House of Representatives
4 May 1921

8th Parliament · 1st Session

Mr. Speaker (Hon. Sir Elliot Johnson) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.

page 8008




– Has the PostmasterGeneral any objection to laying on the table of the Library the papers and other correspondence with persons in Australia for the obtaining of telephone wire within the Commonwealth?

Postmaster-General · GIPPSLAND, VICTORIA · NAT

– I do not think that there will be any objection to that, but I shall look into the matter.

page 8008



Minister for the Navy · DENISON, TASMANIA · NAT

– On 7th April the honorable member for South Sydney (Mr. Riley) asked the following questions : -

  1. What alterationshave been made in the original plans and specifications of H.M.A.S. Adelaide from the time its construction was first entered upon? 2. (a) What is the actual cost of such alterations, and (b) on whose recommendation were the original plans and specifications departed from?
  2. On what date was the keel ofH.M.A.S. Adelaide laid?
  3. What new construction work has been entered upon since that date, showing names of vessels, tonnage, and actual period of construction of each vessel?
  4. If the dockyard was able to complete the work on the above vessels in the time stated, what reasons are advanced for the lengthy period of construction and delay in the completion of the H.M.A.S. Adelaide up till the time of the recent dismissals of workmen? 6. (a) How many naval experts, shipyard managers, and foremen are there employed at Cockatoo dockyard at the present time, and whose duties are on ship construction, and (b) how many were employed twelve months after thekeel of the Adelaide was laid?
  5. What is the total amount of salaries paid to the experts and managers per month?
  6. What naval construction work, if any, is being proceeded with at the dockyard at the present time?
  7. Does the work warrant the retention of the services of these experts, shipyard managers, and foremen?

I informed the honorable member that the information desired was being obtained, and would be supplied at the earliest date practicable, but owing to the large amount of work which the preparation of answers to some of the questions entailed, it would ‘be necessary to postpone a reply until a later date. I am now able to furnish the honorable member with the following information : -

page 8009


1 and 2. Alterations from and additions to the original plans and specifications, together with the estimated cost of carrying out such alterations and additions, with the necessary authority, are as shown in tabular statement below. In many cases the actual cost of carrying out the alterations is unobtainable, as they were the result of natural development, and were charged to hull construction items of the ship as the work proceeded.

The first delays in the construction of H.M.A.S. *Adelaide* were experienced during erection of the hull, when important items of structural material were not delivered as required ; in many cases still greater delay, would have been experienced if the Dockyard had not been able to supply suitable structural materials from stock. Supply of this material from stock involved greater cost owing to the sizes of plates being greater than were required for the particular work in hand, but it was considered that this increased cost would be off set by the time gained. As an instance, plates for turbine seats, longitudinal girders, plummer block seats, auxiliary engine seats, frames in forward engine room, watertight and oiltight frames were not ordered by Chatham Yard from the rolling mills before 24th January, 1918, and were not delivered at this Dockyard before July, October, and December, 1918. The vessel was launched on 27th July, 1918, and it is quite obvious that, had not many of the above-mentioned items been met from stock, the vessel would not have been in the water until several months later. Delivery of the material in question was requested by this Yard as early as December, 1917, and a cable was accordingly despatched from Navy Office to High Commissioner. Steel material continued to be delivered during the construction of the vessel right up to January, 192 1. Many important drawings were not received from the Admiralty at the propertime, and required to be prepared at the Dockyard. Y.L. 3009 of 6.12.1917. Y.L. 3167 of 27.12.1917. N.O. Letter S.C. 9/18 of 8.1.1918. After launching, DELAYS IN PROGRESS WERE PRIMARILY CAUSED BY THE NONDELIVERY OF FORGINGS FOR TURBINE ROTORS. The probable result of these delays was foreseenby the General Manager of the Yard as early as October, 1916, and his letter to the Naval Board is therefore reproduced here in full : - Y.L. 3015 of 18.10.1916. "N.S. 9.10.16, S.16/7653 (4100) 16.10.16, N.16/8200 (4190). 18th October, 1916. Y.L. 3015. *NavalSecretary.* H.M.A.S. " Adelaide." - Time of Delivery of Forged Machinery Parts. "With reference to the above-quoted letter, the first quoted letter forwarded copies of the contracts for the rotor drums. Spindles and wheels of the main turbines, from which it is noted that the dates of delivery of these parts were given as 12-14 months from some date subsequent to 20th June last, the date of the Contractors' tenders, the actual date of acceptance not being given, to which must be added the time for shipping to this Dockyard. The second letter quoted above forwards sheet No. 5 - Machinery dated 21.8.1916 - schedule of supply of materials - showing dates of delivery of various materials for the *Adelaide,* and against these particular parts, no definite date has been given, only ' earliest possible date.' The date of order on sheet No. 5 is given as the 16th June, but this does not agree with the copies of the tenders, which are dated 19th and 20th June, and, as stated already, the date of acceptance of order is not given. " 2. It is desired to draw particular attention of the Naval Board to the very serious effect which the time required for the deliveries will have on the work of building this vessel. If the contract dates as given are not anticipated, it will mean that some of the most important ports of the main turbines cannot be commenced till about a year hence, and when the time required for the necessary work to be done at this Yard is added, estimated at about 10 months to prepare the turbines for installing, it will be seen that the installation of the main turbines on board cannot be commenced for nearly another 2 years, and the date of completion of the vessel cannot be expected to be for at least 3 years from this date. " 3. It is presumed that the cause' of these extremely long dates for the forging of the rotor parts is due to the heavy demands now being made by the Admiralty for war purposes, but the effect, so far as the *Adelaide* is concerned, is nothing less than lamentable, as, of course, the length oftime taken to build this vessel will in all probability be put down to delays at this Yard, observing that it is considered that 12-14 months for the forging of the rotor wheels, &c., appear to be absolutely unreasonable. " 4. In view of the above circumstances, as apparently the machinery will not be ready for installing on board for nearly 2 years from now, it is not proposed to commence the erection of the hull on the ship for the present, in order to avoid the apparent length of time that the vessel will be under construction, but the work of preparation will continue as the materials arrive. " 5. It is requested that the Engineer Overseer in London may be requested to make a special report on the progress of the forgings of these rotor parts with a view, if possible, of the contract dates being anticipated, and also that he may report as early as possible the probable dates of their delivery in order that the building of the hull may be arranged to suit." (Sgd.) J. J. KING -SALTER, General Manager. Completion of delivery of the above-mentioned forcings was subsequently promised for August, 1917, BUT ACTUAL FINAL DELIVERY DID. NOT TAKE PLACE UNTIL 19th. DECEMBER, 1919. In consequence, the turbines were not completed and ready for installation in the Ship until the 7th August, 1920, in the case of the port turbine, and the 16th September, 1920, in the case of the starboard turbine. This Dockyard persistently urged that the delivery of these forgings should be expedited, and pointed out the considerable delay which would be caused in. completion of the vessel, but without avail. It is evident from correspondence between the Naval Representative in London and the Navy Office that the delay in delivery was principally due to the following reasons : - N.O. Letter N. 18/9126 of 25 11. 1916. Y.L. 2954, 28.11.17. Y.L. 517, 28.2.18. Y.L. 2609, 28.7.19. The delay in installing turbines prevented progress being made in the completion and installation of much of the surrounding machinery in the engine-room. In addition to delays caused by non-delivery of turbine parts, serious inconvenience was caused by the non-receipt of important items of hull and electrical equipment. As late as the 31st March, 1920, the following important items of hull equipment were still outstanding:- Y.L. 1476, 31.3.20. N.O. Letter N. 19/9118 of 25.5.1920. *Item* 1. - These fans were reported as in course of shipment in April, 1920, and in each of the subsequent monthly reports until December they were also shown as being in course of shipment. In December, 1920, a letter was received from the Navy Office enclosing a copy of a letter from the Naval Representative admitting that the fans were not yet ready, and they were eventually received in January, 1921. The non-receipt of these large fans caused considerable delay and inconvenience, as the fan rooms could not be closed up till they were shipped. N.O. letter N. 19/9118, 25.5.1920. N.O. letter N. 20/8007, 20.12.1920. *Item* 2. - These fans were shown in several monthly reports from London as being despatched by various vessels, but the final deliveries were not made until August and October, 1920, and until these deliveries were made the ventilation system was held up. Y.L. 1476, 31.3.1920. N.O. letter, S. 19/9118. 25.5.1920 of 5.8.1920 and 28.9.1920. N.O. letter N. 19/9118, 6-8.1920. *Item* 3. - No advice was available regarding these articles until the June, 1920, report of the Naval Representative, when it was stated that Admiralty were arranging supply. In the October report they were shownas due for completion on 20th November, 1920. The goods were subsequently shipped per s.s. *Bahara* in February, 1921, and received during the present month, and now that delivery has been made, it is found that, whereas it was stated in the monthly returns that Admiralty were arranging for supply of switches for torpedo runways, the only articles supplied are the trolleys and purchases. This will necessitate the switches being cast and the runway being made and erected. At the present stage, when all other work in the submerged torpedo room is partially completed, this will be a very awkward operation. No detail plans of the switches and runway have been received at this Yard, and these will not have to be prepared to fit the trolleys and purchases received. N.O. letter N. 20/8007, 30.11.1920. *Item* 4. - Copy of the demand for these plates was received at Dockyard in June, 1919, and in August, 1919, a portion of the requirements only was sent out. Attention was called in March, 1920, to the fact that part only had been delivered, and there was then no reason to believe that the plates would not soon come to hand. Attention was again drawn to the delay in delivery in October, 1920, following which a cablegram was sent to the Naval Representative hastening delivery. Reply was received that Admiralty had forwarded all the necessary material, having substituted3/16in. plates for¼-in. In reply to this communication, a letter was sent laying out the whole position, showing which plates were still outstanding, and this information was sent to London by cablegram. No reply was received to this cable until receipt of Naval Representative's letter stating that a portion of the material had been overlooked by Chatham Yard officers, and would not be forwarded. THE MATERIAL WAS EVENTUALLY RECEIVED IN JANUARY, 1921. It will thus be seen that, although attention was drawn to the fact that this material was not to hand, it was not forwarded until January of the present year, and only after two cablegrams had been despatched to London on the subject. The non-delivery of this material has held up the completion of the bridge and chart house, and the numerous electrical and other fittings attached thereto. Y.L. 1476, 31.3.1920. Y.L. 4743, 5.10.1920. CablegramNo. 14477. Y.L. 5018, 18.10.1920. Cablegram No 14516. N.O. letter N. 20/8007, 6.1.1921. *Item* 5. - It was originally intended that the coolers should be manufactured in Great Britain, and sent out complete, but owing to difficulty in obtaining them, it was decided to send out tubes only, and the coolers have had to be manufactured at this Yard. Tubes were received in *Konigin Luise* in November, 1920. N.O. letter No. 19/9118, 25.5. 1920. *Item* 6. - It was originally intended to obtain this gear of Australian manufacture, but inquiries failed to produce any suitable tender, and Navy Office was notified in July, 1918, that it was proposed to order through High Commissioner, and a draft cable was forwarded to Navy Office, which was sent on to the High Commissioner on 20th August, 1918. In the Naval Representative's monthly statement for April, 1920, the plant was shown as being due for completion in September, 1920. This date was continually shown until the October, 1920, report, when it was shown as not yet complete. In the December report, it was shown as estimated for completion in one week, and it was finally shipped per *Bakara* in February, 1921, and is at present being delivered. Thus from the time of bakery being cabled for by Navy Office until delivered is two years and eight months, and until the bakery was delivered the vessel could not be completed for sea. Y.L. 2130, 29.7.1918. Y.L. 2333, 16.8.1918. N.O. letter, N. 19/9118, 25.5.1920. N.O. letter N. 20/8007, 30. 11. 1920. N.O. letter N. 20/8007, 18.1.1921. *Item* 7. - Considerable delay and inconvenience werecaused through the non-delivery of these tubes, which did not arrive until October, 1920. *Item* 8. - This material was overlooked by Chatham Yard officers, as explained in letter from Naval Representative to Navy Office, and did not arrive until January of the present year. N.O. letter, N. 20/8007. 20.12.1920. *Item* 9. - Delivered July, 1920. Delay in delivery greatly interfered with completion of foremast and rigging and the work dependent upon completion of masts, such as electric cables and instruments, voice pipes, &c. At the present juncture there still remain outstanding the following items of electrical equipment : - Submersible pump gear - 2 oil type 250-amp. branch breakers. 2 local control push boxes for ditto. 4 60-amp. Niphan plugs and sockets (emergency terminals). 2 switchboard control elements. 150 yards Patt. 5143C.T.S. 3-core cable. Searchlights - 6 sets elements for 36-in. and 24-in. searchlight resistances. 4 sets voltmeter, ammeter and shunts for 36-in. searchlights 1 food cupboard for gunroom pantry. 32 radiators, Patt. 1532, for cabins. 5 radiators, Patt. 228, for offices. 4 radiators, Patt. 228, for searchlight huts. 1 motor starter for 12½in. fan. 1 lathe motor and starter. 6 W.T. bells, Patt. 2237, for gen. com. 'phone circuits. 18 2-pin plugs and sockets, Patt. 324 and 2348 (F.C. 'phones). 2 'phones, Patt. 3333, for searchlight. 1 6 or 8-way line coil and junction box (control 'phones). Forbes speed indicators - Complete set for light cruisers. {:#subdebate-2-0} #### Hummers - Complete set gear as shown on Chatham planNo. A.D.85A (including cables). Some hummers to arrive ex *Australport,* remainderno advice. {:#subdebate-2-1} #### Rattlers- Complete set as shown on Chatham Plan No. A.D.34.a. 1 triple pole2-way switchfor Henderson alternator. 4 circuit breakers, Patt. 1072a, for dynamo firing. 20 ft. 6 in. shafting, flexible, for inclinometers. 200 yards, Patt. 2529, 20-core L.C. cable. The electrical work was also delayed owing to insufficient provision having been made on the original plans for the accommodation of the additional gear authorized to be fitted, and which it was found impossible to instal in the space allotted. This rendered necessary the removal of all electrical gear from two lobbies and construction of two new compartments. y.l. 4588, 20.12.1919. N O. letter S.C. 43/20, 20.1.1920. It is further pointedout that m many cases, prior to receipt of the gear, no advice was to hand regarding the system for which it was intended. The lack of standard drawings for electrical equipment has also been a very real source of delay, and in this regard attention is drawn to the following standard drawings which have not yet been received, viz. : - (Note. - All letter references in right-hand margin are being checked, and will be confirmed in the course of a few days. ) 6. *(a.)* Naval expert 1, shipyard manager 1, assistant shipyard managers 3, foremen 12. {: type="a" start="b"} 0. Same numbers as (a). {: type="1" start="7"} 0. £265. 1. Nil after 23rd April when *Mombah* is launched. 2. Retention of services of officers mentioned depends <fh policy determined for the Dockyard. {: .page-start } page 8014 {:#debate-3} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-3-0} #### WHEAT POOLS {: #subdebate-3-0-s0 .speaker-L4X} ##### Mr PARKER MOLONEY:
HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- I ask the Acting Prime Minister if lie will give an opportunity for the discussion of the notice of motion that I have on the business-paper for to-morrow. It seeks the appointment of a Commission to inquire into the management of the Wheat Pools and the transactions connected with it. Will the Acting Prime Minister give an early opportunity for its discussion ? {: #subdebate-3-0-s1 .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I think that the honorable member might raise the matter later. Sufficient for the day is the discussion thereof. {: .page-start } page 8014 {:#debate-4} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-4-0} #### FEDERAL CAPITAL Workmen's Dwellings {: #subdebate-4-0-s0 .speaker-KZC} ##### Mr HECTOR LAMOND:
ILLAWARRA, NEW SOUTH WALES -- I ask the Acting Minister for Home and Territories what progress is being made in the erection of workmen's dwellings at Canberra ? {: #subdebate-4-0-s1 .speaker-L1P} ##### Mr WISE:
NAT -- The matter is being dealt with by the Minister for Works and Railways, who is not well enough to be here to-day. I shall have the question brought under his notice. {: .page-start } page 8014 {:#debate-5} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-5-0} #### TELEPHONE OFFICES Extension of Hours {: #subdebate-5-0-s0 .speaker-L4X} ##### Mr PARKER MOLONEY:
HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- Is the Postmaster-General taking into consideration the desirability of extending the hours of certain telephone offices. I understand that now, unless the revenue of an office is over £250 per annum, the telephone there is not attended to after 6 p.m. An extension of hours is badly needed ? {: #subdebate-5-0-s1 .speaker-L1P} ##### Mr WISE:
NAT -- The matter is under the consideration of the Department. {: .page-start } page 8014 {:#debate-6} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-6-0} #### WAR GRATUITY BONDS {: #subdebate-6-0-s0 .speaker-KHE} ##### Mr HIGGS:
CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND -- Has the Treasurer a statement to make about the cashing of the war gratuity bonds ? Is it a fact that about £10,000,000 worth of bonds has been cashed *1* {: #subdebate-6-0-s1 .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Of a total of about £25 500,000 worth of . bonds, nearly £13,000,000 worth has been cashed. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr Gregory: -- By the Government? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Oh dear no. We have let other people do this. « {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- Some of the soldiers have been taken down pretty badly by private firms that have cashed their bonds. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- We have done our best to prevent that. - {: .speaker-KWL} ##### Mr Tudor: -- 1 know that. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member's Deputy Leader did not wish us to take, the precautions that have been taken. I have been anticipating; the trouble that would come in May in consequence of the promises made for the cashing of the bonds, and have relaxed the conditions that were first imposed,, with the result that a great many bonds have been cashed. I hope to make a statement about the whole matter in a day or two. {: .page-start } page 8015 {:#debate-7} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-7-0} #### AMALGAMATED SOCIETY OF ENGINEERS {: #subdebate-7-0-s0 .speaker-K4F} ##### Mr CONSIDINE:
BARRIER, NEW SOUTH WALES -- Has the Acting Prime Minister received a communication from the unemployed members of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers, asking that transport to Russia should be provided for 'them? If so," is it his intention to provide such transport? {: #subdebate-7-0-s1 .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Is it suggested that we should send the men to Russia and pay the cost of carrying them there? {: .speaker-K4F} ##### Mr Considine: -- They ask for a ship - for one of the Commonwealth steamers to be provided. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -Would they pay their passage in the -ordinary way? {: .speaker-K4F} ##### Mr Considine: -- No. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Then I am not " On." {: .page-start } page 8015 {:#debate-8} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-8-0} #### PARLIAMENTARY STATIONERY Coat of Arms {: #subdebate-8-0-s0 .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON:
MARIBYRNONG, VICTORIA -- I draw attention to the coat of arms on the parliamentary stationery. My complaint against it is not new, because I objected to the design before it was adopted. The emu and kangaroo seem to be up the wattle tree, an offence against the artistic sense of every honorable member, and an absolutely unnatural position. I ask the Acting Prime Minister to have a sensible, natural, Australian coat of arms put on our letter paper. {: #subdebate-8-0-s1 .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- May I suggest that the matter is not one of urgency, though ib may be important. I was interested to hear the honorable member severely criticise the design, as I under-' stood it to be the peculiar property of his party. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- I repudiated it at the {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The / Government that you supported adopted the design. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- Yes, but I could not turn them out for that. t {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I confess that the design might be improved, but, in the interests of economy, I am afraid T cannot say more. {: .page-start } page 8015 {:#debate-9} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-9-0} #### CLOTH FOR RETURNED SOLDIERS {: #subdebate-9-0-s0 .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGRATH:
BALLAARAT, VICTORIA -- Is the Assistant Minister for Repatriation aware that soldiers who are not members of the Returned Soldiers Association cannot ge,t supplies of cheap suit lengths? Will the honorable gentleman take some means to have this cloth made available to other than members of the Association? {: #subdebate-9-0-s1 .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -- If the honorable member is alluding to Anzac cloth- {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGrath: -- I am not. {: .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The Anzac cloth is controlled- entirely by the Anzac Trust. {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGrath: -- I am talking of tweed from the Geelong Woollen Mills. {: .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -- That is not under the control of the Department. The Anzac tweed was for a considerable time controlled by the Department, but subsequently a trust was formed, and it is now entirely controlled by the soldiers, who were subsidized by the Government. I arn glad to say that the soldiers have paid off the whole of the money advanced to them, and the Department has no control over that or any other tweed. {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGRATH: -- I shall address my question to the Assistant Minister for Defence. Is that honorable gentleman aware that returned soldiers who are not members of the Association cannot get supplies of suit lengths at cheap prices? If so, will he take some. steps to have cloth made available for other than members of the Association? {: #subdebate-9-0-s2 .speaker-L0I} ##### Sir GRANVILLE RYRIE:
Assistant Minister for Defence · NORTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT -- Some time ago we found there was trouble in the direction -indicated by the honorable member, owing to the fact that soldiers outside the League were not getting this cloth as readily as were members of the League. The Department thought it had definitely put a stop to that. {: .speaker-KRD} ##### Mr McGrath: -- Ask. the Ballarat branch. {: .speaker-L0I} ##### Sir GRANVILLE RYRIE: -- Strict orders were given ia this regard, and I shall take steps to insure that returned soldiers are all treated alike. {: .page-start } page 8015 {:#debate-10} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-10-0} #### SPEECH RY SIR GRANVILLE RYRIE {: #subdebate-10-0-s0 .speaker-K4F} ##### Mr CONSIDINE: -- Has the attention of the Acting Prime Minister been drawn to a press report of certain utterances by the Assistant Minister for Defence **(Sir Granville Ryrie),** which constitute an incitement to disorder about the 24th of last month? Was the statement of the Assistant Minister for Defence made on behalf of the Government? If not, will the Acting Prime Minister take steps to deal with his bellicose colleague? {: #subdebate-10-0-s1 .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Does thehonorable member ask that question after having lookedat the size of my colleague, the Assistant Minister for Defence? I have observed whatmy colleague said on the occasion referred to, and I have duly admonished him.Iam inclined to think, however, that in matters of this kinda word fromme will haveonly the effectof making that honorable gentleman do as he pleases. {: .page-start } page 8016 {:#debate-11} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-11-0} #### CANTEEN FUND {: #subdebate-11-0-s0 .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr RILEY:
SOUTH SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES -- I notice from a cablegram publishedin the press that ?100,000 of the Canteen Fund in Great Britain is to be sent tothe Commonwealth. Will the Assistant Minister for Defence see that every one concerned has a chance ofgetting a fair share? {: #subdebate-11-0-s1 .speaker-L0I} ##### Sir GRANVILLE RYRIE:
NAT -- I presume this money will be dealt with in the same way as were previous distributions of this fund. I think every one will be given a fair deal. {: .page-start } page 8016 {:#debate-12} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-12-0} #### MOBILIZATION STORES, SEYMOUR {: #subdebate-12-0-s0 .speaker-L4X} ##### Mr PARKER MOLONEY:
HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -Has.' the attention of the Assistant- Minister for. Defence been drawn- to the serious delay in- the building, of the Mobilization. Stores at- Seymour,, and theconsequent' exposure to the weather- of valuable material? What does- the honorable- gentleman pro? pose-'to do in the matter ? ' {: #subdebate-12-0-s1 .speaker-L0I} ##### Sir GRANVILLE RYRIE:
NAT -- My at. tention has not- previously been drawn to this matter,. . but I shall -make-, inquiries; {: .page-start } page 8016 {:#debate-13} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-13-0} #### QUESTIONS WITHOUT. NOTICE {: #subdebate-13-0-s0 .speaker-JRH} ##### Mr BOWDEN:
NEPEAN, NEW SOUTH WALES -- *I* desire to ask; the Acting Prime- Minister. {: #subdebate-13-0-s1 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- (Hon. **Sir. Elliot** Johnson). - I recall the attention of honorable members to the fact that the Clerk has twice or thrice risen- to call on the business of the day,,, and on each occasion he has been interrupted by some honorable memasking a question without notice:, {: .speaker-JRH} ##### Mr BOWDEN: -- I wish to' asK the Acting Prime Minister Whether he- has noticed a- statement reported' to have been made by **Mr. Donald** Grant in the Town Hall, Sydney, on Sunday last, to- the effect, that' he' rejoiced that' 60,000 Australian' troops had' died'? {: #subdebate-13-0-s2 .speaker-L0I} ##### Sir GRANVILLE RYRIE:
NAT -- He- has! denied making: that- statement!. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- Two or three questions this afternoon have been asked, all ofthem founded, merely; on newspaper "reports.I have, repeatedly called the attention' of honorable! members- to the facto that it- is . not in order- to ask a question founded- on newspaper statements; unless; the questioner makes himself, responsible, for the accuracy; of the. statements.- I. hopei honorable members'- will' bear thah factiiu mind. {: #subdebate-13-0-s3 .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- You-.,, MrSpeaker, have' told., us1 that- the. Clerk has risen, two- or.' three, times to call, on theft business of the day, only to find., some.' honorable member, rising ' to. a'ski a: further question 'Without notice. Are we. to. understand that directly the Clerk rises'>to. call on i the business' of the- day no honorable member may speak ? {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -No.; what. I desire to remind honorable' members of* is; first, that questions" without- notice should only be asked' on", matter si of urgency andi importance;, and & number; of questions! asked to-day. aret certainly not', in" thati category. No honorable, member' beting'' on. His feet; af the time,. I' directed' the' Clerk on' two' or' three occasion's to" call' on the business1 of1 the'-day, and immediately he-did so some1 honorable" member- rose to'aska1 question . If : a-iil honorab'lef*member desires'tb ask* a; question' hV* should1 do'- so- as soon as' the1 Minister answering the previous1 question' has:- sat down; and rise' in his- place'- so that the Spfeaker riiay see him'; When" the Speaker "does not1 See' 'any -one" rise" it'is-'his' business' tb call1 on the' business- of; the' day, and when* he: has" done- that no Konorable member may ask' a question-: F only remind honorable members who" desire t'o' ask questions' that they should1 rise before the business of the day is called' on. {: .page-start } page 8016 {:#debate-14} ### CENSUS COLLECTORS: PAY **Mr. MATHEWS'** ask'ed" the Minister, f or Home, afid Territories; . *upon- notice -* Is it. a. fact- that-, there is-' considerable disj satisfaction with the rate of remuneration paid' to the census- collectors?' If so, will h'e take steps to recommend thV increased1 remuneration that- has/ been- applied for ? {: #debate-14-s0 .speaker-L1P} ##### Mr WISE:
for Mrs. Poynton · NAT -- No complaint as to rate of remuneration' for census collection has -been received. In some cases the number of; days prescribed for a. given area and contracted for. by the collector has- been represented, as having been insufficient andadditional days have been claimed. These claims are being investigated. {: .page-start } page 8017 {:#debate-15} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-15-0} #### CAPTAIN G.F. O'BRIEN: PASSPORT {: #subdebate-15-0-s0 .speaker-KLM} ##### Dr MALONEY:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936 asked the Minister for Home and Territories, *upon notice -* {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Did Captain Garrett FarrellyO'Brien applyfor a passport to enable him to travel by thes.s. *'Narkunda* on 5th 'March last"? 1. Did the Minister or his Department -refuse to issue the i passport? ilf so, why? 3.Did Captain G.F..O'.Brien . recently apply for a passport , to enable him to travel by the *Orvieto* on the 27th ultimo? If so, on what date? 2. Did the Minister grant or refuse such request, and why? 3. . What is the legal position as to the/granting or refusing the passport? 4. 'Did'the Minister recently rceeive'from the Consul for Sweden 'a request 'to defer the issue of the passport to Captain G. F. O'Brien . for fourteen days ? 5. Has he granted or . refused such request, and why? 6. Has the Minister any objection to lay on the table of the House for the . information of honorable members the letter from the Consul for Sweden? Mr.WISE (forMr. Poynton).- The answers to 'the honorable member's questionsareasfollows: - 1 and 2. . No. {: type="1" start="3"} 0. Captain O'Brien was alrea'dy the holder of apassport issued by the' British ' authorities. On the 5tli April he applied )for a -visato (enable "him to . leave (Australia on the t27th April , for return to Great -Britain. 1. 'The visa was . granted. Thecircumstances did not, in -the opinion of . the' Minister, "justify him taking ithe unusuali step- of refusing' to ivisa a British , pass,por.t. 2. The Minister's powers in respect of -the issue or refusal of a passport or visa are discretionary. 3. Yes. 7.The request iwas refused. The . grounds of the Consul's application . related to legal proceedings in the 'Supreme Court of Victoria, and that Court, '.after full judicial investi'gation of the 'rights of the parties, had declined -to 'make an order for O'Brien's detention After consultation -with . the Law authorities of the Commonwealth, the Minister deemed it" inadvisable to tiike'the unusual step of withholding -a visa' from a British passport 'for substantially the same purpose as the '.unsuccessful , application to the Court. 4. It is not proposed to lay the letter from the Consul for Sweden on the table of . the House,, but facilities "will 'be afforded the honorable member to peruse the letter, if he so idosires. {: .page-start } page 8017 {:#debate-16} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-16-0} #### FEDERAL. PUBLIC SERVICE: BASIC WAGE Mr.FENTON asked ithe Acting Prime Minister, *upon notice -* >Whether it is true that -some sections -of the Federal Public Service are receiving the £4 'per week basic wage fixed by the Government, and also the. 5s. per week. for each child under fourteen years of age? > >-Whether it is true that some -men and women engaged by the Government receive the £4 basic-wage. but:are denied the child endowment benefits? If so, why is this distinction made between those engaged in the Public Service? > >'Will the Government remove this apparent anomaly'?" {: #subdebate-16-0-s0 .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The answers to. the honorable member's questionsare asf ollow : - ' {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Yes. 2 and . 3.It is. not . clear 'whether the question relates to -employees of the Commonwealth Public Service proper, or to employees of Government industrial 'undertakings -and those whose sates of payare governed by outside industrial awards 'and- agreements. {: .page-start } page 8017 {:#debate-17} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-17-0} #### SHIPBUILDING TRIBUNAL {: #subdebate-17-0-s0 .speaker-K88} ##### Mr CUNNINGHAM:
for 'Mr. Lavelle asked the Minister ; for 'the Navy, *upon notice -* >Whether I he »will inform rthe 'House 'when the additional Ss.per -.week (granted by the Shipbuilding Tribunal(No.205 of1921), dated 3rd March, . 1921, will.'be paid to the employees concerned ? Mr.LAIRD SMITH. - The subjectmatter da untier xonsi'dera'tion. {: .page-start } page 8017 {:#debate-18} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-18-0} #### POSTMEN'SOVERCOATS {: #subdebate-18-0-s0 .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS:
MELBOURNE PORTS, VICTORIA asked the PostmasterGeneral,upon *notice -* >Ts it the intention of the Government t'o make, the officers of . the Postal Department more presentable to the 'public by supplying postmen and like officials with an improved overcoat "this coming winter? {: #subdebate-18-0-s1 .speaker-L1P} ##### Mr WISE:
NAT -- It is the desire of the Department to issue to officers entitle'd thereto a presentable . and serviceable waterproof overcoat. 'Difficulty has been experienced in obtaining satisfactory material for such overcoats, but the present indications are that in the near future the Department will be able to secure material 'which will 'closely 'approxima'te in quality 'that used -prior -to the war. A waterproof overcoat is . issued to each officer every two years. Issues are made individually, not collectively, and, therefore, in a change over to a new material there will he in use concurrently garments of the present material and garments of the new material. {: .page-start } page 8018 {:#debate-19} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-19-0} #### REPATRIATION DEPARTMENT Medical Services {: #subdebate-19-0-s0 .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -- On the 27th April the honorable member for Darling **(Mr. Blakeley)** asked the following questions : - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. Whether it is a fact that certain members of the Expatriation Committee at Trangie, New South Wales, are giving preference to a medical man as against a returned soldier? 1. If so, what action does the Minister intend to take? I am now in a position to furnish the honorable member with the following information supplied by the Repatriation Commissioners : - >Until recently, as Trangie was in the Local Committee area of Narromine, returned soldiers requiring medical attention were required to visit the local medical officer at the latter place. Owing to the distance of Trangie from that centre, and as the services of a returned practitioner were available, he has been appointed as an additional medical officer for the Narromine Local Committee area. {: .page-start } page 8018 {:#debate-20} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-20-0} #### UNDERGROUND CABLE AT WELLINGTON {: #subdebate-20-0-s0 .speaker-L1P} ##### Mr WISE:
NAT -- On the 28th April the honorable member for Calare **(Mr. Lavelle)** asked the following question: - Wi.ll the Postmaster-General inform the House when the underground cable at Wellington, New South Wales, which was promised in December last, will -be laid? I promised the information would be obtained, and am now able to furnish the following reply: - >It has been ascertained from the Deputy Postmaster-General, Sydney, that, upon receipt of the necessary cable, supplies of which, are now coming to hand, steps will be taken to expedite the completion of the undergrounding work at Wellington. {: .page-start } page 8018 {:#debate-21} ### PAPERS The following papers were presented : - >Inscribed Stock Act. - Dealings and Transactions during year ended 30th June, 1920. Ordered to be printed. Defence Act. - Regulations. - Statutory Rules 1921, No. 82. Papua. - Ordinance of 1920. - No. 16. - Customs Tariff. {: .page-start } page 8018 {:#debate-22} ### MINISTERIAL STATEMENT {:#subdebate-22-0} #### Finance: Wheat: Wool Debate resumed from 29 th April *(vide* page 7953), on motion by **Mr. Hughes** - >That the following paper be printed: - Wool. - Resolutions of a meeting of wool-growers held at Parkes, New South Wales, on the 23rd April, 1921, with reference to the wool-growing industry. {: #subdebate-22-0-s0 .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON:
Hunter :- In the course of my remarks on Friday, I intimated that I intended to move an amendment to have this matter submitted to investigation by a Committee of both Houses. After further consideration I have decided not to adopt that course. One reason is that I understand that the Acting Prime Minister **(Sir Joseph Cook)** will make a statement in regard to the wool position at an early hour today. This matter is one of great importance ,and requires deep consideration at the hands of honorable members before we enter into an arrangement with Bawra or anybody else in regard to the disposal of the future production of wool. It is well to refresh our minds regarding the history, of the industry during the last , few years. Throughout the war the British Government bought the whole of the Australian wool clip at a flat rate of ls. 34d. per lb. Of the wool so acquired and paid for at that rate, there remains an accumulation of, approximately, 2,500,000 bales. {: .speaker-KDZ} ##### Mr Jowett: -- There are 1,700,000 bales of Australian wool accumulated in England and in Australia. The other 800,000 bales are New Zealand wool. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- That is so. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- I accept the honorable member's figures. For those 1,700,000 bales of Australian wool the growers have been paid ls. 3½d. per lb., and by the agreement made with the British Government they are to get, in addition, half of any profits made on the re-sale of the wool. It appears to me. that,. during the war, the British Government have been guilty of profiteering. I am sorry to have to say that. Ever since the outbreak of war, people all over the world have complained of the dearness of woollen goods; and whilst it is said that 7 lbs. of wool should be in a good suit of clothes, I understand that not more than *B$* lbs. is put into any suit to-day. Thus the purchaser is getting less wool in his suit than he should get, and at the same time he is paying double the pre-war price for the article. We must be careful to insure that, in any scheme now adopted, we do not place a further burden upon the people. Prior to the war, the average price of wool was 10½d. per lb., and if the growers have already received ls. 3½d. per lb. for all the wool they grew during the war period, .they have received .a very good return. But because the British Government charged a higher price than the flat rate of ls. 3£d., there is now a big accumulation of unsold wool. The market is. overstocked, and, in view of the British Government's desire to dispose of the carry-over wool, it is difficult to see how Australia will be able to market t "u year's clip. If the new clip remains unsold, Australian interests will be detrimentally affected. The more L think over this question, and the more I read of the views of men who have a knowledge of the subject, the more am 1 convinced that, as the British Government and the Australian growers have already had a good return for the wool, it would be better, in order to stabilize the market, to keep the Bawra wool in store. The British Government would be doing only a fair thing if it agreed with the Prime Minister **(Mr. Hughes),** on his arrival in England, to keep the Bawra wool oil the market. We .are assured that it will not deteriorate very much; even if it does deteriorate a little, it has already yielded a fair profit. If this suggestion is adopted, the market will be left clear for the future production, there will be a chance of getting back to normal conditions, and people may be .able to get their clothing cheaper. Commercial men tell us that they cannot reduce the price of suitings because they bought stocks in England at high prices two years or twelve months ago which are being delivered now. Those high prices were caused by the action of the British Government in charging so much for raw wool during the war period. If the Commonwealth Government agree to give Bawra an official status- and if they use the Customs Department for the purpose of controlling exports they will be doing that - Bawra will be able to regulate the whole supply of wool for some years to come, whilst Parliament, which gives them the power, will have no say ,at all. Throughout the war, people were complaining of the growth of bureaucratic control. New trading Departments* were formed, and Boards were given control of various commodities which they administered behind the back of Parliament. The representatives of the people were treated .as mere ciphers. The Boards fixed the prices to suit themselves. We have been urged to restore normal conditions, and to resume control of the' reins of government; but if we agree to a proposal such as has been outlined to us, shall we not be giving Bawra a power which it can exercise in defiance of the jurisdiction of this Parliament? Undoubtedly we shall; and, therefore, we must be careful of what we do in this matter. I desire that all the facts should be placed before the House. Certain information has been handed to me by the wool-buyers This is a copy of a letter sent by the secretary cf the Wool Buyers' Association to the Acting Prime Minister - >We have up to now received no invitation to offer our advice, although we are as vitally interested in the stability of the trade as woolgrowers. This is our excuse for approaching you. The following facts should receive full consideration : - > >We recommend that B.A.W.R.A. stocks should be put aside for a definite period, say, two years. The withdrawal of B.A.W.R.A. 2,500,000 bales would concentrate competition upon the present clip. > >B.A.W.R.A. being all profit, no hardship is entailed. > >Any fixation of reserves will automatically reduce sales, and cause the stocks to accumulate, and will also drive orders to markets where no regulations exist. > >We think it necessary that a sufficiently low basis should be reached in order to induce the factories to lay in stocks, and to stimulate consumption. Free competition alone will fix the basis. > >Government restriction will hamper the trade, and buyers of cloth throughout the world will not operate freely while restrictions continue; they really make the price of wool. The average prices "received in Australia for this season's clip are much above pre-war years. We think and hope that the lowest level of prices has been reached, and therefore claim there is no necessity for artificial reserves or restrictions. > >We, as buyers, very strongly object to being compelled to apply for Customs permits to carry on our lawful businesses. Buyers have already suffered serious loss through the dislocation of the sales, some have already left for Europe, and many others will be forced to leave if harassing restrictions are imposed. > >Goodwill aiid co-operation 'between buyers and sellers is a necessity of the trade, and should be encouraged. . > >-Should the proposed legislation be passed it will form a . dangerous precedent for any other Government in power. > >. agree with very 'much that is contained in that letter. I hold that the Customs Department should . not be used in connexion with this particular matter, but that the wool business should be left as free . as possible. I have another . statement to submit to the House in order that honorable . members may know the facts from the other side. **Mr. H.** W. Jowett, a Bradford manufacturer, writes as 'follows : - >As a Bradford commission wool . buyer and top maker of twenty years' standing, I strongly support tne ' Prime Minister's suggestion that Bawra" wool- should be put aside for a defiJiite iperiod, . say, . two years Then the woolgrowers, along with the selling brokers and the -banks, will have every -chance to" work out- their own salvation, -as they have 'done in the past. I think this would enable the whole of the free wool to be sold. " Bawra " will come into its own when the -markets of the world become more normal. " Bawra " wool is all profit, and it -would, therefore, one to be dealt with in that -manner Have we evidence that the 'British Government ' have -refused to . put '" Bawra " aside, 'or is it just **Sir Arthur** Goldfinch arid SirJohnHigginswho . wish or demand that "Bawra" -must be sold? : I . emphasize' . that paragraph. -Wo have . no (evidence that-the British Government are not' prepared to.putthe Bawra wool aside except the statement from 'Bawra itself, at the. . head . of -which. are the two. gentlemen named. **'Mr. '** J owett continues - > >I »strongly think the British Government have made nosuch refusal, as their attitude to traders has and always will be friendly. Growers of free wool . should be in the position to -sell in a free 'market, -without restrictions. "; Bawra" is 'the chief bug-bear, and if that ; wool was 'withdrawn from competition against free iwool, this . would help considerably to stabilize prices. " Bawra " wool stands at nothing in the! b- oka, therefore, if "Bawra" is forced on- the -market, it can -swamp the grower of rf ree -.wool. 'Is **Sir .** John Higgins. : quite- candid when he says- " he has the best interests of the growers at heart," or does he seek sole control of the -whole output of the wool- of Australasia? No Government should offer any realization companyany such . power. > > **Senator Guthrie** commenced his remarks to members of the Senate and House of Representatives by saying he 'has " no axe to grind." Opposition or criticism of a scheme is quite right and lawful, and I strongly condemn and -refute his statement that speculators . are waiting or wanting to take large stocks of wool at the- present time. At the last sales in Geelong, 9th . 'March, when **Senator -Guthrie** was -in the auctioneer's box, ".Wurruk," a . -.good comeback bred fine- quality clip, was. sold at 31d. per lb. for one lot of '22 ! bales. Pre-war prices for this - wool was about lod. to 17d. If any restrictions 'as to . export- of wool, are made . under the '.Customs or any . other Act, then the woolselling brokers know wool can be sold, or dealt with, that does not go through their hands, and that is equal to a "corner" in 'the wool-selling . . business. There can be no escape from that fact. I was so arguing on 'Friday last. We should leave ' this particular Combine ' to regulate the -wool ' business of Australasia without any control by 'this Parliament. Has this position been pointed out to the wool-selling houses by the chairman of " Bawra," in order to induce -their support ? Their support was not 'given without demur; therefore the woolrselling brokers -will have the commission of selling " Bawra " wool twice *(i.e.,* that portion of it which is still in Australia) once under appraisement, arid the second time at auotion. Is that the sop to the brokers? If -there is any wool in Australia it' would have- to be put up to auction- again, and the wool brokers -would get something 'for selling it a second time. In discussing this proposed scheme the (buying section of the trade wish "to help 'the igrower - and deal with facts, - and ..the Prime Minister, when he made the statement 'that wool was only -bringing at . auction, l1/2d.. to11/2d. per lb., evidently referred to Jocks,. not to -any fleece wool of any quality. We are all aware- that every commodity . has suffered, and this . is the (back . . swing of the ipendulum. Many topmakers, spinners, and manufacturers in Yorkshire have lost in ; the last twelve months all- the money they -made in the previous four years.Will **Mr. Jowett** and **Senator Guthrie** inform . the . House . whether their own average wool returns from their own stations during the last four years -have or have- not been -the best average . prices' for : the last . forty years ? Therefore, ruin . does -not rfaoe theni, or . any grower of merino wool. The growers in the drought-stricken districts of New South Wales, of -course, 'wecannot reckon, as they, unfortunately, . had . no, or- very i little, wool to sell. If after the armistice free sales had been inaugurated during season 1919-1920, . instead of pursuing appraisement control, contrary to the wishes- of the British Government, then the grower would have had . better returns. -This policy of free sales was very strongly advocated in English wool circles. We had the sad experience during " control " of seeing Japanese buyers denied the right to purchase Australian merino wool; consequently they were driven (by control) to South. Africa, where they, along with American buyers, paid for greasy merino -wool, at free auctions, -up to 45d. per' lb., samples of which - wehad -sent to -Australia. That' is.- something., we ought , to think; about. Here we appraised similar, wool .as. type: 34,. 50 per cent, yield, with, a resultant price to Australian -grower of 19d.-, plus his -share of profits out of the. Pool. From January to March, 1U20, up to 112d. per lb. was 'paid in-' London for' greasy merino' wool-. W-ho; then, could have afforded to purchase clothing, if the- raw material- remained at such i prices ? All. cloth, now arriving in this, country, was made from wool bought at somewhere near- the pinnacle of prices, and that,' together with high- cost of labour big-- reductions cannot-, yet . be : made; only, at a( heavy, loss: To-day, , in. Brad-ford, " worsted, coatings " and' " woollens" can be bought .at less, money, than- to-day's cost-price. Any machinery thatis running to-day in- Yorkshire" is- running- at' a loss. The manufacturers:' know that, they must . take, their gruelling;, and I do not~,ask ; for Government aid.-. Low. prices are .not. in. the. best interests of " wool-buyers, because they, mostly buy, on a commission- basis. If the Australian grower ties himself -up -with the- -New Zealand) grower; who.- produces practically all cross-bred wool;, he-, will! again-, be badly advised, because South- America will then: be able to- sell her cross-bred wools, and New Zealand- will have to keep hers; Is the« Australian grower* going- to- subsidize New-- Zealand! growers!?- Wool-growers here want to be fully, alert ito .-that position-. The- blacker the* outlook that the. mover of . "control-/' makes out, the stronger they giveme support' in my contention . that "'Bawra/* which-, as. I' said before, stands- at' nothing,* should-' be -entirely' withdrawn-; and- is 'a, menace' to ail. users of 'wool1 throughout- the ,world: {: type="A" start="I"} 0. ask members of the -House,; . before they giveany, such' mandate ,-td "Bawra-," to have tablesall correspondence,, cables, &c, for the last four, months - between **Sir Arthur** Goldfinch' and **Sir John** Higgins, before they put the destiny of the " wool clip of Australia into their hands.' The -war.-- is over, and the promise o£' the British, and.: Austral ian : Governments-- was that all traders would be able to revert to .pre=.war. conditions. at. the. earliest #period.- I" do /not think! that extended' credits in. wool to European nations "of," say, from-three-to- fiveyears, will be the panacea for all the world's troubles/- The. wor.kers-in these countries-work fully; tern; hours per'- week linger.: than-, the. British and Australian, worker., in .the. textile, trade, , and . get considerably,- less-- wages. The British and Australian manufacturers are ex=pected to pay cash -in fourteen- days for -their wool, and' their- competitors get .thi-ee- to - five years', credit." Bradford) does" not, nor- did ifr ever.,- fear fair competition; in- the manufacturing of textile good's. Hostile Tariffs have many, times reduced.their business. We" think that- many traders; both" wholesale and retail-, have -taken undue 'advantage of the public- during, the -war., years.. The day of retribution: is at shand. They- should meet, this position with the same face as. they took-their easy-earned, profits. , ""Bawra" holds 2,500,000 bales of 'wool, and "Bawra's'"' valuation-- of 1 this- wool is- about £50,000,000, which is all profit. Who paid the piper? The long-suffering public, for whomyou, gentlemen, are sent to the House to act as guardians. The days of ' brigandage are past. In-, pre-war years . the Australian wool clip . for a period of ten years -.was worth, on theaverage, .about £22,000,000, from seasons 1901 to 1915. If restrictive legislation is inevitable, then -I strongly support the Prime 'Minister's opinionthat two months' 'trial would -be- sufficient. This would enable', the Prime-i Minister, to consult the British: Cabinet, nott **Sir Arthur.** Goldfinch.! {: type="A" start="I"} 0. . put this, letter: before- the : Houses as showing the = view- point c of : those; . who- are buying wool in Australia to-day. It .contains some- forcible' arguments to . which we; should give, serious consideration.. I! am quite-; in accord with the. opinion. .expressed, by the: writer; that- we ;should endeavour to keep;, the Bawra- wool . off:- thee market, as -long as possible To my mind, that', is the. only solution -of- the problem. If we accepted the Primes Minister's proposal that-, foci- two: months, at. least- , no:' one-.- should be > allowed- to export . Wool'., in: opposition, to the. Bawra-.: arrangement! what would i become.- of the poor man.? How many men are there; in>. Australias- tor day. who. have entered upon sheep farming:, only within. the. last, three or- four years:] How. many returned soldiers have taken*up land within ..the last.few years, and. de* pend. solely, upon sheep-farming.? There, are. large numbers, in. New .South. Wales, and, I1 dare, say, the. position. is the same., in the other States. These men depend' entirely upon wool production, for their livelihood.' If- they are. compelled to abide, by the Bawra' agreement, and have to sell for- 9d! per-lb: wool which, according; to **Senator Guthrie,,** costs 10792d.' perlb1. to' produce; they -will 'soon be '"down? and .out." {: .speaker-KFC} ##### Mr Fleming: -- No one- oan- estimate what it" costs to produce wool.' {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- I agree with- the honorable1 member that; because of 1 the varying circumstances, it' is' practically; impossible to arrive at an- estimate ofthe cost of 'production'. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -Cook. - It- is not' the- small' man that is complaining' of the- Bawra agreement. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- It is the small1 man- who -is likely. to-suffer. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- The-' honorable' member does not" understand the ques*tion. The Bawra arrangement is thesmall man's only hope {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- I recognise -that- if. I shared1' the honorable mem'ber's- views,. I should be perfectly right. He has a habit of interrupting those who can throw more light on the particular subject under discussion than he is- able to do. When interrupted, I was referring to the position of returned soldiers who have taken up land during the last few years, and have devoted their attention solely to sheep-farming. If wool brings a low price, as it will, no doubt, they will be the chief sufferers, and those who have mortgages on their holdings will have to submit to foreclosure in a year or two unless the State comes to their aid. I would remind the honorable member for Wakefield **(Mr. Richard Foster),** who thinks I know nothing of this subject, that already 15½d. per lb. has been received by the growers of the Bawra wool, and that, in addition, they will get one-half the proceeds derived from the sale of the 1,700,000 bales of the carry-over. If we allow one bale of Bawra wool to be put on the market for every two bales of the new clip, or two bales to three bales, and 9d. per lb. is secured for it, the growers interested in that wool will get, not merely 9d. per lb. in respect of their present clip, but 4½d. per lb. in addition, as their half share of the proceeds of the Bawra wool so sold. The small farmer, however, who has only recently come into the industry will receive only 9d. per lb. {: .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member is arguing from only one side of the question. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- I am putting the question in all its phases before the House. The Bawra wool-growers will be getting 9d. per lb. for their new clip, plus 4£d. per lb. in respect of every bale of Bawra wool that is sold. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- And they will be entitled to it. They have a half share in the Bawra wool. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- I know that; but I am putting the position of those who are not in the Pool., {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- They will get no thing out of the Bawra wool. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- That strengthens my contention that the Bawra wool should be kept off the market. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- But for the Bawra arrangement the small man who is not in the Pool would get nothing for his wool. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- The honorable member deals in wool, and, in common with every other man interested in the Bawra wool, has already received 15£d. per lb. for it. That was a very good price, was it not f {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- A tip-top price. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- Quite so, and in addition to that those interested in the Bawra wool will ultimately get half the proceeds of the sale of the carry-over. My contention is that the man who has already been paid handsomely for that wool might reasonably be Expected to stand out of .his money for some time in order to give a chance to the poor man who has no interest in the Bawra wool. {: .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The small sheep farmer's wool is being sold in the open market in Australia. He has no Bawra competition here whatever. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- But the honorable member knows that there is a very poor market at the present time. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- Not at all. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- If there is nothing wrong with the market, why are we wasting the time of the country in discussing this question ? The Prime Minister told ' us last week that the bottom had practically fallen out of the market, but now we are told by honorable members interested in wool that everything is all right. If that is so, let things go on as they are. If the honorable member's contention is correct, then we are defaming the credit of the country and protesting when there is no occasion to do so. It is strange that everything appears to be all right with the wool market as soon as one begins to put the other side of the Bawra arrangement. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- There are more small men interested in the Bawra wool than in this year's clip. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- I know that many small men are not interested in the Bawra wool. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- I do not know any sheep farmer in Australia who is not interested in the Bawra scheme. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- We have in the House a remarkable lot of sponsors for that scheme. I am merely stating a commonsense proposition. I am trying to analyze the situation as it presents itself to me. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- But the honorable member is against the. union. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- I am against the union or, rather, the combine that it is proposed to create to regulate the price of wool. This Parliament should shoulder its own responsibilities; it should not transfer them to some other body. If the Government propose to take over this matter, I am against it. {: .speaker-KI9} ##### Mr Livingston: -- Why not let the Acting. Prime Minister make a statement, and then reply to it ? {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- I should not have the right to speak again. During the war I supported several measures in regard to which I subsequently regretted my action, and I do not propose to vote for anything else that I may think wrong. The Government should not continue the spoon-feeding of outside combinations. We are getting suggestions from everywhere. On Monday the . Gisborne Farmers' Union - a New Zealand Union - carried a resolution suggesting that the Imperial authorities should purchase this year's wool clip at 50 per cent, below the commandeered prices, and that this bts pooled with the balance of the commandeered wool in hand, and disposed of at the mean average price of the two clips. It is urged that if this were done it would probably save a loss on 740,000 bales of commandeered wool, that it would stabilize the market, and that it would safeguard £8,000,000 surplus profits. The proposal might well be considered. {: .speaker-KDZ} ##### Mr Jowett: -- Who, is it suggested, would buy the wool ? {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- It is suggested that the British Government should take it. {: .speaker-KDZ} ##### Mr Jowett: -- Everyone knows that the British Government would not buy it. . {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- Everyone here seems to know what the British Government would do, although it has not been consulted,, and the Prime Minister has asked for a respite of two months so that he may consult the Imperial authorities. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- That is quite a different matter. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- This is another suggestion - To get rid of a big block of wool (a million hales, or the whole of the " B.A.W.R.A." wool, if possible) to the European nations seems to he the best possible move at the present time. Now the "B.A.W.R.A." are the only woolholders in a position to sell off big lines, and I would like to see that wool sold at the best price we could get, with liberal terms of time payment. I read these suggestions to show that various opinions are held by persons interested. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The suggestion just read raises the big question, should preference be given to those whom we have recently been fighting? {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- That would be for Parliament to decide. Here is another suggestion - >In view of the fact that both the sellers (Australasian, 4c, squatters) and the buyers (British Government) of the. remaining unsold Bawra wool (3,400,000 bales) have already been fully paid for same, at very satisfactory prices - the British Government, by selling a. portion of their purchases at a sum sufficient', to recoup them for their total outlay on same -it is suggested that, as the experts have failed to find a solution of the trouble on the lines of limiting the sales, and fixing reserve prices, the following proposal should be considered. > >The proposal is that this remaining Bawra wool, which is blocking the way to the resumption of reasonably normal conditions in the wool industry, should be given away absolutely free, in such a way as will prevent it from coming into substantial competition with the current or future wool clips. These suggestions are all from men interested in wool, and I mention them in order that the whole matter may be fully inquired into. I think that no harm would be done if a decision were deferred' until the Prime Minister got home. {: .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -- What is the honorable member's view ? {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- I think that the British Government should keep the accumulated wool off the market, and let the new wool be sold in the ordinary way. {: .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -- But there was the undertaking to supply the British people. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -'The present trouble arises from the fact that there is. an over supply of wool. We are told that if the Bawra wool be put on the market, last year's and this year's clips cannot be sold. {: .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -- There is very little wool in Great Britain now, except the Bawra wool {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- My opinion is that it would be a good thing if the British Government were asked to hold that wool. {: .speaker-L0Q} ##### Mr Wienholt: -- Is not wool hoarding as bad as food hoarding? {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- We have been fighting to raise the living conditions of the workers in accordance with the increase in the price of commodities,' and have not been able to do that. Although the market is a falling one, so far as wool SPnd everything else is concerned, retail prices are little lower than they were. During the war the large "pastoralists made " fabulous incomes, yet immediately their interests are . touched, . they : ask this Parliament for protection 'through the Customs,so that they, may regulate the wool trade. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- Your ; people willbe touched.. as 'much : as anybody else. mr. CHARLTON,- I-admitted -on Friday that every one is concerned, but if Government interference is necessary . in the interests- of the community, theGovernment should handle the whole matter. IfMinisters do not -see theirway to dothis, it should be left to the growers who, the honorable member 'for Robertson **(Mr. Fleming)** said, could look . after themselves. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -It is going to be left with them. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- It cannot be claimed that it is left with them! if the machinery of the Customs is used to. give certain persons a standing. {: .speaker-KDZ} ##### Mr Jowett: -- The wool-growers of Australia . axe tully land entirely represented by Bawra. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- We were . told the other . day. that 90. per cent, of '.them 'were represented. **Sir Joseph** Cook. rOnly from 4 to 5 per cent, of the growers -are outside Bawra, ..which. 'controls. 90-per -cent, of the wool. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -.-lt . said to-day that ..all the. growers -are ' represented by Bawra, so that vsome' must have' joined up since. Friday. {: .speaker-KDZ} ##### Mr Jowett: -- r All . the hold-over wool is owned : by (Bawra, which : represents the wool-jgrowers and no . one . else. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- In my opinion, that -wool should be -kept off the market to give the new clip a chance. Mr.Jowett. - W-e . quite agree as to that,if it can -be done. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- The British Government should be approached on the subject. {: .speaker-KDZ} ##### Mr Jowett: -- Every possible process for doingthat has been exhausted. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- Has the Commonwealth Government -yet approached the British: Government on the -subject ? ' Mr.Jowett.-Ido:not thinkthatthat would- be of : the . slightest. use. Mr.CHARLTON-.-Then . how -can it be- said- thatoevery: possible . aotion.'hast'been -taken ? 'It us othe : duty of the ' GoFverrfment to'be carefuli in- this' matter, f If san association is given -protection in the, -manner proposed, an!d injury 'subsequently accrues to Australia's interests, we ' shall be held blameworthy. Personally, I do not think that the Government is- justified in putting the machinery of the Customs -at' the disposal- of - Bawra at the present ; time. Further inquiries should be made. 'I believe that' then -you will get a' better solution of the 'difficulty than is possible-at present . SirJOSEPH COOK (ParramattaActing Prime Minister andTreasurer) [4.0]. - **Mr. Speaker-** HonorableMembers. - Do you close the debate? {: #subdebate-22-0-s1 .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I think not. Do I close the debate, Mr.Speaker ? {: #subdebate-22-0-s2 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- The right honorable gentleman . is : now acting ' for the 'Prime Minister. : He is in a dual position, : and in . one which involves a; rather important point. It is certain that the 'Prime Minister would not be able "to speak a second time without closing the debate, and therefore, 'the right '.honorable . gentleman, if. speaking as the "representative- of the Prime' Minister, might do ' the same thing, but ' I should not like to -give a "definite -ruling on the point at the moment without : a ' little reflection. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- =To.,obviate trouble, may I: ask leave to make a . statement'? SirRobert Best.- The right honorable gentleman has not yet spoken at. all in the debate. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- If he speaks now as . Acting . Prime Minister, may . have the technical effect, df closing the . debate. Sir.ROBERT.BEST.- Do you rule. that? {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- No. ..I have . not given . any ruling.. so. far. -The Treasurer, as Acting' . Prime . Minister . is taking the place, of -the. Prime. Minister, who is absent from the "Commonwealth. . The difficulty might -possibly: be got-: over bytemporarily adjourning the present debate and resuming it later, . the. right . honorable ..gentleman in the meantime . being given leave to make -a statement; -but -that would create other difficulties, 'because he 'could not 'then refer to' the -present debate. {: .speaker-KHE} ##### Mr Higgs: -I am . prepared ito . move that 'the- debate beadjournedtoa later hour. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr RICHARD FOSTER:
WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · ANTI-SOC; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; LP from 1922; NAT from 1925 -- - I point out, **Mr. Speaker,** that youare creatinga precedent. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Never mind {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- The suggestion of' Mr: Speaker' is a matter of very; much: concern tous; During my twentyseven years of parliamentary life I' have never known such a point to be- raised. I take' it- that', under: the Standing Orders, . the Prime Minister;, if *he-* were herey could- put up half-a-dozen- Ministers to speakforhim. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir Robert Best: -- **Mr. Speaker** has noofficial knowledge of thefact that the Acting Prime Minister speaks for the Prime Minister. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- How. in Heaven's name; can **Sir Joseph.** Cook be **Mr. Hughes?** {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- He. is. in the. position.of *locum tenens.* {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- The former is only ActingPrime Minister, and has not. spoken on the motion, which was moved by the Prime Minister. If your ruling, **Mr. Speaker,** is correct, I suggest that as the Treasurer has not spoken in the debate, the. difficulty could' be got over by **Sir Joseph** Cook speaking, not as the Acting. Prime Minister, but as the. Treasurer. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- I have given no ruling yet. The right honorable gentleman may certainly do that, so long as he does not claim the right to speak now in his capacity of Acting Prime Minister. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir Robert Best: -- He has no right of reply ? Mr.Fenton.- No. One member cannot be transformed into another. {: .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- I think that the right honorable gentleman must be al- lowed to speak, but it must be in his ordinary capacity as *a* member; of the House and the Government. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I listened as I always do, with the greatest attention, interest, and respect to the honorable member for Hunter **(Mr. Charlton).** No man in theHouse isentitled to be heard with greater respect. But. I; can hardly congratulate him on his consistency; What he has just said is strange doctrine to come from the representative' of the: coal-mining industry, every particular of whose trade is regulated byStatute. Prices and wages are fixed; and everything from. A. to Z and top tobottom is subject to regulation. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr Riley: -- But this is regulation through the Customs House. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- All the conditions of the mining industry are subject to legislation; but the Government will have no control in the case of wool when once this matter is handed over to the Customs Department. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I fancy there will be control over- this and every other? industry. At any rate, I assure the honorable member, tot begin with, that: this Government will be no party to buildings up a trust in wool or anything else. If I thought for a moment that that was the object that is now being sought by honorable membersinterestedin the woolindustry, they would get no support from thisGovernment, and certainlynone from me. The honorable member has setup two or three contradictory positions. To begin with, he commiserated the men who have to pay a heavy price for suits of clothes: It is quite true that clothes are very dear: {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- Robbery! {: #subdebate-22-0-s3 .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- That, however, is not due to the cost of the wool that goesinto the clothes. Even Bawra itself; undiluted, uninterrupted, and uninterfered with, only suggests a reserve which will practically mean saying to the- buyer of clothes, ' ' You must pay at least 5s for thewool that goes into them." That is all; and my honorable friends opposite; therefore; see that the interest of the - wearer' of clothes in this connexion is a very slight one, as compared with the interests of the industry itself, and as a whole. No more unfortunate illustration could have been selected than this idea that anything we do to. regulate and control the. priceofwoolvery seriously affects the price of garments as we wear them to-day. For that we mustlook to other causes. I do not wish to say any more about the honorable member for. Hunter **(Mr. Charlton)** or. his speech, except that this question has a very slight local application. I understand that about 2½ per cent., certainly not more, of the wool that is produced here is consumed in Australia, as the honorable member- will see if he gets the figures for himself from *Knibbs.* During the war time we consumed about 15,000,000 lbs. of wool in Australia - even when we had our heavy commitments to supply the troops with warm clothing - and that was out of the total production of 600,000,000 lbs. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- Isthat all the wool we should require in Australia if we manufactured for our own requirements ? {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir Robert Best: -- We manufacture only 10 per cent, of our requirements. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I am merely pointing to the figures in *Knibbs.* The point I take is that our interest is in the selling of this wool overseas, and it will be our interest for some years to come. Nobody more than I will welcome the time when we . shall be able to make this wool into clothing and consume it ourselves, as far as possible; but it is idle to talk about the paramount interest of the dwellers in the cities - consumers of wool in Australia - when, as a matter of fact, they take only 2 per cent, of our total production. Clearly, therefore, we have to look overseas in connexion with this industry. I should like to call attention to one other point concerning thi6 industry. This is the greatest of all our industries, employing, as it does, 80,000 people directly in the growing of wool, and, I suppose, at least two or three times that number in collateral industries. As to this free wool spoken of so much by the honorable member for Hunter, his remarks apply to only 4 per cent, or 5 per cent, of the wool-growers of Australia, the balance of 96 per' cent, being all in this union, if I may so call it. What is suggested, I understand, is that the Government shall assist this union by giving " preference to unionists " to the extent of a reserve which . has been definitely suggested. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- I think the honorable gentleman will see that there is a difference between the " union " in the wool industry and a union such as that of the miners. Had the coal-miners and the proprietors got the world's parity they would have made infinitely more than they did. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Of course, there is always a difference - this is the " other fellow's" union, and not the honorable member's. There was one thing which struck me as being rather inconsistent in the honorable member's speech. He began by complaining that wool is not cheap enough for the people who have to buy suits, and he finished up by suggesting that all wool should be got off the market, with a view to making it a still higher-priced article. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- No, I did not. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Both these views cannot be right - some reconciliation is, I think, needed. However, I shall say no more on that point, but pass on to consider what I regard as a very serious situation. It is a situation which. I should have very much liked to escape had it been possible, and I confess I am approaching a task which is somewhat uncongenial. I should not mind so much if I could see my way clearly through ; but no man can dogmatize- on a question of - this kind. After balancing everything, we have to make up our minds as to the course we think will ultimately " prove to the advantage of this country - I wish to say clearly that the Government have no further interest than that- not merely to the advantage of the wool industry, but to the advantage of the country as a whole. It is from that point of view I shall approach the consideration of the matter. I have listened very carefully to the debate as it has proceeded so far, "and one or two things seem to me to have emerged. The honorable member's speech is a further confirmation of the fact that everybody is agreed that the present condition respecting wool is abnormal, and very serious, indeed. Some effort is necessary to combat the special difficulties surrounding the conditions in the wool trade, though opinions may differ as to methods. So far we are on common ground. The speech of my honorable friend discussed the question, and suggested various methods to cope with the difficulties, which, as I say, everybody recognises. One thing is pretty evident by this time, and that is that the Government itself must take some" attitude towards this very important question. What that attitude is I shall indicate in a little while. I do not think it amiss to remind ourselves of the elements of the question ; as I see them they are these': Whereas in the last three years the average realizations of wool have been £48,000,000 per annum, this year they will be considerably less than £20,000,000. During those three years the British Government came to our assistance. It was the British Government, let us never forget, that kept our prices up and enabled us in this way to shape our attitude to the war, with far less serious consequences than would have been the case had we not been possessed of the means of finance. The British Government purchased from us 7,127,000 bales of, wool. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr Blakeley: -- And made huge profits out of it! {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The British Government paid for that wool £160,000,000 sterling; let us never forget that aspect when discussing this question. If the British Government made profits during the war, they were all expended in the prosecution of the war. {: .speaker-KFC} ##### Mr Fleming: -- It is only fair to say that other people got a higher price for their wool at the same time. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- My own impression is that every other country got a higher price than the British Government charged; but that fact, apparently, is lost sight of in some quarters. The British Government did not profiteer in wool; on the contrary, it was generous to Australia in the purchase of it, and that we ought to remember. Why is it that we are not getting more than £20,000,000 now for our wool? The answer is, first of all, that England is no longer the large purchaser of our wool she was during the war. Other countries could not purchase; there was only one purchaser, and now that one has failed us for the time being, and the wool is left on our hands. The fact is that to-day Europe is paralyzed, and that is why our stocks- of wool are so heavy. In the season before the outbreak of the war, France, Belgium and Holland bought from the Commonwealth 669,000 bales, of wool; Germany, 425,275 bales; the United Kingdom, 318,661 bales; the United States, 90,265 bales; Japan, 23,800 bales; and Italy, 13,200 bales. To-day that demand is absent - the demand on the Continent' is negligible. It is not that the Continent does not require wool more badly than ever. Honorable members will have read in their newspapers the other day, as I did, that to-day the Germans are still wear- ing paper underclothing, as I saw them doing during the war; indeed, oftener than not, in the later stages of the war, the German soldier had nothing beneath, his tunic but his bare skin. Europe is hungry to-day for wool, but cannot buy it from us, and so we have our wool here, though it is badly wanted abroad. The result of all this is that natural law is operating, and there has been a tremendous land-slide in the values of wool. The wool boom that we had during the war, though it was only a mild one, has slumped to the extent of 60 per cent, in the case of our better wools, and as much as 80 per cent, in the case of some of our crossbred wools. In other words, and this is the national aspect I desire to stress, Australia is confronted to-day with the possibility of receiving, on account of wool, an income of £3 per head of population, as against £9 and over per head during the last three years. I am pointing out how this is most profoundly affecting our finances, as well as the stability of many of our undertakings. The carry-over . wool has been fairly stated at S50,000 bales of Australian wool, 850,000 bales of British wool, 800,000 bales of New Zealand wool, and 200,000 bales of South A'frican and other wool, making a total of 2,700,000 bales.' By June next there will be 750,000 bales of new wool to be added to the former total; some people say that there will be an additional 1,000,000 bales. {: .speaker-KDZ} ##### Mr Jowett: -- There will be 1,300,000 bales, including New Zealand wool. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Including South African and New Zealand wool, we shall have, by June next, 4,500,000 bales of carry-over wool, with the new season well under way. Altogether, we have to anticipate a mountain of wool comprising between 6,000,000 and 7,000,000 bales. The average price of greasy wool for the three pre-war seasons was 9id. to 9f d. per lb. After all, the jump from 9fd. pre-war to 15$d. during s the war was no bigger than was the rise in every other article that enters into the cost of living. During the control period, the Australian growers received 15½d. per lb., plus 50 per cent, of the profit on resales; that was the profiteering with which the British Government has been charged. If there has been profiteering, we were parties to it, inasmuch as we received half of the profits." I have not yet heard a suggestion that we pay. any of those extortionate profits back to the poor people of Britain, from whom we wrung them. {: .speaker-KLM} ##### Dr MALONEY:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936 -- If I had my way, we would. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member, with his soul full of world sympathy, is the one man who says he would repay the excess profits. May I congratulate him on his singularity? Whilst the price of wool has increased, so has the cost of production, and, after the fullest investigation I could make, I satisfied myself that 9d. per lb. is, if anything, below the actual cost of production. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr Blakeley: -- What an extraordinary, statement to make. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- It Happens to be true. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr Blakeley: -- It is, if five years of drought is taken into consideration, and it is made for the purpose of. proving, a case in the Arbitration Court. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Does the honorable member say that the statement' is not correct ? {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr Blakeley: -- Most decidedly it is not. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Will thehonorable member tell the House what he considers the actual cost of' production is ? {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr Blakeley: -- If you take into consideration five years of drought, the cost is. more than 9d. per lb.; but it is ridiculous to say that it costs 9d. to pro- duce every pound of Australian wool: {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I am speaking of averages, and I am told on the best authority that 9d. is a fair average cost of production. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr Blakeley: -- It is not so. {: .speaker-KI9} ##### Mr Livingston: -- It is pretty nearly correct. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- If that beso, the price suggestedby Bawra is slightly below the actual cost of" production. I read' in the newspapers this morning pitiful letters by growers who stated that it was costing.1s. per lb. to grow wool in some parts of Australia. In many parts of, the Commonwealth the wool-grower is in very serious difficulties. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr Blakeley: -- On account of drought conditions. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Does that help us? {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr Blakeley: -- No; but do not misrepresent the facts by saying that the high cost of production is influencing the wool position. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Do not drought conditions nearly always obtain somewhere in Australia? It is very rare when there is not a drought area in some part of Australia. {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr Blakeley: -- Hence the 9d. per lb. for production in certain drought areas. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I knew the honorable member would agree with me in the . long run,andI am glad to have his: support: {: .speaker-JPV} ##### Mr Blakeley: -- I do not agree with the" Treasurer. An average of 3½d. or 4d. per lb. would be nearer the actual cost of production. {: .speaker-JLY} ##### Mr Anstey: -Apparently the industry will not last long ; it will soon be dead". {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I do not think that; but I do say that the- industry is' entitled to all the consideration we can give it at the present time. Like many other industries,, it is passing, from an abnormal set of circumstances, and weshall have to do the best we can , until normal times return, and the world is once more on an even keel. With the wool market throwing itself about as it is, up one day and down the next, although. mostly down lately; what are we. to do.? Clearly the guiding desire in such a condition' of affairs should be to stabilize the industry so that people may know what they have to face, what they must lose if need Be) and what they can gain on a fair and reasonable footing. Same people' say-; " Stabilize the' market by throwing the wool into the- sea." Others have suggested that the wool should be burnt. These are wicked suggestions, and- not entitled to one moment's consideration'. Others again say that we. should take all the carry-over wool off the market. There may be something in that proposal, and I shall consider it in a moment, but, at any rate; there is something to,besaid for the efforts to stabilize the conditions; of' the market. At present everybody is buying from hand to mouth. Nobody will- stock up. The manufacturer will not, because he does not know-how the price will be in a month's time, consequently he buys just enough to eke out his industry. But I am told that, in pre-war times, the world carried 2,000,000 bales of stock wool. Therefore, if we can stabilize the market, and allow people to look forward for. a reasonable period, they will stock up again, and by so doing will' make a big hole in this mountain of wool that has accumulated . through, the, lack -of . stabiliza tion. ; At the same . time, ; one:has to. remember this fundamental fact, , that : a cheap and inferior thing -will, if allowed to do:so, always interfere to the 'detriment . of . a . dear, but superior, article. I cautd quote from *my* own experience many instances -.of. that. j' have known railway commissioners to purchase coalmines of . admittedly ; inferiorquality for the purpose ..of trying . to . keep . down . the price , of the abetter coal, -which , they were compelled to'.buy . was . cornered. There are . many . instances of the kind. Wherever, there, is a cheap, inferior article floating . about the market, it will always pull down below a reasonable level the price of the superior and dearer article. {: .speaker-KLM} ##### Dr MALONEY:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936 -Thatis.the history of shoddy all over the world. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -It is a fundamental law: from which there isno escape. Therefore,the . suggestionis that . the ; inferior, article should be placed under such control. as . would . present it from interfering with . a. fair ..pricefor the superior article which we produce in Australia. How.are.we to . keep the inferior article under . control? Some suggest that we should buy out the 'Imperial ' interest. That would be an easysolution if . it . were possible. SirRobertbest.-Has.,any effort been made todo so ? SirJOSEPH COOK.-I cannot say. Butthewholescheme ofBawra, asIsee it, is acompromise between . the buyers inEngland andthesellersinAustralia between the Imperial Government,whose interestit ; is to buy reasonablyheap woolfor British; manufacturers ,and . the growers of ..woolin 'Australia., - whose in- : tercet it is to geta good price for their -article.Honorable memberswill have read a month orso ago a statement published intheAustralian and English press -at about the timewhen Bawra was born - ' The Government . of the Commonwealth of Australia have undertaken, in behalf of the wool-growersand theprojected . association, Bawra, registeredunder the Victorian Companies Act, : that the carry-over wool shall be sold as promptly as market conditions will permit - and. have declaredthat todo so is one ofthe -main objects ofthe proposal. Those were . the conditions Australia promised the Imperial Government when the Bawra proposal was first mooted. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr Riley: -- The Treasurer means that the wool-growers made: the promise. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Yes; the Government is spoken of because the Prime Minister was the vehicle through which the wool -growers sent their -messages to and from England.The newspaper statementcontinued- They have further undertaken that the operations of the association shall be conductedwith dueregard to the legitimate interests of the ; British ..consumer, . and tomaintain, and, if possible, increase the . existing trade between -Australia and the United Kingdom.In view of the above satisfactory assurances, His Majesty'sGovernment havefelt justified in accepting the proposals of . the Government, . of . the Commonwealth . of Australia. Clearly,therefore, thewholeproposal is acompromise between.the conflicting; interests of sellers here and buyers abroad, the latterbeing represented by the British Government and the sellers by Bawra.I understand that theBritish Gowrnmentown 70 percent. of the carry-over wool now in Great Britain. We own 30percent. of it . The Imperial . Government make this stipulation - -that before 'they will enterintothe Bawra compromise we musttake care thattheyget reasonably cheap woolf or their manufacturers, andenough to keepthem going. In otherwords, the interestsof the British consumers arid 'British market conditions -must all be seen to : and maintained.' That is the . compromise to be made between Australia and theImperial Government. {: .speaker-KZC} ##### Mr HECTOR LAMOND:
ILLAWARRA, NEW SOUTH WALES · NAT -Is it not our duty to see that the Australian consumer alsogets a fairdeal? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -As Ihavealready -pointed out, that isso; but ofour total -wool -production -theAustralian manufacturersabsorb only 2per cent. The balance goes overseas. During this debate it has been suggested that we should sell this carry-over wool on long credits to the Central Powers. The proposal is all very well, but is full of danger. If wegive credit to thesePowers, we have notto find any capital, but we must take care that during the . currency , of those long-dated credits we are not giving. to Germany . and Austria, our erstwhile enemies, an immense advantage over countries which, during the war, were our staunch allies. We must take the greatest care to see that by the adoption of such a proposal, the markets, not only of our Allies, but also of the Imperial Government, are not swamped. But as there are so many interests to be served in Great Britain, I think we would be extraordinarily lucky if we could induce the British Government to go out of this business. They have so many interests at stake and so many obligations to their own manufacturers which we, in turn, have made ours that it seems to me we ought to regard Bawra as a compromise and work it as such as far as possible. There is another proposal - to keep Bawra off the market for two years. *1* am not an expert, but my information is that wool will not last indefinitely, and that as a good deal of the Bawra wool was shorn three or four years ago the keeping of it off the market for a couple of years more in a climate like that of Great Britain would lead to very serious deterioration. {: .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr Prowse: -- It makes the position worse when we realize that this wool is in a dumped condition. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Then there is the question of the minimum reserve price suggested by Bawra to the Government. In that regard we .must have some respect for the cost of production. If the average cost of production is 9d., it does not seem to be an undue reserve to suggest in connexion with an industry which is passing through such ' critical days. Of course, it must be borne in mind that the average takes in our drought years, as well as our good years. We can only deal with these matters by the law of averages. The proposal is to seU in England one bale of our- current clip to two bales of the carry-over, which is about the proportion of our merino wool to our crossbred wool, though I do not know whether there is any relation between the two facts. In fixing a reserve price, there is no suggestion of prohibition. It is not suggested that we are to stop the small men, about whom the honorable member for Hunter **(Mr. Charlton)** was so anxious this afternoon, from selling their wool anywhere they please. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- But Bawra lias announced its willingness to give them cash from the Pool. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The /small men need not go into the Pool. So long as they subscribe to the minimum reserve they are free to sell in any part, of the world at a price above that reserve. In fixing on a minimum there is no regulation of price in the strict sense of the term. The small grower will be able to get as much as he can for his wool in any part of the world and in any market. The more he can get the more power to his elbow. My colleague, **Mr. Rodgers,** reminds me that the small men will be perfectly free so far as our internal market is concerned. As a matter of fact, they deal with no other market. They sell to the man who takes their wool as near to their door as they can get their money. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- That has not been the case within the last six years. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- That used to bo the position, and I fancy that a lot of this wool is even yet gathered up in country districts in the way I have described. At any rate, no restriction is imposed so far as the local market is concerned. The grower oan sell -his wool for Id. per lb. if he chooses to do so. These are the conditions which the Government have to meet to-day, and after very careful consideration of the whole question I propose to state, in very few words, the attitude of the -Ministry. The case is altogether abnormal and special, and as we have seen so often during the war and all over the world in every country as well as in Australia, these abnormal conditions have to be met by means which are not in themselves normal. ' Special cases require special treatment. The question of whether we are justified in any interference in this matter is arguable. One cannot lose sight of the fact that the world is still upside down. Markets are smashed up, exchanges are smashed up, people cannot buy; they cannot turn themselves around' economically and industrially; no marker is normal ; the condition of the world industrially and economically is very far from normal; all our processes for the disposal of our primary products are deranged and out of joint; great gaps have been made in the former lists of eager ' buyers in the markets of the world. This- condition of affairs has prevailed in many other industries. It is evident in England to-day, where the latest proposal of **Mr. Lloyd** George to the miners of Great Britain is that he shall make a direct contribution from the British Treasury to ! Miners' Pool. Even in that country, to which we are supposed to look for examples of all that is sane and wise in matters of government - and we .do not look for it in vain - things are so abnormal that many of the industries, including the great coal-mining industry, are subject to control. We have our Wheat Pool, our Butter Pool, and our Gold Pool. Our gold is not permitted to be sold except through a Gold Producers' Association, which sells it at a premium of about £1 103. per oz. {: .speaker-KFC} ##### Mr Fleming: -- So that an evil is made good by multiplying it? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I do not see the relevancy of the honorable member's interjection. When we have an abnormal ?et of circumstances, we must make the best of them, and do the best we can to cope with them. We have felt tremendous effects from the war. Perhaps owing to our isolation, we have suffered more than have other countries. Indeed, we are feeling the effects to-day, and the Government have already been obliged to step in for the purpose of endeavouring to assist our great primary industries to tide over. abnormal conditions. That is all I am suggesting now. There is nothing novel in the proposal that has -been made regarding our greatest industrial and financial concern. The Government have had a great deal of conflicting advice. Even in connexion with the wool trade, there are conflicting views and conflicting interests. There are the buyers and the sellers within the wool world as well as outside it; and I have been very much amused at some of the letters which have lately appeared in the press signed by "Tom," "Bill," " Harry," or ' ' W." One writer says that stabilization will only be reached by regulation. Another says that the way not to stabilize the market is to adopt this system of regulation. Another says that we can only attain stabilization ultimately by having a free market. Another says - and this is the proposal of Bawra - " Try to stabilize the market without sacrificing our wool." If that can be done, it is what every one wants. It is easy enough to stabilize the market by destroying the Bawra wool. The Bawra proposal, as I understand it, is a compromise of the Imperial Government's interest in this wool and our own. Bawra says, " Try to stabilize the market, and at the same time to save the carry-over wool." Can we do that? I am not here to say that it can be done ; but while these conflicting interests put their arguments from day to day we must always keep in mind the fact that bur selling interest is paramount to our buying interest. We are the sellers .of wool ; other people are the buyers of ft. We use here only 2 per cent, of our wool; the rest has to find a market overseas. Our interests, therefore, are exclusive regarding 98 per cent, of our total wool output. That is the point which we must ( always keep in mind. It has been said that some interests have not been consulted. It ia a pity if that is so. I have made inquiries, and am informed that the reason why the buying interests here have not been directly, consulted by Bawra is that Bawra has been, and is today, in close communication with the actual buyers in London who are represented by agents in Australia. I cannot help feeling, however, that it would have been well had Bawra consulted the agents here. The Government has tried to consult some of these buyers, and has obtained from them one or two useful suggestions. Even when we have consulted the whole of them, and have tried to balance the very conflicting interests, I shall have some doubts as to the success of the Bawra proposal. A man would be foolish in these days to dogmatize on the wool position. {: .speaker-JRH} ##### Mr Bowden: -- At the best the Bawra proposal is but a palliative. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- It is. It is a1 choice of two alternatives. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- I would sooner trust to the Bawra opinion than that of the Acting Prime Minister **(Sir' Joseph Cook)** on this question. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- And so would I. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- The Bawra people know the game from A to Z. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Quite so; bub one does not need to be a wool expert to know thatwhen youembark upon a proposal which cuts into first principles you are incurring grave risks. These first principles have a habit of asserting themselves despite all our efforts to divert, control, and shape them definitely to certain courses. We have to make the best of the position as we find it ; but my view is that in the end we may. find ourselves up against a free market as the only way out of our difficulties. That will mean irreparable loss to Australia. It is, however,a choice of alternatives as to what is best to be done in a position that is full of difficulties. There are the relations of other parts of the world to be considered. We may control our ownwool withinthe Empire, but we have still to deal with the production of 900,000,000 lbs. in the rest of the world. Europe, Asia, India, and America . represent a production of 900, 000,000. lbs. I . think that, roughly speaking, the Empire, including South Africa, New Zealand, Canada, and the Old Country produces about as : much wool as the rest of the world. {: .speaker-JRH} ##### Mr Bowden: -- Andwehavemore than half theworld'sproduction ofmerino wool. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -Wehave almost amonopoly so far as ourmerino wool is concerned.That seems to me to be the one guiding rayof hopefor the Bawra proposal.It willhave tocontendwith many difficulties,and thegreatdifficulty ofconfronting the world,which is in fierce competition,mustnever be lost sight-of in- the consideration ofthesematters. Mr.JamesPage. - I think ourbig production of merino wool is . Bawra's sheet anchor. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I hope the hon orable member is right. The buyers, amongst .:others, , say . that if . we. -fix , a reserve of 10d.,..9.d,,:8d.., 7d.,:or whatever it may be, we may drive our customers to other -parts of the world. . 1 cannot help feeling that this - warning is just a little ; interesting, ibut -I think we - may very well letBawra handle its ownbusiiness. . That association ' is not ' likely to -commit commercial suicide. 'Themen controlling it are far too-.astute . and keen- and experienced to allow of 'that being done. Nevertheless , the -whole matter "will require the closest watching ' themost experienced,minds canbring to bearupon at. Thesuggestion, hasbeen made, in more quarters than one, that the period . of limitation proposed by Bawra is too long. Bawrasuggests six months, other people saytwomonths;butI fear that two months wouldreally aggravateexposition . The first effect . of a > two months' limitation would ; be . that buyers 'would' stand off until . the expiration of that period. I . am, therefore, . afraid that we must put aside that suggestion . for the present. The Government . has . come to the conclusion, perhaps reluctantly and not without some misgivings, that we should agree to the proposal made by the most competent and representative ' bodyin Australia, so far as this, interest is concerned . The. suggestion is- that we should agree to the -reserve price proposed,- leaving sellers otherwise perfectlyfree to- sell anywhere . above the imposed . minimum. {: .speaker-JWO} ##### Mr J H Catts: -- Is that tobe . 9d. per lb. ? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -No;wepropose to fix the minimum . price at 8d.perlb. {: .speaker-KFC} ##### Mr Fleming: -- At a minimum flat rate? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Yes; so astobe well under the profit-making line.We must take into, -.account the- fact , that this wool,- . hasalready; paid, aflat . rate of . l5½d. per lb.Any Government . would . be justified in taking. care thatafter a reasonable price had been paid,it shouldnot bepossible outof theplus tomake large profits as . a result of . any. Government . action of the kind. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir Robert Best: -- What is , to bethe proportion of Bawra wool to current clip -put on the market ? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Weaccept Bawra's suggestion of. one bale of Bawra to two bales of current clip. It: seems to us that if we are to , try to stabilize the market, and at the same time to dispose of this wool fairly, that is , a reasonable proportionwith which to begin. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST:
KOOYONG, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -How do the Government propose to carryout the scheme? Throughthe Customs Department ? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- At the moment Ican conceive of no otherway in which itcouldbe doneexceptbynew legislation . Thepower alreadyexistsunder theCus- toms Act'. Section 112 of the Act. provides that - >The' Governor-General may, by proclamation, prohibit the exportation of any goods . . . the. exportation of which would, in his opinion, be harmful to the Commonwealth. . . ,. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir Robert Best: -- The imposing of these;- conditions will involve a very, great straining of that provision. There will be- plenty of litigation. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- If honorable members wish the scheme to be* carried oUt, in some other way there are no' -in? superable obstacles to. our.' doing so: A way is already provided by Statute,- and there are able and competent judges of the. law who say that ample, power resides in' the section- which. I have- just, quoted. unable to say at* the- moment whether the carrying out of the: scheme-would 'in* volve an undue straining, of that, provision, but we. may either operate, under the- Customs A'ct or bring down, a. measure., which will have: the:- same -effect. I do not know, that I need say much more on this question. There- are< details which will havel to be. considered 'in carrying out the- scheme-. There- is, for instance, the: position of.' the< fellmongers and! the i dealers -in- skim wool. Such, mat; ten. I take, it, will be- susceptible- to further< agreement.. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir Robert Best: -- What' have the Government decided in regard' to skin wool *1* {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Nothing, at the moment... I, Hope before - we *r* are- through some, arrangement will be arrived at that will be fair, to the skin, wool' buyers. We must take, care that, that is done before we confer these powers upon Bawra. These: them, are i the- proposals'. I suggest them- with -no enthusiasm', but- 1 cannot find anything' better' in the circumstances. I believe' they are the best that are offering: After ail it is an experiment which. I think, is justified in the circumstances, since it. is to. be carried, out in the interest of our. greatest and most vital industry, and one which', I believe; profoundly affects the financial' position of this country. I can* but hope that we may have luck with this scheme and' get rid of our wool. The earlier we get rid of it the better 'for' all concerned, and the sooner" we return- to normal times and lift all these controls the better I", for one, shall be: pleased'. {: #subdebate-22-0-s4 .speaker-KHE} ##### Mr HIGGS:
Capricornia -- I approach this- question with some trepidation, nott that I- ami alarmed at; the requests, and. they "are numerous, which have been made by- various associationsto support the Government proposals; but because of. its magnitude-, and because, as the Acting Prime- Minister **(Sir Joseph Cook-, has said, the Government, in taking this action, will be interfering, with** i one. of the. first: principles of . political economy. Although . the Government have decided to take this step, every honorable member must, realize that he may bo charged with- the. responsibility for. it. If the proposal- fails,, not only- the Govern* ment, .but. every member of. Parliament who supported it, will be blamed. For. that reason I, as an old parliamentarian., feel it to be my duty to point out to the Government that, it proposes- to interfere with the operation, of the law of supply and- demand in the markets of. the world. It is. difficult- for a. Government , to fix prices - within, its: own. territory, as' we proved during the war.. Under the War Precautions- Act, the Common^ wealth Government-- tried, to fix the prices- of meat, with: the result, that no- prime' beef was. sent to. the market, because the- growers- could, get uo more for. their prime? cattle, thaw for their stores.- While' those who were able and willing to pay- for' at better quality meat could not get it, those in- the poorer localities 'had to pay more.- for their< meat than had hitherto been: charged. Then an attempt was. made to keep the . price- of galvanized' iron at a reasonable level, and a regulation was passed prohibiting a seller from charging- more, than a. certain profit- I think. 15 per cent.- What happened was that galvanized 'iron was passed from one purchaser to another before- it found its way- to the user; and in the city of Rockhampton as much. as. £80 pelton was paid, for second-hand galvanized iron. There was only a limited supply and. a' very big demand, and. thus the law of supply- and demand, operated, to keep the price, up. It is- possible for huge trusts and combines, to regulate prices,, and they do so; but I doubt, whether the Government, though it might do . a; little in war time, can do anything in peace time in this- direction. Where there is competition like that of the Commonwealth Bank with the private banks, rates may be kept down; but, generally, Government interference in attempts at regulating prices fails. The Commonwealth Parliament is now asked to take action to prevent the wool-growers from selling their wool for less than an average of 8d. per lb. In other words, we are asked to compel them to join the One Big Union. This is a project for unionism made compulsory by Commonwealth law, and, if adopted, will be a precedent for compelling the farmers and dairymen of the Commonwealth to join a union, and for compelling the wholesale merchants of all kinds to join another union. {: .speaker-KDZ} ##### Mr Jowett: -Have they not done so? {: .speaker-KHE} ##### Mr HIGGS: -- Whateverhas been done has been done voluntarily; what is now proposed is compulsion by law, which is quite a different thing. The course now proposed to be taken will be a precedent for compelling the retail houses - the grocers, drapers, confectioners, and others - to join a union for the regulation of prices, as well as a precedent for compelling the miners, waterside workers, transport operatives, shearers, mechanics and labourers of the Commonwealth to join One Big Union. These men have their labour" to sell, and do not wish to sell it below a certain price. Arewe justified in saying to them, " You must join one big union, because if you do not you will compete with one another, and the bottom will fall out of the labour market." It is proposed to limit the - compulsory unionism of the wool-growers to a period of six months - the Prime Minister suggested two months; but it seems to me that if the arrangement is to be successful it must last for five or six years. Like the Prime Minister, I doubt that it will succeed. As a political economist, I question the wisdom of what is proposed, and as a member of Parliament, responsible for the operation of the laws he votes for, I am not prepared to take the blame of the failure that may result. Representing, as I do, a pastoral constituency, I know the value of the pastoral industry. According to the. last issue of the *Commonwealth Year-Book,* the valuation of Commonwealth productions of wealth in 1918 was as follows: - Pastoral production includes living animals - horses, cattle, sheep; frozen beef, frozen mutton and lamb, hides, and sheep skins, tallow, wool, &c. It is stated that - >The chief contributing factor to the pastoral wealth of Australia is the production of wool, the value of the output for the season ended 30th June, 1910, being about £42,400,000. The bulk of the wool produced in the Commonwealth is exported, but with greater activity of the local woollen mills therehas, in recent years, been an increasing quantity used in Australia, although even now the quantity so used represents only about 3 per cent. of the whole clip. Some pastoralists have done very well of recent years, and good luck to them. The men and women who have taken up station life deserve to do well, and there are few city dwellers who would not, if they knew all the hardships, the toil, and the risks that have to be faced by those on the land, hesitate about changing places with even the most successful of them. A proposal affecting one of the main industries of the Commonwealth should receive our best support and consideration, and we should also endeavour to do justice to the people of the Commonwealth at. large. As I understand the position, the Commonwealth sold our wool on the understanding that thegrowers should get not less than1s. 3½d. per lb for it, together with half of any profits over and above that. The deal was so successful that the British Government paid for all the wool at1s. 3½d., and there remains to be sold 2,700,000 bales. Fifty per cent. of the profit of the sale of this wool will, after expenses have been deducted, go to the Australian, New Zealand, and South African growers of it. So much has been said of Bawra - the BritishAustralian Wool Realization Association - that it is of interest to ascertain its origin. I understand that the association was formed because the buying and Belling of wool was one of the last trad ing operations of the British Government, and that Government wished to get rid of it. It decided, therefore, to form a company with a nominal capital of £44,000,000. This company is really an assets realization institution. {: .speaker-KFC} ##### Mr Fleming: -- I do not think that the suggestion for the formation of this company came from the British Government. {: .speaker-KHE} ##### Mr HIGGS: -- Wherever it came from, a company was formed with a capital of which only £5 was paid in cash, the £44,000,000 being represented by the valuation of the 2,700,000 bales of wool which were to be controlled, 4 valuation based on the prices of the boom period, which must now go by the Board. Nominally £22,000,000 of the capital of the company belongs to. the British Government, and £22,000,000 to the woolgrowers of Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. It is proposed to issue £10,000,000 of the wool-growers' share of the capital in priority certificates or warrants, bearing no interest, but negotiable by banks and other institutions, and to issue £12,000,000 in share certificates, which are to carry a dividend, if there is a dividend. This may suggest a way out. What is to prevent the directorate of Bawra, . five of whom are in England and six in Australia, from negotiating with the British Government with a view to its accepting from the wool-growers' section of the association - the Australian, New Zealand, and South African growers of the wool - priority certificates or warrants, to be redeemed when the wool is sold? The wool-growers could then determine what should be done with the wool. {: .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -- You suggest that it should be purchased by the Australian Bawra ? {: .speaker-KHE} ##### Mr HIGGS: -- Yes, and that the Australian Bawra should negotiate with the British Government for the acceptance of priority certificates for it. {: .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The undertakings given to the British public and to the British trade by the Imperial Government stand in the way of that. {: .speaker-KHE} ##### Mr HIGGS: -- The question is, can this be done? Can the price which the Acting Prime Minister said should be fixed be fixed with success? Can Australia control the wool markets of the world? To ascertain this it is well to know where the sheep of the world are. According to the latest issue of the *CommonwealthYearBook;they* are distributed as follows: - {: .speaker-KFC} ##### Mr Fleming: -- In 1919 Australia had only 75,000,000 sheep. {: .speaker-KHE} ##### Mr HIGGS:
CAPRICORNIA, QUEENSLAND · ALP; IND 1920; NAT from 1920 -- The figures relating to foreign countries were taken by our Commonwealth Statistician from the *Tear Book* of the United States of AmericaDepartment of Agriculture. It would appear that the approximate number of sheep in the world is in the neighbourhood of 550,000,000 to whichtotal Australia contributes nearly 16 per cent. I notice that no mention in this record is made of the number of sheep possessed by Japan, and I have not had time to look up the figures. I understand, from the Assistant Minister for Repatriation **(Mr. Rodgers),** that Japan has no sheep industry; but I read in the newspapers that Japan is buying Australian rams, with' the object; of; crossing- them with sheep in Mongolia, a country nearly as as big as Australia with a population, of." about. 2,000,000.. We may, I should. say, expect, within- very few- years, that- Japan will be an important competitor in the matter ofsheep, and possibly wool, which will be turned into textiles in Japanese factories-. The honorablemember. for Grampians **(Mr. Jowett),** whomI regard as an eminent authority, tells us that we producer 20 per cent. or. 25.. per cent of the. world's1 wool. To ascertain whetherour production- of wool- will have the effect.. that the. directors ofBawra expect, we must consider the imports of wool into. the. United Kingdom,., I find from a table taken- from the *Commonwealth' Year- Book,,* page 337, that the imports ofwoolinto the United Kingdom in 1918 - and I presume the amount has been, practically the same during the last two: on three years - were as follows : - If we take the totalof the: wool imported into, the United . Kingdom from all countries as:413,453,747 lbs. and; subtract 204,756,535 lbs; imported from Australia, we get a balance of 208,000,000 in round figures; and if we add tothat balance the British production of 134,000,000 lbs; from 27,000,000. sheep in the United Kingdom, we get a total of 342,697,2 12 lbs: If we hold back allour wool there wall that342,697,212 lbs: of wool on the market in England. The question-: that arises in my mind is that if the Commonwealth Government tell the Australian growers that they shall not sell and export their wool atlessthan 8d. perlb., willtheGovernment not be fixing a price at a shade over which the foreign grower can sell ? The foreign grower will know our priceis fixedat 8d., and he will; say to himself that, all he; has todo is to sell just under it. Mr.Fleming. -His average, quality will not. be as good as ours. {: .speaker-KHE} ##### Mr HIGGS: -- As to that,I am informed that the greater portion of the. 2,700,000 bales of Bawra is cross-bred. and inferior average quality. The. reason: is that during the war everybody had, " money to burn" A great- deal of. the best wool was. used for our. soldiers; and. the best textiles; were asked for by the general . public. . Our great consumers of. thiscrossbred inferior quality of wool on the continent werenot. buying, any: {: .speaker-KDZ} ##### Mr Jowett: -- Assuming that to be the case-, which. I; do, not admit, your, remarks donot apply to the new clip. {: .speaker-KHE} ##### Mr HIGGS: -- No; I am informed that all our best merino wools will always command their price - there will be no difficulty aboutthat. If the honorable member: for Grampians is correct in saying that there are 4,500,000. bales of: surplus wool, we- haver to take into - consideration the comingclip, which; in someplaces, is nowbeing shorn. This means that at the end of the period we must add another 2,500,000 bales, making 7,000,000 bales to be disposed- of . {: .speaker-KDZ} ##### Mr Jowett: -- My totalwas 4,000,000 bales: {: .speaker-KHE} ##### Mr HIGGS: -- The world, for our purposes may be considered to be Europe and North America; and in that connexion I wish to bring under the attention of honorable members the following figures : - It would appear that the annual consumption of wool in that part- of the world is about 3,000,000 bales. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr Watt: -- Has the honorable member got the United States production and consumption in his mind f {: .speaker-KHE} ##### Mr HIGGS: -- I lake my figures from the *Commonwealth Y ear-Book,* and my point is that if 3,000,000 bales is the consumption for an average year, the world cannot take the 7,000,000 bales, except its sale is spread over a period of years. {: .speaker-KDZ} ##### Mr Jowett: -- Has the honorable member taken into account the consumption of locally-produced wool in the various countries ? {: .speaker-KHE} ##### Mr HIGGS: -- Yes. For our purposes this table shows ' the destination of our wool, and the wool of Cape Colony and River Plate. I ask honorable members what would be the effect of our having 7,000,000 bales of wool on hand, with the price fixed at 8d. per lb., below which Australian growers may not sell. I doubt -Ihe wisdom of the action of the Government in this regard, if that action be taken. We shall have to bear all the odium if - there be a failure; and later on I propose to ask honorable members to consider the position of those at present engaged in the industry. It appears to me that if the Government are to take control of the wool in the interests of the industry, it would be better to leave the fixing of the price from time to time to the directors of Bawra and the wool-growers associated with them. Suppose that the directors decide that, on account of the market, 8d. per lb. is *top* much, and Parliament is not sitting. Of course, if Parliament were sitting, an alteration in the price could be made in an- hour. {: .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The price can be reviewed and altered by Executive act. {: .speaker-KHE} ##### Mr HIGGS: -- I do not agree with those who say that it would be wise to hoard these millions of bales of wool. In the true and permanent interests of the pastoral industry and the general public, that wool should be put into use, although not at a sacrifice price. The' gentlemen who form the directorate of Bawra comprise the very best brains in the pastoral industry and we understand that the graziers and others interested in the production of wool are all agreed that the course proposed is the proper one. If they are united in that opinion, I suggest to them that, rather than come to the Government for the assistance of the law - meaning, of course, the military, police, and Customs officers - they should go in for voluntary co-operation, which appears to be a great deal more successful than Government compulsory co-operation. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr Watt: -- But they are not all agreed upon this proposal. {: .speaker-KHE} ##### Mr HIGGS: -- The majority of themare. I do not believe that, if the Government fail to fix the price, the. people engaged in the industry will rush their wool on the market, regardless of the quantity that may be bought, and so bring the price down to a low figure. The best plan I have heard suggested is that the British Government should sell the 2,700,000 bales of Bawra wool to Germany and Austria. I heard one honorable member say that that policy would mean that our late enemies would turn the wool into textiles, which would compete unfairly with the products of British manufacture. No doubt they would, but the suggestion is- coupled with a proposal that the Government should accept from Germany and Austria, for the wool, gold bonds redeemable in five years and carrying interest at 6$ percent., and that the wool should be only for consumption within those two countries, and should not be exported. We know that the Allies have not been able yet to arrange for the payment of the indemnity by Germany, and that there is a great deal -of unrest in the world, but that matter may be settled at any time. There can be no doubt that the .people of Germany and Austria require wool. During the war they were compelled to use paper instead of wool and cotton for underclothing. Much of this accumulated wool, being crossbred, and of . poorer quality, could be used by the German- -and Austrian people for the manufacture of the clothes they require, as well as earpets, rugs, and other textiles of that character. As evidence of what Australia is losing by not trading with Germany, I submit the following table, which has been furnished to me by **Mr. G.** H. Knibbs, acting for the Commonwealth Statistician : - During the nine months ended 31st March, 1921, the following exports of wool have been recorded as shipped to Germany : - German import returns show the imports of wool from Australia for the years 1912 and 1913 as follows : - It would appear that for the five years before the war. Germany was buying Australian wool to the value of £8,000,000 per annum - forty million pounds sterling in five years - and I have no doubt that as soon as the trading conditions become settled that volume of business will be restored. There must be in our own interest, a time limit to international hatreds; the pastoralists and. other primary producers will suffer so long as there is a refusal to trade freely with the continent of Europe, Germany and Austria included. I sincerely hope that the payment of the indemnity will be made as soon as possible, in order that the world may get back into its stride and that the people who are unemployed in all the big cities throughout the world may be provided with work. I read the other day - and this bears upon the capacity of the wool-buyers of the world to pay an average price of 9d. - that there were, 3,000,000 unemployed in the United States of America; 2,000,000 in Germany; and in February last 1,300,000 in Great Britain. {: .speaker-K4F} ##### Mr Considine: -- And we have our own contribution. {: .speaker-KHE} ##### Mr HIGGS: -- Yes; there are unemployed in Australia. A circular sent to members recently stated that 70,000 people had been given relief rations in the city of Sydney. {: .speaker-K88} ##### Mr Cunningham: -- It stated that 70,000 cases had been dealt with. {: .speaker-KHE} ##### Mr HIGGS: -- We are passing through the crisis that inevitably follows every war in every country. There was the boom period during the war, when all the mills factories, and workshops were producing at their maximum, material which was just as rapidly being destroyed on the battlefields. Then, when the armistice was signed, there was a boom, and competing buyers of wool forced up the prices. That boom soon ceased, and today nearly all the wholesale houses are stocked with goods which they bought at high prices during the war or during the boom following the armistice, and there is naturally a poorer demand for commodities, and unemployment. One difficulty connected with the wool position is that wool is not like copper and other metals. When the price of copper slumped the mines closed down; but the wool is growing all the time, and the grower has to get rid of his. product. If the House indorses the Government scheme to fix a flat rate of 8d. per lb., below which wool must not be exported, what will happen to wool-growers who own the sheep at the present time and will own the 1921-22 clip? There are 4,000,000 bales of Bawra and free wool to be sold. What will be the outlook of the wool -growers? They will not be allowed to sell under 8d. per lb. flat rate for export. If the whole of the wool growers were in a huge co-operative body and all wereto share in the benefits or diminished profits, the position would be bad enough, but they are not all included in the Bawra scheme. What is to happen to those men who cannot sell their wool under a certain price ? Will they shear their sheep ? And if the wool is shorn, where are we to store it? An honorable member said the other day that some pastoralists were burning their wool because it did not pay them to take it away. {: .speaker-KDZ} ##### Mr Jowett: -I have not heard of any one burning; wool. {: .speaker-KHE} ##### Mr HIGGS: -I heard one honorable member speak of it. However, it only shows the great difficulties of the position. If the Government say that they will fix the price at Sd., I shall support them,, but will accept no responsibility in so doing. I have given my views of the position from a political economy standpoint. {: .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -- If the time indicated by the Acting Prime Minister is the period fixed, it is not likely to apply to the new clip. {: .speaker-KHE} ##### Mr HIGGS: -- As to the period, the buyers will say, " This is only to last for two months, and then it must break down"; or, "We have only to wait six months, when this scheme will break down." Therefore, it would be wise to provide that the terminating date shall be fixed by proclamation, thus enabling the Government to be advised by the directors of Bawra when the time arrives for this control 6"f wool to cease. {: .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -- That will be the position. The Government will, during the time, have an opportunity of reviewing the situation. {: .speaker-KHE} ##### Mr HIGGS: -- As many of my constituents and others who are interested in the wool question may not have the figures at hand, or may not be able to get them without considerable trouble, I shall conclude by quoting some tables taken from the Budget-papers supplied by the Treasurer recently. They are as follows : - The following table will enable a comparison to be made as to the number of sheep, and the before-mentioned export, each year : - ' I hope that the industry will profit by whatever is clone. I would prefer that the people engaged in pastoral pursuits, who include among them many of the keenest brains in the world, should try to do by voluntary co-operation what is asked to be done by Government compulsion, because, of course, there is a precedent, and with that precedent in mind honorable members can imagine for. themselves what measures may be proposed, {: #subdebate-22-0-s5 .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- -Now that the Acting Prime Minister **(Sir Joseph Cook)** has made his statement, it is "flogging a dead horse " to make a few remarks upon this very important question, but I think I should mention some phases of it which affect the constituency I represent. There is no gainsaying the fact that the pastoral industry has been the backbone of the Commonwealth. One 'thing that has pleased me in connexion with this industry more than has 'anything else has been the creation of the British-Australian Wool Realization Association, in which the whole of the pastoral interests of Australia were consulted. I have received the following telegram from the Queensland Graziers' Association, a body which i3 quite apart from the Pastoralists' Union : - >Executive Queensland Graziers' Association strongly urge you to approve of the recommendations made by Bawra for stabilization of wool market and not allow Government to modify that scheme, in any way. without consent of Bawra directors. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr Riley: -- They want Bawra to govern the country. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- The honorable member seems to have a " bee in his bonnet" aboutBawra. It is purely a. private concern. {: .speaker-K4F} ##### Mr Considine: -- If the Government carry out their intention, it will be no longer.a private concern. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- The pastoralists of Australia are not' asking the . Government to. subscribe one farthing or lend them . any money. They only ask Ministersnot to allow any " scabbing." Surely the honorable member forBarrier agrees with such a proposal. No one in the Housebelieves in strong unionism more than doesthe honorable member . {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- Does the honorable member for Maranoa believe in compulsory unionism.? {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -All my life. I have been anadvocate of compulsory, unionism. {: .speaker-K4F} ##### Mr Considine: -- Does not the honorable member - see- any difference between compulsory unionism for the. employees and compulsory unionism for the "bosses:"? {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- This scheme does not affect the " bosses " only. The whole industry is concerned. Little men and big men are all on the same footing. The scheme will save instead of swamping the small grazier. When the wool appraisement scheme was first brought in some members of the Labour party imagined that it would killthe little- man. As a matter: of fact; it was a god-send to him. Itmade it possible for him to getthe full value for hiswool. He could not do this previously, when the practice was to sell star lots. However, that is by the way. The Graziers, Association are in favour of the Bawra scheme, and they do not want any.Governmentinterference. The only assistance they ask is that, persons should be stored from " scabbing," on the scheme. They know what they are doing. {: .speaker-K4F} ##### Mr Considine: -- No doubt they do. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- And I know what it means if the bottom, should' fall out of the pastoral industry. It- would spell ruination; not only to'that- industry, butalso to'the-whole of Australia, affect ing- the workers first of all. Look at the number, of men engaged, in the -wool industry, particularly, inQueensland. What would there be for them to. do if the bottom, fell out of the wool, market The honorable member for Capricornia; **(Mr Higgs)** says he. does not . believe in this scheme, because it is not. sound from: a. political economy- stand-point, . but I. amwilling to take my share of carrying the-. " baby " from that point of view. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr Watt: -- That "baby"' will be: by " Adam Smith " out of " Confusion." {: .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member is anxious to get a fair price forhis wool. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- Thatis all I am concerned about but 8d . is . not a fair: price for it. I. do not know whether it will cover the cost of production in many parts of western Queensland. However; it is better to get 8d. perlb. thannothing, for. that is. what it really means; If; it were not for the Bawra scheme land values would go down, a financial crisis would be. brought about, workmen wouldgo about workless, and strong, solvent, business houses would find their structures tumbling about their ears like packs of cards upon an announcement being made that wool was unsaleable. Every, calling throughout Australia would be affected-, the carriers; who get their living by carting the wool,' the railway workers who take the wool 'to the market, the shipping people, and the wharf labourers - all would: be affected. No one could . tell where the end would "be. In plain words, it would mean disasterto Australia. No one would suffer more than would the small grazier for whom the honorable member for Hunter **(Mr. Charlton)** is concerned. If the big growers were allowed to put their wool on the market without restriction, the small man would beswamped; therewouldbe nothing left forhim. As amatterof fact, the scheme hasbeen brought about for his protection.- {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr Riley: -- Will the small man be guaranteed a minimum of 8d. ? {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- All that. Bawra asksis that the wool must not be sold at lessthan 8d. {: #subdebate-22-0-s6 .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -For export. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- During the war Australian buyers' were not paying- for the wool they bought the price paid for wool sold overseas. {: .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The local manufacturers got the wool at the first appraised price. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- The price of woollenswasgoingup all the time, but the woolgrowers did not : reap the benefit. The additional profits went to the manufacturers and the Flinderslane merchants. Wehave been told that it takes only 7 lbs. of greasy wool toprovidethe material for an average suit of clothes. If at the time of which I. speak that wool had brought 2s. a. lb., a. suit of clothes would. thus have. represented only 14s. worth. But the price obtained by the wool-growerwas less than 5s . for the lot. It is easy to ascertain where the profiteering came in. {: .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -- That was one of the weak spots of the administration. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- Yes.Not only would all the industries Ihave mentioned suffer if the bottom fell out of the wool market, but the finances of the Commonwealth and States would be most seriously affected. Pastoralists inQueenslandand New South Wales would not be able to pay their rents ;it would be impossible to collect taxation payable by them, and we should be inastate of financial chaos.I amgreatly pleased thatan enterprising body of men has come forward to try to liftus clearof thisfinancialmess. Ihave sufficient faithin Australia to believe that, ; dark though thefinancial clouds may bethey arenot without a silver lining, andthat, with the help of Bawra, the pastoral industry and our finances generally will right themselves. Mr.Fenton. - The honorable member said just now that growers . will be able to sell their wool . at any- price they -pleased within Australia. Will that not lead to a system of gambling like that which has happened in connexion with wheat scrip? {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- I do not know. The man who can afford to wait for his money will ship his wool . overseas. The only opponents of this scheme . are . the speculators and a -few -wool-brokers. 'The secretary of the Buyers Association published a letter in the *Age* this morning in which he objected to the proposal. The wool-brokers would naturally object to it. Honorable members on this side of the House, including myself, have often referred to the price of wheat and the high cost of bread. The buyer always wants tomake his purchases at the cheapest possiblerate, and the seller wants to sell in the highestmarket. Mr.Considine. - If the wool is unsaleable on the other side, wherein . lies theadvantage to the. buyer in. regard to the provision towhichthehonorable member has justref erred? {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- The wool cannot always be unsaleable. The world to-day is upside down. NeitherRussia nor Germany buys any wool from us. The honor able member interjection reminds me that the Bradf ord people are ma king the greatest fuss over this proposal, although they have been? in the habit of purchasing only a very small proportion of Australian merino wool. Mr.Considine. -Did not the greater part of our merinowool go to Germany before the war? {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- To France and Germany. Germany acted as a distributing agent for other countries. {: .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -- Some ofit also went to theUnited States of America., {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -That is so.I am satisfied that those at the head of the Bawra . scheme know what they are about. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr Watt: -- Hasthe honorable member the figures showing Bradford's consumption of Australianhighgrade wool beforethe war? {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- No; but. I know that the consumption was -very small. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr Watt: -- Thatisnot so. The figures are obtainable. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- I was told by **Mr. James** Niall, managing director of Goldsborough,Mort, and Company limited, that "before the war France and Germany were ourbiggest customers for merino wool. Mr.Mathews.-It is in the West of England and not in France or Germany that the finest material is made up from our wool. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- A lot of our wool isconvertedinto the very bestmaterial in France. Iasked a memberof the French. Commission which visitedthis country not very longago, how our merino wool comparedwiththat of other countries, and was toldthat it was amongst the finest the world produced.He referred particularly to that grown in:the western portion of Victoria. He had never been in Australia, but wasfamiliar with the principal wool-growing centres of Australia. {: .speaker-KFC} ##### Mr Fleming: -- The finest wool is grown, not in Australia, . but in Saxony, Germany. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- If that is so, how is it that the Spaniards came here to buy some of our merino rams for the flocks of Spain? {: .speaker-KFC} ##### Mr Fleming: -- Because our merinoes are a better all-round sheep. They have a. better carcase. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- If I wanted a stud horse, and could get it in Australia, I would not go to England for it. {: .speaker-KFF} ##### Mr Foley: -- We could put all Saxony's sheep into one paddock. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- Exactly. I am satisfied that the House will do well to support the Bawra scheme. The position has been put in a nutshell by the Acting Prime Minister **(Sir Joseph Cook),** and the honorable member for Capricornia **(Mr. Higgs).** The honorable member for Gwydir **(Mr. Cunningham)** was the first to propound in this House the proposal that the Imperial Government's interest in our stock of carry-over wool should be bought out, and that we should gradually dispose of that wool. He made that suggestion by way of interjection, and later on the honorable member for Kooyong **(Sir Robert Best)** stole his thunder, and put H forward as his own scheme._ I thought at first that it would be well if the pastoralists of Australia could be financed by the British Government, by the 'Commonwealth Bank, or by any of the Associated Banks, so that they might buy "P that wool. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr Watt: -- And put it in bond ? {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- No; but sell it on long terms to the poverty-stricken peoples i of Europe. When I came to analyze the proposal, however, I recognised what would happen if that were done, and the people who were given this long credit dumped their manufactured woollen goods into Great Britain and Australia. {: .speaker-K88} ##### Mr Cunningham: -- The honorable member would not suggest "giving the people of other countries better terms than we are prepared to give our own. people ? {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- No. The Acting Prime Minister and the honorable member for Capricornia have exposed the fallacy of that proposal. I am willing to "carry the baby" so far as this scheme is concerned. It is allimportant, not only to the pastoralists, but to the small sheep- farmer, the grazing homesteader, and to the workers generally. What would become of Roma, Charleville, Rockhampton, and other Queensland towns, if, following upon practically the collapse of Mount Morgan, we had a collapse of the pastoral industry ? The country would not recover during our lifetime from such a financial shock. For that reason alone, if for no other, I would welcome the Bawra scheme. I have every confidence in the men at its head. {: .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -- So serious was the position created that sales were called off. If the prices then ruling had continued, rural credits would have fallen, and wages would have fallen. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- Credits would have stopped, and we all know what would then have happened. . {: .speaker-K4F} ##### Mr Considine: -- It is interesting to observe honorable members opposite almost shedding tears on behalf of the working classes. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- The Assistant Minister for Repatriation **(Mr. Rodgers)** knows what effect a total collapse of the pastoral industry would have on all the workers who depend upon it for a livelihood. Every man with a heart, whether he be a Conservative or Labour man, must sympathize with the people who are depending on the industry. T feel for them; and I may also say that I do not want to "go broke" any more than I' want to see any other man "go broke." Prosperity is good for all of us. When the country was prosperous we raised our own " screws " as members of Parliament because we thought we deserved it; but there is no means by which those dependent upon wool-growing can raise their " screws " if the bottom falls out of the market. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr Watt: -- The honorable member is supporting the Bawra scheme?' {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- Yes. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr Watt: -- Is he also supporting the Government scheme? {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- I support both of them. {: .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The Government scheme answers Bawra's request. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- That is so. I am willing to take the responsibility of the vote I shall give on this question, because I know that the Bawra scheme will help my constituency. .Every one of us out in western Queensland is dependent upon wool-growing. If there were no wool there would be no money out there. **Mr. Weinholt.** Do not forget the cattle. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- Quite so. I am not too sure about the position of the cattle-raising industry. The tallow market is falling, and meat is going down in price. ' Some eighteen months ago a man in Charleville, in my presence, offered 35s. per head for ewes in lamb and nearly fully fleeced. The person to whom that offer was made would not take it. {: .speaker-L0Q} ##### Mr Wienholt: -- Two fools met. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- Yes. Those same sheep can now be bought for 8s. 6d. The price of cattle has gone down, and is still .going down. The honorable member for Capricornia **(Mr. Higgs)** spoke of price fixing. Nothing fixes prices better than supply and demand. {: .speaker-KFF} ##### Mr Foley: -- What about the few who control supplies at certain times? {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- It is not the few who are controlling supplies in Queens-, land. Some of the run-holders are not getting full value for their cattle; many of them are not getting the market value. {: .speaker-KFF} ##### Mr Foley: -- That is because a few can control the supply or the demand. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- If the honorable member wants a few thousand head of fat cattle, he can get them within twenty-four hours. Any demand he might make could be supplied very quickly. {: .speaker-KFC} ##### Mr Fleming: -- Cattle are just half the price now that they were twelve months ago. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- That shows that the law of supply and demand is regulating the price of stock. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr Mathews: -- It did not regulate the retail prices of beef and mutton. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- The way out of the difficulty of high retail prices is coopera tion, and nu one knows .it better than the honorable member for Barrier **(Mr. Considine).** {: .speaker-K4F} ##### Mr Considine: -- I want the pastoralists to co-operate with themselves. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- They are cooperating. If they were not, they would bo in a devil of a mess. They are asking the Government to prevent any of their number from " scabbing " on the cooperation. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr Watt: -- The mantle of the prophet Jeremiah seems to- have fallen on the burly shoulders of the Honorable member. He is usually an optimist. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- Notwithstanding the pessimistic view of the Prime Minister **(Mr. Hughes),** I have sufficient faith in my country, and in the pastoral industry, to think that it will pull through. I have implicit faith in the pastoral industry. {: .speaker-KFC} ##### Mr Fleming: -- And in the men who , are running it. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- Yes. I have also- implicit faith in Bawra, because those who are running it are tried and experienced in the wool business. The picture painted by. the Prime Minister last week was an awful one. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr Watt: -- The honorable member has painted a similar picture, though he fears not merely (the collapse of the pastoral industry, but the blotting out of it. The Prime Minister did not go so far as that. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- That is what I do fear, and if the honorable member was interested in wool he would think as I do. Bawra is throwing out a life-line to the industry, and I am satisfied that it will pull us through. Had the honorable member fulfilled the mission on which he was sent Home, these difficulties would not have occurred. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr Watt: -- Why? {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- Because you would have financed things so that the collapse could not have occurred. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr Watt: -- That was not in the proposition. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- Your coming back as you did was not in the proposition. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr Watt: -- I "went to assess and finance the profits, not to finance the carry-over. That was never in the scheme. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- The honorable member for Hunter **(Mr. Charlton)** stated that if the wool went clean off the face of the earth no one would be at any loss. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr Riley: -- It has all been paid for. {: .speaker-K4F} ##### Mr Considine: -- Whoever paid for it would be at a loss. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- It has not been paid for. It is the profits made on the wool already sold that the honorable member for Hunter had in mind. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr Watt: -- The British Government has paid a flat rate on the carry-over wool. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- But it has. done pretty well out of the transaction. The ls. 3£d. per lb, was the average rate for the wool. {: .speaker-JRH} ##### Mr Bowden: -- rAnd .it. is now proposed that '8'd... shall be the 'average. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- Tes. The carry-over wool belongs to the men who grew it and to the British Government as joint owners. No one else has any interest in it. -Surely those who own the wool -should 'have the right to say what shall be done with it. .Some take a pessimistic view of its. effect on i the new clip. I do not- feel that it will interfere with the 'present sales. If we sell .two bales of the new -wool for one of Bawra we shall get a fair deal. {: .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -- Great Britain has given us the whole of this market for the sale of the new clip. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- Have -we any Bawra wool here? {: .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -- Yes; . about 30 per cent, of the Bawra wool is. in -Australia. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- -I know -there is a good . deal of wool stacked in ' Queensland. *Sitting suspended from '6'.29 to 8 p.m.* {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- During the dinner adjournment I -had a conversation with the honorable member for "Kooyong **(Sir Robert "-Best)** -regarding my -remark that he 'had "'stolen the thunder " df -the honorable member for Gwydir (Mr.* Cunningham). 'The -honorable .member -for Kooyong -explained to me that the scheme he suggests, and the scheme of the honorable member Nf or : Gwydir, -are 'totally ..different; .and, therefore, I desire to withdraw the remark to which I have referred. I have received a further telegram from Queensland to the following effect : - {:#subdebate-22-1} #### Stock Exchange, Brisbane Brisbane members National Council Woolselling Brokers of Australia are watching -with great interest wool proposals now before .Parliament, and unanimously request your support recommendations of flat rate , of ninepence and minimum period six. months. * T.. Mcilraith Taylor, Chairman. (That > telegram shows that all concerned are watching with great interest the proposal now before the House, and there is /certainly no sign of 'hesitation about that telegram. {: #subdebate-22-1-s0 .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- Yes, with - one exception. These telegrams mean-that. all engaged in the industry, both growers and sellers, are agreed ; and, though .we have had no word from the buyers lin Queensland, I am satisfied that the Bawra scheme is regarded .as all right. During' the dinner adjournment one or two 'honorable members expressed to me the opinion - that, while the scheme may suit the " big men," they desire to know where the " little men " come in. .My reply .to that is that a,scheme is of more advantage to the " little men " than to the " big men." .Experience has shown me that the big wool-growers are able to take care of themselves; but the small man struggling on the land must have some one to look after' his. interests. Honorable members who represent metropolitan constituencies have no idea of 'the troubles, trials, and mistakes of the men who go on the land. :It is no 'easy 'matter for a man to successfully occupy a homestead area in Queensland, ;with -no one. to help 'him. but 'his own family. I. have -seen .many families -struggling '.on grazing areas in .Queensland, and I -know what. they have. to. suffer. .Many -of them have made good, but thousands have ".gone .to 'the wall." Others have taken the places of the unsuccessful, and they are the men who are there to-day. 'Of all industries, the stock-raising industry is -one that requires capital, whether 'the stock raised 'be sheep, cattle, or horses. The much-abused 'squatters in Western Queensland -in 'the old days -.are to be thanked :for the-.position now occupied' by the men on the land .there -to-day. The squatters of that day gave many of their employees a start under the Resumption Act of 1884. {: .speaker-KFC} ##### Mr Fleming: -- It was the same in New South Wales. {: #subdebate-22-1-s1 .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- To-day the sons and daughters of these early settlers are prosperous grazing farmers and homesteaders. These are the men and women who support and send me to this House. When a Pastoralists Union organizer was going -round the constituency, seeking the support of these people, they told 'him that they had promised me their 'vote. When he pointed out .to them that they were - supporting a Labour candidate .-and a " Socialist," they replied, " Oh, Jim Page is- all right. We want a f ew more. Socialists like him.; . be knows what we want, and- will get- it forms if. possible.'.''. These people have confidences in: me, and: I have confidence inthem.; if they do.not know when they have a. good; member; I' know when I have a- good, constituency; andI shall look after their. interests. {:#subdebate-22-2} #### Mr.Fenton. - Youparochialist ! {: #subdebate-22-2-s0 .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- I am looking at the matterfrom a"broad national point' of view." This proposed scheme is going, to be of' some benefit to the people whosent me here to represent' them. The brains ofthe pastoral industry are in this scheme, . and : when I receive telegrams expressing their' unanimous approval ofit; Iknow that such approval would not be given to anything which was against the interests of those concerned. As I have said', the squatter is a man who cantake care ofhimself ; no one knows better than hewhento put upthe umbrella " and' " get out of the rain." When these people tell me that the schemeisa good: one for theindustry, I venture to believe them; and I have the greatest faith! in' Australia, and in the power of the pastoralist industry to pull the country together: {: .speaker-KFC} ##### Mr Fleming: -- It is their city representatives who send these telegrams, and not- the pastoralists themselves. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- The. honorable member does not know what' he- is talking about. Does he say that **Mr. Whittinghamis** not a representative pastor alist ? {: .speaker-KFC} ##### Mr Fleming: -- I do not; Isay itis chiefly their, city, representatives who send these telegrams-. .. {: #subdebate-22-2-s1 .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- The gentleman I have named ' is. a- *bond 'fide-* squatter i and I think' the honorable', member for Brisbane **(Mr Cameron)** will support that statement:- **Mr .** Whittinghamis the presidentof the Pastoralists- Union, -and also of the Queensland Wool'. Growers'' Asso-" ciation , so 'that he is truly representative of: the industry.' I have knownhim personally, for years, and; I thus' speak . of . him with no hesitation: Thereisnothing parochial about- him ; ' he. is; a Queenslander, and an Australian at that. I say- ad:visedly, that': the Bawra directors, . before they sent. out. the ; " S . O. S . - " ' sign al, must have seen danger ahead'; and when they tell us? that' this -scheme, represents the-only solution, I: am willing-to take their word.' If this- scheme fails, we shall not. be to blame; weshallhave taken the advice of some of the most- expert. men in. . the world, connected with the- wool industry, and: if we " go under;" we will " go under " with our flag flying. {: #subdebate-22-2-s2 .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 .- When- the Prime Minister: **(Mr. Hughes)** made a statement in: connexion with the wool industry on Thursday last, he took occasion to deal with the question of economy; and his colleague **(Sir Joseph Cook)** has to-day given us excellent reason why it is essential " we- should make some effort toeconomize. We have been: told that whereas, for the last four years, some £9 per head of our population has been coming; to us from, the-wool industry, the. amount: at thepresent time. is. only£3 or. £4. In the. statement., he made the Prime Minister assumed that because the: Government had succeeded, in. passing' certain Estimates, they were justified, in spending the money, . and. that the Houseshould take the responsibility for. the: expenditure. That is- a point which'. I. donot wish to. deal with atlength on the present" occasion, but. will: take advantage of" another opportunity; later on to doso. The Prime Minister'.'attemptedtothrow the' responsibility" on -the House; and : reminded' us of certain statutory commitments amounting' to millions on" the one' hand; andtold usthatother millions were spent because of the clamorous application of' honorable members'. I might instance the £68,000,000 spent on the repatriation of oursoldiers, upon War Service Homes, and so on . This House was quite willing to give the Government. ample. means to properly repatriate our soldiers, but it did not give authority to spend money on land," which', for the most part, is . under nine inches, of water. We do not wish to diminish. the Naval Estimates, or those for naval shipbuilding;, but. we did' not give: the- Government! *carte blanche* to. permit such a fiasco as we have witnessed at Cockatoo Island. {: .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -- It is only fair to say that the land referred to by the honorable, member was bought on the recommendation of the Surveyor-General of the Commonwealth. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- That may be; but the Government, must take the responsibility - not the individual- members of. this House - and I throw it back. on. the Government. I. now: wish to deal with the wool question, which overshadows all others by reason, of its importance and its influence on the ultimate financial position of the Commonwealth. There is no doubt that the position now is very serious. The only newspaper that seems to regard it as not serious is the *Age,* and in the leader of this morning, the writer apparently takes that view because it does not affect the city interests of Melbourne. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr Watt: -- The *Age* says that the scare is exaggerated. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- The *Age* suggests that it *h* merely a bogey scare. I should like to deal for a few moments with .the argument used against the views expressed by the honorable member for Grampians **(Mr. Jowett)** and by other graziers outside this House. I do not wish to dogmatize in any way. I recognise that any proposition put forward is purely tentative and experimental. The view thar I desire to put is that the proposal by Bawra, though offering grave objections, is the one which holds the field against any other yet publicly made. The position is made doubly difficult of discussion and solution by reason of the conflicting interests that are involved. But one may be helped to arrive at a correct conclusion by looking at the way in which . the various conflicting interests are pulling. When we find that the wool buyers, who admit that they represent the manufacturers in Australia, Great Britain, America, and on the continent of Europe, strongly advocate a certain course which is in opposition to the unanimously expressed wish of practically all the graziers and wool brokers throughout Australia, one is justified in treating their advice with a certain amount of suspicion, and, looking for some reason which is not apparent on the surface, why it should npt be carried out. In their letter, published in the *Argus* to-day, they " let the cat out of the bag ' ' when they say - >Australia should not attempt to. force European manufacturers to purchase here, as, in the unsettled state of affairs, sufficient wool for present requirements can be secured elsewhere. Australian wool is not the acme of perfection assumed by the member for Maranoa. " The finest wool in- the world " is grown in southern Europe. That is the first point I wish to make. In the second place, I wish to correct the impression sought to be created both outside and inside the House, that the wool-growers and the whole pastoral industry are in a state of prosperity and free of hardships. That is not so. There have been pastoralists in favorably situated districts who have had the good fortune to do well, but throughout the whole of northern New South Wales the present position of every pastoralist is very precarious indeed. I know of one man who had 110,000 sheep, and who has had to spend during the last eighteen months £70,000 in actual drought costs; his sheep are reduced to 30,000, he is up to the limit of his overdraft, and cannot get further assistance from the bank to even pay wages. He has withdrawn his three boys from King's School, Sydney, and has discharged all the other men on his place, while he seeks, with the help of his three boys, to handle the station. The sole reason for this is that the. bank has said that, whilst it will not call up his overdraft, it will not advance him any more with which to carry on. There are many other men who, if they are able to pay for the shearing of their sheep, will not be able to pay the freight to send the wool to Sydney, to enable it to be offered at auction or forwarded to England. It is proper that the true position of the pastoral industry should be rightly estimated by the public of Australia. Throughout northern New South Wales there is a universal inquiry as to the possibility of introducing a moratorium in that district in order to enable the wool-growers to tide over the present trying times. {: .speaker-K0A} ##### Mr Gabb: -- Were the two men whom the honorable member mentioned in the industry-before the war? {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- They have been in this industry for the last thirty years I know of one man who was worth £50,000 at the beginning of the war, but who went out of the pastoral industry a year ago, and to-day is working for wages at the Newcastle steel works. In those circumstances I repel the statement that the pastoral industry is not in need of assistance at the present time. It is in the interests of the men who are creatin the wealth of Australia, and enabling the Government to raise taxation, as weil as in the interests of other associated industries - the selling agencies established in Australia as the result of many years of work and co-ordination - rather than to assist the interests that are represented by the Wool Buyers Association, that I am prepared to support a scheme that receives the unanimous support of all the growers and the brokers, except one, and all the banks, except two, which by a strange chance happen to be institutions the bulk of whose capital is found in London. {: .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -- And they are interested in London credits. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- I cannot speak as to that.' I desire to examine the various remedies that have been suggested to meet the present critical situation, for, I think, even the *Age* will admit that the situation is critical. Four alternatives have been suggested. The first is that the whole of the Bawra wool should be thrown on the market with the present clip and that there should be a free auction. What -would be the inevitable effect of that course? We have seen that when portions of the Bawra clip have been thrown on the market during the last year the prices at the first sale sagged from 10 to 20 per cent., and at the next open sale a further 20 per cent. The effect of putting the whole of the Bawra wool up for auction would be that the market would fade away, there would be general bankruptcy in the pastoral industry, and there would be no assets with which the pastoralist could finance himself, whilst outside speculators would be enabled to acquire the wool at a very low price and hold it in such a way as to unstablize the market for some years. That is a fair statement of what would happen if the whole of the wool were thrown on the market. The second alternative suggested is to persuade the Imperial Government, as half owner, to hold the Bawra wool off the market. That idea has a considerable number of supporters. Of course, the difficulties in the way of that scheme are that half the wool does belong to the Imperial Government, and, as **Sir John** Higgins has said, it was only with considerable difficulty that the British Treasury officials were induced to permit the Bawra wool being placed on the market in the proportion of one bale to" two bales of the fresh clip. Quite apart from that it seems to me that holding at the back of the market this huge accumulation of wool, which with the carry-over this year will amount to practically two years' clip, will create a spectre which will keep the market continually unstabilized. Even if it did not have any effect on the market at all I am one of those who hold that the principle which has been suggested of dumping the wool into the sea or burning it would be an international crime, when the bulk of the people of Central Europe are threadbare. I express considerable surprise at the attitude of Labour members of the House who, apparently, think only of a few interests in Australia and neglect altogether the interests of the British consumer and the wearers of the goods at the other end of the world, who have a right to such treatment as would insure them clothes at a reasonable figure. The third alternative suggested, and it seems to be the most popular in Australia, because, apparently, its authorship is claimed by two members on opposite sides of the House, is that we should buy the British Government's share and still hold the' wool off the market. The principle of holding back the wool is vicious. The idea of a Government cornering a commodity of this nature, and keeping it entirely out of consumption for the purpose of keeping- up prices is altogether wrong. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- That is exactly what the Bawra scheme means. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- No. It will allow the wool to go into circulation, provided that there is a fair price assured. The Government cornering of a necessity in the way suggested must inevitably lead to a mental conception of Australia iu other countries which it does not deserve after the efforts made by our people during the war. But apart from this aspect, the main difficulty in the w.ay of purchasing the wool from the British Government is that it would involve from £4,000,000 to £8,000,000, according to the value which the Imperial authorities place on the wool. And who would find that money? We cannot ask the public to find it. We cannot expect the Australian Government to further tie up development, as it is being tied up at the present time simply because State Government after State Government is unable to borrow money to carry on national works. The purchase price would have to come out of the realization of the present clip. But my objection to the proposal is greater than that. At the present time, the Imperial Government is a partner in this Bawra wool. If we buy out the British Government, it will lose .all interest in the wool; but it being able to give extended credits to European countries, and being on the spot always to advise us as how to get the wool away, is the best factor in helping us to get the wool sold. We would be acting against our own interests if we bought out the British interest. There is a further reason why it would be unwise to hold the Bawra wool off the market, and that is the great risk of deterioration of a considerable portion of it. From 7 to 10 per cent. of the total is scoured wool, which is liable to moth. The burry wool., also, is liable to deterioration. But my biggest objection is this: That when a shrewd organization like the Wool buyers' Association is so very keen to have the wool held off the market, I cannot be convinced that it is in order that the price may be kept up: The woolbuyers say that as they are paid by commission it would be against their interests to bring about a reduction in the price of wool; but can any one imagine that if they are able to get wool at a low rate they will not get something better than commission from their employers? What would be the other effect of holding Bawra wool off the market. It comprises about half of crossbred and half of merino. There is- no doubt that there will always be a fairly decent market for merino wool. The difficulty will be in disposing of the crossbred wool. The very fact of keeping the Bawra crossbred wool off the market will simply make it easier for South America, with its surplus of 300,000,000 lbs. of crossbred, to sell at better prices. South America will unload her wool while we keep the market up for her. If South Africa comes into the Bawra scheme, there is no reason why Bawra should not control the whole market, and an Empire Association will be able to make other countries which grow crossbred wools to come to terms. So fax as merinoes are concerned, the Argentine produces only a small proportion compared with Australia, while South Africa, which grows a considerable amount, will be in the Bawra scheme; therefore, in that regard there should be no trouble. Other countries in Europe and America which grow merinoes are not likely to compete with us in the London market, because they will find use for their own wools in their own manufacturing centres. The following figures will bear out the contention of the honorable member for Maranoa **(Mr. James Page)** as to the destination of merino wool: - In 1913,. Australia sold to the United Kingdom 102,500,000 lbs.; to France, Holland, and Belgium, 214,000,000 lbs.; to Germany and Austria, 164,000,000 lbs.; to Italy and Switzerland, 6,500,000 lbs.; to Russia, Norway, and Sweden, 3,000,000 lbs.; to the United States of America, 16,000,000 lbs.; and to Japan and China, 6,500,000 lbs. We have not been able to utilize these Continental markets as we might have been able to do had wool been cheaper, and if credits could have been arranged much more readily. With a return to something like pre-war conditions, there is no reason why the matter of holding the carry-over wool up for two years should be considered, quite apart from the moral aspect of the question, to which I have already alluded. Then we come to the fourth suggestion. From the beginning I have regarded the whole principle involved in the request of the Bawra Directorate to use the Customs Act as very shaky; but this fourth proposal is the least objectionable of them all, and offers the greatest hope of success. Whether it will be successful remains to be proved, but nevertheless, in the circumstances, it is well worth trying. If the Government propose to take action to give Bawra power in regard to the restriction of reserve prices, I think they have a right to the complete inspection, supervision, and control of Bawra's books, in order to make certain that there is no inside speculation in this private corporation to the detriment of the wool-growers of the Commonwealth. {: .speaker-K4F} ##### Mr Considine: -- Is that not provided for? {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- Nothing has been provided for up to the present.I understand that there are 22,000,000 £1 shares in Bawra, of which 5,000,000 are to be redeemed before the 31st July next, leaving a balance of about 17,000,000; and it seems to me that, for the protection of the wool-growers, this scrip ought not to be gambled in, as wheat scrip was during the early period of the Wheat Pools. No hardship would be entailed by this restriction. Already1s. 3½d. has been paid on this wool. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr Watt: -- And there has been also a substantial division of profits. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- That is so. There should be no hardship in the Government insisting on the control of these points. The absence of these two safeguards would remove **Mr. Falkiner's** objections to the scheme. The Bawra scheme is doing its best to assist the small man. There are 149.000 separate accounts in the scheme, and, of these, 59,000 cover individual amounts of less than £100. The small . man is being assisted by the arrangement the scheme is making to pay off all these small holders in cash at the earliest possible moment, this involving an outlay of £600,000. {: .speaker-K4F} ##### Mr Considine: -- According to the honorable member's statement, there is no machinery to safeguard these small graziers. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- There is no Government machinery at the present time, but there is always the machinery to be found in every such corporation. {: .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -- In the wool trade, the brokers are the financiers of the graziers. Any refusal to negotiate scrip would mean cutting off the security of the brokers which enables that financial aid to be given. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr Watt: -- It is all right to give security as long as we do not give the right to traffic in it. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- That is my meaning. I do not imply that the scrip is not to be convertible, but I claim that it ought not to be transferable. The Bawra directorate has definitely laid it down that, because some owners may require financial assistance, it will strain every nerve at its disposal to make that assistance available, and that is really the sentiment which actuates the whole scheme. There is only one other matter I wish to speak upon in connexion with the actual fabric .of the Bawra scheme, and that is the quantity of the new clip which will be saleable in proportion to the Bawra wool. Two bales of the new clip is to be sold overseas to one bale of Bawra, wool. I think that if the proportion were made three to one it would be a help. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- What will be the position Of sheep-owners who have just started . to . produce wool during the last year or two, and can only place a proportion of their wool at 8d. per lb. ? Will they not be at a considerable disadvantage, having practically nothing coming, in, whilst the other growers have the dividends from the Bawra scheme coming to them, in addition to- the realizations on their new clip? {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- The proportion being two of the current clip to one of Bawra there will be only a difference of one-third of the- total amount which they might get otherwise. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- But that difference may mean ruin to them. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- Without a definite scheme of some sort, it will mean ruin, because the wool clip cannot be financed in any other way, and wool of any clip may have no value. The whole object of the Bawra "scheme is to attempt to stabilize the market to enable our wool to be sold at some price. With no Bawra scheme the saleable price of wool will immediately fall to nothing. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- The small man can get an advance from Bawra which he cannot get from the banks. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- Yes. The capital value of the Bawra scheme is £22,000,000, and there is to be a dividend of £5,000,000 before the 31st July next, while as further realizations take place there will undoubtedly be other dividends. I understand the position in regard to Bawra is that the actual price paid .by the British Government was ls. 3£d. per lb., and that the British Government have handed the 1,700,000 bales of Australian carry-over wool and £13,000,000 still available out of profits to the BritishAustralian Wool Realization Association for equal division between the woolgrowers and the British Government, with the request that the scheme should market this carry-over on condition that half the profits from the sales should go to the Imperial Government. {: .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -- Half the realizations. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr Watt: -- That is the point. .There may be no profits above ls. 3½d. per lb. {: #subdebate-22-2-s3 .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- At any rate, the Bawra scheme seems to have -definite advantages over other suggestions. I am not- wedded to it, but it is the best alternative offered. We are up against desperate passes, which need desperate expedients, and this scheme will stabilize . the market in some degree, thus enabling sales to take place of wool which may deteriorate, and which, if not sold, willbecome a permanent loss to the pastoralists of Australia. As I have already pointed out, a proportion of it must be totally lost if it is not sold and used at once. The scheme will permit of a dividend being distributed to many persons who have no wool in the present clip. Two or three years ago many pastoralists in the north-western district of New South Wales, who have suffered heavily from droughts, had decent clips. They have big drought burdens to pay off at the present time, but have practically no wool in the present clips. A dividend from Bawra would enable a better distribution of money to be made throughout the Commonwealth than would be possible if only the present clip were taken. The scheme under present conditions will tend to keep the wool trade within ordinary channels, and will enable the Australian brokers to maintain their connexions. In addition, a definite minimum value will be put upon the clip, and to some degree this will enable it to be financed, because wool will have some value in the eyes of bankers and financiers. {: .speaker-K4F} ##### Mr Considine: -- Who is to find this £22,000,000 to which the honorable member is referring? {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- That is the value put by the Imperial Government u pon the 1,700,000 bales of carry-over wool. It may realize less or it may be more. {: .speaker-K4F} ##### Mr Considine: -- The honorable member has said that the Bawra scheme proposes to pay £5,000,000 within a certain period. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- Yes, from profits. It is out of the £22,000,000. . {: .speaker-K4F} ##### Mr Considine: -- Is it proposed to issue certificates for the balance of £17,000,000? {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- Yes. {: .speaker-K4F} ##### Mr Considine: -- Will those certificates be negotiable on the market? {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- I am asking that they should not be trafiicable. {: .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -- Then you are cutting the ground from under your own feet. The desire is to create a negotiable asset that will help the pastoralists substantially. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- It will clear the minds of honorable members if I read the following extract from **Mr. Murphy'sspeech** : - >It is fully realized that in asking growers, to protect their own interests by sitting tight and holding their wool for a reasonable reserve some owners may require financial assistance to carry on the working of their properties, and in order to assist all growers the directors of Bawra have undertaken under resolution " E " to redeem £5,000,000 of priority wool certificates on or before 31st July, 1021.. What further assistance may be required or may be available remains to be seen, but I can only assure you that Bawra will strain every nerve to support the wool-growers by every means at their disposal. Definite promisescannot be made, but everything possible wilt be done. {: .speaker-K4F} ##### Mr Considine: -- This £17,000,000 worth of certificates will be issued against the wool that is in the Pool. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- Yes, *pro rata* tothe holdings of wool in the Pool. If the Bawra scheme be adopted, four or five years will probably be occupied in working off the accumulation of wool, but. one result of its adoption will be that, manufacturers will know immediately exactly where they stand, and will be induced to get busy in making up their stocks. It is said that the greater portion of a year's clip is generally held in manufacturers' stocksthroughout the world. At the present time there is a considerable excess unmanufactured. With a return to the ordinary conditions of trade; a great proportion of what is now held in an unmanufactured state will be made into woollens. The stabilizing of the market in this way will lead manufacturers to recognise that no advantage is to be gained by holding off; they will be induced to enter upon the making up of their stock in the same way as before. The Central European countries are undoubtedly bare of wool, and under the scheme we shall be able to get rid of some of our surplus. The carrying out of a scheme of this character will do something, although it may not be very much,, towards inducing Germany to settle down to business in regard to the payment of its indemnity. At present, Germany is marking time in the hope of securing the best possible terms. The Germans do not intend to set to work too vigorously, feeling that the production they show may be used against them in the determination of what indemnity they should pay. I am afraid that the higher we fix the indemnity the worse the position, will ultimately be, since we can only hope to take payment in labour or goods. We do not seem to be too anxious to use their goods ; but if this scheme be adopted Germany will be able easily to get to work and start to use up our surplus. In the last place, I think that this scheme should be supported, for the reason that I gave in support of the proposition which was put before us on behalf of the coal miners ; in, other words, the wool-growers know their business best. Graziers' associations in every State have telegraphed to us that they are practically ' unanimous in their approval of the proposition. Not only the associations, but the great bulk of individual graziers, also, are unanimously in favour of it. That being so, I know of no reason why any outside person should say that the scheme - should not be given a trial. The people who own the wool ask that the scheme be tried, and for that reason I do not know why the .Victoria Wool ' Buyers Association, or any outside body having no property in this wool, should be allowed to dictate what should be done with it. {: .speaker-K4F} ##### Mr Considine: -- That would be a very good principle to apply also to the owners of labour power. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- That is a matter which we may discuss at some other time. There are two suggestions that I desire to put before thos© who will control this wool. The first, which emanates from the honorable member for Indi **(Mr. Robert Cook)** is that if we cannot obtain cash for this wool an effort should be made to exchange it, or a portion of it, for machinery for the manufacture of woollens, as well as for hydro-electric and other machinery. Having regard to present condition, I think that suggestion worthy of consideration. If we were able in that way to secure power-production plants, and machinery for the manufacture of woollens, we should be able to solve a good portion of the difficulty by manufacturing a great deal more than the 21 per cent, of our wool which we, at present, turn into woollen goods. Another point which is emphasized by the various grazing associations throughout the Commonwealth is that, although it has been found necessary to try to secure the approval of this House to the view that owners of wool should not sell at a lower price than the majority of their neighbours desire, still as' little political in fluence as possible should be associated with the handling of our wool. They are not anxious, therefore, that a limitation of only two months should be - made in order that the Prime Minister may deal with the whole matter in England; they desire to be free to do ' their own job without political interference. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- But they are ready to use the machinery of the Customs Department. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- They approve of the use of such machinery; but they do not want the actual business of buying and selling to be subject to the interference of outsiders. Our desire is, not that the Customs Act shall be strained to enable the scheme to be carried out, but that having regard to the present circumstances, separate legislation shall be passed for the purpose. We do not desire that for the purposes of this scheme an interpretation shall be given to the Customs Act which has not hitherto been applied to it. Finally, I would impress upon honorable members the fact that practically every association of pastoralists throughout Australia' has asked that this scheme shall be given a trial. Failing that, they consider the position hopeless. With the approval of this scheme they think there will be some hope for them ; and surely those who own the wool, and who, to a large extent, have been responsible for the building up of the prosperity of Australia, are entitled to a fair deal, and may expect Parliament to accede to their wishes. {: #subdebate-22-2-s4 .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT:
Balaclava .- I followed the last **speaker (Dr. Earle Page)** with very great interest, but must confess as a student of this problem for some little time that I was left in doubt as to whether he is an entire supporter of the proposal of the Government. He has told us what he thinks of the objectives and designs of Bawra, but I do not know whether he proposes to vote for the motion to show that the Government scheme is approved by his party. I had not the advantage, unfortunately, of hearing the statement made to-day by the Acting Prime Minister **(Sir Joseph Cook),** but I have endeavoured to glean from him and other honorable members what the effect of it was. 1 presume that we are still discussing the primary motion moved by the Prime Minister **(Mr. Hughes),** " That the paper be printed." {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Yes. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- That motion applies, as honorable members are aware, to the three principal matters to which the Prime Minister devoted his attention. Although the wool problem, because of the Acting Prime Minister's subsequent statement, has naturally been singled out for special treatment, we ought not to lose sight of the other two problems to which the head of the Government directed his attention. The first of these was that of finance. The Prime Minister, as I read his speech, first of all deprecated wild statements that had been made In the country and in the press about the expenditure of the Government: He implied - in fact, he almost expressed the idea - that to criticise the outgoings of the Commonwealth was unpatriotic and dangerous at this juncture, and likely to imperil the credit of the country. Unfortunately, however, after the right honorable gentleman had administered that rebuke to indiscriminate critics in the country and the press, he himself uttered statements which, I think, coming from Eis responsible lips, are more calculated to shake the financial fabric of this country than anything, which has been said by outside critics. I lament the fact that the right honorable gentleman, in the obvious hurry in which he made his explanation to the House, was not better advised, because I can conceive of nothing calculated to damage the Wool credit and the money credit of this country abroad more than the statements made by him. Already, as- 1 shall have occasion to remark later, private finance in this country is causing those responsible for its guardianship the gravest possible concern. I shall go no further than that, but with sliding values lor almost all assets upon which bank advances have been made, it is obvious that bankers must deal with the situation with the greatest delicacy and tenderness. The situation ought not to be aggravated by any words of ours, or of responsible leaders of the Government, making the task of private financiers, which is closely connected with public finance, more difficult. I watched with interest the right honorable gentleman's efforts to convince the people of this country that the Government was doing its duty in relation to finance. He, first, of all. earmarked quite, a number of items on the disbursement side of the balance sheet of the Commonwealth as being unalterable. They were statutory obligations he said, and therefore, nobody could lay unholy hands upon them. I do not know whether any other honorable member was satisfied with that statement, either as an analysis of the situation or as an assurance -of economy and wisdom in the future, but I candidly confess that I was not. The way in which responsibility was transferred by the utterances of the Prime Minister from the shoulders of the Government to those of members of the Committee of Supply, and of this House, struck, I think, a blow at the base of responsible government. It is true, as the honorable member who has just spoken said, that each of us has his individual share of responsibility as a holder of the purse strings ; but for the Governor-General's message originating all items of expenditure here, whether out of revenue or loan, the Government is primarily, and, up to a certain stage, is wholly responsible. I do not desire, at any time, to shed my responsibility as a private member, and the Ministry can never shed their responsibility. {: .speaker-KLM} ##### Dr MALONEY:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936 -- The honorable member shed it when he went " into the void " in England. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- I did not. {: .speaker-KLM} ##### Dr MALONEY:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936 -- Where is the" void ? {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- Study holy writ. I am not going to bandy words with the honorable member. We have sat together in Parliament for twenty-three or twentyfour years, and during that period have had our quarrels, but have remained friends, and if the honorable member will permit me, I shall pursue my ordinary course, and discuss ' public questions regardless of personalities. The expenditure of the Commonwealth this year is, in round figures, £98,000,000. No amount of juggling can get rid of the fact that this country desires that every item that can be eliminated' from the expenditure list shall be cut out. The responsibility for that work rests upon Ministers. The right honorable gentleman who presides over the Treasury suggested, in the letter which the Prime Minister read, the appointment of accounting officers who, under a new system, will exercise some check in the Departments. I do not believe that that arrangement would be evil or costly, but I do not believe it would be effective. The appointment of a committee of management of the Public Service, as recommended by the Economy Commission, for which the Government became responsible last session, would, I believe, .be more effective. But even that is not likely to be as effective as this House and the country would desire. The more you study the history of the alternating periods of prosperity and depression in each of the various colonies or States of Australia, the more you become convinced that there is only one power that can cut down expenditure, and that is the Ministerial power. The officials cannot do it; responsible Ministers are the only persons who can do it. In 1894. Victoria re-organized her expenditure of her public services. The honorable member for Kooyong was a member of the Government to which, under the late **Sir George** Turner, was intrusted the task of squaring the account. The public officials did not do the work; it was done by Ministers themselves. After two years of incessant toil, the Treasurer and Premier of the State was able to announce that the ledger was balanced. It is going to be the same in Australia with whatever Government may be in power, when the coming crisis really arrives; and I beg the right honorable gentleman who presides over the Treasury with a much longer experience of public life and Ministerial office than I can hope for, to remember that he cannot shed responsibility, or give to any one else the" power to do work that Ministers alone can do. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I do not wish to shed a tittle of responsibility; but the right honorable member, as an exTreasurer, knows that while certain Statutes have force the Treasurer must finance them. That is what is meant by statutory obligations. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- That is" so, and it is hot so, to speak quite frankly. The House,, in Committee of Supply, at the request of the Governor-General, appropriates votes either out of revenue or out of loan money. The Crown is given authority to spend that money; but it is not obligatory on a Government to spend it. and it has often been the boast of Treasurers in the Commonwealth and in the State to Parliament, "You gave me so much money, and I have succeeded in saving so much." {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Take shipbuilding, for instance. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- It may be that, backed with the authority of Supply or loan appropriation, the Government has committed itself to contracts for certain classes of work. If so, it must meet those commitments to the full amount. But- with regard to the vast bulk of our estimated expenditure - £9S,,000,000 - the House- expects - at any rate, I, as an individual member, do - that the Ministry will save as much as they can without impairing the usefulness of the votes. It is idle to say that honorable members can lay their hands on only 3 J per cent, of that sum. Every detail ought to be scanned with the view of cutting out every penny of unnecessary expense, and to spe, as the Prime Minister said, that we get 20s. worth for every sovereign expended. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member is misrepresenting what was said and what was intended if he suggests that it was intimated that in regard to £3,,500,000 only could discretion be exercised. The Prime Minister told the House that there were certain unavoidable expenditures which had been authorized by Parliament. For instance, Parliament voted so much for Defence, and so much for the Post Office. It says now that what was voted for Defence is not too much, and that what was voted for the Post Office is not enough. The Government' must have respect to those obligations or go out of office. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- I -am afraid my right honorable friend cannot, by this dialogue, bring me to his point of view. I have always held it to he the duty of the finance Minister, and of any Minister, to regard his vote as the maximum authority of Parliament, and to save everything possible without impairing" the usefulness of the appropriation. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I do not dissent from that. » {: .speaker-KZA} ##### Mr West: -- Do we understand that 20s. in the £1 of value has not .been got by this Government? {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- I am not making that assertion, though there are obvious reasons for suggesting that, in some cases the Government has failed to get 20s. worth for. a £1 of expenditure. I allude to recent statements made before Royal Commissions. The Treasurer will pardon me .for dwelling on two other phases of this question. He knows better than any one else that he is facing new conditions in regard to Customs revenue. The Customs revenue has held up wondrously during the first nine months of the financial year, but it cannot hold up right through the year, and is now sliding ' heavily. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Not heavily;- it is keeping up wonderfully at present. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- Those who know the figures of importations now and to come have reasons for believing that the right honorable gentleman cannot, next year, depend on the same returns from Customs and Excise, especially from Customs, as he has had this year, and Customs and Excise duties are the main source of indirect revenue. How much this revenue will fall I will not presume to predict; the right honorable gentleman, with bis staff and the officers of the Customs Department are- best able to do that. There will, however, be a substantial difference between the Customs and Excise revenue for 1921-22 and that for the year ending on the 30th of next month. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- There is no doubt about that. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- Revenue from income taxation will also fall. I am not abusing a confidence when I say that I know of a company in this country, engaged in a mercantile business, which has already written down the value of its stock by the sum of £200,000. That vast sum is taken off one balance-sheet in reduction of the assessed value of the assets of the corporation. Honorable members will see, if that is symptomatic of what is being done generally by the holders of stock and the conductors of wholesale and retail businesses, that the income tax paid next year on the profits earned this year will be a substantially diminished one, and I am sure that the Treasurer is not comfortable in the cushioned chair that he adorns, when he thinks of next year's income from direct taxation. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I have never been comfortable. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- The right honorable gentleman has disguised his embarrassment with characteristic *aplomb.* This drives me to one conclusion' about the financial outlook, and I suggest to the right honorable gentleman who presides over the affairs of the Government, that it is gravely necessary to introduce the Budget as early as possible in the coming financial year. I noticed the promise in the Prime Minister's speech, but the Tariff discussion .will consume a vast amount of time, and members will naturally desire to rise as soon as that work is over, so that, probably, we shall not be summoned to meet again until reasonably late in the spring. If, in addition, the presentation of the Budget is to await the return of the Prime Minister, it is possible, and 1 think probable, that we may not have the financial statement until November. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The Budget will be introduced before the Prime Minister returns. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- I am satisfied with that promise. The Prime Minister spoke of it being delivered as early as possible. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- The Treasurer has already promised that it shall be delivered in September. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- I hope that it will be delivered not late in September, and I trust that the right honorable gentleman will keep his promise if the House is meeting then. We shall then individually share with the Ministry the responsibility for scanning carefully all the proposals for expenditure, and for financing them out of the pockets of the people or with money raised here or abroad. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- And the Ministry will then have an opportunity to redeem its promise to considerably diminish expenditure. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- I have not heard that promise, -though I should like to hear it. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- The Prime Minister said that no expenditure should he undertaken which could be avoided. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- The Prime Minister has said that this Government is not extravagant. I do hot wish to canvass his speeches in his absence, but I am sure that stern necessity will within the next year or two drive whoever may be at the Treasury to the most economical living. It it does not, the conviction of the people of Australia - certainly of those in this part of Australia, will do so. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir Robert Best: -- There will not be much to spend. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- That I believe to be the fact. Now I come to wheat. I am not one of those who say that the Government is doing wrong in selling wheat abroad at the prices it is now get- ting and charging 9s. for it here. If, as the Prime Minister has shown, the Australian consumer is, on the average, getting wheat cheaper than the f.o.b. price of exported wheat, I am satisfied. I think that the parity should be kept as nearly as possible in all these transactions. Difficulty has occurred through , what I think to be the cardinal blunder of fixing the price for twelve months. The Government disclaims responsibility for that. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- It looks as if we were going to come out all right. The. price of wheat is up again. Mr.WATT. - Judging by to-day's quotation, "Yes;" but the price of 8s. 6d. in New York is a much lower one than we are charging here. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- It would represent well over 9s. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- I should say about 9s. in London on present freights across the Atlantic, or probably a penny or twopence off. {: .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr Prowse: -- The exchange is against the purchaser. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- It is against the purchaser of every American product. If this Government had wished for a monthly or quarterly fixation of price, it could have arranged for it. {: .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr Prowse: -- Who would have carried the product all the time? {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- That was adjustable. Technically the Government might have had no constitutional power, but it held the finance end of the advance, the effect of which was to regulate anything, it chose to regulate. I am not raising the cry of town against country. I think that parity should "be maintained as far as possible; but in regard to a commodity which fluctuates generally very quickly, and which in the year when the fixation was made would obviously rise or fall, a perilous risk of misunderstanding and injustice was taken in fixing the price for twelve months. How the matter will end none of us can predict; all we can say is that so far the average has not been unjust to the consumers. Mr.Richardfoster. - Did not the State Premier buy the wheat for the year ? {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- That was done in Victoria, and probably in the other States, but I think it was a mistake to allow no mobility in the price, giving a relative parity in any month or quarter when a shipment was made. Now I wish to discuss the wool question as far as I understand it, and I take it to be, in the strictest sense of the word, a non-party question. For example, I listened to the honorable member for Maranoa **(Mr. James Page)** to-day, flatly contradicting the treasonable old statement that no true blue Labour member could advocate the claims of the rich squatter.' He endeavoured to see through the mist of party prejudice, and advocate the pastoral interests of his electorate and of the great northern reaches of Queensland, and he gave us a very interesting exposition of his views. I regard this as an entirely non-party question, which is grave or gay, according to the temperament of man. The optimist is not so frightened of the situation. The pessimist, arid the honorable member for Maranoa assumed that *role* to-day, is right down in the depths of anxiety and tribulation. The Prime Minister **(Mr. Hughes)** unfortunately encouraged that view, and as I hope to be able to show, gave us too gloomy a picture. I speak as one who lives . in the town, but has endeavoured to understand the country, interests, and who, for a considerable time during the Prime Minister's absence in Europe, was the Minister handling the . wool scheme. It was my duty then to try to understand this question, and I have since continued my studies as far as a private member can. I do not think this is a time when a man should tie himself hard and fast to any dogmatic reading of the facts. The wisest and best informed amongst us may make an error of judgment. We ought all to enter the discussion of this matter saying that we cannot see much further than our noses. Conditions may improve much faster than the most hopeful minds anticipate, but on the other hand they may become blacker. {: .speaker-KZA} ##### Mr West: -- The man who does not take that view is not fit to be a member of the House. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- I am glad to hear that statement, because we are all too prone to follow our own individual view of the facts. I hold fairly strong views upon this question, but I am willing to adjust them if my facts are wrong or my reading of them is faulty. I desire to express some opinions which take a different {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- But seme of the pastoralists have experienced drought in addition to the other trouble. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- I sympathize very much with those men whose circumstances were referred to by the honorable member for Cowper. Because of the drought, in addition to the difficulty confronting them with the carry-over wool, all their profits and much of their capital are lost this year. That is a double infliction, but the position of the wool industry generally to-day is not so' bad as it is when a great drought strikes the pastoralists. Yet the pastoralists, big-hearted men, have struggled to their feet again and won through, and other sections in the community have been unable to help them although they have sympathized with them. Realizing that we have passed through crises of The Prime Minister said that his reading of the wool facts of the past had shown a clearer vision ti an that of the pastoralists, and he, therefore, suggested that the advice of the Government, in relation to the remedy now proposed, should be taken. I do not think that statement is fair either to himself or to the pastoralists, who have been interested in the control of wool ever since the Pool started. I remember that, when the right honorable gentleman was last in Europe, after the extension of -the first wool contract had been made early in 1918, it became possible to discuss with the British Government a still further extension of five years. That first extension was for two years and a full wool year after the termination of the war. It happened that, as the war terminated in November, 1918, the contract ran for one and a half years after that date, and finished on the 30th June, 1920. We were just able to draw up for consideration a further contract of five years, which would havelasted until 30th June, 1925, when I, as ' Acting Prime Minister, was stopped, by the Prime Minister, then in London,, from proceeding further. I say this, because, if that contract had been drawnand signed, as I have every reason to believe it would have been but for the Prime Minister's retarding influence, we would have been getting a flat rate of ls. 3d. for our wool till the 30th June, 19.25, and I think the Prime Minister,, no matter who advised him - whether English or Australian views gathered in his mind - made a blunder from which the pastoral industry of this country will take many years to recover. The honorable member for Grampians **(Mr. Jowett),** as a prominent member of the Central Wool Committee, knows all this,, and he, I think, was doubtful whether we should sell for a further period of* five years. {: .speaker-KDZ} ##### Mr Jowett: -- I had no doubt about it. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- At any rate, there weresome large pastoralists who said that they did not agree with the projected sale, but not many of them, so far as I can recollect. The general desire of the Central Wool Committee was fry the extension of the wool contract ' {: .speaker-KDZ} ##### Mr Jowett: -- We were unanimous. I think I may say that. * {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- It would have been a priceless benefit to this country if we had been permitted to make that contract as we proposed, and, I believe, the British Government were; prepared to buy at that time - April, May, or, at the latest, early in June, 1918. The war was still raging, and the British Government were making preparations for a long campaign. It is not quite fair to close this phase of the argument by saying that we wish that had been done, because the British Government would have had to pay through the nose, and there might have been talk afterwards of some release from the contract after a year or two. But, at any rate, the pastoral industry would have been stabilized in an indescribable way if we could have made a more extended contract. {: .speaker-KI9} ##### Mr Livingston: -- Does not the honorable' member think that five years was rather a long term? {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- I do, but I . was prepared to make such a contract on the advice of those who understand the industry. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- It might have led to a lot of trouble. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- Yes, in the way I have described. The Britsh Government might not have been content to go om with the contract for the full term, but it certainly would have been better for us than the position in which we are placed now. The scheme produced by the Prime Min-, Ester last year, and which I believe was not assented to by the Central Wool Committee, was for the suspension of sales in England for about six months, and for auction sales of the new clip to be held in Australia only. There were two features about that which shook the confidence of British folk interested in wool, as I, who was in England, was able to observe. First there was the difficulty as to the time at which the prohibition of further sales from the carry-over wool started. If the proposed dates had been assented to by the British authority there would have been a famine period for Australian wool in London, which would have enabled those who held stocks to exact their own price until the new clip arrived. That was a very bad calculation, which Bradford and London and the interests which study the Australian wool clip from the points of view of manufacture and finance, pointed out at once. The British Government assented to the suspension of sales foi six months and allowed us to carry on sales of the new clip in Australia without competition; but the system broke down. One of the chief causes of the breakdown was this: Tt was almost impossible, in some cases, frankly impossible, for French, Belgian, and Dutch buyers, who had operated in Australia in pre-war times, to establish credits in Australia for their purchases. At that time it was 'impossible to find exchange for anything' but very small sums of money, or to transfer credit or sterling from London to Australia, and those people, however much they wished to buy our clip, could not finance their purchases. But if some sales had been conducted in England and some in Australia it would have been possible to establish, a market which, I think, would have prevented the debacle from which we are now suffering. I point to these facts because I agree with the honorable member for Cowper **(Dr. Earle Page)** in his statement that however able and talented a politician is, he cannot understand a highly technical and specialized business of the importance of the wool industry as well as can a man who has spent his life in it. And I would, therefore hand over to the men who had charge of the Wool Pool and now have charge of Bawra, whatever control is necessary so long as we are assured that the public interest will be protected. The honorable member for Cowper has suggested a means by which that might be safeguarded by a free access of governmental or auditorial authority to the books of Bawra in order to enable Parliament and the Government to know exactly what is being done by this huge corporation which is handling one of our basic commodities. {: .speaker-KZA} ##### Mr West: -- The Auditor-General would be a good man. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- Yes; but I am not prepared now to suggest by whom this supervision should be carried out. {: .speaker-K4F} ##### Mr Considine: -- Will you make it compulsory ? {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- I would say that that ought to be a condition, and I should think they would assent to it. Honorable members are dealing with this matter as if the proposal of. the Government were the Bawra scheme. The honorable member for Cowper **(Dr. Earle Page)** did so. I asked the honorable member for Maranoa **(Mr. James Page)** which proposal he favoured - the Bawra scheme or the Government scheme. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- The Government's amended scheme. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- Is that the amended Bawra scheme? {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- Practically. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- Very well. What I understand by the Bawra scheme is the original proposal withwhich it started its life. When the British Government and the Australian Government consented to the creation of the British- Australian Wool Realization Association it was to be a voluntary proposition. Those who wanted to come in could come in. Those who wanted to stay out stood out. I think I am right in remembering that about 96 or 97 per cent. of the wool-growers intimated their willingness to come in. That is the Bawra scheme ; and, although it hasnot met with all the success that was hoped for, no amendment that the Government suggests seems to me to invalidate the wisdom of that provision. If there had been no attempt to prevent this wool being flooded on to the markets, either in Australia or in Europe, values might have been a long way lower for all grades of wool than even they are to-day; and it was wise prevision on the part of **Sir John** Higgins and his associates on the Central Wool Committee to attempt to create such a body for the purpose of preventing the incoming clip from sharing in the general downfall. The Government say that the conditions have altered very much - at least I assume that is what ' they ' say - since Bawra was originally created, and that it is necessary to fix a minimum price below which wool shall not be sold outside Australia. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- There is 10 per cent. of free wool in London now. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- I understand that 8d. per lb. is an irreducible minimum and a plain flat rate, which does not deal with grades. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- No; it is an average. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- What is an average? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I take it that it is worked out in much the same wayas the price of1s. 3½d. per lb. was arrived' at. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- If appraisement is to be continued, it will be possible, but is that part of the scheme Ministers and Bawra have in their minds? {: .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -- Yes. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- Very well; it will be an average price, and certain legislation may be necessary to give it authority, possibly by the passage of this motion or by. some subsequent motion or a Bill. {: .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -- We cannot agree with the honorable member's statement as to what constitutes Bawra. The BritishAustralian Wool Realization Association was an assets' realization trust in respect to wool in the joint ownership of the Commonwealth and British Governments, and does not represent any one else coming in. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- I knew that quite well, and thought that I had made it quite clear that it related only to the carry-over stock in which the two Governments were interested. {: .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -The honorable member suggested something about coming in voluntarily. No one comes into Bawra voluntarily. It is a realization trust in respect to the carry-over wool. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- I remember that the opinions of the organizations of the pastoral industry were solicited as to whether they were in favour of the formation of such a scheme. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The original framework has not been altered. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- The original framework and structure are the same,but an addendum has been proposed. {: .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member for Maranoa explained the position colloquially when he said that Bawra was sending up S.O.S. messages asking the Government to take this action. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- Bawra may have done that, but I do hot know that it is as well qualified as this Chamber is to analyze all the facts, direct and indirect. It may be well qualified to speak as to the outlook of wool, but there are certain constitutional, legal, and political principles for the consideration of which this House must make itself responsible. I want to look at some of these principles, and investigate the other remedies to which reference has been made by various speakers. First of all, there is the proposal made by the Prime Minister **(Mr. Hughes),** in answer to the S.O.S. message from Bawra, that the period should be limited to two months, which would enable him to go to London, and by the swift interchange of cablegrams settle something with the British authorities ; but now, according to the Acting Prime Minister, the period must be six months. Did Bawra ask for two months or six months? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- For six months. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- But the Prime Minister left us with the suggestion that the period should be two months. {: .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -- He said that that was his opinion, and he asked the House to discuss the matter from that point of view. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- The period of six months or two months, as the case may be, must be purely temporary. What is hoped to be achieved by this temporary prohibition and fixing of a minimum price? How is a solution of the difficulty to be arrived at by the Minister in charge of this wool scheme ? {: .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The directors of Bawra say that they can stabilize the market within six months. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- In what way do they hope to do so? {: .speaker-KDZ} ##### Mr Jowett: -- By not allowing Australian wool to be sold during that period at a price lower than the minimum fixed. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- That is all right so far as the keeping up of the price is concerned, but it does not make that much difference to the stock. There must be some other reason in their minds. As one honorable member has said, although this may be a wise and necessary provision, at the end of six months we will be just as we are to-day. We may have sold some of the new wool, but we may not have been able to reduce our carryover stocks. I would like to have an explanation from a Minister. {: .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I will give an explanation, but not by way of an interjection. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- The Minister will admit that he has been endeavouring to do so. Unless some distinct or salutary advantage is to be derived it will be a dangerous expedient to apply compulsion to the remaining wool which is now free. It is proposed to condition the trade of those to whose wool compulsion is being: applied. The honorable member for Maranoa claims that, the proposal is to prevent certain men from " scabbing " on the trade. That is compulsory union? ism. {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- Yes, pure and simple. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- The honorable member for Maranoa did give the " show away " when he said that. It is not a healthy principle. Some of my friends opposite seem to think it is, but honorable members on the Ministerial side have frequently denounced it. Any attempt to force men in a time of peace, even although there are trade or economic' difficulties in existence, into a line of conduct of which they do not approve with regard to their own interests, will always be regarded as dangerous by men who hold the principles for which honorable members on the Ministerial side stand.That is a f eature they ought not to lose sight of. It can only be defended because some substantial and undoubted advantage may be achieved by it. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- A big advantage will be achieved by it. It will declare a minimum value. That is what, all the banks demand. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- No. I have discussed the matter with some representatives of the banks, and I do not think their name ought to be brought into the matter. Some of them think it a good scheme; others do not. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- Quite a number of them do. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- I have not polled them, and I do not know the. proportion in favour of the scheme. If it is helpful to the banks, it may be an advantage or a disadvantage; but we have to see how it will help, not only the operation of a public principle, but also the stabilization of a great industry. I do not think much advantage will be obtained by the postponement of the operation of a sliding price. Unless I can see that it is going to have some effect on the ultimate destination of the carry-over wool, it does not seem to me to be worth considering. {: .speaker-KZT} ##### Mr RODGERS:
WANNON, VICTORIA · LP; NAT from 1917 -- Hear, hear! {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- I trust that the Minister will be able to show that. This proposal is also a precedent that may also be used by any political party in this country to suit itself, and whenever, it likes to do so. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- We are following a precedent. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- What precedent? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The Gold Producers Association. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- That is a voluntary organization. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- With all in. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- No, not all in. I say that, as the one who promoted it for the purpose of giving relief to the producers of gold. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- There are no producers of gold outside the association. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- Then it could only have occurred within the last few weeks. When the war was over, the gold producers said, " Gold is at a great premium, and we can get no advantage from it. We want to be able to export gold." After considering the matter, the Government decided that the export of newly-won goldwas quite a sound proposition in order to save some of the fields that were struggling, but we would not allow the export of our reserves against note issue or bank holdings, and we drew up conditions to show how we could fairly permit the export of newly- won gold. I said to the producers, "' You must form yourselves into a gold producers association. Any one who likes can stop outside it, but he cannot export his gold unless he does it through the association." {: .speaker-KXO} ##### Mr JAMES PAGE:
MARANOA, QUEENSLAND · FT; ALP from 1903 -- That is exactly what is to be done in connexion with the export of wool. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- The honorable member for Eden-Monaro **(Mr. Austin Chapman)** complained at the time that a great number of . men had remained outside the Gold Producers Association. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Wool-growers can remain outside the Bawra scheme, but they cannot send away their wool. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- Exactly; and it is not necessary to have an Act of Parliament for the purpose. However, as a precedent this is dangerous, and I can well imagine my friends opposite using it for all sorts of purposes which honorable members on the Ministerial side might consider dangerous. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- It is unadulterated compulsory unionism. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- I see no reason for giving it to the employer or owner of property and refusing it to the employee. I nave never consented to the principle of compulsory unionism being given the force of law. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I am afraid that you did when you assented to the principle of arbitration, which prescribes compulsory unionism. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- I am afraid not. I was not in the House when that legislation was passed. Indeed, I have always been extremely doubtful - though it has not been my business to express my opinion upon the matter - as to whether the machinery adopted for the application of arbitration has not brought about the downfall of the system. It is an arguable matter; but, in any case, I am not in favour of compulsory unionism, and I do not think that many outside the ranks of Labour are in favour of it. There is another phase of this question which I wish to put before the Minister in charge of the House. It is quite apart from objections which are largely academic. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- Hear, hear! {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- They are academic, but they are important. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- The honorable member has been straining points. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- One does not strain points when he analyzes reasons. If the honorable member is not influenced by academic considerations, of course he will miss many points , in this House. I always endeavour to take them into account. Where they are too thin I drop them out; but some of them are important and pertinent, although theoretic There is, however, a practical point to' which the honorable member for Cowper refers - the effect upon the South American holder of cross-bred and other low-grade wools. If we fix the price at 8d. per lb. it will be just the opportunity for which this man is looking in order to unload. If we keep our goods off the market, it will be his chance of a market, not free from, competition, but with very little competition. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- It will not be an attractive price for him. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- That all depends upon the grade of wool he may have.He may have wool which is worth more, and may be able to sell it ; but in competition with us he may have difficulty in doing so. Ido not pretend that either the Treasurer or myself is the best man to analyze that question; but the heads of Bawra, who know and see precisely what is going to take place if we grant this six months' immunity to them, should consider it. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I raised the point with them. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- And what did they say? {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- They said they saw no difficulty - that the Argentine, anyhow, could not hurt very much. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- I admit that some of my friends of Bawra are matchless optimists, and I am afraid they will meet with difficulties that they did not foresee when they launched the Bawra finances without full consultation with the hanks. {: .speaker-K4F} ##### Mr Considine: -- Hello! Is the honorable member in with the banks now ? {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- No; I merely witnessed from the outside some of the causes which have been operating against the complete success of the Bawra markets. I do not know any more than do honorable members opposite what consultations took place; but I certainly believe that it is impossible to operate such a scheme as this, involving far-reaching conditions of finance,' without the co-operation of those who control so much of the finances of this country. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I think we should have the support of the banks. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- It is said that, so far, Bawra has not had the unanimous support of the banks. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- They have not had the unanimous support of the banks.One could hardly ever hope to get that. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- The right honorable gentleman knows that it was obtained by the Treasury as the result of a free and frank consultation with the banks whenever any big operation was intended during the war period. The right honorable gentleman had it, and so did the honorable member for Capricornia **(Mr. Higgs),** the honorable member for Grey **(Mr. Poynton)** as well as myself, and, indeed, all who as Treasurers of the Commonwealth conducted big operations in connexion with the war. It would certainly have been a wise procedure to continue. , This may be a partial remedy, it may enable us to escape some of the disadvantages to which I have endeavoured to point, but it is perfectly clear that it is only a temporary expedient. The real work before us is to get back some of our old customers. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- The scheme is really experimental. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- It is. . The real duty before us is to endeavour to get back some of our old customers. The antipathies formed during the war have found expression in perfervid oratory on both sides of the House as to future trade relations with enemy countries. The Prime Minister from the time he moved or helped in the creation of the Paris Economic resolutions, took his stand against any future trade with Germany. It is perfectly plain that however utterances have prejudiced men, or ' committed them, we have to take our * choice between two courses, and to determine which is the better to adopt. We have either to trade with Germany, or to see her remain in her present helpless state, unable to pay reparation as long as we cease to trade with her. I am speaking now, not of Australia alone, but of the rest of the world. If all the nations were to say to Germany, " We willnot trade with you; we will not buy from, or sell to you," then Germany could not be restored to anything like her pristine vigour, and her reparation payments would become impossible. In the enemy countries of Middle Europe, there are between 150,000,000 and 200,000,000 people who formerly did a more or less considerable trade in wool with Australia, but who are not now doing anything substantial in that direction. {: .speaker-KLM} ##### Dr MALONEY:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936 -- France is taking some of our wool. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- I am not speaking of France or Belgium; they are taking a portion of our wool. I am speaking of Germany, Czecho-Slovakia- {: .speaker-KLM} ##### Dr MALONEY:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936 -- Is not Poland taking some? {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- Possibly. France is getting some of our wool ; Austria, has had a parcel, but has no regular trade with us; and Belgium, Holland, and, I think, a portion of Poland, are using some of our wool. But the whole of Czecho-Slovakia, the whole of Germany, and the new Austria, which is a very much shrunken State, as well as the whole of JugoSlovakia, representing between 150,000,000 and 200,000,000 people potential or actual customers, who traded with us before the war, are not dealing with us *now.* {: .speaker-KLM} ##### Dr MALONEY:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936 -- Czecho-Slovakia is not now recognised as an enemy of the Allies. Rumania was with the Allies and so was Poland. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- I am not speaking of the Balkans. Poland is now friendly, but was not so until she broke off from Russia. Bohemia, which is in the area of which I speak, was formerly a- part of Germany. All the middle of Europe, which was formerly alien and enemy is not doing with us the business that it did before the war. How then can we get back some of our old customers? There are four difficulties in the way, and I should be glad if honorable members would pay particular attention to them as they consider the subject. There are actual practical difficulties in the way of the resumption of this trade. The first of these is the question of the fixation of prices. That is not insuperable. . The second is the question of determining exchange. The last quote in respect of the German mark given in our Australian papers was 260, instead of 20 marks to the sovereign as before the war. The German mark is worth about7/8d., according to the quotation which appeared in the newspapers of yesterday or the day before. For two or three months the German mark ran at 240 to the £1, which meant that the former German shilling was worth1d. The exchange difficulty is undoubtedly great. Then we have the question of credits, or, in other words, the question of payment. Supposing you fix prices and get over the exchange difficulty, how are you to arrange for payment? Finally, we have a difficulty that is likely to influence the English mind "more than that of Australia. I refer to the competition of exported textiles as a result of the purchase of our raw material. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- In that respect it is an advantage to have Great Britain still connected with Bawra . {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -I desire to give brief attention to these four problems - not to attempt to solve them, but to contribute to the subject a thought or two which may bring some fruit to the efforts that ought to be undertaken to secure the return of this trade. I am assuming that we want to restore the prestige and stability of our pastoral industry as best we can, that we want reparation from Germany, and are not above selling some of our wool to the enemy provinces of Middle Europe if the business can be put on a stable foot ing. The question of prices is one that the bargainers between the two peoples should be able to fix. They should be able to decide whether the wool is to be sold at what we speak of as1s.,1s.1d., 1s. 2d., or1s. 6d. per lb. That is a question upon which the buyers, the wool experts of both countries, can arrive at an agreement. The most difficult question of all to determine in the early stages will be that of exchange. It has been suggested that we should barter. That means that these countries, in exchange for our wool, should immediately hand over certain goods produced by them upon some arbitrary basis of so many articles for a bale of wool. That would be impossible. First of all the equation could not be established. Secondly, we do not want the manufactured goods of Germany in direct payment for that wool. This is a problem on which I am not dogmatizing, but rather wish to offer suggestions. It is, however, possible for the British and Australian Government to say, "We will have for the purposes of this transaction an arbitrary fixation of the mark value. We will not take any notice of the 260, the 220, the 212 value, or whatever may have been the value of the mark during the last year or two, but we will fix a 50 or 60 mark value to the sovereign, and so bring the whole matter within the reach of practical business." If that were done in the most arbitrary fashion by the authorities of both nations, aided by their selling and buying people, we could register a transaction in these wools. By that means, instead of keeping this mountain of wool, which will always be liable to fall on us as long as it does not pass into consumption, we could pass the lower grades into Middle Europe, where they are so badly needed. If that could be done it would carry us over two hurdles. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- That is a big "if." {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- It is not so big in its portents as is the preservation of this mountain of wool year after year. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- Both parties are anxious. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- Yes, we are willing sellers and they are eager buyers, provided we can determine upon a common denominator of value on which we can operate. I suggestnow a means by which payment could be made. We are not going to get anything for this wool, if we keep it, for some years. In the circumstances, therefore, I would be prepared to take the credit notes of' the country to which we sold. In the one case it might be the credit notes of the new region of Czechoslovakia, in another it might be those of Austria, 411 a third case it might be the credit notes of Germany, and in the fourth case it might be the credit notes of Poland. I would be prepared to take those notes, with a currency of three to five years, fixed on an arbitrary valuation of the mark per sovereign. In that way we could do trade with these countries. {: .speaker-JRH} ##### Mr Bowden: -- The honorable member suggests Government notes against private security. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- Yes. The Governments of those countries, judging by their literature and the press, are eager to get on with business. {: .speaker-KLM} ##### Dr MALONEY:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936 -- Would the . honorable member fix the value of the German mark at twenty to the sovereign, as it was before the war ? {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- If we fixed it 'at twenty we would have to lift the prices, and prices and exchange ratio bear an intimate relationship. As to the reexportation of the finished textiles, I say, with great respect, that too much is being made of the possibilities by Bradford and the English manufacturers generally. Judging by the clothing conditions of the people of these countries, to which I have been referring,' they will not have much to export for a few years. Those people, who are using cotton and paper goods, if given the means of restarting their textile manufacture will, as far as possible, bite into the supply, and, I believe, there would be very little left for immediate export. But even if a proportion of their textiles was exported, neither the Bradford nor the Australian people could expect to "have it both ways." They cannot expect to pass this mountain of wool into consumption and not to get the kick of it when we reach the point of competing with woollens manufactured from the re-exporting countries. The British woollen makers have been up against such competition before from all parts of the world, and will have to get used to it again, just as the Australian grower, stepping out of the shelter of the protection of the Pools formed during the war, has to compete with the fierce forces of unrestricted international competition. I very much appreciate the consideration which the House has shown me, and will not presume.' upon it. The prime necessity of the next few months is to endeavour to' arrange a *modus* *vivendi* for the disposal of a substantial proportion of our carry-over wool to the customers we have lost, and every effort of the best business brains/ and of the Executives of the countries concerned, should be bent to that end. I think there are in the service of the British Government, and I am certain there are at the disposal of the Australian Government, brains which can supply their portion of such a scheme. I have no doubt that Germany would find the same type of men to organize that triangular understanding which alone will remove the *impasse,* make for stabilization, and for their proportionate consumption of the wool that we have. I am endeavouring now not to show the futility of the two or six months of immunity suggested, but simply to point out that the whole object of any delay or prohibition is really to get breathing time for the creation of a consumption scheme. You have to get your consumption scheme in operation by soma such means as I have endeavoured to outline. I do not hold dogmatically to any feature of the scheme I have advanced.; but if it were put powerfully before the British Government, I believe it would win approval, and that there would be negotiations in support of it. The disturbing factor in relation to exchange to-day is surely the reparation question. France's exchange has become better within the last three months as the Prime Minister of France has got nearer what the French people think a settlement with the German people, and the currency of Germany has equally receded by depreciation. If we were to settle the reparation question, exchange would tend to right itself very quickly. It would" right itself far more quickly than the exchanges and Bourses of Europe appear to believe possible. We can have noi hand in the settlement of that question at this stage.- It has to run its course. But if an arbitrary relationship between the pound sterling and the mark could be fixed for a large transaction of this kind, extending over three or four sections in the next two years, it would do much to hasten an improvement in the Continental exchange position. That in itself would induce the trade which it appears necessary to stimulate by this artificial means. It would improve the exchange business enormously if it were known that Germany, in respect of her great textile operations, was again afloat; and if a reparation settlement of the tentative kind which it is thought may be brought about by the middle of the year, were effected, trade would resume in a much more rapid way its normal flow. Then, instead of legislators being bothered with problems of this kind, business men and financiers would have almost the whole consideration of them. I hope that the right honorable gentleman in charge of the House will consider this" last matter, whatever he may think of my first criticism, and endeavour to have a consumption scheme considered, formulated, advocated, and, if possible, approved. I think we are entitled, also, to know if the Government proposes to secure approval of this proposal by a Bill or a resolution. The mere authorizing of the printing of a paper, and the operation of this technical sanction by the Minister for Customs under the Customs Act, seems to me a slovenly way of establishing such an important departure from principle as is intended. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- There are two methods of procedure available. A Bill could be passed ; but that seems to me too rigid a process, though it has its advantages. You could not lift any restrictions imposed by an Act except by passing a repealing Act, or providing for the cessation of its operation by a proclamation. The advantage of a resolution, and the operation of it under the Customs Act, is that it would allow of the removal of the restrictions whenever that might seem necessary. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- I agree that rigidity would result from the passing of an Act, whether it were temporary or permanent, though a measure might be made operative by proclamation. But what I desire is an opportunity for Parliament, to review all the circumstances, not only to vote on this distinct issue, but to condition it if the majority of members believe that it should be conditioned in some way. The mere saying of " aye " to the proposal to print a papercould notprovide that. I ask the Acting Leader of the Government, therefore, to consider whether a resolution or a small Bill would not afford the opportunity which I think members should require. Debate (on motion by **Mr. Riley)** adjourned. {: .page-start } page 8064 {:#debate-23} ### ADJOURNMENT {:#subdebate-23-0} #### Reserve Near Parliament House Motion (by **Sir Joseph** Cook) proposed - >That the House do now adjourn. {: #subdebate-23-0-s0 .speaker-KLM} ##### Dr MALONEY:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936 -- I ask you, **Mr. Speaker,** if it is possible to persuade the Parliament of Victoria to allow the reserve to the north of these buildings to be opened, so that children may play in it. At present that reserve is the worst eye-sore in Melbourne, and a blot on the credit of this Parliament, because we are blamed for its condition. . In the slums around about there are many poor little kiddies who have nowhere to play, and their running over this ground would at least keep the weeds down, andto that extent improve its condition. I do not suggest the removal of the iron fence, though I would take away that abomination if I had the power ; but the wooden fence, from Albert-street to Spring-street, might be removed to the advantage of the children and their parents. A large petition, got up by Councillor H. H. Smith for presentation to you or to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Victoria, is now being signed.I hope that you will enter into communication with the State authorities in order to have the change made. {: #subdebate-23-0-s1 .speaker-10000} ##### Mr SPEAKER: -- I would remind the honorable member that the time for asking questions has passed. However, as he has raised this matter, I would inform him that I am not sure that we have any authority over the reserve, which is separated by the temporary right-of-way from Albert-street to Springstreet from the premises of which we are the tenants. The honorable member is aware that representations have been made by the President and myself as to the desirability of improving this ground, and we have offered to expend as much as £1,000 on it if we can get the permission of the State authorities to do what we propose to do. I shall have the honorable member's suggestion placed before the Joint House Committee, and perhaps representations from them to the State Government may have the effect he desires. Question resolved in the affirmative. House adjourned at 10.9 p.m.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 4 May 1921, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.