, or the other machinery which is specified in paragraph a.
.-. Under paragraph a of item 164 certain specified machinery will be dutiable at 5 per cent., while under paragraph b machines and machinery “ n.e.i.” will be dutiable at 30 per cent. and 25 per cent. Does the item include all the electrical machinery which is not elsewhere included ?
– Electrical machinery is not dealt with here.
– It is dealt with to item 178.
– Are water and gasmeters dutiable in this item as n.e.i. at 30 per cent, and 25 per cent. ? If so, heavy duties are being imposed on machines which are largely used by the municipalities, and cannot be made in Australia.
– Gas and water meters and similar machines are dutiable under item 171. Item 164 does not deal with electric machinery.
.- I regard the new grouping proposed by the Minister as admirable. The honorable member for Parramatta has asked why the engineering establishments of Victoria and New South Wales do not make the pulley-blocks and travelling blocks specified in paragraph a of item 164. As a matter of fact, these are wood-split pulleys, and are not made in engineering establishments. But as. they are largely used in such establishments, they should be -dutiable at as low a rate as possible.
– There are iron chain pulleys.
– This item deals only withmetal pulleys.
– The pulleys I speak of are not elsewhere provided for in the schedule, and therefore must come under this item. They are made chiefly in Canada and the United States of America.
– Wooden blocks could not come within this item, because we are dealing now with a division of the Tariff relating only to manufactures of metal.
– I have already pointed out that, in my opinion, there should be no differentiation between steam turbines and high-speed engines-. Both are made in highly specialized British engineering establishments, Great Britain making better machines of this kind than are made elsewhere in the world. But both kinds of machine should be treated alike. If one is dutiable at 5 per cent., the other should be so too, while, if one is made dutiable at 20 per cent., the other should be dutiable at that rate. It seems a gross anomaly to put a steam turbine at 5 per cent., and a high-speed engine at 20- per cent. Both should pay either 20 per cent, or .5 per cent. The honorable member for Capricornia has referred to the turbo-blower. It seems an anomaly that the turbine which supplies the motive power should be separated in this Tariff from the turbo-blower, which is screwed on to the blower, and finishes the work. The honorable member was quite right in his desire to have high-speed engines placed on the same basis as turbo-blowers. Certainly it is anomalous that a turbine should pay 5 per cent., whilst in another part of the Tariff it is provided that an engine doing similar work should pay 20 per cent.
– The reason is that the turbo-blower is not a motive power.
– Exactly. The honorable member for Capricornia has lost his opportunity of moving an amendment. The matter should, have been dealt with in connexion with item 162. But surely the Treasurer is not going to allow this Tariff to be passed with these anomalies upon its face. I ask him to put both -on either the 20 per cent, list or the 5 per cent, list. Personally, I should prefer that both paid 20 per cent. I do not know whether the Treasurer .has provided for every exemption that it is desirable to provide for. There are other industries affected by this Tariff whose tools of trade are not exempted at all. I resisted efforts to get the tools and machinery of the hat-making industry placed on the exempt list; and why should I vote for a high duty for the benefit of the engineering trade, and not for a duty for the benefit of the tool maker? The engineering people’ have no greater right to have their tools exempt than have those engaged in other industries. As to pulley blocks and travelling blocks, I was under the impression that those terms covered wood split pulleys. But is that so ?
– I am informed by departmental officers that they are included.
– Under the old Tariff wood split pulleys paid 12ft per cent. It can be reasonably urged that they cannot be produced here, because they are manufactured from a special kind of wood grown in Canada and the United States. There is no room for granting preference to Great Britain in this case, because they are not made in Great Britain. To make them free so far as the United Kingdom is concerned is a very empty concession indeed. I hope that the Treasurer will give no undue preference to the engineering trade. If those engaged in it receive Tariff assistance, they should be prepared to give proper Tariff assistance to those who make their tools. I should be the last to ask for a concession of the kind if I were connected with the industry. Personally, I think that iron pulley blocks and travelling blocks ought to be made in the country. Why should not the pulley maker have as much assistance as others?
Mr. DUGALD THOMSON (North Sydney [8.39]. - I am not quite sure as to what is to happen with regard to the application of the n.e.i. provision. I wish to know whether in the item 164 - “ Machines and machinery, n.e.i.” - -the n.e.i. meansnot elsewhere in the Tariff, or not elsewhere in the item?
– That is the whole . point.
– There _ will be a curious contradiction if it means not elsewhere included in the item.
– That is a catch question. It has not the slightest effect upon the item.
– It will affect our votes.
– I did not think that anything would affect the ‘ honorable member’s vote.
– At any rate, it affects the rate at which an article is to be dutiable. If it means not elsewhere included in item 164, it means that all machines, except those mentioned in paragraph a will pay 30 or 25 per cent’. But there are other machines mentioned in other parts of the Tariff which are dutiable at different rates. For instance, in item 166, “machinery and machines and machine tools,” there are a number of machines which are dutiable at 25 and 20 per cent. If “ n.e.i.” applies to the whole Tariff, it is all right, but if it applies only to item 164 its effect will be absolutely contradictory. I have no wish to confuse the Treasurer, but I should like to have an explanation.
– The honorable member is not confusing me ; but I do not seem to be able to make him understand when I explain.
– If the Minister says that “ n.e.i.” does not apply to the whole Tariff, a serious positionarises. All I wish to know is whether it applies to the whole Tariff or simply to item 164.
– The term “n.e.i.” in item 3 64 applies to any. machines that are of the same nature and character as those included in that item. It does not, so to speak, rove over the whole Tariff. There are machines of a different character which are dealt with in other items.
– Suppose there are machines of the same nature included in other parts of the Tariff?
– If there are machines of the same nature not otherwise included in the machinery part of the Tariff, then the n.e.i. provision in this item would apply to them, unless by so doing it would clash with any other item. “ Machines and machinery, n.e.i.” in this item applies to machinery belonging to the same category as the other machines mentioned in item 164.
– What I want to know clearly is whether “ n.e.i.” applies to the whole Tariff?
– What I said before was that there is no other part of the Tariff where machinery of this kind is included. Therefore, “ n.e.i.” could not be interpreted as applying to any other item.
– There are other machines like those mentioned in item 164.
– “ N.e.i.” in this case only applies to a group of machines that can be classed under item 164.
– What the Minister says would be all right if the grouping were perfect and complete.
– I think that the honorable member is satisfied that the item as a whole is all right. “ N.e.i.” applies to machinery which- is not mentioned elsewhere, but which belongs to the group of machines mentioned in item 164.
– The n.e.i. paragraph, following, as it does, after paragraph a in this item, seems to me to be very necessary. The term n.e.i. will apply .to machines or machinery that are not motive power or electrical. Sir’ William Lyne. - And which belong to the same group.
– I fail to see how the Department could determine what rate of duty should be paid without this classification. The machines and machinery included in other groups are specified, but that is not the case so far as paragraph b of this item is concerned. -As to paragraph a, I would remind the Committee that there are two kinds of pulley blocks, the one made of wood, and the other of metal, but the iron pulley is more generally used, and is found to be more serviceable than is the wooden article. I am pleased that pulley blocks are to be placed in the group dutiable at 5 per cent., because in all probability a larger revenue will be obtained in this way than would be secured if a higher duty were imposed upon them. The Government propose that machines and machinery n.e.i. coming under this item shall be dutiable at 30 per cent. I would point out, however, that at the most the duty should not be more than 20 per cent., since that is the duty imposed under item 162. As both items relate to the same class of machinery the duty in each case should be the same.
.- I should be glad if the Treasurer would explain why it is proposed to place pulley blocks and travelling blocks from Great Britain on the free list? Under .the old Tariff metal pulley blocks with shafts were dutiable at 20 per cent., and subsequently, under Customs administration, at i2 per cent., whilst pulley blocks of wood were also- dutiable at the same rate. I never heard it suggested to- the Tariff Commission that metal or wooden pulley blocks should be placed on the free list. Any ordinary blacksmith can make metal pulleys. Surely the advocates of the Western Australian mines are not reduced to the sorry plight of having to ask that pulley blocks shall be placed on the free list.” I feel satisfied that the -honorable member for Kalgoorlie does not wish them to be so treated.
– I think that the question of whether or not they shall be placed on the free list is of no consequence.
– I should like to know from whom this brilliant suggestion emanated ?
– A few weeks ago I informed honorable members that in consequence of various statements and re-, quests that had been made, I intended to depute to two experts - one from the University and the other from the Patent Office - the task of sub-dividing the machinery items of the Tariff as first submitted. The proposed rearrangement was recommended by those gentlemen after consultation with the Department. I am informed that pulley blocks cannot be commercially made here. We have .already placed chains on the free list, and I am sure that the honorable member for Bendigo would not expect me to inquire personally into all the details of every item, and to be able to say, as the result of personal investigation, whether pulley blocks can or cannot be made here. I give instructions to the officers in the Department to do certain things.
– We are not bound by their suggestions.
– No; but as a rule I accept the suggestions of my officers, and throw the responsibility upon them. If I can say of my own knowledge that a proposal is wrong, I alter it. I do not know of any establishment where pulley blocks are made. When last in Sydney I visited a ship chandler’s store, with a view to making a purchase for my son, and was there informed that pulley blocks were not made in Australia. These are my reasons for including pulley blocks in this item.
Mr. TILLEY. BROWN (Indi) [8.53I.- There is a footnote to this division setting forth that items 164 and 166, amongst others-, are. “ subject to rebate under the. conditions specified in the schedule hereto;’’, and on turning to the schedule, we find, that in respect- of certain imported machinery the full duty paid is to be refunded. It seems to me that there will be great confusion .unless some further amendment be made. The term n.e.i. is always confusing t~> merchants, and is really a dragnet provision. In the schedule to the Tariff, we find that- the full duty, paid under items j 64 and i56 on -
Machinery and parts thereof used in the manufacture of fibrous materials and felt, and felt hats, when installed for use in a woollen mill, or a hat factory, for the manufacture of such materials, felt, and hats - will be refunded. Item 166 also includes machines used in the tanning of hides and skins, and it seems to me that the rebate proposals of the Government might also be extended to them. The same remark will-‘ apply to machines used in the preparation of leather. Confusion is sure to arise if the item be passed as proposed.
– I have said on two occasions, that the footnote to which the honorable, member refers will apply to the machines, that were included in item 164. There is! no intention on our part to depart from that promise. Most of the machines referred to in item 164 are in the division with which we are dealing to-day ; but there is no intention on our part to take, away any right, whatever it may be, that would accrue to importers of machinery under the footnote to which the honorable member has mentioned.
Mr. TILLEY BROWN (Indi) [8.56I- T think that the proposal to grant a rebate in respect of the duty paid on certain machinery is most improper. The hat-making industry in some cases has been- granted the protection of a duty amounting to 150 per. cent., and yet it is proposed to allow rebate in respect of the machinery used in that industry, while, at the same time, the claims of the mining community are ignored. I am afraid to speak of the “ primary producer,” for I notice that whenever I Jo refer to it some of the newspapers, whether it be true or not, report that my statement is received with laughter. I believe that the granting of a rebate in respect of home consumption is a most improper concession to an industry already heavily protected. If the proposal is to be accepted, its .scope should be extended.
– I have had brought under my notice’ a machine known as “The Hollman Patent Hoist,” for working underground. It is protected by patents, and 1 am informed that it is not made here. Mr. Joseph Cook.- Could it be made here? . ‘
– I do not think so; although other hoists which ‘might take its place might be made in Australia:
– What is it- for?
– The photograph of the machine that I have before me simply bears- upon it words to the effect that it h for h(isting.
-.- -It is for pulling rockdrills and mullock out of winzes when the miners cannot get into them.
– There does not seem to h*- the slightest hope of its being made here for some years, and I therefore propose, by leave of the Committee, to insert in paragraph a of my amendment the words “ Hollman Patent Hoist.” The implement is known as theHollman Patent Hoist, and is used for raising things from a great depth.
– There is no objection to include this class of machinery in paragraph a, but “I do not think it is wise to specifically include a particular machine.
– I am very loth to add anything to the free list, but I believe it is not possible for this appliance to be made here for many years to come, and 1 understand that it is considered of great service to miners..
– How is it worked?
– It is worked by compressed air. I move -
That the amendment be amended by inserting afterthe word “gases” the words “Hollman Patent Hoists.”
.- I am by no means averse to the inclusion of this particular machine in paragraph a, but 1 point out that whilst this patent hoist has the advantage of an advocate in the Committee, there might be a number of other patent appliances of equal merit and importance to other industries which ought also to be on the free list. I do not think it is a proper course to adopt to specify a few particular appliances, and exclude all other machinery of a similar character. I suggest to the Minister, in the circumstances, the advisability of further amending the amendment by the addition of words which would provide for the inclusion of other patent machinery of a similar character.
– There is power to provide for that under item 168.
.- The answer to the honorable member for Echuca, who does not know ofany other machinery that could be included inparagraph a, is that the officers of the Customs Department, and experts engaged by the Minister, have been specially considering the machinery which cannot be made here, in order that it might be included in paragraph a. The Customs officers have information as to the whole of the machinery of this class that is imported.
– But we are not making a Tariff for to-day. There might be another hoist on the market tomorrow, which might be better than the one referred to.
– That is quite another question, and I admit that if we could discover some general term that would meet the case, it would be better than to specifically include, under a certain name, any particular article. There can be no doubt that in the interests of the mining industry,this class of hoist should be included in the free list. The most rabid protectionist cannot grumble at the inclusion of the few machines referred to in paragraph a, when they know that every other machine under this item must be admitted under the n.e.i. provision. One honorable member objected to the inclusion of pulley-blocks, but they must be regarded as the tools of trade of an immense number of persons engaged in many industries.
– I ask the Minister whether he does not think it would be well for the Committee to be informed as to what really is to be included under paragraph b, “ Machines and machinery n.e.i.” I do not wish to embarrass the Minister in any way, but the Committee should know what it is doing. It seems to me that we are making the minorgovern the major, since a small list of minor articles are put in the forefront, and everything else undefined is included in the n.e.i. paragraph. I am informed that there will be included in this item, under the provision n.e.i., air-compressing machinery for hoisting and lifting, hydraulic machinery, pumping machinery, and so on. If we are to be precluded from moving the transfer of any article from one paragraph of the item to the other, and are not informed as to what would be included in paragraph b, it seems to me that it would be well for the Minister to ‘submit an extended list, setting out the machinery included in both these paragraphs. I have no objection to the inclusion of the Hollman Patent Hoist in paragraph a, but it is only typical of many appliances necessary in the mining industry which are not manufactured here. In my opinion, it is not fair to specifically include a particular appliance, and leave scores of others to come in under the n.e.i. provision. I suggest that the Committee cannot intelligently deal with paragraph a until we have some information as to the articles which are to be included in both the paragraphs of this item.
.- I trust that the Committee will agree to the amendment.
– Why include a special article by name?
– I believe there would be no objection to withdraw the name. ‘ I know something of mining, and I understand that the Hollman Patent Hoist is a particularly suitable hoist for winzes. It would afford security in bringing up tools for work, which, as honorable . members know, is an important matter to those who have to work in a winze or shaft.
– Would it not be better to omit the name, and include “ Patent hoists”?
– I shall have no objection to that. I think the limitation should be that the machinery included in paragraph a should be patent machinery used for mining. On the broader question, I am quite clear as to what the item means. There can be no doubt that what is included in paragraph a is excluded from paragraph b.
– Last night I ventured to protest against the drag-net effect of the n.e i. provision. I am glad that the importance of the matter has forced itself upon- the attention of the Committee. I hope the Minister will be successful in inducing the Committee to include the small hoist referred to. The honorable gentleman will see that the effort he has made to systematize this item of mining machinery is likely to lead to confusion, unless there is some definite understanding as to the machinery covered by the words “n.e.i.” in paragraph b. I understand that I am entitled to speak with regard to paragraph b, as the whole proposed new item is before the Committee.
– Paragraph a is before the Committee at present.
– I had intended to suggest the addition of some other articles, but I understand that I am not at liberty to do so at present, because I take it for granted that they come under paragraph b. I and others sitting near me are floundering through want of knowledge as to what is included in paragraph b. I have only risen to protest against the attempt to use that drag-net, instead of allowing the Committee, to have specific knowledge of what they are voting upon.
– I wish to protest against this waste of time. We have been discussing for an hour and a half the question of putting an article on the free list. There may be some difference of opinion regarding paragraph b, but I hope that we shall come to a decision on paragraph a as soon as possible.
– There is no reason why this amendment should be limited to Hollman patent hoists. If the name “Hollman” is struck out the whole difficulty will be overcome. Instead of saying vaguely that other articles should be included in paragraph a, the honorable member for Kooyong should specify the articles which he desires to transfer to the paragraph. If he does not do that he is only wasting the time of the Committee. I will support any honorable member who shows that it is right to place any specified article on the free list.
Amendment (by Mr. Joseph Cook) agreed to -
That the amendment of the amendment be amended by leaving out the word “Hollman.”
Amendment of the amendment (inserting “ patent hoists “) agreed to. - Sir WILLIAM LYNE (Hume- Treasurer) [9-19]. - I do not like to do things in too great a hurry. I do not want the words “ patent hoists “ to have too wide a range. I therefore move -
That the amendment be amended by inserting after the word “hoists” the words “used for underground mining.”
– I hope the Committee will not agree to the limitation proposed by the Treasurer. Other patent hoists should be considered as much as is a patent for “hauling mullock .out of a hole.” The proposed distinction is unnecessary and unfair. I do not know why the Minister persists in interpolating these irritating items. If he desired to “ stone-wall “ his own Tariff he could not do it more effectively than by making these interpolations. If some patent flour hoist comes out, is it to be penalized while a mining hoist comes in at a low rate ?
Question - That the words “ used for underground mining” be inserted in the amendment - put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment of the amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Mr. Joseph Cook) proposed -
That the amendment be amended by leaving out the figures “30,” paragraphB, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the figures “ 20.”
Question - That the figures “30” stand part of the proposed amendment - resolved in the negative.
.- I was one who voted for a General Tariff of 30 per cent., with 25 per cent. against Great Britain. There was a large majority against such duties on an item very similar ; and I suggest that we might save time if we took a test vote as to whether on this item, the duties ought not to be 25 per cent. and 20 per cent.
– This is largely mining machinery.
– In regard to mining machinery a duty of 26 per cent. all round was carried ; and the only difference, if my suggestion be acted upon, is that foreign imports will have to pay a duty of 25 per cent. instead of 20 per cent.
.- I think the fairest duty would be one of 20 per cent. all round, and if it be adopted we might pass all these items to-night. If the Government will accept my suggestion, I am prepared to support them; but if they stand out for duties of 25 per cent. and 20 per cent:, I shall vote for duties of 20 per cent. and . 15 per cent. If a duty of 20 per cent. is sufficient to insure the manufacture of the articles here; I see no reason for adding 5 per cent. If 20 per cent. is not enough to insure the local manufacture, then the Government, if it be a Protectionist Government, ought to propose 25 per cent. or 30 per cent.
– I should do so very quickly if I thought I could get the Committee to accept such a. duty.
– It seems to me very peculiar that a Protectionist Government should propose a duty of only 20 per cent. against England, where goods are- produced under free-trade conditions, and, at the same time, propose 25 per cent. as against Germany and the United States, where, I understand, because of protection, the conditions and wages are so much superior.
– This is sarcasm !
– I understand that, in the opinion of protectionists, industries are carried on under much better conditions in protectionist countries than they are in freetrade countries.
– Who said so?
– I ask the Treasurer or the Prime Minister whether the worker in protectionist Germany or the United States is not greatly better off than he is under the free-trade and sweated conditions of England. For my own part, I am of the opinion that the worker is as well off in free-trade England as he is in either of the other countries I have mentioned.
– Do not getup a debate on that question now.
– I do not see why we should unnecessarily tax the consumer to the extent of 5 per cent. I ask whether it is not a fact that the workers in protectionist countries are paid better wages and enjoy better conditions, than they do in free-trade countries. Why not answer a simple question like that?
– Because the honorable member is the friend of every country except his own.
– Does the Prime Minister suppose that that answers my question ? I think that the . Protectionist Government are afraid to answer the question;
– This question was debated to the fullest extent, and it was decided to approve of preferential trade.
– Was the question 1 have asked then answered?
– In what way? Unless the Government are prepared to answer me, I snail vote against the extra 5 per cent.
– The honorable member for Barrier wishes to know whether workers are better treated in protectionist America arid Germany than they are in free-trade England. That is not the question before the Com’mittee. The question is whether it would not be better to have this work done in Australia, where we can exercise some supervision, over wages and conditions.
– Then why riot have a duty of 25 per cent, all round?
– It is my desire that there should be a duty of 25 per cent, ali round ; and 1 was endeavouring to show why we could not have such a duty, when the House adjourned for dinner. The reason is that we have honorable members like the representative for Echuca-
– I desire to show the reason why we cannot have a duty of 25 per cent, all round. We have honorable members like the representative for Echuca, who says he is a protectionist, but who votes for a duty of 15 per cent. We have honorable members like the representative of Flinders, who goes to the country and says that he is a protectionist-
-The honorable member must see that if I allow him to proceed on this personal line it may lead to a long and irrelevant discussion. I must ask the honorable member to discontinue that line of argument.
– Then I shall take another line of argument. I am in favour of a duty of 25 per cent, all round; but there are honorable members who went before the country as protectionists, but who, like the . honorable member for Flinders, the honorable member for Kooyong, and-
– Order !
– I desire to show, as I think I am entitled to do, why we cannot have a duty of 25 per cent, all round. After the interjection of the honorable member for Barrier, I think that he will vote for the imposition of a 25 per cent, duty all round. I should be very sorry-to see the rate reduced to 20 per cent. This is one of the most important items in the Tariff, and 25. per cent, ought to be the minimum duty levied upon it.
– Will the honorable member answer my question in reference to Germany and England?
– I will, if the Chairman will permit me to do so. The honorable member would rather extend a preference to a foreign country than to his own country. I want to give my first preference to Australia, and mv second to the Empire. If the Empire cannot produce what we want, then I am prepared to get it from that part of the world where it can be obtained at the lowest price.
.- Twice this evening the honorable member’, foi Hindmarsh has attacked me. If the hon- “orable member would limit his attention to his relations with his own constituency, and allow me to look after mine, he would have quite enough » to do. He is accustomed to dub every man who will not vote for the precise duty which he desires a free-trader. Is that a logical position to take up ? Why this hysterical demand for these excessive duties? It is high time that the country awoke to the fact that the demand is being made simply to enable the Government to pass on the benefit of these duties to the employes in the form of the new protection.
– The honorable member does not object to the workers getting a fair share of that benefit?
– I do not. I wish now to read a short extract from the report of a deputation which waited upon the Minis- .ter of Trade and Customs yesterday in regard to the Excise duty upon agricultural implements. the CHAIRMAN.’- The honorable member will not be in order in referring to that matter.
– The honorable member must noi try to bully me.
– The Minister and myself are the very best’ of friends. I would no more dream of attempting to bully him than he would of attempting to bully me or any one else. In replying to the deputation which waited upon him yesterday, the Minister of Trade and Customs said that it was necessary to exercise caution-
– The honorable member must not read the extract.
– Then I will say that the members of a certain party in this House are being induced to support higher protective duties than they would otherwise support, because of the promise of the Government to introduce certain legislation, which legislation, I venture to say, will prove to be absolutely unconstitutional. That is the price which the country is paying to-day for the promise which has been made by the Government - a promise which is never likely to be carried into effect.
Question - That the figures “‘20” be inserted (Mr. Joseph Cook’s amendment of Sir William Lyne’s amendment) - put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the negative. Amendment of the amendment negatived. Amendment (by Sir John Quick) agreed to -
That the figures “25” be inserted in the blank in the proposed amendment ‘ caused by leaving out the figures “30.”
Amendment (by Mr. Johnson) proposed -
That the amendment be amended by leaving out the figures “ 25,” paragraph n, with a view 10 insert in lieu thereof the figures “ 20.”
Mr. WATSON (South Sydney) [9-571- - I would suggest that the Government should accept this proposal in view of the rate which has already been fixed under the general Tariff, and thus shorten the debate as much as possible.
– 1 wish to know if the Government intend to agree to the amendment. If they do, I shall resume my seat, but if not, I think -I shall have to present arguments in favour of the adoption of that course.
– If I thought that there was the slightest chance of the Government carrying their proposal in favour of 25 per cent., I should persist in it, but I am not going to divide the Committee, merely for the sake of doing so, and knowing that we shall be defeated. The Government have no alternative but to accept the amendment.
Amendment of the amendment agreed to.
.- In view of a certain standard having been adopted in regard to articles n.e.i., I desire to mention that there is a particular description of machinery which is used in the Commonwealth, but which, beyond a certain capacity, has not yet been satisfactorily manufactured here. I want honorable members to give consideration to those mining companies which are dealing with low-grade ores, in many cases in an extensive way. In order that they may be able to realize sufficient gold with which to carry on their works, I move -
That the following new paragraph be added to the amendment - “(c) Air compressors beyond a capacity of 1,000 cubic feet of free air per minute, ad val. (General Tariff), 5 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), free.”
I have had personal experience in regard to air compressors and engines, and, therefore, I have a fair idea of what can be reasonably done by our manufacturers. The best advice I cm get is that the manufacturing plants in Australia can produce satisfactory machinery up to a certain capacity, but that the limited quantity of machinery beyond that capacity which, is required is not sufficient . to justify v the enormous expenditure which has often to be incurred in order to produce a single machine of such size. I am informed that it may cost as much for patterns and designs to produce’ one machine as it would cost to produce six machines. According to the best information I can get, air compressors with a capacity of 1,000 cubic feet of free air per minute can drive ten or twelve drills, which, as honorable members know, is beyond the requirements of the majority of ordinary mines. We ought to make it possible for such machines to be obtained from the markets of the world.
– I am informed that air compressors up to a large capacity can be made here.
– I am assured that, on a commercial basis, an air compressor with a capacity of 1,000 cubic feet of free air per minute is the extreme size which local manufacturers will undertake to make. The limited demand for air compressors beyond that capacity does not justify them incurring the expense of procuring patterns and designs.
– I may in form the honorable member for Kalgoorlie that air compressors with a capacity of not 1,000, but 4,000 cubic feet of free air per minute, have been made at Bendigo, Castlemaine. and Melbourne, in Victoria, and also in South Australia, and that such a machine may be seen working to-day at the Long Tunnel mine.
.- In South Australia, Mr. John Felix Martin, of the Gawler Foundry, was asked his opinion about the evidence given by a Kalgoorlie mining manager to the effect that the Ingersoll-Sargent air compressor was more efficient than an Australian-made one. According to the report of the A section of the Tariff Commission, page 41, Mr. Martin explained that - it was all a matter of price, which varied according to the required capacity of the machine. An Ingersoll-Sergeant compressor could be got in Australia, as that company was not the only maker. He claimed that his compressor could be made as efficient asany imported one working inAustralia.
Another South Australian engineer used these significant words–
Tosay that mechanics who built locomotive engines in South Australia, Victoria, and Queensland cannot make an. air compressor is to talk nonsense.
Similarevidence was given on behalf of Walker’s Limited, of Maryborough, Queensland -
The engineer for Walker’s Limited, Maryborough, informed your Commissioners (in regard to evidence given by Mr. Moss in Western
Australia, that locally-made air compressors were not as good as imported) that this gentleman told him the air compressor which he had supplied had done 25 per cent. better than anticipated. The witness stated that he had made air compressors for the Broken Hill South, Broken Hill North, Block 14, and three other mines on the Barrier, and the indicator cards had shown them equal to the highest class made in England or America, namely, 95 per cent. of efficiency.
– Will the honorable member state the capacity of those compressors ?
-There was no evidence given about the capacity, and that point was not taken at Kalgoorlie. Only the question of price was raised there. I have no doubt whatever that air compressor’s of the capacity referred to by the honorable member can be made in some of the big engineering establishments in . South Australia, Victoria, and Queensland. The Golden. Horseshoe Mine gave to an outside firm an order for an air compressor withoutcalling for tenders in Australia, and with reference to that order, Mr. Rigby, of the Austral Otis Company, has made this statement in a letter which he sent to me -
There is no reason whatever why a compressor in every respect similar to the one they had imported could not be made in Australia, and I have no hesitation in saying that if they called for tenders for a duplicate it would be supplied locally for very much less than this one had cost the Golden Horseshoe.
There is a challenge to the honorable member for Kalgoorlie.
– I sincerely hope that the Committee will not agree to the amendment. At Castlemaine I have been in Thompson’s uptodate foundry, where I suppose more aircompressors are turned out than are made by any other foundry in Australia. I have seen as many as five being laid down at one time. They are made there up to almost any capacity which may be used, and they are of the finest quality.
– ‘What is the highest capacity up to which they are made?
– They can be made up to a capacity of 4,000 cubic feet of free air per minute.
– To whom did they supply such air compressors?
– At the foundry they can make air compressors up to that. size.
– To whom did they supply them ?
– I have not seen their books, and do not know whom the air compressors were supplied to.
– The honorable member does not know anything about it.
– I have the authority of the men themselves for stating that they are capable of making air compressors up to a capacity of 4,000 cubic feet of free air per minute.
– I am satisfied that some honorable members will make any sort of statement.
– I am very sorry that the honorable member is adopting that attitude. At Thompson’s foundry, Castlemaine, I have seen these air compressors in course of construction, and I have been assured by those who use them that they are equal, if not superior, to imported air compressors. On these grounds. I ask honorable members not to agree to the amendment, but to assist us in maintaining the supremacy we havegained, and also to increase the industry. A great deal has been said in the past about the inability of local manufacturers to make these articles, but any honorable member who will visit Thompson’s foundry at Castlemaine will, I feel sure, find one or more of these air compressors in the course of construction, and also see documents in which the users of them speak in the highest terms of their efficiency and durability. ‘ That magnificentfoundry known as Walker’s Limited, Maryborough, in Queensland, also manufactures these articles, and of the highest quality too. Unless they are made well to withstand the strain which is put upon themthey will not give satisfaction. We have proof thatthey are made to the complete satisfaction of the users, and it would be nothing short of a criminal act if we took away from the manufacturers the opportunity they have to prove that Australian workmen are equal to the best workmen” whom the world can produce.
– I think that there must be a mistake in the minds of some honorable members in regard to the manufacture of air compressors in Australia. The honorable member for Kalgoorlie has said that they are not made here. A very large one has been made here. I have been trying to ascertain its capacity.
– Did the honorable gentle man state that I said that air compressors are not made here? .
– I understood the honorable member to say that air compressors of the capacity mentioned in his amendment are not made here. But Mr. Donald Clark, in his work on Australian Mining and Metallurgy, page 55, speaking of the Kalgurli Gold Mines Limited, says -
The mine is well equipped with a fine winding engine, andanair compressor made by James Martin and Co., of Gawler, South Australia.
The size of the compressor is not given; but I am assured that it is larger than 1,000 cubic feet. I am informed, too, that an air compressor of 3,000 cubic feet is illustrated in the Brisbane Daily Mail of October 5th, 1907, as supplied to the Blayney Copper Mine’s and Smelting Company, Blayney, New South Wales, and manufactured by the Bundaberg Foundry Company Limited, Queensland. Though I should like to meet any reasonable objections to my proposals, I cannot accept the amendment, seeing that compressors of large capacity are made in Australia.
– I hope that the Treasurer will not allow the eyesto be picked out of his Tariff.
– I shall certainly not allow it,’ though I may be forced to if the numbers are against me. I am also informed that the Austral Otis Company has made a 3,500 cubic feet compressor for the Long Tunnel Company.
– Iwish to inform the Committee that in the Mount Lyell mine we had a compressor of a capacity of 3,500 cubic feet, and that it was made in Victoria. It is an excellent piece of machinery. There is no reason why compressors should not be made here.
.- We are all glad to know that Australia can make these machines. The question at issue is, not whether air-compressors can be made here, but whether the exceptionally large ones which the honorable member for Kalgoorlie has in mind can be profitably made here.
– I have read an offer to make them.
– That offer did not contain any mention of capacity. Those who know anything about mining are aware that in dealing with low-grade lodes machineryis needed such as itis not reasonable to expect to get in Australia. Evidence given before the Tariff Commission . shows that one-fifth of the cost of a piece of machinery goes in preparing preliminary plans, and it would not be fair to expect an engineering firm to undertake the expense necessary to turn out a big piece of machinery, such as . it would not be called upon to make again for a number of years. I do not know enough about the air compressors which are in use to be able to say whether the honorable member for Kalgoorlie has fixed a proper limit; but consideration should be given where machines of an exceptional size are required. When high duties are imposed on machinery which cannot be made here, a heavy tax’ is levied on the mining industry, without corresponding benefit to Australia. I am glad that the Minister has been able to give us some definite information.
.- When I brought forward my proposal, my only desire was to do what is fair in the interests of mining. There are not, on my information, many more than twenty air compressors of over 1,000 cubic feet capacity in the mines of Australia at the present time. A compressor which will deal with 1,006 cubic feet of free air per minute can drive ten three-inch cylinder rock drills, and not many mines use so many drills at one time. When a mining proposition has to deal with a large quantity of low-grade ore, it must - reduce its costs to a minimum. No doubt there are manufacturers in Victoria who would proclaim their ability to make any machinery that the most fertile imagination in the Committee could conceive of. But there is such a small demand for machines *of the size of which I am speaking, that it would not pay Australian manufacturers to go to the expense of making preparations, for constructing them. Of course, my statement is disputed. Any statement made’ on behalf . of the mining industry, no matter how substantiated by facts, is almost sure to be disputed, either by a reference to something contained in the 6,050 pages of the Tariff Commission’s reports, or by the statement of the representative of a constituency in which there_ is a foundry or engineering establishment of some description. . My proposal applies to big machinery only, and there are in Australia very few of the machines which it affects. They are being used on low-grade propositions, which are being worked as economically as possible, although the men employed on them are being paid a decent rate of wages. If the amendment be agreed to, the engineering trade of Australia will not be seriously affected, because the demand for these engines is so small that local manufacturerswould not find it worth their while to make them.
Mr. MATHEWS (Melbourne Ports> [10.27]. - The honorable member for Kalgoorlie says that he believes. that representatives of the constituencies in which there are foundries -are ready to assert that anything can be made there, which is equivalent to saying that members will make misstatements in order to get their way. I do not know whether the honorable member would like us to doubt the truth of his statements. I have here a photograph of a Cross Compound Air Compressor of 2,000 cubic feet capacity, capable of driving twenty drills, and designed and manufactured for the Long Tunnel mine, Walhalla, by the Austral Otis Engineering Company Limited, of South Melbourne; and another photograph of steam cylinders fitted with triple expansion valves and air cylinders, with improved Corliss air valves. The manager of the Long Tunnel Gold Mining Company, in a letter to the Austral Otis Engineering Company, dated Walhalla, 22nd July, 1807, says -
I have great pleasure in stating that the double compound and condensing air compressing engine which was constructed by your firm, and latelyerected at the company’s mine, has given every satisfaction. For tie oast three months it hasbeen at work night and day, without a hitch of any kind, and during that time has supplied all the compressed air, at no lbs. pressure per square inch, required in the mine for motive power, pumping, winding, and rock drilling, at a depth of 1,822 feet below the adit level.
I consider that the whole plant is of the finest class, and is constructed on the most modern and improved principles for air. “compression, namely, high and low pressure air cylinders with mechanically moved suction and delivery valves, and the steam engine, compound and surface condensing.
The indicator diagrams, which have been taken from both the engine and compressor cylinders, show that the whole machine is working in a thoroughly satisfactory manner, giving a very high economy’ and efficiency.
But some honorable members will not believe the statements made to them, nomatter what proofs, are put before them. If they were shown these engines, they would find fault with them, unless there was the name of a foreign firm attached tothem. I do not think that the honorable member for Kalgoorlie does credit to the State which he represents when he tries tomake the Committee believe that Australians cannot do anything. It seems to mie that the time will come when Australians will say that they cannot have their wants made known, iri the Houses of Parliament. It is a wonder to me that the advocates of the importers, are not imported as well as the mechanical contrivances needed in Australia. I hope that this Committee will not allow the vital points of the Tariff to be picked, out so as to make the whole scheme useless. I have noticed during the debate a tendency to pick out portions of it. for special attack* I trust that the Committee will strenuously resist the attempt to eliminate air compressing engines.
Amendment of the amendment negatived. Mr. THOMAS BROWN (Calare) £10.31]. - I desire to speak upon item 164 before it is finally dealt with, and to refer to the manner in which the Minister’s scheme is formulated. Lines are mentioned which are. placed on the free list so far as concerns the United Kingdom, and which are dutiable so far as the rest of the world is concerned. Other mining machinery of all descriptions comes under the general n.e.i. drag-net, which, by a recent vote of the Committee, has been reduced from 30 and 25 to 25 and 20 per cent. I wish to emphasize the point that a large percentage of the minerals that have to be dealt with in this country are low-grade ores. Every now and then some new method of treating such ores is discovered, which enables very large quantities to be treated successfully. “Without such methods those ores could not be profitably treated. The improvements are very largely mechanical contrivances adapting electricity and chemical processes to the treatment of ores. Under the Minister’s proposal no new method of that character devised outside Australia, and covered by patent rights, could be used here without the payment of royalties to the patentees in addition to taxation at the higher rate. In this way the mining industry would be seriously handicapped. I might mention as an instance the cyanide process. Prior to that process being discovered, a great quantity of low-grade stuff in the Commonwealth was unused. By the introduction of the cyanide process and the appliances connected with it, large areas of mineral country were rendered highly profitable. In my own electorate, enormous quantities of tailings from the old mining fields have been successfully treated several times, yielding a profit each time ; and on each occasion the method applied represented au improvement upon the preced ing one. But under the proposal of the Minister, new mechanical appliances would be penalized by having to pay the higher scale of duties.
– What appliances does the honorable, member mean in regard to cyaniding ?
– I am referring to any appliances which may be discovered in any part of the world for the more economical and profitable treatment of mineral ores.
– It would be possible to buy the patent rights or pay royalties to the patentees.
– The patentees would have a good deal to say as to what would have to be paid to them. The honorable member is probably aware that machines are being used in the boot factories of this city upon the rent system, by which the patentees, who refuse to sell their patent rights, secure considerable returns. If I may diverge for a moment, I take up this position in regard to patent rights : I think that we should under our law insist on the manufacture of patented machines in our midst, or that the patents should become invalid. But we have not reached that position -yet. We recognise patent rights taken out in all parts of the world. Under- this scheme, we are practically going to penalize our own people who are engaged in the mining industry in regard to the use of newer, more up-to-date, and more economical methods of treating ores. The Minister might overcome the difficulty ‘by putting in a paragraph that would allow him to permit the introduction of new forms of machinery on the lower scale, until such time as they could be manufactured here. I quite agree that it is not wise to put too. much power in the hands of the Minister, but we have to place power somewhere, and so long as it is used in the best interests of the community, no objection can be taken to it. I point out that countries which are soaked in protection - that are not experimenting with it,, but have had practical applications of it, and are further advanced in the arts and sciences than we are - pay greater regard’ to’ their mineral development than we propose to do under this Tariff. In New Zealand, very nearly all the large machinery used in mining and mineral recovery is on the free list. The same is the case in Canada. Cyaniding plants are upon the free list there, as are a large enumeration of mechanical contrivances for the profitable treatment of mineral ores, in- ; eluding gold, silver, and iron ores. .Surely, dependent as we. are to such a large extent upon our mineral resources for our wealth, i we ought to have a little, regard to these interests. Whilst the total amount of wealth realized from mining is very large, it must be remembered ‘that a great number of mining propositions are working very close . up to the paying margin, and that even a slightly increased impost might make their operations unprofitable, and cause them to shut down. In these circumstances it should be our desire to encourage, as far as possible, instead of to penalize the industry. Under the Trea- surer’s proposal every new invention that cannot be ‘ produced here, and must be imported to facilitate mining operations, will come under the drag-net n.e.i. provision, and be liable to the higher duty.
The Minister would do well to insert in the item a new paragraph enabling him to allow new inventions, calculated to assist us to make the best of our mineral resources, and which cannot be made here, to come in free.
– There is an asterisk against this item, and it directs us to a footnote, setting forth that the duty is -
Subject to rebate under the conditions specified in the schedule hereto.
T wish to be quite clear that that note is : no part of the item, and that in passing the item we are not pledging ourselves to the rebate referred to. As I understand it. the footnote is merely an intimation by trie Government that thev intend’ at a later stage to propose a rebate.
This is about the fourth or fifth time that I have made an explana-. lion in regard to the footnote in question. It originally referred to item 164 as introduced. That item, under the re- arrangement, has been divided, some of the machinery covered by it going into one division, and some into another. I do not wish the items to be dissociated from the footnote if it be found necessary that : the provision regarding rebates should apply. I have questioned the officers of the Department about the matter, but have not- got a satisfactory reply.
– For the present we mav wipe it out ?
– Yes; 1 shall not at present commit honorable members to it ; I wish to make the matter clearer. No doubt the question will come forward after we have disposed of the Tariff, but a rebate could be granted only by direction of the House, and in cases where bulk had not been broken. Rebate cannot be granted where packages have been broken, and it is impossible to identify the machine.
– You are not asking us now to deal with that question?
.- In dealing .with . item 164, we are, by inference, dealing also with item 166 as the footnote to which the honorable member for Flinders has referred applies to both of them. The Minister has said that that footnote is not to be read into this item, but the fact that we may have later on to consider the schedule to which it refers may influence the votes of honorable members.
– lt is merely an intimation by the .Government that they intend to provide for some rebate?
– Honorable members may not. be disposed to deal with the item as they would if the footnote did not relate to it.
– The honorable member thinks that that is an argument for. dealing with the rebate in connexion with the item?
– When this item was first submitted we should have had from the” Treasurer a statement in regard to the schedule.
– I have made ‘a statement. The question was raised ‘ by the honorable member for Indi.
– I know that a question was asked in the House, but no information could be elicited from Ministers.
– I promised the honorable member that nothing would be agreed to without the consent of .the House.
– I should be glad if the Treasurer would adopt the suggestion that I made a few minutes ago. Earlier in the evening he moved to insert in paragraph a a patent hoist, which at the last moment had been brought under his notice, and which he said could not be manufactured here. Can he “not see his way to introduce a new’ paragraph covering other inventions important to the mining industry that mav hereafter be brought under his notice, and which in the absence of such a provision would be subjected to the high duty relating to “ Machines and Machinery n.e.i.” The action taken by the Treasurer earlier in the evening shows that he is in sympathy with my suggestion, and I hope that he will adopt it.
Sir WILLIAM LYNE (Hume- Treasurer [10.49].- The honorable member for Calare has asked me to provide for what would be a very dangerous procedure. To whom would he delegate the duty, of deciding whether a new invention should be treated as he proposes?
– It is a matter for legislation.
– Of course, it is. Item 168 provides that -
Any dutiable machinery, or - machine tool, or any part thereof specified in any proclamation issued by the Governor-General in pursuance of a joint address passed on the motion of Ministers by both Houses of the Parliament, stating that such machinery, machine tool, or part cannot be reasonably manufactured within the Commonwealth, and that it should be admitted duty free, shall be free. It seems to me that, in any event, that procedure would have to be followed. I do not think that honorable members would agree to allow the Government to say what should be free and what should be dutiable. .My experience . is that the ‘ House is very jealous of its privileges in that regard. I am often told that as I am a protectionist I would, if left to myself, impose protective duties upon many articles. In the same way it might be said that a freetrade Minister would be. disposed . to put articles on the free list.
– It could not be any worse than it is under the present provision.
– I have read to the Committee a provision under which, if it should be found necessary to admit an article free, the Government can at any time submit to Parliament a motion to put the article on the free list, and should it be carried, a proclamation to that effect would be issued.
– And the resolution might be ma de. retrospective if Parliament were not sitting when it was .thought the’ article should first have appeared on the’ free list.
– Quite so. .1 cannot see how I can undertake to do any more than is already provided for in the Tariff.
Amendment; as amended, agreed to.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Postponed item*. Item 166, Machinery and Machines; and Machine Tools, n.e.i., viz. : -
– In accordance with a promise given very early during the consideration of the Tariff. I intend to move that the words “ Machinery for Scouring and Washing Wool “ be left out. I was asked by the honorable member for Maranoa why this class of machinery should not be in- eluded with other wool-scouring machinery to which he referred at the time. I admit that, so far as I know, there is no reason why it should not, and I therefore move the amendment.
– Would this cover the’ whole of the wool-washing machinery ?
– Machinery for. scouring and washing wool. .
– The Minister might very well agree also to leave out the item, “ Machines n.e.i. used in the’ Tanning of Hides and Skins and in the Preparation of Leather.” Very few machines used by tanners are made in Australia. There are a great many machines in use in America which, if they could be ‘obtained here, would enable our tanners to produce’ leather j which is the raw material of the shoemaker, . at a lower figure, and would in that way benefit the shoemaker.
– I hope the honorable member will .not press me to, cib what he suggests.
– The Treasurer must see that there would be such a small demand for machinery of this kind that no’ manufacturer would be warranted in importing the special appliances necessary to make these tanners’ machines in the. Commonwealth. Manufacturers in America have a population of 80,000,000 or 90.000,000 of people to provide for, and they have the’ very best machinery for treating leather. A few days ago the Treasurer was talking to me about a splitting machine. ‘ I know the machine - referred to.. It is an, American Band- machine, and itis possible with if to cut a hide right” through into two or three thicknesses. It is a comparatively recent invention. There was a Union machine -in use prior to the discovery of the Band machine, by which only one layer could be taken off a hide. Cut in this way the leather would, of course, be inferior, but there is a demand for this kind of leather in the manufacture of boots and shoes, and Australian manufacturers are at a disadvantage so long as our tanners and curriers are unable to obtain the machine to which- I refer. I may have something further to say when I have heard the Minister on the subject.
– I cannot accept the honorable member’s proposal.
– I understand that it is the intention of the Treasurer to allow wool-scouring machines to come in free. I enter my protest against that proposal. These machines are made in my electorate, and I was told some time ago that they were not to be admitted free of duty.
– This matter was under consideration two months ago.
– Why should wool-scouring machines be allowed to come in free?
– Some of them have been free all along.
– That may be so ; but these machines are being made here, and I am at a loss to know why they should be treated differently from other machines that can be made in the Commonwealth. «
– Hall’s patent wool-scourer is not made here.
– Wool-scouring machines are made in Australia. Why does a protectionist Ministry propose to put them on the free list?
– I have an amendment prior to that proposed by the Minister. I move -
That the words “ used in the tanning of hides and skins, and in the preparation of leather,” be left out
The Minister has said nothing to justify the stand he is taking in face of the statement I have made on the floor of .the House-
– I appeal to the Minister to report progress.
– I cannot. I might as well say that we cannot do anything more before Christmas, unless we go on, even if we have to sit continuously. We have done .nothing whatever to-day. I want to finish item 166 to-night.-
– It is one of the most important items in the whole Tariff. The Minister ought to make a statement, at this stage as to the exemption of special machinery for hat and wool factories”
– If I say two words,, it gives rise to a long debate, and, therefore I had better say nothing. .
– Then we shalt Have to induce some member of the Labour Party to make the honorable member rise.. What is the Minister going to do about the special hat and woollen machinery?
– I think they should alt pay duty.
– - If the Treasurer will say that, I shall be satisfied. I should think the industries themselves donot desire a special favour. Strange to say, the Minister has taken certain articles out of the special line dealing with that machinery, and included them in this item. I refer to machinery for scouring and washing wool, and for the manufacture of paper and for felting.
– I .am proposing to take out machinery for scouring and washing wool.
– I wish the Treasurer to make them all pay alike. Whatever is done, let them all be classified together. We should not single out the hat manufacturer.
– The honorable member goes mad over hats.
– The honorable member would sit in his chair all night, rather than do what is fair by the Committee. He seems to think that he is doing excellent work if he sits in his chair and lets honorable members talk at him for half the day with nothing clone. That is what he calls “ bullocking it through.” He wastes half the time of the Committee bv that attitude.
– I should do so if I talked.
– The honorable member will have to talk before he gets this item through.
– The honorable member wants me to state that I am going to put on the free list a lot of articles, when I am not in a .position to tell him that T can do so.
– I simply wish the honorable member to tell the Committee now what he proposes to do regarding hat-‘ making and- woollen machinery-.
– Whatever is done, I am «ot prepared at this moment to say what I shall do. But if that class of machinery ought to be dutiable, I will make it all dutiable. If I think that machinery that is not manufactured here should be free, I am not going to pick out one particular item to be dealt with by itself. I shall deal with that class of machinery as a whole.
– Is the honorable member referring to the item now before the Committee?
– I am referring to the line at the end of the Tariff, to which the honorable member has referred.
– The honorable member will treat that machinery the same as the rest?
– I will treat it in whichever way other similar machinery is treated. There will be no special arrangement.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta) £11.7]. - The Treasurer’s statement is satisfactory. I appeal to the Committee to agree to the amendment of the honorable member for Robertson. The question ot tanning machinery and tools was debated for nearly a. week during the consideration of the last Tariff, and the then Minister decided to put them on the free list. He -found that they were not being made in Melbourne. Some tanning machines are being made here, but some of them
Are obsolete. Now these things are sneaked in again under this general item. In the last Tariff nearly all the different machines were itemized, but now they are brought together in this innocent form. A number of these tanning machines are patented and are not made here, and cannot be done -without. They must be imported, no matter what duties are imposed. I appeal to the Minister to put them on the free list as they were before.
Question - That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the item (Mr. Henry Willis’ amendment) - put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the affirmative. Amendment negatived. Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) proposed - -That the words “Machinery for Scouring and “Washing Wool” be left out
.- The action of the Treasurer in submitting this amendment is very remarkable. So far as I can judge, the wool industry is well able to pay any impost of the kind.
– And so should mining be.
– We are not dealing with mining now ; when we were the Treasurer was adamant against any such concession as he now proposes. In the 1902 Tariff this machinery was in the free list, but in a’ totally different form from that now proposed, seeing that it was placed there along with a number of other items. In the 1902 Tariff the exemption read as follows -
Machinery for Scouring, Washing, Carding, Spinning, Weaving, and Finishing the Manufacture of Fibrous Materials.
That covers much more ground than the particular exemption sought to be introduced now.
– Perhaps the honorable member will allow me to explain that this particular machinery will come under a new item which I propose to follow item 166, embracing machinery and parts, and accessories used in the treatment, manufacture, and finishing of fibrous materials, and felt, and felt hats. The new item will embrace those other items to which the honorable member referred.
.- I object to those articles being made free, because the industries concerned are quite capable of paying their share of taxation. Furthermore, 1 understand that this machinery can “be manufactured with commercial advantage within the Commonwealth. The honorable member for Batman informs me that wool scouring machinery is made in his electorate.
– I make the proposal because the honorable, member for Batman informed me that machinery for wool scouring in the woollen mills came in free, while the machinery used for scouring in the ordinary way was dutiable.
– The Treasurer has the remedy iri his own hands, inasmuch as he can impose a duty on both. Protectionists who desire to be logical and consistent must resist the Treasurer’s proposal and support me in mv determination.
– I cannot reconcile the attitude taken up by the Government on this question with their attitude a few moments ago in reference to tanning (machinery. I voted against the exemption of that machinery from duty, because I think .that all machine tools should be placed upon exactly the same footing.
– The Minister has promised to exempt machine tools enumerated in this item.
– But I understand that whilst hat-making machinery is to be takenout of the free list and subjected to a duty, wool- weaving machinery .is to remain in the list of special exemptions.
– What protection do we accord to the woollen industry?
– It receives a protection of 30 per cent.
– The .product of that industry has to be sold in the markets of the world.
– I intend to vote to impose a slightly heavier duty upon yarns,, so’ as to prevent their importation. All I claim is that we ought to impose a uniform duty upon every class of machine tool.
– Irrespective of whether or not they can be made here.
– Does anybody suggest that wool-washing machinery cannot be made in the Commonwealth?
– Yes, I do. I say that Hall’s patent wool . scourer is not made in Australia.
– That is true. But does the honorable member say that a woolscouring machine, which is one of the simplest pieces of machinery imaginable, cannot be made in the Commonwealth?
– They are made here.
– I can understand that some machines which. I have seen working are made locally.
– The Williams wool-washer is made in Australia, but that machine cannot be compared with Hall’s patent woolscourer.
– I say that all machine tools should be placed in the same category, no matter for what purpose they may be used. I am in receipt of a letter from’ some tanners ‘in New South’ Wales, in which they express themselves as being ready to pay a duty upon their machinery so long as other machinery is treated in the same way. That is a reasonable attitude to take up. I shall vote against the Government’s proposal.
.- I should be sorry to keep honorable members here very late to-night. I did not anticipate that a long debate would take place upon this question.
– Think it over by to-morrow.
– I will not think it over. I have made up my mind upon it:- But I know that honorable members are tired, and I wish to be reasonable. Consequently, I ask them to come prepared to-morrow - and we shall meet at n o’clock in the morning - to get on with the business without undue debate.
– There has not been much” discussion to-day from this side of the chamber.
– I am not blaming the Opposition. I think that in many respects we are arriving at an understanding upon these matters, and, there- fore, I am led to hope that we shall dispose of the business engaging our attention without undue debate, and thus obviate the necessity for all-night sittings. Upon that understanding. I shall ask that, progress be reported.
– We cannot sit both night and ‘day.
– That is why
I appeal to honorable members to assist me.
– Have ‘we not endeavoured to do so?
– I quite admit that the members of the Opposition have not talked very much to-day, and in that respect, I recognise that they have extended consideration to the Government.
Motion (by Sir William Lyne) agreed to-
That the House, at its rising, adjourn until
II a.m. to-morrow.
House adjourned at 11.30 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 27 November 1907, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1907/19071127_reps_3_42/>.