8th Parliament · 1st Session
Mr. Deputy Speaker (Hon. J. M. Chanter) took the chair at 3 p.m., and read prayers.
– Will the PostinasterGeneral lay on the table, as soon as possible, the agreement for the carriage of mails between Australia and Tasmania, so that honorable members may have an opportunity of reading it before it is finally dealt with ?
– I shall do so as soon as the terms are settled.
– Has the Acting Prime Minister seen the statement in the press that in all probability the Estimates will not. be ready for some months? Is that statement correct?
– The press appears to know more about the Estimates than I do. So far as I am aware, the arrangements that have already been made will stand.
– Are you accepting all the advice that the press has given you in regard to the matter? You will make a hell of a mess of it if you do!
– I ask the honorable member to withdraw those words.
– I withdraw them.
– I have promised that the Budget shall be submitted early in September.
– Has the attention of the Minister for Trade and Customs been drawn to the statement that a large line of lucerne seed has been landed in Sydney, and that a vigorous attempt is being made to get it passed through theCustoms without being stained, which is the usual treatment for imported seed? Will the Minister take steps to prevent this seed from escaping staining.
– I have received a number of telegrams and letters on the subject. I understand that a shipment of lucerne seed has been received from South Africa, and that the importer has applied for leave to introduce it without staining, but that leave has been refused.
Timber and Other Awards : Closing of Mills
– I ask the Minister representing the Minister in charge of War Service Homes matters and soldier land settlement whether he has noticed the proposed new log of the timber workers of Victoria, and if he has considered the effect its adoption would have on the erection of War Service Homes.
– That is not a fair question, inasmuch as there must be an application to the Court before the log can be adopted.
– I have not seen the full log, but I have read the press statement about it. The claim is a staggerer. The War Service Homes Commission has had applied to its operations at least two awards which, being retrospective, have seriously affected them, vastly increasing the cost of houses that were almost completed. It will be impossible to continue in the present uncertainty, seeing that Parliament- has fixed definitely the sum which a War Service Home should not exceed.
– Is it a fact that some of the mills taken over by the War Service Homes Commission from Lahey Limited have been closed, and that, therefore, a large number of returned men have been thrown out of work?
– It is a fact that some of the Lahey mills have been closed ; but they were not closed until the full storage capacity at the disposal of the Commission was filled, and we have utilized the timber to the full financial provision made for this year. Other mills in Australia which have never before been closed are now closed.
– Has any late information been received in connexion with the contract and final payments for the wooden ships that were being built in America ?
– There is nothing fresh to report, so far as I know.
asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -
Transfer to State Asylums
asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice -
– The Commission advises as follows: -
In Committee of Ways and Means:
Consideration resumed from. 16th June (vide page 9137).
Item 269- divisionix.-drugsandchemicals.
.- I should like the Minister to indicate what he is prepared to do in the way of increasing the duties on sheep dips. In the absence of any such indication, I move -
That the following words be added to subitem (a) - “And on and after 22nd June, 1921, ad val., British, 30 per cent.; intermediate, 30 per cent.; general, 40 per cent.”
At least three-fourths of the importations of sheep dips in the past have been of Cooper’s brands, and the manufacturers of that brand, with the promise of adequate protection, are now making them in Australia. The raw material of these dips is already taxed severely under the Tariff, and duty of 20 per cent. is not sufficient to keep out the foreign or overseas articles.
– Fancy calling the Old Country a “ foreign “ country.
– Whether these dips come from England, America or elsewhere, there is no reason for their importation, in view of the fact that there are now established here twelve factories for their manufacture.
.- Last week I gave notice of my intention to move an amendment on this item, with a view to the reduction of the duty on British dips. Every man interested in the great primary industry of wool-grow-, ing knows that it is essential to have the best quality of dips for the production of the best quality wool. I speak as one with experience, and there is no doubt in my mind, or in the minds of others of experience, that Australia has not yet produced a dip which is as good for wool as some of the best British dips.
– That is absolutely correct.
– Honorable members will observe that my opinion is backed by another experienced woolgrower. I am convinced that 90 per cent, of the woolgrowers in Australia, who pride themselves on producing the best quality of woOl, do not use Australian dips. For the purpose of destroying insects and so forth the Australian dips are quite good, and from that point of view I have no desire to decry them, but of those who are particular about their wooli quite apart from keeping their sheep healthy and clean, by far the majority prefer British dips. It will be a serious matter if we <lo anything to injure the most important primary product of Australia. Wool has made Australia’s good name’ throughout the world, and is, above all other products, helping us to bear the burdens of to-day. It would be ridiculous in order to help a very minor industry to do that which might result in irreparable injury to the most important of our primary industries. I hope that the Committee will not agree to the amendment just sub- mitted. Later on, I shall move an amendment to reduce the duty as against Great Britain.
– I intend to move an amendment to provide, amongst other things, that nicotine preparations shall be free. This amendment is in accordance with the promise I made to the honorable member for Nepean (Mr. Bowden) last week.
– Why make them free?
– Because they are not made here. The amendment leaves sheep dips at the same rates as now in the Tariff.
– I move -
That the following words be added to subitem (a) - “And on and after 22nd June, 1021, ad val., British, 10 per cent.; intermediate, 30 per cent.; general, 40 per cent.”
I do not care how high the protection is against foreign dips, but I object to dips manufactured in Great Britain being described in that way. I am very strongly in favour of giving manufacturers in Great Britain a preference which will be of real value to them, and, at the same time, of value to wool-growers in Australia, many of whom believe that they must have British dip if the high quality of our wool is to be maintained.
– I thought that the very reasonable amendment suggested by the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Greene) would be accepted. I cannot claim to have had much to do with sheep in recent years, but I think that if I read an extract from a circular issued by a firm of sheep dip manufacturers it should be sufficient to convince honorable members that the duties proposed are reasonable and fair. The firm to which I refer is William Cooper and Nephews, and only last year they were amongst the most bitter opponents of any duty on imports of sheep dip. They were then manufacturing in Great Britain, and were greatly opposed to these duties and to the embargo placed during war time on the importation of British-made dips. One of the principal reasons for the embargo was that the. Prime Minister of Great Britain made a. special request to the Prime Ministers” of. the Dominions and of Australia in particular
– The honorable member cannot prove .that statement.
– If the honorable member would permit me to. finish what I wish to say, perhaps he would not be so ready to interject. The Prime Minister of Great Britain made a request to. the Prime Ministers of the overseas Do- minions that, while there was a shortage of ships and shipping space, the Dominions should, as far as possible, manufacture all their own requirements.
– There was a good reason for it then.
– I admit that. The matter of sheep dip was remitted to the Wool Committee, and it will be agreed that the Chairman of the Wool Committee knows something about sheep dips. After an exhaustive investigation the Wool Committee came to the conclusion, and advised the Government accordingly, that sheep dips were manufactured in Australia sufficient for local requirements, and that an embargo should be placed on the importation of sheep dip. The honorable member for Dampier (Mr. Gregory) complained of that on many occasions, and, as I have previously said, the firm of William Cooper and Nephews was bitterly opposed to it. Owing to the embargo, and to the fact that fifteen months ago certain duties were levied on imported dips, the firm of William Cooper and Nephews came to Australia, and began the manufacture of their dip here.
– It is not the dip that some of us want.
– It is a well-known fact that Cooper’s sheep dip is favorably known and used by leading sheep-breeders throughout Australia.
– As an insecticide it is a very fine dip, but not as a dip for wool.
– It was the most popular dip, and is now.
– The most relentless Free Trader should be prepared to abdicate Free Trade principles in connexion with this item when he hears read the following extract from a circular issued by William Cooper and Nephews: -
We have already embarked in Australia a capital of some £75,000 in this enterprise, and if we are to have a full measure of protection and continue to operate, the import duty must be such as to afford effective protection against unfair and unequal competition of imports.
That is a most effective reply to the honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Fleming). This firm, that was most bitterly opposed to any kind of protection for Australian-made dips, is now manufacturing a dip in Australia. The more wo encourage the manufacture of these articles, in which chemists are extensively employed, the more shall we multiply the wealth of Australia. The establishment of such industries will help us in times of peace, and must be of the greatest advantage to us in time of war.
.- It will be recollected that during the war our friends, especially some of those in the Country party’s corner, were advocating the use of Cooper’s dip.
– No one in this corner advocated the use of Cooper’s dips, by name.
– What we tried to do was to have the embargo on the importation of British dips removed.
– William Cooper and Nephews were assured of protection and support if they came to Australia and established the manufacture of their sheep dip here - at very considerable cost. It is admitted to be a very good dip, and it has become no worse since it has been manufactured in Australia. This firm has been induced to establish a factory here, and is giving satisfaction, and I, therefore, cannot admit the advisability of reducing the duty on imported dips. I know as much of the requirements of dip as do most people in Australia, and recognised authorities on the subject find no fault with the dip manufactured here by William Cooper and Nephews, either for sheep or for cattle, and there are many other good dips being manufactured in the Commonwealth.
– The honorable member could get a fine testimonial for it from the honorable member for Grampians (Mr. Jowett).
– It is undoubtedly one of the very finest dips used.
– There are so many manufacturers of sheep dip in Australia at the present time that it is very unlikely that there should be a Combine formed by them. If we continue to give them sufficientprotection against importations of dip from outside we shall be in a position to secure the continuance of the manufacture of a good article on the spot. I sincerely hope that no attempt will be made to bring about a reduction of duties’ which would be disastrous to this industry. If that is done, the people who are advocating the reduction may be the worst sufferers.
.- I do not think the honorable member for Wide Bay (Mr. Corser) was correct in stating that the members of the Country party claimed any special merits for Cooper’s Sheep Dip, or tried to get any advantage for that company; but we did fight for the removal of the embargo placed on the importation of sheep dips into the Commonwealth. That was a very proper fight, and I am glad that it was successful. In reply to the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Fenton), I say that it was not necessary to place a duty on sheep dip in order to enable its manufacture in Australia. The industry was already here, and firms in New South Wales advertised that they wanted neither an embargo nor a duty on the imported article.
– What companies were they ?
– I cannot name them off-hand; but the Minister probably can. One company was ruined by the interference of the Government.
– Is the honorable member sure that that company’s sheep dip was any good? I have used a lot of Australian dips, with disastrous results.
– The firm had their business in Australia, and their own customers, and were doing very well. They worked on co-operative lines, and were quite content to go on as they had been. They advertised that they wanted no embargo and no duty on the imported article. But during the war some people conceived the idea that it would be nice to have an embargo on a product that competed with their own; and one evening, in the Queen’s Hall, Mr. Leggo stated before the honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. Richard Foster) and me, that ho. had been promised an embargo for twelve months, and if he got that he did not care what might happen afterwards.
– That firm made a lot of money.
– I think they have made application to the Government for over £30,000 as compensation for losses sustained through the removal of the embargo. We know that it is not true that the British Government would not assist the firms that were manufacturing insecticides for this country. They realized how important it was to British industries that Australia should be supplied with efficient dips, so that when the war was over Australian wool of unimpaired quality would be available. Coopers have supplied honorable members with circulars which state that during the war the British Government assisted the manufacturers to carry on what they regarded as a national industry. We read that they applied to the Prime Minister, in England, who gave them a written agreement - which this Government refused to indorse as long as they could - that all sheep dips ordered prior to March, 1921, would be admitted into the Commonwealth, notwithstanding the embargo, subject to the importers entering into an agreement that they would pay any duty which Parliament might thereafter impose. I remember urging the Minister during the war to bring iri the Tariff and place on these dips any duty he chose, so long as we could get them. I was not advocating the merits of Cooper’s dip particularly; but Coopers are an oldestablished firm. They have sent their chemists all over the world to discover a dip that would cause the least deterioration to the wool, while dealing effectively with tick and other pests. And what Australia needs is trade with firms of that kind, so that we may benefit by their experience and research. In the fruit-growing and wool-growing industries, it is essential that the best insecticides shall be available. The Prime Minister (Mr. Hughes) promised, through Colonel Amery, that sheep dip would be allowed to be imported into Australia, but the Government delayed the removal of the embargo until a writ was to be served upon them. Later the embargo was removed, but Coopers complained that, although they had the dip ready to ship to Australia, the Commonwealth Government would not put it in either the first, second, or third degree of preference for shipping space. All the time certain people were trying to strengthen the embargo until they got their own industries established under its protection. The local firm to which I have already referred as having _ desired neither a duty nor an embargo, were induced to enter into arrangements for the purpose of complying with the requests of the Government, and nobody knows better than the Minister that owing to large sums they had to expend for arsenic and other materials bought at high prices they overreached themselves financially. They had been told that the production of sheep dip was a national necessity, and to assist the Government they embarked upon this enterprise. But the Government were not able to keep their promise to them, because Cooper’s dip and others were being imported, and the local firms found themselves in possession of an enormous quantity of dip that was absolutely unsaleable. This Sydney firm was treated scandalously. It is the duty of any Government to make every effort to supply the producers with insecticides that will most effectively prevent the deterioration of our wool and keep our orchards free of pests.
– But for the way in which the secondary industries stood by them, during the war, the primary industries would have gone to the wall.
– A certain section of producers wan ted the ‘higher grade article, and they were content to pay a bigger price for the imported dip than for the local product.
– Are not Coopers manufacturing in Australia now?
– Yes ; and they are asking for protection. They were forced to come here as an alternative to losing their trade. But they say that the protection given in this schedule is useless, because of the heavy duties placed on almost every ingredient required in the manufacture of their product. I repeat that other local firms were able to carry on profitably without a duty before Coopers established themselves in Australia.
– And they used practically the same ingredients.
– No. Cooper’s dip is an insecticide, and some of the others are merely stimulants.
– It is very important that we should secure the best chemical and bacteriological advice in connexion with the manufacture of insecticide for the destruction of pests, and especially it is dangerous to do anything which may prevent the people of Australia from getting the very best insecticide. I have received letter after letter from orchardists asking me to endeavour to have these special duties removed. They prefer to buy certain preparations. It may be true that the imported article is double the price of that which is locally manufactured;but would any one be inclined to pay the higher price if the lower-priced article was equally effective? In the destruction of some germ or pest the cost lies, not so much in the amount paid for the dip or insecticide as in the amount of labour employed. The cost of an article which requires to be used three or four times a year becomes enormous. Insecticides ought to be permitted to come in free of duty, because anything tending in the slightest degree to injure, for example, the pastoral industry, which has done so much to de- . velop Australia, must receive the gravest consideration. The special plea put forward by Coopers was that by reason of their old association with the manufacture of sheep dip they have been in the position to send chemists and bacteriologists all over the world inquiring into the treatment of various diseases, and, as a result, have been able to make a preparation of such a high degree of perfection that it would imperil our industry to refuse to permit its entry into Australia.We want the best the world can supply, and we can only get that with a free market.
– Coopers have established themselves in Australia now.
– But that fact does not insure the Australian pastoralists getting the very best sheep dip. The last word in the matter of research work has not yet been said. Coopers are a great firm, and have a very high name in the world as manufacturers of this article; but they are not the only manufacturers, and other investigations are in progress. That is why I say it is essential we should get the very best the world can supply.
– We have several factories in Australia trying to do that.
-“ Trying,” yes.
– And succeeding admirably.
– They have tried under practically a free Tariff.
– Yes. The Minister had the advertisement, of one Australian firm, in which they stated that they wanted neither a duty nor an embargo. Apparently they were doing remarkably well, and were quite satisfied to carry on under the old conditions. If I had moved an amendment to this item I would have moved to remove the duty altogether, hut I shall support the reduction moved for by the honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Fleming).
.- I should not let the remarks ofthe honorable member for Dampier pass without a word or two in reply, because the setting in which he put the subject hardly did justice to himself or to the Government. I need not rake up a lot of old history already repeated on this floor over and over again.
– And in regard to which the Minister made a lot of promises.
– Yes. I can quote them from Hansard if you require to be reminded of them; the promises, for example, in regard to the time the embargo was to remain in force. ,
– I cannot recall any circumstances or set of conditions where I made a definite promise to the House which I have not endeavoured to carry into effect, and if the honorable member can . point to any particular instance in which I have not carried out a promise, all I can say is that I am not aware of it, and if it is in my power to doso, I shall fulfil my promise. ‘ It is quite true that the particular firm of which the honorable member spoke advertised that they were willing to carry on without any embargo or duty, but they did that . at a period when the public mind was more or less excited over the question of the embargo, and they have since approached the Government, and asked for a considerable sum of money as compensation, on the ground that we did not fulfil our promise to put on the embargo at the time when we said we would put it on. So far from not requiring any embargo, they are now negotiating with the Government for compensation because we did not put one on, though at the time they advertised that they did not require an embargo or any’ duty. But that was to help them to sell their goods, and not because they really did not want a duty or an embargo.
– That is absolutely incorrect, because the Minister removed the embargo. He did not carry, out the promise he made to them.
– Pardon me, the embargo was on.
– Of course it was,’ but the Minister had to remove it.
– It was on, and was kept on until the Tariff was imposed. I made a definite promise to the House that all embargoes would be lifted when the Tariff was laid’ on the table. That promise was carried out, and, among others, the sheep dip embargo was removed. But that was not the trouble of these people. Their trouble was that the embargo had not been put on as early as they thought it would be. imposed, and they say that in that perioda large quantity of dip was imported, which made it impossible for them to sell their stocks. Let me recall the circumstances under which this was done. Originally the British Munitions Department requested the Australian Government to see if it was possible for Australia’s sheep dip requirements to be made in Australia, thus avoiding the drain upon certain stocks, in’ Britain required for munition purposes. Everybody understands that it was the desire of the Australian Government, and the people of the Commonwealth, to assist in every possible way in the great struggle in which we were engaged, and an effort was made to see if it was possible to carry out this desire, and manufacture within Australia from the raw materials already in this country the things we ‘ so much needed. Certain manufacturers, including Coopers, were approached at the time, and they said they were not prepared to do as suggested. I do not think the statement of the honor-‘ able member for. Robertson (Mr. Fleming), that at the time Coopers were not the only dip manufacturers to be considered, is correct. The whole of the controversy ranged round the question’ of Cooper’s dip; because the product of that firm was used throughout the length and breadth of the country.
– For sheep!
– That is the point.
– As the honorable member for Robertson suggests, there arc people who use other dips; but the great bulk of the flock-masters throughout Australia rely largely ‘ on the product of Coopers.
– Cooper’s dip may have the largest sale in the world, but that is no reason why we should be compelled 10 use it.
– I do not suggest that. The controversy ranged round Cooper’s dip at the time. Now that Coopers are established here, and have brought all their experience with them, a determined effort should be made to keep them here. It would be a short-sighted policy on our part if we followed the example of other countries and left our ports open so that we could have the experience of the world at our command when we have already had established in this country one of tho best, if not tho best, manufacturer of sheep dip known.
– But, surely, there are other manufacturers?
– Of course there are, and I am not saying anything whatever against the quality of the dips produced by other manufacturers. I was merely pointing out that the manufacturers of a dip which is spoken very highly of are already established in Australia.
– There are some very good Australian dips.
– The honorable member for Grampians (Mr. Jowett) uses Australian sheep dip very extensively, and I suppose he is one of the largest flockmasters in Australia. I presume the honorable member, is as capable of judging the value of the dips he uses as any other man.
– I. am sorry the Minister is not moving for an increase.
– I am not entirely satisfied with the duties we are imposing, but I am inclined to think they are sufficient. It must also be remembered that this industry is a very useful adjunct to the mining industry.
– But the dips we require are not manufactured from arsenic or mineral compounds.
– Can the honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Fleming) give the constituent elements of these dips?
– They contain a variety of things.
– Can the honorable member indicate what is the principal commodity in a dip of the kind he has in mind? There are some dips which are more in the nature of disinfectants.
– Some stimulate tho growth of wool.
– They are not tho dips of which I am speaking. This industry is a very useful adjunct to mining, and I believe it is coming to tho rescue of some part of that industry at a very critical period. Difficulty has been experienced in tho past iu connexion with our arsenical and sulphide ores, and here we have an opportunity of building up a secondary industry which will be of great assistance, to mining. The honorable member for New England (Mr. Hay) will agree- that in the ‘ district he represents mining prospects have been considerably improved in consequence of mines being opened np for the production of ores used for this particular purpose. The duties we are imposing are low; but I hope they are not too low.
– They are low for the Minister.
– I would like to make them higher. When America commenced the manufacture of sheep dip’s, she imposed a duty of DO per cent., and naturally manufacturers immediately established works in that country.
– We knock her end on in wool.
– Yes, but we have a different climate, and I am sure the honorable member for Robertson would not like us to think that the difference has been brought about merely ‘because a different type of dip has been used.
– I did not suggest that.
– That is the inference to be drawn from the honorable member’s interjection. Some of the South American Republics imposed a duty of 75 per cent, on imported dips when they established industries of their own, with the result that the particular manufacturers who were exporting to South America, commenced manufacturing in that country. If it had not been for the embargo, in all probability Coopers would not have established a plant here. But they are here, and we should endeavour to make the conditions such that they will be prepared to remain. If the proposed duties, which, have been referred to as a burden, are passed on, they will not be a handicap to those who have to use this commodity, because the additional cost will be a mere bagatelle per sheep per year.
.- The Minister’s own statement is the best argument which could be advanced for the reduction of the duty on British dips. He says that this firm, when there was an embargo, was able to sell its dips here, but . that as soon as the embargo was removed it felt that it had been damaged to the extent of some £30,000.
– I did not say anything of the sort.
– The Minister said something to the effect that this firm was coming uponthe. Government for about £30,000. Sid not the Minister say that the company in question was asking for compensation to that extent for its losses ?
– I . said nothing of the kind. Thesepeople, I repeat, are making application , to the Government for remuneration, or compensation, because we did not impose the embargo earlier.
– I am sorry that I misunderstood the Minister. I took his remark to refer, to one of . the firms which is still carrying on. However, there are one or two other aspects to whichI desire to allude. Under the old Tariff, sheep dips were admitted free; and, according to a report which I have in my hand, the Tariff Commission recommended that they be placed on the list of. special exemptions. The Government should take care not to damage the greatest of all Australian industries in the interests of a very minor industry. That is not only my view, but, evidently, the view which the members of the Tariff ‘ Commission took. Another important point has to do with the difference in the prices of the imported and locally-made dips. Surely, if the Australian-made dips are as good as those from overseas, they can be sold successfully at the same prices. There are not as many as 2 per cent. among the sheep-growers of Australia who would prefer to. use the imported rather than the locally-produced dip, if the quality were the same. Among the primary producers, there is a very strong desire to use Australian products first and every time, so long as the latter are as good as those made overseas. But . where it is essential for the maintenance of an- industry that the very best among the world’s products shall be employed in special circumstances, producers naturally feel bound to forego their predilection for the Australian article, and to get the very best, particularly if it be a British manufacture. I quote the following comparison of prices of four imported and four locally-made sheep dips. Those for the imported dips are, respectively, £4 5s., £4,. £4 5s., and £4 5s. per 100 lbs.; while the prices for the four Australian lines are, £4, £3 12s. 6d., £3 12s. 6d., and £3 12s. 6d. It is evident, then, that the locally-made dips can be sold for considerably less than the imported.
– Cooper’s is a locallymade dip, and that is sold at 85s.
– My whole point is that the imported dips’ are generally dearer than the local, and that woolgrowers only buy the more expensive lines because they believe, after years of practical experience, that the imported suits their purposes better than the local dip. Their view is that the one class of dip will not do as good work, all- over Australia, and - with different kinds of sheep, as another. The wool-grower knows that he must’ have Ms dip to suit his locality. One of the most important lessons to be learned in the field of primary production is that local conditions very often, break down all theories.
– Does the honorable member Bay that none of the twelve Australian makers is turning out the class of dip of which he is now speaking?
– Not one of the firms is making the particular dip which numbers of graziers prefer to use,’ as I. say, in special ‘ circumstances. There > has been an attempt made in Australia recently to produce adip. which would have the some effect as certain special imported lines. I am not acquainted with the position at the moment, and cannot say, therefore, whether the Australian makers have succeeded in their endeavours. Cooper’s is a poisonous, or arsenical, dip, while some of the other dips are not poisonous. The Minister has pleaded for support for the mining industry, in that certain of its products go to the making of sheep dips.
T would remind honorable members that there, are two distinct kinds of dip. Most of them are like Cooper’s; that is to say, they are made of arsenical compounds. But, in the manufacture of others, arsenic is not employed. There are such varied ingredients as phenyle, nicotine, oil, and sulphur. As a matter of fact, a grazier could make his own dip; but, in these days of specialization, it is likely to be a mistake to do so. A wool-grower needs the very best adjuncts that he can possibly secure, seeing that his product has to compete with the highest classes of wool in the world’s markets. Wool requires most particular handling in order to achieve the best results. Australia’s good name depends upon this Committee exercising sufficient common sense to give to growers a proper choice of the things with which to produce the best wool. Some of the dips do not act, in any sense, as insecticides, but as stimulants and as a protection to the wool. I appeal to honorable members to vote for the reduction of the degree of protection enjoyed by local makers as against British manufactures. Surely the present rates are sufficient to give -our own people a commanding lead in the Australian market, while still permitting the superior imported dips to be purchased here.’
– I again impress on honorable members that there are in Australia twelve established factories for the making of sheep and cattle dips. The makers claim that they are supplying- as good a line, both for sheep and for cattle, as any overseas manufacturer. They are also . turning out. different classes of dip, to suit varied and particular purposes, in regard to the especial treatment of different fleeces. They claim, further, that in order to stabilize the industry they should be adequately protected against outside competition. They do not wish- to increase their prices, but desire to have the Australian market to themselves, as they should “have, and would have, if proper and sufficient protection were granted.
– As they would have if they made the right dip.
– They are as good as any imported dips. Every one of the twelve Australian firms has asked for additional protection. They consider it essential mainly for the reason that the ingredients used already carry high protective duties - higher, in the main, wan that upon the finished product itself. The local manufacturers state that if, instead of the duties of 20 per cent, and 30 per cent., now proposed, the duties of 30 per cent., 35 per cent., and 40 per cent., for which they asked, had been granted, the cost to the users, even in that event, would have been only 37s. per 1,000 head of stock dipped. The increased rate of 10 per cent, asked for would mean an increase of only 3s. 9d. per 1,000 head of stock, so that such increase would not be a matter of much concern. We have to consider the advantages which the encouragement of this industry will confer upon Australia. In the first place, it means that the employment involved in the manufacture of these dips will be secured to our own people. It is pointed out, secondly, that several new industries for the production of the raw materia] will be established here. Then, again, the primary industries, and especially those engaged in stock raising, will be protected against failure of supplies, and stock-owners will, also be insured against any inordinate- increase in prices. Already there are twelve firms manufacturing dips in Australia, and if this duty is agreed to, other British firms may be induced, as Coopers have been, to establish their industry here. We must all recognise that it would be a great advantage to have these dips manufactured on the spot, and our own men employed in producing them, instead of being compelled to satisfy our requirements by importations from overseas. 1 urge the Minister (Mr. Greene) not to give way to the demand for a decreased duty. My only regret is that the honorable gentleman has not moved to increase the present rates ; but I hope he will do so.
.- I hope that the Minister (Mr. Greene) will agree to the amendment to reduce by 10 per cent, the duty on British dips. Australia has probably been more successful in dealing with the pests and diseases that attack stock than any other country, and we need the best scientific knowledge and appliances to cope with tick and other pests. The State Governments compel us to dip our sheep, and we want the best dip that is available.
To my own knowledge, men have been using a sheep dip which does not kill the tick, while others are using dips which, as the honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Fleming) has said, is destroying the wool on the sheep. I could give instances where sheep have been dipped in a material ‘…’ has largely destroyed the growth of the- fleece for the coming season. If it were necessary, I could give the names of the sheep-owners who have had this experience and that of the dip they have used.
– Was it because the dip was of Australian manufacture that it had these bad results ?
– It was nob a good dip, and, unfortunately, it wa9 of Australian manufacture.
– The honorable member for Grampians (Mr. Jowett) will tell the honorable member of the effectiveness of Australian dips.
– The honorable member for Grampians draws his experience from a State where tick in sheep is not as bad as it is in Victoria.
– I have in mind the Riverina district; there axe plenty of ticks there.
– I know of a scientific man who was induced to use an Australian dip, which proved to be quite ineffective, with the result that his sheep that year were very much troubled with ticks’. Since then he has used the imported article. Practically the whole of the farmers and graziers in the Western District of Victoria, where the finest wool that the world can produce is grown, use imported dips. Their men know how to mix the imported dips; they know the exact proportions required for an effective dipping, but if we impose this duty, with the result that the imported article is no longer available Jo them, they will be working in the dark. They will have to use some of the local preparations, which up to the present have not proved satisfactory. For the most part, imported dips are used in my electorate, and I hope that the Minister will see his way to make some concession so far as British dips are concerned.
.- I intend to support the item as proposed by the Government. If the honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Fleming.) had moved to increase instead of to reduce these duties, he would have had my support. The honorable member said that local manufacturers could not satisfy all our requirements. My answer to him is that the higher we make the dudes the greater will be the probability of British manufacturers following the example of Coopers, and establishing factories in our midst. Some honorable members seem to think that it would be impossible for local manufacturers of sheep dips to follow the formulas of British manufacturers. I would suggest to the Minister that in the case of every imported preparation, we should require the formula to be stated on the package or bottle. It is difficult to obtain a perfect analysis o’f any organic chemical, but the most definite analysis can be made of any inorganic body such as arsenic. Traces of arsenic have been found in mummies 2,000 years old. That will give the Committee some idea of the lasting effects of that chemical. I hope the item will be agreed to.
.- Did * I understand the Minister (Mr. Greene) to say that local manufacturers of dips had given him an undertaking not to increase their prices?
– They have addressed to me a letter to the effect that if the additional duty is granted, they will not increase the price.
– In the event of the item being passed as introduced, and the local manufacturers increasing their prices, will the proposed Tariff Board have power to deal with them?
– Under the Bill that I propose to introduce, the Board will have that power.
– Then, users of these dips will not have to pay more if the item be passed as introduced- I take it that those who are engaged in the production of sheep dip in Australia at the. present time are producing an article which is satisfactory to om* wool-growers. Their desire is not to increase the price, but to secure to themselves ihe Australian market. Are we not shrieking for increased population in this country? Is it not essential and urgent that we should make provision for people who come here, and develop our mineral industry, amongst others? God knows that the mineral industry is down and out at present.
– It is time a voice like that came from that corner.
– It is not the. first time. I know that in the north of New South Wales very large arsenical deposits have been developed for the purpose of manufacturing dips. The question of supreme importance to me, in a great many of these essential products, is the danger which this country runs in the event of being cut off from imported supplies. We are informed that satisfactory dips are being made in Australia, and the Minister tells us that undertakings have been given that the prices will not be increased,” that the market is required for our own people to develop our own industries, and that if prices are increased the proposed Tariff Board will be in a position to deal with those responsible.
– I hope the Minister will see bis way to support the amendment moved by the honorable member for Wide Bay (Mr. Corser).
– That has been defeated.
– The amendment before the Committee aims at reducing the British preferential rate.
– I am certain that the Minister will not entertain a proposal of that kind.
– Because you have not heard the arguments.
– I have made myself acquainted with this case. The very object which we have sought to attain by our Protectionist policy has been achieved . in this instance. Coopers, the makers of a well-known and recognised dip, which is very popular in Australia, have established a factory in the Commonwealth, and have already expended £75,000 on it, and contemplate a vast further expenditure. That at once affords us a guarantee of the quality of the dip that will be locally manufactured. There was never a case where we were more, justified in giving encouragement to local industry. I should imagine that that firm were given to understand that they would receive the necessary encouragement and protection, and for that reason incurred the expenditure mentioned. In the fact that a num ber of other local factories are established, we have also a guarantee as to the price. The local manufacturer suffers from a serious disadvantage in this case, because the maker in the Old Country has his raw material free, and immediately at hand, and is therefore able to export at a fairly low rate. The Australian manufacturer has this difficulty to contend with, that we are also trying to establish a subordinate industry, from which he draws his raw material, and have already extended to it a protection of 25 per cent. Therefore, as the raw material of the sheep-dip industry is not free in Australia, then, until the local product is available, that industry naturally suffers disadvantage to that extent. In the circumstances, the Committee should extend to it reasonable encouragement.
– You are arguing that, owing to the existence of a duty on it, the price of the raw material is higher.
– There is practically no protection, in the circumstances, to the local sheep-dip industry; but I am given to understand that the arsenic industry is rapidly growing, so that the local raw material will soon be available.
– The local product is selling at 8s. per 100 lbs. less than the imported.
– Exactly. We have a guarantee as to the price and a guarantee as to the quality. The wellknown makers who have established themselves here are prepared not only to supply the local market, but also to expand their industry and to provide for an export trade from Australia. In the circumstances, we are not dealing fairly or justly by these people if we do not give them substantial protection, and the modest, proposal in this schedule should be readily conceded. It is not really a protection at all to the sheep-dip industry, in view of the duty on the raw material.
– They tell us that they want this protection to enable them to use the raw material which we produce here.
– Is not the honorable member desirous of producing the raw material here?
– Certainly; but you cannot have it both ways.
– Then the honorable member cannot hesitate to give the necessary aid and protection tothis industry, because the raw material cannot be used here unless encouragement is given to the local manufacture of sheep dip.’ The one industry is dependent on the other. The arsenical industry is encouraged directly by the Tariff, but there will be no market for its product unless the sheep-dip industry is concurrently established. I regret that the Committee would not entertain the proposal of the honorable member for Wide Bay, but the rates in the schedule are so modest that honorable members in the Ministerial corner are not doing themselves justice in opposing them.
– The Minister in the Senate may propose an increase in this duty.
– I sincerely hope that we shall do justice to ourselves, and to this Australian industry. The amount which is involved, so far as the pastoralist is concerned, is so trifling that it is not worth considering.
– You are going to do £750,000 worth of damage for the sake of the £75,000 you speak of.
– It is very easy for the honorable member to say that, but the’ facts are against him. It is most unreasonable for any one to oppose a duty of this kind, and, personally, I should have been glad if even further consideration than the Minister has proposed could be given. The manufacturers abroad are doing what we invite them to do by our Tariff - establishing their industry locally, and are prepared to spend even more than they have already done, and they are only one of twelve firms. Why then should we not give them the necessary aid and encouragement ?
– Did I understand the Minister to say that at a later stage he would state to what extent the increased duty would affect the price?
– I understand that if the whole of the 10 per cent. were passed on, the price would represent an extra 3s. 9d. per 1,000 sheep dipped.
– I thought that was the explanation given by the honorable member for Wide Bay (Mr. Corser).
– Yes, but the Committee has rejected his amendment. It is open for any other honorable member to move an amendment, but, of course, this is a matter for the Committee to decide. The amendment now under consideration is for a decrease. I do not propose to accept it.
Question - That the words proposed to be added be so added (Mr. Fleming’s amendment) - put. The Committee divided.
Majority . . . . 18
Question so resolved in the negative.
Motion (by Sir Robert Best) proposed -
That the following words be added to sub-item A : - “ And on and after 22nd June, 1921, ad val., British,27½ per cent.; intermediate, 37½ per cent.; general, 37½ per cent.”
– I will meet the honorable member by agreeing to increase the British Tariff to 25 per cent., the intermediate to 25 per cent., and the general to 35 per cent.
– On a point of order, Mr. Chairman, is it competent for an honorable member to move now to increase the duty? Should not this amendment have been submitted prior to the amendment for a decrease, which has just been rejected ?
– The amendment is quite in order.
– Is it competent for an increase to be moved after a decrease?
The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN.The amendment just defeated was for an all-round increase of 10 per cent. The proposal now before the Committee is for a lower increase.
– I accept the Minister’s offer, and, therefore, ask leave to amend my amendment by making the British and intermediate rate 25 per cent., and the general rate 35 per cent.
– Does the Minister agree to a duty of 25 per cent. on sheep dip’ imported from Great Britain?
– Does the honorable gentleman wish to kill our wool-growing industry ?
Question - That the amendment be agreed to - put. The Committee divided.
Majority . . . . 8
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Amendment agreed to.
Amendment (by Mr. Greene) agreed to-
That the item be further amended by adding the following words : - “ And on and after 22nd June, 1921-
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Item 270 (Fly papers) , item 271 (Ammonia) , item 272 (Voltoids of salammoniac) , and item 273 (Carbide of calcium) , agreed to.
Bromide salts; cyanide of potassium and cyanide of sodium, ad val., British and intermediate, free; general, 10 per cent.
– I move -
That the item be amended by inserting “ ; Hydrosulphites “ after the word “Sodium.”
My proposal, is to remove “hydrosulphites “ from the next to this item, which will not affect the duty on that article, and to make a new item of 275, providing for the protection of sulphur manufacture.
Amendment agreed to.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Item 275 -
Hydrosulphites, ad val., British and intermediate, free; general, 10 per cent.
– I move -
That the item be amended by omitting “Hydrosulphites, ad val., British and intermediate, free; general, 10 per cent.” and by substituting therefor the following: - “On and after 22nd June, 1921 -
I do not propose, at this stage at all events, to take up much time in dealing with this item. Honorable members know that many of our ores, in conjunction with other metals, hold large quantities of sulphur. This sulphur is very often one of the greatest detriments to the recovery of the precious metals, but, at the same time, if it can be used, it becomes of itself valuable, and in this way am enormous assistance to mining is afforded.
.- I should like to impress on honorable members the very great importance of this item. Atthe present time the metal industries in Australia are at a very low ebb, and sulphur is one of the byproducts which will in a very large measure assist in restoring the profitable working of mines, and afford employment to large numbers of our people. Up to the present we have imported practically the whole of our sulphur from Asiatic countries and the United States of America. Before the war a great deal came to this country from Spain at a very low rate, as ballast. We know that Asiatic countries produce their commodities by means of cheap labour, and that those employed work very long hours daily. I have not the figures for the importations to Australia, but I have the information as to New South Wales.Last year New South Wales imported 12,500 tons, so that it is fairly clear that the total quantity imported into Australia must be about 40,000 tons. In 1914-15 the price paid for Japanese sulphur was £4 14s. 4d. per ton, and that price rose in 1920 to £13 11s. 4d. In 1918-19 America sent only 188 tons, but for the nine months of 1920-21 there was imported from the United States of America into New South Wales 12,300 tons. The whole of that sulphur could be produced in this country at our sulphur-producing mines at Broken Hill and elsewhere. Sulphur, as we all know, is used in the development of a great many industries, such as the production of chemicals generally, superphosphates, explosives, galvanizing iron and steel, in the refining of copper, zinc, gold, and silver, the manufacture of paper, and so forth. It willbeseen that the development of this industry is of great importance to Australia . * We have sulphide mines throughout the country, and in Tasmania quite recently something like £250,000 has been expended for the purpose of producing sulphuric acid. I suggest that under the circumstances the Minister (Mr. Greene) should agree to higher duties than those he has proposed. I may explain that the reason sulphur is now coming into this country from America, instead of Japan and other Asiatic countries, is that freights are in favour of America at the present time. Later on, however, it is quite possible that freights may turn round again in favour of Asiatic countries, and it seems to me that we ought notto be in danger in time of war, for instance, of being cut off from . supplies of this basic product.
If we were thus cut off, Australia would find herself in a. very unhappy position. By producing sulphur for ourselves we should, as I have said, afford employment for considerable numbers of our own people, not only in primary industries, but in secondary industries. I moves -
That the amendment be amended by making the duties as follows : -
Sulphur per ton, British, 40s. ; internmediate, 60s. ; general, 80s. Pyrites, per ton, British, 25s.; intermediate, 30s., general, 40s.
– What percentage does that mean?
– The Minister may have worked out what percentage his proposed duties mean.
– The present price is about £5 2s. 6d. per ton.
– The price we are paying at present is £7 16s.
– The honorable member’s proposal means about 90 per cent.
– Well, I am quite willing to meet the Minister half way.
– I have gone into the matter very carefully, and I think the duties I propose are sufficient.
– I am quite willing to propose that the duties on sulphur be 30s., 40s., and 60s.
Mr.BOWDEN (Nepean) [5.5].- I hope the Minister (Mr. Greene) will not accept the amendment. Sulphur is the basis of the orchardists’ spray, and the duties proposed by the Minister are quite bad enough without any increase. Sulphur is one of the principal ingredients in superphosphates; and I hope the Minister will adhere to the ample duties he has proposed.
– I regard the duties I propose as sufficient.
– Under the circumstances, I ask leave to withdraw my amendment.
Amendment of the amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
.- I hesitated to rise to speak on this item, because it is evidently not much good our talking on the Tariff at all. When the Minister proposes a duty, however high, there is anend of the matter. No matter what, the item may be, wire netting or anything else, we are told that the proposed duty means only so much per ton or per cent., but what we have to look at is the aggregate of all these duties imposed on the commodities required by the primary producer.
– This sulphur production can be held to be a primary industry.
– These duties will establish a local industry.
– Yes ; at the expense of another industry. The honorable member for Kooyong (Sir Robert Best) has argued, in regard to one industry, that simply because there is a higher duty on the raw material for that industry, there should be a still higher duty on the finished article. The honorable member laid down the principle that the effect of a duty is to increase the cost of the raw material; and sulphur enters largely into the manufacture of superphosphates, which are of prime necessity to those on the land. The primary producers have no preserve for themselves, but must go into the world’s market; they must pay Protectionists’ prices for all they require, and accept black-labour rates for what they produce. The Ministry are simply piling on duties to build up secondary industries - everything for the manufacturers, and to hell with the primary producers.
.- I ask .the Minister to consent to reduce the duties he is now threatening to impose on the fruit-growers of this country. They have quite sufficient burdens to bear at present. During the war, and during the last few years -they did remarkably well, but now that we have returned to normal conditions, they are finding it very difficult to carry on. We are told that this is only a small increase, but these small increases in the aggregate represent a tremendous burden on the primary producers of Australia. The fruitgrowing industry affords a greater number of people an opportunity to earn a comfortable living on small areas than does almost any other industry that could be named. It is not a great moneyproducing industry, and does not assist to any great extent in helping us to carry our burden of debt ; but it does afford a means for the settlement of a great number of families under healthy and happy conditions. We are going to spend many thou sands of pounds in bringing people to Australia from overseas.
– We aro spending hundreds of thousands of pounds in Victoria alone in putting returned soldiers on fruit blocks.
– We are doing the same in the other States. In the district which I represent in New South Wales, a great many returned soldiers have been settled on orchard blocks. I ask the Minister to display some little sympathy for people who are endeavouring to continue in primary production. These imposts are driving people away from the land. The position is becoming intensely serious “though many members of the Committee seem unable to realize it. In our industrial civilization there is a tendency for people to drift to the cities, and it should be our aim to counteract that tendency to engage in industries which sap the vitality of our people. Every honorable member will agree that the healthiest and most vigorous people are those who are brought up under country conditions, and there i3 no industry which produces a healthier and happier people than does the fruit-growing industry. Yet here we are on almost every line in this Tariff adding to the burdens they are asked to sustain. The Min- later has been good enough to remove the duty imposed on nicotine sprays because they are not produced in this country.
– The duty on nicotine sprays cost the orchardists far more than the duty on sulphur.
– The removal of the duty on. nicotine sprays may afford orchardists some little help, though in a negative way, because there was no necessity for such a duty, and there was no call for it, and no pressure brought to bear to secure its imposition.
– We did not intend to cover nicotine spray3. It was only after the Tariff was tabled that we found that our definition covered them.
– I am glad that the Minister has removed the duty on nicotine sprays, and while I give him credit for doing so I think that very little credit is due to him, because such a duty should never have been imposed. In this case some slight pressure has been brought to bear by those engaged in an industry that is quite as capable of carrying on as is the fruit-growing industry. If the Minister could show us how we can give Protection to fruit-growers to make up for these duties, I should be prepared to accept them. Can he tell us of any way in which we can protect the fruit-grower? The fruit-grower is to-day called upon to pay increased duties on implements, fencing wire, wire netting, building material, and, in fact, on everything that he wears or uses for carrying on his industry. There seems to be no limit to the burdens which the Committee is prepared to impose upon him.
– Where is the Committee now?
– Apparently, in the billiard-rooms or other places of recreation, although some may be attending to their correspondence. They should be here to assist us to protect the primary producer.
– I call attention to the state of the Committee. [Quorum formed.]
– I am glad that the honorable member has called for a quorum, because it is time that honorable members gave some consideration to these items which pres3 so heavily on the primary producer. The fruit-grower has already sufficient burdens to carry, but since this Tariff came under review honorable members have been piling further burdens on him. When we move for a reduction of duty to give some relief to one of the greatest primary industries of this country, a city member comes along with an amendment to add to the burdens of those engaged in that industry, and the Minister accepts it. It will bo impossible for those people to continue their industry if the voice of the city is to be heard in this overwhelming way in this Committee. I move -
That the Amendment he amended bv making the duty on sulphur, per ton, British, 15s.; intermediate, 20s.; general, 50s.
I submit that amendment in the hope that honorable members will realize that the burdens that are being imposed on primary producers are becoming altogether too heavy for him to bear. It is not fair to bolster up one industry at the expense of another, which is producing the most vigorous people we have in Australia. If there is one thing for which we have been noted in the past, it is the vigour, vitality, and happy outlook of the people of our country districts, and now it is proposed to sacrifice the industry which is responsible for those people in order to benefit city industries, which never in the history of the world have produced such people.
– 1 have no objection at all to accept the honorable member’s amendment. I think it is fair to say that the reason is that importations of sulphur fall under the general Tariff. The other duties are submitted in case reciprocal relationships may subsequently be established with different countries. Most of the sulphur imported comes from Japan, while some is imported from America.
– It might be imported from countries other than Japan and America.
– I say that I am quite prepared to accept the amendment. The honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Fleming) has said that there is no protection afforded by this Tariff to fruitgrowers. I say that that is not so. There are many items in the Tariff which give fruit-growers a very substantial protection indeed. For instance, there is a duty of 100 per cent, on dried fruits. That is one of the highest duties in the Tariff. I do not think that oven the honorable member for Wimmera (Mr. Stewart) would oppose that duty. There are many hundreds of people engaged in the production of dried fruits. .
– We can get more for sultanas outside of Australia than we can get here.
– That may be so at the moment.
– It was so during the war.
– That may be so, but under normal conditions the honorable member must be aware that a duty of 100 per cent, is a tremendously high duty. Then there is a duty on lemons of Id. per lb. There is a duty on apples. The only season of the year when there is an importation of apples is when cold-stored supplies are carried over, and bigger prices are asked for them, or when the early fruit is just .coming on to the market. We have a duty of 6s. per cental on apples. I might quote ever so many more duties which we have imposed in favour of the primary producer. To say that under this Tariff we have given no protection to the fruit-growers, apart from the protection on jams, is to say what is entirely contrary to the facts.
– How do the citrus producers benefit?
– By the duty of1d. per lb. on citrus fruits and the high duty on lemon peel. In many respects, no Tariff ever tabled in Australia held out to the primary producers such tremendous advantages as does this one. Is it unreasonable, therefore, to ask him to pay what is, after all, a comparatively minor impost? What burden does the sulphur duty place on the lemongrower in comparison with the assistance he gets from the duty of1d. per lb. on citrus fruits?
– Whom does the duty on sulphur protect?
– It is the one duty that will protect the mining industry.
– This is one of the very few ways in which we can materially assist an industry which in the present circumstances is in sore straits. By giving this assistance in connexion with arsenical and sulphide ores, we can do something to put the industry on a better basis. I have given most serious consideration to the question of imposing a duty on sulphur.
– Do you think that it will really help the big companies?
– There is no question as to that.
– The mining companies, both large and small, have asked me for this duty on sulphur.
– How much will this duty assist the Mr Lyell and Broken Hill companies to carry on?
– It will enable them to utilize their pyrites, which at present theycannot do. There are also several small mines with heavy pyrites contents, and I am told by the owners that if a duty is imposed sufficient to enable them to produce the sulphur from the pyrites, they can start operations at once. I feel that in all the circumstances the duty is warranted. I hesitated a long time before asking the Committee to agree to it, but I am satisfied that- we may well impose it without placing any undue burden on any other industry in which sulphur is used. In regard to superphosphates, all the manufacturers, with, possibly, one exception, have assured me that owing to the arrangements they have been able to make they can guarantee that the duty on sulphur will not necessitate any increase in the price of superphosphates. As a matter of fact, the representatives of the mining companies and the superphosphate manufacturers interviewed me together.
– Are they not largely the same crowd?
– Some of them are interested in both phases of the question, but not all of them.
– The Wallaroo Company has the same interests in both industries.
– That is so; but not all of them have the dual interest, and I understand that the mining companies and the superphosphate manufacturers agreed that with the contracts they have been able to make with each other, they can produce sulphur without placing an additional burden on the farmer in connexion with his superphosphates.
– I can understand some honorable members making a fight against duties which they consider are likely to be injurious to certain interests, but the honorable member for Franklin (Mr. McWilliams) is amongst those who are opposed to any duty on any article that can be manufactured in Australia. How such members were ever elected to this House, I cannot understand. . Those must be peculiar constituents who will send a man to Parliament to vote against everything Australian. The Minister (Mr. Greene) could have enumerated a great many other articles upon which a duty is imposed for the ‘benefit of the primary producer. We hear too much of that cry about driving men off the land. Have the primary producers been driven off the land in the United States of America and Canada, two of the most highly-protected countries in the world?
– The farmers in those countries get much cheaper implements than we do.
– That was an unfortunate remark, because we proved conelusively last week that in Free Trade New Zealand the farmers pay more for agricultural implements than they do in Protectionist Australia.
– I proved the reverse. The Minister has not yet laid on the table the papers he promised relating to prices in Canada.
– They are on the way.
– We proved conclusively by quotations* from price-lists that agricultural implements are dearer in New Zealand than in Australia. I am satisfied that the honorable member for Wimmora, who is a young man, feels justified in making the statements he has made; but it is remarkable that he cannot realize that Australia is the same as any other country, and effects experienced by other countries will be experienced here under the same set of circumstances. I object to being told that I desire to drive the farmer off the land. That is not my desire, and, in any case, it would be a very foolish policy. I hold no brief for the Minister (Mr. Greene), who is well able to look after himself; but he represents a constituency that is essentially agricultural, and as I suppose he hopes to remain inpublic life longer than the term of this Parliament, he would not be likely to propose duties which he regarded as injurious to the people whom he represents.
– The honorable member has been backing him pretty well lately.
– Yes, because I. am glad to ‘see the representative of a primaryproduction constituency declaring that Australia can, and should, produce the things she needs. I do not object to the honorable member for Dampier (Mr. Gregory), the honorable member for Franklin(Mr. McWilliams), and some of the old sinners who represent Victorian farming constituencies, raising the cry that an attempt is being made to injure the farmer; but I do not like to see a young man like the honorable member for Wimmera (Mr. Stewart) repeating the statement that we desire toruin the rural interests.
– It is not so much what the honorable member is trying to do as what be is doing.
– I was in this House when the 1906 Tariff was introduced.
– And the honorable member heard good old Protectionists asking for duties half as high as are being imposed to-day.
– Yes ; but having regard to the present cost of materials, a duty that was sufficient in 1906 would be useless to-day. At that time, and again in 1908, we heard the cry that the Tariff would ruin Australia.
– Order ! The honorable member is wandering from the item.
– In the production of superphosphates some companies are usingpyrites, and others are using sulphur from other sources. There is no reason why we should not help the mining industry, and at the same time have our superphosphates produced from ingredients entirely of local origin. I may be told by manufacturers in my own constituency, who use the imported sulphur, that I am imposing a disability on them; but my answer will be that any product raised in Australia will receive preference from me every time. I would like honorable members to drop that Little Australian attitude of condemning every article of local origin.
Amendment of the amendment agreed to.
Amendment, as amended, agreed to.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
.- Soda crystals, which are largely employed in citrus sprays, and really are the only successful means of getting rid of the Indian wax scale, are not now imported to any great extent, as the whole of the market is in the hands of the local manufacturers. In the circumstances, I think the Minister could well see his way to reduce the duty a little. At present prices, the 25 per cent. duty works out at about1s. 8d. per cental. I suggest that the rates should be as follows: - British, 15 per cent. ; intermediate, 30 per cent. ; general, 45 per cent.
– If the honorable member would accept a reduction of the duty to 20 per cent., I am agreeable to move in that direction.
– I am agreeable.
Amendment (by Mr. Greene) agreed to-
That sub-item (b) be amended by adding the following : - “ And on and after 22nd June, 1921, ad val., British, 20 per cent.; intermediate, 35 per cent.; general, 45 per cent.”
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Item 277 (Carbonic acid gas) agreed to.
Carbonate and bicarbonate of soda, ad val., British, free; intermediate, free; general, 10 per cent.; and on and after 1st January, 1921 -
Carbonate and bicarbonate of soda, soda ash, and soda silicate, per ton, British, 40s.; intermediate, 60s.; general, 80s.; or ad val., British, 25 per cent. ; intermediate, 35 per cent.; general, 45 per cent.;whichever rate returnsthe higher duty.
Caustic soda, bleaching powder, and chlorine, per ton, British, 60s.; intermediate, 80s.; general, 100s.; or ad val., British, 25 per cent.; intermediate, 35 per cent.; general; 45 per cent.; whichever rate returns the higher duty.
Sulphur chloride and carbon tetrachloride, ad val., British, 25 per cent.; intermediate, 35 per cent.; general, 45 per cent.
– I shall move a rather comprehensive amendment to this item, which covers the alkali industry, a great key industry, for which we have in this country all the raw material in abundance. I propose to re-arrange the dates at which the duties on the various sub-items will become operative. The substances mentioned in the subitems are in the most cases used for manufacturing purposes. I move -
That the item be amended by adding the following words : - “ And on and after the dates hereinafter specified -
(1) Carbonate and bicarbonate of soda, and soda silicate, on and after 1st January, 1922, per ton, British, 40s. ; intermediate,60s. ; general, 80s. ; or ad val., British, 25 per cent. ; intermediate, 35 per cent.; general, 45 per cent. ; or whichever rate returns the higher duty.
(1) Caustic soda, on and after 1st October, 1921, per ton, British, 60s.; intermediate, 80s.; general, 100s.; or ad val., British, 25 per cent.; intermediate, 35 per cent.; general, 45 per cent.; whichever rate returns the higher duty.
Sulphur chloride and carbon tetra chloride, on and after 1st January, 1921, ad val., British, 25 per cent.; intermediate, 35 per cent.; general, 45 per cent.”
.- In the past the substances covered by the item have been “admitted free of duty, and as they form the raw material for many other industries which are being developed in Australia I shall be glad to know from the Minister if any progress has been made in the development of their manufacture locally. Will the periods at which the deferred duties will come into force be extended if their manufacture is not fully developed in the meantime?
– Yes; but I think these various substances will be turned out in quantities in Australia in a very short time. Several firms arc now manufacturing caustic soda in one form or another. Chlorine, sulphur chloride, carbon tetrachloride, and bleaching powder are being manufactured now, and carbonate and bicarbonate of soda are about to be, manufactured in quantities.
– What about tetrachloride?
– That is a chemical compound containing carbon and chlorine. I have every reason to believe abig English firm will shortly commence to produce alkalis on a very large scale in Western Australia. When that is done, Australia will be self-contained in one of those substances in which it has been very deficient.
Amendment agreed to.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Item 279 -
.- I hope the Minister will be able to do something to equalize the burden he has placed on fruit-growers in respect to sprays. If assistance were given to the manufacture of citric acid in Australia it would provide a market for inferior and damaged fruit which now goes to waste.
– In framing the Tariff inquiries were made as to whether there was any likelihood of the manufacture of citric acid from fruit juices being established in Australia, and the information we gathered was that it was not probable. But if on further investigation we find that it is likely to be undertaken here, I am quite prepared to agree to a deferred duty. “Would the honorable member like that?
– It very often happens that there is a glut in the market in respect to citrus fruits, which cannot be used except, perhaps, in the manufacture of citric acid. ‘ To meet the honorable member’s wishes, I move -
That the item be amended by adding the following : - “ And on and after 1st January, 1922-
Citric acid, ad val., British, 25 per cent. ; intermediate, 35 per cent. ; general, 40 per cent.
Amendment agreed to.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Item 280 (Quillaya bark, salicylic acid, boric acid, saccharin), agreed to.
Drugs and chemicals, viz.: - .
.- I. trust the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Greene) will agree ‘to make arsenate of lead a separate item and to amend the duties. This commodity is very largely used by fruit-growers, and it is of the greatest importance that supplies of a satisfactory quality should be available at a reasonable price. I suppose it can be said that orchardists settle the land in the closest possible manner. A large number of orchards can be established on a few square miles of country, giving employment to many hands. The importance of fruit-growing as an industry cannot be overestimated; and, considering the attention devoted to it in the different States of the Commonwealth, it can be regarded as one of our most successful primary industries. It would be folly to foster an industry manufacturing arsenate of lead by high Protective duties at the expense of a much more important business, such as that of fruitgrowing. I feel it somewhat useless asking the Minister to agree to amended duties, because I have formed the opinion, when in the chair and on the floor of this House, that whatever the Minister decides upon is not likely to be altered. However, in an endeavour to improve the position, I move -
That the following words be added after subitem (a): - “And on and after 22nd June. 1921 (aa) Arsenate of lead, ad val., British, free; intermediate, 15 per cent.; general, 20 per cent.”
Arsenate of lead is a necessary chemical that is used extensively in the destruction of codlin moth. During the last season, codlin moth was very prevalent, and in some States, notably in Victoria, where the American and British arsenate of lead was used, it was found that better results were obtained than on those areas where the Australian-made arsenate was employed. It has also been found by chemical analysis in New South Wales and South Australia, that the arsenate of lead produced in Australia is not equal to the imported article.
– It does not hold the arsenate in solution long enough.
– Exactly. These tests were made by the Governments in each State.
– Has the honorable member the results of the tests before him?
– I have the South Australian tests, which show an opposite result.
– And so have I.
– The Government tests gave results as I have indicated.
– That is not so.
– I have the South Australian tests here, which show that the arsenate of lead produced in Australia is superior to the others.
– If such is the case, it is peculiar that practical men who have to use this chemical strongly favour the imported article.
– Yes; and they are prepared to pay double the price.
– Yes. If the consumer is agreeable to purchase the imported arsenate at an increased price, it shows that there is really no need for a Protective duty. Industries for the local manufacture of this commodity have been established for twelve or thirten years, and some of the manufacturers boast that their sales are larger than those of the imported article. The orchardist deserves special consideration because, during the war period and since the termination of hostilities, he has had to encounter numerous difficulties. During the war he was unable to ship his fruit abroad, as it was not considered a necessary product, and his sales were confined to the local market. Since that time the shipping position has been against him, as a freight of 8s. per bushel has been charged on apples shipped from Australia to Great Britain. During the war many industries were able to derive considerable financial advantage, but the fruit-growing industry was consideraby hampered. During the year 1919 we produced off 264,000 acres 4,000,000 bushels of apples, which shows that the fruit-growing industry is of sufficient importance to be fostered. A fruitgrower has to contend with pests and parasites, his fruit is subjected to damage by climatic changes, frosts, hailstorms, and high winds, and generally he is in a very precarious position. An applegrower has to work five or six years before he receives any return at all.
– What is the size of the honorable member’s orchard ?
– I do not own an orchard ; but many of my friends and constituents are fruit-growers. There are 20” or 30 miles of orchards on the river Tamar, and I am fully conversant with the difficulties with which the fruitgrowers have to contend. Large sums of money have been invested in orchards in my electorate and elsewhere, and as many fruit-growers are performing very ardu ous work for unsatisfactory returns, I am not going to see them prejudiced merely in an endeavour to keep a few people employed in a city industry. The proposed duties work out at, approximately, 4s. per acre, which is equal to the imposition of another land tax. I trust the Minister will consider this matter from a broad, common-sense point of view, and realize that as this and other similar commodities have been produced in the Commonwealth for twelve or thirteen years, and can be sold cheaper than the imported article, there is no necessity to impose such heavy rates. If the tests, as the Minister asserts, establish the superiority of the local product, surely it is unnecessary to have such duties.
– Has the Minister proved too much?
– I have not said anything, except by interjection.
– The Minister said that he was in possession of the results of tests showing that the local arsenate of lead was superior to the imported lead. If it is cheaper, and the manufacturers can afford to sell it more cheaply, that proves that there is no necessity for any duty.
– I have heard the Minister talk about the quality, but have heard nothing concerning prices.
– I say that the prices of the imported lines are at present 100 per cent, higher; but I am talking of an average over a period of years. The curious thing is that practical men who have spent their lives in growing fruit are the kind who do not hesitate to pay the higher price for the imported products. They are the wiser folk who know what they are asking for.
– I know men who still buy imported manures, but they are not wiser men.
– Perhaps not. But those who bought the local article when the codlin -moth was so bad, last year, found that it would have paid them much better to give more for the imported. Some pf them are now buying the latter article, although prices have been increased. A rate of duty which amounts to a taxof 4s. per acre extra upon the orchardist - coming, as it does, upon all the other numerous disabilities with which he has to contend - is too much of a good thing. I ask the Minister1 not to overlook the fact that the fruit-growing industry gives” employment to great numbers in various other lines of activity. In Melbourne last year, to cite an example, owing to the failure of the apple and pear crop because of the ravages of the codlin moth, there was a serious reduction in the Victorian railway traffic, and a number of men lost employment. I urge the Minister, further, to take particular notice of the prices of the local line as against those of the imported products. Among the latter I mention Swift’s, which is about the best of the American brands, and the price of which is ls. 9d. ; and Carlton, which is representative of the best British make, the price of which is ls. 8d. Against these, the price of Vallo is 8d. ; and of Blyth’s Blue Bell, 9d.
– I draw attention to an important test recorded in an undoubted source of authority, namely, the Agricultural Gazette of New South Wales. In the volume dated 2nd March, 1920, there is an article entitled, “ The compositions of various lead arsenates,” by A. A. Ramsay, Principal Assistant Chemist. This article states -
An examination has been made of such brands of arsenate of lead as were procurableon the market in September, 1910.
– I have some facts before me dealing with investigations two years later.
– Mr. Ramsay continues -
Nino samples in all were examined, four of these being in “ paste “ form and five as “ dry powder “. Of the paste forms examined, it will be noted that the moisture content ranged from 34.7 to 47.1, the arsenic acid content from 13.9 to 19.6, and the lead oxide content from 33.9 to 39.5 per cent. Of the dry powder forms examined, the moisture content ranged from 0.2 to 0.8, the arsenic acid from 26 to 29.5 per cent., and the lead oxide from 60.5 to 65.3 per cent.
The time that a lead arsenate will remain in suspension is a point worthy of consideration. Other things being equal, any lead arsenate that separated out immediately would be inferior for spraying to one in which the lead arsenate remained in suspension.
There is a graph accompanying the article, and the letterpress attached thereto states -
On inspecting the graph it is at once see> that Nos. 6 (Vallo) and B (Rodgers) separate out with great rapidity, and that the arsenate has fallen out of suspension in less than two minutes. The superiority of No. 4 (Swift’s) is also immediately noted, and it will be ob served that over a period ot fifteen or seventeen minutes very little arsenate has settled out. The line of No. 9 (Carlton) indicates that it is very slightly inferior to No. 4 (Swift’s), but that both ore superior to all the others.
The graph further indicates that up to three or three and a half minutes there is very little difference in the rate of settlement of the others, viz., Nos. 1 (Electro), 2 (Lewis Berger), 3 “(Blyth’s Blue Bell), 5 ( Orchard), and V (Green Cross), and, consequently, little to choose between them. At four minutes, however, No. 7 (Green Cross) has practically settled; at five minutes Nos. 2 (Lewis Berger), and 3 (Blyth’s Blue Bell) have practically settled; and at five and a half or six minutes Nos. 1 (.Electro), and 5 (Orchard), have practically settled. The graph, therefore, conclusively proves the superiority of No. 4 (Swift’s), aDd No. 9 (Carlton) over all other preparations so far as rate of settlement is concerned.
That information comes from a source that cannot be questioned - the Agricultural Gazette of New South Wales, and the report is made by a man of undoubted ability and honesty of purpose.
– “What is the date of publication ?
– Second of March, 1920.
– But the tests were made in September, 1919.
– They were tests of brands that were procurable in September, 1919. I am bringing this matter forward because it is essential that we should probe it to the bottom, and in the hope that our orchardists will be allowed to use the material best suited to their purposes.
– Apart from the summary . referred to by the honorable member, what do the analyses show?
– This authority shows that Nos. 4 and 9 were considerably the best of those tested. I shall not weary the Committee with the whole of the figures, since, owing to the technical character of the analyses, they would really convey nothing to honorable members. But the summary which I have read shows clearly that at the date named the Australian brands of arsenate’ of lead were not to be compared with those of foreign production. One of them was manufactured by a man whose sheep dip was the subject of much commendation this afternoon, although I have said from the first that it is not as good as some other brands. It has been said during this debate that the tests made in South Australia were such as to overturn the results of those made in New South
Wales. I have here, however, a statement that -
The South. Australian suspension tests, published ten months after the New South Wales tests, show that the two leading local makes, namely, “Vallo” (Leggo’s) and “Bluebell” (Blyth’s) were still deficient in flotation qualities. The other local make, namely, “ Elephant,” which showed up well for notation, contained an abnormal proportion of water, namely, 54.7 per cent.
I do not pretend to any personal knowledge of these sprays; but, in view of the fact that an authority such as I have quoted stands up for two imported brands, it seems to me that it would be a grave mistake for the Committee to place too heavy a burden on these imported sprays, which, according to all practical tests, as far as one has been able to follow them, are superior to any local production. There is no reason why the local manufacturers should not turn out an article equal to that which is imported, if they set themselves to the task, because we have, in this country, the lead and, I presume, all the other materials which go to make up these sprays. It seems,, however, that we have not yet reached the stage at which any of the small factories can afford to pay for the requisite technical ability. The chemical side of these preparations seems to be the stumbling block in the way of Australian manufacturer’s. I hope that, in view of the reports, the Committee will hesitate to do anything likely to prevent our fruit-growers from obtaining the best spray at the lowest price.
.- The honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Fleming) passed very lightly over the South Australian tests, and spoke in glowing terms of the tests made in New South Wales. An examination of the figures relating to the New South Wales tests, however, shows that locally-made sprays were equal to many of the imported productions. I have here the South Australian Journal of Agriculture for January, 1921, which contains the most up-to-date evidence in regard to these matters. In this publication reference is made to a report presented by the South Australian Director of Chemistry, in which he gives the results of chemical and physical analyses, made under his supervision, of samples of various brands of arsenate pf lead on sale in South Australia this season. The report shows that an Australian brand of arsenate of lead was far superior to any other. The tests were of an exhaustive character,’ as is shown by the following statement by the Director of Chemistry : -
A weight of arsenate of lead equivalent to 0.5 gram, of the moisture-free sample was mixed with distilled water in a mortar to a thin paste. The paste was then washed into a glass cylinder, and made up to 250 c.c. with distilled water. The cylinder was shaken for one minute. After standing for five minutes, 50 c.c. of the liquor was drawn off from a point midway between the bottom of the cylinder and the top of the liquor. The 50 c.c. was filtered, and the lead arsenate collected on the filter was dried and weighed. The weight of dry arsenate of lead obtained from 50 c.c. of the liquor was calculated to the percentage of the 0.5 gram, of dry arsenate of lead taken and thus gives an indication of the arsenate remaining in suspension after standing for five minutes. After standing for fifteen minutes another 50 c.c. of the liquor was drawn off and treated in the same way as the portion drawn oil’ at the end of five minutes.
Then follows si table which shows that an Australian brand was far and away superior to the so-called champion imported article. In the case of an Australian production, the percentage of arsenate of lead remaining in suspension after standing for five minutes was 89.85 and, after standing for fifteen minutes, 41.2, as compared with 53.35 and 35.3 in the ease of the best imported article. I fail to understand why some honorable members are constantly trying .to depreciate the value of local manufactures, in the face of incontestable evidence as to their superiority.
– The honorable member has merely been quoting laboratory tests; no practical tests were given.
– I intend to give the Committee information as to practical tests made in Tasmania.
– I have evidence as to practical tests carried out by orchardists’ associations.
– The local manufacturers have had to submit their preparations to the Government Analytical Chemist, and the Minister (Mr. Greene) has exhaustive information on the subject. The production of arsenate of lead has an important bearing on the sheepdip industry. The encouragement of the local article means the employment of miners and of other workers engaged in the production of the raw material, the carriage of that raw material to the factories, and the conversion of it into the manufactured article. If there is one thing more than another that enabled Germany to continue the war as long as she did it was the use which she made of the chemists within her borders. But for their discoveries Germany would have had to “ throw up the sponge “ at the end of 1914. We should endeavour to establish industries that will give employment to our own people and be of service to us in peace as well as in war.
Sitting suspended from 6.30 to 8 p.m.
– We have heard a good deal from one member representing Tasmania about the codlin moth and its ravages. He draws the conclusion that nearly every apple-grower in Australia and Tasmania last year was using locallymanufactured arsenate of lead, and not the imported article, and that in consequence there was a great increase in the codlin moth and its ravages in almost every orchard. If the honorable member read what some of the Tasmanian experts have to say about the ravages of the codlin moth in his State, he would come to quite a different conclusion. I do not suppose that any manufacturer or user of arsenate of lead thinks that even the most consistent and regular spraying with it is sufficient to keep the codlin moth absolutely under. A practical illustration was given to me recently. The codlin moth had increased in an orchard near where I reside. The owner, one of the best apple-growers in Victoria - although he has other trees, he grows mostly apples - told me that he had given his trees only one spraying, and that then he paid more attention to cutting timber for fruit cases for growers in the locality. Being so busy at his saw-mill, he was unable to spray his trees a second time. He added, “ Had. I been able to spray my trees a second time I should not have been troubled nearly so much with the codlin moth.” I believe that statement of his explains a good deal of the trouble of many apple-growers. Others, while not engaged in saw-milling, were, perhaps, occupied in doing something else, or were careless in their spraying.
– What spray did he use?
– He is a Free Trader, and would use an imported spray.
– Some growers spray five or six times during the year.
– Some may spray a dozen times ; but if they do not know how to spray properly, it is of very little use. As to my friend’s fiscal faith, what he said to me was, “ So far as I am concerned, I would open the doors as wide as possible and let into Australia everything that we require.”
– Perhaps he said that after using the local article.
– No. He is an outandout Free Trader. If the honorable member were dealing with a war period, I could understand him speaking as he has done to-night, but there was an ample supply of the imported article for last season’s spraying, at any rate. I make bold to say that last year the orchardists of Australia had as much of the imported article as they cared to use. There was no shortage of it.
– It is a question of having the most effective spray.
– That is so; but the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Atkinson) seemed to imply that the increase in the codlin moth last year in the apple orchards of Australia was due to the use of the local article. Some honorable members, and some people who have been fortifying them with certain very doubtful information, seem to think that the local article was used in every instance. That is not so. The following appeared in “ Orchard notes from Tasmania,” in the Australian Farmer of 16th May,1921 : -
The codlin moth grub has been very prevalent in some of the apple districts of Tasmania during the past season, and growers have been- under the impression that the arsenate of lead used is inferior in quality to that of former years. They have been loud in their complaints against it. The Department of Agriculture being responsible for the quality of the material sold to growers, the fruit expert, Mr. J. M. Ward, had samples of the various brands on the Tasmanian market analyzed, and in every instance the percentage of arsenic pentoxide was shown to be above the standard required under the regulations of the Insecticides Act. This Act states that arsenate of lead must contain 25 per cent. of arsenic pentoxide. The fruit division of the Department has been conducting experiments in regard to spraying for various fungoid and insect pests.
– The point is that the local article will not hold the arsenate in solution long enough.
– The honorable member’s argument was pierced very effectively by the Minister (Mr. Greene) by interjection while he was speaking. It was not only perforated, but absolutely shattered.
-Did the Minister hold it in solution?
– What the Minister does in this debate is to hold the scales fairly; and the honorable member for Wakefield (Mr. Foster), knowing that, ought to be prepared to agree to the item as it appears in the schedule. I believe that when it comes to a vote, he will realize that a fair thing is being done. The honorable member for Wilmot will find, at page 511 of the Journal of Agriculture for South Australia for January, 1921, that his arguments, and those of the honorable member for Robertson (Mr. Fleming), who made a great deal out of the graph published by the New South Wales Department of Agriculture, which is two years old, are refuted by experiments conducted by the Director of Chemistry in South Australia. That officer paid special attention to this matter, and the article contains a definite and detailed account of the way the analysis was carried out, and of its results.
– Does he claim that the arsenate was held in solution by the local article as long as by the imported?
– Yes, longer and better.
– He is a good man.
Mr.FENT ON. - He is a good man, and has really good experts under him. The Elephant brand, of Jacques Proprietary Limited, who make the local article, showed a percentage of 89.35 per cent. of arsenate of lead remaining in suspension after standing five minutes, and the nearest approach to that by the best imported article was 53.35 per cent. That was Swift’s.
– What does the Carlton go?
-That is not given in this table, but Swift’s is generally regarded by fruit-growers as one of the best imported brands. The percentage of arsenate of lead remaining in suspension after standing fifteen minutes was, in the case of the Elephant brand, 41.2; and the nearest imported article, which, again, was Swift’s, showed a percentage of 35.3. The matter needs no further argument. I could submit bundles of other proofs, if necessary; but I believe the Committee has made up its mind that the item as presented by the Minister is fair, although I do not know that the local manufacturers of arsenate of lead consider that they are getting sufficient protection under it.
– I proved that the duty is not necessary.
– The honorable member may have convinced himself. The chief agitator for wiping out the duty is not to be found among the real fruitgrowers of Australia. He is a man who is agent for one particular imported brand, and who has been wrongfully making use of the cool storage employees and the fruit-growers of this country. It takes some people quite a time to discover what this man really is. You might talk to him for half-an-hour, and would think that he was one of the chief fruit-grower’s of Australia; but when you probe the matter to the bottom, you find that he is vitally interested in the importing of an American brand of arsenate of lead.
– The prices show whether the protection is necessary.
– The very apple I had at dessert to-night was pierced by the codlin moth. Certain climatic influences have a tendency either to increase or decrease the prevalence of the pest. In Victoria, and I think the same applied to quite a number of other States, after the heavy downpour of rain about New Year’s Day, there was a long spell of dry weather. Those who have studied the codlin moth say that with a long spell of dry weather at a particular season of the year there is a chance of two or three broods of codlin moth hatching, and I believe that the dry spell referred to was conducive in certain States to the hatching of the codlin moth in far greater numbers than if we had had normal weather. I believe a great number of people do not understand how to spray, and that others neglect to spray. I can produce evidence to show that prominent fruit-growers in the Huon and Franklin districts of Tasmania have sprayed parts of their orchards twice with the local article, and left two rows of trees unsprayed. In those two rows the codlin moth throve and was plentiful, while in the trees which had had only two sprayings there was hardly any trace of it. That and other experiments show that the local article is quite effective in keeping down the pest. We should support the duty, not only for the sake of the fruitgrowers, but for the sake of giving employment to people in our own factories, and using our own raw material. Arsenic forms the base of these sprays. We have an arsenical mine in Western Australia, and an immense concern in New South Wales, where capital is going to be invested to the extent of nearly £250,000/ This will give employment to a large number of people. The arsenate of lead industry will give the mining industry a lift, and provide a considerable amount of employment there. There is also the carriage of the raw material to the factories, and the employment of a large number of people in the factories. After being submitted to the greatest competition, and the most severe tests, the- Australian product stands out, as the result of the keenest possible analysis, as the best spray for the fruit-growers of Australia to use. I favour the amount of duty proposed by the Minister in the schedule, and if I am given an opportunity of voting for an increased duty, I shall do so with pleasure.
.- I was hopeful that the Minister (Mr. Greene) would realize that fruitgrowing is an industry in which, a great number of people are employed in a small way. An enormous number of returned soldiers have been placed on the land throughout Australia as fruit-growers, and the industry forms a magnificent means of closer settlement. If it is encouraged as it ought to be, and as I believe it will be, and if we realize its great value, it will become one of the great industries of the “Commonwealth. Our export trade in fresh and dried fruits, and tinned fruits and jams, ought to make this one of the greatest producing countries in the world.
– Do you think they can do without Protection ?
– Decidedly. I want the Committee to pause before it places excessively high duties on the requirements of the orchardist, and to consider seriously whether more employment will be given by allowing insecticides in free, or by putting a few pounds extra into the pockets of the manufacturers. The price at which the article has been sold does not disclose any reason for increasing the duty. Australian arsenate of lead has been selling at lOd. per lb., the British at ls. 8d., and the American at ls. 9d. If the orchardist buys the British or the American product, it must be because he believes it is more suitable; otherwise he would not pay the higher price demanded. Of course, he may be quite wrong, but the man who takes the risk and responsibility of building up an orchard business should be allowed to judge. Personally, I prefer the Australian article if it in any way approaches the imported commodity in quality and price. I want to draw the attention of honorable members to the following reports concerning this matter. In the Age of 19th May, 1921, there appeared in the report of the fruitgrowers’ annual conference this statement -
The increasing prevalence of codlin moth was generally regarded as due to defects in the arsenate of lead used in spraying. It was urged that the official analyses should take into account the mechanical condition, as well as the poison effectiveness, of the material.
The Weekly Times correspondent at Mornington, reporting iri April, 1921, stated -
Fruit-growers here are experiencing heavy losses from codlin moth, even when the garden has been sprayed four times. The poison does not seem to be effective.
The Australasian of 12th March, 1921, contained the following: -
Complaints are numerous from all parts of the State regarding the efficacy of the arsenate of lead sprayings. The codlin moth is far worse than in previous seasons. Codlin moth has been found attacking peaches growing in the Shepparton district this season.
Hard-headed fruit-growers in strongholds of the local article, such as Harcourt, Somerville, Pomonal, Diamond Greek, and Hurstbridge, who would not buy the British article when the price was Cd. per lb., as against 4-j.d. per lb. for the local, have ordered it this year when the price is -ls. 8d. per lb. and the local article lOd. per lb. Reason forbids us to suppose they have done this simply for the sake of spending their money.
It is possible, of course, that the orchardists may be wrong. We all know that a person building up an industry encounters many difficulties at the start, but in connexion with arsenate of lead the orchardist should not be compelled to pay for any mistakes of the manufacturers. He should have the right to purchase the best article that is obtainable for his purposes. In view of the grave menace to the fruitgrowing industry through the ravages of the codlin moth, we should see to it that the best preventive obtainable is made available to all those engaged in the industry. I can see no reason why the local manufacturer of arsenate of lead should not be required to build up his business in the same way as other people. I have here a list of quite a number of people who have made complaints about the quality of the Australian arsenate of lead, but I have no desire to injure any one in any business way, and so I shall not publish the names.
– The Tasmanian expert has shown that many of the faults are due to defective spraying.
– In my list there are complaints from men who sprayed four times, and yet suffered enormous losses from the codlin moth. As the honorable member says, much of this may be due to want of knowledge on the part of the orchardist as to the proper method of spraying; but I repeat that there is no reason why this heavy duty should be imposed on an imported article which the orchardist might consider the most effective for his purposes. We have recently settled a very large number of returned soldiers on the land as orchardists. These men are confronted with very great difficulties, and we should not impose any further burdens upon them. In my own State over 1,000 returned soldiers have entered upon the business of fruitgrowing, and I want to do what I can to assist them. This, I believe is one way. Another is to help them market their products. I hope the Minister will realize the advisability of giving relief to a very deserving section of our producers.
– I am sorry that the objection to the duty is based on the inferiority of the Australian article.
– It is not.
– That was the honorable member’s whole argument, and those who followed him in their objection to the duty stressed the fact that in their opinion the Australian article was inferior in quality. I believe that preju dice, backed up by the concentrated efforts of gentlemen who have business connexions with overseas firms, is playing a very important part in this agitation. Certain gentlemen have sent circulars all over Australia praying the various bodies of orchardists to oppose this duty, and, of course, letters have been coming in in answer to that request. Prior to the dinner adjournment I was pointing out that we have set out to protect the fruitgrower in many directions. We have given him increased duties, far and away above those previously imposed, and by proposing the duties in this item we are not taking away any of the advantage he enjoys at present. I believe that the Australian manufacturer is turning out an article quite equal in quality to the imported arsenate of lead, and that our orchardists on the whole will get a cheaper spraying material in future. Reference has already been made to a report by the Tasmanian expert, and I want honorable members to pay particular attention to one or two statements which he makes : -
The codlin moth grub has been particularly prevalent in someof the apple districts of Tasmania during the past season, and growers have been under the impression that the arsenate of lead used is inferior in quality to that of former years.
He goes on to say that there is an obligation on the part of the Government to ascertain the purity and suitability of the various spraying materials for use by the orchardists. He adds that the experiments have been practical as well as analytical and physical chemical tests, and says : -
State orchard (Bluebell Brand) season 1919- 20. - First spraying, last week in November, 1919; strength of mixture, 6 lbs. to 100 gallons of water. Second spraying, last week in January, 1920, at same strength. Result - Orchard entirely free from grub.
This was a practical experiment carried out with one of the Australian brands of arsenate of lead.
– Have you the test made by the New South Wales Department of Agriculture in March, 1920 ?
– That was quoted by the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Atkinson), but was a purely chemical test.
– No, it was a practical test.
– It was a physical and chemical analytical test, whereas the Tasmanian expert went further and applied the practical test. The figures in regard to the chemical and physical tests carried out in South Australia by the Government expert have been given by the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr. Fen ton), and I have no desire to traverse the same ground. The figures quoted by the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Atkinson) refer to tests carried out in September, 1919, and reported in the March, 1920, issue of the Agricultural Gazette. The tests quoted by the honorable member for Maribyrnong were carried out at the end of 1920, and were published in January, 1921. The great desideratum of a spraying mixture is that the poisonous material in it shall remain suspended in solution, and two of the Australian brands mentioned in this latter test passed a better suspension test than the best of the imported brands. This Tasmanian expert goes on to deal with a number of other practical tests. In one or two cases there was, he says, some slight infection after spraying, but it was due to the fact that the prevailing wind blew towards the infected trees from an orchard which was heavily infested; but, nevertheless, the spraying was efficient and effective. He goes on to say -
It will be noticed that none of the. areas received a calyx spraying. Although good results have several times been obtained from non -calyx spraying, it is advisable to do this in most districts. One has to be guided by the local and climatic conditions. When spraying for the codlin moth, thoroughness of application is all-important. In addressing a meeting at Franklin, on spraying for the moth, Mr. Ward informed growers that, in his opinion, the cause of the increase of the moth was, to a very great extent, due to careless spraying. In this, he was supported by such leading growers as Mr. T. A. Frankcomb, who produces something like 30,000 cases of apples per annum, and Mr.N. B. Barnett, and others. With careful spraying (every apple or pear should receive a covering of arsenate of lead) growers will find that they will have very little codlin moth in their fruit.
I should like to quote a letter received by local manufacturers of spraying material. I shall not mention their names, as I do not wish to give a special advertisement to one brand. This letter was written on behalf of the Harcourt Fruit-growers
Progress Association - Harcourt being one of the biggest fruit-growing districts in Victoria -
I have much pleasure in forwarding ‘ you results of tests . with “ Australian “ and “ imported “ arsenate of lead carried out by this association. Fifty pounds of each was given by Messrs. E. Pritchard, E. Eagle, and J. B. Warren, who agreed to test them under equal conditions. The “ Australian “ arsenate of lead used was that which had been on hand by the growers from the previous season. At a recent meeting, Mr.Pritchard stated that the plot sprayed with “ Australian “ showed a higher percentage of clean fruit than that on which” imported “ was used. Mr. E. Eagle reported that he used “ imported “ on Jonathan trees and “Australian” on Esopus. The Jonathans were cleaner than the Esopus, though equally good results had been obtained with the “Australian” on Jonathans in other parts of the orchard. Mr. J. B. Warren gave the results in his orchard as - “ Imported,” 80 per cent. clean fruit, and “ Australian,” 95 per cent. clean fruit. Several growers stated that the results obtained by spraying with “ Australian “ were equal to, if not better than, those obtained with other makes of arsenate of lead. Our association desires to congratulate you on the splendid results obtained with “ Australian.”
We have the honour to be, sir, (Signed) H. M. McLean, President.
– These statements support the case. against the duty.
– To my mind, a duty is needed to protect the industry from the prejudice against Australian goods. I believe that ultimately the orchardists will see that we have conferred a benefit on them with this duty.
– They will have to pay 4s. per acre more for their spraying.
– I do not think that they will have to pay anything more if they use the best Australian brands. It may be that some of the Australian brands are not good, and that some of the imported brands are not good.
– The orchardists must have the best, whether it be locally made or imported.
– They must have a good article. Arsenate of lead is a chemical combination, which, so long as it be pure, cannot be anything else than than what it purports to be. The merit of a spraying material depends upon its mixing qualities and its ability to hold the poison in it in suspension. If the poison settles rapidly after mixing, the spray is not a good one. Physical and analytical tests of various spraying materials bought in the ordinary way across the counter have been made by Government experts. These have shown that in some of the locally-made brands the suspension is better than that of the imported brands, and that in others it is not so good. The results of these experiments are public property, and orchardists can read them for themselves. In the face of the statements of disinterested Government experts as to the efficacy of the Australian brands, we are not acting unfairly in asking the orchardists to buy a local article, the efficiency of which has been proved, and the price of which is lower than that of the imported article.
– I say nothing about the fruit expert in Tasmania, whom I believe to be a thoroughly capable man; but I know of one Tasmanian expert, who tested some material which he used down the Huon, and the people there have ever since been looking for him with a shot gun. Thatexpert killed a lot of their trees.
– Was he a Government expert?
– Yes, and he never went back to face the shot gun. The whole question is, who is the best judge of the material - the man who has to make a living by the use of it, or the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Greene) and his advisers? These sprays are a matter of life and death to the orchardist.
– It will be a matter of life and death to that expert if he returns to Tasmania !
– It will, and I hope the honorable member for Dampier (Mr. Gregory) will not mind my saying that Tasmania got that expert from Western. Australia.
– Are there any Australians in the honorable member’selectorate ?
– Yes, the pick of Australians can be found there. There are districts in my electorate, in which, if sprays were not used, 75 per cent. of the fruit would be found affected with moth, and I believe that holds good of all the States. It is now very costly to spray, seeing that wages in orchards are now almost double what they were a few years ago. A man may spray his orchard thoroughly, only to have to do the work all over again, should a heavy shower occur. Many orchards have to be sprayed three or four times a year; indeed in some of the badly-affected districts there has to be perpetual spraying. There are men in this House, though their own orchards, perhaps, consist of an old tree or two in some back yard, who take upon themselves to dictate to those to whom this spraying is a matter of life and death, what sort of spray they ought to use. I do not say that a spray is equally effective in every locality; the sprayused in a dry climate differs entirely from that which is effective in a moist climate with heavy fogs; but whatever spray is used must be a thoroughly efficient one. As the honorable member for Wilmot (Mr. Atkinson) pointed out, the very ideal of closer settlement is orchard settlement, and it is safe to say that the great bulk of the orchards in Tasmania contain less than 20 acres. The successful orchard, moreover, is on land which would be practically worthless for any other cultivation. The fruit trade of Tasmania has assumed large proportions. I suppose that the yield of apples there is close on 3,000,000 bushels per year; and if we touch or interfere with the efficiency of the spraying, we shall simply wipe out the orchards altogether. What do the orchardists ask from the Government ? They ask nothing more than to be left alone; to be allowed to use that spray which, in their experience, they have found the most efficacious. Is. that asking too much ? When we are dealing with insecticides, sprays, or dips, every encouragement should be given to those who have to use them; they should be allowed to select the article which they have found to suit their individual requirements. I do not believe that 1 per cent. of the people of Australia prefer an imported article if they can get a suitable local article. The honorable member for Denison (Mr. Laird Smith) has in his electorate, I suppose, some of the smallest orchards to be found in the State, the great bulk of them being under 10 acres each; and those who conduct them are making a good living by means of hard work, and by bringing to bear on that work all the results of their individual and collective experience. It is monstrous for any Government or Parliament to tell those men that they shall not use the material which their experience has shown them to be the most successful, but that they should be compelled by the Tariff or some other means to use that which we select. And who are the men her© who are going to vote for the duties proposed by the Government? Are they the representatives of the orchardists of Australia ? On the contrary, they are men who are not directly interested in the orchard industry. I appeal to those honorable members to allow the representatives of the fruit-growers of Australia to decide this question in accordance with the views of their constituents. I appeal to the representatives of city constituencies, and other constituencies in which there is no orchard industry, to let this question, at least, be decided by those who are directly interested. What would be the result, supposing the whole of the imported arsenates were prohibited? What would be the actual wealth created by the industries which the Minister (Mr. Greene) is seeking to promote. I ask the honorable gentleman to compare those industries with a production of apples running to 5,000,000 or 6,000,000 bushels. As a matter of fact, it would pay the orchardists of Australia well to give the men employed in the production of these arsenates £5 a week each, and let them go fishing for eels down the Yarra. There must be between 5,000,000 and 6,000,000 bushels of apples alone grown every year in the orchards of Australia, and all that the orchardists ask of the Minister is to be allowed to use Australianmade sprays if from their own experience they find them effective, and that if they have not found them effective they shall not be debarred from using an imported article for the preservation of their industry. There are men in my electorate who from their boyhood up have cleared heavily timbered country, tilled and planted it, and all that they have to show for their life’s work is 8 or 10 acres of orchard. I ask the members of this Committee not to impose a burden upon their industry. I ask that they should be given a fair chance, and should be allowed to use the spray which they have found effective, and should not be compelled to use a less effective spray because the Minister for Trade and Customs and representatives of city constituencies desire that they should.
– I should like to say a word or two in reply to the honorable member for Franklin (Mr. McWilliams). He has asked that honor able members who represent districts in which fruit growing is carried on should be allowed to decide this question, and that the other members of the Committee should not interfere. Would the honorable member have been prepared, in connexion with the duties on dried fruits, citrous fruits, and apples, to permit only honorable members who represent the consumers of those fruits to decide the duties ?
– Did they not doso?
– Yes, and to their credit they voted for them on every occasion. They did not take up the attitude recommended by the honorable member. Are honorable members who represent city constituencies to claim that they only should be allowed to vote on questions . which affect the interests of their constituents ?
– The duties the honorable gentleman has referred to do not mean the life or death of any industry.
– No; they simply mean that the people generally must pay . That may be said of all duties on foods. I believe that the duty now under consideration will result in orchardists ultimately obtaining cheaper, and not dearer, sprays. I believe that if Australian orchardists are sufficiently loyal to look for the best spray which Australian manufacturers can provide - and there is ample evidence that many good sprays are manufactured here - they will find that it will effectively do what they require of it.
– Who is the best judge of that?
– Before the honorable member came in I quoted a letter from an association of orchardists, in which they said that after exhaustive tests they were prepared to admit that they got better results from the Australian than from the imported sprays.
– Then they will use the Australian sprays.
– The whole difficulty is the prejudice against the Australian article. A man becomes used to a particular brand, and, finding that it gives good results, he continues to use it. Our experience during war time was that we could not get the imported brands, and local manufacturers came to our rescue. These sprays are now being manufactured in Australia in very large quantities, and it is only fair that the manufacturers should be given a reasonable amount of protection.
– We must have efficiency, and must, therefore, have the widest choice.
– There are eight or nine manufacturers of sprays in Australia, and that should give orchardists a wide enough choice: It has been proved that some brands of sprays manufactured in Australia are as effective as any imported brand. There is no doubt that local manufacturers can supply Australian requirements, and it is surely fair, in the circumstances, that they should be given reasonable protection, so that local prejudice may be broken down; and once it is broken down, I believe that the Australian fruit-grower will gain a direct benefit by being able to secure a cheaper spray.
.- It is useless for the Minister (Mr. Greene) to talk of local prejudice against Australian manufacturers. So far as the fruit-growers in my district are concerned, it is not a question, merely of local prejudice, because they have tried the Australian article, and have found that it does not give the best results. I know men who have been using these sprays. The fruit-growers of to-day are not so disloyal that they will not use an Australian article if it is as good as an imported article. The time has gone by when fruit-growers are content to pay ls. 8d. and ls. 9d. per lb. for an imported article, when they can get an equally good article of local manufacture for lOd. per lb. Laboratory tests are not practical tests; and the crux of the matter is that, according to the experience of a great number of fruit-growers, the Australian article will not hold in solution in the way the imported article does. The Minister mentioned the results of an experiment in a .State orchard in Tasmania; and if you can get your men to stir up the spray every five or ten minutes, it may be possible to keep it in solution. The difficulty is that you have a machine going through the rows of an orchard ; one man is spraying one row and another another row, the engine is pumping the spray, and every time the machine is stopped three men have to stop working, and the engine must be stopped and started again. The spray that will hold in solution is the spray that the orchardist must have.
– The facts are against the honorable member on that point.
– No, they are not. The facts are that the great majority of fruit-growers whom I know find that the imported article is better than the Australian, and my own experience is the same as theirs.
– What spray does the honorable member use ?
– I tried the Vallo. which is an Australian spray, and the Carlton, which is a British spray. That is to say, I told my men to use those sprays. They sprayed about 2 acres with the Val,10 spray, and 2 acres with the Carlton spray. The area sprayed with the British article gave about 5 per cent, of codlin, and the area on which the Australian article was used gave 25 per cent, of codlin. The trees were sprayed in the same way, at the same time, and they were of the same varieties. My experience in this matter is typical of the general experience, not only on Mangrove Mountain, but throughout my district. The orchardists there do not get as good results from the Australian as they get from the imported article. If the same results could be obtained from the locally-made article, no sprays would be imported, and a duty would not be necessary. A man will not pay ls. 8d. for an imported article if he can get an equally good one of local make for half that price.
– The importers reduced their price to 8*d. in an endeavour to -knock out the local industry.
– Some months ago the imported arsenate of lead was quoted at 6d., and the local article at 4$d. So far as I know, the price of the Australian product has always been lower than that of the imported. I rose merely to add to the statements made by previous speakers, the testimony of orchardists in my district that they have tried the local article and have had to revert to the use of the imported spray, in spite of the greater price, because the Australian product would not give the desired results.
.- If Pontius Pilate were present to’ listen to this de- bate, he would ask, as he asked hundreds of years ago, “What is truth?” I have been supplied with a good deal of information in the form of circulars, and last week, in order to satisfy my own mind upon the question, I wrote to some of the principal orchardists in my constituency to ascertain their views. Unfortunately, this item has been reached earlier than I anticipated, and only one reply is to hand. I give it for what it is worth. The only question I asked in my letters was whether the orchardists had used the Australian arsenate of lead, and, if so, with what results. The reply I have received from one orchardist is: -
Tfe Arsenate of Lead. - I have been using about half a ton each year for about five or six years. Have used several brands, Australian as well as imported, and cannot see the least difference in results, everything depending on tho way the work is done. Quality is so good that I have never had less than 90 per cent, clean fruit.
– Is the codlin moth in South Australia?
– South Australia has its share of codlin moth, as well as other pests. Having been in business as a fruit hawker, I know the orchardists who bring clean fruit to the Adelaide market, and it was to some of them I wrote. They are men with whom I have had business dealings, who have no’ financial interest in the sprays, and upon whose word I can rely. The whole question to be determined was whether or not the. Australian arsenate of lead was efficacious, and I had made up my mind that if I could get evidence that it was I would support this duty. In addition to the one reply I have received, there is the evidence of the practical test in Tasmania mentioned by the Minister (Mr. Greene). If the vote is taken before evidence to the contrary is forthcoming, I shall vote to retain the duty provided in the schedule.
.- Several members have said that in these matters we should rely upon the judgment of the men who use these sprays. My experience over a considerable number of years is that the users cannot always be depended upon to show the best judgment ; very often they are prejudiced. I recollect well that, in the early days of the establishment of some Australian industries for the production of things we wear and eat, the Australian consumer would not use the locally-produced articles, although they are in general use to-day. The . Committee has been told that the price of the imported article has never been below that of the local. In 1914, Hemmingway’s British arsenate of lead was being sold at 4£d. per lb., and the local article had to be sold at the same price, although the manufacturers lost more than 2d. per lb. in doing so. That was a clear case of dumping, because the British manufacturer could not use the best ingredients and pay freight and agency commission, and sell his product profitably at 4*d. He was simply dumping his spray in. order to kill the local industry.
– The foreign manufacturer will not be able to do that in future.
– Until the local manufacturers are well established, we should protect them, provided that they produce an article which is equal to the imported sPf ay- As an illustration of the total disregard of facts shown by the importers, the test carried out last year by the South Australian Department of Agriculture speaks for itself. It shows that the following percentages of arsenate of lead remained in suspension: - After 5 minute3, best locally-made spray, 89.35 per cent; imported, 53.35 per cent. Up to 15 minutes, local, 41.2 per cent.; imported, 35.3 per cent. The test was distinctly in favour of the locally-made article. Tests made by the New South Wales Department of Agriculture, and the South Australian Department of Agriculture showed distinctly that the American arsenate of lead is not as good as the Australian. These official tests clearly prove that Australia does produce an arsenate of lead that is as good as any that is imported. The only attempt at refutation of these figures is the claim that the. man who uses these” sprays ought to be the best judge, but there is a prejudice which is often evident. When the first yellow Queensland sugar was produced many people preferred the old Mauritius black sugar, and when Queensland first grew coffee there were many people who would not use it, although it is now considered to be as good as any in the world.
.- I believe that the mover of the amendment would agree to a 10 per cent. duty against Great Britain with higher duties under the intermediate and general heading. The Minister (Mr. Greene) has quoted official reports, hut I am quite satisfied he could also have obtained other official reports giving quite different results. For instance, I have with me the results of tests carried out by the New South “Wales Agricultural Department. However, I rise now to put forward a plea on behalf of the orchardists. Numberless letters have been received from orchardists, of which the following two are an example: -
Yours to hand re payment of arsenate of lead,– Brand. I am very sorry to say I have proved it to’ be absolutely useless. I have given the apple trees five sprayings of 4 lbs. of lead to every 50 gallons of water, and it has had no more effect than if you were to spray with soap suds. I have lost over 1,000 cases of fruit through using such damned rubbish. However, I am getting the remainder of lead analyzed, and will prosecute if lead does not come up to specified standard branded on drum. I will pay for same under protest. P.S. - It contains little or no poison, as it will not kill the pear slugs. I am writing to you re shortage of Jonathans.You know that the– spray was not to hand when it was time to spray the Jonathans, and I had to usebrand for them, and through that I contend I lost 50 per cent. of the Jonathans because of all the other apples which were sprayed with – spray, I got fully 90 per cent. clean fruit from codlin moth. I reckon I lost£ 15 per acre on my Jonathans.
The spray used in each case was a local brand. The fault may have been due to ineffective spraying or to some error, but the number of letters received on the subject show that the orchardists have a genuine cause for complaint against the local article. I think they are entitled to ask that they should not be called upon to pay a duty of 25 per cent., which, by the time the article reaches them, will probably amount to 50 per cent., on the imported spray which they wish to use. Orchardists who take up virgin ground are obliged to wait for seven or eight years before they get any return, and even when the trees do come into bearing the whole season’s crop may be lost through the use of an ineffective spray. The orchardist’s lot is not too happy. If he secures a good crop free from pests he may find the market flooded. The Minister (Mr. Greene) who, upon his first crop of maize, was obliged to find money out of his pocket to pay agent’s fees, knows perfectly well that very often the return of the fruit-growers is practically nothing. I hope that he will agree to make the British duty 10 per cent., if necessary increasing the duty under the intermediate and general headings.
Question - That the words proposed to be added (Mr. Atkinson’s amendment) be so added - put. The Committee divided.
Majority . . … 7
Question so resolved in the negative.
Amendment (by Mr. Gregory) proposed -
That the item be amended by adding the following words after sub-item (a): - “And on and after 22nd June, 1021, (aa) Arsenate of lead, ad val., British, 10 per cent.; intermediate, 25 per cent.; general, 35 per cent.”
Question - That the words proposed to be added be so added - put. The Committee divided.
Majority . . 8
Question so resolved in tlie negative.
.- I move -
That the item be amended by adding the following words after sub-item (a): - “And on and after 22nd June, 1921, (aa) Arsenate of lead, ad val., British, 15 per cent.; intermediate, 25 per cent.; general, 35 per cent.”
I have not spoken previously on this question, and I do.not now wish to detain the Committee; but I suggest to the Minister for Trade and Customs (Mr. Greene) that the time has now arrived for him to make some concession. The amount of British preference is inadequate. The whole trend of the debate has shown that moderate protection is amply sufficient in respect of the industry.
– I move -
That the following words be added to subitem’ (a) : - “ And on and after 22nd June, 1921 :-
Arsenic, arsenious chloride, arsenic sulphide, arsenates of calcium, lead and soda, arsenites of soda and zinc, ad val., British, 25 per cent.; intermediate, 25 per cent.; general, 35 per cent.”
Honorable members will note that the amendment takes out the reference to “ arsenical preparations and mixtures, n.e.i., containing more than 10 per cent, of arsenic.” The Department finds that certain drugs fall under this designation which, however, we do not wish to include. The amount of material manufactured in Australia which is included, other than these, is so insignificant as not to be worth keeping within dutiable scope. The amendment Will exclude certain arsenical medicine preparations; we do not wish to make them dutiable. They will, if the amendment be accepted, fall under subitem j, to which I propose, later, to move an amendment.
Amendment agreed to.
– I understand that it is the purpose of the Minister to amend, the subitem dealing with alum, and to bring within its scope sulphate of alumina. A company has been formed in Melbourne tor marketing this product.
– I intend to move an amendment to deal with alum cake and sulphate of alumina. The latter is used principally by papermakers and tanners. Hitherto none of the beauxite ores have been mined in Australia to any extent. These contain a certain proportion of aluminium. The local deposit from which sulphate of alumina is produced has proved to be much richer in its aluminium contents than was anticipated. One of the materials in regard to which the British Empire discovered itself during the war to be absolutely deficient was aluminium. The committee which was appointed to deal with the Empire’s requirements, and the necessity for the development of deposits of various metals, and for the growth of certain productions, strongly recommended that all the Dominions should endeavour to produce aluminium. The production of the latter necessitates, .in the first place, the creation of cheap hydro-electric energy in large quantities. It depends, first, upon ore carrying payable quantities of alumina; and then there is required hydro-electric energy in order to work the deposit up to the article of commerce. We have several deposits of these beauxite ores. A very large one exists in Western Australia, anil another in New South Wales, in the vicinity of Buledelah. There is still another in South Australia, in the form of alumite; and there is the deposit it Gippsland, from which sulphate of alumina is now being worked. I hope that, as that deposit is developed, some one or some company will be prepared to produce aluminium. An assay of samples from the mine shows it to be very rich ist its aluminium contents.
– We have been sending our aluminium ores abroad for years.
– There has been very little produced and, hitherto, none of the samples has been proved to be rich in aluminium contents. The Gippsland mine is rich, but in the past it has been simply worked for sulphate of alumina. My desire is now to protect this industry, and I move accordingly -
That the item be further amended by adding the following to sub-item (c) : - “And on and after 22nd June, 1921 -
(1) Alum, ad val., British, 20 per cent. ; intermediate, 25 per cent.; general, 30 per cent.
Amendment agreed to.
– I have a further amendment to move.Included in sub-item j are many basic drugs which are not found in the Old Country, but have to he imported by it. That being so, it would be useless to give Britain a preference in respect of them. We propose, therefore, to make imports of them from all countries free. In regard to the rest, I shall leave the item as it stands, with the exception that these drugs when packed for retail sale will bear a slightly higher duty. I move -
That the item be further amended by adding the following after sub-item (j) : - “ And on and after 22nd June, 1921 -
Drugs, crude: - Roots, viz. - Calumbae, dandelion, gentian, ipecacuanha, orris, rhubarb, sarsaparilla, senegae, and squill; Barks, viz. - Cascara sagrada, cinchona and wild cherry; Leaves, viz. - Belladonna and buchu; Ergot; Pyrethrum flowers, in packages containing not less than 28 lbs. net, British, free; intermediate, free; general, free.
Chlorate of potash, on and after 22nd
June, 1921, British, free; intermediate, free: general, free.
N.E.I. on and after 22nd June, 1921-
Amendment agreed to.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Item 282 (Opium) agreed to.
Sulphate of copper, per ton, British, £5; intermediate, £10; general, £10.
.- This is a simple looking item, but it covers what, in common parlance, is known as bluestone, which is used most effectively for pickling wheat.
– And has also an important use in the treatment of foot-rot in sheep.
– That is so. The item is, therefore, of considerable interest to the wheat-growers and graziers of Australia, and should receive special consideration, because I understand that in the past imports of sulphate of copper from the Old Country have been free, while under the general Tariff there has been a duty of only 5 per cent. It is now proposed that the duty shall be £5 per ton in respect of imports from. Great Britain, and £10 per ton under the general Tariff. We shall probably be told that a very little bluestone is sufficient to pickle a large quantity of wheat, or to make the mixture through which we run sheep that are suffering from foot-rot. This, however, is another of those many additions to the Tariff that, when summed up, become extremely heavy from the point of view of the wheat-growers and sheepfarmers of the Commonwealth. I hope that the Minister (Mr. Greene) will not insist upon such a tremendous impost on an item affecting two of our greatest industries. We all know that sulphate of copper is a by-product of our copper mines; but, at the best, it is only a byproduct of the mining industry, whereas it is one of the raw materials necessary for the successful carrying on of wheat-growing and also of sheep-farming in the wetter districts. Sheep rot is both painful and offensive, and involves heavy loss to stock-owners. I am surprised that we have not in the Committee to-night some representatives of the wheat districts to enter their protest against this heavy tax. On behalf of the graziers and wheat-growers, and of the many other primary producers, such as fruit-growers, and certain sections of. our market gardeners, who use bluestone, I propose to move -
That the item be amended by adding the following words : - “ And on and after 22nd June, 1921, per ton, British, £2: intermediate, £3; general, £5.”
Knowing as I do the feeling displayed by the Committee in connexion with other items, I am afraid it would be useless to attempt a further reduction, although I think this item should be free. I ask the Minister (Mr. Greene) to accept the amendment. The honorable gentleman has granted one or two requests made by me; but this is the most important that I have yet preferred to him, and I hope he will agree to it. If I had my way, I would make the item free. The loss to the copperproducing community would not be mate- rial, whereas the loss which this heavy duty involves on the part of the grazing and wheat-growing industries of Australia must be very great. I recognise that the copper-mining industry needs all the support we can give it at the present time; but, after all, it is only a portion of our great mining industry, whereas this impost would be disastrous to the whole of the wheat-producing and grazing industries of Australia. As this is only a by-product of the copper-mining industry, it would be actually of very little value to that source of production. Taken all round, the injury which may be done by a duty such as this is so overwhelmingly great in comparison with the small good that can arise from it that I trust the Minister will see his way to accept my proposal.
.- I hope the Minister will agree to reduce the duty. The item was free in all previous Tariffs, so far as imports from Great Britain were concerned, and bore a general duty of only 5 per cent. Now we are asked to agree to a duty of £5 a ton British, and £10 intermediate and general. That is an awful impost for the farmer and pastoralist to have to pay for bluestone. It is not just.
.- Will the honorable member for Robertson accept a reduction to £3 British, £7 intermediate, and £10 general?
– I will, but I think even those duties too high.
Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment (by Mr. Greene) agreed to-
That the following words be added : - “ And on and after 22nd June, 1921, per ton, British, £3; intermediate, £7; general, £10.”
Item,as amended, agreed to.
Item 284 (Bacteriological products and sera).
– Quite a number of bacteriological products have been dealt with in Tariff decisions. I should like to know whether the large number enumerated in circular F29, dated 1st May, 1920, was put on the free list, or under a 30 per cent. duty ? These products are wanted for our hospitals, and the duty is a severe tax on the poorer portion of the community.
– If that list were issued under a by-law, as I should imagine that it was, then the articles enumerated in it would be free.
Item agreed to.
Item 285 (Medicines)
– I propose to amend this item by taking drugs and chemicals out of it. These will then fall under item 281. The net effect of the amendment will be to bring them under lower duties. I move -
That the following words be added to subitem (a) : - “ And on and after 22nd June, 1921-
Amendment agreed to.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Item 286 (Plasters and medicated wool) agreed to.
Item 287 -
Essential oils, non-spirituous, n.e.i., ad val., British and intermediate, free; general, 10 per cent.
.- Will this and the next item come practically under the same head ? Do they both apply to the manufacture of perfumes which naturally deal with essential oils ? If so, I wish to bring under the notice of the Minister (Mr. Greene) the fact that an attempt is being made to produce these things in Australia. We have a very large range of essential oils here. Our eucalypts are capable of producing not only medicinal oils, but very fine essential oils and perfumes. We can grow in this country, as has been proved in a small way already, all those things which are used in other countries for producing perfumes. Our climate is eminently adapted for the purpose. We have the soil, the sunshine, the water, and every other possible condition required.
– What duty are you recommending ?
– I do not know what is required, but I ask the Minister to impose a rate sufficient to protect the new industry which is being established, and which will give a great deal of employment to a number of people who are perhaps not fitted for heavier work.
– Will not the farmer have to pay this duty?
– No. It will be a charge on the luxuries of life. We should frame the Tariff with that end in view, and if we can establish our people in industries which produce luxuries we should do so. We do not want to import any more luxuries than are absolutely necessary to maintain our standards of life. We are already growing some of these things, and the industry is promising extremely well . Its encouragement will make for the employment in a healthy occupation of a great number of Australians, and I therefore urge the Minister to give the industry all the Protection which is. required to establish it here.
– The honorable member will see that, while item 287 covers essential oils, non-spirituous, n.e.i., item 288 deals with materials used in the manufacture of the perfumes about which he has been speaking. We have endeavoured to encourage the use of Australian essential oils for the manufactureof perfumes by so arranging the spirit duties that a manufacturer using these oils gets the spirit at a lower rate. If the honorable member will turn to the Excise Tariff, and look at item l, he will find that the Excise on spirit for the manufacture, from Australian products exclusively, of scents and toilet preparations, subject to regulation, is 23s. per gallon, and in item m, spirit for industrial and scientific purposes n.e.i., 28s. per proof gallon. This represents a difference of 5s. in the Excise duty on the spirit. Alcohol forms the bulk of all perfumes, and, therefore, we are encouraging the local manufacturer by giving him the spirit at 23s:. per gallon, provided he uses Austra lian essential oils, whereas in the other case if the perfumery manufacturer used imported oils, the duty is leviable on the proof gallon, and, as the spirit supplied to the manufacturer is 50 per cent. over-proof, he gets something very much more in ad- . dition to an advantage of 5s. per gallon in the Excise duty. It will be seen that we are giving considerable encouragement to the Australian manufacturer of perfumery using Australian essential oils, but Australia does not produce sufficient of these essential oils, and the Department have been doing what was, in point of law, an illegal act by allowing the use of a lesser proportion of Australian essentia] oils. When I found this out, my officers recommended that I should issue an instruction to abide strictly by the letter of the law ; but we found that if we did so we would be cutting out the use of Australian essential oils altogether, because the manufacturers could not get enough of it. I propose to rectify this matter when we come to the Excise duty by making the existing rate apply if manufacturersuse one-third of Australian essential oils, and providing for a lower rate of duty if they use two-thirds of our essential oils, and a still lower rate if they use all Australian essential oils. In that way we can really give more effective protection to the industry than by putting a duty on this item.
Item agreed to.
Item 288 (Materials used in the manufacture of perfumes) and item 289 (Glycerine, wool fat, camphor, &c.) agreed to.
Item 290 -
Perfumes, artificial (synthetic), in con centrated form, including synthetic essential oils and mixtures of synthetic and natural essential oils, nonspirituous -
– I move -
That the item be amended by adding the following to sub-item E:- “And on and after 22nd June, 1921-
When in liquid form, per fluid ounce, British, 3s. 9d.; intermediate, 3s. 9d.; general, 4s. 9d; or ad val.,.
British,20 per cent.; intermediate, 25 percent. ; general, 30 per cent.; whichever rate returns the higher duty.
When not in liquid form, per ounce,
British, 3s.9d.; intermediate,3s. 9d. ; general,4s. ad. ; or ad val., British,20 per cent.; intermediate, 25 per cent.; general, 30 per cent.; whichever rate returns the higher duty.”
I am advised that 3s. 9d. per fluid ounce is sufficient protection for the lower grade of manufacture!, but not enough for the better class of perfumes, sowe are arranging for an ad valorem duty.
Amendment agreed to.
Item, as amended, agreed to.
Mr. GREENE (Richmond- Minister for
Trade and Customs) [10.7]. - I desire, with the permission of the Committee, to have item 275 (Hydro-sulphites), which now applies to sulphur,- reconsidered. When we were dealing with that item I overlooked the fact that the intention was to impose a duty as from 31st October of this year, because the local manufacturers have to makesome adjustment to their plant before they will be in a position to produce the article. We have no desire to impose a penalty in the mean; time upon; the people. I desire merely to rectify a mistake.
– If no matter of principle is affected an item may, by leave, be reconsidered.
Leave gr anted.
Item 275 amended accordingly, and agreed to.
The following papers were presented : -
Audit Act-Transfers approved by the GovernorGeneral in Council of amounts from any item to any. other item of the same subdivision of the Estimates of Expenditure, 1920-21, dated 15th June, 1921.
Customs Act -
Proclamation prohibiting exportation (except under certain conditions) of “Buck” currants - (dated17th May, 1921.)
Proclamation (dated 17thMay, 1921), revoking the proclamation (dated 16th August,1916)which prohibited the exportation of butter.
Proclamation (dated 12th May, 1921), revoking the proclamation (dated 23rd September, . 1014) which prohibited the exportation of meat.
Treaty of Peace (Germany) Act- Regulations amended- Statutory Rules 1921, No. 109.
House adjourned at 10.10 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 21 June 1921, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/hofreps/1921/19210621_reps_8_95/>.