3rd Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 11 a.m. and read prayers.
– I beg to present a petition from 2,648 professors and teachers of music in the State of Victoria, who pray the House not to consent to the increased duty on pianos. I invite honorable members to examine the petition, which is unique in form, while every signature is that of a registered music teacher.
Petition received and read.
– Mr. Speaker, in view of the unique character of the petition, and the trouble and care which have been taken in connexion with its compilation, I should like to move that its text be printed for circulation.
– Under the Standing Orders that motion cannot be moved unless the honorable member gives an assurance that he intends to take action thereon in the House. If he intends to submita motion in the House of course I cannot object to the motion which he now desires to move. Otherwise it cannot be moved.
– The matter will come forward for consideration in connexion with the Tariff.
– I beg to ask the Prime Minister if he will lay upon the table of the House anycommunication which he has received in regard to the natives of Papua, and also if he will obtain from the Director of Agriculture a report . on the condition of the natives working in Papua, especially on the mines.
– Last night the honorable member was good enough to mention this matter to me, and this morning I asked for a report, though in recent reports Mr. Staniforth, Smith hasreferred to the condition of the natives in employment in general termsof approval. He had called attention to the fact that there had been an undue amount of sickness among carriers, but, on inquiry it had been discovered that the condition of the rest houses had been allowed to become insanitary, with the result that dysentery had become prevalent. The insanitary condition has been removed. That appears to have been the only sickness to which he has recently called attention.
Metallic Circuits and Tunnels: Rates : Newcastle Service : Supply of New Switchboards : Melbourne andsydneyservice.
– I desire to ask the Postmaster-General a question in regard to the statement in the press that, in anticipation of the electrification of the railways and tramways in Melbourne, steps are being taken to have a complete metallic circuit and underground tunnel in connexion with the telephone service. I desire to know what action is being taken in Sydney for completing the metallic circuit and underground tunnel, because for years the telephone service has been affected seriously by the induction from the electric tramway service. The suffering has lasted for a long time, and I want to know what steps have been, or are going to be taken to complete the metallic circuit and underground tunnel ?
– I am fully seized of the importance of the matter mentioned by the honorable member. In Sydney works to the end mentioned are in progress, and will be continued. A further vote will be asked for in order to carry them to a successful conclusion.
– I desire to know if the Postmaster-General has yet taken any step to do away with those anomalies in regard to telephone charges which have been a source of so much comment in the House - the differential treatment of subscribers to private telephones ?
-Yes. I have endeavoured to meet what I regard as the wellgrounded complaints of honorable members by extending the distance for the minimum charge’ from one mile to two miles, and also by making an additional charge of 10s. for every quarter of a mile or fraction thereof, and 20s. for every additional half-mile. That will, I think, meet the majority of the cases. . If, how: ever, I find that it does not, we will make a further extension in order to make the charges equitable.
– I should like to ask the Postmaster-General . when the amended mileage ratesfor telephones will come into operation ?
– On. the 1st January.
– Since it is stated that an order for a new switchboard must be placed in America two years before it is required, I wish to ask the PostmasterGeneral whether he does not think that a better business arrangement should be adopted by the Department, so that the telephonicservice in any town or city may not in. the meantime be held up and disorganized ?
– - I think that the Department needs to have at its disposal a considerably larger amount of money than it has, so that it could take steps to anticipate any such abnormal growth of the telephone service as has occurred in my honorable friend’s constituency.
-What action does the Postmaster-General propose to take pending the securing of a new switchboard to improve the telephone system in the Newcastle district?
– I propose presenting to the Cabinet a minute asking- that the necessary funds be provided, and to do all that I can in the meantime to remedy the disorganization.
– Is the PostmasterGeneral aware that owing to the congestion of business in the local telephone services of Melbourne and Sydney it is practically impossible to speak between Sydney and Melbourne, and, if so, will he take steps to have the line made clear so that it will be possible to speak without interruption between local or suburban exchanges in the two capitals? The service would thus be popularized. .
– Everything that can be done in the direction indicated by the honorable member will be done.
Storage and Refrigerating Accommodation
– In last week’s newspapers there appeared a cablegram from England, stating that the Imperial Government were about to introduce a Bill for the improvement of London port and docks. I desire to ask whether the Prime Minister will consider the advisableness of making a friendly suggestion to the Imperial Government to consider the expediency of providing better repacking and storage and refrigerating processes at the docks, such as exist in Hamburg for perishable produce?
– A project for a Bill for the purpose mentioned by the honorable member has been before the Imperial Parliament for some time, and I think that a first Bill has been laid before the House of Commons. The matter is doubtless being watched anxiously by the Agents-General for the States, and the Commonwealth Government will certainly have no objection to’ calling attention to the fact that in such a scheme it would be well to make provision for cool storage accommodation. As the honorable member is aware, however, in England that would onlybe open to private enterprise.
– I wish to ask the Prime Minister a question without notice. It has come under my observation, from reading some Chinese newspapers, that in Manila, in the Philippines, an embargo has been put upon the importation of Australian butter, on account of the preserva- tives that are used. I “should like to know whether the . Prime Minister can give the House any information upon that subject?
– Yes; on a statement being, published to the effect mentioned by the honorable member, we communicated by cable with the Philippines, and the statement has been confirmed. As I informed the House previously, the addition of boric acid or bonin - which, is the preservative mainly used in Austraiian butter - renders it ineligible to be received in the Philippines, except in bond for the purpose of re-export. Owing to the honorable member for Capricornia, I was able to take advantage of the presence in Melbourne of the British Vice-Consul for Manila - who was passing through only a week or two ago - to discover from him the present position. We have a list of the preservatives authorized there, but they do not appear to be applicable to butter. In fact, salt seems the only preservative that may be used for the preservation of butter. It really appears as if the list of preservatives was drawn - either intentionally or unintentionally - in such a manner as practically to exclude Australian butter. Other regulations have also been employed in a severe manner in re;gard to live cattle, though that has not yet affected the Commonwealth. But we are communicating at some length in regard to these matters, because at present it seems almost impossibile for shippers from Australia or elsewhere to be perfectly certain of the principle upon which the authorities in Manila intend to proceed.
– Is it not possible to preserve butter without the use of boric acid ?
– Certainly ; but, apparently, every preservative except salt is condemned.
– I should think that the use of salt, with cool storage, ought to be sufficient.
– How do they get their butter there?
– They get it salted. The information supplied to me is that the butter which is exported to the Philippines from America is salted.
– The butter one gets there is very good indeed- It is imported in cool storage, of course.
– The official list of- preservatives is not clearly understood bv our exporters, and I intend to make further inquiries.
– Has the Prime Minister read in the newspapers a statement made by the Premier of Victoria that if the surburban railways of Melbourne were electrified, ,£200,000 would be the cost in duties to the State of Victoria? In view of this statement, will the Prime Minister say whether it is not a fact that three-fourths of the money obtained by such duties at- first goes back to the States, that a large amount is spent upon the Victorian branches of the Civil Service taken over by the Commonwealth from the State, and that a further amount of it is spent in new services, of which Victoria gets a fair share, and that the rest is also returned to the State.
– I had not happened to notice the statement by the Premier of Victoria to which the honorable member has called attention ; but if he is responsible for such a statement I hope that he will also take the opportunity of perusing the honorable member’s well grounded argument.
– I wish to ask the Prime Minister, without notice, whether he has observed in the morning newspapers a cable stating that there is an unprecedented rush of artisans and workpeople from protective America and Canada to free-trade Great Britain; and whether he proposes to take any steps to show those people the advantages offered by Protectionist Australia to immigrants of that character ?
– While I have seen the cablegram to which the honorable member refers, and am only too happy to take advantage of any opportunity of advertising Australia, I hope .that the honorable mem- ber will bear that fact in mind when dealing with the proposals we have now before us for increasing the employment of artisans in Australia.
– Will the Prime Minister, when trying to. do his best for Australia in regard to those workmen wlm are said to be rushing to the Old Country from Canada and the United States, take care to inform them, if he disseminates an: facts at all, that the proposals we are making in. the direction he suggests are’ very much below the duties which already obtain in countries from which they are escaping?
– The question is, as I understand it, whether I will inform the migrating workmen that the protection afforded here is less than that obtaining in America. Well, I should be rather reluctant to do that, because I do not think that it would tell in our favour. I should prefer to show them that they have a better field of employment in Australia.
Interim Service - Differential Freights
– Perhaps the Prime Minister will allow me to ask him a question without notice - whether he has been able to make arrangements with the Orient Steam Navigation. Company in regard to expediting their mail service during the interim period ?
– Some progress has been made. Communications have been passing between the agents of the company and their managers in London, and I hope that - probably next week - I shall be able to obtain a definite statement on the subject.
– I should like to ask the Prime Minister whether the differential freight now charged by ocean mail steamers calling at Fremantle is to continue until the new mail contract comes into” operation, two years hence, or whether some arrangement has been made with the Orient Steam Navigation Company by which the practice of imposing an additional freight of10s. per ton on goods from London to Fremantle- over goods from London to Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney is at once to cease?
– The equalization of freights is a condition of the main contract. There is no provision of that nature in the interim contract, whichmerely carries on the existing arrangement for the carriage of mails.
– It is a two years’ extension.
– That is anextension of. a contract for the delivery of letters at Adelaide, and having no cargo conditions.
– Will the Prime Minister make representations to the company in regard to the matter?
– I wish to ask the Prime Minister, without notice, whether negotiations are still proceeding with the South Australian Government, with a view to the taking over of the Northern Territory by the Commonwealth; and, if so, whether the Prime Minister has noticed that the South Australian Government are piling up the interest upon the enormous fictitious debt of the Territory, and that they are adding to it this year a further deficit of £40,000 or £50,000?
– I can express no opinion, of course, as to the fictitiousness or otherwise of any debt on account of the Northern Territory; but the latest information from South Australia is that the question is before the Legislative “ Council, where . the proposals are not being unf avor- . ably received. The result of the decision of that Chamber is, of course, material in making a reply, because, should it be adverse, we shall have no interest in the question. I hesitate, under the circumstances, to comment upon the matter in any way until it comes practically before this Parliament.
– I wish to ask the Postmaster-General whether it isnot a fact that the Supply and Tender Board of SouthAustralia has morepower in regard to ordering goods for the Post and Telegraph Department in that State, than has the Deputy Postmaster-General ?
– I cannot say; but I know that the Board in future will have no power in that regard.
– I desire to ask the Prime Minister, without notice, whether he has taken into consideration - or, if he has not taken into consideration, will he endeavour to inform honorable members soon - the date when the House will be likely to rise for the Christmas holidays? I believe that if it were known what is in the mind of the Government - I do not, of course, want to bind them down to too definite a statement - more expedition in the transaction of business would result than is likely to be the case by leaving the matter indefinite.
– Having in view the fact that we are now dealing with one of the most contentious parts of the Tariff, covering a great variety of dutiable articles, or articles which may be made dutiable, one has to recognise that the slowness of the progress made is not a fair test of the general progress we hope to make. I still trust that not later than the second week of the month upon which we are about to enter, we shall have concluded our work upon the Tariff, and shall, therefore, be able to take our Christmas holidays.
– In the event of the Tariff not being passed by this House before Christmas, will the Prime Minister take’ into consideration the desirableness of our reassembling afterthe holidays not later than the second week in January, so that honorable members representing far distant parts of the Commonwealth may have an opportunity to visit their constituencies at least once in theyear?
– If we should be so unfortunate as not to pass the Tariff before Christmas we shall certainly have to meet in the second or third week in January.
– Has the Prime. Minister yet determined whether or not the House is to sit on Saturday next as well as on Monday ?
– It will be absolutely necessary to sit on Monday, and I fear it will be necessary, after our experience of last night, to meet also on Saturday.
asked the Minister of Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow -
asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow -
It is not in accordance with Parliamentary practice for me to express such an opinion as asked for ; but my attention has been drawn to the two different statements in the daily press referring to an agreement. In the absence of any definite information of the precise nature of the agreement, it is impossible to form any. opinion as to its legality. However, I will endeavour to ascertain whether any arrangement of such a nature with reference to the Federal Courts has been made.
In Committee of Ways and Means (Consideration resumed from 27th November, 1907, vide page 6725) :
Postponed item *166. Machinery and Machines; and Machine Tools n.e.i., viz. : -
Machines n.e.i., used in the tanning of hides and skins, and in the preparation of leather; automaticcanmaking and closing machines; machinery for scouring and washing wool; machinery for the manufacture of paper, and for felting; soap-cutting machines; artesian boring machines, ad val. (General Tariff), 25 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 20 per cent.
- (b) Machine Tools : -
Hat-making - hydraulic blocking press for making straw hats.
Indiarubber working - hose machines; steel stamps; steel tyre mandrils; spreading ; tread drums ; washer cutting.
Metal working - wire netting machines; blowers for foundry and mining purposes; pneumatic hammers; steam hammers, up to and including sizes up to 16 in. cylinders; punching and shearing machines, combined or separate, sizes up to¾in.; slotting machines, sizes up to 12 in. stroke ; centering machines to center up to 6 in. diameter ; bolt screwing and nut tapping, combined or separate, sizes above in., and up to 2 in. ; bending rolls in sizes to bend up to ¾ in. plate.
Artesian boring tools n.e.i.
Boot-making machine tools, n.e.i.
Tyre benders and shrinkers.
Tinsmiths’ tools being machine; ad val. (General Tariff), 25 per cent. ; (United Kingdom) 20 per cent.
*Subject to rebate under the conditions specified in the schedule hereto.
Upon which Sir William Lyne had moved by way of amendment -
That the words “ Machinery for scouring and washing wool “ be left out.
– The way has been cleared for our dealing with this item in an equitable manner since the declaration made last night by the Treasurer that he intended to take out the special exemption of items relating to the hat industry and the woollen industry generally. We ought to make no distinction between one trade and another regarding things which are in the nature of tools and preliminary requirements. All ought to be placed, as far as possible, on the same footing, and I take it that much of the cause of complaint on the part of the honorable member for Maranoa has now been removed. If I remember rightly he built up his complaint principally on the ground that certain industries we’re being specially treated, and he urged that such treatment should also be extended to wool-washing machinery.
– Scouring machinery for use in woollen mills was free before.
– Why it should be free when the machinery employed in other industries is taxed is beyond my comprehension. Why cannot the woollen industry, which has been highly protected, pay its fair quota to other industries which are making tools and machinery in the ordinary way ? There are some industries for which we cannot do very much, even though we do our best in the direction of protection. We cannot assist the currier and tanner very much with duties, since he manufactures largely for export. Why, therefore, should we tax his tools of trade, when we exempt the tools of trade required in an industry peculiarly susceptible to the benefits of protection, whatever they may be? I hope the Treasurer will agree to treat all industries alike so far as their tools of trade are concerned. I am sure I can appeal to the sense of . fairness of the honorable member for Maranoa not to press his views unduly if other trades are being treated exactly as the one in which he is interested. I have - a suggestion to make in connexion with this series of items. I think that there ought to be a uniform duty imposed on tools of trade, and, personally I should not be prepared to make it more than 15 per cent.
– That would be simply a revenue duty.
– No, it would be slightly protective. I take it that it is a fundamental principle even with protectionists that tools of trade should as far as possible be free. No better evidence of that could be found than in the very full list of exemptions provided for already. A duty of 15 per cent. on these lines would be slightly protective, and I think sufficiently protective having regard to the class: of articles in question. What I suggest is that we should make all these things subject to auniform duty of 15 per cent., and that having done so we should strike out item 169, which appears to me to confer a very dangerous power on the Customs authorities. Under that item provision is made for the free admission of -
Tools of trade for the use of artisans and mechanics and tools in general use as prescribed? by departmental by-laws.
I do not think we should put that power in the hands of the Customs authorities.
– I am thoroughly opposed to taxing tool’s of trade that cannot be made here.
– So is every one else. Might I suggest to the Treasurer that he has all the power he needs under item 168?
– No, it might take twelve months to give effect to that provision. We should have to get a resolution passed through both Houses of Parliament.
– I do not quite see how that could be. The Government control the business, they could bring down a resolution at any time they pleased, and it should not take twelve months or even twelve days to pass it through Parliament, unless the Ministry desired that it should take longer.
– My experience of Tariff debates teaches me otherwise.
– I do not know what the honorable gentleman is referring to, but since he has made that statement I wish to reply to an insulting interjection made just now by the Government Whip, to the effect that if the House is to rise, at Christmas the leader of the Opposition should be consulted and asked to say whether he would allow it. That is good, considering that the whole of yesterday’s sitting was taken up entirely by speeches from honorable members on the Government side.
– Honorable members in the corner opposite had a good deal to say.
– Really, I think the Government might try to keep their own side in order, that we may get through with the consideration of the Tariff in decent time. The talk from the other side has been interminable during the whole of this week, and that is why we have not made better progress. In the circumstances, it is idle for the Government Whip to suggest that honorable members on this side are obstructing business. I am making a suggestion which, if agreed to by the Treasurer, would save a day’s debate on this very debatable item. I suggest that he should agree to a uniform duty on all tools of trade and machines which in their nature are tools of trade. The honorable gentleman has already agreed to take out of the schedule at the end of the Tariff, specially favoured industries. In accordance with the suggestion I have made, I am prepared now to move that the General Tariff duty of 25 per cent. be left out with a view to inserting 15 per cent. with the understanding that that duty should be applied to all similar articles.
– The honorable member will not be able to get what he wants in that way.
– Will the Treasurer state his objection to the proposal, and so save the time of the Committee?
.- It is refreshing to hear the honorable member for Parramatta advocating protection, or objecting to put anything on the free list. I think the honorable member is ‘under some misconception, and is assuming that this wool-scouring machinery is associated only with the woollen industry. It is only in the out-back districts that very, much wool-scouring is done at the present time. Owing to the fact that German and other continental buyers come into our markets and buy wool on the spot, very much less wool-scouring is done on the coast than used to be the case. It is in my electorate, and in the electorate of the honorable member for Maranoa, in districts 500 miles from the coast, that wool-scouring is chiefly carried on at the present time, in-order to lessen the weight of the wool that must be taken to ports.
– There is notas much wool-scouring done in those districts as there used to be.
– There is a great deal done at Coonamble, where there is a very large wool-scouring establishment, and also at Bourke. The wool-scouring done out back has increased, whilst it has decreased on the coast. Honorable members should remember that wool-scouring is not done by the big wool kings, but is an industry which in many cases is in the hands of working men, and is a large employer of bush labour. A good deal of the machinery used for wool-scouring may have been made locally, but some of the best is covered by patent rights, and could not be made here. There is a somewhat limited demand for it, and, therefore, its free admission would not interfere very much with the engineering trade. On the other band, a high duty on it would put a considerable tax on an important industry that is already fairly heavily taxed through the great cost of taking the machinery long distances inland, especially in Queensland and New South Wales. The machines are practically the tools of trade of an industry, which gives considerable employment to labour in the back country, where the workers have few other advantages, and the Minister is right in proposing to put them on the free list.
– These machines are made here. The patentee is Mr. Hall, of my electorate. He has had the patent for the last thirty-eight years. I believe the patent has now run out. Messrs. Hall Bros. and Company have made 150 of the machines here. Previous to their competition the price of the imported machine was £750. To-day the price is £500- a reduction of £250 through the establishment of the local industry. I stand here as a protectionist and as an advocate for the farmer, so that he may get his machinery cheap. I want the primary producers to share in the benefits of a protectionist Tariff. That result can be achieved by imposing a duty on imported machinery of this character. If the duty is removed the importer, who sits in Collinsstreet, will send home for more machinery, and the price will be put up. The following testimonial was given by the manager for Mr. S. McCaughey, the wool king of Australia: -
Toorale Station, Bourke, N.S.W.
Messrs. Hall Bros. & Co.,
Clifton Hill, Melbourne.
I have pleasure in testifying to the value of your wool-scouring machine. Your machines have been in use on Toorale and Dunlop stations for some (20) twenty years, and the fact that they have not been superseded by other machines that have been put on the market as improved machines since then, and also that the wool from these properties scoured with your machines sells to the highest price in the London wool market every year, speaks for itself. Any person going in for a scouring machinecan’t, in my opinion, go wrong by having Hall’s.
For S. McCaughey & Co.
– What is the date of that letter?
– The date is not given, but it is stated that the machines have been used on those stations for twenty years. The following is another testimonial, which comes from Queensland: -
Winton Wool Scouring and Machine Shearing Co., Winton, Q’land.
Messrs: Hall Bros. & Co.
I am pleased to say your machine is still doing excellent work. We put through 3,000 bales of scoured wool last season, nearly always topping the markets. Some of our scoured wool, T. C. Vindex, sold up to 24½d. in London, averaging 24d. per lb.
Winton Wool Scouring Co., per W. S. Hutchinson.
Those letters are sufficient evidence that good machines can be made here.I have also shown that the local competition has reduced the price by£250. There is no reason why the article should be puton the free list. I saw the machine working this morning, and have with me samples of the wool, scoured and unscoured, which honorable members can see. If such excellent work can be done by locally-made machines I cannot understand why the Treasurer wants to put the article on the free list. Out of the £500 cost of the machine£350 goes in labour. I am certain that when the Treasurer knows that the machine is being made here, and is doing good work, and that the pastoralists are satisfied with it, he will not persist in his proposal.
– The machine referred to by the honorable member for Batman is, in all probability, a very good one, and cleans the wool well, but wool can be cleaned excellently with a’ stick. The cleaning will not give it quality. The fact that Mr. McCaughey’s wool brings more in the London market than does any one else’s only shows that his stations are more suitable for sheep-raising thanare other stations. He grows on his runs some of thebest wool in the world. That does not prove anything for the machine.There is, however, something to be said for the imported machines, which are the best articles for doing the work of the fellmonger. The fellmongering industry was once a very large one in Australia, but owing tothe exportation of sheepskins it has fallen off, and, consequently, fewer machines are in use. If the cost of machinery for wool scouring is continually increased there will be still less done here. It is merely a question of whether wool can be more cheaply scoured here than in England, taking into consideration the loss of weight in the carriage of wool. I shall support the Treasurer’s proposal to place the article upon the free list. The arguments urged in favour of that course last night are as strong to-day as they were then. The machinery for industries such as woolscouring should be rendered as cheap’ as possible in order that the industries may expand-
I hope the Treasurer will adhere to his proposal, because, I think, he has shown a good deal of common sense in proposing to make this machine free. The best machine for this purpose is from England.
– What machine is it?
– There are several makers of wool-scouring machines in England, especially in Bradford, where more wool -scouring is done than in the whole of Australia. Those engaged in the industry of Australia ought to have an opportunity to test the imported machines along with the locally made machines, and to that end it is not advisable to impose a high duty. We have been told by the honorable member for Darling that a number of men are engaged in this business ; and the cheaper the machinery is made the more employment will be afforded.
– I am rather sorry that the Prime Minister has proposed to make any alteration in the grouping of this item. Probably, if he were aware of the facts of the case, he would not have given his word to the honorable member for Maranoa. Clear and positive evidence was given before the Tariff Commission to the effect that leather-making machines, and also woolscouring machines, were made in Victoria on a commercial basis, and that a fair trade was gradually being built up ; but some of the importing firms had resorted to cutting tactics in order to kill the local industry. On page 2296 of the Minutes of Evidence there appears a letter, in which one of the New South Wales importing firms intimate their intention to reduce prices for the present, in order to compete with local manufacturers. These machines are made by Messrs. Pullan and Company, of Queen’s-parade, North Fitzroy, and Messrs. Hall Brothers, of Clifton Hill, and Mr. John Hope, of Abbotsford, manufacture them exclusively, showing how important the trade has become. I have here a letter from Messrs. Hall Brothers, in which it is stated -
We beg to advise you that we are the patentees and makers of Hall’s patent machines.
This is a superior type of machine.
– There are machines vastly superior to the Hall machines.
– It is urgedthat it is not fair to exclude these tools of trade from the general list ; but, at the same time, I am prepared to consider any proposed slight reduction in the duty.
– There ought to be uniform treatment.
– All ought to be treated on a uniform basis - wool-scouring machines, woollen machines, and hat machines. There ought to be no picking and choosing in this connexion.
– I cannot understand some of the members of the Labour Party who object to this item being made free. Of course, the honorablemember for Batman, the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, and the honorable member for Yarra are what I should call one-eyed protectionists ; they cannot see any further than Melbourne or Victoria. I cannot understand the attitude of the honorable member for South Sydney,who, especially on the occasion of the last Tariff, has always been very amenable to reason.
– He is a. free horse now.
– He always was a “free horse” - in fact, he is so free that he left the leadership of the Labour Party. There is no secret in that, because the honorable member has already admitted that his health broke down under the strain of the work. At any rate, I cannot understand the honorable member’s present attitude, in view of the fact that he almost went into hysterics over the duties on piece-cotton goods. I shall never give a vote to impose unnecessary taxation on the masses. We have been told by the Treasurer that the freeing of these articles would mean a very large reduction in revenue ; but revenue was not the consideration which caused him as an out-and-out protectionist, to propose these duties. Last night the honorable member for South Sydney recommended a revenue duty on these particular tools of trade of 15 per cent. Such a duty protectionists usually regard as merely revenue producing, thoughI suppose the honorable member for Batman would call a duty of 150 per cent. a revenue duty, if it put half-a-dozen men out of employment in Melbourne, and gave a job to half-a-dozen men in the bush of western Queensland.
– Are not some of them Japanese and Germans?
– I have never seen any Japanese in my constituency, and the Germans who are there are really good colonists. When I was working in western Queensland the machine in use for woolscouring was Hall’s.
– And a good machine, too.’
– No doubt Hall’s machine has done good service, but, at the same time, it has been found necessary to trot out in its favour a testimonial twenty years’ old. And that is what is wrong with some of the woollen mills ; the machinery in use is twenty years old, and then it is wondered why they cannot compete with the outside world. Hall’s machine was all right for the time being, but there are now improved machines on the market, particularly McNaught’s machine, which is made in Bradford, England. That machine does twice as much work in twelve hours as the Hall ‘machine does. I do not say that the English machine scours the wool any better, but it is more upto<3ate.
– How much does it cost - j£5°°?
– About that, I think. Most of the wool-scouring is done inland in Queensland, and when the machinery lias been landed at Rockhampton, Brisbane, or Townsville, enormous railway freight has to be paid for its conveyance Further, wool scouring provides employment for a great number of men after the shearing season has closed. If we impose an increased duty upon this class of machinery, there are many establishments in the western districts of Queensland -which will be compelled either to use obsolete machinery or to cease operations. Some years ago, I heard a member of the party to which I belong advocate in this Chamber the imposition of an export duty upon greasy wool.
– His idea was that the operation of such a duty would force all greasy wool into our woollen mills.
– I do not think that that was the idea .underlying the suggestion. I know for “a fact that the German buyers prefer t’o purchase greasy wool. During the past ten years a larger quantity of wool has been scoured -in the Commonwealth than was previously scoured here. As a matter of fact, the quantity of :wool scoured is increasing every year. I should like patent wool scouring machines to be placed on the free list. I fail to see -why the wool industry should be penalized any more than is any other industry, seeing that it has to compete in the markets of the world.
.- I am opposed to the exemption from duty of machine tools. When my fiscal principles were said to be a little bit “ rocky “ I was fighting for extending protection to the engineering industry. That industry has already received -a very stiff measure of protection, and why should not a protective duty be levied upon the machinery which it uses?
– We are now dealing with woollen machinery. .
– If this machinery could not be made in the Commonwealth I could understand honorable members urging that it should be exempt from duty. But it does not come within that category. Having fought for the engineering establishments, I must, in common fairness, consider the interests of the machine tool makers. I do not know of any particular firm in New South Wales which produces these machines, but that is no reason why a uniform rate should not be imposed upon them. The honorable member for Maranoa has opposed the Government proposal upon the ground that it will levy a tax upon the masses. But when we consider that these machines cost ,£500, surely it is patent that such an argument is devoid of substance.
– The honorable member must recollect that there are machines and machines.
– I am quite aware of that. At a later stage I might just as reasonably put forward a plea to exempt from duty expensive engineering machines, costing ^2,000 or ^3,000 each, in the interests of a company like that of Mort’s Dock. But I shall refuse to do so. The honorable member for Parramatta has adopted the common -sense view of this matter. He supports the imposition of a uniform rate. Uniform treatment should be meted out to all these industries, and I fail to see why one branch of an industry should be protected whilst another is not. If any honorable member proposes a duty of 15 per cent, or 20 per cent, upon these machine tools, I shall be found supporting him.
.- I stated last night that I am in favour of uniform treatment being extended to all classes of machine tools, and I trust that the Committee will indorse that view.
– If the Treasurer would say that he will accept that suggestion debate upon this item would cease.
– I understand that the Treasurer gave some pledge on the matter, and I do not desire him to abandon it. In reply to the observations of the honorable member for Maranoa I wish to say that I have not abated one jot of my opposition to revenue duties. But the proposal of the honorable member is to make absolutely free articles which are being manufactured in Australia very extensively . and satisfactorily.
– That is not correct.
– The proposal is to exempt from duty wool washing and wool scouring machinery. The honorable member desires to exempt one particular machine, but he must recollect that hard cases make bad laws. It would be unwise on our part to exempt only one particular machine. The proposal to exempt wool scouring machinery if carried would mean placing upon the free list machines which are being manufactured in Australia. As a protectionist I cannot subscribe to that principle. I want to see’ uniform treatment meted out to manufacturers so far as their tools of trade are concerned. I am willing to admit that a duty of 15 per cent, all round would not be much in the nature of a protective duty. But it is better than having a machine admitted free.
– There would be a good deal of protection on some of them.
– There might be a fair amount of protection on some ; but the protection on others would not amount to much. I would sooner give some degree of protection to the local, manufacturers than put a large number of machines on the free list.
– Will the honorable member vote for preference?
– When the general duty is only 15 per cent., I shall not vote for preference. The only alternative to a uniform all-round duty on machine tools is to admit all machine tools free, and the Government, to be logical, should propose one course or the other. We have decided that a duty shall be charged on machines used by tanners, to which I did not object, although there are a number of tanneries in my district. But now the Government ask us to admit free of duty wool-scourers, some of which are manufactured here. I trust that the Committee will agree to an all round duty of 15 per cent, upon all kinds qf machine tools, and to bring that about we should vote against the omission of woolscouring machines from the dutiable list.
.- Last: night I drew attention to the fact that many objections have been made to the classification of machine tools. My atten- tion has been drawn to the very arbitrary classification adopted by the Department, under which tools which are regarded by the trade as all coming within the same category have been treated, some as dutiable, and some as free. Under item 167 the Department has power to issue bylaws declaring that certain machine tools should be free. I have here an enumeration of machine tools,, all of the same class, and some of them actually used in the same machines, in regard to which the Department differentiates, making some dutiable and allowing others to come in free. I indorse the sensible suggestion of the honorable member for South Svdney that there should be an all-round low duty, and I suggest that there should be a . common definition of machine tools. We should not proceed by enumeration. We might define machine tools as tools which are worked by power instead of by hand.
– We should require a big exemption, list.
– My. suggestion accords with the statements of witnesses before the Tariff Commission. Mr. Pearson made the same suggestion, and a large importing firm has pointed out to me that a designation which would cover all machine tools should be adopted.
– The .question is whether we should not get a more favorable result by imposing a small all-round duty than by differentiating.
– I shall support the lowest rates proposed. I understand that many machine tools which are very effective and economical - some of them very delicate - are not manufactured in the Commonwealth. These tools, especially such as are driven by pneumatic power, are largely used by the smaller engineering establishments, in which it is’ found too expensive to use steam motive power. Some of these tools are covered by patents, so that thev could not be made here, and any duty imposed on them will amount to’ a specific tax on production. I hope that the Minister will consider the advisability of imposing a low all-round duty. if these tools are not to be admitted free, and of determining upon some principle of differentiation.
.- I wish to defend myself from the charge of inconsistency made by the honorable member for Maranoa. When he spoke of an export duty on wool exported in the grease, I said, “ Hear, hear.” I wish to say that I thoroughly indorse that suggestion. The honorable member treated my interjection, assenting to an export duty on wool, as inconsistent, and he went on to say that a great deal of the wool exported from Australia is now locally scoured. The honorable member for Parramatta interjected that the desire was to get the greasy wool manufactured in Australia. I regard that as a . very laudable desire, though, under present conditions, there is not much hope of getting a great deal of it manufactured here. But there is no reason why the bulk of it should not be scoured here, and if we put ahigh duty on the machinery used in the various processes of scouring, thosewho manufacture such machinery will establish works here, because this is the largest woolproducing -country in the world. I know, of my own knowledge, that the largest manufacturing concern in’ the world contemplates establishing in Sydney, in the immediate future, large manufacturing works’ - that is, provided that certain duties are agreed to. I am not” at liberty to make the name of the firmpublic ; but I willgive it to any honorable member who asks me for it.
– Is it a machinery-making firm?
– Interested persons will promise anything.
– The firm is; negotiating for, if it has not already purchased, a site on which to erect works. Other firms will follow its example. “The inconsistency of honorable members amuses me, because, although I do not say much, I listen carefully to what is said. To impose a duty on harvesters, corn shelters, and similar machinery, and to put machinery, such as is now under discussion on the free list, is grossly inconsistent.
– The machinery which I mentioned cannot be manufactured here commercially.
– If high duties are imposed, the manufacturers will establish works here. Besides, the. honorable member for Batman proved that machines equally good can. be manufactured here. A machine used by a firm like McCaughey and Company,the largest sheep-owners in Australia, should be good enough for any one.
– So far as station scouring is concerned, it does not matter whether the process takes a month or three months ; but the man whose business is scouring wishes to get the work done as soon as. possible.
– That does not affect my argument. In reply to what has been said about freights, I ask how much more would it cost to send an imported machine from Rockhampton inland than to send a locally made machine. The freights would be identical. I am sorry that the Ministry should make promiseswithout due consideration All machines should be treated alike. If one machine which can be made locally is placed on the free list, all similar machines should be admitted free. It is intended to place other machines affecting other industries on the free list, but I shall vote against those proposals just as I shall voteagainst the proposal of the honorable member for Maranoa.
– I propose to support the proposal of the Minister, and I hope that the deputy leader of the Opposition will not persist in his objection to our getting woolscouring machines, and as many other articles of that kind as possible, placed on the free list..
– Which will give the better result - to put those articles, and others; on the 25 per cent. list, or to bring the duty on all down to 15 per cent.?
– The honorable gentleman, if he is the clear-seeing man that I take him to be, and understands the temper of the Committee, will realize that, if he cannot get wool-scouring machines put on the free list, he will not get them put on the 15 per cent. list.
– I do not know about that.
-I am endeavouring to get as many tools of trade as I possibly can made duty free or put on the 15 per cent. list, and because I cannot get all the items enumerated free, I am not going to object to wool-scouring machines being free. The honorable member for South Sydney has urged that all tools of trade and mechanisms for assistance to trades should be treated on a uniform basis, and subjected to a certain amount of taxation. That sounds very nice, but I think the honorable member will find that when his theory is practically applied a number of his protectionist compatriots will be as strongly against - its application as any free-trade members will be -favourable. Again,- I must congratulate the pioneers and workers out-back in having discovered a new friend in the honorable member for Batman. It has been claimed by him that under a 12
– We all know that.
– That argument has been put forward. Apparently a number of honorable members ha.ve noi fully realized the changes which have been brought about. Take the far-back country, such as the Maranoa electorate, where the product has to be carried for hundreds of miles by bullock or horse teams to the nearest railway station. There is a large quantity of wool which is inferior’ in that it is short. It is so loaded with dirt that, unless it is cleansed on the spot, it is a lost product.
– It generally is treated on the spot. .
– In the far back country, I have seen sheds where large quantities of .that kind of wool have been thrown- out in heaps until such time as mechanical contrivances are brought along and enable it to be properly treated. That is done with the assistance of woolscouring machines, and men are profitably employed in the process. The honorable member for Maranoa has pleaded with the Minister to assist that form of industry by allowing the machines to be imported as cheaply as possible. I remind the Committee that the men who are engaged in this industry have to compete with Germany, France, and other producing centres, and that their wages and returns are determined by that open competition. They cannot derive any benefit from a protectionist policy. If honorable members levied a duty of 100 per cent, on wool, it would not benefit those persons by one iota. The product has to be sold in outside centres. There is another point which I think ought to’ appeal to the Committee very strongly. When framing the old Tariff, it was decided that wool-scouring machines should be placed on a 12 J per cent, list, but the very same Committee decided that the coddled manufacturing interests of Australia, particularly of “Victoria, should have certain lines of machinery put on the free list, despite the fact that they could be made here. That principle ‘ has been indorsed by this Committee. So that at the present time the big woollen mills of Melbourne and elsewhere can freely import wool-scouring machines for use in their factories. If a squatter or settler requires a machine to assist him to prepare his wool clip for the market, to turn an unmarketable commodity into a marketable one, the protectionists clap a duty of 12 J- per cent, on his machine, and now it is proposed to raise the duty to 25 per cent, in the general Tariff, and 20 per cent, in the preferential Tariff. Where is the justice in that kind of Tariff reform? If the Committee has any sense of justice at all it will assist the Minister to put wool-scouring machines on the free list in the interests of not only the Victorian wool manufacturers, but also the men struggling in the way-back districts of the Commonwealth to develop its resources.
.- Mr. Wilks. I am sorry that YOU are in the chair this morning, . because -I want to reply to a remark which you made about a woolscouring machine being in every home in the western portion of New South Wales.
– The honorable member need not restrict his remarks. *
– It is well known that a man does not want to cart a wool-scouring machine about on his back. A woolscouring plant, if erected in any town in western Queensland, would make many homes bright, and give a chance to the nomad to settle down and become a respectable citizen. In western Queensland the nomad has not the opportunity of settling down that lie has in Melbourne and Sydney. He cannot go home every night to his wife and family. In many instances he has to follow the sheds round through the seasons, and he does not see his family from one end of the year te the other ; he has to follow up his nomadic employment. The establishment .of a wool-scouring industry in a town would give him a chance to settle down there, and add to the population, sending his children to school.
– Is this a population question?
– It is all very well for the honorable member to talk about this being a population question.
– I did not.
– Was the duty on salt a population question? I remember seeing the honorable member standing in his place and shedding crocodile tears about the poor farmer having, during the bad times, to take his horse and dray and go out to collect salt. But I shall not pursue that line of remark. The honorable member for Batman had the cool effrontery to get up here this morning and say that he is a representative of the pastoralist and the farmer. I wonder how many, pastoralists, farmers, and selectors are to be found in the great city of Collingwood. If there are any pastoralists, selectors, and farmers in the honorable member’s constituency, they have retired from business. The rest of the people there simply make money out of our producers. If it were not for our farmers, selectors, and pastoralists, Collingwood would be no more than a run for pigs. The reason why I feel so strongly on this point is that the most unfair proposition I ever heard of in my life was made by the Government in the first instance in regard to these machines. As the Tariff was introduced, machines for scouring wool had to pay 25 and 20 per cent. duty. But the woollen mills of Melbourne and Sydney, whose managers could get the ear of the Government, were allowed to import the self-same machines duty free. I have no objection to machines that can be made in the Commonwealth being taxed, but these particular machines cannot be made commercially in Australia. They are patented. That is why I am so eager to have them placed on the free list. The honorable member for South Sydney said that Mr.- McCaughey. had one of these machines on his station. That may be so. . But on such stations it is not very important whether the machines scour the wool in a week or in a month. They do not mind so long as they get the wool scoured in time for the next sales. But persons who undertake this work by contract want to get rid of it as quickly as possible. Those who go in for the latest machinery are worthy of applause. By imposing a high duty on these machines, we are simply barring the path of . progress. If I cannot get the machines placed on the free list, I ask honorable members to make the duty as small as they possibly can.
– This debate has taken a turn which I hardly expected. Some time ago I had a conversation with the honorable member for Maranoa, who pointed out to me that wool-scouring machines for use in the woollen mills were admitted free, whilst machines of the same character used for scouring wool in wool-sheds were charged duty. I thought that was a serious anomaly, and told the honorable member that all these machines should be placed upon the, same basis. That is why I have moved the amend. ment.
– The Minister has carried out his promise.
– The schedule at ‘ the end of the Tariff contains the words -
Rebate for Home consumption - 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, felts felts and hats - rebate, the full duty paid.
That was not made so explicit in the Tariff of 1902, but the rebate was allowed departmentally. There seems to be a strong desire that this machinery should not be treated differently from other machinery, but that all should be dutiable. I regret very much that the Committee has not agreed to all the duties as proposed by the Government, and that the duty on machinery is not as high as I had hoped it would be. But this question is very farreaching, though the sum of money involved is not large. For instance, the imports of machine tools amount to £125,000 a year. The duty paid is not much. ‘ There will not be much loss of revenue from the reduction proposed to be made. It is not a very important matter either from a protectionist or revenue point of view. To save a long discussion, it is just as well that an arrangement should be made. The honorable member for Maranoa has very generously relieved me from the promise which I made to him, because I should have felt bound, even if my proposal had been defeated, to fight it for him if he had insisted. As he has relieved me, and as it is the general feeling that an average duty of 15 per cent. should be placed upon these goods, I shall ask leave to withdraw my amendment. It has been proposed that the duty shall be 15 per cent. all round.
– On both paragraphs a and b?
– Yes, because it is impossible to separate them. I feel that it is of no use for me to go on with my proposalin the face of an adverse majority.
– The Treasurer would get a good deal more revenue out of what is proposed than out of his own proposal.
– I donot care a two-penny dump about revenue in regard to this item.
– It will mean £1 00,000 a year.
– I do not think that it will mean nearly as much. The A section of the Tariff Commission recommended a duty of 20 per cent. on the items under consideration. The B section recommended a duty of 10 per cent. As there does not seem to be any chance of the Government getting what they desire, I do not propose to proceed with my amendment.
– Do the Minister’s remarks apply to machine tools also?
Amendment (Sir William Lyne’s), by leave, withdrawn.
Mr.JOHNSON (Lang) [12.49].- I understand that there is a proposal to make the duty 15 per cent. I have been asked to move the omission of the words “ Machinery for the manufacture of paper and for felting.” This request comes from a manufacturer.
– I am not going to agree to any other alteration of any kind. I expect the Committee to support me since I have given way to the extent I have indicated.
– Perhaps the Treasurer will not object to my reading what the manufacturer has so say before he decideswhether or not he should agree to my proposal. A manufacturer of cardboard boxesand other goods writes that item 166, “ Machinery for the manufacture of paper and for felting “ - has probably been suggested by the Strawboard Trust for two reasons, viz. -
In this connexion it is interesting to note that strawboard lining machinery is on the free list under Customs by-law “ Paper finishing, &c,” because, I suppose, the Strawboard Trust is. thinking of importing another lining machine; while, on the other hand, it has all the papermaking machinery that it needs, and wants to block possible competitors. I do hope that you will put these lines on the free list. They are, of course, not made in Australia.
I promised to bring this matter before the Treasurer, but since he states that he absolutely declines to omit any of these machines from the item, I suppose it is useless for me to press it.
.- I hope that the Treasurer will have no objection to. meat-slicing machines being included in this item. They are a Dutch patent, and cannot be manufactured in Australia. These machines are used by tradesmen to slice bacon and like commodities, and motives of cleanliness should induce us to encourage their use rather than knives for such a purpose. If they are not included in the item they will come under the heading of general machinery.
– We shall have power to exempt them under item 168.
– Is the Treasurer prepared to insert a further line dealing with machinery for fibrous materials and felt, and providing for a duty of 15 per cent. ? If that course be not adopted such machinery will be dutiable at 25 per cent.
– I am having a line prepared.
– I should like the Treasurer to consult the ComptrollerGeneral as to the advisableness of including in paragraph b machine tools of certain sizes. At present certain machines and machine tools from sizes3/4-inch to 12 inches are included in the item, and I should like to know how machines beyond that size are to be dealt with.
– When I was replying to the honorable member for North. Sydney, I meant my remarks to apply only to the items before “metal working.” I. shall have to consider what istobe done with the others.
– I think it would be advisable, in the circumstances, to eliminate the limitations ofsizes ; otherwise machine tools and machines above the sizes named would fall under paragraph a.
.- I should like the Minister to consider the suggestion made last night by the honorable member for South Sydney in regard to printing machinery. I recognise that there is some reason for imposing a lower duty on such machinery than on machinery of other kinds, since there is no protection given to the printing and bookbinding trade by the exclusion of books and so forth. Would it not be desirable to subject printing and bookbinding machinery to this rate of duty ?
– They are not in this list.
– But would it not be advisable to include them?
– I shall consider the matter.
– I have listened with some attention to the discussion of this important item in the Tariff, and fail to understand the position into which honorable members have allowed themselves to drift. Honorable members seem to be dealing with this item from the point of view, not of whether or not it is desirable to impose a duty, but of whether we can include all machine tools in. the item and subject them to the same duty, with a view to securing more revenue.
– That is not my object.
– Our effort is to prevent any inequality.
– Is it reasonable to impose a duty of 15 per cent. on machines which cannot be made here, and the prices of which, therefore, cannot be regulated by local competition?
– To what machines does the honorable member refer?
– Many machines mentioned in this item can be made in Australia. If they cannot; they should not be subjected to a duty of 15 per cent. No protectionist, worthy of the name, should attempt to raise revenue in this wholesale fashion by imposing a duty of 15 per -cent., which is a revenue, rather than a protective impost. The discussion which has taken place with regard to the machinery mentioned by the honorable member for Maranoa should convince , the Treasurer that it is unwise to indicate to any honorable, member that he sympathizes with some objectthat he has in view.
– I was merely asked what I intended to do in reference to this machinery. . .
Sitting suspended from 1.1 to 2.15 p.m.
– I wish to ask the Treasurer to say what can be introduced under the term “artesian boring machines”? My constituents are very much interested in artesianboring, and I should like to know what the term covers?
– Does it include the diamonds ?
– There are numerous makes of artesian boring machines, and I wish’ to know what can be introduced under this item?
– The whole of the machinery for boring.
– Would it include the engine and belting used in drivingthe machinery ?
– No, it would not include the engine.
– I wish to have a statement by the Treasurer as to what the term really covers recorded in Hansard for future reference.
– I cannot describe every part of an artesian boring machine.
Mr.PAGE.- I do not wish the honorablegentlemanto do so.
– Theterm would cover artesianboring machines, but not the motive powerused in driving them.
– That is a haphazard interpretation of the term. Suppose, for instance, that a diamond drill used for boring for coal struck a flow of artesian water, would the people of the districtbe at liberty to use the same drill in boring for artesian water?
– Diamond drills are not included.
– They can be used for boring for artesian water, and have been so used in western Queensland.
– The item would not cover the cutting parts of the machine.
– The more the Minister says, the more complicated the matter becomes. I want to know just what the item would cover?
– Let the gentleman who has been asking the honorable member to out these questions put them in writing.
– That is not fair. As God is my judge, no one has spoken to me about the matter. I happen to know what I am talking about, since artesian boring is in full swing in my constituency. There is more artesian boring done in my constituency, and in the Kennedy electorate, than in the whole of the rest of Australia. If I do not make some effort to safeguard the interests of my constituents, of what use am I here? I want to have some interpretation of the term “ artesian boring machines “ on record, in order that my constituents may have no trouble in connexion with the importation of this machinery. I hope the Treasurer will not think that any one has been getting at me in connexion with the matter.
– They have tried to get at me already.
– I want the information for which I have asked, and I assure the Treasurer that it is gospel truth that no one has spoken to me on the subject.
The application for a duty on these artesian boring tools came from New South Wales.
– I want to know what the item would cover.
– I will inform the honorable member ifhe has patience. A Mr. Overall, who is a manufacturer of these tools in New South Wales, was heard by the Commission with respect to artesian boring tools, machinery, and plant, and he said that the industry was in a languishing condition owing to the want of sufficient protection and consequent excessive importa tions. Mr. Overall and a Mr. Thomson joined in the request that the duty should be from 15 per cent. to 20 per cent. on boring tools, including jars, bits, underrimers, fishing tools, boxes, and pins, sinkers, and sand pumps. The item has nothing to do with the motive power, but merely with boring tools.
– It does not include the particular part of the machine that does the cutting. It does not include the diamond.
– The honorable member for Bendigo has just said that it includes bits.
– Our recommenda- tion is confined to artesian-boring tools, and we think that they should be dutiable at 20 per cent., whilst we think wire rope and casings should be free.
– What I want to know from the Minister is what is to be free, and what is to be dutiable.
– The wire rope is free, but I am not sure about the casings.
– I want toknow about the casings.
– Casing is not machinery.
– That is quite true. The tools include the items I have just enumerated.
– I. am not objecting to the duty proposed, but I do wish to know what the item will cover. I want to know exactly what the Treasurer means by artesian-boring machines. The Chairman of the Tariff Commission has stated that it would cover almost everything connected with artesian bores.
– We are dealing only with the tools.
– This is a most peculiar position, and apparently every member of the Committee can give me information on the subject with the exception of the honorable gentleman in charge of the Tariff.
– And I am not going to be drawn to introduce anything that may not be exactly classed as boring tools.
– I have no wish to trap the honorable gentleman, but surelythe Committee is entitled to know what he intends shall be covered by the term “ artesian boring machines.” The honorable gentleman has said that it would not cover casing. I want the information for which I am seeking for the benefit of my constituents, and. I shall get it before this item goes through if I have to stay here for a week.
– I cannot give it to the honorable member. I am not going to bind the Department.
– Every other member of the Committee appears to be able to give the information.
– Other members of the Committee have not the responsibility which I should have if . I recorded an opinion on the subject in Hansard.
– The honorable member cannot expect the Minister to enumerate all the parts of the machine. The honorable gentleman has said that the item does not include casing.
– It does not include the motive power, the casing, or the actual bits.
– The only thing left is the rod.
– The rods and the rope are about the only things left.
– The term would not include the motive power for driving the machinery.
– I have seen hundreds of bores put down. The turning of the rods is done by hand.
– Does the honorable mem-‘ ber mean to say that a 3,000-foot bore is sunk by hand?
– I am talking about the turning of the rods, and the honorable member is thinking of the working of the jars. The one is turning, and the other is sinking. I intend to stop here until I get the information for which I have asked. The Treasurer has not said whether the rods used would be duty free or not. Are the wire rope and the shacklesused in connexion with artesian boring to be free? I have said that I do not wish to trap the Minister, but I should be told exactly what would be admitted free and what would have to pay duty. If any of the appliances used in connexion with artesian boring can be made in Australia, I am prepared to assist the Minister in imposing a duty upon them, but I wish to help my constituents by letting them know what they will have to pay duty on, and what thev can import duty free.
– I do not know what aD the fuss is about. The matter appears to me to be as clear as daylight. The term covers everything used in connexion with artesian bor ing that is not specially classified. We do not want a list as long as from here to Christmas of the various articles required in boring. Shackles were mentioned, and they are used for many purposes as well as for artesian bores. Rods and wire ropes have also been mentioned, and they are used for a thousand and one purposes.
Mr. COON (Batman) [2.27).- I should like to correct a statement made by the honorable member for Maranoa with respect to wool scouring machines. I know of a case in which an imported and an Australian machine are being worked side by side, and the Australian machine is doing double the quantity of work done by the imported machine. The Minister proposes a duty of 15 per cent., and I thought the Chairman of the Tariff Commission would have had something to say about the evidence on the matter before trie Commission.
– I never questioned the fact that these machines were made here.
– The witnesses examined by the Commission asked for a 30 per cent, duty.
– Let us get along.
– The country has had to pay for the inquiry which the Tariff Commission made into these matters, and we should take some notice of the evidence collected by the Commission. It shows that previous to Federation a manufacturer of these machines was employing sixty men. whilst under the 121 per cent, duty he is employing only ten.
– What manufacturer does the honorable member refer to?
– Pullan and Co., of Melbourne.
– Of course there could be no other reason but the low duty for the reduction of the number of men employed.
– That was the reason given by the . manufacturer. A manufacturer in Brisbane also gave evidence on the subject. Why should the rate be reduced to 15 per cent. ? Machinery ls lying idle in my electorate in connexion with this industry, and, the place is practically closed down. The Committee should have some information from the Chairman of the Tariff Commission on this item. A large amount of evidence was given about it, but none of it has been quoted so far in this debate. If the duty has the effect of reducing prices, and of giving employment, why should we reduce it? Why say to the people who ask for 30 and 25 per cent., “We will give you only 15 per cent.?” Why have the Government come down from their original proposition? If the Government agree to a revenue duty, which will give no protection, the result will be to put up the prices of machines and tools used in connexion with various industries. A high protective Tariff, which encourages local competition, will reduce prices. The price of one boot-making machine when there was no local competition was £jo. As soon as the local competition took place it was reduced to £50. . In addition, the American trust stated that they were prepared to supply their machines at 20 per cent. less. I gave an illustration earlier in the sitting of local competition reducing the price of wool-scouring machines by £250. In New Zealand, the duty is 20 per cent, against Great Britain, and 30 per cent, against the foreigner. We should have the same rates here. I am surprised at the Government climbing down as they have done.
– In New Zealand the rate is 20 per cent, on a few items, ‘ while others are free.
– I understand that there is an agreement for a general duty of 15 per cent, on this item. That appears to be quite sufficient, but I take this opportunity of pointing out the extraordinary position, occupied by some honorable members. In the case of machinery for the mining industry, which is one of the great primary interests of Australia, a number of apparent prohibitionists were not prepared to go below duties of 25 per cent, in the general Tariff and 2b per cent, as against Great Britain. Some honorable members fought for even higher duties, but when it is a question of machinery for secondary industries, they regard 15 per cent, as sufficient, especially in the case of those allegedly important and highly technical machines for tanning hides or making hats, or for use in woollen mills. I think that one industry should be put upon the same basis as another as regards the duties on its machinery. There , is nothing highly technical in the manufacture of the machines included in this item as compared with some intricate mining machinery, yet an extraordinary preference is given to one industry - over another.. That preference, moreover, is given to industries which already receive considerable assistance from the Tariff by protection on the commodities which they produce.
– I understand that the Government have accepted the amendment.
– I believe that they have, and I admit that that seems to settle the question, but an explanation ought to be given why 25 per cent, and 20 per cent, duties are imposed on the machinery of a great primary industry which can receive no direct benefit from the Tariff, while there is such .an extraordinary anxiety to reduce to 15 per cent, the duty on machinery for secondary industries, which certainly can, be made in this country. With the natural protection in the case’ of all the. articles included in this item, excepting, perhaps, some of the boring machinery, 15 per cent, is ample, but it will be necessary for some of those who voted for a 25 per cent, duty on other machinery to show special reasons why they should vote for 1.5 per cent, in this case. There seems to be a certain amount of mystery, so far as the Treasurer is concerned, surrounding artesian boring machines, but outside of the motive power, rods, bit, and cable of a boring machine, what remains ? Thev are not very technical, but if they are not being produced commercially in Australia they might well be placed on the free list, because it is very much more important to Australia to encourage artesian boring in arid districts than it is to have two or three men engaged in a factory near one of the big cities. Immense areas of arid land could be utilized by the discovery of artesian water, and that would mean thousands of pounds to Australia. Motive-power machines have already been dealt with under the n.e.i. division in a previous item, and 1 suppose that five men would be able to produce all the rods, cables, or bits needed in Australia. If they cannot be commercially manufactured here, they ought to be on the free list, and not subject to a duty of 15 per cent. , although in regard to the rest of the item I do not feel disposed to vote for a lower duty than 15 per cent. At the same time, there is no necessity to make the duty any higher than 15 per cent.
– The honorable member for Kalgoorlie is continually accusing honorable members of voting in different ways on different kinds of machinery, but the . machinery under this item is not in the same category as that which the honorable member refers to. Any one who votes for a 15 per cent. duty on this item should not be considered inconsistent because he has voted for duties of 25 and 20 per cent. on previous items.
– Why are they not in the same category?
– These are far smaller matters. One cannot compare a pin with an engine.
– Yesterday a number of honorable members regarded a nail as equal to a thousand-horse-power engine.
– The honorable member has occupied a great deal of time in connexion with machinery. If this delay is to continue, there is not the slightest chance of getting the Tariff through in a reasonable time. I am sure that honorable members do not want to be called back about the middle of January to resume the consideration of the Tariff. It is a case of “Harp, harp, harp.” Honorable members must do one thing or the other. Great progress must be made during the rest of the week, or it will not be possible to go much further.
– The Minister will not influence me to rush the Tariff through by a threat of longer sittings. I shall be no party to slumming.
– If honorable members are going to obstruct simply because they cannot get their own way, we shall never get the Tariff through in twelve months ‘or two years. I cannot get my own way in many things, but I have had to submit. I propose to ask the Committee to leave out the asterisk and the foot-note which have been several times referred to, and to insert after the words “ machinery for scouring and washingwool,” the words “ machinery and parts thereof used in the manufacture and treatment of fibrous materials and felt and felt hats.” I understood that it was the desire of the Committee to strike out the rebate provisions appearing at the end of the Tariff, and to includeall this class of machinery under one item. There has since been a proposal to add machines required in the manufacture of tops.
– Would the machines referredto for the manufacture of fibrous materials cover woollen manufactures, or are they confined to flax making?
– The intention is to cover the items mentioned in the Bounties Bill.
– I think that more than those items will be covered.
– I think so; and unless further complications are to be created, the proposal must be amended. There seems to be a desire to have a uniform duty of 15 per cent., though, personally, I think that desire is, perhaps, a mistake. A great number of these items were free in the old Tariff, while others bore a duty of 12/2 per cent. The A division of the Tariff Commission recommended a duty of 20 per cent., while the B division recommended, in certain cases, 10 per cent., and, in other cases, 15 per cent. Evidently there is a feeling that, as I say, there ought to be a uniform duty of 15 per cent. ; and in order to save time, that might as well be accepted. So far as the machines mentioned by the honorable member for Batman are concerned, those interested in the manufacture have no ground of complaint, except that the duty that will be imposed ‘is not so high as that proposed by the Government. At the same time, the duty which the Committee seem to desire is higher than that in the old Tariff. The proposal now is to make all dutiable at 15 per cent.
– A good average !
– I do not believe in averages in these cases. It will be necessary to first move that the asterisk be struck out, so as to eliminate the footnote “ Subject to rebate under the conditions specified in the schedule hereto.” . I move -
That the asterisk, paragraph A, be left out.
.- I do not rise for the purpose of discussing the item, but in order to make a personal explanation at the earliest possible moment. When the honorable member for Fawkner was dealing with item 150, he quoted some letters in which it was stated that the discs or plates used in connexion with disc ploughs and harrows were not made in Australia. I challenged the honorable member’s statement, and said that these articles were made by a gentleman whose name I gave at the time, and who carries on business at Finley, in the State of New South Wales. I find, however, that I was misinformed.. I have been in communication with the gentleman, and he writes that, while it is true he manufactures disc ploughs and harrows, the discs or plates are imported.
– Everybody- knew that but the honorable member !
– The honorable member is not quite fair. When there are advertisements, such as that I now hold in my hand, declaring that the patents are held by the manufacturers, and thus leading to the belief that the whole machine is made by them, the conclusion at which I arrived is a very natural one. I have no desire that the Committee should remain under any misapprehension so far as this manufacturer is concerned; and, if his statement be correct, I suggest that an opportunity should be afforded to reconsider the item, with a view to placing the discs or plates on the free list. .
.- I am glad to hear the manly explanation of the honorable member for Riverina; and I hope, that his suggestion to recommit item 150 will be accepted by the Treasurer. The articles .referred to are admittedly not made in the Commonwealth ; and to retain the. duty would simply increase the prices of ploughs and harrows which are very largely used by agriculturists.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment :(hy SV -William Lyne) proposed -
That after the word “ wool,” paragraph A, the words “ Machinery and parts thereof used in the manufacture and treatment of fibrous materials and felt and felt hats” be inserted.
– I understand that this amendment will dispose altogether of the provision for rebates?
– No; I shall have to move the omission of that part of the schedule to which the honorable member refers.
Amendment agreed to.
– I desire to draw the Treasurer’s attention to what I think is an error in connexion with the proposed duty on pneumatic hammers. - It was not intended, under the old’ Tariff nor, do I think, in this, that hand pneumatic hammers should be made dutiable. These patent hand hammers are not made in Australia, and, under the by-laws, ought to be free as machine tools for metal working, caulking, chipping, and riveting. As the item appears now, however, these hand pneumatic hammers are made dutiable under the allembracing words “pneumatic hammers,” Steam hammers, where the steam operates within the tool, are allowed in free, while other steam hammers are dutiable.
I suggest that after the words “ pneumatic hammers ‘ ‘ the words “ other than hand pneumatic hammers “ be inserted.
– I have no objection to offer to the suggestion.
Amendments (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That after the words “ 25 per cent,” paragraph a, the words, “ and on and after 29th November, 1907, ad val. (General Tariff) 15 per cent.” be inserted ; and
That after the words “ 20 per cent.,” paragraph a, the words “ and on and after 29th November, 1907, ad val. (United Kingdom) 15 per cent.,” be inserted.
.- Mr. James, a manufacturer of tools, formerly employed a great number of men and did some very important work, but, under the operation of the present duties, his business has almost disappeared. In my opinion, a duty of 15 ger cent, is much too low.
– Probably the honorable member was not present when it was arranged to compromise, and thus save a long debate, by imposing a. uniform duty of 15 per cent.
Amendments agreed to.
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) agreed to -
That the asterisk, paragraph b, be left out.
– I move -
That the words “ blowers for foundry and mining purposes,” paragraph b, be left out.
I intend at a later stage to move after the words “ artesian boring tools, n.e.i.” the insertion of a new line, which will include the articles which I now- propose to eliminate. They will thus still be dutiable at 15 per cent.
– I presume that it is intended to strike out the foot-no’:e, “ Subject to rebate under the conditions specified in the schedule hereto.” Otherwise, the effect of the omission of the asterisk will be that instead of the foot-note applying to a particular item it will apply to the whole of the items on this page.
– I consulted the Chairman upon that point, and he informed me that the effect of omitting the asterisk would be to nullify the foot-note.
– It appears to me that the foot-note was intended to refer only to that portion of the item which was immediately preceded by the asterisk.
Seeing that the asterisk has been omitted, the foot-note cannot apply to any of these items.
– It seems to me that in the absence of the asterisk the foot-note may be taken to apply to the whole of the items on the page.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendments by (Sir William Lyne) agreed to -
That after the words “ pneumatic hammers,” paragraphB, the words “ other than hand pneu- matic hammers” be inserted.
That after the words “ Artesian boring tools n.e.i.,” paragraph b, the following new line he inserted, “ Blowers n.e.i.”
That after the words “25 per cent.,” para graph b, the words “ and on and after 29th November, 1907, ad. val. (General Tariff) 15 per cent.” be inserted.
That after the words “20 per cent.,” paragraph b, the words “and on andafter 29th November, 1907, ad val. (United Kingdom) 15 per cent.” be inserted.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Postponed item 167 (Machine tools) agreed to.
Postponed item. 171. Manufactures of metal n.e.i. ad val. (General Tariff) 30 per cent., (United Kingdom) 25 per cent.
– It occurs to me that, having intimated his intention of eliminating the schedule at the end of the Tariff, the Treasurer might very well consider the propriety of incorporating item 169 with 168, and of striking but the latter . item altogether. Neither the Department nor the Treasurer can advance any reason for the retention of that schedule.
– I will consider the matter. I want to look into it further. If the honorable member will allow the item to pass, I will consider the question.
.- Incidentally I may mention that item 169 is affected by this item, and that the wording of item 169 is somewhat ambiguous. Tools of trade for the use of artisans and mechanics were intended to be free, but the Department holds that they cannot be admitted free unless they are specified by departmental by-law.
– -The point ought to be made clear, at all events.
– I have rend, three or four communications dealing with the matter. If I am not mistaken’ “ roll shells “ have been removed from an item under which they were free and placed under this. item. Now, roll shells are very largely used in connexion with mining operations. They are manufactured only by one local company, and I am informed by men from Broken Hill that the locally-manufactured roll shells are not much good. It is only under thecompulsion of circumstances that they are used. According to telegrams received from Broken Hill within the past three or four days, consternation was created at that centre by the action of the Committee in removing roll shells from the free list and including them in this item under which they are dutiable at 30 percent. Inasmuch as the mining industry is heavily taxed already under the Tariff, and seeing that it gives employment to about 112,000 persons, and that our mineral exports are worth about£25,000,000 a. year, whereas our manufactured exports are worth, only a little over £1, 000,000 a year, I trust that the Treasurer will reconsider this matter, and not, apparently in the interests of one firm, unduly tax an article very largely used in mining.
– To which firm does the honorable member refer ?
– Does that affect the question ? I am informed that under the Tariff of 1902 roll shells were free. My informants state that the Steel Company of Australasia makes shells, and that they have tried a few, with poor results. Those made by Krupp undoubtedly have,the longest life, and are of uniform quality, a virtue which the Australian article does not possess. Inasmuch as they use thirty sets per annum in a new mill, the duty will come to a very considerable sum. The following letter has been sent to me to show, how many and various are the articles which come under item 171 -
Since writing you on Tuesday with regard to this, we have had the curiosity to look up a few of the items whichthe Customs bring under this heading, and we find amongst them the following heterogeneous list, viz. : Blacksmiths anvils ; masons’ sieves and riddles; bells of every description ; door bolts ; fire proof safes ; hinges ; gate latches ; iron, water and steam tubes, up to 4 inches; trace and dog chains, navvies picks; gas pipe tongs; cast iron saucepans and boilers ; cash boxes ; corkscrews ; fenders and fire irons; glue pots; blocks and pulleys.
In the above list we know of only two lines which are being made in the States viz. : cash boxes and fire proof safes, so that you will see that, with these exceptions, the item is purely a, revenue line.
I hope that protectionists will agree, either to the reduction of the proposed rates of duty, or to placing the articles whichI have named on the free list. The informa- tion which I have given to the Committee has come to me from correspondents who can be absolutely relied on.
.- The Minister should give us more information as to what it is intended to bring within this drag-net item, and what it is intended to exempt. In the 1902 Tariff there is a long list of articles exempted from the duties on manufactures of metals. Nothing of the kind appears in this Tariff, and we have no information as to what the Department will, later on, declare to be included in item 171, and what will be exempted from the proposed duties. Another matter to which I wish to refer is this : The Government in the future will have to import a large quantity of copper wire for the extension of its telegraphs and telephones. I am aware that no direct Government importations are dutiable, but, inasmuch as this material will probably have tobe purchased from contractors, who will import it, the free list is the proper place for many of these articles. The adoption of a duty will involve higher prices ; it will artificially inflate the revenue, and we shall be repeating the experience of Victoria, where, during a boom, the Government inflated their revenue by charging high duties upon articles imported for Government use. Our accounts will become complicated, inasmuch as three-fourths of the revenue from Customs and Excise must be returned to the States.
– If the Government obtained quotations in bond, there would be, no duty to pay.
– It would be all right so long as the contractors had not to pay the duty. If duty is paid, the Commonwealth gets only one-fourth and the States the remaining three-fourths, so that it is not sound finance to impose duties onCommonwealth requirements.
– Copper wire is free under the Tariff.
– The Committee agreed to that a few days ago.
– What about galvanized iron wire?
– That, too, is free.
– A number of exemptions are specified in the next few pages of the Tariff.
– Yes; in items with which we have already dealt. We are now dealing with items, the consideration of which was postponed originally.
– It would be impossible, without an enormous amount of labor, to identify in the Tariff all the articles to which my remarks apply. There are many other imported commodities, besides copper wire, used by the Government.
– Is this not rather a matter of administration ?
– Not quite. The course suggested by the honorable member for North Sydney could be followed ; but it is worth while to bear in mind the undesirability of collecting duty on goods imported for the various services’ of the Commonwealth. The cost of all the imported articles used by the various Departments will be increased if they are made dutiable, and this will give a false impression as to the actual amount of our Customs revenue.
– We cannot deal with the matter in any other way, unless we give a rebate.
– Where large lines are concerned, we can avoid the payment of duty.
– That is so; but it is an anomalous thing merely to take money out of one pocket to put it into another.
– It does not matter, so long as we do not lose any of it.
– But we shall lose some of it, because three-fourths of our receipts must be returned to the States, the Commonwealth retaining only one-fourth. To levy duty on Commonwealth imports is a false way of obtaining revenue.
– In the States they have treated borrowedmoney as revenue.
– There have been all kinds of devices adopted by the States Governments for meeting their difficulties. If borrowed money has been used to pay interest I ‘ hope that it is not being done now, and that it will never be done by the Commonwealth. I should like the Government to prepare a list, similar to that in the 1902 Tariff, showing the exemptions under this item.
– What about the man who manufactures in Australiagoods of the kinds imported for the service of the Commonwealth ?
– I have been speaking of material which cannot be obtained in Australia.
– The honorable member’s contention is that, if duty be levied on Commonwealth requirements, the various Departments will have to pay more for the material they buy, while the Commonwealth will be able to retain only onefourth of the revenue produced by the duties.
– Exactly. Another matter to which I wish to call attention is this : Parliament is voting various rates of duty for the encouragement of our different industries. Those rates must be regarded as the maximum protection which we think should be given to those industries. But the practice of the Departments has been to give local tenderers a preference of from 15 to 25 per cent. over foreign competitors, in addition to the duty. That, in my opinion, is illegitimate and improper.
.- Item 171 covers, I take it, practically all the manufactures of metal not elsewhere specifically dealt with in the Tariff. Yesterday, however, after a great deal of discussion, the Committee decided that the rates of duty which should apply to the various kinds of machinery dealt with under items 163, and 164 should be 25 and 20 per cent., and, therefore, I intend to move to reduce the rates now proposed from 30 and 25 to 25 and 20 per cent. I hope that the Government, with a view to expediting business, will accept the suggestion.
Sir WILLIAM LYNE (Hume- Treasurer [3.30]. - I desire to insert the letter “a” before the words “ manufactures of metal n.e.i.,” in order to make a separate paragraph, and then to insert as paragraph b the words “ articles made entirely of aluminium for household use,” subject to duties of 10 and 5 per cent. respectively. I have made inquiries, but cannot find that there are any manufacturers of these goods in Australia.
– Why not make them free? Duties of10 and 5 per cent. are not intended to be protective.
– I am not particular as to whether they are made free or not.
– Make them free.
– I am quite agreeable to make them free. I move -
That the letter “a” be inserted before the word “ manufactures.”
Amendment agreed to.
– I am willing to accept duties of 25 and 20 per cent.
Amendments (by Mr. Sampson) agreed to -
That after the words “ 30 per cent.” the words “ and on and after 29th November, 1907, ad val. (General Tariff), 25 per cent.”; and after the words “25 per cent.” the words “and on and after 29th November, 1907, ad val. (United Kingdom), 20 per cent.,” be inserted.
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) agreed to -
That the following new paragraph be added : -
Articles made entirely of aluminium for household use, ad val. (General Tariff), 5 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), free.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Postponed item 172. Saws n.e.i., ad val. (General Tariff), 25 per cent.; (United Kingdom), 20 per cent.
.- I think that the Government are proposing rather high duties on saws, which are tools of trade to those who are engaged in various industries and in bush work. Therefore, I move -
That after the words “ 25 per cent.” the words “ and on and after 29th November, 1907, ad val. (General Tariff), 15 per cent.” ; and after the words “ 20 per cent.” the words “ and on and after 29th November, 1907, ad val. (United Kingdom), 15 per cent.,” be inserted.
– Are saws made here ?
– Yes, in Lonsdalestreet.
– Under the old Tariff all saws were free, and I suggest that band and circular saws should be made free.
– Those are the saws which are principally made here.
– No; there are crosscut and other saws made.
– They are nearly all made here.
-The Minister is mistaken.
– Band saws are made here.
– Band saws, for breaking down logs, are nearly all imported, because the saw-making industry is more developed in other countries. In the case of circular saws I do not think it is desirable to restrict the range of choice. The lives of the workers depend upon the quality of the saws. If the users are not given the widest range of choice they are apt to take a saw which may not be so reliable as the saw which they would otherwise demand.
– Does not the honorable member think that the local manufacturers will study the question of quality ?
– That may be so, but I would give to the users the widest possible range of choice, because those who have been making these saws for generations in other countries have acquired great perfection in the art. The local manufacturers would undoubtedly get the preference if they made good circular saws; but I would not limit the range of choice. I propose to move that all band and circular saws be duty free.
– I hope that neither amendment will be carried.
– I want a lower duty than 15 per cent.
– The honorable member wants everything free.
– I think the honorable member might allow me to put the case in my own way.
– From the Victorian point of view.
– The recommendations of the A section of the Tariff Commission were that saws generally should be liable to a duty of 20 per cent., but that hand saws, saw plates, steel band or ribbons for making saws should be free. So that a duty of 20 per cent, would operate on the very class of saws which honorable members want either to exempt or to be made liable to a lower duty. It is the band and circular saws which we want to have made here. We propose to admit free the carpenter’s hand saw ; but the big saws are being made in Melbourne and Sydney, and I strongly object to them being made liable to a lower duty, or to being placed on the free list. There was very strong and satisfactory evidence given in favour of a duty of 20 per cent.
– By how many men ?
– By two firms who said that they were making the saws.
– They want a good protection.
– Twenty per cent, is not a very strong protection.
– I think that the honorable member might give way a little when the general body of the Committee want a lower duty
– I do not know that they do. The honorable member wants to smash up. everything. Provided that hand saws and raw materials are admitted free, I think that a duty of 20 per cent. might fairly be placed on the big saws which can be made here.
– Under what item do hand saws come in free?
– I do not know. I cannot find the item.
.- If there are any articles in this schedule which can be considered tools of trade they are saws. They may be made in Melbourne and Sydney, but they are used all over Australia.
– It does not matter about that if the saws can be made here.
– The saws are used by men who have not seen and do not want to see Melbourne or Sydney. They are used by men who get their living in the bush in saw-mills, both small and large. I have bought saws in different States. Last year I purchased a saw in Melbourne but I had to wait for five or six weeks while it was being made.
– Good gracious ! What a terrible thing that the honorable member should have to wait !
– I shall not be bullied out of my course by the Treasurer. I am speaking of what I know. There is no chance of the local manufacturers making saws suitable for the various descriptions of business which are carried on in Australia. For sawing hard wood and soft wood, different kinds of teeth are required. Tasmania requires saws different from those which are used in Western Australia or Queensland. It is unfair to impose duties of 25 and 20 per cent. I am a reasonable protectionist.
– The honorable member is joking.
– No; I am not a hat maker. Honorable members who laugh have just allowed the free admission of hat-making machines,- but they will not allow a man who is employed in the bush in building up Australia to get his saws free of duty. I do not want the saws to be admitted free, but I desire a reasonable duty to be levied. According to some invoices which I saw to-day, a saw -which was sold at £4 16s. under the old Tariff is now sold at £6 6s. That is monstrous. I want honorable members to realize that these high duties of 25 per cent, and 20 per cent, affect Queensland, Tasmania, and Western Australia particularly. In my opinion, duties of 15 per cent, and 19 per cent, will be quite enough to impose. That is what I call reasonable protection.
– I understand that the honorable member for North Sydney wishes the honorable memberfor Bass to withdraw his amendment, so that he may move a prior one.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
– I still think that band and circular saws should be made duty free; but as it cannot be carried, and to save time, as the honorable member for Fremantle is going to move an amendment to reduce the preferential duty to 10 per cent., I shall allow the proposed duty on those saws to go.
.- I wish to move -
That after the words “ 25 per cent.” the words “ and on and after the 29th November, 1907, ad val. (General Tariff), 15 per cent.” be inserted.
.- What the honorable member for Fremantle proposes is no protection. He made a statement which suggests that he is prejudiced against anything eastern. He stated in the first place that we could not make anything good, and in the second place, that he had to wait for a long time while a saw was being made.
– I did not say that they could not make anything good.
– The honorable member for North Sydney has said that the life of a man working in a mill depends upon the quality of the saw used.
– That is a fact, too.
– A man is a fool who will put his finger or neck on a saw in a mill. In my electorate there are a considerable number of saw-mills dealing with, perhaps, as hard a wood as the honorable member for Fremantle has had. any experience of, namely, the well-known red gum. I believe that the majority of the sawmillers - certainly some of them - prefer the Australian-made saw to the imported saw.
– I did not say a word against the Australian saw. I merely said that users ought to be allowed the widest range of selection, as their lives depended upon the quality of the saws which they used.
– They have the widest range of selection now. They can please themselves as to whether they buy an imported saw or an Australian-made saw.
– The local man makes only certain kinds of saws.
– He makes the kind to which the honorable member for Fremantle referred. Hand saws are placed on the free list. Circular saws and vertical saws of all kinds are made at an establishment in Lonsdale-street, Melbourne. To show the despatch with which saws are made in that establishment, I may mention that only very recently a vertical saw in a mill on the Murray River broke.
– That was a colonial one, I bet.
– I cannot say whether it was a colonial one or not, but the sawmiller telegraphed to me saying that he would be very much obliged if I would go and purchase for him a vertical saw, in order to get the works going again. He asked me to purchase the saw from the establishment in Lonsdale-street, where saws of better quality are made.
– How many men does he employ?
– He employs twentytwo men in one mill alone.I am in sympathy with the sawmillers. The industry in the West is a very good one, but there is also a good one here.. The millers themselves are interested in getting these articles as cheaply as they can; and theyare now getting them cheaper than they used to do when they had to obtain them from the importer. I hope that the Government will stand firm.
.- I trust that the Committee will not place a greater burden than is absolutely necessary upon the great timber industry of Australia. Saws are essential for the cutting of timber. When we compare the magnitude of the sawmilling industry with the smallness of the saw-making industry, it seems a very mistaken policy to ‘make the duty very high. In Western Australia alone we export over a million pounds worth of timber per annum. I can well understand honorable members saying that, as a duty has been placed upon other machines which are of great importance to Australia, such as artesian-boring plant, we should, for the sake of uniformity, place a duty on saws. But certainly it ought not to be higher than the duty on other tools of trade. Personally, I think that saws should be free, though I am prepared to vote for a duty of 15 per cent. I do not think that saws can be made in Australia as good as those which are imported. It is not an easy thing to make a saw. People who are new to such an industry cannot turn out as good an article as is produced in a place where they have the experience of many years. I shall support the amendment of the honorable member for North Sydney.
– We have heard a great deal about uniformity, and there is something to be said from that point of view. But saws are tools of trade, which, I think, might fairly be put on the free list. It will be admitted that the material of the saws which ; are made locally is imported in sheath form. They are thenmade circular or otherwise, fitted up, and have teeth put into them. That is all that constitutes the industry. Thosepeople who use saws in the three States where there is a large lumber trade are well able to pay the duty, if they choose to import superior articles, and from that point of view there is no reason why saws should not be put on the same footing as other tools. But still I shall support a proposal to make them free, as saws are in general use. Our saw-millers want the very best material for their purpose, and to secure the best saws they must import. We were sent here to rectify anomalies in the Tariff. Saws were formerly upon the free list. Even protectionists admitted that they should be free. We leave no anomaly by allowing them to remain on the free list. The local sawmaking industry is one that can stand alone. It requires no protection. As pointed out by the honorable member for Riverina, saws have been made in Melbourne in the open market. What better evidence do honorable members require that there is no need to impose a duty ? I move -
That after the words “25 per cent.” the words “ and on and after 29th November, 1907 ad. val. (General Tariff), 5 per cent.; (United Kingdom), free,” be inserted.
.- The honorable member for Fremantle has pointed out that since this Tariff was introduced those concerned in the saw-making industry have increased their price by 50 per cent.
– The Tariff has not done that.
– That is a state of affairs that should not be tolerated.
– I think a statement like that ought to be substantiated.
– It is not correct, I believe.
.- The honorable member for Echuca has in his possession an invoice from a Melbourne firm, and the explanation of the increase of price is that it is owing to the Tariff. An increase of 50 per cent. on invoice cost has been made in the price of the same saw of the same gauge. I saw the invoice myself at lunch time.
– Will the honorable member produce it?
– I have seen it, and will produce it to-morrow.
– If there is a case of protection run mad, it is this. There are employed in the sawmills of Australia about 11,000 men. It is preposterous that we should compel them to be dependent upon one source of supply. Apart altogether from the quality of the saws, there should be some choice left to the people who use them. Otherwise, we might as well destroy a man’s freedom at once. Why compel him to buy his saws, good or bad as the case may be, from one particular State in the whole of Australia? There is no reason in it.
– They are made in Sydney, too.
– Only a very few of. them. If honorable members choose to impose a steadying duty, all right, but to shut out importations altogether, and compel the whole milling industry of Australia to be dependent upon a small local source of supply seems to me to be protection run mad.
I think we should endeavour to have something likeuniformity in this Tariff, and to prevent differentiation between different classes of people engaged in different occupations. We have just dealt with a large class of things under the heading of machinery and machine tools which are used by people engaged in various occupations. I understood that by the general assent of all parties we agreed to a compromise to make these goods pay a uniform duty of 15 per cent.I do not see why these particular goods - saws - should be free any more than any other goods.
– No one asks for that.
– Yes, it was asked for. I think that the amendment of the honorable member for Bass is more in accordance with the decision that the Committee has already arrived at in similar matters, and I for one shall support it.
.- May I point out to those who are anxious to have a high duty on saws, that there are only two manufacturers of saws in the Commonwealth, both of whom established their industries without any duty whatever. One is Blakeley, in Victoria, who established his business thirty years ago without a duty, and the other is Chapman, of Sydney. Saws are essentially tools of trade, which should have been included under the same heading as other tools. If honorable members look at the evidence taken by the Tariff Commission, they will find that Blakeley asked for a duty of 35 per cent. on circular saws, band saws, and other saws for five years only, whilst Chapman, of Sydney, asked for a duty of 25 per cent. On circular saws only. Both makers admitted that their industry had been established without any duty, and acknowledged that they were doing a splendid business. They said that they were able to compete with American makers of saws, and Chapman, of Sydney, stated that he was cutting the Americans entirely out of the market. So that they are doing very well indeed under present circumstances. They are not only able to hold their own, but are absolutely driving their foreign competitors out of the local market. One of them also admitted that he was exporting profitably to New Zealand, and that for the last twenty years, in spite of the New Zealand duty, he charged 70 per cent. higher prices in New Zealand than his principal American competitor, and still held his own. Mr. Chapman said that he charged £18 10s. for a 5 ft. circular band saw. invoiced in America at£12 8s., so that the local manufacturers secure immensely higher prices for their saws than are obtained for the imported articles. . He added, however, that he allowed a discount of 10 per cent. to merchants. Mr. Blakeley admitted that he got a reasonable price, and that if the duty were increased-and this bears out the statement that prices have been increased since the imposition of the new Tariff - the consumer would have to pay more. The evidence of the only two makers in the Commonwealth shows that there is not the slightest need for any duty. I suppose that it would be too much to expect the Committee, composed as it is, to place these items on the free list, as they were under the old Tariff, but I intend to vote for the lowest duty I can obtain.
.- I would suggest that a compromise be effected by reducing the general Tariff from 25 per cent. to 20 per cent., and the duty in the case of imports from the “United Kingdom from 20 per cent. to 15 per cent.
Amendment (by Mr. Henry Willis) negatived.
Amendment (by Mr. Storrer) put -
That after the words “ 25 per cent.” the words “ and on and after 29th November, 1907, ad val. (General Tariff), 15 per cent.,” be inserted.
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Mr. Johnson) proposed -
That the words “ and on and after 29th November, 1907, ad val. (United Kingdom), 10 per cent.,” be added.
.- I hope that the amendment will not be carried. When I moved that the duty in the case of foreign imports be reduced to 15 per cent., I intimated that I thought that we should impose the same rate on imports from Great Britain, since we had adopted a similar course in regard to other tools of trade.
.- In order to put this industry, which is a very important one, on the same footing as is that of the making of artesian wellboring plant, and other classes of industry, I think that we ought to vote for the same duty as we have just imposed on foreign imports; we should otherwise stultify ourselves.
Amendment (by Mr. Storrer) agreed to-
That the words “and on and after 29th November, 1907, ad. val. (United Kingdom), 15 per cent.” be added.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
– I move -
That the whole of the remaining items be postponed until after the consideration of the schedule “ Rebate for Home Consumption.”
I make this motion because I have already added these machines as well as wool and felt hat machines to item166a; and it is necessary to strike out that part of the rebate schedule which would come into conflict with what the Committee has already decided in connexion with these items.
Motion agreed to; items postponed.
No. of Item in Schedule A, 124. - Piece Goods of any material, when used in the manufacture of Rubber Waterproof Cloth. Rebate - Three-fourths of the duty paid.
Nos. of Item in Schedule A, 164 and 166. - 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. Rebate - The full duty paid.
– I move -
That the following words be left out : -
Nos. of Item in Schedule A, 164 and 166. - 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. Rebate - The full duty paid.
– Why should we not at the same time strike out the reference to item 124?
– The honorable member will see that the reference is not to piece goods generally, but only to such goods when used in the manufacture of rubber waterproof cloth.
Amendment agreed to.
Postponed item 174. Type, Printers’, ad val., 25 per cent.
.-I intend to move that the words “25 per cent.” be left out.
– With a view to insert what ?
– Nothing. If the honorable member were familiar with the printing trade he would know how absurd it is to attempt to protect an industry of this kind. An individual who has a small factory in Sydney has sent circulars and also a catalogue to honorable members.
– It was a pretty big business to send out the circulars.
– The honorable member probably knows that there is a big business to be done with the printers of Australia in the supply from time to time of small odd lots of type. That is about all the business the Sydney manufacturer has done or is ever likely to do.
– That is wrong.
– If the Committee agreed to impose a duty of 250 per cent. on type this man could not compete with American and English type founders. I have the catalogue which he has mailed to honorable members, from which they may infer that the faces it includes were all of his own design and manufacture, whereas I find that most of them, as well as the borders shown, are common to the whole of the world.
– Of course, they are.
– I ask honorable members whether the printers of Australia are to be confined in their selection of faces to what is included in this meagre catalogue, when, under existing conditions, they can have recourse to a vast variety of serviceable and ornamental type and borders?
– I am prepared to support a duty.
– But this is merely a revenue duty, and I do not understand the honorable member is here to vote revenue duties.
– I am here to vote against anything which the honorable member proposes.
– The honorable member for Maranoa can do anything he pleases.
-I intend to vote against the amendment, because the honorable member for Coolgardie proposes it.
– I hope I have a little better sense of my duty to the people of this country than to make a fool of myself by doing such a thing as that.
– The honorable member is making a fool of himself every day.
– Order !
– If the honorable member forMaranoa thinks so he is welcome to retain the opinion. A glance through the. two printers’ cataloguesI have here they would see what an absurd thing it would be to impose any duty at all on type or printers’ materials. If this man did succeed in shutting out the results of the genius and industry of type founders throughout the world, a good deal of the printing that is now done in Australia would have to be done elsewhere. Certain banks and manufacturers wish to have high-class printing done, and if they were to be confined to the few faces manufactured by the Sydney manufacturer; it would be impossible for them to have the work they require done in Australia. I may inform the Committee that there is very little type imported to Australia at the present time. Honorable members who may be under the impression that they are being asked to vote for a duty which will havethe effect of starting a type foundry with a large output are utterly mistaken, because throughout Australia the large newspapers now use linotype or monoline machines, and have practically discontinued the use of ‘ordinary type. That is the position of affairs with the largest users of type in Australia. The Melbourne Age and Argus, . the Sydney Daily. Telegraph, the Sydney Morning Herald, and, in fact, all the metropolitan newspapers have installed linotype or monoline machines, and do not now use ordinary printers’ type at all. I wish the Committee to thoroughly understand that the proposed duty would operate as a special tax upon country printers and small job printers throughout Australia. It would not affect the big. newspaper proprietors, who would not have to pay one penny of this duty. It wouldbe merely an impost levied on, men who, at the present time, have the utmost difficulty to live. To prove whatI say,I have only to refer honorable members to the value of the importations of type into Australia in 1906. The quantity imported in that year amounted in value to only £9,032, and of that about , £5,000 worth - and I can get the exact figures in a moment - was re-exported to New Zealand and other countries.
– What about the imports in 1902. They amounted in value to £46,000.
– Of what use is it for the honorable member to take us backto 1902 ?
– To show that large stocks were laid in then.
– We cannot undo the past. The gods themselves cannot do that.
– We can provide against the future.
– Does any sane man believe that in 1902 people loaded up with type sufficient to last them until 1907 or 1908?
– Yes, stocks held are often ten years old.
-An importer knows better than that. The amount of interest which he would lose on his capital during the time would be more than anything he could possibly gain by any Tariff advantage. Of this material, £5,975 worth was re-exported last year, so that, as a matter of fact, only a little more than £4,000 was imported into and used in Australia during that year.
– Can the honorable member give the amount of importation’s for each year since the uniform Tariff was imposed?
– I did not look the figures up. I do not think they are material.I fancy that what I have stated is about the normal import.
– The amount imported in 1902 was £46,000.
– Anything may be proved by quoting an abnormal year. If the honorable member quotes 1902, why does he not go back and quote 1898 or 1900, or any other year selected at random? Why not also 1903, 1904, and 1905? The. fact remains that only about £4,000 worth of type was imported and retained in Australia during the year mentioned. The proposed duty is merely a tax upon the country printers, a class of men who haveall they can do at present to make ends meet.
. -I move -
That the words “ including spaces and quads, lino, and other slugs,” be inserted.
– What does the Treasurer propose to do with regard to the articles struck out of item 209?
– I am moving now to insert them in this item.
.- The Treasurer’s amendment will only make the item a little more ridiculous than it is at present. In addition to quads and spaces, there are also metal spaces known as “ quotations.” At the present time those are admitted free. If the Treasurer desires to be consistent he should add them to this item. They can be made here just as readily as anything else.
– I am told by the Department that they include “ quote marks “ under “ type, “ without specifying them.
– Quads are certainly part of the type, because type is never supplied without the quads; but “quotations” are always supplied separately. They should be included in the amendment.
– To save debate, I will agree to add “ and quotations “ to the amendment.
Amendment amended accordingly, and agreed to.
Amendment (by Mr. Mahon) proposed -
That the words “ and on and after 29th November, 1907, free,” be added.
– I agree with the honorable member for Coolgardie that this duty is a tax upon the country press. Type is not largely used by the large daily papers in the cities, although the job printers use it. The country press does a great deal of service in placing before the public reports of the proceedings of Parliament and other information, and the least we can do is to take into consideration the amount of benefit which we receive from it. The type is a tool of trade to country papers. I support the proposal of the honorable member for Coolgardie that the article should be free. Failing that, the duty should not be higher than 15 per cent., which is the rate already imposed upon other tools of trade. Assuming that some protection should be given to a local industry, the amount of type used does not appear to be very great. The importation has amounted to something like £5,000 worth per year for the whole of the Commonwealth, although we are told that when the Commonwealth Tariff first came into operation about £46,000 worth was imported. Still, if we add another £10,000 worth a year to the” figures I have stated, it would mean only about £15,000 worth of type imported yearly that could be manufactured here. As the type is chiefly for the use of the country press, the tax would fall upon only a small section of the community, and, therefore, would be a class tax. It cannot be passed on like many other duties. The price of the newspapers cannot be increased, nor can the charges for advertisements.
– They are doing it at 2d. an inch in my district.
– The fact that they are doing their work at a remarkably low figure is all the more reason why we should tax their tools of trade at the lowest possible rate. Will the honorable member for Laanecoorie vote to put them on the free list, as he seems to think that in this trade the duty cannot be passed on? I hope the honorable member for Swan will throw his weight into the scale in favour of the amendment moved by the honorable member for Coolgardie.
.- I rise, not to express my surprise that one of the artistic sensibility and taste of the Treasurer should have consented to place an ad valorem tax upon “quotations” - probably that will not affect him very much - but to say that my attention has been called to this item by the South Australian Printers’ Association, and also by the Master Printers’ Association of Queensland. Theystate that it is necessary to have a continual change of fonts, which they cannot get unless there is bigger competition, which an increase of population in Australia will induce, and that, in the circumstances, the tax will really hamper them in getting out the best work. I hope to support the honorable member forCoolgardie in successfully getting this duty struck out.
. -I cannot support the honorable member for Coolgardie, because I do not see how we can give protection to all other trades, and not to the makers of type in Australia. Like the honorable member for Angas, I have been asked both by the Typographical Society and the master printers of
South Australia to make the item free. It is true that the firm of F. T. Wimble and Company, of Sydney, are making firstclass type. I have used a good deal of it, and found it most satisfactory. I have also used their composition and ink, and found them satisfactory also; but the number of type faces that they are able to supply is very limited. I admit that for the artistic printing of to-day, there is required a number of faces which this firm is not likely to supply.
– The firm is turning out a great number of very fine faces now.
– The firm has done admirably, and there is nothing that any small country printer can require that it cannot supply.
– Perhaps the firm charges too much.
– I have no complaint to make about the charges.
– But if the firm had a monopoly it might charge too much.
Mr.HUTCHISON.- I do not think it would. Honorable members are discussing this question in the belief that if a duty of 25 per cent. is imposed - I should not mind if the duty were 20 per cent. - the printers of Australia will not be able to obtain the type they require. Honorable members, however, have only to look at page 106 of the Customs statistics to see that the total value of the printers’ materials imported last year was only £9,032. There is a large number of printers in the Commonwealth, and, keeping in view the comparatively small value of the importations, it will be seen that the duty would not add one iota to the cost of printing - it would be merely a few pounds divided amongst the printers. If the duty were distributed over the work, it would amount topractically nothing, because the price of printing is anything but prohibitive.
SirJohn Forrest. - That is an argument against a duty.
– It is an argument for doing all the work we can in the country. If I were in the printing business again, I should not be afraid of a duty twice as high, because printing is so cheap that people who require it can well afford to pay all the difference any duty would entail.
– The duty would come out of the pockets of the proprietors of small newspapers.
– That is not so; the proprietor of a small newspaper can, in Australia, get all the type he requires.
– Will he not have to pay more for his type if a duty be imposed ?
– It is admitted that the enterprising firm in Sydney has been supplying to the printers in Australia quantities of type that there would have been the greatest difficulty in obtaining but for the existence of the firm. When doing special work printers have very often been glad to be able to obtain odd sorts from this firm, without being under the necessity of sending to the Old Country. Surely this firm ought not to be made a convenience of for the supply of odd sorts, and yet denied encouragement which would enable it to produce all the type that is required.
– Then, the honorable member has used imported type?
– A printer must do so if he cannot get local type ; and I have had to get from the Old Country type which Messrs. Wimble could not supply. We ought not to destroy an industry of great value to Australia - an enterprising firm which under the present Tariff is prepared to extend its business.
– The business is being extended every day.
– There is no doubt about the Tariff, in this instance, helping an industry.
– Would a duty not mean increased cost to the consumer?
-The consumer would never know the difference, because it would be so infinitesimal. Further, I understand that Messrs. Wimble have pledged themselves not to increase prices. Personally, I should not complain even if the firm did increase their prices ; they have proved such an enormous convenience, and saved so much cost and trouble to printers, that they deserve to be allowed to charge a little more.
– We know very well that the importers stock everything that printers require.
– They do not; there are large firms which have been obliged to Messrs. Wimble and Company for tiding them over difficulty. I think that in the General Tariff a duty of 20 per cent. would be fair, but nothing under that figure. However, I shall vote for a duty of 25 per cent., so that we may not fix a duty of 20 per cent. in the General Tariff, and of 15 per cent. as against Great Britain. With duties of 20 per cent. in both columns I should be quite satisfied.
– In this item we have another evidence of the anomalies which have been created, and which are being created, in the Tariff. Big interests are favored, while small industries are penalized. This House decided some time ago to put linotypes, monolines, and other printing machinery on the free list, and now it is proposed to tax the supplies of the small printers by imposing a duty of 25 per cent. As the honorable member for Coolgardie - has pointed out, most of the large newspaper and printing establishments are equipped with modern machinery of the kind I have indicated.
– That machinery is only for newspaper work, and is not used for jobbing.
– All the big newspapers, such as the Sydney Morning Herald, Sydney Daily Telegraph, and the Melbourne Age and Argus, and also newspapers in centres like Bathurst and Orange, are equipped with the up-to-date machinery which is admitted duty free.
– Do not some newspaper proprietors also do jobbing work ?
– Yes ; a good part of the earnings of many country newspaper proprietors arises from jobbing work. I have here a circular letter, copies of which other members have no doubt received, from Messrs. John Haddon and Company, of the Caxton Type Foundry, Sydney; and from that I gather that a country printer has to pay a duty of 25 per cent. on his type, and’ a further duty of from 30 per cent. to 40 per cent. on his frames and cases, while the larger newspaper companies, who can afford linotypes, and so forth, practically escape all imposts. Is it fair that struggling country newspaper proprietors should be penalized in this way?
– The duty will not penalize country printers. I have here Messrs. Wimble’s catalogue of good type at reasonable prices.
– Do I understand that Messrs. Wimble and Company, if this duty is imposed, are prepared to supply country printers with type as cheaply as they do under present conditions ?
– More cheaply.
– Then where is the need for a duty ?
– The increased business will permit the firm to do the work more cheaply.
Mr.THOMAS BROWN.- But the firm gets the business now.
– The firm gets some of the business, but not so much as they ought to get.
– If Messrs. Wimble and Company can meet the demands of the Commonwealth as cheaplyI do not say more cheaply - as can their competitors abroad, I fail to see the need for the duty. Messrs. Wimble and Company apparently have a fair field and no favour; and if they do not. avail themselves of the margin of 25 per cent., then they do not run their business on the same commercial basis as do other companies. I hope that the margin will be reduced ; and I am prepared to support the amendment of the honorable member for Coolgardie.
.- I happen to know a little about this subject; and I say that in regard to quality and prices no complaint can be found with Messrs. Wimble and Company, who, unfortunately, are at present the only firm of this class in Australia. The existence of this firm, even on a small scale, with free imports from outside, has been of great advantage to jobbing printers, especially in New South Wales. If a printer ran short, he could always get a supply in a fashion not possible with importers, who are occasionally depleted in one or other of their sorts.
– Are Messrs. Wimble and Company philanthropists?
– No; like the honorable member and myself, they are for business.
– Does the honorable member think that if this duty is not imposed they will close their foundry?
– If Messrs. Wimble and Company close their foundry the importers will have it all their own way.
– And if a duty be imposed Messrs. Wimble and Company may have it all their own way.
– I do not think that a duty of 25 per cent. is likely to cause importers to cease business.
– Will a duty not add to the cost of imported type?
– It may, but it will not add to the cost of Messrs. Wimble and Company’s type. I dare say that if the duty be imposed other type-found establishments will arise, and cause competition. Here we have the catalogue of the firm, and it will compare with that of any type foundry in the world.
– Are the other people asking for a duty?
– By the “other people,” 1 suppose the honorable member means printers; and 1 may say that I had a circular from the Typographical Association suggesting that a duty ought to be imposed.
– Has there been a similar circular from country printers?
– No; but I know a. country printing office which has been furnished at a reasonable cost almost completely by Messrs. Wimble and Company.
– Messrs. Wimble and Company competed against free imports.
– For that reason their establishment is not so extensive, and their faces of type are not so numerous, as would otherwise have been the case. They are not likely to increase their prices under a duty; but if they do, we can deal with them. I do not think that the imposition of a reasonable duty upon type is likely to prove any serious charge upon the printing community. The Committee ought to be prepared to extend some consideration to this industry, which has had to contend against great disadvantages for a long time.
– This is a case in which it is. proposed to penalize the whole of Australia for the sake of maintaining a small industry in one corner of it.
– Type is a tool of trade of the printer.
– It is a medium of communication . and instruction - a medium for. the conveyance of all that which is highest and best in our civilization. A tax upon any medium of that kind must necessarily be a tax upon enlightenment. It is idle to suppose that the cost of type will not be increased by the imposition of the duty proposed. Is it to be suggested that Messrs.. Wimble and Company conduct their business from philanthropic motives? This firm is already exporting its products to New Zealand, besides doing well in Australia, so far as its resourcesgo. I hope it may long flourish. Before we penalize all the varied products of the world, we ought to be sure that these up-to-date appliances can be manufactured as well here as they can abroad. I understand that the reason why type foundries do not multiply in Australia is that two or three type foundries practically supply the whole civilized world with type of various kinds.
– That is not so.
– That is my information on the subject I am assured that two or three type foundries conduct a world-wide business.
– They conduct a worldwide business, but they do not supply the requirements of the world. I can assure the honorable member that he is wrong.
– I am told that they supply the bulk of the trade of the world.
– That does not mean cheap type.
– I am not so much concerned about obtaining cheap goods, so long as they are serviceable. When one buys cheap things, he usually finds that they are nasty. I always purchase an article which is good, in preference to one which is cheap.
– That is a good protectionist argument.
– I am told that Mr. Wimble produces only a few kinds of type. This is not owing to lack of skill or intelligence on his part, but owing to the lack of a demand in Australia. There is not a sufficient demand in the Commonwealth to render it worth his while to produce all these varied types. For that reason, we might very well allow this item to be retained in its present form. Even in the largest type foundries in the world, there is not much labour employed. The work, I am told, is chiefly done by machinery and boys.
– By a machine and a boy.
– This is one of those instances in which we might very well leave it to the skill and enterprise of whoever can to supply our requirements. No doubt the time will come when the gentleman to whom I have referred will extend his industrial enterprise, and nobody will be more pleased to see him do that than I will. But we are not justified in shutting out the skill and enterprise of the world for the purpose of supporting a small industry, which he is conducting so worthily and successfully.
.- It appears to me that the free-trade section of the Committee consistently adhere to one form of argument. The deputy leader of the Opposition has flippantly referred to the type-founding industry as a “ one man industry,” which is scarcely worthy ‘of consideration.
– I did nothing of the kind.
– The honorable member said that it was only a very small industry, and that it was scarcely worth protecting. If a large number of hands had been engaged in it, he would have affirmed that it did not need protection. It seems to me that that attitude is opposed to our national development. Seeing that we can manufacture type in the Commonwealth, ve ought to extend to the industry all the encouragement that is possible. In a Committee constituted as this is, I suppose that it is idle to expect to secure a higher duty than 20 per Cent. ; but I do hope that we shall obtain that rate. Some reflection has been Cast upon the quality” of the type manufactured in Australia, and, for the purpose of showing how ill-founded is that imputation, I propose to, make a few quotations. Mr. Percy W. Outram, superintendent printer of the Daily Mail, Brisbane, writing to Messrs. F. T. Wimble and Company on 18th January, 1906, says : -
I beg to acknowledge receipt of . your letter of 15th” inst. I am pleased to inform you that the type, &c, supplied by you, now in use in this office, is giving every satisfaction, . and compares favorably with either English or American type for durability and finish. The advantage of being able to duplicate founts, or obtain sorts at . such short notice, increases the value of your foundry to the trade.
Mr. Samuel Cook, the late general manager of the Sydney Morning Herald, wrote to the same firm, under date 16th August, 1900, as follows: -
I regret that in consequence of an emergency I shall not be able to be present at the interesting function to which you have invited me. At some future time I hope to have an opportunity O’f seeing your type-casting works. Your local foundry should be of great advantage to united Australia. 1 am glad to be able to bear my testimony to the excellence of the types which from time to time you have supplied to the Sydney Morning Herald. In perfection of form and sharpness of outline they are equal to the most finished products of the Old County .
Here is another letter, dated 7 th February, 1900, from Mr. John T. Anderson; overseer of the Town and Country Journal -
In reply to your inquiry - “ Is our type giving you satisfaction”? I have pleasure in stating that the type supplied by you is giving every satisfaction. I am using a lot of it now - especially fancy type -
That is a class of type which, according to some honorable members, Messrs. Wimble and Company are unable to manufacture - and for finish and durability it is equal to the imported type in use. Your fancy type i-s used in the same formes with imported type, and stands the test of stereotyping equally as well as the latter. A great advantage to a large office like the Evening News and Town anil Country Journal is the fact of ‘your being able to supply any special sorts when required for founts supplied by you. By retaining your present standard of metal and finish you should have no trouble in giving satisfaction.
Then, on the 21st March, 1906, the Government Printer of Tasmania wrote to the firm, as follows: -
In reply to your inquiry respecting the iw “ sorts “ you have on various occasions furnished to this office, I have pleasure in stating that they have given entire satisfaction, and’ it has proved a decided advantage to be able to secure type supplies at short notice when extraordinary demands have been made on the body founts for special characters. As regards depth of face, alignment of body, height, finish, and quality of metal the type compares favorably with the products of the large foundries of other parts of the world.
– Do any of the authors of these testimonials purchase the whole of their type supplies from this firm?
– If all did that, there would be no need to extend protection to the industry. The testimonials merely show that the foundry is able to supply type equal in quality to the imported article. The chief menace to Australian industries is to be found in the fact that, when our. local manufacturers approach importing firms, the latter are not in a hurry to drop their old world connexions, particularly when a new line is offered at a slight increase on the price at which they can buy abroad. That phase of the matter is always ignored by the Opposition. They forget that importers… because’ of the special consideration shown to them by manufacturers abroad, give preference to the imported article. A man who is starting, a newspaper is- compelled to goto the Sydney firms for his type, and, as.’ they .are .helping him along, he must take what they give nlm. They therefore thrust upon him foreign type,’ -at prices’ at which” the local manufacturer could sell at a good profit, the imported type in most cases being sold at prices higher than those charged for the locally-made type. It is difficult for a man, unless he be independent - and a man starting business is not generally independent, while a newspaper man very seldom is - to break away from any one set of wholesale dealers, and, therefore, the local type manufacturer has not the opportunities for selling his type which he would otherwise have. The honorable member for Coolgardie has stated that the importations of type are now worth .only £9,000 a year. But in 1902 £46,000 worth of type and printers’ materials were imported, the annual importation subsequently decreasing .to ,£16,000, £15,000, and then to £9,000. The foreign manufacturers are in a position to- sell large consignments at very reduced rates, and the importers, since they deal in a commodity which can be kept indefinitely without deterioration, find it advantageous to lay in large stocks. It pays the makers to send out large consignments, because a bulk deal is more profitable than- a small transaction, and it pays importers to carry large stocks, because, although they have a good deal of capital lying idle, they can obtain, good discounts when buying. The foreign manufacturers pay freight, packing, and insurance to Australia, and give 15 per cent, discount on their published price lists, and another 10 per cent., or 25 per cent, altogether on big weight stuff. But while burdens may be passed on, benefits of this kind are very rarely passed on, and, therefore, the users of type get little or no advantage from this arrangement. I am’ opposed to giving preference to Great Britain in connexion with the importation of type, because the English manufacturers are the principal consignors of type to Australia. It has been said that the proposed duty will be a special tax on the country printers. I deny that it will. How could it be a tax on country printers, seeing that the local maker is selling his type at the same price, and, in some cases, at a lower price, than is charged for imported type? Messrs. Wimble and Company are prepared to come under any legislation for the regulation of their industry, and have already notified the printing trade that they do not intend to increase their prices. Their specimen-book contains the same list of prices as was published before the imposition of the Tariff, and I have it from Mr. Wimble himself- that he is prepared to guarantee not to increase his prices if the duty is agreed to. Those who wish to see industries flourish in Australia should vote for the duty. The firm to which I allude is, because of the special circumstances which I have mentioned, prevented from doing as well as it might do in the local market. Those connected with’ it, however, undertake not to abuse any protection which may be gwen to them. Being interested in the trade myself, I know that it is possible to make locally nearly all kinds of type faces. All the new designs of type faces come from America ; but the English makers pirate them.
– There are many, kinds of type which the honorable member has not had occasion to use.
– I go through all the books illustrating the various kinds of type on the market. - When I have wanted uptodate type and borders for job printing, I have been able to get it from Wimble and Company, when I could not get it from the importers.
– Did the honorable member go to the importers first?
– Yes; I tried them all. round. I saw .samples of English and American types in the catalogues of foreign firms which I could not get here, but Wimble and Company had something like them. They are able to make and cast from these patterns. As a matter of fact, there are very few patent rights in connexion with type, and the slightest alteration from any particular pattern enables a maker to evade the patent law.
– The slightest variation ?
– Yes; the slightest variation from the type forms registered.
– The honorable member does not approve of that.
– I regard it as an ordinary business transaction. According to the American Inland Printer of February of this year -
Through neglect to secure the protectionafforded by the registration or patent laws of Great Britain, Germany, France, and Italy, the foreign sales of original faces of American types have been unnecessarily curtailed bv the competition of letter-founders in all those countries, who have exercised their legal right to appropriate such designs.
Messrs. Stephenson, Blake, and Company, the English manufacturers, make type very similar to that illustrated in the American
Line Type Book, the standard work on American printing type. The same type of ten goes under two different names. For instance, what is called the “Westminster Old “ by the English type-makers is called “ Delia Robia “ by the Americans. Then what is called “Italian Old-style” by English makers is called “Jensen Old-style “ by the’ Americans. The fact that different faces of type are sold under the same name shows that there are no .patent rights in regard to them. ‘Moreover, it is very hard to define any special face, so that local manufacturers are practically at liberty to make any face of type that they like. It has been said that only a few boys and girls are employed in making type locally ; but, as a matter of fact, some seventy hands are employed in the Sydney type foundry. Twelve handlings are necessary to produce the finished article; but, without wearying the Committee with a description of all the processes of manufacture, I wish to emphasize what I have already stated, that, while at the present time the kinds of type available for jobbing fonts are somewhat limited, there is nothing to prevent all the varieties of type that the world knows of being made, supposing that the industry gets the protection for which it now asks. I know Mr. Wimble personally, and have had business dealings with him. The country would be quite safe in accepting his pledge not to increase prices; but, in any case, Parliament can. protect the consumers under a measure for regulating this and other industries. The firm pays the best wages, and there is a good feeling towards it on the part of the employes, which is very pleasant to see. Even at the present time, notwithstanding the use of linotypes, the expenditure on type amounts to between £14,000 -and £20,000 a year. The honorable member for Coolgardie said that some of the type which is imported is again exported. That is not so. The type exported is, as the honorable member for Parramatta has stated, - the Wimble type, which is sent to New Zealand, where it finds a better market than in Australia, because the operations of the business concerns there are not so hidebound ‘ as those of the Australian firms. If we cannot get patriotism spontaneously, we must, since it is so necessary for the development of Australian industries, compel people to be patriotic by making it impossible, or at least unprofitable, for them to buy other than Australian manufactures, when these can be produced at prices not exceeding those of importations, and are of as good quality.
In view of the large expenditure upon type in Australia, probably with an increase in the duty, another firm will start, and that will provide competition. The honorable member for Calare objects to the duty on type because type is used by the small man, and he would exempt linotypes because they are used by the large man. The existence of patent rights prevents the Australian manufacture of linotypes; but there is nothing to prevent the manufacture, within the Commonwealth, of ordinary and jobbing type of all kinds, and it is only reasonable to provide for its manufacture here. The present makers are ready to be bound by any reasonable restrictions that Parliament may choose to place upon them. Once we have a factory hedged about by the necessary conditions, we have, as it were, a .policeman to watch the operations of any similar factory, and prevent evasions of the law. I hope that the Committee will take advantage of this opportunity to encourage an industry which will be a boon and not a bane to our printers.
.- I do not profess to know much about the printing business ; but I have received a circular from an influential body of printers who I think would not be guilty of printing an absolute untruth. I quite recognise the principle enunciated by the last speaker. We are here, I think, to do what we can to give a good protectionist policy to the country. But whether that is to be prohibition or not I do not know. It appears to me that we are departing very steadily from what I call a good protective policy. While at first I was quite prepared to follow the protectionist recommendations of the Tariff Commission, I am considerably shocked at the manner and the mode in which they were arrived at. Hitherto type has been allowed to come in free, and the duty recommended by the Tariff ‘ Commission, and proposed by the Government, is 25 per cent. The circular which I hold in my hand puts the position in this way -
Again the occasion has arisen for united action by the masters printers of Victoria in protect- ion of their interests.
Of course, there are two sides to every question. The side of the workman has been presented with great force, but the side of the other man, who, in my opinion, is concerned as much as the worker, has not yet been presented. The circular continues -
The Federal Tariff, as recently introduced, contemplates the taxing heavily of the principal articles constituting our raw material, namely, writing and printing paper, type, and ink.
After dealing with the first two items, it goes on to say -
Even if the one type foundry in Sydney essayed the impossible task of meeting all Australian requirements the restriction of the printer to the type faces obtainable here would be tantamount to throwing the printing art in Australia back twenty years.
That circular is signed by two reputable men - Mr. J. C. Stephens, President, and Mr. J. B. Walker, Honorary Secretary, of the Victorian Master Printers’ Association. To show how considerate they have been, let me mention that there is attached to the circular a printed list, and that in 95 cases out of 100 they have agreed very largely to many of the items submitted in this Tariff. ‘ That shows, at any rate, that they were not biased. The Treasurer has, I understand, practically agreed to a duty of 20 per cent. in each column.
– Too much.
– That may be. It would be a considerable reduction of the present duty, but I understand that my colleagues in the corner are anxious to secure a duty of 20 per cent. in the general Tariff, and 15 per cent. in the preferential Tariff. If it is true that it will take a considerable period to build up a manufactory sufficient to cope with the requirements of the printing trade, surely it is only fair to give the printers the benefit of the doubt? If the Treasurer will agree to duties of 20 per cent. and 15 per cent. respectively, he will show his appreciation of the difficulties which have to be faced by the master printers. While some of my honorable friends ejaculate that a duty of 20 per cent. is too high, I think it is a great jump to impose that duty on an article which hitherto has been free. I was only a neophyte when the great Graham Berry introduced his protectionist policy. AsI said theother night, I do not believe that he can be resting in his grave when we are putting duties of 30 and 40 per cent. on articles which he declared would neverrequire to bear more than a duty of 12½ or 10 per cent. Although, as I said before, it is a big jump to impose a duty of 20 per cent. on an article which hitherto has been free, still I am prepared to fall in with the suggestion. If the bulk of the material is imported from Great Britain, it will not do any great harm if we reduce the preferential duty to 15 per cent.
.- In regard to this item, I think thatthe Com mittee is called upon to adhere to the policy which so far has been pursued. A case has been made out on behalf ofa local firm of manufacturers, who, under adverse Tariff conditions, entered upon an important business. Their products are very essential to the printing trade. It is admitted that only one fault , can be found with the firm, and that is that they have not yet attained to the position of having on hand always a stock equal to that which is essential to a country with a population of 80,000,000. No fault has been found with the faces of the type. Every one has approved of their quality. Every criticism has been favorable. Therefore, the firm have proved their ability to produce the quality. Any one who glances at the book referred to by the honorable member for Macquarie, or the Inland Printer, or indeed at any catalogue, will realize what an immense number of faces the firm necessarily have to produce to keep a supply equal to modern requirements. The’ firm, I understand, are employing seventy hands, and importing five experts - several are now on their way - to design new faces. My information is that it isquite a common thing for type founders to attach new names to the same faces of type. The local firm have already taken steps to invent Australian designs. In my opinion, they are entitled to consideration at our hands. J have been surprised that not one of the Victorian protectionists has risen to say a word on behalf of this industry. Whenever a duty is proposed on behalf of a Melbourne industry, even if it employs only three men and a boy, there is quite a rush on their part to support the proposal, whether the local manufacturer is able to make the articles or not. I expect those honorable members to rise and support the protection which is proposed on behalf of this type-founding industry. Apart from members’ individual views, Parliament has adopted a protectionist policy. We have already imposed duties on items which, owing to the existence of patent rights, cannot be made in Australia. I have been trying to get some consideration for the users of those articles. I intend to support the claim of a firm which, in my opinion, is well founded, so that they may be put on an equality with other manufacturing firms, and I expect to secure the active support of valiant Victorian protectionists; whether the industry is conducted in their own State or not.
– Any one who wants a book printed with better type is very hard to please.
– It is admitted that practical printers require for the trade a larger number of faces than the local firm produce; but the quality of the Australian type is approved. I am informed that the best type passes through thirteen hands before it is finished. There is more labour employed in producing the best quality of type than is generally supposed. The idea of the honorable member for Parramatta seems to me to be quite out of the question. What he suggests is that the local firm shall go on without a duty until they are able to supply the whole market. If the firm should ever attain to that position, they will not require a duty. That is not the idea of protectionists at all. Why should that firm be singled out for differential treatment simply because it is not able to supply local requirements? The only other question to consider is, how much duty shall be imposed? Some practical printers have indicated that there is a sufficient margin to enable them to supply, without increasing the price, the demand which the local firm cannot supply. How far that statement is correct, those engaged in the business know best. I believe that there is a considerable margin. The local firm have, I understand, agreed not to raise the price, and the importers will act as a check upon them. There is an advantage in having type made locally. If it is up-to-date, if it is equal in artistic appearance to the best type in the world, printers are always able to secure a supply whenever they run short. I happen to know that in some cases printers have been unable to procure from the importer an additional supply of a particular font of type, and it has had to be ordered from England or America.
– That does not occur often.
– I do not suggest that it happens very often, but it’ is an advantage to a printer when he runs short of a particular font to be able to readily get an additional supply from a local maker. This firm undertake to make a special feature of that. I am inclined to think that a duty of 20 per cent., as suggested by the honorable member for Hindmarsh, will be sufficient. Wimble and Company have been able to build up a trade without any duty at all. I think that the Com mittee might very well agree to an allround duty of 20 per cent. Necessarily printers will have to import type to some extent. The local makers cannot completely overtake the Australian demand.
– The honorable member had better hear what the small printers have to say about a 20 per cent. duty.
– Unfortunately the small printers are not very frequent purchasers of type. They struggle along for a long while with their old type. Any one who looks at some country newspapers will see that the type from which they are printed has not a very good face. Of course, the printers want to get their type as cheaply as they can, but the duty would not increase the price materially. There is a sufficient margin of profit to enable the importer to cut his price down. In any case, country printers are not constantly buying type. I wish to be quite fair all round. If we are going to have a protective policy, why single out type for an exception? I have tried to get consideration for other industries, and have failed. The printer can pass on the cost to his customers, but that cannot be done in the case of mining.
– How can he pass on the cost when his newspaper always sells for a penny?
– He can increase the price of advertising, or charge more to those for whom he does job printing. I think we might; very well pass the duty at 20 per cent.
– It seems to me that as long as there is one little industry in “Victoria which, quite irrespective of the rights of consumers, clamours for a duty, that little Industry must have protection amounting in its incidence practically to prohibition.
– This little industry is in Sydney.
– Now, we happen to have under consideration one of those rare instances in which Sydney has an industry that wants a duty. It happens that the only type foundry in Australia is situated in Sydney. It was established in 1882.
– Mr. Wimble first started in Melbourne.
– The Government will agree to a duty of 20 per cent. all round.
– That is too high; and I shall state my reasons for thinking so. I refer honorable members to the evidence given before the Tariff Commission. The proprietor of the Sydney industry gave evidence which is reported on page 2659. He said that owing to lower prices of imported type, he can only supply “sorts,” which the agents of foreign makers do not supply, his prices being from 7½ per cent. to 10 per cent. higher. Those statements are contained in questions 78014 and 78022. The agent of one of the importing firms, Mr. Burke, gave evidence in rebuttal of the local manufacturer’s statements. He said, on page 2663, that the local maker largely sells his type in New Zealand, against all foreign makers, at the same price as in Sydney, he paying the freight and expenses - questions 94125, 94148, and 94158. Again, he stated that two or three type founders supply, and suffice to supply, all the requirements of the English-speaking world, and that therefore the local industry would be small even if it supplied all the type required in the Commonwealth. He went on to say that it would not pay to design and make a new variety of type even if every printer in Australia agreed to take a quantity of each - question 94126. The honorable member for Macquarie has mentioned that English manufacturers of type pirate American designs. .
– I can prove it.
– I am not in a position to say. whether or not that is so. I am willing to take the honorable member’s word. But I point out that the same kind of thing takes place in the case of the local manufacturer. I do not make that statement on my own authority, because I do not know. I base if upon the evidence given before the Tariff Commission. With reference to pirating, it was stated there that the local maker “pirates” the new types designed elsewhere by making electrotype castings of each letter - questions 94132 and 94162. The evidence goes on to show that one of the automatic type-making machines produces £100 worth of type in a day, and that consequently little labour is employed, and the labour cost is insignificant - question 94174. It is further stated that the wages are. higher in American and British type foundries than in the Australian ones - question 94136-7. It will be seen that this is not a question of low-priced as against highpriced labour, because, as a matter of fact, the only competitors in this line of industry are paid higher wages in Great Britain and America than the local workmen are paid. It was also stated in the evidence that youths are doing work in the Australian industry which elsewhere is done by adults at high wages, those wages being $18 per week in America, and 38s. in England - questions 94126 and 94138.
– How many men does Wimble employ ?
– About sixty or seventy, I believe; but I do not think that that matters a great deal, because the great point at issue is that of wages. The argument of those honorable members, who pin their faith in heavy taxation as a means of promoting prosperity and who believe that we need to protect Australian labour against the lower wages paid in other countries, is, “ How are you to prevent the local manufacturer from fairly competing unless you give him the advantage of a duty?” I have pointed out that’ the American and British workmen have greater reason to complain in this instance of the lower wages paid in the Australian industry, and that therefore there is not a tittle of excuse for removing this item from the free list. In the absence of any stronger argument than I have yet heard, I shall vote for retaining type on the free list.
– I wish to supplement what I have already said with further information. I have before me a circular from Messrs. Wimble and Company in which they state, writing on the 6th September, that they have about sixty men employed in their factory. Writing on the 15th November, they state that they have seventy-one employes. I also have circulars from the Master Printers’ Association, and allied trades of Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria. All of those associations ask that these goods should be placed on the free list. The secretary of the Queensland Association states that 14,000 hands employed by these associations are interested in having the goods placed on the free list.
– The employes want the duty.
– The honorable member may know what is in the employes’ minds, but against that contention are two facts. First of all, we have to remember that the big printing firms get a large proportion of their appliances free. But the small country pressmen are asked to pay 25 per cent. In the second place, there are only seventy-one employe’s engaged in the factory that is asking for this duty, while there are 14,000 employes who are interested in the goods being placed on the free list.
.- The honorable member for Calare has made a point which I think is a good one, and deserving of attention. The machines, which are really the maker’s of type for the large newspapers, are admitted free. In other words, the large newspapers which have linotypes practically use no other type at all. This duty will, unquestionably, for many years hit the proprietors of small country newspapers. It is all very well for the honorable member for Darling to say that it will not be felt by newspaper men; if he had to buy a few faces of type for a newspaper, or sufficient founts for a job printing office, he would quickly discover that it is a very considerable Item. Country newspaper and job printing offices’ have to stock a large quantity of type, having regard to the work that they turn out; they have to keep in stock type which sometimes is not used more than once or twice in a year. Variety is necessary to secure custom. I have no desire to say one word against the Australian type foundry, but I would point out that it does not produce the variety of founts to be found in the catalogues of the large American and English type founders. The cost of type, even when it was on the free list, was quite dear enough for the man who had to buy it, and this duty will fall heavily upon men who can ill afford to bear it. I recognise that there is no hope of restoring the item to the free list, but I would urge honorable members not to agree to a duty of more than 20 per cent. on foreign imports, or of more than 15 per cent. on imports from Great Britain.
– In reply to the statements made with reference to the Australian type foundry, I desire to say that it employs five skilled men, who receive from £6 to £3 15s. per week, and that three more skilled artisans are being brought out by the Dorset in order that the foundry may cope with the increased trade which has resulted from the imposition of the duty. Since the introduction of the new Tariff, the trade has not been called upon to pay an extortionate price for type ; the country printer has not been, and is not going to be, asked to pay any portion of this duty. If he were, I should be one of the first to agitate for its repeal. I know the men engaged in this industry, and therefore have no hesitation in making this statement. In view of the fact that there are seventy-two hands engaged in the industry, and that following the arrival of the three special artisans to whom I have referred something like 250 persons will be employed, I think we should be prepared to assist it.
– How many boys are employed?
– Scarcely any boys; but a number of girls are employed. The type is cast in slugs, which are easily separated, and the girls have simply to part the “ stamps “ and pass them on for trimming purposes. The process is a very simple one, and since many girls have to work for their living, it is better that they should be employed in this than in many other ways. I have it onundoubted authority that the Australian type foundry is casting over 100 varieties of jobbing type, comprising some 300 characters; and fifty series of type, comprising 500 different sizes or bodies, are now cast by it. In short, I may say that the variety is sufficiently wide to meet the necessities of every country printing office. I have been identified with country newspaper offices for many years, and have no hesitation in saying that they need never go beyond Wimble’s factory for what they want. Special type may be required by large job printing offices, and even those varieties will be obtainable from the local foundry when the industry is sufficiently established.
.- I have listened with attention to the debate, and have learnt that there is only one large firm in Australia engaged in the casting of type. That firm is well known throughout Australia, and, under freetrade, its business has attained considerable proportions. We have only to look at the catalogue which the members of that firm sent to us the other day, to satisfy ourselves that the industry is in a flourishing condition. No one desires that they should not have some assistance, although they seem to have done very well without it. Last year, I understand, our imports of type were valued at less than , £10,000, showing a. falling off as compared with the imports of previous years. I am not going to suggest that the reason for this reduction is solely that the local industry is successfully competing with the importers, but it would not be unfair to use such an argument. It would certainlybe unjustifiable to grant an industry which, has flourished without protection,the benefit of a protective duty of 25 per cent.
– These people have been struggling.
– I knew them twenty years ago, when they were in a large way of business in Little Collinsstreet, and should be pleased, knowing that they are enterprising people, to give them some protection. If we agree to a duty of 15 per cent. against imports from Great Britain, and 20 per cent. on imports from the rest of the world, they should be satisfied. I have not heard one argument in support of the Government proposal, and I think that duties of 20 per cent. and 15 per cent. would constitute a very effective protection.
– I have already agreed to accept a duty of 20 per cent. all round.
.- This is an item on which I am very much tempted to vote protection for the time being, if only to encourage some of the great protectionist newspapers in Australia to support an Australian industry. The witness who appeared before the Commission to ask for a duty on type, pointed out that that great protectionist organ, the Melbourne Age, would not use his. type, and I take it that protectionists in this House are under an obligationto compel such a representative protectionist newspaper to observe the true principle of protection. I merely mention this for their information and education.
– The big newspapers are not affected ; they use linotypes.
– They also use some type. For the sake of encouraging a local industry, they ought to be prepared to support such a duty as that now under consideration ; but in this, as in other cases, we find them saying, “ Protection is a bad thing for the other man, but very good for us.”
– I take up a very different attitude.
– I compliment the honorable member on the thoroughness of his efforts to carry into effect the policy of protection, and I can only regret that there are among protectionists so many striking instances to the contrary. My own view is that this duty will undoubtedly fall on those who can ill-afford to bear it - the proprietors of struggling country newspapers, who - although I may say in passing I am not a representative of a country constituency - I think are entitled to the consideration of the Committee.
.- As the honorable member for Swan has said, Wimble and Company are a very old firm. Mr. Wimble bought out a man named Thitchener in Melbourne, but, being unable to carry on the business, he went to Sydney, and after a hard struggle, endeavoured in vain to induce the Master Printers’ Association to buy him out. If he has succeeded to a certain extent in establishing this industry, it has been by dint of great exertion, by reason of his splendid mental capacity and as the result of the assistance of others in monetary and other directions. I have read all the circulars that have been sent to me in regard to. this matter, and I think the fairest suggestion that I have had put before me by a master printer is that we should impose this duty in respect of all the classes of type whichMr. Wimble manufactures and allow other classes to come in at a reduced rate. All the printers to whom I have spoken have referred in complimentary terms to the type made by the Australian foundry, and I am sure that no master printer will indorse what were perhaps the unkind remarks uttered by the honorable member for Coolgardie.
– I deny absolutely thatI said anything unkind.
– The honorable member uttered remarks that were as unkind as a bitter tongue could make them.
– Four independent gentlemen selected by the Prime Minister of Australia to investigate the condition of this industry, as well as that of others, have recommended -the imposition of a duty of 10 per cent.
– And four other equally independent gentlemen have recommended a duty of 25 per cent.
– Those gentlemen, being in favour of high protective duties, recommended the duty which the honorable member for South Sydney has mentioned. But it must be borne in mind that all the members of the Tariff Commission were equally conscientious in their examination of the evidence. There was an understanding amongst the protectionist members of the Commission when they set out on their inquiries that Australian industries were to receive higher protection, and be- cause of that they recommended the imposition of a higher duty on nearly everything that was brought under their notice. The free-traders on the Commission, knowing that this industry had been carried on in New South Wales without any protection, and was in a flourishing condition, determined that the duty ought not to be more than 10 per cent. The honorable member for Perth has stated that the Age newspaper, which is a protectionist organ, will not use the type manufactured by this firm.
– I do not think the Age proprietors will use their inks either.
– In contradistinction, I may point out that suchfreetrade organs as the Sydney Morning Herald and the Town and Country Journal do use the type manufactured by this firm. They say that it is excellent type; quite as good as any they could get elsewhere for their particular purpose. This goes to show that free-traders are not against the establishment of local industries. The reason why the proprietors of the newspapers referred to do not use more of the Australian type is because of the excessive charge made for it as compared with the price of the imported. An honorable member ofthe Committee, who represents the “ Fourth Estate,” said that if this firm obtained the protection of the proposed increased duty, they would not pass the duty on to the consumer.
– That is correct.
– While the honorable member might not pass on this duty, thinking that it would not be right to do so, the honorable member for South Sydneyhas stated that it is probable there will be competition in the industry, and we cannot speak for those who later on will come into the trade. We cannot be sure that they will not pass the duty on to the consumer.
– Surely they would not raise prices to catch the other man’s trade?
– It is about time something was said on behalf of industries that can live without protection, and on behalf of the small class in the community that would be called upon to pay the whole of this tax. It would certainly fall on the poor printer in the country who would be unable to pass it on. He could not increase the cost of his publication, or his charges for advertisements, because of the keen competition of the city press. In justice, therefore, to a section of the community who have done so much for the whole Commonwealth in circulating their publications, very often at a loss, we should place this item in the position which it occupied in the old Tariff, and that is upon the free list. We know that the industry now existing would not, in consequence, be crushed, because it grew and prospered under free-trade.
– It has not prospered. One company failed some little time ago, and another firm is taking up the business to try what they can do with it.
– I gathered from what the honorable member for South Sydney said that there is capital available for investment in the industry.
-I do not know that.
– I understand that even after investigation of the position of a mismanaged concern, capital can be found for investment in this industry on a free-trade basis. Why then should we penalize the small country printer by imposing anexcessive duty upon printers’ type? If honorable members will not agree to admit type free of duty, they should not impose a higher duty than 10 per cent., which was recommended by the free-trade section of the Tariff Commission and if they must impose a higher duty than that, then I ask them to treat the small section of the community interested in this item, as they have already decided to treat the large section to whom they have given inrespect of their tools of trade a duty of 15 per cent.
.- As I understand that other honorable members are willing to forego their right to speak, in order that we may have a division before dinner, I am willing to do the same.
– I wish to make something in the nature of a personal explanation. The honorable member for Robertson spoke under a misapprehension in saying that the free-trade section of the Tariff Commission recommended a duty of 10 per cent. on type. I have explainedtime and again how the Government have seized onour system of classification and applied it, as they have done in this case, incorrectly.Our finding on this subject is stated at page 28 of our report, as follows -
The demand for type in Australia is too limited to permit of its manufacture on the most approved and economicalsystem.A protective duty would, therefore,become a tax which wouldfall most heavily on the job and country printers.
– Ten per cent. is not a protective duty.
Amendment (Mr. Mahon’ s) negatived.
– We have arrived at an understanding to-day that tools of trade shall carry a duty of not more than 15 per cent. I hope honorable members will regard type as a tool of trade, and I therefore move as an amendment -
That the words “ and on and after 29th November, 1907, ad val., 15 per cent.,” be added.
Amendment (by Mr. Mahon) agreed to-.
That the words “ and on and after 29th November, 1907, ad val. (General Tariff), 20 per cent.,” be added.
Amendment (by Mr. Mahon) put -
That the words “ ad val. (United Kingdom), 15 per cent.,” be added to the itemas amended.
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 10
Question so resolved in the negative.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Sitting suspended from 6.32 to 7.4.5 p.m.
Postponed item 176. Screws, n.e.i. ; including Screws with nuts not being bolts and “nuts; Sash Screws and attachments; Engineers’ Set Screws; Music Stool and Table; Roofing, and Spiral Screws (General Tariff), 5 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), free.
– I move -
That the words “And on and after 29th November, 1907 -
Tariff), 5s. 6d. ; (United Kingdom), 5s.
I am proposing new paragraph a because it is in accord with what seems to be the decision of the Committee in all these items. I do not want to propose duties of 30 per cent. and 25 per cent., and then, after a long debate, have to come down to duties of 25 per cent. and 20 per cent.
– The Minister has not told us why he has changed his mind, and raised the proposed 5 per cent. and free to 25 per cent. and 20 per cent. respectively.
– I have not.
– The item as it stands now in the Tariff is, “ Screws n.e.i. including screws with nuts, &c. (General Tariff) 5 per cent. ; (United Kingdom) free.”
– I am moving to add what I have read to the end of the item as it stands, because, if we were to strike out the item, we should have to pass the amendment in substitution of it, or else the Department could not collect the duties to-morrow.
– The Minister is proposing to increase the duties. He proposes to add words similar to those in the item, but with the articles enumerated in more detail, and to increase the duties up to 25 per cent. and 20 per cent.
– It is a redistribution and re-arrangement.
– The amendment includes all the articles in item 176, and a few others of a similar nature. The Minister, as an intelligent man, should give some explanation to an intelligent Committee for increasing the rates. He may be able to make out a strong case, but he has made out no case at all yet.
– What I propose is a redistribution of the articles. Screws n.e.i’. come under the 5 per cent. rate and free, and are not raised to the 25 per cent. rate, as the honorable member for Robertson suggests. The articles were not clearly defined in the item as it stood in the Tariff. There is no intention in my proposal to interfere with the principle of what we have done before. The re-distribution and rearrangement has been made departmental ly. Screws with nuts, engineers’ set screws, music-stool and table, roofing and spiral screws, should not have appeared generally in the item as they did originally. I propose to make those, and also brake and plough screws, subject to duties of 25 per cent. and 20 per cent. respectively.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta) tempt to put the screw on. We are entitled to know from the Minister the reason for his entire change of front.
– If is not a change of front; it is a redistribution with proper wording.
– It is a change from 5 per cent. to 25 per cent.
– On some articles.
– Of course, that is a matter of no consequence to the honorable member ! Only one of the articles in item 176 is omitted from his new 25 per cent. list.
– I have retained “ screws, ne.i.,” on the 5 per cent. and free list.
– The Treasurer has omitted one article, and included two fresh ones in the 25 per cent. list. Why has this been done?
– It has been done by the Department absolutely for departmental reasons, in connexion with the subdivision of the item.
– Then has it come to this : that the Department imposes these duties?
– No. I get my information as to the best arrangement from the Department.
– Hang the arrangement ! I have no quarrel with that. I am speaking of the increase of the rates of duty from 5 per cent. to 25 per cent. The Treasurer can re-arrange as much as he likes, so long as he does not increase the rates in this way.
– Let us take a vote on it.
– I am sure the honorable member will give an intelligent vote, because he knows as much about it as I do - and that is nothing. Some honorable members would vote for anything under the sun, so long as it meant an increase of duty.
– The items are to be re-arranged, because it was a mistake to put them as they were in the original item.
– The departmental arrangements, in order to facilitate the handling and controlling of these matters, have nothing to do with the rates of duty. I suppose that, under the item as it stood in the Tariff, the majority of these articles would have been free, as the bulk of them come from Great Britain.
– They are all parts of those machines and engines upon which we put duties of 25 per cent. and 20 per cent.
– Is a music-stool screw a part of mining machinery ?
– It is part of the music stool.
– I am quite aware of that. I shall be glad to hear an explanation from the Minister, but I shall certainly resist the attempt to increase duties in this way without a word of explanation or warning to the Committee. The Treasurer should, before reclassifying articles in this way in paragraphs, and subjecting some of them to fixed and others to ad valorem duties, intimate his intention to the Committee, and not spring it upon us in this way. Why are “ screws for wood “ tobe subjected to fixed duties of 5s. 6d. and5s. per cwt., instead of 5 per cent. ad valorem and free, as the Treasurer proposed when he submitted the Tariff ?
– They are all made here.
– On none of these articles was there any duty in the old Tariff.
– That was a great mistake. It closed up an industry here. They have started again now.
– Why, if the honorable gentleman knew of all these calamitous occurrences, did he put these articles on the free list when framing his Tariff? Have they only lately come to his cognizance? He says the want of duty has closed up an industry. Apparently, he has only just discovered it,because a few weeks ago,he put the articles on the free list. Now, perforce, they must fee subjected to fixed duties of 5s. 6d. and 5s. per cwt. How do those rates work out ad valorem? I have no idea as to what the incidence of this new taxation is. I do not know the value of the screws for wood, and, unless the fixed rate can be taken out for us ad valorem, how are we to know what duty we are voting? The “ 5s. 6d. per cwt.” is so much Dutch to us. If, as the honorable member for Boothby says, music-stool screws are related to mining machinery. I should like to know why they have not been placed in the same category as to the rates of’ duty? Mining machinery bears a duty of 20 per cent.; and yet the Treasurer proposes to make screws bear an impost of 25 per cent.
– A duty of 5s. 6d. per cwt. means a little over 5 per cent.
– There is not much to cavil at in a duty like that, and, therefore, the change becomes the more mysterious.
– It was made for better classification.
– Then leave the classification as it is, and reduce the rates of duty ; we do not quarrel with the classification, but with the duties. Somehow or other the classifications of the Treasurer always mean an increase in duties. And I submit that this is a most surreptitious way of endeavouring to get higher duties passed. It is most unfair that we should not be given notice of the Treasurer’s intentions; and I do not see why these amendments should not have been circulated this morning, so that honorable members might have an opportunity to compare the amendments with the items in the Tariff. I move-
That the amendment be amended by leaving out the figures “ 25,” paragraph A, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the figure “5 “
.- I thinkthat the re-arrangement proposed by the Treasurer is an improvement. The duty on some of those screws certainlyought not to be5 per cent. and free. For instance, I have in my hand a brake screw, and this and nearly all the screws mentioned by the Treasurer are square-threaded screws made on lathes. ‘ There is no reason in the world why these screws should be admitted free, because most of them are parts of the machines and engines which are to be admitted on duties of 25 per cent. and 20 per cent. There is no difference between a music-stool screw, a table screw, or a brake screw and the other screws mentioned, so far as the mechanism is concerned ; and all of them ought to be made here, as most of them are. Their manufacture gives considerable employment ; and I do not think that, in any case, many of the larger screws would be brought in finished. It is certainly ridiculous to put them in the same category as, for instance, carpenters’ screws, which are not made here. Engineers’ set screws are not square threaded, and really take the form of a bolt without a nut. These are made here ; but if they were free of duty, they would probably be imported ready-made. Almost all machines contain engineers’ set screws, which are generally made from steel. In my opinion, duties of 25 per cent. and 20 per cent., as in the case of machinery, would be fair. No one will pretend to say that such screws cannot be made here, or are not made here; and it is best, in order to make the Tariff harmonious, that the parts should bear the same duty as the finished article.
– If these screws are, and have been, entirely made here in the past, it is evident that the industry is on a sound footing, and does not require any fostering.
– I did not say that the screws are entirely made here.
– The honorable member indicated that the metal was imported, and then turned into screws in Australia.
– I said nothing about the metal coming here.
– That was what I understood the honorable member to indicate ; and, if it be the case, the industry is, as I say, already established on the basis of the old Tariff. The ComptrollerGeneral has had thirty or fortyyears’ experience of such matters, and his suggestion was that the duty should be 5 per cent. and free. It would appear as though the honorable member for Boothby has had a word with the Minister, and that, as a result, we have the proposal to increase the duty. The only difference between the last list and the present one is, that screws for wood have been made subject to a duty equal to about 5 per cent. As I said, the original schedule was not prepared by the Minister, but by the Comptroller of Customs,
– And he also prepared the schedule, which I am now proposing.
– Yes, but the Comptroller-General did not alter the scheduleuntil the Minister made the suggestion.
– I never spoke to him about it.
– In that case, I say no more.
– Thereis much reason in the protestof the honorable member for Parramatta against proposals of this nature being suddenly sprung on the Committee, and honorable members being thus deprived of any opportunity to test the reasons given for the alteration.
– I can assure the honorable member that I never had any conversation with Dr. Wollaston at all about the matter. He submitted this item for the reasons I gave.
– That makes it all the worse, because it shows that even the Treasurer himself has not had time to test the possible effects of the alteration.
– I depend on my officers in matters of detail.
– But Parliament cannot depend on the honorable gentleman’s officers in the matter of fixing duties.
– I have sufficient confidence in Dr. Wollaston to know that he will do the right thing.
– Quite so; but I am sure the Minister would not allow Dr. Wollaston to prepare a Tariff - a matter in which both the Government and honorable members generally claim to have a say. I suggest that notice should be given of all such amendments.
– I have other amendments.
– Then notice ought to be given so that we may ascertain their possible effect, not only on the industry immediately concerned, but on other industries. No such opportunity is presented; and I shall support the amendment of the honorable member for Parramatta. The Treasurer has stated that the duty on screws for wood means about 5 per cent. If so, why separate these screws from screws n.e.i. Those screws for wood would have to cost about £100 a ton, according to the percentage which the Treasurer states.
– I spoke on information from the Department.
– If the percentage be such, why form another division?
– That is desired by the Department.
Mr.DUGALD THOMSON.- Oh, the Department-
– We must pay attention to the recommendations of the Department.
– I refuse to pay attention to recommendations of the Department in determining the duties to be levied. If these fixed duties are equivalent to5 or 6 per cent., why not include the articles enumerated in paragraph b under “ screws n.e.i.” in paragraphc?
– Because on the smaller screws the specific duty is less than the ad valorem rate. At first, it seemed to me that there must be some anomaly in the rates fixed under this item. But I find that the difference between the duties levied upon nails, and screws is explained by the fact that under the previous arrangement 20 per cent. would have been levied upon nails, whereas in reference to screws we proposed 5 per cent., and free.
Question - That the figures “25” proposed to be left out stand part of the proposed amendment (Mr. Joseph Cook’s amendment of Sir William Lyne’s amendment) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 14
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment of the amendment negatived.
– I desire to move that the duty in paragraph a be 15 per cent.
– I would point out that the Committee has just affirmed that the rate of 25 per cent. shall be retained. The item was a new one, submitted by the Treasurer, and it was necessary for the honorable member to move the omission of the figures “ 25.” Consequently the question was put in the form “ that the figures proposed to be left out stand part of the question.”
– But we might have placed the figures before the words ” ad valorem.”
– I would point out to the honorable member that I can only do as I am directed by the members of the Committee.
– I merely submitted the amendment, and left it to the Chairman to shape it.
Amendment (by Mr. Joseph Cook) negatived -
That the amendment be amended by leaving out the figures “ 20,” paragraph a, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the figures “ 15.”
Amendment (Sir William Lyne’s) agreed to.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Postponed item 177. Mining Engines and Machinery, n.e.i., ad val. (General Tariff), 35 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent.
. -I move -
That the words “ and on and after 29th November, 1907 -
Item 177. (a) Earth and Rock Boring, Cutting, Dredging, and Excavating Machinery ;
Ore Dressing Machinery and Appliances, n.e.i., and Accessories;
Smelting, Leaching, and MetalRefining Appliances, ad val. (General Tariff), 30 per cent. ; (United Kingdom). 25 per cent.,” be added.
.- I do not know whether the words “rock boring ‘ ‘ will cover all the machines that should be included inthis item. I would suggest the omission of the word “ boring ‘ ‘ with a view to the insertion of a new paragraph which will include mining machines which are not made in the Commonwealth, and which are not likely to be manufactured here for many years. I think that a new paragraph might be added to read - “ (d) Rotary and Percussive Rock Drills,
I move -
That the amendment be amended by leaving out the word “boring.”
I move this amendment with a view to afterwards moving the addition of the new paragraph I have indicated.
.- I have no objection to a straightforward consideration of the item as it affects rockboring drills ; but I do not see that there is anything to be gained by the proposed alteration. I do not know why these kinds of machinery should be dissociated.
– We must dissociate them to make rock drills dutiable at 10 per cent. and 5percent.
– I think that the grouping proposed bythe Government should ‘be allowed to standon the rates being reduced from 30 per cent. to 25 per cent. on the generalTariff, and from 25 per cent. to20per cent. on the Tariff against importations from the United Kingdom. Before any change, such as is proposed is agreed to, reasons should be submitted to the Chamber in support of it.
– All other tools are dutiable at 15 per cent.
– We are now dealing with machinery of a very complicated character, rather than with tools.
– Is rock-boring machinery made in Australia?
– Or coal-cutting machinery ?
– I know nothing about coal-cutting machinery, and I am not going to offer opposition to any proposed. modification of the Tariff in regard to such machinery; but I do not think that rock drills and coal-cutting machines should be put together. There are many types of rock drills at present used in Australia which not only are of local manufacture, but owe their usefulness largely to their improvement and development by Australians. A Victorian engineer, Mr. TaylorHorsfield, and a South Australian mining manager, Captain Hancock, of Moonta, have designed rock drills which are a considerable improvement upon those originally imported. These drills have acquired popularity in all the States, where they are largely used in assisting mining operations.
– Are they electrical drills?
– They may be driven by compressed air or by steam power, but they cannot be driven by electrical power.
– Are they used in Western Australia?
– Yes. Rock drills which do useful work have also been invented and manufactured in Queensland. Mr. Jas. F. Pearson, who gave evidence before the Tariff Commission as the representative of Walkers Limited, Maryborough, Queensland, said - page 2204, question 92351 -
I should like to point out that I have for years made rock drills far cheaper than the American article. I have made them by the gross for use in Broken Hill, and it is only the hostility exhibited towards Australian-made articles that is in the way. If we had the market to ourselves we should introduce new machines and new gauges, so that every part we manufactured would be interchangeable.
– How many rock drills are used in Australia?
– I do not know how many are used in a year, but 3,000 Taylor-Horsfield rock drills have been made in Victoria, and since the Tariff came into operation no fewer than thirty or forty of these drills have been placed in the mines at Broken Hill, which shows that they are useful for the purposes for which drills are required. A catalogue issued by the makers mentions that the drills have been used, not only in the Bendigo district, but at Zeehan, Tasmania., a certificate in their favour having been given by Mr. C. F. Heathcote, A.M.I. C.E., general mining manager of the Western Silver Mines Company, there; at Paeroa, in New Zealand ; at the Nil Desperandum Gold Mine, Forbes, New South Wales; at the Gibraltar Consolidated Gold Mines at Shepardstown, New South Wales; at the Hillgrove gold-field; by the New Hillgrove Proprietary Mine Limited ; and at the Menzies Consolidated Mine, Western Australia. The manager of the last-named mine, in a letter dated 13th December, 1902, wrote -
I have been using the Taylor-Horsfield improved national rock drills for the past two and a half years on the Menzies Consolidated G. M., and have pleasure in recommending them for durability and efficiency, also economy in air consumption. I have been working rock drills of all makes in the various States for the last twenty years, and have no hesitation in stating that the Taylor-Horsfield drills have proved superior to all others I have used.
I also find a certificate by Mr. M. Furguson, general manager of Queensland Menzies Gold Mining Company ; a certificate by Mr. William Treloar, mining manager of the Princess Royal Gold Mining
Company, Norseman, Western Australia; a certificate by’ Mr. Charles I. Smith, mine manager of Charters Towers; a certificate by Mr. T. Hooper, manager, of Charters Towers ; a certificate by Mr. Mathew Caine, of Burbanks Birthday Gift Gold Mine Limited - in New South Wales, I think.
– No, in Coolgardie. It is practically shut up, though.
– That is not the faultof the rock drill. I also find a certificate by Mr. W. W. Johns, manager of the Brown Hill Extended Limited of Kalgoorlie, which is in the honorable member’s electorate.
– Yes; and when my honorable friend has finished reading the list, I will tell him that not one of thosedrills is working in Western Australia now.
– Let us hear the opinion of Mr. Johns of the Brown Hill Extended, Kalgoorlie. Writing on the 24th December, 1902, he says -
I have great pleasure in stating that the Taylor-Horsfield Improved National Rock Drill has been in use in this mine for the past three years, and has given every satisfaction.
In a certificate, dated January, 1903, Mr. W. J. Loring, manager of the Sons of Gwalia Limited, of Leonora, Western Australia, says -
I may state that we have been using two Taylor-Horsfield New Type Improved National Rock Drills for some time past. I take great pleasure in stating that they have given entire satisfaction.
Here is a certificate by Mr. Cleland, general manager of the Bailey’s Gold Mine Limited, Coolgardie.
– That is shut up, too. It seems to shut up all the mines.
– This is not a matter for joking. I suppose that the mines are shut up because the gold has run out. Mr. Cleland says -
For rather more than two years we have been using the No. 2 Taylor-Horsfield Improved National Rock Drills in shaft sinking, driving, and mining generally on this property. . . For boring solid quartz, I find the machine particularly effective. The four machines now in use have given us great satisfaction during the past two years, and are always in demand by our contract miner’s.
In another case, a man writing from Gympie, in Queensland, certifies that this improved rock-drill was satisfactory. The Coolgardie Miner, of the 20th November, 1902, gives an account of an interesting contest for rock-drills, which was held at Kalgoorlie, and in which various descriptions competed. It says -
The new Ingersoll machine was the first to operate, and in 8 minutes 43 seconds put in a hole 47 in. in depth. This was taken as a period for the test, and each machine was given a similar time to operate to see what it could do. The Taylor-Horsfield New Type National Drill then started, and put in excellent work from the first strike, and soon got to the extent of its longest drill. It was then found that this drill had put down a hole to the depth of 53 in., and that it had been at work for only 7 minutes 8½ seconds, or1 minute 34½ seconds less than the time allowed for the test. The Ingersoll-Sargent Drill was then set to work, and having operated for the full time - 8 minutes 43 seconds - the hole was found to measure 48 inches.
That is the account of a test made in the honorable gentleman’s own stronghold, and the Australian rock-drill came out on top. I do not see that there is any justification for running down Victorian, South Australian, and Queensland rock-drills.
– That is not necessary.
– I understand that it is held that they are inefficient, and do not serve their purpose, and that the imported rock-drill is wanted.
– Who said that?
– I have been told that it is going to be alleged, that the Australian rock-drill is inferior and unworkable, and that the American article is wanted.
– I did not say that. I said that I was informed that rock-drills were not made here.
– I am sure that this testimony will convince honorable members that rock-drills are made in Australia, and on an extensive scale, too, and also that they have acquired a good reputation. Of late years, I believe that the American Drill and Pump Trust - known as IngersollSargentRand - have been exploiting the Australian market and trying to run out Australian drills: I am informed that they have been entering into agreements and compacts with some mining companies to sell their drills at a cheaper rate, in consideration of the understanding that the latter shall use only imported drills.
– If the honorable member can produce a contract of that kind, it will affect this vote very much.
– I have also heard that tremendous, efforts have been made by this large company to defeat this duty, and to get rock-drills practically placed on the free list. I hope that honorable members will extend fair consideration to the Australian drills, as well as to other Australian productions, and will not give any weight to the misrepresentations which are being made in various quarters about their inefficiency. It has stood the test and led the way in the development of mechanical ingenuity. I may say that in South Australia, the Tariff Commission were informed by an engineer that this Trust were on the look out for the slightestimprovements in Australian drills, and that whereever they saw that an improvement had been made, they practically pirated it and utilized it for their own purposes.
– Can the honorable member say whether the makers of these Australian drills have asked for any duty to be imposed?
– I do not know. Mr. Taylor-Horsfield did not give evidence, but in South Australia evidence was given by Mr. John Felix Martin, of the Gawler Foundry.
– That is shut up, too.
– I wish that the honorable member would not make irrelevant interjections. If the Gawler Foundry has been shut up, it may have been due to circumstances which have nothing to do with this Tariff. At any rate, it was a going concern when the evidence was taken.
– That is so - it had nothing to do with the Tariff.
– Mr. Martin is one of the most famous engineers in Australia, and I do not think that the honorable member for Fremantle should cast sneering reflections upon a great establishment that turned out the locomotives and other highclass machinery which helped to keep the gold-fields of Western Australia going long before this imported rock drill was heard of. Mr. Martin was one of the foremost engineers in placing mining machinery on the Western Australian gold-fields. Not only did he do that,but he also put his money into some of the mines, and gave credit to struggling companies - a thing which English firms would not do.
– Is the honorable member able to say whether the price of the local rock drill is lower or higher than the price of the imported article?
– With reference to prices, I have before me a communication which shows that theBroken Hill Proprie tary Company bought eight of Mr. TaylorHorsfield’s rock drills in February, 1903, for £4410s. each. In June, 1904, the company called for tenders for the supply of rock drills by local makers and agents for imported machines. I have a list of the quotations, but I will not give the names. One American rock drill was quoted at £45 ; the Bendigo rock drills at £41 and £42 each; the Castlemaine rock drill at £37 15s. ; and the Austral-Otis rock drill at £43. An order was placed with Parke and Lacey, of Sydney, for IngersollSargent rock drills at £44 10s. each, which was largely in excess of the price quoted for the local article.
– I am told that sometimes the price of the imported rock drill is as much as from£10to £20 higher than the price of the local article.
– I can assure the honorable member that the figures I have quoted are correct.
– I suppose that the increased price was paid because the imported article was no good.
– Evidently, in the exercise of their judgment, they give a preference to the imported drill.
– Unquestionably they gave a preference to the imported article.
– The local article was cheaper, but evidently they wanted to obtain the imported article.
– And thereby hangs a tale, surely ?
– I suppose that they wished to give a preference to the imported article. Since then, I believe, the price of the Australian rock drill has been reduced. I am assured that through the fierce competition which has been goingon some of the imported rock drills can be obtained at £32 or £34 or £3 5, and some of the local rock drills at from as low as £27 to £28. So that, as regards price, they are getting down to bedrock. I do not believe that they could be made here more cheaply without being sold at a loss. The Ingersoll-Sargent-Rand Trust are making things so hot for thelocal manufacturers that it is feared that the latter will have to carry on their business at a loss, which, of course, could not be sustained for any length of time.
– The honorable member cannot accuse the trust of underselling the local article.
– Evidently the trust are making things very warm and bringing down the price, and the manufacturers of the local rockdrills, in order to get any trade, have to quote a price lower than that of the imported article. Otherwise they would go behind.
– Evidently the imported rock drill is the better article.
– In the opinion of some persons it is. I have been told, and according to the evidence given before the Tariff Commission it is clear, that the Australian drill is as good as the imported article. As regards the rock to be penetrated, the Long Tunnel mine, at Walhalla, in Gippsland, has, I believe, country as tough, hard, and metallic as any rock formation in Australia, and yet the Taylor-Horsfield rock drill was used with great success in the sinking of an inclined shaft at that mine. In the Mining Journal, Mr. John Finlayson gives an account in which it is stated that the boring in the hard slate and the sandstone silurian of the Long Tunnel mine was done by machines made by Mr. Taylor-Horsfield, of Bendigo. I do not think that the rock formation of Kalgoorlie is harder than the rock formation of that mine, or the New Chum Railway mine at Bendigo, 4,400 feet deep, being the deepest quartz mine in the world. I contend that Australian rock drills are equal to the requirements of mining not only in Victoria, but in all the other States. Up to the present time I have not heard any fair, reasonable grounds why the imported rock drill should be differentiated and placed on the free list.
.- I listened very quietly to the speech of the honorable member for Bendigo.
– He has made out a good case.
– If my knowledge could lead me to make a speech on his side, I believe that the Treasurer would applaud me just as enthusiastically as he has applauded the honorable member for Bendigo. But we have to deal with this item as it affects the mining industry, and also secondary industries. Under the old Tariff this was one of the items which were placed on the free list, and so far as I know no suggestion was made then that a duty should be imposed. Up to the present time there has been no duty on this article in the Australian Tariff. An ex traordinary position has to be faced, however, in regard to this matter. The factory where rock drills are made happens to be in the constituency of the last speaker, who was also Chairman of the Tariff Commission; but although the head of the firm had an opportunity of bringing his case before the Commission, he did not do so. The only firm in Australia that puts rock drills on the market in any large quantities at the present time is the TaylorHorsfield firm.
– He sent a letter to the Commission, but did not attend to give evidence.
– He did not ask for a duty.
– He sent a letter asking for one.
– Where is the letter? Is it printed as an appendix to the report? Will the honorablemember produce it ?
– It is somewhere in the archives of the Customs House, Melbourne.
– After all, it really does not matter very much whether he attended; he did not ask for a duty. The honorable member has read a number of testimonials from Western Australia - some from Kalgoorlie - but the latest which he could produce was written in 1903 - four years ago. My honorable friend will admit that in regard to rock drills, as in regard to all other classes of mining machinery, the mind of the designer, of genius, has been at work. He will admit that the percussive rock drill isone of the most difficult pieces of machinery to manipulate continuously that is used on a mine. These machines have only about three inches of piston area, upon which they have to get a considerable strength to make the drill pierce the stone. What differentiates the scientific rock drill from the unscientific machine is the accuracy, and style of the valve, a consideration that is important in order that the mine may have durability, and get satisfactory results from its drills. My honorable friend quoted extensively from the testimonials supplied to him, but it is remarkable that he quoted from none more recent than four years ago. Although the locally-made drills have been nursed on the Kalgoorlie field by a man who originally belonged to Bendigo, and who was one of Bendigo’s strongest protectionists, Mr. Richard Hamilton, manager of the Great Boulder Mine, and although he did his level best to get good results from the Australian rock drill, and has spent a good deal of money in endeavouring to prove its value and perfect it, yet I ask my honorable friend to accept my assurance that the Chamber of Mines, Western Australia, states that there is not one of these Australian drills in use in any important mine in Western Australia to-day.
– Nonsense !
– Of course, the honorable member knows all about it, and the Western Australian Chamber of Mines knows nothing !
– He has taken the Postmaster-General’s place, and knows all about everything !
– The honorable member can get up and deny my statement if he chooses.
– I will.
– Will the honorable member tell us why the Australian drill is not in use?
– I will proceed to do so. I repeat that I have it on the authority of the Society of the Chamber of Mines, and one of the members of the Committee, who should know what is in use at Kalgoorlie, thatnot one is being used there at the present time. And why ? My honorable friend, the member for Bendigo, admits that the Australian drill is being sold at the present time for about £27. He also admits that the lowest quotation which could be got for a foreign or English drill in Bendigo was not less than £34. There is a difference of £7 on the capital cost. If the Australian drill is giving that satisfaction to mining men that the honorable member claims, is it not a most extraordinary thing that men in Bendigo are prepared to pay £34 for an imported rock drill when they could get a satisfactory locally-made drill for £7 less? That seems to me to be a very strong point. I am assured that the great difficulty in regard to the Australian drill is this : that up to the present time the makers have not been enabled to get the patents associated with the valve gear, so as to be able to produce a satisfactory drill. They cannot produce one which can be worked at the same cost in fuel and consumption of air as the imported drill. I am also assured by mining men, who produce figures in proof of their statement, that it costs about five times as much for the up-keep of the Australian drill as it costs for the up-keep of the more highly developed scientific drill that is usually imported into this country. I am certainly not opposed to giving consideration to the encouragement of the production of this description of machinery, if it can be done without an unreasonable cost to any section of the community. If a proposal were made to Parliament for the inauguration of a system of bounties to promote scientific invention in Australia in regard to rock drills, I should be prepared to give favorable consideration to it. But when we are dealing with our great mining industry we must recollect that the cost of production in many instances is a matter of the existence or non-existence of a mine. The honorable member for Batman will admit that.
– Yes; I admit that.
– Then we are getting on. The passing of a Tariff is not going to put a pennyweight more of gold into the ores that have to be mined and treated; and if our mining managers are not permitted to reduce their mining costs, I have the highest authority for stating that there are a number of mines in Western Australia which are just on the border-line between success and failure, the directors of which will have to consider whether they will be able to keep them going, or will have to close down. I suppose that that is not peculiar to Western Australia either.
– It applies all over Australia.
– It must not be supposed that there is any prejudice on the part of our mining managers in favour of imported machines. They are prepared to look at the matter fairly. There are, for instance, men like Mr. Hamilton, whom I have already” mentioned ; Mr. Sutherland, of the Golden Horse Shoe ; Mr. Nicholson, of the Ivanhoe; Mr. Moss, of the Kalgurli ; and several other men, who have all graduated in the schools of the eastern States. These men have tried the Australian rock drill, and have had to abandon it.
– Because they have not been able to get satisfactory results from it. If that is their experience, are we justified in imposing a heavy duty for the benefit of a few men employed in Bendigo? Perhaps my honorable friend could tell us how many men are employed in rock-drill making there now?
– It is a big foundry.
– Are there fifty men engaged in the foundry altogether?
– I should say so; and not more than ten are engaged on rock drills.
– Is it reasonable that we should compel mining companies to pav largely increased prices for their rock drills for the benefit of these few men in Bendigo ?
– How many rock drills are used in Western Australian mines?
– There are about 900 in Western Australia altogether. The life of a rock drill is, roughly speaking, five years. So that the utmost advantage which the local makers could expect to get would be to the extent of a couple of hundred rock drills per annum in Queensland. New South Wales, and Victoria. The number used in Australia is about 2,400. In my opinion, the arguments for giving the same treatment to rock drills as they had under the previous Tariff is unanswerable. I do think that if we are going to endeavour to encourage the improvement and manufacture of these machines in Australia, the best course for us to pursue would be to give consideration to the industry on the lines proposed in regard to the manufacture of iron and its associated products, instead of by imposing a duty which will be injurious to the mining industry.
.- Instead of taking our information from the advertisements of firms and being guided 6y testimonials supplied by them, I think that honorable members would be well advised in giving consideration to the evidence adduced before the Tariff Commission. I turn to the report of the protectionist section of the Commission, of which the honorable member for Bendigo was chairman. On page 16 of the report on Mining Machinery, there are references to rock drills. I quote this passage -
The principal rock drill recognised on the Kalgoorlie mines is that of the IngerrollSergeant Co., of New York. This drill has been worked alongside of and against the TaylorHorsfield (Bendigo) and other outside makes of “drills, and it has been found that the IngersollSergeant drill bored better and quicker than any other. The mining manager of the Ivanhoe Gold Corporation mine was not able to say which of the drills was responsible for the .greatest consumption of air. It was proposed to make proper comparative tests of the various drills, including Australian, in order to show the exact consumption of air for the boring done per minute, or per hour, as the case may be. Whichever was found to be the best would be installed. - (Q. 413S2-5 ; 41486.)
Further on the report says - :
The principal items of machinery imported from America, and used at Kalgoorlie, are rock drills, rock breakers, belt conveyers. These imported articles were preferred to Australianmade, because they were considered to be the best. - (Q. 41404.)
That statement, which the honorable member for Bendigo fathered as Chairman of the Commission, was very different from the one which he made here as member for Bendigo.
– I also read an extract from .page 31 of the report.
– The report , on page 17 says -
A quantity of engines and machinery has been discarded and scrapped on the gold-fields, and its place taken by high-grade machines of English and American manufacture. - (Q. 40877 ; 40982-5.)
– Who said that?
– The protectionist section of the Commission, and the report was signed by the honorable member for Bendigo.
– That was contradicted ; and besides, it does not say that any ‘ rock drills were scrapped.
– On page 31 the report says -
Many types of rock drills are in use in Australia. A Victorian engineer (Taylor -Horsfield, of Bendigo), and a South Australian mining manager (Captain Hancock, of Moonta), had designed rock drills, which had considerable improvements on those imported. It was said, however, that under present conditions there was small chance of getting Australian designed and made drills into general use. The “better such drills were ‘ the greater the probability of their being copied by American makers and sent to Australia free (if percussive). The method of American manufacturers was thus described ; when they found a better drill than their own their agent secured samples, sent them to America to be copied ; the’)’ were then sent to Australia and sold at any price, until the local manufacturers were knocked out. - (Q. 46487; 46643 )
Percussion rock drills, now duty free, were made locally, but competition with the importer was impossible. A duty of 25 per cent, would enable the local . men to capture the market, and would greatly increase employment. - (Q. 48031.)
Then at page 36 we have the statement -
The Shaw rock drill lately patented in America -was being introduced into Australia, and the Austral Otis Co. had arranged f6r its local manufacture. “This,” said Mr. E. J. Rigby, “ is another instance where patented machinery is made -here, and there is no reason why it should not be made here.”
These are the only references to rock drills that Ihave found in the report.
– Read the statement at page 41.
– I had overlooked that paragraph, which reads as follows -
Walkers Ltd. had made rock boring percussion drills. Their engineer stated he had made rock drill parts by the gross for mines at Broken Hill far cheaper than the American article. “ It is,” he said, “ only the hostility exhibited towards Australian-made articles that is in the way of local production. If they had the market to themselves local makers would introduce new machines and new gauges, so that every part made would be interchangeable.”
It will be seen from the evidence taken in Western Australia, where rock drill’s are most largely used, that the imported machines are preferred. We may once and for all dismiss the suggestion that mine managers and engineers are prejudiced against local productions. Directors’ are not going to run the risk of losing dividends by refusing to use a good machine or tool merely because it is of Australian origin. The suggestion is too ridiculous to bear a moment’s consideration. Prejudice does not enter into this matter. Capable mining managers, working under directors who have made a study of mining, take care to secure the very best machinery available, for they recognise that in that way alone can they hope to profitably develop their properties. Pirating is not confined to the Americans. Reference is made in the report to an improved drill, claimed to have been invented by Captain Hancock, of Moonta. As a matter of fact, the patent was really the invention of a resident of Stawell, Victoria, but a clever workman employed by Captain Hancock at a wage, I suppose, of about 7s. 6d. per day, added to it an improved jacket, and his employer took credit for the improvement.
– An Australian engineer told us that it was Captain Hancock’s invention.
– It was not ; the new jacket was the only improvement, and the resident of Stawell to whom I have referred received a good many pounds by way of royalty from Captain Hancock, after learning that he had been using it. Another idlesuggestion has been offered that certain mining companies are making an effort to push imported drills on the market. I have not heard of mining companies entering into arrangements with a trust to push any drill. The inducement offering would not be sufficient to lead them to undertake the work. The statement embodied in the report of the Commission as to the drills most favored in Western Australia, is supported by the experience of the Great Cobar Copper Mine in my own electorate. The manager, who is an Australian, and therefore naturally prejudiced in favour of Australian goods, has been trying different drills and keeping a record of the cost of repairs. The honorable member for Kalgoorlie has referred to the valve on the Australian drill which cuts very rapidly. A little pin running on a slot, and causing the drill to revolve, wears out rapidly because of the speed at which it revolves, and it has constantly to be repaired. After experimenting with three or four drills, the manager of the Great Cobar Mine found that the Ingersoll-Rand Drill was the best, the cost of repairs to it during a period of twelve months amounting to only12s. 6d., as against an expenditure of£4 10s. on repairs to the Australian drill.
– How does the honorable member account for the certificates given by mine managers as to the value of the Australian drill?
– Those certificates are old, and it is a question of whether the persons who gave them had tried the IngersollRand drill.
– How does the honorable member account for forty Australian drills being purchased for use at Broken Hill since the imposition of the Tariff?
– How does the honorable member account for the fact that at a public trial in his own constituency it was found that the Australian made drill was not so effective as was an imported drill? The Australian drills may suit some people, but a big concern requires the very best obtainable.
– The New Chum Railway Mining Company is a large concern.
– The imposition of a high duty on rock drills will not prevent the use of the imported machine. It will simply handicap the mining industry. Why should we punish the mining industry when by doing, so we can do no good for the local manufacturers of drills? I have here the statement made in a circular sent to honorable members by Mr. Thomas, mining engineer of Western Australia, and a man of large experience in mining. He estimates the total annual consumption of drills in the Commonwealth at between 400 and 500, and gives the running age of a drill at about five years. He puts the cost of these drills at about ,£50 each, which is considerably higher than we are told is the present cost of the machines. As it has been opened up, I suppose the discussion on this item will be concluded ; but I. think the Committee should favorably consider the proposal of the honorable member for Newcastle to omit boring machinery from this item. I appeal to the Committee to let the mining industry have a few of the implements required to carry it on admitted at a reasonable rate of duty. I appeal to honorable members also to be guided by the views of men who have to handle these drills, which are likely to be more reliable than the opinions expressed in advertisements published by firms who have drills for sale.
– I have listened with attention to the previous speakers on this item. We have in connexion with this item again to consider the questions of monopoly and protection. Before Victorian manufacturers of these drills entered into competition for the trade, the price of drills was ^80 apiece. I wish the Committee to bear that in mind. Since we have had local competition for ‘these machines, the price has come down, and I am given to understand that they can now be purchased for about ^30 each. The honorable member for Darling spoke of the annual cost of repairs, as amounting in the case of the imported to 12s. 6d., as against -£4 10s. for the locally-manufactured machine. In answer to that, let me inform honorable members that the deepest shaft in Australia was sunk 252 feet with a locallymade drill, at a cost for repairs of only is. per foot. The honorable member also informed the Committee that straps were used in connexion with the locally-made drill. I know of no straps being used in connexion with, them, and I have worked both imported and’ locally-made drills.
– Where did the honorable member work them ?
– In a shaft 1,000’ feet deep.
– At Maldon. Perhaps the honorable, member would like to know the time, as well as the place? I am prepared to have an imported drill worked alongside a Taylor-Horsfield National drill, and if the latter will not bore” 5 feet more quickly, and use less air in doing so, I shall be prepared to admit the imported drills free. I wish to say that Victorian manufacturers should be credited with bringing this machine up-to-date. When these drills were first imported it took three men to earl them around. The pistons of the imported drills were so brittle that if one broke it could not be repaired, and had to be replaced at a cost of £j 10s. Australian manufacturers have succeeded in manufacturing a piston that can be repaired. In the next place, the chuck attached to the piston of the imported drills was of so brittle a character that in working pieces of metal- became detached and workmen were injured in this way. The Australian manufacturers’ have; improved the machine in that direction also. But what do we- find to-day ? We find the company which has been referred to adopting the Australian chuck, and putting it on to their machines.
– Which company?
– The Ingersoll-Sargent Company. Australian manufacturers have made improvements upon the machine, and brought the price down from _£8o to ,£30, under the operation of a protective duty of 25 per cent., which was in force in Victoria prior to Federation. Now we are being asked to allow the imported drill to come in practically free. The honorable member for Coolgardie referred to Western Australia, and let me say that the deepest mine in that State is only 2,500 feet deep, whilst .’the deepest mine in Bendigo is 4,000 feet deep.
– What has the depth of. the mine to do with it ? .
– Honorable members would have us believe that a drill which is worked at a depth of 4,000 feet is not good enough for working a mine 2,500 feet deep.
– Is the stone harder at the greater depth?
– Certainly it is, and the difficulty of working is greater. I ask honorable members why the miners at Long Tunnel prefer the local to the imported drill, where they might use either? In carrying out a contract at Walhalla at the present time the miners prefer to use the local drill, and yet we are told that the Trust at the back of the imported drill should be allowed to flood Australia with their machines. Under the protective Tariff of Victoria, the wages in one foundry alone totalled £10,000 a year; but since Federation, only £6,000 a year has been paid in wages. Would the mining industry have benefited in the way it has done in this connexion, but for the protective Tariff of Victoria? 1 say it would not. It was the operation of that Tariff that brought down the price of the drill, and now we are being asked to place this machine on the free list that the importers may secure a monopoly, and put up the price again. These drills are being made in many parts of Victoria, and I believe also in South Australia. There is plenty of local competition, and, to secure orders, the local manufacturers of drills are obliged to sell them practically at cost price. I venture to say that no member of the Committee can tell me the exact price now being paid for the imported article. The importers try to secure a monopoly by saying, “We will let you have our machine at a certain price if you agree to use no other in connexion with your mine.”
– The honorable member is trying to get a monopoly for the Victorian manufacturers.
– I am not. This is not a Victorian question ; it is a Western Australian question. Honorable members have not been able to show that the locallymade drills cannot do the work required of them. A test took place three years ago in Western Australia, and the TaylorHorsfield National machine beat the imported machine out of sight. The men who have to use these drills are the best judges of their value, and I have shown that they prefer to use the locally-made drills. That is being proved at Broken Hill at the present time, where men on contract are using Australian in preference to imported drills. In Australia to-day, over 131 mines are using locally-made drills.
– Then what is the honorable member grumbling about?
– I am grumbling because some honorable members wish that imported machines should be admitted free, when they can be made in Australia. 1 ask honorable members who are in favour of a protective Tariff which will give employment to labour, to impose such a duty on these machines as will encourage the use of the locally-made article. I have not the slightest doubt that if we can place the locally-made machines in mines throughout Australia, they will be found to do the work as well in the future as they are shown to have done it in the past. The only reasons urged against the proposed duty have been from the importers’ stand-point, and I venture to say that behind the move being made to-night, there is the importer if he could be seen.
– That is not fair.
– Only importers’ reasons have been assigned for the opposition to the duty.
– The honorable member makes that statement because he would make any statement.
– Unlike the honorable member for Kalgoorlie when I make a statement, I am prepared to stand by it.
– Can the honorable member prove that the importer is behind the opposition to this duty?
– Let me tell the honorable member for Kalgoorlie that locally-made drills were sent to Western Australia this year and last year also by the firm to which I have referred.
– Where did they go to?
– I do not know to what mines they were sent. I did not travel after them. It is sufficient for me to say that they were -sent to Western Australia, where we have been told that none of the locally-made drills are at work at the present time.
– That is rather a bad advertisement for them, because they have evidently been “ scrapped.”
– They were sent to Western Australia, where they beat the imported machine in a test at Kalgoorlie. If honorable members vote against the duty, the result will be that imported rockborers will be dumped in Australia and the local factories will be closed up.
– Why was not that the case before ? These drills were free under the last Tariff.
– If the whole Australian market was secured, to how many more men would employment be given ?
– Five hundred. Under the Victorian Tariff, one foundry alone was paying £10,000 a year in wages, but since the duty was taken off, it is only paying £6,000 a year. I have clearly shown that this machine is capable of doing the work, and that one foundry alone has turned out 3,000 of them. On a test it showed itself equal in every way to the imported machine. ‘ Its manufacture has been the means of reducing the price. The honorable member for Flinders the other night said that he was prepared to vote for the proposals of the Government on a certain item, because they were framed in relation to the Excise duties. I trust that honorable members who are in favour of protection, or who take the view held by the honorable member for Flinders, will vote on this item to keep out the imported article, and to give employment to men who are now out of work. There has not been a single reason advanced why rock drills should be struck out, and I trust the Committee will vote for the highest protection it is possible to get.
– The honorable member for Batman made a very fine speech in favour of the Australian-made rock drill, and satisfied me that its manufacturers are doing a roaring business. He states that 500 or 600 drills are in use in Victoria, attach a good deal of weight to what was’ said by the Chairman of the Tariff Commission. Although he quoted from a trade circular, it is not fair to say that what he quoted was not correct. The drills to which the ‘ honorable member for Bendigo referred are to be found in some of the principal mines in Western Australia. J. was upon the fields some months ago, and saw the Bayley’s Reward claim.. There was no reason to suppose from its appearance that the best of everything had not been put into it. It was closed down because they could not get gold, and not because the drill did not do its work. It is no part of my business here to run down a colonial production. I believe that the Australian drill is a good one, but, so far as I can gather from the evidence quoted by the honorable member for Darling, the imported drill will do the work quicker and better. Still that does not mean that the local drill will not do its work. The honorable member for Bendigo quoted an extract which showed that- there had been some competition between the two drills, and that the colonial article was a firstclass one. Still, the imported drill is so much better that the makers can afford to keep its price above that of the colonial article. The honorable member for Batman stated that its owners will only allow people to buy the imported machines if a guarantee is given that they will not use the colonial article. But only a man who is sure of his ground will make such a stipulation. If his machine were inferior, he would be told, “ I do not want your machine, and would not have it on those terms.”
– He sells it at ni lower price to get the monopoly.
– I thought the honorable member pointed out that the imported machine costs £] more than doesthe local drill. That is not a very large difference, especially to rich mines. Apparently the difference- between the two machines is small, or the difference in price would be greater. The honorable member for Kalgoorlie has stated over and over again that, as a protectionist, he would not agree to placing on the free list any article which can be produced here of good quality. But where is the honorable member on this item? Let him. vote with the protectionists. All through the Tariff, a large amount of protection has been giver* for articles of excellent manufacture that will do their work. If that is to’ be the policy the protectionist ought to stand by the colonial article. While I am in favour of free competition in manufactures, and would open our ports to allow the best articles to come in, so as to keep the local maker up to the highest pitch of efficiency, I would not say that the imported article should be taken in preference to the colonial. All things being equal, I should give the choice to the colonial article. I have come to the conclusion that in this case the colonial rock drill is not quite so good as is the imported machine, and, if that is so, we should allow the latter tc». come in. But the local manufacturers have nothing to fear, because everybody inVictoria uses their machine. The honorable member for Bendigo has pointed out that at immense depths it is better than any other. My desire is to have the local article made as good as is the American or English production. That’ will never be brought about unless the imported machine is allowed free entry to our marketsThe local machine also has the advantage of the local prejudice in its favour ; otherwise, it would not be so largely used. Although it is proved that it is not quite so good, its makers can thrive in spite of the competition of the imported article. A low duty would therefore satisfy all requirements.
.- I favour the suggestion of the honorable member for. Newcastle, for the addition of a separate item in this case with a lower rate of duty.
Hut I cannot agree with those who suggest that the item should be practically free. It is ridiculous to suppose that we are not able, with our large mining interests, to make rock drills in Australia, and it is idle to suggest that the manufacturers should be given no assistance through the Tariff in order to enable them to compete with the machines that come from America, Great Britain, and Germany. But, on the other hand, to put a high duty upon the Ingersoll;Sargent and the Rand drills would be doing an injustice to the mining community. None of these mines are in any sense philanthropic bodies, nor do I imagine that the question enters very much into the consideration of the directors or mining managers as to whether a drill is made in Bendigo or America, but the managers - many of whom, like Mr. Richard Hamilton and others who have been mentioned, are at the very top of their profession - have unquestionably a strong desire to secure a machine which will do the work effectively and cheaply, and in such a way as will allow the miner to show the most satisfactory results. I’ do not wish to prejudice, by any remark of mine, the drill which is made in Australia, but the bulk of testimony from the managers of large mines throughout the Commonwealth will show that the mining industry has good reason for urging that a prohibitive duty shall not be put upon an article which has proved itself to be so serviceable. That is due to the fact that the makers of three great drills have joined together, and, as Edison does in America, have their agents all over the world to ascertain what improvements or changes are being made, and secure them. Consequently there is no possibility of an Australian manufacturer ever being in such a completely satisfactory position as to have at his command all the latest ideas and practical improvements in the way the great combinations have. I shall, therefore, favour a lower duty than the one proposed bv the Government. Some assistance and help should unquestionably be given to the manufacturers, not only in Victoria, but in all the other States. But I do not approve of a duty which would prevent drills of a higher class being introduced for use in the mines here. This drill is being used in some of the mines in Broken Hill and Tasmania, and has found its way to the West; and it would be unjust to our local manufacturers to say that their manufacture does not deserve consideration, seeing that it has been adopted by most capable and able managers. I shall support the suggestion to have this appliance put into a separate line, but I shall ask the Committee to impose a higher duty than that proposed by the honorable member. I think a fair compromise would be to have a duty of 20 per cent, in both columns.
– That would shut down some mines.
– There is too much made of that argument ; no mine worth working will be shut down by the imposition of such a duty as I suggest. There is no question that these rock drills ought to be made in Australia.
– So they are, but they are not good enough.
– We are justified in giving local manufacturers some assistance. They have struggled under the old Tariff, and I have previously protested that we were doing them an injustice. I hope the Government will accept the compromise I have, suggested, and in the case of rock drills impose a higher duty than that attaching to the other machinery and appliances in the item.
.- I intend to support the proposal of the honorable member for Newcastle. Australianmade rock drills are sold in the local market at a. cheaper rate than are the imported drills, and, that being so, I do not see why any more protection is required. The Australian consumption of rock drills is about 5 per cent, of the world’s consumption, and, if the idea of imposing a duty is to compel the foreign manufacturer to establish works here, I do not think it will have the desired effect. To make it worth while for a foreign maker to put down the necessary expensive plant in Australia, there would have to be an output of 2,500 drills annually, whereas the Australian consumption is about 400 or 500. These facts appeal to me as a business man, and, in mv opinion, the duties will be excessive if thev exceed 10 per cent, and 5 per cent. The Hollmann drill is composed of very fine material, which is not available in Australia ; and which, in case of the manufacture being carried on here, would have to be imported, thus adding to the cost pf production. Nearly every part of this drill is protected by patent rights ; and therefore I do not see how any good can arise from an increased duty, unless the makers are compelled to put down a plant in Australia. The great desideratum in mining is cheapness in working ; and, notwithstanding what so great an authority as the honorable member for Kooyong has said, there are many propositions in Australia which would employ thousands of men if, by means of scientific improvement, they could gain a little advantage in this connexion. In Western Australia there are many old mining propositions which, with a little cheaper working ensured, would become good going concerns. If a mine be shut down, or a proposition is prevented from maturing, more men will be thrown out of employment than could find work were the whole of the market for this appliance confined to Australian manufactures.
– Does the honorable member think that a small duty like that proposed would cause any mine to shut down ?
– Such a duty would not affect thoroughly established mines, but there are many other ventures which are only waiting for improved and cheaper means of working in order to employ thousands, who would be consumers of the products of those engaged in other industries. When there is a chance, on the one hand, of injuring a great industry, and, on the other, of benefiting only a small industry, business discretion should be used.
.- When I submitted the amendment I was under the impression that rock-boring machines were not manufactured here to any material extent. I have learned since, however, that these machines are made and used here extensively, and, under thecircumstances, I should not care to put them in the same category as other machines which cannot be made in Australia. With the permission of the Committee I should like to withdraw my amendment, with a view to separating the rock drills from the other appliances in the item.
. If we do not deal with the word “ boring ‘ ‘ in paragraph a, I am afraid we may be prevented from taking an effective test vote in a subsequent paragraph ; there may be a technical difference between “ drilling “ and “boring.” I do not dispute the statement thatdrills are made in Australia; and the honorable member for Newcastle, in view of his fresh information, is perfectly justified in seeking to alter his amendment. But, with the wider experience that I believe I have had in connexion with these matters, I am certainly not convinced that this is an appliance which ought to be used as a means for taxing the mining industry. Can the Treasurer tell us whether the withdrawal of the amendment would prevent an effective test vote being taken?
– It will not be possible by any amendment moved afterwards to separate the two if the word “boring” be allowed to remain.
– The wording in the first line of paragraph a is very indefinite.
– It is intended to include the whole of the rock drills ; and it would not be possible, without a recommittal, to subsequently test the question.
– Then the test vote had better be taken on a proposal to leave out the word “boring?”
– I object to the withdrawal of the amendment.
– There being an objection, the amendment must be put.
– I have no objection to facilitate a straight out vote, understanding that drills will be dealt with in a separate line. I agree to the elimination of the word “ boring “ so that there may be no complication.
– I have no desire to get into a complication over this item. If the word “boring” be struck out, the tenor of the whole paragraph will be altered. If the amendment in regard to drills is not carried afterwards, I shall have to recommit paragraph a for the purpose of re-inserting the word.
– The Treasurer is at liberty to insert any additional words that may be necessary, and to place any duty that he chooses opposite to them.
– I wish to point out to the Committee that in the electorate of Darwin, Tasmania, there are enormous mineral propositions which are just below a remunerative working price. If these could be worked with the aid of up-to-date machinery, they would employ thousands of miners. It is all very well for the honorable member for Kooyong to urge that the difference between the rates of duty proposed will not affect the working of the mines. His contention is perfectly accurate so far as mines like those of Mount Morgan, Mount Lyell, and Broken Hill are concerned. But there are many smaller propositions which would be severely handicapped if we imposed a duty of 30 per cent. upon rock-drills. I have never attempted to decry our local manufactures, and I do not say’ that the drills made in the Commonwealth are not excellent for some purposes. Roughly speaking, the price of the imported article is about £44, so that a duty of 30 per cent. would be equivalent to about £14. That is the increased amount which the users of these machines will be called upon to pay under the Government proposal. The locally manufactured drill is being sold to-day for less than is the imported article. It is the acme of absurdity for honorable member’s to declare that men will purchase the imported in preference to the Australian article as the result of mere prejudice.
– The price of the imported machine is about £27.
– I have been informed by a reliable authority that it is £44. But, assuming that it is £27, an ad valorem rate of30 per cent. would very nearly enhance its cost by one-third. The honorable member for Batman has argued at considerable length that the local drill is superior to the imported article. If that be so, surely there is no justification for the imposition of a duty of 30 per cent.
– If the local article is a better one, why is it not exported?
– I am not going to say a word against the Australian machine. For certain work, it is an exceedingly good one. But it is monstrous to propose that the price of the article should be increased by 30 per cent.
.- The honorable member for Batman apparently entertains the idea that the supply of rock drills is practically in the hands of an American trust. As a matter of fact, 50 per cent. of the drills imported into the Commonwealth are of British origin.
– The American trust maintains large and expensive agencies here.
– But English firms have already secured half of the trade, and they ask for no preference as against the trust. The honorable member for Batman mentioned the fact that a shaft had Been sunk at Bendigo by means of drills of Australian manufacture at a cost for re pairs of only1s. per foot. I may inform him that at the Princess Royal Mine, Norseman, a shaft was sunk several hundred feet at a cost for repairs of only 7d. per foot. These figures, however, convey nothing, because so much depends upon the character of the ground. 1 hope that the Committee will vote in favour of the lower duty.
.- I am sorry that honorable members should have spoken disparagingly of the locally manufactured drill. I have had considerable experience of these drilling machines in connexion with the Long Tunnel Company, at Walhalla. There we sank a shaft 2,800 feet in twenty months. The men employed, who were first-class shaft sinkers, sunk as much as 160 feet per month, which, I think, constitutes a world’s record. They started by using Taylor-Horsfield drills. They were allowed to use whatever machines they chose. After they had been working some time, acting on the advice of our mining engineer, we substituted American drills. But the men speedily reverted to the Australian machines. The fact that they sank 160 feet per month through granitic rock is convincing testimony of the value of these machines.
– Why do people pay more for the imported article?
– We advertised all over Australia for expert shaft sinkers, and we agreed to pay them a bonus for every foot that they sank in excess of 100 feet per month. We were only too pleased to do so. When the locally manufactured drill can accomplish the work that I have outlined, no complaint can be urged against it.
.-I do not think it is a question of which is the better drill - the imported or the locallymanufactured article- so much as it is one of allowing those who are managingour mines to say what tool they shall use.
– That is free-trade.
– It is not. We car only judge of the relative merits of these machines by instituting very severe tests over long periods. That a test has been made at some sports counts for nothing The men who are managing the biggest mines in Australia, and in whom the share holders and directors of the largest mining companies have confidence, men who have been dealing in machinery of this kind year after year, are most competentto judge of its merits. I do not say that drills should be admitted free of duty. It is a question of tools of trade again. Rock-drills are the tools of trade of shaftsinkers and miners. Men very often take contracts to do work of this kind finding their own explosives and machinery. If the Australian drill is so much better than the imported drill, why has it not possession of the market, seeing that it costs only £27 as against £34?
– It has possession of the market in Victoria, where it receives fair play.
– Victoria is not all Australia. The States are now federated; but if this talk of Victoria being all Australia continues, it will affect their good feeling to each other. Australia is a very big country, and cannot be governed wholly in accordance with the views of the people of Melbourne or of Bendigo. Men whose employers consider them worth salaries of £3,000 or £4,000 a year to manage mines should be the most capable judges of what is the best machinery to use in those mines. The talk we have heard about American trusts has no weight with me, because some of the best drills that come to this country are British. . The honorable member for Batman proved more than he intended to prove. Statistics show that Australia requires 500 new rock drills annually, so that if Victoria had the whole business of manufacturing drills, the work would not give employment to 500 persons as stated by the honorable member for Batman ; that would be only one drill per man per annum. The honorable member for Darling bears me out in the contention that it is necessary that the big mining companies, such as the Great Cobar Company, should have up-to-date machinery, and should be allowed to say what machinery is best for their purposes. A drill which might suit one kind of rock might not suit another. We have listened to a great many socalled experts to-night; but I claim to have some knowledge of this subject, because I have driven underground, through hard rock - bluestone and granite - for a length of half a mile at a time, and I know that a drill which will do good work in one shaft or tunnel may not do good work in another. Any one who knows anything about rock drilling will support that statement. Indeed, men who have been accustomed to deal with one particular kind of rock, if taken to another place where the rock is different, and given the drill to which they are used, will often prove practically useless, and their drills, too. The honorable member for Bendigo says that the drills which he mentioned have been used at the Queensland Menzies mine, at Bayley’s mine, and at one or two others, all of which are now closed.
– Was the closing of those mines the result of using the particular drills referred to?
– I cannot say. Honorable members must draw their own conclusions. No doubt the drills have been used in mines which are still at work, and are doing well ; but the fact that they have been used in mines which are now closed, does not show them to be any better than other drills. Had they proved so good as to be able to keep the mines going, there would have been something to say for them. Honorable members have a great deal to say of that small portion of Australia called Victoria, and of the little bit of mining which goes on here. But they forget that nowadays Western Australia produces more gold per annum than all the other States put together.
– Victoria has been in that position.
– I am not now dealing with “ has-beens.” Seeing that Western Australia now produces more gold than all the other States of the Commonwealth put together, she should be allowed a voice in choosing what tools shall be used in her mines.” If Victoria, considering the small amount of gold she produces, were allowed to dictate to Western Australia in this matter, it would be a case of the tail wagging the dog. The tail should wait until the dog wags it, and Western Australia iscertainly the dog so far as mining goes. I do not ask that rock drills be treated differently from other tools of trade, or that they be admitted free to the detriment of local manufacturers. But the proposed rates of duty are unreasonably high. I am willing to vote for a duty of 15 per cent.
.- I should like to know what rates the Government really propose to agree to in connexion with this item?
– I do not ask for more than 25 and 20 per cent., the rates which have been fixed for other similar items.
– I think that those rates are too high.
– There must be uniformity.
-Ore dressing machinery and appliances for smelting, leaching, and metal refining are of as much importance to the mining industry as- are rock drills, and if the Minister was prepared to make all this machinery dutiable ;it 20 and 15 per cent., I would support’ the proposal; but if the Treasurer insists on duties of 25 and 20 per cent., I shall not hesitate to attempt to have rock drills made free, or dutiable at a much lower rate.
– All other tools of <rade are dutiable at 15 per cent.
– That would be a fairer rate. No doubt, rock drills can be made in Australia. Whether they are as good as imported drills is for those concerned to say ; but I do not think that they can he as good, because I have not heard of them being exported, and when manufacturers are making a better article than is being turned out by others in the same’ line, they can always sell it, either in or out of Australia. Take, for instance, harvesters. I understand that a large number of these machines are exported to Argentine. That, to my mind, shows very conclusively that when the Australian harvester comes into competition with harvesters of the world in other markets, it is able to hold its- own. The same thing would apply to the rock drills. If, as the honorable member for Balaclava has stated, the Australian rock drills are better than the imported article, I cannot understand why there is not a foreign market as well as a home market for them. I am prepared to give a reasonable duty to the makers of rock drills to see if they cannot in time compete with the imported “articles. At the same time, T think that duties of 30 and 25 per cent, are too high.
– Let us impose duties of 25 and 20 per cent.
– Those rates are, I think, too high. Originally the Minister asked for duties of 30 and 25 per cent, not only on rock drills, but also on the other articles included in this item. He has a majority at his back, and it may be that if he attempts to carry his new proposal to levy duties of 25 and 20 per cent, on all these articles he will win. But. we maybe able to carry an amendment against him’ so far as rock drills are concerned. In that event I would vote for rock drills to be made free, but I would prefer that all the articles in the item should be dutiable at 20 and 15 per cent, respectively, because there are other things which are as helpful to the mining industry as are rock drills. I realize that it is one of the greatest industries in Australia. If honorable members cripple the mining and pastoral industries, what will be left? Those great industries certainly maintain the otherindustries. Anything which honorable members can do to help the mining industry will be to the advantage of Australia generally, because, I venture to say, that there is no industry which finds such diversified employment for people as it does. Not only does a mine find work for the miner, but it also finds work for an engineer and a carpenter orv the spot, besides providing employment for engineers, carpenters and other artisans elsewhere. It also keeps stores going. With two or three mines in a locality, a township, generally springs up.
– With one mine sometimes.
– Certainly, one good mine will cause a township to spring up. I think that honorable members should hesitate before they unnecessarily handicap the mining industry.
– The discussion on this item has centred round the quality of rock drills and. their relative prices. The price of the imported article is about 25 per cent, more than that of the locally-made article, and the latter has had the benefit of a protective duty of 12^ per cent.
– Under the old Tariff rock drills came in free.
– If they did that only strengthens the argument I propose to use. I am connected with two small mines. We purchased seven or eight Taylor-Horsfield rock drills, with which we have been well pleased. Evidently these rock drills have established a market. Some conflicting statements have been made. The honorable member for Bendigo has quoted some testimonials which were given before the mines in which the rock drills were used were shut down : but the honorable member’ for Balaclava has quoted a very good testimonial, and it is confirmed by my own experience, because in the small mines I have alluded to we have done some wonderful driving work. If the locally-made rock drill has been able to hold its own, as it has done, an import duty of 30 per cent. is excessive. Under the old Tariff the original duty on nearly all mining requirements was 12½ per cent. But under this Tariff, in almost every instance, the Government have proposed duties of 25 and 30 per cent., and it has only been after a very heavy struggle that we have been able to secure some reduction in the rates. It has been truly said by honorable members that the mining industry is a great one. In my electorate it has kept two or three townships going. Surely it is only fair to assume that the increased duties are likely to do considerable injury. The honorable member for Bendigo did not tell everything in connexion with the locally-made rock drill. I am informed that about three years ago a trial took place between the imported Hollmann machine and the locally-made machine, that the whole of the mining managers of Bendigo gave the palm to the former; and that it is being used by the bulk of the mines in Bendigo.
– Is that not very disloyal to their own State?
– I cannot help that. I am dealing with a proposal of the Treasurer which, if carried, will involve a huge additional expenditure in connexion with Che mining industry. The other night the honorable member for Kooyong stated that the increased duties on mining machinery meant an immediate additional cost of nearly £250,000 to the mines throughout the Commonwealth. I also have been informed on reliable authority that the increased duties will cause a very considerable increase in the expenditure on those mines. For instance, a duty of 30 per cent. on 500 rock drills would realize about £30,000. What is the use of building up an industry and then crushing it out of existence ? I know that in this very city the interests in connexion with mining companies are so great that they have almost created a slight financial paralysis. If we keep on increasing the duties on item after item, what will be the result? It is all very well for some honorable members to say that the Government are proposing an increase of only 7½ or 10 or 15 per cent., as compared with the duty under the old Tariff. But if we impose an increased duty on every one of nearly 600 items, we shall impose upon the people a burden which they cannot afford to bear. I recognise that we must have increased duties.
But suppose, for the sake of argument, that theduty on a mining requirement was 12½ per cent. under the old Tariff. Surely an increase to 20 per cent. is fair, and an increase to 30 per cent. unfair. When a locally-made piece of machinery can be sold at 25 per cent. less than the cost of the imported article, honorable members should hesitate before they impose an excessive duty. I recognise that it is no use trying to get the duty down to what I consider would be a fair rate. As the industry for which the duty is proposed is a going concern, there is no need for it to be propped up and buttressed. Surely a going concern does not require more than a reasonable duty. In this instance the old story of protection cheapening the article is not a factor in determining the issue. The Government Whip sits at the table while this debate is going on, and takes more responsibility on his shoulders than do Ministers themselves. When an honorable member is endeavouring to speak intelligently to the subject, nothing but talk goes on between that honorable member, who ought to be sitting on one of the back benches, and the Minister. He interjects frequently in an impertinent manner, and isconstantly in evidence when he should be behind the scenes. Every honorable member has a right to express his opinion, and it is not my fault that I have to speak at five minutes to 11 o’clock’.
– I do not think that it is anybody else’s fault.
– I am accustomed to dealing with matters on business principles. I have been a business man all my life. What little standing I have in the community is due to the consistent following of business principles. I have never in my life seen such indifferent business methods pursued as have been followed since I have been a member of the Federal Parliament.
– The honorable member is not addressing himself to the question.
– When the Minister interjects in reply tomy arguments, I venture to say that I have a right to reply to him.
– Interjections are disorderly, and the honorable member should not reply to them.
– The Minister is the man who ought to be called to order. We have heard a great deal about the rela- tive qualities of machinery. Many names have been mentioned. Some of them are household words. I have heard mentioned the names of Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Nicholson, and others who acquired their knowledge of mining in Victoria. Some of them were born and bred in this State, and went away from here biased in favour of everything Victorian. When they have” had to give up the use of the locally-made machines and to adopt the imported article, I say that this Committee ought to hesitate before it consents to add duty upon duty against an industry which, in many instances, I can say to my own personal knowledge, cannot afford to bear these increased burdens. I trust that the Treasurer will review the position, and will adopt the conclusion of the honorable member for Barrier, who has urged that duties of 15 per cent. and 20 per cent. should be adopted. I shall support those duties.
– I do not desire to compare the respective qualities of imported and locallymanufactured machines. But we have already approved of duties on machine tools at 15 per cent. in both columns. I cannot see why, if a duty of 15 per cent. is sufficient in the case of other machine tools, the same duty should not be adopted as applying to the machine tools of the mining industry. We shall not be acting consistently by doing so. It will not be defensible to vote lesser duties in the case of industries of minor importance than we vote on account of this immense industry. If we are to act consistently, we should agree to a duty of1 5 per cent. in both columns.
.- Like the honorable member for Indi, I am a business man, and want to get to business on this matter. In my opinion, we should vote duties of 20 per cent. and 15 per cent. as to paragraphs a, b, andc, and of 15 per cent. in both columns as to the proposed paragraph d.
– Will the Minister agree to that?
– No ; I will not.
– Then it will be for the majority of the Committee to decide.
– I do not see why the duties should not be 25 per cent. and 20 per cent.
– We may all have our own opinions, but it will be for the majority to decide, and the sooner we come to a division the better.
.- I hope that the Government will retain the 25 per cent. duty for the item generally, but will, in regard to rock drills, make the duties 20 per cent. and 1 5 per cent. It is unnecessary to reiterate ad nauseam the arguments in favour of different treatment for rock drills. I am not an alarmist, like the honorable member for Indi. Listening to his remarks, one might think that the whole mining industry would be killed if we did not allow rock drills to come in free ; but I have more faith in the mining industry than to think that. This is only a very small item, but I justify the position that I take up on the ground that other tools of trade have been made dutiable at only 15 per cent.
– Listening to the speech delivered by the honorable member for Indi one would think that it was a wail from the grave of Solomon, and that the whole country was going to old night and chaos if we did not have absolute free-trade.
– For what else does the honorable member ask? What is the use of protection that is no protection? A duty of 15 or 20 per cent. would afford no real protection to the industry. I trust that the Treasurer will not surrender ; that if he wishes to make this industry something that will be of benefit to the country he will stand on the rock, and, if he is to be defeated, will go down with the flag of democracy and protection flying over him.
– I should like to know how far the Treasurer intends to go to-night?
– I intend to ask the Committee to dispose of the items relating to electrical machinery before we adjourn.
– That is practically an announcement that we are to sit far into the night.
– I think not.
– The complicated proposals immediately following the item now under consideration cannot be disposed of in a short time.
– Let us take a vote on this item.
– My honorable friend who has made about four speeches to-night begins to interject as soon as I rise. I wish to make one or two observations concerning the Chairman of the Tariff Commission, who has been here for two days purporting to give us information from the reports furnished for the guidance of honorable members. I very much regret that the honorable member appears to me to speak always as the protectionist propagandist of this House, and not as Chairman of the Commission.
– He speaks in support of the reports that he has signed.
– He does; but he quotes only the evidence of interested individuals. On no occasion has he made allusion to any statement made contrary to his views. In quoting from the reports of the protectionist section of the Commission he has invariably singled out the statement of an interested manufacturer who intimated that he could do this or that if he had certain duties. Would he accept such evidence in a Court of law? He knows that outside the Tariff Commission it is not worth a snap of the fingers. It is about time that we had less of interested evidence quoted from the reports, and more ofthe evidence as it appears fairly in them.
– Can the honorable member quote any adverse evidence about rock drills?
– An abundance of evidence on the other side has been quoted during the debate. Is the honorable member unaware of that evidence? Did the Commission take evidence from only a few interested manufacturers? If so, what are the reports worth? I do not regard the evidence of one or two interested manufacturers as of conclusive value in determining this question. Were no mining managers examined?
– The honorable member for Darling has quoted the opinions expressed by mining managers.
– Why did not the honorable member for Bendigo do so?
– It is not my duty to help the other side.
– I should like to know, Mr. Chairman, whether the question before theChair is the attitude of the Chairman of the Tariff Commission?
– I am not discussing the Chairman of the Tariff Commission ; I am merely making an allusion to his readings during the last two days from the reports of the protectionist section of the Commission. I have done with the matter; but I think it a pity that the other side in this and many other cases has not been presented. I could understand the honorable member for Batman bringing his brief into the House and reading it with gusto, as he always does, but we expect a little more from a man of the standing of the honorable member for Bendigo, having regard more particularly to the responsibility of the position which he lately held. What are the facts in regard to this item ? I do not pretend to be an expert on rock drills,but I have listened to the debate with a keen desire to understand the rights and wrongs of the question. I confess that the discussion has left me perplexed and puzzled. I am perfectly satisfied that good machinery can be made in Australia, and that the rock drills made in this State are excellent of their kind. But the point which has been borneupon my mind is that those drills do not work equally well in every class of country. That is plain toany one who has listened to the conflicting statements made during the debate. Whilst they may have performed the boring feat to which the honorable member for Balaclava has referred, it does not follow that they would do equally good work in the rocks of Western Australia and elsewhere. I should like to know whether the honorable member for Kooyong and that huge company with which he isso honorably connected - and which is so well conducted - are in the habit of buying imported machines, when they can obtain better ones locally-made, at a cheaper rate.
– -We also use some of the Bendigo drills.
– A statement was made to-night that tenders were called by a Broken Hill Company for boring machinery, and that it paid a larger price for an imported machine than was quoted for a local production. I apprehend that they treated that tender on pure business lines, and there must, therefore, be some preference in the minds of practical men engaged in the mining industry for these imported drills for certain purposes. All the statements to the contrary do not tend to clear up the matter. The honorable member for Batman might say that the locally-made machines do their work at a cost of1s. per foot; but he is met by the honorable member for Darling, who says that the imported machine does the work at yd. per foot. We must have some more reliable authority ; and listening to the conflicting statements which have been made, I prefer to accept those made by men responsible for the conduct of mining operations, the expert mining managers of Australia, who, I believe, if they have a prejudice at all, would favour the productions of the country in which they have been trained and received their experience. These gentlemen declare that so far as mining in Western Australia is concerned, they must have these imported rock drills.
– A most unfair and improper attack has been made on the honorable member for Bendigo to-night by the honorable member for Parramatta. For many weeks protectionist members of the Committee, who had a right to look to the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission for assistance and guidance in these matters, have been deprived of any assistance whatever by reason of the illness and absence of the honorable member for Bendigo from this chamber.
– Honorable members have had the reports ; could they not read them?
– I do not suppose the honorable member has read them.
– I have read sufficient of them to know that many of the conclusions of the protectionist section of the Commission are unwarranted.
– We have not had a member of the protectionist section of the Commission in the chamber during all these weeks, but we have had thrust down our throats page after page of the reports of the free-trade section of the Commission by the honorable members for Illawarra and. Perth, who were members of that section. They have given us nothing but free-trade evidence and conclusions, and now, because we are at last getting some little assistance from the Chairman of the Tariff Commission, who was one of the protectionist members of the Commission, and was selected to be a member of the Commission because he was a protectionist, we have a member of the Freetrade party denouncing the action of the honorable member, and reminding him that he occupies a judicial position. Such was not his position. We know very well that the members of the Commission were appointed because of the fiscal views they were known to hold, and they have presented two sets of reports in accordance with those views. We could only expect from either section of the Commission conclusions representing their particular views. In the circumstances, I think the attack made upon the honorable member for Bendigo was improper and most unfair. On the question of rock drills we havehad many statements, made by different members as to what some one else told them, but we had one very practical piece of evidence in the short and pithy speech of the honorable member for Balaclava, who, as a director of a mining company by whom various drills were tried-
– Only American and Australian. The honorable member never said anything about English drills, although I asked him the question.
– The honorable member for Wilmot knows nothing about drills. Where protection is concerned, the only thing the honorable member knows is potatoes.
– I object to that statement. I have heard it so often in this chamber that it has become offensive to me.
– I am quite sure the honorable member for Gippsland, when he learns that he has said something offensive to the honorable member, will withdraw it.
– Very well ; if my remark, that where protection is concerned the only thing the honorable member knows is potatoes be regarded as offensive, I will say that the honorable member knows nothing about potatoes. The honorable member for Balaclava gave us his experience as a director of a mining company in connexion with the sinking of the great incline shaft at the Long Tunnel, at Walhalla. He has told us that the staff employed to carry out that work was advertised for and collected from all parts of Australia, and these are the men who selected the Australian drills for the work in preference to the other drills given them to use. That is practical evidence which comes nearer home to the question thanany other evidence submitted to the Committee this evening. Like the honorable member for Parramatta, I know nothing of the subject beyond what I have heard, but the evidence to which I have just referred weighs heavily with me. So far as protectionist’s are concerned I claim in this connexion the vote of many protectionists in this chamber. When we have honorable members like the honorable member for Indi, who continually gets up here-
– Order. The honorable member is now going away from the question. .
– I am claiming the vote ot the honorable member for Indi, who flouts honorable members on this side and talks of his business capability, and of the disgraceful way in which the business of the Committee is being carried on.
– I said nothing of the kind. The honorable member is telling an untruth.
– Order. The honorable member must withdraw that remark.
– I do. I said it on purpose to be able to withdraw it.
– The honorable member should withdraw the remark unreservedly.
– Honorable members should not make these statements.
– I withdraw it.
– I do not care to make statements which I cannot justify. I expected that the honorable member for Indi would be one of those who -would give a solid vote for protection in this House.
– So I have done.
– And would follow the recommendations of the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission. On the 24th of November last, he is reported-
– Order. I do not see how the honorable member is going to connect this matter with rock drills. If I permit him to follow that line of argument, I cannot prevent a reply and a general discussion on the same lines.
– I am satisfied that nothing I propose to quote from the remarks of the honorable member for Indi would enable him to continue the discussion bv quoting anything against me.
– That might be so, but I point out that the honorable member for Indi might try to disprove the statements attributed to him, and an endless discussion might arise as to what various honorable members have said.
– If we are not allowed to refer to the platform utterances upon which honorable members secured an entrance into this chamber, and to claim that they should vote in accordance with those utterances, a very great deal of the criticism we hear in this chamber must be ruled out of order.
– I do not know whether on the platform, the honorable member for Indi said he was or was not a protectionist, but while the honorable member would be justified in making an incidental reference to the utterances of the honor- / able member, I think that it would be difficult to show that he had rock drills in mind at the time those utterances were made.
– -The honorable member made a general statement that he’ advocated the enforcement of the recommendations of the Tariff Commission, and we are now dealing with one of them. He said further that the Age had stated that he was a free-trader, a statement which he wished to deny.
– Order. The honorable member will be out of order in continuing that line of argument, and I ask him not to persist.
– If I might be permitted to say so, I would prefer that the honorable member should be allowed to read what he proposes to read, because we can then put the pin in and prick the bubble.
– It would take a great deal to prick the bubble. It is a very solid one.
– Will the honorable member in all fairness say what the recommendation of the A section of the Tariff Commission is on rock boring machines ?
– On the item that covers those machines.
– On rock boring machinery. Let the honorable gentleman tell us what they recommend.
– If the honorable member for Indi will say that he meant that he would follow the recommendations of the free-trade section of the Tariff Commission, I will say no more. If he is unable to say that, I expect him to follow the Chairman and the protectionist section of the Commission in dealing with this item. I do not propose to deal with the matter any further, except to say that the honorable member does not stand alone amongst those who professed to be sound protectionists upon the platform.
.- The honorable member for Bendigo referred to Mr. W. J. Loring, of Messrs. Bewick, Moreing. and Company, the manager of the Gwalior Mine, as having used these drills. Since then, Mr. Loring has informed me that his firm command mines in Western Australia producing £2,500,000 worth of gold. He states that the ^Bendigo drill and all other drills have been tried, but that the Bendigo drill does not last. It gives out too easily, and increases the cost of mining. Mr. Loring made that statement to me since I spoke to-night.
– Is he in the gallery?
– I rang him up on the telephone, so that I got the information from a thoroughly reliable source.
– Then is he over here about it?
– He gets £6,000 a year. I do not know what he is here about.
– What did he give that certificate for?
– I asked him for it. If he had told me anything in favour of the Bendigo drills, I should have given it to the Committee as fairly as I am giving this information.
– I have suggested to the Minister to omit the word “ boring,” so that the question of rock drills may be dealt with in a separate paragraph d, and have asked the Minister to propose rock-boring machines at a duty of 20 per cent. I find, on examining our report, that we recommended the omission of rock drills from the free list, and thereby they would fall automatically under “ manufactures of metals, n.e.i., 20 per cent.”
– Do I understand that the Government are prepared to omit the word “boring”?
– Yes, for a purpose.
Amendment - to leave out ‘ ‘ boring ‘ ‘ - agreed to.
Amendment (by Mr. Storrer) agreed to-
That the amendment be amended by leaving out the figures “ 30.”
Amendment (by Mr. Storrer) put -
That the blank be filled by the insertion of the figures “ 20.”
The Committee divided.
Majority … 2
Question so resolved in the negative.
Amendment of the amendment negatived.
Amendment (by Mr. Storrer) agreed to -
That the blank be filled by the insertion of the figures “ 25 “ (General Tariff).
Amendment (by Mr. Storrer) proposed -
That the amendment be amended by leaving out the figures” 25 “ (United Kingdom).
– I rise to make a personal explanation in regard to the pairs for the division which has just taken place. When the leader of the Opposition left for Sydney a few days ago, he told me distinctly that he had paired with the Minister of Defence ; but I understand that that pair has been constantly changed by the Government Whip.
.- I also desire to protest against the manner in which the pairs have been dealt with. I have remonstrated with the Government Whip about the present system of “ boxing about “ the pairs. I wired to the leader of the Opposition to-day, and I have received a reply, which I will read.
– I have already pointed out to honorable members that pairs are not officially recognised.
– I quite admit that, but, at the same time, the pairs are recorded in Hansard and in the newspapers, and when an honorable member goes away and makes a pair, good faith ought to be kept. The following is the reply . I have received from the leader of the Opposition -
Asked Ewing for pair while at Jury Sittings. Explained importance to me of his pair. He kindly agreed.
– As my name has been mentioned, and some unfairness imputed to me-
– Gross unfairness !
– It is only right, under the circumstances, that I should say a word or two. It is quite true that pairs are constantly being changed, but that is to suit the convenience of honorable members. The honorable member for Corio has been away the whole of the week.
– I hope the honorable member is not going into the general question of pairs?
– I desire to explain the particular transaction in which unfairness has been imputed to me.
– All we desire is that good faith shall be kept.
– Good faith has been kept absolutely.
– I say that good faith has not been kept.
– The honorable member for Lang has already had an opportunity to explain, and I ask him to allow the honorable member for Bourke to proceed.
– I point out that I did not interrupt the honorable member for Lang. Pairs are constantly being made between members and constantly altered, and they are bound to be altered on both sides, in order to suit the convenience of honorable members. On this particular occasion, the Minister of Defence gave the leader of the Opposition a pair, and the honorable member for Angas gave the honorable member for Corio a pair. But the honorable member for Angas has been voting, and so we transferred the pair of the honorable member for Corio to the leader of the Opposition, just as during the last week, when the honorable member for Parkes had paired with the honorable member for Macquarie, he voted on every occasion, his pair having been transferred by the Opposition Whip.
– I ask the Minister of Defence to say a few words in order to make the matter clear.
– I cannot allow this matter to go any further.
– Then we shall see what can be done in the House !
.- There is some misapprehension created by what the Government Whip has said. I was paired with the honorable member for Corio until last Tuesday. Being detained by important business I did not arrive at the House until Wednesday, and, in case the honorable member might have an idea that he was still paired, he not having returned, I asked the Government Whip whether he expected me to continue the pair on the Wednesday. The Government Whip said “ No,” and, of course, I voted.
– Of course, the changes are made to suit honorable members generally.
– Since the acting leader of the Opposition has asked me to make a statement I have no objection to doing so. The leader of the Opposition towards the end of last week asked whether I would pair with him as he was going to Sydney, and I said I had no objection. I consulted the Government Whip, who said that the pair was quite satisfactory. I have no desire to find fault with regard to the length of the pair, but I had no idea that it was for beyond the Tuesday ; and I think I said so at the time to both the Government Whip and the Opposition Whip. I do not desire to raise any question about that, however, because I know these loosely-made agreements very frequently give rise to misapprehension. I know that pairs are constantly being changed in the way that has been described. In the early part of the pair I did not vote, and once or twice the PostmasterGeneral did not vote ; all the changes were absolutely fair.
– I objected all the time.
– This matter was discussed by the whips in the corridor today after the telegram from the leader of the Opposition arrived ; and before I left that conference, I asked the whips whether they were satisfied with what had been done, and they said they were.
– Provided that the honorable member for Bourke’s statement regarding the honorable member for Angas was correct; but it has just been shown to be inaccurate.
.- In justice to the Government Whip, I should like to say that, although I was only paired until Tuesday, I was asked that the pair should be extended for the convenience of the honorable member for Corio. The Government Whip also said that it might be necessary to change the pairs, to which arrangement I replied that I had no objection.
Amendment (by Mr. Storrer) - to leave out the figures “25” - agreed to.
– I do not desire to address the Committee at any length upon this question. I bad intended to do so earlier in the evening, but the debate turned upon one matter, in which I was not specially interested. In the proposal which is now under consideration, however, the whole of our mining interests are involved. If honorable members will turn to the Budget statement, and to the papers connected with it which were laid upon the table of the House by the Treasurer, they will find that from 1902 to 1906 inclusive, the mining industry exported wealth to the amount of £104,225,000. As against that, the export of machinery, implements, and manufactures of metals was valued at only £469,000. In this connexion it must be remembered that the product of the mining industry has to find its market in the outside world. Notwithstanding this, there are large numbers of persons engaged in the industry who are not working rich mineral fields, but fields upon which the margin between profit and loss is a very narrow one. Yet it is now proposed to increase the taxation upon mining machinery from 12½ per cent. to 25 per cent. under the general Tariff and to 20 per cent. under the Tariff for the United Kingdom. I would further remind honorable members that this industry employs about 112,000 labourers, as compared with some 16,000 who are employed in the whole of the machine and metal manufacturing industries of the Commonwealth. I desire to call the attention of honorable members to the different treatment which is accorded to the mining industry by other protectionist countries. I find thatin item 222 of the New Zealand Tariff it is specified that steam engines and parts thereof, including the boiler or boilers therefor, imported specially for mining or gold saving purposes and processes or for dairying purposes, are dutiable at 5 per cent. Again, in item 439 I find that machinery for gold-saving purposes and processes has been placed upon the free list. That is the treatment which the industry receives in a country which believes in a protective policy, but which does not believe in penalizing its large primary industries. A similar remark is applicable to the Dominion of Canada.
– Does the honorable member think that it is wise at this hour of the night to speak at such length, especially as the general question has already been settled?
– I refrained from speaking earlier in the debate in the hope that a reasonable duty would be agreed to. But instead of securing a duty of 20 per cent. - which I was prepared to accept - the Committee have imposed a duty of 25 per cent. upon mining machinery under the general Tariff. Consequently I have no alternative but to fight for the insertion of a reasonable rate in the preference column. In Canada all the important machinery used for mining purposes is upon a list of special exemptions. The case of the Wilberforce Gold Dredging Company has already been cited. There is also the case of the Cobar Company, which recently ordered machinery to cost about £71,000, of which about £47,000 worth was to come from England and about £23,000 worth from America. Under the old Tariff the duty - 12½ per cent. - would have been about £8,800, but if 25 per cent., and the preferential duty of 20 per cent., is charged it will be increased by £17,000, and will come to £25,987. About £9,000 or £10,000 worth of machinery included in the order was previously on the free list, but is now dutiable at 25 per cent. That is an instance of the way in which one of our great primary industries, which has been a source of enormous wealth to the country, is being burdened, so that it will become more difficult for those connected with it to obtain decent wages. I move -
That the amendment be amended by inserting the figures “ 15 “ in the blank created by leaving out the figures “ 25.”
– The honorable member for Calare has referred to the Great Cobar mine;but those connected with that mine, as is well known, will purchase nothing in Australia.
– It keeps a good many working men going.
– Because it earns many thousands of pounds profit. It is controlled by a London company, which orders all its requirements from England and from America. I am credibly informed that a large part of its plant, consisting of blast furnaces, smelters, converters, and accessories, all of which could have been purchased in Australia for no more than was paid for it, was imported. The company, when it started, imported even its columns and girders, showing that it is capable of resorting to any device to avoid purchasing in Australia. It has already been determined in connexion with similar items that the rates of duty shall be 25 and 20 per cent., and if the free-traders try to force a reduction to 15 per cent. in connexion with importations from the United Kingdom, I hope that the protectionists will insist on an all-round duty of 25 per cent.
– What was said in connexion with the proposal to tax rock drills applies with a hundredfold more force to the proposal to tax ore-reducing appliances. It is absolutely necessary to encourage the use of the best and latest ore-dressing and orereducing appliances, as they do in other countries, in order that our very low-grade ores may be worked to advantage. The Simmer and Jack Mine, by far the largest gold-producing mine in the world, which uses 600 head of stamps, is working on a 6-dwt. reef. But it can do so only by using the latest and most up-to-date appliances. Here in Australia we have many hundreds of low-grade propositions, and we can work them profitably only by using the most up-to-date appliances. The mining industry, instead of employing a few handfuls of men, as some of the manufacturing industries do, gives work to tens of thousands. We ought to try to give those who put their money into mines a fair chance to profit by their investments. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports has had a great deal to say about the mining companies importing their requirements, but we are very glad to get money from abroad to work our mines. Apparently the honorable member would consider a man who put money into Australian mines as an enemy to the country, but what we need is the investment of more capital in mining. I am surprised that honorable members should wish to put a duty of 4s. in the £1 on the machinery that we most need in Australia to develop the mining industry. I shall vote for the lower duty.
.Thehonorable member for Melbourne Ports has spoken of the Great Cobar mine as an English company which never buys anything in Australia. That mine, however, was for many years an Australian property, and was developed by Australians. It is only about a year since the English company purchased it, so it is not correct to say that everything at the mine has been imported. Of course, much of the machinery is such as could not be made in Australia, because it is covered by patents. I do not hold a brief for the company, but I feel bound to correct a misstatement.
.- It is appalling to hear some of the statements made in this Committee. The Great Cobar mine invited tenders in Australia, England, and America for its requirements.
.- I opposed the reduction of the duty to 15 per cent. , but the proposed rate having been struck out, I accept the defeat as regards the higher duty, and am now prepared to vote for a duty of 20 per cent. Although mining is a very important industry in my district, I do not propose to speak at length on this subject, because I always tear in mind the value of our time, and the need in the country’s interest for getting through the Tariff as quickly as possible. Therefore I make my remarks as short as I can.
Question - That the blank created in the amendment be filled by the figures “1 5 “ (Mr. Thomas Brown’s amendment) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 15
Question so resolved in the negative.
Amendment of the amendment negatived.
Amendment (by Mr. Storrer) agreed to-
That the amendment be amended by inserting the figures “20” in the blank created by leaving out the figures “25.”
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the following new paragraph be added -
Tariff), 25 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 20 per cent.
– I move -
That the amendment be amended by leaving out the figures “ 25 “ and “ 20,” with a view to insert in lieu thereof in each case the figures “ 15.”
This item is, I think, on all-fours with item 166, as to which we accepted this morning in regard to several industries the duties I now propose. In my opinion, all these items ought to be treated on the same basis.
– The honorable member for Kalgoorlie is mistaken, because this item is not identical with item 166. The word “boring” was struck out of paragraph a of this item - I did not oppose it - in order to give an opportunity not to deal with this particular amendment, but with rotary and percussion drills, coalcutting machines and diamond-drill machines.
– What did the honorable gentleman propose to do?
– By striking out the word “boring,” we limited the extent of paragraph a, and what I have just proposed is practically to re-instate the duty on rock-boring machines.
– Do I understand that the new paragraph has no relation to the percussive rock drill which created all the discussion this evening?
– I shall ascertain for the honorable member.
– I suggested to the Treasurer to omit the word “ boring” in paragraph a. with a view of testing the duty on rock boring machines in a separate paragraph.
– The honorable member is not proposing to increase the duty, is he?
– The Minister has proposed a duty of 25 per cent., and I suggest that the difference should be compromised with a duty of 20 per cent.
– I wish to say a few words in reply to the honorable member for Kalgoorlie. The protectionist section of the Committee were generous enough to say that special machinery should go on the 15 per cent. list, but now honorable members opposite - some of whom came here claiming tobe protectionists - want us to put all lines on that list. The sooner we put an end to that sort of thing the better, I think. Rather than vote for a duty of 15 per cent., I shall vote for these articles to be free. Either we ought to give protection, or we ought not to penalize the users of any machinery. A duty of 15 per cent. is not a protective, but a revenue duty. Some of us who voted for a duty of 15 per cent. did so by way of concession in regard to special machinery. But we are now dealing with machinery that can easily be made within the Commonwealth. I now admit that those of us who believe in protection made a mistake in the previous case in voting for 15 per cent., because it is evident that advantage is being taken of our generosity. I trust that the higher rate of duty will be agreed to. Personally, I should vote for duties of 35 and 30 per cent. if I had an opportunity.
– To meet the convenience of the honorable member for Kalgoorlie, I will temporarily withdraw my amendment, in order to enable him to move one to test the opinion of the Committee as to drills.
Amendments, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment (by Mr. Frazer) proposed -
That the following new paragraph be added : - “d. Rotary and percussive rock drills, ad val. (General Tariff), 15 per cent.”
Amendment (by Sir John Quick) proposed -
That the amendment be amended by leaving out the figures “ 15,” with a view to insert in lieu thereof the figures “ 20.”
Question - That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the proposed amendment - put.
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 5
Question so resolved in the negative.
Amendment (Mr. Frazer’s) of the amendment (Sir William Lyne’s) agreed to.
– I hope that the Government are not going to endeavour to secure a duty of 20 per cent., as against imports from the United Kingdom. We should take into consideration the fact that rock drills were free under the old Tariff, and that this duty will apply to an industry, the raw materials of which cannot be admitted free but have to be sought for. I think that we have gone far enough to satisfy the desire of protectionists’ by imposing a duty of 20 per cent. against foreign countries, and I hope that the Committee will agree to a duty of not more than 15 per cent. as against imports from Great Britain. I move -
That the amendment be amended by adding the words “ ad val. (United Kingdom), 15 per cent.”
– In this House, as in others, arrangements or compacts are often arrived at. Those who desired that rock drills should be subjected to a low rate of duty promised that if some of us would agree to their being dealt with in a separate paragraph they would support duties of 25 per cent. and 20 per cent. When we went to a division, however, they broke their compact, and therefore I think we have a right to insist on the highest rate of duty that we can secure.
– There was no compact.
– There was. Honorable members who promised to vote for 25 per cent. and 20 per cent. duties if rock drills were placed in a separate paragraph failed to do so, and I hope that the Committee will agree to an all-round duty of 20 per cent.
– We have been told that a big American combine is dumping drills into Australia. I would remind honorable members that if they support a duty of 15 per cent. preference they will be fighting against the Combine, and that if they support a duty of 20 per cent. without preference they will be fighting for the Combine.
Amendment (by Mr. Mathews) proposed -
That the amendment of the amendment be amended by leaving out the figures “ 15,” with a view to insert in lieu thereof the figures “ 20.”
– I think that the Government might well compromise by agreeing to duties of 20 per cent. and 15 per cent. I shall support the proposal that the duty on importations from the United Kingdom be 15 per cent.
– Can the honorable member for Bendigo refer us to a case in which the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission recommended the imposition of a duty of 15 per cent. ?
– The Chairman of the Tariff Commission has taunted the
Government with proposing duties 5 per cent. in excess of those recommended by the protectionist section of the Commission, and that being so, I think we are entitled to hurl at him the taunt that he proposes to vote for a duty 5 per cent. lower than that which he recommended. If the honorable member votes for a duty of 15 per cent., he will invite the Opposition to continue fighting, as they have been all day long, with a view to securing further reductions.
– The honorable member did not do much to secure the imposition of a duty of 20 per cent. as against foreign imports.
– I hope that we shall have an all-round duty of 20 per cent. in this case, but if such a leading protectionist as the honorable member for Bendigo is going to desert the protectionist cause we do not know what will happen.
– I wish to enter my protest against this girding at the Opposition. During the last few days scarcely an amendment has been submitted by a member of our party.
– No. A lead has been given by protectionists.
– Exactly. We are following the protectionist lead all through ; but do what we will, we cannot satisfy some of our honorable friends.
– They are spotted.
– I am glad to think that they are as clean and as free from spots as is the honorable member.
Question- That the figures “ 15 “ proposed to be left out stand part of the proposed amendment (Mr. Mathews’ amendment of Mr. Frazer’s amendment) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 8
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment (Mr. Mathew’s) of the amendment (Mr. Frazer’s) negatived.
Amendment (Mr. Frazer’s) of Sir William Lyne’s amendment amended and agreed to.
– I move -
That the following new paragraph be added: - “e. Coal-cutting machines, ad val. (General
Tariff), 5 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), free.”
Those machines are not and never will be made here.
– I wish to add some words. I move -
That the amendment be amended by inserting after the word “machines” the words “side plates and balls for ball mills.”
The frame of the ball mill can be made anywhere, but the special parts to which my amendment refers can be made only in three manufactories in the Old Country. A particular kind of steel is required, and these parts made elsewhere will not stand wear and tear.
– Are they not being made here now?
Amendment of the amendment agreed to.
Amendment, as amended, agreed to.
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) agreed to -
That the following new paragraph be added : - “ f. Rock-boring machines, n.e.i., ad val. (General Tariff), 25 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 20 per cent.”
Amendment (substituting new item 177.) as amended, agreed to.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Postponed item 178. Electrical. Machinery, viz. : -
Generators; Motors up to the capacity of 500 H.P. ; Fans; Starting and Regulating Rheostats, ad val. (General Tariff), 30 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent.
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the following words be added : - “and on and after 29th November, 1907.
Item 178. Electrical Machines, Appliances, and parts thereof : -
Dynamo Electric Machines, including
Static Transformers and Induction Coils for all purposes; Electric Fans, ad val. (General Tariff), 25 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 20 per cent.
Apparatus for all electrical purposes, including Distributing Boards and Switchboards, except Telephone Switchboards, ad val. (General Tariff), 25 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 20 per cent.
Electric Apparatus and Fittings consisting wholly or partly of metal, n.e.i., including Switches, Fuses, and Lightning Arresters, ad val. (General Tariff), 17½ per cent.; (United Kingdom), 12½ per cent.
– Does the Minister propose to deal with electrical machinery ?
– We must finish this to-night.
– I have been here as long as the Minister has, and I cannot stand it much longer.
– I understand that this item requires a great deal of rearrangement. Some honorable members decidedly object to the Treasurer’s new proposals, as circulated. Would it not be better for the honorable gentleman to postpone the item until to-morrow, and in the meantime confer with those honorable members?
– I am not going to confer any more. I have conferred, and tried in every way possible to meet objections, and I find that whenever I. come to an arrangement it is broken off.
– Is the honorable member for South Sydney in favour of going on ?
– I think it is time that we got the Tariff through.
– Then we must go on.
– The Minister and the Department have endeavoured in every way to assist those concerned in electrical machinery in order to arrive at some satisfactory arrangement.
– We had better have a quorum to begin with. [Quorum formed.]
– On a point of order, I draw attention to the fact that the honorable member for Echuca left the chamber when the bells were ringing. The honorable member should be warned that he is breaking the rules of the House.
– The honorable member for Indi also left the chamber. He should be brought back.
– The Standing Orders provide that no honorable member must leave the chamber when a quorum has been called for. The honorable member for Indi left the chamber after attention was called to the absence of a quorum, as did the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, who has since returned. The course that I should generally take in the circumstances would be to report the action of the honorable member for Indi to the Speaker, but probably the honorable member acted inadvertently.
– Let the Chairman report. What can be done if he does report?
– I must point out to the honorable member for Parramatta that he is disrespectful to the Chair. The honorable member appears by his remarks to think that I am making this a personal matter, but that is not so. I am merely trying to carry out the duties of the position in which the House has placed me.
– Is it not equally disrespectful to you for honorable members opposite to be going on as they are?
– It was owing to the honorable member’s interjections that all the noise on the other side occurred. There is now a quorum present. I think that it is probable the honorable member for Indi left the chamber under a misapprehension. I shall request the SerjeantatArms merely to remind the honorable member of the fact; and I hope that that win get over the difficulty.
The honorable member for Indihaving entered the chamber -
– I must remind the honorable member that when a quorum has been called for, honorable members must not leave the chamber. Probably the honorable member did not hear what I said when he was leaving the chamber. I merely wish to warn the honorable member that he must not leave the chamber again under such circumstances.
– As a matter of fact, I did not know that a division was about to be taken.
– There was no division, but a quorum was required.
– I was not quite so sure as to its being a quorum which was being called, and it must have been inadvertence on my part.
– I desired to have some re-arrangement of these items, and gave notice accordingly. The Treasurer, after consultation with his officers, has introduced the proposals in a way which I know is satisfying to those interested in New South Wales, Victoria., and South Australia. There is no justification for the charge that the officers have not endeavoured in every way to put these complex items on a sound footing. As the arrangement has the substantial approval of those interested in the manufacture and importation of the items, it is scarcely necessary for me to remind honorable members that many of the appliances are only in a state of development, considerably more so than is ordinary mining machinery. Day by day, the application of electricity to every branch of industry, and almost every department of life, is extending, and many of the appliances are very necessary in connexion with- the mining industry. I desire to move as a reasonable compromise that the duties be 20 per cent, and 15 per cent. I know there is a desire on the part of some honorable members for a lower duty, but [ think, my suggestion ought to meet the case. I wish to move -
That the amendment be amended by leaving out the figures “ 25,” paragraph a, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the figures “ 20..”
– I should like to know if you, sir, directed the SerjeantatArms to bring the honorable member for Indi into the chamber ? I ‘understood that you had merely asked that officer to remind him of what had happened.
– That is so.
– I understand that the honorable member for Indi has been brought to the chamber by the SerjeantatArms, and if so, he has been subjected to an indignity.
– I would point out to the honorable member that the honorable member for Indi was not brought here by the Serjeant-at-Arms.
.I desire to ask if item 178, dealing with electrical machinery, has been further, amended.
– Only by my own proposal.
– I really think that we ought to have the Treasurer’s proposals before us in print.
– The only alteration that has been made in the item is in the amount of the duties proposed in the first and second columns. The reason the alteration has been made is that during the past two days the Committee have objected to impose a higher duty than 25 per cent., and consequently I did not see the utility of debating a proposal in favour of 30 per cent.
– To what paragraphs do the new rates apply?
– To paragraphs a,
B ana c
– The new scheme of duties proposed by the Government upon electrical machinery differs somewhat materially from the scheme that was originally embodied in the Tariff. Originally electrical appliances were covered by items 178, 1.79, and 180, and the duties imposed upon them were based upon the recommendations of the protectionist section, of the Tariff Commission. In dealing with this question, which is a very important and complicated one-
– I think that there ought to be a quorum present. [Quorum formed.]
– In dealing with this very important and complicated question of electrical machinery and appliances, we were at a considerable disadvantage by reason of the fact that very few witnesses appeared before us’ to give us any information. As a matter of fact, we heard no witnesses from Victoria. In Western Australia, however, evidence was tendered by the representative of the mining companies, who strongly protested against any duties being levied upon electrical machinery and appliances. The only evidence forthcoming in support of any change in the direction of protective duties was that given by Mr.Barton, in Queensland. That gentleman stated that under the old Queensland Tariff, which imposed a duty of 25 per cent. upon electrical machinery, he had been able to manufacture motors, &c, but that he was unable to compete successfully under the Commonwealth Tariff of 12½ per cent.
– There is no quorum present, and we must have one [Quorum formed.]
– The Commission were informed that -
It would not pay to establish a plant at Brisbane to manufacture electrical appliances for local use ; but it might be advantageous to provide works in large cities, such as Melbourne and Sydney, to supply the needs of the Commonwealth. With a duty of 25 per cent. heavy engineering portion of electrical appliances could be made here at a profit.
The Tariff Commission arrived at certain conclusions in respect of this industry, one or two of which I propose to read. It is greatly to be regretted that a question of such magnitude - a question dealing with the advanced guard of scientific engineering, and exercising such a momentous influence upon our industrial system, has to be dealt with at this early hour of the morning, and in such a thin Committee. Among our conclusions we found that - electrical generators, motors, and fans, and other machinery and appliances have been made in Victoria and Queensland under 25 per cent. protective Tariffs, which were in operation at some period prior to Federation.
We also found that - there seems to be no reason why electrical generators and motors, probably up to a high capacity, and certainly up to 500 horse-power, should not in the future be made in Australia, provided the insulated conductors, and insulating materials required are admitted free.
– There is no quorum, Mr. Chairman. [Quorum formed.]
– We recommended that generators, motors up to the capacity of 500 horse-power, fans, and starting and regulating rheostats should be dutiable at the rate of 25 percent. ad valorem. I ask honorable members to give attention to this recommendation.
– The honorable member cannot expect us to listen at this hour of the morning.
– It is altogether unreasonable. We have been here since 11 yesterday morning.
– It is hard to do justice to so important a subject at this hour.
– Let us get to a vote.
– Apparently the Minister wishes us to vote blindly.
– Does the honorable member think that his speech will alter one vote?
– Surely the Chairman of the Tariff Commission is entitled to a hearing.
– The Commission were of opinion that only two or three classes of electrical machinery could reasonably be expected to be made in Australia under existing conditions. We therefore recommended a duty of 25 per cent. on the machinery which I have named. The Government in its first proposals in regard to electrical machinery adopted our recommendation except as to rates, confining the higher duties to generators, motors up to the capacity of 500 horsepower, fans, and starting and regulating rheostats. But in the proposals now before the Committee they apply the duties to all electrical motive power and machinery, irrespective of horse-power. Motors of a capacity of over 500 horsepower, and other big electrical machinery, are not likely to be made in Australia for many years to come, and any duty imposed upon them will be merely revenue producing and oppressive to the industries that . have to use this machinery. But duties on small motors and generators may give a stimulus to local manufacturers. I am desirous of doing all I can to encourage the manufacture of electrical machinery in Australia; but I do not wish to go beyond what is fair and reasonable. Senator McGregor, exSenator Higgs, Mr. Francis Clarke, and myself talked this matter over and came to the conclusion that the highest duty that should be imposed on the machinery I have mentioned was 25 per cent., and that bigger machinery should be dutiable at 12½ per cent. The proposals of the Government will do more harm than good, and will tend to make the Tariff objectionable. I do not wish to make enemies for the Tariff, my desire being to secure the greatest good for the greatest number, with the least amount of friction. In order to bring matters to an issue, and to restore the limitation originally recommended, Imove -
That the amendment be amended by inserting after the word “ machines,” in paragraph A, the words “ up to the capacity of 500 horse-power.”
I intend, if that is carried, to move to make machinery of larger horse-power dutiable at 12½ per cent. or whatever lower rate the Committee may decide upon. Mr. Sluyterman, electrical engineer, of Bendigo, when referred to as to the possibility of the differentiation which I propose, wrote to me - his letter is an appendix to the report of the Commission on the subject - that - electrical generators and motors can be made in Australia up to almost any capacity, say 500 horse-power, provided the insulated conductors and insulating materials, such as covered wire, mica, insulating varnishes, prepared tapes and papers, vulcanite fibre, rubber and all insulating compounds, also platenoid and manganin wires (for XXX rheostats) were kept on the free list.
– How many makers of electrical machinery are there in Australia?
– There are two or three in Melbourne - Mr. Weymouth and Mr. Joel, and one in Brisbane. Mr. Barton, a Brisbane electrical engineer, wants a duty of 25 per cent. imposed on small motors and rheostats. I am sorry that I cannot do justice to the item at this late hour.
– If the honorable member will move that the item be postponed, we will support him.
– I have asked for a postponement of the item, and that has been refused.
– Move it.
– I move the amendment, in the hope that the Government will see their way to accept it.
– I also am very sorry that, after having been here for fourteen hours, the Government cannot see their way to allow us to go home.
– We will settle the item in two or three minutes.
– Let us finish this item; it is all fixed up.
– This is a very important item and it is not right that it should be fixed up without receiving any consideration.
SirWilliam Lyne. - I have been considering it for a month.
– It has been pointed out by the Chairman of the Tariff Commission that it is not reasonable to suppose that electric motors and generators over 500 horse-power will be manufactured in Australia for a considerable time. He has also shown that the Government have altered their first proposal in order to make dutiable, at 25 and 20 per cent. respectively, the whole of the electrical motor power which is used in the Commonwealth. Several interjections have been made which would imply that this class of machinery over 500 horse-power is used by only wealthy capitalists’ in mining operations. But let me point out that it is used in connexion with electric-lighting plants and tramway systems in large cities. To impose duties of 25 per cent. and 20 per cent. on such machinery, which cannot be made here, is simply to place a burden upon the great majority of the people who use electric tramways and electric light. I was expecting to hear a few words on this item from some of those who pretend to stand up for the rights of New South Wales, and, seeing that no one has risen to speak, not even on the Opposition side, I wish to bring before the Committee a letter which I have received from the Sydney Municipal Council. The letter reads as follows : -
I have the honour, by direction of the Sydney Municipal Council, to invite your attention to the fact that by reason of the new Customs Tariff the Council is likely to be involved in a very considerable outlay of money to cover the new duty on certain electric motors and other electric machinery and apparatus which are being imported from England for the Sydney Electric Light undertaking.
This machinery and motors cannot be reasonably manufactured in the Commonwealth, otherwise purchases would be made accordingly, and the Council is, therefore, obliged to import.
In these circumstances I am to represent to you, as one of the New South Wales members of the Federal Legislature, the great hardship under which the Council labours in this connexion, and to request you to kindly use every endeavour to have electric motors placed on the free list, . and the duties on electric machinery and apparatus largely reduced.
Thanking you in anticipation,
I have the honour to be, Dear Sir,
Your obedient servant,
As it is pointed out by the Council that the electrical machinery which they want for the lighting of Sydney cannot be reasonably made in Australia, I presume that it is over 500 horse-power. If it cannot be made here, then duties of 25 per cent.. and 20 per cent. shouldnot be imposed. The honorable member for Hindmarsh, who is interrupting me, has spoken here time after time.
– The honorable member has talked on the Tariff at least an hour for every minute that I have occupied, and I object to him indicating what T should do. If I want to speak, I shall speak without asking his permission. I owe a duty to my constituents as well as he does. I was waiting patiently in my place to hear some of those who pretend that they are the guardians of New South Wales in order to find out whether they were going to refer to the letter.
– Order ! I ask honorable members to cease their continuous talk.
– I was waiting to hear whether the representations of the Sydney Municipal Council would be placed before the Committee by some honorable members representing New South Wales, particularly those who are always making a tremendous noise about their loyalty to that State. As the matter has not been referred to by them-
– Order ! I again appeal to honorable members to cease their continuous talk. It is impossible for me to understand what the honorable member for Cook is saying. I hope that honorable members will have some respect for at least the Chamber.
– The very members who ought to be supporting me are not even helping to maintain order, but are trying, with others, to drown my voice, and so prevent the representations of the Sydney Municipal Council from reaching the proper quarter. I appeal to the Minister to accede to the request of that body, that electrical machinery which cannot reasonably be made in the Commonwealth should be placed upon the free list. The duty should at least be made as low as possible. It means a tax upon the working people of Sydney and suburbs, to whom the municipal council are endeavouring to supplycheap electric light in opposition to the Gas Company of Sydney - a huge monopoly which has been charging too high a price for a very long time. The Minister having, as I know, sympathy with the great working population of Sydney, will, I trust, see his way clear to assist the Sydney Council by allowing it to import its machinery at the lowest possible rate of duty
– The honorable member for Cook who has just sat down, the honorable member for Melbourne, and the honorable member for West Sydney, have interviewed me more than once in regard to the position of the cities of Melbourne and Sydney in reference to electric lighting machinery.
– Has not any one spoken to the Minister about Adelaide?
– The cases of the two cities I “have mentioned were brought prominently before me. I have considered the matter in the light of the representations made to me, and am prepared to consent to a lower rate of duty than I was at first inclined to accept. - I am prepared to accept a duty of 20 per cent, in each column. The honorable member for Bendigo has moved an amendment with the object of limiting the duty to 500 horse-power machinery. On machinery beyond that power I am prepared to take a lower duty than 20 per cent. I am prepared to agree to duties of 15 and 20 per cent, in reference to some of these paragraphs in consequence of the representations made to . me.
– I join with the honorable member for Bendigo in regretting the necessity foi dealing with such items as this at such an hour. The business done at all sittings after midnight which I have attended has always been unsatisfactory. We have never been able to arrive at a reasonable conclusion. Every one is in a bad temper.
– I am sure that I am not.
– The Minister may feel in his usual condition, but the majority of honorable members are not in a frame of mind conducive to the satisfactory transaction of business. I understood that .ive were to adjourn every night at 11 o’clock in consideration of sitting so early in the morning.
– Yes, if progress is made.
– Very reasonable pro- gress has been made at this sitting, in my opinion. We have agreed to items- involving many thousands of pounds to the industrial community, and although they may ‘ not have been many in number they were of greater importance than perhaps ten times as many other items in the schedule. It is regrettable that we have not many electrical experts to advise us. The best advice ‘that I have been able to obtain, leads me to say that we shall be perfectly safe in making the lower rate of duty operate on machinery over .500 horsepower. The largest dynamo that I can see catalogued as made in Australia is one of 200 horse-power. I think we shall adopt a very fair standard in accepting the suggestion of the honorable member for Bendigo. Our requirements in . the way of electrical machinery are so limited that in all probability a dynamo of 500 horsepower will prove to be the maximum required. An increase of duty from 121 per cent, to 20 per cent, is as much protection as an industry that has reached the stage of development of the one we are considering can expect. from any Parliament. Recognising the impossibility of making a successful appeal to the Committee at this time. in the morning, when we ought to be in bed, I feel disposed to accept the suggestion of the Minister.
.The honorable and juvenile member for Cook, although* so newly a member of this House, has constituted himself lecturer-general to the Committee, and has admonished the representatives of New South Wales for not protesting against the proposed duty on electrical machinery and appliances. He also upbraided some honorable members for trying to drown his voice. But whatever noise was being made while he was speaking, came from his own corner; and if honorable members representing New South Wales have not hitherto spoken on this subject, it was simply because thev were anxious to assist the Government in getting through the Tariff as quickly as possible, by trying to come to an understanding with the Government to secure a substantial reduction of duty I venture to say that, so far as this pan of the division is concerned, the Opposition cannot be accused of having unduly occupied the time of the Committee. The debate has been carried on either by Government supporters or their allies in the Ministerial corner, and if the Treasurer has any cause of complaint, he certainly has no complaint against the Opposition. Since both the honorable member for Cook and the honorable member for Barrier seem to think that the representatives of New South Wales on the Opposition benches should have made themselves heard more frequently, and at greater length than they have done, I propose, so far as I am concerned, to leave them no ground for complaint. The honorable member for Cook read a circular letter from the municipal council ‘ of Sydney which was sent to all ‘the representatives of New South Wales.
– The honorable member for Cook was the first to make any forcible representation in regard to it.
– Yes, simply because he first caught the Chairman’s eye, although other members rose. I intend also to make some equally forcible observations regarding it. I should like to know whether the Minister of Trade and Customs received a copy of the circular letter from the municipal council of Sydney protesting against this duty, and pointing out the disabilities under which municipal bodies will labour if it be carried. Will the Minister agree to the reduction proposed by the honorable member for Bendigo?
– I understand that the Treasurer has said that he will comply with some of the requests made by the honorable member for Cook and by the honorable member for Melbourne, and that he is prepared to agree to a reduction of the duties to 20 per cent.
– With, a proposal that a duty of 124 per cent, be imposed in some of the other cases?
– No; to duties of 20 per cent, and of 15 per cent., and 10 per cent, in respect of another item.
– Is the Minister going to accept that proposal ?
– Yes, if honorable members are agreeable.
– I should like the Treasurer, who is in charge of the Tariff, to inform us what he proposes to do, because the Minister of Trade and Customs has no responsibility in this matter. In the letter from the Town Clerk of Sydney it is pointed out that -
The Council is likely . to be involved in a very considerable outlay of money to cover the new duty on certain electric motors and other electric machinery and apparatus which are being imported from England for the - Sydney electric light undertaking.
This machinery and motors cannot be reasonably manufactured in the Commonwealth, otherwise purchases would be made accordingly, and the Council is, therefore, obliged to import.
The municipal councils, representing asthey , do the most democratic bodies within the limits of their jurisdiction, would be glad to purchase locally made electrical machinery and appliances, but since they are not made here they must have recourse to imported articles to supply their wants.
– The Treasurer has already agreed to the amendment.
– We have not heard the Treasurer say so.
– I am quite prepared to accept it now.
– Where is the Treasurer? I should like to address my remarks to him, as he is in charge of the Tariff. In the honorable gentleman’s absence, and knowing the sharp tactics with which we have had to deal in connexion with Tariff matters, I am compelled to put before the Committee my arguments in support of the proposal made by the honorable member for Bendigo.
– A proposal which the Government have already agreed to. If that honorable member will let the Chairman put the question, we are prepared to allow it to go at once.
– I remind the Minister of Trade and Customs that the responsible Minister in charge of the Tariff is not here, and has not definitely told the Committee what reductions he is willing to agree to respecting several of the articles included in the item, and that honorable members on- this side representing New, South Wales have been upbraided for not having put their views on this subject before the Committee. I have promised to remove all cause of complaint on that score, and I intend, to do so. I find, on referring to the Customs returns for 1906, that from the United Kingdom we imported this class of material to he value of £117,852, equal to 55.57 per cent, of the total imports. Our imports from Germany amounted in value to £21,181 equal to 10.32 per cent. From Sweden, £12,966 ; from the United States, £52,426, equal to 24.72 per cent. ; and from all other countries, £6,845 worth of these materials. The total value of these importations amounted to £212,570. Turning to the evidence taken by the Tariff Commission in connexion with these matters, we find that it clearly proves that no duty we could impose -would enable the majority of these articles to be manufactured locally, unless the manufacture were preceded by a, very large increase in consumption, and also that the few articles that could be made here could only be produced at an excessive cost. At page 2240 of the Tariff Commission report, it will be found that Mr. Crocker, of the Kalgoorlie Electric
Power and Lighting. Company, gave this evidence -
Practically none of the machinery and appliances used for producing and dealing with electricity are made in Australia.
That is the sworn evidence of an expert in this particular business. Mr. Crocker said in his” evidence that Weymouth and Company, of Melbourne, did a little manufacturing, but added, “ We endeavoured to use one of their motors, but we did not find it working satisfactorily. Moreover, the price was £67 9s. 3d., while the invoice price of . similar imported articles was £17 10 s. lod.” Evidently, therefore, there was a desire to give a preference to the local article, but the deal was found most unsatisfactory, and there was a great discrepancy between the two prices. The figures are so important that I should like to have a quorum present before proceeding. [Quorum formed.] So great a difference in price must have weight with municipal councils and similar bodies, who are responsible for the lighting of cites and ‘ answerable to the” ratepayers for the proper and economical expenditure of the rates. If they bought articles at such vastly increased prices thev would have to increase the rates. If they find that they cannot get appliances manufactured locally in a satisfactory manner or at a reasonable price they must, to conserve the interests of the ratepayers, go to the cheapest market. Mr. Crocker stated in his evidence that at such a price as he quoted it was impossible to use electrical machinery, for mining pur-, poses. This is, therefore, a matter of the gravest concern to those engaged in mining enterprises. Now that the Treasurer is present, I shall be glad to hear what he proposes.
.- I desire to make an explanation with regard to the honorable member for- West Sydney, who spoke to me a few days ago regarding this item, as he was very anxious that the duties proposed by the Government should be reduced. Earlier in the sitting, when the honorable member for Cook rose, I rose at the same time, intending to speak on behalf of the honorable member for West Sydney. Then the honorable member for Cook pointed indignantly to the fact that no Sydney representative had taken up the claims of Sydney !
– I was referring to members of the Opposition. I know that the honorable member for West Sydney has been very active in the matter.
– I am prepared to support duties of 20 per cent. and 15 per cent. on all items in connexion with electrical appliances. Although I have had nine years’ experience in a municipal council which has one of the best electric light plants in Australia, I shall not trouble the Committee with details. These articles can be manufactured here, and we should give a certain amount of protection ; but I am not an extremist.
– I do not seriously resent the imputation of the honorable member for Cook that New South Wales members are neglectful in this matter.
– I spoke of the New South Wales members of the Opposition.
– The honorable member spoke of New South Wales representatives, and, as one, I should like to inform him that I approached the Treasurer overtwo months ago, and got a promise from him that he would do his best to see that all the articles that cannot be made here were placed on the free list.
– That is quite true. I had forgotten the fact. That was about the time I sought the assistance of professional men.
– I was quite satisfied with the promise of the Treasurer; and 1 am pleased at the present attitude of the honorable gentleman. Electrical machinery is going to overtake other machinery ; and we know that in many mining districts, where wood is becoming scarce, water power is being used, wherever possible, to generate electricity. The honorable member for Bendigo has pointed out that in the item as it stands are articles which should not be included ; and I shall have muchpleasure in supporting their elimination. I am hot prepared, however, to suggest a lower Tariff than 20 per cent. We should either have a protective Tariff or make the articles free; and 15 per cent. is simply a revenue duty.
– The Treasurer says he requires revenue.
– I am willing to assist the Treasurer in obtaining revenue from other sources than mining plant.
– The arrangement arrived at seems to be about the best possible under the circumstances; but if there were any hope of getting a still further reduction, I should be content to remain here much longer. Electricity is not the power of the future but the power of the present ; and in Tasmania there is a project on foot by which enormous electrical power is to be generated for lighting and motive-power purposes. Just when these enterprises are being attempted a paternal Government steps in and imposes taxation to the extent of 4s. in the£1 on necessary articles, which cannot be made in Australia profitably for many years to come. Launceston, which is one of the most up-to-date cities in Australia, has a splendid system of electric lighting, and electric trams are being introduced; and similar progress is being made in South Australia. The proposed duty is wrong from the point of view of progress, and wrong even from a protectionist standpoint. I should strongly favour a lower duty ; but, believing that those holding the same views as myself have made the best bargain possible, I reluctantly fall in with the arrangement.
Amendment (Sir John Quick’s) agreed to.
Amendment (by Mr. Knox) agreed to -
That the amendment be amended by leaving out the figures “ 25,” with a view to insert in lieu thereof the figures “ 20.”
Amendment (by Sir John Quick) agreed to -
That the amendment be amended by inserting after paragraph a the words : - “ aa. Dynamos, electric machines over the capacity of 500 horsepower, ad val. (General Tariff and United Kingdom), 12½ per cent.”
Amendment (by Mr. Watson)proposed -
That the amendment be amended by leaving out the figures “25,” paragraphb, witha view to insert in lieu thereof the figures “20.”
– In agreeing to the arrangement by which a substantial reduction has been made, I regret that the Treasurer does not see his way to make a still further reduction, because these duties are altogether too high. A great deal of the machinery cannot, and will not, be made here; and any duty will be largely a revenue duty. I think that the Treasurer is acting unfairly in going beyond the recommendations of the A section of the Tariff Commission. However, as there appears to be no chance of securing anything more, I am forced to agree to what has been arranged. But I extremely regret that the Treasurer has not made more substantial concessions.
.I am sorry that the Treasurer has not seen his way to agree to my amendment of the duties proposed. In order to secure uniformity, I have been reluctantly obliged to agree to the compromise which has been effected.
Amendment agreed to.
– I wish to know why telephone switch boards are exempted?
– They are only imported by the Government, not by private individuals.
Amendments (by Mr. Watson) proposed -
That the amendment be amended by leaving out the figures “ 17½,” paragraphc, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the figures “ 15 “ ; and that the figures “ 12½,” paragraphc, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the figures “ 10.”
.- The arrangement which has been arrived at in respect of the articles specified in these paragraphs seems to be a peculiar one, inasmuch as it permits of the admission of the electric appliances which can be made within the Commonwealth, at the lowest rate of duty.
Amendments agreed to.
Amendment (by Mr. Watson) agreed to-
That the amendment be amended by leaving out the figures “ 20,” paragraph D, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the figures “15”; and by adding to paragraph D the words “ad val. (United Kingdom), 10 per cent.”
Amendment (by Mr. Knox) agreed to -
That the amendment be amended by adding the words - “ f. Generators for direct coupling to steam turbines, ad val. (General Tariff), 5 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), free.”
Amendment (substituting new item 178), as amended, agreed to.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Postponed item179. Electrical and Gas Appliances, viz. : -
Pendants; Brackets; Switches; Controlling Devices, n.e.i.; Radiators; and Zinc Tubing, ad val. (General, Tariff), 25 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 20 per cent.
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the words “ and on and after 29th November, 1907, item 179. Electrical and Gas Appliances, viz. : -
Electroliers, Gasaliers; Chandeliers;
Pendants; Brackets; Zinc Tubing, ad val. (General Tariff), 25 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 20 per cent.
– Electrical meters, that is machines for measuring and recording electric power, are made dutiable under item 180 at 5 per cent., if imported from foreign countries, but they may be imported free from Great Britain. I wish to have water and gas meters treated in the same way. Electrical works are partly municipal undertakings and partly private enterprises, and so, too, are gas-works, though there are more gas-works than electrical works under municipal control. The meters are not instruments which can be made in Australia.
– I do not think that an amendment such as the honorable member proposes can be moved in this item. These meters were dealt with as manufactures of metal under a previous item.
-There was some confusion in regard to the matter, because they were taken out of item 164, but were not inserted in the new item. Although we have dealt with manufactures of metals, the machines included in this item also come under that designation, and there are other items embracing manufactures of metal with which we have yet to deal. These meters are not made here.
– I am informed that they are.
– In Little Collins-street, not one hundred yards from here.
– The imported parts are put together; but the meters are not made here.
– There is nothing to prevent them from being made here.
– They are covered by patent rights, and are not made even in the large provincial towns of the United Kingdom, partly because powerful, exact and costly machinery is necessary for the striking out of the different parts. This machinery is very expensive, but is capable of turning out so much work when it is put into operation that it is not necessary, and would not pay, to have many plants. Consequently these parts are struck out in London, and sent to Edinburgh and other cities to be put together. There is no likelihood of their being made in Australia, because the number of meters required annually is not great, after the first supply has been placed in position. They should be put on the same footing as electrical meters.
– I mentioned this matter when we were dealing with an earlier item, and was told that, because of a re-arrangement that was being made, it should be brought on later. I think that this is the proper place to make the amendment. I understand that the Metropolitan Gas Company of Melbourne puts together its own gas meters; but there are numbers of small gas works, owned largely by municipalities, that cannot do this. I understand that the parts of gas meters are covered by patent rights, so that they cannot be made here, and therefore it would be unfair to put a big revenue duty on them, which would have to be borne chiefly by the municipalities.
– I will accept an amendment, if it be made to apply only to gas meters.
– Throughout the country districts acetylene gas is being used very largely, and I desire to know from the Treasurer whether this item will cover acetylene gas appliances and fittings as well as coal gas appliances and fittings?
– Does the Treasurer intend to insist upon the rates of duty he has proposed in this item?
– I made no arrangement about the rates of duty on these items.
– Then I propose to move that the item be postponed. The honorable gentleman is going back on the spirit if not the letter of the compact. Otherwise why is he asking the Committee to take these items at all?
– Very well, let it go at 20 per cent. , in each column.
Amendment (by Mr, Joseph Cook) agreed to -
That the amendment be amended by leaving out the figures “25,” paragraph a, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the figures “ 20.”
Amendment (by Mr. Dugald Thomson) agreed to -
That the amendment be amended by inserting after paragrapha the words : - “aa. Gas meters, ad val. (General Tariff), 5 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), free.”
Sir WILLIAM LYNE (Hume- Trea ber for Melbourne Ports desires to bring incandescent filament lamps and vapour lamps under this item.
– I move -
That the amendment be amended by inserting after paragraph aa just inserted the words : - “aaa. Incandescent filament lamps and vapour lamps, ad val. (General Tariff), 20 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 20 per cent.”
We ought to encourage the manufactureof these lamps here, seeing that other lamps are made here. Without doubt, electric light is superseding other forms of light, and unless we make preparations now for the manufacture of these particular lamps, a great deal of our lamp industry will be lost.
– If the honorable member is going to open up this question,, we might as well sit here all night. This amendment has. nothing to do with electricity.
– Yes, it has.
– I am simply asking the Committee to transfer these articles from item 180, with the object of getting such a duty imposed that they can be manufactured here.
.Perhaps it would be as well to point out that the object of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports is to remove these articles from the 5 per cent. and free lists to the 20 per cent. list without any differentiation. By an artful manoeuvre he proposes to bring these lamps under a duty of 20 per cent. I for one resent such a proposition. It is trying the patience of members of the Opposition a little too far. These subterfuges, for they can be called nothing else, have been resorted to too often.
– We have given way quite enough already.
– I point out to the honorable member for Melbourne Ports that he has proposed an increased duty. A private member is unable to do that, and, therefore, the amendment is out of order.
Amendment(by Mr. Joseph Cook) agreed to -
That the amendment be amended by leaving out the figures “ 17½,” paragraphb, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the figures “ 15 “ ; and by leaving out the figures “12½,” with a view to insert in lieu thereof the figures “ 10.”
Amendment, as amended, agreed to.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Postponed item 180. Electrical Materials, viz. : -
Accumulators or Storage Batteries, including Glass Cells used therewith ; Cable and Wire (covered) ; Carbons ; Testing Meters and Instruments; Translators Insulating Tapes; Meters, Resistance Coils; Static Transformers and Terminals; Photometers for Gas and Electricity, ad val. (General Tariff), 5 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), free.
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the words “ and on and after 29th November, 1907. 180. Electrical Articles and Materials, viz. : -
Accumulators or Storage Batteries ; Arc Lamps, Arc Lamp Carbons ; Cable and Wire (covered) ; Carbon in Blocks of 12 square inches and over; Electric Vacuum Tubes; Incandescent Filament Lamps; Measuring and Recording Instruments; Prepared Insulating Tape; Vapour Lamps, ad val. (General Tariff), 5 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), free.”
– I desire to move that the words “ incandescent filament lamps “ and “ vapour lamps” be left out.
– Would not the omission of the words quoted by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports involve increasing the duty ?
The TEMPORARYCHAIRMAN (Mr. Batchelor). - I haveno knowledge as to whether the effect of omitting the words would be to increase the duty or not.
– I should like to ask the Treasurer whether the omission of the words in question would not have the effect of increasing the burdens upon the people ?
– The honorable member is quite right.
– Then the honorable member for Melbourne Ports cannot move such an amendment.
– I will move it for him. I think he is quite right.
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the amendment be amended by leaving out the words “incandescent filament lamps” and “ vapour lamps.”
– I shall support the amendment upon the amendment. I congratulate the honorable member for Melbourne Forts on having such influence with the Minister as to be able to get such an amendment made.
– The Opposition have had a very good innings to-night.
– We have perforce had to agree to duties far beyond those suggested by the A section of the Tariff Commission. Perhaps the honorable member is not aware of that. I congratulate him on his good fortune in being able to get what he wants from the Minister.
Amendment of the amendment agreed to.
Amendment, as amended, agreed to.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Motion (by Sir William Lyne) agreed to -
That the House at its rising adjourn until 2.30 p.m. this day.
Motion (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
– Is the Treasurer prepared at this stage to state what he proposes to do with regard to Saturday sittings, so that we may make our arrangements accordingly ?
– I wish the Committee to deal this week with the division of the Tariff that we have just been considering. There are not many items to be dealt with that are likely to involve much discussion, and I propose to ask the House to sit this evening. If we can dispose of the division to-morrow night we shall not meet on Saturday ; otherwise, I shall have to ask honorable members to meet on that day.
– If we are to sit to-morrow night I hope that we shall meet on Saturday.
– If we can deal to-morrow with the division relating to metals and machinery we shall not sit on Saturday.
– At what hour shall we meet on Monday ?
– I cannot make any further statement at this stage.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
House adjourned at 3.8 a.m. (Friday).
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 28 November 1907, viewed 6 July 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1907/19071128_reps_3_42/>.