3rd Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.
Mr. GLYNN presented a petition from the Adelaide Chamber of Commerce praying that the Australian Industries Preservation Bill be laid aside.
Petition received and read.
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions are as follow -
” BROKEN SHIFTS “ : SYDNEY GENERAL POST OFFICE.
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow -
I may add that that officer pointed out that in no post office was it possible, in connexion with the mail branch, to so arrange work that there would be no broken time.
In Committee of Ways and Means (Consideration resumed from 2nd December, vide page 6896) :
Division VIII. - Earthenware, Cement, China, Glass and Stone.
Item 240. Portland Cement, Plaster of Paris, and other like preparations having Magnesia or Sulphate of Lime as a basis; also Gypsum, per cwt. (General Tariff),1s. ; (United Kingdom), 9d.
– Before we proceed to deal with this item, I wish to make a short statement in regard to item 252, concerning which I know there is some feeling that the duties proposed are not exactly what is desirable. Very strong representations having been made to me on the subject, I desire to inform honorable members that when the item is reached, I shall propose that it be negatived so that the goods covered by it will fall into item 253, and be subjected to a lower duty. The specific duty was imposed on the recommendation of the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission, but I find that, as it stands, it represents a very high percentage. I thought it well to give the Committee notice of what I intend to do. Item agreed to.
Item 241. China, parian, and porcelain ware and mosaic flooring, ad. val. (General Tariff), 35 per cent.; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent.
– No china has yet been made in Australia, notwithstanding that there has been in operation for the last five or six years a duty of 20 per cent. Why then should the duties have been increased? Has the Treasurer proof that chinaware is being made in Australia?
– It can be made.
– Anything can be made in Australia at a figure. So far no one in Australia has entered upon the manufacture of china, although a 20 per cent, duty, with ‘ an importing cost equal to at least another 25 per cent., should J% a fair temptation to begin it. Until some effort is made to manufacture china in Australia we are, by the imposition of these duties, unnecessarily taxing those who wish to buy china. In the circumstances I am prepared to move that the duty should be 20 per cent., as under the old Tariff.
– Twenty per cent, all round ?
– Yes ; because this is purely a revenue duty. If there is anything in the suggestion that there might be a preference in this case, the duties might be 20 per cent, and 15 per cent.
– I think the duty proposed by the Government is a little high. China is not made here at all. I hope that some day clay suitable for its manufacture will be discovered ‘ in Australia; but, so far as I know, no clay has been found here from which china could be made.
– We can get all kinds of clay in Australia.
– We have suitable clay, but the manufacture of china has not vet been begun.
– In deciding what the duties on these articles should be it should not be forgotten that the cost of freight, including breakages, amounts to anything from 50 to 100 per cent. Another point of importance is that even the experts have great difficulty in discriminating between china and earthenware. Under the old Victorian Tariff they were dutiable at different rates, but that was -found to be unworkable, and they had to be classed together. As honorable members are, no doubt, aware, we can command the earthenware trade with local manufactures. In all the circumstances I think that duties of 25 and 20 per cent, would meet the case.
– I admit that the duties proposed on this item seem somewhat high. The one intention, of course, is to encourage the manufacture of china in Australia, and, in my opinion, it is scandalous that it has not yet been made here. The officers of the Department are very anxious that the duties on items 241 and 243 should be the same ; but in. connexion with some of the articles included in item 243 I do not care to reduce the items to as low a rate as the honorable member for Fawkner suggests.
– We might separate earthenware- and stoneware from the other, items, and impose a higher duty on them.
– Make the duties 25 and 20 per cent, all -round.
– Once the Minister makes concessions the whole thing will tumble down.
– We cannot discuss item 243 at present ; but it includes some items on which the duties suggested would not be sufficiently high. It may be necessary to take some articles out of that item and deal with them separately. On this particular item I accept the suggestion ‘that the duties should be 25 and 20 per cent.
.- China, parian, and porcelain ware are not made in Australia, and it is not likely that they ever will be made here. But I wish to point out that mosaic flooring must be regarded as in quite a different category. With the approval of the Minister I should like to see mosaic flooring removed to item 244.
– I have no objec-tion; I was going to propose that myself.
.- The Treasurer has not given what I regard as a sound reason for1 agreeing to the proposed reduction- of these duties. I have before me a circular from a firm dealing in chin-aware, in which the statement is made that not a single piece of chinaware is made in Australia. I claim the vote of the honorable member for South Sydney on this item, because the honorable member has time and again assured the Committee that he is opposed to revenue duties, and this is neither more nor less than a revenue duty. I shall not detain the Committee. I move -
That after the words “ 35 pet cent.” and “ 25 per cent.” the words “ and on and after 4th December, 1907, free “ be inserted.
– I ani inclined to think that it would be well to reduce the duties on this item to 25 per cent, and 20 per cent., but I should not like honorable members to run away with the impression that it is not likely that china will never be produced in Australia. To suggest such a thing would.be to do an injustice to a budding industry in South Australia, which, I hope and believe, has a very good future before it, although its present prospects are not very bright. Mr. Joseph Provis, mining engineer and chemist, and general manager of the Kan-garoo Island Chinastone and Clay Company, informed the Tariff Commission that they had discovered vast deposits of china clay, composed of the finest felspar and silica, and offering reasonable conditions of manufacture. Mr. Provis was asked with reference to this item, “China, parian and porcelain ware, and mosaic flooring, ad valorem 20 per cent. ,” and gave the following evidence - 56299. What have you to say about that? - T would like to see an increased duty of 10 per cent, on that. 56300. Raising it to 30 per cent. ? - Yes, that would make it 30. 56301. What articles would be included in that? - That would include the whole of the porcelain ware, and the whole of the mosaic flooring. A large quantity of that is introduced into this country, and we can manufacture here. Samples which I have seen manufactured in the State are equally as good as the imported article. We have the materials here and the ability for doing it ; and the work, as far as I have seen it, and as far as I am a judge of these things, is equally as good as the best imported article. 56302. What does china include? - That would he china cups and saucers, dinner sets, and tea set ware, and vases, and so on.
While my colleagues and myself were convinced that these fine deposits existed there, we recognised that they were in a crude state of development, -and that it would take a large amount of capital’ and skilled labour to bring them up’ to working, pitch. In the meantime we do not feel justifiedin recommending a high duty, which might for years operate as- a revenue duty, but we think that in time those important deposits will come into’ prominence. I mention them now to bring them under the atten tion of the House, and of the country, .in the hope that capitalists and others will give a little attention to them. Probably in a few years it will be quite justifiable to impose the duty now proposed by the Minister, but at present I see no reason lor imposing a duty which will operate only as a revenue duty.
.- The transport expenses are very heavy in the case of these articles, owing to the great bulk of the packages, the care necessary to be taken in the packing, and the breakages that are constantly taking place. All those considerations pile up the cost tremendously, especially of the finer class of china and porcelain. At the very lowest, the freight and breakage expenses must be put at from 33^ to 50 per cent. 33^ per cent, is the allowance made for freight and breakage in the Doulton, warehouse. That is for good quality material, which, of coUrse would be very liable to fracture. The cheaper and heavier stuff is not so liable to be broken. That cost of 33J per cent is in itself a very heavy protection for the local manufacture, if it can be undertaken, but there is practically nothing being made here at present of the higher class of these articles, although a little of the delf ware is being made. This is, therefore, a purely revenue duty, and. rates of 15 and 20 per cent, are quite sufficient. We do not want to keep the higher class of china and porcelain out of the homes of the poorer people. If the honorable member for Parramatta persists in his amendment, I will support him.
– Honorable members have said, that cups such as the one which I hold in my hand are not made here. They are not likeLy to be made here when a cup like this, made of chinaware, can be bought to-d;ay retail at is”. 66. per doz. in Melbourne.
– It is earthenware.
– It is chinaware, and costs only 1½d. per cup retail.
– It is earthenware, and not china.
– The honorable member is wrong for the. second time. It is china, and was sold to me as such. It is marked china. How is it possible to establish an industry here when the imported article is sold at so low a price? I do not know why the Minister has agreed to reduce the duty so much. If that is done it will be impossible to establish the industry. The honorable member for Nepean spoke of the cost of the freight, but the freight from Germany to Australia is only 5s. for 36 cubic feet.
– Not so.
– Then I will refer the honorable member to the Blue Book containing a report presented to the . House of Commons on the decline of trade between Great Britain and Australia. The reason given to the Commission who investigated that question was that goods were being shipped from Germany to Sydney at that low freightage.
– That statement is not more ridiculous than many of the statements made here every day.
– It is a statement made to a Commission of the House of Commons of the Mother Country that the honorable member talks so much about. .
– It is only a statement.
– It is also true. The Minister has announced his intention to accept duties of 25 and 20 per cent.
– I am (proposing those rates because I am informed that the article is not made here.
– It is impossible to make it here without a protective duty. The cup which I exhibited was not made here. I never said that it was. It is an imported cup, but I bought it in Melbourne. They cannot be made here when they are sent out at a wholesale price of is. 4d. per dozen. They could be made in Sydney and at Brunswick, but it is necessary first to impose a protective duty.
. - If any business can stand a little taxation, this one might, as it is well known that in Australia we can obtain any kind of clay that is to be found on the face of the earth. It is only a question of getting the experts to deal with it. If we give the industry a little protection, -we shall get the experts. The other day when I went into a shop to buy a small article, I said “ This is not up to the proper standard. It is imported.” The mail replied “ If you want anything good you have to import it. You have not got in Australia the experts to deal with this class of. -work.” I asked, “ Do you mean that we have nothing good in Australia”? And he replied, “You cannot make anything good in Australia except the people, and they are all good.” I urge the Committee to give this little protection, because it -will not hurt the poor people. The duty proposed would not prejudicially affect poor or working people, who use very little china, and, in fact, do not want it. The sample cup produced by the honorable member for Batman is quite good enough for all practical purposes; and I am just reminded by the honorable member for Fremantle that there was a time when most of us were glad to get a pannikin. A duty on china will be borne bv the rich j and I hope that the Minister will not back down, but will afford proper protection.
.- When speaking in the general discussion on the Tariff, I referred to the difficulty there is in distinguishing between china and earthenware, and the events of this morning have shown that the statements I made on that occasion were perfectly correct. Several honorable members have asserted that the cup produced by the honorable member for Batman is not china, but it has been pronounced by an expert in the House to be china. This only shows how the public may be imposed on, and how extremely difficult it must be for the Customs officers to distinguish.
– What expert says that this cup is china ?
– A gentleman in the Speaker’s gallery.
– Then that gentleman, if he be an expert, knows better.
– No doubt the gentleman knows better than does the honorable member.
– I will take the word of the expert before that of any honorable member in the House. I myself thought the cup was not china, until it was pronounced to be so. We ought to impose a duty on those commodities we desire to have produced here ; and there is nothing to prevent china being made in Australia “in the future. I hope that the compromise accepted by the Treasurer will be indorsed by the Committee.
– I cannot understand the frame of mind of honorable members this morning. The Treasurer has indicated that ‘he is prepared to accept the suggested compromise; and yet honorable members continue the discussion on the item. I suggest that we get on as quickly as possible with the business, instead of “ flogging a dead horse.” Legitimate discussion on some items is absolutely necessary, but the present waste of time is unjustifiable.
– Notwithstanding the opinion of the expert in the gallery, who ought to know better if he does not, the cup produced is no more china than I am a Dutchman. I happen to know a little of this subject, seeing that I spent my early days in the “ potteries “ of the Old Country.
– The honorable member expressed the opinion before he had seen the cup.
– Quite so; I know perfectly well that a china cup, from any part of the world, cannot be bought for 11/2d. I suppose, however, that honorable members opposite will say that this is a case of dumping. I desire to emphasize my determination not to vote for any revenue duty of 25 per cent. Let those who believe they can make china in Australia get to work. Personally I see no reason why china should not be made here, but the fact remains that the industry has never been begun. In the meantime, there is a duty of 20 per cent., plus a natural protection, consisting of the charges of importation, of at least 50 per cent. If 70 per cent. is not sufficient inducement to people to undertake the manufacture, there must be some other reason why the industry has never been started.
Amendment (by Mr. Joseph Cook) negatived -
That after the words “35 per cent.,” the words “and on and after 3rd December, 1907, ad val. (General Tariff), 20 per cent.,” be inserted.
. -I move -
That the words “and mosiac flooring” be left put.
My intention is to move that these words be inserted in item 244.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) agreed to -
That after the words “ 35 per cent.” the words “ and on and after 3rd December, 1907, ad val. (General Tariff), 25 per cent.” ;and after the words “ 25 per cent. “ the words “ and on and after 3rd December, 1907, ad val. (United Kingdom), 20 per cent.,” be inserted.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Item 242. Scientific apparatus, porcelain, viz. : - Crucibles, tubes, pressure filters, and evaporating dishes for laboratoryuse, free.
.- I trust that the Treasurer will consent to the insertion after the word “crucibles” of the words “ scorifiers and muffles,” with a view to eliminating them from the next item. These articles were previously upon the free list, and the roasting dishes, assay furnaces, and cupels which are used in association with them are at present included in that category under item 248. Those who haveany knowledge of assaying work know that the heat which has to be generated in assaying furnaces, and to which these crucibles are subjected, is terrific. As a matter of fact, the best crucibles cannot be used often, and many of them not more, than once. In laboratory work it is of the highest importance that the assayer shall have absolute confidence in his materials, because, in the event of his crucible giving way in the furnace, the whole of the assay is lost. It has been stated that in South Australia three men are employed in making these crucibles.I gatherfrom the evidence tendered to the Tariff Commission that the industry has not been started in any other State.
– The best crucibles in the world are made in Victoria.
– I will read for the honorable member’s information his own report upon this matter. He says -
In Adelaide the manager of the local pottery company asked for a duty of 25per cent. on crucibles, muffles, scorifiers, &c, imported from England, and a higher duty when imported from foreign countries, particularly Japan, where labour is so cheap. These articles are at present free of duty. The company has been carrying on business for six years, merely struggling to live. Unless the industry receives some protection, they were much afraid that they would have togive in to the competition of imported goods. His company has been benefiting the mining companies, which were the chief customers, as the prices of imported crucibles would have been higher but for local competition. . . . The company would employ from twelve to fifteen hands if they had the duty asked for, but at present(November, 1905), employed only three. The business had been started prior to Federation without a duty, but had never prospered. Plumbagocrucibles were preferred to those made from fire clay, but they were very much more expensive.
If the crucible of local production were equally suitable for the purpose for which such articles are used, is it likely that assayers would prefer to use a very much more expensive crucible? In this connexion, I desire to quote the opinion of a mining man who says-
On account of crucibles being of bulky nature, and freight charged by measurement, they cost from 30 per cent. to 40 per cent. to import, which in itself is a substantial protection. Local crucibles vary in quality on account of the clay being unsuitable, and being unreliable they are little used. Battersea (Morgan’s) crucibles are imported and used almost exclusively by the mines, the Government laboratories, mints, universities, schools of mines, chief mines, and assayers throughout the Commonwealth and New Zealand ; and in Western Australia crucibles of German manufacture are largely used. These crucibles are also in general use throughout India, China, America, Germany, France, &c. The Broken Hill Proprietary Company and other leading mines specify in their tender sheets “ Battersea crucibles.”
As there are only three men engaged in the production of these crucibles, I contend that we are not justified in penalizing scientific research by imposing a duty of 35 per cent. upon them.
– I agree with the honorable member for Kalgoorlie that there ought to be a considerable reduction in the duty on articles to which he has referred. According to the information which 1 have obtained their local manufacture gives very little employment. Some clay crucibles have been manufactured in South Australia, but there are, it is said, only a few men employed at the works. It is estimated that the increased employment which the duty would give at the Stafford manufactory - at Alberton, I think - would range from a few hands to about twelve. The quality of the crucibles is a most important matter in mining, because experts state that they must be so made as to withstand extreme changes of temperature. It is most inexpedient, merely with a view to providing a little more employment, to impose a severe tax on one of the scientific necessaries of a mining company. . I have very apt information on. the subject. It is stated that the cost of importing clay crucibles andsoori tiers is 40 per cent. Therefore, there is a natural protection of 40 per cent. for the local product before a single penny of duty is imposed. For thirty or forty years the best classes of English crucibles have been imported, and have been used not only by mining companies, but also by State Governments for their testing work. In the circumstances I hope that the Minister will consent to a substantial reduction in the duty upon them. My idea is that the duty in the general Tariff should be reduced from 35 to 15 per cent., and that British imports should be made free.
– Why not free altogether?
– I do not think that there is any justification, for imposing a severe duty. If a suggestion is made to divide up the articles embraced in the item, with a view to making some of them free and others subject to a duty of 15 per cent., as recommended by the B section of the Tariff Commission, I will support it. . I do not like to attempt to make a classification, but if a proposal of that kind is made by the Minister, or by any honorable member who has looked into the matter more closely than I have done, it will receive my support.
.- I hope that the Minister will not consent to take crucibles out of the next item, because they are being made here.
– I have not said that I would.
– If they are taken out of the item who will be penalized? It will penalize, not the wealthy companies which have been spoken of, but the poor miners who have small plants.
– What are crucibles made of?
– They are made of clay. I have smelted gold in them, so that I know what I am talking about. The local manufacturers want the duty retained, so as to keep their men employed. Their product has given satisfaction.
– Under the old Tariff there was no duty on crucibles.
– Because there was no duty on the article previously, that is no reason why there should not be a duty imposed today. Because Japan is not exporting to Australia a number of things this year, that is no reason for believing that she will not export them to us next year. In framing this Tariff we are making provision not only for to-day, but also for the future.
– But the honorable member said that the local manufacturers wanted the old duty retained.
– I meant that they wanted the duty retained, as proposed by the Minister.
.- There is no doubt that in Australia a crucible is made in which probably the honorable member for Batman has smelted gold, but the difficulty arises in connexion with the refractory ores, which require a verygreat amount of heat. There are practically only a few places in theworld that supply the materials necessary to make crucibles which will withstand the intense heat. to which they are subjected under certain processes. The ordinary crucible spoken of by the honorable member for Batman will always find a local market for the simpler and more easily smelted metals.
The. price of the others is so prohibitive that they are not used unless absolutely required. I trust that the Minister who has hit pretty hard industries belonging to other States will for once be generous in this small matter, and concede to those who require to use imported crucibles the opportunity of obtaining them at the lowest possible rates.
.- The honorable member for Perth has stated the facts. For highly scientific work it is absolutely necessary to have these particular crucibles, which, so far as I am aware, are not made in Australia. I understand that the item before the Committee is item 242, but the discussion is really on the next item. I suggest to the Minister that crucibles, tubes, pressure filters, and evaporating dishes for laboratory use, should be made free, and that crucibles, scorifiers, and muffles, which are used for a reduction which does not require very great heat, should be dealt with separately in item 242. Certainly they should not be retained in item 243, which includes “ earthenware, brownwareand .stoneware, n.e.i-“ on which, of course, a high duty will have to be imposed.
– Let us put those articles under item 248 instead of under item 242.
– I do not care what item the Minister puts the articles under, but they certainly should be taken out of item 243. If my suggestion is not adopted our discussion of that item must be confused. “Unquestionably ‘the articles embraced in item 242 ought to be free.
– They are free now.
– Then what has all thetalk been about?
– I believe that the item before the Committee includes skittle pots. This description of crucible is used in glassbottle factories. I hold in my hand some invoices which have been given to me by a sound protectionist manufacturer, who believes in getting everything he possibly can in Australia, but who cannot get here crucibles, which will do his work.
– All the articles mentioned in item 242 are free.
– I want to get these particular, crucibles made free. This manufacturer imported six skittle pots, measuring 36 inches by 16 inches, and which cost 14s. each, or . in all, four guineas. By the time they had reached Port Adelaide, with the importing charges added, the cost had run up to £16 7s. 2d., without the duty qf 30 per cent. This manufacturer, whose word can be relied on absolutely, has stated that he was not likely to pay £16 7s. 2d. for six pots, which cost abroad only four guineas, if he could have obtained them in Australia. They are very unwieldy and awkward things to carry, and therefore the freight is very high. Again, he imported four skittle pots, which cost ns. each, or in all 44s. With the importing charges added that cost was brought up to £,$ 10s. rod., without the landing charges, agency, and the duty at 30 per cent. These crucibles are as much tools of trade which cannot be made here as are bottle moulds which can be made in Australia. But, strange to say, bottle moulds are allowed in free as tools of trade, whilst crucibles are taxed. I would rather see a duty placed on bottle moulds than on crucibles. I think it is clear that these goods would be made in Australia if practicable.
Mi. KING O’MALLEY (Darwin) [12.1]. - I hope that the Treasurer will not surrender on the question. If we shut up the local factories the result will simply be that the importers will put up their prices. I ask the Treasurer npt to give way to the supporters of foreign institutions at the expense of the institutions of their own country. It is strange to me how eagerly honorable members opposite will fight for the interests of the big men. They seem to believe in the survival of the fattest, not in the survival of the fittest. Crucibles better than any that can be made elsewhere are made in Australia.
– Cannot they be made better in America?
– I am fighting for Australia just now. When I have occasion to fight for America, I will do so just as strongly as I now fight in the interests of this country. At present the small tributers throughout Australia cannot get crucibles at reasonable prices. I again ask the Treasurer to stand firm, and help the local manufacturer to prevent the importers from raising their prices.
Item agreed to.
Item 243. Earthenware, Brownware, and Stoneware, n.e.i., including Crucibles, Scorifiersand Muffles, ad val. (General Tariff), 35 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 30 per cent.
.- I move -
That the words “ including Crucibles, Scorifiers, and Muffles “ be left out.
My object is to have the articles enumerated in the amendment included with kindred articles in item 248, where they will be free. The placing of these goods on the free list will not make one iota of difference to local manufacturers, but it will save those who want to get high-class articles from penalization.
– I have no doubt it is true, as the honorable member for Kalgoorlie says, that most mines in Australia require high-class crucibles. But I am informed that they can be made just as well in Australia as elsewhere. That statement has been made by the honorable member for Bendigo. I am also informed that crucibles are being made in Sydney and Melbourne which are better than those imported to Western Australia.
– Plumbago crucibles are not made here.
– Why is there such a desire to have goods that can be made in Australia imported from abroad? There appears to be a wish to deprive Australian manufacturers of the opportunity of competing in these directions. I can quite understand large companies in Western Australia, having business connexions entirely outside Australia - owned largely in Germany and France - fighting to be enabled to import their supplies from abroad. But I cannot understand an Australian assisting them.
– Name one mine of that kind.
– I know of one mine that was owned absolutely in France and it is one of the biggest mines in the West.
– Name it.
– The Golden Horseshoe.
– Not at all.
– I know that it was owned by French people.
– I suppose that it is workedby Australians.
– I do not say that it is not.
– Will not the Minister think of the men who are working on the field?
– I am thinking of the men; but the honorable member is thinking of the wealthy owners..
– The Minister would make Western Australia a desert by means of these duties if he could.
– I would make it a pleasant country to live in - a better country than it is now - and not allow it to remain as it is, under the domination of outside influences which are to a large extent anti- Australian.
– There are better Australians in Western Australia than some of those whom the Minister has round about him.
– I do not find them returned here. I am informed that these goods are made in Australia as good as it is possible to make them.
– They are not.
– Not plumbago crucibles.
– My desire is to help the industries concerned as much as I can. The goods mentioned by the honorable member for Kalgoorlie have been included in this item for a special purpose. They were formerly included in another item, but representations have been made from very large centres in the eastern parts of Australia that the goods are being made here. Furthermore, the Tariff Commission has recommended a duty as high as 30 per cent. Thatrecommendation was made after evidence had been taken and weighed. I have been guided in most of. these cases largely by the report of the A division of the Tariff Commission. But I am blamed for taking it as a guide.
– The Minister does not allow himself to be guided by it always.
– With very few exceptions, I do.
– They frequently made recommendations irrespective of the evidence.
– I am not going to accuse them of doing such a thing. I dare say that the free-trade section of the Commission made just as many recommendations in favour of goods being placed on the free list in the absence of evidence to support such a proposal. If one section resorted to such tactics, no doubt the other section did so. Even if honorable members do not agree to the duty proposed; I think that a substantial duty should be carried. Surely we are not to put aside evidence that crucibles can be made in Australia. I have given way on a good many small items, but I hope that in this case honorable members will be prepared to give Australia a show.
– There are three men involved in this industry.
Sit WILLIAM LYNE. - I know of a place in New South Wales where far more men are employed. 1 have had a personal report in reference to it, and although I have not seen the works, I am told that they . turn out a good article, which is used in many of the mines in the eastern States. If the Committee decides against me, I cannot help it, but I shall certainly have a division.
.- I am sorry to have to speak a second time, but since the Treasurer has asked why crucibles should be free, I think it necessary to mention that plumbago crucibles are not made in the Commonwealth. The necessary plumbago is not to be obtained here.
– It is found in South Australia.
– Then why do they not make plumbago crucibles there? The manufacture of clay crucibles has been carried on on Kargaroo Island for the last five years, but the industry does not appear to increase very rapidly.
– Are those the works at which only three men are employed?
– No, according to a statement I have seen they are employed at the Alberton works. I believe that there is a plant at Kangaroo Island. Clay crucibles may be used four or five times, but those made of plumbago can be used from thirty .to fifty, and in some cases a hundred times. The English crucibles that we import are used there in public departments like the Mint, and also in many of the States of Europe. In the circumstances, while wishing the local industry success, I feel that there is ample justification for the request that these articles should be on the free list*
.- I resent the attitude adopted by the Treasurer, who nearly always insinuates that the stand taken up by an honorable member, in regard to any item is due either to his having a personal interest in it, or to the influence of some one who is affected by it.
– It is not to my interest to advocate the placing of crucibles on the free list; it is rather to the contrary.
– I daresay that that is the position of honorable members in many cases ; but the Treasurer insists upon making such assertions in matters relating to Western Australia.
– And I am justified in making them.
– That is an insult to honorable members, and, so far as I am concerned, it is a deliberate untruth.
– The honorable member must withdraw that remark.
– I withdraw it, sir, and will say that the attitude of the Minister is a most disgusting one. He has been hurling insinuations all round the chamber.
– I have not.
– He has said that representatives of Western Australia are antiAustralian.
– That is not an insinuation; it is a fact.
– It appears to me that the Treasurer is incapable of giving impartial consideration to arguments that are advanced in reference to any of these items. As a matter of fact, although he has said that Australian-made crucibles are used in the eastern States, and that Western Australia alone asks for the imported article, I have just had handed to me a letter from the Victorian Chamber of Mines-
– I do not pay much attention to its representations.
– If a deputation from the Victorian Chamber of Manufactures waited on the Treasurer, he would take it into the Ministerial room so that he might obtain a full and clear explanation of what was wanted, and then, like a gramophone, would repeat in the House what was said. The Victorian Chamber of Mines ought ;to be just as competent to express an opinion’ on’ a question of this description as is any institution. It knows more about mining and the points at issue in connexion with this matter than does any other’ institution. Its members find it to their interests to secure the best appliances. In a letter from the Chamber, it is stated that -
On account of crucibles being of bulky nature and freight charged by measurement, they cost from 30 to 40 per cent, to import, which in itself is a substantial protection.
They also state that -
Local crucibles vary in quality on account of the clay being unsuitable, and, being unreliable, they are little used.
– We have many tons of good clay in Australia.
– The Chamber of Mines states that Morgan’s Battersea crucibles are imported, and used almost exclusively on the mines.
– No one takes any notice of them.
– I admit that the honorable member takes no notice of opinions with which he disagrees.
– That is due to his ignorance.
– The fact that he is incapable of giving proper consideration to the arguments of others does not say much for his intellectual capacity. It is stated in this letter that -
Battersea (Morgan’s) crucibles are imported and used almost exclusively by the mines, the Government laboratories, mints, universities, schools of mines, chief mines, and assayers throughout the Commonwealth and New Zealand.
If that be so, how shall we benefit Australia by imposing this duty? Will the desire to give employment to three men in the making of an inferior class of crucible be sufficient to justify us in placing a heavy impost on scientific institutions that are doing much to encourage research, and to improve mining propositions that may be of immense benefit to the people of Australia ? .
.- It was not my intention to speak to this question until the Treasurer urged that we ought, in this case, to give Australia a show. If we desire to do so we certainly ought not to include in this item crucibles made of plumbago, or partly of plumbago, and high-grade assay crucibles. If we do, instead of helping Australia, we shall blight it. As to the remarks made by the Treasurer regarding the Golden Horseshoe mine, I point out that he visited Western Australia during certain festivities, and he had to listen to practically everything that was said.
– I received my information from the manager.
– The honorable member was told a lot of things that disagreed with what many of us knew.
– I received my information from the manager, Mr. Sutherland, who had just returned from a visit to France to meet the directors.
– The Golden Horseshoe mine is owned by a company having its head office in England, and is managed by an Australian, who was educated at the Ballarat School of Mines. As to the statement that some of the shares in the company are held in France-
– The. honorable member must not make more than an incidental reference to that phase of the question.
– The broad statement made by the Treasurer that French-owned mines are being run in Western Australia is incorrect, and that remark will apply also to the statement that crucibles can be, and are being, made in the Commonwealth.
– What nonsense.
-Common crucibles for ordinary work are made here, and we should be prepared to grant them the protection of a reasonable duty, but high-grade crucibles, and those made of plumbago, or partly of plumbago, are not made in Australia. I hope that the Treasurer will be reasonable and include in item 248 the articles to which I have referred.
Question - That the words including crucible, scorifiers, and muffles,” proposed to be left out, stand part of the item (Mr. Frazer’s amendment) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 4
Question so resolved in the negative.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendments (by Sir William Lyne) agreed to -
That after the words “35 per cent.” the words “ and on and after 3rd December, 1907, ad. val. (General Tariff) 25 per cent.” be inserted.
That after the words “ 30 per cent.” the words “ and on and after 3rd December, 1907, ad val. (United Kingdom), 20 per cent.,” be added.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Item 244. Roofing Tiles, Flooring Tiles, and Tiles n.e.i., of all materials, ad val., 30 per cent.
Sir WILLIAM LYNE (Hume- Treasurer [12.31]. - We agreed to omit the words “ and mosaic flooring “ from item 241 with a view to transfer them to this item. I therefore move -
That after the word “materials” the words “ and mosaic flooring “ be inserted.
– I intended to propose that there should be a lower duty imposed on opal and glass tiles, which, I understand, are not made here, but if the Treasurer is willing to accept on this item duties of 25 and 20 per cent. I shall not move any amendment.
– I intend to propose duties of 30 and 25 per cent.
– I think that duties of 25 and 20 per cent, would represent a fair compromise on this item. If the Minister will not agree to those duties I 0think the Committee should be prepared to accept a lower duty on opal and glass tiles, which are not made here.
– They come into competition with glazed tiles, which are made here.
Amendment agreed to.
– With a view to proposing subsequently a duty of 20 per cent, on imports from the United Kingdom’, I move -
That the words “ and on and after 3rd December, 1907, ad val. (United Kingdom), 25 per cent.” be added.
Duties of 25 per cent, on this item would represent a considerable increase on the duties imposed under the old Tariff, which were 15 per cent, on roof tiles and 20 per cent, on other tiles.
– There. Would practically be no increase on other tiles, as almost the whole of the imports are from Great Britain.
– No, a quantity is ‘ imported from the Continent, and chiefly from Marseilles. I re mind the Committee that in New South Wales the manufacture of tiles was undertaken without the advantage of any duty at all, and the manufacturers were able to compete with the imported article. I understand from makers of tiles in that State that there is no necessity for an increase of duty. The article- is a cheap one, and the importing charges represent a veryhigh percentage of its value. The duties I suggest would really mean an increase of 10 per cent, on the old Tariff, since the bulk of the roofing tiles are imported from Marseilles, and we should not add more than that, to the cost of building.
– The increased duty will not add to the cost of building. It does not do so in the honorable member’s own electorate, where I know that one or two houses have been covered with imported tiles for which the same price was paid as is charged for local tiles.
– That may be so. The manufacturers of local tiles would keep their prices up to the prices charged for imported tiles, even though the duty should be increased. By my amendment I offer a 10 per cent, increase of duty on roofing tiles, most of -which are imported from France.
– The honorable gentleman proposes practically no increase in the protection on flooring and other tiles.
– That is so ; the figures show that the bulk of those tiles are imported from Great Britain.
– I do not say that a large quantity is not imported from Great Britain, but I do say that some of these tiles are imported from the Continent. There is really no occasion for an increase of this duty, because the local manufacturers have sufficient protection already. The competition exists, and the local manufacture has been undertaken, even,;in New South Wales, where there was no duty at all. I do not think that we ought to increase these building charges more than we have done already. There are comparatively, few makers of tiles in any one State, and it would be easy for them to arrange for their price to come up to the duty.
.- I hope the Government will not reduce these rates below. 30 per cent, and 25 .per cent. We reduced the rates in the last item by 5 per cent, too much. According to the schedule supplied to honorable members, ;£i 5,000 worth of these tiles were imported last year. Knibbs states ‘that ^27,000 worth of tiles, n.e.i., and tiles for roofing are imported per annum. The whole of those should be manufactured in Australia, especially in view of the clays we have.
– The asphalt and roofing tiles are practically all imported from foreign countries.
– Most of the roofing tiles come from France, but about ,£15,000 worth of flooring and other tiles were imported, mostly from Great Britain. Therefore, the proposed duties of 25 per cent, and 20 per cent, would give no increased protection. We should especially encourage the primary industries, and this is distinctly a primary industry. There are earthernware and tiling factories scattered throughout the country districts of Australia. We should make the whole of our roofing tiles. I shall be prepared to move for a duty of 25 per cent., as against the United Kingdom, retaining a duty of 30 per cent, in the General Tariff.
– I hope that the duty will not be reduced. I may inform those honorable members who represent Western Australia that the principal evidence with reference to this item was received in Perth from a local manufacturer, Mr. Richard Ger,ase Kirton, managing director of the Kirton Patent Pottery Company Limited, Belmont. He said they were engaged in the production of fine roofing tiles out of local clay, with local labour.
– He was only getting a duty of 15 per cent.
– He asked the Tariff Commission for increased protection. How in face of that can the honorable member for Fremantle ‘ say that no one asked for an increase of duty on this item ? That witness stated that the local industry was in a state of collapse on account of the cheap importation of French tiles. This is a passage from his evidence -
I think that when a product is manufactured in a foreign country where the conditions are much less expensive, then the competition of that country is not an equitable competition. Touching the matter of these Marseilles tiles, we know that they are manufactured in Marseilles, where the wages range from 15 to 25 francs a week. Here ‘we have to pay double, or a little more than double.
I cannot find his exact statement as to the amount of increased duty which he required, but I know that he wanted it effec- tive to enable him to compete on equal terms with the imported article.
– The imported tiles can be brought out very cheaply, as they are very heavy, and can be packed close in the bottom of a ship.
– I should like the Western Australian members to take notice of the Western Australian suggestion which, I have cited, and to recognise that this is not one of the much-abused Victorian manufactures.
.- I hope that the rates of 30 per cent, and 25 per cent., proposed by the ‘Government, will be agreed to, and that the amendment of the honorable member for North Sydney, for a general Tariff rate of 25 per cent, will be negatived. This industry . is very much affected by the importation of the surplus stocks of ‘ the United States of America manufacturers. Here is a letter from America, dated roth June, 1907, which shows what the local manufacturer has to contend with. It is from a large tile manufacturing company in Kansas City -
We take the liberty of sending you, by parcels post, sample of special ceramic mosaic, tile, which we will sell you at $3.50 per barrel, containing about 100 square feet - is. 4d. yard.
The usual trade price of that article is actually 9s. rod. per square yard.
We are also sending you a sample of a special white glazed wall tile, measuring 6 inches lt ng by 15 inches wide, which we will sell you at Sc. net per square foot - 3s. square yard.
The usual trade price of that article is 8s. id. per square yard. Whether those prices are for -delivery in America or for delivery in this port, the difference between them and ‘the local prices is enormous.
– Wages are as high in America as they are here, and those quotations show that the manufacturers with high protective duties must be making gigantic profits.
– No one knows better than the honorable member for North Sydney does how the American manufacturers charge their own people high prices, and sell their surplus stocks in other countries at lower prices. The Australian tile manufacturing industry is in an exceptional position in consequence’ of the difficulty which I have pointed out.
– Are those particular tiles ‘ made here?
– Yes. When the first Tariff was under consideration I exhibited samples in this chamber, made at Mitcham, which is now in the constituency of the honorable member for Flinders.
.- The tile-making industry in Western Australia was started before Federation, and prospered without the assistance of Victoria.
– It was shut up for want of increased protection at the time we visited Western Australia.
-I know the place well. The train passes within halfachain of it, and I have seen it grow from a littleplace to a big one without asking Victoria for help. The honorable member for Bendigo made a dead set at me, and mentioned me in this matter. I have no desire to injure any Australian industry. I wish to assist to establish every industry possible, but where I see one already established, and doing well, I shall be no party to spoon-feeding it. It is rather a disgrace to Victoria that tilemaking should have been undertaken in Western Australia before it was begun in Victoria.
– They had good protection in Western Australia then.
– I am in favour of a reasonable duty.
– Does the honorable member consider 15 per cent. reasonable?
– An honorable member who wishes to speak about anything which is not Victorian is scarcely allowed to be heard in this Chamber. It would be a good thing if we could move this Parliament somewhere into the bush. I am sure that members from other parts of Australia will never get a fair deal until we get away from Melbourne. The tiles made in Western Australia are of a very good quality, and I see no reason why Victorians should not be able to make a tile of equal quality, if they have the energy and pluck to undertake the industry without the assistance of Western Australia and Queensland.
Question - That the words “ and on and after 3rd December,. 1907, ad val. (General Tariff) 25 per cent.” be added (Mr. Dugald Thomson’s amendment) - put.
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 22
Question so resolved in the negative.
Amendment (by Mr. Sampson) proposed -
That the words “ and on and after 3rd December, 1907, ad val. (General Tariff), 25 per cent.” be added.
– I draw attention to the fact that objections raised to the withdrawal of calls for divisions are likely to waste a great deal of time. Such objections are not fair to the Committee. Already we have allowed one or two calls for divisions to be withdrawn by the Treasurer, simply because we desired to expedite matters. Are we to be compelled to go to the honorable member for Riverina and ask him whether we may move an amendment? Is he to be an autocrat, and say, “ If you move an amendment I shall force the question to a division “ ? Surely an honorable member has a right to move an amendment in order to see whether he can get support ; and it is only reasonable on his part, if the support be not forthcoming to ask that’ the call for a division be withdrawn.
– My desire has always been not to place any obstacle in the way of a call for a division being withdrawn. I may, say, however, that I have heard the honorable member for Riverina express his disapproval at repeated attempts to alter duties by means of one amendment after another and this may have influenced him in the course he took.
.- I am just as anxious as any honorable member to see the business expedited. It is the right of every honorable member to move amendments; and I objected to the withdrawal of the call for a division-
– The honorable member has done so twice.
– And I may do. so again.
– Then we shall never get on !
– Will the honorable member permit me to state my case?
Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.15p.m.
– When the sitting was suspended, I was making a personal explanation concerning statements made by the honorable member for North Sydney and the honorable member for Parramatta, who appear to entertain a decided objection to the exercise by me of the privilege of objecting to the withdrawal of the call for a division when once it has been made. It has been said that I desire to prevent honorable members from moving amendments. I have no such desire. Any honorable member is at liberty to submit whatever proposal he may deem fit. I merely object to the action of some honorable members opposite who, after having disputed the. decision of the Chair in regard to the voices, are in the habit of calling for a division, allowing the bells to be rung, practically occupying the whole of the time that would be absorbed in taking a division, and then asking leave to withdraw their call.
– We have merely asked leave to withdraw our calls when we have been requested to do so by the Minister. Upon nearly every occasion the request for a withdrawal of the call has been made at the instance of the Minister.
– I take up this position
– The honorable member will not be in order in debating the question.
– I do not propose to do so.
– Better leave well alone.
– My action was prompted by the conduct of the Opposition in permitting the bells to be rung for a division, and after having wasted the time of the Committee, in asking for leave to withdraw the call.
– Is the honorable member in order in accusing the Opposition of wasting time?
– Having explained the motive which induced me to object to the withdrawal of the call for a division, I wish only to add that my future course of action will depend entirely upon what I think of the. action of the Opposition.
.- I am afraid that the time has not yet arrived when the Opposition must consult the honorable member for Riverina in regard to how, when, and where its members shall vote.
Amendment (Mr. Sampson’s) agreed to -
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Item 245. Asphalt, mastic, ad val., 15 per cent.
– Asphalt mastic is manufactured from crude bitumen and limestone. The imported article is the manufactured production which is melted and mixed with bitumen. The duty proposed is that which has been recommended by both sections of the Tariff Commission.
.- I would point out that this article was on the free list under the old Tariff, and that no reason has been advanced why it should be made dutiable. I therefore move -
That the words “ and on and after 4th December, 1907 (General Tariff), free” be added.
Item agreed to.
Item 246 (Earthenware) agreed to.
Item 247. Fire and glazed bricks;fire lumps; fibro cement; fire clay manufactures, n.e.i. ; and asphalt tiles, ad val., 15 per cent.
.- Under the old Tariff fire bricks for reverberatory furnaces were admitted free. I have been assured by certain mine managers that it is impossible to obtain in Australia a fire brick which is capable of withstanding the great heat to which such bricks must be subjected. The manager of the Moonta mines gave me that information only a little while ago. I therefore move -
That the words “ and on and after 4th December, 1907, fire bricks for reverberatory furnaces, free” be added.
– Do they not make fire bricks here? They do in Western Australia.
– Fire bricks are not made in the Commonwealth which will withstand the test to which they must be subjected as well as will the imported article.
.- This is another item in respect of which an application was made to the Tariff Commission by a South Australian industry for consideration. Mr. Frederick Meakin, of Royal Park, Alberton, near Adelaide, brought under the attention of that body the question of the duty upon fire bricks. He was examined by Senator McGregor as follows - 53266. Have you never had any idea of going in for the manufacture of fire bricks? - We have got the idea at the present time of going in for fire bricks. We feel convinced it can be done. 53267. If you had a larger market for your present wares, would that assist you in going in for the manufacture of fire bricks? - Yes. 53268. Is there anything else besides these crucibles and fire bricks that the clay is suitable for? - Well, there is the manufacture of other common goods. 53269. If you were thoroughly satisfied in the manufacture of these wares you are doing now, and also of fire bricks, would you go in for the manufacture of other ware ? - Probably ; but we would direct our attention to the manufacture of those lines principally.
It was upon these representations that the Commission recommended that fire bricks for reverberatory furnaces should be removed from the free list.
– It is upon the representations of South Australian mining managers that I ask that they shall be restored to the free list.
– Fire bricks are also manufactured in Victoria and can be made in various parts of Australia. I fail to see why fire bricks for reverberatory furnaces should be admitted free whilst other fire bricks should be dutiable. How is it possible to distinguish between fire bricks which are intended for reverberatory furnaces and fire bricks which are intended to be used for other purposes ? If these bricks for reverberatory furnaces are to be exempted from duty let us make them free all round. At the present time they are being imported under the pretence that they are to be used for high-class purposes when as a matter of fact they are intended tobe used for all sorts of purposes. I think that reason has been shown for extending some slight protection to the industry. Certainly fire bricks ought not to be placed upon the free list. If we can manufacture earthenware for ordinary pottery purposes, surely we ought to be able to manufacture firebricks. I, therefore, ask the Committee not to omit the item, but, if they think fit, to fix a more moderate duty.
– Firebricks are not manufactured in my electorate, but are used there more than, I suppose, in any other electorate. I have been assured by users that the Australian firebrick is the best. I venture to say that, after the next few years, there will be no more necessity to have (the firebrickon the Tariff than there is now to have the ordinary brick. At the present time, however, it is essential that the item should be dutiable, so that we may getall the large ironworks to use Australian firebricks. In the Newport workshops only Australian firebricks are used, and they give great satisfaction. Last week I was in a steel crucible factory in South Melbourne, and five or six persons told me that the Australian firebrick was positively the best, having a longer life and being cheaper. Therefore, I hope that the Minister will retain theduty at 15 per cent. on firebricks. I believe that if any honorable member were to inquire outside, he would find that the price of the article has gone down considerably.
– I am aware that a large number of Australianmade firebricks are used in the furnaces at Broken Hill and elsewhere. A special firebrick, which is made in Glasgow, is also used ; but any one who says that Australianmade bricks are not used, is not speaking in accordance with facts.
Amendment (by Mr. Bowden) negatived -
That the words “ and on and after 4th December, 1907, ad val., 10 per cent.” be added.
Item agreed to.
Item 248. Roasting Dishes, Assay Furnaces, and Cupels, free.
.- In accordance with a decision of the Committee, I move -
That after the word “ cupels “ the word’s “crucsible,scorifiers,andmuffles”beinserted.
– Before the amendment is put, I wish to point out that cupels, which are made in Australia, ought to be taken out of this item with a view to their being brought under a duty. If the honorable member for Kalgoorlie will afford me an opportunity, I propose to move the omission of the word.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
– Mr. Chairman, as the effect of omitting the word “ cupels “ will be to increase taxation ought not an amendment for that purpose to be moved by a Minister of the Crown instead of by a private member?
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the word “ cupels “ be left out.
.- I have some information with regard to cupels and scorifiers. It is stated that after the process in which the scorifier is used is finished - a small button of lead still remains, but much reduced in size, and still containing all the precious metals. This button is then cupelled A cupel is a small dish made of bone ash, magnesia, or other special material. The cupel is placed in a muffle, and the small button obtained by scorification placed in the cupel. The cupel, being absorbent, soon absorbs all the lead, and a button of gold and silver is then obtained without any lead at all. A scorifier and a cupel are used once only.
.- It is very strange indeed that information of that sort should haveto come from a private member instead of from the Treasurer. I submit that the latter ought to be in a position to furnish honorable members with all necessary information.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Mr, Frazer) agreed to -
That after the word “ and “ the words “ crucibles, scorifiers, and muffles” be inserted.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Item 249. Glass, viz. : -
Bent, Bevelled, Heraldic, Sand-blasted, Enamelled, Embossed, Etched, Silvered, and Cut; Corners Cut, Bevelled, or Engraved ; Fanes, Prisms, and all Glass framed with metal, ad val., 30 per cent.
.- I hope that the Treasurer will consent to omit from this item, with a view to making them free, ornamental windows for churches.
– They are all made here.
– Yes, beautiful ornamental windows are made here.
– At all events, as classes vary, people want them made duty free. Within the last few months an ornamental church window was imported for the Church of England, in Adelaide, at a cost of£260, and the duty thereon amounted to no less than£90. Surely, in the interests of art, the Minister is not going to impose a tax on an ornamental church window, which really contributes to the beautifying of a city, to the tune of£90 ? That, in my opinion, is merely protection run mad. Anything which improves public edifices, apart from the fact that they are churches, is a matter in which the community is largely interested. We ought to encourage the use of the highest forms of art, and the only way in which to achieve that object is by having a moderate duty, or noduty. I think that if we omit the word “ heraldic” it will cover the case of ornamental church windows. It may also be necessary to strike out the words “ or engraved,” and to insert the word “plain” before the words “panes, prisms, and all glass framed with metal,” because, otherwise, ornamental church windows might fall under the latter words. I believe it is the custom of the Department, whenever doubtful construction gives them a chance, to put a tax on any article, however beautiful itmay be.
– As the churches look to the people here for their money they ought to have their work done here.
– The honorable gentleman ought to remember that the churches here are maintained voluntarily.
– Yes ; but it is the workers who support the churches.
– By taxing the windows of churches we impose a drain upon those persons who voluntarily support them. At the present time the churches have great trouble to get necessary subscriptions.
– They will experience a good deal more trouble if they do not support the workers.
– The churches are not conducted by amateur preachers and philanthropists. Subject to any amendment which (the Minister may suggest, I intend to move the omission of the word “heraldic” from this item, and afterwards to move its insertion in item 254, under which ornamental church windows, as glass, will be free. I move -
That the word “Heraldic” be left out.
.- I hope that the amendment will not be carried. Throughout Australia great complaints were made to the Tariff Commission about ornamental church windows being free. Not only workers, but also manufacturers, asked : Why should ornamental glass for. churches be free any more than glass for mansions? The churches ought tobe able and willing to support Australian manufactures. I see no reason why they, any more than private individuals, should claim exemption from this duty. We all appreciate the beautification of our places of worship, but we need not thereby sacrifice our system of encouraging native industry. I protest against the omission of the word.
– Under item 299, “mirrors framed, or not, n.e.i.” aresubjected to duties of 40 and 30 per cent., and it will be desirable, I think, to make it quite clear whether mirrors are included in the item before theCommittee. It would be just as well that these articles should appear at one place only in the Tariff.
– They would not be dutiable underboth 299 and 249.
– That is what I understood. I cannot say that I know very much about the articles included in this item, but I have received a communication from a gentleman in Brisbane who is particularly familiar with such goods. I think that the best thing I can do is to read his letter. This gentleman represents the firm of James Campbell and Sons Limited, Brisbane. He says -
A deputation of Melbourne glass silverers and bevel lers recently waited upon the Comptroller of Customs to enlist his sympathy in the direction of abolishing the duty on plain polished plate glass under 25 ft. super., which is used in Australia for making mirrors, or as an alternative to increase the duty on bevelled and silvered plate glass from the proposed new duty of 30 per cent. to at least 45 per cent., and to make all bevelled glass in imported furniture pay an excess duty of 2d. per lineal foot.
We, in common with Messrs. R. S. Exton and Co., of this city, the only other firm having a silvering and bevelling plant in the State, are entirely in accord with the objects of the deputation, and have already wired our sympathy with the movement. Our object in addressing you is to solicit your support of the proposal when this particular line is brought up for consideration, and we sincerely hope you will see your way to assist in making this industry, which has for years been struggling to exist, a profitable one for those engaged in it, and the means of affording employment to an additional number of hands.
We attach hereto for your information the chief points of the evidence placed before the Tariff Commission, which will enable you to grasp the situation as it exists in the Commonwealth.
Then follow some particulars which I think it is desirable to communicate to the Committee, as to the chief points of evidence placed before the Tariff Commission -
Fixed, 5s. per 100 feet super. in platesunder 7 feet super.
Fixed, 7s. 6d. per 100 feet super. in plates from 7.12 feet super.
Fixed, 10s. per 100 feet super. in plates from 12,100 feet super.
The bulk of our raw material is up to 25 ft. super., which we desire to be free, which, according to the Customs returns, would be a loss to the revenue. Which loss would be practically recovered by increasing the duty to 12s. 6d. per 100 feet super in plates from 25,100 feet super.
Reasonswhy the duty should be remitted on our raw material up to 25 ft. super : - 1st. Foreign manufacturers do not pay duty on raw material in our trade, it is free. 2nd. Freight. We pay more freight on the raw material than on the finished article. 3rd. Cullett - which we sell to the bottle works at per ton, for which we pay market price, and on which we have paid duty as well as freight, and which alone is equal to 10 per cent., that is, 10 ft. waste in every 100 ft. of the finished article.
If the foregoing cannot be done then -
Increase proposed as ad val. duty, 30 per cent. to 45 per cent.
From 30 per cent. to 45 per cent., ad val., on silvered plate and sheet glass, bevelled plate and sheet glass.
Reason - Conditions of labour in Great Britain and the Continent. 1st. There are no restrictions to girl and boy labour. 2nd. No minimum wage.
The imports under this head amounted to £67,878, which contains bevelled and silvered plate - we request that a duty of 2d. per ft. lineal be placed on all bevelled glass infurniture imported into the Commonwealth, plus the present duty.
Take anordinary case for example : -
What we request, viz., plain polished plate glass up to 25 ft. super. 1st. That our raw material be free, or that the proposed duty on bevelled and silvered glass be raised from 30 per cent. to 45 per cent. 2nd. That all bevelled glass in imported furniture pay an excess duty of 2d. per foot lineal.
I hope that the Treasurer will pay attention to these particulars.
– I have the utmost sympathy with the Treasurer, and think he has done remarkably well in conducting the business of the Government in connexion with the Tariff. No other member of this House, in my opinion, would have maintained such good temper as he has done during the whole time. We must admire the way in which he has kept control over himself. I do not know whether I should be in order in moving an amendment with the object of increasing the duty.
– That could not be done.
– Failing that I ask the Treasurer to take the matter into his consideration. There is no. doubt that there is already a very large industry in the Commonwealth in connexion with silvering and bevelling glass, and it is bound to grow into a very much larger industry well deserving of our full consideration.
– I wish to join with the honorable member for Oxley in asking the Treasurer to give special consideration to this item. Items 249 and 250 are really bound up with each other. One is concerned with the raw material of the other. It goes without saying that the bevelled-glass industry is a very large one. Fair wages are paid in some places, and good wages in others. Our desire should be to keep out the cheap stuff made by people working long hours, and for low wages. What I think should be done is to increase the duty under paragraph a of the next item, and to make a reduction under paragraphs c and d.
.- I feel inclined to support the amendment of the honorable member for Angas, because, after all is said and done, we must admit that church stained-glass windows are works of art. I am surprised at the heat thrown into the discussion by the honorable member for Bendigo, and regret that he has seen fit to introduce the sectarian issue.
Honorable Members. - No, no.
– It appears to me that the honorable member was holding a brief against the ornamentation of our churches. Further on in the Tariff works of art are exempt.
– I am going to ask the Committee to leave this matter over until we deal with the exemptions.
– I am pleased to hear that, and am surprised to find the Treasurer exhibiting so much reasonableness. I think more of him now than I did previously. He himself sees the advisableness of exempting works of art intended for public institutions. Our churches are really in the same position as other public institutions.
– Statuary and oil paintings are exempt.
– Church windows are practically in the same category as statuary and oil paintings. They are a most valuable means of education, especially for those who cannot afford to travel and admire works of art in foreign countries. I understand that the words “panes, prisms, and all glass framed with metal “ in this item refer to cellar lights which are used in pavements, and which, I am informed, are not made in Australia. That being so, I think that the duty upon them is excessive. With the exception of those lights the item relates to glass worked up. I admit that such work is carried on in the Commonwealth, but whilst the silverers and bevellers may ask for a high protective duty, those engaged in all branches of the industry do not. To illustrate the fallacy of high protective duties, I would point out that under free-trade in New South Wales, in 1900 no less than 183 hands were employed in this industry, whilst in Victoria, notwithstanding its thirty years of protection, only eighty-seven hands were so engaged.
– What is the honorable member’s authority for that statement?
– It was obtained from the return secured by the honorable member for Kooyong. I do not know why we should tax the users of cellar lights, which, I am informed on the bestauthority, are not - and are not likely to be for some time - made in Australia.
.- We find ourselves confronted with a difficulty in dealing with the finished article before we have disposed of an item covering the raw materials used in its production. The next item comprises the raw material of the beveller and the silverer, who are engaged in the manufacture of mirrors for furniture and decorative purposes. I do not ask the Treasurer to postpone this item, but I think that if he would agree to exempt up to certain sizes the glass included in the next item, the Committee would be prepared to vote for a higher duty on glass exceeding in size 25 superficial feet.
– Because smaller sizes are used for silvering and bevelling purposes. The bevelling and silvering industries are carried on all over the Commonwealth, and this request is indorsed by manufacturers in all the States.
– Is plate glass manufactured in Australia?
– I do not think that polished plate glass has yet been manufactured here, and I, for one, would be prepared to reduce the duty upon it. I ask that glass in sizes of less than 25 superficial feet shall be allowed to come in free. No doubt the time will come when we shall be producing polished plate glass in the Commonwealth, but in this, as in other cases, I think that we ought not to tax the raw material of an industry, especially when that raw material is not locally produced.
– What is it that the honorable member desires?
– I desire that the duty on this item shall remain, and that the Treasurer will give us an undertaking that when we reach the next item he will be prepared to place on the free list glass of less than a certain superficial area.
– I agree that we need to consider this item in connexion with the next. If there be anything in the representations constantly made in this Chamber as to what constitutes the raw material of an industry, then unquestionably glass of certain sizes is the raw material of the silverer and the beveller. I would urge the Treasurer to agree to the suggestion that that phase of the question should be reconsidered by him at a later stage. I wish now to refer more particularly to the duty on stained-glass windows.
– The honorable member for Angas is going to withdraw his amendment in reference to stainedglass, windows, and they will be dealt with under the exemptions.
– I propose to make a short extract from a communication that I have received on this subject, in which it is stated that the anomaly is -
That stained glass windows for churches and public institutions are under departmental bylaws admitted free of duty, while the material of which the windows are almost entirely composed, antique and cathedral glass, is charged’ a duty of 15 per cent. This glass, the raw material of the glass painter, is not made here in Australia, nor is it likely to be for manyyears, as the demand is very small.
– If the honorable member raises a debate on that point we shall be here all night.
– I wish the Minister to understand the application of the Tariff by the Department. I merely desire to obtain from him an assurance that this matter will receive his attention, and that a reasonable adjustment will be made.
– Is there any reason why this glass cannot be made in Australia?
– I am assured by experts that the quality of glass used for these purposes cannot be made here. As for glass painting for. church and domestic purposes I claim that, with the exception of the work of some men of world-wide reputation, our productions cannot be beaten. I recognise, of course, that the highest class of church windows come only from one centre, but artistic work, such as that of the writer who has addressed me on this subject, and who is known in all the States as one of the most artistic stainedglass workers in the Commonwealth, ought to be encouraged. This gentleman complains, with justice, that the departmental arrangement is anomalous. I submit that the matter deserves the attention of the Minister, and whilst I certainly shall not favour the high duty proposed, I do not think we should be justified in allowing this glass to come in free, seeing that we have an opportunity to encourage the artistic work now being carried on inour midst.
.- My desire is to assist the Treasurer in this matter, and before speaking I consulted the head of the Department of Trade and Customs as to the best way to accomplish my object. The Treasurer has suggested that if I do not press my amendment at this stage, he will favorably consider an exemption such as is included–
– I hope not.
– I wish honorable members would not be so hasty. The Treasurer has suggested that we might afterwards exempt windows for churches and public institutions, as being works of art, imported under departmental by-laws. In the Tariff of 1902, there is a line which supplies an answer to the heated remarks of the Chairman of the Tariff Commission. I refer to the special exemption -
Works of art being statuary, and paintings framed orunframed, also windows for churches or public institutions under departmental bylaws.
In view of that provision, can it be said that there is anything extreme in my suggestion ?
– There is a great deal of complaint.
– But there is nothing to justify the extraordinary protest made by the honorable member for Bendigo. Ornamental glasses for church purposes vary greatly in quality. They are works of art, and vary quite as much as pictures. If my amendment be not adopted, then the glass of which Shelley speaks -
Life, like a dome of many coloured glass
Stains the white radiance of eternity - will be excluded.
.- I think that the Committee has been allowed to stray. For some time honorable members have been discussing a later item in the Tariff.
– The two are interrelated.
– They are, but a discussion dealing with two distinct items is confusing. I have no objection to a reduction of the duty on plate and polished glass, butso far as theitem immediately under consideration is concerned, I hope that no exemption will be mate.I should like to suggest to the Treasurer that the word “or” should be substituted for the word “and” in the line “silvered and cut.” Should not it read “silvered or cut”?
– It might be both.
– If so, the word “or” should appear somewhere else in the sentence.
– I think the item as it stands would cover glass “ silvered and cut “ or “ silvered and uncut.” I propose after the word “ and “ to insert the words “ or brilliant.”
– The matter is one on which the officers of the Department can advise the honorable gentleman ; but I still think that the word “or” is necessary. I rose principally to object to the proposal to put heraldic glass and stained glass for windows on the free list. There are men engaged in the industry in Sydney and Melbourne, and, I think, also in the capitals of the other States, and it would be most unfair to call upon them to pay duty on the paints and pigments and other materials they use without giving them protection to at least the same extent in respect of the finished article. I suppose that we all desire to see our churches beautified,, but a slight increase in the cost of stained-glass windows, due to a duty for the protection of the local industry, would not prevent people interested in church decoration from purchasing beautiful windows.
– I wish to withdraw the amendment, but I wish it to be understood that I do so because of a promise given by the Treasurer that, without binding himself in any way, he would favorably consider the inclusion of these articles in a list similar to the exemption list in the Tariff of 1902.
.- I should like the Treasurerto declare what his policy is going to be on this item. If he is prepared to exempt the article referred to by the honorable member for Angas, it would be better that the whole of the articles included in this item should be admitted free. The honorable gentleman’s decision on thequestionmay affect my vote upon the whole item.
– The matter is one for the Committee to deal with ; but, personally, I may. say at once that I believe that works of art should be admitted free. I do not care for what purpose they are imported, if they are real works of art, and not simply replicas, I do not see why they should not be admitted free, as they have been heretofore. What I told the honorable member for Angas was that I did not think this was the place in which to deal with the question. Previously these articles have been included amongst those exempt under departmental by-laws, and I think that is the proper place for them. I have not said that they will be included amongst those exemptions, but I admit that my feeling is in that direction.
.- I wish to point out that if the honorable member for Angas withdraws his amendment he will not accomplish the purpose he desires. The best way would be to take these articles out of this item and subsequently include them in the list of exemptions. It is quite true, as the honorable member for South Sydney has said, that thereare a number of people engaged in the stained-glass industry in the Commonwealth ; but I never yet heard of any artist in Australia asking for protective duties with the object of keeping out works of art.
– Those engaged in the stained-glass window industry are asking for a duty. I had a protest only a short time ago from a manufacturer in Sydney against their free admission.
– There is a difference between a manufacturer and an artist. If the person referred to was an artist, he must be an exception to the general rule. Artists the world over are only too glad to add to their knowledge by the study of works of art produced in all parts of the world.
– Can the honorable member define what a work of art is?
– To dothat might take me the whole afternoon ; but I have no doubt that the works of art mentioned in this item should be included in the free list.
– I remind the Committee that stainedglass windows must be considered as in a different category from paintings or sculpture. A great painting, or a fine piece of sculpture, imported, cannot be produced in Australia ; but I will undertake to find in Victoria, New South Wales, or South Australia, artists who will produce any kind of stained-glass window honorable members are willing to pay for.
– Bunkum !
Mr.HUTCHISON.- I challenge the honorable member to point to any stainedglass window in Australia at the present time a replica of which cannot be made in the Commonwealth. It must not be forgotten that in the stained-glass window industry the artists are not the only persons employed. The industry gives a great deal of employment to ordinary workmen. I am astonished at the Treasurer giving in this matter a promise which would have the effect of destroying a flourishing industry giving considerable employment, and which would also prevent the development in the Commonwealth of the higher class of art in this line.
– I hope the honorable member for Hindmarsh will permit me to tell him that he is entirely wrong when he speaks in the way he has done about stained-glass windows. Some of the greatest artists in England are employed to-day upon ecclesiastical glass work for which we have no parallel in this country.
– There is very fine work in this line done here.
– That may be so. Very fine oil and water-colour painting and very fine sculptors’ work are done here. There is also very fine literature produced in Australia. I saw a magazine the other day, in which it was roundly asserted that no magazines from abroad should be allowed into Australia, because all the magazine work required in the Commonwealth could be produced here.
– I do not think so.
– I am aware that the honorable member does not think so, but the statement, appearing in the magazine to which I have referred, discloses the same spirit as that just displayed by the honorable member, and which is very often found in people who are not sufficiently informed artistically to discriminate in these matters. I can inform the honorable member that the best stained glass ecclesiastical window work is looked upon in Great Britain, and on the Continent, as involving as high a knowledge of art as does oil or water-colour painting.
– The honorable member cannot point to a stained glass window in Australia which could not be duplicated here.
Mr.BRUCE SMITH.- The honorable member is talking about replicas, but he must know that we could get a first-rate Australian artist to make a replica of the “The Bent Tree” to-morrow, and while “The Bent Tree” cost about£5,600, the copy of the picture would not be worth £5. To make a replica of any man’s painting and consider that a work of art is very much like a man transcribing another man’s book and then claiming to have proproduced literature.
– I claim that those engaged in the local industry of stained glass window making can produce windows of original design equal to any at present, in Australia.
– Then I join issue with the honorable member. Any one who knowsmuch about the subject will indorse what I say, when I tell the honorable member that he makes a very great mistake if he supposes that we have artists in this country at the present time who can turn out the ecclesiastical or heraldicglass work which is at present being produced in the Old Country. The heraldic glass work might not be so difficult, since it is generally designed from coats-of-arms, and is more in the nature of a copy, but there is no doubt that the highest class of ecclesiastical glass work could not be produced here.
– Some of the men engaged in the work in the Old Country come out here.
– The best men engaged in the work would not come here, because.it would not pay them to do so.
– I suppose that the younger and aspiring artists might he induced to come here.
– Young artists in oil and water-colour painting come here from the Old Country in the same way, but we could not get aLeighton, a Millais, or an Alma Tadema, or men of that rank to come out to Australia, becausethey can secure prices for their work in Great Britain which Australian people would not dream of giving. It is very difficult for an artist in Australia to obtain £50 for a painting. Yet we find that a man like Corot for his “Bent Tree,” of which there is a copy in Europe, gets £5,600.
– Corot did not get the £5,600.
– The honorable member is getting away from the question.
– I submit, sir, that there is a very close analogy from the artistic point of view between literature, sculpture, painting, and stained-glass work of the kind with which we are dealing. I invite the honorable member for Hindmarsh to inquire into the matter. He will find literature on the subject in our Library to convince him of the truth of what I have said. Some of the greatest artistsengaged in this work in England obtain hundreds of guineas for a set of glass windows. To say that we could do such work here is to claim that we have a Millais, an Alma Tadema, or a Leighton amongst Australian artists.
Amendment (Mr. Glynn’s), by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) agreed to -
That after the word “ silvered “ the word “ and “ be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ or brilliant.”
.- I should like to suggest to the Treasurer that if we are to give special consideration to stained glass windows for churches instead of putting them on the free list, it would be better to include them in a special line at a lower rate of duty. What I want to urge is that our local artists who are ambitious to do good work of this kind should at least be given a protection equivalent to the extra price they are called upon to pay on the materials they use as a result of the duties imposed on those materials. The matter should be dealt with in a way which would not prejudice local artists in this line.
– What does the honorable member suggest?
– At least 15 per cent.
– The duty on the raw material - glass, n.e.i. - is 15 per cent.
– That is true.
– It would not be necessary to put a duty of 15 per cent. on the window. It should be only on the proportion of the window that represents the raw material.
– That is so, but the paint and other materials used must be considered.
– I agree in a large measure with the honorable member for South Sydney, that if there is any virtue in a protective policy the artists engaged on this kind of work are entitled to some benefit from it, but I would urge very strongly that as the disadvantages of the protective policy undoubtedly apply to them to a certain degree steps should be taken to insure that they are not penalized. There is no doubt that they have to pay to some extent on their raw material. It maybe a comparatively small amount, but still the fact remains, and I take it that even free-traders would be willing to level up that difference. The object of the freetrade section of the Tariff Commission has always been to level up any disadvantages that may exist in connexion with an industry in this country carried on by importations of materials from abroad.
– The free-trade section of the Tariff Commission recommend 15 per cent.
– I was going to suggest that 15 per cent, would be a fair thing. The honorable member for Parkes was a little too dogmatic in saying that there were no artists in Australia capable of turning out the high quality of work of this kind that is produced in other parts of the world. I know one artist in stained glass work who had to come to Australia for the benefit of his health. He previously occupied a very high position in a firm that has a world-wide reputation for this work. That is only one instance. I am sure that there are a good many other artists who are prepared to turn out good work if they are only given the opportunity. The Minister would be well advised to adopt 15 per cent, as a fair compromise in existing circumstances.
-34J. - The honorable member for Perth, rather than the honorable member for Parkes, has stretched matters. He cites the case of a sick artist who has come out here and who once was employed in producing these windows at Home. But does the honorable member base any serious argument on an incident of that kind? The fact remains that we have not the same high quality of skill - I am speaking only of the highest and best work - as can be found in the rest of the world. I do not think that any Australian, unless a very presumptuous one, would claim that we have. We may hope in the course of time to acquire it.
– We have given protection to the engineer. Why should not the artist be protected as well ?
– Does the honorable member suggest that we should protect our artist because he is paid higher rates for his work than are the pauper artists’ of the Old Country? I am afraid the parallel does not apply. The value of these works of art is the value of the skill and ability which the artist puts into them. Therefore the cost of the raw material would not come to even a quarter or a half per cent. The value of works of art of this kind is what ‘is known economically as the value arising from the cost of production. The duty on the raw material is not worth considering, and it is absurd to urge it as a. reason for imposing a duty of 15 per cent, on works of art of this kind.
– A stained glass window may be a work of art, but it also contains a lot of mechanical work.
– And the mechanical skill does not necessarily cost much, so far as the raw material is concerned.
– At least 10 per cent, of the raw material is cut to waste.
– Not at all. I am willing to vote any reasonable countervailing duty which will cover the duty on the raw material, but at the outside 5 per cent, would be a very handsome allowance to make for any raw material “used in these very costly works of skill and art.
.- I thought that when the honorable member for Angas withdrew his amendment, the discussion on stained glass windows would end, and that we should deal with bevelled glass and other articles included in this item. I hope that the Minister will not reduce any proposed duty with reference’ to glass. We want protection for all industries. We hear the argument time after time that certain things are not being produced in Australia^ Anything can be produced in Australia that is produced in any other part of the world if we only hold out inducements for those skilled in particular industries to come here arid establish them. That is how America has made herself great in a short time. Surely we in Australia have confidence enough in our country to believe that the same thing can be done here. I hope the Minister will stand firm on this question, and that there will not be this paring “away of proposed duties in order to satisfy a few individuals who badger honorable members about their own particular industries, and do not look at the good of the whole country. That is one of the evils in connexion with people coming here, and canvassing for particular industries.’ Some people want protection foi cordials, and free-trade in bottles and corks. If we in this Parliament are to do justice to the interests of the Commonwealth, we must, look to the good of the whole of Australia, and not of particular industries only. That is the way in which I regard the question of the duties on glass. As good church’ windows can be made in Australia as any that .we have here at present. Of course, there may be better ones in other parts of the world, but I have not been there to see them. So far as concerns works of art, it might be a good thing tor Australia if such, productions as “ The Bent Tree,” for which over £5>000 was paid, were shut out altogether.
– I rise, not to extend, but to curtail the debate, by asking whether the Minister is going to allow this question to stand over in order that it may be dealt with under the exemptions, or whether he intends to propose the duty of 15 per cent, suggested ? If the question of stained glass windows is’ to be postponed, it is not necessary to debate it further now.
– I am going to debate it until we get a duty of 30 per cent.
– This . is not a vitally important item, however we view it, but considerable time has been spent in debating it, and we on the Opposition side are expected to curtail our speeches on really important items.
– The reason why it has been debated is the uncertainty which exists. We do not know what is going to be done.
– I want the Treasurer to say whether lie will adhere to his promise given to the honorable member for Angas.
– I did not exactly make a promise. I did not say that it would be done. I said that I was not certain whether it could be done, but 1 gave the honorable member my opinion.
– The Minister made a suggestion to the honorable member for Angas, who thereupon withdrew his amendment and went away satisfied with the Minister’s assurance that the item would be postponed until the Committee reached the exemptions. If the Minister will state that he intends to adhere to that promise or suggestion, the debate need not continue.
– I feel that this matter is causing two debates instead of one. It was the amendment of the honorable member for Angas that began the debate. If the article is to be made free it should be included in the list of exemptions, as it was in the last Tariff. I do not feel at all disposed to propose a duty of 15 per cent. The article should either be free or be dutiable at 30 per cent.
– What about the men who are doing the work here ? Does the Treasurer, propose to make them pay the duty on the raw material?
– If the Committee says that the duty is to be 30 per cent., well and good. I am quite prepared to take the responsibility of testing the feeling of the Committee. I was astonished that debate should arise at this stage.
– It is the honorable member’s fault that it did arise.
– I did not start the debate.
– The honorable member gave a promise to exempt an article which is made in Australia.
Sir WILLIAM LYNE.There is a strong feeling throughout the Commonwealth that works of art which cannot be produced here should be admitted duty free.
– These works of art are produced here.
– A number of these windows are not works of art.
– If they are not works of art they should not be admitted free. I will not support a proposal to admit free anything, but works of art. I shall move nothing in- regard to this particular class of work, but will give the Committee an opportunity to decide regarding it in considering the exemptions. That seems to me to be the best course to take.
.- The Committee looks for guidance to the Treasurer, but fails to “get it. He does not know whether the duty is to be 15 per cent. , or the 30 per cent, proposed by himself, or whether the article is to be free. My desire is to have a duty of 30 per cent., because I think these ecclesiastical windows can be made in Australia, and made well. At Melton, in Victoria, there is a little church, the erection of which has been largely assisted by the Staughton family, and where only ‘ Australian stained glass is used in the windows. The honorable member for Laanecoorie will bear me out when I say that the windows in that church are really artistic, and a credit to the country. Australian men are being trained in this art, and they make studies of the great paintings of the Old World. Although we may not have an Alma Tadema or a Millais amongst us, we have some very thoughtful and gifted students. The work of such men as Alma Tadema and Millais never reaches Australia; but is devoted to the cathedrals of the Old Country which are supported largely bv a- wealthy leisured class. There is not the slightest doubt, however, that Australian art in ecclesiastical windows can hold its place, and I am pleased to say that the artists are beginning to study Australian floraand fauna as a means of decoration. We have all heard of Corot’ s “ Bent Tree “ ; but that is a French tree. What would Corot have done with an Australian gumtree ? The great majority of our people are not so fortunate as the honorable member for North Sydney, who may take a trip to the Old Country occasionally - they have to study their art in the Australian fields and the bush. What is the good of a picture of a bent tree from France? It is our duty to encourage our own artists to paint works from Australian nature, so that people can compare the artist’s genius with their knowledge of the living tree. As to ecclesiastical windows, we are producing no saints in Australia, although I am reminded we have amongst us a “Holy Joe,” and though not our own St. George and the Dragon, we have Johnson and the Alligator.
Amendment (by Mr. Johnson) put -
That the words “ and on and after 4th December, 1907, ad val. (General Tariff), 25 per cent.,” be added.
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 15
Question so resolved in the negative.
Amendment (by Mr. Johnson) put -
That the words “ and on and after 4th December, 1907, ad val. (United Kingdom), 25 per cent.,” be added. .
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 1
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment agreed to.
.- I move -
That the words : - “and on and after 4th December, 1907 -
Stained glass windows for churches or public institutions under departmental by-laws, ad val., 15. per cent.” be added. 1 submit this proposal because I fear that if the Treasurer, at a later stage, moves to exempt stained glass windows, they may be placed upon the free list from which both sections of the Tariff Commission have recommended their removal.
– I thought the honorable member heldthat 15 per cent. was a revenue duty?
– I am merely endeavouring to make the best of a very bad job, because the alternative seems to be that these articles will be free In that case our local artists, who are engaged in this class of work, will be called upon,to pay duty upon their raw materials, and to compete with windows which are imported free.
Mr.GLYNN (Angas) [4.5].- The Treasurer will understand that if the amendment be carried the promise which he made to me yesterday will remainunaffected by it.
– Oh, no.
– I am surethat the Treasurer is not theclass of man who will go back upon a promise which he has made.
– I should like to hear the Treasurer’s view of the proposal of the honorable member for South Sydney. Does he mean to accept it, and, if so, what are his intentions in regard to the promise which he made to the honorable member for Angas ?
– I have already stated my intentions in this connexion. I ask the honorable member for South Sydney to withdraw his amendment, and I will give him an opportunity of testing the feeling of the Committee upon this question at a later stage. Personally, I am in favour of these windows being admitted free, and I feel that I am bound by my promise. I think that it is very unfair for the honorable member to place me in the position which I now occupy. I was asked to move this amendment, and I declined to do so. I do not think that this is the proper place to insert it. If the Committee decide that stained windows shall be free, well and good; but ifthey decide otherwise we ought to retain the duty at 30 per cent. I am quite prepared to do either, but I am not willing to go half-way.
– Why should not an artist as well as an engineer be protected ?
– I thought that the honorable member was a free-trader. Under the old Tariff, stained glass windows for churches or public institutions were admitted free, under departmental by-law. If the honorable member for South Sydney persisits in his amendment, of course a vote must be taken upon it, but I would regard it as a great favour if he would withdraw his proposal, and allow the matter to remain in abeyance till we come to deal with the question of exemptions. Then, if it is necessary to go back to this item and to take a vote upon the question of the imposition of a lower duty, I will give him the opportunity to do so.
– Underthe circumstances, I ask leave to withdraw the amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
.- I did intend to object to the withdrawal of the amendment. After the long debate which has taken place, it seems most undesirable to revive the matter when we come to deal with the question of exemptions. The fact that both sections of the Tariff Commission have recommended the removal of stained glass windows from the free list is a strong reason why they should be eliminated from that category.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Item 250. Glass, viz. : -
Amendment (by Mr. Tudor) proposed -
That paragraphsc andd be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following paragraph : - “c. Polished and Patent Plate not exceeding 25 superficial feet, free.”
.- I do not suggest that there is no foundation for the complaints made by the workers in this trade. I admit that they appear to be unduly penalized in regard to their raw material. We must recollect that they chiefly use the smaller sizes of glass, the freight upon which is as high as if not higher than the freight charged upon the larger sizes. They have also to cut away portions of the glass, and to sell those portions at a ridiculously small price. There is some reason therefore why their raw material should be admitted free. But the proposal of the honorable member for Yarra appears to go beyond what is asked by the Victorian bevellers and glass-workers. They say that they desire polished and patent plate up to 12 superficial feet to be admitted free. They further request that a duty shall be levied upon all glass in furniture. Whilst I am prepared to exempt their raw material from duty up to a reasonable size, I think that their other request is not a desirable one to grant. If the Customs authorities have to open up all furniture imported, and to measure the area of glass which it contains, the task will be a constant source of trouble alike to the officials and importers. Moreover, it will frequently cause injury to the articles imported.
– If the duties on furniture are retained, there will not be much of it imported.
– I believe that the more expensive descriptions of furniture will continue to be imported although the volume will be reduced considerably if the high duties are carried. So far the request of the glass-cutters seems to be reasonable, but to accede to the whole oftheir request is, I think, quite out of the question.
– The request I have seen is to admit free glass up to 25 superficial feet.
– I am not absolutely sure that this communication commits the glass-cutters to the exemption of glass beyond 12 superficial feet. What they spoke of was the omission of the items under 12 superficial feet, and I concluded that it was their raw material up to that measurement which they wanted made free. If the honorable member for Yarra can say that it is up to 25 superficial feet that they want their raw material made free, I shall accept his statement.
.- In the typewritten document which has been distributed amongst honorable members, the glass-cutters distinctly request that the duty on glass up to 25 superficial feet be removed.I have also a letter from the secretary to the union, in which he informs me that the members of the union representing the workers in the trade ask for practically the same thing as I have proposed. He says -
What we desire is that our raw material should be admitted free.
– I am willing to accept the amendment.
.- I see no objection to the amendment. I am very glad that it has been moved, because it will be a concession to the bevellers and. silverers, and will not involve any very serious loss of revenue. I do not believe that at the outside it will mean a loss of more than £1,000.
Amendment agreed to.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Item 251 (Glass, n.e.i., &c.) agreed to.
Item 252. Glassware, including packing; measuring outside the package as imported, viz. : -
Globes for Lights, Chimneys for Lights, Fish Globes, Confectionery Glasses, Cake Glasses, Bird-seed Boxes and Cups, Fly Traps, Telegraph Glassware - When cut, embossed, engraved, etched, frosted, ground, or sand-blasted, per cubic foot (General Tariff),2s. 6d. ; when, not cut, embossed, engraved, etched, frosted, ground, or sand-blasted, per cubic foot (General Tariff),1s. 6d.
– I propose to ask the Committee to negative this item, so that the articles which it embraces may fall under item 253, and be subject to a very much lower duty. I am informed that the fixed duty proposed in this item averages from 100 to 125 per cent. ad valorem.
– I have estimates showing that in some cases the duty runs up to 325 per cent.
– According to the estimates with which I have been supplied, the fixed duty does not run so high as the honorable member has stated, but I recognise that it is very high. When the articles are placed under the next item they will be subject to duties of 35 and 25 per cent. respectively. The A section of the Tariff Commission recommended a duty of 25 per cent. and the B section a duty of 15 per cent., while under the old Tariff the duty was 20 per cent.
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) agreed to -
That the following new item be inserted : -
Item 252. Glass Cells for Primary and Secondary Electric Batteries., ad val. (General Tariff), 5 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), free.
Item 253, Glassware, n.e.i., including Smelling and Perfume Bottles, Glass Stoppers and Fruit-jar Caps of any material ; also Glass Bottle Marbles, ad val. (General Tariff), 35 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent.
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) agreed to -
That the words “ of any material “ be left out.
.Iappeal to the Committee to reduce the duty in the general Tariff to 25 per cent., and the duty in the preferential Tariff to 20 per cent. In the first instance, I move -
That after the words “35 per cent.” the words “ and on and after 4th December,1907, ad val. (General Tariff), 25 per cent.,” be inserted.
Question put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 2
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Mr. Poynton) proposed -
That after the words “ 25 per cent.” the words “ and on and after 4th December, 1907, ad val. (United Kingdom), 20 per cent.,” be added.
.- If this amendment be carried there will be practically no increased protection for glassware.
– Hear, hear. The Committee has given an extraordinary vote.
– The efforts made by the A section of the Tariff Commission to secure assistance for this industry will have been made in vain.
– Hear, hear.
– First the Minister abandoned the scheme of the Tariff in regard to flint glass. That was the beginning of the downfall. Immediately the Minister made that concession, the whole recommendations of the A section of the Commission tumbled down. Now, I am not going to allow these duties to be reduced in this manner without making an effort to assist the industry.
– The majority of the Committee are against the honorable member.
– Because a large number of honorable members returned as protectionists are voting as free-traders.
– Hear, hear ; they got in under false pretences.
– Does not the honorable member for Bendigo know that a large number returned as free-traders have pulled the Government out of messes?
– New South Wales industries will suffer by this reduction even more than those in Victoria. The chief appeal under this heading was not made to the Commission by Victorian, but by New South Wales, manufacturers.
– The appeal came from Queensland, too.
- Mr. R. J. Connolly, a Sydney manufacturer, made a special appeal for increased duties on flint glassware, such as lamp chimneys, confectioners’ show cases, and railway glassware as used in carriage lamps and telegraph glassware as used for electrical cells. He claimed just those concessions which the Minister abandoned under this heading. Now, however, the ad valorem duty has also been reduced from 35 to 25 per cent. Not content with that, the free-trade party, assisted by a few so-called protectionists, are endeavouring to reduce the duty to a still lower standard on goods imported from Great Britain.
– Twenty-five per cent. is the recommendation of the honorable member’s section of the. Commission.
– But what is proposed now is a duty of 20 per cent. The whole scheme, in fact, has been smashed up. I strongly object to any further reduction, even in favour of British goods. I should have been prepared to agree to a concession, provided flint glassware had been maintained upon the higher standard, with fixed measurement duties. But as all the duties are absorbed under this heading now, I think it would be a great mistake to make a further reduction.
– I do not know what this splenetic outburst from the honorable member for Bendigo means. We have been voting for the honorable member’s recommendation. Whv is he bolting away from his own recomendation in this fashion? Why must the protectionists be designated “ so-called protectionists “ - a most insulting term to apply to any man, I think.
– It does not apply to the honorable member, anyhow.
– But it does apply to the honorable member who made use of the phrase just now, as much as to any member of this Committee, because he has departed frequently from his own recommendations, and h’as repeatedly ignored them.
– I say yes, and the honorable member will find out that what I say is true if he looks through the record of his own votes. The honorable member overlooks the fact that four-fifths of these goods come from foreign countries.
– My section of the Commission recomended a duty of 25 per cent., and the honorable member’s party now propose to reduce it to 20 per cent.
– But it has been pointed out that four-fifths of the importations would come in under the 25 per cent. vote, and that only a very small proportion would come in under the 20 per cent. duty - which, by the way, is not carried yet.
– This item covers all flint glassware now.
– I should hope so. Again the reply is that the bulk of these goods come from foreign countries - I mean the cheaper sorts.
– The honorable member says that the A section of the Tariff Commission recommended 25 per cent. They did not. They recommended a measurement duty, as the honorable member will see if he turns to their report.
– Then the honorable member for Bendigo is to blame for allowing the item to be altered.
– I see on turning to the report, that the honorable member for Laanecoorie is quite right. I want to add that any man or set of men who would deliberately propose duties on glassware amounting to over 200 per cent. must have been beside themselves. Such recommendations are only worthy to be scouted, not to be followed.
.- The honorable member for Bendigo has referred to the elaborate report of the A section of the Tariff Commission on glassware. The B section on account of lack of time did not furnish anything in the nature of a report. Nevertheless, our recommendations are based on a fair analysis of the evidence. I make bold to say that the recommendations of the A section are not based on the evidence as a whole. Emphasis has been laid on a certain portion of it, and other phases of the evidence, equally important in my opinion, have been altogether ignored. There is no doubt about the high duties proposed by the A section in this respect. Added to the high cost of importing these goods into Australia, those duties would, in my opinion, exceed even the necessities of prohibition. I hold in my hand documents which show that in the case of typical instances in glassware the cost of importation is as high as165 per cent. With the duties as proposed the total would be 355 ner cent. Surely that is protection absolutely run mad. If the honorable member for Bendigo is not a prohibitionist, I take it that he must come down very considerably from those high duties in order to reach that level of moderation which he claims he always had before him in framing his recommendations. I have before me the cost book of an importing firm.I have been sufficiently in touch with evidence on fiscal matters to be very incredulous unless I have absolute proof, and when statements with regard to the cost of importing glassware were put before me, I wanted proof. The firm in question has supplied me with its cost book. I have taken the trouble to verify the facts contained in the papers that have been supplied to honorable members by entries in the cost book. I find that the facts are identical in every respect. There can be no question that a gross and unnecessary duty is being added to the high charges of importation, which will make the carrying on of this industry only possible at enormous disadvantage. If there is any vitality in the Australian glassware industry at all, it ought to be able to carry on without any duty, the cost of importation being so high. There is another cost which has not been included in these amounts. I allude to breakages, which, I believe, run up to about 10 per cent. That percentage has to be added on to the 355 per cent. to find the total charges under the existing scheme of the Government. I am satisfied that these duties are so unnecessarily high that reasonable protectionists cannot indorse them. I feel sure that they can be reduced with considerable advantage to the community as a whole, and without any disadvantage to the glassware industry in Australia if it is being conducted on anything like a commercial basis.
.- The trouble that has occurred over this matter has arisen from the transfer of the articles formerly under item 252 - which provided for a measurement duty - to item 253, which provides for an ad valorem duty. The honorable member for Bendigo did not object to the transfer, though he was in the Chamber at the time.
– The honorable member thought that the Committee would be reasonable, and not reduce the duty. That was my opinion also, or I should have objected to the transfer.
– As a matter of fact, the honorable member for Bendigo did not object. Now, he tells us that he himself would have objectedto the transfer except that he thought that the proposed duty of 35 per cent. was going to be carried. The Treasurer’s real reason “for the transfer of the articles from one item to another was that he was absolutely ashamed of the item as it stood. The measurement duty was at an exorbitant rate. Neither the honorable member for Bendigo nor the Treasurer could have defended it. The heaviest impost was placed upon the cheapest class of articles.
– As item 252 has been negatived, surely the honorable member is not in order in discussing it.
– The honorable member must not discuss it ; but he may make an incidental reference to it.
– The honorable member for Bendigo informed the Committee that the biggest glassworks in the Commonwealth are those at Leichhardt, which is in my electorate; but I regard the local manufacturers of glassware as so heavily protected by their natural advantages that I intend to vote for the lowest rate of duty. As the honorable member for Perth has shown, the charges connected with the importation of glassware are peculiarly heavy, giving the local manufacturers a protection of165 per cent.
– That estimate is correct. I obtained it from official documents.
– Assuming the natural protection to be only 80 per cent., or half of what it really is, the additional 25 per cent. which the Committee has allowed gives the local manufacturer a very fair protection. I intend to vote for a duty of 20 per cent. against British importations, because I do not think that the Treasurer should go back on his avowed policy of preference to Great Britain: So far as the honorable member for Bendigo is concerned, as he did not object to the removal of the measurement duties, he has only got himself to blame for the position in which he finds himself. The Committee has voted the 25 per cent. ad valorem duty recommended by the protectionist section of the Tariff Commission.
– I blame protectionists for having thrown over this industry.
– I am answerable only for myself, and while I desire that the glass-making industry shall flourish here, I think that, in addition to the natural protection, a rate of 25 per cent. on foreign importations and 26 per cent. on British importations will be sufficient.
– The past has shown that those rates will not be sufficient.
– If heavier rates were imposed, what would be the position of the users of glassware? That is a subject which concerns me as a free-trader. The Treasurer considers that he has been sold by his protectionist friends.
– I have. .
– Apart from his fiscal views, I have more than ordinarily kindly feelings for the Treasurer, and if he thinks that he has been sold by his friends, the proper thing for him to do is not to utter complaints, but to make a crisis.
.- I wish to point out to the Committee that, while we have negatived item 252, the glassware therein specified is now dutiable as “ glassware, n.e.i.,” under item 253. The honorable member for Bendigo has spoken about the need for high protection, but, as a matter of fact, the natural protection to the local makers is very heavy. The cost of importing ruby and coloured lamp globes, which are not made here, comes to 107 per. cent. The cost of importing lamp chimneys is 165 per cent. The cost of importing the clear crimped-top lamp chimney is 204 per cent., and the cost of importing frosted crimped-top lamp chimneys 170 per cent. These are the charges in addition to the duty.
– And the loss by breakages is not taken into account.
– No. As I pointed out earlier in the debate, it is shown by invoices that the average loss on glassware landed at Port Adelaide is about 10 per cent. In addition to a natural protection, which ranges from 107 per .cent, to 204 per cent., the Committee has imposed a duty of 25 per cent - on foreign importations, and it is now proposed to make the duty on British importations 20 per cent. The honorable member for Bendigo must think that he is talking to children when he says that this protection is not sufficient. How much does he want? The measurement duties which were knocked out were equivalent to over 500 per cent. The local manufacturers of glassware are being treated very liberally.
.- Honorable members have a lot to say about the natural protection enjoyed by the local manufacturers of glassware, but it does not prevent imported tumblers from being retailed in Victoria at 1½d. each, or is. 4d. a dozen. These goods are being dumped here, notwithstanding the supposed protection of 165 per cent. Their original cost cannot be more than 5d. or 6d. a dozen. They are made by work-people who are employed for twelve hours a day during all the seven days qf the week. I bought for 1½d. the tumbler which I hold in mv hand.
– Did -the honorable member wish to pay 6d. for it ?
– I mention the fact to show that the protection about which honorable members have said so much does not prevent dumping. How can our work-people, who are employed only eight hours a day, for a week of forty-eight hours, compete with work-people who are employed, for a week of eighty-four hours, and many of whom are women and girls? There are no women or girls employed in the glassmaking industry in Australia, where all the operatives are paid Wages Board rates, and work under proper conditions.
– How much did the other tumbler, which the honorable member has, cost ?
– The other is very much the better article.
– Of course, the honorable member prefers the imported article. The cost of sending a ton of - glassware from Germany to New South Wales is only 5s. a ton of 36 cubic feet measurement.
– Can the honorable member produce a bill of lading to prove that statement 7
– I can support it with sworn evidence. The talk about the socalled natural protection is all humbug, and I hope that the Minister will not allow the duty to be further reduced.
– No doubt the Tariff _ Commissioners took into consideration the enormous charges incidental to the importation of glassware, and, having done so, one section recommended a duty of 15 percent., and the other duties ranging from 20 per cent, to 300 per cent. The complaint of the honorable member for Bendigo comes rather late, and, as we have dealt with item 252, we might very well agree to the proposed rate of 20 per cent, on British importations, so that we can make progress.
Question - That after the words “25 pur cent.” the words “ and on and after 4th December, 1907, ad val., (United Kingdom), 20 per cent.” be added (Mr. Poynton’s amendment) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 2
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment agreed to.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Item 254 (Glass ; lenses, &c.) agreed to.
Item 255. Glass, viz. : - Gas analysis apparatus, arsenic testing apparatus and tubes, evaporating basins, free.
.- This item relates to scientific glassware, on which a moderate protection is sought by firms in Brisbane who are engage’s” in the industry. We have already established in that city two factories.
– What does the Minister say to this?
– Having regard to the vote to destroy the glass industry just given by the honorable member, I shall not give what he asks if I can help it.
– The honorable member knows perfectly well that I made no attempt to destroy the glassware industry.
I shall put the facts of this case before the Committee, leaving honorable members to decide as they think fit. I have no interest in the matter.
– We shall do just as the honorable member has been doing. He has been voting against everything that is not “ Queensland.”
– I have been voting against proposals of which I disapprove, and shall continue to vote against every proposition that I think is not in the interests of the people. I have certain f acts relating to the scientific glassware industry to put before the Committee, and appeal to the better nature of the Treasurer to do justice to it. How have the Victorian industries been treated? The hat manufacturers of Victoria have been granted the assistance of protective duties amounting to nearly 200 per cent., and the clothing manufacturers have also received substantial protection. Does not the Treasurer think that every industry deserves some encouragement at the hands of the Government? If the news goes forth that because I voted against the Government on two or three items of which I did not approve, an important industry in Queensland is to be penalized, what opinion will the people form of the Treasurer’s attitude?
– They will form a very bad opinion of the honorable member.
– What will the people think of the vote given a few minutes ago by the Treasurer, who professes a desire to grant a preference to the Old Country ?
– What will the people of Japan think?
– They are well able to look after themselves, and seek no assistance from us. The Treasurer says he will grant no consideration to the scientific glassware industry, because on the last item I voted against the Government. That is a contemptible stand to take up.
– The Treasurer in this case has turned free-trader.
– He is a free-trader when it suits him, or, to use one of his own elegant phrases, “ a shandygaff protectionist.” I do not pretend to be an expert in thematter of scientific glassware, but I have here a catalogue of various instruments that are being manufactured in the factories to which I have referred.
– And the Treasurer ought to be prepared to protect them.
– He should be, if he desires to establish the industry on a sound basis. Messrs. J. and W. Wilson Limited, of Brisbane, under date 14th October, 1907, wrote to me as follows -
Following our letter of 5th inst., re scientific glassware, we beg to state that the circular sent you was printed prior to the declaration of the new Tariff. We mentioned incandescent electric lamps as being admitted free, but under the new Tariff they carry 25 per cent. and_ 15 per cent, (vide item 144). This is the only article in our line of business that has received any adequate protection. Items 255,. 256, and 442 include most of the articles important to those in our line of business, and are admitted free. On pages 7, 8, and 9 of our illustrated catalogue are some’ testimonials which prove our ability to turn out scientific glassware. At present we are manufacturing for the Commonwealth, New Zealand, Singapore, Honolulu, &c. We would draw your attention to what we consider an anomaly in the present Tariff relating to glassware. While fine, expensive, artistic, and ornamental glassware, which is not made in the Commonwealth nor likely to be for many years to come, carries a duty of 35 per cent., scientific glassware, which can be and is being made here, is admitted duty free.
The Treasurer does not listen; he does not want to learn the truth regarding this industry -
We fail to see the justice of this, presuming that the Tariff is intended to assist and protect Australian industries.
The general belief is that the object of the Tariff is to assist industries generally, and not to penalize any one industry because the honorable member who advocates its protection has voted against the Government -
We know of many glass-workers throughout the States, comprising the Commonwealth and New Zealand, who cannot obtain work at their trade on account of the free importation from the Continent; and who are obliged to be engaged in- such work as railway carriage cleaners, labourers in connexion with the metal trades, tramway employes, storemen, packers, bailiffs, &c, or any employment offering. We would respectfully suggest that the list of articles contained in our circular as scientific glassware be included in the Tariff as glassware, item 253, carrying duty to the extent of 35 per cent, in the general Tariff and 25 per cent, in the preferential Tariff. We trust that when these matters come up for debate, our Queensland representatives will see the necessity for giving our industry protection, and give our views their very earnest support.
I have done my part.
– The honorable member ‘has dealt with their interests !
– I venture to say that every newspaper in the Commonwealth will expose the Treasurer.
– I shall expose the honorable member before I have done with him.
– There is nothing concerning me that the Minister can expose; I am utterly independent of him.
– I rise to a point of order. Is the Treasurer in order in describing th’e honorable member for Oxleyas he did across the table - as an old fraud ? I think that it is disgraceful.
– The honorable mem. . ber for Parramatta is in order in calling my attention to such a statement, but he is not in order in commenting upon it. There was so much noise that I did not hear the statement attributed to the Treasurer, but. if he did make it I must ask him to withdraw it.
– I withdraw anything that the honorable member for Oxley thinks is offensive to him. I shall reply to him.
– Had I heard the remark myself I should have asked that the Treasurer be called upon to withdraw it. Anything that he may say, however, will not affect me; we all know how offensive he can be. The letter which I have just read was accompanied by a number of testimonials which, but for the consideration that I have for other honorable members, I might read for the benefit of the Treasurer. I was prepared to show some consideration for the Treasurer until I heard ‘the contemptible way in which he said that he would not agree to protection for this industry, because I had recorded a certain vote. One of the testimonials to which I refer is from “ R. L. J. Ellery, F.R.S., Government Astronomer, Melbourne,” and is as follows -
This is to certify that I know Mr. W. Wilson as a skilled thermometer and barometer maker and worker in all kinds of glass meteorological instruments, he having made and repaired many instruments, &c, for the Observatory to my entire satisfaction.
I read these testimonials to show that the men who have established this industry in . Brisbane are competent men.
– If they were established in Victoria, they would get protection all right.
– They would. I was going to remind the Minister that this industry is established in Brisbane and not in Melbourne. It is just as well that honorable members should understand that.
I propose only to read another testimonial from Messrs. Humble and Nicholson, of Vulcan Foundry, Geelong-
– Order ! I cannot allow the- honorable member to read the whole of these testimonials. He will see that if I did so, and the practice were followed by other honorable members, there would bie no finality to the discussions upon the Tariff.
– May I remind you, sir, .that during the discussions on the Tariff testimonials have been read repeatedly. I had marked only two concerning the business to which I am referring, and had no intention to read any more. I hope I shall be allowed to read the second testimonial which I intended to bring under the notice of the Committee.
– Order. !
– Very well, I will not read it. These men are very well known, and I have no doubt the day will come when the Treasurer will regret what he said this afternoon.
– Indeed, I will not.
– I hope the Committee will have some regard for an industry to which the Treasurer is not . prepared to give any consideration.
– The honorable member for Oxley has said that I will not do what he desired because he has been trying to destroy the glass industry this afternoon.
– The honorable gentleman said so himself.
– The honorable member has given votes to-day-
– And every day.
– And every day, which were absolutely destructive of industries.
– I rise to a point of order. Has the Treasurer any right to reflect upon a vote of any member of the Committee?
– No. The honorable gentleman would not be in order in reflecting upon the vote of any member of the Committee, but I did not understand him’ to do so.
– I am not reflecting upon the honorable member, who, of course, is at liberty to do as he likes. But when the honorable member for Oxley has voted, as he has done in almost every instance, to reduce the duty proposed in connexion with the very industry to which he is now referring to- rates which would render it impossible to carry on the industry, of what use is it for him to ask me to put certain manufacturers in Brisbane in a position which I say is not a good position for them or for any one else - and solely because of the way in which the honorable member has voted. I am not going to do it.
– I am glad that the honorable member has told us that.
– I do not wish to reflect upon the last vote, -but it was the most serious vote given in this chamber.
– Order !
– I resent such a statement.
– I am exceedingly sorry that such a vote should have been given. I marvel that the honorable member and other representatives of Queensland on the Opposition side get anything through this House, because other honorable members have become tired of the practice they have followed, of voting to suit their own purposes, instead of in the interests of the other States.
– Order !
– The attitude assumed by the honorable member for Oxley in making this request borders on the humourous. For weeks past the honorable member has consistently voted for the lowest possible duty, except where the interests of a Queensland industry have been at stake. He now asks, again in respect of a Queensland industry, that it should be given every consideration in this Tariff. Whenever a Queensland industry is in question, the honorable member desires that something should be done for it, and every other part of Australia, so far as he is concerned, can go hang. I say that, so far as my knowledge of the people of Queensland goes, they do not desire any such discrimination in their favour. They are content that duties should be so imposed as to benefit industries in all the States alike.
– That is so.
– I am sure that they would repudiate the selfish attitude the honorable member has consistently adopted in this Chamber.
– What discrimination has been suggested by the honorable member for Oxley?
– The honorable member for Oxley has consistently voted for the lowest rate of duty he could get on every item in which Queensland was not concerned..
– I rise to a point of order. I wish to know whether the honorable member is in order in reflecting upon any votes recorded by members of the Committee ?
– The honorable member would not be in order in reflecting upon any vote given by’ any honorable member, I did hot understand the honorable member to do so, but if he did, I am sure he will withdraw.
– I would not think of reflecting upon the honorable member for Oxley. I merely direct attention to some little inconsistencies on the part of the honorable member, which are probably quite accidental. There is, however, a peculiarity about them, as they always seem to be in the one direction. Where a Queensland industry is involved, the honorable member suddenly becomes a protectionist, and on everything else he- is a free-trader.
– The honorable member must not pursue that line of argument.
– Despite the attitude adopted by the honorable member for Oxley, I do not think that we should ignore a Queensland industry. I am quite prepared to . give every consideration to industries established in Queensland, even -though representatives of that State should be so selfish as to refuse to give consideration to industries .established in the other States. I trust that the Treasurer will look into the matter referred to, and see whether anything has been overlooked. I am glad to be able to say that at the Women’s Work Exhibition recently held here I saw some Queensland glass products from Rockhampton that were equal to anything I have seen imported from the Old Country, or anything of the kind that has ever been placed on the market in Australia. I regret that owing to the last vote, carried with the assistance of the honorable member for Oxley and other honorable members opposite, such productions are likely to receive so small a measure of protection in the future that it is doubtful whether the industry for their manufacture can continue to be carried on.
– Order !
– I think the Treasurer should look into this matter, in which the Brisbane industry referred to is concerned, and endeavour to make good any deficiency in the Tariff.
– It is not worth while.
.- From the debate which has taken place since the honorable member for Oxley brought this matter before the Committee, and from general remarks on the Tariff to which I have listened, I am disposed to think that the honorable member made the greatest possible mistake in not. first consulting the Treasurer’s understudy, the honorable member for Batman. If he had only told that honorable member that he wanted a duty for the benefit of this Brisbane industry, I am satisfied that the Treasurer would have acceded at once to his request. This is the Lyne-Coon Tariff. There is no doubt at all about that. As soon as any article is mentioned, the honorable member for Batman gets up, and says, “ The thing can be made in Australia. I have it here in my pocket.” The honorable member went so far the other night as to say that he had a sheep- shearing machine and a wool-scouring machine in his pocket. He may know something about a good many things, but the honorable member does not know much about wool, or he would not have brought forward the sample he exhibited in- this Chamber. The trouble is that this is a Queensland industry, and so did not happen to have the ear of the Treasurer, the Minister of Trade and Customs, or the honorable member for Batman. The honorable member for Oxley was returned as an independent member of this Parliament, and is free to vote as he likes. We all claim to do that. If one or two, or the whole of the representatives of Queensland, happen to be opposed to the policy of the Government, that is no reason why the industries of that State should not be given a square deal.
– The honorable member wants a square deal for Queensland industries, but will not concede- the same to the industries of the other States.
– With all respect to the honorable member for South Sydney, I claim to have helped industries in Victoria and New South Wales, as well as Queensland industries.
– I was not referring to the honorable member.
– -Then I beg the honorable member’s pardon. I do not wish to do any man or woman in the Commonwealth out of a day’s work, and from what I know of him the honorable member for Oxley would not do so either.
– The honorable member’s votes do not show that.
– The honorable member for Oxley, as well as the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, has his own opinions. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports is a one-eyed protectionist, and cannot cavil if the honorable member for Oxley is the same. I ask the Treasurer to leave the honorable members for Oxley and Maranoa out of this question altogether, and, if it is the policy of the Government to protect established industries, to do something for this industry in Queensland.
– I was somewhat astonished to hear the honorable member for Oxley making a proposition
– Why cannot honorable memberslet the honorable member for Oxley alone? They are pecking at him like a lot of political crows.
– Surely it is not befitting a deliberate assembly that when one rises to throw some light on a discussion
– The honorable member is doing nothing of the kind. He is rising for the purpose of savagely attacking another honorable member.
– The honorable member ought to know that I never savagely attack any one. No member of the Committee is more meek and mild in his criticism of others than I am. I express my surprise that, when the Committee has declined to place any duty upon scientific appliances, the honorable member for Oxley should have asked us to go out of our way in order to assist an industry in the State from which he comes. The honorable member did not indicate the articles which he desired to have protected, or the duty he wished to have placed upon them. Am I to understand that he wishes the Government to take into serious consideration the desirability of taxing scientific glassware ?
– Yes. Just because these articles are manufactured here, in the same way as are clothing and hats.
– A number of scientific appliances which are manufactured here have already been placed on the free list by the Committee. The Government have studiously avoided the imposition of duties upon material used for scientific purposes. The honorable member must be aware that gas analysis apparatus is not very largely used, and I feel sure that he would not desire that an impost should be placed upon instruments used to prevent disaster to the community. Arsenic testing apparatus and tubes should be treated in the same way.
– The honorable member should not decry an Australian industry.
– I have no wish to do so, but I say that purely scientific instruments should be admitted under the freest possible conditions.
– If they are made in Australia, what does it matter whether they are made in Queensland or in Victoria?
– I do not care where they are made.
– Be fair.
– Does the honorable member accuse me of unfairness for saving a word for the freedom of scientific apparatus which we have already admitted free of duty under different parts of the Tariff ? Ifthe honorable member for Oxley desires a duty, I hope that the Treasurer will give his request the consideration it deserves. But I feel that the Treasurer will be consistent. He has been consistent throughout the consideration of the Tariff. We should not place an impost upon articles required for scientific work. Even if a duty were placed upon evaporating basins, I do not think that it would make any difference in the number manufactured here. The honorable member for Oxley has gone out of his’ way to ask the Committee to do something which they have never done before, in placing aduty upon apparatus used solely for scientific work, and for making scientific observations.
– And which are manufactured in Australia. That is the crux of the whole thing.
– The honorable member astonishes me bv the fluency of his protectionist protestations. He would go to the extent of those who in France some years ago proposed that the air also should be taxed, because it was produced in France.
– Mr. Kingston proposed a duty of 15 per cent. in 1902.
– Was it carried?
– It was knocked out. If these articles were made in Maryborough, Victoria, the honorable member would barrack for a duty on them.
– The honorable member is not treating me fairly. I know of several items under the heading of scientific apparatus which are made in Melbourne; but which, if they were dutiable, I would strongly urge should be placed upon the free list. I am glad to say that they are already on the free list. I can only express my regret that the new-born zeal of the honorable member for Oxley for protectionist principles had not been exhibited in a worthier cause.
. _ I much regret that the Minister should have lost his temper this afternoon.
– I never lose my temper.
– I spoke this morning in admiration of the way in which the Minister has controlled himself during the whole Tariff discussion. I was honest and sincere in what I said then; but I am afraid that it had a bad effect upon him. Apparently he likes to be scolded better than to be praised. I ask him to take this matter into consideration with the view of giving some measure of protection to the industry which I have mentioned. I ‘ do not care whether it is established in brisbane or in any other part of the Commonwealth. I take it that the industry is established to some extent in other parts of the Commonwealth. I know -that I cannot move for an increase of duty, but the particular articles which Messrs. J. and W. Wilson manufacture are to be found in items 255, 256, and 442.
– Which of the articles enumerated in item 255 do they manufacture ?
– The honorable member can read, I presume. He has the Tariff in front of him. I gave him the numbers of the items. Surely he does not want any more?
– The honorable member is misleading the ‘Committee, because they do not make all the articles included in item 255.
– The honorable member is very troublesome. He takes up a good deal of time himself. He should know that we want to get the Tariff through before Christmas. I ask the Minister to take the matter into his serious consideration, with a view to giving protection not only to this firm, but to others throughout the Commonwealth. The honorable member for Laanecoorie knows that I am not speaking only on behalf of the people of my own State. It has ‘been alleged that I vote only for those things which will benefit Queensland, but I can say .that Queensland has nothing to thank the Federal Parliament for. It is always thrown in our faces that we do nothing except for the benefit of Queensland. I deny and resent the imputation. I hope the Treasurer will see his way clear to impose a duty of 15’ or 20 per cent. I think I am moderate in my request. I term myself a moderate protectionist. I am not an extremist. I regard high duties as being just as bad as are top low duties. The self-reliance of men and masters is weakened when they have to depend on duties, and on such assistance as they may be able to get from a Government.’
.- I hope the Minister will take the request of the honorable member for Oxley into serious consideration. We want only a square deal. The honorable member for Oxley does not ask the Treasurer to impose a duty on the whole of the item.
– Yes, he does.
– That is not so. The honorable member for Oxley has furnished the Minister with a catalogue of the surgical instruments that are made by the firm in Brisbane.
– Those are not included in this item.
– The Minister sits in his chair like a Sphinx, and will not say what he will do or not do. Instead of the honorable member for Laanecoorie helping the honorable member for Oxley, knowing full well, as a professional man, the names of these scientific instruments, he tried to cloud the issue by saying that they are not included in this item. If the honorable member for Laanecoorie were fair to the honorable member for Oxley, to the Committee, and to Queensland, he would say whether these articles can be made in Australia or not. Will he say, as a professional man, whether this is a fair industry to be protected? If it were carried on in Victoria, I am satisfied that every Victorian in the House, including the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, would be barracking hard for it. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports interjected something about free-traders being strong on protection. I may tell the honorable member that I was not returned at the last election as a free-trader. I announced on the platform what I intended to do with regard to protection. I said that if the Government introduced scientific protection, and would protect the workers, I would give them the help that they needed. I hope the honorable member for Melbourne Ports will not throw that taunt at me again. I am as good a man as he is, in any way he likes to take me. No good end is served by saying that honorable members are agents for this or that man. Each of us has a constituency to represent, and is amenable to his electors. Let them deal with us, instead of our attempting tojudge one another on the floor of this chamber. The honorable member for Oxley has only asked for a fair thing for our State. He wants the same fair and square treatment for Queensland as I and other Queensland members have given to the other States in regard to their manufacturing industries. I ask the Treasurer, in all seriousness, to see if something cannot be done to protect this industry. Messrs. J. and W. Wilson claim to be the sole Australian manufacturers of accurate scientific glassware. Their factory and warehouse is situated in Wharf-street, Brisbane. I do not know them, but as the instruments which they advertise are made in Brisbane,, which after all is in the Commonwealth, those honorable members who are so strong on protection for industries in other States which have more numerous representation than Queensland has should accord this industry the same fair, square treatment as other States are getting. I ask the Treasurer to give this matter consideration, not on account of the honorable member for Oxley, who does not care a snap of the lingers personally, but in the interests of Queensland and of the Commonwealth.
– The honorable member for Oxley has been good enough to suggest that I have chattered a good deal on this Tariff. I have spoken very little upon it. My constituency is vitally interested in it in many ways, but in the interests of the despatch of business I have kept silent on many occasions in the face of great provocation. When I asked the honorable member for Oxley a civil question as to what articles included in item 255 were made by the Brisbane firm mentioned, he replied in a fashion which I am sorry to say he has apparently acquired from those with whom he is sitting.
– I gave the honorable member the number of the item.
– I asked the honorable member a question with regard to the articles in the item, but he resented it, and was somewhat rude. At any rate, he was querulous.
– I replied in the same tone as the honorable member used in asking the question.
– I was anxious for information, but I did not get it. I have now been handed a copy of the catalogue issued by this firm. From a cursory glance, I should say that the manufactures of this firm do not come under the item we are discussing at all. The honorable member for Oxley has anticipated the discussion on a subsequent item.
– They come partly under this item and partly under the next.
– I cannot find in the catalogue any article that is includedin item 255. There are only three articles included in that item, one of which I know from personal knowledge is not manufactured in the Commonwealth. When the honorable member asserted that all the articles in item 255 were manufactured in the Commonwealth, he made an assertion that is not borne out by the catalogue itself. I hope the Treasurer will decide not to place a duty on apparatus used purely for scientific purposes. If the Minister refuses to impose a duty he will be doing only what has been the consistent policy of the protectionist party for many years past. Of course, we desire to see these articles manufactured here, if possuble; but if they are not manufactured here - and even if they are - we decline to make them subject to taxation.
– I plead with the Treasurer to do justice to Queensland, irrespective of any feeling he may have in regard to the honorable member for Oxley. In a great fiscal battle of this kind, we ought not to feel sore if we do not get all the assistance we think we ought to have.
– Then by this time I ought to feel a little sore.
– Quite so; I feel sore myself. At the same time, I urge the Treasurer ‘in this instance to be a Christian to Queensland.
.- I hope the Treasurer will not differentiate between glassware in this item and glasswareas treated under item 256. We have agreed that glassware under item 253 shall be admitted on duties of 25 per cent. and 20 per cent. ; and now it is proposed that, instead of admitting free glassware which we cannot make in this country successfully, a duty should be imposed because there is a factory or factories, in Queensland. I do not believe that there is a glass factory in my electorate, but I feel sure, seeing that the electorate is within a stone’s throw of some of the largest factories in Australia, that some of those engaged in the industry are amongst my constituents. I was perfectly content with a duty of 25 per cent., which the honorable member for Parramatta has informed us really means protection up to 130 per cent. That duty, however, is for the bond fide- protection of an industry already in existence, employing a considerable number of people, whereas the proposal now is- to impose a duty to protect an industry in which only one or two persons are employed in some factory in Queensland. The proposal exhibits a provincial and narrow view ; and I hope that, in the interests of scientific research and knowledge, the honorable member for Oxley will not persist in his amendment. I am sure that the honorable member’s contention will not be corroborated, namely, that glassware for scientific instruments can be produced in Australia to compete with European instruments.
.- It is generally known that I was returned to this Parliament pledged not to interfere with the old Tariff. At the same time, I cannot help feeling thai attention may very well be drawn to the attitude of protectionists like the honorable member for Laanecoorie and others. All through the Tariff discussion we have seen high duties imposed in order to protect industries, some of which are only one-man industries, or employing very few people.
– How many men are employed in this glassware industry in Queensland?
– I do not know.
– The honorable member will not answer the question.
– It has taken very little inducement in other cases to cause protectionists to impose duties even as high as 40 per cent., and 50 per cent.
– The honorable mem ber has voted free-trade in everything but sugar.
– I have voted consistently all through for the old Tariff, and I intend to do so in regard to the present item. At the same time, I desire to point out the inconsistency of the extreme protectionist members, who. are now attacking the honorable member for Oxley, seeing that time after time they have imposed high duties in the case of industries which give no more employment than does the industry under discussion.
– Those protectionists have been consistent right through, whereas the honorable member has not.
– That does not affect the position taken up by protectionist members opposite. The honorable member for Oxley has never advocated prohibitive duties. It has been pointed out that he has voted against the Government on many occasions, but that is simply because he is a moderate protectionist ; and now he asks for a moderate protective duty.
– “ Moderate protectionist “ is only another name for free-trader !
– That is a matter of opinion. The honorable member for Oxley is quite consistent in proposing a duty of 15 per cent, or 20 per cent. Honorable members opposite, as I have already said, have supported duties as high as 35 per cent, and -40 per cent.
– Not on scientific instruments.
– The fact that these people in Queensland manufacture scientific instruments has very little to do with the matter from a Tariff point of view. We must not forget the taxation, equal to 15 per cent, or 20 per cent., which has been imposed on the farmer. What difference would it make to scientific research if particular instruments cost 2’d. or 3d. more by reason of the proposed duty? It is ridiculous to say that scientific research will be stopped at once if a duty of 1.5 per cent, be placed on this glassware.
– The honorable member did not speak like that when the duty on wire netting was under discussion !
– I opposed the duty on wire netting, just as I shall oppose theproposed duty on this glassware, which was free under the old Tariff. I am. merely pointing out the inconsistency of those who ha,ve attacked the honorable member for Oxley on the ground of his inconsistency.
– - The honorable member for Oxley is asking me to do that which is quite impossible at the present stage. If honorable members turn to items 255, 256, and 442, they will see that the system foi-
Sowed now, as in the past, is to make scientific instruments free; and I cannot think of reversing, at a moment’s notice, the policy which has been followed for so long. On several occasions, when scientific instruments have been involved, I have eliminated them from dutiable items in order that they might be made free. But the honorable member for Oxley now asks me at a moment’s notice to upset the whole scheme of the Tariff, simply because he has discovered that there is a glassware industry in Queensland.
– Has the Treasurer not altered other items over and over again ?
– Not in relation to scientific instruments. This is a scientific matter altogether.
– What is a scientific matter? The manufacture of glassware?
– I am referring to scientific instruments. The honorable member holds that whether scientific instruments or other goods are made here or not, they ought to be obtained from Great Britain.
– I do not say that.
– The honorable member has said so in every case.
– However, at the present time I am not prepared to take any action in the direction proposed by the honorable member for Oxley.
Question - That the item be agreed to - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 37
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Item agreed to.
Item 256. Scientific Apparatus (glass), viz. : -
Beakers; Flasks; Test Tubes; Vacuum Tubes; Burettes; Weighing Bottles and Tubes; Eudiometers ; Nitrometers ; Radiometers ; Fat Extraction Tubes; Filter Pumps; Gas Washing Reduction Absorption and Drying Bulbs Towers and Tubes; Glassware graduated in centimetres grains minims ounces and grammes; also Carbonic Acid, Sulphuretted Hydrogen, Decomposing Water, and Bacteriological Apparatus of Glass. Free.
.- Before this item is passed, I appeal to the Prime Minister, who is now in the chamber, to see that justice is done to the people of Queensland. I am satisfied that there is some justification for the articles which have appeared in the public press of that State, and which declare that its wants are ignored by this Parliament. The Government is supposed to be a protectionist Government, and I ask the Prime Minister to see that the same modicum of protection is extended to Queensland industries that has been extended to the industries of other States.
Item agreed to.
Item 257 (Screens, Process Engravers’) agreed to.
Item 258. Bottle Stoppers, n.e.i., of all kinds and materials, free.
– I move -
That the words “ of all kinds and materials” be left out.
– I should like to know from the Treasurer what will be the effect of his amendment?
– I am informed that the retention of the words would give to the item an operation outside of the divisional heading.
– I am not aware that stoppers are specified in any other portion of the Tariff.
– They are included in item 253.
– Only glass stoppers. But there are stoppers other than those made of glass. For ininstance, there are rubber stoppers. Would they come under the heading of rubber?
– If stoppers are made of wood they will come under the heading of wood, if they are made of rubber they will come under the heading of rubber, and if they are made of metal they will come under the heading of metal.
– If the Government desire to make it clear that it is not corks to which reference is made in this item, why ; not insert the words “except corks”? In the absence of some such words, the importers of materials other than glass will not know whether the stoppers are dutiable or not.
– I would point out to the honorable member that bottle stoppers come under different designations, and are subjected to different duties. The Customs Department does not consider that it would be easy to include all stoppers under one heading. Consequently it desires that they shall be grouped.
– May I point out to the Treasurer that glass stoppers are specifically named, and consequently if other stoppers are not elsewhere included they will be admitted free.
– They will be free, unless they are specified as bottle stoppers.
Amendment agreed to.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Item 259. Bottles, n.e.i., Flasks, and Jars, empty, including packing ; measuring outside the package as imported : -
– In respect of this item we have one of the most severe increases of duty that has been levied under this Tariff. The impost upon bottles of more than10 ozs. of fluid capacity, has been raised from20 per cent. under the old Tariff, and from 10 per cent. in the case of wine and beer bottles, to at least 100 and 150 per cent. in certain instances. These are most extraordinary increases. Yet we know that under the operation of the old Tariff the bottle-making industry was flourishing and expanding. The rate which formerly obtained, added to freight and other charges, represented a natural protection to the industry of from 60 to 80 per cent. Let me point out to the Committee the effect of freight and charges. The New South Wales Wine and Spirit Association has furnished some figures showing that the Home cost of black wine bottles is10s. per gross, and that, under the present duty, the landedcost with all charges in Sydney is 35s. per gross, being an increase of 250 per cent. on the Home cost. The landed cost of the same description of bottles at Fremantle is 38s. per gross, being an increase of 280 per cent. on the Home cost; while at Hobart it is 40s. per gross, being an increase of 300 per cent. on the Home cost.
– In Sydney persons can get bottles made for ever so much less than 35s. per gross.
– The figures I have given illustratethe effect of the new duty, which duty, I may say, works out at about 100 per cent. on the value of the bottles.
– What is the landed cost of the bottles independent of the duty?
– I have not worked that out.
– It is most important to know that.
– The Honorable member can easily calculate that for himself, as the fixed duty on the bottles is equivalent to about 100 per cent. ad valorem.
– About 110 per cent. is the cost of bringing the bottles to Australia
– As the duty on the bottles is10d. per cubic foot, and the Home price of them is10d. per dozen, a dozen bottles go to the cubic foot.
– I think that the landed cost runs from18s. to £1 per gross.
– The honorable member for Grampians has interjected that no per cent. is the cost of bringing out the bottles, and if we take the Home cost at10s. per gross, the landed cost will be about 21s. Under the old Tariff, including all charges, a. protection including charges of from 60 to 100 per cent., according to the class of the bottle, was given to the bottlemakers But under the new Tariff the protection is increased by three times on some items, and by more than three times on some items. Surely that is not a reasonable duty ! No one else has ever claimed such gigantic protection. No one has ever claimed a duty of 100 per cent, on the Home cost, when the article was a small one which would not occupy much space. In the case of bulky goods like bottles it costs an enormous amount in proportion to cost to protect them from breakage and to import them. Is it right to levy an enormous tax on an article of that sort ?
– Hitherto an enormous proportion of the bottles have been brought out full.’
– The honorable member is raising another question, with which we shall have to deal afterwards. I do no’t -think that there is very much in his observation.
– It is a very large item. Under the old Tariff bottles came in free.
– In some cases that assisted other manufacturers.
– But that did not do much for the bottle-makers.
– The bottle-makers are doing very well for themselves.
– No; some of them are doing no good at all.
– As in every other calling, there will be differences in the results, but the more important bottle works are doing very well.
– In both Sydney and Melbourne a number of persons have gone down in the bottle-making industry.
– Yes, and in every other industry, but surely it is not proposed to levy enormous duties merely to prevent some persons from being unsuccessful in a calling in which others are successful. What we have to consider is not so much the firms who are engaged in the trade as whether the proposed duty is reasonable and for the good of the people. I cannot see how enormous duties can be for their good. I also have some figures relating to some shipments of bottles which, under the old Tariff, came in at a total duty of £16 10s., but which, under the new Tariff, would come in at a total duty of £165. Of course, those figures refer to only special cases. The other figures I quoted related to a large import of the ordinary black wine bottles and bottles of a similar size, such as beer bottles. In addition to that, we have to remember that this item covers not only bottles, but also flasks and ju.-s. On pre- serving jars, which are largely used here, the duty amounts to from 60 to 80 per cent.
– Jars are made in Australia, too.
– If preserving jars were made largely under .the old Tariff, as I believe they were, there seems to be no occasion for the enormous increase of duty which is proposed. Then let us take small jars, such as meat extract jars. On an invoice value of £103 8s. 3d., the old duty of 20 per cent, amounted to £20 16’s. id., and on an invoice value of £.115 4s. 4d., the new” duty has amounted to £56 10s. 4d., showing an increase of over 200. per cent. . Again, take an invoice of ginger-beer bottles. Under the old Tariff the duty was £49 10s., but under the new Tariff it is £i&o. What a gigantic increase that is ! I ask the Treasurer if he is wedded to ‘these enormous duties. Surely such duties, which have not been asked for on any other items, are not . intended to be maintained ? A protection of from 250 to 300 per cent, on bottles - which are subject to a. duty equal to 100 per cent. - is surely too gigantic a tax to levy on articles which are used largely in a great many of our industries.
– But the honorablemember must not forget the bottle-makers.
– I am not forgetting the bottle-makers. I have pointed out that under the old duty thelarger bottle-works were exceedingly active and increasing their trade. I do not say that every bottle-maker was doing well, but the trade itself was growing, and the annual reduction in the number of imported bottles was affording an opportunity for a considerable increase in local business. I cannot see from that aspect that there was any necessity to increase the old duty. If we retain this enormous duty on jars, it will handicap our meat extract makers in the markets of the world.
– Why do we not make the jars here?
– There is no doubt that if the importer whose invoice I quoted just now could get the jars cheaper locally, he would do so. No man imports an article for mere amusement.
– A great many of them do.
– A manufacturer must procure as cheaply as possible the bottles and jars in which he wants. to pack his goods; he will not give any preference in price unless there is a. superiority in quality. I do not know that any one has ever attempted to make meat extract jars here, or that it would pay any one to do so. But the effect of this enormous duty is to handicap the exporter of meat extract in competition with other countries. I hope that the Minister will reconsiderthe duties embraced in this item. At the present moment, I shall not move a reduction in the duty on bottles, but personally I should prefer to retain the old duty of 20 per cent.
– I do not know that any reason has been given for increasing the old duty. I point out to the honorable gentleman that measurement duties are very objectionable. Under the old Victorian Tariff, they were found objectionable, and I think abandoned. Under this system it is all a question of what space articles can be packed into. In many instances, it compels persons to adopt a certain shape of article, when they would rather use another shape. They have to adopt a shape which will allow the article to be packed closely. Measurement duties are absolutely objectionable, especially on lines like bottles, and’ whatever duty we may decide upon I urge the Treasurer to abandon them.
Sitting suspended from 6.30to 7.45 p.m.
– I desire to test the feeling of the Committee on the question of whether the duty should be calculated on an ad valorem basis or at so much per cubic foot. I shall do that by moving to strike out the words “per cubic foot.” The Committee can afterwards determine upon the rate of duty if the amendment be agreed to. I may mention, however, that I am inclined to support duties of 25 per cent. and 20 per cent., though I believe there is a consensus of opinion in favour of 30 per cent. and 35 per cent. I intend to move -
That the words “ per cubic foot,” paragrapha, be left out.
– I had intended to move an amendment on the same lines as that of the honorable member for Grey. I admit that the proposed duty is high, and so far as I can judge, it is not likely to be passed by the Committee in its present form. But I think that duties of 30 per cent. and 25 per cent. would be rather low. I had intended to propose that the duties should be 40 per cent. and 35 per cent.
– I think that 30 per cent. and 25 per cent. would be reasonable.
– My information is that those duties would provoke great complaints from those in the bottle trade. But the honorable member for Grampians knows a. good deal about the subject, and I should like to hear his opinion. I know that he imports and exports bottles, and I shall not move an amendment until I have heard what he has to say.
– If the Minister moves that the duty be 30 per cent. and 25 per cent. we will support him.
– I hope that the Minister will not agree to duties so low as that. They would be useless.
– I had intended to move the item in the form of two paragraphs - paragraph a relating to bottles n.e.i., flasks, and jars, empty, ad valorem, 40 per cent. and 35 per cent. ; paragraph b, wine, beer, spirit, and aerated water bottles, empty, 30 per cent. and 25 per cent. As I gather, it is desirable that there should be a little differentiation.
– Those duties would wipe out the beer bottle trade.
– In the meantime, I ask the honorable member for Grampians, who knows all about this subject, to tell us what he thinks.
– I may be supposed to speak more or less as one who is interested in thismatter, though my interests will not be allowed to influence my vote in this House. I shall deal with the subject on general lines, from the point of view of what I consider to be the interests of Australia and Australian industries. I think that a heavy tax upon bottles is oppressive both to the primary producer and the consumer. The old duties of 10 and 20 per cent., when freight and charges were taken into consideration, amounted to a protection of no per cent. I have documentary evidence in my possession which I am prepared to submit to the Treasurer for his perusal, and which will show that my statement is correct.
– Has the honorable member original invoices with him?
– Yes. I think that duties of 30 per cent. and 25 per cent. would afford a large measure of protection to the bottle trade.
– All round ?
– Yes; I think that those duties should be applied all round. Quantities of goods which are put into small phials are sold at 3d., 4d., and 6d. per bottle retail. Those who use them are largely country people, who ought not to be taxed excessively for the benefit of industries in the large capitals, and to the detriment of the primary producer and consumer all over Australia.
– Would the honorable member allow full bottles to come in free?
– Certainly, considering that the products which they contain are heavily taxed. I have before me invoices which I think should be sufficient to convince the late leader of the Labour Party that my contention is correct.
– I remind the honorable member that the question of dealing with full bottles will be dealt with under the next item.
– A case in point came under my notice within the last two or three weeks. I will quote the figures. Fifteen cases of Burke’s stout, pints, each case containing 8 dozen, were imported. Stout, as honorable members know, is only made in qualities which are in great repute at one place, namely, Dublin. The duty and charges paid under the old Tariff would have been 7s. The extra duty collected under the new Tariff was £4 10s. That is to say, £12 17s. was paid on fifteen cases of pints. The Treasurer knows as well as I do that stout is especially recommended by the medical faculty for the use of sick people, and it is a necessary article of consumption in many such cases. He will surely recognise that an extra charge of £4 10s. on fifteen cases of pints is not fair.
– The bottles are quite good for use after they are washed out.
– And they should be used. I have here an invoice from one of the largest firms in Great Britain, Jorgensen and Jorgensen Limited. It is a Swedish firm, having establishments in several places; its London headquarters are situated in St. Mary’s Axe, London, E.C. I have another statement before me for 578 gross and 3 dozen bottles, including pints and quarts, clarets and black wines. The cost f.o.b. London was £299 19s. 8d. The old duty at 10 per cent. being £40 18s.10d., the freight and other charges would bring the total cost up to £364 9s.1d. Surely to goodness those figures indicate a . sufficiently heavy protection. Under the proposed duty the same shipment, 5,796 cubic feet, at10d. per cubic foot, would cost £24110s. On the top of that have to be added freight and other charges, bringing the total cost up to£5650s. 3d., which is 215 per cent. I do not think that any one wants the people of this country to pay 215 per cent. on bottles. I want as much as any one can do to secure effective protection, because I believe in the establishment of Australian industries throughout the length and breadth of. Australia. But I do not wish to penalize the primary producer or consumer to such an extent as is now proposed. Our policy should be rather to induce people to settle in the country instead of attracting them into the large centres.
-People cannot get on to the land if they want to.
– The honorable member talks without sufficient information. He can get land anywhere if he is prepared to pay for it. I am prepared to indicate where land is to be obtained if people want it. but not if they want it for nothing. Some people want to get land but do not want to work for it. I am quite willing to submit the documents from which I have quoted to the Treasurer, in order that he may see for himself that what I have stated is reasonable. I consider that duties of 30 per cent. and 25 per cent. ad valorem all round ought to be quite sufficient. No one can challenge the figures which I have quoted, and which show a protection of 215 per cent. on a shipment of bottles landed here. I believe in the Australians making their own bottles, but a protection of 215 per cent. is altogether too high. If we impose duties of 30 and 25 per cent., giving the British manufacturers a preference of 5 per cent., we shall deal very liberally with the local industry.
– Would the honorable member impose those rates of duty on both full and empty bottles?
– I think that full bottles should be admitted free, because, although it is said that our manufacturers can make any kind of bottle, it is not so. On the Continent of Europe, and in the United Kingdom, large factories confine themselves to the making of special bottles. One factory will make flagons, another black wine or black beer bottles, another amber glass bottles, another medicine bottles, another patent bottles, and so on. We have a great deal to learn in connexion with bottle making. There are secrets which have been handed down from generation to generation of makers in Germany, France, and England. France is the only country in the world where’ they can make a first-class champagne bottle, capable of standing high pressure. They make a good bottle in Germany, but the German bottle will not compare with the French bottle. Neither will the English bottle. The French champagne pint bottle will stand a pressure of from 160 to 170 lbs. to the square inch. The art of making such bottles is not to be learned in a year or two. Only years of experimenting will produce bottles like those. The best French champagne quart bottles will stand a pressure of from 120 to 1 30. lbs. to the square inch, whilst most other bottles will not stand a pressure of more than about 40 lbs. to the square inch. While I would giveencouragement to the local bottle-making industry, I shall not vote for the prohibition of importations, which is practically what the Government proposal means, the duties proposed being in some instances equivalent to ad valor eu rates of nearly 400 per cent, on some kinds of bottles. I could deal with this matter at greater length, but I shall not do so, unless I find it to be necessary to make a second speech, because we all want to make progress with the Tariff.
.- We all wish to get on, but it will, not be well to progress at the expense of efficiency, or by slurring over our work. I am sorry that the glass-bottle industry has not more friends and sympathizers in this Chamber. I wish that some of the local manufac- turers and workers who gave evidence before the Tariff Commission could speak on their own behalf, as the honorable member for Grampians has spoken, so that we might hear both sides.
– The honorable member for Grampians was not speaking only on his own behalf.
– He admitted that he is interested in this matter. If both sides were heard, honorable members would take a broader and more sympathetic view of the industry. Probably they have not found time to read the evidence taken by the Commission, because it is very voluminous, and the work of going through it is very tedious. Had they read it, they would not deal with these proposals in a cavalier spirit, and, to save time, agree to wholesale reductions of duties. Something like ,£156,000 is invested in bottle works in Australia, upwards of ,£60,000 being sunk in the Melbourne bottle works, while £25,000 is sunk in bottle works in New South Wales, and there are other bottle works in South Australia. It was from South Australia that the request for a substantial increase of the duty on bottles came. Mr. Hughes, the pioneer bottle manufacturer ‘of that State, pointed out that, under the old Tariff, his output was reduced, and he was not able to keep his hands fully employed, so that some of his men were without work for a considerable part of the year. He and other manufacturers strongly advocated fixed rates ; first, because these had operated very successfully in Victoria, and, secondly, because they make it impossible for importers to deceive the Customs authorities by presenting incorrect invoices. We were informed that the Customs authorities prefer the measurement system to a duty of so much_ for a certain number of bottles. Notwithstanding the up-to-date equipment of the Melbourne Bottle Works, the proprietors cannot, compete against many of the imported bottles. Their present machinery has enabled them to reduce prices ; but now further reductions are impossible, and Mr. McNeilage informed the Tariff. Commission that, even if the higher rates of duty which he suggested were agreed to it would take some years for the company to get back its outlay. In New South Wales we learned of the market . being swamped by the importation of cheap bottles made in China, Japan, and Germany. I would like honorable members - particularly those belonging to the Labour Party - ito listen to this pathetic story of a Sydney glassblower. It is given on page 559 of the reports and recommendations of the protectionist section. Mr. Scott, the glassblower in question, told us -
The reason I have been sent before you is to explain what effect the foreign competition has had upon us. For instance, the factories have had to close down for want of work some two and three and a half months at .a time, and we have had first-class tradesmen nearly starving for the want of employment. They have not been able to get work two months out- of the twelve. In July, 1903, we made au agreement with the manufacturers to have a certain price for making bottles, and had it filed under the Arbitration Act and made a common rule. It was just on twelve months after that the manufacturers asked us to accept 15 per cent, reduction in wages, or they would have to close their factories down. The reason for asking for this reduction was that they could not compete with the foreign trade. Twelve months after accepting the 15 per cent, reduction, men were out of work from twelve to fourteen weeks. Before the Japanese and Germans interfered with the trade here we could earn between 14s. to 17s. a day.
That was prior to the reduction of wages. This appeal is indorsed by the manufacturers, who have a large amount of capital invested, and by their employes, who have consented even to the reduction of wages to enable the manufacturers to continue their competition with foreign importations, in the hope that relief would be granted by the amendment of the Commonwealth Tariff. This scheme of fixed duties is based on suggestions made in South Australia, Victoria, and New South Wales. The rates recommended are lower than were asked for by the men concerned. The Minister suggests that ad valorem rates should be substituted for them.
– That was suggested before I said anything about the matter.
– I have nothing to gain by pleading the cause of this industry ; but I desire to put honorable members on the track of information. The fixed duties proposed are equivalent in some cases to an ad valorem rate of 50 or 60 per cent. ; but the Tariff Commission was told that high rates are absolutely necessary to enable the local bottle manufacturers to compete against foreign importations. If honorable members prefer ad valorem to fixed rates, by all means let them adopt them; but whatever rates are agreed upon should give effective protection to the local industry. A mere nominal increase of the present duties would be useless. If we are to have ad valorem rates, they should not be lower than 40 and 35 per cent. I hope that the Minister will stand by his proposition.
– The manufacture of bottles should five work to thousands of men in Australia, ince the Tariff Commission made its inquiries, the amount of capital invested in bottle works has been considerably increased.
– About £100,000 is invested in the industry.
– More than that. The Brisbane Bottle Works, which have been constructed because of the prospect of higher duties, have cost £20,000. In
New South Wales there are seven bottle making factories - those of Messrs. Ross and Vance, J. Maddern, Ross Brothers, Z. Smart, the Co-operative Glass Works, the Federal Glass Works, and the Sydney Glass Bottle Works. In Victoria, there are the Austral Bottle Works, Sanderson Brothers’ factor,)’, Carr and Company’s factory, Knott Brothers’ factory, the Melbourne Glass Bottle Company’s works, and their branch at Fort Melbourne. In South Australia we have the Adelaide Glass Bottle Works, and the works of Messrs. F. B. Hughes and Messrs. Johnstone and Lange ; in Queensland we have the newly established Brisbane Bottle Works ; whilst in Western Australia we have Messrs. Curtis and Croft, carrying on business in Perth. At the present time, there are about 2,500 hands engaged in the industry, which, if reasonably encouraged, would give employment to three or four times that number and provide a sound investment for Australian capital. I am not deeply concerned about the investment of capital ; but I sympathize with the men engaged in this industry, which I think is necessary to the Commonwealth. Surely it should “be our desire that the workers engaged in it shall be well paid. They carry on their labours under peculiarly trying conditions, sitting by a fire all day long and exposed to greater heat than are the men employed in iron works.
– Surely a duty of 35 per cent, should allow a margin wide enough “ to enable them to receive a fair wage.
– In- respect of some manufactures a duty of 300 per cent, would not be sufficient to enable us to cope with the poorly-paid labour of other countries. The honorable member for Grampians has dealt with the f.o.b. price of certain imported bottles.
– The honorable member knows that my statement is correct.
– I admit its correctness. The .f.o.b. price of imported beer bottles is less than the cost of the labour of those engaged in producing them in Australia, yet it cannot be said that the wages paid here are very high.
– Are not the consumers to be considered?
– A circular, issued on behalf of the liquor trade, contains a statement that local bottle manufacturers will raise their prices to exorbitant rates if the Government proposal be adopted. In reply to that statement, I would point out. that the Melbourne Bottle Works has entered into a contract with the Association of Bottlers in South Australia for the supply of their requirements for five years at the present ruling rate.
– The intentions of the manufacturers are always good, but their performances are not always up to them.
– A firm like this has interests in all parts of the Commonwealth, and when it enters into a contract we may rest assured that it will carry if out. I do not expect to be able to make any impression upon the honorable member for Lang, who consistently adheres to his election pledges, for I know that if “lie yielded to my appeal he would break faith with his constituents. I am directing my appeal more particularly to those protectionists who may be inclined to think that this industry is not likely to expand, and is so small as to be unworthy of consideration. It may be said that it cannot be compared with any of the great manufacturing industries of Australia; but I think we should all recognise that it is very necessary that we should have bottle works, and that those engaged in them should receive reasonable remuneration,. Surely when I, as a Labour man, am prepared to concede that every investor has a right to secure a fair return on his capital, the representatives of the wealthier classes will be ready to admit the reasonableness of my claim that we should so protect the industry as to enable fair wages to be paid. I do not ask that the manufacturers should be assisted to amass large fortunes. I merely say that they should be so protected that they will be able to compete to some extent against foreign bottlemakers. It is true that the manufacture of some classes of bottles is scarcely worth protecting; but we ought to be prepared to assist those engaged in making bottles that are in general use. The honorable member for Grampians, who has dealt with this question from the stand-point of the users of bottles, was quite justified in the position that he took up, and although he is an interested party, I am sure he would honestly state what he believed to be a fair duty. But we have no more right To doubt the evidence of the manufacturer than we have to disbelieve his statements ; and I appeal to the Committee to grant to the industry the fair protection of more than 30 per cent, and 25 ,per cent, duties.
– On top of a natural protection of no per cent.?
– We are constantlybeing told of the natural protection which some of our industries enjoy, but investigation shows that it does not count for. much. Unfortunately, many people ir». Australia are ever ready to belittle ourown productions. I do not believe that: this practice obtains so largely in Victoria’ as in some of the other States; but it is a remarkable thing that even the merits of our great artists are not recognised until they leave Australia. And so with many of our manufactures; if the people would give them a fair deal high duties would’ not be necessary. It is true, as has been, said, that certain counties in England, as well as some continental countries, confine their attention to the production of a particular class of bottle, and since they thusspecialize they will always be able” lo land their manufactures here at a price considerably below the cost of the labour involved in producing them in Australia. I appeal to protectionists not to be led away by the statements of opponents of this proposal, but to grant substantial protection to this industry.
.- If this industry needs encouragement, surely amoderate duty ought to be sufficient. Copies of invoices placed in my hands show that it enjoys a natural protection of 123 per cent., which ought to be sufficient to keep employed the 2,500 hands who,, according to the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, are now engaged in it. I think that the duty proposed in the first Federal Tariff was only 20 per cent., and that in anticipation ‘of its imposition there was a bit of a flush in the bottle-making industry prior to Federation. I was asked at the time, in Adelaide, to become a shareholder in a company which it was said would carry on operations in New South. Wales, and make large profits under a duty of 20 per cent, or 25 per cent; Some capital was invested in the enterprise, and if it is thriving I fail to see why we should increase the duty. On the other hand, if it is not, it is about time - seeing that it has enjoyed the protection of a duty of 20 per cent., in addition to the natural protection of 123 per cent. - that we stopped listening to the appeals of mendicant industries. I merely mention this matter because the honorable member for Bendigo assumed that the Committee knew, absolutely nothing about, this question, and1, that the possibilities of the industry werebeing ignored by those who appealed for” moderate duties. Various industries will be affected by these duties. The chemists complain of them, and the licensed victuallers have brought forward a joint remonstrance with an elaboration and conclusiveness that is almost exceptional.
– So that there is a
Tegular combination against the bottlemaking industry.
– We are constantly hearing invidious arguments of that description. Even the honorable member, fair as he is, when he rose to deal with this question, could not rid himself of the atmosphere in which he seems to have moved as a member of the Tariff Commission. Although the honorable member for Grampians rose in response to an appeal by the Committee, that as an expert he should offer some explanation of the effect of these duties, the honorable member for Bendigo could not rid himself of the trammels of his associations, and immediately imputed to him a personal motive. I should be very sorry to have these issues decided by appeals to a matter of prejudice, butI wish to place before the Committee an illustration of the operation of this duty which has been brought under my notice. I have here an invoice of 100 gross of bottles valued at £95, on which the old duty would have amounted to £20 1 8s. ; whereas the new duty was £68 10s. Surely we are not going to stimulate an existing industry to that extent at the cost of the aerated water manufacturer who has to import his bottles. I have many other instances of the unequal operation of these duties. It has been pointed out to me that while the duty amounts to 5d. per case in respect of magnums of champagne, it amounts to 3s. 4d. per case of half-pint bottles of champagne used chiefly by invalids. It has also been pointed out to me that it amounts to 5s. per case of imported bottled spirits. I could, if I wished, give other instances from a synopsis of invoices, and I should like to remind the Victorian protectionists to whom the honorable member for Melbourne Ports has appealed, that even the Victorian Commission in1894 condemned a tax upon bottles.
– Those were antediluvian days.
– Then it is the honorable member , who wishes to go back to the antediluvian days, when he desires that we should revert to the 40 per cent. duties imposed before 1894.
– The Victorian Commission recommended a duty of1s. per cubic foot.
– Referring to the duty on. bottles, which was a duty at per cubic foot, the Commission said -
This duty, of course, is exactly equal to an addition to a duty on the goods contained in the bottles. It is paid by the consumer of the goods, and is really a second duty on the contents.
I do not need to read the whole of the report, but they wound up by saying -
We are not in a position to make a recommendation in regard to all bottles, but we regard the duties on bottles containing liquids as a troublesome tax which falls on the various contents in an irregular manner, and we recommend their total abolition.
That ought to be good enough, although it is described as antediluvian by some Victorian extreme protectionists. To show how the present duty operates, I can give instances from specific imports. I have had my attention called to this fact, that while the f.o.b. cost of bottles for wine packed in mats and straw envelopes amounts to 10s., when they are cleared here after payment of the duty and charges, the total has gone up to £1 5s., a pretty stiff protection, representing from 125 to 130 per cent. Take other instances. Black wines, pints, packed in mats and straw envelopes f.o.b., cost per gross, 8s. 3d.; cost when cleared, 25s. In the case of Apollinaris, half-pints, f.o.b., costs 7s. ; the cost after clearance is 1 8s. 3d. I do not wish to labour this matter; but these are facts which do not require an appeal to prejudice in support of the proposal made for a reduction of the duty.
.- I notice that honorable members, in trying to induce the Committee to carry a particular duty, make a practice of over-stating their case in regard to importations. The honorable member for Bendigo drew a graphic picture from the evidence submitted to the Tariff Commission of the importation of Japanese bottles, and the ridiculous rates of wages paid to bottle-makers in Japan. The inference sought to be drawn was that, as a result of the importation of these Japanese bottles, the local industry was being ruined. It is just as well to get down to the actual facts, and in the statistics prepared by the Government Statistician,I find that of small bottles of not more than 5 drams capacity the imports from Japan for last year represented the enormous value of ,£28. The imports of bottles of over 5, and not exceeding 9 drams’ capacity, were valued at ,£34.
– The honorable member will find that the latter figure represents dozens, not pounds.
– It is evident that the Importations from Japan are nothing like what they were represented to be to the Tariff Commission.
– I do not think that we had those figures before us.
– I am giving the figures for 1906, and stating the actual facts up to date.
– What wages do bottlemakers get in. Japan ?
– I am “not raising the question of wages, and if that question is raised, surely a duty of from 100 to 120 per cent., which is what my proposal would amount to, should be sufficient for the local industry? Under the old Tariff, bottles up to 5 drams capacity were free. The duty on wine and beer bottles was only 10 per cent., and on all other bottles, 20 per cent. I have proposed duties of 30 and 25 per cent., and when it is remembered that that would mean an increase to the full extent of the duty in the case of bottles up to 5 drams capacity, an increase of 20 and 15 per cent, on wine and beer bottles, and an increase of 10 and 5 per cent, on all other bottles, I feel justified in considering that I am making an extravagantly liberal proposal. But, with a view to avoiding the monstrous proposition of fixed duties on these articles, I am prepared to adhere to it. I understand that the Government have agreed to adopt measurement duties. With the object of moving subsequently that the duty on imports from Great Britain should be 25 per cent., I move -
That after the figure “2s.,” paragraph a, the words “ and on and after 4th December, 1907, ad val. (General Tariff), 30 per cent.,” be inserted.
I think there is something in the contention that there should be some small duty on bottles imported containing liquids ; but that is a question, which might be dealt with when we are discussing the duty to be imposed on the contents. The total amount paid in duty on bottles last year was £1,086, and the total importations, 329,000 dozen. I trust the Committee will agree to duties of 30 and 25 per cent, on this Une, plus the natural protection of from 80 to 120 per1 cent., which can be proved beyond doubt from actual invoices.
– Add the natural protection to the duty.
– That would bring the duty up to 150 per cent, on some of these lines. Honorable members talk of starving this industry with the fact staring them in the face that the protection on some lines amounts to 150 per cent. I shall occupy no more of the time of the Committee in dealing with the matter. I trust’ that the common sense of honorable members will prevent them from imposing any higher duties than those I have mentioned.
.- I notice from the reports of the Tariff Commission that this plea that Japan is a serious competitor in this industry was raised by very many of the witnesses. The figures quoted by the honorable member for Grey are sufficient to show that the plea was not raised bond fide. There are one or two columns from which the honorable member did not quote, and in order to put the facts completely before honorable members, I should like to refer to them. The figures will be found in, the Trade and Customs returns for 1906, at pages 54 and 55. These returns show that of wine and beer bottles, out of a total importation amounting in .value to £10,321, all we got from Japan was £14 worth. As the honorable member for Grey has already shown, of small bottles of not more than 5 drams capacity, £3,812 worth were imported altogether, and of that amount only £28 worth came from Japan; whilst of bottles of from 5 to 9 drams capacity, in connexion with which the figures are given in dozens, out of ‘ a total importation of 352,000, only 34 dozen came from Japan. In the circumstances, I say that Mr. McNeilage, Mr. Thompson, and Mr. Bishop, who gave this evidence about the warehouses being filled with Japanese bottles,, must have been misinformed, or they wilfully misled the Commission. Mr. McNeilage also gave evidence about the effect of the duty upon the Victorian industry from the time Federation was established up to 1906. His evidence on the subject will be found in answer to questions 76998-9. He told the Commission that the Caledonian Bottle Works, and several smaller works in Victoria, had ceased to exist since the Federal Tariff had been inaugurated. I find, as. a matter of fact from the reports of the Chief Inspector of Factories in Victoria, that in 1900, before Federation, there were 391 males employed in this industry, at an average wage of 27s.10d. per week; whilst in1906, after six years of Federation, there were 533 males employed with an average wage of 30s. 8d.
– Were they employed all the year round?
– The report does not say so. The honorable member can check the figures for himself, but the basis of the comparison is the same. There are other points connected with the industry to which I should like to refer.
– What about the importation of vinegar bottles from Japan ? If the honorable member will look at page 69 of the Trade and Customs returns, he will find that £319 worth were imported.
– Another noteworthy fact is that the New Zealand Government have, after deliberation, withdrawn the proposed duty upon bottles. The honorable member for Grampians emphasised the fact that the best quality of bottles are not made here. There is only one company, with factories in Sydney and Melbourne, who make the black bottles used for beer, wine, and spirits. Under the proposed duty that company would be so strengthened that it would practically have a monopoly of the trade. They are unable now to fulfil the orders that are placed with them.
.- We must first consider the conditions under which bottles are made here and in other countries. Witnesses who went before the Tariff Commission appointed by Mr. Chamberlain in Great Britain asked for 25 per cent. protection against the foreigner, particularly the German. If so, what protection do we, with the wages that we have to pay, require here? As for natural protection, a ton of bottles, representing seven gross, can be landed in Victoria to-day for 22s. 6d. ! We shall have bottles from Japan very shortly, and also from Germany. Great Britain is losing her trade with us because, as she says, Germany is dumping her bottles into the Commonwealth. Duties of 30, 40, 50, or even 60 per cent. are not high enough. Japan has a protective Tariff of 60 per cent. The United States of America has a Tariff of 80 per cent. Germany has a Tariff of 45 per cent. We need a Tariff of at least from 40 to 60 per cent. in order to compete with the long hours and sweated labour of other parts of. the world.
.- There is a feeling in the Committee that this question might be compromised. I suggest that the Government make the duties 35 per cent. in the general Tariff and 25 per cent. against the United Kingdom on empty bottles, and adopt in the case of full bottles the schedule as drawn up by the honorable member for South Sydney, which I hope the honorable member will read to the Committee.
.- I wish to say something in reply to the return read by the honorable member for Grey about importations from Japan. According to the figures read by him, the importations for1906 were very small. I have not had the returns for that year brought under my notice, but Mr. Cornelius Bishop laid before the Tariff Commission figures showing the importations from Japan in the years1903 and 1904. They are given on page 252 of the Minutes of Evidence, vol. 5, question 88279, as follows - 88279.1903,4,568 dozen empty wine and beer bottles were imported from Japan. Does that cover the importation to which you refer? - At page 49 of the records which you have handed to me - General Imports -£1,451 is set down as the value of the glassware imported from Japan, and 160,000 dozen as the importation of empty wine and beer bottles.
– I suppose that is the evidence of an interested party. My figures are from the official records of the Statistician.
– In that evidence the quotation is given from General Imports, and the page is mentioned.
– Cannot the honorable member accept Mr. Knibbs’latest figures, issued since the Commission sat ?
– The figures I quote were given in sworn evidence.
– That evidence is evidently valueless.
– The imports may have fallen off in 1906, but I do not think that there is any inaccuracy in Mr. Bishop’s evidence as to the imports in 1903 and 1904.
– The suggestion of the honorable member for Balaclava might be adopted. The schedule which he mentioned as having been drawn up by me has reference to the next item. I think the two items are very closely related, because the effectiveness of the duty on empty bottles would depend very largely on what is charged on full bottles. The schedule which I suggest with regard to full bottles is as follows : - Bottles up to 5 drams capacity, whether empty or full, free.
– How much would they contain ?
– About half an ounce. Bottles of over 5 drams, and not exceeding 10 ozs., fluid capacity, per dozen (general Tariff), id. ; (United Kingdom), id.
– That is lower than the old Tariff.
– They were free previously, if full. Bottles of over 10 ozs., and not exceeding 20 ozs., fluid capacity, per dozen (general Tariff), 2d ; (United Kingdom), Hd. ; bottles of over 20 ozs., fluid capacity (general Tariff), 2jd. ; (United Kingdom), 2d. per dozen. That would reduce the number of items very materially.
– Make the duties on empty bottles 30 per cent, and 25 per cent, respectively, and we will agree.
– Thirty per cent, is rather low as against the foreigner.
.- After listening to both sides, and the reports that have been quoted, I have concluded that this industry is like many others - if the makers have good management they do not ask for a large increase of duty. When I find an industry, according to its own reports, doing well in some parts of Australia, and badly in others, with the same standard of duty, I am forced to the conclusion’ ‘that the fault lies in the latter case in the absence of .good administration. In a large measure the argument urged to-night is an admission that those who have charge of this industry have in many cases failed in their administrative power. A sum of £100,000 is invested in the bottle-making industry of Australia, of which .£60,000 is invested in Victoria. The Melbourne bottle industry has a branch in New South Wales. That shows that they are energetic and look after their business well. If we could get behind all the evidence quoted, and .into which the Tariff Commission did npt inquire, it ‘Would be found, not only iri the bottle industry, but in many other industries, that want of. proper business management had caused the failure. We are asked to vote duties to make up for mistakes of management. I refuse to do so. The reason the industries do wel in the Old Country is that they have thebest business ability at the head of affairs, and run them well. . I really think that the weak spot in many of our industries is that they do not pay enough money, and so do not secure the best ability at the top. I am glad that the specific duty has been knocked on the head. The duty according to measurement was tried in Victoria a few years ago, and proved a failure. The first Barton Administration introduced it and then dropped it. The Treasurer apparently is going to do the same. I am prepared to vote for duties of 30 and 25 per cent., unless the Treasurer can show that 5 per cent, is not enough difference between the German or Japanmade bottles, as against the British article-
.. - If there is one industry that wants protection it is the bottle industry. Honorable members say that it is established. It is established in different States, but an industry that has to close down a good part of its business for half the year cannot be said to be doing well. We should encourage it so that it may have work enough to keep it going the whole year round. The honorable member for Nepean mentioned the wages that were being paid, but it does not matter what wages are paid if men are only drawingthem for half the year, because they have to keep their wives and families for thewhole year. It has been proved that it was not possible under the old duties for a number of the bottle factories to keep going except for a portion of the year. Only the other day I met a young man who originally came from the Old Country, and who was engaged in the bottle industry.. As soon as the first Tariff was adopted he found himself out of employment, and had to work at a different trade, but since the new duties in this Tariff were imposed he and a good many others have found employment. That shows that these new duties have already been effective. I am going to vote for the highest duty that I can get. Every bottle manufacturer in Australia tells us that the business has not been a success of late years under the old Tariff’ iri competition with Germany and Japan. I do not see why honorable members should be so anxious to encourage the manufacturerof German bottles for use in Australia. One honorable member said that we cannot make -bottles here to bear the pressure. T maintain that there is riot a bottle that may be required in Australia that cannot be made here, if encouragement is given to make it.
– That shows that the honorable member does not understand the business of making champagne bottles.
– I have a good deal of information from those who do understand the business. The honorable member can get his champagne bottles from Japan if he wants to. Comparatively few people can afford to drink champagne, and whatever price they have to pay for the bottles will not interfere with them. The industry has gone back since the uniform Commonwealth Tariff was inaugurated, although it is capable of enormous expansion, and we ought to do all that we can to encourage it. I shall support the Treasurer in imposing the highest duty possible. I am doubtful whether the proposal of the honorable member for South Sydney is high enough ; and in many cases I do not think the duty will amount to 25 per cent. When we contrast the wages paid in Australia with those paid in Germany and Japan, it is only fair to prevent the importation of bottles from the latter countries. I have no objection to a higher preference being given to Great Britain, provided the German and Japanese bottles are shut out. Japan has only lately entered upon the bottle export trade, but we may be sure that if her exports represent £1,000 to-day, it will not be long before they represent£100,000 worth. It has been said that Japan cannot produce a firstclass bottle; but I can say that some time ago I saw some Japanese medical instruments which would compare with instruments made in any part of the world, and they were sold at half the ordinary prices.
– Why did not the honorable member give us his vote this afternoon?
– Surely the honorable member does not desire me to crush an industry in order that Japanese industries may be encouraged.
– This is rich !
– I have been voting on one side all the time, whereas the honorable member for Maranoa has been on all sides. This industry is practically in the hands of Germany, and any duties which will transfer it to Australia shall have my support.
Amendment (Mr. Poynton’s), by leave, withdrawn.
– The debate has lasted for some considerable time, and I propose to adopt the suggestion made by the honorable member for Balaclava. I move -
That the following wordsbe added : - “ and on and after 4th December, 1907 (a) Bottles, n.e.i., flasks and jars empty, ad val. (General Tariff), 35 per cent.; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent.”
I should have much preferred the higher duty, but I have ascertained that such is not possible; and I do not want to unduly delay the completion of the consideration of the Tariff. The duty I now propose is much lower than that recommended By the A division of the Tariff Commission, after much evidence had been heard.
– The Treasurer is accepting my proposal in the one column, and proposing 5 per cent. more in the other column.
– I agree to that.
– I should have much preferred to see a duty of 30 per cent. in the general Tariff, as I understood was the original intention. However, I think that we have arrived at a fairly satisfactory compromise; at any rate, it is certainly a better arrangement than that which provided for huge duties without any reason whatever.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the following words be added to the item as amended: - “(b). Bottles, up to and including 5 drams of fluid capacity, free.”
.- I. object to these small bottles being made free, because they are the class on which boys and youths are said to work. On this point, Mr. Hughes, a South Australian manufacturer gave evidence. He said that small bottles, of two, four, and six drams fluid capacity ought not, in his opinion, to. be admitted free. He went on to say -
The reason I ask for a duty on the small bottles is because they are a class of bottles that boys begin on in the older countries. They learn on these bottles, and, if you notice, especially the 2-dram bottle, you can see it is very badly finished. You can see it is learners’ work.
The manufacturers do not desire that these small bottles should be made free; and I shall vote against the proposal.
– I hope that the proposal of the Treasurer will be supported, because the incidence of the taxation on these small bottles is exceedingly heavy.
– It amounts to thousands per cent.
– I have several proofs of that. In one case, where the price of bottles is 3s. 6d. per dozen, the duty is 1s., and on the ordinary bottles used in schools the duty amounts to1d. each.
. -I support the honorable member for Bendigo. Every penny bottle of ink used in the schools of Australia is made in Australia - both bottle and ink. No one, therefore, need pay a single fraction more for these bottles of ink than they are paying at the present time, if a duty be imposed.
– If all these bottles are made here now, the duty is not required.
– But if there is not a duty we shall have bottles imported which have been made by sweated labour. As the honorable member for Bendigo said, these are the bottles on which boys and youths learn the business of bottlemaking ; and I myself have seen boys employed in glasswork in this way during slack times of the year, when otherwise they would have been dismissed.
– The honorable member is fighting for his own district !
– I am fighting for the whole of Australia. There are firms in Adelaide, Melbourne, and Sydney who are quite prepared to supply all the bottles of ink required in all the schools of the Commonwealth. There is no reason why these bottles should be admitted free, seeing that the process of manufacture is as simple as could well be imagined.
.- The reason I favour following the example set in the old Tariff, and making bottles under five drams capacity free, is that if they be made dutiable, and full bottles of similar capacity are exempted, outside manufacturers will have a considerable advantage, in the importation of essences, perfumes and so forth, over local manufacturers. The duty charged on essences and perfumes is on the spirituous contents of the bottles and not ad valorem, and, therefore, Messrs. Crosse and Blackwell, and similar firms, would send in these bottles free, while local manufacturers, whodesiredto fill the bottles here, would have to pay duty on the empty bottles. I do not see that we can do much harm by allowing the exemption to continue as proposed by the Treasurer. It is true that some small bottles are made in Australia, but not many classes of them. The trouble is that in flint glass small bottles there is such a variety of patterns required that it does not pay local men to enter upon their manufacture. Local manufacturers can certainly make ink bottles, but it is not worth while their entering upon the manufacture of perfume bottles and so forth, of small capacity.
Amendment agreed to.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Item 260. Bottles, n.e.i., Flasks, and Jars, filled ; irrespective of whether the contents are liable to, duty or not -
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) agreed to -
That the following words be added, “ and on and after 4th December, 1907 : -
Bottles, n.e.i., Flasks, and Jars, filled -
Up to and including capacity of 5 fluid drams, free.
Over 5 drams and not exceeding10 ozs. fluid capacity, per dozen (General Tariff),1½d. ; (United Kingdom),1d.
Over10 ozs. and not exceeding 20 ozs. fluid capacity, per dozen (General Tariff), 2d.; (United Kingdom),1½d.
Over 20 ozs. fluid capacity, per dozen (General Tariff),2½d. ; (United Kingdom), 2d.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Item 261. Glue; gelatine of all kinds; and cements, n.e.i., including mucilage and belting compounds, ad val. (General Tariff), 40 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 30 per cent.
– I would point out that glue is the raw material of cardboard box makers, bookbinders, and furniture manufacturers, and that the heavy increase proposed in the old rate of duty would severely handicap those industries into which the consumption of glue enters so largely. The cost of importation amounts to 20 per cent., which, added to the duty, is equivalent to a total protection of 60 per cent. The inevitable result of an increase in the duty will be an increase in the price of glue. This is abundantly demonstrated by what happened in 1961. In that year, when a duty of 2d. per lb. was levied upon this article, its price rose from£32 to £45 per ton - an increase of £13 per ton. But when ultimately the duty was reduced to 20 per cent., its price fell from£45 to£34 per ton - a decrease of£11 per ton. I would also point out that the manufacture of glue was established, both in New South Wales and South Australia, without any protective duty whatever. Before Federation was accomplished, the price of this article in Victoria ranged from £40 to £50 per ton, whilst its price in New South Wales was only£34 per ton. Mr. John Robert Firth, a cardboard box manufacturer of Sydney, in giving evidence before the Tariff Commission, read the following statement -
Glue is manufactured in South Australia, Victoria, and New South Wales, from raw materials obtainable entirely in the Commonwealth. Glue making is generally only adopted in larger works, tanneries, &c., and, although such work employed large numbers of hands, vet in glue making alone there cannot be from more than fifteen to twenty hands employed throughout the Commonwealth. Glue making was firmly established in South Australia and New South Wales before the imposition of any Tariff. Cost of importing is high, owing to bulk, and the “natural protection,” therefore, amounts to about 20 per cent. Duty handicaps the following trades : - Cardboard box makers, bookbinders, and furniture manufacturers, glue being one of their raw materials. The Barton Government imposed a duty of 2d. per lb., equal to 60 per cent., whereupon prices rose enormously ; but when the House of Representatives reduced the duty to 20 per cent., the price of Colonial glue fell from£45 to £34, and of imported glue to£58 to £38 per ton. When the duty of 2d. per lb. was imposed a combine was formed, and the price fixed at £45, about £13 per ton advance on previous Sydney price. The House of Representatives reduced the duty from the 20th February, 1901. Next day the combine collapsed, and the price fell as above-mentioned. However, the combine might be revived. Glue should, therefore, be placed on the free list.
I should be glad indeed to move that it be placed upon the free list, but I know that in a Committee composed as this is of a strong protectionist majority, I would have no chance of carrying such a proposal. With regard to the Glue Combine, it is only fair to add that another witness, Mr. Markwald, denied its existence. In crossexamination, however, he admitted that he was not in Australia at the period referred to, and had no personal knowledge of the matter. This will be seen by reference to the answers to questions 95694 and 95697. It was also shown by evidence that there is no particular prejudice against the Australian glue, and that the imported article is of a very much higher quality. A large firm of printers and paper-box makers write -
Glue - Another line now increased from 20 to 40 per cent. We use about half a ton monthly, and have bought it from a Victorian glue maker for many years, and it has been mutually satisfactory, but we have little doubt that if the duty is retained that the price will be raised - though there is no necessity for it, as the raw material is here, no duty to pay, and the price charged well pays the manufacturer. Any increase on the 20 per cent. is not needed.
Gelatine - Duty formerly 2d. lb., equal to about10 per cent., and now proposed to increase to 40 per cent. Coignet’s Gold Medal quality worked out under the old Tariff at 18s. 8d. cwt. duty, while under the proposed Tariff the duty will be 88s. 8d. cwt. This line is only used for manufacturing purposes, and it should be free.
It will thus be seen that although glue forms but a small portion of the manufactures connected with our tanneries, it is a minor article which is used in very many established industries, and consequently any increase in its price must handicap those industries. I therefore suggest that the duty should be reduced to 25 per cent. under the General Tariff and 20 per cent. under the Tariff for the United Kingdom.
– I move -
That the following words be added : - “ and on and after 4th December, 1907 -
Glue and Gelatine, per lb. (General Tariff), 2d.; (United Kingdom),1½d.
Cements, n.e.i., including mucilage and belting compounds, ad val. (General Tariff), 30 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent.”
These rates represent a reduction upon the proposals contained in the Tariff schedule.
– By how much?
– The proposed duty of 2d. per lb. upon glue represents a material reduction. At the same time, it will confer a fair measure of protection upon that article.
.- I am opposed to the imposition of fixed duties upon items of this description because they will mean the collection of a higher rate upon the cheap article and of a lower rate upon the better class of article.
– The cheap article should not be imported.
– It is sometimes necessary to import it. I prefer an ad valorem rate to a fixed duty. I am satisfied that the result of levying specific duties will be to increase Tariff anomalies.
.- I would point out to the honorable member for Bass that 2d. per lb. was the duty imposed upon gelatine under the old Tariff. The manufacturers of photographic dry plates complain that if gelatine be taxed at 40 per cent, they will have to pay duty upon their raw material, whilst the finished article will be admitted duty free. I need scarcely remind the Committee that the gelatine which is used by them costs up to 3s. 6d. per lb., and that it is not manufactured in the Commonwealth, though I will not say that it could not be manufactured here. I think that in proposing a fixed duty upon this article the Treasurer is acting wisely, and I hope it will be carried.
– I remind the Treasurer that glue- and gelatine are articles of very different values.
– It is very hard to distinguish between them.
– No. I have here a quotation for glue at 38s. per cwt, that is £38 per ton.
– The price of gelatine, or so-called gelatine, comes down very nearly to that.
– Some gelatine is much dearer than glue, being worth over is. per lb.
– Yes ; but it is not possible to distinguish between the two.
– I admit that there is a difficulty in distinguishing between different kinds of gelatine, but not between glue and gelatine. The duty on a ton of glue at 2d. per lb. would be over £18 per ton. But I understood the Minister to say that that duty is equal to 20 per cent.
– No; I am advised by the officers that the duty on glue runs from 35 to 40 per cent., and that the duty on gelatine is equal to 20 per cent.
– I have a quotation showing glue quoted at 38s. per cwt. Glue is made from local products, and a duty of 20 per cent, gives absolute protection. .
– Under the old Tariff the duty on glue and gelatine n.e.i. was 20 per cent., and on gelatine sheet 2d. per lb.
– The honorable gentleman is proposing to make the duty on all gelatine 2d. per lb. on the ground that there is some difficulty in distinguishing between the different descriptions of that article. To that proposal I do not object, but I do object to the imposition of a duty of 2d. per lb. on an article like glue, which is used in various industries, and the price of which was raised on one occasion by a combine when they got an opportunity to take that step under the cover of a Customs duty. It is equal to a duty of between 40 and 50 per cent, ad valorem. What were the imports under the old duty of 20 per cent., which in my opinion was too high ?
– From the United Kingdom £13,400 worth, and from other countries ,£15.400 worth.
– Those figures represent importations of gelatine principally. I thought that perhaps the honorable gentleman had the figures for glue and gelatine separately. I am prepared to believe that the importation of glue is very small indeed. We can export glue, and a high ‘ duty on an article which is worth only £38 per ton is altogether out of the question. The Minister is seeking to impose the same duty on. an article worth from £112 to £140 a ton. The Minister has got an increased duty on gelatine, and I urge him to impose the old duty on glue, or, if he likes, to fix the rate in the general Tariff at 25 per cent. That will give ample protection, and I am quite sure that there will not be an importation of ordinary glue.
.- I point out to the honorable member for North Sydney that the difficulty in dealing with this matter arises from the fact that glue and gelatine, although different products, approach each other so closely that there is a point at which one cannot be distinguished from the other. Large quantities of gelatine are used for making edible jellies, and only the .best class of gelatine ought to be used for that purpose. Large quantities of a highly-refined glue, which costs perhaps £2 a tom more than ordinary glue for industrial purposes, have been imported and used for edible purposes. If the honorable member’s suggestion were adopted that description of glue would be imported, and used as gelatine.
– Surely that could be stopped.
– No, because it is impossible to tell where glue ends and gelatine begins. If it were possible to separate them there would be great force in what the honorable member has said about the difference in the price of the articles, but, as a matter of fact, low-class gelatine is very little dearer than high-class glue. That is the practical difficulty, and I think that the proposal of the Minister is reasonable, and ought to be accepted.
– In my opinion the Department of Trade and Customs ought to be able to distinguish between glue and gelatine.
– On inquiry I have just been informed that they can do so without any great difficulty.
– If the Department are not able to do it readily there is nothing to prevent them fixing an arbitrary standard for gelatine.
– The difference in cost between the two articles is very great.
– Yes, but the honorable member for Mernda has pointed out that there is a superior kind of glue which in point of quality nearly approaches gelatine. Even if that be so, the Department have the power to fix their own standards, and therefore they could easily .distinguish between the two articles for edible purposes. If it is true that this superior quality of glue is being used for the purpose of making lollies, the sooner that practice is stopped the better’. But we ought not to tax to the extent of 50 per cent, one of the raw materials of our industries. That does not seem to me to be the right alternative. The alternative should be rather more vigorous and vigilent inspection of glue,: and the fixing of a definite standard for gelatine.
– Or imposing a duty of 20 per cent, on all.
– Exactly, but the Minister will not consent to do that. On the contrary, he is seeking to inflict a very high duty on the strawboard and similar industries which use glue largely.
– They use dextrine.
– No, they use glue, because dextrine is far too expensive to them.
– I intend to make dextrine free.
– Yes, but even then it would be too expensive to them. What they use is. ordinary glue. Either the honorable gentleman should distinguish between glue and gelatine, or he should impose an ad valorem duty on each article, or a duty of id. per lb. all round.
– On gelatine that would be too little.
– The Treasurer must see as well as we do that it is not fair to impose the same duty on an article worth ^38 a ton as on an article worth from £100 to £126 a ton. There is no reason in a proposal of that kind.
– I intend to propose a duty of 20 per cent.
– The honorable member had better submit his proposal, as I can get no consideration from the Minister.
.- The honorable member for Parramatta has used a very good revenue-raising argument, but not a very good protectionist one. It is not a question of taxing an article according to its quality, but a question of imposing a duty on articles which can be made here, and allowing others to come in free, if possible. The highest class of gelatine cannot be made here, and therefore it ought to be free. Glue is made all over Australia, and in such quantities that no duty is likely to affect the price of it. If it were possible, I should like a duty of 2d. per lb. to be imposed on the cheaper class of glue, and the higher class of glue to be admitted free, but as the honorable member for Parramatta has pointed out, in some cases it is very difficult to distinguish between superior glue and gelatine. In view of that fact, the only logical course for me to pursue is to support a duty of 2d. per lb. all roundAl though it means a low rate on the highpriced goods, still it is quite in consonance with my attitude throughout, and that has been to admit free any ‘ goods which cannot be made here.
.- As the raw material of glue and gelatine exists in Australia, this may be regarded as a true native industry, and ought to have substantial protection. That is why the A section of the Tariff Commission recommended a duty of 20 per cent. We had a considerable amount of difficulty in deciding the question. We were informed by a Sydney manufacturer that glue ranges in price from ^28 to £60 per ton. We considered that it would be very unfair to impose a fixed duty on an article having such a wide range of values. Accordingly we suggested an ad valorem duty of 30 per cent., so that there might be no inequality in the incidence of the duty. We also considered that glue and gelatine should be treated alike, and charged duty at the same rate, because we were informed by another Sydney witness that an analyst could not say at what point glue becomes gelatine, or vice versa. One witness said that he had sometimes imported gelatine as glue.
– Who was that?
- Mr. Markwald said that glue and gelatine were so much alike that he could not sometimes distinguish them, and consequently there should not be two classes of duties on them. That also was the opinion of the Customs expert. .
– Does he sell both at the same price?
– There are different values. I think that a mistake has been made in resorting to a fixed duty of 2d. per lb. Mr. Long told us that a fixed duty of 2d. per lb. would be equivalent to 1:00’ per cent, on glue sold in Italy at £19 per ton. I think that an ad valorem duty of 35 and 30 per cent, on glue and gelatine would be sufficient.
.If the Committee decides upon a duty of 2d. per lb., an alteration should be made in the duty on printers’ roller composition, because gelatine is the raw material from which that composition is made. The old duty on printers’ roller composition was 20 per cent. Even an expert cannot determine the quality of roller composition without an actual trial. It is impossible to look at that material and say forthwith whether it is of good 01 inferior quality. It has to be used, perhaps, for a period extending over some weeks to test its value. If the Minister agrees to accept a fixed duty at so much per lb., I will ask him to make the duty on roller composition, in accord with it, 4d. per pound.
– - The honorable member for Bendigo is quite right in the description which he gives of the products under discussion. Glue and gelatine are derived from the same substances, and they represent simply different stages of one manufacture. But I feel in’ a difficulty about this matter, because there is one sort of gelatine that is imported and used very largely, and which cannot be made in this country. I have reason to believe that it will be used more largely in the future than it is now. I allude” to that which is imported for photographic purposes, to form the emulsion placed upon photographic plates and films. That material is made by only one manufacturer in Great Britain, and his product is not the best. The best quality is made on the Continent of Europe, and it is only made there in the depth of winter. In fact, the temperature has to be below freezing point before the manufac ture can be carried on. Would the Minister prefer that this gelatine should be placed on the exemption list or be dealt with now?
– How can it be distinguished ?
– It is possible to differentiate between the higher class of gelatine and medium classes. Indeed, the medium class of gelatine is used for domestic purposes, whilst the higher class is only used in the circumstances which I have described. If the Minister would prefer that the matter should be dealt with when we are considering the exemptions, I will bring it up later on.
Mr. JOHNSON (Lang) [9.50J.- It is unfortunate that the Minister will not accept a fair and reasonable compromise when it is suggested to him. The proposal of the honorable member, for Bendigo is fanpreferable to that of the Minister, and I should be prepared to support it as against the Treasurer’s proposal. There ought to be a differentiation, because, notwithstanding what has been said to the contrary, glue and gelatine are different compounds altogether, although they are both made from the same basic materials. The labour cost in a ton of gelatine of £80 value would be from £^15 to £18, according to the evidence of Mr. Meister, question 94592. The gelatine imported in 1903 was of an invoice value of £151 per lon. In 1.904 the value was £108 per ton - see Mr. Meister’s evidence, question 94610. There is consequently an immense difference between the value of this article and that of common glue. Gelatine can be manufactured locally for from £75 to £90 per ton ; and from £125 to £130 for thick and thin sheets respectively - see question 94613. Taking these values, it appears that the proposed duty of 40 per cent, is equal to from £43 4s. to. £52 per ton, and that no duty is required to enable this article to be manufactured at much lower ra.tes in Australia than in Europe. The former duty of 2d. per lb., or £18 13s. 4d. per ton, was equal to only 14 to 17 per cent. I shall not propose an amendment, but will support the duties suggested by the honorable member for Bendigo, namely, 30 and 25 per cent.
Sir JOHN QUICK (Bendigo) [9.55J.- I will ask the Treasurer to agree to duties of 30 and 25 per cent., which will meet all the requirements. At the same time, I must say that I could not. agree to the SUL- gestion that gelatine should be free. There is a strong request that it should be made dutiable.
– Does the honorable member suggest 30 and 25 per cent. ?
– Very well.
– I do not object to duties of 30 and 25 per cent, on glue. That may be a fair proposal. But it is not fair to impose such duties on an article which costs per ton, and cannot be made here.
– The moment I agree to something there is always opposition.
– If the Minister would either agree to a duty of 2d per lb. on gelatine or make it free - whichever he chooses - so as to differentiate it from glue I should be satisfied. The duties of 35- and 30 per cent, on glue would be satisfactory.
– In order to enable the proposal for duties of 30 and 25 per cent, to be moved, it will be necessary for the Minister to withdraw the amendment at present before the Chair.
.- As I understand, the proposal that we have been discussing is that the duties should be 2d. and i£d. per lb. No explanation has been made as to why a reduction of the duty should be agreed to. Are we to allow the Opposition to construct this Tariff? Every time a member of the Opposition submits an amendment and says that he will sit down if it is accepted, the Treasurer accepts it.
– This suggestion has come from the honorable member for. Bendigo.
– It was not accepted by the Treasurer until the honorable member for Lang said that he approved if it. Then the Treasurer accepted it. The original purpose in accepting duties of 2d. and i£d. per lb. instead of 40 and 30 per cent, was that the Treasurer considered that the former were more advisable duties. Yet after a .long argument he has abandoned the position altogether, and says that he will agree to duties of 30 and 25 per cent, instead of 40 and 30 per cent., as originally proposed. I take it that the Treasurer knows something about his own Tariff.
– What is the use of the honorable member talking like that? He knows that I could not carry the original duties.
– Then I understand that the Treasurer is abandoning the proposed duties of 40 and 30’ per cent., because he thinks that he cannot carry them. If we are going to have a Tariff made by leading members of the Opposition, let us understand that. But if we are going to have what is supposed to be a protectionist Tariff, the Treasurer should not so readily abandon his proposals. The honorable member for Mernda said that there was not sufficient distinction between glue and gelatine for the ordinary importer or for the Customs officers to be able to differentiate. Yet now he is urging the Treasurer to allow gelatine to be imported free. Speaking as an expert, he told the Committee that it is almost impossible to distinguish between the better kinds of glue and the inferior kinds of gelatine.
– So it is. I said that they might both be free, or both be made dutiable at the same rates.
– The last suggestion made by the honorable member was that the rates for glue should be 35 and 30 per cent, and that gelatine should be free.
– I said that there would then be no attempt to substitute glue for gelatine.
– The honorable member so confuses the Treasurer that the latter is willing to take anything that the Opposition will give him.
– That is not saying much for the Treasurer.
– No ; but it is most objectionable that the Treasurer should give up principles.
– It is useless to try to protect the manufacturers of gelatine in Australia, because it cannot be made -here.
– The honorable member’s statements seem to be contradictory. The Treasurer should stick to something.
.- I have received a letter from the firm of Wimble and Company, in which they say -
We would much prefer to keep the price of our roller composition at the old figure, but unless the duty on gelatine is reduced as we ask, we will have to increase the selling price of the composition. If duty on gelatine is reduced to 2d., our price remains as formerly.
This would not interfere with the glue industry, as refined gelatine, such as we use in making roller composition, is not made in the Commonwealth.
That is a letter from what I believe to be a protectionist firm. Surely, therefore, the Minister is not inconsistent.
.- I asked the Minister if he would deal specially with the higher kinds of gelatine, such as are used for photographic purposes, which cannot be made in Australia.
– It is news to hear that there is anything which cannot be made in Victoria.
– To make it, the temperature of the building in which it was being made would have to be reduced below freezing point. The Minister was prepared to impose an all-round duty of 2d., and I was ready to accept that rather than have time occupied unduly. Now, however, the Minister seems desirous of imposing a duty of 30 per cent., which would be equivalent to a duty of 6d. per lb. I cannot assent to that, and I am surprised that the members of the Opposition urged the imposition of such a duty.
– We have not urged it. What we desire is that gelatine shall be separated from glue.
– I understand that the honorable member wishes the Minister to adopt an ad valorem duty.
– On glue; not on gelatine.
.- Shall I be in order in moving the imposition of a duty of 2d. per lb., which is a. lower rate than that the Minister proposes?
-No, it is not.
– Thirty per cent. on gelatine costing1s. 6d. a lb. would be equivalent to a fixed rate of about 6d. a lb. A fixed rate of 2d. a lb. would prohibit the importation of glue, while it would not materially affect the price of gelatine, which cannot be made here, or the prices of materials made from it, such as printers’ roller composition.
– The Minister already has an amendment before the Committee.
.- I wish to move a prior amendment - the omission of the words “ gelatine of all kinds,” with a view to imposing a lower rate on gelatine.
– Is it the pleasure of the Committee that the Minister’s amendment be withdrawn?
– I object to its withdrawal.
.- I hope that the honorable member for Macquarie will not insist on his objection. If members generally were to exercise their right to object to the withdrawal of amendments, the first maro who rose to speak would have the Committee at his mercy, because he could move such an amendment as would preclude others from putting propositions before it, and we should cease to be a deliberative assembly. If the objection is persisted in, I shall advise my friends to vote against the amendment.
– That is vindictive.
– I shall do so, not out of vindictiveness, but to enable the Committee to come to a proper conclusion.
– In my opinion, 2d. per lb. would be a suitable rate to agree to. Such a rate would prohibit the importation of glue, which can be made here, and would not materially increase the price of gelatine, which cannot. Those interested in the manufacture of roller composition for printers’ work have informed me that the proposed duty of 2d. per lb. - the old rate - will not affect its price. If we allow the Minister’s amendment to be withdrawn, we run the risk of a higher rate being proposed.If I am assured that the duty will not be increased, I shall withdraw my objection.
– Will the honorable member withdraw his objection ifthe Minister agrees to re-move his amendment?
– I do notquite know what is required of me. The honorable member for Macquarie says that he objects to the withdrawal of my amendment because he fears that the duty may be raised. I think that it would be unfair to prevent the feeling of the Committee on this subject being ascertained.But I should like to know what rate it is intended to propose in connexion with gelatine if the words “ gelatine of all kinds “ are left out of the item.
– I propose to move a special item, making gelatine dutiable at 2d. a lb.
-It would simplify matters to deal with these things in separate paragraphs.
– I have moved to do that, though I have put only cement in paragraph b. The honorable member for Bendigo, who heard all the evidence given on the subject, was strongly in favour of an ad valorem duty.
– The ad valorem rate proposed would make the duty on gelatine too high.
– Let us deal with glue first, and with gelatine afterwards.
– I am prepared to do that.
– Is it the pleasure of the Committee that the amendment be withdrawn ?
– I object.
– There seems to me no need for separating gelatine from glue. It isquite as easy to make the one asto make the other.
– They cannot make gelatine in this country.
– I know that they can. In places where they make neatsfoot oil - which is extracted from bullocks’ feet - they melt down the feet of calves and yearlings to make gelatine.
– The price of gelatine runs up to ?120 and?150 a ton. That is why it is desirable to separate it from glue.
– That is purified gelatine, made up into tablets for jelly. Any person who likes to boil down calves’ feet can makegelatine.
.- If the Minister will give me his assurance that he will afterwards move to make the rates 2d. and1?d., I shall withdraw my objection to the withdrawal of the amendment. He has refused to give that assurance to the honorable member for Macquarie. Probably what he will move will be ad valorem rates of 25 and 30 per cent. That sort of thing has been done before.
– I shall not give that assurance. The honorable member is insulting:.
– Is it the pleasure of the Committee that the Treasurer have leave to withdraw his amendment?
– I object.
– Could not the honorable member for Lang accomplish his object by moving an amendment of the amendment ?
Amendment (by Mr. Johnson) proposed -
That the amendment be amended by leaving out the words “ and gelatine,” paragrapha.
.- I propose to read from the evidence taken by the Tariff Commission a short paragraph which shows that honorable members are apparently in entire ignorance of the facts relating to this question.
– Do not say that.
– Since it has been said that gelatine cannot be made in Australia, and I am able to prove that it can, I fail to see why objection should be taken to my statement. At page 273 of Vol. 5 of the Minutes of Evidence given before the Tariff Commission will be found a statement by Henry Meister, manufacturer, of Gardiner’s-road, North Botany.
– I have already made a quotation from his evidence.
- Mr. W. G. Long, glue manufacturer, of O’Riordan-street, Alexandria, also gave evidence on this question, and I have in my possession a letter from the Australian glue and gelatine manufacturers carrying on business in the same suburb of Sydney. Mr. Meister said -
With regard to gelatine, it may be stated that at the present time very little is made in the Commonwealth. There is made a small quantity in South Australia, and even that little is hard to sell at a reasonable price, because it is Colonial made, and cannot compete with the imported as long as gelatine can be imported so cheaply. Any quantity of raw material is to be had, but it is exported, because under the present Tariff it would be madness to touch this line of manufacturing, which could give a lasting occupation to a good number of hands ; but no man of business would put in about ?8,000 or ?10,000 when he can foresee that every penny of it must belost. The whole quantity of gelatine consumed in the Commonwealth could easily be manufactured here, but nothing can be done without raising the duty to 4d. per lb.
Mr. Meister also said
I know for a certainty that any amount of capital is available for starting the manufacture of gelatine as soon as the proper protection is granted, but without that protection no man will ever put a single penny in a concern of that description. I do not think that a higher duty would affect the sale price of gelatine much more than three farthings or one penny per lb.
– They cannot make it in England.
– I do not know whether it can or cannot be made in England, but I do know that it can be made in Australia. The proprietors of the Australian Glue and Gelatine Works at Alexandria, in answer to a number of questions which I put to them, stated that they were manufacturing glue and gelatine, and that the imports amounted to £17,000 per annum. The question of whether we should have a high or a low Tariff is not of vital importance to me as a policy. I have voted a good many times with the Government, when I might have voted just as readily against them; but I absolutely object to the moulding of the Tariff being placed in the hands of the Opposition. Whilst I am prepared to assist in passing it with reasonable despatch, I hold that for the sake of saving a little time we ought not to be deterred from doing the work effectively.
– Then we shall have to stay here until after Christmas.
– I am prepared to stay here until we are able to do properly the work that we are called upon to carry out. I certainly do not wish the framing of the Tariff to be slummed at the instigation of those whose prime object it is to destroy the work of the Government. Why should not the glue and gelatine industry have extended to it the consideration that other industries have received? Why should it be neglected, whilst others that chanced to be affected by items appearing earlier in the Tariff have received the fullest consideration?
– The honorable member should ask the cardboard manufacturers in his electorate what they think of this duty ?
– I have not to consider them only ; they did not consider me.
– That is a very nice reason to give.
– The attitude which I take up is not due to that reason ; but the cardboard-box manufacturers in Australia have not to compere-
– The honorable member must not discuss that matter.
– This item has an important bearing on the manufacture of cardboard boxes. The maker of cardboard boxes, has little or no competition from abroad to contend with, seeing that the importation of cardboard boxes is not considerable.
-The honorable member will not be in order in referring to imports of cardboard boxes.
– I was only making a passing reference, because glue is one of the raw materials of the cardboard box manufacturer.
-The honorable member will see that if I permit him to refer to the imports of cardboard boxes, some other member of the Committee may wish to question his figures, and we should get into a general discussion about cardboard boxes.
– I shall not pursue the matter further than to point out that the honorable member for Lang has already referred at considerable length to the statements made by cardboard bpx manufacturers with respect to the duty on glue. The Government have claimed that the Tariff as submitted is uniform and symmetrical. They should therefore stand by their proposal to give a substantial protection to encourage the manufacture of gelatine and glue. The new protection proposals will conserve the interests of the consumers and the workers in the industry, and on that understanding I am prepared to vote for reasonable duties on gelatine and glue.
.- I have no wish to prolong the discussion, but I think an arrangement might easily be come to if, as I understand is the case, the Treasurer has no objection to deal with these articles separately.
Amendment of the amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) agreed to -
That the amendment be amended by leaving out the words, “per lb., 2d.,” and “per lb., 1½d.,” paragrapha, and inserting in lieu thereof the words “ad val., 30 per cent.” and “ad val., 25 per cent.”
Amendment, as amended, agreed to.
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) agreed to -
That the following words be added to the item as amended : - “c. Gelatine of all kinds, per lb. (General Tariff), 2d.; (United Kingdom),1½d.”
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Item 262. Printing Roller Composition, ad val., 35 per cent.
Amendment (by Mr. Johnson) proposed -
That the words “ and on and after 4th December,1907, adval. (General Tariff), 25 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 20 per cent.,” be added.
– I hope the Committee will not agree to any reduction in the duty proposed by the Government. . Printing roller composition can be and is being made here in any quantity, and of better quality,, than very much of what is imported. I happen to know from experience that locally-made roller composition is equal to and cheaper than the best that is imported, whilst those who are engaged in the manufacture of the article are quite prepared to adhere to present prices.
– Then they should be satisfied with the existing duty.
– They have the usual difficulties raised by the import trade to contend with. I have said that the manufacturers are content with present prices, and the duties proposed by the Government would at once invite opposition should those at present in the trade attempt to take advantage of their position.
Item agreed to.
Item 263. Dry Gums, Shellac, Sandarac, and Mastic, free.
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) agreed to -
That after the word “Sandarac” the word “ Dextrine “ be inserted.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Item 264 (Slate slabs, split, and with rough edges) agreed to.
Item 265. Slate slabs, sawn or chiselled on one or more faces, or on one or more edges, ad val., 20 per cent.
– This item raises the whole question of stone, marble, and slabs. The principle is involved in the word “ sawn.” Under the old Tariff sawn slabs were dutiable at 15 per cent. , and chiselled at 20 per cent. All these articles must be sawn before they can be transported. The real work done is the chiselling. I move -
That the words “sawn or” be left out.
That will leave chiselled slabs dutiable at 20 per cent., while sawn slabs, not chiselled, will fall automatically under item 264.
– Does the honorable member propose to add the sawn slabs to the item dealing with split slabs?
– I see no objection.
– It is a reasonable thing to do. The Minister could move to include sawn slabs in item 264.
– I will not move anything of the kind.
– If that cannot be done oh account of item 264 having been passed, a new paragraph could be added to this item making sawn slate slabs dutiable at 15 per cent.
– The previous item deals with slate slabs, split, with rough edges. That is the raw material. The slate in this item is partially manufactured, and in most cases practically wholly manufactured. When I was Minister of Trade and Customs I had a great deal of trouble over this question, and fought the people interested in this article and in marble. Under the previous classification they practically brought in their mantlepieces and tables with nothing more to be done to them except to smooth the edges and polish them. I must oppose the amendment. This classification has been prepared with a full knowledge of what has previously happened, and of what the effect will be. They are allowed to bring in the split blocks with rough edges, but surely we can do the rest of the work here.
Item agreed to.
Item 266 (Wrought slate, n.e.i.) agreed to.
Item 267. Roofing Slates, ad val., 25 per cent.
– I intended to propose a preferential rate on the previous item, but it was put too quickly.
– The duty in this item is recommended by the Commission.
– By one section of the Commission. The old duty was 15 per cent. I move -
That the words “ and on and after 4th December, 1907, ad val. (United Kingdom), 15 per cent.,” be added.
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) agreed to -
That the words “ and on and after 4th December, 1907, ad val. (United Kingdom), 20 per cent.,” be added.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Item 268. Stone and Marble -
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That before the word “ Unwrought,” paragrapha, the word “ Marble “ be inserted.
.- I desire to point out that, although in Australia there are unlimited quantities of coloured marble - some of the best in the world - there is no white marble. This has been searched for all over the ‘Commonwealth, and I have it on the highest authority that pure white marble comes from Carrara, in Italy, only.
– There is pure white marble in. both New South Wales and Victoria.
– If the statement of the honorable member for Bourke is correct, I shall support the duty as proposed ; but. I have yet to be convinced that white marble has been found in Australia. The proposed duty on other classes of marble is’ desirable, because, as a matter of fact, it is so plentiful in my electorate that some of the streets of the country towns are metalled with it.
– -I have taken great interest in this question for a very long time. ‘ I asked Mr. Summers, the well-known sculptor, to investigate the matter, and I have a report from him showing that there are quarries in the neighbourhood of Bathurst, Molong, and Orange where white marble is to be obtained. For the first twelve feet, however, when the ground was opened, the marble was not pure white, being stained with iron or some other colouring matter ; but as the work has proceeded it has been found that magnificent marble is obtainable. As a matter of fact, I have some photographs and samples of the marble in my office at the present moment, and there are deposits of white as well as of coloured marble awaiting development here.
– I think that marble in the rough ought to be free. To me it appears a quixotic idea to impose a duty on rough marble.
– There is splendid marble to be obtained in Australia.
– Does the PostmasterGeneral not know that there is twenty times the work provided on the marble after it is quarried than is provided in the quarrying of it? In big centres like Melbourne and Sydney it is easy to obtain’ marble from the quarries, but in the more distant parts of the Commonwealth the cost of conveyance would be greater than that of the marble itself. No one can say that a duty of to per cent, can have any protective incidence, and it should be our desire to afford our sculptors an opportunity to obtain their raw material at as reasonable a rate as possible.
.- What the honorable member for Wide Bay has said is perfectly true, and this marble ought to be on the free list. There is a local white marble, which is useful for a number of purposes ; but local sculptors of undoubted standing themselves say that it is altogether useless for the finer work of statuary. The local marble is not nearly so white as the imported marble, and, not being of so fine a grain, has a dark, rough appearance when finished. It is, moreover, full of small flint-like particles, which interfere considerably with its working. It is, however, quite possible that at a lower depth a better marble may be found.
– I was quoting the local sculptors, and I think the honorable member must have seen the wrong people.
– Those who use the marble ought to be the best judges of whether it is good, bad, or indifferent ; arid my information is that the local stone is not to be compared with the imported white marble at present.
– The honorable member for Macquarie suggested that the honorable member for Lang had been unfortunate in the sculptors with whom he had come in contact. We must not forget, however, that Mr. Summers, who has been referred to by the Treasurer, is, I suppose, one. of the foremost sculptors in Australia. Mr. Summers spent over twenty-five years in Rome, and was President of the Art Society there.
– That is a beautiful statue by Mr. Summers at Ballarat.
– It is.
Mr- Henry Willis. - It was made in Rome.
- Mr. Summers, with all his years of experience, and knowing as he does every marble quarry of any size in the whole of Europe, declares that in the southern part of New South Wales and the north-eastern portion of Victoria, marble is to be found equal in quality to any obtained in the world. The honorable member for Lang has Said that, on account of its colour, sculptors cannot use Australian marble’. But I repeat that Mr. Summers has done work with it.
– With white marble?
– Yes. It would give me very great pleasure to take the honorable member to his studio. Here we are again discussing the merits of an Australian production. I am sorry that the honorable member for Lang did not- tell us the names of the sculptors whom he had in his mind, and who he declared could not work Australian marble.
– I said that they could not turn out such excellent work with the local marble as they could with the imported.
– The honorable member said that they could not work it for the purposes of statuary.
– I absolutely deny having made that statement.
– I am quite content to accept the honorable member’s assurance. We have in Australia an artist who has a world-wide reputation-
– One mason says that there is no white marble in Australia.
– I suppose that he is an importer of marble. Mr. Summers is prepared to stake his reputation upon the statement that we have in Australia enormous deposits of white marble, which are equal in quality to that of any other deposits in the world. He has proved his contention by producing works which are on view at his studio in East Melbourne.
.- If the Treasurer will move in the direction of imposing a duty of 10 per cent, upon colored marble, I shall be prepared to support him. I unhesitatingly say that there is no white marble in the world except that which is found at Carrara. I know that some honorable members declare that white marble can be obtained at a dozen places in the Commonwealth. But in reality it is not a white but a creamy marble. Directly it is manufactured into statuary it’ does not retain its colour as does white imported marble.
– I know that a petition has been circulated amongst’ honorable members setting out that ‘ ‘ the undersigned marble and granite masons, manufacturers, and merchants’, ask that there should be no alteration in the old duty.”
– -The petition bears three hundred signatures.
– Most of the signatures are those of workmen. In other words, the petition is a “ faked “ one, which the workmen in every State but Victoria have signed. I need only point to the fact that there are ten signatories in Hobart. I do not suppose that anybody will contend for a moment that there are ten monumental mason employers’ in Tasmania. Then a number of signatures have been duplicated. There are eight signatories to the petition in Armidale.
– I can show a “faked” petition upon the other side.
– Then let the honorable member produce it. This petition has been got up by the importers, who” have compelled the workmen in every State but Victoria to sign it. Fourteen of the signatories to the petition are said to be located at Wagga.
– I am surprised at the honorable member.
– I hope that I shall surprise the Treasurer a little bit more.
– The rate proposed is that which operated under the old Tariff.
– No. The workmen are not satisfied that their raw material shall be taxed whilst the finished article is required to pay only a very small duty. They ask that the duty upon colored marble unwrought shall be 10 per cent., and that stone or white marble unwrought, including rough or scabbled from the pick, shall be admitted free. They want slabs or scantlings sawn on one or two faces te* be admitted free ; slabs or scantlings sawn on one or two faces, and one or more edges, to be made dutiable at 10 per cent., and the finished article at 45 per cent. I realize that there is no chance of carrying such proposals here. I believe that if a prohibitive duty should be imposed on any article it should be imposed on marble, because practically the whole value of the finished article lies in the labour. If we want to employ labour here we should see that a. high duty is put on dressed marble. I do not suppose that any honorable member on . the other side will put in a plea on behalf of the poor farmer that heshould have a monument duty free.
– Now that the honorable member has turned free-trader it is time for us to become protectionists.
– I have not turned freetrader. I am- merely asking, as I have done in other cases, that the raw material of our monumental masons should be admitted free. Honorable members must know that they will not import the marble unless it is treated on one or two sides. Under my proposal, if adopted, our quarrymen would be able to get more work. Until it is sawn or dressed it isnot possible to tell whether the granite is good or not.
– What is it that the honorable member wants?
– I want the raw material admitted free.
– I will vote with the honorable member.
– I ask the Minister to insert at the beginning of his amendment the words “ coloured marble.”
– Nonsense ! The whole trouble is that the men do not like the hard marble.
– Let us give the quarrymen a bit of protection.
– If the Committee is against me I cannot help it. I have done my best on behalf of the Australian workmen who are engaged in this industry. I feel convinced that it would be in its best interests if the proposals I read were adopted. Apparently honorable members are anxious to put a duty on white marble when they know that there is only one place in the world where it can be obtained. I trust that the Minister, if he carries his proposal to put a duty of 10 per cent. on white marble, will agree to increase the duty on the finished article. Will he promise to do that?
– I will tell the honorable member when we reach the item.
– I suppose that when the item is reached the honorable gentleman will agree to some proposal from the Opposition, and alter the duty so as to wipe out the men who are engaged in this industry.
– It may interest honorable members if I read a letter which has been addressed to me by a monumental and marble mason concerning this item. He writes as follows -
Will you please, when dealing with the duties on stone, use your influence and cast your vote in the interest of working masons by voting for a low duty on rough slabs and blocks of marble, so as to enable us to compete with the underpaid Italian workmen? Rough blocks of marble we would like to see on the free list, also slabs and scantlings. I may tell you that slabs and scantlings sawn on edges are of no advantage to us, as the sawn edges are liable to get chipped and broken, and we have to work the edges again. So if you would try to get a, b, c on the free list you will have the best wishes of every working mason in the Commonwealth. As regards wrought arid wrought ornamental,d ande, the duty of 30 and 35 per cent. does not matter so much. It is the raw material that we want to get in free. The duty on the cases in which marble and granite headstones and monuments are packed is a hard tax, as the cases are of no use to us, and are generally left in the cemetery after the headstone is unpacked. In conclusion, I may state that there is no white marble in the Commonwealth suitable for monumental work, or, at any rate, there is none on the market. There is a dovecoloured marble in New South Wales; but it is the white marble that we want, and until there is a local white marble on the market we would like to get our raw material as cheap as possible, so as to compete with the cheap labour of other countries.
That confirms the representations of the honorable member for Yarra. I ask that in the interests of the working masons the raw material should be admitted free. I am quite satisfied that there should be a duty on the finished article.
.- A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of paying a visit to the studio of Mr. Summers. Until then I had not the remotest idea that such very fine marbles, especially coloured ones, were obtainable in Australia as were displayed in his studio. He, of course, is only interested in our marbles as a sculptor. He is not concerned in any quarries. Any duty which would render it more difficult for him to obtain his raw material would certainly be against his own interests, and therefore I placed great reliance on the statement which he made to myself and others. He declared that some of the white marbles which had been submitted to him, and which he had worked up, were as fine as he had obtained from anywhere else. He added” that almost all marble quarries improved as they went down.
– Does not the honorable member think that the very high price of Carrara marble is a sufficient protection for any marble which we may have - without imposing anv duty?
– The high price of Carrara marble would, of course, be some protection, but if we have suitable marble in our own quarries we ought to develop them if possible.
– We have coloured marbles, but not white marble.
– It is of no use for the honorable member to make that statement, because we have the assurance of Mr. Summers, a well known sculptor, that we have white marble. From a letter which I have received from Mr. Frederick Herring, a monumental mason, of South Australia, I gather that faked petitions are not confined to New South Wales. A sentence in this letter of Mr. Herring states that a circular was sent to him in which he was asked to do his best to get the duty taken off, and to carry out the views enunciated in the petition which he signed. He says -
They are in error, as I never signed any petition. The duty put on sawn slips and slabs will be of great advantage to our industry.
Mr. Herring is not only a mason, but also has an interest in the Angaston quarries. No argument has been given as to why there should be any reduction in the duty. Hence I hope that the Government will stick to their proposal.
– I shall support the Treasurer in regard to this item. We have very fine marble quarries in New South Wales. As to the statement that there is no white marble in Australia, I have to say that white marble has been obtained in New South Wales. “The Treasurer has taken an interest in the industry in his own State for many years past, and has arranged for several exhibitions of the marbles obtained there. Oft one occasion, Dr. Macarthy, of Sydney, fooled the public with what be called a marble man. That was done with marble obtained in the neighbourhood of Orange - at Cow Flat. The block was so white that many people took it to be a petrified man.
– It was not white.
– The honorable member for Macquarie ‘ must admit that the more marble quarries are worked, the better the quality becomes. So far as concerns the item under consideration, the honorable member for Grampians said that the working masons want articles in paragraphs a, b and c to Le free. But there are other artisans employed in the industry besides the masons. There is the marble worker to consider. He wants protection as against the cheap labour of Italy. The marble workers prepare the slabs, finish them and polish them. It is a very important industry, indeed - far more important than that of the working mason or the monumental mason who turns the finished marble into tombstones. As under the old Tariff there was a duty of 10 per cent, on the rough marble, I shall vote for such a duty in this Tariff ; and I shall also vote for duties in connexion with paragraphs b, c, and d, in order to give assistance to a class of very hard-working men, who have to compete against some of the cheapest labour in the world.
– How much labour is there in quarrying?
– There is a great deal of labour in chiselling and polishing. The duty of 10 per cent, on unwrought marble is not in the interest of the marble worker, but of the marble quarries of Australia. There are several quarries in New South Wales. Paragraphs b, c, and d are in the interests of the marble worker. The only paragraph to which I object is paragraph e, wrought ornamental marble, upon which the duty is 35 per cent. I should like to see it reduced to 30 per cent. The difference between the duty in paragraph c, 20 per cent., and that in paragraph e, 35 per cent., is too great. I shall vote for a duty of 30 per cent, in paragraph e.
.- I believe, with the honorable member for Yarra, that unwrought marble should be free. The marble quarries of Gippsland have been referred to. I believe that thefacts of the case are that the quarries cannot be conveniently worked because they are inaccessible.
– They are not.
– There is absolutely no chance of getting that marble down to Melbourne until a railway has been built. That being the case, what the honorable member for Yarra says is quite correct - that a duty of 10 per cent, would simply be a tax on the raw material of men whose business it is to work up marble. I shall therefore vote with the honorable member in this case. I also believe that slabs or scantlings should be free. The marble has to be sawn before it can be used. I am advised by monumental masons that there should be no duty on account of the material covered by paragraph c. The same remark applies to that specified in paragraph b. When these men work up the imported marble, they have to take the edges off, because in coming out from Italy it gets chipped. Before ‘it can be made into tombstones, the edges and faces have to be reworked. I shall therefore support the honorable member for Yarra as to the contents of paragraphs a, b, and c. As to paragraph f, dealing with dust and chips, I shall vote to leave the Tariff as it stands. I have seen the pay-sheets of these men, and can say that they are paid really splendid wages, and “have nothing- to complain about.
– I understand that the honorable member for Wide Bay is willing to accept the suggestion of the honorable member for Yarra, and to allow white marble to be imported free. I have given some study to this question, and I should feel very proud as an Australian if a block of Australian white marble could be carved into a statue. I may remark that the statue of Queen Victoria standing in Queen’s Hall is generally supposed to be carved from one piece of marble. But when I was in Europe I was told that the headpiece was simply let in, and that the statue was a fraud to that extent. When it was being shifted from one end of Queen’s Hall to the other, I determined to get up and have a look at it, in order to verify that statement. An attempt was made to prevent me, but I was determined, and I found that the statement was true. With regard to what the honorable member for Laanecoorie has said. I think he is aware that when I was a member of the State Parliament I obtained justice for Mr. Summers, who had been wronged for fourteen years in consequence of infamous treatment by the State Government. He was robbed for some years of the money which he should have received for the four statues which stand in front of the Exhibition Building, and has not been paid even interest on it. Indeed, he was barely saved from the claw of the great Lansell, of Bendigo. Loving this country as every Australian does, I should be glad to learn of the discovery of a real white marble here. Attempts to find such marble have been made in every country in the world. I have not heard of Mr. Summers making a statue of Australian marble; at any rate, he has not honoured me with an invitation to see it. A much greater sculptor in our community - the man who for the first time in the history of the English Academy won the prize for both painting and sculpture, and who modelled the monument above the Age newspaper - does not use Australian marble. How many statues are made in Australia? God knows that the sculptors have a hard time here. I have stood as a model to sculptors in London who I knew had scarcely bread to eat. Bates, whose head I lent to the National Gallery, and who has left perhaps the greatest name in England of late years, although he died prematurely, is one of. these. Australia, is not kind to its artists. Anvone who knows anything about them knows how hard it is for them to make ends meet. If white marble is wanted for statues, the only place where it can be got is Carrara, in Italy. The nearest approach to such marble that I have seen in Australia has been cream coloured. I ask the Committee to allow real white marble to be imported free of duty. By all means, let us tax other marble. :
– The honorable member for Melbourne says that he has stood as a model for the sculptors in the Old Country; but I hope that if ever an appreciative country does me the honour to raise a statue to my memory it will be made of Australian marble. We have in South Australia and in Gippsland white marble which is quite as good as is necessary. In South Australia there is a statue of my national poet, Burns, executed in Australian white marble ; and another of one of the greatest men who ever set foot on this country, John McDouall Stuart, also made of Australian marble. If statues like that can be made of Australian marble, the local stone should be good enough for any one who wishes 10 have a monument erected to his memory. It is white enough for the whitest man who ever lived on Australian soil.
Amendment (by Mr. Fisher) proposed -
That the amendment be amended by inserting the word “White” before the word “Marble.”-
.- Angaston marble is fit for all the purposes for which marble is required here, and I am very surprised to hear Victorian protectionists advocating the importation of tombstones free.’ The Angaston marble is very valuable, and the South Australian Government is proposing to build a railway to the locality where it’ is found. There are some of the .finest marble quarries in the world there. The face is as high as the gallery, and slabs of very fine stone, 18 to 20 feet long, can be cut The deposit of marble starts at Second Valley, runs through Macclesfield and Angaston, and crosses the Broken Hill railway line at Paratoo. That belt is 170 miles long, and has been opened up in only two or three places, so that even better quarries than are now open may yet be discovered. The marble is good enough for all the purposes for which we need such stone.
.- The Committee seems almost unanimous as to the advisability of admitting duty free unwrought white marble. With the exception of the quarry-owners, most of the witnesses who appeared before the Tariff Commission suggested that this marble should be admitted duty- free. As to coloured marble, the evidence is contradictory. The value of the monuments imported last year was only about £838, and if forty masons had been employed in making them, they would not have earned more than £20 each. The weight and bulk of monuments protect local makers from competition. The best Italian marble costs 10s. or 12s. per cubic foot; that would be free of duty. On the other hand, the Angaston marble can be delivered at Adelaide at a cost of about 4s. 6d. per cubic foot, so that no duty would cause the latter to be substituted for the Italian. The very fact that the price of Australian marble is at the present time so much lower than is that of the imported marble shows that the duty is not likely to affect the choice. The petition circulated amongst honorable members praying that the old duty should not be increased was signed by more than 95 per cent. of the monumental, marble, and granite trade of Australia.
– That was a faked petition.
– We have to consider the petition as sent to us. It sets out that the cost of importing marble and granite averages about 40 per cent. or 50 per cent., and that under the old duty the native marble enjoyed a protection of from 60 per cent . to 70 per cent. In the face of these facts, I fail to see why the duty should be increased. It seems to me that we should be disposed, on the contrary, to place this marble on the freelist.
– By this time we should have heard all the pros andcons of the marble industry ; but I have not heard any honorable member prove conclusively that we have in Australia pure white marble.
– What about the evidence of Mr. Summers, the sculptor ?
– Has he investigated all the marble deposits of Australia? I think it is absurd to suggest that he has.
– Mr. CosmoNewbery said that the Gippsland marble was equal to that of Carrara.
– The honorable member for Barrier suggests that it needs only a duty to turn Australian marble white, and I am beginning to think that there is something in the contention. I have seen a good many marble deposits in Australia, but have never come across a deposit of pure white marble, and am afraid that I cannot hope to see in Australia a deposit equal to those of Carrara. I wish it were otherwise.
– Has the honorable member seen those deposits?
– I have seen stone taken from them. If the honorable member could produce in Australia marble equal to it, his fortune would be made.
– If we miss our trains, we ought to sit up all night.
– The Treasurer sat at the table for hours to-day fighting for a paltry 5 per cent. on a matter that was of no material consequence, and I, too, am prepared to stay here if necessary. What does the Treasurer propose to do?
– I am going to retain the duty if possible. I am astonished that there should be a difference of opinion on the subject.
– If we are to have a vote on the question at once, I shall say no more.
Question - That the amendment be amended by the insertion of the word “ White “ (Mr. Fisher’s amendment upon Sir William Lyne’s amendment) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 23
Question so resolved in the negative.
Amendment of the amendment negatived.
Amendment (Sir William Lyne’s) agreed to.
Amendment (by Mr. Fisher) negatived -
That after the words “ 10 per cent.,” paragraph A, the words “ and on and after 4th December, 1907, free,” be inserted.
– - I hope the Committee will accept this scheme of duties,, which has been carefully considered, and is based upon the evidence of witnesses who were skilled workmen. It has been arranged into divisions in an ascending scale of 5 per cent., according to the value of the product. The duty on one item cannot be altered without disturbing the whole scheme, and the Committee should accept or reject it as a whole.
– I am sorry to have to disagree with the honorable member for Bendigo, because the workmen assure me that paragraphs d and E should be dutiable at the same rate, since what is introduced under paragraph” d may be in a more complete condition than what is imported under paragraph e.
– The Treasurer proposes to make that alteration.
– I move -
That after the words “ 15 per cent.,” paragraph n, the words “and on and after 4th December, 1907, ad val., 10 per cent.,” be inserted.
This item covers the raw material which is put into the hands of monumental masons to be worked up. It is the sawn edges of the slabs or scantlings that have to be worked up by the local masons. I can assure honorable members that my proposal is in accordance with the evidence of practical men who are earning their living by the making of tombstones. The matter is of great importance to the men engaged at this work. The industry is not one in which there is any sweating, because the monumental masons, I know, receive excellent wages.
– Does the honorable member mean to say that people will not purchase tombstones unless they can get them made of Carrara marble ?
– I do not say anything of the sort. A duty of 10 per cent, in regard to paragraph b would be distinctly to the advantage of the workmen.
– This question stands very much on the same footing as the proposal which the Committee adopted with regard to plate glass, that anything under 25 feet, being the raw material of bevellers and glassworkers, should come in free. In this case, however, it is not asked that the article should be free, as a duty has been put on the crude .material. It is simply requested that the raw material for the workers in this industry should bear the same duty as the previous article. The Committee, having accepted the principle in the case of plate glass, should accept this proposal for the same reason.
.- It was stated just now that the Minister intended to accept an amendment to make the duty in regard to paragraph d the same as in paragraph e, but there is a great difference between the two marbles. That in paragraph d is the raw material of the furnituremaker and builder.
.- I urge the Minister to accept the 10 per cent, duty in paragraph b, because the bulk of the work will have to be done here. Honorable members opposite were anxious for the work to be done here, and the marble to be produced here. Any importers who bring the marble in will have to see that it is good. The duty in paragraph c could be increased, as it will mean that more work will be done here, and as a’ duty has been put on the raw material the duty in paragraph e could be increased also.
.- This amendment would do a great injustice to those manufacturers who have gone to the great expense of- laying down sawing machines. It means admitting the sawn scantling at the same rate as the rough blocks. ‘ That means interfering with those who do the sawing here. Very strong evidence was given in every State on this point before the Tariff Commission. I am surprised at the honorable member for Yarra . supporting such a proposal.
– I was anxious that the scabbled stone should come in free.
– That may be, but the honorable member is willing to allow the sawn stuff to come in at the same rate as the rough stone. “ That is an unfair classification, and is going in the teeth of those who want the sawing work to be done in Australia.
Question - That after the words 15 per cent., paragraph b, the words “ and on and after 4th December, 1907, ad val. 10 per cent.” (Mr. Wilson’s amendment) be inserted - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 16
Question so resolved in the negative.
Amendment (by Mr. Joseph Cook) negatived -
That after the words “ 20 per cent.,” paragraphc, the words “ and on and after 4th December, 1907, ad val. (United Kingdom), 15 per cent.,” be inserted.
Amendment (by Mr. Joseph Cook) proposed -
That after the words “30 per cent.,” paragraphd, the words “ and on and after 4th December, 1907, ad val. (United Kingdom), 20 per cent.,” be inserted.
.Paragraph d - “wrought n.e.i.,” refers to granite headstones, which often mean more work and cost more money than “ wrought ornamental,” and yet the former will come in at a lower rate of duty. I have no doubt that we shall be told that the scheme of the Tariff is all right, and should be adhered to ; but I think that both the Treasurer and the honorable member for Bendigo will admit that the stone which represents the greater amount of work should not be admitted at the lower rate.
– I desire to point out that under the scheme of the Tariff the stone which is highly wrought and highly decorative is charged the heavier rate of duty ; the plain tombstone without decoration will be charged only 30 per cent.
Amendment (by Mr. Joseph Cook) put -
That after the words “ 30 per cent.,” paragraphd, the words “ and on and after 4th December, 1907, ad val. (United Kingdom), 25 per cent.,” be inserted.
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 13
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move-
That the words “ (e) Wrought ornamental, ad val., 35 per cent.,” be left out.
I am informed that it is not considered necessary to retain this paragraph, which would be likely to be productive of complications. Stone and marble wrought ornamental will then fall under the heading of “ wrought n.e.i.”
– Therefore, the Treasurer has reduced the duty by 5 per cent. ?
– Iknow that I have.
Amendment agreed to.
– Is there any reason why the duty levied upon dust and chips under the old Tariff should be increased? I move -
That after the words “ 20 per cent.,” paragraph F, the words “ and on and after 4th December, 1907, ad val. (General Tariff), 10 per cent.,” be added.
– I have endeavoured to adhere as closely as possible to the scheme recommended by the Tariff Commission. I shall propose presently to move the insertion of the following new paragraph - “g. Dust and chips for use in Australian manufactures under departmental by-laws, free.”
– I should like to hear from the Chairman of the Tariff Commission the reason underlying his recommendation that a duty of 20 per cent. should be imposed upon dust and chips. It seems to me to be the acme of absurdity. It is really protection run mad. When it is proposed to protect dust and chips, I may well be pardoned for asking “What will be proposed next?”
– Does the honorable member know that these things are used for the purpose of decorating the graves of the departed ?
– Then for shame’s sake the article ought to be admitted free. I should like to know why the duty on dust and chips has been increased from 10 to 20 per cent.
– The B section of the Tariff Commission recommended a duty of 15 per cent.
– The honorable member is wrong, because they made no recommendation.
– The honorable gentleman is wrong, because there was a recommendation.
– The objectis to place a duty on the by-products of marble in the workshops of
Italy, which are brought here in bags and packages and utilized for certain purposes, thereby competing with local dust and chips.
– In imposing this dutv the Treasurer is placing a tax on the raw material of another manufacture with which we shall have to deal under another item. It is quite possible to make carbonic acid gas out of chips of marble, and under this Tariff it is proposed to levy a duty of 2d. per lb. on carbonic acid gas. It is absolutely ridiculous that a duty should be proposed on marble dust and chips, which are the raw material for the manufacture of another commodity. Probablv the honorable member for Corangamite can enlighten the Committee about this duty more than either the Treasurer or the honorable member for Bendigo has done.
– I think that the Committee will act wisely if thev keep marble dust and chips off the free list. The monumental mason has to import the marble at a high price, and he ought to be given a chance to make all the profit he can out of the chips which he breaks off. There is a considerable use for the chips. For instance, they are used in making pavements, and also in covering graves. In my opinion the Treasurer has done right in imposing a duty, because it will give a chance to the local marble workers to make a little profit.
– The extreme levity which has been introduced by certain honorable members is not creditable to them. This is a grave question, and I am surprised that a doctor, who has so much to do with committing persons to their last resting places should find fault with the duty. Had he any sympathy with the relatives of those persons he would not hesitate to protect the material which covers their last home . If the honorable member for Parramatta had any svmpathy with bereaved persons he would not attempt to dispute the item. These chips are practically part and parcel of an article on which a duty has been imposed to-night. The dust is used for the purpose of putting a polish on tombstones. There is a lack of sympathy shown by honorable members on the Opposition side on this very grave question.
– I think that we ought to have a quorum to listen to these remarks. [Quorum formed.]
Item, as amended, agreed to.
– I had intended to propose a new item, but I find on further inquiry that the suggestion made to me does not apply to marble only, but to dust and chips of any kind. Under the circumstances,I do not feel disposed to move the new item.
Item 269 (Bathbricks) ; item 270 (Oil and whetstones, also lithographic and emery stories); item 271 (Pestles and mortars - agate); and item 272 (Stone, viz., in the rough n.e.i.) agreed to.
Motion (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the House, at its rising, adjourn until 11 o’clock this day.
– What is the use of adjourning until11 o’clock? Why not meet at half-past10 o’clock if we are to meet in the morning at all? The extra half-hour is not worth while bothering about. We have now had two late sittings in succession; and I want to say plainly to the Treasurer that if he does not control the business within more reasonable hours we shall either have to have longer sittings when we are about it, or do more business before11 o’clock at night. This is right down sheer brutality. That is what I call it.
– The honorable member is one of those who caused it.
– The honorable member kept us for an hour and a half.
– The honorable member for Gippsland might as well make that kind of incorrect statement as any other. There is not a word of truth in it, and he knows it.
– Is the honorable member for Parramatta in order in accusing me of telling an untruth? The honorable member said that what I stated was not true, and that I knew it.
– I certainly did not hear the honorablemember for Parramatta say that ; but, if he did, he must withdraw the remark.
– I did not say that. I said that the honorable member for Gippsland made an incorrect statement, and he knew it. He charged me with having kept the House for an hour and a half.
I have not spoken for fifteen minutes during the whole day, and the fact that the honorable member makes a statement of that kind about me only shows the reckless sort of individual that he is. I think that the Minister ought to propose an adjournment to a later hour than n o’clock this morning, Or else the House ought to meet at halfpast 10 o’clock and get more work done within decent hours. I, for one, shall decline to sit these long hours,’ and if he insists upon such sittings, the Minister must take the responsibility of what occurs. That is all that I have to say. I decline to be kept here for fourteen hours at a stretch when we could get through the business in much less time and with great advantage to all concerned. To-day, the Minister kept us for four hours which might have been saved to the conduct of public business. Time and again he has sat in his chair for a couple of hours at a stretch when there has only been a question of ft paltry 5 per cent. dividing honorable members. It is unfair to keep the House sitting for fourteen or fifteen hours at a stretch in this way, and I tell the Treasurer again that I do not intend to put up with it.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Mr. MAUGER laid upon the table the following papers -
Public Service Act - Regulations Amended - No. 104 - Statutory Rules 1907, No.118 ; No. 66 - Sunday Work (Substituted Regulation). - Statutory Rules 1907, No 119.
House adjourned at 12.39a.m. (Wednesday).
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 3 December 1907, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1907/19071203_reps_3_42/>.