3rd Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Purchase of “Lone Hand” Article.
– I let the Prime Minister know last night that I should to-day ask him a question with regard to the purchase by the Government of an article which appeared in the first issue of the Lone Hand magazine. I ask now what was the price paid for that article, what steps the Government took to insure the purchase of the best article obtainable from the press of Australia, and when the arrangements for its purchase were made?
– It slipped my memory until a few minutes ago, that the honorable member intended to ask the question. I have had to obtain the information by telephone. Speaking from memory, the purchase was made about the beginning of 1907, the conditions being that we were to be supplied with copies of the article before it was published, and to pay , £120 for 10,000 copies and all the plates’. These copies were circulated throughout . the Mother Country, and, as press cuttings show, gained a great deal of notice. The figures, diagrams, and pictures which were given, illustrated the great resources of the Commonwealth more vividly than any other publication with which I am acquainted.
– Does £120 cover the cost of circulation?
– It covers all our payment to the magazine for the 10 000 copies, . and the plates.
– Negotiations must have proceeded between the Government and the proprietors of the Lone Hand or Bulletin before the publication of the article, and, therefore, I would ask the Prime Minister to lay the papers on the table, as the best way to give honorable members information on the subject.
– I do not remember what papers there are, but have no objection to their publication.
Motion (by Mr. Deakin) agreed to -
That leave of absence for one month be granted to the honorable members for Adelaide, Oxley, Perth, and Grampians.
– The honorable member for Herbert yesterday asked a question respecting the publication of the Commonwealth Year-Book. I find that it will be published at the end of this, or early next, week.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are - 1 and 2. The Government have no information that Messrs. Buchanan and Charpenter bad settled on any land. So far as particulars furnished to the Department show, no land hat been applied for by settlers or acquired from the natives in the neighbourhood of the KaipaniRiver.
asked the Prime Minister, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow -
Sydney Railway Station Late . Fee . Letter-box - Transfers of Officers.
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– Inquiries are being made, and replies will be furnished in due course.
asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are -
asked the Minister of Defence, upon notice - .
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are -
Mr. HUME. COOK laid upon the table the following paper -
Reports making a comparison of the advantages enjoyed by officers under State and under Commonwealth control, Postmaster-General’s Department.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 28th April, vide page 10652) :
Item 132. Socks and Stockings of all kinds for human attire, ad val. (General Tariff), on and after 14th November, 1907, 25 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), on and after 14th November, 1907, 20 per cent.
Requests. - Leave out the words “of all kinds,” insert “viz.” after the word “attire,” and add the following paragraphs : - “(a) Woollen or containing wool, ad val. (General Tariff), 25 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 20 per cent.
Upon which Mr. Austin Chapman had moved -
That the requested amendments be not made.
.- Various speakers last evening stated that cotton goods are not, and cannot, be made here; but I am now in a position to say that they can be, and are, made here. When theTariff was first introduced some sixteen machines were imported for the purpose of making cotton stockings. Several hundreds of pairs were made, and, at present, one. firmhas 2,000 lbs. of cotton yarn waiting to make up into these goods.Last year we imported 56, 000 worth of them. Theyare made to-day in Victoria under conditions which are not to be’ excelled in any part of the world.
– Can they be dyed here equal to those dyed in Germany ?
– Then the evidence of the manufacturers before the Tariff Commissionis all wrong ?
– The honorable member, as a rule, does not follow the Tariff Commission’s reports unless it suits him to do so. Since the Tariff Commission sat, the industry has been started. I am surprised at the honorable member for Melbourne saying that we cannot make goods as well as the Germans can. I am prepared to produce three samples this afternoon, and I willundertake that thehonorable member for Melbourne cannot distinguish the Australianmade from’ the German article.
– The test is in the wearing, not in the appearance.
– The honorable member is very, much concerned about their wearing qualities. So am I, and I am also concerned about the people getting employment.
– The honorable member would prefer shoddy.
– I am against the imported shoddy, and in favour of the local article, which will give better satisfaction, and also give employment. I am surprised at honorable members who represent the cause of protection, stating that we cannot make cotton stockings here. It is absurd to say that the most progressive people in the world are not equal to such a small detail as the making of their own stockings. I. hold in my hand an Australian stocking, made under conditions insured by Victorian factory legislation, under which a girl of seventeen years of age can earn 24s. a week at the work. This other stocking was made under conditions where there is no restriction of the hours of labour, and where a girl gets only 7s. a week. Is that the kind of stocking that members of the Opposition want us to import into Australia?
– What is the source of the honorable member’s information?
– The honorable member wouldnot go to the source to which I went to get the information. . He stands aside and says, “ I shall not be convinced unless I see it for myself.” The honorable member can see for himself to-morrow morning what the source of my information is. He can see the girls working the machines; and the conditions of their employment. If we can produce the article here at the same price for the poor people of this country, we should do so. One honorable member opposite claimed that he was standing up as the representative of the masses of the people, but does he represent the masses, when he is prepared to allow the sweated goods of other countries to come here to’ enter into competition with the products of our own labour? If these stockings can be made here’ under fair conditions, and be retailed at the same price as the imported - 6d. per pair - why should not the local manufacturers have the protection proposed ? Why should we not give em- ployment to hundreds of people in this industry ? I appeal to all protectionists, and particularly to the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, to vote for the duty. That honorable member was under a misapprehension yesterday. Like several others, he was not aware that these stockings were beingmade here, and that the work will give employment to thousands of. people. The paper which I hold in my hind isa part of the industry. Two tons of it are ordered at a “time, to wrap the stockings in. The boxes I have here are also produced under Australian conditions, ‘ so that all round the industry gives employment to thousands of people.
– Thousands? .
– If the honorable member had his way, he would close up all the factories.
– How many people are employed in manufacturing those stockings in Australia now?
– It is sufficient for me to know that£156,000 worth were imported last year. Let the honorable member work out-for himself how many hands that would give employment to at 30s. a week. I appeal to all protectionists to vote for the duty. I claim the votes of the honorable member for Melbourne, and the honorable member for Melbourne Ports, now that it has -been proved conclusively that these stockings are made here.
Ayes … …… 17
Noes … …… 29
Majority … …12
Question so resolved in the. negative.
Requested amendments made.
– Adjourn !
– I do not like so much of this lobbying, especially by the lady friends of the leader of the Opposition.
Requested amendments in item 134 (Trimmings, &c), “and item 135 (Bayonets, &c.), made.
Item 137. Wigs; Hair-nets; and articles of natural or imitation hair,ad val., 30 per cent.; and on and after 14th November, 1907, 20 per cent. -‘- “ Articles of Natural or Imitation Hair : -
Switches, each 5s. or 20 per cent. ad val., whichever rate returns the higher duty. ‘
Motion (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the requested amendment be made.
.- Perhaps, to begin with, the Treasurer will explain to the Committee what a switch is.
– Has there been any lobbying on this item?
– I think that there must have been. I should like to know from the Treasurer whether he has been amenable to any lobbying on this item.
– The lobbyist has gone.
– It is the only lobbyist that we have had. There have been hundreds on the other side.
– This is, I think, a most cruel imposition. It will be remembered that we had a long and animated debate on this item, and that, . Out of consideration for the feelings, to say nothing of the pockets, of several honorable members who felt that they were personally interested, the good nature of honorable members prevailed, even over (heir protective proclivities in many instances, and the duty was reduced from 30 to 20 per cent. But now the Senate has made a request to re-cast the item, and to impose different duties. Honorable members ought not to be called upon to give avote unless they know what switches are. The. Treasurer ought to state why they should be subjected to a duty of 5s. each, or 20 per cent. ad valorem, whichever returns the higher duty. So far as I know, a switch is a bunch of hair unattached to the head but superimposed on the cranium to give the effect of abundance where abundance is not, and thus - to’ artificially increase the natural adornment of a woman. It is one of those contrivances to which ladies have recourse to enhance their charms, and set off their headdress in a more artistic way. It is really a tax on art. We ought to encourage the free introduction of everything which makes’ foraestheticism, and appeal’s to the artistic sense, and, therefore I think that a very strong objection ought tobe madeto the motion of the Treasurer to subject the ladies of Australia to this unnecessary tax.
Motion agreed to.
Requested amendment made.
Item 139. Arms, viz. : -
Request- Insert after “Rifles;” in both paragraphs, the words “bearing the British or other approved test mark.”
Motion (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the requested amendments be made.
-i should like to know what test marks are in existence in the Mother Country in connexion with double-barrelled guns and rifles. The suggestion is that we should make these duties applicable to guns bearing the British or other approved test mark. Is there a British test mark?
SirWilliam Lyne. - Yes.
– What authority tests these guns and rifles and puts its approved mark upon them ?
– The test is one which is authorized by the Gunmakers Association.
– So long as there is some reasonable test which the gunmakers can apply to these weapons, I have no objection to offer to the motion.
Motion agreed to.
Requested amendments made.
Item 139. Arms, viz. : -
Request. - Leave out “Saloon and Pea Rifles, and Air Guns and Pistols.”
Motion (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the requested amendment be made.
.-I should like to know under what heading the articles which have been eliminated from this paragraph will now be classified.
– That is the question which I had intended to raise.
– They will be included in paragraph b of this item.
– Will pea rifles be dealt with in that way ?
Motion agreed to.
Requested amendment made.
Requested amendments in item 139, paragraph d (Barrels or Actions) and paragraph g (Rifles) made.
Item 139. Arms, viz. : -
Request. - Insert the following new paragraph : - “ (h) Guns or Rifles fitted with barrels which do not bear the British or other approved test mark ; or Such barrels imported separately - per doublebarrelled Gun or Rifle or barrel for such - per single-barrelled Gun or Rifle or barrel for such, each £5.”
Motion (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the requested amendment be made.
– A duty of£5 is surely a prohibitive one.
– It is intended to be. It was levied for the express purpose of excluding guns or rifles which do not bear an approved or the British test mark.
.- I should like to know what is meant by the words “ or other approved test mark.” For instance, a lot of Belgian double-barrelled and single barrelled guns are imported into the Commonwealth, and they are very good weapons indeed. There are other guns and rifles imported from Germany, Sweden, and America. Under this proposal, we are asked to grant the Customs authorities power to say that these weapons shall not be imported unless they bear a test mark approved in their country of origin. It seems to me that that is altogether too wide a power to confer upon the Customs authorities.
– Would not an approved test mark be the mark of the Gunmakers’ Association ?
– But it has to be a British test mark.
– No. The paragraph says “ British or other “ approved test mark.
– What does the Treasurer understand the words “ approved test mark “ to mean?
– Those words mean a test mark equivalent to the mark used by the British Gunmakers’ Association. It may be the mark of the Gunmakers’ Association in some other country. This proposal confers power upon that association - if it possesses the approval of the Government - to place a mark upon these guns and rifles, which is considered to be sufficient. It will permit of some mark other than the British test mark being placed upon these weapons - a mark which can be approved.
.- I propose to move -
That after the word “ other,” the word “Government “ be inserted.
I may say that every gun exported from Great Britain is required to bear the Government test mark. I know that the test mark has to be placedupon all guns of approved pattern, manufactured in Britain, at the Armoury, in Commercialroad, London.
– Does the honorable member mean that all guns have to pass through the Armoury?
– All the guns manufactured in Birmingham are sent there.
– The honorable member is referring to British guns?
– I am speaking of British guns. In other countries a Government mark is adopted.
– A mark would not be accepted unless it was that of an association or body authorized to put a mark upon guns. It would have to be a recognised mark.
– If the Department is satisfied, I am. I shall not proceed with the amendment.
.- I believe that some of the marks placed on guns are not Government marks. In fact, the majority of them are not. But they are statutory marks put on by associations under the authority of the Crown, according to Statute.
– Under Statute, or by the authority of the Government.
– Originally they were marks put upon guns by custom. Therefore, to call them Government marks would be a misnomer.
– I suppose the Treasurer has satisfied himself that there isan opportunity to get these guns marked as desired ?
– Otherwise we might interfere with the importation of guns which might be thoroughly good, but which had not passed the test.
– They must have a recognised mark upon them.
– The request of another place does not provide for guns’ that are on the water.
– That is the old trouble coming in again.
– Surely it ought to occur to the Treasurer at once that when the law is changed people should be given sufficient time to enable them to comply with the new conditions.
– What time does the honorable member suggest?
– I should say that the new conditions ought to be suspended until the 1st October next.
– A similar suspension might be. applied to every other item in the Tariff.
– Nothing of the sort. On other items people can always comply with the law by paying the increased duty.
– So they can in this instance
–It is here proposed to disturb the law which now exists by practically prohibiting imports.
– The guns can be brought in on payment of the duty.
– But look at what the duty is.
– The honorable member said that they could not be brought in, but now he admits that they can be.
– The honorable member is using arguments which are below his ordinary standard of intelligence. Why should those who have beencomplying with the law as it now exists be prohibited from introducing their goods?
– Some of their goods may be on board ship, for instance.
– That is so, and for that reason notice ought to be given. It would be a most extraordinary position if we, having beenuntil now apparently satisfied with things as they are, made a sudden alteration, which practically prohibited merchants from introducing their goods.
– The Tariff, as a whole, does not make provision to give six months’ notice.
– But in the Tariff as it vent from this House to the Senate we were satisfied to allow dealers in guns to continue their- business as they had been doing it. To make a sudden alteration in the conditions would be to do an injustice to those who are obeying the law. I have no personal interest in thematter; I merely desire to see justice done. When the Treasurer considers the point, he will, I think, see that it is reasonable to provide that the new conditions shall not apply until the1st October.
.- I am sorry that an interjection of mine, which was simply a repetition of an argument used by the honorable member for North Sydney, should have upset him. The honorable member was speaking in regard to the request of another place, and he said that we were taking advantage of people whose goods were on the water by imposing a condition with which they could not comply. Such a construction cannot be placed upon the proposition before us. I confess that I should like to see guns which are not properly marked absolutely prohibited. I do not even approve of the£5 duty. My opinion is not based upon fiscal principle, but is induced by my own experience of an imported gun which caused a very serious accident.
– But if we prohibit goods we must give notice.
– We are not prohibiting .
– Yes, practically, we are.
-Would it not’ be possible to arrange for a test to be made of these imported arms in Australia, so that those which pass the test can be admitted’? If that could be done it would surely do away with the objection urged by the honorable member for North Sydney.
– I am perfectly willing to have the guns tested. I do not desire to see improper guns imported.
– Any one who has had any experience must be aware of frightful accidents that have occurred through the use of ‘faulty guns. Not only so, but there has been a great amount of swindling. We have had cases in Melbourne - I do not know whether similar ones have occurred in. other States - where the name of a well-known gun-maker has been placed on a very inferior article and the buyer induced to pay a high price.
– Does the honorable member mean that the name was fraudulently put on the gun?
– Yes. I was referring to the notorious Abrahams case which cost those concerned an enormous amount of money, from which Iam afraid they got very little satisfaction. We should have here a means of testing unstamped guns now on the water, so that if they can pass an approved test they will be admitted at the ordinary rate. We can, of course, save a lot of. money by accepting what is a well-known and recognised test mark in other parts of the world, but I think that my suggestion would meet with ‘ the approval of the honorable member for North Sydney, and that such tests would be a. guarantee to the public that inferior guns could not be sold under the conditions I described a few moments ago.
– Why not include in this proposal all guns that have not been tested elsewhere?
– That would do away with the duty of £5 per gun.
– We do not want to collect such a duty in respect of guns bearing an approved mark.
– Quite so, but my endeavour has been to suggest a compromise between prohibiting the introduction of unstamped guns now on the water, and the distribution of guns that are unsafe.
It is all very well that honorable members should be anxious to protect the. public in this matter, but I am inclined to think that we are asked to go to an unnecessary extreme. This proposal means a prohibition against the introduction of the cheaper class of guns, such as are used by orchardists for discharging blank cartridges with the object of ridding their gardens of sparrows and other bird pests. There is a good deal of faddism indulged in with respect to this approved test mark question. Many gun accidents have certainly occurred, but most of them, I am inclined to think, have been due more to the inexperience or carelessness of the man behind the gun than to faulty barrels. We ought not to overlook the fact that many people are obtaining a living by fruit-growing, and that they are’ being’ constantly retarded in. their operations by the adoption of all sorts of fads. A cheap gun is quite as good as a gun costing £5or£7 for the discharge of blank’ cartridges, and many orchardists buy a cheap one solelyfor that purpose. Why should they be compelled to use expensive guns? The adoption of this proposal will mean that orchardists must either allow their fruit to be destroyed by birds or purchase an expensive gun. Another point worthy of consideration is that we are asked to rely upon tests over which we have no control.The British test may be constantly used in the interests of special gunmakers in the Old Country. If we are to have a test, by all means let it be made under our own supervision, so that the prohibition of inferior guns will be absolutely within our own control. We should not provide that guns, in order to come in under the lower rate, shall bear a mark showing that they have passed a test fixed anywhere outside Australia. If we are to insist upon a test, let it be made locally.
– There are certain approved tests which we may safely accept.
– Certainly, but we should have control over the importation of guns by providing for a test of which we can approve being made locally. I shall oppose this proposal, because I think it would be much better to have a local test.
– The suggestion that we should have a local test appeals to me, since its adoption would mean that an imported gun offered for sale in Australia had. passed a satisfactory test. The honorable member for Boothby has mentioned that orchardists use a cheap class of guns for the discharge of blank cartridges, and we know that accidents often occur through such guns being charged with ball or shot cartridges. If the Minister were prepared to provide that guns not bearing an approved test mark should be tested in Australia; he would meet the wish of the Committee and gain the approval of the public. The honorable member for North Sydney has suggested that guns now on the watershould be excluded from this provision, but as its object is to protect life and limb, I do not think that we ought to adopt that proposition. Our desire is to secure the importation of barrels that are not likely to burst. It is true that orchardists use cheap gun’s for discharging blank cartridges to frighten birds that attack their crops.
-That can be done with a good gun as well as with a cheap one.
-Cheap guns purchased for that purpose sometimes pass into the hands of men who charge them with cartridges for duck shooting and so forth, with the result that they explode. Then there is the pea rifle, which I dare say has caused more loss of human life than did the naval battle at Manila. Accidents occur from the use of these rifles because, being light, they are put into the hands of children, and are used for firing . ball cartridge. They are not the rifles referred to by the honorable member for Boothby, who desires the importation of full-sized rifles withgas-pipe barrels to be used for discharging blank cartridges to frighten birds.
– I ask the Minister’s acceptance of an amendment for the insertion after the word “ mark “ of the words “ or do not pass a test in Australia approved by the Minister.”
– The honorable gentleman does not limit the application of his proposal to any definite period.
– I do not see why its application should be limited. According to the requested amendment, the test would require to precede importation.
-Or would take place here. The rifles could be kept in bond until the test was made.
– A Customs duty attaches to an article in the condition in which it is on the ship’s arrival.
– I think we should insert the words I have suggested. They would meet the difficulty I mentioned in the first instance.
– I could not accept the proposal for an unlimited period.
– What difference does it make? Several honorable members have suggested that a test should be applied in Australia.
– I could not accept the amendment in the form suggested. It would make it doubtful whether those exporting the rifles would be compelled to have them tested before exportation. I have no objection to accept the amendment if its application is limited to the period up to October next. To make it of general application would, I think, be unwise. Mr. DUGALD THOMSON.- I do not see how it could be considered unwise.’ Naturally rifles would not be sent out on speculation in the hope that they would pass the test here. Those exporting them would see that they were tested before they were shipped, so that they might not have to bear the expense of having them returned.
– I should not be prepared to leave too much to their discretion. I know enough of the work of the Customs Department to be sure that importers will work a point if they can.
– They could not do so in this case.
– I have just been informed that guns could not be proved or tested here.
– It is very strange if, after all the money that has been spent upon it, the Military Department is unable to provide for thetesting of guns in Australia.
– I am prepared to accept the honorable gentleman’s amendment if he limits its application to the period up to October.
– Very well, I move -
That the following words be added to the motion : - “ With the following modification : - insert after the word “mark” the words “or do not prior to1st October, 1908, pass a test in Australia prescribed by the Minister.”
Modification agreed to.
– Are we to understand that, after deliberation, the Government are prepared to permit the alteration of their Tariff to the extent proposed by the Senate’s request? This matter was fully considered in this House when the Tariff was first before us, and various rates of 5s. 6d., 5s.9d., and 2s. 6d. were agreed to. Are we now to be taught our business by the Senate? It is ridiculous to suggest that we should impose a duty of £5 each on these articles. Surely members of the public . can be trusted in purchasing a gun to ask for some reference as to the quality of the article they propose to buy ? In my opinion, the way in which time has been wasted in this national Parliament in dealing with the Tariff is something disgraceful. If some man would use a Winchester rifle in the Senate he might do good work in the interests of the community.
Motion, as amended, agreed to.
Requested amendment, as modified, made.
Item143. Sheet Lead and Lead Piping, per ton, 50s. ; and on and after 15th November, 1907, free.
Request. - Make the duty 20s.
Motion (by Sir William Lyne) put -
That the requested amendment be made.
The Committee ‘divided.
Ayes … … … 23
Noes … … … 27
Majority … … 4
Question so resolved in the negative.
Requested amendment not made.
Requested amendment in item 144 (Mangles) made.
Item 145. Agricultural, Horticultural and Viticultural Machinery and Implements n.e.i. ; including Cane Loaders on wheels….. Road-making Ploughs. . . , ad val. (General Tariff), 20 per cent., and on and after 26th November,1907, 15 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 20 per cent., and on and after 26th November, 1907,12½ per cent.
Requests. - Leave out the words “ on wheels,” and insert after “ Cane Loaders “ the words “Cane Unloaders and Cane Harvesters “ ; leave out the words “Road-making Ploughs.”
Motion (by Sir William Lyne) proposed
That the requested amendments be made.
.- I should like to know under what item roadmaking ploughs will come if they are struck out of this item in accordance with the Senate’s request.
– Under item 146 as “ Ploughs other.”
– Under item 146, “Ploughs other “ are 20 per cent., so that the effect will be to increase the duty on road-making ploughs by 5 per cent. I doubt whether there is any reason for increasing the duty on an implement which is used by public bodies for public purposes, with no private gain involved.
– These ploughs are used very largely by contractors.
– If the Treasurer holds a very strong ‘opinion in regard to roadmaking ploughs, I do not wish to take up time in discussing the matter.
– The proposal of the Minister to make the amendment requested by the Senate again draws attention to the differentiation made in the Tariff between various industries for the carrying on of which machinery .is essential. Ministers seem to have made up their minds that agricultural, horticultural, and viticultural machinery should not bear duties higher than 20 and 15 per cent. ; but they have* imposed duties pf 30 and 25 per cent, on mining machinery, although for the successful conduct of mining it is necessary to buy some machinery in a wider market than that of the Commonwealth. In my judgment, either the duties on mining machinery should .be reduced, or those on other machinery should be increased. It is now proposed to reduce the duty on cane unloaders and cane harvesters, machines used in the sugar industry, to the maintenance of which the people of Australia already contribute largely. I do not say that there is no justification for assisting the sugar industry ; . I merely point out that, while- other industries are assisted by bonuses, and by a low duty on necessities, the mining industry is heavily taxed.- The Ministry ought to show some strong justification for this proposal.
– As a matter of fact, the highest machinery duties are 25 and 20 per cent., but those rates are imposed only in two instances, most of the machinery coming under the Tariff being dutiable at 15 and 10 per cent., though there is also a 12
– What about the duties on mining machinery?
– The highest duties imposed on any machinery are 25 and 20 per> cent. It is a remarkable thing that the duties on hats and caps, ‘ and apparel and attire, range from 40 to 120 per cent., and yet the local makers of machinery have to be content with duties of 15, 12J, and 10 per cent. The object of the Minister is to make road-making ploughs dutiable at 20 per cent. As there is a scramble to secure protection for industries, I do not see why I should not get what I can for the engineering industry. Of all manufacturers, those connected with engineering have most to grumble at in connexion with the Tariff. Even rigid free-traders- must admit that they have not been too well treated. In regard to many items, duties of 15 and 10 per cent, are spoken of as revenue duties. The leader, of the Opposition referred to road-making ploughs as tools used by municipal bodies. As these machines are used, not by private individuals who are dependent on them for their livelihood, but by municipal bodies, large contracting firms, and the Governments, of the States, the im,porters can afford to pay duty on them. If I were a protectionist, I should begin by protecting the iron industry and subsidiary industries, and I am sorry that the Senate ha* not shown an inclination to increase duties for that purpose. I cannot now move for higher rates, and, therefore, shall support the motion.
.- I do not know why the duty on such useful machines as road-making’ ploughs should be increased. Th.ey are practically horse road machines, since they are used on the roads, and drawn by horses. I do not appreciate the argument that, because they are used chiefly by municipal bodies, they should be heavily taxed.
– Is the fact a reason for reducing the taxation ?
– Yes ; because whatever duties are imposed will have to be paid by the unfortunate men on the land. These ploughs are used chiefly by shire councils,1 to make roads for the carrying on of traffic from farm to farm, or from farm to station, and to tax them is to tax the primary producers. Another, evidence of the loose manner in which the Tariff has been framed is to be found in the fact that road-making ploughs are classed as agricultural implements, whereas, of course, they are not used for agricultural purposes.
Question - That the requested amendments, inserting in item 145 “ Cane Unloaders and Cane Harvesters,” and leaving out the words “on wheels” and “ Road- making Ploughs,” be made - put The Committee divided.
Majority …… 10
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Requested amendments made.
Requested amendment in item146(Chaffcutters, &c.) made.
Item 147. . . Discs for Agricultural Implements … ad val. 25 per cent.
Requests. - Leave out “Discs for Agricultural Implements.” Insert the following new paragraph : - “ (b) Discs forAgricultural Implements, free.”
Motion (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the requested amendments be made. ,
.- Will the Treasurer state why these discs are to be treated specially?
– When the item was before the Committee previously, it was thought and asserted - I thought so myself - that the discs could be manufactured here, and
I stated that I had seen them at one or two Shows - at one in particular. Another’ honorable member was of the same opinion. It was found afterwards that they were not manufactured here, and could not be made here, at any rate at present. That is why it is now proposed to put them upon the free list. A mistake was made previously, and we have had to use departmental regulations to prevent that mistake having, effect.
Motion agreed to.
Requested amendments made.
Item 148. . . . Dairy Refrigerators. . . , ad val. 25 per cent.
Request. - Leave out the word “ Dairy.”
Motion (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the requested amendment be made.
– What is the effect of this amendment ?
– I am informed by the Department that the removal of the word “ Dairy” will place all refrigerators on the same basis, and will be a decided advantage in working the Tariff. Under the present wording, refrigerators other than dairy come under item 162B, at 25 per cent. and 20 per cent. It is doubtful if dairy refrigerators can always be distinguished from other types.
Motion agreed to.
Requested amendment made.
Item 152. Agricultural, Horticultural, and Viticultural Machinery and Implements, viz. : -
Testers and Pasteurizers; Cotton Gins; Fibre Scutching Machines; Hand-worked Rakes and Ploughs combined; Hay Tedders; Horse Rakes; Lucerne Bunchers; Maize Harvesters; Maize Binders; Milking Machines; Mouldboard Plates in the rough and not cut into shape; Potato Raisers or Diggers; Potato Sorters; Root Cutters Pulpers and Graters; Straw Stackers; Subsurface Packers ; Threshing Machines ; Winnower Forks (wood and steel) ; HandworkedCultivators, ad val. (General Tariff), 10 per cent.; (United Kingdom), free.
Cream Separators, ad val. (General Tariff), 10 per cent. ; and on and after 26th November, 1907, free.
Requests.- Insert the letter “A” before the word “Testers.” Make paragraph A (General Tariff), free. Insert the ‘letter “B” before, the word “ Cream.” Insert after the word “ Separators “ the words “ Sheep Shearing Machines, not including the flexible shafting or any part above it.”
Motion (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the requested amendments be not made.
.- It would be more convenient to deal with the requested amendments separately. I have something to say with regard to new paragraph b. I desire the Committee to accept the Senate’s request to make the handpieces of sheep-shearing machines free, whatever may be done with regard to paragraph a. I am authorized to say that this amendment meets the views of all the parties interested. There is a firm in Australia making the flexible shafting, and some of the other parts. . Those will come under the head of machinery, and be subject to duty, but the Senate’s request is to put the hand pieces on the free list. The hand pieces are very important tothe largest industry in Australia. A shearer’s earning capacity depends entirely on the quality of the machine he handles. The men cannot and will not use an inferior machine. If any machine made, in Australia is not a good one for doing the work, the men cannot use it. This part of the machine is not being made in Australia yet. One particular class of machine which is now being used somewhat is made in America; but the favorite machine, the Wolseley, is made in England. That is the one that the men generally ask for. This matter is of the greatest importanceto the pastoral industry. There is no reason why the employers should be taxed; but I am not putting the case from their stand-point. A duty on the hand pieces is purely a revenue duty, and increases the cost of the article. The machine turned out by one maker has been installed somewhat largely, but even this year the men practically went on strike, and absolutely refused to use it. The quality of the machines is one of the big troubles in the shearing industry. ‘ The contractor who had the shearing of that station in Queensland had to send, out a box of the Wolseley machine hand pieces before the men would start work. So far there has not beenmade in Australia a machine that meets the requirements. Until it is made here, it is useless to impose a duty. There are a great number of articles affecting the farming industry in paragraph a, which the Senate desires us to place upon the free list, and which I think might very well be made free. There may be some difference of opinion about those. Some honorable members may desire them to bear a duty., and still favour putting cream separators and the hand pieces of shearing machines on the free list, and therefore it would be well to divide the question. The combs and cutters are not involved in this proposal. They are alreadyon thefree list elsewhere, while the other portions of the’ machine now made in Australia come under the heading of machinery and have a measure of protection. I hope the Government will accept the requested amendment in paragraph b. I was very anxious previously to have hand pieces exempted, and I think they were made dutiable by mistake.
– There was no mistake; we had a great debate on the question.
– A machine was shown in this building; it was at first thought that it had been manufactured by a Sydney firm, but we discovered afterwards that it was imported from America. Some hand pieces are made in America’, and other’ portions of the machinery are being made in Sydney.
– There was no discovery about it. It was stated distinctly on the machine where itwas made.
– But there was first of all an impression that the Sydney firm were making the complete machine. I have heard that they propose to do so, but the fact remains that they have not done so. If the machine is made here, it must be one that can do the work or the men will not use it, because they must have a good quality of machine to enable them to earn their money. They “will have the imported article in this case, even though it costs more. Under present circumstances the imposition of a duty of 10 per cent. on the hand pieces is simply a tax on the industry.
– As there appears to be a desire that the requests should be put separately, I will divide the question. The question is “ that the requested amendment to insert the letter ‘ a ‘ before the word Testers ‘ be not made. ‘ ‘
.- Will the Treasurer state under what item sheep shearing machines are now included ? I submit that it is not within our power to add “ sheep shearing machines “ to “ cream separators.” They have nothing to do with cream separators, and therefore the proposed amendment is ultra vires.
.- I desire to support the. honorable member for Darling with regard to new paragraph b. It has been pointed out to me that these hand pieces cannot be made here, and that the statement . of facts put forward by the honorable member for Darling on the last occasion was amply borneout by the experience of the Pastoralists’Association; I have aletter from theSouth Australian
Pastoralists1 Association, in which they state -
The handpieces of shearing machines ‘being of such delicate mechanism, the quality of the material and of the workmanship must be of the very highest standard to insure practical efficiency. The present condition of efficiency has only been reached by the experience of manufacturers and workmen over a period of many years, and it would require a similarly lengthy experience and painstaking for locallymade machines to be of practical value, and to command the confidence of the workers. The latter is a most important point, for inferior machines mean harder and slower work for the shearer, who gets .paid according to the number of sheep he shears.
From that point of view the Senate’s request ought to be accepted.
– I submit as a point of order that the proposal to insert “ sheep shearing machines” after “cream separators” is not in order. Sheep shearing machines have nothing to do with cream separators, and therefore the proposal is not an “ omission or amendment “ which can be made.
– The question before the Committee at present is the requested amendment for the insertion of the letter “a.”
.- Although honorable members who have spoken so far have dealt only with paragraph b, I strongly support the Senate’s request to make a new paragraph a, and place the articles included in it upon the free list. A large number of those articles are just as much the tools of trade of the farmer as shearing machines are the tools of trade of the shearer. We have put on the free list an enormous number of tools of trade for all the town industries. As the schedule left this Chamber we put all the articles in this paragraph on the free list if they come from the Mother Country, and so the only effect of the Senate’s request is to make them free also if they come from other parts of the world. Many of these agricultural machines are specialties in the United States.
– We should’ keep them away.
– I am thinking of the farmer and not of the United States.- I should be perfectly willing to put any stiff duty on their products so far as they are concerned, because they put very stiff duties on goods that we send them, but my desire, and the desire, I believe, of most honorable members, is to temper the wind to the farmers a little in connexion with the Tariff.
– We will look out for the farmers j the honorable member would not.
– The honorable member has not done much looking out for them. This is a case where the Senate has been, looking after the farmers better than we have. We might fairly accept the request, which only enlarges our own free list, in order to give to the farmers the benefits of the best machines iu the world. It is only a question between making them free altogether or free only when they come from the Mother Country.
– Most of them are made in Canada.
– I believe a large number’ of them are. I am not thinking of where they come from, so much as of the interests of the people who have to use them in Australia. The farmers are struggling against all sorts of -natural difficulties, such as drought’s and various pests, in many parts of Australia, and I think that we’ might fairly follow the Senate in this matter. With reference to sheep-shearing ma-‘ chines, I agree with every word which the honorable member for Darling has used. Some time ago I happened to acquire a large knowledge of these machines, and it is a fact that, although they bear a very simple name, they are very complex pieces of machinery. Unless they are of the best quality, the shearers are greatly hampered in their occupation, and the work is not done so well for the employers. I wish to give the shearers the benefit of the best machines which they can- get, and, there-, fore, I cordially, support the proposal of the honorable member.
.- It is rather peculiar that in the case of the articles included .’in paragraph a, a preference of 10 per cent., should be given to British imports, when the average preference has been 5 rer cent. This seems to me to be simply a revenue duty. I am quite willing to give a preference of 5 per cent, to the United Kingdom.
– These articles do not come” from Great Britain, so that it does not matter.
– I assure the honorable member that this was not done with my consent.
– I am rather amused at the suggestion that Great Britain could not produce any of the articles which are included in this paragraph. In my opinion,
British manufacturers are capable of making almost any kind of machinery which is made in America or any other country.
– Nearly all these articles come from theUnited States.
– I can quite understand that it may not pay British manufacturers to produce the articles; but we might encourage them by allowing a preference of 5 per cent.
– Some of the articles are patented, and cannot be made anywhere else.
– In my opinion, 10 per cent. is rather a heavy revenue duty to. impose.
.-I wish very briefly to repeat the protest which I made when we dealt with this item previously. Obviously, 10 per cent. is only a revenue duty, and it simply falls upon one section of the community - the farming class. With regard to the preference, I think that practically all these articles are made in Canada and the United States. ‘ Most of them are patented, and require special machinery for their production. Englandmakes very few of them, and for that reason a. preference of 10 per cent. would be of no use. To impose a duty of 5 or 10 per cent. is simply to levy a duty upon one section of the community only.
– Does not the honorable member think that Germany might make some of the articles?
– I have seen a good deal of farming done; but I have not yet observed a German implement. Any honorable member who votes for a duty of 10 or 5 per cent. will simply be voting for a revenue duty pure and simple, at the expense of the farmers.
– That is not correct.
– Perhaps the honorable gentleman will rise presently and tell us why my statement is not correct?
– If it were worth while, I would.
.- When we were dealing with items affecting the textile trades, honorable members on the other side shot up like mushrooms in defence of the duties. ‘ The honorable member for New England was amongst those who jumped up on every occasion to plead for protection. It is indeed singular that machinery manufacturers have very few friends here to advance their claims to protection. That satisfies me that machinery manufacturers are not so ravenous as are other manufacturers in Australia, that their lobbying work has been worse done, or that they have fewer advocates here. I believe that if protection is required it is required in the case of machinery items.
– If the honorable member can show that the articles can be made in Australia, I shall vote for a duty of 20 per cent.
– We shall see presently whether the articles can be made here. If the honorable member believes in the protection of local industries, surely the machinery trades require as much assistance - if not more - as do many of the trades which have been more than liberally assisted here. In this Tariff the honorable member has already voted for duties of 20 and 15 per cent. to encourage the production of machinery which required the application of motive power, and he was able to say without a blush that it could be made here. But now he asks, Can we make lucerne bunchers, maize harvesters, horse rakes, potato raisers, root cutters and straw stackers? All these are small machinery items. The Committee has, I repeat, voted duties of 20 and 15 per cent. on the most intricate pieces of machinery which can be named, but the honorable member for New England now asks, Can we make a maize binder or a potato raiser? This paragraph embraces articles which if protected would benefit the village blacksmith - that is, the small man in the community.
– Give a decent protection..
– The honorable member knows that I cannot give more than is proposed in the schedule. I am prepared to take what is offered. I intend to give some assistance to the village blacksmith and the poorer artisans in the black trades. It does not pay large establishments to produce small articles of this kind, but there are many poor artisans in the community who require such assistance as would be given in the shape of a duty.
– To show how careless the Government have been about this item, they proposed a duty of only 10 per cent. at the very start.
– On a previous occasion I drew the attention of the Committee to the fact that the Government had not paid much attention to the rate of duty, and that the small peripatetic workman in the black trades was not likely to be protected.
– On a previous occasion these articles were made free when imported from the United Kingdom, so that the village blacksmith was not considered then.
– I did’ not vote for the articles .to be made free. I want the Committee to retain the duty of 10 per cent, on foreign imports. When we were dealing with the- textile trades, the Government proposed fixed duties on the cheaper articles, but in this case they do not ask for. a fixed duty. I notice that when honorable members are dealing with items that concern their own districts they are protectionists, but that when an item concerns my district they are free-traders. If other items had been treated fairly well I should not have been found fighting against the Senate’s request in regard to paragraph a of this item.
– This paragraph mainly covers the smaller implements which are used in the agricultural, horticultural and viticultural industries. Under the previous Tariff all these articles’ were on the free list. In the case of this Tariff the proposal of the Government was to admit them free from the Mother Country and at 10 per cent, from foreign countries, but the Senate desires them to be admitted free from all countries, and thus bring the Tariff into harmony with the previous one. I want honorable members to understand clearly that paragraph a includes a large ‘number of light implements which are used by agriculturists and viticulturists. The implements have to be made of special material, because lightness combined with durability is a very important consideration. In their production special manufacturing operations are required. There can be no hope of the articles being locally produced in the near future, so that, notwithstanding the imposition of a duty, importation must take place in order to supply local wants. Another point to be considered is that very small importations come from the Mother- land. Most of these implements are imported from America and Canada. When protection is advocated here a heavy duty is asked for, and therefore in this case, the whole object of the Government is to levy a revenue’ duty of 10 per cent. That would mean placing an additional burden upon the agricultural and viticultural community .without conferring . any. advantage ‘upon ‘ the manufacturing interests’ of the Commonwealth’: . ‘For that reason’ T trust’ that the Commit! ee- will- recognise the wisdom of agreeing to. the request of the S&n3,t
.- Whilst I should like to see the articles enumerated in this paragraph placed upon the free list, I think that the farmers are to be congratulated upon the fact that this Committee has imposed a duty of only 10 per cent, upon them. One of the features of this Tariff is that everything used by the producers of Australia is taxed by- considerably more than 10 per cent. Thoseengaged in our primary industries therefore have reason to congratulate themselves, because some of the articles enumerated in this item- may be manufactured within the Commonwealth. If the articles specified in this paragraph are imported from the United Kingdom, they will - assuming that the request of the Senate is agreed to - be admitted free, whereas if they are imported from Canada they will be dutiable at 10 per cent. The duty is merely a revenue impost, and under all the circumstances I do hope that the Treasurer will give way, and consent to these articles being placed upon the free list.
Question - That the requested amendment inserting the letter a before the word “ Testers/’ and making item 152, paragraph a, free, be not made - put.
The Committee divided.
Question so resolved in the negative.
Requested amendment (paragraph a) made.
– I do hope that the Government will see its way to agree to the request of the Senate in regard to proposed new paragraph b.
– I shall not do so no matter how long the discussion upon it may continue. We have a few nice protectionists in this House.
– I understood that the Government desired to complete the consideration of the Tariff as soon as possible.
– No fear. They have too good a bone in hand. They will gnaw it as long as we will let them.
– My suggestion was prompted by a desire to assist the Government. We all know that the useof cream separators and sheep-shearing machines is confined to twovery important industries. In the dairying industry cream separators play such an important part that the dairyman who is satisfied to adopt old methods cannot hope to successfully compete with the individual who is using up-to-date implements. These implements come largely from the Continent. There are patent rights connected with them which frequently preclude their manufacture in Australia for a. number of years. It is essential that those engaged in the industry should have the advantage of the very latest improvements in machinery. In the matter of sheep-shearing machines, I recollect that the original proposal of the Government was that they should be placed on the free list. At the last moment, however, the Treasurer proposed that a duty should be levied upon them. In one of the rooms attached to this building a sheep-shearing machine was exhibited and a hand piece shown around the chamber which we were led to understand had been manufactured in Sydney, and that’ was regarded as a sufficient reason why it shouldbe protected.
That was the argument that was then so potent in inducing the Committee to come to the vote then given. The Senate has had the advantage of considering the matter with more detail than honorable members of this. House had. We were taken at a disadvantage, because until the Minister rose the assumption was that the proposal in the schedule would stand, namely, that these lines should be upon the free. list. Honorable members had not time to get information bearing upon the production of these machines. The Senate did not labour under that disadvantage; and while it is a Chamber in which protectionist principles predominate, yet the members, after looking carefully into the question, came to the decision that these machines could not. be reasonably produced in Australia, and therefore decided to place them upon the free list. That is the request which we now have to consider.’ I have received a communication from the Pastoralists’ Union of New South Wales, signed by the secretary, Mr. John Mair. The letter sets out the position from the pastoralists’ stand-point mainly, but incidentally also from the stand-point of the shearers who use the machines. Mr. Mair says -
As the House of Representatives will, in its consideration of the Tariff, be dealing at an early date with the item Sheep Shearing Machinery, the executive of this union desire to bring under your notice the following reasons why, in their opinion, Shearing Machines (Hand Pieces) which are the tools of trade of shearers, should be admitted free of duty.
These hand pieces have not been commercially produced in Australia, though several unsuccessful attempts to manufacture them have been made. If, as there is every reason to believe, they cannot be successfully made here at present, a duty will impose a tax on the primary producer and worker without conferring any benefit on themanufacturing interests. In any case, seeing that the great majority of the shearing sheds have already been fitted with imported machines, duplicate parts thereof for replacement purposes will necessarily have to be of imported make, and their costwill be increased by the duty.
If it should be found that shearing machines can be made here, they would necessarily cost’ much more than the imported article, seeing that the raw material is not producible here, and the increased expense would, of course, have to be borne by the consumer, while, asthe number of hands engaged in the manufacture would be comparatively small, there would be very little compensating advantage in the way of extra employment.
The hand pieces of shearing machines being of most delicate mechanism, the quality of the material and of the workmanship must be of the very highest standard to ensure practical efficiency. The present condition of efficiency has only been reached by the experience of manufacturers’ and workmen over a period of many years, and it would require a similar lengthy experience and painstaking for .locallymade machines to be of practical value and to command the confidence of the workers. The latter is a most important point, as inferior machines mean harder and slower work for the shearer,’ and, consequently, lower earnings, seeing that he is paid according to the number of sheep he shears. As regards this aspect of the case, I would refer you to the remarks by Mr. W. G. Spence (President of the Shearers organization, the Australian Workers’ Union) when the item was previously before your House, on which occasion’ he opposed a duty on the ground that it would militate against the interests of the shearers. (See Hansard, 6576, et. seq.)
In submitting the above facts for your consideration, I am directed to express the hope that you will favour the placing of shearing machine hand pieces on the free list.
Here we have the Pastoralists’ Union of New South Wales, through its secretary, making the statements which I have just read ; and the honorable member for Darling, the president of the Australian Workers’ Union, representing the great body of employes interested in the use of these machines, has also placed before the Committee their position. The only request which the Government have considered comes from the one firm of MoffatVirtue. The firm have placed’ upon the market an implement in ‘ connexion with (which they hold certain patents. Part of their mechanism is manufactured for them in America. But the great pastoral industry uses other machines also. The Wolesley machine is used largely in New’ South Wales; and another machine which is used to a great extent is the one placed upon the market by the firm of Burgon and Ball. These firms will be greatly disadvantaged if the Senate’s request is not accepted, because the parts of their machines are not readily interchangeable with those of Moffat.Virtue. I have received1 a communication from the firm of Wolesley and Company on this very matter. They point out that they endeavoured to start manufacturing in the Commonwealth, but found that their raw material and other requirements necessitated the establishment of a factory in England, and they have continued to manufacture there for that reason. All these large firms will be penalized if they have to pay this high duty,’ inasmuch as they could not use Moffat-Virtue parts. , Many sheds are already fitted up with the machines manufactured by the Wolesley Company and by Burgon and Ball, - and they have to keep on hand a supply of duplicate parts to replace broken or worn-out parts of this complicated mechanism. The duty would thus be a heavy penalty, whilst not conferring any considerable advantage upon any large number of working people within the Commonwealth ; because the number engaged in the manufacture of these machines is very small compared- with the thousands who are using them. I therefore hope that the Committee in its wisdom will see the advantage of not penalizing this industry, and will accept the suggestion of the Senate by placing sheep-shearing machines upon the free list, and thus enable this primary industry to hold its own in competition with the whole- world.
– I trust that the Committee will decide to place shearing machines upon the free list, and that cream separators will he similarly treated. The dairying industry is a very important one. It has attained to enormous proportions in Victoria, and is making equal progress in New South Wales.
– ‘Cream separators are not . in dispute.
– The cheaper the small settlers are able to obtain their machinery, the further back in the country they will be able to go. Take the dairying industry. If the machinery that is necessary to it is made cheap, larger areas will be brought under cultivation.
– I remind the honorable member that the question of cream separators is not concerned in the request. Whether the Senate’s request is adopted or not, cream separators will still be free. I wish to confine the debate to the matter actually before us.
– Do you rule, sir,- that paragraph b does not include cream separators ?
– I rule that the request with which we are concerned does not include cream separators. Whether the request be accepted or rejected, they will still be free.
– If we are not dealing with cream separators, may I ask why .they are mentioned in the schedule before us ?
– They are included only as a matter of convenience. We are dealing merely with a part of the item concerning which a request has been adopted by the Senate. It is not competent for an honorable member to discuss the whole item.
– I quite understand the ruling ; but one might easily sup- pose, as the honorable member for Maranoa and I did, that cream separators were also affected. What I have said with regard to those implements will, ‘ however, apply equally to machinery used in shearing, because the cheaper selectors are able to ‘buy their shearing machinery, the more land will be put under cultivation for mixed farming. Take the case of a farmer who keeps a small flock of sheep. He requires to have his sheep-shearing machinery cheap. Smallsheep farmers find great difficulty in getting shearers at the proper time of the year, unless there happens to be a fair number of holdings in the district. Shearers will not go- where there is only a very small amount of work for them to do; or, if they go, the owners have to pay higher prices than are paid on large stations, where the work is more considerable, and
Extends over a longer period. So that, by enabling’ the farmer to get his machinery cheap, we shall facilitate settlement in the back country. We should, therefore, follow the advice of the honorable member for Calare, and adopt the Senate’s request. The small settlers in Australia are innumer-able. Every year additional areas are being taken up by small men, and by cheapening the machinery which they must use, we. shall increase the wealth produced by them, and thus benefit the community.
– I do not think it is competent for the Committee to make an amendment removing a duty from parts. I was not permitted to move a similar amendment.
– Perhaps thehonorable member is right. It is often by failing that we get to understand our powers. I agree with the Senate that sheep- ‘ shearing machines should be free, and I hope that the Committee will agree to its request.
.- I hope that the Committee will make the requested amendment. It is only the imported hand parts of sheep-shearing machines which have been found to be quick, and efficient, and in the shearing of sheep expedition is of the utmost value, not merely to sheep owners, but also- to the shearers. I have known it to be necessary, because of the weather, to delay sheep-shearing for weeks, and once this operation is begun, it. is important that it should be finished as soon as possible. -
– Wool is sometimes reduced in value by the seeds which get into it.
– Yes; that is a reason for early shearing. I indorse what has been said by the honorable member for Darling. I have no enthusiasm for mere revenue duties such as. this now proposed by the Government. If an article can be effectively manufactured in Australia, a protective duty should be placed on importations.
.- This is a fitting opportunity to draw attention to the surly manner of the Treasurer. When the request was called on, he blurted out that “ he did not care how long we stayed here, the amendment would not be made.’,’
– That is for the Committee to decide.
– My point is that the Treasurer is not treating us properly. Neither he nor the Minister of Trade and Customs is now present, and the substitute whom they have provided does not know what is in their minds, so that it is almost useless to make representations to him. The bearing of the Minister of Trade and Customs yesterday compares very favorably with that of the Treasurer to-day, being all that could be desired. As a consequence, business was expedited.’ But no sooner does the Treasurer return than trouble begins.
– We cannot all strike a good bedside manner.
– Some of us .cannot strike a bellicose manner. I hope that the Commi’ttee- will make shearing machines free. The honorable member for New England’ pointed out how necessary it is that shearing should be done quickly. Many shearers, I believe, carry their own cutters.
– Not now. The unions have settled that.
– At any rate, a great deal of shearing is -done by farmers themselves, and farmers’ sons, in slack times, add to their earnings by shearing for others. The proposed duty would be a tax on one of- the primary industries of the country. Of course, it is in keeping with the policy of the Government to do all it can to ‘strangle the primary industries. I hope that the Treasurer will try to atone for his surly conduct by not forcing his motion to a division.
– I hope that the Minister will make the amendment requested by the Senate. As I represent a purely pastoral district, I know what would be the effect of the duty. Sheepshearing machines are not made even in
Collingwood, and, therefore, I appeal to the honorable member for Batman to support the Senate’s request. The proposed duty will be purely revenue-producing, and I have heard protectionists say that they will not vote for such’ duties.
– Shearing machines are on the same footing as cream separators.
– They are to the pastoralist what cream separators are to the dairyman. No one knows better than you do, Mr. Chairman, what rapid strides have been made with machine shearing in -western Queensland. There are few sheds nowadays in which the shearing is done by hand. Yet the Treasurer wishes to impose a duty of 10 per cent. on machinery necessary for the carrying on of our chief primary industry. As a pastoralist, he must know the effect of the duty. If the honorary Minister now in charge of Government business were to agree, in the absence of the Treasurer, to make the amendment requested by the Senate, he would obtain a name for himself which he will not have another chance to gain.
– What would the Treasurer say?
– The question is; what would the country say ? All connected with the pastoral industry wouldpronounce the honorable gentleman to be the only sensible man in the Ministry I feel sure that the Committee will make the amendment requested by the Senate. Our wool has to be sold in the markets of the world against the keenest competition of producers elsewhere, and protectionists, who,no doubt, sympathize with us, will not be sacrificing any principle if they go further and vote for the Senate’s proposal.
.- Under the previous Tariff, the definition of shearing machines adopted by the Customs Department, included the flexible tubing and bevelled friction-gearing, leaving the shafting to be included as general machinery. A change in the definition was made, but subsequently the original definition was reverted to. When the Sydney firm referred to started the manufacture of the flexible tubing and overhead gearing referred to in the Senate’s requested amendment, with the object of carrying out the Government policy, I used my influence to have the matter dealt with in the way proposed by the Senate, in order that the duties might be imposed on the flexible tubings and overhead gearing, leaving the hand-pieces to be admitted duty free. These parts of the shearing machine have really been successfully manufactured only by the Wolseley Company. They have developed their machine after long years of experience of its working. They have acted upon reports of shearers and pastoralists; they use only the very best steel, and have succeeded better than other manufacturers of shearing machines in avoiding the great heat which arises from the rapid movement of the parts. The shearing machines turned out by other manufacturers do the cutting all right, but the hand-pieces become so hot as to’ blister the workmen’s hands. As the result of a recent award in the Federal Arbitration Court, the employers are now required to provide ‘their shearers with efficient machinery. In some cases recently stated, men complained that they could not work with the machines with which they were supplied. As a consequence, a number of shearers provided their own machines ; but as they cost£3, it is unreasonable that workmen should be asked to supply such a tool of trade. The decision of the Court requiring the employer to provide efficient machinery, has had the effect of throwing out of use machines of inferior’ make. The makers of shearing machines other than the Wolseley Company, have tried for years to develop and improvetheir machines, but they have found that it is not so easy to make any material improvement. It is clear that protectionists are unable to contend that this is an article which can be made satisfactorily in Australia. We know that one firm in Sheffield has practically a monopoly of the manufacture of hand shears. They are made by men who, in succeeding generations, have been specially trained in their manufacture, and understand exactly the tempering of the steel- required. Even in the United States, manufacturers have not succeeded in making hand shears that can compete with the Sheffield shears. Shearing machines are now displacing hand -shears to a very great extent, and even settlers engaged in the pastoral industry on a small scale are getting their shearing done by machine shears. All these considerations make this a very important matter for the pastoral industry. I have been surprised at the opposition of the Government, because I am in a position to say that all parties interested in the matter are satisfied with the amendment requested by the Senate. Under it, the firm that is manufacturing the parts of the machine proposed to . be made dutiable, will receive sufficient protection, and at the same time, those engaged in trite pastoral industry will be able to obtain more cheaply than they otherwise would, the: shearing machines which they must buy. Whether we impose a duty on the hand-pieces of shearing machines or not, the Wolseley machines will be imported and purchased, as so far no other machine has been invented that is a satisfactory substitute for it. .It should not be forgotten that the Wolseley Company have protected their manufacture by patents. Moffat- Virtue, and the representatives of Wolseley Company, are satisfied with the requested amendment, and the Government would do well to accept it.
.- I am very pleased that the Senate has submitted this request. I was glad to hear, the explanation of the matter given by the honorable member for Darling. No one in Australia is more competent to speak on this subject. As the honorable member has pointed out, it is of the very greatest importance to pastoralists to be able to. obtain the best possible shearing machinery. If any of the machinery used. in a shearing shed breaks down, it must be sent, a long distance to be repaired, and this leads to very inconvenient delay. Shearing, unlike other work, cannot possibly be delayed. It must be done in fine weather. If it is delayed beyond a certain time, as one honorable member pointed out, grass seeds are apt to get into the wool. Shearers look for employment in a- number of sheds in succession, and if, by a break in the weather, they are delayed in one district, they may be too late to secure employment in another. Many small farmers are now co-operating in this matter. They bringall their sheep to one shed and have thiem shorn by machinery. They are deeply interested in consequence, in avoiding any delay in the work of shearing. The’ honorable member for Angas pointed out that the Pastoralists’ Association o’f South Australia is in favour of the amendment requested by the Senate. It will not be denied that the members of that association take a keen interest in the business, and we may assume that they are prepared in .this matter to recommend what is right, and what would be in the interests of pastoralists and shearers alike.
.- I appeal to Ministers not to continue this “stoner wal ling” of the Tariff. We are all anxious to finish its consideration ; but there is a persistent “ stonewall “ -set up by
Ministers in refusing to accept an amendment the fate of which is perfectly obvious. The amendment requested by the Senate on this item is absolutely in line with the principles of the Tariff as sub,mitted by Ministers themselves. I refer honorable members to item 167, under which machine tools, as prescribed by departmental by-laws, are admitted free. Under item 169, tools of - trade used by artisans and mechanics, and tools in general use, as prescribed by departmental by-laws, arealso admitted free. Under these two items thousands of tools of trade used in town industries are admitted free of duty. Why should -the shearers of Australia be singled out for specifically unfavorable treatment in this way ? The shearing machine is a tool of their trade, and it should not be forgotten that they are able to use it only for a limited period in each year, whilst the artisan engaged in a town industry is able to use his tools of trade all the year’ round. As the honorable member for Barker has said, if the state of the weather interferes with the work of shearing at a’ man’s first shed, it is very likely that he will find himself thrown out of his secondshed, and he may have only four or five weeks’ work at shearing in the .year. It came under my notice in the cases I have referred to that frequently a shearer may have to travel over 100 miles to his first: shed and then should rain set in find himself thrown out, of a chance of employment ata second shed. -That is an acknowledged risk in the shearing . industry. I admit that in Queensland the shearing season extends over a longer . period than in New. South Wales.
– What the honorable member refers to is happening at the present, time in Queensland.
– When we have agreed Uo admit artisans’ tools of trade free by the thousand, on what principle can we’ justify the imposition of taxation on a tool of’ trade used by shearers?
– The honorable gentleman’ must admit that these machines are not provided by the shearers.
– The shearers’ earnings de-, pend on the use of these machines, although they have to be provided by the employer. I remind the honorable member also that in many of the big factories in Melbourne the artisans employed do not find their own tools. They are. provided by the factoryowners.
– I thought that the honorable gentleman was speaking -on behalf of the shearer personally.
– The interests of the industry are of vital importance to the shearer,, and there are thousands of men who follow the industry of shearing in Australia. Although, as the result of some recent arrangement, the employer may be required to provide shearing machines, I know that shearers used at one time provide their own shears. On principle, I do not see why a manufacturer should be able to obtain the tools of trade required by his workmen free of duty, though they can carry on their work all the year round, whilst a pastoralist who is required to provide tools of trade that are used only a few weeks in each year should be singled out for special taxation. In my opinion that is against the principles of the Tariff. I am sure that no man has a greater sympathy with the country industries than has the Minister of Trade and Customs, and I appeal to him now to accept the requested amendment and do a good action -at the same time.
.- This item affects an industry which I venture to say employs something like 40,000 hands. ‘
– Over 50,000.
– Honorable members’ will see that we are asking that .there shall be done for this industry not more than half what we are doing for other industries. The honorable member for East Sydney referred to the number of tools of trade on the free list ; but the honorable gentleman might also have stated that the general community is very heavily taxed in respect of the productions of the industries in which these tools of trade are employed, whilst there is no way in which we can give assistance to the pastoral industry by imposition of protective duties upon its products.
– We might remit the duty on wire netting.
– That is so. I can speak on this matter as a shearer, although in my time shearing was principally done by hand. Machine shears were not very, largely used, and were not a very great success. The reason for . this has been pointed out by the honorable member for Darling, and it arose from the difficulty of keeping the hand-pieces of the shearing machines cool. . 1 think there ought to be no hesitation about the acceptance of the requested’ amendment. There is no question of the imposition of a protective duty in this case. When the driving gear is protected, we should allow the hand-pieces, which cannot be made in Australia, to be admitted free of duty.
Question - That the requested amendment, inserting the words “ Sheep shearing machines,” &c, in item 152, new paragraph b, be not made - resolved in the nega- five.
Requested amendment made.
Item 153.’ Cutlery of all kinds, n.e.i., including Plated Cutlery ; Knife Sharpeners ; Manicure Sets ; but not _ cutlery, ‘ in part or wholly made up of silver or gold, ad val, (General Tariff), 20 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 15 per cent.
Request. - Make the duties (General Tariff), 15 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 10 per cent.
Motion (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the requested amendment be not made.
– I beg to point out that this request is in the printed list of those to be accepted ; and the Minister, when he addressed the House generally, said that this was a request that he intended to support.
– Never mind, I do not propose to accept the request.
– This list has been -issued by the Treasurer to honorable members, and I ask whether he has now any right to change his intentions, as he proposes ?
– Yes ; because, when I addressed the House in the first instance, I said that there were some items t about which I was not quite decided.
– Surely we have a right to hold the Treasurer to his own printed list which he laid on the table ?
– I told honorable members that there were several items about which I was not quite ‘ decided, and that I reserved to myself the right to vary our proposals.
– Then the Treasurer ought to have given some intimation to honorable members of his intention to do so.
– I have the Hansard report of my speech before me, and I find that I then said that item 153 was one in regard to which there might be- some variation.
– If, after further consideration, the Treasurer issued this list-
– That list was in the hands of the Government Printer, while I was addressing honorable members.
– But, surely the Treasurer could, since then, have intimated in regard to what items he decided to make alterations?
– There are a number of items like this, on which I have obtained further information.
– On what ground does the Treasurer propose to alter his previous decision?
– When I addressed the Committee in the first instance, the list had been sent to the Government Printer, because I had promised to circulate it with the other lists; and I never touched them afterwards. In regard to this particular item, I said, according to the Hansard report, that this was a case in which there might be some variation; but that duties of 15 and 10 per cent. were suggested by the Senate. The present duties are 20 per cent. and 15 per cent., and those duties the Government desire should be continued. Under the Tariff of 1902, cutlery, if plated, was 20 per cent, and, otherwise, 15 per cent. ; so that if the Senate’s request be granted, the Tariff will be considerably lower than the first Tariff.
– Has experience not shown that it ought to be lowered?
– No; experience has shown the reverse. I cannot see that the Government would be justified, under any circumstances, in reducing the duty 5 per cent. below that of 1902. When I first addressed the Committee in reference to the requests, I felt that it would be unwise and unfair to have such a reduction and, therefore, I made the reservation to which I have already alluded. I intend to stand by the item as it left the House of Representatives.
.- The Treasurer, I understand, is merely claiming the right to “ change his. mind “ ; and I think we all have a certain sympathy with him, because, if we had his mind, we should wish to change it as soon as possible. The long explanation which the Treasurer made when introducing the requests, and the qualification he then thought fit to impose, do not really touch the question before us, because, since then, these lists have been issued. Why did the Treasurer not include this request in the list of those to be accepted?
– I stated at the time that I was not quite sure in regard to this item ; and I may repeat that this particular list was being printed while I was speaking.
– A number of honorable members, who are particularly interested in this item, may be absent now, under the impression that this requested amendment was to.be accepted, as indicated by the list in which it appeared. . The Treasurer, however, has ‘ ‘ changed his mind, ‘ ‘ and apparently desires to sneak this item through without the knowledge of honorable members.
– I am not trying to sneak any item through. I have everything on my sleeve.
– I object to the preposition “on,” because, in my opinion, the Treasurer has had this motion up his sleeve.
– Let the item be postponed, if the Committee is taken by surprise.
– That is the suggestion which I was about to make; because it is quite evident that honorable members are not prepared for the change of attitude on the part of the Government. If the Treasurer desires to have any reputation for straightness and fair-going, he will consent to the postponement of this item, because the list that was issued was undoubtedly regarded as a true reflex of the Ministerial intentions.
– There are one or two. other similar cases.
– Then this Ministerial “change of mind “ is not isolated? This seems to me a most extraordinary way of bringingabout increases in the duties. If the Treasurer will not stand by the bargain, as circularized, which he made with the. House to accept the request, he ought to postpone its consideration so as to give honorable members some notice of his change of intentions.
.- I trust that the Treasurer will stand by his proposal to reject the request that the duties in respect of this item be reduced to 15 per cent. and 10 per cent. As a protectionist I object to mere revenue duties being imposed in respect of such an item as this. I express no opinion on the question of whether or not the Minister should have given notice of his determination to resist this request, but I distinctly remember a statement made by him, when outlining the intentions of the Government, that ‘there were some requests in respect of whichhe had not made up’ his mind.
– Hear, hear; that is so.
– I hope that this request will be rejected. It would be a farce to impose a duty of 10 per cent.on an item including such articles as plated cutlery and manicure sets. Surely if it is reasonable to expect those who use woollen socks to pay a duty upon them for the sake of protecting a local industry, it is fair that those who use plated cutlery and manicure sets should be required to paythe duties which we have imposed upon them.
– If, since the distribution of the circular indicating the intentions of the Government with respect to the requests made by another place, the Treasurer has changed his intentions with respect to any of them, Ithink that he ought to let us know at once.
– During the adjournment for dinner, if possible, I shall look through the list, so that I shall be able to inform the Committee whether we propose to alter our original determination in. respect to any of the remaining requests. I think that in one or two cases there will be a departure from our original determination as set forth in the circular.
– That will satisfy me.
Question - That the requested amendment in item 153 (Cutlery), making the duties (General Tariff) 15 per cent. (United Kingdom) 10 per cent.,benot made - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 9
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Requested amendment not made.
Requested amendments in item 156 (Nails) and in item 158 (Weighing machines) made.
Requested amendment in item 159 (Adding and Computing Machines) inserting the words, “ Time registers and detectors “ and “ Combined bagging, weighing, and sewing machines “ made, but requested amendment making the item free not made.
On and after 27th November, 1907-
Item 160. Motive Power Machinery and Appliances (except Electric), viz. : -
Request. - -leave out the words “ Gas producers “ ; insert after “ Turbines “ the words “ High speed Reciprocating Engines coupled with generators or Dynamo Electric Machines to be used in mines.”
Requested amendment leaving out the words “ Gas producers “ made.
Motion (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the requested amendment inserting the words “ High speed reciprocating engines coupled with generators or dynamo electric machines to be. used in mines “ be not made.
.- A very desirable re-arrangement of the machinery items was made at the suggestion of the Treasurer when the schedule was first considered, in order to separate electrical from ordinary machinery. Apparently, the Senate’s request gives these machines a more accurate trade description, and puts them in a better situation in the schedule. As the Tariff left this Chamber, we included “ Generators for direct coupling to steam turbines “in item 177.
– The Senate have not put these machines in a better situation, because they have included them with’ steam machinery.
– Then the Treasurer, with the aid of his officers, should explain to the Committee the real effect of the request. Will it destroy the separate classification of electrical andordinary machinery? Unfortunately, we get no explanation at all from the Minister. Of course, he cannot be expected to carry all this detailed information in his head, but he has the assistance of his officers, who are there to guide and help him, and the Committee certainly requires assistance from some authority in order to understand why these changes are made, and how they affect the arrangement of the schedule as a whole. If they destroy the admirable re-arrangement of these machinery items, we should be told so.
– Where were these articles included before?
– If the honorable member is anxious to know, I will tell him. They came under item160b, n.e.i., at 20 per cent. in the old Tariff.”
.- It is interesting to receive that information from the Treasurer ; but I understand now that the Senate makes this proposal in order to make sure that these machines will come under a nominal duty in the general Tariff, and be free from Great Britain. The Treasurer proposes to disagree with the request, but he has made no effort to reply to the arguments previously advanced in this House for giving this kind of machinery preferential treatment, or to the arguments which led the Senate to make the request. I do not say that the Minister is not in possession of some facts that might justify him in seeking to obtain a higher duty, but it is certainly due to the Committee, before we agree to his motion, to receive some information from him as to the reason which actuates him.
– The reason was given by me previously.
– The machines are made here.
– They were made dutiable because they can be manufactured here.
.- This matter is. of considerable importance. It is not like the item of waddings and cotton wool, which occupied so much time last night. This appears to be an amendment intended to facilitate the mining operations of Australia by making these machines dutiable ata lower rate.
– It is intended to reduce the protectionist incidence of this item.
-Are high-speed reciprocating engines coupled with dynamo electrical machines’ made in Australia ?
– So I am informed.
– Then I guarantee that they are Very expensive, because they represent one of the highest forms of engineering, and unless there is a tremendous market for them, the making of a few of them must be a very costly operation. I hope that the Minister will accept the Senate’s request in the interests of the mining industry of Australia, because, while some mines pay large dividends, the great bulk of them are struggling between shutting up or going on. There are thousands of men employed in mining, and a very arduous, dangerous, and uncertain occupation it is. Machinery of this kind is very similar in the case of mining to the tools of trade that artisans in the town get free. The amendment cannot involve a large amount of revenue.
.- I admit that it was my misfortune not to hear the Minister advance weighty arguments why the Senate’s request should not be acceded to, but the matter is of sufficient importance for him to endeavour’ to convince some of us who had not the pleasure of listening to him previously that he is adopting the right course. ‘ If the Minister is in possession of all-convincing information, he might reasonably occupy a few minutes in imparting it to the Committee in a question of this importance. The Senate’s proposal is very clear.
– It was a Western Australian proposal.
– In regard to this Tariff the Minister has adopted towards the mining ventures of Western Australia an attitude not altogether in keeping with his usual custom of considering industries. It does not matter to me where the proposal came from. This Committee has already deliberately included in this item flueheated economizers, mechanical stokers, steam traps, and steam turbines, because it was demonstrated beyond doubt that they were not being made in the Commonwealth, and that there was no reasonable prospect of them being made here for a considerable time. The Senate, acting on additional information, have added to this list “ high-speed reciprocating engines coupled with generators or dynamo electric machines to be used in mines.” I have no objection to the removal of the words “to be used in mines.” According to the information I have obtained, the high-speed engines which are coupled with electric machines and at present in use throughout Australia, are not made within the Commonwealth.. That view must have influenced the Senate in making this request. In the case of this highly-technical machinery, which is on a par with the machines already included in the paragraph, the Minister might well agree to the request, in view of the big duty which has already been agreed to upon mining machinery generally. If machines of this description had been removed from the general machinery items and placed on the free list in the first place, I believe that the Treasurer could have secured a higher rate of duty on general machinery when the schedule was before us previously.
– If I had given consideration only to mining machinery, perhaps I could have, but I did not think it was right to do so.
– How can the Minister make that statement in view of the fact that he himself accepted duties of 15 and 12½ per cent. on agricultural, horticultural, and viticultural machinery, but insisted on duties of 25 and 20 per cent. on mining machinery ?
– I was compelled to accept the lower duty in the other case.
– This is highly technical machinery used principally in connexion with the treatment of the most refractory ores in the most difficult mining propositions in Australia, but it is used in other projects as well. . The Minister, on account of his exceptional antagonism towards any proposal that may assist the mining industryand I believe that that attitude of his applies principally to Western Australian mining - refuses to grant the concession asked for by the Senate.
– This machinery can be made in Australia.
– The mining companies are as a rule such octopuses that one has to be very cautious in accepting what they advocate.
– I hope that we shall not allow our prejudices against mining companies to influence us in our judgment when dealing with mining machinery. The fact remains that the mining industry in Australia is one of the greatest, and one of the best payers to its employes.
– What rubbish !
– Will the honorable member point to any factory paying the general wages that are paid to employes in mines ? Are the mining companies concerns that employ girls and boys under age?
The gold mines have produced a considerable portion of the wealth which has helped to build up the prosperity of this country. The mining companies are the best employers of labour that we have. Surely any prejudice which may have’ beer engendered by the composition of individual mining companies should not bias or influence honorable members in deciding a question of this kind! The honorable member for Melbourne Ports has interjected that high-speed reciprocating engines are made here. I ask him to tell me where they are made.,
– They can be made at any engineering establishment. Of course, there may be patents which local manufacturers cannot use, but that is all that there is in the honorable member’s objection.
– I ask. the honorable member where they are made, and would remind him that an expenditure of many thousands of pounds would be required before a local manufacturer could place an engine of that description upon the market.
Colonel Foxton. - Hundreds of thousands.
– Yes, very often. The expenditure which is required in obtaining information in order to keep pace with the times, particularly in regard to electrical development, is so great that none but the most powerful companies could possibly engage in the industry. Here is a proposal which I think should commend itself to any reasonable man. Some honorable members say that they cannot vote against it, because that would seem like giving a vote against protection, and an industry which might be. built up hereafter. Very likely the industry will be established in time to come. Let us give a substantial protection to any industry which can supply the necessities of established industries, but do not let us injure a valuable existing industry such as gold mining is to Australia in an endeavour to establish another doubtful industry of much less proportions in the distant future.
– I think that it is a mistake on the part of the honorable member for Kalgoorlie to make any distinction between different trades, because we are here to help every trade in the Commonwealth. -It seems to me that if we leave out or retain the. words ‘ ‘ highspeed reciprocating engines, coupled with generators or dynamo electric machines to be used in mines,” the effect will be very slight indeed, because they are governed by the words “ Motive Power Machinery and Appliances (except Electric), viz.” It will be for honorable members to introduce a special paragraph dealing with electric machines. As it stands, the paragraph means that when the machinery is electric the -duty is not to apply.
– It is a composite machine.
– Unless we agree to the proposal of the Minister, we shall have to go back and strike out the words ‘ ‘ except electric.”
– I do not think that we can do that.
– The Government must get those words struck out, and deal with the machinery in its proper place. There need be no fear, I. think, that it will fall under item 160.
– It is for the Minister to say where the article should be put. This is ‘ our only opportunity of dealing with it.
– The honorable member for Kooyong has said that it will fall under item I 6OB and will be dutiable at 20 per cent., but that is not so, because the words “ except electric “ cover paragraphs a and b. Perhaps the honorable member can point out an item under which it will come.
– What about item 177g, which the Senate requests us to leave out?
– Our only chance is to deal with the article here. The Minister can afterwards put it in its proper place.
Mir. Frazer. - Besides, it is a composite machine, and does’ not necessarily fall under, the section of the Tariff dealing with electrical machinery.
– I do not think that it can come under item 160B. Any Collector of Customs would immediately see that the machinery was not electric and say. that the duty of 5 per cent, did not apply.
– What does the honorable member suggest?
– I think that the words, should be struck out of the .paragraph.
.- In. the course of’ the last speech the Minister interjected that it was impossible to strike out the words “ except electric.”
– No; I said that I did not think that we could do it here.
– I do not see why we cannot, seeing that the Senate’s request covers the whole of item 160.
– I do not think that we can alter any words which have not been altered elsewhere.
– I think that it is competent now to omit the words “ except electric.”
– -No, because we have’ got past those words.
– Surely the Government would agree to recommit the item for that purpose ! In any case, in order to get the question settled once and for all, I ask you, sir, to rule whether it will be in order to propose the omission of the words “ except electric “ ?
– The Committee has agreed to a request for the omission of the words “ Gas Producers “ at the beginning of paragraph a of this item, and therefore it cannot go back beyond that point.
– I ask you now, sir, to say whether it will be in order to ask the Committee to alter any of the wording of any item upon which we have a request from the Senate?
– I remind the honorable member that until a case came before me I should not be justified in giving a ruling on that point.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.45 p.m.
.- I should be the last to place any limitations upon the capacity of our Australian manufacturers to produce motive power machinery, because I am well aware that some of the undertakings with which I am associated possess splendid machinery - the very best - which has been made in one or other of the engineering establishments of the various States. In Victoria, New South Wales, and Queensland there are firms capable of undertaking very fine work indeed. But I venture to suggest that the reason why our manufacturers cannot turn out high-speed reciprocating engines at a remunerative price is because of. the absence of a sufficient demand for them. That is the whole secret of the matter. . It is a well-known fact that engines of this class cannotbe successfully manufactured in the Commonwealth so’ far as materials and workmanship are concerned.That is the statement of a very high authority upon the subject. ‘ One of the large firms which manufacture this class of high-speed engine in Birmingham, England, has turned out 3,500 engines, representing a capacityof 650,000 horse-power. It is hardly likely that any Australianmanufacturer ofthis class of engine would be able to compete with ‘establishments of that size andwith their resources, seeing that there ‘is only a very limited demand for such’ engine’s here.
– What is the name of the firm to which the honorable member refers ?
– I would rather not give it, although the letter which I hold in my hand is accessible to any honorable member who wishes to peruse it. I submit that the duty of . 20 per cent. originally proposed in. respect of this item would fall as an extra charge upon the users of this special class of engines. I should have voted for that duty if I thought for a moment that these engines could be successfully turned out here by the firms who from time to time have manufactured high-speed reciprocating engines of a class. But the truth is that they have neither the skilled workmen nor the appliances which would enable them to do it. The Government, therefore, will not inflict any injury upon the local manufacturer by accepting the request of the Senate which undoubtedly received careful consideration at the hands of that Chamber. I note that it is suggested that these engines should be admitted free only when they are to be used in mines. I. should have preferred no such limitation to be imposed, because if they can be successfully manufactured for other purposes thereis no reason why they should not be manufactured for ‘mining enterprises. As a matter of fact; these expensive engines are used only by some of the larger undertakings. The smaller concerns cannot afford to. incur the expenditure involved in their purchase. I respectfully submit that we are justified in accepting this request of. the Senate.
– Is the honorable member arguing in’ favour of the admission of engines free?
– Yes. I earnestly hope the Committee will see its way to accept the request of the other Chamber.
– In the form in which the request of the Senate has been made, it does not seem to me that it should be agreed to. I thinkthat the insertion of the words “ High-speed reciprocating steam engines for direct coupling to electric generators or to pumps “ would be preferable to those suggested by the Senate. …
– The Treasurer’s suggestion, if agreed to, would have the effect of divorcing the engines from the electric appliances.
-It would have the very reverseeffect.
– The. Treasurer’s suggestion refers to high-speed reciprocating steam engines for direct coupling to electric generators, whereas the machine described in the Senate’s request is a composite one, consisting of a steam engine and an electric dynamo.
– The request of tha Senate, if agreed to, would have a very different effect from the suggestion which I am now making. If the words which I have indicated were substituted for those embodied in the request of the Senate, I think that the . proposal would not be so objectionable. In addition, my suggestion would not limit the use of these engines to mines only.
Mr- Hedges. - -The request of the Senate refers -to the use of reciprocating engines, coupled with generators or electric machines “ in mines.” I doubt whether one of these engines could be got into a mine. ‘
– I am endeavouring to meet honorable members who desire to, do something in the direction requested by’ the Senate, and .1 hope that the Committee will assist me.
– Why not say “ highspeed reciprocating engines coupled or to be coupled with generators “ ? It” very often happens that there is one shaft with a dynamo attached to the end of it.
– I think, that the wording which I have suggested would meet the desire of the honorable member. What I suggest has been discussed since the dinner adjournment, and it is considered by those who understand ‘the matter that my proposed modification will meet the case.
– Will the words which the Minister suggests cover everything that is included in the Senate’s request ?
– Yes. ‘ I am simply proposing to make the matter clearer and to leave out the words “ to be used in mines.” I have consulted with the officers, ohe of whom is an expert in connexion with machinery. I am quite prepared to accept the Senate’s request with the modification which I propose. . I hope that honorable members will meet me in the matter.
– Does the Minister propose to include a dynamo as an electric generator ?
– What I-pro-. posed includes w.hat is included, in the Senate’s request. I,. think, that ‘I. am. doing what most honorable, member.s. desire and carrying out the wish- of the Senate in a better, way than is done by. its request.
– As long as what the Minister proposes includes everything that is included in the Senate’s request, we are satisfied.
– I want to hear what honorable members representing mining districts have to say in reference to the matter, because they are intimately acquainted with the practical working of this machinery, and if what I now propose does not turn out as intended, I shall, not press the modification when the Tariff goes back to another Chamber. I desire to meet honorable members in a fair way. The officers and the expert think that what I have proposed will carry out the desire more’ effectually than will the Senate’s request as it stands.
.- T am rather surprised to find myself in agreement with the Treasurer in this matter. If honorable members look at item 177a, and item 177b, in the Tariff, they will find that generators and dynamo electric machines were originally charged duty at 30 per cent, and 171 per cent., according to their capacity. If the language of the Tariff were, left in the form in .which it is in the Senate’s , suggestion, ‘ the benefit of this particular exemption would only apply to this particular class of reciprocating engines, provided they were- actually coupled with generators on importation. I think th<> object of the Committee is to give the benefit of the exemption to this particular class of motive .power, whether, coupled with generators or separate from them ; and I am inclined to ‘think that the wording of the modification moved’ by the Treasurer is more effective for that purpose.-
– What kind of motive power does the honorable member mean?-‘
– We are only dealing with motive power in this item. A generator is not motive power, though its name implies that it generates force. It . merely turns the power generated by a steam engine into another form of energy. That is dealt with under a separate item. We are dealing in this case only with steam engines.
– What about dynamo electric ‘ machines?
– They are: dealt with under a different item - No. 177.- Sup1 pose- that the item under discussion were left as the Senate proposes to- leave it; This peculiar result would be brought about j that if an importer brought in an engine of this class unattached to a dynamo electric machine it would not get the benefit of the exemption, but would come under the general heading, and pay the higher percentage.
– Coupling up merely means the use of a shaft.
– The shaft is the connexion, but the honorable member will see that the general dutyon steam-engines under item 160is 20 per cent. That is the general duty on all motive power machinery. The object of this particular request is to exempt one particular class of motive power machinery, taking it out of the 20 per cent. list, and making it dutiable at) 5 per cent. But that has nothing to do with generators and electrical appliances. It merely means that if you have a rapid reciprocating engine the duty is reduced from 20 to 5 per cent., but that that great advantage will only be given under the Senate’s suggestion as it stands to those engines which are attached to or connected with electrical machines. Now, we want to make the item wider than that. The whole point is that these highspeed reciprocating engines cannot be made in this country effectively, because the demand for them is not sufficiently great.
– I am sure that if an order were given they would be made here.
– They could, of course, be made here; but what we desire to arrive at is to give, a great advantage to these engines, and to all of them, whether they are in fact attached or are not in fact attached.
.- I consider that the suggestion made by the Minister is an excellent one.
– Has the honorable member consulted the expert officer?
– I consulted with him, and pointed out how complicated the item would be as proposed to be amended by the Senate. All my previous remarks were directed to the difficulty there was in getting high-speed reciprocating engines manufactured in Australia, because of ‘ the limited demand for them. Now the Minister proposes to meet that difficulty, and to give the item awiderapplication than the Senateproposes. The suggestion is an excellent one, and I trust that it will be accepted.
– Except as to dynamos.
– If the engines are con-: nected with dynamos they will, of course, come under the 5 per cent. rate.
– But the dynamo would be dutiable at the higher rate under the Minister’s proposal.
– So it wouldbe under the Senate’s request.
– I think that in the request of the Senate the words “coupled with generators or dynamo electric machines to be used in mines ‘ ‘ are explanatory and qualifyingin regard to the engines referred to. The Minister has met theCommittee very well, and the modification which he has moved is, I think, satisfactory.
.- I should like to be quite clear as to whether we could accept the Senate’s request if we wanted to do so. The first part of the item under consideration uses the words “ except electric “ - namely, except electric machinery and appliances. Aswe have accepted the words of the item up to a certain point, we have also accepted the fact that the item exempts electric machinery. . Sothat it could not include a dynamo or an electric machine. It seems to me, therefore, that unless we accept the Minister’s proposal, we cannot agree to what the Senate proposes.
– Oh, yes, we can.
– I think not, because the first part of the item excepts electric machinery and appliances. It seems to me, consequently, that we could not include electric machinery and appliances, even if we wished to accept the Senate’s suggestion as it stands. Would it not be better, then, to accept what the Minister suggests, especiallyas he agrees to leave out the words “ to be used in mines “ ? It has to be rememberedthat these engines are used in many other places which are just as important as mines, and in connexion with which it is just as essential that they should be used.
– In electric-lighting stations, for instance.
– Certainly. I do not know of any place in Australia where highspeed engines are made. In fact, they are covered by so many patents that I doubt whether.it would pay any one in Australia to make them. I trust that the Committee will accept the Treasurer’s suggestion.
– The request of the Senate is evidently intended as a concession to the mine-owners. The Senate intends both high-speed engines and electric machines to come in free when imported from the United Kingdom; because, if both did not come in free the dynamo would pay either 20 or 12½ per cent., according to its size. So that the Minister very shrewdly says, in the modification which he has moved, that these engines may come in on the easier terms for a certain purpose - not that the electrical machinery shall come in on those terms, but that the engines shall come in at 5 per cent. and free when coupled with electrical machinery. These generators and dynamos are dutiable under another item at 20 per cent. and 12½ per cent., and the Treasurer is actually opposing the request made by the Senate that that class of electrical machinery when used for mining purposes shall come under this item. I hope that the Minister will agree to the request made by the Senate since it will undoubtedly be a concession to the mining industry.
– In view of the fact that we have passed the first part of item 160, which reads, “ Motive power machinery and appliances (except electric),” is it competent for us, Mr. Chairman, to agree to a request to insert in the body of the item words which would be opposed to the expression in the opening paragraph “ except electric ‘ ‘ ? There seems to be some doubt as to whether reciprocating engines, when coupled with generates or dynamo electric machines, will be subject to one general duty.
– I think that is what the Senate intended.
– Then it should have requested the deletion of the words ‘ ‘ except electric “ in the first paragraph of the item. Those are the governing words.
– This composite machine could not be described either as an electric or a steam machine.
– It would come within the category of “ appliances,” which are covered by the first paragraph in the item.
– In the case of a composite machine is the use of the word “ electric “ in this itemintended to refer to a” machine that is wholly electric?
– When a machine consisting of various parts subject to varying duties is sought to be passed through the Customs, the Department collects the duties relating to those several parts and not the one general duty which might not be specified in respect of the whole machine.
– That is extraordinary.
– What else could be done ?
– The officers of the Department have a direction in the Tariff that certain engines when coupled with certain appliances shall be dutiable at a fixed rate. Are they to differentiate between the composite parts and to collect the several duties in respect of those parts?
– They have no authority to do anything else. I have asked the Chairman whether, seeing that we have agreed to a paragraph providing that electric machines and appliances are excepted from this item, it would be in order for us to agree to a requested amendment which would have the effect of bringing electric machinery under it. As we are in doubt on the point it would be well for us, Mr. Chairman, to have your ruling.
.- The question raised by the honorable member is not so easy to answer as it seems at first sight to be. The interpretation placed upon these words by the honorable member for Laanecoorie would be right if we were dealing with a Bill’ which had not yet been sent to another place ; but we are dealing with requests made by another authority. That authority has a right to make these requests, for there is nothing in the Constitution to prevent it making any request that it pleases. A requested amendment may be thoroughly inconsistent with the context; but the Constitution does not provide that in such circumstances it shall not be taken into consideration. The power to request amendments having been conferred on the Senate, there is no authority in this House, on any rule of construction, to efface a request, although we may reject it.
– Does the right honorable member contend that the words convey that impression ?
– I contend that if the Senate had requested an amendment which had nothing whatever to do with the item we should be entitled to consider it, leaving it to the Minister in charge of the Bill subsequently to re-arrange the wording so as to bring it under its proper heading. The main question is whether the words which the Senate has requested us to insert could be limited in any way because of the context by any rule of interpretation. I say that they cannot. If we do not like the wording of the requested amendment, we may modify if or reject it altogether, but the request having been made, it is in the hands of the Committee whether it be relevant or irrelevant. Our difficulty is to understand what this request really means. I am prepared to accept the assurance of the Treasurer that his amended proposal will do everything that the Senate proposed by its requested amendment. If it will, we need waste no further time over its consideration ; had it been made long ago time would have been saved. . I am rather doubtful whether the Treasurer’s proposal will give us what we have in this request ; but as he has pointed out, we occupy a perfectly safe position, because if the Senate quarrels with the modification which he proposes on the ground that it does not embody what it, requested, it will be open to it, on the understanding that we are now making-
SirWilliam Lyne - I do not wantto make arty understanding, because I have been accused of all sorts of things.
– Iaccept the statement made by the Treasurer in. reply to a question which I put to him- -
-Do not put words into my mouth.
-If the Treasurer’s amended proposal does not cover all that is in the requested amendment I shall vote for the acceptance of the request..
– I am not going to make a statement thatwill bind me.
– I am in favour of the object which the Senate has in view in making this request, and I hope that the Treasurer is not going back on what he said.. If he knows of something–
– I do not.
– No honorable member could be expected to be familiar with all the details of a matter of this kind, but if the Minister believes–
– Do not try to let me in for another fight.
– I donot want to, but does the Minister think that he is dropping something which is covered by the words of the Senate’s request? Does he think that under his new proposal some machine or appliance will come under a higher duty than it would do if the request were adopted ? If this is a conundrum he can give it up.
– I do.
– The whole thing has been a conundrum. . Occasionally we get “an answer from the Treasurer, and then we find that it is not fight. His ‘explanation has given rise to much confusion. Surely we are entitled to ask him whether his proposal will coverthe Senate’s request.
– My proposal is not exactlythe same as that made by the Senate. ‘ For instance, it does away with the limitation in respect of machines to.be used only in mines.
– We are all in favour of the scope of the Senate’s amendment being enlarged in that way; but is the Minister endeavouring to keep under a higher duty something which, if the . Senate’s request were adopted, would come under this lower duty?
– I cannot say that, because I do not think that the Senate’s proposalcould be carried out.
Mr.W. H. Irvine.- The difficulty is that the Senate’s request is ambiguous.
– It is, but there is a germ of good in it, and I do not wish to let it go.
– And the right honorable member wishes to catch meon the hop.
-Like myself, I do not think the Treasurer could ever be caught on the hop. I am anxious that the Senate’s request shallbe adopted, but if we agree to a proposed modification and the Senate thinks that it’s request has ‘been misunderstoodthat isthepolite way of saying that’ it has been”had”-
– My trouble is to prevent theright honorable member from having me.
– After that Ishall say no more.
– The question put to me by the honorable member for Laanecoorie isvery complicated. I shall merely say that I regard the amendment moved by the Treasurer as a modification of the amendment requested by the Senate, and that, being relevant, I hold that it is in order.
– The Senate requests that high-speed reciprocating engines, coupled with generators, shallbe admitted free of duty. The proposal made by the Minister is that high-speed reciprocating engines “. for direct coupling,” not” coupled,” shall be admitted free. The question is whether, if expressed in that way, the item wouldcover such engines coupled with generators.
– I understand the honorable member to ask whether these engines, if uncoupled, would be free, and, if coupled, would be dutiable?
– I have said that the Senate’s request is that these engines, if coupled with generators, shall be free, and now the Minister wishes to provide that engines for direct coupling with generators shall be admitted free.
– Does that not extend the operation of the requested amendment ?
– It certainly does in one direction, but it might have the effect of limiting it in, another.
– We might say. “for direct coupling or coupled.”
– I was going to suggest something of the kind. Would the Minister object to the use of the words . “ coupled or for direct coupling “? The amendment in that form would, I think, carry out the intention of the Senate.
– I have no objection to use the words referred to, but the officers of the Department tell me that they are not necessary.
– I hope that, in the circumstance’s, the Minister will use the words referred to, as we never know what interpretation may be put upon an item’ by the Department, It would be absurd to propose that these engines, if intended to be coupled with generators or dynamo-electric machines, should be free, and if actually coupled with such machinery should be dutiable. Underthe wording adopted by the Minister, some difficulty might arise through the interpretation which might be given to the item by the Customs Department, or through the view of the matter taken by a Court. I suggest that, to remove all uncertainty on the point, the Minister should use the words which have been referred to - “ coupled or for direct coupling. “
– I am of the opinion that the view which the Committee should takeof the proposal now made must depend on the attitude which the Minister will adopt in dealing with the Senate’s requests, No: 90 and 91; for the amendment of paragraphs a and b of item 177,electrical machines. In those requests, the Senate ask - that dynamo-electric machines up to the capacity of10-horse power shall bedutiable at 20 per cent., and if over the capacity of 10 horse-power shall be free, instead of being dutiable at 12½ per cent. If the Minister does not agree to those requests of the Senate, we should oppose this present proposal.
– The Minister has said that he is prepared to accept the amendment embodied in the Senate’s request, No. 90, with modifications.
– Then if we knew what modifications the honorable gentleman intended to propose, we should know better what we are asked to do now. We should not accept an amendment which would take an article out of the item at present before the Committee, in which it is dutiable at 5 per cent. and free, if under item. 177 it is to be made dutiable at 20 per cent. or 12½ per cent. The Minister proposes that high-speed reciprocating steam engines for connecting with electrical dynamos shall be free, whilst the dynamos are dealt with under item 177, and may be dutiable at 20. per cent. or 12½ per cent. We are somewhat in the dark as to what we should do until the Minister says what he proposes to do with respect to the Senate’s requests Nos. 90 and 91. In the circumstances ; that is, if the Senate’s arguments as mentioned are to be accepted, I am prepared to accept the proposal of the Minister in this case.
– I suggest that the words “ coupled with electric generators or pumps “ might be left out. Why should we dictate to people who wish to purchase these high-speed reciprocating engines that they must connect them with electric generators or pumps in order to have them admitted free of duty? Has not a man who runs any other kind of machine as good a right to select the class of engine he requires as one who wishes to operate a pump or a dynamo ?
– How could they be identified ?
– Why should they be identified? These engines’ are used for running saw-mills, for driving blowers and for working dynamos, arid the Minister now proposes to permit them to be used for working pumps.
– I have met honorable members very fairly, and they might let this go.
– I do not see why we should not allow peoplewho purchase these engines to decide for themselves the useto which they will put them. Why should we tell people that they should use a highspeed reciprocating engine to run a pump? Pumps, are worked by beam engines and without engines at all. They can be run by a belt, directly by steam, or by electricity. I believe that men who require to use these engines for any other purpose axe just as much entitled to obtain them free of duty as are those who require to use them for coupling with a pump or dynamo. I object to this Parliament telling a man who wants to pump water that he should use a certain class of engine if he wishes to escape the payment of duty. T am prepared, if necessary, to move that the words “coupled or for direct coupling with” be left out.
.- I direct the attention of the Committee to a significant recommendation in the Senate’s request: No. 94. . They -have requested the omission of paragraph g of item 177, electrical machines, “ Generators for direct coupling to steam turbines.” /Reading that request with the words in the requested amendment now under consideration, “ coupled with generators or dynamo electric machines,” I think we have a good indication of the intention of the Senate. The steam turbines referred to in the Senate’s request No. 94 are high-speed engines, and there may therefore be something in the contention that the Senate desired that these high-speed reciprocating engines should be dutiable at 5 per cent., and free, whether coupled with generators or dynamo electric machines or not. I feel sure that honorable members, while agreeing with the proposal of the honorable member for Fremantle to leave out the words “coupled with generators or dynamo electric machines,” in the requested amendment immediately under consideration, would not be disposed to accept the recommendation contained in the Senate’s request No. 94 to omit generators for direct coupling to steam turbines from item 177. I agree with the honorable member for Fremantle that the wording adopted by the Senate for the item now ‘ under consideration involves a limitation for which no sufficient reason has been advanced. As I ventured to represent in my first remarks in connexion with this request, these engines should be treated on their own merits,, and we should not impose a duty on them, since they cannot be made here at present because of the limited demand for them. I ask the Treasurer to compare item 160 with item 177, when he will see that, taken to gether, they have a significance as indicating the intention of the Senate.
.- We have a very difficult problem to solve, owing to the manner in which this suggested amendment has been submitted; but it is clear that all the Senate can achieve bythis request is the admission of high speed engines for a particular purpose, though I have my doubts as to whether that was all that was intended. In my opinion, the proposal of the Minister makes the matter much clearer, while it does not take away from the Committee the right to deal with ‘ the other matter when’ we come to the question of electrical appliances and. generators ; indeed, the proposal makes the item wider in relation to pumps. The question raised by the honorable member for North Sydney is whether or not the proposal before us will exempt engines already coupled, and not “ for coupling.”
– The words clearly do not exempt those engines, but leave them subject to the higher duty.
– I do not agree with that interpretation, because I think it is clear that the words “ high speed reciprocating steam engines for direct coupling with electric generators or pumps “ will exempt engines actually coupled to generators. 1 cannot understand why there ought to be any anxiety about making the meaning doubly clear; and that end could be achieved without altering the position one bit by the use of the words “ coupled or for direct coupling with.” I think the Minister might accept the suggestion.
– I have carefully studied the debates in the Senate on this item, and I can see no mention of any desire to place electrical machinery under the lower duty. It is not in order to quote the debates in another place, but I may say that a motion was proposed in a much more restricted form, than that sent down to us, and that motion was enlarged until it reached its present form. Any one listening to the discussion here during the last hour must be perfectly satisfied that there is some ambiguity about the definition ; and I think we should adopt the suggestion of the Treasurer, knowing that if it is disagreed with bv the Senate, we shall be asked to alter it. In reply to the honorable member for Kooyong, I express the hope that high speed engines generally will not be placed on the same
– Yes ; in some small sizes.
– But, as the demand grows, the size will increase. A great concession is given to the users of electrical machinery, and protectionists have gone as far as they are justified in going in this connexion.
– I propose to accept the suggestion, and insert the words “ for direct coupling or directly coupled to.”
Question - That the requested amendment be not made, but that the following modification be inserted : - “ High speed reciprocating steam engines for direct coupling to or directly coupled to electric generators or to pumps ‘ ‘ - resolved in the affirmative.
And on and after 28th November, 1907 -
Item 162. (a) Pulley Blocks and Travelling Blocks,- Pneumatic Elevators and Conveyors; Steam Turbo-Blowers; Telphers; Apparatus for Liquefaction of Gases; Patent Hoist used for underground mining, ad val. (General Tariff), 5 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), free.
Requests. - Leave out the word “ Pulley,” and insert “ Chain “ ; leave out the word “ Steam,” and insert “ High-pressure Blowers for smelting and”; leave out the words “Patent Hoist used for underground mining,” and insert “ Portable Hoists for underground use “ ; and make the item free.
Requested amendments, leaving out the word “ Pulley “ and inserting “ Chain,” and leaving out the word “ Steam,” with the modification that “ Rotary “ be inserted in lieu thereof, made.
Motion (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the remaining requested amendments in the wording of the item be made.
.- If we make “ portable hoists for underground use” free we shall practically include all such machinery used underground,- such as air winches.I strongly object to have all portable hoists admitted free ; and I should like to know from the Treasurer whether air winches are included?
– If air winches are portable hoists, they are included.
– The request of the Senate, if adopted, will make the item very much wider than was intended by this Committee originally. I think it was the honorable member for Kalgoorlie who caused the words “ patent “ to be included ; and there was a long discussion as to the advisability of including the name of the patentee.
– But the Senate has deleted the word, and made the item apply to all portable hoists for underground use. This I consider too wide, in view of the fact that portable hoists are made here to a very large extent. . In addition., there is the futility of trying to ‘ determine to what use a piece of machinery is to beput after it has passed through the Customs.
– That is constantly done.
– Any one with commercial experience must realize how impossible it is for importers to pass an entry of such a character.
– My contention is that the duty ought not to be governed by the use to which the article is put.
-It is hard cases that make bad laws. The exception was made in the first instance to assist the mining industry ; but it would not be right to make it a general rule, allowing all portable hoists to be imported at a very low rate of duty. I therefore move -
That the following modification be added, “but that the word’Patent’ be inserted before the word ‘Portable.’”
.- I protest against the Treasurer’s lightning changes. He accepted the Senate’s request, but a moment later, when there came a breath from behind, he changed his position. How shall we get through this gigantic task if there is to be no steady concentration of purpose on his part? Why should not all portable hoists be included in the item?
– Ordinary hoists can be made here. .
– Persons who are working underground might well be given a concession. However, if the honorable member for Kalgoorlie accepts the modification, I shall not object to it.
.- I was responsible for the insertion of “ patent “ hoists in this item, but I am willing that the modification moved by the honorable member for Laanecoorie shall be made, because I see that if the wording requested by the Senate were adopted, a Minister could give an interpretation to it sufficiently wide to admit of its application to all engines used underground for hoisting. It is well known that many of the Australian made winches are very serviceable, and their manufacture should getprotection.
The patent hoists referred to are notmade here, and are particularly useful.
– Cannot they be specified by name? The word “ patent “ will not definethem when the patentrights have expired.
– No doubt, those who send them herewill see that other patents are obtained. It is difficult to get any other definition, because it would be objectionable to mention any particular name. Mr. Salmon. - That objection was raised when the matter was discussed on aformer occasion. Mr… FRAZER. - Yes.
– What country would accept this free-trade Tariff ?
– During the last few days we have agreed to duties ranging from 25 to 125 per cent.
– The honorable member has voted for some of them.
– Not for duties of 125 per cent. My attitude in regard to the Tariff compares favorably with that of the honorable member.
– The honorable member has always studied his own electorate.
– I have endeavoured to deal fairly with all the industries of the Commonwealth, but I have objected to one industry being penalized and another exempted. It would be an injustice to impose a duty of 25 per cent. onmachines which cannot be made in. Australia.
Modification agreed to.
Requested ‘ amendment, as modified, leaving out the words “ Patent hoist used for underground mining “ and inserting the words “ Patent portable Hoists for underground use” made.
Requested amendment, making item 162, paragraph a free, not made.
Item 162. (a) Pulley Blocks, &c…..
Request. - Insert the following new paragraph : - “ (aa) Log Band Saws, with hand wheels 5 feet and over in diameter, free.”
– I move -
That the requested amendment be made, but that the words “on and after 13th December, 1907,” be inserted after the word “ free.”
Because of certain information received when the Tariff was being dealt with by this Committee before, I promised to allow the free introduction of log band saws of a certain size, and, on the 13th December last, pending the consideration of the item in the Senate, and our subsequent consideration of the Senate’s requests,’ an instruc tion was issued to the’ effect that duty should riot be charged on these saws. Consequently duty has not been charged on them sincethat date; but the modification which I have moved is necessary to legalize what has been done.
.- How did the mistake happen to be made which,’ against the actual law, enabled these goods to comein free on and after 13th December last?
– There was no mistake madein allowing them in free. ‘ It was done intentionally.
– I understood that when this request was moved in the Senate the intention was to include accessories.
-. - I was spoken to about that, but I could not agree to it. Where could we draw the line? It would be dangerous to include words of that kind.
– I am not goingtopress the’ matter, because I do not know myself how far the term “ accessories “ would go.
Motion agreed to.
Requested amendment, as modified, made.
Requested amendments in item 163 (Machinery and parts thereof), . item 165, paragraph a (Machines n.e.i.), and paragraph b (Machine Tools), made.
Item ‘170. (a) Manufactures of metal n.e.i., ad val. (General Tariff),’ 30 per cent., -and on and after 29th November, 1907, , 25 per “cent. ; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent., and on and after 29th November, 1907, 20 per cent.
Request. - Make the duties (General Tariff), 30 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent.
Motion, (by Sir William Lyne)’ proposed -
That the requested amendment be made.
– This is one of those cases in which the Minister is deliberately going back on his former decision in this Chamber.
– Put on the gloves.
– One does not understand the fibre of some of these prohibitive protectionists. Their creed seems, somehow, to have an effect on their ethical outlook! The honorable member can sit idly by and see the Minister deliberately propose one thing to-day and undo it tomorrow.
– The honorable member would not mind if the Senate had reduced the duty.
– The honorable member cannot find a similar case in the annals of this Parliament.. .
– The. honorable member said that the other night, but we ‘ carried the increased duty then,.
– Of course the Minister carried it, but that does not justify his conduct. If the Committee agrees to a thing, is that his final authority? In this case, the Minister, deliberately stated in this Chamber that he would accept duties of 25 and 20 per cent.
– Because I could not get more.
– The Minister did not say so.
– The honorable member may be sure that I thought it.
– He was not even asked to agree to it. . According to Hansard, page 6748, the proposal to reduce the duty was made by the honorable member for Wimmera.’ The Treasurer immediately afterwards rose and’ said -
I am willing to accept duties of 25 and 20 per cent.
– Because I could not get any more.
– The Minister made that concession voluntarily. No pressure was put upon him. The motion was simply moved/ and there was “no debate.
– I knew perfectly well what I could do when I made that statement.
– What has that to do with it ? Are the honorable member’s protectionist principles such that he , will get inside hirnself and outside himself on the same item for the sake of obtaining a higher duty ?
– The honorable member may depend upon it that I knew what I could do, and what most honorable members were going to do.
– It is. a disgraceful . thing to find, a Minister taking up that attitude in this Chamber, and then immediately advising his colleague in another place to take up another . attitude, and put the duty back again .
– All. supposition !
-Thereisno supposition about it. I wish it were merely a. supposititious case ; but here is the. hard cold fact, that the members of another placewere told to restore the original duties on this item, namely, 30 and 25per cent.
-By whom were they told?
– By the VicePresident of the Executive Council. The Minister was simply fooling this Committee and playing a despicable trick when he made that agreement.
The CHAIRMAN. The honorable member must withdraw that remark.
– Do you rule, sir, that it is out of order to say that the Minister played a despicable political trick ?
-Surely,. sir, that term has been ‘ used from time- immemorial without having been ruled out of order?.
– I ask. the honorable member to withdraw- the. words.
-Iwithdraw them, sir ; but I should like toknow how I am to characterize the Minister’s conduct. He made an agreement, and knew at the time that he did hot mean it to be a legitimate and honorable one - that he meant in another place to get behind what he did here.
– I did not mean anything of the kind, and I did not do so.
– The honorable gentleman has just practically admitted it.
– I have not.
– The honorable gentleman told us that he knew what he was doing, and why he was acting in that way.
– I said that I knew what I could do. here. I would not have agreed to the reduction if I could have got the original duties.
– If the honorable gentleman did agree to the reduction, why did he go straight away and ask his colleaguein the Senate to request an alteration ?
– I did not.
– The honorable gentleman’s colleague spoke on behalf of the Government.
– Yes; but I do not think that I was ever consulted.
– Am I to under stand from the honorable gentleman that his colleague had no right to do that?
-I am not going to say anything of the kind.
– I should think not. .
– When I accepted that proposal here, I had no intentionto do’ what the honorable member has ; accused me of doing.
– The honorable gentleman had no intention to do anything in the Senate?
– No. The honorable member has accused me of intending to take that course when. I accepted the compromise.
– In face of the honorable gentleman’s statement, what else could I do? He told us that he only agreed to the proposal because he could not do any better.
– I told the honorable member that the other night.
– Why is the honorable gentleman now asking the Committee to disagree with that to which he agreed ? Has > he any . idea that he can do any better now ? Has he canvassed the Committee to find out if he can?
– I should have liked all through to get the duties which I submitted to the Committee.
– What has that to do with the question ? When’ the honorable gentleman agrees to a thing here, either .he. means to stand to it or he does not. When he makes an agreement here, and his colleague immediately undoes it in the Senate, . we are justified in doubting his bona fides in making such a proposition here. If it had been wrung out of him after a long wrangle or debate I could understand his action. When the proposal was made bv the honorable member for Wimmera it was instantly accepted by the honorable gentleman, but his colleague in the Senate did not hesitate to undo his work here. That is conduct which I hope will not be repeated .in the history of responsible government. I venture to say that parliamentary history, no matter how far back one may go, will not disclose a similar case. I cannot help criticising it as disgraceful conduct on the part of the Treasurer to play a trick with the Committee in that way.
– Mr. Chairman, the honorable member for Parramatta has again used the word which you directed him to withdraw. We had an exhibition of his spleen last week, when he used almost the same words as he has used to-night. I then reminded him that he and his party had been trying in another place to reduce all the protective duties.
– Not’ where an arrangement had been come to.
-In every case where there was an. opportunity to reduce the duties, and so destroy the Tariff, they availed themselves of it.
– Do honorable members opposite think that we who want to secure a fair and honest protective Tariff are going to submit to have trickery played there? Do they expect us tb sit idly bv and not to accept a request which is merely designed to restore the original duties on this item?
– The honorable gentleman accepted the reduced duties.
– I accepted them under compulsion, and not because I wanted them. Does the right honorable gentleman think that because I did not press ‘ for a division I accepted the proposal ? No. I acted as I did, because I had ascertained from the comer what it was going to do.
– But there was no debate on the proposal.
– I had’ ascertained beforehand how most honorable members in the corner were going to vote. Of what use would it have been to delay the Committee for hours and hours ? Heaven knows we had had enough talk and delay. On some occasions if ,1 knew that I was go’.ng to lose a dirty I was very glad to let it go without calling for a division. But am I to be brought to task for doing anything of that kind whilst honorable members on) the other side have been trying to destroy the Tariff? I am pleased to be able to say that- they are finding that in Sydney, their beloved freetrade has gone by the board, and that some of them willi have a job to get reelected on that question. They realize that they are being shaken up. I am not going to be bound in! any case where I was compelled to agree to a reduction of the duties on an item.
– Then the honorable member is not to be bound by his word ?
– My word is not doubted by any one who appreciates honest intention. It is only doubted by those who measure other people by their own standard. In the case of this item I was very anxious to get the duty which I proposed, and it was only under compulsion and to save time that I did not press for a division. On more than one occasion a large number of protectionist members blamed me” for not forcing a proposed duty to a division. There are some honorable members sitting here now who blamed me because I did. not” stand by the Tariff as introduced on every occasion. It would have been only wasting time to do so if ‘ I knew that I was going to be beaten.
– This is what the honorable gentleman gets for being too easy
– Yes, I admit that I am very much more easy with honorable members opposite than I ought to be. When we are asked by the Senate to restore the Original duties on an item I think that I am quite justified in trying to obtain those duties if I possibly can.
.- Honorable members who are accustomed to the methods of the Treasurer will not be surprised at him seeking to cover up his tracks in an avalanche of bluff. He has not touched the subject at- issue. He made a definite arrangement, and he tries to excuse himself for going back upon it by saying that at the time it was made he did not intend to go back upon it. He is in the position of the man who said that he would be virtuous if he were not tempted. He has been tempted, and has fallen, and now he is trying to cover up his tracks in an avalanche of bluff.
– The honorable member was away when this was done.
– Fortunately, I have Hansard as an impartial critic of the Treasurer’s actions.
– Why repeat what has been so, well said by the deputy leader of the Opposition? The honorable member will never be able to say it as well.
– I am not suggesting that the honorable member himself cannot say it infinitely better than I can and at much greater length. I wish to point out that the Treasurer has not excused himself-
– He has no need to do so to honorable members upon the other side of the Chamber.
– When we refused to admit ‘.’ blowers, n.e.i.,’ ‘ free, I had some doubt as to whether they could be produced in the Commonwealth. Now, however, I have abundant proof that “blowers, n.e.i.,” can be produced here even if they take the form of Ministers of the Crown.
._I have no hesitation in saying that the Treasurer has deliberately gone back upon the com-. promise which was arrived at in this Chamber when this item was previously under consideration. As a matter of fact, quite a number of duties were agreed to at 5 per cent, and 10 per cent, higher than would have been the case, but for the action of the Treasurer and the Government Whip in going around the House and arranging compromises. Honorable members who were present when the 1902 Tariff was- under consideration cannot fail to be struck by the contrast between the action of the Treasurer, who is in- charge of this Tariff, and the conduct of Sir George Turner and the right honorable member for Adelaide, who had charge of the old Tariff, and who hon.orably respected the arrangements arrived at in Committee. For the Treasurer to go back upon compromises made in this Chamber when the Tariff was formerly under consideration here is not creditable to him. When I noticed that his colleague in another place was time after time deliberately moving to restore the duties originally proposed in this House I was astonished. There is not the slightest doubt that in respect of this particular item a compromise was arrived at. If we had’ a Minister in . charge of the Tariff like the right honorable’ member for Adelaide or Sir George Turner, every one of these compromises would have been loyally observed. But it seems to me that in order to obtain increased duties the Treasurer will stop at nothing. Have we not seen Ministers endeavouring to’ pull honorable members across the Chamber in order to gain their support ? Is there any dignity attaching to such a proceeding ? From the very first it seemed to me that the Treasurer was prepared ‘to grasp anything - that he was willing to put aside all his honorable undertakings - in order to obtain increased duties. I should not have risen but for the position which he has taken up.. Simply because an attack has been made by honorable members upon the other side of the House he says that no arrangement was arrived at in respect of this item. I say deliberately that a compromise was arranged and that it is his duty - seeing that the request of the Senate would violate that compromise - to reject it. I shall support the original arrangement arrived at in this Chamber.
,- In - spite of the very acute differences that exist in this Chamber as to the wisdom of imposing high or low duties, I think that an effort should be made to adhere to arrangements arrived at when the Tariff was previously under consideration.
– Why did not the Opposition adhere to arrangements arrived at?
– We did so in every case.
– I understand that ‘ the leader ‘of the Opposition in the Senate invariably respected the arrangements made in this Chamber. In departing from the compromise arrived at on the item under consideration the Treasurer has taken a very unhappy course. That compromise was not one which was forced upon him. The official record shows that the honorable gentleman is under a strange delusion in reference to this matter, because the arrangement was first’ suggested- by the honorable member for “ Wimmera, who holds the same fiscal faith as do the Government. It was not pressed by the honorable member in any extreme way, and the Treasurer himself,’ without any pressure and without debate-
– Was not there, pressure? ‘
– I do not know -what underground pressure may- have been brought to bear. I am’ ‘simply judging the position bv the official record, which shows that after sortie trivial amendment had been .carried the Treasurer made a voluntary statement
– There is no mention of “voluntary statement” in the official report. “ It was not a voluntary statement..
– Surely the Treasurer does not make an involuntary statement ‘. He is not in a gaol.
– The right honorable member should quote Hansard, and not use his own’ words. ‘
– I shall be most happy to do so. The Hansard report reads -
– I am willing to accept duties of 25 and 20 per cent.
That statement was not made, as the result of dictation or undue pressure..
– Was it not ?
– I thought at the time that it was a very happy arrangement all round.
– The Hansard report betrays no sign of any. controversy in regard to it. When the Treasurer representing the Government makes a statement of that sort in a deliberative assembly- when he says- that he is willing to accept duties of -25 and 20 per cent., he: is speaking . not merely for himself but- for the whole of the Ministry.
– That was weeks ago.
– But surely a code of honour is hot varied in a- given number of weeks. The statement of the Treasurer applied to ‘ this Tariff. That statement I ami willing to accept. It did not mean, “ I am willing te- accept the arrangement on Monday, and go behind it on Tuesday.” That is not the way in which Ministerial statements are to be read. .1 do not for a moment suggest that the” Treasurer went to Ministers in the Senate, and asked ,them to make this alteration. I do not suggest that at all. But I do say that the Treasurer should have instructed, his colleagues in the Senate to honour an arrangement made by the Government in this chamber. There is no .sort of solidity or sanctity in any arrangement made if; this chamber if it is to be ignored and varied, and the” Minister himself is to get up here and act in direct contradiction to his own compact.
– I did not do anything of the kind ; and no one knows that better than . the right honorable member himself does.
– I hope I am not speaking with any undue heat. Did the Treasurer have a stormy passage’ over from Tasmania this morning ? I do not wish to import any heat into this debate at all. I’ know why the .Treasurer is indignant. His own con: science is tearing at him. That is what is making him ‘so- miserable. He feels that he -is. not acting up to the high standard that . invariably actuates him - on rare occasions. . He feels annoyed with himself ; he feels disgusted with himself ; and I think that he might even now . repent and come back to his original understanding honorably made in this chamber. Whilst We ought to receive suggestions from the Senate, and’ accept them when we think they are right- ‘
– That is, w’hen they run-‘ ‘ in the right honorable member’s own way.
– Why should we accept them in any other “way?, I never saw the honorable member willing to ‘accept anything that he did not like unless it was forced upon him. I do not say that we should not regard the ‘suggestions of’ the Senate ; I do not take that ground at all. But what’ I do say is, that if we are to have any sort -of coherence in our relations in carrying on business in connexion with this Tariff, when we come to an understanding we ought to1 act up to it.
– It would have been quite a different matter if the increased duty had been forced on the Government in the Senate.
Mr.REID.- Oh, quite.
– The right honorable member is always engineering to get things done.
– It is really a pity, I think, apart from this matter altogether, that the Government, as represented by the Treasurer, should come to an arrangement in this chamber, and that his colleagues somewhere else should set to work to vary that understanding. The Treasurer, perhaps, was not responsible for that personally, but he makes himself directly responsible for that act of his colleagues in now doing the very tiling that Ministers did in the other chamber. The Minister might say : ‘ ‘ My colleague, acting on his’ own discretion in the Senate, made this proposal. I was not told of it, and did not tell him what our arrangement here was, but now I will keep faith with this Chamber, and stand by the arrangement made here.” That would be a propercourse to take. I do not ‘ want to import any heat into this matter at all, but if understandings are arrived at, they should bind both sides ; and in this case the Treasurer must admit that he did volunteer an agreement.
– I did not,
– What does this mean -
– I am willing to accept duties of 25 and 20 per cent.
What can be plainer than that? It was a compromise, and it terminated the debate.
– The right honorable member was working to knock duties down at any price.
– In view of our attitude on the Tariff, we naturally took up that position. The Treasurer cannot blame us for that.
– For what?
– For reducing duties all we could.
– Honorable members opposite tried all they could to knock duties down.
– Was it not our business to do so?
– Is it not our business to keep duties up ?
– Of course; but when you say, “We are willing to accept 25 and 20,” and when we trust the Government on that assurance, accept the arrangement, and bring the debate to a conclusion, I say that the Government are bound by it. Whatever our fiscal views are, it is a matter of agreement then, not a matter of fiscal policy. There should not be any jesuitical reservation about an honorable agreement. The Government should not append, as a sort of postscript, “ We are agreeing to this thing with the intention of throwing it over if we get a show some other time.” Because if the Treasurer had said, this arrangement having been made, “Do not believe me; do not rely upon my word; I am going to break my promise at the earliest opportunity,” even my honorable friends in the Ministerial corner would have gone for a Royal Commission at once to inquire into the actions of the Government. If the Treasurer had said, “I will not agree to duties of 25 and 20 per cent., and if you carry them we will go out of office “- no, I do not mean that, but, “ We will adjourn the House for a week and bring the Governor-General down from Mount Kosciusco “ ; if he had said that, the position would be different. Ministers might have taken up that attitude. But when the Treasurer says, “I” - Sir William Lyne, the man who never was doubted in the lightest word he said - “ am willing to accept duties of . 25 and 20 per cent.,” I have a right to ask Sir William Lyne to honour his own bond, and perform his own agreement in the presence of the men with whom he made it. That is a simple appeal. I make that appeal in regard to the action of an honorable member, as to whom there has never been even ‘ the slightest suspicion of a failure to perform an honorable obligation.
.- I hope that the Committee will agree to the request made by the Senate in this case.
– Surely the honorable member does not excuse the attitude of the Government ?
– I am very anxious to be strictly relevant to the question. We have had a little experience of the way in which these duties have operated since the matter was last before us. It is only by experience that we can thoroughly anil fairly gauge the effect of a Tariff. “When we first dealt with the Commonwealth Tariff in 1902, a great deal of what we did was necessarily guess work. But in constructing the present Tariff, we have to be guided by the experience gained in the meantime. We have also the experience of nearly twelve months under the new Tariff. We are therefore able to see how the duties on this particular item are affecting those whom we desire to assist.
– The honorable member knows that people are never satisfied, and never have been since the creation of the world.
– I can assure the leader of the Opposition, with regard to this item, which is one of the most important in the whole Tariff, that there are strong complaints from a number of industries which have’ not received the assistance to which they are entitled. “ Manufactures of Metals “ is an item which affects a large number of industries. In other cases we have been dealing with one industry at a time. Under this heading, we are compelled to deal with a large and important group of industries. There is first the bedstead manufacturing industry. It is not a Victorian industry only. In the mother State of New South Wales it is assuming very large proportions, and is gradually capturing the trade of the continent. Then there is the fireproof safemaking industry, and the sheet metal industry, which employs an enormous number of men in its various branches. The tinware trade also employs a large- number. I point out that in Victoria, under our Wages Board system, for certain classes of tinware, the employes are actually receiving more in wages than the imported article costs. I would specially appeal to honorable members in the Opposition corner to remember that under the Wages Board system in operation in Victoria men are paid more for making tinware, and a number of other manufactures of metal, extending over a very wide range,, than is actually charged for such articles when imported.
– And does the consumer obtain the locally-made articles at a lower price than is charged for those which are imported?
– Not those particular articles, but other goods manufactured in the same works are being sold here at very much lower rates than would prevail if the importer had a monopoly. This item covers also malleable iron castings, acetylene gas generators, oven ranges and stoves, bath heaters, and zinc and metal ceilings. The zinc and metal-ceiling industry is doing, remarkably well in New South Wales.
– And in Victoria.
– That is so. Wunderlich’s have a branch in Victoria.
– Wunderlich’s are doing very well under the Tariff as it stands.
– But has the honorable member any idea of the competition to which they are at present being subjected ?
– They are making all their own ceilings in Australia under the present Tariff.
– But they are subjected to competition from abroad.
– -Does the hon>orable member wish to abolish all competition ?
– No; but I am assured that the additional duty of 5 per cent, requested by the Senate would just give the metal-ceiling trade in Australia the advantage which it should have over- its competitors from abroad.
– Wunderlich’s under lower duties’ have been making zinc and metal ceilings for years.
– But the honorable member will admit that the competition which the industry in Australia has to face just now is stronger than it has ever been.
– If .the zinc and metal-ceiling makers here’ could carry on under low duties, when the industry was only a small one, surely now that its operations have been extended, and the- old duties have been increased, it should be able to do very well under the Tariff as it stands.
– So long as the importer keeps up prices, the local ‘ manufacturer working on a small scale is able to make a living, but as ‘soon as he is squeezed by the importer resorting to dumping, the posi-. tion is different. The japanning and galvanizing trade, and many others, are also covered by trie item relating to manu- “factures of metal. All these industries are worth cultivating. We desire to have our own iron and steel .industries, and surely we ought to be prepared to assist those who invest their capital in enterprises with the object of supplying Australia with all that she requires in respect of these manufactures ?
– The honorable member referred just now to the manufacture of bath heaters. Is he aware that the manufacturer in New South Wales is content with the present duty?
– I am glad to hear it.
– The manufacturers there are not content with the present duty.
– I am speaking of Hannam.
– I did not desire the honorable member to mention the name of any manufacturer. -I -do not know ‘that any manufacturer would care to have his name canvassed in this way, but I -should* be glad, if it were constitutional to apply the present, duties to those who are satisfied with them, and to give the rest of those engaged in the trade the benefit of increased duties.
– The manufacaturer named was for years making bath heaters without the assistance of a duty.
– My desire is to consider not what any individual is doing, but whether the industry generally is extending and how the people are being served.
– And employed1.
– And especially to consider how those engaged in the industry are being treated by their employers. I urge honorable members to be guided by our experience and to agree to the request made bv the Senate.
.- The Treasurer has been subjected to a fairly severe roasting, and it is not my duty .to apply any glycerine. Honorable members of the Opposition appear to be troubled because some compromise made when this item was originally under consideration in this House has been disregarded. If a robust fight had been made against the attempt of the Senate to increase taxation I should have been glad to take part in it, and to have assisted in roasting not only the Treasurer but the Ministry for permitting the Senate to usurp powers of taxation. I should like to see the -leaders of the different parties in this House put up a strong fight on that question. On less important matters an appeal has been made to the country by States Governments.
– But under the Commonwealth Constitution the Senate has an undoubted right to make any request that it pleases. It does .not make an amendment ; it simply requests us to make it.
– It was only as the result of a compromise that the Convention agreed to the insertion in the Constitution of the provision that the Senate should have the power to make requests. We ought to be careful to reserve to this House the power to impose taxation, and the time will come when the Government of the day. will have to take up a strong stand on that question. Coming to the requested amendment I do nor hesitate to say that if other industries had been refused similar increases I should probably have been found voting against this request. Requested increases of duties relating to “the manufacture of blankets, hats, caps and other branches of .the textile industry have been agreed to, but a request that a duty relating to what I have described as the black trades - the engineering and iron foundry trades - is singled out for different treatment. There’ are thousands of persons engaged in industries to which this item relates, as against dozens employed in industries which at the suggestion of the Senate were granted special treatment yesterday. Industries which have received this special treatment have been for the most part peculiar to the southern States. This item, however, relates to an industry in which New South Wales is interested. I recognise that it is not statesmanlike to dead with questions of this kind from a provincial stand-point; but I have seen honorable members over and over again supporting a proposal because it was advantageous to an industry in their own electorate or State, and I have come to the conclusion that in the circumstances I ought to do the same. This item has an important bearing on men engaged in various manufacturing industries in the State of which I am a representative, who certainly ought to be granted the assistance of the additional 5 per cent, duty proposed. Manufactures of metal include stoves, safes, grates, and1 other articles which are essentially the work of the moulder, for whom no one has yet had a word to say.’ I should expect protectionists to be prepared to extend the most favorable treatment to the moulding industry.
M.r. Joseph Cook. - Twenty-five per cent, is a substantial duty.
– I was ‘satisfied with the proposed duties of 25 and 20 per cent., as the Tariff left this Chamber.,’ but since that time a good deal of water has passed, under the bridge,’ and when, at the request of the Senate, .the Committee has agreed to increase the duties proposed for the protection of those engaged in - other industries, I am not prepared to sit here like an innocent Willy, and refuse to do anything to assist the foundry industry. When I find honorable members prepared to vote for ad valorem duties as high as 120’ per cent, for the protection of hat and cap manufacturers, I am not going to baulk at such a hurdle’ as an increase of 5 per. cent, for the protection of an industry in which many of my constituents are employed. With the Treasurer’s observance of a compact in the matter, I am not concerned. The honorable gentleman’s sins in that respect -must be on his own head. The proposal now made is one which affects people employed in industries carried .on in my electorate, and I am prepared to take advantage of it. I admit that two years ago on the election platform I made use ‘Of an- ugly expression, and said that if there were any loot to be had I would see that my constituents got their share of it, and I asked them to give me a free hand in these matters in view of my past experience of the way they i were treated. I have less objection to increased duties to-day than- I had three1 or four years ago in view of the introduction of the policy of the new protection. This is a new star which has arisen in the Commonwealth firmament.
– It is many millions of miles away yet.
– I hope it will be an Australian star of the first magnitude.’ If it is effective, it will certainly overcome many of the objections that I, in common withothers, have to a protectionist . policy. 1 always looked upon protection as intended *o tax the many for the benefit of the few. If I’ thought that by supporting the proposal to increase these duties by 5 per cent. I should be assisting to take money from the pockets of people who require to purchase stoves, grates, fire heaters, and such articles i’i order to put it into the pockets of the owners , of factories, I should not support it: . But if, under the policy of new protection, the workers in the factories are to benefit by the increased duties in the payment of - higher wages, and the improvement of the conditions under which they are asked to work, a . very great deal of my objection to the imposition of a protective duty will have been met.
– The honorable member should come over to this side.
– If I did, I should not be a free man at all.
– The honorable member is getting a few black looks from the other side to-night.
– Not at all. I do not care what the honorable member says ; he is a real good man.
– I return the honorable gentleman’s compliments by saying that I am glad that he is supporting the principle of new protection.
– I was one of the first to champion it. It is one of the best ideas ever- mentioned.
– The honorable gentleman’s attitude towards that policy only shows that my leader for so many years is’ the same “Progressive George!’ that he was many years ago.
– I would prefer to see the workers”, rather than the . manufacturers benefited by a ,protective duty.
Mr.- WILKS. - I mean no disrespect to the right honorable gentleman in speaking of him in the way I have done, because, in my opinion, it is a compliment to a public man to be known as I say the honorable gentleman has been known. Throughout the consideration of the Tariff I have fought to secure the imposition of the lowest possible .duties on the necessaries of life, but, finding that increased duties have been proposed time after time for the assistance of other industries, I am. prepared to avail myself of this opportunity to .afford the foundry workers some increased assistance.. I should like, at the same time, to say that if in connexion with this, request we were asked to decide whether this House . or the Senate should rule in such matters, I should consider an additional 5 per cent, for the benefit even of foundry workers to be too great a price to .pay for admitting the right of the Senate to increase the burdens of taxation. In my opinion, it is monstrous to contend that the representatives of South Australia, Western Australia, ‘ and Tasmania should have the same power in regard to taxation as the representatives of Victoria and’ New South Wales. As we have already’ accepted amendments involving increases of duty at the request of the Senate, I intend to support the Minister in- accepting the. Senate’s requested amendment in this item.
– I should like ‘to remind -the honorable member for Dalley that,, although at the present time the three’ States to which he has referred may not have a population equal to the population of Victoria and New South Wales, their potentialities are such that it is impossible for any one to say whether in. the future’ they will’ not have teeming millions of population in excess of the population of Victoria and New South Wales. Judging by the death rate, Queensland possesses the finest climate of any of the. States, and we may look forward to a time when the population of that State will exceed the population of New South Wales or of Victoria. I intend to vote for the amendment requested by the Senate.
– In spite of the compact ?
– The words “compact “ and “ compromise “ appear to be the only words which honorable members opposite can utter. We have heard of nothing but compromise from the shriek of the honorable member for Parramatta to the dulcet Oxford accents of the honorable member for Wentworth. “Compromise” is nothing but ‘the sacrifice of principle, and I am sick of hearing the word. The friends of honorable members opposite, in the Senate, did all they could to reduce duties. Where they were successful in carrying requests for reductions of duties, we heard no howling of the word “ compromise,” and no shrieking of the word by the honorable member for Parramatta in tones so bitter that one might think the honorable member had been . sucking a Seville orange. This conduct on the part of the acting leader of the Opposition is. getting very sickening; and it would be well if he followed the splendid example of his leader in the way of genial courtesy. In another place, Senator Neild moved that the duty in the first column should be reduced to 20 per cent.
– I must ask the honorable member not to discuss what was done in the Senate.
– At any rate, it was there moved that the duty should be made still lower ; and had the free-trade senators, who voted to a man, been able to carry the motion, the request would have been for lower duties. ‘ The Government cannotalways get what they desire ; and if, in reaching for the stars, they grasp the moon, they are not to be blamed. I take it that the Minister representing the Government in the Senate accepted what he was able to get. I have just had put into my hands the following definition : “ Compromise is the makeshift of wrigglers who frequently change their views.”
– -The honorable member did not say that last night in relation to piece goods !
– The honorable member for Lang is, in my opinion, the only real free-trader in the House ; and I believe that, if he had his way, he would not collect one single penny of revenue through the Customs. Then there are protectionists, towards whom I have some leaning, who also have no desire to collect revenue at the Customs; and I contend that where manufacturers are not able to produce goods without a heavy duty, and- the manufacture of those goods could be carried on by the State, there should be absolute prohibition. The question then arises how weare to obtain revenue; and there is no way except by direct taxation. Does the honorable member for Lang agree in that view.? The
Senate has the right, under the Constitution, to make any suggestions it likes; and I am sure the honorable member for Dalley will agree with his leader, who so pleasantly corrected him-
– My leader admitted that this was only a compromise.
– But the leader of the Opposition may make a mistake; and in his experience of legal and political life, he must have regarded some compromises with contempt. The question is really one of the interests of the workers ; and the honorable member for Dalley alluded to moulders and ironworkers generally, who, in my opinion, have hardly been dealt with fairly in the matter of factory legislation. We all know that when Solomon was going to give a prize to the calling which had done most good, and, when he drew aside the curtain of his throne, he found there an iron worker. When he asked the iron worker why he had taken that place, the latter replied, “ Do I not make tools for the worker to reap the . harvest and build houses and temples? “ Then Solomon, in his wisdom, gave the iron worker the pride of place; and certainly those connected with the iron industry follow the hardest, and, perhaps, one of the most unhealthy of callings. I am sorry that the Senate has increased these duties by 5 per cent. instead of by. 20 per cent. Compromise is merely sacrifice of principle, and if there is one party which has tried to avoid compromises it is that to which I belong.
– This is . merely a matter of keeping one’s agreement.
– The volubility of the honorable member is known. His speeches fill many columns of Hansard; but he cannot convince me that these duties should not be increased.
.- The argument of the leader of the Opposition seemed to me sophistical. It was that of the professional pleader.. He seemed to seek to take advantage of the situation. But no matter how syren-like his speeches may be, the Committee is not to be. deceived into believing that the Minister has broken a pledge. I do not share the antipathy of the honorable member for Melbourne tocompromises; but they should be resorted to only when neither of two contending parties can get what it wants. That was the position in regard to this item. The Minister did not renounce the intention to get the duties increased later on, if that should be possible.
He had to compromise at the time, for fear of getting still lower duties. But in making’ such a compromise, a man cannot be justly accused of abandoning his principles, nor is it right to say that he must forego all future opportunities to gain his ends. The charge made by the leader of the Opposition against the Treasurer was not just. In any case, what was done by the Minister does npt bind the Committee. The Committee would not be bound even had the Minister promised the leader of the Opposition to make no future attempt to increase the duties.
– But the Minister would be bound.
– The Minister cannot refuse to submit to the Committee the requests of the Senate.
– The increase requested by the Senate was moved for by a Minister.
– It is immaterial who moved for it ; what we are concerned with is that the request was agreed to by a majority of senators, and that it is for us to say whether the requested amendments shall or shall not be made. In my opinion, the duties should be raised. I have all along opposed duties which were ostensibly’ only revenue producing.
-. - The honorable member has voted for many such duties.
– I shall always vote for duties which I think likely to be mainly protective in their incidence ; but I have - never voted for duties which I thought likely to be merely revenue producing. Any duty is likely at first to produce some revenue, but when a duty is protective, that result is only ‘ temporary Seeing that Australia offers such a large field for the manufacture of metals, there is every justification for increasing these duties. Owing to the better market provided, Local competition has already become keener, and this _ has regulated prices. I have sufficient belief in democracy to think that the people will always see that they are not unjustly charged, and the Legislature can better prevent impositions on the part of local manufacturers than it can control the operations of manufacturers abroad. I am prepared to give every encouragement to industries which have a fair prospect of thriving here, more especially, as the Minister is pledged to give the Parliament the right to’ control conditions for manufacture, even if it should. be necessary to seek an - amendment of the Constitution to secure that right. If that promise is not kept,’ I shall be the implacable enemy of the Government ; but I hope that it will be kept. The Senate’s request will have my support.
.- The attack which has been made on the Treasurer is most unfair. He has compromised on more than one occasion.
– On this occasion he did not try to carry the original proposals of the Government.
– He knew that the numbers were against him.
– There was no debate.
– If honorable members opposite have the numbers now, they can prevent the proposed increase being made.
– Then let us get to a vote.
– The honorable member said what he had to say, and I shall do the same. Under the 1902 Tariff the duty was only 20 per cent., which was the rate against importations from Great Britain in this Tariff as it went’ to the Senate. That body has requested an increase of 5 per cent, on the rates to which we agreed. That is not a large -increase. I am” given to understand that last year something like ^10,000 worth of gas stoves were imported. Every one of those stoves could be made here.
– Does the honorable member want to stop competition altogether?
– No; but we want to have the competition inside where we can regulate it.
– The Federal Parliament cannot regulate internal competition.
– I understood the right honorable member to say only yesterday that he was in favour of the new protection. .
– Certainly, but I am speaking of things as they are:
– We are legislating, not for things as they are, but for things as we expect them to be in the future. The right honorable member knows that the new protection does not apply to-day, but he says he intends to see that it applies in the future. If we are to make these articles we must have sufficient protection. Honorable members opposite say that 10 or 15 per cent, is only a revenue duty, and have challenged honorable members on this side for voting for such duties. They have asked us whether 10 or 15 per cent, is protection. We say it is not protection.
– Which honorable member on this side said it?
– The honorable member for Lang has done so on more than one occasion.
– The honorable member cannot find in Hansard a single instance of where I said such a thing.
– The honorable member has asserted on more than one occasion that 10 per cent, is not a protective “duty.
– I never said anything of the kind, either here or anywhere else. I challenge the honorable member to produce a single instance of where I did say it.
– Does the honorable member think that 10 per cent, is a protective duty ?
– The honorable member stated that I said it.
– I must ask the honorable member for Lang to cease his continuous interjections.
– Am I to sit quiet under these continuous accusations ?
-The honorable member will be quite in order in rising and replying to the honorable member afterwards. He is not in order in interjecting across the chamber.
– I have no desire to do the honorable member for Lang an injustice, and if I misquoted him I. withdraw the statement I made. I do not consider 20 per cent, or even 25 per cent, a’ high enough protection, but I shall vote for 25 per cent, because I cannot get more. Honorable members on the other side are not prepared to protect the. industries in their own States, but I am ready to give a vote to assist the struggling industries of New South Wales.
– There are no strangled industries there. .They have always been flourishing under free-trade.
– That is why the honorable member for Nepean took us to Lithgow to see the iron works. Is the honorable member going to vote to stimulate the iron works of New South Wales?
– Has the honorable member a sample ?
– It is an impossibility for the honorable member to proceed with his speech if this continuous noise goes on. I again appeal to the Committee” to assist me in maintaining order.
– I desire your ruling, Mr. Chairman, as to whether it is in order for an honorable member when speaking to con tinually invite interjections by asking honorable members to express their opinion in answer to direct questions put by himself ?
– The honorable member for Batman is in order in the course he is pursuing. It is not in order for honorable members to reply by interjection.
– I expect honorable members opposite to reply to the questions I have asked when I sit down. I hope the Committee will agree to the proposed duties of 30 and 25 per cent., which are absolutely necessary if these various industries are to be established and to pay a wage sufficient for people to live on. I trust the small increase of 5 per cent, asked for will be adopted.
– W.e have heard a good deal about compromises, but are they to be made only between members of this House, or are we to make some of them with another place? I understand, that before we get the Tariff through we shall have to come to some compromises with that body. The Minister has already compromised to a considerable extent. If he and his supporters accept so many requests without question, it is only fair that another place should give way to us on some other items. I want as high a duty on these manufactures of metal as I can get, and I agree with the honorable member for Batman that even this duty suggested by the Senate will not give all the protection that the industry warrants. It has a great many ramifications and will afford employment in a thousand directions to all classes of tradesmen.
– What about the consumer who has to use stoves?
– The honorable member is terribly concerned about the poor consumer. The honorable member for Nepean interjected’ previously that he was ready to give a bounty on iron. We are dealing now, not with the production of the raw iron, but with its conversion into the manufactured article. Will the honorable member be prepared to give a bounty on the manufactured article?
– We propose a bounty so. that these people will not have to pay any “ extra duty on their raw material.
– But’ the honorable member will have to give a bounty to the users of iron to induce them to use Lithgow instead of imported iron. I desire to see encouragement given “to our manufacturers from the production of the iron to the manufactured article. If it is a good thing, as
– It is only one sentence that I wish to utter, and it is called forth by a statement made on the other side. I distinctly, and I think advisedly, refrained from making any reference to the so-called compromise which was made here when this item was last under consideration.
– That is a very long sentence.
– I ask honorable members not to be impatient. It has been stated over and over again by honorable members on the other side thattheleader of their party in another place honorably observed the so-called compactor compromise. They must or should have known that when the item was dealt with there a requestWas moved ‘ by” a”’ prominent member of their party to reducethe duty.
– The leader of the Opposition tried to do all the damage that he could.
– The leader of the Opposition voted with him.
– In connexion with what?
– In connexion with a proposed reduction of the. duty to 20 percent.
– I must accept the evidence of my own eyes. I believe that honorable members on the other side spoke in ignorance of the facts. I do not think that they attempted to wilfully mislead the Committee.
– If the leader of the Opposition did that, he could not have known of the arrangement which was made. I am sure that he would not do it deliberately.
– Here is my authority for correcting the statements of honorable members opposite, and if they can show me that it is wrong, I shall be very glad to accept their disproof.
– The honorable member for Laanecoorie has, I regret to say, stated a fact in such a way as to mislead the Committee. He has referred to the statement in Hansard as if the leader of the Opposition had first proposed tomake this reduction.
– I did not say so. Who., is misleading the Committee ?
– Who made the first proposal in the Senate-a member of the Opposition or the leader of the Government ? ‘
– Order ! Honorable members will see that if. I allow this discussion ofwhat took place in the Senate to continue, there can be no finality. I am afraid that I was rather lax in allowing the honorable member for Parramatta to make the statement originally. Ithas been replied to, and Ithinkit is only fair that this discussion should now be. dropped.
– The honorable member has challenged the statement which Imade here.
– I think I was rather lax in allowing the: honorable gentleman to go’ so far as I did when’ he made his original statement ; but it is onlyright that I should prevent this discussion from proceeding any farther.
– Perhaps, sir, you will permit me to say that my statement still stands intact, that in no instance did the leader of the Opposition elsewhere propose a departure from any compromise which had been arrived at here.
– I never said that he did.
– Then it’ is all right.
– I only said that he voted for it.
– Of course, he voted for the proposal after he had been put in such a position that he was compelled to vote for it by the Government
– The honorable member may well laugh in his sleeve.
– The honorable gentleman is resorting to his usual bluff. It would take a great deal of bluff to cover up his position. ‘ There has never been a more disgraceful exhibition than he has given to this Committee in connexion with this item. The honorable member for Laanecoorie had better study the report of the proceedings elsewhere a little more before he brings up the matter again in this Chamber.
Question-That the requested amendment, making the duties on item 170, paragraph a, “ Manufactures of Metals n.e.i,” (General Tariff)., 30 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 25 per cent.be made - put.
The Committee divided.
Majority … … . 4
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Requested amendment made.
Motion (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the House do now adjourn.
.- I do not know whether I should be inorder in referring atthis stage to a question that arose in Committee in regard to pair- ing “ in order that I might make something in the nature of a personal explanation-
– And a protest.
– And a protest.
– If the honorable member desires to make a’ personal explanation he is at libertyto do so.
– I think that my remarks would be more in the nature of a protest.
– I could not allow that, because the proceedings in Committee have not yet been reported to the House.
– I presume that I shall be at liberty to make a protest in Committee to-morrow?
– In Committee the Chairman will give his ruling and if he rules in favour of the honorable member, he will then be able to do what he desires.
House adjourned at10.56 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 29 April 1908, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1908/19080429_reps_3_45/>.