3rd Parliament · 2nd Session
Mr. Speaker took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I have here a copy of the Gloucester Advocate, a newspaper circulating in the northern portion of the Hunter electorate. It contains a long leader, objecting to the proposed legislation in regard to the importation of proprietary medicines and foods, and concludes with the following paragraph -
We hope that during the Federal recess the Minister will find time to recast the proposed amendment of the Commerce Act on the lines indicated above. Legislation is required to protect the public and, the honest trader, and it may be done without harassing manufacturers or restricting trade.
I desire to call the attention of the Prime Minister to the fact that there is apparently organized effort on the part of persons interested in proprietary medicines and foods to interfere with . Commonwealth legislation by influencing public opinion through the publication of articles of this kind in the country press. The possibility of such action was pointed out in Mr. Beale’s report.
– Representatives of certain English proprietary companies manufacturing medicines waited on the Government some months ago, but I was not aware that concerted action was now being taken in the press.
– Articles of this kind are being published throughout Australia.
– I am obliged to the honorable member for calling attention to the matter.
– Following up the question put by the honorable member for Hunter, I should like to ask the Prime Minister whether he will take steps to have passed this session a Bill providing that patent medicines imported into the Com monwealth shall have their formula disclosed on the labels or boxes ? Such legislation has been promised again and again by the Ministry.
-The measure is one with which we are anxious to deal, and if the opportunity offers we shall be glad to take advantage of it. I cannot, however, give any strong undertaking in this regard unless the House is in a mood to remain in session longer than honorable members have anticipated in order to dispose of that measure, as well as of two or three others of no great length, but to which a good deal of importance may be attached.
-As the PostmasterGeneral well knows, the Newcastle telephone switchboard is absolutely worn out, and the telephone service of the town is consequently in a chaotic state. Will he inform me when the new board, which has been so long promised, will be installed?
– A new board has been ordered, and is being made. It will be installed as soon as it arrives in the Commonwealth, though I cannot say exactly when that will be. There will be no loss of time.
– I wish to know if the Prime Minister hasread the following criticisms on Parliament, printed in the June number of the Australian Review of Reviews : -
Especially sarcastic were they when we said it would come in connexion with the Post Office, but thoseof us who knew the forces that were at work to get Mr. Mauger out of the positionof Postmaster-General, by fair means or foul, knew, also, that theywere not going to let the position go by defaultif an attack was at all likely to succeed….. Tariff Reform, Federal Capital, Defence, Old-Age Pensions - none of these things were likely to provoke dissensions sufficient to bring about a crisis; but the plucky and statesmanlike actions of the PostmasterGeneral had roused all the fury of evil that was using the Post Office for unlawful pur- poses.
– I do not think it is necessary to read these long extracts. Why is the honorable member reading them ?
– Because I wish to ask the Prime Minister if he will take action in regard to them. I have onlytwo more sentences to read -
Men who regarded themselves as kings in certain circles have had to suffer the disgrace of having their correspondence stopped, andthe whole of the most disreputable and disgraceful section of the community roused itself to get rid of the man who was responsible for it. That was the meaning of Mr. Webster’s motion and of the eager yelp that followed it.
Does not the Prime Minister think that such criticisms seriously reflect on the motives of a number of honorable members, and on the conduct of a highly-placed public servant of the Commonwealth, and will he not, therefore, submit them to the law officers of the Crown, to ascertain whether the slanders and misrepresentations contained in the article should not be referred to the Select Committee on procedure in regard to questions of privilege?
– The range of political criticism in the press is so wide, and the theories advanced for parliamentary action and inaction are so extraordinary, that the extract - which I have not noted - could, I am afraid, be paralleled with others containing statements equally impossible of proof, or of belief on the part of those associated with Parliament.
– The statements are mild compared with some which have been published.
– Yes. The extravagance of such interpretations of parliamentary conduct, though obvious to us, is not known to the public, and, no doubt, attention will be paid to such matters by the Select Committee on privilege.
– I wish to ask the PostmasterGeneral whether he has read the comments in question, and, if so, whether he indorses any of them ?
– I certainly cannot say that I have read them, and consequently cannot say whether I indorse them.
Appointment of Administrator - Land Administration
– Without desiring to draw any inference as to the causes of the delay which has occurred, I ask the Prime Minister whether he will, in the immediate future, call for applications for the position of Administrator of Papua, in order that, as far as possible, we may insure getting a suitable man.
– There is no delay occasioned by any action or inaction on the part of the Government with respect to this appointment, but correspondence is still proceeding. I am expecting reports, which are not yet to hand, in connexion with the recent dismissal and its consequences. When that correspondence discloses fully the course of conduct which has been pursued by all concerned, and the cross charges have been disposed of, the Government will be prepared to make an appointment ; and if they think it necessary to call for applications they will do so. Last night I did not answer, as intended, the question of the honorable member for North Sydney. I find that the letter signed by myself, from the Department, with reference to land transactions, did not reach Papua until after the second case had been dealt with.
– Then there cannot be any reflection on Mr. Staniforth Smith.
– On examination I find, to my regret, that the paper as printed is apt to lead to a misconception, because, though it gives a perfectly correct precis of events prior to the letter of the 21st February, it does not call attention, as it ought to have done, to the fact that a letter which left here on that date would not reach Papua until, probably, at the earliest, three or four weeks later. Consequently the précis, though it takes us up to the writing of the letter, does not take us up to the time of its reception in Papua.
– I desire to ask the Prime Minister whether, in view of ‘the fact that the instruction from his Department did not reach Papua until after the difficulty had arisen in connexion with the Drummond case, and in view of the decision of the Acting Administrator in Council that members of the public service might hold an interest in land syndicates, he does not think that Mr. Staniforth Smith is free from blame?
– I endeavoured to explain last night that, although Mr. Staniforth Smith himself, says that he feels now he made a mistake, it is perfectly clear that the mistake is one which implies no reflection on him, having regard to the special circumstances lately obtaining in Papua. The abundance of land, the absence . of applicants, and the desire of the Government that areasshould be taken up, are circumstances which, I think, relieveMr. Staniforth Smith from responsibility. But the honorable member made a reference to the Acting Administrator’s restrictions on officers ; and that reference is slightly erroneous. Speaking from memory yesterday, I erred in one or two respects in answering questions put to me. In the published papers, now, as then, before us, it is shown that the statement made by the Acting Administrator at the Executive Council was not a mere obiter dictum of his own, but, on the contrary, it declared what was already, so to speak, the law in Papua. Mr. Drummond’s own statement is as follows -
While no officers of the Lands Department were allowed to apply for a lease of Crown lands, under section 16 of the Lands Ordinance of 1906, His Excellency would have no objection to our holding shares in land companies, or purchasing land already leased, if the purchase was a bonâ fide one.
– That is, they could dummy !
– No; the explanation given by the Acting Administrator is in the following quotation -
The reference to companies is from regulations under the Public Service Ordinance, published in the Gazette of 6th November, 1907, 26 (a) of which is identical with 79 (2) of the Commonwealth Public Service Act.
So that, when the Acting Administrator made that statement, he was referring to something which was then made, or had been made, the law In Papua. It does not covertheoperations of syndicates, but only protects those officers who hold shares in land companies, or who purchase land already leased, if the purchase be bonâ fide. The case against Mr. Drummond was that he was a member of a syndicate - thesame syndicate which first applied for land in his own name, and that of Mr. Pinney, and which, afterwards simply altered the names in which the application was made, the persons interested and the land being still precisely thesame. It was on that account that, in the opinion of a majority of the Council, they had committed a breach of the regulation to which I have referred.
– Who are “ they “ ?
Mr.DEAKIN. - Mr. Drummond and Mr. Pinney. The fact on which I laid stress yesterday, and the one to which importance was attached, was the attempt of Mr. Pinney to obtain priority for the application in which he. and Mr. Drummond wereboth interested ; but a majority of the Council - by three to two - considered that Mr. Drummond’ s complicity in that act of Mr. Pinney was not sufficiently proved. They gave him the benefit of the doubt, although two members of the Council considered the case proved. It was not, therefore, the attempt to secure priority which decided the majority against Mr. Drummond. Mr. Campbell, who cast the deciding vote in both cases, points out in his summing up that the interests in the second application were precisely the same as those in the first; that the land applied for in the second was precisely that sought in the first, and that, in the circumstances, he was compelled to say that in making a second application, after being informed that the first was illegal, Mr. Drummond was guilty of an attempt to evade the restrictions imposed by the regulations.
– I should like to ask the Prime Minister whether, in the event of his considering it desirable to invite applications for the position of Administrator of Papua, he will give sufficient notice to allow of applications being received from Imperial servants in India, who may have had experience in handling native races, and may be willing to accept a transfer to the Commonwealth service?
– In the event of outadvertising for applicants, sufficient notice will be given ; but I am confident, first of all, that wehave in Australia men thoroughly qualified for the position, and, secondly, that the control we possess is so exercised that there is no danger of injury being done to the native races of the Territory.
– The Government, so far, have not protected them very well.
– We have. Our treat; merit of the natives will compare with that of any British . Possession.
– I wish to ask the Prime Minister whether it is within his power to issue instructions that, pending a more satisfactory arrangement, no Crown lands in Papua shall be sold?
– Our own Act prohibits the selling of Crown land under any circumstances. If the honorable member will refer to the printed papernow on the table, he will see that the first letter it contains includes instructions that will prevent the possibility of any such occurrence in the future.
– I wish to ask the Prime Minister whether thepapers relating to the land scandals in Papua make it clear that Mr. Staniforth Smith was a member of a company that applied for land, and that he sat as a member of the Board which had power to determine whether or not that application should be granted ?
– So far from that being made clear by the papers, I think it is shown that he never had any interest in any land company applying for land.
– In view of the satisfactory statement which the Prime Minister has made to-day concerning Mr. Staniforth Smith, and in view of the regulation which the Administrator of Papua has taken from the Commonwealth Public Service Act, and incorporated in the ordinances of the Territory, I desire to ask. whether he is aware of any reasons underlyingJudge Murray’s sarcastic references to Mr. Smith’s alleged “entire lack of administrative experience and capacity?”
– The honorable member has not quite correctly quoted Judge Murray’s reference. The words which the Acting Administrator used are “ total want of experience in departmental procedure and administration.”
– That language is pretty warm.
– The words are strong. Mr. Staniforth Smith voluntarily admits that he made a mistake, but as I have already said, it was a mistake which probably arose - as has been suggested - from want of experience in departmental procedure, and is not one which reflects in the slightest degree upon his integrity or upon anything except his want of foresight regarding the complications that might possibly follow the establishment of precedents of that kind.
– I wish to ask the Prime Minister whether, under the ordinances obtaining in Papua, Mr. Drummond has exhausted his right of appeal? If not, what course is open to him ?
– Mr. Drummond has exhausted his right of appeal, and is no longer a member of the Public Service.
-I wish to ask the Prime Minister whether he has taken the necessary steps to absolutely prevent officials in New Guinea from being interested, either directly or indirectly, in land transactions?
– If the honorable member will look at page 2 of the document which was laid upon the table of the House, and ordered to be printed, on the 8th of April last, he will find that on the 21st of February of the present year the whole of the conditions relating to dealings in land by officers in Papua are there set out in detail.
– In view of statements made in the newspapers, I desire to know whether the Government are averse to placing the Post and Telegraph Department in Commission, and, if so, has the Prime Minister any objection to provide an opportunity for the discussion of the following motion, which stands in my name -
That it is expedient, in the best interests of good government and efficient administration, that the Department of the Postmaster-General should be placed under a Board of Commissioners, beyond political influence.
– The Government propose to submit no such proposition, but I shall be glad to take the earliest opportunity, after the Tariff has been dealt with, to make a statement in regard to the Government’s intention.
– As preliminary to asking a question of the PostmasterGeneral, I desire to call attention to paragraphs 68 and 69 of the report of the Cabinet Committee laid on the table last night. Paragraph 68 informs us that in 1901 certain expenditure was necessary tobring the system to a state of efficiency; and it is there shown that such expenditure would amount to£462,485. Then paragraph 69 goes on to say, in reference to that expenditure -
The information supplied shows it was recognised as impossible to provide the necessary funds from the annual revenue, and that it was made very clear to the Department that unless money could be borrowed these necessary works could not be undertaken, as it could not then be made available out of revenue. The telegraph and telephone systems are, with certain exceptions, little better, so far as construction is concerned, than when they were taken over.
I desire to ask the Postmaster-General how he reconciles that statement with the facts that the Commonwealth, from 1901 upto the present time, has - Iam speaking front memory - returned to the States out of the one-fourth of the Customs and Excise Revenue something like£6,000,000, which might have been expended by the Commonwealth, and that for seven years past the amount returned has averaged£800, 000 a year. How does the Postmaster- General reconcile those facts with the statement that the necessary funds cannot be supplied from annual revenue?
– Only by the fact that these Estimates had to be censored by such a Treasurer as the right honorable member for Swan, that the money required by the Department was not supplied, and hence went into the revenues of the States.
– That statement is surely not correct.
– I desire to ask the Treasurer whether in view of the huge expenditure reported by the Cabinet Committee to be necessary to place the Post and Telegraph Department on an efficient footing, he will consider the adviseableness of amending his scheme with respect to the annual payments to be made to the States at the expiration of the Braddon section ?
Six WILLIAM LYNE. - I do not think that it would be wise at this stage to state exactly what the Government are prepared to do.
– Surely the honorable member will say whether or not he is prepared to stand by his scheme?
– I stand up for myscheme just as I always stand up to the honorable member.
– With poor results in each case.
– I beat the honorable member every time. I can only say that the scheme was prepared in the light of the financial conditions of the Commonwealth as then disclosed, and that it may or may not be necessary to slightly vary it. The matter will be taken into consideration as the. negotiations with the States proceed.
– I desire to ask the Prime Minister a question in reference to tenders for the supply of goods required by the Government Departments. I wish to know if he has made inquiries, and has come to the promised decision, as to whether the preference given to British manufacturers is that approved by this House, and approved, for the most part by Ministers?
– I have not yet received the replies, but I shall ask that they may be expedited.
Deportation of Chinese
– In reference to the paragraph published in the press to the effect that three Chinese in Sydney were recently fined£250 each for smuggling opium, I wish to ask the Minister of Trade and Customs whether the owners of the Prinz Valdemar, by which they arrived here, will be held answerable for their return to their native country after they have served the term of twelve months’ imprisonment ordered, in default of payment of the fine. I see no possibility of their being able to pay the fine, and I am led to put this question because I know that if any person who has paid his fare by sea to Hong Kong on arrival there becomes a charge upon the rates he is returned to his native countryat the expense of the owners of the vessel by which he arrived.
– Every care will be taken to see that those who were responsible for bringing these men to Australia do not in any way evade their responsibility.
– I wish to ask the Prime Minister, who is chairman of the southern section of the Committee appointed to arrange for the reception of the American Fleet, whether it is true, as reported in to-day’s issue of the Age, that St. Kilda has been selected as the official landing place in this State? Further,I wish to know whether the Committee has given due consideration to the fact that Port Melbourne, which has a pier capable of accommodating any of the visiting vessels, is a preferable landing place?
– So far as I am aware, no such decision has been arrived at. The question was considered at a meeting of the Southern Committee this morning, but so far as a decision was arrived at, it does not support the theory of the honorable member.
– I wish to ask the
Prime Minister whether it is the intention of the Government to endeavour to close the session by the end of next week, and whether, in order to accomplish that object, he will consider the desirableness of asking the House to sit later than usual on Friday next, and also to meet on Monday ?.
– I shall be very glad to have the assistance of honorable members in closing the session as soon as possible, and in sitting, if necessary, on the extra day suggested. Every effort will be made by Ministers to close the session, but I cannot fix the exast date upon which we may hope to achieve that object.
– I think that the Prime Minister somewhat misunderstood the nature of my question. With a view to terminating the session next week, will hetake into consideration the desirableness of asking the House to sit later than 4 o’clock on Friday next, and also of meeting on Monday morning?
– I will take care to consult the convenience of honorable members by ascertaining whether they desire that the House shall sit later than usual on Friday next, and also whether they desire to meet on Monday.
– I wish to ask the Postmaster-General whether the necessary money is available to permit of the acceptance of a tender far the laying of the cable between the mainland and Tasmania, and of the completion of” the work before the present contract expires? I think that that course is very necessary in order to insure that Tasmania shall not be cut off from cable communication , with the rest of the Commonwealth.
– My honorable colleague, the Treasurer, proposes to ask the House to vote the necessary money for the completion of the- work in question, and the tender accepted will of course be subject to the approval of Parliament. Steps have been taken to insure that the cable shall be in working order before the expiration of the present contract.
– I wish to ask the Postmaster-General whether it is a fact that the experiment of collecting mails in the various cities by means of motors is said to have been only a qualified success, and that instructions have been issued that the old system of employing mail carts shall be reverted to?
-Quite the opposite is the case. In Melbourne the experiment has proved an unqualified success, and in Adelaide I believe that it will be a success when the officers become well acquainted with the work.
Promotion as Sorters.
asked the Post master-General, upon notice -
– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows -
Motion (by Mr. Crouch) agreed to -
That a return be laid on the table of the House showing -
The expenditure by the Commonwealth on services and departments previously paid for by the States, showing the main details. ,
The estimated expenditure on Federal
The estimated expenditure on services already approved by the Commonwealth Parliament or Government, including new Defence Scheme, payments under Bounties Bill, Immigration, and Northern Territory.
In Committee (Consideration of Senate’s message concerning requested amendments resumed from 26th May, vide page 1 1466) :
Item 123. Piece Goods, viz. : - . …
Piece Goods, woollen, or containing wool, viz. : - Women’s and Children’s Dress Goods not weighing over 5 ozs. per square yard, ad val.. (General Tariff) 35 per cent., and on and after 13th November, 1907, 15 per cent. ; (United Kingdom) 30 per cent.,’ and on and after 13th November, 1907, 10 per cent.
Senate’s Message. - Modification inserting the words “including women’s and children’s dress flannels” after the words “dress goods” not agreed to, and request pressed that the words “viz.: - Women’s and children’s dress goods” be left out.
Upon which Sir William Lyne had moved -
That the requested amendment be not made.
– Last night the question raised in connexion with this item was whether the words which the Senate desired to be eliminated ought to be excised or not. It seems to me that the question involved is whether 5 ounces per square yard is a fair weight to prescribe in the case of the materials specified. During the debate it was suggested that the weight should be increased from5 ounces to 8 ounces per square yard”. That would be a very unwise course to adopt. It was also suggested by the honorable member for Bendigo that the whole item should be struck out. I desired that course to be adopted, but seeing that this matter was brought forward in the first instance by the honorable member for Melbourne, who was absent from the House last night on account of illness, I moved that progress should be reported, with a view to affording him an opportunity of being present to-day. I desired that he should be in a position to make any statement to the Committee that he chose in regard to this matter.
.- I hope that the Committee will not make the amendment . requested by the Senate. In justice to the honorable member for Bendigo, who cannot attend at the present moment because of the meeting of a Committee, I wish to read the following telegram which has been sent to him from Ballarat-
You are right. If this is carriedas Senate propose, door will be opened wider for admission free of goods suitable clothing. Think ought certainly contain words “ women’s and children’s dress goods,” unless strike out whole clause.- Grainger.
That manufacturer objects to the striking out of the words “ women’s and children’s dress goods.” This is the reply to a letter which 1 sent to the Victorian Chamber of Manufactures when the Senate refused to accept the decision of this Chamber - 14th April,1908.
Your letter desiring to know if the alteration made by the Senate omitting “ Women’s and Children’s Dress Goods” in item123B will act against the interests of the woollen manufacturers, was placed before a meeting of the Victorian woollen manufacturers this afternoon, and, in reply, I beg to inform you that the omission of those words from the item will not act prejudicially against the woollen manufacturers, in view of the fact that the weight has not been increased. If the weight had been increased it would have been a serious matter for the Australian worsted and tweed manufacturers, as it would have allowed the tropical tweeds to have come in at a very low duty.
– The paragraph could be altered to deal with tweeds.
– Had the weight been increased, every manufacturer in Australia would have objected. On the 24th April I received this letter from the same source -
Referring to my letter of the 14th inst. re the alteration made in the Senate omitting Women’s and Children’s Dress Goods in item 123B, I desire to say that I was only referring to tweeds when I said thatthe omission of the words would not act prejudicially against the woollen manufacturers, the weight not having been increased. If, of course, there is any fear of light weight flannels being classed under the item referred to, there is distinct objection on the part of the woollen manufacturers to omitting the words “ Women’s and Children’s Dress Goods,” because flannels are manufactured in Australia much lighter than 5 ozs. per square yard.
I have here, and offer for the inspection of honorable members, samples of Australian flannel, which are very good indeed. The request of the Senate was carried by only one vote, and I have since spoken to two senators who voted for it because they thought that no distinction should bemadebetween men’s and women’s apparel. However, they now see the reason for the distinction, and if the matter comes before the Senate again, will vote on the other side. Most of these materials are made in Germany, Belgium,or France, and, although the United States of America have the most scientific Tariff in the world, with duties on these light fabrics running from 60 per cent, upwards, their manufacturers cannot compete with the countries I have named. Women folk will follow fashion. It is not a question of hundreds, but of thousands of designs when Dame Fashion nods her head. . On a former occasion, I tried to obtain a good definition of “ flan-“ nel,” and found that, according to a variety of authorities, from the British Encyclopaedia down to the latest standard . dictionary, the term comprises any woollen material loosely woven, and will include baize, blankets, and tweeds. That, however, is not the ordinary use of the word, and any person wishing to buy a yard of flannel would not expect to be given any of the brightly -coloured materials which I have in my left hand. They wouldexpect to get material such as I hold in my right hand. Of course, either material could be used for underwear, though the patterns which I showed first are rather . startling, even for pyjamas; those which any one would recognise as flannels are much more suitable, and certainly cheaper, the prices running from 63/4d. to 81/2d. It is sometimes said that only thewell-to-do buy fine materials ; but a promenade on the banks of the Yarra any Sunday afternoon will show that the daughters of the workers wear good materials, similar to the samples I have here. I know every capital in the world, except St. Petersburg and Constantinople, and have observed that the work women of Australia are as well dressed as is the female population of any other country. In Bond-street, Oxford-street, and, perhaps, the Strand, London, one may see better-dressed women ; but in no other street of the world’s metropolis will you find the women generally as well dressed as those to be seen in George and Pitt streets, Sydney, or in Collins-street, Melbourne. It is absolutely necessary to retain the words “ women’s and children’s “dress goods.” Australian manufacturers make very fine tweeds, of which these I produce are splendid samples. They belong to the honorable member for Bendigo ; but I have his permission to use them. The lighter tweeds are for wear in the northern parts of the Commonwealth, where the sun is stronger than here. There is no reason why ladies should not wear any kind of tweed worn by men if they dress in tailor-made costumes. It may be said that these tweeds could be used for underwear. But no one who was not silly would so use them, seeing that splendid flannel, which serves much better, can be obtained for one-third the cost.I am sure that, if the Committee refuses to make the requested amendment, the Senate will admit that we are right, and will not press its request.
– Has not the Minister a statement to make?
– I made a statement last night, and another this afternoon.
– I trust that the Minister intends to insist on the Committee’s previous decision.
– I intend to move -
That the item be left out.
As the honorable member for Melbourne is present to-day, it cannot be said, as it was said last night, thatwe are taking an unfair advantage of him. The provision inserted on his motion is quite unworkable. How can the Customs officers follow goods, once they have been passed through the Customs House, to see to what use they are put? If the words are left in, material will be imported as for the use of women and children, and used for other purposes. Goods cannot be defined for Customs purposes as for children’s, women’s, or men’s wear.
– Is the motion of the honorable member for Bass in order? We are now considering requests for amendments. There is no trace of any amendment, when an item is entirely obliterated, as the honorable member proposes. According to your ruling, sir, there may be a variation or omission of the words, or an omission or variation of the duties ; but to sweep away the whole item is, I submit, beyond our power.
– In addition to the argument used by the honorable member for Parramatta, I would point out that this duty has been carried by both Houses, and the proposal, if adopted, would prevent a validation of the collection of the duties. This, in my opinion; clearly points to the proposal of the honorable member for Bass as out of order.
– I suggest to the honorable member for Bass that he, in the first place, should confine his proposal to the end of the wording of the item. I have no special rule to guide me in this procedure. I may point out, however, that we first sent the Tariff to the Senate,from which it was returned with requested amendments. To some of those amendments this Committee couldnot agree, while if made certain other amendments. The Senate have again returned the Tariff with further requested amendments ; and, under the circumstances, as the Houses apparently disagree, I think that the honorable member for Bass would be quite in order in moving that the whole item be omitted.
Motion, by leave, withdrawn.
.- The proposal of the honorable member for Bass, is, I think, entitled to very serious consideration. If it were necessary to validate the collection of the duties at the reduced rate, that could be done by adding the words “up to and including the 27th May.” Had the Chairman ruled that the proposal of the honorable member for Bass was out of order, I should have been prepared to move an amendment validating the collection of the duties up to date, and, providing that subsequently all these goods should be subject to one common duty.
– I agree with that suggestion.
– I think that, on calm reflection, the Committee ought to reverse their previous decision. With the best of intentions, the honorable member for Melbourne submitted this item in its amended form. His idea is to benefit the poorer classes ; but I believe that, in actual practice, the honorable member’s generous desires will not be realized. These lighter tweeds are really superior tweeds, and I fancy they will be admitted at the reduced duty’, mainly to the benefit of persons of means.
– I moved that the weight should be 4 ozs., but it was raised to 5 ozs.
– Since the newspaper report of yesterday’s debate has appeared, I have received telegrams and other communications from various woollen manufacturers expressing their deep regret at the . reduction of the duties on lowweight woollens. In their opinion, such a reduction will mar the general scheme of duties on woollen goods, as passed by this . Committee.
– The manufacturers desire that the words “ women’s and children’s “ should be inserted, or the item struck out.
– Preferably, they would like the item struck out ; but, of course, they do not desire to assume an attitude which might endanger the duties of 30 and 25 per cent. If the item were struck out, that course would beof great advantage and benefit, but as it stands, it will, as I say, mar the general scheme . of duties, and open the door to the admission of large quantities of goods, which, I am sure, the honorable member for Melbourne does not desire to see admitted at the lower rates. I have been assured by manufacturers that it will be impossible to limit the operation of the item as amended to women’s and children’s piece goods of the weight prescribed. I have here a number of samples of 5-oz. tweeds.
– I thought those tweeds were made in Australia; that was my mistake.
– Where are these tweeds imported from?
– I do not know whether they come from the United Kingdom or from France, but they are all suitable for men’s clothes as well as for women’s and children’s clothes. If an importer desired to pass an entry for such goods, as for the use of women and children, the Customs officer would be obliged to admit them, though there is no doubt they could just as easily be used in making men’s clothes. In ‘this way the revenue might suffer, and Australian manufacturers would be discouraged from entering on the manufacture of these light woollen goods, which may in course of time be produced here. Under the circumstances I think we ought to reconsider the matter, and place all woollen goods under one common rate of duty. There could then be no disputes at the Customs House, the revenue could not be defrauded, andAustralian manufacturers would have a fair field in the production of all classes of woollen goods.
– Could the difficulty not be met by adding the words ‘.’ not being tweeds “ ?
– The more general the term the easier the classification. In the most friendly way I warn the honorable member for Melbourne of the dangers ahead, and suggest that probably the time may come where he will bitterly regret having had this provision placed in the Tariff.
– These tweeds are not manufactured in Australia.
– But the object of the Tariff is to introduce a developmental policy. We do not impose high duties merely for the purpose of assisting in the production of low-grade tweeds, but also with the object of encouraging the manufacture of superior tweeds. How can ‘ we expect manufacturers to launch out in such a direction if these superior tweeds are admitted at a lower rate of duty ? The item as it stands at present is a blot on the Tariff, and before long we may have another agitation for a revision.
– What about those industries - such as the production of oil or the making of wire-netting- which enjoy no protection?
– I should like to see this Tariff last for ten or twenty years to come, and the less satisfactory our work now the greater the possibility of agitation. Probably I feel more interested in, and anxious about, the development of the woollen industry than of any other industry within -the four corners of the Tariff. It is essentially an Australian industry, and ought to be established on a secure and enduring foundation, such as we cannot expect if the item be left as at present.
.- The honorable member for Bendigo was not present when I read communication’s, including one from Mr. Grainger, the manager of one of the woollen mills in Ballarat. That gentleman distinctly said that he did not desire the Senate’s amendment - that he desired the words “women’s and children’s “ inserted, or the item struck out. When the Senate removed the words “women’s and children’s dress goods” I took the precaution to write to the Victorian Chamber of Manufactures to ascertain what difference the amendment would make. In reply, I received the two letters which I have already read. I know of no one who is better able than is the honorable member for Bendigo to frame a further modification, to overcome the difficulty. If he would propose the insertion of such words as . “ not being tweeds,” I think that the position would be met. The samples of tweed exhibited by the honorable member for Bendigo are very fine, and I thought that they were of Australian manufacture. No one will deny that they are suitable for a. woman’s garb just as serge is used for tailor-made gowns. They are altogether different from the samples that I have produced. These light goods are used as dress materials by many women workers. If the honorable member for Maranoa has any misgivings on that point I am prepared to take him to the Yarra Bank on any Sunday afternoon he pleases, and to show him there scores of working women so attired.
.- In order to validate the collection of duty already made under this item, I move -
That the following modification be added : - but that the words “ up to and including 27th May,1908,” be added to the duties in each column.
.- Apparently the honorable member for Bass desires to strike out the item as it stands, and at the same time to validate the collections of duty already made under it. If the item were struck out these goods would be dutiable at the higher rates of 30 per cent, and 25 per cent. The honorable member may desire them . to be dutiable at those rates, but in the matter of apparel and food supplies, I have throughout been voting for the lowest possible duties, believing that if there is to be any discrimination we should move in. that direction. Apparently the honorable member for Melbourne desires that these goods which must be imported,, and cannot be manufactured here, shall be dutiable at the lowest possible rates;
– What cannot be manufactured here should be admitted free, and would be but for the financial considerations involved by the Braddon section.
– The honorable member desires that goods which cannot be manufactured here shall be dutiable at very low rates, but I think that he had still another object in view in proposing the insertion of the words, . “ not weighing over 5 ounces per square yard.” His original desire in moving that amendment was that the poorer classes should . have an opportunity to obtain at low prices fancy dress materials of this description. I have reason to believe, however, that his desire t’o specially benefit the poorer section of the community will not be effected by his proposal. In the winter the dress materials worn by rich and poor alike all weigh more than 5 ounces to the square yard, so that whether he desires it or not, the poor as well as the rich will have to pay upon such goods duties of 30 per cent, and 25 per cent., since they come under the item ‘” piece goods n.e.i.” Under that item rich and poor alike will be penalized. In the summer, however, these goods of light texture, which are made principally in France, are used by women in all classes of society, and therefore the proposal ‘ to impose lower duties only in respect of materials of a certain weight will not specially benefit working women.
– If I knew of any more effective way of differentiating between- the duties on goods not made here and those on goods that are made here, I should adopt it, but I donot. This is not a question of rich and poor.
– As the honorable and learned member for Bendigo has pointed out, when different rates of duty are imposed on goods of the same ‘class, trouble constantly arises between the importers and the Customs officials, and the revenue will probably be defeated. It is the consumer, and not the importer, who has to pay the duty. Under the honorable member’s proposal, the Customs’ House officials would be compelled to open- every bale or case of goods imported to determine whether or not they contained only materials coming within this item. I should like all piece goods to be dutiable at 15 per cent, and 10 per cent., instead of at the higher rates provided. Suchan amendment would be consistent with our treatment of other industries. It is strange that the woollen industry should have been singled out for special treatment. I do not desire to eliminate this item so as to bring the goods to which it relates under a higher scale of duties, and if I cannot obtain anything better I shall vote, in the interests of the public, for the proposal that women’s and children’s dress goods, not weighing over 5 ounces per square yard, shall be dutiable at 15 per cent, and 10 per cent. That would be- preferable to the omission of the whole item, which would cause these goods to become dutiable at higher rates under another item. I should prefer to run the risk of importers being inconvenienced and the revenue being defeated rather than penalize” the general public. The materials covered by this item are worn all over me Commonwealth. In the more tropical parts of the continent these goods, which are described as summer wear, are practically worn all the year round. Failing any better solution of the difficulty, I shall vote for the item as it stands, and oppose its omission. I was hopeful, however, that the ingenuity, of those experienced in these matters would have devised a modification that would enable us to make certain piece goods dutiable at a very low rate.
.- When the item of piece goods was originally before us, duties of 30 per cent, and 25 per cent, were imposed, and had- it not been for the action of the honorable member for Melbourne dress materials coming under the item which we are now considering would have been dutiable at those rates. The honorable member represented, however, that they could not be made here, and that a reduction of duty in their case would be in the interests of the poorer classes of the community. The alteration was accordingly made. I thought at the time that it was a mistake, and that belief was subsequently confirmed . when I visited one of the large softgoods houses in Melbourne, and heard men there scoffing at the suggestion that this item would be in the interests of the poorer classes. They pointed out, as the honorable and learned member for Bendigo has pointed out to-day, that it permits the more expensive goods to come in at a low rate of duty. Another consideration is that this item will not be beneficial even to British manufacturers.
It will be an advantage to the Continental manufacturer, and, as it stands, is utterly indefensible. It was made a good deal worse by the last amendment including in it dress flannels. I see no reason why this class of woollen goods should not be dutiable at the same rates as other woollens; and I shall strongly support either the striking out of the item altogether or the modification proposed by the honorable member for Bass.
– As one who has travelled through Northern Queensland, as well as the northern parts of New South Wales, I am sure, Mr. Chairman, that you will bear out my statement that the dress materials worn by men and women there are of much lighter texture than are those worn in Melbourne. If any one will be benefited under this item, it is the residents of those parts of the Commonwealth. Every other woman whom one meets in any town in Northern Queensland is certainly not wearing a dress made of material costing 3s. 6d. per yard’.
– The cost would be nearer1s. 9d: per yard.
– That is about the top figure. The honorable member for Melbourne wants to benefit ladies who can afford 3s. 6d. per yard for their dress material.
– That is not an accurate statement.
– That, at all events, will be the effect of the honorable member’s proposal. In his large-hearted way he is seeking to benefit the wives and daughters of the workers by proposing that dress material weighing less than 5 ounces to the square yard shall be dutiable at a low rate, but he will, really benefit the wealthier classes of the community.
– Are these goods made in Australia?
– That is a nice sort of an argument for a protectionist to use. Had it come from me as a one-time free-trader honorable members could have understood it. Like the honorable member for Dalley, I have had to put up an umbrella to keep out of the wet. I am sure that the honorable member for Melbourne’s proposal will not have the effect that he desires. The honorable member for Bendigo has very properly pointed out that the materials exhibited by the honorable member for Melbourne, would - under the latter’s proposal - be introduced as women’s and children’s goods. The same remark is equally applicable to the serge which I am wearing. I am sure that neither the Committee nor the honorable member for Melbourne desire that these materials shall be imported at a low rate of duty under the guise of women’s and children’s goods, and thus, come into competition with our woollen goods. I trust that the item will be struck out.
.- In reply to the remarks of the honorable member for Maranoa and the honorable member for Gippsland, I wish to say that if I were asked to give a definition of a protectionist I would say “ He is a man who believes’ in absolute free-trade for what cannot be manufactured in Australia, and in absolute protection for what can be made in Australia.” No honorable member has yet contended that the goods which I have exhibited in this chamber can be made within the Commonwealth. As a matter of fact, they cannot be manufactured in America, which has the most scientific Tariff in the world. I am indebted to the honorable member for Bendigo for a publication which shows that they cannot be manufactured in Canada. The Textile Manufacturers’ Journal of the nth April last contains the following reference in this connexion -
Canada and the Tariff.
According to a recognised Canadian manufacturing authority, 95 per cent, of these woollens - men’s wear and dress goods - comes from abroad, principally from England; 110 woollen mills have failed or liquidated under the present policy, unable to meet the competition of imported merchandise, and that to-day there are only five mills in the entire country, of a size to command consideration, which are eking out a precarious existence, whose proprietors by the most rigid economy are able to operate on short time by taking advantage of the most up-to-date methods and by ability to make the most of any demand for new fabrics which may arise. . . . Many Canadian mills have been driven to the wall during the last five years. One is led to (lie inevitable conclusion that it is because of the preferential of from 25 to 30 per cent, which applies to all goods imported from Great Britain, and which puts the Canadian manufacturer into direct competition with the pauper labour of the English textile centres) while Canada is made the dumping ground of the cheap trash in which British manufacturers have such an advantage through their ability to manipulate successfully with cheap raw material and cheap labour.
The materials to which I have directed the attention of honorable members cannot be manufactured in Australia unless it be by a Commonwealth workshop. I ask the honorable member for Maranoa to say which of those materials cost 3s. 6d. per yard ?
– I da not know anything about them.
– As a matter of fact their prices range from is. 3d. to 2s. 6d. per yard. ‘ Would the honorable member debar the wife of a working man from purchasing material worth’ 7s. 6d. per yard if she desired to do so ? As a matter of fact, many of the wives of the workers wear silk fabrics. Why should they not do so ? No honorable member can declare that a particular fabric will be made into a garment which will be worn by a lady and not by a workwoman. Some of the highest ladies in the land dress in the simplest of garments. It is related that the late Queen Victoria once wore a dress which cost less than 7s. 6d. How can any honorable member urge that these materials will be used exclusively by one class? If I agreed- 10 increase the weight of the fabrics specified in this item, they would come into competition with our tweeds. I hope that the Committee will not agree to strike out the item.
– In reply to the remarks of the honorable member for Melbourne I wish to say that I know some goods which can be manufactured in Australia, but which have been placed upon the free list. Does the honorable member think for a moment that the working women of the Commonwealth desire to wear goods made by sweated labour abroad? That is what his argument amounts to.
– I did not say anything of the kind.
– I understood the honorable member to say that these materials’ were cheap.
– I said that if we imposed a duty upon them we should increase their cost.
– If we impose a duty upon them, they will not be imported. It is a fact that goods of this description - but of better quality - are already being made in the Commonwealth. Certainly they would be made here under a policy of new protection. The honorable member, however, desires that inferior goods - -rag. - shall be admitted free. Even- the deputy leader of the Opposition will not indorse that proposition. He is. not in favour of sweating. ‘ Yet the honorable member for Melbourne has declared that if we impose a duty upon these fabrics it will amount to a tax upon the working women of Australia, who will wear dresses made from them. I say : “ Let them wear garments composed of materials made in Australia.” It is true that some of the shoddy exhibited by the honorable member cannot be made locally, and I hope that the time will never come when it will be made here.
– Does the honorable member call this “shoddy”? He does not know what he is talking about.
– I hope that the shoddy exhibited by the honorable member will never be made in the Commomwealth. Does he suggest, for a moment, that the working women of Australia want materials weighing 5 oz. to the square yard to be admitted free ? Are those the persons who have approached him?
– It is strange that nobody has approached me in connexion with the matter.
– The honorable member approaches everybody about everything. What need is there for them to approach him.?
– I am not like the deputy leader of the Opposition who has spoken about 150 times upon this. Tariff. We can manufacture materials here out of which garments can be made fit for our womenfolk to wear, and we have no right to permit of the introduction free of goods which will come into competition with our own woollens.
– A great deal of information has been given in regard to this item during the course of the’ debate this afternoon. When the matter was first brought forward bv the honorable member for Melbourne my impression was that materials similar to those exhibited by him were not likely to Le manufactured in the Commonwealth, but I now understand that they are made at Parramatta, at Sydney, and, I think, in Tasmania.
– They are sergerettes, and similar material is made here.
– I was not aware that such goods are manufactured in the Commonwealth ; but now that I know it, I do not wish to injure their manufacturers by lowering rates of duty in respect to them. No doubt what the honorable member for Melbourne desires is to admit at low rates light dress material used by the women of Australia, and not manufactured iri the Commonwealth. ‘
– Would not the difficulty be met by inserting the words “ not including tweeds “ ?
– I gave a promise to help the honorable member, and do not wish to break it; but at the same time, I am afraid of bringing our manufacturers of tweeds into competition with those of other countries.
– Our flannel manufacturers should also be considered.
– There is no knowing where this will end.
– Quite so.I am sure that the; honorable member for Melbourne would not ask for anything to be done which might injure Australian manufacturers, and if he can suggest a way out of the difficulty, I shall be glad to adopt it. Otherwise, I feel inclined to vote for the proposal of the honorable member for Bass.
– It would not be sufficient to insert the words “ not including tweeds.”
– As honorable members seem to be agreed that the amendment requested by the Senate should not be made, we might fairly commence by refusing to make it, afterwards voting on the proposition of the honorable member for Bass.
– If we deal with the motion of the Minister, it will close the consideration of the subject.
.- The only suggestion I can make is to insert the words “ not including tweeds or sergerettes,” though I think it would be better to let the further consideration of the item stand over until the officers of the Customs Department have had an opportunity to draft a suitable provision. It is difficult for laymen to deal with a question like this; but there must be some way of differentiating between dress materials and tweeds and sergerettes.
– The exclusion of tweeds would not exclude worsteds .
– All these materials are made from worsteds, the difference being that flannel is loosely woven, while tweed is tightly woven.
. -The provision relating to weight was agreed to with a view to the imposition of high duties on material not manufactured in the Commonwealth; but if it . cannot be retained in its original form, I shall vote for the proposition of the honorable member for Bass, because I do not wish to run the risk of allowing the importation of materials which can be made here. In my opinion, the honorable member for Melbourne might let well alone. The Senate may not agree to the retention of the words “ women’s and children’s dress goods,” and, therefore, may oppose a proposal equivalent to the striking out of the item, so that the best way to meet it might be to insist on our original proposition. But rather than risk the chance ‘ of something being done which we do not desire, I shall vote for the former alternative.
Question: - That the proposed modification (Mr. Storrer’s) be made - put. The Committee divided.
Aves … … … 31
Noes … … … 28
Majority … … 3
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Requested amendment not made, but modification made.
Item. 114. Blankets (except of Rubber); Blanketing; Flannels, including Domett containing wool. ….
Senate’s Message. - Request pressed forinsertion of words “ whether plain, fancy, or printed “ . after “ Flannels.”
Motion (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the requested amendment be made.
.- I do not think that the Committee are acquainted with the nature of the suggested amendment, andperhaps the Treasurer will explain what it means.
– This item was postponed because it had to be dealt with in conjunction with the item we have, just disposed of. Now that item 123 has been dealt with in the way in which it has, it is necessary to insert the words requested by the Senate.
Motion agreed ‘ to.
Requested amendment made.
Requested, amendments in item 139 (Arms) and item 159 (Computing Machines, &c.) made.
On and after 27th November, 1907 -
Item 160. Motive Power Machinery and Appliances (except Electric), viz. : ‘ -
Senate’s Message. - In lieu of original request, as modified by the House of Representatives, to insert the words “ High-speed Reciprocating Steam Engines for direct coupling or directly coupled to electric generators or to pumps” ; add the following new paragraph : - (aa) High-speed Reciprocating Steam Engines for direct coupling or directly coupled to lilectric Generators or to Pumps, subject to Departmental By-laws, ad val. (General Tariff), 5 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), free.
.- I think that the wording originally adopted by the Treasurer more accurately explains the desire of the Committee. Although the; Senate has not accepted the- words chosen by the Committee, it has, in the main, adopted the idea of limiting the operation of the item in the direction which I think we contemplated. But I should like to know why the Treasurer thinks it necessary to have the word “ steam’ “ before the word “engines.” The matter, I think, is of sufficient importance to warrant the honorable gentleman affording us some explanation.
– The informationI have is that the Senate accept the modification of the House of Representatives’ providing that the wording is made a separate subitem, with the addition of the words “ subject to departmental by-laws.” The clear intention of the exemption is that only high-speed engines for direct coupling with or directly coupled to generators or pumps be free; and the words “subject to departmental by-laws “ are proposed so that the Department may require some guarantee that the engines admitted under the subitem are intended to be genuinely used for the purpose indicated. I move -
That the requested amendment be made.
.- Is the Treasurer in a position to afford any information as to the scope of the proposed by-law? I can foresee a condition of affairs in which the Customs Department might prohibit certain engines which would ultimately, if not directly, be used for driving electric plants or pumps. . It is not sufficient for the Treasurer to say that he desires to have the power to make by-laws, without giving us some indication of the ‘ scope of the by-laws he contemplates. When we deliberately stipulated that these must be steam engines, we took a reasonable precaution, but if by-laws are contemplatedwe ought to have some further explanation.
– The intention is only to carry out the will of Parliament,
– And I have said so.
– I listened very carefully, but I think that that is just what the Treasurer did not’ say.
– I may here explain that items 160 and 162 are to a certain extent associated, and some information I intended to give when the latter was under consideration, I may as well give now. The high-speed reciprocating engine is known commercially as a steam engine. After the Senate had made the amendment, it was found that attempts might be made bv importers of gas and oil engines to -import, as high-speed reciprocating engines, ‘ certain gas and oil engines, which- are made for direct coupling with generators, and which, at a slower speed, fill the place of high-speed steam engines. There is no difference between the manufacture of high-speed gasor oil engines, and medium or low-speed gas or oil en- gines, while there is a vast difference between the manufacture of a high-speed steam engine, and any other kind of steam engine. High-speed oil engines are not made’ here, except in very small sizes, and the duty on them is 20 per cent. ; but there is no reason whv any size should not be made when the demand increases. At the present moment what are termed highspeed engines are made by only three or four firms in the world. This information is given to me by the Comptroller of Customs. It is not desired that steam engines should be imported in a way not intended by Parliament, and, therefore, the provision for. departmental by-laws is made.
.- We have made two or three mistakes in respect of this item. In the first place, we erred in specifying the purposes for which high-speed reciprocating engines imported under it may be used. It should be left to the importers to determine to what use such engines shall be put. Whv should a man who requires an engine for pumping purposes be able to obtain it at a lower rate of duty than is imposed on an engine required for supplying motive power to a sawmill or a blower?
– The honorable member specially asked in the first instance that this concession ‘ should be granted in ‘ the interests of the mining community. . Having secured it, he now asks for more.
– I did not. The honorable member on referring to Hansard will find that I have all through taken up the ground that I how occupyt I hold that it is not right to differentiate between one industry and another. The introduction of the word ‘ ‘ steam ‘ ‘ limiting this paragraph to high-speed reciprocating engines driven bv steam, has led to endless trouble. I do not know whether or not the Ministry are aware of it, but suction gas engines are being imported, and are working at a very high speed in connexion not only with mining, but with other industries. A very large high-speed suction gas engine plant has been put in position on the St. George mine at Mount Magnet, and . honorable, members have only to go as far as the Murray Bridge to see a high-speed gas producer running a flour mill. Another engine of the same- description may be seen at work in Bourke-street, near Spencer-street.
– And men can be seen making them in my electorate.
– They are not made here.
– Some kinds are not, but others are.
– I appeal to honorable members to say why we should limit paragraph a to high-speed reciprocating “steam” engines. By doing so, we are treating unjustly those who require highspeed reciprocating engines that are driven by gas or oil. Suction gas engines are being used on the Murchison, Western Australia, where fuel supplies have practically been cut out. They are being applied there to the running of State and privately-owned batteries, and mine-owners are also introducing- them for use in connexion with mining plants. I am agreeable to the retention of the words “ subject to departmental by-laws,” but I propose as a modification -
That the word “ Steam “ beleft out of the requested amendment.
– We cannot strike out a word which we ourselves inserted, and to the introduction of which the Senate has agreed.
– The . Chairman has given a ruling governing this question, and I do not know that he will consult the honorable member about the matter. Under that ruling, the modification I propose can be made, and I hope that the Treasurer will agree to it.
– I shall not.
.- I think that we made a mistake in limiting paragraph a to high-speed reciprocating engines drivenby steam. We are gradually obtaining more information on these complicated questions, and I have learned that we certainly made an error in imposing the limitation referred to inasmuch ashighspeed oil and gas engines are also largely used. Owing to the reduced rates ruling for metals, mining companies all over Australia must effect economies if they are to carry , on or make any profits. They are confronted with a low range of prices for metals, and high expenses. The cost of labour was never higher than it is to-day, and liquid fuel is now being largely used in place of wood. Although on the last occasion thatthis item was before us we inserted the word “ steam,” I think that we shall be justified in re-considering our decision, and doing away with that limitation.
– Then we had better shut up all the engineering shops in Melbourne, Ballarat, Bendigo, and other places. High-speed engines are made here.
– Will the honorable member tell me where high-speed gas engines are being made in Australia?
– They are being made in Victoria and New South Wales.
– I have not seen any made here, although I have had a good deal to’ do with engines and machinery of this kind. If it is desirable to allow highspeed reciprocating steam-engines to come in at ‘this rate, it is equally desirable to admit high-speed gas and oil engines under the same provision. Unlike the honorable member for Fremantle, I object to the words “ subject to departmental by-laws “ appearing in this request.
– We cannot carry on the Department without such a provision.
– The Minister has power to make by-laws under the Customs Act. That being so, why should it be necessary to introduce those words into the Tariff? There must be some object which is not apparent on the surface. I think we shall act wisely in bringing under the low rate of duty provided for in this request all high-speed engines, whether they be driven by gas; oil, or steam.
– Then the honorable member would destroy for all time the possibility of such engines being made here.
– I have no such desire. The Minister, has failed to explain why we should differentiate between high-speed engines driven by steam and those driven by gas and oil.
– I do not think-that the honorable member was present when I made my explanation.
– I was; but did not hear the honorable member give any satisfactory reason for the proposed differentiation. I hope that the word “ steam “ will be struck out.
– I distinctly regret the attitude adopted by the honorable member for Kooyong and the honorable member for Fremantle.
– I shall look after myself.
– It is a pity . to see avowed protectionist’s seeking to whittle away, bit by bit, the protection which this House has given by more than one vote to the engineering industry, and I sympathize
– We do not wantthe honorable member’s sham sympathy.
– I am expressing my sympathy, not with the right honorable member, . but with those whose business will ‘ be destroyed by the vote that he proposes to give on this request. I understood the honorable, member for Fremantle to say that high-speed reciprocating engines are not manufactured in the Commonwealth.
– I beg the honorable member’s pardon.
– I have been informed that they, are not made here.
– They are being manufactured in Australia at the present time, and the patent rights have been secured by an Australian firm.
– What patent rights?
– The patent rights of these particular engines have been secured from Messrs. Hornsby and Company, the makers of them.
– Is that the only firm which makes high-speed engines?
– Messrs. Hornsby and Company have the patent’ rights of the best high-speed engine in the world.
– What stuff !
– It is a fact that these patent rights have been secured by an Australian firm, and that high-speed reciprocating engines are being manufactured under Australian conditions. I hope that the Committee will not deprive this manufacturer of the fruits of his enterprise and energy.
– The honorable member wishes to establish a monopoly. He is speaking for one man.
– I am not, although. Messrs. Thompson and Company, of Castlemaine, are large ‘ employers of labour, and manufacture the finest machinery produced in Australia, and some of the best in the world.
Mr.Hedges. - They do not make highspeed engines.
– They do.
– At what speed does the piston travel?
– I might ask the honorable member some questions in therapeutics which he would be unable to- answer. But’ this is not the time for engaging in mental gymnastics. I hope that we shall not take away from the engineering industry the protection that it is proposed to extend to it.
– The honorable member want’s to take from it something that it never possessed.
– I ask the honorable member to visit Mort’s Dock, in Sydney, and I can assure him that he will see thai a large number of men are employed there in manufacturing machinery for use in Australia.
– I know that. But 1 am speaking of the manufacture of high-speed reciprocating engines.
– I have already stated that the patent rights of these engines have been acquired by an Australian firm, and that the engines are being manufactured here.
– Are they steam engines?
– Then they are dutiable under the general Tariff at’ only 5 per cent., and under the Tariff for the United Kingdom are admitted free.
– The honorable member is now changing his ground. He apparently wishes to prevent gas engines and oil engines from being manufactured locally. I am surprised at the shortness of memory exhibited by some honorable members, who ask for special concessions, and, after obtaining them, evidence that they have no sense of gratitude. I appeal to the Committee not to agree to the proposal of the honorable member for Fremantle, and thus inflict a blow upon the engineering industry by subjecting our manufacturers to a competition to which they ought not to be subjected. Upon a simple request for the insertion of a few words in an item we are asked to make a sweeping change in the Tariff - a change in the fiscal policy of the Commonwealth which this Committee has repeatedly affirmed.
.- Whatever real strength existed in the agitation for a revision of the first Commonwealth Tariff arose from the way in which the engineering industry had been treated under that Tariff. It seems to me that the conditions that we are imposing upon the industry under this Tariff are equally harsh. If there is an industry in the Commonwealth which is worth building up, it is this one. Yet a constant desire is exhibited to whittle down the protection accorded to it. It is urged as a reason why we should not extend to it increased protection, that at present we do not make certain machinery here. But surely our desire is to establish a bigger industry than that which we now possess.
– That argument may be carried a long way.
– It is a perfectly sound argument. We can make locomotives in Australia, which are more complicated than is any other class of machinery.
– We admit steamengines free.
– That argument is typical of honorable members representing Western Australia. In the first place, they propose that high-speed reciprocating engines shall be admitted free, and, having obtained that concession, they immediately exclaim, “ Why should we stop at steamengines? Why should not gas and oil engines be included in the same category ?” The fact is that the Committee ought not to have given way to them in respect of steam-engines. If we do not intend to bring about another revision of the Tariff at an early date, we must treat the engineering trade fairly, lt cannot be contended that there is any difficulty in making gas and oil engines within the Commonwealth.
– . The honorable member did not hold that view when the timber industry was under consideration.
– Is the timber industry an engineering trade? No Tariff can be framed so scientifically as to afford protection to everything which may possibly be produced in the country. We have to gauge probabilities, and to look at the relative importance of the industries to be built up. From that stand-point the engineering industry is a most important one. I hope that those who believe in the principle of protection will, adhere to this item, and not throw open the wholeof the engineering industry to the competition of the world.
.- I do not pose as an expert upon high-speed reciprocating engines. I am not like my honorable friend the Treasurer, who pretends to know all about them. Representations have been made to me in regard to this question by persons in Western Australia. The)’ argue that if high-speed reciprocating steam-engines are to be admitted at 5 per cent. and free under the General Tariff and the Tariff for the United
Kingdom respectively, other engines which are worked by gas and oil . ought to be admitted on the same terms. In some parts of Australia wood is very scarce, and becoming scarcer, and in such places gasand oil engines are most valuable. Therefore some good reason should be advanced for this proposal to treat them differently from steam-engines. It may be said that highspeed reciprocating steam-engines are not made in the Commonwealth, and therefore should not be dutiable at any but a very low rate.
– They are made in the Commonwealth, though not largely made.
– Are highspeed gas or oil reciprocating engines made in Australia? If so, and their manufacturers can be protected without taxing too highly the industries which use them, some protection might reasonably be given ; but if not, why should these engines be treated differently from steam-engines? I agree with the honorable member for Fremantle that the use to which engines may be put is not a matter with which we should concern ourselves. It is unreasonable to impose the condition that, to come in at a low rate, engines must be directly coupled to electric generators or to pumps. Those who import engines should be allowed to use them as they may think best. I appeal to the Committee not to penalize the great mining industry merely to encourage persons to enter into a business in which they have not yet seen fit to engage. I hope that the word “ steam “ will be struck out.
.- I wish to point out that high-speed reciprocating engines when imported in the chassis of a motor car are admitted free of duty, although they . may be subsequently -used for purposes other than the driving of motor cars. Indeed, an honorable member is using one to drive a dynamo for supplying electric light, which it does most successfully. I ask the Committee to strike out the word “ steam,.” so that all engines may be treated alike.”
Question - That the word “ Steam “ be left out of the new paragraph requested to be inserted in item 160 (Motive Power Machinery) (Mr. Hedges’ amendment) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 1
Question so resolved in the negative.
Motion- agreed to.
Requested amendment made.
And on and after 28th November, 1907-
Item 162.. (a) Chain Blocks and Travelling Blocks; Pneumatic .Elevators and Conveyors; Rotary Blowers for Smelting, and TurboBlowers; Telphers; Apparatus for Liquefaction of Gases; Patent Portable Hoists for underground use, ad val. (General Tariff), 5 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), free.
Senate’s Message. - Request pressed, that the paragraph be free.
Motion (by Mr. Hume Cook) proposed -
That the requested amendment be not made.
– The explanation furnished by the Department is that if the amendment were made, importers and the Department would be at great pains to separate the machinery coming under the item from the motive power imported with it and dutiable under paragraph a of item 160. I ask that the request be rejected to facilitate the business of the Customs office for both importers and officials.
– The request relates only to the duly.
– But other articles’, which are intimately related, are dutiable under item 160 at 5 per cent, and free ; and my information is that it is impossible to separate one from the other.
Motion agreed to.
Requested amendment not made.
And on and after 28th November, 1907 -
Senate’s Message. - Modification of new paragraph “(aa) Log Band Saws with Band Wheels 5 ft. and over in diameter, free “, by the addition of the words “to ‘take effect on and after 13th December, 1907,” agreed to, provided the following words ar. e added to the paragraph : - “ Including accessories for same.”
Motion (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the requested amendment be made.
– I am sorry to have to raise a point of order, especially -in view of the fact that I quite agree wilh the proposal made by the Treasurer. But 1 am afraid we are in some danger of neglecting our Standing Orders, and thereby neglecting to maintain our rights ; and I think the occasion sufficiently important to raise the question. If we do not respect our own Standing Orders, and maintain the principles which are therein laid down, we may be sure that another place, while maintaining its privileges and rights, will be utterly regardless of ours. :
– Why raise the point on this particular item?
– On a previous item, I raised a similar point of order, and the Chairman, while he could not agree with its validity, said that there were cases - in which my point of order would be perfectly justified ; and this, I think, is one of the cases. . As I have said, I agree with the proposal of the Minister; but I raise this question on higher grounds. Both the Senate and the House of Representatives have agreed to this item”; the only modification made by this Committee was the formal one fixing the date, and that was accepted by the Senate. Now,’ however,’ the Senate proposes to add the words “ including accessories for same,” which, in my opinion, is a new proposal altogether.
I am relying on standing order 207, which deals with amendments, and it may be said that we are now not dealing with amendments, but with requests. I point out, however, that as soon as the Minister submits a proposal to accept a request, it becomes an amendment, and therefore the standing order which I now read is applicable -
No amendment csm be proposed in any words of the Bill which, having received the- concurrence of the Senate, have’ not been the subject of, or immediately affected by, some previous amendment, unless such proposed amendment be consequent upon an amendment already agreed to or made by the House.
This is not a consequential amendment, but an absolutely new proposal ; and if we abandon our Standing Orders in the present instance, we must be prepared to abandon them on future occasions.
– Such a departure would not be allowed amongst ourselves.
– That is so. If we have Standing Orders to which we mean to adhere, another place will be careful not to send on proposals which conflict with them. In cases which are not met by our Standing Orders, we have to rely on the practice of the House of Commons ; and May, at page 507of the Eleventh Edition, says -
It is also a rule that neither House may at this time - that is after a disagreement - leave out or otherwise amend -
– But is this suggested amendment not part and parcel of the original proposal ? These accessories are only things required in connexion with log band saws.
– As I have said, I am in favour of the amendment proposed; but, at the same time, we ought not to neglect the Standing Orders under which we enjoy and limit our rights.
– Does the honorable member contend that these are not part and parcel of the main item?
– I say that these are accessories and form quite an independent item. Both Houses have already agreed in regard to the wording and the duty, the ‘only modification made by us being the formal one of fixing the date.
– This is getting on with the Tariff ! Anything to cause trouble !
– It is nothing of the sort.
– Ever since the Tariff came back, there has been a desire shown to create conflict between the two Houses.
– That interjection would indicate that the Treasurer is prepared to give up all the rights of this House.
– When the time comes, I shall show that I am not a cocktail.
– It looks very like it, seeing that the honorable gentleman is giving way before there is a fight. I suppose I am quite justified in raising the point of order under our Standing Orders ?
– Of course.
– Then why doesthe honorable gentleman object? If the proposed amendment is not a new item altogether, I do not know what a new item is. When I was interrupted by the Treasurer, I was pointing out that May, Eleventh Edition, on page 507, says - ,
It is also a rule, that neither House may, at’ any time, leave out or otherwise amend anything which they have already passed themselves; unless such amendment be immediately consequent upon the acceptance or the rejection of an amendment of the other House.
May goes further, and shows the extreme importance placed on this point by the House of Commons -
In 1678, it was stated by the Commons at a Conference, “ That it is contrary to the constant method and proceedings in Parliament, to strike out anything in a Bill which hath been fully agreed and passed by both Houses “ ; and in allowing consequential amendments, either in the body of the Bill, or in the amendments, the spirit of this rule is still maintained. So binding, indeed, has it been held, that in 1850, a serious oversight, as to the commencement of the Act, having been discovered in the Pirates’ Head Money Bill, before the Lords’ amendments had been agreed to, no attempt was made to correct it by way of amendment, but a separate Act was passed for the purpose.
I am only anxious to preserve some of our privileges, one of which is to be guided in our procedure by our own Standing Orders. If we act in the same way as now suggested) in connexion with other Bills, we shall certainly be . in danger of giving up all our right to control our business by our own Standing Orders. When we ‘ have Standing Orders which are backed by the high authority of the British Parliament, we ought to adhere -to them ; and I submit that the requested amendment is not in order.
– I support the point of order raised by the honorable member for North Sydney. The Senate inserted the new paragraph aa, and to that we agreed. We agreed to the request subject to the modification “ To take effect on and after 13th December, 1907.” In other words, we named the date on and after which these saws And wheels should be free. The Senate now proposes, not a modification of that made by us, but something entirely new. It is attempting to go behind what has been agreed to by both Houses. ‘ I submit that the stage at which it could suggest the insertion of an entirely new provision has passed. No honorable member of this House would be allowed to move such an addition as that which the Senate has requested. We. are two stages beyond the point at which it could be done. This request comes within the same category as the amendment proposed by me in regard . to salt arid gypsum bags, which you, sir, ruled out of order. The actual amendment desired to be made is not in itself of great importance, but there is a principle involved, and the honorable member for North Sydney has put forward a contention that is perfectly sound.
– It is unnecessary for me to say that an honorable member is entitled to raise a point of order at any time he pleases to do so, but in this connexion I would remind the Committee of what took place in the House yesterday when the honorable member for Flinders asked Mr. Speaker to give his ruling on an important question. Mr. Speaker, while intimating that he was always willing to determine any point of order submitted to him, suggested that the honorable member should not at that stage press for a ruling. Acting on that suggestion, the honorable member withdrew his request for a ruling, because it was thought that the point raised might lead to a conflict between the two Houses, which was undesirable at the present time. It’ was pointed out, however, by the Prime Minister and others, that there must come a time when the respective powers of each House will have to be determined, but it was thought unwise that a ruling should be given which might possibly hang up for an indefinite time the settlement of a momentous question.
– That point was altogether different from the one I have raised.
– I am aware of that, but I am referring to it only because I wish honorable members to consider whether it is wise to press for a ruling on this point of order at the present stage. When we are called upon to deal with any question involving the rights of this House I shall not be found shirking my responsibility ; but the consideration that I wish to suggest to the Committee is whether it is beyond the power of the Senate to suggest or of this House to insert, say, a definition to clear up a point that may require elucidation.
– On one Mca sion the House of Commons had to pass a. special Bill to clear up a point in a measure.
– Are we to be called upon, owing to the existence of a rigid standing order, to pass a special Bill to cure some slight error or omission in this schedule ? ‘
– This request does not amount to an omission. When the original request was before us, I raised the question of accessories, and the Minister said he could not accept my proposal.
– I have not a clear recollection of what took place at the time, but I should like to suggest, for the consideration of the Chairman, the question of whether or not it would be wise, at this stage, to deal with a point of order which may lead to a conflict between the two Houses ?
– The Chairman cannot consider such a question.
– The Chairman, if he desired, could do what Mr. Speaker did yesterday. I am not suggesting that it is wrong to raise this point of order, but I am anxious that we should not be called upon to fight at the present moment. I want to see the Tariff’ dealt with, and questions, such as those raised yesterday, and previously, as well as that now before us, may be determined at a more opportune time.
– I do not think that there is any chance of serious complication arising in connexion with a matter so insignificant as this. To suggest that the two Houses could get into difficulties over a question of this sort, is, to my mind, extremely ridiculous. It is equally ridiculous for an honorable member to appeal to you, Mr. Chairman, to consider questions of diplomacy or strategy in connexion with a point of order arising under the
Standing Orders. It is impossible for you, 6ir, to oblige the Treasurer, or any other honorable member, by doing so. The’ point is a simple one,’ and it is a mistake to describe it as a matter affecting the privileges of this House, or those of another place, because it relates really to a mutual privilege. When the two Houses have agreed on any one point arising during, the consideration of a Bill, that point is settled, so far as that Bill is concerned, and cannot be re-opened on that Bill by either House. The honorable member for North Sydney may be said tobe standing up for therights of another place, as well as for those of this House, because on some other occasion we might seek to abuse the privileges of another place by endeavouring to dothat which the Senate is now doing. The Bill, as it left this House, provided for log band saws being . dutiable at a certain rate.. A suggestion,, not an amendment, was made by the Senate, that they should be free.
– A request.
– I call it a suggestion. We adopted that suggestion: Inasmuch as the duty on these saws continued under the resolution of this Committee, and was not suspended by the suggestion of the Senate, we really did not modify the Senate’s suggestion by adding words naming the date on and after which they should be free. The effect of that addition was really to carry out the suggestion, since this House could alone fix the date on and after which the articles should be free. The duty was not affected by the Senate making a suggestion; it was only when we fixed the date on and after which the item should be free, that it was affected. I repeat that that . was not a modification ; it was the only way in which the Senate’s suggestion could be carried out. Unless the date had been added by us, the duty would have continued indefinitely. The addition of the words relating to the date was the one thing necessary to give effect to /the Senate’s suggestion. It was our undoubted right to fix the date, and that - being so, we practically sent back the Bill to the Senate, with the message “ suggestion agreed to.” The Senate now says to us, iri effect, “ We are obliged to you for agreeing to our suggestion, but we will accept the date - the addition of words which really give effect to our request - only on condition that you insert words bringing other articles under this item.”
Clearly, that is a re-opening of the Tariff ; it is an attempt on the part of the Senate to make a sort of bargain’ with this House for carrying out what was originally suggested by it. There is no point of conflict involved.
– I hope, Mr. Chairman, that the honorable member for North Sydney will not withdraw his request for your ruling. The Treasurer has referred to my action yesterday in another matter, as a precedent for asking the honorable member to withdraw the point of order he has raised. I would remind the Committee that the circumstances are entirely different. The point that I raised yesterday involved a very grave constitutional question, that might have led, and may in the future lead, to possibilities of greatest difficulty between the two Houses. It was obvious that it was the desire of the House that Mr.. Speaker should have a further opportunity to consider that very momentous point. Mr. Speaker himself desired it, and the ruling was not given. But the point now before us is in a different category. I should have thought, after hearing the honorable member for North Sydnev, that it was too clear for argument. The Constitution confers on the House of Representatives alone the power to make a modification. It does not give any power to the Senate to make a modification, or to make a modification of a’ modification made by this House. Its sole power is to accept or reject.
– Or to request that amendments be made.
– Under the Constitution . its power is limited to requesting this Committee to make amendments. When it has made its requests, this Committee alone has the power to make any modifications in them. We did make a modification in regard to- the date-
– We have madeother modifications, too.
– ButT am speaking, of this particular item. I hold that thereis no room for argument in connexion with the matter. The only course open to theSenate is either to accept or reject the modification which we have made in its request.
– The honorable membercontends that it is not competent for us now to entertain any other modification, or suggestion, by the Senate.
– Exactly. Otherwise, when, we send back this’ schedule ‘to the Senate, it may request further modifications in the various items. Consequently, it is absolutely necessary that at some time or other we should assert ourselves in regard to our privileges. The honorable member, for North Sydney is merely attempting to preserve those privileges in raising this .question.
– I was very pleased to hear the remarks upon this question of the leader of the Opposition, the honorable member for. Flinders, and the honorable member for North Sydney. Yesterday the honorable member for Dalley expressed himself strongly in connexion with it. But I wish to know . whether these honorable members intend to vote in the direction which their utterances indicate?
– The right which we are claiming is equally a right of the Senate.
– But this is a question of voting. I desire to know whether honorable members are prepared to support the views which they have enunciated?
– The honorable member may accept my assurance that I. shall do so.
– Probably, it will not be necessary- to vote upon the -question.
– If the Government will not exhibit’ any backbone in this matter, this Committee should take it in hand. .It is time that the respective powers of the two Houses under the Constitution were determined.
– I think that the point raised by the honorable member for North Sydney is a good one, which ought to be sustained. . It is founded upon the Standing Orders, which clearly lay down that when a proposition has- been agreed to by both Houses, it cannot afterwards be qualified, or altered in any shape or form. ;The point raised ought, therefore, to be decided in favour of the honorable member’s contention upon the Standing Orders alone, altogether apart from the constitutional question of whether the Senate can renew or press a request. ‘ That point has been reserved for’ decision,’ and upon it I should not like to express a final opinion now. T’n the present instance, however, this Committee has agreed to the request preferred by the Senate.
– That settles the matter.
– Yes. The articles enumerated in this item would be free, ipso facto, from the date when the Committee agreed to the suggestion of the Senate. The power of that House, under the Constitution, is, therefore, exhausted.
– And our power, too.
– Yes. Yet we are now asked to make’ a substantial addition to that request. . By the insertion of the word . “ accessories “ we may include shafting and belting and extend the area of the original request. I contend that, having adopted the request of the Senate, that branch of the Legislature has no right to qualify it or to alter it in any way. That is a proposition, which we can well lay down, and upon which we can insist.
– It seems to me that our position under the Constitution is perfectly clear. A request was preferred by another place which we accepted. We returned that request to the Senate, which has made an addendum to it. Obviously, our reply should be that under the Standing Orders it . is not competent for us to entertain that addendum.
– I am very glad that the honorable member for North Sydney has brought this matter forward, and I indorse every word that he has uttered in respect of it. I believe, sir, that you have already made up your mind as to the way in .which you will rule. . Indeed, a Chairman of Committees like yourself, and a Speaker like our own, anticipate these questions and frame their rulings upon them before they are sought. My only regret is that a ruling upon this matter was not given earlier, as I believe that you will support the contention of the honorable member for North Sydney.
– Ever since the initiation of the Tariff discussion in Committee, and especially since we have been considering requests from the Senate, I have ruled against any course by honorable members’ which would have the effect of practically re-opening the Tariff. I have endeavoured to confine them to the particular item under consideration, and thus to prevent the unlimited discussion which might otherwise follow. One instance in this connexion has already been mentioned by the honorable member for Boothby - I refer to the. occasion when the duty upon salt bags was under consideration. The modification which we inserted in this instance was merely for departmental purposes, and not with a view to interfering’ with the item at all. Under the circumstances, it certainly appears to me that the Committee have already decided this particular item. If I were to accept the further modification of the item by the Senate I could not refuse to entertain any amendment which an honorable member might desire to submit in. respect of other items. Thus finality would become impossible. Under the circumstances I rule that the requested modification is not in order.
-It will not be wise to return the schedule to the Senate with a bald intimation that we have not agreed to the requested amendment. We ought to assign a reason for our action, that reason being the ruling of the Chairman.
– The reason will have to be pointed out in the message transmitted.
– We certainly cannot reject the modification requested by the Senate, nor can we agree to it. We cannot deal with it except upon the basis that it is an agreement by the Senate with the modification made in the item bythis Committee. The only proper course open to us is to return the schedule with an intimation that the modification made by this Committee having been agreed to by the Senate, this Committee cannot consider any message concerning a further modification.
– That would be a little too abrupt.
– I have no desire to be abrupt. We ought to intimate to the other Chamber that the . Standing Orders prevent us from dealing with the proviso which it has appended to its acceptance of our modification.
– I suggest that we should raise a difficulty if any such message’ as that suggested by the honorable member were forwarded to the other House, because the Senate would . say that its agreement with our modification was conditional upon’ certain things being done. That would be an unfortunate mistake to make. My suggestion is that we return the Bill to’ the Senate with this particular date added, and with an explanation inserted in the accompanying message, to the effect that under the Standing Orders we were not able to consider the further modification requested bv it.
– This Committee cannot deal with the message which will be despatched to the Senate. That is a question for the House to determine.
Requested amendment not made.
Item 170. . . .
On and . after 29th November, 1907, ad val. (General Tariff), 5 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), free.
Senate’s Message. - Request pressed that the paragraph be made free under the General Tariff.
Motion (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the requested amendment be made.
.- There is not much in dispute in connexion with this particular item. It is merely a question of whether we shall maintain the preference which we extended to the Mother Country. I believe that we. made a mistake in making aluminium articles for household use free, because since we arrived at that decision, I have ascertained that complete plants for the manufacture of these aluminium goods are already in Australia, and that preparations are being made to embark upon the industry. Exactly the same plant is required for manufacturing these articles that is required for enamelling household ware.
Motion agreed to.
Requested amendment made.
And on and after 29th November, 1907 -
Item 176 -
Senate’s Message. - Request pressed that the paragraph be made, free under the General Tariff.
Motion (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the requested amendment be made,
. -The general principle hitherto followed where free importation from the United Kingdom has been allowed has been to place a duty of 5 per cent, on foreign imports in order to give a preference to the Mother Country. Why is that rule departed from in this instance? I ask the Minister to reconsider his proposal.
– I do not consider the matter of much moment. In going through the schedule, I sought out items in regard to which we could meet the Senate. This, I think, is such an item.
– The Treasurer proposes to meet the Senate in this case, because the requested amendment is of. no importance.
– There is not much in it.
.- The Treasurer says that there is not much in the Senate’s request. Neither is there much in the preference given to the Mother Country by the Government. -The honorable gentleman is only consistent in adding this to the other preferences which are not worth much.
– As the Committee, seems to think that there should be a duty of 5 per cent, on the General Tariff, I desire, by leave, to amend my motion to read -
That the requested amendment be not made..
Motion, as amended, agreed to.
Requested amendment not made.
Requested amendment in item 177, paragraph c (Regulating, Starting, and Controlling Apparatus for Electrical Purposes) not made.
And on and after 29th November, 1907 -
Item. 178. Electrical and Gas Appliances, viz. : -
Senate’s Message. - Requested amendment to make duties (General Tariff) 25 per cent., (United Kingdom) 20 per cent., not pressed, provided the paragraph be amended to read - “ (B) Gas Meter Parts not fitted together or joined in any way.”
Motion (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the requested amendment be made.
– Is not the request out of order under the ruling you gave a short time ago, Mr. Chairman ? The Committee . provided for a duty of 5 per cent, under the general Tariff, and the Senate requested that rates of 25 and 20 per cent, be substituted. The requested amendment was not made, and now the Senate says that it will not press its request, if paragraph b is amended as it proposes.
– In the other case the Senate requested the addition of new matter.; in this case it proposes a modification in order to meet the wishes of this Chamber.
– I do not see the distinction.
Mr.Dugald Thomson. - What about standing order 207 ?
– I do not think that the standing order affects this point. The Constitution provides that -
The Senate may at any stage return , to the House of Representatives any proposed law which the Senate may not amend, requesting, by message, the omission or amendment of any items or provisions therein. And the House of
Representatives may, if it thinks fit, make any of such omissions or amendments, with or without modifications.
– In this instance, the Senate refrains conditionally from pressing its request.
– I see now that there may be a distinction between this case and that already ruled on; but I think that the Committee alone has the right to make modifications. The Senate, instead of sending back its original request for reconsideration, proposes the insertion of a new paragraph. That is a modification.
– A condition, not a modification.
– We know nothing of conditions. The Senate’s proposal is tantamount to a new request. It asked that gas meters be made dutiable at 25 and 20 per cent., and that request not having been complied with, it now says, “We shall not press the request if you will agree to a totally different, suggestion.”
– Not a totally different one. Parts go to make up a whole.
– The fact that parts of gas meters go to make up whole gas meters does not affect the consideration whether the Senate’s proposal does not involve a complete departure. At any rate, a new amendment . is requested. I admit that my first impression, that the case was covered by your ruling, was not correct ; nor is the point the same as that debated at length before Mr. Speaker yesterdav, as to the right of the Senate to press its requests. In my view, this is not a request previously made, but a modification. .
– I think that the ruling of the Chairman does not apply in this instance, the case being different. The Senate has a constitutional right to request amendments several times in succession in regard to’ any particular item,, and- has, therefore, the right to modify, and again modify, requested amendments, with a view to arriving at a harmonious understanding with the House of Representatives.
– The Senate does not agree to any part of our original proposal.
– No. The position is different from that already ruled on.
– I admit that.
– In the first instance, the Senate asked that the duty on gas meters be’ made 25 and 20 per cent. They now ask, as a modification of that proposal, that the original rates be applied to gas-meter parts not fitted together or joined in any way. That is not a new proposal, but a modification ; and, therefore, it seems to me, within the right of the Senate to make, whatever view may be taken as to the advisableness of agreeing “to it.
– In my opinion, the requested amendment is in order.
– The ruling you have just given, Mr. Chairman, has reopened the whole Tariff.
– If the honorable member wishes to discuss it, he must give notice in writing of his desire to dissent from it.
– Then I shall do so. You, sir, have adopted rather a peremptory way of putting me down.
– I have no desire to put any one down; but if I . allow the honorable member to discuss my ruling, other honorable members mav desire to do so.
-i move, in accordance with the notice which I hand to you in writing -
That the ruling of the Chairman in deciding that the requested amendment is in order be dissented from.
I regard this matter as very important. Gas meters which are imported already made up, as distinct from parts, will, if the proposal of the Treasurer be carried, be subject to another rate of duty, under the heading of metals and machinery ; and the result will be to open up a question which has never been in dispute between the two House’s; indeed, it will re-open the whole of the Tariff to discussion.
– The Senate is simply meeting us half-way.
– We are not concerned with the item now, but with the consequences of the Chairman’s ruling.
– Is the honorable member for Parramatta in order in discussing the consequences of the Chairman’s ruling? It appears to me that the consequences have nothing to do with the question whether the Chairman be right or wrong. What the Committee may do afterwards in . regard to the item is not at present a matter for consideration ; the question is whether the Chairman’s ruling is right or wrong.
– The honorable member for Parramatta is showing reasons why my ruling should be disagreed with.
– The Chairman -is not responsible for the results of his ruling. ‘
– I venture to think that the Chairman is responsible.’ More than once during the discussion of the Tariff, the Chairman has said that he has no perfectly framed Standing Orders to meet the circumstances, and, in consequence, there have been strange rulings from time to time. A little while ago the Chairman gave a ruling, the basis of which was that our desire, in considering the suggestions of the Senate, was to circumscribe the area of debate as much as possible ; in other words, that our whole purpose, in considering these suggestions, is to narrow the circle of matters in issue ‘ as between the two Houses. I desire to point out that the ruling just given does not narrow, but widens the circle, inasmuch as it may open to debate every item in the Tariff.
– If items have already been agreed to; they cannot be re-opened.
– Does not the honorable member see that, if the proposal of the Treasurer be carried, gas meters will come under metals n.e.i., and that in such a contingency, the Committee might take a very different view of the question.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 7.45 p.m.
-I do not wish to press my dissent from your ruling, sir, and thereforeI ask leave to withdraw the motion.
Motion of dissent, by leave, withdrawn.
– The Senate have altered this request, with the result that gas meters come under another item at 30 per cent., while parts- are admitted free. T desire to point out, however, that the freeing of the parts will not in -any way affect the putting together of the meters in Australia, because that work is carried on now, and was carried on in New South Wales under free-trade.
– But the number of hands employed increased by ‘200 per cent, after the small duty was put on by the last Parliament.
– As a matter of fact, there was no inducement to increase the hands under the duty referred to, seeing that 12½ per cent, was imposed on meters and parts alike. . Any increase in the number of hands must have been due simply to the larger number of meters required ; and, of course, that, in turn, was due to the growth of population, inNew South Wales particularly. I object to the proposal of the Senate, because it’ simply offers a premium to the patentees and agents of meters, who have branches here, to in- crease the price to the amount of the duty. In Sydney, where the wet meter is mostly used, . the patentees have a branch, as they had when there was no duty at all, and also under the duty of12½ per cent. The work is carried on here because it saves freight and avoids risk of damage in transit.
– Do none of the gas companies here make their own meters?
– In Melbourne, but not in Sydney. In both Melbourne, where the dry meter is used, and in Sydney, where the wet meter is used, the parts are imported and put together here just as was the case under free-trade, or when there was’ a duty of 12½ per cent, tin parts and meters alike. It will be seen that no advantage is given by this duty, even from a protectionist stand-point; the only result is to give an opportunity to increase the price in. the way I have indicated.
– Does not the honorable member think that competition in other countries will keep down the price?
– There is the patent dry meter used in Victoria and the patent wet meter used in New South Wales, and the competition is practically nil. There is no competition in Australia worth speaking of, although some of the smaller gas companies do not do the work themselves.
– There are three firms manufacturing meters in Melbourne.
– There are two firms’ in Melbourne, and I suppose the gas company is the third, who are employed in putting the parts together, just as they would be, duty or no duty.
– The honorable member is assuming that the duty will increase the price.
– How long would a firm have the opportunity of increasing the price, under a duty, without taking advantage of it? On a previous occasion I pointed out that electric meters are admitted at 5 per cent, and free, whether made up or in parts; and I do not see why there should be a differentiation when both kinds of meters are used by the’ same classes of , people - that is, by large and small companies, and by municipalities. The only distinction is that gas meters are the more extensively used. I hope the Committee will not assent to the suggestion of the Senate, when really there is no necessity for such a duty.
– It is only fair that we should, as far as possible, place electric lighting companies and gas companies on an equal footing. The honorable member for North Sydney seems to think that by imposing these increased duties we should give the gas companies an opportunity to raise the price of gas to consumers. My opinion is that the price of all illuminants is regulated by competition. That, at all events-, is the position in large centres of population where there are rival gas and electric lighting companies. “ We have agreed to allow electric meters to come in free, and they are certainly far more complicated than are gas meters.
– They could be put together here.
– Surely it would be advantageous to a gas company to allow the part’s to come in, free.
– They must buy them from the patentees.
– If we reduce the duty on parts by 12½ per cent, they will enjoy that advantage in putting them to gether, and will be placed in the same position as electric light companies are. For that reason, I think that we should accept the Senate’s request. The bulk of the gas meters used in Australia are put together here.
– Of course they are, and the honorable member is now offering the gas companies’ an opportunity to charge more for gas.
– If that is so, all the gas meters used in Australia will be put together here if this request be agreed to.
Question - That the requested amendment (item 178, paragraph b, “ Gas Meters “) be made - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 1
Question so . resolved in the negative.
Requested amendment not made.
Item 217. Standards and Pillars of all lengths for fencing; Patent Wedgers for Droppers and Standards (General Tariff), 5 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), free.
Senate’s Message. - Request pressed that the duty be ad val. (General Tariff),17½ per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 12½ per cent.
Motion (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the requested amendment be made.
.- This motion requires some . explanation, more especially as the Treasurer, when the request was before us on a previous occasion, if I remember rightly, did not advocate its acceptance. He suggested verbal amendments of the item which were agreed to by the Committee, and have been accepted by the Senate, and it would be interesting to learn why he now proposes to agree to this request.
.- I thought that the facts were so fresh in the minds of honorable members that it was ‘ unnecessary to remind them of what occurred when the request was previously before us. We then declined to impose duties of 17½ and. 12½ per cent, as requested by the Senate; but I would point out that under another item fencing droppers are dutiable at 17½ per cent, and12½ per cent’. It is for that reason that “ the Senate requests that similar duties should be. imposed im respect of this item. Standards and pillars are practically identical with droppers.
– Not at all.
– Both are used for fencing, in lieu of wooden posts. The standards are placed in the ground from’ 30 to 40 feet apart, and the droppers are spaced between them, from 8 to 10 feet apart,, to keep the wires in position.
– Droppers are not put into the ground.
-I know that. I have used them a great deal more frequently than has the honorable member.
– Upon a former occasion, the Treasurer said that they were not used.
– I never said anything of the kind.
– The statement is upon record in Hansard.
– It will be seen, therefore, that the two items are closely allied, and it would be anomalous to have one dutiable and the other free. This is also purely a protective duty, the articles in question being manufactured in large quantities in the Commonwealth. It may further be stated that many of these standards, pillars, and droppers are Australian ideas, of which local manufacturers hold the patents.
– But this is a question of wedgers for droppers.
– The whole of these ‘articles ought to be included in one group. It is with a view to placing them in the same category as fencing droppers, which are dutiable at 17½ per cent, and 12½ per cent. , that I propose that we should agree to the request of the Senate.
– In declaring that this item has reference to droppers, the Treasurer fell into an error. It relates only to wedgers for droppers. The request which has now been made by the Senate for the second time is one ‘which evidences no regard for the decision deliberately arrived at by this Committee upon two previous occasions. I do not know where this House will ultimately find itself if the Senate persists in requesting that duties shall be imposed three times as great as those which this Committee has declared to be sufficient.
– We ought to stand up to the Senate.
– We do not want to fight, but really the other branch of the Legislature has made a most extraordinary demand. It is not as if its members’ had given this particular matter any very great amount of thought, because we know that very little time was occupied in discussing it.
– The request of the Senate does not represent a fair compromise.
– It does’ not. Upon two occasions we have declared that the- articles enumerated in this item shall be dutiable at 5 per cent, under the general Tariff, and shall be admitted free under the Tariff for the United Kingdom ; and it is not reasonable therefore that the Senate should insist upon pressing its request for duties of 17J and 12
– I want a Tariff.
– The Treasurer wants to obtain something which this Committee has declared it will not sanction. To-night he wishes us to reverse our former decision under compulsion from another place.
– The right honorable member wants to provoke a conflict with the other House.
– I desire to assure the Treasurer that I do not. I am a strong advocate of the rights and privileges of the Senate, and I do not desire to detract from them one iota. At the same time, I am not in favour of sacrificing the rights, and privileges, of this Chamber. I am not prepared to .agree to requests made by the other branch of the Legislature which completely ignore the opinion deliberately expressed by this Committee upon two distinct and separate occasions.
.- In the northern portion of the State which I represent, droppers and standards are used very extensively for fencing purposes. In certain localities they are used because of the scarcity of timber, and they are also used in country where the timber is attacked by white ants. Yet we are asked to impose a duty of 17
.- I do not think that the Treasurer should accuse honorable members of wishing to bring about a collision between this House and another -place. Such references are most undignified. I think that the honorable gentleman will agree with me that it belittles the dignity of the House to have remarks of that character thrown across the chamber. This incessant reference to possible conflicts with another place is in the worst possible taste, especially in connexion with insignificant items, and in view of the fact that the differences between the two Houses in respect of practically all the large items have already been adjusted. I do not anticipate any difficulty in securing a settlement of this Tariff, seeing that most of the big questions have been amicably disposed of. When the Treasurer talks about standing up for the rights of this House at the proper time, he_ means that he will ‘do so when it suits him. May I remind him of the fact that the Government of which he was a member - with our lamented, friend the late right honorable member for Adelaide, who was Minister of Trade and Customs at the time, and who was as staunch a protectionist as ever lived in Australia. - proposed that these articles should be free. The Treasurer and his colleagues, in the interests of the Australian people, actually proposed that they should be admitted free. . They have been admitted free ever since 1902. In the present Tariff the Government, with a view to extending a preference to the Mother Country, proposed that they should be dutiable at 5 per cent, under . the general Tariff and free under the Tariff for the United Kingdom. The protectionist section of the Tariff Commission also recommended that they should be admitted free. This Committee has declared upon two previous occasions that they shall be dutiable at 5 per cent, under the .general . Tariff/ and free under the Tariff for the United Kingdom. Yet we are’ now asked by the Senate to increase that duty more than threefold - to impose a duty of 17½ per cent, under the general Tariff, which is an increase of more than 300 per cent. Surely all talk about the Senate trenching upon our rights and privileges in connexion with the Tariff can have no weight whatever, when it proceeds from men who are prepared to agree to requests by that Chamber for duties which represent increases of 300 per cent, upon their own proposals. The request under consideration is a monstrous one if this Committee is to have any voice at all in determining the duties to be levied under this schedule.
Question - That the requested amendment in item 217 (Standards and Pillars for Fencing) be made - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 5 .
Question so resolved in the negative.
Requested amendment not made.
Item 234. Oils -
In vessels exceeding one gallon, viz. : -
Senate’s Message. - Request pressed that the following paragraph be inserted ; -
Motion (by Sir William Lyne) proposed - .
That the requested amendment be not made.
– I hope that the Committee will negative the motion, and make the requested amendment. When the matter was last dealt with, there was a misunderstanding, because the Minister was not rightly heard, many honorable members thinking that he had agreed to make linseed free. In South Australia, a firm has spent £ 1 5,000 in putting down a plant, and making’ other preparations for the manufacture of paint, and those connected with it. have informed me that not one gallon of locally-made linseed oil has “been offered to them.
– We do not grow sufficient linseed.
– That is so. The original request of the Senate was to make linseed free, provided that, in the opinion of the Minister, sufficient linseed oil for manufacturing purposes was not being produced in Australia. No one could object to such a provision as that; but, surely we are not going to handicap our paint manufacturers by causing them to pay duty on oil which they must import. The honorable member for Mernda . says’ that linseed oil is made in the Commonwealth; but only very little of it is. made. If I were certain that in the near future sufficient for manufacturing paint could be obtained locally, I should not object to a duty ; but we should not put our manufacturers of paint at a disadvantage with those of other countries, whose paints are adulterated with barytes to an extraordinary degree.
– We placed a high duty on paint, because it was urged that the paint manufacturers, had to pay duty on their oil.
– The manufacturers of paints were under the impression that they would get their oil free. In London, sienna is sold at from £80 to £84 per ton, but within the Commonwealth, it is sold for £30, showing that the imported sienna is greatly adulterated.
When last I spoke on this subject, I was in error as to the quantity of oil used in a cwt. of paint, making it appear larger than it is, thoughit is considerable. As we have no evidence that linseed oil will be produced in sufficient quantities to meet the demands of our paint manufacturers, I think that it should be made, free until the Department is satisfied that those demands can be supplied locally.
– I am surprised at the speech of the honorable member, because I know him to be a good protectionist. In Parramatta, there is a company which, during the last two months, has made 3,000 gallons of linseed oil, and estimates to make at least 2,500 gallons per month hereafter. As we have granted a bounty for the production of linseed, we must protect those who embark in the industry. The Commonwealth should produce any quantity of linseed ; but it will not be grown unless a duty is imposed. To make linseed free would nullify the bountv. Mr. HARPER (Mernda) [8.38].- I hope that the Committee will not make the requested amendment. The Senate wish to insert a new paragraph, reading -
Oil - Linseed when denaturated as prescribed by Departmental By-law, free.
I should like to know whether linseed oil is not denaturated when used in making paint. Parliament has granted a bounty of£5,000 for the production of linseed, which must be used chiefly for making oil, and practically the only use. for the oil is in connexion with the manufacture of paint. If we desire to encourage an industry for which this country is well suited, and which is already in existence - because not only is flax arid linseed being grown-
– In infinitesimal quantities.
– Quite so; and for the reason that the duty of 6d. per gallon is too small. Owing to the fact that we have so many products which may be used for cattle feeding, there is no market here for oil cake, which in Europe has become practically the primary product, ‘ instead of the oil. We are now trying to . improve conditions by giving a bonus on the seed ; but here we have a proposal which, if carried, will mean doing away with the cftily use to which the oil can be put.
– The argument of the honorable member for Mernda is quite unanswerable. I should also like to point out that the scheme of duties on paints and colours . is based on the assumption that’ there is to be a duty of 6d. per gallon on linseed oil ; and if linseed oil be made free, then” we shall have to revise the whole of the other duties. However, I do not altogether rely on that argument. The honorable member for Mernda has shown us that the production of linseed oil is one of the primary industries of the country - an industry which Parliament has decided to encourage by means of a bonus - and, therefore, the protective duty must remain unimpaired ; otherwise, the bonus would be reduced to a minimum or become inoperative. The Tariff Commission considered this matter very carefully, and did not see their way to admit the raw material free.
– If there had been any likelihood of obtaining linseed oil locally in any quantity in the near future, I should have voted for a duty. As a matter of fact, however, there is so little possibility of linseed being grown to any extent, that we have decided to grant’ a bonus; and we have no information up to the present that there has been any real attempt to produce it in any quantity.
– That is absolutely, absurd !
– Where is . linseed being grown?
– It’ has been grown in Gippsland for years, but only on a small scale.
– Exactly, and there has been no appreciable increase since the passing of the Bonus Bill. Surely we . ought not to handicap a big industry
– Only mixing paint; that is all !
– There is one firm in Adelaide alone which has recently spent . £15,000 on this industry of “ onlymixing paint “ ; and it is one of the oldest and best firms in Australia. The honorable member for Bendigo endeavoured to make me appear to be departing from my protectionist principles ; but I again point out that, in spite of the bonus, linseed- is not being produced in any quantity. My own opinion is that we shall be revising this Tariff again before linseed, oil is pro-; duced to any satisfactory extent within the Commonwealth; and I do not see why. we should handicap a large industry on the off chance of the bonus being effective. The honorable member for Mernda talked about denaturating the oil ; and I took the trouble to ask the Treasurer to find out whether there was any likelihood of the oil being denaturated, if it could be easily clarified. I am informed that there is no difficulty about the denaturating, while the latter process is too costly ; and, therefore, I think it would only be fair to accept the suggestion of the Senate.
.- The honorable member for North Sydney, who has followed the Tariff with great attention, informs me that the protection on paints was increased from 6d. to9d. because of the particular duty under discussion. If we have given the manufacturers of paints increased protection on that account, . and if, as the honorable member for North Sydney informs me, this is a revenue duty, seeing that the article is not produced here, we are, in my opinion, entitled to the revenue duty to the extent to which we have increased the duty on the finished article. IfI am right in that, I am right altogether; if I am wrong in that, I am wrong altogether. I am told that the duty on paints was increased because the manufacturers have to pay duty on the raw material. If the duty of 6d. or od. were taken off paints, I should vote for the proposal before us ; but I am not going to present these manufacturers with any further advantage in the shape of protection. Then, again, we have offered a bonus for the production of linseed, and, since we have provided for the manufacturer, surely we can leave the benefit of that bonus to the grower? Under the circumstances, I feel that we should be simply depriving the Treasurer of revenue, if we supported the proposal which has been submitted.
– I am rather surprised at some honorable members objecting to a duty on linseed, after we have arranged for a bonus on its production. I remind the. honorable member for Hindmarsh that the Bonus Bill has been law for only a few months ; and that, therefore, we cannot expect any great increase in production.
– Is the honorable member aware that for seven vears prior to Federation, the Victorian Government offered a bonus on the growth of linseed? ‘
– Two or three weeks ago I had a communication from one of my electors asking me how he should proceed in order to obtain the bonus on a quantity he had grown, so’ that there can be no doubt that the bonus is increasing the production. But it would be absurd to give a bonus with one hand, and take away the duty with the other; because such a step would simply result in . the loss of revenue. I am astonished that the honorable member for Corangamite, who is such an upholder of the primary producer, should advocate free-trade in linseed.
– The leader of the Opposition made a statement which leads me to think that he is “ slipping “ on oil. The right honorable member supports the retention of a duty of 6d. on linseed for the reason - , although he did not say this definitely - that he was afraid the manufacturers would get the benefit if- the duty were removed.
– No ; because we have added to the protection of the manufacturer of paints, on the faith of the dutv on . linseed oil.
– The honorable member says so, but the duty on paints is : only 4s., and, as a matter of fact, there is a duty on both linseed oil and. burnt sienna. The manufacturers now say that they are not in a good position to compete with . the imported paints. I believe myself that we ought to encourage’ the manufacture of linseed oil. . The Senate suggested that the linseed oil, when denaturated, as prescribed by departmental by-laws, should be free; but that would mean that no linseed oil would pay any duty whatever, seeing that all linseed oil is used in the manufacture of something or other.
– Why denaturate it, if it is only used in manufacturing ?
– If the oil is to be used for. making paints, the addition of a little white lead would prevent it being used in the manufacture of soap, and so forth.
– Do they use’ linseed oil for making soap ?
– So I am told. Under all the circumstances, I should like to move the elimination of all the words after the first ‘” I,” and the imposition of a duty of 4d.
– The honorable member cannot do that.
– The Senate has made a certain request, and I thought I was entitled to move a modification.
– Is linseed grown at Port Melbourne ?
– No; but there are in my electorate many manufacturers who use linseed oil to a large extent. I believe in treating all manufacturers alike, and seeing that the Senate desires that linseed oil shall be free for certain purposes, I think that we might arrive at a compromise on the lines I have suggested.
– We have already determined that linseed oil generally should be dutiable at 6d. per gallon. That has been agreed to by both Houses. The only question before us relates to linseed oil “ when denaturated as prescribed by Departmental by-laws.” Any modification of those words would be permissible,’ but the honorable member’s proposal would re-open the whole question of the duty on linseed oil, which has already been decided upon.
– I bow, sir, to your decision.
.- In the south-eastern district of South Australia flax has been produced, and some of the farmers have done remarkably well with their crop. But until the quantity produced in Australia is sufficient to supply our own wants in the matter of linseed oil, I think that this item should be free.
.- Last night I had placed in my hands a letter from a Mr. Hopkinson, of Svdney, setting forth that in a factory recently opened in New South Wales, 3,000 gallons of oil are being produced every month. .
– The output isnow 1,500 gallons per month; but after this it will increase to 3,000 gallons per month.
– The statement in the man’s own hand -writing is that the output of the factory is at present 3,000 gallons per month, and that it is increasing. He also states that nearly 100 hands are employed ; that there is every prospect of that number being increased, and that analyses of the oil produced by him show it to be equal to that produced by Blundell and Spence, which is recognised all over the world as a standard oil.
– Where is the factory to obtain linseed for crushing?
– Linseed for oilmaking purposes is admitted free, but the bounty on oil locally produced can be claimed only in respect of oil obtained from linseed grown in Australia. Mr. Hopkinson goes on to state that he has been compelled, to sell his output at a very low price owing to the belief on the part of many people that the Australian oil isnot as good as the imported, and that the cost of the raw material here is greater and the wages paid higher than abroad. He states that the adoption of this request would mean the closing of the industry. I had some diffidence in quoting that statement in the absence of any further authority. But I would point out that we have empowered the Ministry to expend during a period of five years up to £5,000 by way of a bounty, equal to 10 per cent, on the value of oil made here from linseed. That being so, I fail to see how we could reasonably agree to this request. I recognise that linseed oil is the raw material of a number of industries, and that it is largely used in the mixing of paint, which gives employment to a number of people. White lead is used in the manufacture of paints, although the highest authorities in France say that the oxide of zinc preparation is better and healthier. Iam now informed by the hon-. orable member for Hindmarsh that there is a duty of 2s. per cental on linseed.
– The seed is free, under departmental by-laws, when imported for the manufacture of oil.
– Then I fail to see how we could reasonably accept the Senate’s request. We have agreed to a duty of 6d. per gallon on linseed oil.
– And on the strength of that dutv, the paint manufacturers were granted an increase in the duty on paints.
– I should have been prepared to support a request that linseed oil, when denaturated as prescribed by departmental -by-laws, should be dutiable at 3d. per gallon.
– The honorable member has seen fit to change his view on this question because we have in New South Wales a manufacturer of linseed oil who states that he is likelv to increase his output if this request be not agreed to. It has been shown by the honorable member for Corangamite that,, although the Victorian Government for seven vears offered a bonus on the production of linseed oil, it did not tend to increase the output.
– There was a decrease.
– If the firm in New South Wales is going to increase its output of oil, it -will have to obtain further supplies of linseed from abroad, and to pay a duty of 2s. per cental upon it.
– No ; linseed for the manufacture of linseed oil is free.
– At all events, it will ha ve. to incur heavy costs in respect of freights. It will have to pay freight on all the waste product.
– What waste is there?
– One cannot turn linseed wholly into oil.
– But oil cake is a good ‘ fodder.
– Oil cake is not so valuable as the oil itself.
– The oil is now becoming a secondary product. .
– There has been no good reason advanced against this oil being allowed when denaturated to come in free until our production of linseed expands. The local output of linseed oil is not sufficient to supply the needs of the paint industry of Australia, and . I hope that, if this request be rejected, the Senate will again insist upon its acceptance.
.- Since honorable members have referred to the protection allowed to paint manufacturers in Australia, it is only . fair to consider what is the assistance now given to the producers of linseed oil. At page 185 of the Tariff Commission’s report, it is shown that the average cost of linseed oil landed without duty in Australia, for a period prior to the taking of evidence by the Commission, was 2s.1d. per gallon. A duty of 6d. per gallon would bring up that price to 2s. 7d., without making allowance for all the charges, which must be very great, incidental to landing and distribution.
– And it can be purchased in the Oid Country for is.11d. per gallon.
– That is so. “Under the Bounties Bill which we have passed the linseed-oil industry will be benefited.
– No ; we’ ‘ have granted a bounty on the production, not of linseed oil, but of linseed.
– Then we have been arguing all the eveningon false premises.The chief complaint made was that it was unwise togrant a bounty, on the production of linseed oil if. we were going to remove the duty.
– We have granted a bounty on the production of linseed, and the honorable member is not prepared to give the linseed-oil mills a chance.
– There is not much in the Minister’s contention.
– It is the whole case.
– Then the Minister should agree to the Senate’s request. It must be admitted that there is a much larger number of people dependent on the making and using of paint than there is upon the growing of linseed ; and I hope that, in the interests of the paints of Australia, the Senate’s request will be agreed to. I would point out to the honorable member for Mernda-
– I am going to reply to the honorable member.
– The honorable member has always urged, when asking for high protection for certain articles, that the higher the protection granted, the greater will be the local competition, and . the cheaper the price to the general consumer. I have heard that argument advanced by him when phenomenally high duties have been sought on certain articles. ‘ I ask him why should not the position be the same in regard to paints ? Paint is used by thousands in Australia, and yet the keenest opposition to this request comes from one of the strongest protectionists in the House. Surely the honorable member will see that what applies to one industry must apply to all.
-It the honorable member understood the question, he would see that that is what we do recognise.
– Then I stand corrected bv the honorable member.I was under the impression that he compla’ned that we were granting too much protection.
– Then I hope that the honorable member will support those who desire to see the request of the Senate agreed to. If extra protection be extended to the local paint industry, it is obvious that it will cheapen the production of paint throughout Australia.
– We admit linseed for manufacturing purposes free.
– The honorable member is in a hopeless tangle. Will he allow me to explain?
.- I hope that I shall succeed in showing the honorable member for Wentworth the exact position. We have authorized the payment of a bounty to promote the growth of linseed in the Commonwealth. If that bounty succeeds, and if we induce persons to grow linseed upon a large scale-
– There are a lot of “ if s ‘ ‘ about the honorable member’s statement.
– There are not.
– There are; because a bounty for the production of linseed was operative in Victoria for years, but without any successful result.
– Then I will put the position in another way. Should the expectation which induced this House to grant a bounty upon .the production of linseed be realized, we shall have .a large quantity of linseed with no market for it unless mills are erected to convert it into oil. The bounty . is intended to encourage men to grow the seed, and the duty of 6d. per -gallon is intended to induce mills to utilize that seed’. In the meantime, we admit linseed free with the object of encouraging mills to start operations, but we admit it free only until such time as they can be supplied by local growers. The . duty upon paints under this Tariff was increased because an impost of 6d. per gallon had been levied upon oil.
– It would be very difficult to prove that statement.
– The leader of the Opposition made it, and honorable members received circulars from the paint manufacturers to that effect. Having obtained the extra duty to which I have referred, the paint manufacturers now have the hardihood to ask us to remit the duty upon their raw material.
– And, incidentally, to nullify the whole effect of the bounty payable in respect of linseed-.
– Yes. If would be folly to authorize the payment of a bounty to encourage the production of that article, whilst destroying the only means by which it could .be utilized. I do not underrate the paint-mixing industry, but, after all, the great bulk of its raw material is imported. I recognise that those engaged in that industry are entitled to protection, md I voted to extend it to them. But, having conceded that protection, it would be extraordinary if we refused to protect the Original producer of the seed, and those who utilize it.
.- This is a question of great consequence to an important industry in South Australia- I am very sorry to say that the attempts which have been made in Victoria to produce linseed have- not been at all satisfactory. I defy any honorable member to say that they have.
– For the simple reason that there was no outlet for the oil.
– That is not the reason. The honorable member for Mernda has probably seen the works in Driffield, Yorksh:re, which manufacture linseed cake. There the oil is a by-product, and the linseed cake is the product. The honorable member for Mernda desires to reverse that position. He wishes to make the oil the product, and the linseed cake the byproduct, because, upon his own admission, we use very little linseed cake in Australia. It is a valuable product, but it is an unfortunate fact that it has not been manufactured here at a price sufficiently low to permit of it being used economically.
– It would be if we imposed a duty of 6d. per gallon upon the oil.
– That would not have the effect which the honorable member predicts, but it would certainly cripple another ‘ industry in South Australia.
– And in other parts of the Commonwealth.
– It would cripple the industry in South Australia, which has resulted from the discovery of large deposits of colouring mater-al there. A bounty was payable in victoria upon linseed for more than seven 5’ears. I grew linseed, myself years ago.
– Cannot we grow anything in Australia?
– Yes, but unfortunately there are some commodities that we cannot grow to make a commercial success of them. Until we can do that in the case of linseed why should we hamper another industry ?
– The honorable member should not forget that the Australian market is three times the size of the Victorian market.
– I know that perfectly . well.
– There are plenty of districts outside Victoria in which linseed’ can be grown better than it can be in this State.
– Districts in which it is grown.
– Do those districts grow enough linseed to produce two gallons of oil?
– The honorable member might as well say that we cannot grow wheat in Victoria.
– The honorable member is exhibiting his strength upon this question by telling me that it is just as easy to grow linseed as it is to grow wheat. May I inform him that there is the greatest difference in the world between the two things? I can grow wheat profitably, but when I started to grow linseed I made a heavy loss, and a lot of other persons in my own district had a similar experience. I really think it is strange that on the present OCt:1- sion I should agree with the honorable member for Hindmarsh. But I do. I think that his contention is quite right. I hope that the Committee will vote to assist the industry in South Australia to which I have referred.
– It is a remarkable circumstance that the honorable member for Mernda did not adduce the arguments which he has advanced this evening when the proposal to admit linseed free for manufacturing purposes was under consideration. If it be true that we ought not to admit the oil free because we manufacture it, surely we ought not to admit the linseed free because we are growing it. When linseed oil is being produced in the Commonwealth in any quantity I am willing that ‘ it shall be made dutiable. But surely this Committee cannot go behind the decision at which it has previously arrived. All that I ask is that oil shall be admitted free for manufacturing purposes until such, time as it can be produced in Australia.
Mr. KELLY (Wentworth) [9.23I.- Before we accept the proposal of the Govern- * ment I should like to know how much linseed will be produced for conversion into oil under the bounty authorized by this Parliament. I find that that bounty upon which the honorable member for Mernda laid such stress must not exceed £5,000 in any one year.
– That would not keep a mill going two days.
– It is only fair in the interests of the paint industry that we should know what guarantee the consumer has that sufficient linseed will be -produced under the operation of the bounty to satisfy the requirements of the. Commonwealth. Until I have received some assurance in that connexion I shall be compelled to disregard the somewhat hypothetical speech of ‘ the honorable member for Mernda, and to vote in favour of free denaturated linseed oil.
Motion- agreed to.
Requested amendment not made.
Item 248. Roasting Dishes, Assay Furnaces and Crucibles, Scorifiers, and Muffles, free.
Senate’s Message. - Requested amendment leaving out “ and Crucibles, Scorifiers, and Muffles,” not pressed, provided the item be amended to read “ Roasting Dishes, Assay Furnaces, Plumbago Crucibles, Skittle . Pots, Scorifiers, and Muffles.”
Motion (by Sir William ‘.Lyne) proposed -
That the requested amendment be made.
.- I think that the Committee might agree to the proposal of the Senate, except as regards “ plumbago. crucibles.” Unless the word “ plumbago” is struck out, great injury will be done to the mining industry of Australia, which employs from 120,000 to 150,000 men, on whom nearly every item in the Tariff imposes a burden, although the industry is helping the country, and has helped it ever since it has been worth living in. I have been informed to-night, by Mr. H. H. Schlapp, one of the. great authorities on the subject in the Commonwealth, that where complicated ores have to be dealt with, in places like Broken Hill, Mount Morgan, and Kalgoorlie, the ordinary rough crucible, such as might be made by a brickmaker, or a drain-pipe maker, is quite unsuitable, as only reliable crucibles can be used.
– Crucibles are made by potters.
– The ordinary potter’s crucibles, produced in Australia, are not sufficiently reliable for fine work, and, therefore, whatever the duty, the mining companies must import those that they use. We should not hamper mining by increasing the cost- of crucibles. The. plumbago crucible is used only for fine gold smelting, and brass melting, that generally used in connexion with mining being made of clay. Not only have I the opinion of Mr. Schlapp ; but the views which I am expressing are those of all who have knowledge of mining, and are supported by the Kalgoorlie Chamber of Mines; It must not be forgotten that Kalgoorlie produces more gold than all the other fields in Australia put together, including Bendigo, Ballarat, and Mount Morgan. Are we to set aside the interests of an industry giving employment to thousands, in order to assist a potter who may employ two or three persons? The word “plumbago” should be struck out, and crucibles made free. I, therefore, move -
That the following modification be added : - “ But that the word 1 Plumbago ‘ be left out.”
– As I had not an opportunity to speak on this subject when it was last before the Committee, I wish to make a few remarks now. I think that had honorable members understood the questions involved, clay crucibles would not have been made free. Originally, all crucibles were dutiable under the Tariff, as introduced, at 25 per cent., which was the recommendation of the Tariff Commission, but the Committee, by a majority of four, placed them on the free list. The Senate requested that they be made dutiable at the rates charged on earthenware^ but the requested amendment was not made. Now the Senate submits a modified proposal which, if agreed to, will make plumbago crucibles and skittlepots, which are said not to be made in Australia, free, leaving clay crucibles dutiable at 25 and 20 per cent. I hope, that the Committee will agree to that. Clay crucibles can be made in any quantity, and of the best quality, in at least two of the States. When the Tariff Commission was sitting in Adelaide, Mr. Joseph Provis, mining engineer and chemist, and, general manager of the Kangaroo Island China-stone and Clay Company, gave this evidence - vol. 5, page 118, question 56293 -
Gas retorts are made of fireclays. In r.ddition. to that, we can make crucibles and muffles, and assayer’s furnaces. A very large quantity of these are also imported. I have one or two samples here of the fire-brick made by myself, and I want you to understand that they were not made by a practical potter or a practical brickmaker. I made them in my own “tinpot way. They have been exposed to a temper of white heat for ten hours, and- there is no sign of vitrification. Here is also an assayer’s crucible which I made, and that has stood the fire at white heat for about nine hours.
– According to that evidence, he seems not to have made them for sale.
– He has prepared them for sale, but they are imported so extensively that he has not had a chance of cutting into the market. The following is an extract from Mr. Provis’ evidence - 56323. Read the next exemption (c) ? - “ Crucibles, scorifiers, roasting dishes, muffles, assay furnaces and cupels.” That is more in my line. 56324. What do you say about them? - We can make these - every one of them given here. From experiments we have made, and experiments that others have made, we know we can make equal to the best imported article. These materials are brought into the country very cheaply. 56325. Before I pass from fire-bricks, I want to know what duty von want on them ? - We ought to have 15 per cent, on fire-bricks. 56326. Go on to (c) now? - “Crucibles, scorifiers, roasting dishes, muffles, assay furnaces, and cupels.” These can be made here and of quite as good a quality as what we have from Home - in some instances better. The crucibles are introduced into this country very cheaply. At the present t -im e it does not give a man half a chance to make a crust of bread, if he only makes crucibles and scorifiers and roasting dishes. In England they are made bv child labour almost, and brought out into this country free of duty. The freight is very little, and 15 to 20 per cent, would not be at all too much, and it would give us an opportunity of making these things, which are so extensively used in Australia. 56327. You produce a sample of them marked “ N “ ?- Yes. 56328. Is that a good sample? - That is a sample made on the mine, not bv a potter. If a potter were to make a sample like that he would make a far better one. With regard to the shape, that has nothing to do with the quality. I assure you I burnt that crucible at white heat for nine hours, and there is not a sign of vitrification.
– I suppose he was rather surprised !
– It is evident that honorable members from Western Australia do not like to hear these facts. I do not suppose that the furnaces or mines of Western Australia are beyond the white heat test, which, I understand, is the proper one.. The following is another extract from Mr. Provis’ evidence - 56332. What suggestion have you to make with reference to these articles? - I think it is almost absolutely necessary for these things to be made in the States to put a duty of from 15 to 20 per cent, on them. If we were to do that I think we could make the whole of the scorifiers, the whole of the crucibles, and the whole of the muffles that are required in Australia. We have the material, and the material appears to me and to others that have tried it to be equal to the best imported article.
That is the evidence in regard to the industry in South Australia; and I appeal to the representatives of that State to assist me in the encouragement of an industry which utilizes the raw material of the country. But Victoria is also Interested, and I am not reluctant to say that my district is particularly so. In 1903-4 the Bendigo Pottery Company, which is managed by Mr. G. D. Guthrie, entered on the manufacture of clay crucibles in connexion with their old-established pottery works, and they have sent a circular to me drawing my attention to testimonials which have been received. The company have succeeded, under the old duty, in turning out very good crucibles for use in mining. The first testimonial is as follows -
Bendigo,19th September, 1904.
Messrs. G. D. Guthrie and Co.,
Bendigo Pottery, Epsom.
Dear Sirs - We have much pleasure in stating that the clay crucibles you are supplying us with for smelting and assaying purposes are giving great satisfaction, and we consider them equal in every respect to the imported clay crucibles, a great many of which we have used. In future we intend placing all our orders with you.
& E. Duncan.
Messrs. Duncan are authorities ; and it will be seen that they testify to the qualities of the locally-made article. The following is another testimonial -
The Yarraville Chlorination and Ore
High-street, Yarraville, 27th October, 1904.
J. Hartley, Esq., 31 Queen-street.
Dear Sir - We have much pleasure in informing you that we have tested the clay crucible made by G. D. Guthrie and Co., of Bendigo, and found that it withstood’ the test equal in every respect to Morganls crucibles. We intend giving the crucibles a trial.
Jaques, Fisher, & Co. Propty. Ltd. (Thomas L. Fisher, Managing Director).
The great contention is that “ Morgan’s crucibles should be admitted free - that no crucibles of equal quality are produced in Australia - but this testimonial shows that the Bendigo crucibles . are, in every respect, equal to those imported.
– How do the prices compare ?
– The prices are not mentioned ; and I suppose there cannot’ be any great difference, or these practical men would have mentioned the fact. The last testimonial sent to this firm was from Mr. John Ebbott, manager of the Forest Creek Gold Reefs Company, Chewton, Victoria, who, under, date 24th November, 1904. said that the last lot. of crucibles which had been sent were “ turning out splendidly.” If these crucibles are good enough for the’ mines of Victoria they ought to be good enough for the mines of Western Australia. I am afraid that a great deal of the opposition to the local articles is founded on bigoted prejudice. There is such an indisposition to give them a trial that the Bendigo and South Australian crucibles have never yet been tested by the Western Australian mining companies. These’ crucibles are used exclusively in the cyanide works at Bendigo.
– They are all right for cvaniding.
– If they are good for cyaniding at the white heat test, then they ought to be good for other similar work ; and I hope . the House will extend the protection that is justifiable.
.- We are indebted to the honorable member for Bendigo for the information he has given us, and for the pains he has taken over . the’ Tariff generally. When the honorable gentleman, speaks we are usually told something which rests on a firm basis ; and I am. proud to think that he has proved that on Kangaroo Island . there is some of the . best of clay for making all kinds of china and earthenware. There are large manufacturers on Kangaroo Island, where, I may add, , can be found the finest climate in. the world. We cannot expect a company to start without some inducement, and there is no doubt that this industry, with encouragement, would go ahead. I should be the. last to try to injure the mining industry, especially that of Western Australia, to which State the other States, are so much indebted. We are all looking for gold ; and if the admission of crucibles free would lead to the. production of more gold, I should be glad to support a proposal to that end.
– Are crucibles made on Kangaroo Island?
-Only on a small scale, but the business will be larger later on.
.-I hope the Committee will not accept the advice of the honorable member for Bendigo. The honorable member has on several occasions,’ no doubt in all sincerity, endeavoured to convince us that when he expresses an opinion, backed up by the report of the Tariff Commission, which he wrote himself, the question before us is settled beyond any shadow of a doubt. I do not deny that the honorable member has taken great trouble in obtaining information on the Tariff, nor would I deprive him of any honour that is due to him. But’, at the same time, it is the duty of this Committee to investigate the information which is laid before us, and see whether there is any reason in the suggestions made. The honorable member for Barker has spoken of a great industry in South Australia, which, 1 am informed, employs three men.
– If there were a duty the industry would employ many more.
– The honorable member for Barker has told us of a great industry in Australia that employs three men in one State.
– The industry requires developing.
– And in order that such an industry may be developed mining industry and research institutions are to be involved in an expenditure of about £6,000 per annum.
– That will not be much to Come out of the millions made in Western Australia.
– The honorable member talks at random about the millions produced in Western Australia, The attitude of some honorable members when dealing with, any item affecting a commodity in which that State is interested is not at all satisfactory to its representatives. The Government propose to allow crucibles other than those made of plumbago to fall automatically as earthenware, under duties of 25 and 20 per cent I should like to ask the Honorary Minister what percentage of the crucibles now’ imported will be admitted free if we accept the Senate’s request ?
– These goods are not dealt with separatelv in the Customs records, so that we cannot give information as to the percentage” affected by the request.
– My knowledge of the facts convinces me that if the Senate’s request is agreed to, about 1 per cent, of the crucibles which are imported will be admitted free. It is pronosed by a side wind to make- all other crucibles other than those made of plumbago dutiable at the rates I have mentioned, notwithstanding that this Committee has on two occasions determined that they shall be free. This is to be done in the interests of an industry at present giving employment to three individuals.
– Crucibles are made in the Bendigo pottery, where hundreds of hands are employed.
– But thev are not solely employed in making crucibles. The Bendigo pottery is at the root of the honorable member’s enthusiasm for this request.
– The proprietors of the Bendigo pottery did not give evidence before the Tariff Commission. We had the. evidence of a South Australian manufacturer in favour of a duty.
– Although no representative of the Bendigo pottery gave evidence before the Commission, the honorable member supplied information on the- subject, . and submitted recommendations.
– The Bendigo pottery merely sent a letter to the Commission.
– I suppose that the proprietors were not asked to send it ; but I have my doubts on that point. The numa-, ger of a pottery at Kangaroo Island - and any man battling there is deserving of consideration - urged that a duty should be imposed.
– He has since left.
– On. the evidence of that one individual, who was employing three men, we are’ asked to agree to a request which will amount to a tax of £6,000 per annum on Government laboratories, scientific research institutions, and various mining companies throughout Australia. No deposit of clay has been found in Australia that is suitable for the manufacture of crucibles which will . stand the highest tests. I believe that the evidence on that point is undisputed.
– It is not.
– Shall I read what the honorable member said on this subject a fortnight ago?
– I said that splendid crucibles were being produced in South Australia,, but that they were not suitable for every class of work.
– That is exactly the position I am now taking up. The only clay that is suitable - standing alone - for the production of crucibles capable of standing the most severe tests is that obtained at Battersea. Those who urge the acceptance of this request are advocating a verv small modicum of free-trade in respect of . 1 German production, which is not really a plumbago crucible, although it consists partly of plumbago; -whilst Battersea clay crucibles will be dutiable. This is a proposal submitted by a protectionist Government who profess to believe in preference for imports from the clear old Motherland. I wish to say that if by this subterfuge the Committee is led to reverse the decision given on two previous occasions in connexion with these articles they will impose an unduly heavy tax upon research in this country without benefiting any individual in Australia.
– The honorable member for Kalgoorlie does not appear to know very much about the progress of this industry in Australia. I can refer honorable members to the work done by a firm that makes a specialty of the. manufacture of crucibles, muffles, arid scorifiers. The firm is the Staffordshire Pottery Company, of Royal Park, Alberton. Mr. F. Meakin, the manager, says -
We have been carrying on for about six years, and our special ‘ lines are crucibles, muffles, scorifiers, &c, made of fireclay, which are largely used by assayers.
The honorable member for Kalgoorlie says that if it can be shown that locallymanufactured crucibles will stand the test of work for mining purposes, the argument of those who oppose the present proposal must fall to the ground.- I presume that the honorable member will be satisfied with a testimonial from such a company as the Broken Hill Proprietary Block 14 Company Limited. That company gives the following testimonial -
This is to certify that we have used the muffles made by the Staffordshire Pottery Company
– Surely the honorable member is aware that there is a very great difference between a muffle and a crucible?
– I shall come to the crucibles presently ; but the honorable member is aware that muffles’ and scorifiers as well as crucibles are included in this item.
– I was dealing with what the honorable member said a week ago.
– I shall stand by what I said a week ago, and. I shall give the Committee some information from South Australia which I discovered in the meantime. Here we have a testimonial from the Broken Hill Proprietary Block 14 Company -
This is to certify that we have used the muffles made by the Staffordshire Company for the past two years, and found them to be of excellent quality for all variety of work.
Then the Sulphide Corporation Limited, Central Mine, Broken Hill, says -
We have tested the sample scorifier that you sent us, and find it quite satisfactory. . It might be still further improved on by being made thicker at the bottom; with that exception, there is no fault to find.
Then we have the manager of the Mount Torrens Cyanide Works testifying -
I have used two of the samples sent, and find them equal to any that we have had. I am, therefore, recommending them to the Government.
Then the Broken Hill Proprietary “Company Limited say -
The samples which you forwarded to us are now being tested, and the results will justify our considering quotations from you when’ we are next in the market.
Mr. Jas. James writes
I have very much pleasure in stating that I have given your crucibles and muffles a very severe test when as saying, and the result is most satisfactory. I consider your crucibles and muffles quite equal to the best Battersea or any other make.
What now becomes of the honorable member’s claim about the merits of the Battersea clay? If this testimonial be not considered sufficient there is another from the English and Australian Copper Company.
– That must be fifteen years old.
– What difference . does that make? The same company is manufacturing the same articles to-day, and it is more than likely that the work they turn out now is improved as the result of their experience.
– This is very ancient history.
– The work of some of our industries that are centuries old has not been improved upon to-day, because it was so good originally that it has not been possible to improve upon it. I venture to say that the honorable member for Fremantle was engaged many years ago in the work in which he is engaged to-day, and will he tell me that his work as a contractor is not as efficient to-day as it was years ago? I have.no doubt ‘that as the result of the experience lie has gained he will tell the Committee that he finds that he can do much of the work he has to do better to-day than he could do it some years ago. I have quoted testimonials to show that this firm produces crucibles which are considered to . be quite equal to the best Battersea crucibles. The representative of the firm further says -
We have been benefiting the mining companies, because if it had not “been for us the prices of imported crucibles would have been higher.
It follows that if we impose a duty on crucibles that can be made here the price will be lower than it is at the present time. The honorable member for Kalgoorlie referred to what I said last week, and in that connexion I should like to say that the amendment proposed would carry out precisely what I asked for then. I maintain that skittle pots are not made in Australia. They are imported, I think, from Glamorganshire.
– The honorable member said that the locally-made crucibles would not stand the work required for the manufacture of bottles.
– I was referring to skittle pots, and the amendment meets the objection I raised at the time. We have manufacturers in South Australia who do not wish to send to the Old Country for these unwieldy articles, and they offered to pay double what it would cost to get them from the Old Country. The firm to which I refer would not guarantee that they could make them equal to the imported article, but were prepared to try to do so. They would not take an order for a dozen, but they accepted an order for four to make a trial, as up to the present they have not been able to make skittle pots satisfactorily. In connexion with the manufacture of the ordinary clay crucibles I have proved to demonstration that we can manufacture articles equal to those imported from any other part of the world. Now, as to the reason given by this firm for the exclusion of the plumbago crucibles, Mr. Meakin gave the following evidence on the subject -
What do you think is the reason why plumbago crucibles are preferred in a great many of the works engaged in the production of ores? - Because they are better than the fireclav.
And more expensive? - Yes, very much more.
Is not the importation of crucibles from Battersea or Lambeth, as the case may be, particularly confined to plumbago crucibles? - No.
The firm is quite prepared to admit that plumbago crucibles are able- to stand tests which the ordinary clay crucibles will not stand. I need not further occupy the time of the Committee. I have shown that the ordinary crucible can be manufactured of a quality good enough for all purposes, not only in South Australia or in the district represented by the honorable member for Bendigo, but in other parts of the Commonwealth. For the reasons I have given I hope that the Committee will agree to the verv reasonable amendment proposed.
.- The honorable member for Bendigo, who happened to be Chairman of the” Tariff Commission, is very fond of referring to the work of that ‘Commission’.
– Is it not my duty to do so?
– The honorable member has mentioned that a crucible made at Ben digo was kept at a white heat for hine hours, and the maker was so surprised that he has advertised the fact ever since. When we were dealing with the item covering fuses the honorable member said that if the Committee agreed to impose the duty he proposed the local makers would- lower their price, but as a matter of fact they have raised their price by 20 per cent. If the Bendigo potters want work, why’ did they not offer to supply the insulators for which the Postmaster-General invited tenders the other day?
– What has that to do with the duty upon crucibles?
– It has a good deal to do with it. Let them endeavour to supply the requirements of Australia in, the matter of something which they understand. The honorable member for Bendigo has told us that Mr. Duncan, the cyanide expert at Bendigo, approves of these locally-manufactured crucibles being used in his works.
– Just fancy crucibles being exposed to a.” white” heat in connexion with cyaniding operations !
– I object to Mr. Duntan setting himself up as a judge of what is most suitable for use in the mining districts of Western Australia, which produce more gold in a single month than Bendigo does in one year. We have been told that the man who constructed this crucible affirms that it is as good as the Morgan crucible. But I would remind the Committee that the Morgan crucible is only one of second quality, and that for fine work the German crucible is the best. The honorable member for Bendigo declared that what is good enough for Bendigo is good enough for Western Australia. That is not the case. In Western Australia we have to deal with a different class of ores from those which are being treated at Bendigo. I might also inform the honorable member for Bendigo that the filter presswas invented and worked in Western Australia, and that’ it was afterwards used in Bendigo. So that what was good enough for Western Australia in that instance was good enough for Bendigo. The honorable member for Barker has declared that Kangaroo Island possesses large deposits of clay suitable for the manufacture of these crucibles, and that it has a very fine climate. I have heard of a place which consists of 98 per cent, of climate and 2 per cent. . of business. That description, I think, is applicable to Kangaroo Island. I wish now to refer to the “expert” who has discovered these deposits of clay there. I lived in South Australia for a time, when a man named Provis used to discover all sorts of things. He was known as “ the Poet.” He afterwards went to Queensland, and discovered a tin mine. If he knows’ as much about clay as he does about poetry, he is a very poor potter indeed. I ask the Committee to accept his evidence in regard to crucibles for what . it is worth. I suggest that in future he should stick to poetry, and leave crucibles severely alone.
Question - That the word “Plumbago” be left out of the requested amendment in item 248 (Roasting Dishes, &c) (Mr.
Hedges’ modification) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 2
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Modification agreed to.
Question - That the requested amendment in item 248 (Roasting Dishes, &c), as modified, be made - put. The Commit: tee divided.
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Requested amendment, as modified, made.
Item 284. Insecticides, Sheep Washes, and Disinfectants, n.e.i., free.
Senate’s Message. - Request, modified as follows, pressed - make the item read : “ (a) Sheep Washes, and Cattle and Horse
– I move -
That the requested amendment be made.
I take this opportunity to intimate that my desire is, if possible, to finish dealing with these requests to-night, and to that end I ask honorable members to remain, and keep a quorum.
– Before we make the amendment, I should like a ruling from you, . Mr. Chairman, on the question whether it is within the power of the Senate to suggest, or for us to consider, a proposal to insert the new paragraph c. I ask the ruling now, because paragraph a is dependent on paragraph c, and I have an idea that we might do what is desired under paragraph a, thus doing away with, the necessity for paragraph b. Paragraph c really introduces new rnatter, although it is connected with paragraph a, but, so far as your personal knowledge is concerned, sir? you cannot know whether Pvrethrum flowers are used for any other purposes beyond making insecticides. I think this case comes within the ruling which vou gave on item 162, to the effect that it was not competent for us to deal with a suggestion of the sort. If that be so, then I should like to suggest that the desired end be gained by some amendment in para-, graphs a and b.
– The honorable member would be quite iri order in moving any amendment that he desires. The whole question is open to amendment.
– With all respect, I desire to know whether it is competent for us to deal with proposed new paragraph c.
– The honorable member would be quite in order in dealing with paragraph c, which is properly before the Committee.
– I regard the proposed paragraph c as altogether unnecessary. This item has mostly to do with the preparation of insecticide, mortein, and insectibane, . which are prepared from Pyrethrum flowers grown on the Continent of Europe, and imported either whole or in powdered form. These flowers, when . prepared, are packed in tins of two, four, eight, and sixteen ounces, and thus sold, packages of . over one pound being almost unknown in the retail trade. Sheep washes and cattle and horse washes are- used for other purposes; and, according to the item as it stands, they will be free. But powdered sheep dip, such as Cooper’s, might easily be read into the word “insecticide,” though it is used- solely for dipping sheep and other- animals in order to get rid of lice and ticks. Disinfectants are imported here in large quantities, and one of these,
Little’s Phenyle, is used as a sheep-wash. In this connexion I desire to show that the contention that protection is necessary cannot be maintained. The price . list of Mr. J. D. Howie, of 299 Smith-street, Fitzroy, shows that he sells Little’s Phenvle at 5s. a half -gallon, 9s. 6d. the gallon, and 6½d. the bottle, whereas Hogan’s Phenyle is sold at 2½d. the bottle, and 6d. a quart. Little’s Phenyle is imported in bulk, and bottled here, while Hogan’s Phenyle is manufactured within the’ Commonwealth. Then Messrs. Moran and Cato’s list shows that Little’s Phenyle is sold by the bottle at 6d., as compared with the Brunswick Company’s Phenyle sold at2½d. In view of the disparity of prices shown, who’ can contend that there is any necessity for protection ? There is another phenyle made in Australia by Messrs. ‘ Coghlan and Company, of Little Lonsdale-street-, Melbourne, and they sell their A quality at 4s. a gallon, their M quality at 3s. 6d. ner gallon, and their B quality at 3s. per gallon, as against the 9s. 6d. charged for Little’s ‘Phenyle. I have a letter here which may be of some interest to the honorable member for Bourke -
Brunswick, 27th May, 1908.
I beg to certify . that I have been making bottles for Morris Little and Son Ltd. for the last 12 years, and they have been the means of starting- Glass Bottle Works ‘in Brunswick that now employ about 100 men blowing bottles, &c.
Brunswick Glass Works (S. Westwood Carr, Manager).
There is an example of the advantageous admission of these articles in quantities.
– Just as many bottles would be supplied if the material put into them were made here.
– That may be true, but if the better class of phenyle could be made in this country, why would people pay 6d. for the imported article when they could get the locally-made phenyle for 2½d.?
– There are different qualities.
– I hope the Committee will reject the Senate’s request, and . I move -
That all the words after “that” be left out, with a view to insert in Heu thereof the words : - “the requested, amendments in the wording of paragraph a be not made, except as to the letters N.E.I. ; and that the item be modified by’ inserting after the word ‘disinfectants’ the following words : - ‘ in packages containing not less than 28 lbs., or drums containing not less than 5 gallons.’ “
Make the duties in paragraph B, ad val. (General Tariff), 15 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 10 per cent.
Leave out proposed new paragraph c.
– The modification proposed by the honorable member for Corangamite cannot be accepted by the Government. His proposition is, in effect, to make dutiable small packages either of insecticides or of disinfectants, and to permit to come into Australia, free of duty, the same article, when imported in larger bulk. The honorable member’s argument is that inasmuch as nearly the whole of the work is done in Australia, it is not necessary to impose a duty on imports in bulk. Our argument, in answer, Is that if the manufacturers can do the bottling, packing, and casing, in Australia, they can also do the actual manufacturing here. There is no reason on earth why they should not make their disinfectants locally, nor is there any reason why the locally-made goods should not be of the same quality as the best Imported disinfectants. Under the circumstances, and speaking on behalf of the Government, I cannot accept the proposal of the honorable member. We want to have all the work done in Australia.
– As the public are paying 6d. for the imported article, arid only 2½d. for that which is locally made, how shall we help the manufacturers by imposing a stiffer duty?
– That remark is beside the question, nor had the comparison, made by the honorable member for Corangamite any bearing on the point at issue. He compared the poorer class of locally-made disinfectants with the best class of imported goods. I do not deny the correctness of the. prices quoted by him, but it was not a fair comparison to place the lowest quality in one case against the highest in the other.
– I read the whole listof prices.
– I say in answer, that the very people who claim to make such an excellent article, can make it just as well in Australia, as abroad. As to insecticides, the reason why we propose to put pyrethrum flowers on the free list is, that there is only one place in the world where they are grown. They are the raw material which forms the absolute basis for the manufacture of insecticides. Having admitted the flowers duty free, we enable the packing, the printing, the labelling, and all the other work to be done in Australia. We recognise the inevitable in acknowledging that the flowers cannot be grown in this country, but we do the next best tiling in regarding them as the raw material of an Australian industry. The Senate’s proposal is one which, we think, ought to be accepted, and I ask the Committee to make the requested amendment.
– I think that the proposal of the honorable member for Corangamite meets the case very fairly, inasmuch as it secures to Australia the main part of the work of the industry in question. It will insure that the packing, labelling, and printing, will be done in this country.
– The honorable member’ s proposal does not secure so much, because that work is done in Australia now.
– At any rate, the proposal of the honorable member retains the major part of the work in Australia. It is most important that our orchardists and sheep breeders should have a good reliable dip. They have had that in the past, and know what it is. They are not absolutely certain yet of the locally-made dips. If the bottling, labelling, and tinning’ are done here we shall preserve to Australia the important part of the industry. These insecticides are largely used by orchardists, who are compelled by law to use them. On that account we ought to see that they get as good an article as possible. The amendment suggested by the honorable member for Corangamite meets the case exactly. The material will come out in bulk, all the rest of the work will be done here, and our people will get really good and reliable stuff.’ There is no possibility of distinguishing between insecticides and disinfectants, and cattle, sheep, and horse dips.
– The basis, of insecticides is pyrethrum flowers.
– The honorable member is referring to the powder that is sprinkled on windows, but the Customs people have been calling the powder dips, that are used to put on sheep, insecticides, and have actually charged duty on them in New South Wales. They said the sheep parasite was killed by them, and therefore they were insecticides.
– Sheep, cattle and horse washes are free.
– There is a sheep wash and also a sheep dip - one is a liquid and the other a powder. The Customs people charged duty on the powder dips in Sydney but admitted them free in Melbourne. I called the attention of the Minister of Trade and Customs to it, and he ordered that they should all be admitted free. The division now- proposed will cause the same difficulty to arise again. The liquid dip will be admitted free as a sheep or cattle wash, while the -powder dip will be charged duty as an insecticide.
– Will the. honorable member say how he got the information that sheep powders are chargeable as insecticides ?
– I got the information from a firm in Sydney. The Minister of Trade and Customs admitted its truth, and rectified the anomaly. This was about six or seven weeks ago.
– The same difficulty will not arise again, because the Department will recognise the previous understanding.
– I am afraid they will not. These articles are largely- used by fruit-growers as well as by sheep and cattle men, and we ought to be very careful not to penalize those people. II . is not absolutely certain yet that the local dips are infallible, and a very small deterioration in the wool clip of Australia means a big loss. We ought to be careful before we depart from the present practice. By charging the duty only on the smaller packages, as the honorable member for Corangamite suggests, we shall be securing the work as far as possible for our own people.
.- I see no reason why the pastoralist should get his washes free, while the orchardist, who is’ in a much smaller way of business, and has far more difficulty in making ends meet, is compelled to pav heavy duties upon the insecticides and disinfectants that he is compelled bv law to use. Orchardists have nil they can do now to fight the pests that attack their fruits.
– They will have a cheaper article.
– It is not a question of a cheaper article. In. a case of this kind, it has to be the best article. If the local make is as good as the imported, and cheaper, the fruit-growers are business men enough to take it, but they must get what is absolutely the best article for their purpose. The States Parliaments make it essential for them- to use insecticides and disinfectants. One State will not admit the product of another unless it has been properly fumigated and certified to. New Zealand is threatening to close her markets against the citrous fruits of Queensland and New South Wales. These things are a serious menace to the fruit-growing industries of those two great States. This Chamber ought to do all it can to help them. While we should help the pastoralist, we should not leave the fruit-growers to shift for themselves, because they cannot bring the same influence to bear, and because their industry does not attain such great financial proportions as do the sheep and cattle industries. I will support the amendment of the honorable member for Corangamite in the absence of any lower proposal, but I should have liked to see the Committee adhere to its previous decision tq put insecticides and disinfectants, with sheep, cattle, and horse washes, on the free list.
-. - The Honorary Minister made a pathetic appeal to the Committee on behalf of the people engaged in making these articles, as though this was a very important industry that required protection to be given -to it even at the. cost of such industries as fruitgrowing, referred to by the honorable member for Nepean. .
– I should like to know how that is affected ?
– The honorable member’s arguments- would have come with a great deal more force if it had not been that the Tariff Commission, ‘ after full investigation, recommended that these articles should be free, and that the Government, in introducing the Tariff, adopted that recommendation. Now, at this late stage, we having already rejected the Senate’s previous request to impose a duty, the proposal is made that insecticides and disinfectants should be subject to a 25 per cent, duty, even at a great cost to orchardists throughout the community.
– If a mistake was made, surely we are justified in rectifying it?
– Where was the mistake made?
– The articles are manufactured here.
– The mere fact that anything is manufactured here is, in the opinion of the honorable member, sufficient to warrant a proposal of this kind. Do the Government . say that they have made a mistake? Have they never previously considered this matter? Why do they ask us at the eleventh hour to accept this request?
– But for a little bungling it would have been agreed to on the last occasion.
– Why did not the Government bring in this proposal originally? It is a perfect farce that the Government should ask the Committee . not only to go back upon its previous decision but to re-cast’ the work of the Tariff Commission and oppose something which they themselves accepted.
.- The honorable member for Flinders is no doubt an excellent judge of the farcical, but I am sure that the Government have done what all protectionists desire. When we cannot obtain all that we want, Surely we are justified in taking as much as we can get? In reply . to the honorable member for Corangamite, I would point out that Dr. R. J. Bull, director of the Bacteriological Laboratory at the University of Melbourne, on the 27th January last, wrote as follows to Messrs. McKellan and Ramsay -
Dear Sirs, - I have tested the disinfectant strength of a sample of phenyle (McKellan and Ramsay) received on 22nd December, ‘06, and certify that under standard laboratory conditions the bacillus of typhoid- fever was destroyed in five minutes . when the disinfectant was employed in a dilution of 1 : 400 in distilled water.
He then proceeded to set out in tabular form details of tests made with McKellan and Ramsay’s phenyle and Schering’s carbolic acid. I think that the honorable member for Corangamite will agree that Schering is one of the biggest manufacturers of carbolic acid in the world.
– Carbolic acid is not affected bv this item.
– Quite so, but the test conducted by Dr. Bull showed that -
Phenyle (McKellan and Ramsay) in a dilution of 1 : 400 was equivalent to carbolic acid 1 : 100 indicating that the former was four times as powerful’ as carbolic acid as a disinfectant.
I have here a circular from a number of manufacturers of disinfectants, sheep washes, and insecticides -
We, the undersigned manufacturers of disinfectants, sheep washes, and insecticides, respectfully beg to ask your support to the request of the Senate by granting some protection on a portion of our indus’try, viz., on insecticides and disinfectants n.e.i., 25 per cent., General Tariff,, and 15 per cent., United Kingdom.
This circular is signed by McKellan and Ramsay, J. S. Vickery and Son, the Anderson Manufacturing Company, the National Cattle Food Company, Lewis and Whitty, Samuel Lowe, the Scott Manufacturing Company, W. M. White and Son,. R. G. Grant and Company, G. F. Allen, the Australian Disinfectant Manufacturing Company Limited, and a number of otherfirms.
– A large class of disinfectants is covered by item 279. If the signatories to the circular read by the honorable member are making those disinfectants they are not affected by this request.
– They are affected by it, and urge that it should be adopted. It was due to a mistake -that the request was not agreed to when it was previously before the House. I think that I have said enough to satisfy the- honorable member for Flinders that his criticism was unjustified, and I hope that the Government will support the imposition of as high a duty as we can secure. As to the request with regard to pyrethrum flowers, it cannot be denied that thev are a raw material of all insecticides, and as such should be admitted free.
– My amendment will allow of their coming in free.
– I am glad to hear it. I am. sure that the Government will have no difficulty in securing the acceptance of that part of the request.
– I wish only to point out that, in addition to the firms mentioned by the honorable member there are many other manufacturers of disinfectants in the Commonwealth. In Adelaide we have a firm making and supplying disinfectants to the corporation of Newcastle and many other municipalities in New South Wales’, as well as in South Australia. If its disinfectants were not equal to the imported article, I do not think that they would be purchased by those corporations. Although the modification does not go so far as I. should like it to go, it is a reasonable proposition, arid I shall accept it if we cannot obtain anything better. Throughout the Commonwealth, disinfectants equal to any that are imported are being made. The modification moved bv the honorable member for Corangamite might well be accepted by the Minister. It is certainly a compromise, but it will serve the purpose which our manufacturers have in view.
Modification, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment (by Mr. Wilson) put -
That all the words after the word “That” be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the words “ the requested amendment ‘be modified as follows, and made -
Sheep Washes, and Cattle and Horse Washes, Insecticides and Disinfectants, in packets containing not less than 28 lbs. and drums containing not less than 5 gallons, free,
Insecticides and Disinfectants n.e.i., ad val. (General Tariff), 15 per cent. ; (United Kingdom), 10 per cent.”
The Committee divided.
Majority … … 3
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Requested amendment, as modified, made.
Item 303. Timber, viz. : - ….
Senate’s Message. - Request pressed, that after “Pine” “and Red Beech” be inserted, with the modification that before “Pine” “White” be inserted.
– I move -
That the requested amendment be made.
Objection has been raised to the wording of the item, because it specifies red beech. Inquiries show that it has been imported during the past four years. It was first used for making picture and room mouldings ; but latterly it has been imported for the manufacture of furniture, including bent wood chairs. There appears to be some doubt as to the proper name of this timber. It has been ordered as red beech, and invoiced as red beech, silver beech, and red birch. That fact was pointed out to Senator McGregor, who moved the request, and it was suggested to him that the words beech or birch should be substituted, but he did not wish the paragraph to apply to anything but red beech. If the request is accepted.it will be necessary for the importers to satisfy the Collectors of Customs that their timber, is actually red beech, in order to obtain the benefit’ of this duty. When the item was last before the Committee, I did not recognise the timber referred to, and that is why I took the action I did in regard to it. The explanation given to me since appears to be satisfactory, and for that reason I . propose to make the amendment.
– The Minister has directed his attention to what, in my opinion, would be a very minor alteration of the item. He has not alluded to his acceptance of duties, which I think I can show represent from two to two and a half times . as much as the original increases of duty requested by the Senate.
– We are told that their request as to duty is not pressed.
– That is so ; but I can show the Committee that even higher duties are suggested by the proposed insertion of the word “white” before the words “ New Zealand pine.” If this amendment be made, it will throw the timber duties as agreed to by this Committee absolutely out of line. We are here being asked to . impose tremendous duties, which will fall with great weight, not only upon Australian industries, but on every one who requires certain timber for the erection of a dwelling. I wonder the Minister had nothing to say with respect to that proposed amendment. We sent . this item to the Senate in this form -
New Zealand Pine, undressed, of all sizes, per 100 super, feet, 6d.
– That was a high duty !
– That was the decision of this Committee, at all events, and I may add that it was a compromise, without which, this timber would have been admitted free of duty. What was the Senate’s first request on the item as passed by this Committee? They requested the imposition of a duty of1s. per 100 super, feet on both lines of timber below 12 x 6. ‘ The effect of inserting the word “white” before the words “New Zealand pine” will be to leave white pine dutiable at 6d. per100 super, feet, which the honorable member for Wide Bay satirically describes as a high duty; whilst other New Zealand pines, kauri pine included, over 7 x 2½ and under 12 x 6 would be dutiable at twice the increased duty originally requested by the Senate, and in sizes under 7 x 2½, at two and a half times that duty.
– It could be imported under paragraph a, in sizes 12 x 6, at 6d. per 100 super, feet.
– I will show that it is impossible- to import this timber in those sizes.
– The honorable member will say anything in favour of free-trade.
– The Minister’s interjections are stereotyped. If they were novel, we might be able to appreciate them ; but when the honorable gentleman merely repeats the same interjections whatever be the subject under discussion, we need pay no attention to them. The fact is that to import this timber in sizes 12x6, and have it cut up here, would be to lose the advantage of cheapness. It is because the smaller sizes are the offcuts that it is possible to import this timber at the cheaper rate. If it is imported in the log it must pay extra freight and charges, and must bear freight and charges on waste. That is an altogether extravagant way of importing it. By the proposal now made, people will be forced to import timber in that extravagant way, or in sizes 12 x 6, for which they must pay a much higher, price - a price which they cannot afford to pay if it is necessary afterwards to have it cut up.
– In other words, it must be prepared and dressed in some other country.
– It is not dressed in some other country, but the Minister and the honorable member for Wide Bay are really proposing to compel the dressing of this timber outside of Australia.
– That is all humbug.
– The Minister knows nothing about it. I intend to say all that I have to say, no matter how . many interjections there may be. I hope the honorable gentleman will not return, to his natural condition of Tudeness, but will try. to maintain the dignity of Parliament a little. The proposal now made is to so increase the increased . duties at first suggested by the Senate that . on1-in. timber, undressed, the duty would be 2s. 5d. per 100 super, feet, instead of 1s., as at first suggested by the Senate; on 7/8in. timber, the duty would be 2s.11d. ;. on¾in. timber, 3s. 5d. ; on5/8in. timber, 4s.1d. ; on½in. timber, 5s. per 100 super, feet ; and as much as 5s. 8d. ‘ on½-in. weatherboards.
– Is that in accord with the official explanation of the Tariff?
– I am willing to put that explanation before the officers of the Department, and they will not deny that I have accurately stated the effect of the proposed amendment coupled with the measurement definition. Under the proposed amendment of the measurement definition, to be dealt with later on, we should have the extraordinary result that in the case of timber below½ inch in thickness, -and, for instance,3/8in. timber, the duty would suddenly drop from 5s. . to11d. per 100 super, feet. That is the effect of the definition. A size on which there is more cutting is admitted at one-fifth of the duty on the next larger size - half -inch. What volume . of imports will be affected by the duties which the Treasurer ‘desires us to accept? In 1906 our imports of New Zealand- pine aggregated 65,000,000 superficial feet, or more than-‘ 30 per cent”, of our total imports of undressed timber. The effect of the duty which was operative under the old Tariff was that out of this quantity only 5,125 feet of dressed timber were introduced. Of that import 30,000,000 superficial feet of pine - principally kauri - will be affected by these duties.
– About 35,000,000 feet will be affected.
– I am making even a lower estimate than is the honorable member. For what is this timber used? For agricultural machinery, for furniture making, dairyingutensils, wine vats and fruit cases. It is also used for floorings and for lining houses. Of that 30,000,000 superficial feet, 24,000,000 feet, or 80 per cent., are imported in sizes under 12 inches x 6 inches. So that at a lower estimate than that of the honorable member for Moreton we are being asked to increase the taxation of these industries by over . £30,000 per annum. Now, Queensland annually produces only about 83,000,000 feet of timber, including both hardwoods and softwoods, whereas, the requirements of the Commonwealth amount to 690,000,000 feet. In other” words, Queensland cuts less than one-eighth of our total requirements. That State has this vast market open to her timbers. . It is a payable market, being as regards pine 50 per cent, higher than was the market which was available when the first Tariff was under consideration, and when Queensland members only asked for is. duty. I have already stated that the proposal of the Treasurer would force all the dressing of this timber to be undertaken outside the Common weath. Why? Because he proposes to increase the duty upon undressed timber of a size 7 inches x 2^ - the dressing sizes - inches to 2s. 6d. per 100 superficial feet. This Committee decided that it should be dutiable at only 6d. per100 superficial feet, and the Senate ‘ originally requested that the duty should be increased to is.per 100 superficial feet. The Senate now requests a duty of 2s. 6d. per 100 superficial feet. Now dressed timber is dutiable at 35. . per 100 superficial feet, a difference of 6d. only over the undressed. But timber cannot be dressed for 6d. per 100 superficial feet. The dressing costs three times that amount. . Consequently the Treasurer is really offering a premium for this timber to be dressed outside of Australia. I do not wish to detain the Committee at any greater length. I shall have something to say at a later stage upon the definition of “superficial feet.” The Government do not know what they are doing in that connexion. They are really getting into a quagmire. If we depart from accepted canons in regard to weights and measures we can scarcely foresee the conse quences of our action. I do hope that when we come to deal with the definition we shall adopt the interpretation of “ superficial feet ‘ ‘’ which is known and recognised not only by the trading community but by our Courts. If we are to have increased duties, ‘ they should not be imposed under definition, but should be specified in the schedule honestly and straightforwardly, and on the basis ‘of the accepted interpretation’of “ superficial feet.” I trust that the Committee will not agree’ to the Treasurer’s’ proposal. Wherever duties are in dispute between the two Houses, are they not supposed to endeavour to meet each other’s views? Yet we are being asked to go wider apart. The Senate wishes to double the higher duty it first asked in some cases, and to make it two and a half times as much in others. To make such a proposal is not the right way to arrive at a settlement, and I hope, therefore, that it will not be agreed to.
.- The honorable member for North Sydney, who always carefully prepares his speeches, was more extravagant than usual to-night. He asked that this matter be dealt with honestly and straightforwardly, asif an attempt were being made to deal otherwise with it. He spoke, too, of definitions known to Courts; but the only definitions to guide the Judges are those contained in the Acts which they have swornto interpret. The laws of some of the States differ from those of that from which the honorable, member comes, and. yet they are quite as properly and honestly administered. Therefore, part of his argument was so much clap-trap.
– -Queensland bought and sold outside her boundaries at so much per super, fool.
– Merchants have to buy and sell according to the laws of the country with which they are dealing. The honorable member showed how large is the importation of timber. No one wishes to restrict it. But he put forward a piece of special pleading, when he tried to show that if the word “ white “ is inserted, and kauri pine made dutiable at other rates, the duties would be increased by so much.
– Was he not right in his facts?
– If timber is imported in the smallest possible sizes, his statement applies, but it can be imported in larger sizes.
– Was not his statement true as to all timber under 12 x 6 inches ?
– No. Timber, undressed, imported in sizes 7 x 2½ inches is dutiable at 2s., while timber in the log is free.
-Logs are not imported.
– Why is not timber imported in the log, and the scantlings used for making fruit-cases?
– Because that would not pay.
– When the Tariff was being discussed on a previous occasion, the honorable member and others said that they did not want to have logs made free. But when I asked the Treasurer to make logs dutiable, there were protests from” more than one honorable member.. Timber getting- is an industry native to Australia. The honorable member was quite off the track when he dealt solely with soft wood. All woods are affected.
– The amendment affects only soft woods.
– The honorable member . dealt with the question generally Even the honorable member for Parkes has admitted that 15 per cent, is a fair revenue rate, and these duties donot exceed that rate, although they are imposed for the protection of -a native industry.
– A duty of 2s. 5d. or 5s. is equivalent to more than 15 per cent, ad; valorem.
– Timber imported in reasonable sizes is dutiable at 6d. The mill-owners, who boast that they wish, to do the dressing of timber here, will be able to import timber in flitches, which is the” easiest way to ship it. But honorable members wish to have the dressing done elsewhere, and they should be honest enough to say so. I should not use the word “ honest “ had not the honorable member’, who is usually very temperate, asked the Committee to deal with the “matter honestly.
– I was alluding to the question of measurement.
– I shall deal with that matter when we come to. it. If timber is imported dressed, duties should be paid on the work which has been done on it. The protectionist theory is, undoubtedly, that rates should be increased on importations on which work has been done.
-Only 6d. is charged on the dressing.
– There are always defects in a Tariff, . with which to buttress arguments not otherwise sound, and the honorable member has chosen one in this instance, and pointed to another regarding the size of timber under inch. The insertion of the word “ white “ is important from the point of. view discussed by him, though I do not think that that part of the proposal is as serious ‘as the other. The Committee will do justice to all the States if it insists upon higher duties. It is not enough to say that enough timber is not produced in Australia to meet the demand.
– That argument applies in nearly every case.
– Probably there are not five protected industries in Australia, capable of supplying the demand for their productions. That is not a reason for refusing adequate protection. The soft woods, are practically unimportant compared with the hard woods. The millions of wealth that are. going to waste in connexion with the hardwood timber is a public scandal : and even if there were a very much higher duty, it would prove of good service to the country. I hope the Committee will accept the ‘ new definition . requested by the Senate; because it is a fair and reasonable one, and undoubtedly based on a true protective principle.
– We have had a great tirade by the honorable member for North Sydney, who appears to have presented a prepared case - a brief - similar to that which has been submitted to me from one or two timber merchants.
– I speak from my own knowledge.
– I think the honorable member put the case very unfairly, because the 5s. rate would apply only in extreme cases of the smallest class of timber.
– I gave the size - half-an-inch.
– The sizes of . timber to which the honorable member referred are not imported in a practical business way. .
– They are.
– My officers tell me that they are not. However, what I propose to do is to accept the Senate’s request.
– I have made inquiries, and I find that the Treasurer’s statement in regard to the sizes of the timber is incorrect. I quoted nothing under half-an-inch.
– I am afraid, however, that, if my motion be rejected, red beech, as well as white pine, may be excluded. I should have liked to deal with the two separately, because I am not quite sure as to what the effect of dealing with them together will be.
– I can move an amendment to add the words “ and kauri.”
– I cannot accept the suggested amendment of the honorable member, but simply submit ray motion that the requested amendment be made.
Question - That the requested amendment of item 303 (Timber), paragraph b, be made - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … … 3
Question so resolved in the negative.
Requested amendment not made.
Item 303 . Timber, viz…..
Senate’s Message. - Modification of the House of Representatives leaving out the words “ or without” agreed to, provided that after the word” Bands “ the words’ “ known as Sarven Hubs” be added.
Motion (by Sir William Lyne) proposed -
That the requested amendment be made.
– A coachbuilder has informed me that the item as altered will seriously injure his industry.
– The intention is simply to make clear what we meant when we amended the item on the last occasion when it was under consideration by inserting the specific kind of wheel to. which it is intended to apply.
– I doubt whether it is worth while to make any . amendment which is proposed by the Government for the purpose of making an item clearer. Their proposals for. that purpose generally have the opposite effect.
Motion agreed to.
Requested amendment made.
Item 303. Timber, viz. - ….
Senate’s Message. - Request pressed that after paragraph dd the following words be inserted : - “ Note. - (to come into force on and after1st September, 1908). For the purposes of this division a superficial foot shall mean an area of 1 sq. foot on one surface and being one inch or less in thickness “ ; with the following modification, viz. : - Leave out the words “ and’ being one inch or less in thickness,” and insert “and being not more than one inch nor less than half an inch in thickness.”
– The intention of another place is to. press the definition of “ superficial foot “ on the ground that it is absolutely necessary for the purposeof stimulating the industry of cutting timber in Australia. I propose to agree to the alteration proposed by’ the Senate for the same reason. When the matter was last under consideration, the definition, applied to timber i inch or less in thickness. As requested to be amended, it will apply to timber ‘not more than1 inch nor less than ½ inch in thickness. I hope that what the Senate desires will be acceded to, and I therefore move -
That the requested amendment be made.
– The custom of the trade has been to sell timber on the ordinary definition of “superficial foot.” Throughout the British Dominions there has been one custom. The honorable member for Wide Bay has told us that there is an exception) in Queensland. I can only say that when Queensland buys timber she buys on the ordinary definition of “ superficial foot “ and when she sells timber outside Queensland - I do not know what is the case inside the State - she sells under the same definition. It is rather a serious matter to alter the customary method of measuring timber for the purpose of affecting Customs duties. It is wrong to tamper with our weights and measures. If we have to impose duties, let them be imposed straightforwardly under the Tariff: Do not let us adopt a definition which entirely revolutionizes the ordinary methods of measurement. If we do this sort of thing we really do not know what the effect will be in many cases. In my belief the definition proposed will have effects that the Treasurer does not anticipate. One effect may be that thick timbers may be’ free of duty altogether. Let honorable members observe the wording of the definition. It is proposed that a superficial foot shall mean an area of 1 square foot on one surface, and being not more than i inch nor less than½ inch in thickness. The duties that are fixed on the basis of “ super, foot,” as really all but one of them are, will be regulated by that definition ; and timber which is not less than1 inch in thickness will, in my opinion, come in free. I am pointing out what may be an awkward result from a departmental point of view. When the term “ super, foot “ is used, it means an area1 foot square and1 inch in thickness. The custom is established and recognised in trade and law, and in the Department, that that inch is carried right through the wood, so that wood which is 6 inches’ thick and 12 inches x 12 inches on the. surface is reckoned as 6 super, feet. But under the new definition now proposed, there is no custom to work upon, and 1 hold that, the effect of the words will be to levy the duty on timberwhich is less than an inch thick, but not on thicker timbers. In my opinion, the thicker timber will come in free, because the Tariff applies duties per super, foot, and in the definition that term is defined as less than r. inch in thickness. But if the duty should apply to thicker timber, . what is the Department going to do with timber over 1 inch in thickness? For instance, is the Department going to attach the definition and apply extra duties to timber that is between1½ inch and 2 inches? Is the definition going to apply to timber between1½ inch and 2 inches, and between2½ and 3 inches, and between 3½ and 4 inches in thickness? How will the Department apply the definition?
– By the ‘ actual measurement.
– It does not say so. The custom in the trade, re- . cognised by the Department, has been to apply the term “super, foot” to every inch thickness of timber.
Colonel Foxton. - That will continue.
– There will be nothing to make it continue - no trade custom or legal decision. The effect will be, to double the duty on½-inch timber and increase it largely on other sizes between½-inch and1-inch. We ought not to impose duties by altering a standard of measurement that has been recognised by the Customs Department ever since we have had a Federal Tariff.
– There is no doubt that the Committee is pretty well divided, over this matter. I recollect a celebrated occasion during the consideration of the timber duties in the last Tariff, when an ardent and courageous Victorian protectionist happened to vote accidentally on the side which suited his own particular interest at that time, and to reduce the duty. The situation seems to me pretty much like that to-night. The honorable member for North Sydney enlarged upon the great increase of price that this alteration would cause. How much does it mean? On7/8-inch timber the duty under the present system would be1s. 3¾d., while under the proposed system it would be is. 6d. The difference on that size would, therefore, be 2¼d. On f-inch timber the duty at present would be1s.1½d., and under our proposal1s. 6d. These are actual facts, verified by the Customs officers, as against scandalously, erroneous statements published by manufacturers here regarding the increase of duty. On 5/8-inch timber the present duty would be11¾d., and the new would be1s. 6d., while on½-inch timber the difference would be 9d. as against1s. 6d. . Where are the three or four-fold increases that some honorable members have said that this proposal meant? Some honorable members have been stuffed with that information.
– Is the honorable member referring to what I said?
– I am . speaking from actual personal conversations with members. One of the oldest members in this State - and a very honorable member - who made the mistake in 1902, told me that this proposal would increase the duty three or four-fold. That is the kind of misstatement that one has to meet in a matter of this kind- started bv gross selfish prejudice, and nothing more nor. less than attempts to influence votes by false reasoning and false information.
– Taking the increase of duty as well as the definition, there is a very large increase.
– The duties . proposed are lower on the average than the old duties. Nearly everv large sized timber is practically free. We hear a great deal about butter-boxes and fruit-cases. This definition in no way affects them. The timber between 1 inch and½ inch comes mostly from the Baltic, Korea, and’ Siberia. How can protectionist members object to an increase of duty on timber 6 inches by 7/8- inch, of 2¼d. per 100 super, feet? Is that a large increase, having regard to the additional cut in that wood?
– That is not “the proper way to get an increase.
– Is that the point? This is a very late repentance. The objection now is not to the amount of increase, but to the way in which it has been proposed.
– We object to both.
– The main attack has been on the alleged, increase of price, but that argument cannot be sustained further than I have shown. On¾-inch timber the difference is4½d. per 100 super, feet, and there is another cut in the timber, while in some instances it may be dressed.
– Is it right to alter the measurements for that difference?
– I am dealing with the main argument advanced by the opponents of the proposal. I am astonished at some of the votes given by men who pretend to be protectionists. I will take the ground of the honorable member for Parkes, who stands out as an absolute revenue tariffist. He said that 15 per cent, was a fair revenue duty; but this is not a 15 per cent, duty. It is not a revenue duty. The’ reason why a protective duty is not given to the timber industry of Australia seems to be that a few men, who are more interested in the importation of timber than in using a product of our own country, have been able to influence this Parliament more than have those who are interested in native production. I do not think that any amount of argument will influence honorable membersj but this question is far. more important, if members are prepared to deal fairly with the timber-getters and saw-millers and sawmill employes of Australia, than the vote which has just been taken. I appeal to honorable members, to give some consideration to the timber industry.
– My objection to the proposal of the Senate is that it is an attempt to get in by a side wind what the Committee refused to do before. We have already fixed the duties on timber. It is just as unreasonable to try to increase them now by altering the standard. of measurement as it would be to increase the duty on spirits by proposing that a quart should be called a gallon. That is what honorable members are trying to dp. After the’ duties have been fixed, . they are endeavouring, by a sidewind, to secure an increase. That is a very undesirable way of treating this question.”
Question - That the requested amendment of item 303, Note (Measurement of Timber), be made- put. The Committee divided.
Majority … …3
Question so resolved in the negative.
Requested amendment not made.
And on and after 7th December, 1907-
Senate’s Message. - Request pressed, that the duty in paragraph b be 2d. per sq. ft., with the modification that the item be amended to read -
– I move -
That the requested amendments be made.
The item has’ been divided in accordance with what would appear to be the wish of this Committee, as well as of the Senate The divisions are those required by thetrade. The object of the modification, so far as paragraph b is concerned, is tocarryout what was apparently the desire of some honorable members who, after the original request had been dealt with, pointed out that an error had been made. The new wording, of the request will afford the full protection desired by all parties. Glace and dull kid are manufactured in New South Wales of superior qualities, and a duty of 20 per cent, is a necessary protection to that industry. The other leathers are made in several . States in varying qualities, and the 2d. per square, foot will afford them ample protection, while imposing only a nominal duty on the superior qualities imported. That was one of the items which were referred to during the discussion on recommittals in this House in December last. The combined conference of tanners and bootmakers agreed to this proposed duty of 2d. per square foot in pieference to the Government’s original proposal that duties of 30 per cent, and 20 per cent, should be imposed. Through an oversight in this House the duty on this sub-item was allowed to go. at 20 per cent., but on the honorable member for South Sydney mentioning the matter, I promised to have it looked into in the Senate. The result is this request to carry out the originally accepted recommendation of the combined fanners’ and bootmakers’ conference. Twopence per square foot works out at considerably less than 20 per cent, on the better classes, and up to almost as high as 36 per cent, on the cheaper classes.
– Is there not a repetition of the item “ Patent and Enamelled Leather”?
– No. The same idea occurred to my mind when “I read the request from the Senate, but, on inquiry this morning, the Department assured me that it was a necessary subdivision, and involved no repetition.
Motion agreed to.
Requested amendments made.
Requested amendments in item 372 (Bicycles, &c.) and item 410 (Lantern Slides, &c.) made.
Item 417. Works of Art, framed or unframed, . imported for public institutions or purposes under Departmental By-laws, free.
Senate’s Message. - Modification of House of Representatives, making Stained Glass Windows for churches, &c, dutiable at 20 per cent, not agreed to, and request pressed, that after “ Bylaws” the words “also Stained Glass Windows for churches or public institutions under Departmental By-laws “ be inserted.
.- It will be remem-. bered that the Committee refused to comply with the request of the Senate, but agreed to the insertion of the following paragraph -
The other day I said that I was in favour of allowing the free admission of stained glass windows for churches or public- institutions, but there seems to be a very strong objection to that.
– For what reason ?
– I consider that stained glass windows for churches and public institutions are works of art.
– Can we not make them here ?
– I do not think so.
– Surely we can import the parts and assemble them.
– On a previous occasion I said that I waived my personal opinion, but . would try to get duties of 15 and ro per cent, imposed on- the articles.
– We will accept a duty of 15 per cent.
Mr.Frazer. - No. Duties of 15 and 10 per cent.
– Fifteen per cent, is the dutv imposed on the raw material.
SirWILLIAM LYNE.- I move-
That the requested amendment be not made, but that the duty on Stained Glass Windows be 15 per cent.
.Under this proposal, the industry will receive no protection, seeing that the duty on its raw material is 15 per cent. At least, the dutv should be fixed at 20 per cent. Originallv it was proposed to levy 30 per cent. ; then, as a compromise, it was reduced to 20 per cent. ; and now it is proposed to give no protection. Why is not the industry entitled to some protection? Under the Victorian Tariff a duty of 33 per cent, was levied. So fair as stained glass windows are concerned, I am in favour of prohibition, because they are made in Germany, where men work seven days per week. The report’ of the Royal Commission which was appointed at the instance of Mr. Chamberlain contained this passage -
A point is made of the fact that the imported stained glass used in British churches is in part the product of Sunday labour.
Surely the churches of Australia are not in favour of utilizing the products of1 Sunday labour in Germany ! I am sure that not one person in a thousand will be in favour of having the’ churches fitted with stained glass windows made on Sunday. In the case- of this industryI would just as- soon vote for free-trade as for a duty of 15 per cent., because that is no protection at all. In Australia the workers ‘in this industry are paid£3 a week as against , £1 iri Germany. No less than 250 persons are engaged throughout the Commonwealth, and yet they are to be told to-morrow that they are to receive no protection, although their raw materia] is taxed at the rate of 15 per cent.
– The proposal is perfectly absurd.
– In Germany, their- competitors, including children, work twelve hours every- day, including Sunday, and some of the manufacturers in Great Britain are asking for a protection of 45per cent. ; but we are asked to blindly accept this proposal. No reason has been given why we should. The protectionist section of the Tariff Commission recommended a duty of 30 per cent., but now we are asked to impose a duty of only 15 per cent. I trust that the . Committee will adhere’ to its original decision.
– This is one of those cases in connexion with which apparently no one desires to say anything lest he should offend a body of very excellent people, who are no doubt very useful in their way. The proposal that these stained glass windows should be admitted free of duty is put forward as a concession to the churches. I agree with the honorable member for Batman, that the proposal should be resisted if the Committee intends to deal justly by local artists. We have taxed nearly the whole of the materials required in their industry, and vet it is proposed that the . finished product should be admitted at 15 per cent. If there is any hypocrisy in this legislation it is in this proposal. It cannot be excused by anything but the unmanly desire to please everybody, even though just claims should be ignored.
– We carried a duty of 20 per cent., and it is proposed now to make the duty 15 per cent.
– Why not carry a duty of 20 per cent. again?
– Since so many honorable members are proposing that the duty should be 20 per cent., I ask leave to amend my motion by leaving out all the words after the word “made,” so that these windows may be dutiable at 20 per cent.
Motion amended accordingly.
– I do not think the Minister should let the matter go at that. Although the Senate is assumed to be a protectionist Chamber, it has recommended that these stained glass windows should be put on the free list.
– Honorable senators forgot that there is a duty of 15 per cent. on the raw material of the industry.
-I admit that in the. circumstances to make the item free would be unjust, and I am prepared to support a duty of 15 per cent. on the finished product of the industry, but I would prefer that stained glass windows should be admitted free to voting for the prohibitive protection now suggested by the Minister. This is a matter in connexion with which we must make some compromise with the Senate, and we can reasonably ask that Chamber to. agree to the imposition of a duty of 15 per cent. in view of the fact that the raw material of the industry is taxed to that extent.
– I rise to discover what is really the attitude of the Government on this question. I understood from the earlier debate on the item that the Government were prepared first of all to agree to the admission1 of stained glass windows free, and then to impose a duty of 15 per cent., which every one seemed to be in favour of. Afterwards, when some one so much as whispered 20 per cent., the Minister was ready to propose that duty. I understand that the Minister was at first disposed to accept the Senate’s request, but he has now decided that it would not be politic to do so. I should . like to know whether the attitude of the Government in the mat ter is based on fiscal grounds? It is well known that the Treasurer postures as a protectionist throughout Australia, but we have heard to-night . that he is in favour of the introductionof stained glass windows free of duty.
– I have said that that is not correct, andthehonorable member has no right to repeat the statement.
– If the Minister did not say so, I at once recall the statement. The honorable gentleman apparently is not in agreement with his colleagues in another place, who have implored us to make these stained glass windows free of duty. As the Ministry appear to ‘ be divided on this important question, I move -
That the proposed modification be amended to read : - “ But that the duty on Stained Glass Windows for churches, &c, be (General Tariff) 15 per cent.”
.I am prepared to support a duty of 15 per cent. in this case. It is very strange that the Senate, which is supposed to be a protectionist Chamber, after suggesting the increase of many duties passed by this Committee should, in the matter of stained glass windows, be prepared to tax the local manufactures on the glass, oil, paint brushes, lead, and everything that goes to make a stained glass window while requesting that the finished product of the industry should be admitted free. I should like to know why this is so. I wish also to point out to the honorable member’ for Batman that it is proposed to levy a duty of 15 per cent. only upon the finished article. Nobody would dream of importing stained glass windows unless they were of good quality, and under the circumstances I think that 15 per cent. is a fair, rate to impose. I believe that stained-glass windows can be produced in the Commonwealth equal to any that can be imported. I know that in South Australia a firm known as Montgomery and Grimley used to do excellent work in the production of this class of. windows. Formerly Mr. Montgomery was accustomed to send out stainedglass windowsof his own manufacture from England. But after establishing himself in South Australia he found that a prejudice existed against the Australian article. As a result, one of the partners had to leave the firm. I shall support the proposal of the honorable member for Wentworth.
Question (Mr. Kelly’s modification) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority … 7
Question so resolved in the negative.
.The Committee having ‘ placed a duty of 20 per cent, on stained glass windows for churches, I wish to give an opportunity to the Ministers to again display their well known Imperialistic sentiments by voting for preference to the Mother Country, and I therefore move -
That the proposed modification be amended to read : - “ but that the duty on Stained Glass Windows be (United Kingdom), ad val. 15 per cent.”
.I ask if it is not a fact that the raw materials used by artists here, for the manufacture of stained glass windows are dutiable at 15 per cent. ?
– Then let us be honest and straightforward, and give our artists some slight assistance.
.I protest against the language of the honorable member for Wide Bay. Earlier tonight he denounced the honorable member for North Sydney for saying, “ Let us be honest and straightforward,” and now he is using exactly the same words. I’ say to him, “ Be honest and straightforward, and vote for a preference duty of 15 per cent.”
– On a former occasion, the honorable member for Batman told the Committee that in the Old Country the artists employed in the production of stained glass windows are paid 30s. a week. It appears that his information came from Mr. Montgomery, who, in a letter to me, says -
Will you forgive me for pointing out that your statement, reported in Hansard, “ If the artist whom he “ (Mr. Coon) “ quoted’ was a good artist,” &c:, is founded on a mistake. I am the artist supposed to be saying “ I was employed,” &c. As a matter of’ “ historical accuracy “ I was then before the Tariff Commission, reading from a document (at the request of the Chairman) written by a’ glasspainter recently arrived from England. You will thus see it was not an artist who was paid the wages mentioned, nor was it an extract from my own autobiography.
The writer also takes exception to some of my statements as to the prices earned by these artists. He says-
Re your statement that, painters in potteries were paid . so well, I am informed, on what I believe to be good authority, that most of the painting on cups and saucers is now done by girls, who, if expert, earn 25s. per week.
In the down-trodden country which the honorable member for Batman would have us believe England is, girls earn 25s. a week in painting on cups and saucers designs prepared by artists.
The artist whose original design the girls copy on hundreds of pieces is, of course, paid at a much higher rate.
– The honorable member spoke of the designer only as an artist ; but the painter is also one.
– I know that girls do a great deal of this, work and are paid good wages, many of them earning 30s. a week and more, whilst the artists receive as much as£1 a day.
– I have spoken to an artist, who told me that in the Old Country he worked for 30s. a week.
– He was a glass-painter, not an artist.
– He should, be classified as an artist. In a communication which I have received, he says -
Mr. Joseph Cook’s previous statement that artists painting on china receive £6 a week is inaccurate. The artists the honorable member refers to are girls, and receive 15s. to 20s. a week, and this in England.
I ask, how many artists are employed in England in painting windows? Very few. According to the evidence presented to the Tariff Commission appointed by Mr. Joseph Chamberlain, those in this industry in Great Britain are asking for a duty of 45 per cent. .
– They have not got it.
– They will get it in the near future. They wish to be protected against German labour, which is compelled to work on Sundays. Is the honorable member in favour of placing in Australian churches windows made on Sundays?
– No . Nor do I favour the fiscal conditions which make such employment possible.
– Is the honorable member a believer in a week of seven working days ?
– That is what is done where there is high protection.
– If the honorable member for Parramatta votes for this proposal, he will be voting for Sunday labour.
.-Sir Joshua Reynolds, whose name is famous in the art world, once attempted to paint a window in one of the churches at Oxford ; and it was acknowledged by himself to be a failure. It is only the man who. has had experience in this particular branch of art who can make a painting on glass. You, Mr. Chairman, know that as distinguished from seascape, skyscape, or landscape, painting on glass is an art in itself ; and it is a fact that on the Continent one work of art of the kind is taken as a model, and hundreds of replicas are produced, for which the original artist receives not one penny. I should be willing to admit free a window, if it were made evident that it was an artist’s own work andnot a replica, turned out, as it were, by machinery. If the deputy leader of the Opposition would make inquiries, he would see that the artists here ought to have a fair chance of competing.
– We are proposing to give these people all that they ask, and it is only fiscal gluttons, like the honorable member for Batman, who wishes to give them more. Mr. Montgomery wrote -
I am entirely tired of the controversy re the admittance of stained glass windows free.
– That is the artistic temperament ; he is tired of fighting against an injustice.
- Mr. Montgomery says that, but for the tax on the raw material, he would not have required a duty on the finished article. I venture to say, however, that a duty of 10 per cent, would be more than compensation.
– Whether the honorable member for Batman be a fiscal glutton or not, I cannot say; but I have here a letter from Mr. Montgomery, in which he writes -
I see the Senate is again obdurate. But surely the will of the House of Representatives must prevail. I certainly thought the Government compromise would have been accepted, but the Senate evidently want all their own way.
Mr-. Joseph Cook. - Mr. Montgomery does not say that he disapproves of a duty of 15 per cent.
– But Mr. Montgomery is an artist, and’ the artistic temperament disdains to fight what may be thought an injustice.
– I think that if any man deserves a duty, this man does.
– Then I claim the honorable member’s vote.
Original motion (Sir William Lyne’s) agreed to.
Requested amendment not made.
Motion (by Sir William Lyne) agreed to-
That the date of any amendment coming into force shall be the day after it has been made bv the Committee except amendments Nos. 160, 182, 204, and 227, which shall date from to-day.
– I desire to make a personal explanation. I very much regret that owing to a mistake which was entirely my own, the honorable member for Capricornia’ was precluded from being paired in the division on the definition of “ superficial foot “ in connexion with the timber duties. I arranged to get a pair for the honorable member, but found that I could not do so. I extremely regret the mistake which occurred, and am only glad that the absence of the honorable member from the divisionin no wav affected the result.
– I do not know whether or not the statement made by the honorable member for Wentworth is intended to reflect upon me in any way.
– No; it is not. No blame attaches to .the Minister.
– I should further like to say that the honorable member for Capricornia remained unpaired owing to no fault of mine. What happened was that each honorable member who desired to have a pair was paired so far as I knew. But I understand that the honorable member- for Wentworth, in order’ to insure” a pair .for the honorable member for Angas, took the precaution to get two. honorable members ti stand out from the division. When I discovered that,’ there was no way of remedying what had been done except by altering the pair-book, as originally entered up. This the honorable member for Wentworth did without my sanction, by altering a pair I had inserted, and writing in one to suit himself. ‘ 1 at once protested against the alteration, and insisted upon the original pair being retained. ‘ I am sorry that the “honorable member for Capricornia did not get his pair, but the fault was not mine.
– I wish to mention to you, Mr.’ Speaker, that in regard’ to request No. 75, it was decided by the Chairman of Committees that an amendment requested could not be made under our Standing Orders. -The request of the .. Senate was therefore not considered. I do not know whether it will be necessary to make a . statement to. that effect to the Senate, or to allow it to be undersood that the request was refused. As a matter of fact, it was- not refused, because it was ner considered at all.
– The practice in connexion with amendments is always to send up reasons as to why amendments made by the Senate .are not concurred in by this House ; but I think it would be a mistake 01 our part to adopt in regard to requests the same practice that is followed in connexion with amendments. I therefore suggest to the Treasurer the desirableness of not sending up . any special message with regard to the item to which he has referred.-
That .the Bill- be returned to the Senate amended accordingly.
House adjourned at 1.30 a.m. (Thursday).-
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 27 May 1908, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1908/19080527_reps_3_46/>.