House of Representatives
6 November 1908

3rd Parliament · 3rd Session

Mr. Speaker took the chair at 10.36 a.m., and read prayers.

page 2111


Mr. EWING presented a petition from certain Christadelphians, praying the House to exempt them from the provisions of the Defence Bill requiring compulsory military’ service.

Petition received.

page 2111



– I wish to make a personal explanation. In to-day’s issue of the Age, about one-third of a leading column is devoted to the report of the vapourings of a drunken man who was removed from the gallery yesterday. I have no complaint to make of that, because it is in keeping with the sense of proportion of those who conduct that paper in regard to the reporting of the proceedings of this House. But in that report I am represented as having intervened with some observations of a rather stupid character. I may make stupid observations - perhaps I make them frequently - but on this occasion I said nothing at all. That part of ihe report is, therefore, in keeping with the policy of the paper in regard to the truth.

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– The Minister of Defence, a day or two ago, in answering a question which I addressed to him regarding the cost of ‘the naval and military defence scheme, and the probable expenditure in the first year of the new system, suggested that the new system would not come into operation until the year 1910-11, or two years hence. That being so, I ask the Prime Minister fo consider - I do not expect an immediate answer - whether it would not be wise to appropriate the £250,000 paid into a trust fund last year to the strengthening of the reserve for the old-age pensions, which are to be paid from the 1 st July next.

Minister for External Affairs · BALLAARAT, VICTORIA · Protectionist

– The repeal of the appropriation would be necessary to enable money to be devoted to any other purpose.

Mr Reid:

– It was understood that .the application of the money would be in accordance with the will of Parliament.


– Even so, it does not follow that the preparations for naval defence will wait until those for land defence are complete. The sum estimated for the first year includes both land and sea defence. The sum of ,£250,000 is now available for appropriation as soon as Parliament has determined the class of vessels to be obtained.

FLINDERS, VICTORIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– The appropriation was specially for naval defence.


– Yes.- The money can be so devoted now and at any time before 1910-n, and the sooner the better.

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– When will the Prime Minister bring forward the proposals of the Government for preferential trade with the New Hebrides and other Pacific Islands, promised when the Tariff was under discussion?


– A draft scheme for this and other, preferential treaties has been before the Minister of Trade and Customs and myself. It will be submitted to the Cabinet as soon as the state of public business permits.

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– As the information for which I have given notice of my intention of moving need be furnished only approximately, I think I may reasonably ask the Minister of Defence to allow it to go unopposed. I know the difficulty of getting absolutely accurate information in this connexion.

Minister for Defence · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · Protectionist

– I explained that it would be ‘ difficult to obtain accurate information which would be valuable to honorable members, but, in accordance with the right honorable member’s wish, will submit the matter to the Military Board, which, however, appreciates the difficulty. Still, I am prepared .to furnish the best information I can get, without requiring the right honorable member to move for a return, and I ask him to withdraw the motion on this promise.

Sir John Forrest:

– What objection is there to the motion?


– The difficulty in complying with its terms. . I shall do the best I can to supply what the honorable member asks for.

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– Will the Prime Minister lay on the table, at the earliest moment, the correspondence to date between him and the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in relation to the Navigation Bill. I believe that most of it has already been laid on the table of the Senate. Was not a despatch received a day or two ago?


– All despatches relating to the Navigation Bill have been presented to both Houses, or, if anything has not been laid on the table, that is due to oversight. A reply to the despatch, covering that to New Zealand, which I laid on the table yesterday, is in draft, and has been submitted to the Law Officer of the Crown for his criticism.

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– Has the Treasurer read the letter in this morning’s Argus, in which

*Manufactures* [6 Nov., 1908.] *Encouragement Bill.* 2113 the honorable member for Corio denies that there was cause for personal difference in his relations with the Treasurer? If so, I wish to know if the statement is true, and if the only cause of the difference of the other evening was political. {: #subdebate-6-0-s1 .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
Treasurer · HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES · Protectionist -- I was surprised at the letter, but, as the honorable member for Corio is not here, I shall not refer to it now, though I shall say something in regard to it later. {: .page-start } page 2113 {:#debate-7} ### COMPULSORY TRAINING : {: .page-start } page 2113 {:#debate-8} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-8-0} #### LIEUT.-GENERAL HUTTON'S OPINION {: #subdebate-8-0-s0 .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir JOHN FORREST: asked the Minister of Defence, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Is he aware that Lieut. -General **Sir E.** Hulton, at Parliament House, on 15th February, 1902, said that " observant soldiers in South Africa had learnt that compulsory service is quite unnecessary for the British race, as we had fighting material without recourse to compulsion." ? {: type="1" start="2"} 0. Does Lieut. -General Hutlon's private letter controvert the above statement? {: #subdebate-8-0-s1 .speaker-KDR} ##### Mr EWING:
Protectionist -- The answers to the honorable members questions are - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. 1. There does not appear to me to be neces sarily any controversion of views. The explanation is probably found in the fact that many advocates of universal training (including Lord Roberts) draw a definite distinction between compulsory enlistment for the regular army and universal training for home defence. ' {: .page-start } page 2113 {:#debate-9} ### MANUFACTURES ENCOURAGEMENT BILL {: #debate-9-s0 .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
Treasurer · Hume · Protectionist -- I move - >That the Bill be now recommitted to a Committee of the whole House for the reconsideration of clauses 2, 5, 6, 14, and the Schedule, and the consideration of new clause 10A. {: .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H Catts: -- Do I understand that the proposed recommittal will enable us to discuss rates of bounties, or will it be necessary to move an amendment in order to do so? {: #debate-9-s1 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- As the fourth column and the figures of the schedule are to be recommitted, I imagine that the honorable member will be able to attain his ends without moving an amendment. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr Reid: -- I suppose that the recommittal covers all the promises made by the Minister. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- -Yes. {: #debate-9-s2 .speaker-JSM} ##### Mr THOMAS BROWN:
CALARE, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- I wish to know from the Treasurer what is meant by the pro vision that no bounty shall be authorized to be paid, directly or indirectly, to any State, or to any authority constituted under a State. Is it proposed to prevent the payment of bounty to any State taking over the iron industry? {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- It is not competent at this stage to discuss the meaning of any clause or proposed amendment. The only question before the Chamber is whether the Bill shall or shall not be recommitted, with a view to the consideration of certain matters in Committee. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I shall reply to the honorable member in Committee. {: #debate-9-s3 .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER:
Kalgoorlie .- Will the Treasurer recommit clause 9, relating to the power of the State to acquire the industry under certain conditions? It is believed in certain quarters that its wording does not achieve the object aimed at. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Very well. Question amended accordingly, and resolved in the affirmative. *In Committee* (Recommittal). Clause 2 - >This Act shall commence on the first day of July, One thousand nine hundred and eight. Amendments (by **Sir William** Lyne) proposed - >That "July" be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof "January," and that "eight" be left out with a view to insert in lieu thereof " nine." {: #debate-9-s4 .speaker-KZG} ##### Mr ROBERTS:
Adelaide .- In view of the exceptionally long list of clauses recommitted, and the fact that the amendments foreshadowed completely alter the Bill, would it not be wise for the Government to withdraw it, and introduce a new Bill embodying their new proposals? A short time ago they proceeded with this Bill, and pushed it on with' some degree of force, as though it were a life and death matter, involving the fate of the Government. Now, after a few days' consideration by the Committee, the Treasurer submits a list of amendments which completely alter the whole character of the Bill. The dates are altered in a positively astounding manner, and the amounts reduced in some instances by almost 50 per cent. Yesterday the total sum was £250,000. To-day it is *£150,000.* Having dropped *£100,000* in a day it is possible that by Tuesday next the Government, despite the eight years' consideration previously given to the subject, 2114 *Manufactures* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Encouragement Bill.* may drop another £100,000. From my point of view, the Bill would be more acceptable if that were done. {: #debate-9-s5 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Clause 2 is now before the Chair. {: .speaker-KZG} ##### Mr ROBERTS: -- I have some difficulty in understanding what the Government really want to do with the clause, and we must not forget that, if we accept the first amendment moved by the Treasurer, we shall practically commit ourselves to the whole series. If the Treasurer will withdraw the Bill, and submit an entirely new one, embodying the amendments which we are now asked to consider so hurriedly, it may receive a little more support than is Likely to be given at present. {: #debate-9-s6 .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
Treasurer · Hume · Protectionist -- I am surprised at the statements of the honorable member for Adelaide, because when I moved to reinstate the Bill on the business-paper some weeks ago I distinctly stated what amendments I intended to move, and those amendments have only been altered in the directions suggested by the Committee last night. There is to be no undue change in the measure, and the amendments I have moved on this clause will simply postpone the commencement of the Act to the 1st January next. If the Bill is to be gone on with, I would ask the Committee to deal with it at once. Of course, if honorable members object to going on with it, I shall not be responsible, but shall do my best to pass it. {: #debate-9-s7 .speaker-JSM} ##### Mr THOMAS BROWN:
CALARE, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- What is the meaning of the proposed new sub-clause to provide that no bounty shall be paid directly or indirectly to any State or any authority constituted under a State? After all the debates as to the advisableness of conducting this industry under direct State control, do the Government now propose to debar the States from participating in any bounty that we may grant? {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member will have an ample opportunity of dealing with that matter later. Clause 2 is now before the Committee. {: .speaker-JSM} ##### Mr THOMAS BROWN:
CALARE, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -I was under the impression that a general discussion of the Bill was to be permitted at this stage. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I have no objection to answer the honorable member's question. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- We must conform to the rules of debate. {: .speaker-JSM} ##### Mr THOMAS BROWN:
CALARE, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- I am prepared to wait for another opportunity. {: #debate-9-s8 .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID:
East Sydney .- In the Estimates of expenditure for the financial year 1908-9 the only amount provided for the purpose of these bounties is *£12,000.* That will take us up to the 30th June, 1909, and the Treasurer now proposes to bring the Act into operation on the 1st January, 1909. Is that amount calculated on the basis of six months from the1st January next? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Yes. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- Then how is it that so small a sum will be payable for those six months in respect of this industry, which we were told was to assume such gigantic proportions and employ thousands of men? The Government proposal seems to show rather a miserable state of things. Is it really contemplated that the output of pig iron, puddled bar iron, and steel, during the first half of next year will be so small as that amount indicates? {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The honorable member will have an ample opportunity of dealing with that matter later. The clause before the Chair simply fixes the time of commencement of the Act. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- In the case of a bounty Bill, which contemplates the payment of money, the date of commencement involves financial considerations, but I am perfectly content to postpone my remarks on that question to a more convenient time. Amendments agreed to. Clause, as amended, agreed to. Clause 5 (Limit of total amount of bounties). {: #debate-9-s9 .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
Treasurer · Hume · Protectionist -- I move - >That the following sub-clause be added : - > >The maximum amount of bounty which may be paid in any one financial year in respect of goods specified in classI in the schedule shall not exceed£30,000; provided that where the, maximum amounthas not been so paid in any year, the unpaid balance or any part thereof may be paid in any subsequent year in addition to the maximum amount for that year. I promised previously to move the insertion of a provision of that kind so as to limit the amount payable in any one year, in consequence of a suggestion that the bounty might be all claimed in one year, and nothing left for subsequent years. {: .speaker-KZG} ##### Mr Roberts: -- The amendment will not altogether prevent that. If no claim is made during the first two years the full *£90,000* may be drawn in the thirdyear. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- On the other hand, without the amendment, *£90,000* *Manufactures* [6 Nov., 1908.] *Encouragement Bill.* 2115 might have been drawn in the first year. The *£30,000* payable in any one year maybe distributed to more than one person, as the Government decide, but that amount may not be exceeded. {: #debate-9-s10 .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER:
Kalgoorlie .- While I appreciate the desire of the Treasurer to have some limitation of the obligations under this Bill, I ask him to give us the benefit of his view as to the method of allocation. If this Bill were exceptionally successful and brought into existence, say, several two-blast furnaces, it is possible that the output of pig iron would be more than sufficient to absorb the *£30,000.* Are we to understand that the Government, under regulations, will take into account the claims of the contending applicants, or will the measure be administered on the basis of first come, first served? I can conceive of circumstances under which, if several firms were permitted to claim, it would be necessary to spend £50,000; and I should like to know how the Treasurer proposes to get over the difficulty? {: #debate-9-s11 .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
Trea surer · Hume · Protectionist -- The answer to the honorable member's question can be found in clause 14, which gives power to make regulations for prescribing the minimum quantity of goods to be manufactured to entitle the manufacturer to claim the bounty, and also for prescribing the proportion in which the bounty shall be payable to claimants in cases where there is not sufficient money to pay the full bounty in respect of all the claims. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- Paragraph *b* of clause 14 stipulates that certain firms will get a preference. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- No; that paragraph gives power only to make regulations to insure that all claimants who have complied with the conditions get a fair share if there is not enough to pay all the claims, so that no one firm can absorb the whole. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- Can the Minister express any opinion as to the possible regulations to meet the position which I have indicated? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- If I had to deal with the matter, J should make regulations to specify thekind of iron, and for the provision of full particulars, on which I should be guided. The foundation of all is the pig iron ; and it might be, if sufficient of that were produced, that there would be a desire to encourage the pro duction of angle and other iron. I am afraid, however, there is no chance, for some years at least, of the supply of local pig iron being greater than the demand, having in view the large importations at the present time. I am now merely expressing an opinion without having carefully thought the matter out ; but I should say that the regulations would set forth the proportion in which the bonus would be paid on each class of iron. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- It will be admitted that, before we produce sufficient pig iron to meet the demand, the bounties will have been paid. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- I have reduced the amount in deference to repeated expressions of opinion that it was too large. I point out, moreover, that it will always be open to the House to vote any further sum of money required. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr Reid: -- Surely the Treasurer does not suggest that there should be supplementary Estimates for the bounty ? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- I do not say so, but merely that, after the period prescribed has expired, it will be quite open to vote further sums - the door is not shut altogether. This Bill represents only a practical commencement of an endeavour tohelp this industry. {: #debate-9-s12 .speaker-L1R} ##### Mr AGAR WYNNE:
Balaclava -- It seems to me that the Treasurer will have trouble over this bounty. There are, for example, a number of people engaged in the manufacture of wire-netting mattresses. These people, I suppose, will be entitled to the bounty, and also those engaged in making wire-netting window blinds, bird cages, and so forth. It would be interesting to know how the Treasurer proposes to sort out applications under those headings. {: #debate-9-s13 .speaker-KZG} ##### Mr ROBERTS:
Adelaide .- The amendment submitted by the Treasurer seems to emphasize the position to which I drew attention a few moments ago. That amendment does not appear on the printed list which has been placed before us, and, personally, I did not hear a proposal that clause 5 should be recommitted, though I have no doubt it was submitted. At any rate, it would appear that, while, a few hours ago, the Treasurer had this printed list of amendments before him, as representing the sum total of his desires, we now find him submitting a further important amendment which does not appear on the list. At first blush, the suggested amendment seems plausible, inasmuch as it is intended to prevent any particular manufacturer from scooping more than £30,000 in any one year. That is, perhaps, a reasonable suggestion on the part of the Treasurer, particularly in view of the fact that he is somewhat at a loss to find even the £^30,000 for the first year. Nevertheless, there are a few peculiar words added which, in my opinion, will enable manufacturers to wait, in case their plant is not in readiness this year, next year, or the year after, and, at the end of the five years, practically demand the whole of the £150,000. The Treasurer, ought to retain that portion of his amendment which prescribes that no more than £30,000 shall be spent in any given year ; but I urge that if the amount is not claimed in that year, then it ought to be forfeited. Unless that is done, the Bill is not a Bounties Bill in the ordinary sense, but really provides for the present of £150,000 to some firm or firms. The question of the employes does not enter into the matter at all at this stage. It is possible that during the first two or three years the manufacturers may continue without asking for a bounty; but it is unreasonable to suppose that they will continue on terms not suitable to them, and, at the same time, not claim the bounty. There is no likelihood of any but one firm securing this bounty ; and, consequently, it would be better if we were to plainly say in a Bill of two clauses that the sum of £150,000 shall be paid to that firm at any time up to the end of 1914. Apparently the Treasurer has only thought of this particular amendment within the last few hours. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- The honorable member is mistaken. When I spoke on the motion for the reinstatement of the Bill I said what I intended to do. {: .speaker-KZG} ##### Mr ROBERTS: -- Then if this is a matter of so much importance, why did the Treasurer not pLace this amendment on the printed list, which was supplied to us at the very moment we went into Committee? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Because the drafting of it had not been completed by the Crown law officers. {: .speaker-KZG} ##### Mr ROBERTS: -- Has the drafting of every little amendment to be submitted to the Crown law officers? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I prefer that to be done, because I do not pretend to be a draftsman. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr Reid: -- The Treasurer means the Parliamentary Draftsman, and it is proper that amendments should be referred to that official, who is appointed for the purpose. {: .speaker-KZG} ##### Mr ROBERTS: -- I quite agree with the caution displayed by the Treasurer ; and I took it that he meant the Parliamentary Draftsman. But why was this amendment not submitted to the Parliamentary Draftsman at the same time as were the other amendments? As a matter of fact, this amendment is merely an after-thought ; and the Treasurer does not seem to know for more than ten minutes at a time what he really wishes in reference to the BiU. I do not know whether the Treasurer has sufficient numbers behind him to pass the Bill in whatever form he pleases, but, seeing the indifference he displays, that is really the situation. So far as some members are concerned, at any rate, this amendment was not previously thought of, and has not been discussed either in House or Committee; and, practically, the only explanation given by the Treasurer is that the proposal will prevent more than £30,000 being paid in one year. As I say, that, at first sight, seems reasonable, considering the financial situation; but when there are words added which enable a manufacturer, at the end of five years from the ist January next, to demand from the Federal Government the sum of £150,000, no matter what the financial situation of the moment may be, it seems to me that the Treasurer has not fully considered or stated his case. It might be that for two or three years no demand would be made ; but it will be quite foreign to the elements in our national life for those entitled to bounties to delay their demand for any longer period than that laid down in the law. It is within the bounds of probability that early next year the Treasurer will have presented to him a request for payment of the bounty, in accordance with the general provisions of the Bill. What the prescribed regulations may be I do not know, but I hope that they will be drafted by the Crown law officers ; otherwise we may find that, with that liberality that characterizes some Treasurers, the honorable gentleman may, without prescribing regulations of a reasonable character, throw out the money to the persons whom he has in mind at present as intending to make application. When I heard the amendment read, it appeared to me to be of an exceedingly important character. It may reasonably be dealt with *Manufactures* [6 Nov., 1908.] *Encouragement Bill.* 2117 in two parts. I fully agree with the first part, which provides that the maximum amount of the bounty that may be paid in any oneyear in respect of the goods specified in clauseI of the schedule shall not exceed *£30,000.* But the sting of the amendment is to be found in its tail, wherein it is provided that, where the maximum amount is not so paid in any year, the unpaid balance or any part of it may be paid in any subsequent year, in addition to the maximum amount for that year. We might have a manufacturer drawing during the first and second years only a few hundred pounds in respect of the bounty, and making a claim in the third year for something like £90,000. The Treasurer would then find himself in an awkward predicament. I can imagine the situation so dramatically depicted a few days ago by the leader of the Opposition when, in referring to the financial situation, he pointed out that, had a few pounds more been expended here and there, the result would have been a deficit. Supposing that the Treasurer adheres to the Treatsury bench for another three years, and then brings down a Budget similar to that which he submitted a few days ago, what will be the position of the leader of the Opposition if the Treasurer finds himself suddenly met with a claim for a. bounty totalling *£85,000* or *£90,000?* We should then have a deficit, not of a few, but of scores of thousands of pounds. If I read aright that part of the Budget which deals with contingencies likely to arise, the Treasurer has not made full provision for possibilities. We have had the criticism of some honorable members who claim to have special knowledge in this direction that the Treasurer seems to have lamentably failed to have regard to expenditure that is likely to be incurred in the future under measures to which the Legislature has already committed itself. Having been permitted to pursue his present course with impunity, it is reasonable to suppose that the Treasurer would continue to believe he could escape once more, and might with impunity bring down a Budget of a character that does not propose to meet such possibilities as this amendment suggests. I suggest to the honorable gentleman, with all due respect, that the latter portion of the amendment be excised. My object is to insure that the finances of the Commonwealth shall not be penalized to a greater extent than *£30,000* in any one year during the five years period to which this provision relates. If the persons at whose instigation this Bill is put before the House failed during any one year to comply with the requirements of the Bill, they should forfeit the right to claim any portion of the bounty set apart to be paid in respect of that year's operations. We shall be doing reasonably good work if we say to those already engaged in the industry, or who may propose to embark upon it that provided they comply with the provisions of this Bill, there shall be at their disposal by way of bounty, £30,000 per annum. But we should not say that irrespective of the conditions laid down, they shall all be able at any time within the five years period to make application for the full sum of *£150,000* proposed to be set aside for this purpose. I hope that the Treasurer will agree to the excision of the latter part of the amendment. {: #debate-9-s14 .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H CATTS:
Cook .- There is one point that I should like to ask the Treasurer to consider. In order to claim the full amount of *£30,000* proposed to be set apart for the payment of a bounty at the rate of 12s. per ton, it will be necessary for the manufacturers to have an output of 50,000 tons per annum. According to the reports submitted to us the one firm now engaged in the industry at Lithgow could produce practically all the pig iron required to enable it to claim the whole of the bounty payable in one year. If the latter portion of this amendment is agreed to, it may suit the managers of the works to double or treble their output in any one year, to then put off their men and to claim the bounty in the following year. Our desire is, if possible, to keep the men in the industry in steady employment, but the latter portion of this amendment will leave the door open to men being discharged, and the works being shut down in the way I have indicated. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- Does the honorable member think that the works would be shut down for the mere fun of the thing? {: .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H CATTS: -- No, but that course might be adopted for money -making purposes. The honorable gentleman ought to know that in many cases employers close down their works for their own purposes. A glut in the market is sometimes created, so that works may be shut down for a stipulated period. We ought to provide that the bounty payable in any one year should be claimed only in respect of pig iron produced during that year. 2118 *Manufactures* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Encouragement Bill.* {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- The honorable member will have to move for the excision of the words if he wishes them to be left out. {: .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H CATTS: -- I move- >That the amendment be amended by leaving out the words " Provided that where the maximum amount has not been so paid in any year the unpaid balance or any part thereof may be paid in any' subsequent year in addition to the maximum amount for that year." {: #debate-9-s15 .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN:
Angas .- There is a good deal of force in the contention that we should provide that the bounty of *£30,000* payable in any one year, shall be claimable only in respect of pig iron produced during that year. The main object which those who advocate the bounty have in view is to provide employment which shall be effective, in regard not only to the' wages, but in respect of its continuity. The only modification of the amendment that now occurs to me is one which I think I put forward on a former occasion, and that is that we should provide that where pig iron has been manufactured so late in one year as to render it impossible for a bounty to be claimed on it during that year, the amount payable should be carried forward to the next year, so that it may be claimed in respect of the material which has actually been produced during the year for which it was set apart. I think that that is a fair way of doing it. There may be difficulty also where goods, though practically manufactured in one year, are finished in the next, though, no doubt, the regulations can provide for that. If ninetenths of the work which is finished this year was done last, part of the *£30,000* should be carried forward to provide for it. {: .speaker-KZG} ##### Mr Roberts: -- There will be a certain amount carried forward eachyear. {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN: -- I admit that the matter is a comparatively small one, and can, perhaps, be dealt with by regulation. But the clause should be so framed as to permit the carrying forward of an amount for application nextyear in regard to goods practically manufactured, but not finished, this year. The general principle that the payments should be about the same each year is a good one. {: #debate-9-s16 .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID:
East Sydney .- One gets a sharp shock of disappointment in comparing the Bill with the pictures of the enormous volume of industrial employment which it will bring about with which the Treasurer has delighted the people of Aus tralia. According to the figures put before us, the whole amount of the bounty can be absorbed by the production of only 50,000 tons of pig-iron. If the manufacturers go beyond this rudimentary process, and convert the pig-iron into puddled bar-iron, a production of 25,000 tons will absorb the bounty-; while, if they go further, and make the bar-iron into steel, a production of 17,500 tons will do so. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- That may be a reason for increasing the amount of the bounty ; it is not a reason for carrying over an amount from one year to another. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- Surely we may hope that the industry will expand, and why should we hinder expansion by preventing the application of any surplus bounty this year to the needs of next year? {: .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H Catts: -- Apparently according to the right honorable member's showing, there will be no surplus to carry forward. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- If there is a surplus in the first year, it should be carried forward. We should do nothing to prevent expansion. If this year the whole amount of the bounty is not applied for, any surplus - say *£10,000* - should be available next year. That arrangement would tend to encourage expansion. We are voting a sum of *£150,000* to give encouragement to the industry for a period of five years. But if we thought that the only effect of the bounty would be to bring about the production of 50,000 tons of pig-iron, and that no bar-iron or steel would be produced, we should not be enthusiastic about the project. Our hope is that the bounty will bring about the establishment of a great national industry. Since we are granting a bounty of *£150,000,* we should not prevent the Government from meeting any expansion that may take place. Nothing wouldbe gained by doing so. There is no principle in the arrangement as to annual payments. {: .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H Catts: -- Only as regards the manner in which it affects the workmen. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- What I am proposing would be a good thing for the workmen. If *£10,000* of bounty is not earned this year, it should go over to the next year. The industry should be in a position to get every penny of the *£150,000* which we are voting. {: .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H Catts: -- The right honorable member's proposal might benefit the employers. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- The interests of the employers and of the men are identical. Both. *Manufactures* [6 Nov., 1908.] *Encouragement Bill.* 2119 desire the permanency of the industry, and the expansion of trade. {: .speaker-KTT} ##### Mr Bruce Smith: -- If the annual payments are not limited, one firm might, by putting on an enormous number of men, mop up the whole bounty, when the men might be dismissed again. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- Not more than *£30,000* is to be available each year. {: .speaker-KTT} ##### Mr Bruce Smith: -- Under the right honorable member's proposal a larger sum would be available. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- My proposal is in the interests of firms which have not yet come into existence. If *£10,000* is left over from the first year, and goes to the second, a new firm may arise to claim a share in it. Honorable members have spoken as though only one firm is concerned, and I wish therefore to emphasize the fact that those at the head of it deserve everlasting credit for their industrial enterprise. Of course, all business men seek their own profit ; but what admiration can we have for those who will not invest *£1* in an Australian industry until the public has been yarded up for their benefit, and prevented by a duty of 50 per cent. from buying any but local manufactures? {: .speaker-KZG} ##### Mr Roberts: -- One of the claims of this firm is that it entered into the business because of the promise of a bounty. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- That makes its enterprise a little less insane than it would otherwise seem. {: .speaker-KZG} ##### Mr Roberts: -- It spoils the right honorable member's argument. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- Whether there was or was not the promise of a bounty, the enterprise of Messrs. Hoskins, in taking over these works from **Mr. Sandford,** was one of the pluckiest things in manufacturing enterprise in Australia. Usually, when men have made thousands of pounds by their personal exertions, they like to buy into a flourishing business. The experience of **Mr. Sandford** might have suggested to them that it would have been better to invest their money in a hat or boot factory, when their industry would have been protected by duties of 35 per cent. and 40 per cent. But they preferred to buy a waterlogged ship. {: .speaker-KZG} ##### Mr Roberts: -- At water-logged prices. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- With great respect to these gentlemen, I say that I do not think so. {: .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H Catts: -- There are great possibilities ahead of them. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- My honorable friend was the first to point out what Ministerial promises are worth. He would not invest *£1* on the strength of such a promise. {: .speaker-JWG} ##### Mr Fowler: -- The Treasurer has stuck to this industry well. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- He sticks to everything as long as he can, and just now he is having a lot of sticking to do which is very trying. Messrs. Hoskins have not taken on a soft job. Had they started a hat factory in Collingwood, or a boot factory somewhere in Melbourne or Sydney, they would have had a much easier enterprise. **Mr. Sandford,** the pioneer in this industry, was wrecked, and the present firm was not in existence more than a few months when, notwithstanding its contracts with the Government of New South Wales, it found itself in a difficult position. {: .speaker-KZG} ##### Mr Roberts: -- They took the industry over with a State guarantee of assistance and a Federal promise of assistance. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- They have not come to us with vague statements, but have acted in a most straightforward way. They employed **Mr. Allard,** one of the best accountants in Australia, and threw all their books open to him. He was allowed to submit to the whole public of Australia a report showing every figure in the books. Those figures have removed from my mind many objections which I had on the score of what **Mr. Sandford** had said. I find that the firm, instead of being able to succeed in an industry which is perhaps the most deserving of its kind in Australia, have by their enterprise got into a position in which it must be a matter of serious concern to them whether they will be able to carry on or not. {: .speaker-KZG} ##### Mr Roberts: -- The actuary shows that there is a loss, and replies to a question about wages. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- Showing a loss on a concern is not what a protected manufacturer of boots, hats or clothes looks for. This firm, instead of being looked on with suspicion, deserve the greatest consideration for their enterprise in taking over that water-logged concern. In accepting the responsibility of developing the iron industry of Australia, they undertook the biggest industrial risk that has ever been taken on in this country. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- Does the right honorable member think, in the face of the output, that a bounty of 12s. a ton is justified? 2120 *Manufactures* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Encouragement Bill.* {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- My idea was that 12s. a ton was too much. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- Their own actuarial statement shows that the difference between their selling and producing prices is 3s. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- I am trusting the Government in this matter. They are in a position to know all the facts, but the honorable member's attitude is perfectly fair, and when the schedule is reached I shall support him in endeavouring to get satisfactory information from the Treasurer with regard to the item of 12s. a ton. {: .speaker-JWG} ##### Mr Fowler: -- Since when has the honorable member for East Sydney begun to trust the Government? {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- When one cannot get information for one's self, one has to get it somewhere, even from the most polluted source. If that remark is too strong, I will say from what in this instance is the most thoroughly filtered source. My own impression was that 12s. a ton was perhaps a little too much ; but looking at the whole enterprise - and in this I do not refer to the honorable member for Kalgoorlie - the gentlemen who threw those magnificent protective encouragements and barricades round the softgoods manufacturers and others need not squirm at this little help to the great iron industry. I have worked out what the bonus really means.I am told that there are 750 men engaged at Lithgow in making the raw material into pig iron. Dividing the amount of bounty by that number gives *£40* a year towards each of them ; but if the pig iron is converted at the works into puddled bar-iron, not another penny is provided for the men who do that work, and if the puddled bariron is converted into steel, there is not another penny for those engaged in that work either. The£30,000 has to cover all the operations, from the raw material up to the finished steel. Consequently, this firm are not getting any great hold on the public purse, while if they establish the industry they will have rendered in return a much greater public service than do most other Australian manufacturers. The Denton Hat Mills have been paying good dividends. {: .speaker-KTT} ##### Mr Bruce Smith: -- Ten per cent., with 5 per cent. to the reserve. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- I accept the honorable member's figures. I do not wish to pick out the Denton Hat Mills in any invidious way, because it is a great industry - although we have to pay for it - but when those mills were making large profits on their capital they were clamouring for another 10 or 20 per cent. protection, and there was actually a proposal before the House that they should pay over the counter of the Customs House the duty on all the machinery that they wanted - and that machinery, instead of being made by Australian artisans, was to be made in other parts of the world - and then go to the back door and get back every penny they paid. That was a monstrous proposal. When I drew attention to it it was denied, and then it was stated that it was nothing new, although I do not think that that made it any better. I have no opportunity of getting information myself in regard to the Lifhgow enterprise, because one does not like to go directly to a person interested in the industry, and I would rather take the information from some responsible member of the Government. Although I feel that the encouragement offered by the Bill to the industry is very small, still if there is any question of the rate of bounty being too high I am quite willing to assist the honorable member for Kalgoorlie in demanding some satisfactory explanation from the Government to show that the rate proposed is required. After all, the industry, even with this bounty, cannot be looked to to expand as we hoped that the iron industry would expand. It will have a rough time ahead of it, even with this assistance. Amongst all the fiscal proposals made in this House I do not think there has been a fairer one than that with which we are now dealing. {: #debate-9-s17 .speaker-JSM} ##### Mr THOMAS BROWN:
CALARE, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- I would point out to the honorable member for Cook and other honorable members that this industry is not altogether on all fours with the hat-making industry and others in which factories can be closed down and started again at a moment's notice. In this case blast furnaces have to be run. It costs a considerable amount to get them ready and it pays to continue running them where an ordinary factory under certain conditions would cease operations. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- Let it go. {: .speaker-JSM} ##### Mr THOMAS BROWN:
CALARE, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- Very well, in view of the withdrawal of opposition, I shall be pleased to do so. Amendment of the amendment negatived. *Manufactures* [6 Nov., 1908.] *Encouragement Bill.* 2121 Amendment agreed to. Clause, as amended, agreed to. Clause 6 - >No bounty shall be authorized to be paid on - > >Pig iron, puddled bar iron, or steel, made after the thirtieth day of June One thousand nine hundred and thirteen ; > >Galvanized iron, wire netting, and wire, or iron or steel pipes or tubes, made after the thirtieth day of June One thousand nine hundred and eleven ; (c)Reapers and binders made afterthe thirty-first day of December one thousand nine hundred and ten. > >Amendment (by **Sir William** Lyne) agreed to - >That the word " thirteen," line 5, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word " fourteen." Amendment (by **Sir William** Lyne) proposed - >That the word "and," line 6, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word "or." {: #debate-9-s18 .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID:
East Sydney .- Has the schedule been recommitted? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -Yes. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- Then has the Treasurer made any arrangement to insure that no bounty will be paid on that part of the wire netting which consists of imported wire? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- That is all provided for in the amendment which I shall submit on the schedule, as agreed to by the Committee last night. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- So long as that is so, I am satisfied. I am favorable to the most generous treatment of the Mother Country in every way, but I draw the line at giving a bounty on wire made in the United Kingdom. I recognise that the draft amendment which the Treasurer has handed to me will be a great improvement on the Bill as it stood, but, while it disposes of my point as to foreign-made wire, it still leaves it necessary to consider the question of wire made in the United Kingdom. I understand that the provision in the schedule in regard to wire netting is to be amended to read as follows - >Wire netting, not being prison made, and being made from Australian ore or from wire manufactured in the United Kingdom. On that definition, we are to give a bonus of 10 per cent. on wire netting, the principal part of which is a material which is not produced in Australia. Who would dream of giving a bonus on a manufacture in some other country? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- This question was debated at great length last night, and, in any case, there will be a further opportunity of dealing with it when we reach the schedule. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- Then I am satisfied; but, in advance, I direct attention to the fact that it would be one of the mostludicrous freaks of Australian legislation to give a bounty on the manufacture of an article in a distant country, even though that be the Mother Country. The proposed bounty is 10 per cent. *ad valorem* on wire netting, and that, of course, includes the value of the wire which is made in England. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- That was intended. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- It is a ridiculous idea. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- The proposal was not made by me. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- The proposal was made by the honorable member for Maranoa, but I am sure he had no suchridiculous idea in his mind. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I suggest that further discussion be postponed until we reach the schedule. Amendment agreed to. Amendment (by **Sir William** Lyne) agreed to - >That the word " eleven," line 10, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the word " twelve." Amendment (by **Sir William** Lyne) proposed - >That paragraph *(c)* be left out. {: #debate-9-s19 .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID:
East Sydney .- Considering that a provision of this kind has appeared in the Manufactures Encouragement Bill ever since it was introduced, I should like a short explanation as to the reasons which induced the Treasurer to withdraw this bounty now. {: #debate-9-s20 .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
Treasurer · Hume · Protectionist -- The reason is that circumstances have altered very considerably since this bounty was first proposed and included in the Manufactures Encouragement Bill. This provision was introduced by the late **Mr. Kingston** some six years ago, when there was no attempt being made to manufacture those implements in Australia. This matter was dealt with in an Act which has since been declared unconstitutional, but a re-enacting Bill is in draft. Amendment agreed to. Clause, as amended, agreed to. Clause 7 - >No bounty shall be authorized to be paid to any person other than the manufacturer of the goods nor unless the manufacturer of the goods furnishes proof to the satisfaction of the Minister that the goods are of good and merchantable quality, and that the requirements of this Act and the Regulations have been complied with. {: #debate-9-s21 .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
Treasurer · Hume · Protectionist -- I had given notice of an amendment to insert the following new subclause: - {: type="1" start="2"} 0. No bounty shall be authorized to be paid directly or indirectly to any State or to any authority constituted under a State. The object of the suggested amendment was to prevent any bounty being paid to a State under an agreement with a manufacturer. I find, however, that the end was attained by means of an amendment moved by the hon.orable member for Illawarra in a previous session. If honorable members turn to clause 3, they will find these words - >Provided further that no bounty shall be authorized to be paid on any goods manufactured or supplied or to bb manufactured or supplied under a contract containing a term or condition permitting or providing for the deduction of the amount of the bounty or any part thereof from the price or moneys payable foi the goods to the manufacturers. Those are the words which were inserted at the instance of the honorable member for Illawarra, and they carry out the intention I had when I gave notice of the amendment I have just indicated. My desire is to prevent the bounty being paid through Messrs. Hoskins to the Government of New South Wales. There was an agreement entered into by **Mr. Sandford** to hand over to the State Government any bounty, in ' consideration of the increased price paid by the Government for the manufactured goods. I was approached last night by honorable members, who pointed out that there was a desire, if the State undertook" the industry, that the State should have the advantage of the bounty in the same way as any other manufacturer. The provision in the Bill interferes only when there is a sort of triangular contract, the Commonwealth giving the bounty, the manufacturer turning out the product, arid1, under an agreement, handing the bounty over to the State Government. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- Is it proposed to give a bounty to the State, if the State carries on the manufacture? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- Yes, that can be done under the Bill. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- Is one Government going to subsidize another? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- That is not proposed, but the power is there. {: #debate-9-s22 .speaker-JSM} ##### Mr THOMAS BROWN:
CALARE, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- The explanation of the Treasurer removes some of my doubt in regard to this provision. I understand that, in view of* what is provided in clause 3, the Treasurerdoes not propose to proceed with the amendment of which he gave notice ; but thereremains the further question as to what extent a State could claim the bounty if the industry be carried on by the State. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Just the same asany other manufacturer. {: .speaker-JSM} ##### Mr THOMAS BROWN:
CALARE, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- Do I understand that, if the Government of Tasmania, or the Government of South Australia, wereto enter upon this enterprise, they would beable to claim the bounty just as would any, private manufacturer? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- That is so. {: #debate-9-s23 .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN:
Angas .- I think", that clause 3 referred to by the Treasureris adequate. The honorable member for Illawarra showed me the form of his amendment prior to submitting it, and we considered it covered the case of contracts with the New South Wales Government. Under those contracts the State Government got the benefit of thebounty by deducting it from the contract price, and that I regarded as very unfair. The amendment of which the Treasurer gave notice, though it might, perhaps, accomplish the same end, is objectionable, because it would not only prevent bountiesbeing indirectly obtained by a State, but also prevent them being directly obtained if the State entered into the industry ; and I do not see why there should be any differentiation. The provision in clause 3 wascarefully drafted by the honorable member for Illawarra, who had special knowledgeof the position. {: #debate-9-s24 .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir JOHN FORREST:
Swan -- I am- surprised to hear the Treasurer say that he has in his mind the subsidizing of a State under a measure like this, for iti seems to me that it would be better for theCommonwealth Government to undertake the industry itself. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- The Commonwealth , Government cannot undertake such an enterprise, or I should certainly support our doing so. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir JOHN FORREST: -- But the honorable gentleman does not speak with any responsibility, seeing that the Prime Minister has expressed no such -opinion. It is difficult to know who is responsible. For instance, the Treasurer is always saying: that he is in favour of a land tax, though that does not form part of the Government policy. {: #debate-9-s25 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- Order ! {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir JOHN FORREST: -- It seems to me that the New South Wales Government do not require any subsidy from the Commonwealth Government. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- The New South Wales Government arranged to take a subsidy through a contractor. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir JOHN FORREST: -- That is different, because that was a *quid pro quo.* It seems to me altogether foreign to the Commonwealth Government to subsidize a State Government in order to encourage the State to embark on nationalizing schemes. Apparently the Treasurer will do anything if a little pressure is brought to bear on him from a certain quarter, and I think he had far better keep to .his own Bill than allow visionary members to direct him. Clause 9 - >The person claiming any bounty in respect of pig iron, puddled bar iron, or steel, shall give his bond to the Commonwealth, in a sum to be fixed by the Minister (in this Act called the secured amount), conditioned to be void if he transfers to the State in which the goods are manufactured all lands, buildings, premises, machinery, plant, and equipment of any kind used in or in connexion with the manufacture of the goods, if so required by the Governor of the State, within twelve months after the date of expiry of the bounty with respect to that class of goods; such transfer to be in consideration of fair compensation for the property transferred, to be assessed in case of dispute by the President of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, whose determination shall be final and conclusive and without appeal. {: #debate-9-s26 .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
Treasurer · Hume · Protectionist -- I understand that the honorable member for Kalgoorlie wishes to move an amendment in this clause regarding the transfer of works or machinery to the State. I have no amendment to propose, but am prepared to consider any proposition that is made. {: #debate-9-s27 .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER:
Kalgoorlie .- Although I have closely examined this clause, I am unable to determine what it is really designed to accomplish. I take it that the bond to be given by the contractor will be forfeited if he refuses to transfer his works to the Government of any State that may desire to take them over within twelve months after the cessation of the bounty ? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Yes. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- I agree with the principle of the provision, but do not wish the right of a State to take over such works to depend upon whether or not the contractor is prepared to allow his bond to be forfeited. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- It is to be for a large amount. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- The clause provides that it is to be in a sum fixed by the Minister. Is it reasonable to suppose that, if the right honorable member for Swan, as the responsible Minister, had to determine what the amount of the bond should be, he would specify a substantial sum, having regard to his antipathy to the nationalization of the industry ? {: .speaker-KZG} ##### Mr Roberts: -- Under this Bill, the Minister cannot insist upon a bond being given for one penny. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- The bond is to be called "the secured amount." {: .speaker-KZG} ##### Mr Roberts: -- And the secured amount is not mentioned in the Bill. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- Under the clause as it stands, it will be for the Treasurer of the day to say what shall be the amount of the bond. To my mind, we need something more definite, and I would suggest to the Treasurer that the clause be so amended as to read - >From the person or persons claiming any bounty in respect of pig iron, puddled bar iron, or steel, the Commonwealth or any State shall have power to take over the lands, buildings, premises, machinery, .plant, and equipment of any kind used in connexion with the manufacture of the goods at any time within twelve months after, the date of the expiration of the bounty with respect to that class of goods; such transfer to be in consideration of fair compensation for the property transferred, to be assessed in case of dispute by the President of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration, whose decisions shall be final and conclusive, and without appeal. Such an amendment would enable the Government of the Commonwealth, or of any State, within twelve months after the expiration of the bounty, to assume control of the industry. It is highly desirable that we should definitely express what is our intention. The experience in some cases where bounties have been paid to encourage industries has been most unsatisfactory. {: .speaker-KRN} ##### Mr Sinclair: -- The wrong man always gets them. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- I do not know whether that is so, but it will be found -that, in most cases, once a bounty has been paid, it is most difficult to induce those who have received it to carry on unless the system is continued or protective duties are imposed. 2124 *Manufactures* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Encouragement Bill.* {: #debate-9-s28 .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
Trea surer · Hume · Protectionist -- If the honorable member for Kalgoorlie will allow me, I should like to explain that the clause was framed as it stands because we have no power under the Constitution to pass such a provision as he suggests. But for that, we should have drafted the clause on the lines which the honorable member now asks us to adopt. All that we can do under the Constitution is to provide that refusal to transfer should be punishable by a penalty, but we can make that penalty so high as to compel conformity with the wishes of the State concerned. I have consulted the representative of the Crown Law Office present as to the reason why the clause was drafted in its present form, and am informed by him that if it were amended as the honorable member suggests, it would be in contravention of the Constitution. I do not pretend to be able to give a legal interpretation of the Constitution; I am simply telling honorable members what 1 have been advised. {: #debate-9-s29 .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER:
Kalgoorlie -- There is reason to doubt the constitutional right of the Commonwealth at the present time to assume control of an industry of this character. I would remind honorable members, however, that this Bill relates, not to the present, but to a period that will at least cover the lives of two new Parliaments. Having regard to the fact that at each general election about 30 per cent. of the retiring members are not re-elected, it is not unreasonable to assume that before the expiration of the period during which the bounty will be payable, we may have . in this Parliament a majority prepared to support an amendment of the Constitution, if it be necessary, to enable the Commonwealth to take over the industry. {: .speaker-JRH} ##### Mr Bowden: -- But if the honorable member's suggested amendment be agreed to, it will have no validity, and we shall not secure that which we desire. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- The point that I wish to emphasize is that the Bill does not relate merely to the present. It will cover a period of some years, and it is intended that those who engage in the industry shall be liable to a penalty if they refuse, within twelve months of the expiration of the bounty, to transfer their works to a State. But that penalty might be made a very small one by a Minister who was opposed to the nationalization of the industry. {: .speaker-KTT} ##### Mr Bruce Smith: -- We cannot transfer a power to take over the works if there is no power in existence. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- The honorable member will admit that it is open to any State to take over the control of this industry. {: .speaker-KTT} ##### Mr Bruce Smith: -- I admit that, but we cannot transfer a State right. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- I contend that such a provision as I suggest would be far more satisfactory even to the recipients of the bounty. I do not wish the right of a State to take over the industry to rest merely on a financial basis. We should say definitely that a State shall have power to take it over. {: .speaker-KTT} ##### Mr Bruce Smith: -- The honorable member wishes the clause to be put into hypothetical form. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- If we do not make such an amendment as I suggest, and a subsequent Parliament is in favour of amendment of the Constitution to allow the Commonwealth to assume control of the industry, faith will be broken with the men to whom we propose to pay the bounty. {: .speaker-KTT} ##### Mr Bruce Smith: -- The honorable member will have to begin his proposed new clause with the words " In the event of." {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -The honorable member may conjure up all sorts of difficulties, but I do not think that what he suggests is necessary. He will admit that there is a serious difference of opinion on the part of constitutional authorities as to the power that we may exercise in this direction. I believe that we have the power under the Constitution to declare that, in order to secure the effective deffence of Australia, it is necessary for the Commonwealth itself to establish the iron industry. I think that the High Court would interpret the Constitution in a liberal spirit, believing the intention to be to confer that power. Will it be seriously argued that in time of emergency it would be necessary to obtain an amendment of the Constitution in order to provide raw material for the manufacture of weapons of defence? {: .speaker-KTT} ##### Mr Bruce Smith: -- The granting of a bounty is not essential to the manufacture of guns. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER: -- Many of those belonging to the profession of which the honorable gentleman is a member hold that the Commonwealth has the power to take over the iron industry under certain conditions, and I believe that the High Court would decide that in a time of emergency we possess that power. If we do not possess it, we can obtain it from the people, and then there will be no breaking of faith with those to whom we propose to give consideration. {: #debate-9-s30 .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN:
Angas -- 1 wish to suggest a possibility which may affect the whole Bill. To my mind, the clause is so worded that it will be ineffective. It is a principle of law that, when there is annexed to a grant or bounty, or imposed in connexion with taxation, a condition which seems to be the basis of its policy, the instrument must be ineffective if the condition is. held to be bad. Since the Bill was recently drafted, the High Court, in three or four cases, following American decisions, has held that, where a condition seems to be so interwoven in an Act as to indicate that Parliament would not have passed the Act had the condition not been contained in it, the Act must be regarded as unconstitutional if the condition is so. It may be held by the High Court that we have no power to pass this provision, and the Court may go further and say that, as the condition which we wish to attach to the granting of the proposed bounties is not severable from the general policy, the whole of our legislation is bad. Are honorable members who are supporting' the granting of bounties prepared to face the possibility of the Act being declared invalid some fifteen or sixteen months hence, after work has been entered upon on the assumption that the bounties will be paid? The person claiming a bounty is to comply with a certain condition. That is, the bounties are to be paid only to those who comply with the conditions of clause 9. If those conditions are held to be bad, the whole measure may be held to be so. Not only may the clause be ineffective for the purposes intended, but it may imperil the measure itself. If the Government wish to assist honorable members in bringing about the nationalization of the iron industry, it should insert a provision empowering the Commonwealth to acquire it. It is more likely that that would be held constitutional. {: #debate-9-s31 .speaker-KEA} ##### Mr KELLY:
Wentworth .- The clause contains a provision which must be held to be bad the moment it is examined. The assessment upon which a State may take over iron works is to be submitted, in the case of dispute, to the President of the Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration. That is an extraordinary condition for us to seek to impose upon the freedom of a sovereign State. Every one of the States has unlimited powers of nationalization, according to such assessment as lt may see fit to provide for. Therefore the proposed restriction would be strenuously resisted on constitutional grounds. If honorable members desire to bring about the nationalization of the iron industry at some future date, they will be unwise to. vote for the clause as it stands. As they know that I am opposed to such nationalization, they will, of course, examine most critically what I have to say ; but if they let their judgment guide them, they will see that no attempt to prevent the States from taking such action as they may desire will be effective. I sympathize with the honorable member for Kalgoorlie in the demand that the Government should put into plain language its oftenexpressed desire to assist the nationalization of the iron industry at some future date. If it does not, he and those who have suffered with him in the past' will be justified in believing that the maze of words which has been put forward has no other design than to bring about an adverse judgment when the measure is tested in the Courts of the country. {: #debate-9-s32 .speaker-KYT} ##### Mr KNOX:
Kooyong .- I have from the first consistently supported the proposal to grant a bounty for the production of iron. But, as we progress, the Government give way more and more to those who favour the nationalization of the iron industry. Therefore, if this clause is passed, I shall feel compelled to vote against the third reading of the Bill. A practical point to which I direct attention is this : A large amount of money must be invested to make the iron industry a success. A large expenditure has already taken place at Lithgow ; but if enterprises are to be opened up in Tasmania or South Australia, further large sums of capital must be invested. No one with capital would enter into these enterprises should the proposed clause be agreed to. No capitalist would risk losing the results of his ability and information by the taking over by a State of an enterprise in which he had invested money. It has been frequently alleged that the Bill is designed to assist only one firm - that now operating at Lithgow - and unquestionably that must be its effect if the clause is agreed to, because no other firm will enter the industry. Those who have invested in the Lithgow works have shown commendable enterprise, and are committed to the risks connected with it; but no new firm would invest capital under the proposed conditions. 2126 *Manufactures* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Encouragement Bill.* If the bounties are to operate in the interest of the industry as a whole, this condition should not be imposed. {: #debate-9-s33 .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM:
AttorneyGeneral · Darling Downs · Protectionist -- There are several reasons why the Committee should not accept the proposed amendment. It purports to confer upon the Commonwealth or the State power to take over the industry. Whether we have that power or not depends not upon any enactment of our own, but upon the words of the Constitution. We certainly cannot confer power upon a State to do it, as the State's power depends upon its own Constitution read in conjunction with the Federal Constitution. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- Then why this clause? {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- 'The clause provides for a bond by which the person undertakes to convey the property to the State if the State wants it. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- If the States have the power to take over an industry already, why put it in the bond? {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- The States' power of acquisition - their "right of eminent domain" - is exercised under their general powers, in accordance with their laws. Under the States Land Acquisition Acts there isa regular form of procedure. To accept this amendment would be an assumption on our part of the right to confer this power upon a State. The amendment also purports to give the Commonwealth power to take over the industry ; but we cannot confer power upon ourselves by a declaration in our own Statutes. The Iron Bonus Commission was very fully advised at the time by the Attorney-General that the Commonwealth had no power to nationalize industries, and that advice is fully set out in the Commission's report. {: .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H Catts: -- The Constitution may be altered. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- Possibly ; but we cannot anticipate that in our legislation. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- Will the honorable member say that, in case of necessity, such as an impending war, we should have no power to control such an industry to enable us to secure the means of defence? {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- Undoubtedly, incidental to our power of defence, we could, if it were thought necessary, manufacture our own arms and ammunition in our own factories suchas we propose to erect now. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- We could also have a blast furnace. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- We could for that purpose ; but that is not the honorable member's present proposal. He does not suggest now that we should acquire the iron industry for a specific defence purpose, but asks that we should take it over and run it as an ordinary business. {: .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H Catts: -- We could sell our surplus production. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- The honorable member does not provide for the acquisition of this factory, and the appropriation of the necessary money to conduct it, for the manufacture of arms and ammunition for defence purposes, but wishes to assert the power of the Commonwealth to step in and acquire a running concern which a business man is carrying on as an ordinary citizen. {: .speaker-L6Z} ##### Mr Hall: -- This amendment will give us the power, subject to the Constitution. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- Perhaps so; but the very clear rule of interpretation of Statutes laid down by the Courts is that if you purport to exercise a power which is wider than the absolute grant of power in a Constitution, and the clauses are not severable, the whole Act is void. Speaking from memory, I think that was recognised in the trade marks case in America. Congress had power to legislate as to trade marks so far as Inter-State trade was concerned, but they did not confine themselves to that. They attempted to exercise the power generally, and the Court held that the whole Act was unconstitutional. The wording of the proposed amendment is absolutely outside our constitutional powers. Apart from that, its language is very uncertain ; but, of course, if that were the only trouble, the wording could easily be altered. It is a matter of principle that causes the Government to oppose the amendment. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- Then the honorable member is opposed upon principleto the nationalization of the industry ? {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- I am opposed to making this amendment in the Bill because it purports to confer a power which the Constitution does not warrant. The honorable member for Angas pointed out that if there are any unconstitutional provisions in the Bill we run the risk of having the whole of it declared bad. {: .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H Catts: -- The honorable member for Angas said that the Bill already contained unconstitutional provisions, and instanced this very clause. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr GROOM: -- The honorable member for Angas said he questioned whether this clause was not unconstitutional, but he had 110 doubt about the amendment being so. In the circumstances, we cannot accept it. {: #debate-9-s34 .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER:
Kalgoorlie .- I now move - >That all the words down to the word " goods," line 13, be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof the following words : - " From the person or persons claiming any bounty in respect of pig iron, puddled bar iron, or steel, the Commonwealth or any State shall have power to take over the lands, buildings, premises, machines, plant, and equipment of any kind used in connexion with the manufacture of the goods at any time within twelve months after the date of the expiry of the bounty with respect to that class of goods." {: #debate-9-s35 .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH:
Corio .- Will the' honorable member for Kalgoorlie amend his amendment by moving only to leave out the first two words of the clause ? By this means a test vote can be taken and other honorable members will not be prevented from moving amendments on the clause, as they would be if the question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the clause" were put and resolved in the affirmative. I wish to move an amendment in regard to the words " within twelve months." They are indefinite, and it should be made clear that action can be taken at any time up to twelve . months after the date of expiry of the bounty. {: #debate-9-s36 .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr FRAZER:
Kalgoorlie .- I am willing to accept the honorable member's suggestion, so long as it is clear that my object is to insert a provision which more definitely confers upon the Commonwealth or a State power to take over this industry after the expiry of the bounty. Amendment amended accordingly. {: #debate-9-s37 .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID:
East Sydney .- I see no harm in the proposal contained in the clause as it stands, that any person who receives the bounty should give his bond to the Commonwealth to allow a State to acquire the industry. The provision is unobjectionable, because the State need not take action unless it chooses. It is left entirely to the State, and I am inclined to think that the State has power to take over any such industry by its own legislation, unless some Commonwealth law is superior to the State law in that respect. But as we have no Commonwealth law enabling us to take over any particular industry in a State, the State law would be supreme, and without this clause the State could at any time take action. The only benefit of the clause is that it puts the person accepting the bounty, as it were, "on notice." If the State did resume his works, he could not demand compensation from the Commonwealth on the ground that when he accepted the bounty he understood that he would be allowed to go on continuously under the same conditions. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- That security against a claim for compensation is not granted to the Commonwealth by the clause; it is granted only to* the State. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- I suppose the honorable member wishes to give to the person receiving the bounty a. similar notice on behalf of the Commonwealth to that given on behalf of the State? {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- Exactly. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- I am against any such project. {: .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H Catts: -- But it is the same principle. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- It is a principle that I am opposed to. I do not wish to give effect to it, or extend it, in any shape or form. If honorable members opposite can induce the majority of the people to sanction an amendment of the Constitution in the direction of Commonwealth industries, well and good; but at present I am not of the opinion that I should help them towards that object. The notice given by the clause is sufficient in any case, because it would practically cover the case of the Commonwealth should the owners of the works claim compensation from the Commonwealth for alleged losses, on the industry being nationalized a few years hence. It would be a perfectly equitable and sufficient answer to say that in the Act itself the owners were given fair notice that a State could take over the works, and that that implied that the Commonwealth could take them over. The clause, in safeguarding the future with reference to the power of the State, incidentally safeguards the exercise of the power of the Commonwealth, if the Commonwealth does only that which the State has a right to do. *Sitting suspended from 1 to 2.15 p.m.* Question - That the words " The person " proposed to be left out stand part of the clause (Mr. Frazer' s amendment) - put. The Committee divided. AYES: 18 NOES: 12 Majority. ... ... 6 2128 *Manufactures* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Encouragement Bill.* AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Amendment negatived. {: #debate-9-s38 .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH:
Corio . -It seems to me that the intention is that the State may take over the industry at anytime from now until the expiration of the bounty period. The words used in the clause are - >If so required by the Government of the State within twelve months after the date of expiry of the bounty. It seems to me, therefore, that there is a limitation to within twelve months after the expiry of the bounty, and that notice of action by a State could not be given at an earlier date - that the words really limit the action to the date of the expiry of the bounty and twelve months afterwards. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- I think that the clause is clear as at present, but if there is a desire to alter it, there will be no objection to inserting the words " before or " before the words "within twelve months." {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- The idea is that it would not be right to demand the transfer during the first two or three years, and the intention of the clause is that the right may be exercised only after the expiration of the bounty. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- If that be so, the case is met. The meaning, I take it, is that the State cannot transfer this industry until 1913. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Except by agreement. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- Any business can be taken over by agreement, but clauses 8 and 9 are of no use unless they mean compulsion. If what the Treasurer say's is correct, then the only time the State can take over the enterprise is between the 30th June, 1913, and the 30th June, 1914. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- That is what was intended. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr CROUCH: -- I am against any form of nationalization, and my only desire is to see that the Committee understand the position. Clause agreed to. Clause 14 - >The Governor-General may make regulations : - > >For prescribing the proportion in which bounty shall be payable to claimants who have complied with the prescribed conditions, in cases where there is not sufficient money available to pay the full bounty in respect of all the claims and conditioning the payment of any bounties by requiring the payment of such wages and other conditions as may be prescribed by any State or Commonwealth Industrial Tribunal. Amendment (by **Sir William** Lyne) proposed - >That the words " and conditioning the payment of any bounties by requiring the payment of such wages and other conditions as may be prescribed by any State or Commonwealth Industrial Tribunal " be left out. {: #debate-9-s39 .speaker-KZG} ##### Mr ROBERTS:
Adelaide .- We have had no explanation why these' words should be excised. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- A new clause is tobe proposed which is drafted in more definite language. {: .speaker-KZG} ##### Mr ROBERTS: -- It seems to me that the words of the new clause, to which the honorable gentleman reters, give the option. to the Minister of paying rates of wages that are less than those paid in the industry at the present time. The words " below the standard rates paid in the locality in which the goods are manufactured " are exceedingly wide and indefinite, and so play into the hands of the employing section that it is open to question whether the new clause is any improvement. The Bill as it stands is reasonably clear, inasmuch as the rate of wages shall be that prescribed by a State or a Commonwealth tribunal, whereas in the proposed new clause no such standard is provided, the matter being left entirely to the Minister. If I may take *as* a criterion the attitude of the Minister in desiring this great liberty, then the outlook for the employes is not a very good one. The Minister in suggesting this amendment seems to me to indicate the absence of a desire on his part to do anything of a specific character beneficial to the employes. In exercising this optional power, he would be controlled by the words " below the standard rates paid in the locality in which the goods are manufactured." The whole trend of legislation of late has been to place the determination of rates of wages in the hands of what are, at any rate, nominally impartial tribunals, because the prevailing standards in different localities have been so wretchedly low. Yet we are asked by this new clause to perpetuate a system against which the whole trend of the legislation of the States and the Commonwealth Parliaments has been fighting for a number of years. Surely the Minister has not carefully considered the proposed new clause? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I have. {: .speaker-KZG} ##### Mr ROBERTS: -- Does the honorable member contemplate having a lease in perpetuity of the Treasury bench? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- It would be a good thing for the country if I had. {: .speaker-KZG} ##### Mr ROBERTS: -- That is open to debate. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Will the honorable member permit me to explain? {: .speaker-KZG} ##### Mr ROBERTS: -- I should be pleased to have an explanation. {: #debate-9-s40 .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE:
Treasurer · Hume · Protectionist -- I should like to point out that there will be no compulsion on the part of the Minister to prescribe the rates of wages. {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr Batchelor: -- Evidently the honorable member's original, proposal was very weak. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- I would remind the honorable member that it was inserted hurriedly when the Bill was before the Committee last session. It was introduced at the suggestion, I think, of the honorable member for Wide Bay. {: .speaker-JRH} ##### Mr Bowden: -- The honorable member for Parramatta. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- At all events, the words were hurriedly inserted. The amendment that I now propose provides that the Minister must, first of all, consider whether the rates of wages paid in the industry are below the standard prescribed by any Commonwealth or State *industrial authority. It is* only inthe absence of such a standard that he is to step in and say to the employers, ' ' You must pay" the standard rates of wages prevailing in the locality." {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- Why should not the Minister take upon himself the responsibility of stipulating what wages shall be paid, just as has been done in the case of the sugar industry ? {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- We have had a good many complaints in. that connexion. Even if I did propose that the Treasurer should stipulate the wages to be paid, objection would be raised. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- That is what has been done in connexion with the sugar industry. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- And objection has been taken to it. Under the proposed new clause, the award of a Commonwealth authority will first of all govern the wages to be paid. It is only in the absence of an award by a Commonwealth or State authority that the Minister is to have power to say what wages shall be paid. I think that the honorable member for Adelaide will admit that he was not quite fair to me, when he said that the amendment did not indicate any strong .desire on my part, to secure the payment of reasonable wages. "My chief object in submitting it is to allow the rates of wages to be determined by a Commonwealth or a State authority, and to strengthen rather than to weaken the position of the men. I am informed by the Attorney-General that there is a similar provision in the Sugar Bounties Act. In that Act it is provided that, if the Minister finds that the rates of wages are below the standard rates paid in the district in which the sugar is grown, for similar white labour in the industry, then the Minister may withhold any part of the bounty. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- But there are any number of sugar farmers, whereas there are not several iron smelting firms. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir WILLIAM LYNE: -- I think that the position of the men is. safeguarded by the provision as to the rates of wages being those prescribed by any Commonwealth or State industrial authority. It is only in the absence of such an authority that the Minister is to step in. {: #debate-9-s41 .speaker-KZG} ##### Mr ROBERTS:
Adelaide .- That is precisely the contention against which I argue. I contend that there should not be given to the Minister the alternative power, in the absence of an award by a Federal or State tribunal, to prescribe the rates of wages prevailing in the locality. If we are to allow that option, then some of the States Governments, as they exist at present, will not put into operation a tribunal of a character likely to regulate the wages in a reasonable manner ; neither will there be an incentive to move the Federal tribunal into action. It will be contended that there is no occasion to move into action either a Federal or a State tribunal, since the Minister has power to prescribe the rates of wages. {: .speaker-L0K} ##### Dr Carty Salmon: -- What does the honorable member propose? {: .speaker-KZG} ##### Mr ROBERTS: -- I prefer the clause as it stands to that which the Treasurer now proposes. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- That merely gives power to make regulations. {: .speaker-KZG} ##### Mr ROBERTS: -- I know that everything will depend upon what is prescribed. Under the clause, as it stands, the Treasurer, or the Government for the time being, must prescribe in accordance with the terms of an award of a State or Federal tribunal. That is reasonably fair; but if this alternative power, be given- {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- It is not an alternative. {: .speaker-KZG} ##### Mr ROBERTS: -- Unquestionably it is. . {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- The honorable member said just now that it was an option. {: .speaker-KZG} ##### Mr ROBERTS: -- If I used that word, I withdraw it. If the alternative power would give the Minister a free hand, there would not be so much objection to this amendment; but he is not to have a free hand. He is to be restrained in a manner inimical to the interests of the workers in the particular locality where the industry is carried on. He may, first of all, prescribe such rates as are agreed upon by a State or Federal tribunal. Therein he is limited in a manner to which I am not at present taking any exception. But in the event of his having to resort to the alternative suggested in his new. amendment, he will be limited in a manner that calls for the most severe condemnation. He must be guided, in fixing the rates of wages, by the standard rates paid in the locality in which the goods are manufactured. Surely there can be no desire to revert to a position in respect of wages against which every Legislature in Australia has been fighting for a a number of years. Whilst I am prepared, irrespective of whether or not I believe in the absolute sincerity of the Ministry that I may be supporting, to let the Minister for the time being prescribe a reasonable rate of wages, I am not prepared to have the Minister limited in this way. The standard rate of wages prevailing, say at the Blythe River, may be entirely different from that prevailing at Lithgow. Where then is the use of the bounty if the Minister may not act as he would desire but is to be limited to prescribing the rates of wages that prevail in those localities? The workers at Lithgow are at present receiving, I understand, somewhat better wages than are paid in Tasmania. The Treasurer, with an apparent show of sincerity- {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- Do not insinuate. {: .speaker-KZG} ##### Mr ROBERTS: -- I am not committing myself any further than that. Surely I am generous in saying that, with an apparent display of sincerity, the Treasurer stated yesterday that this was not a bounty for any particular firm or locality. He named, with some degree of force, a district in Tasmania, where there was every probability of the industry starting." So much confidence had he in the deposits of ore there, that he said had he the funds he would immediately invest in the Tasmanian venture. In the event of his having to resort to the alternative of fixing the rates of wages in accordance with the standard prevailing in the different . localities, what would be' done ? Being limited in the exercise of the power to prescribing the rates of wages prevailing in the locality, he would be forced to provide for the payment of wages, in the one case according to the standard prevailing at Lithgow, and to provide for the observance of an entirelydifferent rate prevailing in Tasmania. The Treasurer is asking for a specific power, and plausibly telling us that which" he now seeks is better than that for which provision is made in the clause as it stands, *Manufactures* [6 Nov., 1908.] . *Encouragement Bill.* 2131 meaning thereby that the employes are likely to get better conditions under the suggested amendment than under the clause in the Bill. The Minister is forced to admit that, should he be put to the necessity of exercising the alternative which he praises, the rates of wages in one part of the Commonwealth may be 7s. a day, and in another part, 5s. 6d. That would cause an outcry on the part of those receiving the smaller amount. A firm compelled to pay the higher rate would complain of the unfair competition of those paying the lower rate. Then, no doubt, another measure would be introduced, as loosely drafted as this is, and, after about eight years of discussion and postponements, the proposals of the Ministry would be entirely altered by an amendment suggested in Committee. I hope that honorable members will force the Minister to prescribe that the rates of wages shall not differ. The peaceful conduct of the industry would be impossible if other works started and paid rates of wages differing from those paid at Lithgow. {: #debate-9-s42 .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES:
West Sydney .- To my mind, bounties should not be paid to employers whose wages were below the standard rates prescribed by a Commonwealth or State authority, and the provision, that - the Minister may withhold the whole or any part of the bounty payable, should be amended by the substitution of " shall " for " may." No bounties should be paid to a firm whose rates of wages were lower than the standard rates paid in the locality in which it was manufacturing. {: #debate-9-s43 .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN:
Angas .-I do not think that it matters much whether we use the word " may " or the word " shall," the rule of law being that, where it is provided that a Minister may do something if certain conditions are complied with, it is obligatory upon him to do it. {: .speaker-K7U} ##### Mr Crouch: -- Do not the words "may withhold the whole or any part of the bounty " suggest that the Minister will have a discretion? {: .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN: -- No. It seems to me that the word " may " has been used to give the Minister the opportunity to say to a firm, " Unless you pay the standard rates of wages you will not receive the bounty." Perhaps the use of the word " shall " would put him in a fix. I understand that this new provision is being substituted for the old, because of objections of some weight which were taken to the original proposal. Power is given to make regulations not inconsistent with this Act, and " in particular for " certain prescribed purposes. A doubt was expressed as to whether the words " in particular " did not mean "of the same class." If they did not, regulations as to wages would be *ultra vires.* Now that a separate clause giving the power to make such regulations has been drafted, the right of the Minister to act is beyond dispute. No doubt a large power is to be vested in the Minister, who will occupy a difficult position in having to decide whether bounties shall be payable. I suggest that there should be an appeal against his decisions to the President of the Court of Arbitration, whether he finds that wages are adequate, or that they are below the standard. ' The Minister will occupy an invidious position. Personally, I do not like to give discretion to Ministers where payments involving thousands of pounds are concerned. {: #debate-9-s44 .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr BATCHELOR:
Boothby .- I do not see that the substitution of "shall" for "may" . will make much difference, but I think that the words "if the Minister finds" ought to be left out of the proposed new clause. We do not desire that months, or perhaps a year or two, shall be permitted to pass, as in the case of the Harvester and Spirit Excise Acts, while the Minister is informing himself. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- A similar provision has operated well in connexion with the Sugar bounty. {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr BATCHELOR: -- It is not likely that a Minister, in giving effect to the Sugar Bounty Act, would be swayed by any sort of influence. I think that the provision should read - >If the rates of wages, or any of them, are below the standard rates, the Minister may withhold the whole or any part of the bounty payable. It should not be for the Minister to decide whether the proper rates are being paid. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- Then who should decide? {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr BATCHELOR: -- It would be a question of fact, and the Minister should act upon the matter being reported to him. He should not exercise a discretion, if the rates of wages were below the lowest prescribed by any Commonwealth or State authority. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- The Minister cannot move until a matter is reported to him. {: .speaker-JOC} ##### Mr BATCHELOR: -- In connexion with the Harvester and Spirits Excise Acts, nothing was done, although the Minister was repeatedly urged, in this Chamber and elsewhere, to take action. The Spirits Excise Act provided that if, on a certain date, the Minister found that certain rates of wages were not being paid, he should impose Excise duties; but he did not institute his inquiries until that date had expired, and probably has not yet informed' himself on the question. Were the provision amended as I have suggested, the direction to the Minister would be stranger than it is now. Should the Minister be allowed to use his discretion, it would be implied that initiative lay with him, and I regret to say that experience has shown that it .is not safe to trust Ministers with discretion in a matter like this. {: #debate-9-s45 .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON:
Hindmarsh -- As the honorable member for Boothby has pointed out, our experience in giving a Minister discretion in a case of this sort has not been satisfactory. In connexion with the sugar industry, the Minister was asked to say whether a rate of £1 2s. 6d., which has given the greatest dissatisfaction to the employes, was satisfactory. If the rates of wages, or any of them, are below the standard prescribed, the Minister ought not to pay the bounty. Parliament should make that the law. Then employes who thought they were getting insufficient, could complain to the Minister, and i:he employers would also state their case, when the Minister would hear both sides, and decide accordingly. The Minister would act without having to find out the wages for himself. It is too much to expect a Minister with all his other duties to constitute himself a Board of inquiry to ascertain what wages are being paid all over the Commonwealth. I know that in a previous case I asked the Minister to take action month after month, and actually brought him lists of persons who were not complying with the Act, but still he would not move. ' It should be left to the persons claiming the bounty, and the persons claiming the wages, and not to the Minister, to ascertain what wages are being paid. I have no doubt that they will look after their own interests. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr Reid: -- Who is to decide if they differ ? {: .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON: -- In that case the Minister must decide. The Government's proposal will practically constitute the Minister a Court of Arbitration as to wages, and the Minister is not the proper tribunal for that sort of thing. I hope the honorable member for Boothby will move the necessary amendment when the new clause is reached. Even then I question whether the provision will be in as good a form as it was in paragraph *b* of clause {: type="1" start="14"} 0. Under that provision the bounty could not be paid unless the whole of the conditions were complied with. It is not left to the discretion of. the Minister. The Minister will get out of an unenviable position if he accepts the suggestion of the honorable member for Boothby. Amendment agreed to. . Amendment (by **Sir William** Lyne) agreed to - >That the following new paragraph be added - (r) For providing for the inspection of the process of manufacture and the books of the manufacturer for the purpose of ascertaining and reporting on the cost of production and manufacture. Amendment (by **Sir William** Lyne) proposed - >That the following new clause be inserted10a. (1) The person claiming any bounty under this Act shall, in making his claim, certify to the Minister the rate of wages paid by him to employes in connexion with the manufacture of the goods on which the bounty is claimed. > >If the Minister finds that the rates of wages, or any of them, are below the standard rates prescribed by any Commonwealth or State industrial authority, or, in the absence of any such standard applicable to the case, are below the standard rates paid in the locality in which the goods are manufactured, the Minister may withhold the whole or any part of the bounty payable. Amendment (by **Mr. Batchelor)** proposed - >That the words *' Minister finds that the sub-clause 2, be left out. {: #debate-9-s46 .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID:
East Sydney .- There is a great difference between the case of wages in the sugar industry in Queensland and this case, because, unlike the conditions in the sugar industry, there will probably be only one iron work in each locality, and there will consequently be no standard common to iron works. I do not think there are any other iron works at Lithgow, and probably there will not be. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- This is only an exception after two other stages have been -passed. *Manufactures* [6 Nov., 1908.] *Encouragement Bill.* 2133 {: #debate-9-s47 .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- It provides for a possible third stage. It is highly probable that the first part of the sub-clause will come into operation in New South Wales, because we have those industrial authorities in that State, although some of the workers repudiate the particular industrial authority which is in force there at present. I understand from the honorable member for Nepean that the ironworkers have accepted the Act and are ready to form a Board. {: .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H Catts: -- What about Tasmania, where there is no Wages Board? {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- Where there is not an industrial authority, the latter words of the clause do not, I am afraid, suggest any possible standard. We cannot have a standard unless there is an industry in which wages are being paid that would form the basis of a standard. If iron works were established in Tasmania I am afraid that there would be no standard there to apply to that kind of industry. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- I hope that before this Act has been in operation very long we shall have a Commonwealth standard which will cover everything. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- That would involve an alteration of the Constitution, which may not be approved. If honorable members are prepared to accept statements such as the Treasurer has just made, as if they were actually amendments of the Constitution, they should be reminded that their experience in that direction has been rather disappointing. We should not put the people who are going to invest their capital in this industry in an uncertain position as to their right to get the bounty, because the whole benefit of the bounty system is destroyed unless there is a carefully established method by which compliance with the conditions will enable the bounty to be earned. Unless there is a proper standard in the Act, some unreasonable Minister, if the matter is left to his discretion, may create endless difficulty, which would prejudice the position of those in the industry. I do not think, however, that that would occur, as every Minister would be anxious to administer the Act in a liberal spirit. But the difficulty remains that, outside of States which have industrial authorities, there can be no standard in this particular industry. It is a pity to pass legislation {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- It is the best we can do. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- But where there is no standard, what is to be done? If the matter is left to regulations, the Ministry have a safeguard. They need not make a regulation for Tasmania, where there is no standard, and then no difficulty would arise. Underregulations, the power is a discretionary one, which need not be exercised, and, if exercised, can be revoked. But we are now asked to put the provision in the Act as part of the law. {: #debate-9-s48 .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN:
Angas -- I am afraid the amendment will make the position worse for the Minister than before. If these words are left out, the Minister's power to withhold the bonus will depend upon his being able to show that the rates of wages are below a certain standard. If he has no power by regulation to show that, how is he to find out? The absolute duty will be cast on him, no matter what he surmises that the wages may be, to pay the bounty. If, however, we leave these words in, the Minister can say, " I find that the wages are not up to the standard, and therefore I will not pay the bounty." It will be a mistake to strike them out. The first part of the clause might stand as it is, and then we might go on to provide that if the claimant does not satisfy the Minister, or, on appeal from the Minister, say, the President of the Court of Arbitration, that the wages are up to the standard, he shall not receive the bounty. {: #debate-9-s49 .speaker-KJ8} ##### Mr HUTCHISON:
Hindmarsh -- If these words are left in, all that the claimant has to do is to certify the wages he is paying, and then the Minister can pay the bounty. The clause does not stipulate that the claimant shall pay a fair wage. So long as he certifies to the Minister the wages that he is paying, the Minister must pay the bounty, unless he takes the trouble to find out for himself that the wages are not fair. How is the Minister going to find that out? What we desire to do is to take away the responsibility from the Minister, and leave the claimant to prove that he pays proper wages. The more we look into this new clause, the more unsatisfactory it appears ; and we should have been better advised had we retained the original provision. Amendment negatived. 2134 *Manufactures* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Encouragement Bill.* Proposed new clause agreed to. Schedule - Amendments (by **Sir William** Lyne) agreed to - >That the figures *" £250,500* " be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof "£150,000"; that the figures *" £50,000* " be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof *" £30,000* " ; that the figures " 1913 " be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof "1914"; that the words " 1st January, 191 1," be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof " 30th June, 1912." Amendment (by **Sir William** Lyne) proposed - >That the words " Wire netting not being prison made and " be left out, with a view to insert in lieu thereof " Wire netting, not being prison made, and being made from Australian ore, or from wire manufactured in the United Kingdom." {: #debate-9-s50 .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID:
East Sydney -- I must point out a fact which I do not think has been generally noticed. I am sure that the object which the honorable member for Maranoahad in view in submitting his amendment last night, met with general approval ; but, however willing I may be to join in generous treatment of the Mother Country, it is novel to offer a bounty on the manufacture of something in another part of the world. {: .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H Catts: -- The amendment now proposed does not do that. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- It does indeed, as the words show. The finished product of wire netting consists of wire which is netted ; and the 10 per cent. *ad valoremwill* cover the value of the English-made wire as well as the value of the Australianmade wire netting. {: .speaker-KFJ} ##### Sir John Forrest: -- The netting will not be made from wire from Australian ore, but from imported wire. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- That confirms my position. I do not know the values ; but to the extent of the value of the wire, we shall be giving a 10 per cent. bounty to the Englishmaker. However, if that be the desire of honorable members, of course the responsibility must be left with them. {: .speaker-KFK} ##### Mr Groom: -- This was agreed to last night. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- No one can say that we agreed to give a bounty on a material manufactured in another country ; at any. rate, I arrived at no such agreement. But the preferential treatment extended to the Mother Country has been so unsatisfactory that, if the Government desire to give this advantage to the English manufacturers, I do not feel inclined to prevent them. {: #debate-9-s51 .speaker-JYR} ##### Mr FAIRBAIRN:
Fawkner .- The Minister would have done well to adhere to his original proposal, even supposing he had paid a little too much bounty. This would have enabled the manufacturers in Sydney to compete with the manufacturers of the imported article, with the result that farmers and pastoralists would have got cheap wire netting. However, this proposal having been made by the Government, I think our best course is to support it. {: #debate-9-s52 .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H CATTS:
Cook .- The leader of the Opposition has done quite right in pointing out the mistake we are making in adopting the amendment proposed by the Treasurer. I think, however, that the right honorable gentleman ought to give us an opportunity to vote on a further amendment, to carry out the ideas he has expressed. It seems rather ridiculous for an honorable member to complain of a provision in a Bill, and not be prepared to suggest an alteration. I appeal to the right honorable member to give us a chance to so vote as to confine the bonus to the Australian-made article. {: #debate-9-s53 .speaker-KCO} ##### Mr GLYNN:
Angas .- The correct way of arriving at the true value of the additional manufacture of the article as a basis for the . bonus would, I think, be to follow the Canadian principle, and provide (for a different rate where the commodity is made from imported raw material. However, it would be a pity to split hairs, because, all through, we have recognised the principle of giving two or three bonuses - that is, we give a bonus on the puddled iron, on the wire, and on the wire netting. Amendment agreed to. Amendment (by **Sir William** Lyne) agreed to - >That Class 3 be left out. {: .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H Catts: -- I desire to move the recommittal of the second column of the schedule, or, failing .that, to speak on the motion to report progress. {: #debate-9-s54 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I point out that if the honorable member moves that progress be reported, the question must be put without debate. {: .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H Catts: -- The Treasurer gave us to understand that there would be an opportunity to discuss the rates of bounty. {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- I point out that we have just dealt with the schedule, and that that was the time when the honorable member should have raised any objections he has. Bill reported with further amendments. {: #debate-9-s55 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Is it the pleasure of honorable members that the remaining stages of the Bill be taken forthwith? Honorable Members. - Hear, hear. Motion (by **Sir /William** Lyne) proposed - >That the reports be now adopted. {: .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H Catts: -- I desire to know whether I should be in order in moving that the Bill be recommitted for the consideration of the second column of the schedule. I understood from the Minister that he would give us an opportunity to discuss the schedule. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- So I did; but I was not going to discuss it. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- It is quite competent for .the honorable member for Cook to move such a motion as he has indicated. {: #debate-9-s56 .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H CATTS:
Cook .- I wish to move - >That the Dill be recommitted for the purpose of reconsidering the second column in the schedule. The leader of the Opposition stated that he would be prepared to assist honorable members in obtaining some explanation as to why the bonus should be 12s. per ton, when the loss was admitted to be only 3s. As I have already said, I understood that there would be an opportunity presented for the discussion of this matter. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- So there was. {: .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H CATTS: -- But all that the Treasurer dealt with were the third and fourth columns of the schedule, and I was not aware that we were at liberty to discuss the second column. {: .speaker-KIN} ##### Sir William Lyne: -- The whole schedule was under discussion. {: .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H CATTS: -- Not so; because the . Bill was recommitted to reconsider columns of the schedule, but not the column specifying the rates of bounty. However, I simply now desire to protest that we are about to pay a bounty of 12s, when the loss to .the manufacturer isonly 3s. {: #debate-9-s57 .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID:
East Sydney -- I have since satisfied myself from facts, that 12s. is not an unreasonable amount. I have only just now received the information. {: .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H Catts: -- From whom? {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- From the honorable member for Nepean; and I shall read the figures. There is a loss of 3s. on themanufacture at Lithgow, which I may point out is not a manufacturing *town* indie neighbourhood of Port Jackson. le is on the other side! of the Blue Mountains,, and even at the special rates granted for the benefit of the industry, the cost of carrying iron, thence to Sydney, where it begins to compete with iron from abroad, is 6s. per ton. That, added to the loss of 3s. per ton on the production of the iron before it reaches Sydney, makes a total' of 9s. per ton. There is an additional, cost in carrying it to Melbourne and to Adelaide, and a still further cost in conveying it to Fremantle. The cost of *6s.* per tonto convey the iron from Lithgow to Sydney, added to the loss of 3s. per ton onthe iron at the works, gives us a total of 9s. per ton, which comes very close tothe 12s. per ton bounty, for which provision is made, and which is not unreasonable, if the manufacturers are to obtain any interest on their capital. {: .speaker-JX9} ##### Mr Frazer: -- What an argument thatwould' be for' the adjustment of protectionist duties if the honorable member wereon this side of the House. {: .speaker-F4P} ##### Mr REID: -- I have always said that the advantage of granting bounties for theencouragement of industries - which is a. national policy - is that under such a system the nation, and not the individuals- who patronize the industry to which it relates, has to bear the burden. It has always seemed to me to be a hideous injustice that the individuals who patronize the industry should have to bear the burden of any increased expense resulting from action taken to encourage it. Under the bounty system it is the nation that pays, and ought to pay ; the buyer is not handicapped or penalized by encouraging the industry. If honorable members were prepared to vote for the encouragement of the sunflower industry they ought surely to be ready to grant a bounty on the production of iron. I am satisfied now that the rate per ton proposed to be given is perfectly fair and reasonable. Question resolved in the affirmative. Reports adopted. Bill read a third time. {: .page-start } page 2136 {:#debate-10} ### APPROPRIATION (WORKS AND BUILDINGS) BILL Bill returned from the Senate without amendment. {: .page-start } page 2136 {:#debate-11} ### THE GOVERNMENT AND THE LABOUR PARTY {: #debate-11-s0 .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER:
Wide Bay -- I desire, **Mr. Speaker,** to make a statement. {: #debate-11-s1 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Is it the pleasure of the House that the honorable member have leave to make a statement? Honorable Members. - Hear, hear. {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr FISHER: -- I desire to intimate to the House, and to the country, that which I have already privately intimated to the Prime Minister: that the Labour Party can no longer support the Government. I can only say that our relations with the Ministry, personally, have been of the most friendly character. Although from time to time embarrassing circumstances "have arisen, we have always endeavoured to co-operate in every possible way with the Government in regard to matters that we thought concerned the welfare of the Commonwealth. There have been situations of embarrassment in which I have always sought, to the best of my ability, to safeguard the interests of the Parliament, and the well-being of the country. Whilst I freely admit that we have frequently felt the restraint that a large party such as ours must feel in difficult circumstances, I, personally, have always held that, occupying the position that we do, we must treat any Government situated as this Ministry is, in a perfectly straightforward manner. We. are taking this course now, because it is, to our minds, one, of decency, and of order. The time might come when one party or the other might take such action as would create a crisis, in circumstances that would render it impossible for the country to learn exactly how the situation arose. I have endeavoured, whilst safeguarding the interests of the 'Commonwealth, to restrain within reasonable bounds any adverse criticism, and now that I can no longer do that, I think that I am performing what is more a public than a party duty in telling the House and the country the determination at which we have arrived. I have stated our position as plainly as I can, and have only to add that in taking the course which I did during a previous crisis, I had the support of my party, the members of which felt that until at least the Tariff was dealt with there rested upon us the public duty of giving the Government a reasonable support in every situation that a party placed as they were and are might find themselves in. {: #debate-11-s2 .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr DEAKIN:
Minister of External Affairs · Ballarat · Protectionist L3-37J- - Does not the honorable member propose to take any further step? {: .speaker-F4N} ##### Mr Fisher: -- Not now. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr DEAKIN: -- The honorable member has made a statement that, so far as it goes, I desire to indorse, quoting from my recent statements during the debate on the recent want of confidence motion. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Does the honorable member intend to close with a motion for the adjournment of the House? {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr DEAKIN: -- I propose, sir, to make a statement. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Is it the pleasure of the House that the honorable member have leave to make a statement? Honorable Members. - Hear, hear. {: .speaker-009MD} ##### Mr DEAKIN: -- Speaking in this House on 20th October, I said, as reported at page 1342 of *Hansard -* >The honorable member for Wide Bay and his colleagues are absolutely free from any obligation to this Government and at any time they desire may take any course they think fit in this House. The right honorable member for Swan interjected, " That is not very satisfactory." I replied - >It is not very satisfactory to us perhaps that we have not a majority of our own. But we are free and they are free. > >Again at page 1345, in referring to the Labour Party, I am- reported to have said - >We obtain at the present time the support of honorable members in the Ministerial corner. It rests entirely within their own judgment and pleasure to withdraw that support at any moment. 1 had previously pointed out that there had never been any secret article, treaty, *or* engagement between us. I therefore indorse the statement made by the honorable member for Wide Bay as to the relations that have subsisted between his party and the Government. As to the attitude that they now see fit to adopt, it is not only perfectly within their rights, but, so far, beyond any challenge of mine. House adjourned at 3.38 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 6 November 1908, viewed 6 July 2017, <>.