3rd Parliament · 2nd Session
The Clerk acquainted the House that he had been informed of the unavoidable absence of the Speaker.
Mr. Deputy Speaker took the chair at 11 a.m., and read prayers.
– I desire to ask the PostmasterGeneral, without notice, a question in -which the employes in his Department, particularly the temporary employes throughout. the Commonwealth, are interested.’ It appears that the’ officers can get no clear information - the matter is clouded in mystery - and to them the rulings of the Minister are as clear as mud. I desire to know to what holidays temporary employes are entitled, and whether they are paid for them; and if they are not paid for. holidays, will the’ Minister see that they are allowed to work on all holidays except Christmas Day and Good Friday ?
– If the honorable member will give notice of the question, I shall- give him full particulars to-morrow morning. I think ‘I am correct in saying that all temporary hands are paid for their proclaimed holidays in exactly the same way as are regular employes.
– I desire to ask the Postmaster-General, without notice, whether the Chief Electrician will visit Newcastle before Christmas, in view of the chaotic state of the telephone service there?
– After consultation with .the honorable member: I made an arrangement with the Chief Electrician, who is now on his way to Newcastle.
– I desire to know whether the Prime Minister sees his way to put a period to our sittings before Christmas - whether the huge programme of proposed legislation which appears in the Melbourne Age of this morning has any likelihood of being attempted before then ? If that programme be entered upon, I should say we are likely to be here all next year.
– Like the honorable member, I made - myself acquainted with that programme of business for the first time this morning, and only hope it can be carried out.
– I do not think that is quite an answer to my question. Is the Prime Minister able to say whether we are likely to get away before Christmas?
– I see.no reason why the House should- meet after this week.
– When is it likely that the Estimates will be discussed?
– Not before Christmas.
– I should like to know what business ‘the Prime Minister proposes to. take this week ?
– Necessarily, we must finish the consideration of the Tariff, and I should be very glad if the Excise Procedure Bill could be disposed. of, because then our legal procedure would be simplified.
– That Bill will lead to a long debate.
– I think not,, seeing that it has already been explained. ‘
– The Bill necessarily raises the whole question, although it has been explained.
– It’ may not be necessary to raise the whole question.
– The Bill necessarily does so.
– With- all submission, I think not. I am well aware, generally, of the objections that may be taken to the Bill; but when those objections have been recorded here, we might well come to a decision. After all, the final word does not rest with us. We -are acting under the advice of our law officers ; and, under the circumstances, there would seem to be no other course than to pass the Bill. Those who object to it, or fake a different view of the legal questions involved, may protect themselves by taking their objections ; and it is not unreasonable to- say that this ought to suffice-.
– It is not merely a legal question ; it is a question of policy, and of the amendment of the original Act.
– Yes, of course, it is desirable that both should be fully considered. The Manufactures Encouragement Bill ought to be disposed of in Committee before we rise.
– What about the Federal Capital?
– I have already answered that question. Unless there is some objection to the amendments in the Quarantine Bill, it would be a great administrative gain if it were passed before Christmas.
– No hope !
– What about the Patent Medicines Bill ?
– It is a useful measure.
– Why not go on with it?
– That Bill requires the assent of both Houses, whereas 1 am now speaking of a Bill which has passed both Houses, and in which only verbal amendments have to be considered. I do not see upon the paper any other measure that needs mention.
– Why not pick out those Bills which have a chance of passing?
– I think there is a chance of passing those named.
– But for the fact we are likely to reach the item of pianos today I should have given notice of the following question, seeing that it is rather a long one. The question is as follows -
Is the Minister aware of the following facts, and, if not, will he cause inquiry to be made into them and communicate the result to the House before a vote is taken on the duties to be placed on pianos -
That the Customs returns for the several States show no appreciable decline in the average invoice value of German pianos imported, except in New South Wales?
That the decline as shown for New South Wales amounts to about £7 per piano, i.e., from £23 in 1901, to a little more than£16 in 1906, and is accompanied by an exceptional increase in the number of pianos alleged to have been imported ?
That on these facts being pointed out to the Acting Comptroller-General, this officer unhesitatingly expressed the opinion that a blunder had been made, and . that the return for New South Wales was erroneous.
– I think the information for which the honorable member is asking, might very well be ascertained on the item in Committee of Ways and Means. It is anticipated that that item will be reached to-day, and the question can be discussed then.
– I think the information is necessary to enable us to discuss the item.
– So far as the honorable member has read - I do not know what is to follow - he appears to be going beyond the ordinary form of a question.
-I had not quite finished. It will be seen that I am referring to erroneous statistics that have been furnished, and which ought to be corrected before we go into Committee on the item. My question proceeds -
– The honorable member must see that he is going beyond the ordinary form of a question.
– Very well, I shall deal with the question on the ‘ item in Committee of Ways and Means.
– The honorable member for Coolgardie asked a question in reference ‘to this matter some four or five days ago. and this morning I forwarded him a reply to the effect that a mistake had been made - as stated by the Acting Comptroller-General of Customs - in that only an estimate had been given of the number of pianos imported into New South Wales, instead of the actual number. I have requested the officials in Sydney to furnish me with the most definite particularsthat it is possible to obtain, and immediately I receive these, I will supply the information to honorable members. But, undoubtedly a mistake has been made, so that honorable members need not base their remarks in reference to the duty upon pianos upon the figures which have been supplied.
– I wish to ask the Prime Minister whether the statement which appears in the newspapers of to-day that arrangements have been made to pay the automatic increments due to public servants before Christmas, is correct?
– As promised several days ago, I have had a consultation with the Treasurer, and he now informs me that he intends to make arrangements for the payment of the increments referred to before Christmas.
asked the Minister of Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow -
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
Is it a fact that, although instructions from the Central Office have been issued for arrangements to be made to avoid the necessity for officers working after the official hour, some of the heads of branches in Sydney have since given specific instructions for’ all hands to remain on duty each day from Monday to Friday until 5.30 p.m.?
– The answer to the honorable member’s question is as follows -
The instructions from the Central Office referred to were that officers of Clerical Branches whose ordinary hours were from 9 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. were not to be required to attend on any day later than 5.30 p.m., Monday to Friday, or 1 p.m. on Saturday, except in cases of extreme urgency, and with the express’ approval of the Deputy Postmaster-General.
The authority for detaining officers until s-3° p.m. is contained in the Public Service Regulations. Only time worked after 5.30 p.m.. is regarded as “overtime” under those Regulations.
In Committee of Ways and Means (Consideration resumed from 6th December, 7de* page 7168):
Division XIII. - Paper and Stationery.
Item 352. Paper, viz. : -
Manufactures of, Framed or Unframed, having advertisements thereon, including price lists and trade catalogues, and all printed or lithographed matter to be used for purposes of advertising, per lb., 6d.
– I move -
That the following words be ‘ added : - “and on and after 9th December, 1907, a. Manufactures of, Framed (including the weight of the frame), or Unframed, having advertisements thereon, including price lists n.e.i., trade catalogues n.e.i., show cards n.e.i., and all printed or lithographed matter, pictures n.e.i., and posters of all kinds used or intended to be used for advertising purposes, also all printed bags and cartons, per lb., 6d.” This new proposal is the result of a Conference between the Comptroller-General and a number of persons interested in these particular manufactures.
– Will the Treasurer state whether the new proposal is intended to apply to imports by vessels, or to imports by post? Is he going to inconvenience those who may forward price lists and trade catalogues from other parts of the world to Australia by charging duties upon these articles when they come through the post ?
– Book catalogues for instance ?
– Yes. It seems very extraordinary to charge such a high duty as 6d. per lb. .upon the frames. In another portion of the Tariff, frames are dutiable at a different rate - I think, at 30 per cent., under the general Tariff, and at 25 per cent, under the Tariff for the United Kingdom. Yet here it is proposed to charge 6d. per lb. upon them.
-“- The frames can be made in Australia.
– Then they will not be imported. But of course there may be special reasons for occasionally importing them.
– The new proposal which I have submitted has been very carefully drafted-
– Why levy a duty upon frames by weight, seeing that they are already subject to a different rate in another portion of the Tariff ?
– These frames differ somewhat from those to which the honorable member refers.
– Why charge two different rates upon frames?
– The new proposal is the result of a meeting of those interested in these manufactures, and it is one with which they are all satisfied.
– =A meeting of whom ?
– Of the importers. During the last two or three days they saw the Comptroller-General in reference to this matter, which I admit is intricate. I instructed the officers to bevery careful, and to frame the item in a way which would be least objectionable.
– What about circulars coming bv post?
– It will depend a good deal on what they are.
– What about book lists, which weigh half-an-ounce?
– Book catalogues will, I think,( be free.
– Under what item will they be free?
– Under a later item, in respect of which I intend to move an amendment. The present item deals with only the catalogues to which I have referred, but under item 36U, “books n.e.i.” and “prospectuses and catalogues other than trade n.e.i.,” are’ free.
– That deals with other than trade catalogues ?
– I shall deal with that matter when we come to the item. The main principle underlying the present item is that persons who have a place of business in Australia shall receive greater consideration than those who have no place of business here. It is intended to prevent the widespread distribution of publications which have no reference to persons engaged in business here.
– The catalogues of our exporters, be they colonial wine exporters or others, have free entry to foreign countries through the post. But now it is proposed to withhold from persons in other countries the privilege of sending through the post a circular or catalogue to persons within Australia. Is it intended to stop the circulars and catalogues as they arrive in the mails and impose a duty or to communicate with the senders ?
– No; they will come in free.
– But this item includes trade catalogues.
– Trade catalogues are not included in item 368.
– Where a legitimate business is carried on here, it is intended that the catalogues shall come in free, or, at any rate, at a very low duty. The item before the Committee is intended to deal with other things “which come in promiscuously.
– There are two aspects of this question. First, is it intended to compel those who are located in Australia, and do business here, to get their printing done locally?
– To a large extent
– THOMSON. - The other consideration is, is it intended to compel persons who are carrying on business outside Australia to get their printing done here?
– Then the Tariff should not provide for the exclusion of their trade catalogues.
– What is the idea in imposing a duty upon them ?
– I am against the proposal, but now I am trying to elicit what the Ministry desire. We are not treated in that way by European countries. Australian catalogues are allowed to go through the post, and to be delivered. Is it intendedhere to stop the ‘delivery of catalogues or trade price lists when posted from other countries to persons in Australia? I hope that the Treasurer does not intend to do that. It would be very unfair in view of the fact that Che catalogues and price lists of our business men receive such different treatment from other countries.
– The Ministry must be in sore straits for revenue when it proposes to collect a duty of that kind. It is reallyhampering trade.
– Apart from the propriety of the proposal, I think that the duty proposed is excessively high. It ought not to apply to price lists and trade catalogues sent here by outside persons who, of course, could not get their printing done here. Such persons should not be treated, even from the Minister’s stand-point in the same way as persons who are carrying on business within our territory.
– Does the honorable member for North Sydney approve of a firm which is doing business in Australia, getting its printing done in another part of the world ?
– I am not dealing with that question, except that I hold that the duty is too high, even for that purpose.
– In the other cases the catalogues will be duty free.
– Under what item? Sir WILLIAM LYNE. - The honorable member will find that this amendment and another will make them free.
– If the honorable member says that they will be free, I am satisfied-
– It is intended that thev shall be free. It has been represented to the Comptroller-General that the catalogues which are posted from other countries give a great deal of information to our business men, and it is not intended that they shall be dutiable. It is intended, however, that every person who does business in Australia shall get his printing done here. Complaints have also been made regarding the printing .of supplements to Australian newspapers in other countries. Suppose that the proprietors of a newspaper get their supplements printed in England or elsewhere, it is not fair that they should be admitted free. The object of this item is to prevent firms which are doing business in Australia from getting their printing done in other parts of the world, and securing free admission of the printed matter.
– It is nearly all done in Germany.
– I believe so. .It is intended that trade catalogues which are compiled and printed in other parts of the world shall be admitted free when posted to business firms in Australia.
– If that is made clear, it will be all right.
– That is intended. Such publications will be made free.
– I point out to the Committee that the A section of the Tariff Commission suggested that price lists and catalogues printed specially for Australian houses to advertise goods sold in the Commonwealth should be liable to this duty. Tha* is a limitation. _ Mr. Mcwilliams. - Does it mean that if’ an English house has a large branch in Australia, it will be compelled to get its printing done here? .,
– The recommendation speaks for itself.
Most of the Master Printers’ Associations of Australia had no objection to British and foreign manufacturers’ price lists and catalogues being admitted free of duty so long as the same privilege was not accorded to Australian manufacturers attempting to get their work done abroad.
That is the evil j printing done abroad for Australian houses is brought here to compete with local printers, but the local printers do not object to British and foreign merchants being allowed to print their own price lists and catalogues, and bring them in for commercial purposes. Consequently, I suggest to the Treasurer that he should add after the word “Catalogues” the words “printed for Australian houses to advertise goods sold in Australia.”
– I think the amendment covers such cases.
– It must be made clear, because the Customs have hitherto had great trouble in dealing with such matters. These words were actually suggested by a Customs expert to remove difficulties and ambiguities, and to make the administration of the Tariff easier.
– I think that my amendment meets the suggestion of the honorable member for Bendigo, when read in conjunction with an amendment which I intend to move subsequently, and which I will now read - 352B. Catalogues, show-cards, or pictures used by or alluding to the goods of any manufacturer or producer not having a special place of business in Australia, free.
– That covers the case.
– - I do not think that the Treasurer’s amendment would meet the cas.e. I can quite see a very -wide distinction between an Australian firm sending its printing out- side Australia, and an English firm having branches in Australia, and desiring to import its own printing. Take the case of Sutton’s, the well-known seed merchants. They have an establishment in practically every town in the Commonwealth.’ According to the Treasurer’s amendment, Sutton’s seed catalogue would be taxed on coming into Australia. I do not think that that is the intention of the Minister, and I am sure that it is not the intention pf the Committee. The Master Printers had no intention that’ the catalogues of large English firms, having branch houses all over Australia, and sending their catalogues out to advertise their business, should be taxed, and I think that that should be made perfectly clear. The Treasurer’s amendment would mean that any English firm having an establishment in Melbourne or Sydney would not be able to bring in its catalogues for distribution without paying duty. Personally, I do not desire to impose any taxation at all on catalogues advertising such goods as machinery, books, and seeds, I do not think that this is a source .from which we really want to draw revenue. The duty can give no employment to our own people, and if is good policy to admit catalogues and price lists free.
.- I have received a letter from an advertising firm in Adelaide who point out that these duties work out at 100 per cent. The letter is from Fred C. Powell, street car advertising agent, and agent for calendars, novelties, show-cards, and signs. The writer says -
There is no discrimination between the fully finished goods intended to advertise the foreign made article, and the partially finished material intended to be finished here and to be used in advertising Australian made goods.
He goes on to say -
I have employed considerable labour in the finishing of these goods, desiring to have as much work as possible done locally. Therefore, if the Tariff is not made to discriminate as I have suggested between matter with advertisements and matter without advertisements, it will pay better to import them wholly finished.
I have also been requested by the Public Libraries Board in South Australia to say that whatever duty may be fixed on these lines, there should be a proviso to the following effect -
Except when imported for use in Public Libraries, Museums, or Art Galleries ; in which case they should be free of duty. I think that suggestion is worthy of the attention of the Treasurer. I have received a second letter from the firm to which I have previously referred, in which the writer points out that - the duty under the old Tariff, 3d. per lb., or 25 per cent., whichever was the higher, was often, at the former collection, as high a rate as 50 per cent, on the value, and 6d.. per lb. is 100 per cent. - too heavy a tax on the Australian “manufacturer who uses advertising matter. Nowadays it is imperative that advertisements be of a very attractive character, and whilst it is possible that a few of the larger firms can have matter of their own special design, this is not possible for those in a smaller way.
The writer also points out that the Dunlop Company can have their own designs, whereas smaller companies like the Phoenix or Atlas Tyre Companies have to use matter procured outside Australia, but finished here. I think that the old duty was quite sufficient. It amounted to 50 per cent.
– The old duty was not 50 per cent.
– It was equivalent to that, I am informed.
– It was 25 per cent… or 3d. per lb.
– Whichever was the higher rate; and the duty of 3d. per lb. worked out at 50 per cent. I shall move when I have an opportunity that the duty be 3d. per lb.
– Why do Public Libraries wish to except catalogues?
– My proposal applies to the whole of paragraph a. They receive price-lists of books.
– Those are dealt with in another paragraph. These people evidently do not understand the proposal.
– That is a reflection upon the intelligence of the directors. I intend to move -
That the amendment be amended by adding the words “ except when imported for use in a Public Library, Museum, or Art Gallery.”
. -I think that the honorable member would do well to make a separate paragraph of his amendment.
– So do I.
– Very well, I am agreeable to do that.
– I presume that the object ofthese excessive duties, amounting, as the honorable member for Grey has said, to too per cent., is to exclude newspaper supplements and such like material, as well as to compel our business people to have their printing done locally. I do not know why we should be at such pains to make people do so, and I say this with no desire to belittle our own printeries. On the contrary, I hold that we ought tosupport them : but I do not think that we should eventually help them by completely shutting out this material, representing, as it does the skill, enterprise and up-to-dateness of the world.
– The supplements come in blocks.
– They come in lithographed. The old duties, to my mind, were sufficient even from the point of view of a protectionist. I am quite sure that magazines will also be taxed under the amendment moved by the Treasurer, which includes the words, “ unframed, having advertisements thereon.”
– Magazines are dealt with in paragraph c.
– Is the Treasurer going to strike out that paragraph when we reach it, since we deal with magazines in paragraph a?
– The insertion of the letters “n.e.’i.” would coverthe honorable member’s objection.
-The Treasurer may propose to cover magazines by this paragraph and to exclude them from later ones. Magazines and periodicals would certainly be covered by the words “unframed, having advertisements thereon,” unless we took steps to exclude them. If our people insist upon going to the other end of the world for some particular article or paper, we should not prevent their doing so, provided that they are prepared to pay a reasonably heavy penalty. But is not a duty of 100 per cent. altogether too high? I have no sympathy with those who seek abroad what can be reasonably done for them here. I have no patience with those who patronize every one but their own people ; but my experience is that a good, stiff, hide-bound protectionist always reaches out with both hands for a cheap thing wherever he can get it. That being so, this proposal will fall quite as heavily upon the protectionist section of the community as it will upon any other. Those who clamour most loudly for duties upon foreign goods are the first to use them if they find it to their advantage to do so. Only the other day, when we were discussing the confectionery duties, it came out that manufacturers of confectionery in Melbourne, who were clamouring for high duties, were using Nestles milk, and not Australian milk, in their manufacture.
– That is not in order.
– Certainly not. That should only be allowed in regard to the other fellow. Without the slightest desire to encourage the sending away to other parts of the world for anything which can be reasonably done here, it seems to me we should impose a sufficiently high penalty if we adhered to the old duties. I intend to propose that we should substitute the duties under the old Tariff for those now submitted.
.- I do not think that anything created more irritation in connexion with the administration of the old Tariff than did the influx of these price lists. As honorable members are aware they accumulated in tons in the Post Office. The position I take up is very much that which is embraced by the concrete amendment suggested by the honorable member for Bendigo. We should prevent local firms sending abroad to get their advertisements printed for them, since we can command sufficient skill and ability in the Commonwealth to meet all reasonable requirements in this direction. But to impose a heavy charge upon the admission of trade catalogues which reach us from all parts of the world would be to restrict the information required by the ordinary trader, the need for which has been felt so very much. The comprehensive letters “n.e.i.” appear much too frequently in the amended proposal of the Minister.
The amendment suggested by the honorable member for Bendigo would certainly be much more definite, and the Minister would be well advised if he accepted it. I wish to emphasize what has been said by the honorable member for Grey with respect to catalogues for public libraries and galleries. I am glad that the authorities of these institutions communicated with so influential a. member of the Committee. They have also communicated with me. The authorities of the public libraries in Sydney, Brisbane, and Adelaide, as well as in Melbourne, join in a representation that in accordance with the custom, followed without exception in every country in the world, information of this character intended for the benefit of the public should be admitted free. I suggest to the honorable member for Grey that it would be well for him to move the insertion of some exclusive provision which would embrace the whole of the items to which he has referred.
– The Minister has agreed to that.
– I am glad to hear it. I was not aware of it. In regard to the other matter, I hope the Committee will be guidedby the principle that all work required by our own people should, if possible, be done by our own people, whilst the admission of catalogues, giving necessary information to traders and business people, should not be restricted as was the case in the administration of the old Tariff.
– Where does the honorable member for Grey desire to introduce his amendment?
.- I understand that it is the wish of the Committee that a new paragraph to meet what I desire should be inserted. I think I can leave that to the Minister.
– The Minister might cut this debate short by accepting the suggestion of the Tariff Commission and including an exemption provision to read in this way -
Price lists and trade catalogues not specially printed for Australian houses to advertise goods to be sold in the Commonwealth - free.
That would prevent any restriction of trade circulars, and, I think would meet with the approval of the majority of the Committee.
– Perhaps the Minister would say what his amendment is.
– I am afraid thatthe amendment suggested by the honorable memberforBendigo involves a repetition of part of my amendment. What I propose is that the following should take the place of paragraph a: -
Manufactures of, framed, including the weight of the frame, or unframed having advertisements thereon, including price lists n.e.i., trade catalogues n.e.i., show cards n.e.i., posters and all printed or lithographed matter, pictures n.e.i., and posters of all kinds used or intended to be used for advertising purposes, also all printed bags and cartons.
– That would include magazines - “or unframed, having advertisements thereon.”
– No; they are dealt with specially in paragraph c. There cannot be two paragraphs including magazines. The honorable member for Bendigo suggests a separate paragraph -
Price lists and trade catalogues not specially printed for Australian houses to advertise goods to be sold in the Commonwealth - free.
That seems to me to be met to some extent by the second amendment I intend to propose -
Catalogues, show cards or pictures issued by or referring to the goods of any manufacturer or producer not having an established place of business in Australia.’
– They nearly all have a house here.
– Then they should get their printing done here.
– They merely have an office and address here.
– Those are the very men I want to stop. They are indent agents, and if there is anything I want to put an end to it is the creation and continuance of indent agents. They do no good to us.
– If the honorable member would strike out the words “not having an established place of business ‘ ‘ it would meet the case.
– Then I should let in all the indent agents. I do not want to do that. That is the only point on which I differ from the honorable member.
– That would mean that such productions as Sutton’s seed : catalogue would be taxed. They have agents here, and established houses.
– I do not want the indent agents to be fostered. They do no good to Australia, in any business. Thev certainly take some money themselves,” but what good do they do?
– The indent agent must serve some useful purpose, or he would not exist.
– I do not think he serves a very useful purpose for Australia. He has a room, and a boy, or a typewriter, and all his interest in Australia consists in taking as much as he can out of it. From an Australian stand-point, I do not like the indent agent at all.
– It is curious that the retailers find use for him.
– The importers may, but I am not sure that even they do. I vouId rather adhere to my own wording than go past the established or acknowledged houses here. I think we go quite far enough when we go as far as that. From that point of view, I should like the honorable member for Bendigo to think over the matter, and see what his amendment means, because it is extending my proposal very considerably.
– I do not see why the Treasurer should abuse the indent agents. They serve a useful purpose here. They are a convenience to many people who wish to import goods, and they do not deserve the abuse which the honorable member has showered on them.
– I did not shower abuse on them. I have always said that they do no good to Australia.
– Every man who comes here and engages in a legitimate industry is of some good to the community. Nevertheless, I think the Treasurer is right from his point of view. If these people have establishments in Australia, they can very well get their printing done here.
– This would not be their printing specially for Australia. It would be printing for the whole world.
– If the whole of their catalogues are not printed here, there is no reason why they should not pay a small duty on those which come here from outside.
– They come mostly through the post.
– Duty is collected on other articles which come through the post. These catalogues arrive here in large quantities.
– Other countries take ours through the post, free. We should not treat them differently.
– I do not agree with the honorable member. We are not in a position to give exact reciprocity to other countries, in which manufacture is highly perfected, and which are in a better position to capture our trade than we are to capture theirs. -Therefore, it is useless at this stage of development to talk of reciprocity.
– Seedsmen’s catalogues would not necessarily involve an office.
– I think the general catalogues might come in at a small rate of duty. I wish to draw the Treasurer’s attention to the fact that calendars and almanacs, n.e.i., appear in item 353, under a 30 per cent. duty. They are practically the same as the articles included in paragraph a of item 352. Many patent medicine proprietaries send out what are virtually their price lists in the shape of calendars and almanacs. There is really no difference between calendars and almanacs of that kind, and the other articles enumerated by the Treasurer. They are out of place in section 353, and ought to be treated in the same way as are the price lists of foreign houses.
– I notice that included in the Minister’s amendment are “ printed bags and cartons.” Cartons mean empty cardboard cases. On those things the duty is tremendous- from 200 to 300 per cent. The object is to make the duty on those articles the justification for the subsequent duty on strawboard.’ That is really the process that is going to be worked. These cartons are to be made practically unimportable, and then the strawboard maker will say, “ The makers of cardboard boxes have been given a high protection, and therefore you can give me the increase of 150 per cent, that I ask for on the old duty.” This proposal has been very simply introduced, and I did not notice the mention of bags and cartons until I got a copy of the amendment. It is to be a buttress for the increased duty on strawboard. The strawboard maker will be able to argue, “ The increased duty on strawboard will not injure the boxmaker, as the goods that, would compete with him are excluded.” But the ultimate effect will be that the strawboard maker will be so securely entrenched that he can get any increase of price right up to the cost of the imported article under the 150 per cent, increase of duty. He will be invincibly entrenched; and the strawboard boxmakers will have to pay the increased price. But the latter are told: “ Although you do pay this increased price, you cannot ‘be competed with,, because you are given a duty of 6d. per lb. on your manufactured article, and this absolutely excludes competition.” What is the effect? These strawboard boxes are used only when they can be sold at a price very near: to that of the paper wrappings or packages previously used, and immediately the price is raised the demand will be decreased, with the result of loss of employment. And why is this done? In order to give greater employment in a trade which, according to the proprietor of the Broadford Mill - the only mill producing strawboard im the Commonwealth - gave employment in 1902 to only thirty-one men and seven boys.
– And produced very coarse strawboard.
– I say nothing about the quality; the manufacturer may say that he has improved the quality, and may still futher improve it.
– Why should he not?
– I am not attacking the quality, but merely pointing out that, for the benefit of this ‘mill, .it is sought to increase the duty from 35 per cent, to 62J per cent.
– The duty under discussion has nothing to do with strawboard.
– Of course it has- this duty is proposed in order to support a proposal later on to increase the duty on strawboard.
– That is an insinuation which ought not to be made.
– I do not say that the Minister knew anything about the matter ; but, as a matter of fact, I heard that this was to be done.
–I know nothing at all about that.
– But I know something about it, because a few days ago I heard what was to be done.
– [ am afraid that the honorable member has been listening to a lot of tittle-tattle.
– I am afraid that it is the Minister who listens to tittle-tattle ; I always take care to sift information which I receive. Whether the’ Minister’s intention is .or is not what I have stated, the effect will be an increase of the duty on strawboard, and the strawboard boxmakers who complain’ so bitterly about the increased duty on their raw material will be protected by a prohibitive duty.
– Does the honorable member say that this duty is imposed for the unworthy purpose he indicates ?
– I have already said that a few clays ago I heard what the intention was, though I do not suggest that the Minister had any knowledge of the matter. However, I leave the question of intention aside, and merely point to what will be the effect, lt may be thought that under this arrangement the strawboard boxmakers will have nothing to complain of ; but, as a matter of fact, their trade will be seriously affected, because, as I said before, cardboard boxes are used only when the price is close to that of ordinary paper packages. I move -
That the amendment be amended by leaving out the words “ also all printed bags and cartons.”
At present there are duties of 30 per cent, and 25 per cent, on paper bags, and now it is proposed, simply because of the printing, to raise the duty to at least 100 per cent.
– Do I understand the honorable member for Bendigo to submit an amendment?
– My desire is, after paragraph a has been disposed of, to insert, as a separate line, the amendment I have already indicated.
– I regret that the honorable member for North Sydney has made what I may term, an insinuation as to the object of the proposal immediately before us.
– I heard this morning that the intention was that indicated by the honorable member for North Sydney.
– I do not care what the honorable member heard; I never heard of the matter.
– That may be.
– Why should the Treasurer take any notice of what honorable members opposite may have “heard?”
– I cannot allow an insinuation, and a very unworthy insinuation, to be made.
– No one suggests . that the Treasurer knew what the intention was.
– If there is not a reflection on me, there is a reflection on the Comptroller-General.
– I do not say that the object is an improper one from the protectionist stand-point.
– The ComptrollerGeneral advises me that the statement is absolutely without foundation. If the honorable member for North Sydney says that he does . not believe the ComptrollerGeneral -
– Why is this duty proposed ?
– The duty on printed bags and cartons has nothing to do with the duty on strawboard, but is proposed merely to insured the printing being done here.
– I only say that I heard that the strawboard boxmakers intended to move in this direction.
– I do not thinkthat that is any justification for any reflection on either myself or the ComptrollerGeneral. I asked the ComptrollerGeneral and his officers to meet some of those interested in this matter, and the meeting took place. Those interested came from all directions, and the outcome was the amendment I have submitted, to which they’ all agreed.
– I point out that cartons must be printed before they are made up.
– Probably so. In reference to bags I may say that, when I was -Minister of Trade and Customs, I had considerable trouble, seeing that some bags were imported plain and others came in printed with advertisements. If the amendment suggested by the honorable member for North Svdney be made, printed matter, as well as plain bags, will be imported free, although the policy is to stop he importation- of advertisements. I happen to know a good deal about this subject, because, when Minister of Trade and Customs, I was compelled to take legal advice, which was to the effect that I was entitled to charge duty on the printing on the bags. I hope honorable members will not agree to the proposal of the honorable member for North Sydney, which opens the door to. evasion of the duty on- printed advertisements.
– I sincerely hope that the Committee will not be influenced by the blandishments of the honorable member for North Sydney. The honorable member must be well aware that the duty proposed on strawboard is quite insufficient, and that, if the duty immediately before us be agreed to, it will be necessary later on. if we are to have true protection, to take some such step as he has indicated. At any rate, when we do reach the item of strawboard, I shall endeavour to induce the Treasurer to raise the duty above that proposed in the schedule. If every time we endeavour to impose an effective duty, we are to be stormed at by the Opposition, we shall be kept here not only until this Christmas, but until the Christmas following. It is our duty, as a protectionist Parliament, to see that effective duties are imposed.
– What does the honorable member mean by an effective duty ?
– I mean a duty sufficient to insure that the commodity shall be sold at a price which will pay fair wages, and give a fair return to those who have invested money in the industry. I might ask the honorable member for Parramatta what he calls effective free-trade? Does he mean a revenue duty?
– Free-trade is not now in question.
– As a protectionist I shall not be satisfied to accept any duty which will not permit of reasonable wages being paid to’ the employes in the industry, so that they may live up to our standard of civilization, and of a fair return being assured to capitalists who invest their money in it. Whilst I admit that we cannot manufacture certain classes of paper in the Commonwealth because we have not the necessary pulp, I contend that for the manufacture of strawboard we possess the raw material in abundance. Unlike the honorable member for Parramatta, and the honorable member for North Sydney, I wish to insure the payment of reasonable wages to our Australian operatives, and it is impossible to achieve that result whilst our markets remain open to the cheap production of other parts of the world.
– In order to limit debate, and at the suggestion of some honorable members, I ask leave to amend my amendment by omitting from it the words “ also all printed bags and.”
Amendment of the amendment, by leave, amended accordingly.
– The Honorable member for Parramatta stated that he heard, a few days ago, that this arrangement was to be made. Here is a letter written on the 26th September last -
We have the honour to submit to you the recommendations of the Master Printers’ Association of Victoria, The Paper Manufacturers, The Cardboard Box Makers, The Paper Bag Makers, The Manufacturing Stationers, the Paper merchants of Victoria,, in reference to items affecting Paper, Printing and Stationery, in your proposed Tariff. We indorse the Government’s proposals with the inclusion of “ Printed Bags and Cartons,” with the exception of Magazines. We do not think that Magazines would be produced in Australia, so we do not see the necessity for this duty, especially is the case with “ Trade and Scientific Journals.” We suggest therefore that clause c should read “ Printed matter n.e.i. including printed bags and cartons (except newspapers registered for transmission through the post as magazines), 6d. per lb.”
That was written on the 26th September last, so that the insinuation that the arrangement had been arrived at within the past few days is utterly without foundation, and it is one which, on behalf of the Comptroller-General, I am justified in resenting.
– The Treasurer has confirmed the statement which I made in reference to this matter. A few moments ago he told us that the Comptroller-General of Customs knew nothing whatever about this arrangement. Yet we now know that it was put in black and white, months ago. Will the Treasurer now say that he knew nothing about it ? After having denied my statement point blank, the honorable gentleman rose, and read a letter which confirmed it. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports made one remark to which I should like to refer. He said that unlike the honorable member for North Sydney and myself, he wanted to Insure the payment of -good wages to the employes in this industry. Does he mean to imply that we do not ? Let me tell him that I have done more to secure the payment of good wages to employes than he will accomplish in his life-time.
– That is doubtful.
– There is no member of the Opposition who does not desire to see good wages paid.
– Then their actions do not show it.
– The honorable member has only one notion in regard to the method by which the payment of good wages may be insured. He thinks that that result can be brought about only by the imposition of high duties for the protection of our manufacturers.
– That is the only method.
– If protective duties in themselves are a guarantee of good wages being paid,, why does he want to protect Australian strawboard againstDutch strawboard? His argument means nothing. All the duties that he advocates are duties against the highly-paid, intelligent labour of the world, and not against the low-paid labour of the world. If he wishes to find’ the lowest-paid labourin the world, he must visit the most highly - protected countries - Russia, for instance.
– We pretend to be a little more civilized than is Russia.
– The honorable member appears to be particularly active this morning. I congratulate him upon having recovered his vigour. I wish to make only one remark in reference to the agreement which has been forwarded to the Minister in respect of this item. It was discussed during the last week-end, and I understand that the manufacturers of strawboard agreed with the card-box makers to accept a lower duty than that proposed in the Tariff. The Treasurer, however, has gone back upon the arrangement, and desires to get the highest duty possible. I have been told that the whole thing has been discussed many times between the card-box makers and the strawboard manufacturers. The present proposal is a part of the arrangement arrived at between them. Nobody suggests that the Treasurer was a party to it. I hope that he will believe that these arrangements can be made without his knowledge.
– What I chiefly protested against was the insinuation against the Comptroller-General.
– Nobody suggests that the Treasurer has been discussing this matter with these individuals. But the fact remains that he has proposed what they requested him to propose some months ago. The arrangement has been discussed more than once lately; but as they could not agree amongst themselves, each of the parties has been left to act as it pleases.
– Have not members of the Opposition been solicited by the importers ?
– Then where is the difference ?
– I am not talking about manufacturers soliciting members of this House. I am merely pointing out that two sections, each wanting a protective duty, agreed as to the rate which they would recommend to the Government. The real object of this proposal is not to protect our printing establishments, but to protect our strawboard manufacturers.
– I am very glad that the honorable “member for Parramatta has changed his ground in regard to this particular duty. When the honorable member for North Sydney first made his statement it impressed me somewhat. I thought that it implied that some arrangement had been arrived at between the Government and certain manufacturers. But now we have an entirely different story. We find that a perfectly legitimate request was made three months ago - a request to which the Government have acceded. Anybody who knows anything about the manufacture of these articles must realize the enormous competition to which our manufacturers are subjected by reason of importations from oversea. I am speaking particularly of illustrated calendars. When these arrive here, nothing remains to be done except to print upon them the name of the person who has ordered them. Under these circumstances we are entitled to extend to those who do that work in Australia, a full measure of protection. With respect to cartons, I say, without fear of contradiction, that those made in Australia from our own strawboard are equal to those produced in any part of the world. The honorable member for Lang made some reference to the quality of Australian strawboard. I do not pretend to be an expert
– It is admitted that there has been a vast improvement in the quality of the board produced locally.
– And there might be a much greater improvement if we gave our manufacturers a fair chance of competing.
– They have the advantage of a 25 per cent. duty.
– But the manufacture of strawboard in the old world is carried on under conditions that we should not like to see obtain here. We have to pay decent wages to our workers.
– Does not the honorable member think that a heavy duty on cardboard will embarrass the people here ?
– I do not think so, nor do those who are using the manufactured articles. I am glad to say that the prejudice against the local article has been largely removed. I believe that if we give the local makers an opportunity to supply Australia’s requirements of strawboard, they will very soon be in a position to do so.
. - I desire to ascertain from the Treasurer whether this item will apply to fruitwrappers on which the names of- the fruitgrowers are printed. For a long while, I have been trying to induce the fruit-growers to put their names on their wrappers, because I believe that that practice would have a more beneficial effect than would the provisions of the Commerce Act. At the present time a good many fruitgrowers are getting their names printed on their wrappers.
– Can they not get that done in Tasmania?
– The fruit-growers have to import the paper cut to the proper size. As one boy with an up-to-date guillotine could cut all the paper to size, it is not worth our while to bother about what labour would be employed, if the paper were cut on the spot, instead of abroad. Any proposal to limit the size of the paper with a view to getting it cut in Australia is really ridiculous. Under paragraph a of this item every fruit-grower would be liable to a duty of 6d. per lb. upon imported fruit-wrappers bearing his name.
– Not unless the wrapper was in the form of a bag.
– The paragraph includes “ all printed or lithographed matter to be used for purposes of advertising.” If a man had his name printed on his fruitwrappers, it would be regarded by the Department as printed matter to be used for advertising purposes. Unless the paragraph is amended, it will undo what some of us have been trying to achieve, and that is to induce our fruit-growers to export their fruit ‘in wrappers bearing their own names, with a view to acquiring an outside reputation as the growers of first-class fruit.
– Can we not get these wrappers included in the proposed exemptions ?
– If the Treasurer will give me an assurance that this item will not be allowed to apply to fruitwrappers on which the names of the growers are printed, I shall be content.
– If any growers set their wrappers printed in London, they will be liable to the duty. They are allowed to have free paper for wrapping purposes, but it must be free from advertisements.
– I remind the honorable gentleman that his declared object in passing the Commerce Act was to encourage as far as possible the exportation of good articles. Surely there can be no objection to a’ man putting his name on the paper in” which he wraps his product? I impress upon the honorable gentleman that it is not possible to get these wrappers printed here, and, as he is aware, I speak as one who has had considerable experience of the printing trade. If the paper were imported and cut here the growers could not afford to have their names printed on the wrappers because the expense would be too great.
– Does this paper come out in rolls?
– No; it is imported in small squares ready to be used. I have been exerting all my influence to get the growers to have their names printed on the wrappers so that they may acquire a reputation as the exporters of good articles, but if this paragraph is passed in its present form, they will not use such wrappers, because it would be far too expensive to get the paper cut and printed here. These wrappers are used for not only apples but also lemons and oranges. I may inform the Treasurer that a large quantity of this wrapping paper is now in transit for use during the coming season.
– The paper is allowed to come in free.
– No. Wrapping paper is dutiable at 15 per cent.
– I am informed that this wrapping paper is duty free.
– I ask the honorable gentleman to reconsider the matter, and to see whether, for this year, at least, he cannot allow the printed wrapping paper to come in free.
– I will not make any promise now, but the time to deal with this matter is when we come to the “paragraph dealing with wrapping paper.
– In my locker I have just found a circular which shows that the manufacturers of strawboard are agitating in a most industrious way. It contains this passage -
After careful consideration it has been agreed that if all writing, news, glazed, and unglazed printing and surface-coated papers were admitted free, the Victorian Master Printers’ Association would support an increase of is. per cwt. on strawboard (making the duty 2S.), and a 25 per cent, duty on surface-coated boards.
I begin to wonder whether it might not be better to hand over the Tariff to these outside people and allow them to enact it as well as frame it. This is about the most curious circular I have ever seen. We have these proposals made outside and submitted here without a blush. The Master Printers say “ We have agreed to these duties,” and therefore I presume that Parliament has just to say “ditto,” and, hey ! presto ! the thing is done. I have always imagined that this was a deliberative assembly.
– The honorable member would not have expressed that opinion if he had seen the proceedings in the Queen’s Hall this morning.
– It seems that all we have to do is to register, to crystallize, the decisions of interested persons. I do not pretend to know very much about a number of these items, and therefore I am always glad to get information from any quarter. But when we are furnished with a circular stating that this,, that and the other have been agreed to at a private meeting, and that, therefore, there is an end of the matter, I venture to suggest to honorable members that this Parliament has a higher function to perform than the mere registration of decrees which have been issued outside. We are npt here to put on the statute-book some ukase issued by interested individuals, but to exercise our “discretion, and to make the best possible arrangement in the interests of those who consume the goods which are made dutiable with so much alacrity, and with so little compunction as regards the consequences to their pockets.
Question - That the words “and cartons” proposed to be left out stand part of the amendment (Mr. Dugald Thomson’s amendment of Sir William Lyne’s amendment) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 3
Question so resolved in the affirmative Amendment of the amendment negatived. Mr. MAHON (Coolgardie) [12.56].- I move -
That Hie amendment be amended by inserting after the .word “cartons” the words “and calendars anil almanacs n.e.i.”
I move this amendment because I do not think there ought to be any difference in the treatment of calendars and almanacs, and that extended to the other goods mentioned in the item.
Amendment of the amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Mr. Joseph Cook) proposed -
Thar the amendment be amended by inserting after the letters “n.e.i.” just inserted the words “ framed, ad val., 25 per cent.”
– Under another item the duties on frames are 30 per cent, and 25 per cent. I shall not object to those duties in this instance. If the honorable member for Parramatta will move that the duties in this case be the same as on ordinary frames, I will agree to it.
– Very well, I will do that, and ask that mv amendment be amended accordingly.
Amendment of the amendment amended accordingly.
.This item deals exclusively with advertising pictures. The other item, in which frames are included, relates to pictures not necessarily of an advertising character.
– This is the same item on which the A section of the Tariff Commission recommended a duty of 25 per cent.
– We recommended a duty of 25 per cent, on picture frames.
.- I wish to make a personal explanation. On the last division relating to the omission of the word “ cartons,” I inadvertently voted, forgetting that I had arranged to pair with the honorable member for Gwydir, from item 320 until his return to-morrow. The whip had not been acquainted of this arrangement, and, therefore, could not remind me of it. Fortunately, the division related only to the omission of a word, and not to any duty, but I thought it due to the honorable member for Gwydir to make this explanation.
– I would point out to the honorable member for Parramatta that if the amendment of the amendment which he proposes were carried, it would give rise to complications. The original amendment includes the words “ frames including the weight of the frames,” and the honorable member’s proposal would, therefore, conflict with the decision already arrived at. The proper course for the honorable member to pursue would have been to move the omission of certain words in the amendment. I did not realize this at the time, or I should have advised him accordingly.
– The word “ framed “ is quite unnecessary.
– At all events, it has been agreed to.
– Could not the paragraph at once be recommitted?
– I agree with the honorable member for Parramatta that we should substitute an ad valorem for a fixed duty. It is unfair that the cheaper classes of goods should have to bear the same duty as is imposed upon the higher priced articles. Since I last spoke to this question, I have received from a Melbourne firm a letter stating that this duty is equal to 80 per cent. .
– Then the other side also send out circulars. I thought it was only the manufacturers who did so.
– Of course they do; but the honorable member seems to think that manufacturers alone have the right to deluge the House with circulars and letters. If I had my way, I would not allow either the manufacturers or importers to indulge in lobbying. The practice is becoming intolerable. I repeat that I think we should, have an ad valorem duty.
– On the whole item ?
– Will the honorable member agree to a duty of 35 per cent. ?
– No; but I would accept a duty of 30 per cent, which would be an increase of 5 per cent, on the old rate.
– I ‘ cannot agree to the amendment of the amendment as it stands since the amendment covers not only the framing, but the advertisement within it, and the adoption of the honorable member’s proposal would make the paragraph ridiculous. I should have been willing to accept the amendment had I been able to do so.
Amendment of the amendment negatived.
– How does the Treasurer propose to cure the anomaly that frames elsewhere are taxed at 35 per cent., while he proposes under this paragraph to make them dutiable at 6d. per lb.
– No; it is only the j.aper that is taxed.
– Are we to have two rates? I did not press for a division on my last amendment of the amendment, because I wished the Minister to cure the anomaly. I move -
That the amendment be amended by inserting after the letters “n.e.i.” just inserted, the words “per lb., 3d.”
Question put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the negative.
Amendment of the amendment negatived.
.- I wish now to move that these goods be dutiable’ at 30 per cent.
– The honorable member has allowed the matter to go too far to now move an ad valorem duty. I divided the last question: submitted in order to give every honorable member an opportunity to vote for a percentage duty if he pleased; but the Committee has now decided that the duty shall not be an ad valorem duty.
– Since lunch I indicated that I wished to test the opinion of the Committee as to whether an ad valorem duty instead of the proposed fixed dutyshould not be adopted.
– I proposed 30 per cent, and 25 per cent.
– I did not understand the honorable member to do so.
– I divided the question. I did not put the whole of the honorable member’s amendment, in order not to deprive other honorable members of an opportunity to move a further amendment. The Committee has, -however, now distinctly decided not to adopt an ad valorem duty, and it is therefore impossible for trie to accept the amendment suggested by the honorable member.
.- I agree that the duty should be a fixed one at a certain rate per lb., because of the difficulty which the officials of the Customs Department would have in ascertaining the value of imported printed matter. I think, however, that a duty of 4d. per lb. would give ample protection to the local industry.
– Oh, no.
– The Treasurer must see that a duty of 4d. per lb. would amount to an increase of about 33 per cent, on the duty imposed under the old Tariff, and with landing charges, freight, insurance, packing and so on, would give a very y substantial protective encouragement to the printing industry in Australia. The Treasurer would be well advised to accept my suggestion, .which, I feel sure, will commend itself to the common-sense of honorable members generally. I am certain that if the Minister would fake expert advice, every unbiased and impartial printer would admit that a duty of 4d. per lb. on printed matter of this kind would give ample protection, and would be all that could reasonably be expected by those concerned in this industry. I move -
That the amendment be amended by inserting after the letters “n.e.i.” just inserted the words “per lh., 4d.”
Question put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the negative. Amendment of the amendment negatived.
Amendment (by Mr. Johnson) negatived -
That the amendment be amended by inserting after the letters “n.e.i.” just inserted the words “ per lb., 5d.”
Amendment, as amended (Sir William
Lyne’s), agreed to.
Paragraph, as amended, agreed to.
.- I wish to make an explanation in reference to a dispute I have had with some one who lobbied me in Parliament House. I was lobbied here by Mr. McDougall, of Sands and McDougall, and I think it is only right that honorable members should understand what occurred. Briefly. I had simply been told that he could not make the very finest qualities of coated boards, and when he came here I asked him - and it was the only question I asked him - if any evidence had been given before the Tariff Commission, and whether he would read it and let me know if he had a different view. Oh the following day I received from him this letter, which is the most insulting letter I ever received from any one in my life.
– These men ought, not to be admitted inside the building.
– When I was a clerk in the Colonial Bank, Mr. McDougall, ae the representative of a big firm, impressed me greatly, and we were very friendly ; but I do not think I can be friendly with him after this letter. He has written me as follows : - 365 Collins-street,
I was under the impression that you were returned as the member for Melbourne as a protectionist. You therefore very much surprised me yesterday when you said that you would oppose the proposed duty of 25 per cent, on surface-coated board.
At present the duty on plain and coated Boards is the same. We now only ask for a protection of 15 per cent. We have invested a large sum in up-to-date plant, occupying one whole floor of our factory, and employ a large number of men in the production of _ these boards, and have continued their production in the hope that when the Tariff should be revised we would get .the protection that we are entitled to. Should we not receive that protection we will be compelled to close that department and throw all those hands out of work. It is sad to think that that result should be brought about by you, a supposed protectionist. How can you justify your action?
YoUrs faithfully, jas. MCDOUGALL.
Perhaps if I ‘ read my reply it will be clearer than anything I can say. But I wish it to be understood that I have respect and regard for any man who is a free-trader, so long as he honestly holds that opinion, and if I use the term in what I write, I only do so in the course of my answer to the insult and slur that has been thrown upon me as the honorable member for Melbourne -
Yours of the 7th inst. to hand. Your impression is correct. I am a protectionist. My political faith has been, and will ever be, publicly declared. I do no skulking, doubledealing, or underhand scheming. My votes embody my principles. I point to the votes I have given.
But I am surprised, after lobbying me at Parliament House, you should now write me - and such a letter - a letter of craft and wile and not straightforwardness. You threaten to turn men out of work - with what object? - to frighten me !
You know the thought that “ Houseless heads and unfed sides “ of my fellow men and women would break my heart, if I were directly or indirectly the cause. You care nothing about them. Gain is your object. To put money in your purse you try to frighten me by conjuring before my eyes workless men and hungry children. You want money only, and I am to be but a tool in your hands - and you threaten men and women and children to influence me to vote rs you desire.
Ought I not admire you? Noble character, disinterested humanitarian !
Yet you are the man - you lover of protection and of workmen - who did your utmost, who hesitated at no expedient, to oust me from Parliament House and put in - who, a protectionist? No - a free-trader. Yes - wealth went to wealth. The wealthy McDougall supported the. wealthy Sir M. McEacharn. Where was the poor workmen then?
Now carry out your threat to dismiss your workmen if you dare. I believe that manhood and womanhood in this country will say you are not the master of their lives - that you are not as God - that to you they need not pray “ Give us this day our daily work that we mayearn the bread of sweat.”
It proves conclusively to my soul’s satisfaction that the policy .of the Labour Party is the right one - the right of the man to live without being at the beck and call of his fellow man, because that man has money. With tenfold earnestness will I advocate a policy of nationalization of industries, so that the McDougalls may become as Dodos - extinct.
The fact that Sir M. McEacharn was one of the four who voted against “White Australia,” and who was then an acknowledged free-trader, shows me it is not of your workmen you are thinking - black or slave does not signi’fy to you.
To you your men are machinery - instruments of money-making. To me they are men with God-created souls and “rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
When the duties are considered, you may rest assured I will think of my duty to my fellowmen and to my country, Australia, and your threats will not operate’ on my mind.
After my experience of your lobbying, and of your letter, I deem it my duty to prevent your misunderstanding my words, or misrepresenting me, and all future communications, if any, must be in writing.
– I do not think this incident ought to be allowed to pass unnoticed, although the highlycoloured reply of the honorable member for Melbourne may excite a little laughter. Right through the Tariff that sort of thing has been the experience not only of the honorable member for Melbourne, but of myself and others. We have been waylaid by importers’ agents and manufacturers’ agents. The one side is as bad as the other. . I gave short shrift to them both, for I have refused on all occasions to go into matters with them. It is only right that the Government should now intervene. The Tariff Commission sat for the purpose of getting all the necessary information from interested parties, and it should not have been necessary for the corridors of Parliament to be crowded with persons desiring to make representations. This sort of thing has been going on throughout the discussion of the Tariff, and to-day it is more marked than ever. The honorable member for Melbourne has taken up the right position, but he has not done so a bit too soon. The honorable member for Lang mentioned Mr. Beale’ s name. Although’ that gentleman is a manufacturer in a large way in my electorate, I have treated him in the same way as I have treated the importers’ agents. 1 only wish that every other member would do the same. Of course, those interested have a right to make representations, but they can approach honorable members by circular, instead of personally. Only to-day I received a large sheaf of circulars by post. The honorable member for Melbourne has done the best public action that we have had since the Tariff has been under consideration. Only a fortnight ago Mr. Speaker was asked to intervene against the placing of exhibits in this building. If interested parties want to make exhibits, let them hire a place in Collins-street for the purpose. When the last Tariff was being considered, I said that’ we appeared to be threatened with the American system of lobbying, but if the present condition of things is going to continue, what goes on in America will be only a circumstance to it. No member, whether a free-trader or protectionist, should be intimidated as to his votes. Importers’ agents and manufacturers’ agents should use the one channel only - by letter - and should not come to this House to make personal representations when their interests are at stake.
Sir JOHN QUICK (Bendigo) [2.53J.- I desire to propose a new paragraph. I think that this is the proper place to provide for the exemption of price lists and trade catalogues not printed for Australian houses. Adopting the form of the exemption suggested by the Tariff Commission, I move -
That the following new paragraph be inserted : - “ aa. On and after I oth December, 1907, Price lists and trade catalogues not printed for Australian houses to advertise poods sold in the Commonwealth - free.”
– When the honorable member for Melbourne rose, I rose also with the intention of submitting a comprehensive amendment, as follows -
Catalogues, show-cards, o’r pictures issued by, or referring to the goods of, any manufacturer or producer not having an established place of business in Australia, and all printed matter and photographs, the property of any public institution, and intended for deposit or exhibition therein.
The latter part has been framed by the Comptroller-General to meet the suggestion of the honorable member for Grey.
– Is it intended to make those things free?
– Yes.. The paragraph was framed after the discussion, . which took place this morning.
– Is it to enable foreign houses to advertise their own goods in this country if they have no branch here?
– Yes. . The amendment moved by the honorable member for Bendigo is not so comprehensive as the one which I have outlined.
– I will withdraw my amendment for the present.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) proposed - l lint the following new paragraph be inserted : - “ aa. On and after 10th December, 1907, Catalogues, show-cards, or pictures issued by, or referring to the goods of. any manufacturer or producer not having an established place of business in Australia, and all printed matter and photographs, the properly of any public institution, and intended for deposit or exhibition therein - free.”
.- I am afraid that the Minister’s amendment does not cover all that I suggested, such as works of art, including sculptures–
– They come later on. I believe they are free now, as works of art.
– Apparently price lists are not included in the amendment moved by the Minister, although I understood him to say that thev were.
– They are covered by the word “ catalogues,” according to the practice of the Department.
– I am not. sure that they are. .
– If the honorable member desires me to include “ price lists.” I will do so.
Amendment amended accordingly.
– If, as I anticipate, magazines ure left out of the next paragraph, they will fall under this.
– Whatever the Committee decides I shall be willing to make effective.
– These articles are to be free, and really magazines ought to be included in them. However, if the Minister prefers, I shall deal with, magazines in the next item.
Proposed new paragraph, as amended, agreed to.
Paragraph h. Australian Directories, Guides, and Time Tables, per lb., 6d.
.- Under the old Tariff this item was free; and 1 understand that this duty is aimed at one directory which is printed outside the Commonwealth. The firm which publishes this directory employs a considerable number of people in Australia, and distributes a large amount in wages. For’ three years the directory was printed in Sydney, but, at the expiration of that time, the printers declined to renew the contract, chiefly because of the limited time allowed for the printing, of such a large number of names in order that the book might be issued at the beginning of the new year. The directory to which I refer is Wise’s Post Office Directory, and the duty proposed means an impost of 3s. 6d., the weight of each volume being 7 lbs. I understand that the printing represents only one-fourth of the cost of production, the other three-fourths being expended in Australia. This duty is proposed for the benefit of a particular firm.
– What firm is that?
– The firm of Sands and McDougall.
– There are other directories besides that of Sands and McDougall.
– But Sands and McDougall are very prominent in this matter.
– The honorable member must recollect that there are very important directories’ published in New South Wales.
– ‘When a deputation waited on the Minister of Trade and Customs some time ago, it was pointed out that in the preparation of Wise’s Post Office Directory thirty married men and twenty-five single men and women were constantly employed in Australia, and that, in addition, there were partially employed, say for six months of the year, seventyfive men and women, many of the former being married. A comparison of this directory with the directory issued by the firm who are so anxious to have this duty imposed, may be interesting. Of forty- eight towns dealt with in Wise’s Post Office Directory, only five are dealt with in the directory issued by Sands and McDougall. Then in Wise’s Directory, 1,872 country postal towns are given as compared with 472 in the directory of Sands and McDougall. In regard to the number of names given, the following table affords some examples -
The approximate number of names given in the country portions of the directories are - in Wise’s Directory, 116,000; and in Sands and McDougall’s directory, 36,000. It appears to me that a directory is only a directory in so far as it is complete; and, surely, under the circumstances, a duty of 3s. 6d. per volume is too much.
– We do not. desire to collect the duty, but rather that the -work shall be done here.
– I have already explained the reason why the Sydney firm of printers refused to renew their’ contract. I move -
That the words “ and on and after 10th December, 1907, per lb., 3d.,” be added.
This will make the duty is. od. on .each volume of Wise’s Directory, and with that, I should say, the Committee, with all the greed there is for duties, ought to be satisfied. The publishers do not desire to be at the mercy of a local printer, when the main point is to have the directory issued at a certain time.
– And that is to be accomplished by having the printing done at the other end of the world !
– The publishers of Wise’s Directory spend ^10,000 per annum in wages .in Australia, and of the total expenditure, as I have said, only one-fourth is represented by the printing.
– I can understand the anxiety of the honorable member for Melbourne Ports to have the whole of this wark dene in Victoria.
– Not in Victoria, but in Australia.
– I think such work is mostly done in Sydney.
– Then I shall substitute Australia for Victoria. The publishers of Wise’s Directory distribute ^10,000 in wages in Australia, and if a duty of 6d. per lb. - renders the enterprise unprofitable that distribution will cease, because the book will not be published.
– Some one else will bring out a directory.
– No one else, so far, seems to have been able to bring out a satisfactory directory of the kind.
– This directory is not satisfactory.
– Perhaps it is not so satisfactory as it ought to be, but it is the best we have had up to now. The publishers have endeavoured to get the printing done in Australia, but have failed, simply because the printers require, perhaps, nine months to do work which is required in three months. Under the circumstances, I think that the publishers are not to be blamed for going abroad for their printing ; and I have much pleasure in supporting the amendment of the honorable member for Grey.
– Of course, we may take it that the whole of the information supplied by the honorable member for Grey is his own compilation - that he did not receive it by means of a circular from the publishers, or that their representatives did not follow the. example of manufacturers, and bring the information here.
– Can the honorable member refute the information?
– I am not endeavouring to do so, but merely pointing out that apparently importers as well as manufacturers can supply all the information necessary to promote their own interests. We have been told that philanthropic publishers spend £10,000 per annum in wages in Australia. I point out, however, that that money is obtained from Australia, before it can be paid as wages. We are told that the imposition of a duty of 3s. 6d. Der volume will stop the circulation of the directory. But can we believe that these publishers would “bite off their nose to spite their face “ ? This is a business run on commercial lines, and while a profit can be made the directory will be issued. Free-traders will admit that if there is any work that can be done in Australia, it is a compilation of a directory of the residents of Australia. Extreme protectionist as I may be regarded, I think I am not asking too much, even from so-called free-traders, when I suggest that publications of this sort ought to be printed here.
– The honorable member for Melbourne Ports expresses satirical anxiety as to whether the information given by the honorable member for Grey has been supplied, or- is his own compilation. If there is any honorable member who has given abundance of supplied information to the Committee, it is the honorable member for Melbourne Ports.
– But I do not condemn the supplying of information - the condemnation comes from honorable members opposite.
– Whence the strength of the satire on the honorable member for. Grey? Those interested by these duties have a perfect right, not by lobbying, but in a. proper way, to place the effects of the duties before honorable members.
– I have been lobbied myself in this matter.
– I* am making no accusation against the honorable member. I do not approve of lobbying ; but those interested have a perfect right to place what information they have before us, if they do so in a proper way ; and on that information honorable members may come to a conclusion. Some protectionist members will not accept any representations, simply because they come from protectionists,, and so with free.trade members in regard to representations from free-traders. They will themselves weigh the arguments advanced on either side. I think that the case put forward upon the. present occasion possesses some strength. The duty proposed is aimed entirely at one individual.
– Who is that? Mr. DUGALD THOMSON.- It is aimed at the proprietor of Wise’s Directory.
– What about the other directories?
– T am aware that some directories are printed in Australia, but Wise’s Directory, though compiled in Australia, is printed in England.
– The honorable member’s objection to the strawboard duty was based upon the fact that only one manufacturer was engaged in the industry. His efforts are now being directed in favour of one person.
– If the honorable member is so “ mixed “ that he associates strawboard and directories, I confess that I have not yet reached that frame of mind. Who is the person to whom he refers?
– Mr. Wise. The honorable member stated .that the protectionist members of the Committee were operating against one importer.
– Is it not within the honorable member’s own- knowledge that threats have been used in this connexion, and that the outcome of those threats is this attempt to compel a particular individual to print his directory in Australia? Mr. Wise says that he has endeavoured to get his directory printed in the Commonwealth, but that the time required for its production would be nine months, and that the information which it contained would thus be stale by the time it was published.
– How are the other directories printed?
- Mr. Wise declares that nine months is the shortest period within which he can get his work printed in Australia. If his statement be accurate, there seems to be some justification for his getting it printed elsewhere. Therefore I shall support the amendment of the honorable member for Grey. I would further point out that we admit other printed books - some of which could be printed in the Commonwealth much more easily than could a directory - free. The issue of a directory is a special class of work. Only a few firms are willing to undertake it, and it is stated they require nine months within which to print it.
– Would it not be better to have this directory printed here 50 that its publisher might revise the proofs?
– No doubt there are advantages attaching to having it printed here. But when the compiler says that he cannot get the work done in the Commonwealth within a reasonable time, we must pay some attention to his statement. I object to this special attack being made upon one individual.
– I understand that a deputation recently waited upon the Minister of Trade and Customs in regard to the publication of Wise’s Directory. Upon that occasion it was stated that the work could not be printed in Australia. That assertion has been repeated by the honorable member for North Sydney, who says that the directory cannot be printed here in less than nine months, which means that it cannot be printed locally at all. The Minister of Trade and Customs promised the members of the deputation that he would make inquiries and ascertain whether the statement to which I have referred is correct. I should like him to give the Committee the result of his inquiries, and to say whether Wise’s Directory can be printed in the Commonwealth within a reasonable period.
-~ I recollect the deputation to which the honorable member for Corio has referred. At that deputation conflicting statements were made. Of course, those who were interested in having the work done oversea made out the best case that they could. But to those who have seen the directories that are printed in Australia, it must be obvious that the work can be performed locally. As a matter of fact, a number of printers who waited upon me some time ago pointed out that this work could be done within the Commonwealth at a time when printing work was slack, and that it would thus provide employment for men who would otherwise be idle. I cannot understand the statement that nine months is required to print this directory.
– The Minister does not accept that statement?
– No. I gave the deputation to understand that, as far as possible^ the Government believed in encouraging work to be undertaken locally, in preference to having it performed across the sea.
.- The duty proposed might be reduced with advantage. I regret that I cannot see my way to support the amendment of the honorable member for Grey. It is idle to contend that the directory to which reference, has been made cannot be printed in Australia with advantage to everybody concerned. I will undertake to say that it can be done by any large firm. If Mr. Wise chose to enter into a contract with any large firm for the production of his directory for a period of five or seven years, I am certain that he could get the work turned out within three months. It is simply a question of paying the necessary price. At the same time, I think that 6d. per lb. is rather too heavy an impost to levy upon directories. Some honorable members have argued that the publications mentioned in paragraph a cannot be produced in Australia to commercial advantage. But certainly directories can. There is nothing elaborate about them. They involve only ordinary plain setting. It is ridiculous to suggest that the publisher can economize time by sending his copy oversea, thus sacrificing six weeks upon the voyage each way.
– He also has to wait for his proofs
– He has either to incur the risk of error or engage some person oversea having some knowledge of Aus.alia to read the proofs very carefully. 1. think that one might search the world vainly in an effort to discover a directory which is printed in other than the country in which it is issued. I was utterly astounded when I learned that Mr. Wise’s directory is printed in London. Apart al together from fiscalism, these books ought: to be printed in the country to which they refer.
– If they were printed in Australia, would it add to the employment here? Would not the present firms Ve able to turn them out without adding to their staffs?
– Undoubtedly the printing would add to the employment here. “Mr. Johnson. - Mr. ‘ Wise complains that he cannot get the work turned out in Australia with sufficient expedition.
– That is because he is not willing to make the necessary financial sacrifice.
– If the work can be done in Australia, I should like to see it done here.
– It can be done here much more advantageously than can the work connected with a number of other items upon which we have placed protective duties.
– I wish to enter my protest against the suggestion that these directories cannot be printed in Australia, and with very great advantage. To mv mind, the whole matter is one of pounds, shillings, and pence, because it is recognised that the directories which are issued in Melbourne by Messrs. Sands and McDougall, and in Sydney by Mr. John Sands, are as good as those which are published in any other part of the world.
– But their establishments are large ones, and they employ special staffs for tlie purpose.
– The suggestion that time’ can be economized by sending the copy for these directories to Great Britain is positively ridiculous. In the circumstances I shall support the imposition of the duty, believing that not to do so would be to do an injustice to our printing establishments, which are turning out most excellent work, and which, if afforded the opportunity, would turn out this additional work creditably.
.- In my opinion, a duty of 6d. per lb. is too high.’ I do not know whether the honorable member for Coolgardie intends to propose a reduction of the duty, but I certainly mean to vote against the amendment of the honorable member for Grey. I am informed that a great quantity of this work is done in Germany. I know, as a matter of fact, that similar work is done there. If it be a fact that these directories are printed in Germany, or elsewhere, I do not see why we should not give a small preference to the United Kingdom, and I suggest to the Treasurer that if the amendment before the Committee be rejected” the, duty per lb. should be fixed at 6d. in the general Tariff, and at 4d. in the preferential Tariff. That, I think, would meet the case very well.
Amendment negatived. Amendment by (Mr. Poynton) agreed to-
That the words “and on and after roth December, 1907, per lb. (United Kingdom), 4d.” be added.
Paragraph, as amended, agreed to.
– I propose to move the insertion of a new paragraph. We are imposing .duties of 10 and 15 per cent, on- various papers used in the production of books in Australia, and to admit books from outside countries free. This is an anomaly, and one which I find it very difficult to defend. During the consideration of the old Tariff it was made an argument for the abolition of all duties on what is known as printing newspaper. My proposal, if 1 can get the support of the Committee, will keep out low class literature of the
Deadwoo’d Dick type, which comes in very freely. The list of books which I propose to admit free may not be very complete, but my proposal is open to amplification -
Books dealing exclusively with art, science, or religion, scholastic publications, histories, biographies, dictionaries, encyclopaedias, and works of travel, subject to departmental bylaws (General Tariff), free.
– The honorable member proposes to leave out all kinds of fiction.
– Yes, because it is .impossible to differentiate against one class of fiction in favour of any other class without making the Customs House a literary censor. My additional proposal is to levy a duty of 10 per cent, on “ books n.e.i.” That, I admit, is rather a novel proposal.
– Do not talk about taxing books.
– I am not proposing to tax any useful books.
– The honorable member’s proposal, if carried, would shut out a great deal more than publications like Deadwood Dick.
– I admit that. I have not been able to make my list as complete as I would like, but the honorable member will see that it includes every work connected with the arts, science, or religion, scholastic publications, histories, biographies, encyclopaedias, works of travel, and other works, subject to departmental bylaws.” All those works would be free.
– It does not include books of poetry.
– No; because it would be difficult to admit books of poetry and to shut out high-class novels.
– I suggest to the honorable member , that it would be better for him to raise this question on item 368. under which “books, n.e.i.” are free.
– If it will afford the honorable gentleman an opportunity of considering the matter I shall wait until that item is reached.
Paragraph c. Printed Matter n.e.i. (except newspapers registered for transmission through the post) being or containing advertisements, including Magazines containing advertisements being more than one-fifth of the printed matter contained within the outside covers, per lb., 6d.
.- This item imposes a duty on all kinds of magazines. In my opinion they ought to be made free, and therefore, I move -
That the words “and on and after 10th December, 1907, free,” be added.
– This item has not been inserted in this division without having received due consideration. We have imposed a duty on advertisements and these magazines, if I may use the term, are surreptitiously circulating advertisements without paying a duty thereon.
– We have not a duty on advertisements. Sir WILLIAM LYNE. - I ask the honorable member to allow me to finish what I have to say. I hold in my hand a copy of Munsey’s Magazine, containing 269 pages of advertisements and 138 pages of magazine matter. It is the most ridiculous thing that it is possible for any one to imagine. At one time I used to be very glad, each month, to get the magazines to read the really good matter in them, but now, with their small proportion of reading matter, they are really not worth reading. They are advertising mediums, and nothing else.
– Does not a magazine get better reading matter when it has a large number of advertisements?
– If the honorable member will take the trouble to read the magazines of the present day he will realize the absurdity of his statement.
– The best magazines are those which have the fewest advertisements.
– What do they charge for them?
– I have heard the honorable member speak on this subject, and I know that he is biased. The magazines which have the fewest advertisements are the most readable.
– Which magazines?
– There is a number of them.
– The honorable gentleman never reads one of them, not even the Nineteenth Century or the Contemporary Review.
– I do. Mr. Thomas. - The honorable member does not.
– The honorable member fancies that he knows better than I do what I read. As a matter of fact, I read the magazines.
– The honorable gentleman has never read those magazines in his life.
– Here is a case which the honorable member cannot answer, nor can any one else. It is proposed to admit free this magazine which contains 269 pages of advertisements, and only 138 pages of reading matter.
– And every one of the advertisements is a work of art.
– It may be a work of some sort.
– We have already freed similar advertisements.
– Honorable members on the other side need not jump at me in this way because I have had to deal with this matter. When I was Minister of Trade and Customs, prior to the Reid Ministry coming into power, I found rhat it had reached the proportions of a scandal. It was such an imposition upon those who were paying practically for advertisements, that 1 decided that if the magazines contained more than one-third of advertisements, they should pay the duty The proportion fixed - one-third of advertisements - is very fair. Ever since I did this the importers of magazines have been agitating and ear-wigging every member of Parliament they could get hold of, with the object of having these duties taken off.
– Quite right, too.
– If is quite wrong ; and if the honorable member would look at this matter fairly, he would agree with me.
– I want our people to get their literature cheap.
– I do not care a twopenny dump what the honorable member wants. What has been done is a round-about and sneaking way of getting foreign advertising matter iri.
– Why is it a sneaking way?
– I know that the honorable member has been canvassing about this matter.
– I rise to order. Is the Treasurer in order iri saying I have been canvassing ? I ask him to name a single member of this House who can say that I have interviewed him on the subject. It is a highly offensive remark to make, especially as it is not true. The Treasurer is constantly doing that sort of thing.
– It is not in order for the Treasurer to ‘impute motives.
– The honorable member told me not very many minutes ago that he knew that the duty would be taken off.
– Hear, hear ; and I am going to do my best to have it taken off.
– I have heard the honorable member speaking to other honorable members about it. Not that I think there is any harm in that. If I wanted to get an honorable member to support me, I would ask him to do so. I did not make the . remark of which the honorable member has complained offensively, and did not intend it to bear the meaning which some people outside would give to it. It is a scandal to permit the free importation of magazines such as the one I hold in my hand, when they contain so many pages of advertisements and so few of reading matter.
– What good would it do to Australia to shut such magazines out?
– I thought it was my duty to see that these advertisements were charged for.
– Not one of those advertisements would be printed here if they were not charged for.
– We have already determined to free advertising matter pertaining to English and foreign firms.
– Only when they have no places of business here. Of course, my honorable friend will go to great lengths to assist his foreign friends. In addition to that, we should do everything we can to foster our own magazines.
– Why does not the honorable gentleman propose to tax the Contemporary Review and the Nineteenth Ce,Ztury
– They contain, comparatively speaking, few advertisements.
– The honorable the Treasurer says that he reads them.
– So I do.
– He does not want to tax the magazines that he reads, so that he will be all right. He is a free-trader in matters relating to himself !
– The honorable member is placing an improper interpretation upon, my words. He is getting excited.
– Sit down ; the numbers are up.
– I dare say the numbers are up, and largely owing to those who have been canvassing outside. There has been scandalous canvassing, which should have been put down.
– Canvassing all round.
– I must ask honorable members to cease these continuous interruptions. It is almost impossible for the Treasurer to be heard.
– Why should he be so unfair?
– I ask the honorable member not to interject.
– The canvassing is a scandal, and has been for some time. Something has been said about my receiving people here. I have refused to receive people in connexion with the Tariff. Numbers of people have asked to see me, and I have refused to talk to them.
– The Treasurer has snubbed them.
– I have.
– Maybe after they have seen some one else.
– I do not do such things. I think honorable members will see how unfair it is to allow these magazines to come in without putting a check on the quantity of advertising matter in proportion to reading matter in each magazine. The present practice is destroying the readable character of magazines, as well as being objectionable in many other ways.
– That is a brilliant idea !
– The honorable member is so full of brilliancy that one can see right through him. I believe the action that I have taken has tended to improve inequality of the magazine imported.
– Many of them are a swindle on the public.
– They are, and those who are circulating them are promoting the swindle. The public suppose that they are buying reading matter, when they are simply buying books of advertisements.
– And one does not know it until one is in the railway train-.
– I have seen the Treasurer reading advertisements .in the train.
– I try to buy something better to read ; but it is difficult to buy a good magazine nowadays.
– Does the Treasurer ever read anything?
– He has not even read his own Tariff.
– I get quite enough of that in my office; and I have given the honorable member who interjects a few shots about the Tariff at various times which have made him shy. It is a pity that he will not come up to the scratch and carry out his election pledges. I am quite aware that I shall have to abide by the opinion of the Committee; but I emphatically put my opinion on record, and state plainly that if ever I get an opportunity to stop the importation of these alleged magazines which are simply bundles of advertising matter, I shall do so.
– We will see that the honorable gentleman does not.
– I should be un- . worthy of my office, if, holding such strong opinions on this matter, I did not express them.
– How long has the honorable gentleman held them?
– Longer th:. . the honorable member has been alive. I place on record my opinion of these magazines and those who circulate them, and state in conclusion that before long some drastic action will be .taken - even if it is not taken now - in reference to them.
– I wish to remind the Committee of the item which we have just passed. We have determined that -
Show-cards or pictures issued by or referring to the goods of any manufacturer or producer not having a special place of business in Australia shall be free. So that nearly all the advertisements which appear in these magazines are specially allowed to be admitted free under the last item we dealt with, when they are sent out as advertisements only through the post.
.- The Treasurer in his rather remarkable speech seems to have quite misunderstood the .point at issue, or has been incapable of stating his case in such a way as to commend it to honorable members who are accustomed - in spite of the fact that he has been permitted to be in charge of. this Tariff for a considerable time - to have cases presented to them in a logical manner. The honorable gentleman says that it is desirable to foster art and literature. No doubt it is; but if that be the object which he has in view, I ask: What . earthly connexion is there between a number of advertisements which he declines to be allowed to be ‘attached to Munsey’s Magazine and the fostering of literature and art? The whole gravamen of the Treasurer’s charge is that these magazines are accompanied by quantities of advertisements. If thev are cut out he has no objection to allowing the magazines to come in. Therefore, his objection is to the advertisements, not to the literature and art of foreign countries. As to the honorable gentleman’s remarks about lobbying - which, of course, are made rather late in the day, and when the precincts of this chamber are full of exhibits of various kinds - I remind him that not very ‘ long ago he came down to this House with a sheep-shearing machine, the driving gear of which occupied the lobby and which he said was made in Australia when, as a matter of fact, it was imported. We have not heard the Treasurer taking exception to men coming here day after day and stating their case -to honorable members. A hundred of them have tried to speak to me, but few have been successful. I should be very sorry if I could not present a case better than the Treasurer has done on this occasion. The magazine which he has exhibited is an American magazine - Munsey’s. The American magazines, without exception, differ from the English magazines in the number of advertisements which they contain. I take up half-a-dozen English magazines, and find hardly any advertisements in them. Now, I am perfectly prepared to listen to a proposal in favour of excluding the literature and art of all foreign countries, on the ground that it is desirable to foster literature and art in Australia. But I am not to be influenced, by foolish f fulminations against advertisements contained in foreign magazines, and which come in merely incidentally. I am sure that some of us enjoy reading the advertisements in magazines. There is no greater evidence at once of the ingenuity and the credulity of mankind than can be found in reading the advertisements in the American magazines. But the literary men of Australia do not want to exclude magazines because of their advertisements. They want to exclude them - if they have any such desire at all - because they have their own brains to sell here. But the Minister in charge of this Tariff does not want to exclude American magazines for that reason. They are to be permitted as magazines to come in; but their advertisements are to be cut out. That is an illogical and senseless position to take up. The Treasurer seems to think that literature” and art can be dealt with on the basis of so much per pound - that works over a certain weight ought to be excluded, whilst those under a certain weight should be admitted free. He appears to think that literature is a thing that is capable of being weighed and measured.
– He would probably like to tax paintings on the square foot of canvas.
– Ah; that touches the honorable member I
– I certainly agree that the contents of some magazines are very trivial and foolish, but I should be sorry to think that we are guilty of the intolerable assumption that we do not require all that the intellect of foreign countries can give us. Half-a-dozen magazines which I have in mind have, perhaps, only half-a-dozen pages of advertisements as against thirty or forty pages of general reading matter. The Treasurer has said a great deal on the question of preference to Great Britain, but this is an opportunity which I am sure he will not avail himself of to grant a preference to the Old Country, because according to him advertisements alone are anathema. If he excludes only those magazines in which advertisements preponderate he will allow British magazines to come in at a cheaper rate. I hope that the Committee will determine that magazines shall come in free.
– I am inclined to think that–
Several Honourable Members. - Divide ! divide !
– I am quite willing to at once go to a vote, for I admit that it seems like flogging a dead horse to debate this question further.
Amendment agreed to.
Paragraph, as amended, agreed to.
– I propose to move the insertion of a new paragraph providing for the free admission of illustrated supplements. Certain newspapers are importing high-class art pictures for distribution as Christmas supplements, and I am informed that under paragraph c those supplements will be dutiable at 6d. per lb.
– They have now been made free.
– That is so.
– Then my proposed amendment is unnecessary.
Paragraph n. Printing, in Rolls or Folios, known as Newspaper, to be used exclusively for Newspapers under Departmental By-laws, in sizes not .less than 20 x 25 inches or its equivalent (General Tariff), 10 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), free.
.- I move -
That the words “ and on and after 10th December, 1907, Printing known as Newspaper, in reels or rolls, to be used exclusively for newspapers, under departmental by-laws, ad. val. (General Tariff), 10 per cent.,” be added.
If that amendment be agreed to I shall move a further amendment providing that -
Printing, known as newspaper, in the flat, in sizes not less than 20 inches by 25 inches, or its equivalent, to be used exclusively under departmental by-laws - shall be free.
.- Shall I be in order., Mr. Chairman, in moving at this stage the omission of all the words after the word “ folios “ in paragraph d with the object of inserting in lieu thereof the letters “ n.e.i.” ?
– The honorable member may move such an amendment provided that the honorable member for Coolgardie will temporarily withdraw that moved by him. I would point out, however, that I should have to put the question “ that the words proposed to be omitted stand part of the item,” and that if the honorable member did not carry his amendment the paragraph would stand as it is, and the honorable member for Coolgardie would then have to move, by way of addition, “ That ‘on and rafter nth December,” and so forth.
– On a point of order, 1 submit that the honorable member for Moreton cannot move the amendment proposed by him.
– Not unless the honorable member withdraws his amendment.
– I do not think that I should be justified in doing so.
– It is usual to do so.
– Tt is in order to enable a prior amendment to be moved, but in this rase I have moved the omission, of the whole paragraph–
– And if the honorable member’s amendment be negatived, the paragraph will stand, and the honorable member for Moreton will be unable to move the insertion of the words proposed by him.
– T was just going to point out that the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Coolgardie would not give the Committee an- opportunity to deal straight out with the question.
– Then I am prepared to temporarily withdraw my amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
.-! move1 -
That the words “ known as Newspaper, to be %used exclusively for Newspapers under Departmental By-laws, in sizes not less than 20 x 25 inches, or its equivalent “ be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the letters “n.e.i.”
The object of this amendment is to place all printing paper used for newspaper purposes on the same footing. On the other hand, the amendment proposed by the honorable member for Coolgardie will place the larger newspapers at a disadvantage.
– Does the Treasurer support that amendment, or will he put up the same fight on this question as he did on the paragraph relating to magazines ?
– I . not know.
– I do not vote to shove money into Gordon and Gotch’s pockets.
– The Treasurer should make a fight on this question, and some of us will help him.
– I .da not want the honorable member’s help.
– I hope, at all events, that my amendment will be carried.
– I trust that the amendment of the honorable member for Coolgardie will not be inserted, since its introduction, would lead to embarrassment in regard to the structure as well as the intention of the paragraph. This paragraph was based partly on. the item in the original Tariff, paragraph b of which read -
Printing, uncoated, in sizes not less than 20 25 inches, or its equivalent - free.
In drafting this item, I intended that paper for the printing of newspapers should be admitted free; but the Government have proposed a duty of 10 per cent.
– That was the recommendation of the B section of the Tariff Commission.
– My recommendation was that the paper imported in sizes of not less than 20 x 25 inches, or the equivalent, should be free.
– What was the object of that limitation ?
– I understood that those were the ordinary dimensions of the paper used for printing newspapers, and it was thought that other printing paper should be dutiable. That limitation should be agreed to if it is intended to make free printing paper used for printing newspapers.
– Would the honorable member allow paper for printing newspapers to be admitted free, and tax other paper ?
– Does the honorable member think that it is possible to limit the use of this paper to the printing of newspapers ?
– I believe that difficulty has been experienced by the Department, newspaper imported for the printing of newspapers having been used for other purposes.
– Why are the words “in rolls or folio “ used? Sir JOHN QUICK.- The intention was that all paper, whether in rolls or in folio, imported for the printing of newspapers, should be admitted free. It is felt that it would be unfair to tax one kind of paper and to allow another to be admitted free.
– Will the honorable member object to printers using this paper for printing dodgers?
– If paper for the printing of dodgers is to be admitted free, that must be stated in another paragraph. I understand that paper of a different size is used for that purpose.
– No ; the same paper that is used for printing newspapers.
– There is not the same reason for admitting free paper for the printing of dodgers as there is for admitting free paper for the printing of newspapers, which are vehicles for the spread of information of the most valuable and useful kind.
– Such as the reports of the Wallace divorce case.
– That is an exceptional matter. A tax on the paper used for printing newspapers is a tax on knowledge. The honorable member for Coolgardie intends to introduce a most objectionable discrimination by making paper in rolls used for the printing of newspapers dutiable at 10 per cent., and allowing the same paper, if imported in folio or flat, to be admitted free.
– The honorable member might wait until my amendment is before the Committee.
– This discrimination would be unfair. The honorable member says that his object is to hit the big newspaper proprietors.
– I have not said so publicly. I do not think that the honorable member should use words spoken in a private conversation.
– I heard the honorable member make the statement pretty loudly in this chamber. He forgets that some of the country newspaper proprietors use printing paper’ imported ‘in rolls.
– Very few of them do.
– The Ballarat Courier and the Bendigo Advertiser are printed from rolls. I have been told that the proposed duty would mean a tax of £5 or ^10 a week on the proprietors of those newspapers.
– What would it mean to the proprietors of the Melbourne Age and Argus?
– The honorable member would hit others besides- those whom he desires to hit.
– My amendment would not hit them hard.
– It would amount to a tax of ,£300 or .£400 a year, in some instances. -
– If the honorable member wishes to do so much for newspaper proprietors, why did he not vote to make type free?
– Nowadays linotypes are very largely used.
– Cannot the newspaper proprietors save this tax out of the make-up of the newspapers?
– Or pay it out of their dividends ?
– The use of linotypes has largely reduced the cost of printing; but the newspaper proprietors have given the public a substantial equivalent by increasing the size of their news columns. The Melbourne and Sydney newspapers, the West Australian, and the Brisbane .Courier are magnificent literary productions, unequalled in the world. If printing paper in rolls is taxed at the rate of 10 per cent., the proprietors of these newspapers will probably have to. economize by reducing their Saturday supplements.
– The duty will reduce their dividends a little, that is all.
– I do not stand here to support the rich newspaper proprietors. If it is wished to get at them, that ought to be done by means of an income tax, though at the present time they contribute largely to the State revenues.
– Cannot printing paper be made here ?
– It is not made here. I have a copy of a letter sent to the Minister of Trade and Customs by and on behalf of all the papermakers in Australia, saying that they do not desire a duty on printing paper for newspaper purposes, because they do not make such paper.
– Would not a duty compel them to make it, and give a large amount of employment to our own people ?
– I am afraid that the honorable member is in a frivolous mood.
– No, I am merely appealing to a protectionist to create work for the people of Australia.
– I believe in giving protection where there is a reasonable (prospect of establishing industries, either at once or in the immediate future, but we cannot make here paper for the printing of newspapers. Canada is now proposing to put an export duty on the pulp used for making such paper.
– Does not the honorable member regard as a curious coincidence the appearance in this morning’s newspapers of the telegram about that proposal ?
– The agitation in Canada has been going on for some time. There is no chance of making printing paper in Australia. If there were, I should support a duty on it. I am concerned, not so much for the big metropolitan newspaper proprietors, as for the country newspaper proprietors, many of whom, in addition to the proprietors of the newspapers which I have mentioned, intend to use rolls as soon as they can get the necessary machinery.
– About 2’ per cent, of the country newspaper proprietors are concerned.
– All tr° big country newspaper proprietors will shortly be using rolls for the sake of economy. In Victoria there are 414 newspapers, in New South Wales 347, in South Australia 67, in Western Australia 63, in Queensland 136. in Tasmania 26; or in all, 1,053.
– It is hardly fair to read those figures in connexion with the remarks which the honorable member has made in criticising my amendment. They have application only to the Tariff proposals.
– I protest on behalf of the proprietors of these newspapers against any duty on paper used for printing newspapers, and particularly against any discrimination between paper imported in rolls and paper imported flat or in sheets. Such a discrimination would stand in the way of those who, for the sake of economy, and to keep pace with the times, may desire hereafter to use paper imported in rolls. My objection to the Government proposal is that it is a tax on literature, which, in the end, will bring loss upon the public.
.- Although speeches made in Committee are supposed to be confined to the amendment before the chair, the honorable member for Bendigo has been allowed to discuss my amendment, which is not before the chair.
– The whole subject is before the Committee.
– As I have not yet moved my amendment, I shall defer my reply to the honorable member until it is before the Committee.
– I think that no one is in earnest about this duty, and that the Government do not want it to pass. Therefore, it would save time to withdraw the proposal.
– I shall not withdraw it.
– Whenever a duty affecting newspapers was proposed in the Victorian Parliament - and it has been the same here - it has always gone to the wall, because no one was in earnest about it. That seems to be the case again now, and as we have many debatable items yet to deal with, it would save time if the Treasurer were to tell us that he does not intend to press this proposal.
– I am not going to say anything of the kind. I wish shortly to give t,,e history of this matter. In the first report submitted by the Tariff Commission, under the heading “ Importations of Paper and Stationery,” the item is framed in this way - “ Printing, in rolls or folios, known as News,’ to be used exclusively for newspapers under Departmental By-laws, in sizes of not less than 20 x 25 inches, or its equivalent.”
To that form of the item no duty was attached.
– Because we could not agree.
– On the original typed document I found the name of the honorable member for Bendigo had been attached and then erased. I suppose the honorable member made the erasure himself?
– Hear, hear. But I always opposed the duty.
– That was the first stage. Then in the second stage this appeared in the report of the protectionist section of the Commission - “ We are of opinion that this item should be amended to read-
Then followed the words I have) just quoted, and in addition the words “ ad valorem 1 5 per cent.” That is signed by Mr. Frank Clarke and Senators Higgs and McGregor. There was apparently a difference of opinion between them and the Chairman of the Tariff Commission, who did not sign the report which was signed by the other three protectionist members of the Commis-sion. Then I come to the report of the B section of the Tariff Commission, who unanimously recommended a duty of 10 per cent. That is how the duty of 10 per cent, came to be placed in the first column of this Tariff. I recognise that we have not so far found in Australia a sufficient supply of softwoods or other material suitable for the manufacture of this paper, in view of the large quantity of it that is required. We have paper mills in the Commonwealth, one in Sydney and one, I believe, in Geelong. I have made inquiry as to whether this class of paper is manufactured here, and so far as I can gather it is not.
– The local manufacturers do not use wood.
– I believe that is so. This class of paper is not made at either of the mills to which I have referred. I have been “at a loss to know how to submit a provision which would induce its manufacture within the Commonwealth.
– How can the honorable gentleman expect to do that when no material suitable for the purpose is found in Australia?
– I do not think that that is definitely known. I believe that if the manufacturers were put to it they might find a suitable material.
– They cannot get any pulp.
– I have had some conversation with both metropolitan and country newspaper proprietors, who say that so far a suitable pulp has not been found in Australia for this purpose. But
I am not sure that there has been any very determined effort to find it. In the circumstances the Government have felt it to be their duty to submit the item as proposed. I think that perhaps it would have been better’ had we offered a bounty to induce persons to set about the discovery of some material suitable for this purpose. I have an idea that we have in Australia, and especially in Tasmania, a peculiar kind of rush which would make good paper. But I have never heard that any one has experimented in that direction. I believe that this rush would be suitable for the purpose, though as a layman I cannot: speak with any authority on the subject.
– What about the paperbark tree, and the various %’arieties of titree ?
– I do not know that sufficient quantities of that material would be available. So far as this item is concerned, I am prepared to leave the decision of the matter to the Committee, but the item will not.be withdrawn.
.- Honorable members should realize that this is neither more nor less than a revenue duty. The Government propose a duty of 10 per cent, in the general Tariff, and that imports from Great Britain should be free. The roll paper does not come from Great Britain.
– No, only rag paper and paper of that kind. .
– The roll paper is imported chiefly from Canada. If this paper is made in England, it must be from imported pulp. From recent cables honorable members will have observed that in the United States it has been suggested that wood pulp for the manufacture of paper should be admitted duty free. There is an evident shortage of” material. The great Canadian forests have so far been able to meet the demand for wood pulp, but I have not been surprised to hear that the action of the United States in proposing the free admission of wood pulp has been met in Canada by a proposal to impose an export duty upon it. British manufacturers have, so far, been importing, wood pulp from Sweden, where there are extensive softwood forests. No attempt has been made in Australia to manufacture this paper, because we have no softwoods suitable for the purpose. In the circumstances this can only be regarded as a revenue duty.
– Could we not import the pulp and manufacture it into paper here?
– I do not think we could get it. If an export duty were imposed in the countries from which it comes, it would probably add so much to the cost of manufacturing the paper here that the local newspaper proprietors would prefer to pay the duty to paying the price which would have to be charged by local manufacturers of this paper from imported wood pulp. The honorable member for Bendigo appeared to think that this class of paper is used only for the printing of newspapers. But I can inform him that it is largely used for job printing as well as for dodgers. I know of one job done recently which involved the use of 10 tons of paper, and the printing was done from the roll.
– That paper would come under the item dutiable at 25 per cent, to 20 per cent.
– No, it would be the very paper we are now speaking about. lt is a mistake to suppose that this paper is used only for the printing of newspapers, as paper from the same roil is used for job printing. I am opposed to the item on the ground that it provides merely for a revenue duty.
– In 1902 the honorable member voted for this revenue duty which he is now denouncing.
– I was not particular how I voted before. I voted both ways.
– It is a goasyouplease.
– No, it is not. I am guided in this matter by a definite principle. On this occasion the country has said that we should have protective duties. I have been fighting . for them, and I am opposed absolutely on principle to revenue duties. I wish that those things which cannot be made here should be admitted free, and there is no doubt that we cannot make this class of paper. The Treasurer has said something about rushes. But I wonder how long the greatest field of rushes in Australia would last if drawn upon for this purpose, and how long the rushes would take to grow again.
– The rushes I refer to grow up every year.
– I suppose that the whole of the rushes grown in Australia would be used up in the manufacture of the paper required to print a couple of issues of one of our large daily newspapers. The search for material suitable for the manufacture of printing papers of this class has been the business of busy brains in every part of the world. So far the greatest quantity has been’ derived from soft-wood forests. Canada has almost a monopoly of woods suitable for the purpose. I can support the statement made by the honorable member for Bendigo that an increasing number of newspapers are being printed from the roll. The use of the Cox duplex machine, which does not cost anything like the Hoe printing machine, is enabling a number of the proprietors of country newspapers to print from the roll.
– Can the honorable member name a country newspaper that is printed from the roll ?
– I think the Government should omit the item. The proposed duty of 10 per cent, in- the general Tariff and free from Great Britain is misleading, because this paper is not imported from Great Britain. I oppose the item, because I am opposed to a revenue Tariff.
– I take the same view of this matter as does the honorable member for Darling. This is a purely revenue duty, and I cannot see my way to vote for it. I admit, of course, that revenue must be derived in some way for the services of the Commonwealth, while the Braddon blot is allowed to remain. I hope that the wisdom of this House and another place combined will shortly lead to the removal of the Braddon blot. So far as is known at present, wood pulp suitable for the manufacture of this paper cannot be obtained in Australia. I am not sure that a suitable material will not yet be discovered, and I suggest to the Minister that the production of a pulp suitable for the manufacture of paper would be a fitting subject for a bounty. I find from a communication placed in my hands by a gentleman who has had much experience that wood pulp for this purpose is obtained from large forests of larch and spruce, and comes principally from Canada, the United States, Norway, and Sweden. I know of one newspaper - Le Petit Journal, which, at the time to which I refer, had the largest circulation in the world, 1,500,000 subscribers - of which it was said that every year it ate out a forest in Norway. I am informed that logs of New Zealand pine were sent to England and the Continent in. order to see if they could be made into a pulp suitable for the manufacture of this paper, but the experiments show that they could not be used for this purpose in the same way as the soft wood, such as the larch and spruce. I understand that if larch and spruce were planted here, it would take twenty years before they could be used for this purpose. Another difficulty is that these trees are found in countries in which there is heavy frost and snow, and it would appear that intense cold is necessary for their proper development. To import pulp is almost out of the question. One cannot verify information on these subjects by personal observation, but if my information be correct, and I think it is, pulp, to be imported here, would require to be 50 per cent, dry, or one-half water and one-half, pulp.
– I shall give the information I have first, and the honorable member can correct it afterwards if he is able.
– Might I ask from whom the honorable member received his information ?
– It is quite sufficient that I should read the statement made, and if the honorable member can correct if, he need not ask me for my authority.
– It is usual to quote authorities in Parliament.
– The honorable member will have to be content with the authority of my lips at present, though I can tell him that his question is by no means an awkward one, since, if there were any necessity to do so, I should have no objection to mention the authority.
To import pulp is out of the question. Wood pulp can be carried only in what is called a condition 50 per cent, dry - half pulp and half water. The freight alone on the pulp necessary to make a ton of paper, even at the most favorable sailing ship rate of 15s. a ton measure, would amount to over 60s. per ton, in addition to charges for insurance, exchange, &C. In a long voyage of 90 to 100 days, pulp would considerably deteriorate, owing to its tendency to decompose. If it dried to any extent, the material would lose its fibrous quality and become mere powder, from which only the coarsest paper could be made;
Newspaper could not be produced in this country in any quantity from rags because the supply is limited, but all writing papers should bear a heavy duty. I have here the following statement with reference to the difficulties that small printers and others are experiencing at present -
All stocks of papers here before the introduction of the Tariff have been charged a duty bv the Paper Combine, which have circularized all printers to that effect.
There is a paper combine at all events in Victoria, if not throughout Australia.
Sands and MacDougall make a certain printing paper - this paper was invoiced prior to the Tariff at 25s. per ream duty. The duty of 20 per cent, was not, of course, operative on such a paper. They were asked for some 35 ream, to be delivered immediately, and answered this way : - 25s. old price, 5s. per ream duty ; 30s. a ream new price, and you must wait a month for the delivery of the order, as since the Tariff our mills are overworked.
– What sort of paper is that?
– A certain high class paper that Sands and McDougall manufacture, but such is the power of the Combine that the duty is being charged even where it has not been paid. I feel that I am perfectly” justified in voting against the duty, so that the paper which we cannot manufacture here should be admitted free, but I trust that this or some other Government in the near future will take steps to encourage by a judicious bounty the production of suitable wood pulp.
Mr. MATHEWS (Melbourne Ports) [4.48I. - I think it will be admitted that I am fairly keen on anything that affects my electorate. I happen to have in my electorate one of the largest paper mills in Australia, and I am assured, both by employers and employes who are well versed in the manufacture of paper, that ‘ it is almost an impossibility to manufacture newspaper here..
– What about those rushes ?
– I assure the honorable member for Parramatta that I am a scientific protectionist. If T. thought there was a hundred to one chance of manufacturing newspaper and printing paper in Australia I should vote for the highest duty I could get, but. having been assured by those in the trade that it could not be done, I intend to vote to make this article free. I know there is a feeling - I must: admit that I have it myself - that it would lie well to make some people pay. a little bit more taxation than they are paying just now ; but. seeing that that would be stretch>ing my belief as a protectionist, I am willing to let it go. I should like to see “ printing paper ‘ ‘ inserted in this paragraph as well as newspaper, as ordinary printing paper is not made here.
– I am going to try to deal with that point in a separate paragraph.
– Very well. I wish to impress upon the Treasurer, and upon honorable members, that in taking up this attitude I am not “ slipping “ on paper. I have assured myself that this paper has not been and cannot be made here. The Minister has admitted that the production of pulp requires encouragement by means of the bounty system, and I believe that he himself will place it upon the bounty list. I believe the House would indorse that, seeing that the paper question involves such large interests. As the pulp is not produced here, and our timber is not suitable for pulping, I shall vote against the duty on newspaper and printing paper.
.- Will the Treasurer give way, and allow printing paper to be made free?
– Only a vote of the Committee will make me give way.
– I hope the Minister will give in, seeing that every member who has spoken on the other side intends to vote against the duty.
– That is quite incorrect. I am not going to vote against it.
– I have a great deal of material, with which I could go on for an hour ; but out of consideration for the Treasurer and the Committee I shall deny myself the privilege of saying much about this question, except that I rather favour the amendment, moved by the honorable member for Moreton, to delete all the words after the word “folios,” so that the paragraph may apply to all sizes of printing paper. Why should newspaper be made free, in sizes not less than 20 inches x 25 inches, or its equivalent - because I am quite satisfied that it will be made free - while all smaller sizes are penalized? The smaller sizes are used in various ways for books, particularly school books. Printing paper of all sizes should be made free.
– A fear is expressed by the Country Press Cooperative Company that paper in rolls will be made free, while paper in the flat is dutiable. I wish to be assured that all classes of paper will be on the same footing.
– I think the honorable member will -find that none of it will be dutiable.
Question - That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the paragraph (Mr. Sinclair’s amendment) - put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the affirmative. Amendment negatived.
.- I move -
That the following words be added : - “ and on and after 10th December, 1907, Printing, known as Newspaper, in Reels or Rolls, to be used exclusively for Newspapers under Departmental By-laws, ad val., 10 per cent.”
Later on I propose to add to the amendment another clause providing that paper in the flat used exclusively by country newspapers shall be free. This line of demarcation is necessary’; and, despite what the honorable member for Bendigo has said, absolutely just. Those newspaper proprietors who use paper in reels or rolls will pay a duty of 10 per cent., while those who use paper in the flat in the publication of small country newspapers will obtain it free of duty ; and thus the object of the honorable member for Moreton will be gained. I take some exception to the honorable member for Bendigo commenting on . this amendment before I had an opportunity to speak on it. The honorable member was very eloquent in his appeal on behalf of the smaller newspaper proprietors, and he described the daily press of Bendigo and Ballarat as country newspapers.
– Hear, hear.
– I do not consider Bendigo and Ballarat country towns, but provincial cities ; and the newspapers there are very fine publications indeed. The honorable member also informed us that there are 1,000 newspapers published in Australia, but he did not add that the proposed tax will not touch more than 2 per cent, or 3 per cent, of them - that the proprietors who use paper in reels or rolls can be counted on the fingers of both hands. There are three or four such proprietors in Sydney, about three in Melbourne, two in Adelaide, two in Perth, two or three in Brisbane, and, it may be, there are others in Newcastle, Rockhampton, and perhaps Charters Towers.
– Reel paper is used in half-a-dozen establishments in Brisbane alone.
– I do not think so. Unless a newspaper has a very large circulation it does not pay to instal. the machinery necessary in the use of reel paper. I appeal to honorable members who desire to give country newspapers fair play. The other day we imposed a tax of 20 per cent, on type, while, at the same time, we made- linotypes and other printing machinery free.
– Does the honorable member wish to tax for the sake of taxing?
– No; but I think every class in the community ought to pay their due share to the revenue. The honorable member for Bendigo also declared that we have no timber in Australia suitable for pulp for the manufacture of paper. I point out that if the proposed duty be imposed, the large consumers will no doubt put their heads together, and endeavour to discover here some substitute for the foreign timber, When I hear vaunted protectionists like the honorable member for Melbourne Ports and the honorable member for Melbourne slating that newspaper cannot be manufactured here, and that, therefore, no duty should be imposed; I marvel at their short-sightedness, because, after all, necessity is the mother of invention. If the. large newspaper proprietors are allowed to dose other people with taxes, and impose heavy duties on country newspapers, while enjoying free-trade themselves, they will never have any spur or incentive to discover in Australia a substitute for the foreign paper. I advise the honorable members to whom I have referred to reconsider their position before their constituents. As I have said, the country newspaper proprietor pays a duty on his type, while the large newspaper proprietor of the city has his linotype and other expensive machinery admitted free. There is one metropolitan newspaper proprietor who draws between £60,000 and ^70,000 a year from his newspaper; and he, and other wealthy proprietors, are to be free of taxation, while the poor country printer, who often employs his sons and daughters picking up type when they ought to be at school, is taxed on everything he uses. The honorable member for Bendigo spoke of advantages which he says readers of newspapers have been given by the proprietors since the introduction of the linotype. I deny the honorable member’s statement flatly. I shall take one case in proof. If we look up a Saturday issue of the Melbourne Argus of twenty years ago, we shall find that it compares more than favorably in literary work with the Saturday Argus of to-day. That was long before the linotype was introduced ; and the same remark applies to the Sydney Morning Herald or the Sydney Daily Telegraph.
– But the Herald was then published at 2d.
– That is true, but there were id. newspapers to which the remark applies, at any rate in a modified way. The reduction in the cost of production owing to the linotype has enabled newspaper proprietors to make enormous fortunes ; and neither the remuneration of the staffs, nor the advantages given to readers, are in any way proportionate to the increased profits. I challenge the honorable member for (Tend igo to successfully refute what I say. Twenty years ago the daily newspapers of Australia maintained two cable services from England, but there is now a syndicate service for the whole, and thereby considerable saving. These savings and economies have in no way advantaged the readers of the newspapers ; nor. as I say. have the staffs had their position materially improved. I regret very much that there should have been such lengthy discussion on this item, but I intend dividing the Committee on the question.
– Does the honorable member propose an- preference?
Mr.- MAHON.- No; I do not think a preferential duty would do much good. A good deal of the reel paper comes from Great Britain, but the countries of origin are not British. I wish it to be clearly understood that my amendment contemplates that the paper used by the small country newspaper proprietors shall still be admitted free.
.- It would appear that the honorable member for Coolgardie, in his keen anxiety to tax the wealthy metropolitan newspaper proprietors, is quite prepared to do a great injustice to a number of other newspaper proprietors. The honorable member mentioned Rockhampton, and other coastal towns, and classed the newspapers there with the great metropolitan dailies. But I entirely disapprove of any .step being taken which would impose heavy burdens on struggling newspaper proprietors, who are ill prepared to bear them. Bundaberg, Rockhampton, Maryborough, and other places are growing in. importance ; and there came under my notice the other day a newspaper which has just been changed into a daily.
– But all the newspaper proprietors in those places do not use roll paper.
– But the time is arriving when they will use that paper, and some are using it now. The honorable member said that the newspaper proprietors who use this roll paper could .be counted on the fingers of both hands; but, as a matter of fact, it is used by many more, and numbers of them are by no means wealthy. In all the towns which have been mentioned newspapers’ .have been started bv enterprising men in the face of great difficulties, and yet, in his anxiety to tax the large proprietors, the honorable member is prepared to put a heavy impost on the paper required by men who are doing good work for the country. Some of these newspapers are excellent publications, providing good news at considerable expense, though the proprietors are just managing to scrape along, faced, in some cases, no doubt, with .overdrafts incurred in improving their plants.
– Can the honorable member see his way clear on this occasion to support the Government, who are very anxious to have this duty?
– I have supported the Government on many items, but I am afraid I cannot support them on this item.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta) [5.131. - The amendment of the honorable member for Coolgardie simply repeats the words of the item, and inasmuch as I originally intended to move that it should be free, I think the only way to raise the question is for me to now move -
That the amendment be amended by leaving out the words “ 10 per cent.,” with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ free.”
The honorable member for Coolgardie has endeavoured to show that there should be some differentiation shown between the paper used by the small country newspaper proprietors and -that used by the proprietors of the large city dailies.
– I have done so.
– Whether the honorable member has or has not succeeded in doing so, I decline to have anything to do with class taxation of any description. We ought to treat the big proprietors of the cities with the same fairness and justice that we extend to the proprietors of small weekly newspapers; even a big newspaper proprietor has a right to expect that at the hands of the Committee. It is all very well for the honorable member to say that we propose to let the big city newspaper proprietor escape taxation, whilst taxing the small newspaper proprietor in the country. As a matter of fact, we wish to do nothing of the kind. We intend, I hope, to give all newspaper proprietor’s their printing paper free. I need not enumerate the reasons why this commodity should be free. But I wish to reply to the statement made by the honorable member for Coolgardie as to what is going on in other parts of the world. Two months .ago I read in a British newspaper that in New York a movement was in progress to requisition the .United States Government to remit the duty upon wood’ pulp.
– Does not the honorable member think that that is rather a strange coincidence ?
– I am speaking pf a movement which was in progress two. months ago. Already the duties imposed under this division of the Tariff are injuring our Australian publishers, who, I am told, are forwarding their books to London to be made up there. It may be that the time will come when we shall be able to convert the rushes grown in Tas- mania, of which the Treasurer spoke, into newspaper, but even if we could do that I do not know whether there is an unlimited supply available. It seems to me that if all the rushes grown in Tasmania were utilized for the purpose they would not keep a huge newspaper mill running very long. The prospects in that direction are, therefore, very small indeed. This newspaper problem is becoming a very serious one all over the world. There is no doubt that the supplies of pine wood, from which the pulp is made, are becoming exhausted, and already the industry is in the hands of one or two individuals. Even if we impose a tax upon printing newspaper we shall not stimulate enterprise in the direction of finding an efficient substitute for pine. It will be a tax pure and simple, and we ought not to impose a burden upon newspaper proprietors for the sake of levying taxation. I think that printing paper ought to be admitted free, inasmuch as it is the raw material of the printer’s finished product.
.- The proposed duty is undoubtedly a revenue duty. A number of items have beenincluded in the Tariff for reasons which have never been explained, and this is one of them. I sympathize with the proposal of the honorable member for Coolgardie, but cannot see that there is any justification for proposing a tax upon newspaper. I shall vote in favour of the item being made free.
.- I think that the Government are quite justified in challenging the opinion of the Committee upon this item, because no less than seven out of eight members of the Tariff Commission recommended the imposition of a duty upon this class of paper. There is no reason, however, why that recommendation should be accepted by the Committee. I should like to remind the honorable member for Coolgardie that, in voting for the free admission of newspaper rolls, honorable members will not be voting solely in the interests of the great metropolitan newspapers alone. In Sydney there are twelve newspapers and other publications using these rolls–
-I challenge the accuracy of that statement.
– In Melbourne there are six, in Adelaide there are six, in Perth four, in Kalgoorlie two, in Launceston two, in Hobart two, in Brisbane six, in Townsville two, in Charters Towers two, and in Victorian country towns six. I give these figures upon the authority of Mr. James Spicer, a Melbourne merchant. There is no reason to doubt that they are substantially accurate.
.- I have very grave doubts whether the amendment of the honorable member for Coolgardie would have the effect of taking a single penny out of the pockets of the large newspaper proprietaries. All of these firms are in a position to pass on the duty. That is their policy. As is well known, the mere cost of the paper actually used in the production of a big daily newspaper exceeds the price which the public pay for it. But it must be recollected that the city newspapers can command largerprices for advertising space than can country journals. The latter cannot obtain anything like the same rates. Any tax that we may impose upon printing paper will be passed on to the advertisers, who in turn will pass it on to the consumers. For these reasons I hope that the Government proposal will be defeated.
.- I am sorry that this item is not the first or second item in the Tariff. Had it been we might have been in a position to take to heart the injunction of the honorable member for Bendigo. He has told us that seven out of the eight members of the Tariff Commission recommended the imposition of a duty upon printing paper, but that that was no reason why theCoramittee should accept their recommendation. His words should be written up in large letters. Again and again he has urged that the recommendations of the Tariff Commission should be upheld. Yet here is an item upon which he advises the Committee to vote against its finding.
– I did not recommend the imposition of this duty.
– But upon the honorable member’s own showing seven out of eight members of the Tariff Commission recommended it. I feel that it is in the public interest that printing paper should be admitted free. Country newspapers are deserving of every consideration, because they are working under great disabilities. I shall support the amendment of the honorable member for Parramatta.
.- I regret that so many honorable members are apparently oblivious of the fact that under my amendment the paper required by country newspaper proprietors would be admitted free.
– I questionthat.
– It is only those large newspaper offices which can well afford to pay the extra impost which would be touched.
– We say that the honorable member’s statement is entirely wrong.
– The honorable member ought to know that when I speak of the country press I mean the small journals which are published once or twice a week. I should like to read a short extract from the debate which took place upon this item a little more than five years ago. The then Treasurer, Sir George Turner, who I suppose understood the Tariff better than did any other member of the Committee, said -
I know that an agitation has been started, and that circulars have been sent right and left from a particular centre in Melbourne lo prove that this duty will mean ruin to the proprietors of the country newspapers. But the duty is really a light one, and is put on in order to obtain revenue. I do not see why printing paper should be more sacred than anything else.
He went on to say -
I am certain that the imposition of a duty of 10 per cent, will not discourage the publishing of books and pamphlets within the Commonwealth. The proposed duty, besides providing ^25,000 of revenue, will give encouragement to the large mills which are now starting in New South Wales.
I point out to the honorable members for Melbourne and Melbourne Ports that Sir George Turner, when Treasurer, thought that the duty would have a protective incidence -
If the Committee wish to strike out revenue duties, there are other items which can more fairly be amended.
I commend that statement to the consideration of the honorable member for Darling. I do not wish to delay the Committee in arriving at a. decision. I regret very much that there should be so much hostility offered to my proposal, which, I repeat, is simply made to give to the country printer his paper duty free, his type being already taxed, and to put an impost on the proprietors of the larger publications in the cities, who have had their linotypes and printing machinery free of duty.
– - I am sorry that the deputy leader of the Opposition has moved his amendment in this way, because it has placed the Committee in a very awkward position.
– No, the Government.
– It has not placed the Government in an awkward position. The fair way is to take a vote on the proposal of the honorable member for Coolgardie, which I will oppose, because I think that if a duty is to be imposed at all it should be levied all round; and then, if that proposal is defeated, as probably it will be, to take a straight-out vote on the proposal of the honorable member for Parramatta. The Government desire an opportunity to vote for the item as it is printed, and if that is given we can’ get a. straight-out vote as to whether or nor that class of paper shall be made free.
– The amendment of the honorable member for Parramatta will settle that with one decision instead of two.
– The honorable member is very clever, but it will not do that.
– It is just the same.
– When the amendment of the honorable member for Parramatta is put, the question practically will be that the figures “ 10 per cent.” stand part of the item, and there can be no straight-out vote. If, however, »<_ had an amendment to the item - which could easily be submitted - the Government could get a straight-out vote.
– But the . honorable gentleman forgets that the honorable member for Coolgardie has separated his proposal. He is to follow up this amendment with another.
– I do not know ‘ what proposal the honorable member for Coolgardie is going to submit after his present amendment has been dealt with.
– We will support the Government in putting on a duty of 10 per cent.
– The honorable member for Parramatta has created a complicated situation, in which it is absolutely impossible to get a. straight-out vote.
– We can get a straight-out vote on the amendment of the honorable member for Parramatta.
– Not at all. If the amendment of the honorable member for Coolgardie can be submitted by itself we shall know how to vote.
– So we can on the other amendment.
– The question will be whether the paper shall be free, or dutiable at jo ner cent.
– I do not want to vote for the amendment of the honorable member for Coolgardie, but if the other amendment is pressed I must vote with him, that the duty of 10 per cent, stand ; because I do not want to vote to make the paper free. On the other hand, I do not want to vote to differentiate between the users of this paper, and that is what the other amendment would oblige me to do.
– No; its object is to make paper free.
– No. The amendment of the honorable member for Parramatta introduces a complication which is not fair, because it prevents us from getting a straight-out vote.
– In what way have I complicated the situation ?
– Here are two amendments before the Committee. I do not want to vote for either of them. But I must either vote for the amendment of the honorable member for Coolgardie, with an explanation that I am not in favour of the other amendment to get the whole of the paper made free, or I must vote to make it free.
– Let the honorable member vote both ways without an explanation, and he will be right.
– I cannot, lt is not fair on the part of the honorable member for Parramatta to complicate the position in this way.
– All that the honorable gentleman has to do is to vote for or against either of the proposals ; and they cover the whole ground.
– Not at all.
– It is of no use for the honorable gentleman to blame me. I have had. to come in after the honorable member for Coolgardie. I want a straightout vote.
– I do not want to vote for an amendment to differentiate between country and city newspapers, but the honorable member is forcing the Government into a position in which they must do so.
– Not at all.
– The Minister can vote first against one amendment, and then against the other. _ Sir WILLIAM LYNE.- Nothing of the kind. I do not suggest that the honorable member for Parramatta has moved this amendment to play a trick, but that is what it amounts to.
– I did it on the suggestion of the Chairman.
– I do not know why that suggestion was made, but.it cer.tainly places the Government in a most awkward position.
– It is the only way in which it can be put.
– No. I ask the honorable member to withdraw his amendment, and let us have a straight-out vote on the other; and when he re-submits his amendment I will vote against it, though, of course, I do not know what the Committee may do finally with the item as amended.
– The Minister forgets that the honorable member for Coolgardie intends to submit a proposal to give free paper to country newspapers. What does he propose to do when that is submitted ?
– I will vote against it.
– I will not; so that we are obliged to take it piecemeal.
– The honorablemember will not vote against it?
– No; why should I, when I want paper to be made free?
– I will vote against making any paper free. This is not a .fair way , for the honorable member to submit his proposal.
– I should like the honorable member to point out any difficulty if it exists.
– If I vote for the honorable member’s amendment, I shall vote in favour of the honorable member for Coolgardie’s amendment.
– But the Minister can vote against both proposals.
– No. I do not know how the Chairman intends to put the question, but in the ordinary way he would put the question practically that the figures “10 per cent.” stand part of the item. If I vote with the honorable member for Parramatta on his (proposal to strike out the duty I. shall vote to make the duty stand as regards half the paper.
– Yes. I would not care if it was a vote with regard to the whole of the paper, because I should then know what I was doing.
Mar. Joseph Cook. - I have not proposed to put the duty on one-half of the paper; that has emanated from the honorable member for Coolgardie.
– I know that. He has moved an amendment which relates to country newspapers, but they represent only a small proportion of the press.
– My position is that wherever the honorable member for Coolgardie goes for a duty of 10 per cent. I must follow him to make the paper free.
– That ‘is putting the Government and those who wish to vote for a duty of 10 per cent, in a very improper position. I cannot vote for or against the amendment of the honorable member without making the duty of ro per cent, stand, and if it stands-
– Does not the honorable gentleman want the duty to stand ?
- 1 want the duty to stand against the whole arid not against a portion of the press.
– Let us deal first with the question of whether or not the paper shall be free, and if it is made free the trouble will be ended.
– I like the business to be conducted in order, but so far as I can see that is not being done. I do not want, nor does the Government want, to vote with the honorable member for Coolgardie to give a preference to one section of the press, but the amendment of the honorable member for Parramatta makes it imperative for me to vote for or against one section of the press. I do not want to vote to make the duty of 10 per cent, stand as regards only a. part of the press.
– What is to stop the honorable gentleman from proposing afterwards a duty of 10 per cent, on the paper for the other section of the press ?
– That would not give us a straight-out vote. The honorable member wants to get his amendment carried even if the Committee are against it.
– He will be very clever indeed if he does that.
– Owing to the way in which the question will be put, a number of honorable members will probably vote for the amendment of the honorable member for Parramatta, although they do not approve of it. It is very unfair to place us in that position. It is not a straight way of raising the issue. If the honorable member wished to let us have a straight-out vote he would ask leave to withdraw his amendment for the time being.
– The honorable member is raising a bogy.
– No; it is not a bogy.
– Let the honorable member for Coolgardie withdraw his amendment, and give us an opportunity to have a straight-out vote.
– Let the honorable member withdraw his amendment.
– Will the honorable member for Parramatta let us have a straight-out vote on the amendment of the honorable member for Coolgardie ?
– The honorable gentleman will . get a straight-out vote on my amendment.
– I appeal to the honorable member to withdraw his amendment for the time being, and thus let us have a straight-out vote on the other amendment.
– There are some who will vote that the goods be free; and if they cannot secure their object they will vote with the honorable member for Coolgardie.
– My feeling is that the matter is so overclouded that we cannot get a straight-out vote. I should give way in a moment if the honorable member for Parramatta appealed to me under a similar condition of things.
– If the Committee determines that the goods shall be free, that will settle the matter.
– If the deputy leader of the Opposition does not meet me in the matter, he cannot expect me to withdraw amendments on future occasions when he may desire that I shall do so to give him an opportunity to submit propositions of his own.
– I will withdraw my amendment at once if the honorable member for Coolgardie will withdraw his.
– I will withdraw the second one.
– As the matter stands, the Government and those who support them will have to vote as to a certain portion of the imports of printing paper, whereas they want to vote as to the whole. The matter is complicated to such an extent that honorable members cannot vote as they wish. I should like to know from the Chairman what he thinks about the position.
– Perhaps I can shorten the discussion somewhat. The whole matter appears to me to be quite plain and simple. We have paragraph d before us. The honorable member for Coolgardie desires to substitute some other words. His original intention was to propose to omit the item altogether, with a view of inserting another one. But the Department of Trade and Customs have hitherto found it necessary, to enable the Tariff to be properly administered, to have words added to items so that the existing duty may be collected up to to-day and the new one from to-morrow. The object of the amendment of the honorable member for Coolgardie is quite simple. He has moved to add ‘ ‘ printing paper known as newspaper, in rolls or reels, to be used exclusively for newspapers under departmental by-laws, ad valorem 10 per cent.” He therefore desires that on and after to-morrow 10 per cent, shall be collected on such paper. The honorable member for Parramatta desires that such paper shall be admitted free. Therefore, he has moved to omit the words “ ad valorem, 10 per cent.” with a view of inserting in lieu thereof the word “free.” If the Treasurer desires that the duty shall be 10 per cent., he must vote to retain that rate of duty in the amendment of the honorable member for Coolgardie.
– That I do not want to do.
– We cannot help that. Honorable members occasionally have to vote differently from what they might prefer to do. Unfortunately, the rules under which we are working do not always permit us to vote exactly as we should like. If the duty of 10 per cent, were retained the Treasurer could, if he chose, vote to knock out the whole item, and then some other honorable member could move that on and after such and such a date the goods be free. .
– I desire to have your ruling, Mr. Chairman, as to whether it is competent for a private member to move to increase a duty?
– The duty tinder the original item was 10 per cent. The honorable member for Coolgardie has merely moved a fresh form of words. He is not proposing to add to the duty.
– Except in this way : that under the original item a preference is given, whereas the proposal of the honorable member for Coolgardie is to wipe out that preference, and thereby to increase the duty
– The item was free in the second column.
– The’ honorable member for Coolgardie proposes to wipe out that degree of preference.
.- I must confess that after the Treasurer’s long explanation I am still unable to discover where his difficulty lies. He has stated clearly that he is against ‘ the amendment of the honorable member for Parramatta, who wishes to make this paper free. He is quite clear that he is also against the amendment of the honorable member for Coolgardie. It is therefore quite easy for him to vote first against the amendment of the honorable member for Parramatta and then against the amendment of the honorable member for Coolgardie. If they are defeated the honorable member can vote in favour of his own proposal. The procedure is simplicity itself. The main question is whether this paper shall be free or dutiable. That will lie the first test. The Treasurer need not be afraid of being put in a false position.
– I am put in a false position, and the honorable member’s explanation proves it.
– I cannot see why. I have tried to discover the Treasurer’s difficulty, and do not think that it exists. Those who believe that the goods should be free can vote with the honorable member for Parramatta; those who believe in a duty will vote against him. If the honorable member for Parramatta is defeated the Treasurer can move for a higher duty if he likes. He will have the Committee in his own hands if he can defeat the honorable member for Parramatta.
.- The impression that I derived from the oration of the Treasurer was that he feared lest the proposal of his own Government should by any mischance be carried. My belief is that no one would regret it more than he would if the proposal of the Government were agreed to. So far as I am concerned, I intend to vote that these goods be free. I think that there should lae no differentiation. At a later stage I also intend to propose that ordinary printing paper be free. I can see no complication about our procedure. The honorable member for Coolgardie has presented his case very clearly, and I do not think that there is any difficulty as to how honorable members wish to vote.
– I must confess that I am rather surprised at the action of the Government in reference to this matter. Not a single word has been said by the Treasurer or by any member of the Ministry in defence of this item.
– I said something about it when the matter was introduced to-day.
– It was a very feeble effort. The honorable gentleman could wax very eloquent and put up a very big fight when defending a duty on wire netting. He seemed to be absolutely in earnest about that.’ He did his best. Today also, in reference to the duty on magazines, he put up a very good fight. I believe that he did his very best.
– Gordon and Gotch were -too strong for me.
– If I were the Treasurer I think I should be the last man to say anything of that kind, because the man who is most unfairly liable to attacks like that is he who happens to be in charge of a Tariff.
– You can make, any attacks you like. I defy you. I care nothing for insinuations.
– I have never attacked the Treasurer. I have always defended bis personal honour. I have never said an unkind word about him, and when any other honorable member has attacked him I have always defended him. But I say that he is the last man who should make such an insinuation as he has done, because, if he insinuates against others, others will insinuate against him.
– They can do it as much as they like.
– I do not think they ought to do it. This Parliament should be above conduct of that sort. The Treasurer should be above baseless insinuations, and if he makes them others will do the same. He ought not to set a bad example The Treasurer should have put up a big fight on this question if he really wants the duty. But there is a vague idea that the Government do not want the item carried. It has been left for the honorable member for Coolgardie to defend the item. If the Government were in earnest they should have said that they would stand or fall by the item. Why not make the stand of their life about it if they really believe in it. But we have had the Treasurer for three-quarters of an hour orating about a point qf order and practically dragging a red herring across the trail. If he had only devoted that time, and the powerful oratory and argumentative ability which he possesses and can use when he Likes to defending this item, it would not have mattered about the point of order - he could have had his own way on the main issue.
Unless the Government are prepared to make a stand on this .item I, for one, shall be forced to the conclusion that they would prefer to see it rejected rather than carried. I am prepared to support the item, and I think that when a- number of honorable members who, as a rule, vote against the Ministry are prepared to vote for one of their proposals, they should put up a fight for it.
.- The Government proposition places a limitation on the extent of the taxation on paper, and the honorable member for Coolgardie proposes to impose a further limitation. It seems to me quite proper that the Committee should have a chance to vote upon such an amendment. At the same time, I can fully understand the position taken up by the Treasurer. He is afraid that the further amendment moved by the honorable member for Parramatta will, since it is proposed by the honorable member for Coolgardie to exempt paper required for country newspapers, secure votes that it would not carry in other circumstances.
– Hear, hear;” that is so.
– Nevertheless, I think that the Committee has a perfect right to vote on that basis.
– But we should not be tied down to such a position.
– I do not think that any complication will arise. Those who prefer that the item should be free will be able to vote for the amendment moved by the honorable member for Coolgardie. Both amendments may be rejected, and we shall then revert to the original proposal submitted by the Government. The Committee have a right to vote for any limitation that may be proposed, but if either amendment were withdrawn we should not have an opportunity to do so.
– The Chairman’s explanation absolutely supports my contention. The amendment moved by the honorable member for Parramatta will force honorable members to take up a position regarding the amendment . moved by the honorable member for. Coolgardie which they do not wish to occupy.
– How will it do so?
– I am opposed to the honorable member’s amendment.
– What for?
– Because I am opposed to making the item free. At the same time, by voting against the amendment moved by the honorable member for Parramatta, I shall be voting in favour of that moved by the honorable member for Coolgardie, and that I do not wish to do.
Colonel Foxton. - Then vote against both.
– It is all very well for honorable members to tender such advice–
– The amendment moved bythe honorable member for Coolgardie, as far as it goes, agrees with the Government proposition.
– Unless the amendment moved by the honorable member for Parramatta be withdrawn, it will be placed on record that I voted to differentiate between two classes of newspapers. I do not wish to do so ; I wish to have a straight-out vote.
– But if what is proposed is in order, it must be fair.
– That does not follow. It is unfair to force an honorable member to vote contrary to his own wishes. I do not want to be compelled to vote for the amendment moved by the honorable member for Coolgardie.
– The honorable member will not be forced to do so.
– I shall. If I vote against the amendment moved by the honorable member for Parramatta, then I shall be voting for a duty of 10 per cent. on certain paper as proposed by the honorable member for Coolgardie.
– Exactly, and that is the duty proposed by the Government.
– But the duty will relate to only a part of our proposal.
– That is notmy fault.
– When the honorable member for Parramatta has asked me to withdraw an amendment to give him an opportunity to move a prior amendment, I have always done so, and I think that it is only reasonable that he should do the same for me.
– But thecircumstances of this case are different.
– I have civilly asked the honorable member more than once to withdraw his amendment, and if he refuses to do so, then he need not expect me to ever give way to him. I wish to publicly repudiate the suggestion that I am in favour of the amendment moved by the honorable member for Coolgardie, and to say that if the honorable member for Parramatta forces me into such a position that I shall have to vote for it, . I. shall move, rather than do so, that the item be free.
– In those circumstances, I shall not withdraw the amendment.
– Then the honorable member will never induce me to withdraw a motion in order to enable him to submit one. His attitude is most contemptible.
– The honorable member must withdraw that remark.
– I withdraw it.
– The Treasurer, for the last quarter of an hour, not only when on his feet, but when in his chair, has been making all sorts of insinuations against my action in this matter.
– And deservedly so, I think.
– I simply acted on the suggestion of the Chair as to the only way in which I could move this issue to a straight-out vote.
– But it leads to a complication.
-I see none; if I did I would immediately withdraw my amendment. I cannot conceive of a matter being put more clearly to the Committee than is the issue raised by my amendment. If the honorable member for Coolgardie will withdraw his amendment I will willingly withdraw mine, so that we may have a straight-out vote. I did not raise this question; it was raised by the honorable member for Coolgardie, and if he will not withdraw his amendment I certainly shall not withdraw mine.
– I am not going to submit quietly to this situation. I should be much obliged to the honorable member for Coolgardie if he would withdraw his amendment, and so save me from an awkward situation. It is not fair, perhaps, to ask him to do so, but, in the peculiar circumstances of the case - I think his amendment will be defeated - he might well accede to my request. He will have an opportunity to again submit his amendment after a straight?-out vote on the item has been taken.
– I think that the Treasurer is right. If vote be taken on the amendment moved by the honorable member for Parramatta, the Treasurer will undoubtedly be compelled to vote for a. principle that he has already repudiated. If the honorable member for Parramatta will give the matter a moment’s reflection he will recognise that, having regard to the form in which the question would be put, the Treasurer, by opposing his amendment, would be voting quite contrary to the principle he has advocated. My proposal is for the imposition of a duty of jo per cent, on a portion of the item only. Such a vote would commit the Treasurer to a division of the item differentiating between two classes of newspapers.
– The same thing happens every day.
– 1 cannot recall to mind any similar complication. At any rate, I am not going to subject the Treasurer to the humiliation to which he has referred, and I regret that the honorable member for Parramatta has not withdrawn -his amendment. Had he done so he would have simplified the position.
– Go on ; I can stand it all while the honorable member climbs down.
– I am not climbing down. I still occupy the position that I originally took up, but I may say at once that I think the honorable member, by adhering to his amendment, has caused the last hour and a half to be wasted.
– If the honorable member is going to talk like that he will not be permitted to withdraw his amendment.
– I do not intend to withdraw my amendment except on the understanding that I have an opportunity to again submit it. The honorable member knows perfectly well that the second part of my amendment meets the object he has in view. If he desires a straight-out vote he has only to vote against it, and the effect of such a vote would be just the same so far as he is concerned as if his own amendment were carried. By leave of the Committee I withdraw my amendment.
– The honorable member cannot withdraw his amendment unless the honorable member for Parramatta withdraws that moved by him.
– I do not know that I ought to do so after what has been said. Am I to be submitted to a lot of abuse and then to be asked to accommodate these same honorable members ? The honorable member for Coolgardie, after asserting that I am responsible for the trouble that has occurred, wishes leave to withdraw his amendment, whilst the Treasurer for the last hour has been throwing out all sorts of insinuations. I know what is the matter. It is just as well that it should be publicly stated that the Treasurer fears that the feeling on the part of some of the members of the Labour party against the big daily newspapers will lead to the duty originally proposed by him being carried if they are kept together. That is at the bottom of the trouble. It is a sinister move on the part, not of the Opposition, but of honorable members opposite to get the old duty through when it is tied together.
– As. the honorable member for Coolgardie desires to withdraw his amendment, I do not object to withdraw mine.
Amendments,, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment (by Mr. Joseph Cook) proposed -
That after the words “ 10 per cent.,” the words “and on and after 10th December, 1907, (General Tariff), free,” be inserted.
.- As I am sure that my previous amendment was misunderstood by a number of those who voted on it, I wish to test the feeling of the Committee again by proposing the omission of all the words after the word “ by-laws.”
– The Committee has already determined that those words shall remain part of the item.
.- Do I understand that we are now being asked to vote on the main question whether paper for the printing of newspapers shall be free or dutiable?
– In that case I appeal to the Government, before a division is taken, to say something in defence of their proposals. . So much is due to those of us who are ranging ourselves with them, assuming that, as the duty has been proposed, there is some particular reason for it. A large number of members have voted for revenue and protective duties, and are now backing out, although the big newspaper proprietors are as well able to pay a duty as are those upon whom they have been piling up taxation. As a matter of fact, even the Postmaster-General would faint if this duty were carried. However, reason or no reason, I shall support the Ministry on this occasion, though they cannot expect support on other items if they do not make a fight in this case.
Question - That after the words “ 10 per cent.,” paragraph d, the words “ and on and after 10th December, 1907 (General Tariff), free “ (Mr. Joseph Cook’s amendment) be inserted - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … 15
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment agreed to.
.- As a matter of privilege, I wish to draw your attention, Mr. Chairman, to the fact that this afternoon, at intervals, the privacy and silence of the room allotted to the Opposition has been disturbed by the playing of pianos. Pianos have been placed in one of the ante-chambers which we have been accustomed to use for the interviewing of our constituents and friends. Having been ousted from that apartment, we are now compelled to use the lobby for the purpose. I do not complain of that so much as I do of the fact that when one sits down to the study of the Tariff in the Opposition room, he is annoyed by the noise to which I refer. Honorable members should jealously guard their privileges, and especially those which are designed to facilitate the discharge of their functions within the precincts of this building. I ask you, Mr. Chairman, to take notice of this complaint, and get rid of the nuisance. Several honorable members have spoken to me about the matter.
– I shall see that it is attended to.
Paragraph, as amended, agreed to.
Amendment (by Mr. Knox) proposed -
That the following new paragraph be inserted : - “ DD. On and after 10th December, 1907 - Printing n.e.i., free.”
.- I think that the amendment should be carried. Under the old Tariff the Customs authorities had great trouble in determining whether imported printing paper was to be used for the printing of newspapers or for other purposes. The best thing to do is to make all printing paper free.
– Is the amendment in order, since its effect would be the same as that of the amendment moved by the honorable member for Moreton, with which the Committee has dealt?
– The Committee decided that it would not make printing paper free by doing what was proposed by the honorable member for Moreton ; but that does not prevent it from doing what is proposed by the honorable member for Kooyong.
Sitting suspended from 6.3o to 7.45 p.m.
.- We should know exactly what is covered by the amendment. It seems to me that, in accordance with their policy, the Government should be prepared to do something to encourage the local paper mills. I believe the proposed new paragraph would cover all kinds of paper, because there is hardly any limit to the variety of paper which is used for printing. The new magazine known as the Native Companion is, I understand, printed on paper made in Geelong.
– Is the Lone Hand also printed on Geelong paper?
– I could not say, though I am aware that the people connected with that magazine strongly advocate protection. In the case of the Native Companion, however, I am able to say that the editor, writers, and artists are all Australians, and the paper used is manufactured in Australia. I think the amendment should not be accepted. It is too much of a drag-net, since it would cover paper used for the printing of books, magazines, and job printing, as well as for the printing of newspapers. If we do not give some encouragement to the local manufacturers of paper we cannot expect any development of that industry, although, as we make greater progress in forestry, we shall probably grow timber from which pulp can be obtained for the manufacture of paper: The proposed new paragraph would cover every kind of paper except that specially mentioned in paragraph w - writing paper and paper for typewriting. I should like to hear the views of the Treasurer on the amendment.
– I think the honorable member is quite right in asking these questions I believe the proposed paragraph would be found to be too much of a drag-net, and the honorable member has given excellent reasons why it should be opposed. We have paper mills, in which paper used for these purposes is at present being manufactured. I think the Committee has gone very far already in allowing printing paper to be admitted free. This is a serious matter for those who have established and are carrying on the manufacture of paper in the Commonwealth. I think the Committee should be prepared to give them encouragement and support.
Proposed new paragraph agreed to.
Paragraph e. Writing (plain), cut less than 16 in. x 13 in., ad. val., 15 per cent.
.- I think the Government might just as well eliminate this paragraph. The quantity of this paper imported in 1906 amounted in value to only ^308. There is an anomaly in this division to which I should like to direct the attention of the Treasurer. It will be found that, although this paper is dutiable at 15 per cent., writing and typewriting paper identical with it is dutiable under paragraph (w) at only 5 per cent. Some of this paper is used for the printing of the better class of circulars. I- do not know how the Customs officials are to administer a Tariff of this kind. It seems to me that they would require to have an expert constantly at hand, and even then I should say there would be great difficulty in deciding what paper should be admitted at the lower duty and what at the higher duty. I suggest that the Treasurer should postpone this paragraph until we reach paragraph (w), and then deal with the papers contained in both at the same time.
– The object of this paragraph is to secure that the cutting of the paper shall be done here.
– That is no argument at all. The cutting would be done by machinery.
– That is why it is proposed that this paper should be dutiable at 15 per cent.
– That cannot be, because it refers to paper 16 in. x 13 in., and the same paper is referred to in paragraph w, where it would be dutiable at 5 per cent.
– I was going to say that I think the paper included in paragraph w should also be dutiable at 15 per cent.
Colonel Foxton. - In one case the reference is to paper “cut less “ and in theother to paper “not less” than 16 in. x 13 in.
– That is so.
– How much work would this give in Australia?
– I suppose tha! it would give a considerable amount of work. I know the intention is to secure that the cutting of the paper shall be done here. The A section of the Tariff Commission recommended a duty of 15 per cent., which is the same as the duty under the- old Tariff, and that is also the dutyproposed by the Government in this Tariff. There is, therefore, no alteration in this case. I admit that there is something in the contention of the honorable member for Coolgardie that the two kinds of paper should be on the same basis.
– Was this a separate line in the last Tariff ?
– Apparently it was. I have not inquired.
.- Tn the old Tariff these items were the same as they stand in this. It was provided that writing paper cut less than 16 x 13 inches, and paper (toilet) in rolls or packets, should be dutiable at 15 per cent., while writing and typing paper ‘ in sheets not less than 1.6 x 13 inches was free. These two provisions relating to writing paper are reproductions of the old Tariff, involving no alteration except in the latter case the 5 per cent, general Tariff. The reason for the discrimination is that it is thought desirable to encourage the importation of writing paper in bulk in order that the cutting up may be done here, so giving a considerable amount of labour in the Commonwealth. The one is comparatively the raw material.
– Did the Commission make inquiries as to what labour would be involved ?
– We had no suggestion one way or the other. We merely recommended the reproduction of the old Tariff.
– It is a great pity that the Commission did not make a simple inquiry of that kind.
– No one came before us.
– I have yet to learn that the Commission were appointed merely to take statements from any interested persons who came along, without testing them.
– If we had been sending for witnesses to come before us,we should have beensitting for the next tenyears.
My. JOSEPH COOK. - Thatmay be; but in connexion with some of these items, as to which there is practically no evidence, a little inquiry might have been made before the Commission recommended the old duty. If that had been done, it would have been found that this line gives very little employment. I understand that all that is necessary is a machine, and that practically no labour will be employed. One or two men and a machine doing nothing else but cutting the paper would cut up enough for the whole Commonwealth. One hesitates to interfere with old duties, but if ever there was a case made out for that interference it is this one. It does not give any employment, and is only another instance of many which we have already had under review, in which Ministers while pretending to impose duties in order to bring into being great national industries, are taxing the whole of the people of the Commonwealth for the purpose of trying to bring into operation a small incidental process.
-It means that the paper is cut. folded and bound in parcels.
– Which means hardly any labour. Without disturbing the general duty, we might at least give Great Britain a preference on articles of this sort. I therefore move -
That the words “ and on and after 10th December,1907, ad val. (United Kingdom), 10 per cent.,” be added.
– I desire to impress again upon the Treasurer the necessity of putting paragraphs e and w together. There must be something wrong, because the importation last year of the paper under this paragraph amounted only to £308 worth, and it is quite possible that a great quantity of it was imported free under the other description. Without saying anything at present about the rate of duty, I urge the Treasurer to put the two together, and also typing paper. There is no reason why a man who wants to type a letter should be able to buy cheaper paper than another who wants to write a letter. That is an absurd distinction.
– Leave it over until we reach paragraphw. I will then see if I can meet the honorable member in some way.
Amendment agreed to.
– Has the Treasurer agreed to make both paragraphs subject to the one duty ?
– I will not say until we reach the other paragraph.
– It is ridiculous, for the sake of 5 per cent., to make a distinction which gives the Customs no end of trouble, makes the checking of the imports very much more difficult, and is of no earthly use.
Paragraph, as amended, agreed to.
Paragraphf. Ruled and bordered papers, ad val., 25 per cent.
– Wherein does this article differ from plain writing paper, that there should be an additional duty of 10 per cent. ? That seems to be an anomaly. The A section of the Tariff Commission has made no recommendation on this subject.
– The Bsection of the Commission has.
– The Treasurer is ready enough to take the recommendation of the B section when he cannot take that of the A section, but he will never take that of the B if there is one from the A section for him to take. I shall move that the duty be 15 per cent. in this case as in the other.
– Under the old Tariff, “plain ruled” was 15 per cent., and “otherwise” 25;per cent.
– Then I move-
That the words “ and on and after10th December, 1907, ad val. (General Tariff),20 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 15 per cent,” be added.
– I will accept duties of 25 per cent. and 20 per cent. The honorable member seems to forget the provisions in the last Tariff.
– Would it not be fair to take the mean between the two old duties of 15 per cent. and 25 per cent.?
– No ; we should have the proper duties. We want no compromises of that sort.
– The Treasurer is consolidating the two classes of this paper as distinguished in the old Tariff, and he should consolidate the old duties also by accepting a compromise of 20 per cent.
– I hope the Treasurer will adhere to his offer to take nothing lower than duties of 25 per cent. and 20 per cent. Ruling is carried on by many firms in Australia. I do not say that it is art work, but the men who are employed at it get good wages, and therefore it cannot be a very simple process. It is still better in the case of bordering. We ought to endeavour to keep those occupations at any rate for the workmen in Australia.
.- If there was any justification for imposing a duty in order to have writing paper cut here - a process of great rapidity by the use of the modern guillotine - there is much greater reason for imposing a duty to encourage ruling and bordering here. It is done by machinery and insures the giving of agood deal of work. The Government will do right to retain the duty proposed.
Amendment (by Mr. Joseph Cook) agreed to -
That the words “and on and after 10th December,1907, ad val. (United Kingdom), 20 per cent.,” be added.
Paragraph, as amended, agreed to.
Paragraph g. Browns, and Sugar (grey, blue and other tints) ; Fruit Bag Paper, per cwt. (General Tariff) 6s. 6d., (United Kingdom), 6s.
– I move -
That after the word “ Paper,” the following words be inserted : - “ Candle (blue and grey) Paper, CandleCarton Paper.”
I submit the amendment because these papers are of the same class as those already in the item. The alternative rate is proposed to deal with light-weight papers. In 1906 the imports from the United Kingdom amounted to 12,000 cwt., and from other countries to 78,000 cwt.
– I should like to see carpet-felt paper included in this paragraph.
– That paper is dealt with in paragraph k.
– But the duties on the papers in paragraph k are not so high as the duties imposed in the paragraph under discussion. This paper is made here in large quantities from any sort of pulp, and its manufacture ought to be adequately protected.
Colonel FOXTON (Brisbane) [8.18].- One reason for not including carpet-felt paper in this item is that the papers already included, and those proposed to be added by the Minister, are largely the raw material of the paper-bag manufacturing industry. Carpet-felt paper, so far as I know, is. not the raw material of any industry. The carpet-felt paper is simply used as imported, whereas the papers which are included are closely related to those comprised in paragraph j. I call attention to the fact that the duty on paper bags is considerably lower than the duty on raw material ; and I should like to move that the duties be reduced to 3s. 6d. and 3s. as in the old Tariff. In order to preserve the paper-bag industry, which employs a much larger number of people than is employed in the making of the paper itself, it is necessary to leave a margin of at least 2s. per cwt. in the duty. I have a letter here from a firm which is largely engaged in the manufacture of paper bags, and as it is short, and puts the case very clearly, I shall read it -
So far as we are concerned, we have been working quite satisfactorily under the old Tariff of 3s. per cwt. duty on paper, and 5s. per cwt. on bags; and we think any addition to the duty unnecessary. There are, so far as we know, only two paper mills working in Australia, employing, on a liberal estimate, perhaps 100 hands. Afair price for paper, such as is used for sugar bags, which form a considerable portion of their output, is 7s. per cwt. f.o.b. London. The freight and charges, exclusive of duty, average about 4s. per cwt., so that, with the old duty of 3s. per cwt., the total charges amountto 7s., giving the local mills a protection of too per cent. If the duty is made 6s., as proposed, the protection will amount to 143 per cent. In the paper-bag business alone, there are a far larger number of hands employed than in the two paper mills. According to the proposed Tariff, our raw material, paper, is to have its duty doubled - though a large portion of it must be imported in any case - in order to give an unnecessarily high protection to the papermakers. That it is unnecessarily high is shown by the fact that a paper mill was run for many years in New South Wales without any protection. We hope, therefore, you will see your way to assist in having the duty on paper, Brown sugar (grey, blue and other tints) and Fruit Bag Paper,” reduced to the old rate of 3s. per cwt. Far more serious to us than the increase in duty on paper is the alteration of the duty on paper bags. This was formerly 5s. per cwt., which allowed us a margin of 2s. per cwt. over the protection of 3s. on paper. This is now altered to 25 per cent, on English manufactured bags, and 30 pex cent, on foreign. What is the result? Grey and brown sugar bags, which form the larger proportion of our, and many other, manufacturers’ output can be bought in London at from 8s. to 10s. per cwt, ; 50 that the duty on these will be reduced from 5s. per cwt. to 2s. to 2s. 6d. less than half, while the duty on paper, of which they are made, is to be doubled, viz., raised from 3s. to 6s. per cwt. The result of this will be to do away with the present protection both to the paper mills and the paper-bag makers; as, unless the mills reduce their present prices, which they say they cannot afford to do, it will pay the makers of such bags better to stop making and import, thus throwing a large number of hands out of employment. We should suggest that, as the present Tariff has worked satisfactorily, the duties on paper and bags should be as before, 3s. and 5s: per cwt. respectively; but if this cannot be secured, at least the duty on bags should be at a fixed rate per cwt., as that on paper is, not ad valorem ; and that the same proportion should be maintained between the two as under : -
– I have a memorandum here to move that the duties on bags be increased to its. and ros.
Colonel FOXTON. - I do not know what protection the duty gives to tEe maker of paper. My proposal would give continued employment to a large number in the bag-making industry, and would, I Imagine, though, personally, I do not know, give some protection, at all events, to the paper-making industry. From the point of view of the employment given, the paper-bag industry is much more important than the paper-making industry ; and it is necessary, therefore, that the former should have this modicum of protection. There is a further passage in the letter, as follows -
It is important to note in this connexion, that 6s. per cwt. on paper was the rate of the old Victorian Tariff previous to 1901, and that iri that Tariff the duty on- paper bags was 10s. per cwt., the same as we now suggest, in the event of the 6s. duty being retained on paper.
If it is necessary to raise the duty in the case of the paper-making industry, it is also necessary, in the interests of the general community, and of a large number of workers, that the duties in connexion with the paper-bag making industries should be proportionately raised.
.- We ought to have more information to justify the doubling of the duty on the raw material of the paper-bag maker. I desire to see some protection given to the papermaking industry, but we have heard nothing to show that more than the old duty is necessary. It is very clear that if the duty be so excessive as to make importation the more advantageous, the industry will not be encouraged. We ought £0 have some information from the Treasurer to justify us in doubling the existing rate of duty.
– I explained just now that when we come to deal with the’ question of bags I intend to propose increased duties.
– That will have the effect of increasing the price of bags.
– I do not think that it will. If the bag-makers get a larger measure of protection the bags will not be any dearer than they are now. The Government have merely adopted the recommendation of the A section of the Tariff Commission.
– That section does not recommend a duty of ios. per cwt. upon bags.
– It recommends a duty of 6s. per cwt. upon browns and sugar and fruit bag paper.
– What is its recommendation in regard to bags?
– It has made no recommendation.
– It has recommended 25 per cent.
– It stands to reason that if - we increase the duty upon the paper we must also increase the duty upon bags. The proposal that I have promised to submit is rendered necessary by the fact that we must preserve a margin in favour of those who’ desire to manufacture bags in the Commonwealth.
– But why increase the duty upon paper so enormous] v ?
– Honorable members are discussing this question a. little bit prematurely. Let us first insert the words which I have already proposed.
– Then we can reduce the . duties. - ‘ .
– We are not going to reduce them.
.- The Committee has already rejected a .proposal to extend any protection to paper manufacturers in respect of certain other lines. This class of paper is being made here under the operation of a duty of 3s. per cwt. Yet the Government now propose to increase that rate to 6s. per cwt. without assigning any reason whatever for their action.
– I will give the honorable member a reason.
– The honorable member is not the Treasurer. To say that because the duty upon paper has been raised to 6s. per cwt. we must necessarily increase the rate upon bags to 10s. per cwt., is no answer to my question. I should like to hear the honorable member for Bendigo, who was Chairman of the Tariff Commission, throw some light upon this subject. To me it does not appear that any reason has been assigned for increasing the duty upon paper from 3s. to 6s. per cwt.
– I think that 6s. per cwt. is rather a high impost to levy upon this class of paper. If the first amendment be defeated I shall be prepared to move that the duty under the general Tariff be 5s. per cwt., and under the preferential Tariff 4s. 6d. per cwt. It is only right that all industries should receive a fair amount of protection.
Amendment . (Sir William Lyne’s) agreed to.
.- I think that the duties proposed upon the paper enumerated in this paragraph are too high. In this connexion we have to consider the interests of the small shopkeepers. I know that in Victoria the industry of bagmaking has been a remunerative one under the old rates. But confectioners have complained that they are unable to sell their goods at a reasonable profit on account of the increase in the duty upon bags.
– They weigh them with the lollies.
– But under the Government proposal the duty upon paper-bags will be far heavier than that upon sweets. Consequently, if confectioners weigh the baes with the sweets thev will lose money.
– Can the honorable member get lollies for 6s. 6d. per cwt. ?
– But the bags made from this class of paper weigh very heavy. By agreeing to the Government proposal we shall be placing upon the retailers a charge which they will not be able to pass on to their customers. Consequently it will fall very heavily upon the small men. I would further point out that very few paper-bags are imported. The total value of our imports under this heading is only about £3,000 annually. If we increase the duty upon bags to 4s. 6d. per cwt. under the general Tariff, and to 4s. per cwt. under the Tariff for the United Kingdom - an increase of 50 per cent. - I am sure that that will be sufficient.
– I would point out that in 1906 we imported 4,542 tons of brown sugar paper of the value of £[65,920, and during the first six months of the present year we imported 2,419 tons, valued at .£34,853. It will thus be seen that we annually import nearly £70,000 worth, of this paper. That fact in itself - seeing that we have mills in every State of the Commonwealth capable of producing this particular paper - demonstrates that the existing duty is not sufficiently high. Of course, if we increase the duty upon paper it will be necessary to increase that upon bags. In New Zealand the duty upon brown sugar paper is 7s. 6d. per cwt., and that upon bags ns. 3d. per cwt. The Treasurer’s proposals, therefore, are less than the New Zealand rates. In view “of the fact that this class of paper can be manufactured in every State, the Committee may very well assent to those proposals.
Mr. WILSON (Corangamite) [8.41I.- The question of the duty upon paper-bags is one that seriously affects a large number of deserving persons throughout the Commonwealth. It affects shopkeepers, confectioners, grocers and others who have to give away these bags with the goods thatthey sell.
– They do not give them away ; they weigh them in with the goods.
– In many cases they do not. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports has argued in favour of absolute prohibition. Because paper-bags are imported he declares that we ought to raise the duty upon them to such a point as would exclude them. That is no argument for the advancement of the country. It is a positively ridiculous statement. We must permit a certain amount of competition, otherwise the industry, will be injured. Under the old rate of 3s. per cwt. this brown sugar paper has been manufactured in the Commonwealth. We have also been manufacturing the bags. As the honorable member for Brisbane has pointed out, there must.be a considerable differentiation between the duty upon paper and that upon bags, because the former is the raw material of the bag-makers. Hitherto we have made the raw material of industries dutiable at 15 per cent. The Government, however, now propose a duty of 6s. 6d. per cwt. upon the raw material and duties of only 30 and 25 per cent, upon the finished product.
– The Treasurer has notified his intention to move for an increase of those ad valorem rates.
– When the honorable member for Darling asked him what was the recommendation of the Tariff Commission in respect of bags, what did our cunning Treasurer do? He looked at his Tariff, noticed that the Commission had recommended a duty of only 25 per cent.., and accordingly remained silent upon the point. I noticed a twinkle in his eye as he observed the recommendation of 25 per cent., but he would not tell the honorable member for Darling that the A section of the Tariff Commission had recommended a duty of 6s. per cwt. on the raw material of the bag manufacturer, and that the duty on the finished bags should be reduced by one-half.
– Is the honorable member going to help us to wipe out the anomaly ?
– I want to show the honorable gentleman where the anomalies are. Is it not an anomaly that the A section of the Tariff Commission should recommend that the duty on raw material should be increased by 100 per cent., and the duty on the finished bags decreased by 50 per cent. ? Obviously, it shows that they did not consider the relationship between the two items, and in the circumstances the Committee should pause before it accepts either recommendation. I think that the suggestion of the honorable member for Balaclava, that the duty should be fixed at 4s. 6d. and 4s. per cwt., is a. fair compromise, and if the Treasurer is not prepared to accept that he is very greedy. Surely he cannot expect us to double the duty on the bags? If we did so, it would do harm to a very large number of deserving persons.
– Why does not the honorable member support the recommendation of the Tariff Commission?
– If I did I would be voting to bring about an anomaly, the very thing I was elected to prevent. I am surprised at the honorable member trying to lead me astray. I trust that he will yet look into the matter, and see that the duties on the papers for bag-making and the bags are properly adjusted one to the other.
– A large proportion of these bags are imported and are made of a paper which our mills do not make. I have received from the trade a communication, in which this passage occurs -
It does not seem to us that any benefit will result by putting such a heavy impost on bag papers. Paper known as “ krafft “ is generally used for this purpose, and cannot be made in Australia. Krafft paper is only made in northern Europe. Thousands of tons ale sent annually to the United States, showing that it cannot be made even in America, neither is it made in England.
We are asked to put a tremendous impost on that paper. The honorable member for Melbourne Ports has said that in New Zealand the duty on paper is 7s. 6d. per cwt., but I think that he has made a mistake.
– No; that will come into force in Feburary
– No. I have a copy of the Tariff which has just been passed ; and I find that the duty on paper bags, not paper, is 7s. 6d. per cwt.
– No; it is us. 3d. per cwt. on paper bags.
– Item 156 in the New Zealand Tariff reads - “ Paper bags, coarse, including sugar bags, 7s. 6d. per cwt.” In New Zealand, as in Australia, the larger quantity of the imported bags is made of a paper which is not made locally, and also a’ large proportion of the paper which is imported for bag-making is not made locally. So in item 156 of its Tariff New Zealand imposes a duty of 7s. 6d. per cwt. on “ paper bags, coarse, including sugar bags,” and in item 157 a duty of 5s. per cwt. on paper, that is, wrapping paper of all kinds ; while in , item 165 it levies a duty of 25 per cent, on !! paper bags n.o.e.,” namely, all but the coarse paper bags, on which the duty of 7s. 6d. per cwt. is fixed. The Parliament of New Zealand recognised thai a large proportion of the paper which i? imported for the bags cannot be made within the Dominion. Nor can it be made in Australia. That largely accounts for our importations of a peculiar paper which, while light, is yet strong and tough. I agree with honorable members that the relationship of these duties is not fair to the manufacturer of bags; and although I am a free-trader I object more to a protection that protects the outside manufacturer than to a protection which protects the inside manufacturer. This duty is a protection to the outside manufacturer. Under a duty of 3s. per cwt. the mills have been turning out a large quantity of these papers, and no reason has been given why the duty should be increased. I shall vote for the amendment foreshadowed by the honorable member for Brisbane, and try to get the duty on the paper brought as nearly as I can to the old rate. After that I shall vote proportionately as regards the duty on the paper bags. We ought to recognise, as in New Zealand, that it is only the coarser paper for bags which is made here, and that there is a certain quality which is not even made in America or Great Britain, but is imported largely to those countries for making bags.
– I have received a copy of the circular which in October last was- addressed to the Minister of Trade and Customs by the South Australian Master Printers’ and Allied Trades’ Association. Thev point out that “ white sulphide” and “ krafft brown” papers, which are largely used in Australia, are not made locally. They also mention that sugar paper in grey blue and other tints costs about £9 per ton in the-Old Country, suggest that a duty of 6s. 6d. on the Home cost is unreasonable, and show that a duty of 3s. per cwt. gives a protection of 33J per cent, to the mills. They further state that the Australian mills make only a few grades of paper, and that there is a large quantity of paper which must be imported in the interests of the makers of paper bags. They submit that a duty of 3s. per cwt. is ample in the case of fruit bags, sugar bags, or brown bags. They allege that the old duty gave ample protection. If the Committee impose a duty of 6s. 6d. per cwt. on material which costs from j£& to £9 a ton, it will be prohibitive, and do considerable injury to the manufacturers of paper bags. On the other hand, if the Committee increase the duty on the bags it will penalize the users of them, especially so if the material cannot be made, or is not being made, in Australia. It will become a revenue duty, which must be passed on. The only sensible plan is to reduce the duty on the first item, and leave a fair margin to the bag-makers.
– Does the honorable member mean to say that this paper cannot be made in Australia?
– That statement was made, not by me, but by the South Australian Master Printers’ and Allied Trades’ Association, who surely should know what they are talking about. It must be patent to honorable members that a reduction of the duty is necessary.
– In 1901 the original duty imposed on this item was 6s. per cwt In Victoria the duty was 6s. ; in New Zealand it was 5s., and pretty well the same proportion was maintained in Canada and the United States. I intend to propose that the duty on brown paper be 5s. in the general Tariff and 4s. 6d. in the preferential Tariff, as suggested by the honorable member for Bass. And when we come to deal with bags, I intend to propose an addition of 2s. per cwt. on each item, in order to give about the same protection ;i» is given in New Zealand. That will reduce the duty on each item to that which was intended or proposed. After listening to the debate, it seems to me that a proportion should be maintained. The duty of 6s. 6d. per cwt. as proposed was, perhaps, a little too high. Mr. Dugald Thomson. - Fix the duties in the paragraph at 4s. 6d. and 4s.
– No; I prefer the duties to be fixed at 5s. and 4s. 6d., and on the other two items I intend to propose that the duties lie fixed at 7 s. and 6s. 6d. per cwt., which will be lower than the rate in New Zealand. I am reminded that these papers are being made in Australia.
– I am informed that they are being made both in Melbourne and Sydney. I think that I am treating the Committee very fairly in agreeing to duties below the present rates in New Zealand in both cases.
Colonel Foxton. - Why does not the Minister accept the proposal of the honorable member for Balaclava that the duties be 4s. 6d. and- 4s. ?
– Why should we make our rates lower than that of New Zealand and lower than the old Victorian rate, which was 6s. ?
– Three shillings has proved ample for all purposes.
– No, it has not.
Mr. EDWARDS (Oxley) [94The duties as proposed in the Tariff are 6s. 6d. and 6s., which are extraordinarily high. The Treasurer- has agreed to reduce them to 5s. and 4s. 6d. But he might reasonably accept the amendment of the honorable member for Balaclava.
– Our duty ought to be higher than that of New Zealand.
– What have we to do with New Zealand ? A short time ago a committee of commercial men was appointed in Sydney to report on various matters connected with the Tariff. In their report on this particular matter they say - ‘-
The proposed tax of 6s. 6d. per cwt. as against 3s. per cwt. in the old Tariff is a percentage that is altogether out of proportion to even the requirements of the manufacturers. On some papers it means a duty of 75 per cent. ; and is a prohibitive duty on an enormous quantity of bag-making paper that cannot possibly be made in the Commonwealth. It also tends to place the ordinary bag-maker absolutely’ at the mercy of the paper merchant and the paper manufacturer; the latter especially (in lines that he can manufacture), is able to quote his made bags at a price which, when compared with his quotations to the bag-maker for. paper, leaves the latter no option but to go out of the business. Three shillings per cwt. should be an ample duty on these lines. No bag-making papers are imported from Great Britain.
I will gladly vote for the amendment foreshadowed by the honorable member for Balaclava, although I had intended to support that suggested by the honorable member for Brisbane.
.- The honorable member for Brisbane made a great mistake in saying that these goods cannot be made in Australia. I am sorry that I cannot take him down to the Geelong Paper Mills, where I have actually seen the papers in question being manufactured.
Colonel Foxton. - Not all of them. Some of them cannot even be made in the United States, and have to be imported from Great Britain.
– That is a dreadful thing ! A little while ago they could not manufacture eucalyptus oil in the United States, but was that a reason why we should not make it in Australia? Because America cannot manufacture an article, is that a reason why Australia cannot? I know that these goods are made in Geelong, and I believe that they are- also made in Sydney. The South Australian printers, whose opinion has been quoted by the hon orable member for Grey, are blind to what is being done in Australia. ‘ We do not find the Victorian Printers’ Association, who live on the spot where the goods ar« manufactured, saying that they cannot be made here. They recommend the acceptance of the proposed duties.
Colonel Foxton. - The duties do not affect the printers a bit.
– If the duties do not affect the printers, why was such an appeal made by the honorable member for Grey on behalf of the South Australian printers, who are asking that the duties shall be reduced? The honorable member for North Sydney has said that we should not protect outsiders. I agree with him. I urge the Government to allow the duty to remain as it stands, and to increase the duty on bags to about double what is at present proposed. I wish to appeal to those who are in favour of good wages being paid, and short hours of labour worked, to support these duties. We. have lately had an example of the good effects of the new protection, which honorable members opposite seem glad to talk about without doing much to promote when they have an opportunity. In consequence of the imposition of these duties the mills of Geelong have been .able to reduce the hours of labour from sixty per week to forty-eight without a reduction of the wages of the workmen, and I am glad to be able to publicly state that the directors have promised me that that shall be a permanent reduction of hours.
– They were too long before. Surely that state of things did not exist in the honorable member’s electorate ?
– I am sorry it did. Forty-eight hours is long enough for any man. It existed under the Tariff proposed by the Government to which the right honorable member belonged. The duty was so low that it was impossible to reduce the hours of labour. But they have been reduced under the present Tariff. Seeing that that has been the effect of increased duties, I trust that the Committee will not reduce them.
.- Personally, I do not mind whether the duty in the first column is made 4s. 6d. or <;s. But why should we not insert a new paragraph providing that, while the duties on brown and sugar grey, blue, and other tints shall be 5s. and 4s. 6d., those on white sulphide and krafft brown, which cannot be made here, shall .be 4s. and 3s. ?
– The consequence would be that papers imported at the lower duties would be used, and we should not have the brown made here at all.
– White sulphide and krafft brown can only be used’ for fruit bags and similar purposes. We do not want to put duties on the raw material of the bagmaker. I do not object to higher duties on the other varieties.
.- Before Federation the duty on bags in Queensland was 8s. per cwt., and in South Australia and Victoria 10s. Therefore, if the Minister agrees to make the duties 7s. and 6s. 6d., they will be much lower than they were before’ Federation in the three States I have named.
– In Tasmania the duty was 20s., in Western Australia 15 per cent., and in New South Wales the goods were free.
– In Sydney there is a large’ paper mill in Moore-street, at which blues, greys, and wrapping paper are very largely made. .A witness, representing the mill, appeared liefore the Commission, and informed us that it was an established fact that, notwithstanding the duty of ^3 per ton on wrapping paper, it could be landed in Sydney from Germany, Sweden, and other foreign countries at about £2 per ton cheaper than the cost existing prior to the formation of the present Tariff. The witness consequently claimed consideration against this fierce competition. He particularly drew attention, to the fact that this printing paper, which we have made free, and which is made free under the character and in the name of printing paper, is often brought into use as wrapping paper. I should like the Minister to consult his officers about this question, and to see whether some strict definition of. printing paper cannot be introduced into the Tariff. I think that it is possible to provide that free printing paper should not be allowed to be used as paper for wrapping purposes. I also think that the manufacturers should receive consideration for their wrapping paper. In the meantime, I am disposed to think, on re-perusing the evidence, that 6s. per cwt. for these papers is too high. I am disposed to accept .the Minister’s suggestion, and to bring it down a little.
– The evidence just read by the honorable member for Bendigo supports my proposition. It shows that the imported paper can be sold at £2 per ton less than the price of the locallymanufactured paper. The increased duty which I propose, namely, 5s. per cwt., instead of 3s. per cwt. in ‘the case of general imports, will make good that difference.
.- I propose to move that the words “ Fruit-bag Paper “ be left out, and that we insert another paragraph, providing that white sulphide and krafft brown paper for bagmaking be dutiable at 4s. and 3s. per cwt.
– We have already carried a later amendment, which renders it impossible for the honorable member to submit that suggested by him.
– Since the suggestion was made, I have consulted the officers of the Department, who tell me that it would be almost impossible, as proposed by the honorable member, to separate the papers. The work would be so difficult that they urged me not to agree to such an amendment.
– Then I shall not press it.
Colonel FOXTON (Brisbane) [9.19].- By way of explanation, I should like to point out that under the old Queensland Tariff this paper came under the heading of “ Paper, E.O..E.” - except otherwise enumerated - and was dutiable at 5 per cent, ad valorem. Paper bags not printed were dutiable at 8s. per.cwt., while paper bags printed were dutiable at 12s. 6d. per cwt.
– I move -
That after the figures “6s. 6d.” the words “and on and after 10th December, 1907, per cwt. (General Tariff), 4s. 6d.,” be inserted.
If that amendment be carried, I shall move that the duty on imports from the United Kingdom be 4s. per cwt.
Question put. The -Commitee divided.
Question so resolved in the negative.
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) agreed to -
That after the figures “6s. 6d.” the words “ and on and after 10th December, 1907, per cwt. (General Tariff), ss.,” be inserted; and after the figures “6s.” the words “and on and after 10th December, 1907 (United Kingdom), 4s. 6d.,” be added.
Paragraph, as amended, agreed to.
Paragraph h. Cartridge and Blotting, per cwt. (General Tariff), 6sl 3d. ; (United Kingdom), 6s.
– I intend to move -
That after the figures “6s. 3d.” the words “and on and after 10th December, 1907, per Cwt. (General Tariff), 4s. 9d.,” be inserted; and after the figures “ 6s.” the words “ and on after i oth December, 1907 (United Kingdom), 4s. 3d.,” be added.
This. will be a reduction in proportion to that which we have just made in regard to paragraph g.
– It is complained by some makers of envelopes that this is another case in which the duty on the raw material has been increased to the detriment of the manufactured article. They assert that the duty on envelopes is not more than the duty on cartridge paper, which is largely used in their manufacture. I do not know to what extent cartridge paper is. made here. Can the Treasurer explain the reason for the increase?
– The protectionist section of the Tariff Commission recommended an increase.
– Perhaps the honorable member for Bendigo will be able to tell us whether cartridge paper is made here.
– I cannot find any reference to the subject.
– I do not think that it is, and this duty is said to be as high as, if not higher than, the duty on envelopes.
– Blotting-paper is made here.
– I am dealing only with cartridge paper. I move -
That the words “ and Blotting “ be left out.
If the amendment be agreed to, I. shall move that the duty on cartridge paper under the old Tariff be adopted.
– Under the New Zealand Tariff cartridge paper is free, but blottingpaper is dutiable at 20 per cent. The departmental officers inform me that both cartridge and blotting paper are made here.
– Of good quality?
– I do not know much about the cartridge paper, but I have used the locally-made blotting paper, and found it very good.
Mir. ‘ Mahon. - It is very inferior ; one generally has to re-copy his letters after using it.
– At any rate, I am willing to make the duties 5s. and 4s., to bring them into harmony with those in paragraph g.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendments (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That after the figures “6s. 3d.,” the words “ and on and after 10th December, 1907, per cwt. (General Tariff), 55.,” be inserted; and that after the figures “ 6s.,” the words “ and on and after roth December, 1907 (United Kingdom), ‘4s. 6d.,” be added.
.- Both blotting and cartridge papers are made here; but some of those in the trade have suggested that there should, be an ad valorem duty of 20 per cent, on cartridge paper and a fixed duty on blotting paper. I am not sufficiently acquainted with the subject to know what is best to be done, but I should like the Treasurer to consider the matter.
– I do not think an alteration necessary.
Amendments agreed to.
Paragraph, as amended, agreed to.
Paragraph i. Strawboard, per cwt. (General Tariff), 2s. 6d. ; (United Kingdom), 2s.
.- I wish to know if the Treasurer will agree to reduce the proposed rates to the old duty.
– That was is. per cwt.
– Yes. Although I do not wish to occupy the time of the Committee unduly, I am in a position to show that the local manufacturer of strawboard, notwithstanding his promise to the Tariff Commission not to increase the price of that article if the duty were increased, has increased it to an amount equivalent to the increase in the duty; that he either cannot or will not supply the local demands; that he has a monopoly ; and that there are very few hands employed in the manufacture of strawboard, the article being made almost entirely by machinery. In short, I can make out a good case for the reduction for which I ask.
– Is not one of the biggest users of strawboard located in the Cook electorate ?
– Yes. One of the largest makers of cardboard boxes, of which strawboard is the raw material, is established in my electorate. The old duty of is. per cwt. was equivalent to an ad valorem rate of 25 per cent, while the proposed duty of 2s. 6d. per cwt. is equivalent to 62J per cent. But under the old rate the local manufacturer was able to increase his output; and that he had a large margin of profit’ is shown by the fact that, when the Tariff Commission were taking evidence, he was selling strawboard in Sydney at the price at which he sold it in Melbourne, notwithstanding freight charges amounting to 16s. per ton,, and other charges bringing up the total to £1 per ton. If the Treasurer will meet me in this matter, I shall be glad. I make the request as one who has given him a good deal of support in connexion with the Tariff.
– The honorable member must not bargain.
– There has been, a good deal of bargaining already. Members of the Opposition have declared that, in order to prevent undue discussion, and to enable us to return to our homes by Christmas, they would accept what they termed a fair thing; and now I, who have given the Government support, ask that in a matter in which I am very much concerned the Treasurer will grant a request for a reduction. If he will meet me in this matter, I shall sit down, but, if not, I shall be compelled to show the Committee what a strong case there is for reducing the proposed rates.
– I cannot come down to the old duty.
– Then I had better state the case as it appears to me. Although the Government propose a preference to Great Britain, in 1906, as a reference to page 4957 of Volume XXXIV. of Hansard will show, both he and the honorable member for South Sydney agreed that strawboard is practically not made in the United Kingdom.
– It is not really; that is, not very much.
– No. Consequently we may dismiss the proposed preference in favour of Great Britain as likely to be inoperative, and we can regard the duty for all practical purposes as that set down in the general Tariff, namely, 2s. 6d. per cwt.
– Will the honorable member accept a duty of is. 6d. per cwt. ?
– If the Minister will come down to is. 6d. per cwt., which is nearly half the rate proposed, I shall resume my seat ; but,, before doing so, I move -
That after the figures “ 2s. 6d.,” the words “ and on and after 10th December, 1907, per cwt. (General Tariff), is. 6d.,” be inserted,i and after the figures “2s.,” the words “and on and after roth December, 1907, per cwt. (United Kingdom), is. 6d.,” be added.
– Even from the point of view of the local manufacturer of strawboard, there can be no justification for the duties proposed by the Government. We were told when the old duty of is. per cwt. was agreed to that it would have the effect of closing the factory ; but, as a matter of fact, the business has developed and extended so as to give no logical or sufficient reason for even a small increase in the duty. The Treasurer has intimated that he is willing to agree, to a duty 50 per cent, higher than the old rate; but I do not think that we should accept that offer. It must be remembered that, while only a comparatively small number of hands are employed in the one mill which makes strawboard here, many hundreds are employed in the factories which use it. The preference to Great Britain is a mere pretence, . and the Minister is prepared to abolish it, knowing as he does that, practically, strawboard is not made in the United Kingdom. The old rate of duty was equivalent to 25 per cent, on unlined strawboard, to 20 per cent, on “strawboard lined on one side, and to 15 per cent, on strawboard lined on both sides. That information is given in answer to question 93,689 of the Tariff Commission’s evidence. It is true that Mr. McDougall, the manufacturer, said that in some instances the duty was equivalent to only 12J per cent., but he can have referred only to strawboard lined on both sides with glazed paper. The duty of is. 6d. at present proposed is an Increase- of 50 per cent, on the old Tariff, and will make the figures 37 J per cent, on unlined strawboard, 30 per cent, oh strawboard lined on one side, and 22J per cent, on strawboard lined on both sides. That must have a serious effect on the users of this material. It represents’ a very considerable increase on a line which is the raw material of an industry which must supply its manufactures at a cheap rate if they are to be used at all. They are used as a substitute for paper wrapping, and they will not be used unless they are sold at a rate which will bring them within measurable distance of the price of paper. The Broadford mills, which are the only mills manufacturing strawboard, are in the hands of a combination consisting of two companies who pooled their assets, and who have a monopoly. I allude to that not as an attack upon them, but in order to show that the company has every opportunity to take full advantage of any” duty that may be imposed. I do not object to a monopoly properly conducted, but I object to passing a duty for the benefit of a monopoly, which, because it has no competition to contend with, is able to take full advantage of that duty, when ho good reason can be shown for its imposition, and when it is clear it will injure another industry. Those interested in the Broadford mills form part of a paper mill combine. I am assured that they have formed a combine, can fix their own prices, and in that way also take every advantage of any duty imposed. I understand that sales of their papers, not strawboard, in Queensland” and New South Wales are allotted to one company, and sales in Victoria anc? South Australia to another, and they have agreed as to the prices they shall give for their raw material. There might be no ob jection to such an arrangement if it were reasonably conducted, and without State assistance, but when we are asked to give this industry assistance by means of the Tariff we have a right to ask whether it is needed, and whether it will be good for other industries. The’ statements I have made will be found to be borne out by the evidence submitted by the Tariff Commission. Freight and charges on the imported article amount to over 50 per cent. That in itself is surely a large protection, and yet we are asked to give from 22I per cent, to 37J per cent. more. In this case we have not to ask whether the price will be raised as the result of the imposition of the duty, because the price has already been raised by 30s. a ton, and advantage has therefore already been taken of the increased duty. It is true that Mr. McDougall, for the company, said that if some of the duties on the raw materials of the industry were reduced they would hot raise their price.
– The cost of straw is very much higher than it was.
– Those risks were pointed out when Mr. McDougall was before the Tariff Commission.
– The cost of straw has risen since that time. .
– A director of the concern made a very stupid promise to the Tariff Commission which has not been- fulfilled. He said that if they got an increased duty they would agree not to raise the price.
– Was that promise made without any qualification ?
– Yes, it was pointed out to him that it was a dangerous promise to make, because the price of his raw material might go up, and he said he would take that risk and give the promise. The promise has not been fulfilled. There has been no increase in the duties upon the raw materials of the industry which would justify the increase in the price of strawboard, whilst the duty has been taken off dextrine and has been lowered in the case of other materials. The effect of the proposed duty is shown in this way. I have here a carton for a candlemaker which would be dutiable at 30 per cent, and 25 per cent.
– Paper for candle cartons has been made dutiable at 5s. and 4s. 6d. per cwt. under paragraph g.
– I am not dealing with this carton as specially used by candle manufacturers. It might be used for other purposes.
– If empty it would come in under item 353A.
– That is so, and it would be dutiable at 30 per cent, in the General Tariff and 25 per cent, if imported from the United Kingdom. I do not remember the wording of the alteration the Treasurer has made in paragraph g, but it would not affect such packets as this carton, which would come under item 353A. Now, what has the carton-maker to pay? On the strawboard alone he would have to pay, according to the duty proposed by the Government, 37 J per cent.
– Thai is if the duty is 2s. 6d. per cwt.
– No. The percentage of duty would be from 621 per cent, to 37$ per cent., at the 2s. 6d. and 2s. rates. But taking the duty at is. fid. a cwt., as I have shown, the percentages of duty would be 37 J per cent., 30 per cent and 22 J per cent, for strawboard unlined, lined on one side, and lined on both sides respectively, so that the maker of the carton would actually pay more on unlined strawboard imported for its manufacture than the duty charged on the unlined strawboard made up in the form of the carton I produce. That is a serious matter for those engaged in the business, and yet that would be the condition of affairs, brought, about by the proposal now made. I think the Minister will see that we should not impose a duty in excess of that imposed under the old Tariff. Under the operation of that Tariff the single factory has expanded, and presumably there was reason for it in the results achieved. I could say a great deal more about this, but I do not wish to delay the Committee. I trust the Minister will reduce his demand to the rare of the old duty. No reason has been shown for increasing, whilst good reason has been shown for retaining it.
.- If there is one thing which more than another should induce the Committee to revert to the old ‘ duty on this item, it is the action which has been taken by the local manufacturer of strawboard. When this gentleman was before the Tariff Commission he was emphatic in his assertion that if he could get an increased duty there would be no increase in the price of locally-made strawboard.
– He was only one.
– He was crossquestioned, and it was suggested that that was a rash promise to make. Still he was positive, and said that if he were given an increased duty he would be prepared to enter into a guarantee that he would not increase the price of strawboard. As a matter of fact, he has increased his price twice since he gave that promise. The first increase was by 10s. per ton, and immediately after this Tariff was tabled he increased his price by another- 20s. The Government propose to fix the duty at is. 6d. per cwt. The old duty represented 25 per cent, on the cost price, and the natural protection 60 per cent, so that under the old duty of is. per cwt. the local manufacturer enjoyed a protection of 85 per cent.
– What does the honorable member call the natural protection?
– The cost of landing the article here, which is £2 10s. for sailing boats and £3 5s. per ton for steamers.
– It has been landed here at 5s. 6d. per ton.
– I have landed it at 5s. per ton.
– That was during the freight war.
– This is the old gag, and it is on a par with the statement we heard a little time “ago that boilers were dumped in Australia. This industry does not employ one-tenth of the number pf persons employed in the making up of boxes, vet the larger number of employes is to be penalized for the benefit of this firm established near Melbourne. I had a very interesting telegram sent to me to-day, and I believe a copy of it was sent to every member of the Committee.
– Except me. They knew too much to send me one.
– I did not get one either, and I consider that I have been badly treated.
– This telegram is supposed to come from the employes in the industry, and I presume they have paid for it.
– They are sure to have done so out of their magnificent wages.
– The telegram is to this effect - -
Support Government proposals strawboard. Employers voluntarily conceded reduction in hours from twelve to eight. No reduction in daily pay.
When was this reduction in hours made? Was it just at this time and in order to secure the increased duty
– It was done after the last Tariff.
– Then the telegram is altogether misleading. According to the evidence there are only about twenty hands employed in the industry. Surely a protection of 85 per cent, under the old Tariff is enough. If we are to consider the number of employes, we ought to give greater weight to the claims of the boxmakers, who employ a much larger number of hands than the strawboard-makers do. It looks as if we were to starve a big in- ‘ dustry in order to keep a little local combine going. This firm have had orders on hand for months past, and are unable to execute them. Yet they want a higher duty. There is not a duty proposed in this Tariff that is less warranted, and the Minister knows it. If a duty which, plus the natural protection, amounts to 85 per cent., is not sufficient, then, in all conscience, the industry ought to go under. If it is a question of whether that or the box-making industry, which employs between 3,000 and 4,000 hands, is to go under, then the strawboardmaking industry ought to go under. There are ten times as many hands employed in making boxes in South Australia, which is only a part of the Commonwealth, as there are in that industry. We ought also to consider those who use the boxes. The duty has already put the price of the boxes up by from 15 to 20 per cent. What is there about this particular firm, who were so positive when before the Royal Commission that they would not ‘increase their price, that this Committee should give them all they ask for, especially in view of the fact that they have increased their prices twice since they made that statement? Their price now has exactly absorbed the whole advantage of the increased duty. Where it was £7 ios., it is now £9. If we were to put on another 50 per cent, duty they would increase their prices proportionatelyThey knocked out all the other small makers, and it is not the function of this Committee to bolster up combines of that kind, which have no concern about any other business’ man. This firm would crush any other firm if it got a chance. It has done so already.
– The honorable member did not speak in that way in regard to the Standard Oil Trust, which has been trying to crush out the British Imperial Oil Company. He supported it.
– The honorable member is just about as correct in that allegation as he was when he asserted positively that I was wrong in saying that discs were not made in Australia. He was satisfied that they were made in his own district, but he afterwards found that they were not made in Australia at all. I was not here when the kerosene item was passed, so how can the honorable member say that I was standing up for the Standard Oil Company ?
– By the honorable member’s pairs in the book.
– If I had been here I would have stood up for free kerosene.
– And supported the great Standard Oil Trust?
– Of course ! I go for cheap kerosene, as the honorable member did a few years ago, when we put it on the free list. This strawboard-making firm has increased its prices in face of its own sworn evidence, and the only excuse it gives is that the cost of its raw material has been increased. I defy the members of the firm to point to an increase of more than 3s. 6d. in the value of a ton of their raw material since this Tariff was introduced.
– Does the honorable member mean to say that straw has only increased in price bv 3s. 6d. a ton ?
– They do not say that it is the increase in price of the straw that has led them to raise their prices. They put it down to the other materials used, such as paper for lining, dextrine) &c. Dextrine has been put on the free list. I shall move -
That after the figures “as. 6d.,” the words “ and on and after 10th December, 1907, per cwt. (General Tariff), is.,” be inserted.
That will give the firm a protection of about 85 per cent., which is quite enough. If they cannot carry on with that, they ought to, and if will teach them, at any rate, that they cannot increase their prices with impunity in- face of their own sworn evidence that thev did not intend to do so.
– I do not think that we should be concerned about any foolish statement that a representative of any firm made to the Tariff Commission. If we are to deal with big industries on that basis we shall get very much astray. It was a foolish thing for a man to say, and a foolish thing to ask anybody. If is only fair to state that one of the reasons given since then for the increase of price is the immense rise in the price of- straw, which is the absolute raw material.
– They never gave that as a reason.
– The firm gave me that as one of the principal reasons. “We are not here to base our consideration of proposed duties upon statements made by individuals. We should dismiss them altogether. A statement of that kind did not bind the company if they did not wish to keep to it. Nor have we been, so far, in this Tariff, legislating out of consideration for the numbers of persons employed in particular industries. It is said that there is only one factory concerned in this case ; but’ it is reasonable to assume that if there were large profits in the industry a number of other strawboard factories would have been started in the Commonwealth, because the raw material is obtainable anywhere. There have been other cases where there was only one concern in an industry, but some of us appealed in vain to the Committee for consideration of the much greater number of other people who would be affected. I therefore take it that we might dismiss the argument about the statement which was made and not kept, and a? to which they possibly have an answer, and also the fact that there are not a very large number of hands employed in the industry. What we have to consider* is what is a fair amount of protection to give to the industry, so that it may be carried on at a reasonable profit and in such a way that there may be a fair chance of encouraging competition. I think the 2s. 6d. proposed by the Government is too high. At the same time we have to consider the strawboard makers.
– -I have agreed to accept is. 6d.
– That would be a fair compromise. I am informed that prior to the last Tariff the condition of the industry was such that the men in this factory offered voluntarily to work for twelve hours a day in order to keep the thing going. That helped their -employers through, and when the last’ Tariff was adopted the employers gave them a forty-eight hours’ week without any reduction of wages. I believe those are the facts.
– That shows that the old duty was sufficient.
– It only proves that previously without the duty they were unable to carry on. It does not prove that when the duty was imposed in the last Tariff the employers made big profits. We have no evidence as to how much profit thev have made, but I take it that there cannot be a great deal in the industry, or there would have been other competitors. There could not be a monopoly in an industry with the raw material so plentiful in every State, but the fact is that there has not been enough in it to induce others to take it up. We have also to consider the box-makers, for I am sure that the 2s. 6d. duty first proposed would have been too heavy a burden upon them; but the Committee might fairly accept a duty of is. 6d., and give the strawboard industry the same encouragement as we are giving the other industries.
.- The Broadford factory is in my electorate. . I know something about it, and it is only due to the proprietors that I should state a few facts. The number of employes in the factory is seventy-five, so that it is not a small concern. In addition to those directly engaged in the factory, a large number of people are employed in carting wood and .straw, and the company buy straw, from the farmers. The product is entirely the -result of labour at every point. The honorable member for Lang stated that the firm had recently imported 500 tons of strawboard from. Germany, with which to supply their orders. I am assured that that is absolutely incorrect.
– Is the honorable member prepared to say that during the last three years they have not imported any strawboard? .
– I asked them if they had imported any strawboard, and they said “No.” “ . .
– During the last three years ? _ Mr. HARPER.- I did not limit the time. I did not go back for three years, because the honorable member did not mention that term, but simply made a broad statement which conveyed to the Committee the impression that the firm-, within a period pertinent to the case, were importing foreign strawboard and selling it to their customers.
– I have a statement here that they are importing hundreds of pounds worth.
– I have their direct statement that they have done nothing of the kind.
– My statement comes from the Sydney box-makers.
– I saw that statement, but, like many others, it is not correct.
– Sixteen thousand pounds worth of strawboard was imported last year.
– My own firm have imported some strawboard within the last five years, and there are many other importers.
– How came the honorable member’s firm to import strawboard?
– Because we thought it desirable to do so.
– But there is a factory in the honorable member’s own electorate.
– We had reasons for importing strawboard, of which we are large consumers. I am assured by the honorable member for Riverina, who has just inquired, that at no time has strawboard been imported for the Broadford Mills. I merely give the information as it is given to me by people who are in a position to know that the statement made here to-night is not correct ; and I may say, further, that it is not true that the Broadford Mills cannot execute orders. After the last Tariff was settled, the question was whether, under the low duty, the Broadford Mills could be carried on; and I am informed that the employes agreed to work longer hours in order to tide over the trouble, and that no dividend was paid by the company for several years. I have no personal knowledge of these facts, but give them as they have been related to me.
– Is the imported article the cheaper?
– I think it is dear just now, though I do not know. I am assured, however, that the supplies are ample for present requirements. There aTe, of course; certain kinds of strawboard, which are not produced at the Broadford Mills, and which must be imported whatever duty be imposed. It is only fair that the case for the other side should be laid before honorable members, in view of the many incorrect statements that have been made. I visited the Broadford Mills some time ago, and found that they were largely the support of the town. The employes, who, of’ course, reside there with their families, were ready to help their employers in difficult circumstances ; but I hear to-night that since the imposition of the new duty the hours have been made forty-eight instead of sixty per week, the latter being the number which the men volunteered to work in the time of trouble.
I think the proposal of the Government is a fair compromise, and I intend to support it.
– The question of strawboard is like ‘ ‘ King Charles’ head ‘ ‘-it is always cropping up. This is the third time this session that we have had a discussion relating to this particular commodity. Whether this is because those interested hope to ultimately arrive at what is substantially prohibition, I do not know; but so sure as any interference with the Tariff is proposed, up comes the question of strawboard. On the two previous occasions, the discussions resulted in the maintenance of the duty of is., which has always been regarded as fair in the case of an article which ought certainly to be easy of manufacture in a place like Australia, where there is plenty of the raw material available at a very cheap rate. Honorable members talk about the price of straw having gone up lately ; but I venture to say that it has not gone up to anything like the extent to which it has in the older countries of the world. I have been wondering why the Government have reintroduced this question. On the last occasion, the then Treasurer himself gave the best of all reasons why the proposed duty should not be imposed, and eventually withdrew it on his own motion. It may be, however, that a new Treasurer has promised that the increased duty would be proposed. Reference has been made by the honorable member for Mernda to the fact that the Broadford mill has not been doing particularly well. Can we wonder at that when protectionists of the bright, particular star-colour of the honorable member sends to the United Kingdom for his strawboard?
– I do not do anything of the kind.
– The honorable member said that he has imported some strawboard.
– Some time ago.
– There is a strawboard mill in the electorate of the honorable member, and I fancy that his constituents will be likely to vote against him for importing this commodity.
– My constituents have some sense !
– I am glad to hear that ; at any rate, I am sure they have an excellent representative. At the same time, I think that the honorable member might turn his attention to the Broadford mill when he requires strawboard.
– So I do.
– I am particularly anxious to hear why the honorable member sent to England for strawboard, and I fancy the reason, if the matter were probed to the bottom, is that he found the imported strawboard to suit his purpose better than the local strawboard. That, of course, is always a legitimate reason for preferring one strawboard. to another. I have heard that there is great difference in the quality of strawboard, and that for some purposes it is still necessary to import. I presume the honorable member for Mernda had in his mind the smaller sorts of boxes which require a particular kind of strawboard that can be turned and twisted into shape. I believe that some strawboard is very brittle, and, when made into small shapes, has a tendency to break. However, it does occur to me that, with straw as cheap as it is in Australia, and considering what, I presume, is the simple process of manufacture, we ought to be able, in view of the natural protection which our isolation affords, to make strawboard equal, at least, to any that can be procured from abroad. This matter was investigated by the Tariff Commission, and I presume that the evidence by Mr. McDougall was well weighed. Why the Chairman of the Tariff Commission should recommend this increase of duty I do not know? I am informed that the chairman of this company, Mr. McDougall, told the Tariff Commission that the old rate was equivalent to 12 J per cent. If that be so, I am prepared to vote for a duty of 25 per cent, upon this article.
– The honorable member is too kind.
– I am prepared to give Mr. McDougall a 25 per cent, rate in lieu of the fixed duty proposed. I ask the Treasurer if there is any particular reason why a specific duty should be adopted. For my own part, I would much prefer an ad valorem rate. If the honorable member for Grey will withdraw his amendment, I will move that the duty upon strawboard be 25 per cent.
– Make it is. 6d. per cwt. or 25 per cent., whichever is the higher duty.
– I will do nothing of the kind. I am prepared to take the statement of Mr. McDougall, that the old rate of is. per cwt. is equivalent to 12$ per cent.
– The A section of the Tariff Commission recommended an increase of the duty to 2s. per cwt.
– Then they recommended an increase of 50 per cent, upon the old rate.
.- I am glad that this question is being discussed by honorable members without heat. There are one or two matters connected with it that we ought to take into consideration. I can easily understand that it was quite possible for a witness before the Tariff Commission,’ without looking ahead, to promise that the price of strawboard would not be increased. But when the cost of the raw material is increased it is necessary that the duty upon the finished article should also be increased.
– But Mr. McDougall promised that he would not increase the price of strawboard even though the cost of the raw material was increased.
– I do not deny that fact. I am merely pointing out that it is reasonable to suppose that the duty upon the finished article should be increased in proportion to the increase in the cost of the raw material. The honorable member for Grey spoke of the natural protection. which this industry enjoys. But I have been informed upon the most reliable authority that instead of the freight upon strawboard being £2 or ^3 per ton it has been brought from Holland for 5s. and even 2s. 6d. per ton.
– We are constantly being told that all our imports come in for nothing.
– The statement has been made that the company which conducts the Broadford Mills has sent strawboard to Sydney upon which it paid 16s. per ton by way of freight. Now the freight from the works to Melbourne represents an additional 22s. per ton.
– Do I understand the honorable member to say that’ the freight upon strawboard from Melbourne to Sydney is 1 6s. per ton, whilst that from Holland to Melbourne is only 2s. 6d. per ton ?
- I am credibly informed that very recently a quantity of strawboard was destroyed by fire in Melbourne upon which the freight paid from Holland was only 5s. per ton.
– Was that by measurement or by weight?
– Possibly it was by measurement. I wish the Committee to recollect that those engaged in this industry have to compete against the manufacturers of strawboard in Holland who work their employes sixty hours per week, as against forty-eight hours worked by the operatives in the Commonwealth, and who pay them considerably less.
– What is the honorable member’s authority for that statement?
– My authority is the particular company which has established the strawboard factory to which I have already referred.
– I have been informed that the wages paid in Holland are £210s. per week.
– The wages paid in that country, not merely in this industry but in every other, are considerably lower than those which are paid in Australia. Here is a certificate given by the employes of this firm, who, sooner than see an infant industry crushed out of existence, volunteered to continue to work at a smaller wage.
– As that occurred a long while ago, how can it apply now ?
– Immediately the industry got a little assistance under the old Tariff, the manufacturers voluntarily reduced the hours from 60 to 48 without altering the pay. All these factors should induce honorable members to stand by an industry which if assisted will be considerably enlarged and will deprive no one of any work.
– Is it not standing by the industry to double its protection?
– I think that the compromise offered by the Treasurer - a duty of 1s. 6d. all round instead of a duty of 2s. 6d. and 2s. as proposed - is very reasonable, and I suggest that we should now go to a division.
.- During the consideration of the Tariff we have had many examples of protected industries which have been established asking for an increased duty. Here is another instance of that kind. In the beginning a duty was asked for to establish the industry until it had attained sufficient strength to stand without it.
– And if it was not established the honorable member would say that it was not worth while to establish it.
– No. What happens in all these cases? In the beginning a duty is asked for and obtained under false pretences. Certain persons come to the Legislature and say, “ If you will only give us a certain duty “ - and they generally ask for a small duty to start - “we shall be able to establish the industry, and once we are firmly established we shall not want a duty.” But no sooner do they get the duty and start the industry than they come cap in hand for more power to dip their hands into the public Treasury to increase their profits. Here we are confronted with another example of that kind of conduct. Oliver Twist was not in it with these people. There was every excuse for the poor unfortunate hero of Dickens, but there is no excuse for these well-fed, pampered manufacturers, who are centred chiefly in and around Melbourne. Even if they should get a protection of 2s.6d. per cwt. on this occasion, next time they will want a protection of 5s., and so the eternal cry for “more” will go on. That is the kind of greed which feeds upon itself. The more protection they receive the more they want; when they get hoary-headed with age they will be still crying out for more protection.
– It is only a protection of 1s. 6d. per cwt. that is wanted now.
– Yes. because they know they have no hope of getting more, and that is fully1s. too much. It is all very well for the honorable member for Mernda to plead on behalf of this industry. He is understood to be a protectionist from principle. But I believe that he is a protectionist because–without meaning any offence to him - he makes a considerable amount of money out of the policy.
– I could do just as well under free-trade.
– Then I will assume that the honorable member is a protectionist from personal conviction. In his electorate there is a little industry which has already enjoyed much protection, but which is asking for more. I interjected that 500 tons of strawboard had been imported by the firm mentioned in order to meet the demands of their business.
– That statement is contained in a letter which has been circulated.
– I am not depending entirely upon that letter for my information.
In a circular which has been addressed to honorable members I find the following’ statement -
The Broadford Strawboard Mills have been so busy the last three years that a year ago they imported 500 tons of strawboard to try to keep pace with the demand. They also enlarged their plant considerably, including putting in two extra lining machines.
Whether this statement is true or not I am not prepared to say, because, like the honorable member for Mernda, I can only depend upon the information which has been given to me.
– It is not true.
– Persons who are well qualified to give correct information have told me that the statement is true, but the honorable member says that it is not, and in these circumstances it will be for the Committee to judge between the conflicting statements.
– The one statement is based on hearsay and the other emanates from the principals themselves.
– Yes; but it must be remembered that both statements come from sources which are interested in the industry, though perhaps from opposite stand-points. It will rest with the Committee to determine which statement is right. I am not prepared to vouch for the accuracy of the statement I cited, but I am prepared to vouch for the character of the person from whom I obtained my information. Strawboard is not manufacture’d in England. . As a matter of fact, there is a clause in the leases of most English farmers requiring them to return all the straw to the soil for manuring purposes. It is stated in a journal published in the interests of the boxmakers and strawboard manufacturers that practically all the strawboard manufactured in Holland is exported to Great Britain.
The American Vice-Consul at Rotterdam has been going specially into the strawboard industry of that country, and in putting the report before his Government states that the manufacturers will not give any information on the subject
It is stated that practically all the strawboard exported from England is first imported into England from Holland. Reference has been made to the number of telegrams sent to honorable members with the object of influencing their votes on this question. It is a strange thing that these telegrams should have been sent simultaneously. I wonder who paid for them. Does any one really believe that the employes sent them at their own expense? I am sure that they have not money to spare for sending so many telegrams to honorable members. Now in his evidence before the Tariff Commission, Mr. James McDougall was questioned with regard to prices. He told the Commission that if the duty was increased the prices of strawboard would not be raised. I will quote from his evidence - questions 80,787 to 80,789 -
You also said that you are making a profit of 2^ per cent., and you are asking for an increased duty equivalent to 12^ per cent. ? - Yes ; but I also told you that we do not intend to increase our price.
You can give no guarantee beyond your word, and, as a matter of business, you know that we have to look at the matter from the bare figure point of view? - We could give an undertaking that we will not increase the price.
That would be unwise when the price would be contingent upon the price of raw material? - I am quite prepared to take the risk.
Here is sworn evidence that if Mr. McDougall secured this duty he would not increase the price. Yet we know that he has increased the price. I have in possession a circular which h<is been issued in reference to cardboard boxes by a firm called the Morris Manufacturing Company, carrying on business in Degraves-street, Melbourne. T do not know who the members of the firm are, but I have obtained . a copy of this trade circular, which I may as well read to the Committee -
On account of the increase in price of out raw material, occasioned by the introduction of the new. Tariff, from 12^ per cent, to 20 per cent., we shall have to increase our prices 15 per cent., as from the 9th of September. All invoices from that date will bear the additional percentage.
Thanking you for your past favours, and trusting you will continue to place your orders with us, which at all times will receive our best and careful attention,
The Morris Manufacturing Coy.
We see from this document that the makers of cardboard boxes have had to increase their prices to their customers because of the increase of the price of strawboard, which is their raw material.
– They may not get it from Mr. McDougall’s firm at all.
– There is no other local firm which makes strawboard. The increase referred to is, I understand, in the locally-manufactured article. The circular speaks for itself. In face of this evidence, I hope that honorable members will pause before they consent to an increase in the duty. They must remember that strawboard is the raw material of a very large number of industries employing many hands - many more than those employed in the strawboard industry itself.- Are not these people to have any consideration? Are not the people who use strawboard boxes for the purpose of enclosing their wares not to have consideration either? Is the consumer always to pay the piper, and grin and bear it? He is the one individual in the community whose interests do not seem to enter into the consideration df protectionists for a single moment. There is only one other point to which I wish to refer, and that is the case of those who have to import strawboard for the purpose of manufacturing the finer kind of boxes. I am- credibly informed by those in the trade that the locally-made strawboard, although it is useful, cannot be used for all purposes. It is not useful for the manufacture of the better class of boxes which are required for the more delicate articles of manufacture. We have therefore to consider first that the local strawboard, although it is improving in quality,, is not equal to the imported article, and secondly that the works of the manufacturers of the local strawboard are not sufficiently large to supply all the requirements of the Commonwealth. The suggestion of the honorable member for Parramatta for an ad valorem duty, even as high as 25 per cent., as preferable to the fixed duty of is. 6d., or even is., is one that should commend itself even to high Tariff protectionists in the Committee.
.- I rise principally on account of a remark made by the honorable member for Mernda, who observed that the making of strawboard was almost entirely a manual labour industry. As a matter of fact, the Committee will find that Mr. McDougall himself, in his evidence - question 80,768 - when asked, “ How many hands do you employ in the strawboard mill?” replied -
I should think that we have between fifty and sixty hands at Broadford, but the manufacture of strawboard is almost all automatic.
That disposes of the statement of the honorable member for Mernda that this is a manual labour industry. The honorable member for Lang has quoted from the evidence of Mr. McDougall, showing that he undertook, after due consideration, not to raise the price of strawboard if the duty were increased. The honorable member for Darling urges that we ought not to pay much consideration to such statements. But Mr. McDougall is not the man to speak lightly of such things. He is not the man to make a promise of that kind without consideration. He knew what he was talking about when he gave that promise. One is almost forced to the conclusion that he made it with the reservation that he would break it as soon as he got an opportunity. His explanation of the increase in the price will not, to my mind, hold water. In writing to the Sydney Morning Herald, Mr. McDougall said -
We have a perfect right to increase our price until such time as the duty is determined upon, because we have now to pay heavy duty on felts, wires, lining paper, and dextrine, etc., that were heretofore free. Should the increased duty be passed, we will at once reduce our price to the rate that it was -when I gave evidence before the Commission plus the extra cost that we will have to pay consequent upon the increased duties - if carried - on fells, wires, lining paper, dextrine, etc.
– Dextrine is free.
– I am simply reading Mr. McDougall’s explanation. I propose now to read a reply to which ‘ Mr. McDougall has not seen fit to answer. In the same newspaper, Messrs.. Fuerth and Nail wrote -
In reply to this, we question the justness of raising the prices while the Tariff is under consideration, but totally disagree with him in his reasons for so doing, based as they are on the heavy duties imposed on felts, wires, lining paper, and dextrine. In the first item, “felts” - even if used in a strawboard-making machine - would, come in free under division XVI. (Miscellaneous). Item 441 reads - “ Felts foi papermaking machine, free.” Next, “wires” is dealt with under division VI. (Metals and Machinery), item 225, General, 5 per cent., British, free. As the British-made wire is better quality and as cheap as any other make, this item can be reckoned free also. Lining paper and dextrine - As neither of these is used at all on un-lined boards, no extra duty on them need be considered.
In this letter Messrs. Fuerth and Nail, who are paper-box manufacturers in Sydney, show that every one of the reasons given by Mr. McDougall for raising prices is without foundation. Even if these raw materials were not free Mr. McDougall could not be released from the promise that he made when before the Tariff Commission that he would not, under any circumstances, increase the price of strawboard. The only other point with which 1 desire to deal is that relating to the natural protection enjoyed by the local manufacturers. It is true that for a short time a few consignments of strawboard came in - while the freight war lasted - at 5s. per ton. A special shipment was brought in at that rate when the ship-owners were cutting freights, but those circumstances do not pertain to-day, and are not likely to recur. The Bulletin, in writing in opposition to Messrs. Fuerth and Nail’s contention, in its issue of 12th September last, acknowledged that it was only while the freight war lasted that this rate was charged.
– The war of freights lasted for about two years.
– But it is dead now.
– It will be interesting to place on record a comparison of charges on Dutch and Australian strawboard. The expenses on one ton of Dutch strawboard are as follow: - Freight from Holland to Hamburg,10s. ; Hamburg dues and agency f . o.b., 7s. 6d. ; freight from Hamburg to Sydney by sailer, 18s.9d. ; insurance, 3s. 7d. ; exchange, 5s. ; agent’s commission,5 per cent. on c.i.f., 5s. 5d. ; wharfage, 3s.9d. ; cartage, 3s. ; duty under old Tariff, £1 ; total, £3 17s. The expenses on one ton of Broadford strawboard are as follow : - Expenses from mill, Broadford, to f.o.b. Melbourne, 12s. 6d. ; freight, Melbourne to Sydney, at 12s. 6d., less 10 per cent.,11s. 3d. ; insurance, 8d. ; wharfage, 3s.9d. - these are the actual charges - cartage, 3s. ; leaving a balance of £2. 5s.10d., which is equal to an ad valorem duty of 513/4 per cent. f.o.b. in favour of the Broadford mill. The strawboard mill gives employment to twenty or thirty hands, whereas the industries that seeks a reduction of the duty give employment to between 3,000 and 4,000.
– The local mill gives employment to about sixty-five hands.
– Even if it does, I think these facts show that it is undesirable to increase the duty. If, however, the Treasurer is prepared to agree to a duty of 25 per cent. as a compromise, I shall be ready to accept it.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment (by Mr. Poynton) negatived -
That after the figures” 2s. 6d. “ the words “ and on and after 10th December, 1907, per cwt. (General Tariff),1s.,” be inserted.
Amendments (by Mr. J. H. Catts) agreed to -
That after the figures “ 2s. 6d “ the words “ and on and after 10th December, 1907, per cwt. (General Tariff),1s. 6d.,” be inserted; and that after the figure”2s.” the words “ and on and after 10th December, 1907, per cwt. (United Kingdom),1s. 6d. “ be added.
Paragraph, as amended, agreed to.
Paragraph J. Bags, ad val. (General Tariff), 30 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent.
– When moving in connexion with a previous paragraph the reduction of rates to 5s. and 4s. 6d., I said that I thought that a corresponding reduction in the rates on bags would be 7s. and 6s. 6d. ; but I have since been informed by a number of honorable members that those rates would not give a sufficient margin, and that the rates should be 8s. and 7s. 66. I therefore move -
That after the words “30 per cent.” the words “ and on and after 10th December, 1907, per cwt. (General Tariff), 8s.,” be inserted ; and that after the words “ 25 per cent. “ the words “ and on and after 10th December, 1907, per cwt. (United Kingdom), 7s. 6d.,” be added.
.- The Treasurer has behaved rather shabbily towards the Opposition in regard to this matter. He made a certain proposal, on the strength of which the call for a division was withdrawn.
– The honorable member voted against what I proposed.
– I shall always vote against high duties; but that does not relieve the Minister of his responsibility. Had he stated earlier that he intended to make these rates 8s. and 7s. 6d., honorable members might have voted for a greater reduction of the duties . on raw material. What has happened savoursof sharp practice.
– I do not say that the Treasurer has been guilty of sharp practice; but to an outsider it might seem that he has worked a point on the Opposition in getting honorable members to agree to certain rates on raw material on the promise that he would propose lower rates on the finished article, and failing to carry out that promise. I do not deny that he may have been asked to make this alteration ; but, having made a bargain, he should have stuck to it. Of course, it is no use talking, but I enter my protest against what has been done. .
Colonel FOXTON (Brisbane) [11.12]. - There may be some misapprehension on the part of the honorable member for Lang in regard to what the Treasurer has done. The rates originally proposed in connexion with bag paper were 6s. 6d. and 6s. per cwt. ; and when I suggested their reduction to 3s. 6d. and 3s.., the Treasurer intimated that he was prepared to increase the duty on bags to 11s. and 10s. to preserve the proportion. On the reduction of the duty on paper the Treasurer proposed to make the duty on bags 7s. 6d. and 7s. In regarding those as fair rates on bags, he was evidently misled by the fact that the difference between the two sets of duties remained the same, forgetting that the proportion was different. Under the circumstances, he was justified in moving for rates of 8s. and 7s. 6d., which preserve as nearly as possible the old proportion. If the paper-bag industry is to be preserved, the margin given will be little enough.
Amendments agreed to.
Paragraph, as amended, agreed to.
Paragraph k. N.E.I., including Cardboard, Pasteboard, Pulpboard. Cloth-lined Boards, and Cloth-lined Paper, Floor Paper, Paperhangings or Wall-papers, Millboard, Greyboard, Leatherboard, and Woodboard and Toilet Paper in rolls or packets, ad val. (General Tariff), 20 per cent.; (United Kingdom), 15 per cent.
.- This item involves increases, in some cases of 10 per cent, and in other cases of 5 per cent., on the old Tariff, Millboard, grey- board, leatherboard and woodboard are not manufactured in Australia, and I wish to ask the Treasurer whether he will agree to these articles being omitted from this paragraph with a view to their inclusion in a new paragraph and being made dutiable at 5 per cent, in the general Tariff and free from the United Kingdom, where I understand they are made.
– I am .prepared to accept that amendment.
Amendment by (Mr. J. H. Catts) proposed -
That the words “ Millboard, Greyboard, Leatherboard, and Woodboard “ be left out.
.- When the old Tariff was being discussed six years ago, I had a letter similar to the one I have in hand now from the Bookbinders and Paper-rulers’ Union, which at that time was a Victorian institution, but has since become a federated union, making the same suggestion as’ that which has been made by the honorable member for Cook, with the exception that cardboard and pasteboard should also be admitted free. These articles are the raw materials of the book-binding industry, and as books when made up are admitted free it is not right to penalize the local book-binding industry by levying any duty at all upon cardboard or pasteboard. These articles are not made here.
– Is the honorable member quite sure that cardboard and pasteboard are not made here.
– The letter which I have says that these boards are not manufactured in the Commonwealth, and the duty would therefore be merely a revenue duty. The letter is signed “ James Munn, Secretary to the Australian Book-binders and Paper-rulers’ Federated Union.”
– I am informed that they are made here.
– I am informed that they are not made here, and if the Minister believes they are we shall have to let them go for the present, make inquiries in the meantime, and if necessary see that they are omitted when the Tariff is before another place.
.- I think I have a prior amendment to that moved by the honorable member for Cook, because I wish to have cardboard and pasteboard left out. I have here a photographic mount’ which is manufactured in Australia, but the whole of the middle of the mount is manufactured from what is called “ wood-pulp middles,” a material which is not manufactured and cannot be manufactured in Australia, and which is useless for any other purpose than the manufacture of these mounts.
– The Minister has agreed to leave out woodboard.
– If that will cover wood-pulp middles I am satisfied.
.- My honorable friend, the leader of the Opposition, will no doubt be pleased to hear that I join in requesting a reduction of the duty upon these items.
– The millenium is coming.
– In the Tariff Commission I was over-ruled by my colleagues. I suggested the reduction of these duties from 15 per cent, to 10 per cent, all round, and I am quite prepared to go even lower than 10 per cent, on these boards, which I do not think are made here.
.- In view of the statement made by the Chairman of the Tariff Commission, I do not see why only the particular articles referred to should be removed from this item. Why should we adopt the course proposed if we know that these articles are not made in Australia?
– Some of them are made here.
– Pasteboard, cardboard, millboard, leatherboard, greyboard, and woodboard have all been mentioned as articles that are not made here, and the statement has been confirmed by the Chairman of the Tariff Commission. It is now proposed to leave out four of these articles about which there seems to be no doubt, and to include two which the Chairman of the Tariff Commission says are not made here.
– Cardboard and pasteboard are made here.
– We have’ the opinion of the Chairman of the Tariff Commission to the contrary.
– I have not given an opinion, but a statement of fact based on knowledge.
– The Chairman of the Tariff Commision has been inquiring into the matter for two years, and I am prepared to accept his opinion. The Government, when they have found themselves in trouble, have been keen enough to shelter themselves behind the decisions of the Tariff Commission. I do not think’ we should leave the articles about which some doubt has been expressed to be struck out of this item when the Tariff is before another place. I prefer that the honorable member for Cook should add to his amendment “ pasteboard and cardboard.”
– Very well, I .shall move their omission myself. I ask the honorable member for Cook to temporarily withdraw his amendment in order to enable me to submit a prior amendment.
– I do not think I should stand in the honorable member’s way if he desires to move a prior amendment, though I shall, not vote for’ the amendment he proposes. I ask leave to temporarily withdraw my amendment.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment (by Mr. Frazer) proposed -
That the words “ Cardboard, ‘ Pasteboard,” be left out.
Question - That the words “ Cardboard, Pasteboard,” proposed to be left out, stand part of the paragraph (Mr. Frazer’s amendment) - put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the affirmative. Amendment negatived. Amendment (by Mr. J. H. Catts) agreed to-
That the words “ Millboard, Greyboard, Leatherboard, and Woodboard “ be left out.
– ! have a letter from the Master Printers’ Association, pointing out that quite a number of these lines, more particularly pasteboard, pulpboard, leatherboard, greyboard. and woodboard are not made here. I move -
That after the words “ 20 per cent.,” the words “ and on and after 10th December, 1907, ad val. (General Tariff), 15 per cent.,” be inserted.
I intend, if that is agreed to, to move that the duty be 10 per cent, in the case of imports from the United Kingdom.
Question put. The Committee divided. Ayes … 15
Question so resolved in the negative. Amendment negatived. Paragraph, as amended, agreed to. Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the following new paragraph be inserted : - “ (kk) On and after 10th December, 1907, Millboard, Greyboard, Leatherboard, Woodboard, ad. val. (General -Tariff), 5 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), free.”
.- I suggest that Manila board should also be included. This board is made from grey board, with an outside of wood board, and is used for purposes similar to those for which the boards proposed by the Treasurer are used. I am afraid that unless it is included it may fall under some other paragraph.
– I accept the suggestion of the honorable member.
Proposed new paragraph amended accordingly.
– Why should not the . whole item be free?
– Because it is desired to bring these boards in unison with a number of other articles which bear a similar duty.
.- There is no advantage in the preference that is proposed. For instance, wood pulp middles are not brought from the Old Country, and those interested in the paper mills admit that the article ought to come in free. I have here a statement from the manufacturers as follows -
The middles are a rough paper, forming the body of the cardboard, and they are made from spruce and some other soft woods, which in Canada and Sweden and some other countries where water-power is plentiful are ground up into a kind of pulp, and in the one process made into middles, such as we use. There is no wood grown in Australia in any marketable quantity which could be used for this purpose, nor is water-power available.
No witness on behalf of the local paper mills or, as far as we know, on behalf of any Australian paper mill, made any request that, these wood pulp middles should be made to pay duty. They do not compete against any article produced in Australia, or likely to be produced, as they are far too expensive to compete against strawboard, and the thickness to be admitted free might be limited to an equivalent of 140 lbs. per ream royal, and under.
It will be seen from this that wood pulp middles are not made in the United Kingdom, and that, therefore, the proposed preference is a sham. The Treasurer wishes the Committee to believe that by admitting these articles free under the Tariff for the United Kingdom he is giving a substantial preference to the Mother Country. But, as a matter of fact, he is doing nothing of the kind. I move -
That the proposed new paragraph be amended by leaving out the words “ 5 per cent.,” with .1 view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ free.”
.- I ask the Treasurer, to include in this paragraph cardboard and pasteboard, which, are not made here, and which are imported in the rough.
– They have already teen dealt with, and we cannot revert to them.
– If I cannot get the articles I have mentioned placed upon the free list by this Committee, it will be my duty to endeavour to persuade the Senate to put them in that category.
– It is such a small matter that I shall not worry about it.
Amendment of the proposed new para.graph., by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment (by Mr. Bowden) negatived -
That the proposed new paragraph be amended by inserting after the words “ Manila board “ the words “ lined and unlined.”
Amendment (by Mr. Johnson) negatived -
That the proposed new paragraph lie amended by leaving out the words “’ 5 per cent.,” with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word “ free.”
Proposed new paragraph agreed to.
Paragraph (l). Surface-coated Paper, including Marble, and Foil Paper, ad val., 20 per cent.
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne; proposed -
That the following words be added : - “ and on and after 10th December, 1907 - (l). Flint or Surface-coated Paper, plain or embossed, also Marble and Foil Paper and Box Makers’ Bordering and Lace Paper, free.”
.- Will the proposal of the Treasurer permit of paper that is used in the production of magazines and books being admitted free? We have already placed both magazines and books in the free list, and it would be unwise, therefore, to make the paper used in their production dearer than” is absolutely necessary.
– The papers used in the production of books and magazines will be free.
– I take it that that is the desire of the Treasurer?
– Yes. We have already made magazines free. In addition, I understand that this paper is used in connexion with photography.
– Having received the assurance of the Treasurer that his proposal will accomplish what I desire, I shall raise no objection to it.
– The object of my proposal has already been stated by the honorable member. But I should like to hear an explanation from the honorable member for Bendigo, in regard to the recommendation of the Commission upon this item, which to me appears to be an extraordinary one. The A section of the Commission has recommended that it should be dutiable at 20 per cent., and the B section that it should bear a 10 per cent. duty. But the Department is absolutely opposed to either of the duties suggested, and I should like to know whether a mistake has not occurred. The duty proposed has been adopted’ on the recommendation of the A section of the Commission. . “
– Upon very strong evidence.
– I have been urged by a large number of honorable members to place the item upon the free list.
– Has the Treasurer read the evidence taken by the Tariff Commission ?
– I have not read all of it. If I had, I should probably be deaf and dumb.
– I may inform the Committee that Mr. McDougall made a very strong appeal to the Tariff Commission in regard to this matter, as will be seen by reference to page 273 of volume 6 of the minutes of evidence. Referring to surface coated paper being free, he pointed out that the printing paper of which it is composed was also free; but that as regards the materials used for surface coating the paper, there was a duty of 2s. per cwt. on pulp colours ; 2s. per cwt. on blanc fixe; 2s. per cwt. on satin white; and 20 per cent, on albumen glue. He went on to say-
How can an industry be carried on under such conditions? We have invested over £5,000 in this department under the protection of the old Tariff, and think that it is a fair thing now to ask for 20 per cent, protection. T trust that the appeal will meet with your favorable consideration.
In reply to question 80828, “ What have you to say as to surface coated papers ? ‘ ‘ he complained that most of his raw materials were liable to duty, and said that “ the charge is the same on the raw material as on the manufactured article.” That is the reason why the A section of the Tariff Commission recommended that there should be a duty of 20 per cent. Mr. McDougall made a very strong appeal, and we thought that he had made a very strong case for surface coated paper to be protected - not to the same extent, perhaps, as the strawboard, but still to some extent, considering that he was taxed on his raw material.
– I suppose that this duty will become one of the slaughtered innocents, as the Treasurer has, unfortunately, agreed to make the article free. This commodity has been manufactured in Australia for some time. Surely we can believe the manufacturers when they tell us that they can make surface coated paper. I am sure that it can be made here, and made well too. A duty on the finished article is essential, because the majority of the raw materials are liable to duty. But as I understand that the Treasurer has another proposition- to make in connexion with this matter I shall resume my seat.
.- On this matter I have a statement from the Master Printers’ Association of Victoria, the Associated Press of Tasmania, the paper manufacturers, the cardboard box makers, the paper bag makers, the manufacturing stationers, and the paper merchants of Victoria, asking that these articles shall be. made duty free, because, as they say,- a tax on surface coated papers in almost endless varieties would press unduly on the printing and bag making industries. I presume that the trade is not yet in a position to supply the endless varieties which are required.
– I desire to elicit from the Treasurer how he proposes to deal with paragraph r, which subjects paper shavings and waste paper for paper making to a duty of 5 per cent., except when imported from the United Kingdom, whence they are admitted free. I also desire to know how he intends to deal with paragraph t, under which pulp for manufacturing paper is dutiable at 5 per cent., except when it is imported from the United Kingdom, whence it comes in free. It seems to me that if surface coated paper is to be made free, the articles embraced in paragraphs r and t should be dealt with in the same way.- I presume t’hat if the United Kingdom is incapable of supplying the finished article it will not have much of the raw material to supplyto the Commonwealth. Apparently, the Treasurer does not intend to reply to my inquiries on these heads. But there is another question on which, perhaps, he may be able to give me some information. I understand that certain weekly newspapers use a- surface coated paper, which of course is superior to the news paper that has been made free. I desire to ascertain from the honorable gentleman what paper in the past has been imported under the designation of surface coated paper.
– I intend to make the articles embraced in paragraphs r and t free.
– I desire to know whether in the past any news paper used in the production of weekly newspapers has been imported under this head.
– I cannot tell the honorable member without reference to the records.
– I suppose we may assume that in the event of this item being made free it will cover the whole of the news paper that is used throughout the Commonwealth. A certain kind of paper for printing newspapers is to be free. But my information is that some newspapers use surface coated papers.
– Only for printing illustrations.
– Will the paper used by those who use surface-coated papers be made free? If the Minister will give me a decision on that subject I shall be satisfied.
– If the surface-coated papers are produced in the country, will the honorable member vote for the duty?
– Certainly. If the honorable member can satisfy me that these papers are produced in satisfactory quantities I will vote with him. But I am unable to get an opinion from the Minister as to whether or not the item covers the whole of the papers required by the newspapers, and whether the proprietors have been clearing under this item in the past.
– I understand that the papers dealt with in this_ paragraph are to be made free with the proviso that coated boards shall be dutiable. Surface paper is undoubtedly produced in the Commonwealth. But the manufacturers of it will be prepared, if they receive a sufficient protection on coated boards, to forego a duty on this particular class of paper.
– Does the honorable member say that it is imported in rolls or folios, and- coated . within the Commonwealth ?
– I am informed that it is imported as printing paper and surfacecoated by the local manufacturers. The. honorable member will therefore be able to vote for this surface-coated paper being made free, but it must be understood that it would be unfair to take from the manufacturers their protection on surface-coated paper, and then refuse to give them the protection they require on surface-coated boards.
– We ought to get the proviso before voting on the original item.
– That would be a fair thing. All that they are asking for is a duty of 15 per cent, on the coated boards. They pay 10 per cent, on their raw material.
Amendment agreed to.
Paragraph, as amended, agreed to.
– I move -
That the following new paragraph be inser/ed : - “ rx. On and after 10th December, 1907 - Coated Boards n.e.i., which, at the size of a single royal 20 x 25 inches, or its equivalent, weigh 80 lbs., or over, per ream of 4S0 sheets, ad val. (General Tariff), 25 per cent.; (United Kingdom), 20 per cent.”
The object of this new paragraph is to make a margin between the duty on the goods dealt with in paragraph l, and those included here.
– The Minister only .proposes a margin of 5 per cent. Sir WILLIAM LYNE. - It was originally proposed to me that the duty should be 30 per cent, and 35 per cent. T have been guided largely by what we have done in regard to other items.
.The position, as I understand it, is this : Under paragraph k we have imposed duties on the raw material of 20 per cent, ami 15 per cent. Now it is proposed to give a margin of 5 per cent, for the surface coating of boards. I am given to understand that that is not nearly enough. A margin of 15 per cent, is asked for. I have here a letter on the subject. Honorable members have been inundated with letters. I almost wish that we could impose a heavy duty on letters to members of Parliament.
– Some of the manufacturers have done themselves, in my estimation, a great deal of harm by their grasping nature and the statements they have. made.
– The requests made by parsons connected with industries will not influence me in any vote which I give.
– They are too grasping altogether.
– I ask the Minister if he possibly can to reconsider this paragraph so as to give the manufacturers an opportunity of securing a greater amount of protection for surface-coated boards. I know that the Treasurer is endeavouring to do the fair thing, and we must admit that he has a very trying task to perform.
– Let us vote.
– When certain honorable Members display an anxiety to accept the proposal of the Treasurer the honorable gentleman must recognise that he is not on a good wicket.
– This duty is higher than that recommended by the protectionist . section of the Tariff Commission.
– I do n6t think that the Tariff Commission dealt with surface-coated boards.
– We dealt only with surface-coated paper. We were not asked to deal with “surface-coated boards.
– There was probably a misunderstanding. A man who is not familiar with the technicalities of the trade might mistake the one for the other. I do not think that a margin of 5 per cent, is sufficient; but if the Treasurer will not agree to grant a wider margin, it is useless to take action. I may add, however, that if it be possible to reduce the duty on the raw material, I shall vote in that direction.
– The last suggestion made by the honorable member for Yarra is well worthy of consideration. If an item relating to the raw material of this manufacturer has been passed and too high a duty fixed, then the Minister should recommit it.
– I have had such a dose of the Tariff that I cannot undertake to recommit any item.
– One cannot blame the Treasurer for the attitude that he takes up, because he has been engaged for a very long time upon a very arduous work. I intend to quote from a letter written by Mr. James McDougall, who is moving in this matter, showing that he seeming! v wants a duty of only 15 per cent.
– A margin of 15 per cent.
– He does not say so. He writes -
We now only ask for a protection of 15 per cent.
I am credibly informed that the material that I hold in my hand cannot be made in Melbourne under present conditions, and that when Mr. McDougall says that he is making here paper of equal quality, he is telling an absolute untruth. That is the assurance that I have received from men who have to use this material. I have here a few samples of three-colour work printed in America and Australia, and I defy any one to say that the Australian product is not equal to the American. I would point out, however, that it is printed on imported paper. No less than six printers who print in colours assure me that the paper made by Messrs. Sands and McDougall is not equal to the imported.
– The honorable member has the samples and can judge for himself.
– I can prove that the paper which has been handed to the ComptrollerGeneral is not equal in quality to the imported. Any one who has a fine sense of touch can tell by handling it that the texture of the one is finer than the other. I recognise at the same time that they are making here a very fair paper.
– There is no comparison between the two samples.
– The honorable member, who knows something about these papers, has just examined my samples.
– But he is a free-trader.
– He knows what he is talking about. We need a fair margin, and if necessary the item covering the raw material should be recommitted. The average Customs officer would probably find it difficult to distinguish between the Australian and the imported paper, but an expert in half-an hour could teach him readily to do so by means of a magnifying glass. If the superior surface-coated board is not and cannot at present be made here, it should be placed on the free list. The firm of Messrs. Sands and McDougall seems to have A dominating influence over the printing community, and if Mr. McDougall would swear that hd could make high-class paper equal to the imported we should have no difficulty in deciding the matter. As it is, I prefer to accept the evidence of six witnesses as against that of one. The local firm imports the Manila board - which is dutiable at 5 per cent, and free - and coats it, and it is largely used for making cardboard boxes. ‘It is our duty to see that Australian artists engaged in the colour process work are able to secure the best material in order that they may compete with the rest of the world. We have a multitude of post-cards printed in three colours. I shall endeavour if, as I have been assured, cardboard and pasteboard are not manufactured here, but merely coated after being imported, to get the Senate to reduce the duty. In my opinion, we should follow the example of Japan, and nationalize the paper industry. We should not then hear mean and paltry threats of the dismissal of workmen. I read this afternoon a letter in which Mr. McDougall said that since the Tariff was introduced he could not supply a certain kind of paper for a month or six weeks, and then only at 5s. above the former price, making it 30s. instead pf 25s. a ream. This increase was charged although no duty had been paid on the raw material. I voted under a misapprehension in regard to some of the paragraphs in this item, but had I heard th; honorable member for Yarra speak I should have voted differently, and I think that the Committee would have voted differently had it known what it knows now. However, I do not suppose that I shall persuade the Treasurer to agree to a recommittal. I never yet knew a political speech to alter the vote of a member -whose mind was made up, and I do not lay the flattering unction to my soul that my speech will do so.
Mr. SPENCE (Darling) [12.28 a.m.l.It seems to me rather too late for the Committee to take exception to a duty of 25 per cent. I understand that the rates arrived at were agreed upon at a conference in which all connected with the trade were represented, and in which Mr. McDougall did not get his own way.
– I have been asked who is the artist or printer responsible for the splendid work which I have exhibited to the Committee, and it is only , just to state that Messrs. Oboldstone and Attkins printed the Australian pictures.
Proposed new paragraph agreed to.
Paragraph M. Gummed, paper, n.e.i., ad val., 20 per cent.
Amendment (by Mr. Joseph Cook) negatived -
That the words’ “and on and after 10th December, 1907, ad val. (United Kingdom), 15 per cent.”
Paragraph agreed to. Paragraph n (Vesta and match-boxes) agreed to.
Paragraph o. Vesta and Match-boxes having advertisements thereon, empty, per gross, gd.
– I think that this duty should lie reduced to 3d.
– I am willing to consent to a reduction to 6d.
– Will the Minister agree to 6d. and 3d. ? Sir William Lyne. - No.
– Will the honorable gentleman give any preference ?
– Then I moveThat Hie words “ anr] on and after 10th December, 1907, per gross, 6d.,” be added.
Amendment agreed to.
Paragraph, as amended, agreed to.
Paragraph p (Playing cards) and paragraph o (Fashion plates and books) agreed to.
Paragraph r. Paper Shavings and Waste Paper for Paper-making (General Tariff), 5 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), free.
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) agreed to -
That after the words “5 Per cent.,” the words “ and on and after 10th December, 1907 (General Tariff), free,” be inserted.
Paragraph, as amended, agreed to. Paragraph s (Emery Paper, &c.) agreed to.
Paragraph t. Pulp for manufacturing paper (General Tariff), 5 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), free.
Amendment (bv Sir William Lyne) agreed to -
That after the words “5 per cent.,” the words “ and on and after 10th December, 1907 (General Tariff), free,” be inserted.
Paragraph, as amended, agreed to. Paragraph u (Roofing, Sheathing and Insulating Paper) agreed to.
Paragraph v. True Vegetable Parchment (General Tariff), 5 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), free.
. -This is a direct tax of 5 per cent, on the whole of the paper used in the dairying industry, and I ask the Treasurer in the circumstances to make vegetable parchment free.
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) agreed to -
That after the’ werris ‘-5 per cent.,” the words “ and on and after 10th December, 1907 (General Tariff), free,” be inserted.
Paragraph, as amended, agreed to.
Paragraph w (Writing and Typing Paper) agreed to.
Paragraph x. Tissue Cap Paper in sheets, 20 x 30 inches and over (General Tariff), 5 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), free.
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the following words be added : - “ and on and after 10th December, 1907, Copying, Tissue, and Tissue Cap Paper, and Paper for Paper Patterns in sheets or rolls, not to exceed 0 lbs., for 500 sheets 20 x 30 inches, free.”
Mr. BOWDEN (Nepean) [12.38 a.m. 1.- 1 wish to ask the Treasurer whether he is satisfied that if fruit papers are printed with the name and address of the exporter of apples before they are imported, in accordance with the practice which the honorable member- for Franklin has said is adopted, they will be admitted free?
– No; I said they would not.
Amendment agreed to.
Paragraph, as amended, agreed to.
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) agreed to -
That the following new paragraph be inserted : -
Amendment (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the following new paragraph be inserted : -
– I wish to know if this paragraph will cover all this special photographic paper. I understand that, although it was free under the old Tariff, the Customs officials have been demanding duty on the heavier paper, on the ground that it is cardboard.
– The new paragraph is intended to cover all this photographic paper.
– It is a distinct paper, prepared for photographic purposes, but, although that is admitted, two-ply paper used for postcard photographs has been held to be dutiable.
Siu William Lyne. - It is intended under this new paragraph to make it all free.
Proposed new paragraph agreed to. Item 353. (a) Stationery, manufactured ; including Bill Files and Letter Clips; Cardboard Boxes, cut and shaped, or finished ; Mounts for Pictures; Calendars and Almanacs, n.e.i.; Date Cases and Cards; Albums, including Birthday, Scrap, Motto, and Character ; Cards, and Booklets, including Printers’, Visiting, Menu, Programme, Wedding, Funeral, Christmas, Easter, New Year, and Birthday; Scraps; Transfers; Ink-stands ; Ink Bottles ; Ink-wells ; Paper Knives; Blotters; Blotting Cases and Pads; Billheads and other printed, ruled, or engraved forms of paper n.e.i., bound or unbound; Books - Account, Betting, Cheque, Copy, Copying, Diary, Drawing, Exercise, Guard, Letter, Music, Memo., Pocket, Receipt, Sketch, and the like; Envelopes; Stationery Packets; Wrappers for Writing Paper ; Memo, and Sketch Blocks ; Memo. Slates and Tablets; Labels, Tags, and Tickets ; Sealing and Bottling Wax ; Pictures of all kinds n.e.i.; Pencil Cases; Pencils n.e.i.; Pen and Pencil Sets and Penholders n.e.i. ; fountain Pens; Bookmarkers; Rulers; Writing Desks (not being furniture) ; Writing Cases ; Stationery Cases; Paper Binders; Card Hangers ; Pen Racks ; Bookbinders’ Staples ; Charts for manuscript use; Corrugated Strawboard ; Strawboard made into bottle envelopes ; Paper Lace ; Academy Boards ; Confetti Paper ; Printed Parchment, ad val. (General Tariff), 30 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent.
Printers’ .Matrices, ad val. (General Tariff). 30 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent.
– I wish to make some alterations in this item. In the first place, I wish to have calendars and almanacs n.e.i. left out, as they have been provided for in a previous item. Then I wish to strike out inkstands, pencils n.e.i., fountain pens and rulers, with the intention of making them free.
Amendments (by Sir William Lyne) agreed to -
That the words “ Calendars and Almanacs n.e.i.” and “Inkstands” be left out.
That the words “ Pictures of all kinds n.e.i.” be left out, with a view to insert iri lieu thereof the words “Postcards n.e.i.”
That the words “ Pencils n.e.i.,” “ Fountain Pens,” and “Rulers,” be left out.
– I suggest to the Treasurer the exclusion of “paper lace” from the item. I understand that lace paper is on the free list, but that is not paper lace, which is used by the makers of boxes and cartons for ornamentation, and so is practically part of their raw material.
– I will not omit “ paper lace.” I have gone as far as I can go, and I. shall not go any further. The. making of this lace gives a great deal of work.
– I move-
That the words “Paper lace”, be left out. Amendment negatived.
.Academy boards are prepared for students for oil-painting. They are not manufactured here. They are made by Winsor and Newton, the English firm. I move -
That the words “ Academy boards “ be left out.
– I agree to that. Amendment agreed to.
– This is a large item, and a number of these articles will never be made here at all. It is really a revenue duty.
In order to arrive at a compromise between the old rates, I move -
That after the words “ 30 per cent.,” the words “ and on and after 10th December, 1907, ad val. (General Tariff), 25 per cent.,” be inserted.
I propose to move afterwards for a preferential rate of 20 per cent.
– I cannot agree to the amendment. It would bring the rates lower than in the last Tariff.
.I hope the Minister will not agree to any reduction, because the item includes many articles that come almost under the same category as furniture, on which we have already agreed to duties of 35 and 25 per cent. .
Item, as amended, agreed to. 354. Printing and Stencilling Inks, n.e.i., per lb. or ad val., whichever rate returns the higher duty (General Tariff), 6£d., 30 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 6d., 25 per cent.
– i desire to draw attention to an anomaly, or an injustice, in this item. Item 355 makes news printing ink, invoiced at under 3d. per lb., and in packages of not less than 1 cwt., subject to duties of 30 per cent, and 25 per cent.
– And although there has been a duty of 25 per cent, for six years, no one in Australia has tried to make this ink.
– the point is that the ink used by the proprietors of the big daily papers will come under the duties fixed in item 355, whereas the proprietors of small country papers, for reasons connected with their plant, have to use the better ink, which is worth from 4jd. to 6d. per lb. ; and that means that they have to pay a duty varying from 100 per cent, to 130 per cent.
– They are not using imported ink, but ink made in Australia.
– That may be so, but why should this distinction be made? It is not just that certain users should pay duties representing 130 per cent., while others pay duties of only 30 per cent, and 25 per cent.; and all I ask .is that the whole should be placed under one uniform ad valorem impost.
– An ad valorem duty will not reach the ink that we desire to reach.
– Perhaps the PostmasterGeneral can tell us why item 355 is placed under duties of 30 per cent, and 25 per cent., with no fixed duty in addition, while item 354 is subject to a fixed duty or an ad valorem duty, whichever returns the higher revenue. Will the Treasurer agree to submit all these printing inks to one uniform duty ?
– From what I gather, I do not think the inks ought to be under one uniform duty. ‘They are altogether different classes of inks, and those subject to the lower duties are used mainly by the country newspapers.
– That is just where the Treasurer makes the mistake. I have received numerous appeals from country newspaper proprietors in this connexion; and I may say that the honorable member for Wimmera, who is a newspaper proprietor himself, asked me, before he was obliged to go away, to represent the case on their behalf.
– The honorable member for Wimmera has changed his opinion.
– The honorable member for Wimmera came to me the day he left, and showed me requests from the Country Press Association that a uniform dutyshould be imposed, because the country newspaper proprietors had to . use the dearer inks. I desire to move that the words “per lb. 6£d. and 6d.;” and “whichever rate returns the higher duty,” be omitted with a view to afterwards striking out item 355. My desire is to make all printing and stencilling inks subject to duties of 30 per cent, and 25 per cent., and I desire to know whether the Treasurer will accept the amendment?
– No. The CHAIRMAN.- I think the question had better be tested by moving to omit the words “ per lb.”
Amendment (by Mr. Archer) proposed -
That the words “ per lb. “ be left out.
.I hope the Committee will not decide to adopt ad valorem duties, because the quality of printers’ ink can never be ascertained until it is actually in use.
– Does that not also apply to the ink used by the big newspaper proprietors?
– There is no question of big or little newspaper proprietors.
– That is just the point. There is a difference.
– I am discussing the question of printers’ ink. It is urged that a difficulty is experienced in valuing it. I claim that it may look very well, and yet be of inferior quality. It can be tested only by actual use.
– If the contention of the honorable member be correct, what is to prevent printers from importing their ink at a low duty under item 355?
– If we retain a fixed duty it will apply equally to’ all.’ _ There is a difficulty experienced in judging of the quality of printers’ ink at the Customs House.
– Not more than is experienced in determining the quality of any other article.
– Yes. Considerablymore.
– If we make the duty uniform, the quality of the ink need not be judged at the Customs House.
– I ask the Government to adhere to a fixed duty.
– May I point out to the Treasurer that in respect to several other duties of a double-barrelled character, he has consented to adopt a uniform rate. I submit that the same principle should be observed here. The objection urged by the honorable member for Darling to the Government proposal is based upon the difficulty of accurately ascertaining the value of printers’ ink. But I would point out to the honorable member that that objection applies equally to the proposed duty, which is part fixed and part ad valorem. I trust that the Governmentwill not adhere to .this double-barrelled duty. The Treasurer himself has’ confessed that he does not like it. The duty proposed upon some of the inks amounts to more than 100 per cent: That is a very heavy impost upon an article, the production of which does not require an expensive plant, but merely a knowledge of a recipe, and the making of fluids from certain solubles.
.The honorable member for North Sydney - I do not know whether he did it with the intention of misleading the Committee
– That is a nice insinuation.
– The honorable member must know that the printing ink used in the large newspaper offices-
– Nobody has been talking about the large newspaper offices..
– The honorable member -for Capricornia spoke of the ink which is specified in the next item-
– -Why limit the proposal to large quantities of inks?
– If the honorable mem.ber desires all printing ink to be admitted at an ad valorem rate he has his remedy, lt must not be forgotten that the manu:ffacturers of ink in the Commonwealth have to pay a duty upon their raw materials. They are required to pay 6s. per gallon upon their resin oil, which is equivalent to an ad valorem rate of 60 per cent, or 70 per cent., and they have to pay a similar amount upon their linseed oil.
– We are willing to accept 4he Government ad valorem proposal as it appears in the schedule.
– That provides only for the retention of the old rate of duty. I ask the Treasurer to adhere to a fixed duty, especially as there is a heavy duty upon most of the raw materials used in the manufacture of printing inks.
Mr. JOSEPH COOK (Parramatta) ls. 14 a.’m.]. - I should like to add a few words to what has been said by the honorable member for Capricornia and the honorable member for North Sydney upon this item. My information is that the duty proposed by the Government is equivalent, in some cases, to an ad valorem rate of 200 per cent. 3£d. per lb. it must be.
– Upon ink at
– If we force inferior ink upon the country newspapers - as we shall do by the imposition of high duties - it will be at the loss of their readers. These journals should not use the ink that is used by the large newspapers with bad results to the eyes of their readers. For the sake of their readers we ought not to force country newspapers to use cheap inks. The Postmaster- General is referring me to an article which was prepared under special conditions.
– That shows the quality of the ink.
– I am pointing out that an ink which may be perfect in the Age office may be of scarcely any use in a small country office. If their ink is taxed to the extent of 200 per cent, it can only tend to drive the proprietors of country newspapers to use an inferior ink. We ought to see if we cannot make the article a little cheaper to them so as to give them the same advantage as the large newspapers enjoy with their cheaper ink. This is essentially a tax on country newspapers, and as such ought to be discouraged.
Mr. mcwilliams (Franklin) [1.17 a.m.]. - I assure the Committee that there is no more difficulty in differentiating between the varieties of printers’ ink than there is in distinguishing between the varieties of any other imported article. That statement is corroborated by inquiries which I have just made. There can be no doubt that the Treasurer is proposing an extraordinary duty, being practically equal to 100 per cent. Is the Committee prepared to vote that high tax? It has been stated that one of the reasons for keeping the fixed duty was that it was practically impossible for the Department to . distinguish between the values of the ink. But I can assure honorable members that that statement is absolutely wrong, as they can ascertain by reference to the officers of the Department. Is it desirable to place a high duty on these inks? In my opinion it is not. A duty of 25 or 20 per cent, is practically the proposal of the Tariff Commission.
– No, a duty of 6d. per lb., or 25 per cent.
– The duty proposed in the Tariff is 30 and 25 per cent.
– If it is intended to impose a duty of 30 and 25 per cent, that is going farther than the Tariff Commission recommended. If honorable members give the Department the option of levying a fixed or an ad valorem duty if will put those who have to use the dearer inks at a decided disadvantage.
.- We have really been engaged in discussing two items. Of course i know that stencilling ink is different from printing ink, but what the difference between them is I am not in a position to state at the present time. I do not see why there should be any limitation. If a man wants 50 lbs. of cheap ink he should be in a position to get it just as readily as a man who wants a ton of the article. I trust that the Minister will remove that limitation.
– When we get to that item I will alter it.
– A great injustice is sought to be done. It is most objectionable that when strong representations are made from this side the Treasurer and his supporters should merely interject and deny our statements. I have absolute knowledge that what I said is true.
I am assured that the smaller newspapers have to use the more expensive inks. The Postmaster-General sits on the Treasury bench and shakes his head, but he is not game to get up and show that I am wrong. He expects us to accept his denial, but he cannot rise in his place and give a reason for his action. A small consignment of printers’ ink from America was invoiced at £18 18s. 6d., and the duty thereon came to £18 4s., ‘ being close to 100 per cent. Evidently the ink was worth 6d. per lb. But would the newspaper in question - the Rockhampton Bulletin - pay 6d. per lb. for its ink if it could use ink worth 3d. per lb. ?
– Let it buy Australian ink.
– Let it buy Australian ink if it likes, but is that any argument for making this differentiation ? Why . is not the same rate of duty imposed ? I protest strongly against the differentiation.
– The large newspapers print off stereotype and the small newspapers off type.
– No reason has been advanced why the same rate of duty should not be imposed, and I ask the Treasurer if he cannot meet us to some extent? Earlier in the sitting I went round the chamber and ascertained what honorable members thought of this proposal. If we had a fuller attendance we should carry our point without any difficulty.
– Indeed the honorable member would not.
– I assure the honorable gentleman that we would.
– No, a number of honor-, able members changed their minds when they were made acquainted with the’ facts.
– I know that a number of honorable members who have gone home paired would have all voted for our proposal. If we are defeated in this thin Committee it will be simply owing to the lateness of the hour. It will certainly not represent the decision of a full Committee. But it will perpetuate a gross injustice to the users of the ink. We are not asking for a lower duty, but for that which the Government proposed in the Tariff originally, namely, 30 and 25 ‘per cent. I do not think that the Treasurer is justified in taking up this stand. He will not even rise and tell us why he is acting in this way. If he wants to stick to a fixed duty, why does he not propose the same rate all round?
Colonel FOXTON (Brisbane) [1.25 a.m.]. - I should like to point out, in reply to an interjection made by the PostmasterGeneral to the effect that if more honorable members had been present and had heard the facts of the case they would have changed their minds, that not one solitary fact has been advanced from the Ministerial side of the chamber. All the facts have been stated by those who support the amendment of the honorable member for Capricornia. Many of trie salient facts have been clearly stated by the honorable member for Franklin, who has had practical experience, and who says that if the proposed duty be carried it will have the effect of almost compelling the’ country newspaper proprietors, to use cheaper ink. The effect of this would be that the high duty would defeat its object. A further effect of the duty will operate upon the readers of the country newspapers. I approach this matter in an entirely unbiased frame of mind. I have not been approached in regard to it by any one. All that T know about it has been learnt from reading the circulars which have ‘been issued, and from hearing the speeches of honorable members. It appears to me that the honorable member for Capricornia is quite right in his contention, and I shall vote with him.
Question- That the words “per lb.” proposed to be left out stand part of the item (Mr. Archer’s amendment) - put. The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the affirmative. Amendment negatived. Mr. ARCHER (Capricornia) [1.32 a.m]. - I should like to ask the Treasurer whether he favours a fixed duty as against’ an ad valorem duty?
That after the figures “ 6£d.” the words “and on and after 10th December, 1907, per lb. (General Tariff), 3d.,” be inserted.
Question put. The Committee divided. Ayes … … … 12
Question so resolved in the negative.
Amendment (by Mr. Archer) put -
That after the figures “6id.” the words “ and on and after 10th December, 1907, per lb. (General Tariff), 4d.,” be inserted.
Question put. The Committee divided.
– I have no power to prevent his doing so. As it appears from the Tellers’ lists that there is no quorum present, I must report the matter to the House.
In the House :
No quorum reported.
Mr.’ Deputy Speaker adjourned the House at 1.55 a.m. (Tuesday).
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 9 December 1907, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1907/19071209_reps_3_42/>.