House of Representatives
10 November 1921

8th Parliament · 1st Session

Mr. Speaker (Hon. Sir Elliot Johnson) took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.

page 12595


Report (No. 5) of the Printing Committee, presentedby Mr. Corser, read by the Clerk, and agreed to. 12596 Geneva Conference. [REPRESENTATIVES.] Shipbuilding.

page 12596




– On several occasions, questions have been asked about the observation station at “Willis Island. I ask the Minister in charge of the matter what stage the work there has reached. Will he inform the House of the position?

Minister for Works and Railways · DARLING DOWNS, QUEENSLAND · NAT

– On Monday or Tuesday last, a message was received from the officer in charge there, saying that the work had been completed, and that the boats were leaving the island that evening. It will be possible, therefore, to make the necessary observations this year.

page 12596




– Some time ago a number of gentlemen came from Tasmania, and, togetherwith the representatives of that State, formed a deputation to the Minister for Trade and Customs, to draw his attention to the effect of the Navigation Act in preventing the vessels of the Peninsular and Oriental and other mail companies from going to Hobart during the coming fruit season. The Minister promised to refer the matter to Cabinet. Has a decision been arrived at concerning it, and, if so, has it been communicated to anybody?


– The Navigation Act does not prevent vessels from going to Tasmania to lift apples, but it prevents certain vessels from engaging in interstate trade. One company is under defintte contract to send its boats to Hobart during the apple season. I have not yet had an opportunity to bring the matter before Cabinet, and therefore cannot say anything further about it.

page 12596



Delegate’s Report


– As the honorable member for Flinders (Mr. Bruce) is again in his place, I ask the Prime Minister if the Government will fix a day upon which that honorable gentleman can put before the House a statement of his doings at the Geneva Conference?

Prime Minister · BENDIGO, VICTORIA · NAT

– I shall do so.

page 12596


Prime Minister and Attorney-General · Bendigo · NAT

(By leave). - I desire to announce the arrangement for the commemoration of Armistice Day. A memorial service is to be held on the steps of Parliament House tomorrow, and the programme is as follows: - 10.35 a.m. - Guard of Honour, in position, consisting of: -

Royal Australian Navy,

Royal Australian Garrison Artillery.

Band - 6th Battalion. 10.50 a.m. - Royal Salute.

His Excellency the Governor-General arrives and inspects Guard of Honour before ceremony. 10.53 a.m. - The Governor-General is received by the Prime Minister. 10.54 a.m. - Hymn (Kipling’s Recessional). 11 a.m. - “Stand Fast” sounded by a bugler.

Two minutes silence. Guards “ Reverse Arms.” Flags half-mast. 11.2 a.m. - “ Last Post “ sounded. Guards “ Present Arras.” Guards ‘.’ Slope Arms.”

Flags mast head. 11.3 a.m. - Reveille sounded. 1 1.4 a.m. - National Anthem, sung by public. 11.6 a.m. - His Excellency the GovernorGeneral departs. Royal salute.

I hope as many members as can will be present during the two minutes’ silence which is to be observed at 11 o’clock tomorrow all over the Empire.

page 12596



– In view of the acute distress in Sydney because of the large amount of unemployment there, will the Minister for Shipbuilding see that the work at Cockatoo Island, for which approval has been given, is proceeded with, so that the men connected with the dockyard may be able to’ spend a decent Christmas.

Minister for Home and Territories · GREY, SOUTH AUSTRALIA · NAT

– I do not know to what work the honorable member refers, but this report from Mr.Farquharson, in reply to a question which the honorable member asked last week, fully explains the position in regard to shipbuilding-

With reference to the question asked in the House by Mr. Mahony, as to when the 12,800- ton ships are to be commenced at Cockatoo, for your information I have to state that work is proceeding in the mould loft preparing templates, and other information, to enable the boiler makers to make a start. This is being pushed ahead with.

Shipbuilding. [10 November, 1921.] Amusement Tax. 12597

Work is proceeding in the boilershop with the boilers of the ship; a considerable quantity of work is going on in the machine and fitting shops in connexion with the main machinery; the moulding shops are busily engaged turning out castings for the vessels; the blacksmith’s shop is busy producing forgings.

With regard to the date when the hulls will ho started, the position I have taken up before the Royal Commission, and since taking up my duties, is that the work in connexion with the hulls will notbe commenced until the question of piecework is finally fixed. I think I am justified in taking up this position, otherwise I am afraid there will be a great difficulty in getting prices fixed which would be commercially reasonable.

The piece-work prices lor the platers, caulkers, and drillers have been agreed to, and the question of piece-work rates for the angle iron smiths and the riveters is now before the Tribunal. Immediately the rates for those two trades are fixed a commencement will be at once made with the construction of the vessels, as far as the ship-builders are concorned.

At the present time the number of men employed on Cockatoo Island is 1,584. Of this number, 631 are employed on the Adelaide, 233 on the Mombah, and, including direct and indirect labour, 250 men on the 12,800-ton ships, as shown in the second paragraph of my memorandum.

I trust the honorable member will not again say that no werk is proceeding at Cockatoo Island.

page 12597




– Can the Prime Minister say whether, and when, a statement regarding the matters dealt with by the Premiers’ Conference will be made to Parliament?


– I shall take an opportunity of laying on the table to-morrow the resolutions passed at the Premiers’ Conference, and I shall consult the convenience of honorable members as to when any, or all, of these may be discussed. It is very obvious that we are confronted with a very great many matters of first class importance, many of which must be settled one way or the other without any delay. I mentioned two or three of them yesterday. Perhaps I may be permitted to recapitulate what I said. There is the question of the resumption of trading with Germany. On that I merely desire an expression of opinion by the House; I can get that from the remarks of honorable members during the discussion on the Estimates. There are the questions of wireless communication, airships, the continuance or otherwise of the CommonwealthShipping Line, and shipbuilding. I shall make a statement on an early day next week, covering both the two lastmentioned subjects. Other business to be dealt with by the House includes the discussion of the resolutions passed at the Premiers’ Conference, or such of them as interest or directly concern this Parliament; the anti-dumping legislation, which has been mentioned, and which the Minister for Trade and Customs has ready; the ConstitutionConvention Bill, which is now receiving the final touches, and will be ready for presentation as soon as the House has cleared the way for it; and, of course, the Estimates. Honorable members may be optimistic, and straining at the leash, but the matters I have mentioned appear to me to be a fairly formidable programme, and amply warrants the suggestion that the House should in future sit on Tuesdays, and, if necessary, on Mondays. I shall not propose to go any further at present.

page 12597




asked the Treasurer, upon notice -

What is the amount of the amusement tax collected from picture theatres in each State of the Commonwealth during the months of June, July, August, September, October, 1920 and 1921 respectively.

Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– The information is not recorded for separate months, but the tax collected from picture shows for the whole of the financial years 1919-20 and 1920-21 is as under:-

1919- 20 . . £258,670

1920- 21 . . 298,392

page 12597




asked the Treasurer, upon notice -

Are old-age and invalid pensioners having . extreme difficulty in subsisting on their present pension? If so, will he afford the House an opportunity of discussing the motion to increase the pension to £1 per week?

Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917

– The question of increasing the rate of invalid and oldpensions has received the most sympathetic consideration by me. I regret, however, that, in view of the financial position of the Commonwealth, I cannot hold out any hope of an increase at present. 12598 Manufacture of Tractors. [REPRESENTATIVES . ] War Service Homes.

page 12598



MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936

asked the Minister for Works and Railways, upon notice -

  1. What is the total cost to date pertaining to the experiments of Mr. Balsillie, in regard to rainmaking, including all costs in connexion therewith?
  2. Have any practical results been obtained; and, if so, what are they?

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow: -

  1. Assuming the honorable member refers to rainstimulation experiments, the total cost cannot yet be stated. Since commencing experiments in 1915 amounts totalling about £6,300 have been expended, but there will have to be deducted from this the sum to be credited for disposal of some valuable material, the sale of which has not yet been finalized.
  2. Certain results are claimed by the experimenters, and further reports are expected. The reports to hand can be made available for the honorable member’s perusal if desired.

page 12598




asked the Minister in Charge of Shipbuilding, upon notice -

When may a definite statement be expected as to the Government’s -attitude in regard to the Kidman-Mayoh shipbuilding contract, upon which a report was submitted some months ago by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works?


– It ia not possible at present to say more than that the matter is still in the hands of the Crown Law officers.

page 12598




asked the Minister for Trade and Customs, upon notice -

  1. How many firms in Australia are engaged in the manufacture of tractors,(a) steam, (b) oil?
  2. How many employees are engaged directly in the manufacture of tractors?
  3. What has been the production in Australia of tractors, (a) in numbers, (b) in value ?
  4. When does he propose to issue notices regarding the remission of duty on heavy and light tractors?

– The information is being obtained.

page 12598



Payments in Arrear - Queensland Saw-mills.


asked the Prime Minister, upon notice-. -

  1. Owing to the prevailing unemployment, have some returned soldiers occupying War Service Homes fallen into arrears in their payments, and therefore been threatened by the Commission with ejectment?
  2. If so, will he direct that the Commission cease this treatment of these unfortunate men?

– The answer to the honorable member’s questions is as follows : -

The procedure when an appellant is three months in arrears is to issue a legal request required under the War Service Homes Act for payment of the instalments due.

If this elicits that the applicant is in acute circumstances, however, consideration is given to such, and if the case is one of hardship, extended time for payment is invariably granted.

For the information of the honorable member I would point out that, before legal action can be taken in any case, the authority of the Acting Commissioner is necessary, and such is not given in cases of genuine hardship due to unemployment and other reasons.


asked the Minister representing the Minister for Repatriation, upon notice -

  1. Is the saw-mill at Canungra, Queensland, purchased by the Commonwealth, unable to run full time because of short supply of pine in the purchased areas?
  2. Has Mr. Brett, who is associated with Bouldery and Brett (the vendors of the Queensland timber areas purchased by the Government for War Service Homes), been appointed agent to sell pine in Queensland at a commission of 5 per cent.?
  3. If so, is the commission gained on such transactions equal to, approximately, £5,000 a year ?
  4. Have sales agents been similarly appointed in Sydney?
  5. If so, will the Minister endeavour to terminate the commissions of these sales agents?

– The answers to the honorable member’s questions are as follow : -

  1. Milling operations at Canungra were suspended, not because of shortage of pine in the purchased areas, but because of the heavy accumulated stocks of sawn timber held both by the Commission and private mills throughout Queensland and the depression in the timber market.
  2. In order to dispose of surplus timbers the services of Mr. J. F. Brett were obtained on the recommendation of the Advisory and Consultative Board, and he is paid a commission
*Commonwealth Line* [10 November, 1921.] *of Steamers.* 12599 on a *del credere* agency basis by way of brokerage. It is not advisable to state what the actual rate of commission is pending the appointment of agents in a similar way in other States. {: type="1" start="3"} 0. **Mr. Brett** has only acted during the last few months, and it would be impossible to say what his commission would approximate in a year. The commission will depend entirely on the sales effected. 1. No definite appointment of broker has yet been made in Sydney, but an appointment is under consideration. 2. I am of opinion that best results for the Commission will be obtained by sales effected through the agency of highly accredited and well-informed brokers, which is the prevailing custom throughout the timber business. {: .page-start } page 12599 {:#debate-13} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-13-0} #### RESUMPTION OF TRADEWITH GERMANY {: #subdebate-13-0-s0 .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 asked the Prime Minister, *upon notice -* >Has the Government decided to permit the resumption of direct trading with Germany, and, if so, at what date will such permission operate ? {: #subdebate-13-0-s1 .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES:
NAT -- As I have already intimated many times, I am waiting to hear the views of honorable members on this question. When the Estimates are under discussion an opportunity will be afforded members of stating their views on matters in general, and they may, perhaps, use it to deal with this subject. {: .page-start } page 12599 {:#debate-14} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-14-0} #### COMMONWEALTH LINE OF STEAMERS Posters: Oil-fuel Engines. {: #subdebate-14-0-s0 .speaker-KLM} ##### Dr MALONEY:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936 asked the Prime Minister, *upon notice -* >In regard to posters for the Commonwealth Line of steamers, will the Government give Australian artists a chance of competing *(a)* in Australia, (b) in England, instead of giving the work to the firm ofVickers Limited? {: #subdebate-14-0-s1 .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES:
NAT -- The answer to the honorable member's question is as follows : - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. Nothing has so far been done in Australia, the matter being at present under consideration. It is not thought however, that it will be necessary to have any form of competition in order to evolve a poster. 1. It is understood that in England the requirements in this direction have already been fulfilled and the posters issued. {: #subdebate-14-0-s2 .speaker-KHG} ##### Mr HILL:
for Mr. McWilliams asked the Prime Minister, *upon notice -* >In view of the reported vast savings effected in the working expenses of ships by the use of the Sulzer-Diesel oil-fuel engines, will he cause inquiries to be instituted to ascertain the respective economical values of oil-fuel and coal-fuel? {: .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES: -- Inquiries have already been instituted. {: .page-start } page 12599 {:#debate-15} ### QUESTION {:#subdebate-15-0} #### OVERSEAS FREIGHTS {: #subdebate-15-0-s0 .speaker-KHG} ##### Mr HILL:
for Mr. McWilliams asked the Prime Minister, *upon notice -* >Whether a conference has recently been held between the Australian representatives of oversea shipping companies and the Australian manager of the Commonwealth Line in regard to the freight on primary produce between Australia and England, particularly for refrigerated apace? If so, vhat was the result of the conference? {: #subdebate-15-0-s1 .speaker-DQC} ##### Mr HUGHES:
NAT -- No such conference has been held. {: .page-start } page 12599 {:#debate-16} ### CUSTOMS TARIFF BILL *In Committee* (Consideration of Senate's requests resumed from 9th November, *vide* page 12568) : Postponed item 291 - >Timber, viz. : - *Senate's Request.* - Per 100 super, feet, intermediate, 6s.; general, 7s. Upon which **Mr. Greene** had moved - >That the requested amendment be made, with the following modification: - Instead of 7s., general Tariff, read 6s. 6d. {: #debate-16-s0 .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON:
Hunter .- The rates of duty on this item as it left this Chamber were, British, 5s.; intermediate, 5s.; and general, 6s.; but the Senate has asked us to increase the intermediate rate to 6s., and the general rate to 7s.The Minister has now proposed, by way of compromise, to make the general rate 6s. 6d. ; and I understand that he also intends to propose a proportionate modification of the Senate's request that the general rate on timber, undressed, n.e.i., be 8s. 6d. The Minister made it clear some time ago that, if 12600 *Customs Tariff* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Bill.* there were any anomalies in connexion with these timber duties, he would have them rectified in the Senate, and I cannot understand why he has not given sympathetic consideration to the Senate's request that the rates of duty upon undressed timber be increased. The timber industry of Australia has been in a very bad position for aconsiderable period, the slackness in trade having thrown hundreds of mill hands out of employment. Although it was urged when the duties upon timber were imposed that there would be an increase in the price of timber for building purposes, we find that to-day it is lower than it was before the imposition of the duties. The same arguments were advanced in regard to bananas; but, as a matter of fact, they are now cheaper than they were prior to the imposition of the duty. We ought to keep out foreign timber in order to provide employment for our own people; and, as a. step in this direction, we should not modify the Senate's request. {: #debate-16-s1 .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY:
Dampier -- I hope that there will be no further increase in the timber duties. Years ago, one could buy white pine almost at the rate per 100 super. feet now imposed as duty. Imported softwoods are necessary for the building, not only of homes for working people, but also of factories. {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr Austin Chapman: -- Will not our own timbers do for that purpose? {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- Yes ; and I cannot see why we should not be in a position to supply them with a moderate rate of duty as cheaply as they can be brought from overseas, after payjng heavy freights and overcoming the difficulties of adverse rates of exchange, which apply in the case of exportations from America, Sweden, and Norway, the countries from which we draw our supplies of softwoods. I am looking at the question from the point of view of the heavy cost which will be imposed on all sorts 'of developmental work, to say nothing of the building of workers' homes and factories. Everybody will be called upon to pay more for timber. We are asked to impose a rate of 8s. 6d. per 100 super. feet on certain timber, but the importer will seek his percentage of profit, not only on what he pays to the exporter overseas, but also on the amount of duty. Timber will thus become abnormally expensive. I am not opposed to a small increase in the duty on dressed timber as compared with undressed. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I think that is necessary; but it is almost impossible to reconcile all the conflicting interests in the timber industry. I may say, however, that I am trying to doso. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- To give Great Britain a preference in respect of soft timbers is absurd. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- It might operate if a reciprocal treaty were arranged with one of the other Dominions. The Senate has not made any request in regard to the duty under the British Tariff. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- That would be useless. I hope the Minister will not agree to an increase in the duties on undressed timber. I would offer no objection to an increased duty on dressed timber, but in the interests of trade in Australia generally I appeal to the Committee not to agree to any increase in respect of undressed timber. The additional impost will press very heavily on many industries, and will be expressed in the increased cost of all manufactures in which timber is used. {: #debate-16-s2 .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS:
Melbourne Ports -- The timber duties have been dealt with in a way for which it is impossible to account. The Minister **(Mr. Greene)** must recognise that the items relating to timber do not reflect credit on him. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I did what the Com mittee made me do. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- Not at all. The timber duties as passed by this Committee originally were useless from the point of view of the box-makers and timbergetters. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- The Minister said at the time that the Tariff in that respect was not quite perfect. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- It was quite impossible, and I expressed my surprise that it should be allowed to leave the Committee in such a form. I thought that while the Tariff was being dealt with by another place the Minister would prepare a comprehensive scheme for the protection of the timber industry. This item when sent to another place was in a chaotic condition, and, as returned to us, it is even worse. I challenge the Minister to justify it. He is now proposing modifications that are useless from the point of view of the timber-getters. Will the Minister admit that he has handed us over to the Free Trade corner '( {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr Austin Chapman: -- It looks like it. Mills in New South Wales are shutting down. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- Although I was not in the House at the time, I well remember the great fight that took place over the timber duties in the first Federal Tariff. That fight was repeated when the Tariff of 1908 was before us. The Minister does not seem to realize that a Protective Tariff in respect of timbers is of use to the timber-getters of Australia. It is time that we considered our timber interests. When the item was before us on a former occasion it was pointed out that this Government alone could deal effectively with reafforestation and the handling" of om- timbers generally. It would be absurd to leave that work to the States, since they have neither the control nor the opportunity for giving encouragement. They might indulge in a little patchwork reafforestation, but this Parliament alone can handle in a comprehensive way the great timber interests of the Commonwealth. I am disappointed at the failure of the Government after months of consideration to realize this fact. I shall, unfortunately, have to take a share of the blame. In the very near future good Australians will be saying that I was one of those who allowed this item to pass in such a way as not to give proper consideration to our timber interests, and that my representations were so weak that the Minister would not listen to them. If the Minister does not propose, to make the item more acceptable, I, with a few others, will have to protract the debate with the object of inducing him to give us something like a Protective Tariff. The amount of money invested in the timber industry of Australia is of no concern to me. My concern is that under the item as it stands the men who earn their living by timbergetting will be thrown on the labour market, and will swell thb ranks of the unemployed. That will be the result of the clumsy way in which we are dealing with the timber duties. The mountain in labour has brought forth a mouse - and a mouse without any hair on it. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I have considered the question of the box-making industry. I propose later on to make & proposition to the Committee which I hope will get over most of the difficulty that I admit the Tariff has created with regard to boxmaking. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- I am glad to have that admission. The honorable gentleman will agree with me that, in the absence of information as to what the Minister proposes to do in regard to other sub-items, it is necessary that we should deal at the same time with the whole of the requests made in another place in regard to the timber duties. Sub-item ,t, relating to timber for making boxes, was untouched by the Senate. Does the Minister consider that the item is sufficient to encourage the saw-mills operating in the Australian bush? If we were to deal with the item in such a way as to give real encouragement to that industry, we should have to raise all the other duties in order to secure a scientific Tariff. We have at last one admission from the Minister, who says he has considered the box industry, and will later deal with that phase. Personally, that suits me, though, if I liked to be narrow-minded and careless of broad Australian interests, I should have sole regard to the employees in the box industry, and in the timber yards, who are those with whom I am associated. The great timber interests, however, are at stake, and Victorian members know that the milling interests in certain constituencies are " falling to pieces," while the position of affairs is even worse in other States. The Minister and his advisers are just as conversant as I am with the facts, and I really cannot understand his attitude. I know that he has gone into the matter, and he seems satisfied with what has been done. All I can say is that if he is satisfied he must have some information that is not in my possession. I am informed that not only the War Service Homes Mills, but private mills have such enormous stocks on hand that they are closing down ; yet at the same time1, w© know that millions of feet of timber are being imported. It is really ghastly that this should be so. However, there are men 12602 *Customs Tariff* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Bill.* here who represent constituenciesin which the milling is done, and if they are satisfied I suppose I shall have to be. I do hope, however, that the Minister will deal satisfactorily with sub-item J, and if he intends to do so I shall be satisfied for the present. The Minister must agree that the timber duties are not what are desired, even by himself. {: #debate-16-s3 .speaker-JOS} ##### Mr BELL:
Darwin .- The request of the Senate, as I understand it, is merely to increase the duty in proportion to the work that is entailed in reducing the size of the timber. With the little knowledge I possess of the work, and I have some, it seems to me that1s. per 100 super. feet is not a sufficient increased protection for the work that is entailed in reducing the timber from the sizes named in the previous item. The Minister **(Mr. Greene)** has moved an amendment that the Senate's request be acceded to with an alteration which will mean 6s. 6d. per 100 super. feet in the general Tariff instead of 7s., an increase of1s. as compared with the previous item. This, of course, means that the workmen engaged in reducing the size of the timber will get some protection; but I do not think that1s. is sufficient, but rather that it should be1s. 6d., according *to* the Senate's request. I have been informed that the Minister, or the Department, agreed to this request. In another place, the increase moved was much greater, and I thought that the request sent to us was a compromise made with the Minister's permission. I am therefore rather surprised that the honorable gentleman has not agreed to the full amount. I do not wish to stress the necessity of protecting the timber industry; we had a full debate when the Tariff was previously before us, and I see no good in the repetition of arguments. I certainly think, however, that this Committee ought to. and will, support' the request made by the Senate. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr Mathews: -- It will be useless leaving sub-itemJ as it is. {: .speaker-JOS} ##### Mr BELL: -- I do not agree that it would be useless. Surely to give an extra 6d. per 100 feet for reducing the timber is of some use, even though it does not give what we consider proper protection. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr Mathews: -- There would be a lower duty on sub-itemJ than on the raw timber. {: .speaker-JOS} ##### Mr BELL: -- I cannot see eye to eye with the honorable member. The Minister has asked us not to deal with the items following, and I shall not do so, but it appears to me necessary to a full discussion to deal with all items in view of the different ratio of increases. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- There is some relation between the items before' us, but 1 ask that the consideration of sub-itemJ be postponed, because I have a special proposal to make regarding it. {: .speaker-JOS} ##### Mr BELL: -- There is some relation, but the request of the Senate is merely to continue the proportionate increases according to the work entailed in reducing the size of the timber, and I ask the Committee to seriously consider whether the increase requested by the Senate is too much even by one penny. The Minister's amendment' I regard as insufficient, as anyone acquainted with the industry would say. However, I do not think it worth while to further discuss the matter, because no doubt honorable members will vote in accordance with their votes on the last occasion. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- If this vote is against him, will the Minister take it as being practically in favour of the Senate's recommendation ? {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- Certainly. I cannot do anything else. {: #debate-16-s4 .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr RILEY:
South Sydney .- When a log is out up, there is a great deal of waste, and when duty is levied on an imported log, it is charged on the waste as well as on the boards that are subsequently sawn from the log. But when timber is imported in shocks, there is no waste. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The Tariff has regard to that circumstance, logs not sawn being dutiable at 5 per cent. and 10 per cent., and timber undressed, n.e.i., in sizes of 12 feet x 6 inches and upwards being dutiable at 3s. per hundred super. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr RILEY: -- The point I was about to make is that the difference in rates is not sufficient. There is at least 25 per cent. of waste timber in a log. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I understand that practically all the timber which is imported comes in as baulk timber, and pays duty at the rate of 3s. per hundred super. On the smaller sizes of cut-up timber, the duty increases to 6s. per hundred super. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr RILEY: -- Still the difference between the duty on timber imported in the log and that on cut-up timber is not enough. To-day I have been speaking with a gentleman who has twelve sawmills in Victoria, air of which are now closed. This has resulted in the discharge of 400 men. The closing of the mills is due to the importation of so much cut-up timber. The same thing is happening in New South Wales. There is a big bos factory and timber mill on the Parramatta River. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I propose to do something in regard to boxes. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr RILEY: -- I hope that the Minister will take steps to prevent the throwing out of employment of many hundreds of men. {: #debate-16-s5 .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- I regret that, through illness, I was not able to be present when the timber duties were originally discussed in ,this Chamber. Had I been here, I should have supported the proposal of the honorable member for Darwin **(Mr. Bell),** with a view to securing decent treatment for the industry. At the present time the timber industry is in a bad position. I do not think that the Tariff could cure all the ills from which it is suffering. One reason for its present condition is a wages award, which, in some cases, was made retrospective for *as-* much as fourteen and sixteen months. Then there has been dumping, because many American mills had overcut, and were glad to sell their surplus at any price they could get for it. A further cause is the exorbitant royalty charged by State Governments. In some cases, within three years, the royalty on standing pine has increased from ls. 6d. to 17s. 6d. per hundred super. feet, which, of course, increases the cost of timber to the user. I understand that we cannot deal freely now with the timber duties as a whole, because some df our original proposals have been agreed to by the Senate, but the anomalies in the Tariff should be removed as far as possible. It is .absurd (that dressed timber should come in at the same rate as undressed timber. Since the present duties were imposed, the price of timber has been going down, though that has not been due to the Tariff. Imported timber has dropped from 30s. to 18s. There should be a greater difference between the duty on undressed timber and that om dressed timber. I shall support the Senate's request as being the best thing we can now do for the protection of the. timber industry. I wish to emphasize what has been said by the honorable member for Melbourne Ports **(Mr. Mathews)** in regard to sub-item J. I think that the Minister should take steps to correct the anomaly to which he referred. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I shall try to do so, though I do not know that what I propose will please honorable members. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- Any attempt to make the conditions more reasonable will have my support. {: #debate-16-s6 .speaker-K6S} ##### Mr CORSER:
Wide Bay .- I hope that the Minister will give effect to the recommendation of the Senate. No other State is as much affected by these timber duties as Queensland, where, at the present time, a large number of sawmills are closed, because the duty on log and sawn timber is not sufficiently high, and there is not a sufficient difference between the duty on log and sawn imported timber. The firm of McKenzie and Company, of Sydney, set up mills on Fraser's Island, in Wide Bay, but these mills have recently been closed because there is no sale for the timber, the competition of imported timber being too severe. That is only one of many cases which has come to my knowledge of the recent closing of timber mills in Queensland as a result of which a large number of persons are suffering hardship. Many men had taken up land, hoping to sell the pine on it at a price that would assist them to cultivate it. That was done for a time; but so much timber is now coming from overseas that the local mills cannot make enough on what they cut. If the selectors' timber is not sent to a saw-mill within a reasonable time, it becomes useless. The Senate, when it made its request, had before it the reports of the debates of this House on the duty on the timber industry, and took time to consider thoroughly the whole question. Under the Tariff as it stands, it pays a miller abroad to send sawn log timber here. If timber were imported only in the log, our saw-millers would get employment in cutting it up ; but the local owners of timber, timber getters, carriers, and railway employees would lose their employment. My experience of the timber industry extends over a period of fifty years, and I know that the industry was never before in so bad a state as at present. {: #debate-16-s7 .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr RICHARD FOSTER:
Wakefield -- .When the timber duties were before the Committee originally, we threshed out matters thoroughly, and today I am more convinced than ever that more consideration should be given to the consumers' point of view. We should look to the interests of the consumers as we'll as to those of the people who grow and cut the timber. One reason why we have such big, unused stocks of timber in the country is that prices are too high. There are many persons who wish to build, and who have been ready to build for a long time past, but .they are waiting for .the prices of timber to come down. What is to be the future of our industries? Do honorable members know the particulars of the last log of the Australian Timber Workers "Union? If that log is accepted, engine-drivers, who have been receiving *£i* 13s. a week, will get £10 3s. a week. {: .speaker-KZU} ##### Mr Lavelle: -- There is a difference between asking for a thing and getting it. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr RICHARD FOSTER: -- It is not the men, but those who mislead them, who ask for these increases. Circular sawyers, who are now getting from £4 2 s. to £4 8s. a week, ask £10 4s. a week. Horse drivers in charge of one horse wish to have their wages increased from £3 15s. to £8 Ss. a week; .bullock drivers, from £3 18s. a week to i£9 12s. a week; youths, labourers, up to 17 years, who now are getting from 18s. to 27s. a week, wish for £4 10s. ; youths^ of 17 to 18 ask to have their .wages increased from £1 13s. a week to £5 10s.; youths of 18 to 19, from £1 19s. to £6 10s. ; youths of 19 to 20, from £2 5s. to £7 16s. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr Watt: -- Those rates have not been allowed. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr RICHARD FOSTER: -- No; but they are asked for. What industry can increase its wages in this way, when prices are falling all over the world? {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- The Court will deal with this claim on its merits. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr RICHARD FOSTER: -- Yes ; but claims like this are one of the chief causes of the present condition of the timber industry. Recently I had a conversation on the subject with the Conservator of Forests in South Australia. As, soon as this log was published mills were shut down. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr Mathews: -- The' millers were looking for an excuse to close their mills. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr RICHARD FOSTER: -- Men have begged to be allowed to continue work. They were working under the best conditions, and were satisfied to continue. But in spite of that fact this Committee is apparently prepared to give every increase of duty that is asked for. « In regard to box timber, what is to become of the fruit industry? {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- If the honorable- member will leave box timber alone I will tell the Committee in a little while what I propose to do in that regard, and I think my proposal, whilst it may not meet with general acceptance, will be adequate. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr RICHARD FOSTER: -- I have pleasure in acceding to the request of the Minister, and I hope that his proposal will be satisfactory. {: #debate-16-s8 .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS:
Melbourne Ports -- The honorable member for Wakefield **(Mr. Richard Foster)** has made an attack upon the industrial movement, and I rise to show that his statement was unfair. He charges the men working in the timber industry with having asked for abnormal wages. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- I said distinctly that, so far as I knew, it was not the men who had framed that log. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- When a union goes to the Arbitration Court for an award, it knows that the decision of the Court will be made to cover a period of three or four years, and if, during the currency of the award, the cost of living further rises, the union cannot get a variation of the award involving the payment of a wage in execs of that asked for in the original logKnowing that, unions submit a log which they calculate will be sufficient to cover any rise in the cost of living during the duration of the award. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- That is humourous ! {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- It is tact, and is based on the experience of men who have to work for their living. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr Watt: -- Any system that is as ' mobile as that' is of no use to anybody. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- What was the cause of the big shipping strike? The seamen would not go into the Arbitration Court *Customs Tariff* [10 November, 1921.] *Bill.* 12605 because they knew that they could not get an increase of more than 6d. per day, because that would bring the award rate up to the log originally filed by the union. This knowledge that the seamen would not get from the Court an adequate wage caused one of the most disastrous strikes in the history of this country. It is the knowledge and experience which the men have gained in the past which forces them to ask for wages which will protect them against any adverse change of conditions during the currency of the award. {: #debate-16-s9 .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN:
Monaro · Eden -- It seems extraordinary that, when any proposal is made to give a little bit of protection to the man in the bush, the Government turn it down. The Government should know, as well as I do, that nearly all the timber-mills are closed up, and the former employees are tramping the country, vainly searching for work. Yet, when, after mature consideration, the Senate proposes to do something to encourage the re-opening of the mills, the Government are unsympathetic. When I spoke on this item previously, I was told that I was an alarmist ; but, since that time, nearly all the mills have closed down. I do not think there is one mill operating in my district. It is not the present rate of wages that is objected to, but the rate of wages for which the workers have asked. I find that the log prepared by the Timber Workers' Union provides that a man who is now receiving £4 13s. shall receive £10 3s., and that boys who receive £1 13s. shall be paid £4 10s. Other men earning £3 per week are asking for £7 16s. Will a policy of that kind set the mills going ? {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr Makin: -- That has nothing to do with the present position. {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN: -- Of course it has. Has the honorable member any sympathy with those men who are walking the roads and looking for work? He claims to represent in this Parliament only one section of the community. I do not.. But the fact that men are out of employment is of as much concern to me as to any other honorable member in the House. It is a scandal that when the Senate requests the Government to do something to help men who have invested their capital to get a fresh start with their mills, the Minister says that he cannot see his way clear to agree. Why ? Because he has a dumb-driven majority to support him. {: #debate-16-s10 .speaker-JWY} ##### The CHAIRMAN (Hon J M Chanter:
RIVERINA, NEW SOUTH WALES -- Order! {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN: -- I cannot be said to be a dumb-driven supporter. I admit that sometimes I vote for the Government against my own inclination; but that will be altered presently. If this were a proposal to help some industry in the city, the galleries would be filled with interested persons, " lobbying " would be taking place, and the Minister would become very sympathetic. But, because this duty affects the bush workers and mill-owners - who cannot come to Melbourne to " push their barrow " - the Government look at their interests with wonderful disdain. I have as much concern for men walking the roads in my district as have those honorable members who profess to represent the workers only. {: .speaker-JSC} ##### Mr Brennan: -- There are some city mill-owners, too. {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN: -- Yes, and I hope the honorable member will raise his voice in their behalf. But this industry is mainly a rural one, and the closing down of the mills affects not only the workers and the owners, but also the producers, for it deprives them of purchasers for their produce. Thousands of men could be employed at Canberra and other places- {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr Watt: -- Especially other places! {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN: -- Especially Flinders Naval Base, where money has been thrown into the sea without the honorable member raising his voice in protest. Because this is mainly a country industry the Minister says that he cannot see his way to accede to the Senate's request. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- Does the honorable member think that the extra 6d. per 100 super. feet will make as much difference as he is suggesting ? {: .speaker-JX7} ##### Mr AUSTIN CHAPMAN: -- The extra 6d. per 100 super. feet will make some difference. Apparently, the Minister's excuse is that his proposed reduction of duty is " only a little one." The extra 6d. may not seem much, but it may mean bread and butter to some people. Any little help which this Committee can give to keep the saw-milling industry 12606 *Customs Tariff* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Bill.* going and give employment to men. who are now carrying their swags through bush tracks should be given. I think the Senate's proposal is characterized by common sense, and is designed to help all interests - both the workers and the men who have invested their capital. I ask the Minister to give some consideration to bush industries. Men who, like myself, represent miners and timberworkers, have a hard row to hoe when trying to help along the natural industries in the country. When people see the Government and their supporters placing a heavy foot on all country industries, they are less inclined to invest their capital in them. I shall support the Senate's request, which means finding employment for men who are now out of work. {: #debate-16-s11 .speaker-JOG} ##### Mr BAYLEY:
Oxley .- This matter was thoroughly discussed when it was before the Committee some months ago. But I urge the Minister to pay heed to the request made by the Senate. That an additional duty is necessary is evidenced by the fact that during September no less than 9,500,000 feet of timber of the value of £115,000 was imported. If that average be maintained throughout the year it will mean a total importation during the twelve months of timber worth well over £1,350,000 - no small sum to be lost to the milling industry. Those figures prove that the duty we imposed on timber some few months ago is insufficient, and I hope the Minister will accede to the Senate's request. Motion, by leave, withdrawn. Motion (by **Mr. Greene)** agreed to - >That the requested amendment be made. Motion (by **Mr. Greene)** agreed to - >That item 291, sub-item (i), timber, undressed, cut to size for making boxes, be postponed until after the consideration of subitem (l) . Item 291- Timber- {: type="a" start="l"} 0. Timber, dressed, n.e.i. . . . , per 100 super. feet, British, 6s.; intermediate, 6s.; general, 6s. *Senate's Request.* - Per 100 super. feet, intermediate, 7s. 6d.; general, 8s. 6d. **Mr. GREENE** (Richmond-Minister for Trade and Customs [3.49]. - Consequential upon the decision of the Committee in regard to the duties on undressed timber, I move - >That the requested amendment be made. {: #debate-16-s12 .speaker-K7L} ##### Mr STORY:
Boothby .- Honorable members do not realize that the sub-item now under consideration has nothing to do with the postponed subitem relating to undressed timber for boxmaking. When this schedule was framed the Minister fixed the duty at 4s. per 100 super. feet, with the idea of making it a purely revenue impost, although from that point of view I considered it was high. Honorable members do not seem to be aware that this item covers Baltic flooring, matchboarding, and all such timbers which are imported into Australia, and cannot be replaced by Australian timbers, except, possibly, the soft timbers of Queensland, of which there is only a limited supply. The other States cannot get suitable local timbers to replace Baltic flooring. {: .speaker-K6S} ##### Mr Corser: -- The honorable member does not know anything about the subject. {: .speaker-K7L} ##### Mr STORY: -- I know what I am talking about, and I am not speaking because I am interested in the timber trade, but because I have at heart the interests of. the people of Australia, who have to buy or rent houses. In this Committee the duty proposed by the Minister was increased by 2s. per 100 super. feet, which in itself was a very heavy additional impost that the people should not be called upon to bear, and now we have a request from another place that the duty should be made as high as8s. 6d. per 100 super. feet. {: .speaker-JOS} ##### Mr Bell: -- Baltic timber is not used for flooring purposes in Tasmania. {: .speaker-K6S} ##### Mr Corser: -- Nor in Queensland. {: .speaker-K7L} ##### Mr STORY: -- This matter would not be debated if Tasmania were the only part of Australia to be considered; but Tasmania is not the only State in the Commonwealth. There are States which have no timber supplies of their own, and depend upon importations. The only effect of this revenue duty upon a timber which no Australian timber can replace will be to raise the rents of houses. No possible benefit can accrue from it to any Australian industry. The duty is not protective in its incidence, but is merely *Customs Tariff* [10 November, 1921.] *Bill.* 12607 an exorbitant burden upon one section of the community. It may be necessary in the present state of the finances to have some revenue duties, but the imposition of 8s. 6d. per 100 super. feet on Baltic flooring is a preposterous proposition, against which I shall give my vote. I hope it is not too late for honorable members to realize that it means a tax of at least 12s. 6d. upon every 10 feet square of flooring in every cottage built in most of the States. {: .speaker-L1J} ##### Mr Lister: -- Is not jarrah used for flooring? {: .speaker-K7L} ##### Mr STORY: -- Jarrah is most unsuitable for flooring. I know that the numbers are against me, but that is because the majority of honorable members are ignorant of the effect of making this amendment. I know that some honorable members who have a few timber votes in their electorates are quite willing to saddle the whole community with this enormous impost, but I shall vote against it. This request was carried in another place when barely half the senators were present. There was no debate upon it. The matter was dealt with late at night, and senators did *not* understand the significance of what they were doing. Surely we have sufficient intelligence to tell them that their proposal is all wrong, and that we refuse to accept it. {: #debate-16-s13 .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr WATKINS:
Newcastle .- The honorable member for Boothby **(Mr. Story)** tells us that we have no timbers to replace Baltic flooring. {: .speaker-K7L} ##### Mr Story: -- Not successfully. I admit that there are some poor substitutes in New South Wales. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr WATKINS: -- Is the honorable member aware that in Canada, where we get our softwoods, every house is floored with Australian hardwood] {: #debate-16-s14 .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr BAMFORD:
HERBERT, QUEENSLAND · ALP; NAT from 1917 .- When this question was before the Committee on a previous occasion, I did not speak, but voted with the Government. I thought that the duties proposed were fair. Since then the Saw-millers Association in my electorate, which contains a number of saw-mills with a large output of pine timber, have taken me to task for not championing their cause. The duties for which I had voted were lower than the Senate has requested us to make them. I am still of the same opinion today, and I propose to burn my boats by voting with the Government again. The duties proposed are too high. If it were not for the timber imported from overseas the worker would have very little chance indeed of getting a home. Last week-end, when I was in Sydney, I paid a bill for timber I had bought previously. I was charged the exorbitant price of 77s. per 100 super. feet for 12 in. by 1 in. Queensland pine. We are all aware how expensive it is to buy the timber of north Queensland, which is so suitable for making furniture. No one can get a bedroom suite made of silky oak or maple for less than £40, and I am afraid that if it were not for ordinary timbers, such as Japanese oak, coming from abroad, the average Australian would be compelled to use kerosene cases and soap boxes for making his furniture. It would be utterly impossible for the man earning an average salary to buy furniture made of Queensland silky oak or maple, or Victorian blackwood, or Huon pine, the price of which is exceedingly high. We have heard a great deal about the dumping of timber in Australia from outside. It has also been said that this timber comes from countries where it is not produced by white labour. The latter remark cannot applyto Canada or Scandinavia, and can only apply to J apan ; but the timber from that country does not compete very seriously with the timbers of Queensland, Tasmania, and Victoria, which are so suitable for furniture making. I have with me a summary of the values of imported timbers, as follows: - {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr Gregory: -- In the latter year timber was of a much higher value. 12608 *Customs Tariff* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Bill.* {: #debate-16-s15 .speaker-JNV} ##### Mr BAMFORD:
HERBERT, QUEENSLAND -- Why cannot the Australian timber mills dispose of their timber? The reason is that the prices they are asking are so abnormally high. The Queensland gentlemen who interviewed me about the timber duties complained of the heavy royalty and freight charges and of the high wages they were compelled to pay. But I put the proposition to them, " If the duties for which you are asking are imposed, will you be relatively any better off than you are now *V* As a matter of fact they will not, because an increase in the duty will probably lead to a demand for increased royalties and freights and for higher wages, so that, relatively, they will not be any better off than they were before. I have recently seen a paragraph in the *Argus* stating that a number of mills in Tasmania were closing, but the same paragraph mentioned the fact that the sawmill hands were asking for £12 a week in wages. Were the mills closing because of timber importations or because of the wages the men were demanding ? Another reason for the closing of mills is that during the winter months it is almost impossible to get logs from the bush. However, when the timber people complain that they cannot sell their output, I reply that it is because of the exorbitant prices they are. asking, which penalize people who want to get homes of their own. The effect of these high prices is thus to reduce employment in the building trades, this reduction in building operations necessarily preventing the saw-millers from selling their timber. {: #debate-16-s16 .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr RICHARD FOSTER:
Wakefield -- I protest, emphatically, against this impost. It is practically a revenue and not a protective duty, because timber will be imported whatever duty is put on. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member will admit that since we have agreed to the rate of 7s. there is no get out of it. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr RICHARD FOSTER: -- But the whole thing is bad. All of the Senate's requests for increases are bad. I happen to know that if most of them went back to another place rejected, a good many senators would rejoice. The public are now beginning to realize the effect of this Tariff, and every poor man in the community who is effecting repairs to his home or adding another room will think hard when he gets his bill for his timber. Once again I emphatically protest against this impost, which has nothing to justify it except, perhaps, the fact that it may bring in some revenue, and this revenue will come out of the pockets of people who can ill afford to pay. {: #debate-16-s17 .speaker-JOS} ##### Mr BELL:
Darwin .- I should nob have risen again to discuss this request but for certain statements that have been made which I think it necessary to contradict. The honorable member for Boothby **(Mr. Story)** saidthat Baltic flooring, which is includedin this item, will be brought into Australia no matter what duties may be imposed - that we must have it, since, with the exception of a small quantity in Queensland, we have no timber in Australia that is suitable for flooring. That statement is not only inaccurate, but absolutely absurd. I invite him to ask any expert whether Baltic pine is better for flooring than hardwood. Our hardwoods are, and always will be, used for flooring. Where a good class of flooring is necessary - in halls, for example, where there is a lot of wear - no one would think of using Baltic pine. People would be' prepared to pay any price for good Australian hardwood for such a purpose if it were hard to obtain; but, as a matter of fact, it is not. Compared with softwood, Australian hardwood is expensive to work, and that is why Baltic flooring is popular; but any one who says that we have not in Australia timber that is suitable for flooring makes a statement that is unfair and inaccurate. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr Gregory: -- If a man earning £4 per week proposed to erect a home for himself, what sort of timber would he use for flooring purposes? {: .speaker-JOS} ##### Mr BELL: -- The cheapest. That, however, is not to say that Australian hardwood is not preferable for flooring purposes. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr Gregory: -- And for lining? {: .speaker-JOS} ##### Mr BELL: -- For lining, Baltic is admittedly cheaper to work, and for that reason is popular. I admit also that it is cheap at the present time owing to the enormous quantities of timber that have been imported, and that is the only reason why we are asking for this protection. I am prepared to listen to any argument in opposition to my own opinion, and realize that it is difficult to get the information that is necessary to *Customs Tariff* [10 November, 1921.] *Bill.* 12609 arrive at a matured judgment with respect to the Tariff; but I object to statements, such as have been made during the discussion of this item, which are known to be inaccurate. Such statements do not help us in the least. I am glad that the Minister has seen fit to accept this request. It is clearly the correct thing to do. {: #debate-16-s18 .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY:
Dampier .- I agree with the honorable member for Wakefield **(Mr. Richard Foster)** that this impost is preposterous, but I welcome it, since I think it will be among the items that will lead the people to realize very quickly what the effect of this Tariff is going to be on the community. The honorable member himself, however, has not been too consistent in his votes on the Tariff. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- I have had as much to say as any one in regard to the timber duties. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- What about the duty on chains and everything needed to bring the timber into tie mills, and to work it up there? All have been subjected to heavy duties, and the working costs of the mills must thus be increased. I am glad that the debate is not to be continued. Having regard to the way in which the Minister's last suggestion was received, I thought that the question of the duty on bananas might be revived and an increase made. That; again, would help the people to realize what they have to pay under this Tariff. From that point of view, it is almost to be regretted that some honorable mem- bershave not suggested the prohibition of the importation of timbers. Those who will feel the effect of these duties are people who want to build the poorer class of homes. Here we have a duty of 8s. 6d. per 100 super. feet, which, plus the importers' profit, will be equal to11s. or 12s. per 100 super. We could get7/8in. white Baltic flooring for 9s. 6d. per 100 running feet fourteen or fif teen years ago. This is a preposterous duty, and I hope that the country will quickly recognise what it means. Motion agreed to. Item 291- >Timber, viz. - > >Timber, undressed, cut to size, for making boxes, per 100 super, feet, British, 5s.; intermediate,5s.; general, 5s. > > *Senate's Request.* - Intermediate, 7s. 6d.; general, 8s. 6d. {: #debate-16-s19 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 .- The Senate has requested us to increase very materially the duty on timber, undressed, cut to size, for makingboxes, but has left untouched the duty on timber dressed and partly dressed, cut to size, for making boxes. That is to say, the duty on timber, cut to size, dressed, for making boxes, is considerably less than the duty on the undressed timber; so that a position which is quite impossible has been created. The position is further complicated by the fact that we have arranged duties on other timbers which, when taken into consideration with those on timber for boxmaking, give rise to serious anomalies. I propose, therefore, not to agree to the Senate's request in this particular case, but to recast it. I move - >That the requested amendment of sub-item (i) he made, with the following modification: - > >Timber, undressed, n.e.i., for the manufacture of boxes, as prescribed by departmental by-laws, per 100 super. feet, British, Is.; intermediate,1s.; general,1s. > >Timber, undressed, cut to size, for making boxes, per 100 super. feet, British, 5s.; intermediate, 5s.; general, 5s. That, I hope, will enable the boxmakers to carry on their industry, and, at the same time, will permit the importation of softwood timbers, for making boxes, at a comparatively low rate. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr Gregory: -- Is not Huon pine the pnly timber used for this purpose? {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member is thinking of butter-box timber, for which provision has already been made. This modification will enable softwood for makingboxes to be brought in at a low rate of duty, and, although I recognise that it will lead to difficulty in regard to some sections of the box-making industry - the hardwood boxmakers will perhaps be at some disadvantage - still there is a great deal of the trade for which hardwood is utterly unsuitable. For instance, if jams, jellies, canned fruits, and such like goods were packed in hardwood cases, and were exposed to a little rain the stain would come out of the hardwood arid spread over the labels. Softwood must be 12610 *Customs Tariff* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Bill.* used for such boxes. We are trying to arrange for the admission, at a low rate of duty, of softwood timber for making cases which are used very largely for the packing of goods which we export, as well as use here. We propose a higher duty in respect of timber cut to size for making boxes. What we hope will happen as a result of this is that, instead of box shooks coming in cut to size, with all the work associated with them practically completed, the duty will lead to the work being done in this country. We hope that it will lead to the cutting up of the timber and the making up of the boxes being carried out in this country instead of abroad. The duty of 5s. is the old rate, which has been operating for some time. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr Mathews: -- The honorable gentleman will admit that this will discourage the use of Australian timber. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- Yes ; but it is practically impossible to reconcile all the conflicting interests of the timber business. I do not care how you try to do it ; you are up against difficulties whatever you do. I do not profess to be satisfied with the timber duties as they stand. I do not think it is possible to get a schedule of timber duties that is entirely satisfactory from any one point of view. The many conflicting interests make a tangled web through which I, at all events, cannot find my way. I repeat that I do not profess to be satisfied with these timber duties; but I think they represent the best that can be done in a very difficult position. I do not want to mislead the Committee in any way as to what I propose to do. I believe that this will be, if honorable members so like to describe it, detrimental to certain portions of the box-making industry; but, on the other hand, it will give a tremendous lot of employment in Australia, and will provide for a packing case that is suitable for a vast proportion of our export trade, and for which hardwood cases are unsuitable. {: .speaker-K6S} ##### Mr Corser: -- Is there any reduction on the log timber? {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- Yes ; a reduction to1s. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr Mathews: -- A duty of1s. is useless as a means of protecting the Australian timber industry. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I admit that there are difficulties ; but, on the whole, I think the balance is in favour of what I am trying to do. The duties which we have arranged are reasonably protective to the saw-milling industry. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- If the price of fruit boxes be further increased, the position of the grower will be intolerable. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- This, I believe, will be of material relief to the fruit-grower and those who are packing goods made from the primary products of this country. I have not the slightest doubt that it will provide a tremendous lot of work by re-establishing the box industry, which has been very heavily hit. It will do what is required for the box industry. {: .speaker-K6S} ##### Mr Corser: -- Is the Minister aware that 9,500,000 feet of this sort of timber was recently introduced into Australia? Is this proposal not likely to increase importations ? {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- It may, but I cannot say. Of course, this duty will be subject to departmental by-laws, and if this timber is imported for other purposes the Depar tment will look to the matter. {: .speaker-JOS} ##### Mr Bell: -- I do not agree with the Minister that this timber is not suitable for such purposes as the' packing of preserved fruits. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- All I can say is that our experience with hardwood cases has been very bad. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- Apples and fruits of that kind are very often carried in such cases. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I am talking of preserved goods, and I say that our experience of hardwood cases has not been good by any means. {: .speaker-JOS} ##### Mr Bell: -- You are speaking on reports received from the other side of the world. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- Yes. {: .speaker-KFF} ##### Mr Foley: -- You do not infer that none of our hardwood is good for export purposes ? {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I would not suggest that for a moment. {: .speaker-KFF} ##### Mr Foley: -- I have never heard any complaints of the jarrah, which is used in Western Australia for the export of apples. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I am not talking of fresh fruit, but of cases in which packed goods are sent. There are several reasons why our experience with hardwood *Customs Tariff* [10 November, 1921.] *Bill.* 12611 cases has not been satisfactory. One reason is that the cases shrink, resulting in slight movement of the package. In the rough handling tins bang together and are dented, and then the trouble only just starts. {: .speaker-JOS} ##### Mr Bell: -- The use of seasoned timber would do away with that. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- It might to some extent. However, I have made my proposal, and it is for the Committee to finally deal with the matter. There is one important point I should like to mention. If we agree to duties of 7s. 6d. and 8s. 6d., and we have to provide for duty on timber for these cases cut to size in shooks, it will result in penalizing a number of our industries to no purpose, because those concerned are obliged to go outside Australia to get a large proportion of their softwood cases. {: .speaker-K6S} ##### Mr Corser: -- There are millions of feet ready now in Queensland. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I know the position in Queensland ; there is a limited quantity there for this particular purpose, but it cannot be made available all over Australia at a reasonable price. As I have said several times, I do not pretend that the solution I propose is entirely satisfactory, because from some points of. view it is entirely unsatisfactory. The difficulty is to reconcile all the conflicting interests concerned, and to choose a path which is in the best interests of the community. The proposal, for which I admit I am myself responsible, is the only one which seems to me to reasonably meet the position from a manufacturing point of view, and, at the same time - and this is just as important, if not more so - meet the point of view of the persons who use these cases. {: .speaker-KFF} ##### Mr Foley: -- This ought to have been rectified on the previous item. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I tried to do something on the previous item, very timidly I admit, but the Committee would have none of it; and that is why I have taken my present course. Under all the circumstances, it is the best I can do. {: #debate-16-s20 .speaker-JOG} ##### Mr BAYLEY:
Oxley .- The definition of box is a very wide one, coveringanything from a big packing case to a small cigar box. Has the Minister made any provision in connexion with the introduction of timber for the manufacture of the latter? At present, it is impossible for Queensland millers to compete with the timber that is sent over from Borneo; and as the duty which the Senate has seen fit to suggest in the general Tariff is not sufficient to make it feasible to use Australian-grown timber, I should like the Minister, if possible, to have an added duty placed on timber imported for this purpose. Motion agreed to. Item 300- >Woodware for Vehicles, viz.: - > >Hubs, elm, with or without metal bands, ad val., 15 per cent. > >Senate's *Request.* - General, 25 per cent. {: #debate-16-s21 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I promised the honorable member for Henty **(Mr. Francis)** when this item was previously before us that I would go carefully into the figures he laid before the Committee. This I have done, and I am satisfied that the figures are right. There has been a very large increase in the importation of these articles during the last few months. I move - >That the requested amendment be made. Mr.FENTON (Maribyrnong) [4.29].- I remind the Minister **(Mr. Greene)** that under item 209, malleable iron castings, not elsewhere specified, are admitted at 1¾d., 2¼d., and 2¾d. per lb.; and it was generally thought that elm hubs, with or without metal bands, would have to pay those duties. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I cannot deal with that matter on the item before us. {: #debate-16-s22 .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- The same kind of hubs now being imported are manufactured here, and the Tariff is being evaded. I have here a metal band which has been satisfactorily manufactured at Footscray. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I am informed by my officers that that is not a metal band within the definition. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- But these importers are evading item 209, and bringing them in under the item now before us. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member may take my assurance that such bands will not be admitted in that way. If he will lay the matter before the Department, it will be attended to. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- I am informed by those interested in the industry here that the hubs that are being imported are identical with the local manufacture. 12612 *Customs Tariff* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Bill.* {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I can assure the honorable member that such importations will not be permitted. . {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- I am assured that the duties are being evaded. {: #debate-16-s23 .speaker-JWN} ##### Mr FRANCIS:
Henty . -I have the Senate to thank for the increased duty it has requested, for, small as it is. it will assist the industry. I ask the Minister **(Mr. Greene)** to see that such metal bands are not admitted at any lesser duty than they should be called on to pay. If that is not done, there would be unfair competition with the local manufacturer. Motion agreed to. Item 300- >Woodware for Vehicles, viz.: - {: type="a" start="g"} 0. Spokes, hickory, dressed, 2 in. and under in diameter, ad. val., 15 per cent. *Senate's Request.* - General, 25 per cent. Motion (by **Mr. Greene)** agreed to - >That the requested amendment be made. Item 324- >Leather, viz.: - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. Chamois Leather, Tree. And on and after 1st January, 1922, ad val., British, 10 per cent.; intermediate, 15 per cent.; general, 20 per cent. *Senate's Request.* - Leave out "And on and after 1st January, 1920, ad val., British, 10 per cent.; intermediate, 15 per cent.; general, 20 per cent." and insert, "British, 20 per cent.; intermediate, 25 per cent.; general, 30 per cent. {: #debate-16-s24 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 .- The Senate has requested us to do two things - to make the duty immediately operative, and to increase it 10 per cent. all round. I do not propose to accept the Senate's amendment *in toto;* but I shall accept it with a modification. Thereare three firms concerned in the manufacture of chamois leather, the largest of which is Michaelis, Hallenstein and Company Proprietary Limited, which has imported an expensive plant. Because of difficulties in connexion with the instalment of this plant, that firm has not yet produced any leather, and will be satisfied if the duty is made operative a little later on. The firm of Brock and Meadows are manufacturing chamois leather in a small way, and a third firm in Brisbane has been manufacturing it for some little time. This last firm has seen the need of meeting competition by erecting a new factory and installing new machinery, and it expects to manufacture on a large scale very shortly. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- Did it take that step before the duty was proposed *1 .* {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- It is only fair to say that representatives of these firms asked me some time ago whether, if they went to the expense of arranging to manufacture chamois leather in this country, the Government would propose an import duty on that article, and I told them, as I have told many other persons, that the general policy of the Administration was to protect new industries. I did not make a promise to them, nor did I say what duty, if any, would be proposed. I told them that the Government was in the hands of Parliament, and that it was for them to decide whether they should take the risk of entering into the business under the conditions I had outlined. Therefore, although they embarked in this industry before a duty had been proposed, they naturally expected some Tariff assistance. I propose to accept the rates suggested by the Senate, which inquiries that have been made since the matter was discussed in this Chamber have justified; but I do not think they should be made operative immediately. There are technical difficulties in the manufacture of chamois leather, and we wish to know that it is being made on commercial lines, and with a reasonable chance of meeting the requirements of Australia, before we make the duty operative. I therefore move. - >That the requested amendment be made except as to the omission of the date. If we find it necessary we can still further defer the operation of the duty after the 1st January, 1922. Motion agreed to. Item 329- >Boots, shoes .... ad val., British, 40 per cent.; intermediate, 45 per cent.; general, 50 per cent. > > *Senate's Request.* - British, 30 per cent.; intermediate, 35 per cent.; general, 40 per cent. {: #debate-16-s25 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I do not propose to accept the Senate's request. {: .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr Prowse: -- Is not the boot and shoe industry an old one? {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- One of the oldest and one of the best. Like all our industries, which have been built up little by little, it has been constantly improving its processes of manufacture; but only recently *Customs Tariff* [10 November, 1921.] *Bill.* 12613 have our boot manufacturers installed the machinery necessary for making the higher grades of boot and shoeware, and fancy footwear. Before the war practically none of this footwear was made in Australia. The Government is anxious that our manufacturers shall retain this extremely valuable business which they have made for themselves. Of ordinary boots, such as probably most of us wear, I do not think there are a dozen pairs imported annually; but, until very recently, boots and shoes of the higher grades have been imported in very large quantities. During the war our manufacturers, with an enterprise wholly admirable, set themselves, as I have said, to manufacture the better class as well as the cheaper class of goods, and not only did they supply the local requirements, but they exported largely to New Zealand. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr Gregory: -- We should have a big export business in bootware. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- We do some export business, but, of late, outside competition has interfered with it somewhat. During the war we were exporting fairly extensively. I move - >That the requested amendment be made, but with the modification that the duties be British, 35 per cent.; intermediate, 40 per cent.; and general, 45 per cent. I do not say that those rates quite satisfy me; because I think it would have been better to fix the higher rates to which this Committee originally agreed; but I doubt whether we can get the Senate to agree to rates higher than the proposed modification. {: #debate-16-s26 .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST:
Kooyong -- I am surprised that the Minister has proposed this modification. This Committee, after the fullest consideration of the whole subject, fixed the duties on boots, shoes, and other footwear at 40, 45, and 50 per cent., realizing that the boot manufacturing industry was one of the most valuable in the country.I understand that our boot factories number some 500, that there is a capital of upwards of £1,500,000 invested in the industry, that the annual wages bill is something like £2,250,000, and that, normally, 18,000 persons are employed. During the past year or two, owing to slackness of trade, the employment has decreased, and the number of hands now employed is not 50 per cent. of those who were employed when we were going full steam ahead. To reduce the duties will very considerably increase the importations of boots, and, in my opinion, in view of the new machinery that has recently been installed for the making of the higher classes of footwear, there should be no importations at all. Our manufacturers are capable of supplying the needs of Australia. {: .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr Prowse: -- Then why do they not do it? {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- We should encourage them to do it. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr Gregory: -- We have been giving them encouragement for the past thirty years. . {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- With the best results. In 1914, the duties in operation were 35 percent. on the British preferential Tariff, (and 40 percent. on the general Tariff, and in that year boots and shoes to the value of £672,000 were imported, as against importations valued at £601,000 in 1913, at £546,377 in 1912, and at £382,000 in 1911. Our experience has been that if the rates of duty are reduced, even by 5 per cent., importations immediately increase. At the present time a deliberate attempt is being made, by American. manufacturers in particular, to capture the Australian market, and we should, therefore, give the fullest protection to our manufacturers. {: .speaker-K4F} ##### Mr Considine: -- Have the importations of boots included those worn by the honorable member ? {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir ROBERT BEST: -- The boots I have on were locally made, and I do not think that I have ever, during the whole course of my life, worn boots that were not made in Australia. We have factories capable of supplying all the footwear needed in Australia, and we are now able to manufacture boots of the best class. At a time when the industry is experiencing slackness, and other nations are endeavouring to exploit our markets, we should stand by our manufacturers, and refuse to encourage importations from abroad. {: #debate-16-s27 .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr MAXWELL:
Fawkner .- Upon one point the Minister should enlighten the Committee when he asks us to reduce the duty previously imposed. The Senate has recommended a . 10 per cent. reduction, and the Minister proposes to compromise with a 5 per cent. reduction. Doeshe suggest a 5 per cent. reduction upon any principle? Has he any reason for thinking that the duty should 12614 *Customs Tariff* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Bill.* be reduced, or does he take this step only for the purpose of placating the Senate? If the latter is his only reason, I shall vote to retain the higher duty which we originally imposed. Mr.Greene. - I told the Committee that if I were consulting my own wishes and beliefs I would adhere to the duties we originally imposed; but I am assured that there is no chance of the Senate withdrawing from its attitude upon this item. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr MAXWELL: -- If the Minister thinks that the interests of the industry demand that the duty should be 40 per cent. British, 45 per cent. intermediate, and 50 per cent. general, he should recommend the Committee to adhere to it, and not, simply for the sake of placating another place, propose to reduce the duty below what he thinks it should be. {: #debate-16-s28 .speaker-KFF} ##### Mr FOLEY:
Kalgoorlie .- I was rather amusedby the arguments of the honorable member for Kooyong **(Sir Robert Best).** On the preceding item the Senate had requested an increase in the duty, and we heard no arguments from the honorable member in objection to that course. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir Robert Best: -- The Senate, like the honorable member, has sane moments. {: .speaker-KFF} ##### Mr FOLEY: -- I wish it had more of them. Neither the honorable member for Kooyong nor the honorable member for Fawkner **(Mr. Maxwell)** asked the Minister to give reasons for agreeing to the Senate's proposal to increase the duties on the preceding item. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir Robert Best: -- The Minister gave his reasons for the action he took. {: .speaker-KFF} ##### Mr FOLEY: -- No matter how high a duty is proposed, some honorable members will vote for it; but if, in regard to another item, any honorable member thinks that the duty should be reduced slightly, he is immediately denounced as a foreign trader. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr Mathews: -- If a slight reduction of the duty means the loss of the margin of protection, the honorable member who urges it is an advocate of the foreign trader. {: .speaker-KFF} ##### Mr FOLEY: -- I never hear any arguments from the honorable member. During the general discussion on the Tariff the Minister admitted that, for the time being, high Protection increased the price of goods. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- Not always. I said it might do so. {: .speaker-KFF} ##### Mr FOLEY: -- The Minister said that ultimately the goods would drop in price, as a result of the fostering of the industry producing them. The boot industry has enjoyed high Protection for thirty years. Under the State *regime* high duties were imposed by the honorable member for Kooyong **(Sir Robert Best).** In pre-Federation days Western Australia imposed a high duty on boots. The first Federal Tariff continued those duties. The Senate takes the view that the duty agreed to by this Committee should be reduced by 10 per cent., and the Minister has taken a reasonable view, and compromised by proposing a reduction of 5 per cent. Why does the honorable member for Kooyong think that the Minister is wrong ? No industry is more firmly established in Australia than the manufacture of boots. If local manufacturers can produce so successfully that almost 100 per cent. of Australian boot requirements are locally made of local material, there is very little need for a high Protective duty. We are told that the purpose of a high Tariff is to foster local production, and that that will ultimately reduce the price of the article to the consumer. But the manufacturers are using the high Tariff to maintain the high prices of boots. The prices the consumers have to pay, having regard to the price at which the manufacturer purchases his leather, are exorbitant and extortionate. The manufacturers argue that practically all the leather they import is governed by the general Tariff, but a good deal of the imported leather comes from New Zealand. There is a reciprocal arrangement between the Commonwealth and New Zealand, and last night weremoved altogether the duty from New Zealand leather. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir Robert Best: -- I should think so. {: .speaker-KFF} ##### Mr FOLEY: -- But many of the honorable member's high Protectionist friends desired to retain that duty. Had it been retained the prices of boots would have been increased. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir Robert Best: -- We cannot produce those hides here, and they are the raw material for our manufacturing industry. *Customs Tariff* [10 November, 1921.] *Bill.* 12615 {: #debate-16-s29 .speaker-KFF} ##### Mr FOLEY: -- I agree that they cannot be produced in Australia, but there are some honorable members who argue that they can be. The high duties are not assisting the Australian people to get cheaper boots. Notwithstanding the reduction in the price of leather, we are not getting boots for much, less than we were paying six months ago. Even under war conditions, we had to pay an exorbitant price for boots. The Australian manufacturer should be able to supply boots much cheaper than they are being sold to the public now, but while the big duties are maintained, the high prices will continue. I desire the employees in the boot industry to receive a fair wage, and that as many men and women as possible shall be employed, but this everlasting increase in duties is merely placing an extra impost upon the users of boots. If I had my way the duties would be lowered much beyond what the Senate hasrequested. {: #debate-16-s30 .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr PROWSE:
Swan .- I hope that the compromise proposed by the Minister will be agreed to. The bootmaking industry has arrived at a stage when the promises made by earlier Protectionists in Victoria should be fulfilled, namely, that when the industry reached maturity, the public would commence to get something like natural value for their money. This industry has been protected for nearly forty years. The 1908-11 Tariff imposed a duty of 30 per cent. on boots and shoes, the 1914 Tariff 35 per cent., and the duty agreed to by this Committee was 40 per cent. (British preferential]). For forty years there has been a continual increase in the amount of Protection. Apparently, the consumer is regarded as a milch cow, and the Tariff as a means of enabling the Combine of manufacturers to exploit the public to the utmost. The community has a right to expect some consideration from an. industry which has been protected so long and so highly. I am glad to know that a very high class of boot is made in Australia, but it is no argument in favour of high Protection to say that manufacturers have installed uptodate machinery. Protection has enabled them to gain practically the whole of Australia's trade, but, in spite of that, there are still a few people) - and in white countries, too - who are able to send boots to Australia cheaper than they can be produced locally. It is a reflection upon the country that an oldestablished industry should still require high Protection. This claim suggests that we are living on a plane different from that of other countries of the world. Why should the Australian people who have to compete with the outside world in other industrial fields be obliged to continue from generation to generation to pay these high prices for boots? I hope that the Minister will not flinch from the very modest concession he has proposed to the Senate's request. Apparently, the honorable member for Kooyong **(Sir Robert Best)** is preparedto back up any kind of duty, no matter how high it may be. When the Senate proposes an increase of duty, he is prepared to support it despite the fact that this Committee fixed what it thought should be the duty after measured consideration. But if the measured consideration in another place is in the direction of reducing the proposed duty the honorable member claims we should not go back on the measured consideration of this Chamber, and he reflects upon the Minister if there is any attempt to do so. If, however, another place suggests an increase in the duty, the honorable member makes no reference whatever to the measured consideration of this Chamber, except to say that it was wrong. He is. utterly inconsistent. I hope that the Minister will adhere to his proposal. It is about time the boot industry commenced to relieve the public of some of the protection given to it during all these years of Federation. {: #debate-16-s31 .speaker-L07} ##### Mr LAZZARINI:
Werriwa .- The honorable member for Swan **(Mr.** Prowse) says that there are still some people who will import boots, but the quantity so imported will be practically nil, and will merely represent a fashionable type of boot worn by very few in this country. There are still some people in Australia who are so blind to the interests of their own country, and so unpatriotic as not to be able to wear an Australianmade article. {: .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr Prowse: -- The honorable member should not forget the arguments he advanced in regard to corsets. {: .speaker-L07} ##### Mr LAZZARINI: -- The honorable member suggests that I am also inconsistent, but' there is no analogy between 12616 *Customs Tariff* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Bill.* theboot industry and the corset industry. The former is an old-established industry capable of meeting the Australian demand, and to that extent is entitled to as much protection as possible. I do not deny that there was profiteering in the boot industry during the war, just as there was in other industries, but if the community is to be placed at the mercy of any section, importers or manufacturers, I prefer the latter.For every locally-made article that advanced tin price during the war the imported commodity advanced in price three times as much. Of course, there were obvious causes for this, such as scarcity of shipping and heavy insurance rates, but these causes will always prevail unless we establish and maintain industries by means of protective duties. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir Robert Best: -- During the war boots were cheaper in Australia than they were in any other British community. {: .speaker-L07} ##### Mr LAZZARINI: -- And they are cheaper to-day than they are elsewhere. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- If that is the case, why the need for a duty? {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir Robert Best: -- They are cheaper in Australia because of the duty. {: .speaker-L07} ##### Mr LAZZARINI: -- During the war the price of the usual class of boots worn by Australians was not increased by more than 40 per cent., or, perhaps, 50 per cent. On the other hand, a line of calico which was sold for 6d. per yard before the war, and which could be landed in Australia for 4d. or 4¼d. per yard, advanced in price so greatly during the war that the British cost was 2s. 3d. per yard. If we want the people of Australia to he at the mercyof such conditions whenever there is a dislocation of trade, let us remove the duties. . Ihope that the Committee will maintain the higher rates on boots. The maintenance of the bootmaking industry guarantees to the primary producers fair prices for their hides, to the tanners fairprices for their leathers, and to the workers in the industry fair wages for their labour. {: .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr Prowse: -- Are the producers getting a fair price for their hides now? The price of boots has not come down, although the price of hides has fallen. {: .speaker-L07} ##### Mr LAZZARINI: -- If there are unfair trading conditions the remedy lies with the Government. However, if a vote is taken I shall support the higher duties, because no adequate reasons have been advanced for any reduction, even to 35 per cent. {: #debate-16-s32 .speaker-JWN} ##### Mr FRANCIS:
Henty .- I hope that the Committee will see its way clear to fall in with the views expressed by the Minister **(Mr. Greene),** and allow the duties on boots to remain as agreed upon by this Chamber on a previous occasion. But the Minister, contrary to his utterances, has suggested a compromise with the Senate. However, I do not think we ought to make any compromise with the Senate. No evidence of consequence has been given to justify any diversion from our former decision to give a fair protection to this all-important industry, in which £1,500,000 has been invested, and which distributes £2,250,000 annually in wages to over 20,000 people, working in at least. 500 factories. There is not the slightest chance of the manufacturers taking any advantage of the high rates of duty to inflict high prices on consumers, because there is no other industry in Australia in which competition is so keen. It prevents exorbitant prices being charged. A reduction of 5 per cent. in the duty might make all the difference to those engaged in the boot factories, and if we interfere with the employment of so many people it may lead us into a disastrous position. My concern is not as to whether the average salaried man can pay a high price for imported boots. I am mainly interested in preventing our boot factories from closing and throwing men and women out of employment. The Minister says that he has given due consideration to the matter, and is anxious that the duties shall be retained as we agreed to them previously. I hope that the Committee will help him out of his awkward position, and inform the Senate that this all-important industry must have the full amount of protection given to it by this Chamber. {: #debate-16-s33 .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON:
Maribyrnong -- Now that the Inter-State Commission no longer exists, I do not think it improper to refer to its fiscal predilections, and to mention that it had strong Free Trade leanings. That Commission, however, recognising that the boot industry, as the result of the trade depression between 1909 and 1913, was in a parlous state, practically listed it as the first to be considered in connexion with, its Tariff inquiry in order that it might, at the earliest opportunity, make a recommendation to Parliament and so enable us to take action to restore it to its former flourishing condition. After a searching and complete inquiry into the boot and leather industries, the Commission reported that the duties on boots should be increased to 35 per cent, under the British Tariff, and 40 ner cent, under the General Tariff. Those are striking figures. The Minister **(Mr. -Greene)** will find that the duty on some of the raw material used in the boot trade is almost equivalent to that on the finished article. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- But you have the finished boot as against the raw material, and that makes a very great difference. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- When we find the Minister himself in doubt- {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The matter is in the hands of the Committee. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- Yes, but the lead given by the Minister has an important bearing on the decision of the Committee. Very often when the division bell rings those honorable members who have been temporarily absent, and have not heard the discussion, come in and are guided in determining how to vote by noting the side on which the honorable gentleman is sitting. If those who were absent when the Minister submitted the proposal had heard the doubts expressed by him as to whether he was doing right in proposing to reduce by 5 per cent, the duty as originally passed by this Committee, I think they would decide to reject his motion, and to allow the item to remain as sent by us to the Senate. I am afraid this reduction will do great injury to the boot trade. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr Gregory: -- The Minister was very anxious to give effect to the Senate's recommendation. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- I do not know that he was. He has adopted what, from his point of view, may be the happy medium, but I should like him to ask the Committee to stand by the original duty. If we want to please the Minister, I think it would be wise to defeat his motion. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I cannot admit that. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- The honorable gentleman said that he had his doubts about the action he proposed to take; but he does not appear to be ready to relent. I hope that, in view of the recommendation of. the Inter-State Commission, the Committee will agree to keep the duties 5 per cent, higher than is now proposed by the honorable gentleman. The Senate has dona some wise things in connexion with this Tariff schedule, but I fail to see the wisdom of its proposal in this connexion, and I hope that we shall stand by the~ original duty. {: #debate-16-s34 .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT:
Balaclava .- I was unfortunately absent when the Minister for Trade and Customs **(Mr. Greene)** made his statement, but I am informed that his proposal is to split the difference between this Committee and another place, or, in other words, to make the duty, British 35 per cent., intermediate 40 per cent., general 45 per cent. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- That is so. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- I am afraid that that will exercise a very injurious effect on the boot trade in Australia. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- Does the honorable member really think so? {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- I do. I was associated with this trade, more or less indirectly, and' primarily with the tanning industry, for many years, and although I do not pretend that I 'have kept myself *an fait* with its modern movements, even up to the immediate pre-war period, I have made it my business to ascertain its condition to-day. I think this is a more important trade than perhaps the Minister, in the haste and pressure of his very busy time, really appreciates. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- No, I appreciate the value of the industry. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- The figures as to the capital involved in, and the wage3 paid by, this industry are very large. I propose to use these figures sparingly, but with the object of impressing the Minister and, perhaps, thoughtful members of the Committee with the importance of the trade. So far as my information goes, the wages paid by it amount to from £2,250,000 to £2,500,000 per annum, and the value of its output last year was over £10,000,000. I am not very old in the political or economic life of this country, but I remember when, in my younger days, it was thought impossible to make high-grade boots in Australia. {: .speaker-KZA} ##### Mr West: -- Or to make boots of any kind. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- My memory does not go back as far as that of the honorable member; but from my earliest recollections we have been making boots. It was always said, however, that we were making only low-grade 'boots, and would never be able to do better. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I explained that we had raised the duties to protect that part of the industry which manufactures highgrade boots. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- Quite so. I have read a portion of the debate - if it may be so dignified - that took place on this item in another place, and I say advisedly that the Senate was stampeded by false statements - in the main, not wilfully false, but erroneous, information - into asking for a reduction of these duties. One honorable gentleman, whose name I think it would be improper to mention, made an attack upon the boot trade for profiteering during the war period. The argument was very like one that we heard in this chamber yesterday. Because prices had risen, if was assumed that profiteering was the cause of the rise. The Commonwealth Government Statist gives us interesting, figures as to the relative proportions of profit in a great number of .trades during the war time. I have here an extract from the *Production Bulletin* issued annually by the Federal Statistician, which comprises all the industries making clothing of all kinds worn by men, women, and children. It includes those engaged in the manufacture of underclothing, hats and caps, shirts and ties, woollens, hosiery, all kinds of clothing, and boots and shoes, as well as certain textile fabrics not for wear, but for the protection of the human body, such, for instance, as blankets. Broadly speaking, throughout the whole of the textile trade in this group, eliminating boots and shoes, these were the percentages of profits, or, as it is termed, the "percentage advance on cost" - In 1911, 22.786 per cent, was registered by them; in 1912, 22.694; 1913, 22.395; 1914, 22.944- {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- The honorable member is dealing with the manufacturers' profits? {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- Yes. In 1915 the percentage advance on cost was 24.216; 1916, 24,386; and in 1917, 24.617. The' Statist has not been able to complete his records for 1919 and 1920. Before the war the average percentage -advance on cost in these trades was 22 per cent., whereas during the war the average of the recorded results obtainable was 24 per cent. The boot trade shows a striking dissimilarity. In the boot trade itself the percentage rate of gross profit on cost was as follows:- In 1911, 14.357; 1912, 14.722; 1913, 15.641; 1914, 14.472; 1915, 15.225; 1916, 14.344; 1917, 14.631; 1918, 15.971; 1919, 14.042; 1920, 14.751. Broadly speaking, there was no variation in the gross returns of the boot trade during the pre-war and the post-war periods. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- What is the meaning of " percentage rate of gross profit on cost "? {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- I am about to explain. From the gross profit as recorded by the Government Statist, the following charges have to be met - Salaries of working partners, depreciation on machinery, plant, and fittings, rent of premises, rates, fire insurance, interest on borrowed money, discount allowed to customers, exchange, bad debts, and travelling and general business expenses. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- What is left? {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- Very little. It appears to me that in respect of a trade that involves considerable skill, much competition, and very considerable risk, this is a very low gross profit. The vital point, however, is that the profit did not vary. It did not climb steeply, as did the profits in many other trades during the war. The argument used in the Senate in favour of a reduction of the duties was that the boot manufacturers had profiteered at the expense of the consuming community. These figures, which are official, are a flat and irrefutable contradiction of the statement. I will leave it at that. {: .speaker-L4X} ##### Mr PARKER MOLONEY:
HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- It is the usual argument. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- My honorable friends opposite have used it. {: .speaker-L4X} ##### Mr PARKER MOLONEY:
HUME, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP -- I have not. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- No; but the general burden of the arguments of those with whom the honorable member is associated was that manufacturers, traders, and every one else were profiteering at the expense of the consumer. There was then, as there is to-day, an entirely erroneous view, founded upon a misconception of the facts. I .give these facts to the Minister to prove that this is an honest and efficient trade, and, which is the vital thing, is not exploiting the consumer; the causes of the rise in boots, and leather costs, clothing costs, building costs, and in many other directions, are other than that. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- There is the industrial side. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- The industrial factor is important. For the labour factor we have no microscope to show how far it invades, directly and indirectly, all the processing associated with manufacturing and exchange in business; but freights, based largely on the labour rise, exercise their indirect effect on goods exported or imported. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- As to the gross profits, how are they calculated - on the value of the turnover for the year? {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- Yes ; on the value of the output as compared with the costs. The wages paid and the material used are taken, and the calculation is on the output - on the turnover not the capital employed. I cannot, and I doubt whether any one could, calculate all these items which indicate the net cost and the return on capital; but, on the output, with all these costs, the return is still very small. The proposals by another place take us back to 1914; in other words, we are practically returning to a pre-war Tariff. When the 1914 Tariff was introduced by the then Minister for Trade and Customs **(Mr. Tudor),** it was not at all regarded as a war Tariff; none of us knew how long the war would last, and the Tariff was presented to redeem a promise made by the Labour party to the country that it would be made more effective and scientific. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr Gregory: -- In other words, it was to give efficient Protection. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- It was; but a number of importations took place. Under that Tariff, in the year 1914, £672,000 worth of boots and shoes was imported. That was the last year in which competition from abroad, could be regarded as effective - it was before the war had laid its heavy hand on the Old Country. The decline in certain classes of importations was clearly not due to the duty, but to the fact that the war made it impossible for manufacturers in Britain to supply their customers in the Dominions. I should say that a 35 per cent, duty would be more effective under those conditions than it would be to-day. We shall have to discuss another item shortly, that of cartridges, to which prohibition extended, in this case not prohibition, but restriction, vastly minimized the possibilities of competition from Britain. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- Have not the costs of production very largely inc-eased since then? {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- I should say they have, all over the world. In 1920, with a Tariff of 40 per cent, against Great Britain, £317,000 worth of boots and shoes was imported. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr Gregory: -- That is only for threequarters of the year. The Tariff was introduced in March. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- In 1919, with a 35 per cent, duty, £237,000 worth was imported; while in 1920, with a 40 per cent. Tariff, the value was £317,000. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- Prices had risen very much, and the number of pairs of boots would be no more. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- I suppose the number would not be very considerably increased, but the British manufacturer, even under a heavier Tariff, began to be able to do business more freely when the post war conditions freed him. I. am sure that if we reduce the duties to 35 per cent, there will be a vast increase in the importations. {: .speaker-KFF} ##### Mr Foley: -- On what do you base your opinion ? {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- On figures, which I have been trying to give, and which .1 regret the honorable member has not had an opportunity to analyze. {: .speaker-JWN} ##### Mr Francis: -- The honorable member for Kooyong **(Sir Robert Best)** gave us some very valuable figures. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- The honorable member for Kooyong, as a student of the Tariff, has only one equal in the House, and that is the Minister in charge of it. The experience of the honorable member for Kooyong in Tariff matters is very extensive, and his analysis logical. I do not wish to stress the task of the Minister, but I believe a mistake is being made, and I intend to vote for the duties 12620 *Customs Tariff* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Bill.* as they left this Committee. It would be unsafe to allow the wedge of competition to be driven more deeply into animportant industry that uses so largely, though not exclusively, the raw goods produced by the primary producer and manipulated by secondary handling in Australia. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- You would be prepared to leave the manfacturer to the Tariff Board? {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- If the Board materializes and gets to work I expect it to analyze some of the basic industries, which reasonably rely on the operation of the Tariff. For example, if I may allude to this in passing, I am doubtful whether we have done the Tight thing in all directions to make quite sure that the basic steel industry is firmly rooted in the country. Then I look to the Board to examine and report regarding woollen and textile industries, and the superphosphate trade, to which the honorable member for Echuca **(Mr. Hill)** so forcibly drew attention, and may do so again. We wish to know exactly the incidence of the duties, and the percentage of profits made by all who handle the commodities, in order that we may see whether the consumer is asked to " pay too much for his whistle," More since than before the war, I believe in diversifying and ramifying our industries, but we must consider not only the operatives and the capitalists, but those who consume the protected goods here. I am hopeful that if we vote for this high duty,-" because it is high, the Tariff Board will be able to report as to whether it is effective or unnecessarily high, and if it is shown to be unnecessarily high, I shall not hesitate for a momentto urge and vote for a reduction. I ask the Minister to consider, and not press too hard for his compromise arrangement, hut to reject the Senate's request, and send the duties back in their original form. I feel sure that when the members of another place are able to ascertain the facts as to " profiteering," which so profoundly and suddenly influenced their judgment, they will give the newer figures the attention I think they deserve. {: #debate-16-s35 .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY:
Dampier .- I had not intended to speak, but I think it just as well to say a few words in reply to the remarks of the honorable member for Balaclava **(Mr. Watt),** and I do so in the interest of the large body he mentioned - the consumers. Ever since the Tariff has been under consideration it has been impressed upon us that the object of the proposed duties is to promote industries in this country, and that when the industries grow up and become strong, it will be possible to remove the duties, and that, owing to organization and greater output, we shall then be able to procure cheaper commodities. But the Tariff introduced on the present occasion means a big increase in duties. . The honorable member for Balaclava quoted figures, which are really not war-period figures, in regard to profits. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr Watt: -- I quoted figures in a similar war period, and the point is that the profits did not rise. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- I am not with those who charge the boot manufacturers with profiteering, but I cannot understand how it is that the price of boots is so high in comparison with manufacturing costs. That, however, is perhaps a matter which pertains more to the State Parliaments than to the Federal Parliament.. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir Robert Best: -- There is not another industry in which there is the same competition. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- I think the manufacturers are like other men in business, who have their Combines, and fix their prices. I understand that boots which are supplied by the manufacturer at 13s. to 15s. per pair, are sold to the consumer, in the retail places, at from 27s. 6d. to 35s. That is what I have been given to understand takes place, and I do not think it exaggerates the position. I believe the profits in the retail shops are abnormal, and probably give rise to the complaints about the cost of these articles. This is an industry which, from its inception, has received high protection in Victoria. The honorable member for Kooyong **(Sir Robert Best)** was Minister for Customs in the Victorian Parliament, and I suppose it is thirty years ago since he introduced a Tariff, including duties up to 40 per cent. on boots. That honorable member tells us to-day that the Victorian manufacturers are now importing the very best up-to-date machinery for the purposes of their trade. My contention is that in an industry which has been fostered for so long, up-to-date machinery should have been there from ten to twenty years ago. *Customs Tariff* [10 November, 1921.] *Bill.* 12621 {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr Watt: -- So it has. Go into any of the large boot factories, and yon will see the most efficient machinery in operation. {: #debate-16-s36 .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- The honorable member for Kooyong says that the manufacturers are now putting in the highest class of machinery. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir Robert Best: -- That is so. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- We had a right to expect the installing of that high-class machinery long before this. However, against boots which in Australia cost 12s. to manufacture, no American or Canadian manufacturer could compete unless he is able to turn them out for less than, 5s. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- No manufacturer abroad could compete against that class of boot. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- Then, let us say that the Australian boots cost £1 to manufacture; a Canadian or American manufacturer would have to turn them out at 8s., and, with an exchange of £17 to £20 against us, and freight and other charges to pay, we have anenormous natural protection. These facts convince me that the duty proposed is altogether too. high. A duty of 30 per cent. was placed on boots and shoes when the honorable member for Yarra **(Mr. Tudor)** was Minister for Trade and Customs, and we may be sure that, as the Labour member for a city constituency, he endeavoured to make the duty an efficient one. The Minister **(Mr. Greene)** has compromised on the Senate's request to the extent of a reduction by 5 per cent., and surely that ought to be good for the manufacturing industry, and some relief to the consuming public, . who have been seeking such relief for some time. I hope the Committee will support the request with the suggested modification. {: #debate-16-s37 .speaker-KFC} ##### Mr FLEMING:
Robertson .- The honorable member for Balaclava **(Mr. Watt)** told us that we were going back to a pre-war Tariff. I draw the honorable member's attention to the fact that we have already gone back to prewar prices for the raw product. To-day, and for some time past, the price of hides has been lower than the pre-war price. The honorable member admits that the Tariff is high, and then endeavours to prove that there was no profiteering in the boot trade during the war period. During the war our boot manufacturers bought the hides that they used at a fixed price, which was considerably lower than was paid for hides elsewhere, just as our cloth manufacturers got their wool more cheaply than the rest of the world. That makes the figures that have been quoted valueless. Although the price of hides was fixed, the price of boots rose, and, notwithstanding the protection which our factories have received for so many years-, there are more children going bare-footed to school to-day than did so ten or twenty years ago. That is due to the fact that the price of' primary products has fallen, and that the price ofboots has risen. Today many a man who sells hides sees his children going bare-footed to school, because he cannot afford to buy boots for them. {: .speaker-KFF} ##### Mr Foley: -- Many children go barefooted because they like to do so. {: .speaker-KFC} ##### Mr FLEMING: -- But many children have to travel bare-footed over rough roads because their parents cannot afford to buy boots for them. This being so, it would be absurd for Parliament to take action to make boots still dearer. The Senate has taken a proper view. It has regarded the interests of Australia as a. whole, and has not allowed itself to be swayed by the over-pressure of the cities. I am glad to think that the Minister may accept the Senate's request. Even the honorable member for Kooyong **(Sir Robert Best)** must admit that we should not do anything to increase the price of footwear when men who are producing hides cannot afford to buy boots for their children. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- If we removed these particular duties altogether it would not affect the particular class of footwear that the honorable member speaks of. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- Such footwear has not been imported for years past. It is the rich who pay the duties under discussion. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- None of the cheaper kinds of boots are imported. {: .speaker-KFC} ##### Mr FLEMING: -- Are no children's boots imported? {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- Only high-class goods. {: .speaker-KHG} ##### Mr Hill: -- There are plenty of lowclass boots at high prices. {: .speaker-KFC} ##### Mr FLEMING: -- Those who live in the country know that it pays to buy a good article, and quite a number of imported boots are worn there. I hope that the Senate's requested amendment may be made. 12622 *Customs Tariff* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Bill.* {: #debate-16-s38 .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS:
Melbourne Ports -- I am disappointed at the Minister who proposes to recede from the position originally taken up by this Committee. We have been told about the high price of boots in Australia during the war, but is it not a fact that at that time boots were very dear everywhere, the reason being that there was profiteering? The profits, however, did not go wholly to the manufacturers. Both manufacturers and retailers got a fair share of them, and those who sold raw material to the manufacturers also did well. There is a duty of 25 per cent. on leather. Most of our leather comes from a foreign country, while the importation of goods is chiefly from Great Britain. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr Watt: -- Most of our leather now comes from America, so that the exchange tells against our manufacturers, while the boots that are imported are brought chiefly from England, so that the exchange tells in favour of the importers. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- Furthermore the cost of trimmings has increased enormously. It has been said that our boot manufacturers should install up-to-date machinery. They have done that as much as they can. One machine that they use is employed to stitch welts. Prior to the war, British machines for doing that work could be bought, and an American machine could be leased, but during the war there was a combination of the interests under the Stars and Stripes with those under the Union Jack, and a British-American Company was formed, which took over all the welt stitching machines in Australia. - There were some German machines on the market, and these the new company bought up and scrapped. Consequently, to-day our boot manufacturers are at its mercy. They have to pay a high rental for these machines, and, in addition, so much per stitch, a charge which is made by meter, as gas is charged for, and, like the gas meters, these machine meters rob the users of the machines. We should say to the American and British bounders who are treating our manufacturers in this way that if they will not act more fairly we shall allow their machines to be made in Australia without payment of royalty. The Americans have done that sort of thing. If we made these machines dutiable, the company that owns them would increase their rental and their price per stitch. We could, however, say to the representatives of the company, which is known as the British Boot Company, it being thought that the Union Jack would hide the Stars and Stripes, " You must deal less harshly with our manufacturers." The present arrangement is a handicap on boot making here. Our manufacturers have to crawl on their stomachs to the representatives of this company, but if these bounders will tax our people unfairly ' we should allow their machines to be made here without royalty. A man who wishes to start a boot factory has to approach the representatives of the company cap-in-hand, and. to put up with their robbery. Our boot trade has been built up under Protection, but why should the industry be made a scapegoat because there has been profiteering ? This community has paid more for wheat than it should have paid. {: .speaker-KFC} ##### Mr Fleming: -- It has got wheat more cheaply than any other part of the world. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -We are not doing so now, and have not done so for some time. But, should we, because we have been robbed in regard to the price of our bread, discontinue the use of Australian wheat? Of course, not. That would be cutting off our nose to spite our face. When we were dealing with the timber industry there was an attempt to make it a scapegoat, because timber has been so expensive. This is not a fair way to treat our protected industries. {: .speaker-KFF} ##### Mr Foley: -- Is it the honorable member's idea to keep up the price of boots,? {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- What I say is that we should keep the manufacture of boots within Australia. Every Australian should assist us in doing that. I hope that we may be able to defeat the Minister's proposal. When the Tariff Board gets to work - perhaps I should underline the word " when " - many of the complaints that have been made will be removed, but we should not increase the importation of boots' by reducing the duty. The proposal of the Minister might, if agreed to, increase the revenue to be handled by the next Treasurer, but it would certainly injure our boot trade, and we should not allow that to be injured. {: #debate-16-s39 .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT:
Balaclava -- I wish to know; **Mr. Chairman,** if it is competent for me to move an amendment *Customs Tariff* [10 November, 1921.] *Bill* 12623 on the Minister's motion. If we defeat that motion we comply with the Senate's request. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir Robert Best: -- We can defeat the Minister's motion, and then determine not to make the amendment requested by the Senate. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- I would prefer a surer course. So far as the Minister is concerned, I would rather give him assistance than resistance. I should like to move that the requested amendment be not made. {: #debate-16-s40 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- The Minister's motion that the requested amendment with modifications be made will first be decided by the Committee. If that is negatived, we shall revert to the duties originally agreed to by this Committee. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I assure the honorable gentleman that if my modification is defeated, I shall accept the decision of the Committee as a rejection of the Senate's request. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr WATT: -- If the Minister will assure me that if his proposed modification is defeated he will not then stand by the Senate's request, but will adhere to the original decision of this Committee, I shall be satisfied. {: #debate-16-s41 .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr RILEY:
South Sydney .- I represent a district in New South Wales which has the biggest boot factories in Australia. I should like to assist the Minister, but I must vote for the higher duties originally imposed by this Committee. The boot trade has been established under a Protective Tariff, and manufacturers were very fair to' the public during the war. {: .speaker-KFC} ##### Mr Fleming: -- Do not forget that they obtained their raw material at a special price. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr RILEY: -- Do not forget, also, that there was no competition from overseas, and they could have charged, any prices to the public. I consider the manufacturers have been very fair, and they produce the best boots it is possible to make in any part of the world. {: .speaker-KFF} ##### Mr Foley: -- What about the price? {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr RILEY: -- The price is nothing so long as we get a good article and are giving employment to our own people. I am no believer in a cheap-jack policy. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr Watt: -- We do not go so far as that. The manufacturer must be told that he must produce cheaply. {: .speaker-KYV} ##### Mr RILEY: -- Yes, but some people want cheapness above everything else; that is not my creed. I believe in getting a substantial article at a good price. I should like the Minister to stand by the duties originally proposed by this Committee. Question - That the requested amendment be made, with a modification - put. The Committee divided. AYES: 33 NOES: 20 Majority . . . . 13 AYES NOES Question so resolvedin the affirmative. Motion agreed to. Item 334- >Paper, viz. - *Senate'sRequest.* - British, free; intermedate, £2; general, £2. *Senate's Request.* - Per ton, British, free; intermediate, £2; general, £2. {: #debate-16-s42 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 .- It will. 12624 *Customs Tariff* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Bill.* be within the recollection of the Committee that we had a protracted and interesting debate upon this item. In opposition to my advice, the Committee imposed a duty of £3 on newsprint. I do not propose to go over the whole ground again. The reasons which led me to recommend a duty of £2 remain. I simply recall to the recollection of the Committee the reasons why the Government considered that a £2 preference to Great Britain on newsprint was, in the circumstances, sufficient. The Senate has now requested this Committee to agree to that duty of £2, and the Government feel that they must adhere to the position that they originally adopted. I move, therefore - >That the requested amendment to sub-item (c), paragraph (1), be made. {: #debate-16-s43 .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON:
Hunter .- ThisCommittee decided, by a very substantial majority, to impose a duty of £3 per ton on newsprint; and it does appear strange that the Government, instead of accepting that decision, evidently induced another place to re-insert the duty which this Committee had rejected. That procedure is not proper. This Committee having deliberately come to a decision, it is not for the Government to induce another place to undo what we did here. Under the circumstances, I expect honorable members who previously considered a duty of £3 necessary to stand by their former decision. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr Watt: -- Did the representative of the Government in the Senate propose the reduction to £2? {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I do not know. {: .speaker-JLY} ##### Mr Anstey: -- Yes; it was proposed by **Senator E.** D. Millen. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr Watt: -- That is important. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- The Minister has given us very little information regarding the attitude of the Senate. He has simply told us that he had on a previous occasion made known to this Committee his views in regard to the matter, and that as the Government desired the duty to be £2, they had taken action in the Senate to have the rate restored to that amount. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I did not say that. I said that the Senate had requested this Committee to do that upon which the Government had stood on a previous occasion. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- The only inference that one could draw from the Minister's words was that the Senate had done what the Government stood for. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The Senate may have done so, but I cannot say that they have. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- Will the Minister say that the Senate had no instruction from the Government in the matter ? {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I imagine that the Ministers in the Senate voted for what Ministers in this Chamber had voted for. {: .speaker-KXG} ##### Mr Watt: -- It was **Senator Millen** who moved the request. Mr.CHARLTON.- If that is so he must have acted on behalf of the Government. There is no necessity for altering the rate of duty agreed to by this Committee previously after listening to the reasons advanced by the honorable member for Bourke **(Mr. Anstey).** Question - That the requestedamendment be made - put. The Committee divided. AYES: 24 NOES: 25 Majority ... ... 1 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the negative. Motion negatived. *Customs Tariff* [10 November, 1921.] *Bill.* 12625 {: #debate-16-s44 .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY:
Dampier .- Assuming that the item dealing with paper is still before this Committee, I desire to know whether I shall be in order in moving a further amendment upon sub-item c (1), the Senate request upon which has already been negatived. The. CHAIRMAN (Hon. J. M. Chanter). - The honorable member will not be in order in addressing himself to that sub-item, since it has been dealt with, and sub-item c(2) is now before the Committee. {: #debate-16-s45 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The request of the Senate to make the rates upon glazed, unglazed, mill-glazed, or coated paper, as indicated in sub-item c (2), is to admit British imports free, and to impose intermediate and general rates of £2 per ton. This request arose from . a difficulty which has been experienced in discriminating between the various printed papers, and the intention was to bring all into line. Since the Committee has refused to accept the Senate's request in regard to sub-item c (1), I move - >That the requested amendment of c (2) be made, with the following modification : - Per ton, £3, intermediate and general. {: #debate-16-s46 .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS:
Melbourne Ports -- The original decision of this Committee was that *ad valorem* rates of 5 per oent. , 10 per cent., and 15 per cent. should be imposed. If they are to be done away with, and those papers are to be admitted from. Britain free, the intermediate and general rates being £2 per ton, or even £3 per ton, as the Minister now proposes, the resultwill be the collection of considerably less duty. I ask the Committee to disagree both with the request of the Senate and with the Minister's proposed modification. The sub-item deals with a. class of paper which is manufactured in Australia. The whole of our requirements can be locally supplied. The trouble is that we have newspapers which preach Protection for every other section in the community but desire the benefits of Free Trade for themselves. I do not propose to help them in that direction. Can the Minister indicate the approximate difference in the amount of duty likely to be collected under the rates which he has just moved as compared with the imposition of *ad valorem* rates respectively of 5 per cent., 10 per cent., and 15 per cent.? {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- On present prices of paper there would be very little difference. I think the duty might prove to be slightly lower. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- Then I prefer that the rates remain as they were originally imposed. I do not think that the *ad valorem* rates will be asking too much of those who use these papers, seeing that the effect will be to encourage local manufacture, and help maintain local employment. {: #debate-16-s47 .speaker-JWN} ##### Mr FRANCIS:
Henty .- I cannot understand why British paper supplies should be admitted free. The paper dealt with in this sub-item is far different from newsprint. Surely some small amount of local Protection might be afforded, even if the rate against British manufacturers were made as low as 5 per cent. Where is the necessity for departing from the original decision of the Committee? If the whole question is to be reviewed in the light of undoubted evidence which has been furnished to honorable members, I think the majority will say that the time is opportune for imposing increased, rather than reduced, duties.. {: .speaker-K0A} ##### Mr Gabb: -- A duty of £3 per ton on a falling market may be better than an imposition) of 15 per cent. {: .speaker-JWN} ##### Mr FRANCIS: -- I am not prepared to go into details at this stage. Paper mills of the Commonwealth are required to compete with all-comers. Only a little while ago, a certain Government Department invited tenders for supplies of these lines of paper. The successful tenderer was a manufacturing firm outside of the Commonwealth, and its quotation was about £26,000. It is ordinarily good business to deal in the cheapest market for one's supplies; but, seeing that this was a Government tender, consideration might have been given to a local industry', employing local labour. It would have been wiser, for the sake of about £2,000, to accept the Australian tender. The relatively slight increase in cost would have been distributed among Australian taxpayers. Does the Minister know anything of this industry? Is he alive to the, necessity for affording it adequate protection? 12626 *Customs Tariff* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Bill.* {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- If it is the desire of the Committee to insist on its original decision in this matter, I am not unwilling to agree. {: .speaker-JWN} ##### Mr FRANCIS: -- Then I will move that the Senate's request be not agreed to. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- The honorable member cannot do that. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The Committee, if it pleases, can formally reject my motion. There is not much involved in it, and I want to get on. Motion agreed to. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I understood that it was the general desire of the Committee that the motion submitted by me should not be agreed to. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- Not at all. Item 334: - Paper, viz. - >And on and after6th July, 1921. {: type="a" start="f"} 0. Writing and typewriting paper (plain), not including duplicating - {: type="1" start="1"} 0. In sheets not less than 16 x 13 inches, ad val., British 5 per cent., intermediate, 10 per cent., general, 15 per cent. *Senate's Request.* -Amend sub-item by adding to paragraph (1) - "And on and after 1st July, 1923, ad val., British, 20 per cent., intermediate, 25 per cent., general, 30 per cent. {: #debate-16-s48 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 .- The Senate has requested us to agree to a deferred duty in respect of this sub-item. I understand that at least one firm is putting up big works in Australia to manufacture this particular class . of paper, which is being made here in only very small quantities, and that probably more firms will do so. The rates of duty embodied in the request appear to me to be reasonable. I therefore move - >That the requested amendment be made. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr Gregory: -- This seems to be an extraordinary increase of duty. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The duty as it stands is a purely revenue and not a protective one. Motion agreed to. Item 334 - Paper, viz. - >And on and after 6th July, 1921. (g)....... > >Bags, n.e.i., per cwt., British, 12s., intermediate, 13s., general, 14s. > > *Senate's Request.* - Add to the duties " or ad val., British, 30 per cent., intermediate, 35 per cent., general, 40 per cent., whichever rate returns the higher duty." {: #debate-16-s49 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 .- The duties of 12s., 13s., and 14s. per cwt. are ample, so far as certain classes of bags are concerned, but are not nearly sufficient in respect of other bags, which are very much smaller. The work involved in making these very small bags, as compared with the 'large ones, is much greater. They are made of very light paper, and an enormous number of them go to the cwt. Having looked into the proposal, I think it is necessary to have these alternative duties to protect that part of the bag-making industry to which I have referred. I therefore move - >That the requested amendment be made. Motion agreed to. Item 340- {: type="a" start="c"} 0. Manufactures of paper n.e.i., paper para sols and paper and board in the form of discs, ovals. . . for all purposes when not elsewhere dutiable at a higher rate, ad val., British, 35 per cent., intermediate, 40 per cent., general, 45 per cent. *Senate's Request.* - Insert after " parasols " "paper in rolls or reels of less than 6 inches in width." {: #debate-16-s50 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 .- In this case the Senate's request is for an alteration of the wording of the item to include in manufactures of paper " paper in rolls or reels of less than 6 inches in width." All the narrow rolls of paper which come in should, properly speaking, be dealt with as manufactures of paper, and it is our desire, therefore, to bring them under this particular item. "Whilst that could be done as a matter of classification, in the actual administration of the Tariff, we think that to make quite clear what is intended this alteration of the wording of the item should be made. I move - >That the requested amendment be made. Motion agreed to. . Item 357- >Perambulators and go-carts and bodies therefor, ad . val., British, 30 per cent.; intermediate, 35 per cent. ; general, 40 per cent. > > *Senate's Request.* - Insert after " bodies " the words " and wheels." {: #debate-16-s51 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 .- The alteration which the Senate requests us *Customs Tariff* [10 November, 1921.] *Bill.* 12627 to make is designed to bring perambulator wheels under the item. If this alteration were not made perambulator wheels, which are being made in very large quantities in Australia, might fall under another item. I think it better to include them in this, so that everything connected with perambulators will be under the one heading. I move - >That the requested amendment be made. Motion agreed to. Item 359- >Vehicle parts, viz. : - {: type="a" start="d"} 0. Ports of vehicles with self-contained power .... n.e.i., whether incorporated in the complete vehicle or separate, viz. ; - {: type="1" start="4"} 0. Chassis, but not including rubber tyres - 1. Unassembled, ad val., British, 5 per cent. ; intermediate, 7½. per cent. ; general, 10 per cent. *Senate's Request.* - Free. {: #debate-16-s52 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 .- The Senate has requested us to make this subitem dealing with chassis, unassembled, free of duty. When the item was before us on the last occasion, I compromised with the Committee by accepting a lower rate of duty than was originally proposed. There can be no question that many of these chassis are used all over the country for utilitarian purposes, while at the same time, many of them are brought in purely for pleasure, and are luxuries in the true sense of theword.It is impossible to discriminate between the one and the other, butthe Government feel that, in the existing circumstances, it cannot give up entirely, as suggested by the ' Senate, the whole of the revenue received under this sub-item. Much as we should like, from some points of view, to free this item entirely from duty, we feel that we would not be justified, at the present time, in doing so. I therefore move - >That the requested amendment be not made. {: #debate-16-s53 .speaker-KFF} ##### Mr FOLEY:
Kalgoorlie . - I hope that the Minister **(Mr. Greene)** will agree to accept the Senate's request. We have been told throughout the Tariff debate that anything that cannot be manufactured here should be allowed to come in free of duty. The Minister admits that this duty on chassis is really for revenue purposes. Many chassis, as he says, are used for utilitarian purposes, while many are used only for pleasure. We are glad to know that motor transport is much more popular than it was a few years ago, and that various firms that are using motor cars in their business find that they are time and money savers. Even chassis that are brought in entirely for pleasure or for hire have an important bearing on Australian industry. I invite the high Tariffists of the Committee to recognise that by the free admission of chassis unassembled we shall find more employment for our people. In the first place, this proposal will enable the manufacturers of British chassis to compete with other manufacturers in theAustralian market. That is a point of which we ought not to lose sight. I do not think that these small duties would yield sufficient revenue to recompense the Department for the work involved in collecting them, while there can be no doubt that they would be an annoyance to many firms. If chassis unassembled were admitted free, spring-makers and other iron workers would soon be making springs and other parts for chassis. It would give them an opportunity to develop their industry and would provide more employment in Australia. The importation of chassis free would lead to the more extensive use of motor vehicles. It is a moot point in some States whether motor transport is not cheaper than horse or steam transport. A large firm in Perth adopted motor transport, but have found that for heavy work it is more advantageous for them, in view of the high price of petrol at the present time, to use steam or horses. This is one of the largest firms of its kind in the Commonwealth - I am not going to give them any advertisement - and at the present time they are thinking of reverting to the old method of transport. It is not desirable that they should do so. The importation of chassis free would be a great incentive to the manufacture in Australia of portions of them, and *it* would lead to the greater use of cars for luxury. If a man buys a motor car, and uses it for pleasure alone, and in the use of it employs labour to the extent of a chauffeur and repairers, he is doing good to Australia. I would rather see a man spend his money in that way than hoard it. There is another aspect of this question that I want to put before the Committee. Motor tyres of every description, and of high quality, are being made in Australia to-day. If unassembled chassis are admitted to Australia free of duty and are obtainable at low prices, work will be provided for Australians in assembling them, body builders will be given an opportunity of showing their ability, and the tyre industry will receive a great impetus. I would like the Minister to reconsider the position and accept the amendment. The revenue Tariff that the Committee has put on to-night in connexion with the timber industry will provide enough revenue for a considerable time, and there is no need for a further revenue Tariff on chassis. I am not going to take this proposal sitting down when I know that it means so much to an Australian industry which I want to see prosper, and which will prosper if we allow chassis to come in free. A Tariff such as is proposed will be an incubus on the Department in bookkeeping, and an annoyance to the people who have to deal with the Department, while the revenue derived from it will be negligible: to the Government. The freedom from duty will mean much, however, to those people who have a laudable desire to build up an important Australian industry. {: #debate-16-s54 .speaker-KLM} ##### Dr MALONEY:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936 -- I disagree with the honorable member for Kalgoorlie **(Mr. Foley)** only in one detail. He spoke of, the practice of a large firm in Perth. I went into every factory in Perth to get a tractor, but I could not get one, but had to take a Jelbart tractor all the way from Ballarat. This tractor beat every other tractor, including three American and three other Australian makes, in the Government tests at Werribee Research Farm. I have seen an imported tractor, owned by the Western Australian Government, that clears land and removes heavy timber. That was driven by steam, and did its work very well. Revenue is needed badly, goodness knows, and I intend to support the motion. {: #debate-16-s55 .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr PROWSE:
Swan .- Again the Minister for Trade and Customs **(Mr. Greene)** has discovered that the Senate is in favour of a reduction of duty in the interests of the country, and, of course, he is unsympathetic. He wants more revenue. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- Perhaps the honorable member would like to pay a little more income tax instead. {: .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr PROWSE: -- I am paying more than my share of income tax now. I am unjustly paying it because of the inequitable system that Parliament has enacted. I hope the system will not be perpetuated. The Minister has admitted that the duty onchassis is not intended for protective purposes, but for the production of revenue.In the face of such a declaration no honorable member can contend that a duty is necessary for the development of the industry. To get these chassis cheaper will develop a very important industry in Australia. It is not desirable that the people who purchase these should be loaded with an addition of £10, £20, or £30 to the price. Why should the Committee wilfullyhamper industrial development in Australia by seizing this amount from the man who purchases an imported vehicle, possibly with the object of arranging conveniences to develop portions of Australia? It is a short-sighted policy, and cannot be regarded as otherwise. Revenue is needed.No one knows that better than I. I know that our liabilities have got to be met, and I think that the best way to meet them is to unshackle the people who are producing the money. I cannot see that it is any advantage to take money out of their pockets which will retard their progress. Surely we ought to give them a start, and afterwards tax them on the money they raise. The proposal now before the Committee will tend to prevent them from raising the money by compelling them to work with antiquated methods and to take hours to do what might be done in minutes. I hope the Minister will consent to the wellconsidered request from the Senate. {: #debate-16-s56 .speaker-L07} ##### Mr LAZZARINI:
Werriwa .- I wish to support the request of the Senate. I have consistently opposed and will continue to oppose, a Tariff purely for revenue purposes. The Minister for Trade and' Customs **(Mr. Greene)** has said that of the machines imported it is difficult to determine which of them will be used for pleasure and which for trade, and that, therefore, they must all pay the penalty. If there is one thing that is making life a little more pleasant to those who are pioneering the outback parts of Australia it is the motor car. It is a means of quick transit, which they can get in no other way. It is often a matter of life and death in the out-back parts of Australia to get quickly into communication with medical assistance. If a person is injured - a workman or a member of the family - in the absence of a motor car he may have to be drawn along a rough road or taken to hospital, or other medical aid, by means or a horse, trap, or waggonette. In such cases considerations of humanity demand that everything possible should be done to provide quick means of transit. The motor car is a very useful aid in fighting bush fires, such as those which have broken out in the western parts of New South "Wales. If large numbers of settlers, owing to the motor cars being £30 or £40 cheaper, are able to possess them, they can mobilize their fighting forces more effectively to cope with the disaster. They can run their gangs' of fighters from, one point to another quickly. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- The motor car also greatly facilitates social intercourse. {: .speaker-L07} ##### Mr LAZZARINI: -- -It brings a little more of the advantages of civilization to the people outback. {: .speaker-K4F} ##### Mr Considine: -- The same statement might be applied to agricultural machinery. {: .speaker-L07} ##### Mr LAZZARINI: -- It certainly does apply to agricultural machinery, * hut where the honorable member for Barrier **(Mr. Considine)** makes a mistake is in not recognising that farming implements are manufactured in this country, and that motor-car chassis are not. If people with money would sink their capital in the industry and manufacture chassis in Australia, I would stand up for a duty, but until then I will not do so. If chassis were being manufactured in Australia the duty in operation would not be sufficient. The Minister admits that it is only a revenue duty, and it is an unfair one. It is all very well to apply the Minister's argument to a man living in one of the capital cities, who uses his motor car for pleasure rides on nice roads, but if it is impossible to discriminate, as the Minister has said, be tween that man and the settler outback, it is infinitely better to allow the man in the city to get his chassis free than to tax the man outback. The man who uses a motor car for pleasure creates employment, to some extent, and he can be taxed in another way without penalizing people to whom a motor'car is an sibsolute necessity. Lately, a Royal Commission, in its report, deplored the fact that people were leaving the country for the cities ; and we all know the disastrous effects that such movements have on civilization throughout the world. If we wish to encourage people to pioneer the country, we should see that they are supplied with the proper conveniences and comforts of life. I should like to see motor cars so cheap that almost everybody could possess one. I cannot support this duty, if only for the reason that it is a revenue one, and I regard the obtaining of revenue through the Customs as the worst possible system. I hope tha Committee will accede to the Senate's request, and make chassis free. {: #debate-16-s57 .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 .- I should like some information as to what is covered by " chassis." An additional sub-item* has been inserted dealing with tractors and traction engines, which I regard as analogous in practically every respect to chassis with petrol engines, there being no difference, except a slight addition to the bodies on the top. These vehicles are being used, and would be still more largely used, if available, in,connexion with the harvesting of our present season's wheat, but for many months it has been impossible to secure a definition of what is covered by the sub-item, with, the result that many tractors are still in bond because purchasers are afraid of the uncertainty about the ultimate! cost. My suggestion is that there is really no difference between chassis and the various oil and petrol driven tractors' utilized for various purposes; and there ought to be a definition so as to remove the uncertainty of which I have spoken.. As to the item itself, I think that, in regard to chassis, preference ought to be given to Great Britain. During the war, and for. a time after, owing to the fact that motor manufacturers at Home were busily engaged in munition making, manufacturers of other countries were able to obtain the control of the Australian market. Britain has now developed a class of motor which is on all fours with the American light vehicles, and the introduction of the former to Australia ought to be encouraged by means of some preference. I should like to see discrimination shown in favour of Great Britain as against American and other outsidechassis. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- There is a preference of 5 per cent. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- There is also a suggestion to make these chassis free from all sources, but I am not in favour of treating all alike. Motors are now an absolute necessity throughout Australia; but I realize that revenue has to be obtained from somewhere, and I am afraid that the Customs revenue will not be what is expected at the end of the year. For this reason, I shall support a duty. {: #debate-16-s58 .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY:
Dampier .- 1 hope that British chassis will be admitted free. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- One great difficulty is that the luxury cars are principally British. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- Then make cars free up to a certain value. I think the luxury cars should pay some duty. We all realize the enormous value of the motor car in the development of this country, where it has really become a necessity. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- But would you shut out the American car? {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- I do not mind a small duty on the American car, but I wish commodities that are not made in this country tot be as cheap as possible. Figures which I have quoted on a previous occasion show that there are 500,000 used cars in Canada as against 65,000 in Australia. If we possessed motor cars in the same proportion as Canada, much employment would be provided in bodybuilding and so forth. Bodies are being built here now ; indeed, from what I have heard, I believe they are being exported to Singapore, and, probably, to the Old Country. If, by cheapening the cost, we can increase the manufacture of cars, we should, by the growing industry created, add largely to the wealth of this country. {: .speaker-K4F} ##### Mr Considine: -- Can we cheapen cars by imposing a Tariff as against other countries? {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- I do not object to a small duty as against other countries; but chassis ought to be free from England. If the Minister will not accept my suggestion, he might agree to the request for higher British preference. Chassis are of great importance in connexion with our country railway services. At the present time, in Victoria,. South Australia, Western Australia, and elsewhere, it is absolutely impossible to run ordinary locomotives and trains to the numerous small settlements. Such train services, where provided, may be only once a week; but with chassis and light oil cars, trains to to carry from twenty to thirty passengers, with mails and small parcels, might be run two or three times a week, or even, in cases, several timesa day. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- Such cars are being built here now. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- Those on the railways at present have nearly all been built here. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- Then, where are they? {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- They are in use in New South Wales. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- Nearly every railway inspector uses one. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- The honorable member is talking of wretched little trollies. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- In South Australia, there are cars to carry twenty passengers, and there have been for twenty years. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- The honorable member is talking nonsense; such cars were" not dreamt of twenty years ago. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- They are in use on the New South Wales railways. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- Yes; and nowhere else. The motor is of great use in opening up the country, and many mail services are thus conducted in the north-west and other parts of Western Australia, with inestimable advantage. , The Minister need not be afraid for his revenue, in view of the additions made to it by some of the decisions arrived at this afternoon. If the Minister fears that my suggestion might mean high-priced cars coming in free, then it might be provided that such cars shall pay duty; while those required for developmental purposes shall not. *Customs Tariff* [10 November, 1921.] *Bill.* -12631 Question - That the requested amendment be not made - put. The Committee divided. AYES: 30 NOES: 20 Majority . . . . 10 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Motion agreed to. Item 365- >And on and after 6th July, 1021, Pianos and Player pianos - > >Grand, each, British, £12; interme diate. £15; general, £17 10s.; or ad val., British, 20 per cent.; intermediate, 30 per cent.; general, 35 per cent, whichever rate returns the higher duty. > >Upright, each, British, £7: intermediate, £8; general, £910s.; or ad val., British, 20 per cent.; intermediate, 30 per cent.; general, 35 per cent., whichever rate returns the higher duty. > >Keyboards, complete or incomplete, ad val., British, 20 per cent.; intermediate, 30 per cent.: general, 35 per cent. > > *Senate'sRequest.* - (a) (b) and (c) British, 30 per cent.; intermediate, 40 per cent.; general, 45 percent. , {: #debate-16-s59 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- This particular item was dealt withby the Committee when I happened tobe absent through illness. The Committee decided to reduce the duties as originally submitted by me. The Senate requests that the duties as originally submitted shall be restored, and I intend, therefore, to move that the requested amendments be made. I do not know of any industry that is of greater value, or one in which there are possibilities of greater extension, than the piano industry.We are not making anything like the number of pianos we should make in Australia. I am satisfied that if the duties requested by the Senate are imposed, it will not be very long before we have several additional piano-making establishments in the Commonwealth, and we shall be making the greater number of the pianos used in this country. This is one of the instances in which, in some regards, I did not originally propose duties as high as those suggested as desirable in the circumstances by the Inter-State Commission. There are very few industries which employ labour to a greater extent than does the piano industry. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr Gregory: -- Is not that something new? {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -There are many industries in which the cost of labour does not enter into the value of the product to anything like the same extent as it does in the piano industry. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr Gregory: -With the duties now proposed there will be greater profits in the industry. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I do not know that these duties will tend to make the industry very much more profitable;but if they do I am satisfied that they will have the desired effect ofbringing pianomakers to Australia, and enabling them to establish factories here. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWilliams: -- That is what was said when we were dealing with the last Tariff. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I am confident that these duties will lead to the establishment of the industry in Australia on a larger scale than at present. That will give rise to internal competition, which, in cases of this sort, is very desirable. This is one of the finest industries we can have, and it will give employment to a vast number of people. There is scarcely any part of a piano the raw material for which is not found in this country. The piano-making industry is peculiarly one which provides a means for using raw materials which we possess in abundance. For the reasons I have given, I hope the Committee will accept the duties originally submitted by me, and will agree to the request made by the Senate. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr Gregory: -- The Minister might agree to take sub-items a and b first, and let the discussion take place on subitem c. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- If that is the desire of the Committee, I move - >That the requested amendments of subitems (a) and (11) be made. {: #debate-16-s60 .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN:
Hindmarsh -- I have consistently supported higher duties in order to assist in the establishment of Australian industries, but on this item I intend to deliberately absent myself from the division as a mark of my disgust and disapproval. There are certain features 'connected with the consideration of the item now under discussion which I deprecate very strongly, and which I take advantage of this opportunity to mention. During the consideration of the Tariff we have been receiving sheaves of literature and volumes of printed matter arguing the pros and cons in support of and against the duties proposed on almost every item. In connexion with this item honorable members have received a booklet dealing with pianos and piano players. It is printed by Shepherd and Newman, of Sydney, and the name of Messrs. Beale and Company, piano makers, of Australia, is associated with it. In the pamphlet I find that, unfortunately, those responsible for its publication have endeavoured to secure an advantage by attempting to arouse racial' and national feelings, and by appealing to the prejudice and passion of honorable members, instead of relying upon commonsense arguments in support of increased duties on pianos. This booklet represents a very unworthy form of propaganda. {: .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr Prowse: -- The same thing is done every day in this House. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- It is very unworthy on the part of those responsible for it, arid as a member who desires to advance the claims of Parliament for universal respect by high standards of conduct, I certainly will not permit such a circumstance as this to pass without an expression of my distinct disapproval. *As* a member of the Committee, I strongly object to those who appeal for the support of honorable members for their proposals resorting to such unfair and unworthy practices as are adopted in the publication of this pamphlet. The supporters of Australian industries have no need to resort to the despicable tactics adopted by the persons responsible for this publication. When the support of honorable members is sought by references to atrocities which took place during the war, it is time that the people responsible for this kind of propaganda were warned that in future honorable members will not recognise literature of this description. The best place for it is the wastepaper basket, to which I now propose to relegate it. {: #debate-16-s61 .speaker-KLM} ##### Dr MALONEY:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936 .- I am very glad that the Government propose to accede to the request of the Senate to increase the duties .on pianos. I have some figures with me which I think may interest honorable members. "In yesterday's newspaper I noticed that the German mark had depreciated to the extent of 1,000 marks to the sovereign. Before the war the sovereign represented but 20 marks. Prior to the war a really good piano could be bought in Berlin for £20, giving a good profit to the manufacturer and also to the retailer. It is true that the cost of production in Germany has increased, but even allowing that it has increased by 400 per cent., and the increase has not been so much, that would make the cost of the piano £100. With the mark at 1,000 to the £1, £20 would represent a pre-war buying capacity of £1,000, and if we divide the £100 into the £1,000, we find that it is possible to obtain ten pianos to-day in Berlin at the cost of one prior to the war. What* chance would piano manufacturers in Australia have if German pianos were today admitted at the old rates of duty? Men who suffered imprisonment in Germany during the war, undergoing the vilest tortures, are at present employed in the Wertheim and Beale factories, and one of the Wertheims showed his love for Australia by risking **Ms life** for it on active service. Honorable members may *Customs Tariff* [10 November, 1921.] . *Bill.* 12633 not know how many trades are assisted by the piano making industry. This industry utilizes quantities of Australian material; iron and steal, copperwire, glue, casein, varnishes, polishes, paints, timbers, veneers, leather cloth, felt, nails, bolts, screws, brasswork, machinery of many kinds, and electrical apparatus, all of local production. It also assists the building trades, and is a consumer of locally generated power. Directly, and through its employees, it gives assistance to other industries. I am glad that the Government supports the higher rates, and I shall have pleasure in voting with the Minister. If the remarks credited to the honorable member for Flinders **(Mr. Bruce),** who represented Australia at the Geneva Conference, be true, that in Germany all the people are industriously working, their factories not having been destroyed as were those of France and Belgium, Ihope that the measure commonly known as the Antidumping Bill will be proceeded with immediately, so that it may be used to prevent the dumping in this market of German pianos, of which ten can now be purchased for what was the price of one, because of the way in which the clever financial brains of Germany are using the rate of exchange to beat the world, which they were not able to conquer by force of arms. Motion agreed to. Motion (by **Mr. Greene)** proposed - >That the requested amendment of sub-item (c) be mode. {: #debate-16-s62 .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY:
Dampier >When the Tariff was last under considera-, tion, I was informed that keyboards were being made in only one piano factory in Australia, and that they were of a special type, so that they could not be used by other manufacturers of pianos. That was contradicted, but I have been informed since that my information was quite correct. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- So far as I know, it is. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- If it be a fact that Messrs. Beale and Company are making keyboards only for their own pianos, is it a fair thing to protect that industry with duties of 30 per cent., 40 per cent., and 45 per cent., thus penalizing the other piano makers of Australia? {: .speaker-L07} ##### Mr Lazzarini: -- If it pays Beale and Company to make keyboards, it should pay the other piano makers to do so. {: .speaker-KFE} ##### Mr GREGORY: -- Surely we ought not to impose a high duty merely to benefit one manufacturer. I hope that the Committee will leave the duty on keyboards at 20 per cent., 30 per cent., and 35 per cent. We should consider the interests of the people, not those of a particular manufacturer, and when a firm is making an article merely to benefit itself, that branch of its business should not be protected with huge duties. Question put. The Committee divided. AYES: 33 NOES: 12 Majority . . . . 21 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Motion agreed to. Item 384- >Lantern slides, photographic dry plates, photographic sensitized films, photographic sensitized papers . . . , ad val., British, 25 per cent.; intermediate, 30 per cent.; general, 35 per cent. > > *Senate's Request.* - Amend sub-item to make it- > >(1) Photographic and X-ray dry plates, ad val., British, 25 per cent.; intermediate, 30 per cent.; general, 35 per cent.; or per 12634 *Customs Tariff[REPRESENTATIVES.] Bill.* square foot, British, 6½d.; intermediate, 8d. ; general, 9½d., whichever rate returns the higher duty. > >Photographic sensitized films, ad val., British, 25 per cent.; intermediate, 30 per cent.; general, 35 per cent.; or per square foot, British,10d. ; intermediate, 12d.; general, 14d., whichever rate returns the higher duty. > >Photographic sensitized papers and cards, also linen and other sensitized materials, n.e.i., ad val., British, 25 per cent.; intermediate, 30 per cent.; general, 35 per cent.;or per square foot, British,1d.; intermediate, lid.; general,1½d., whichever rate returns the higher duty. > >Lantern slides, photographic backgrounds (mounted orunmounted), photographs of Australian subjects, postcards (sensitized with or without letterpress), stereoscopic views, ad val., British, 25 per cent.; intermediate, 30 per cent.; general, 35 per cent. {: #debate-16-s63 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 .- The intention of the amendment which the Senate asks us to make in this item is to prevent the protection of various kinds of sensitized material from falling below a certain point. The Senate asks us to agree to fixed rates, which have been adopted tentatively, on the understanding that they were higher than the *ad valorem* rates agreed to by the Committee. It was stated by the Minister in charge of the Tariff there at the time that, if on further examination it were found that these rates were, in effect, higher than the *ad valorem* rates at present market prices, steps would be taken to reduce them below those rates. The matter has been carefully investigated, and it is found that these duties as they, are framed are higher than the existing *ad valorem* rates at the present market prices; and it is, therefore, proposed to reduce the fixed rates, and otherwise to agree to the request of the Senate. I move - >That the requested amendments be made, with the following modifications: - > >(1)..... After "Plates" add the following: - "and Flat Films, sensitized." And instead of " or per square foot, British, 6½d; intermediate, 8d.; general, 9½d." read "or per square foot, British, 5d. ; intermediate, 6½d; general, 8d." > >(2)..... Insert "n.e.i." after "Films". And instead of "or per square foot, British, 10d.; intermediate, 12d.; general, 14d." read " or per square foot, British, 8d. ; intermediate,10d. ; general 12d." > >(3)..... Insert semicolon after "n.e.i." and add the following: - "Postcards (sensitized, with or without letterpress)". > >(4) . . . . . Omit thefollowing: - Postcards (sensitized, with or without letterpress)". The sub-item will then read as follows : - >And on and after 11th November, 1921 - > >(1) Photographic and x-ray dry plates and flat films, sensitized, ad val., British, 25 per cent.; intermediate, 30 per cent.; general, 35 per cent.; or per square foot, British, 5d. ; intermediate, 6½d.; general,8d.; whichever rate returns the higher duty. > >Photographic sensitized films n.e.i, ad val., British, 25 per cent.; intermediate, 30 per cent.; general, 35 per cent.; or per square foot, British, 8d.; intermediate, 10d.; general, 12d., whichever rate returns the higher duty. > >Photographic sensitized papers and cards, also linen and other sensitized materials, n.e.i., postcards (sensitized with or without letterpress, ad val., British, 25 per cent.; intermediate, 30 per cent.; general, 35 per cent.; or per square foot, British,1d.; intermediate, lid.; general, lid., whichever rate returns the higher duty. > >Lantern slides, photographic backgrounds (mounted or unmounted), photographs of Australian subjects, stereoscopic views, ad val., British, 25 per cent.; intermediate, 30 per cent.; general, 35 per cent. Post cards were inadvertently included in the wrong item. When these proposals were dealt with in the Senate an adjustment was made. The net effect of what we are doing does not increase the present rates of duty at all. The fixed rates as now adjusted are lower than the present *ad valorem* rates at ruling market prices, and the intention is to prevent protection on this particular class of goods falling below a certain point. I understand that the trade is satisfied with this solution of the difficulty. Motion agreed to. Item 397- >Explosives, viz. - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. Cartridges, n.e.i. . . . And on and after 8th July, 1921, ad val., British, 15 per cent. ; intermediate, 20per cent.; general, 20 per cent. . . . *Senate'sRequest.* - General, 30 per cent. *Customs Tariff* [10 November, 1921.] *Bill.* 12635 {: #debate-16-s64 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 .- The Senate has requested that the *ad valorem* duty under the general Tariff be immediately made 30 per cent. Honorable members will notice that we proposed a deferred *ad valorem* duty to operate from 1st January, 1923, and I explained to the Committee at the time that it was desired that the manufacture of cartridges should be carried on to a greater extent" than hitherto, and that the whole operation of manufacturing cartridges be undertaken. At presentwe are not doing that, and the intention of the deferred duty under the general Tariff was to enable manufacturers to carry out the whole of the work. It was my intention to move that the Senate's request in this particular instance be not agreed to; but it has been very forcibly represented to me by quite a number of honorable members that Great Britain should have some further preference. I move - That the requested amendment be made, but modified to read " British, 15 percent.; intermediate, 20 per cent.; general 25 per cent." Mr.FOLEY (Western Australia) [9.37]. - When this item was previously before the Committee, the Minister for Trade and Customs **(Mr. Greene)** had ample opportunities of obtaining the opinion of every one interested in this industry, and we came to a deliberate decision by a large majority to impose the duties shown in the Tariff as it left this Chamber. Personally, I would have preferred to have seen lower rates adopted, but when I found that a majority of honorable members were willing to accept a compromise, and that the Committee had decided that the rates suggested were fair on the evidence before us, I did not press the matter further. I asserted at the time that there was a factory, or, perhaps I should say, a building, on the Maribyrnong, known as Kynock's, in which it was alleged that cartridges were being made. But that factory has not turned out a completed cartridge before or since that date, neither has extra machinery been installed, nor additional employees engaged. Most of the operatives in that building are juveniles, who handle the component parts of cartridges imported from overseas, and which are merely passed in and out of a small machine. Perhaps the Bourke-street boundary riders and Bourke-street sportsmen do not realize that there are men who make their living by the rifle, and whose employment will be taken from them if unnecessarily high duties are imposed. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- We are not interfering with the British preferential rate. {: .speaker-JPC} ##### Sir Robert Best: -- The question before the Chair has not been touched by the honorable member. {: #debate-16-s65 .speaker-KFF} ##### Mr FOLEY: -- If my remarks are ir relevant, the honorable member should direct the attention of the Chair to the fact. Most of the cartridges used by the men I have mentioned are imported from America, and. the proposal to increase the duties originally adopted by this Committee will severely handicap those engaged in kangaroo hunting. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- But kangaroos are protected in Victoria. {: .speaker-KFF} ##### Mr FOLEY: -- The honorable member for Maribyrnong **(Mr. Fenton)** should remember that there is no outback country in Victoria, and that this State is so small that it is only a hop, skip, and a jump from the sea to the River Murray. The honorable member should consider this and other questions from a broader stand-point. Notwithstanding the broad, national outlook of the honorable member for Maribyrnong **(Mr. Fenton),** he is evidently unaware that there are places in Australia where the kangaroo is a pest. In portions of Western Australia kangaroos are protected; but in other portions they are not, because they are regarded as a menace. If the necessity for getting rid of the pest be admitted, honorable members must also recognise the necessity for letting the kangaroo shooter get his cartridges at a fair rate. Those articles are not manufactured in Australia. Not a tittle of additional evidence has been advanced since the Committee previously came to a decision upon this item; and, in the language of the honorable member for Kooyong **(Sir Robert Best),** the Government's attitude towards the request appears to 'be dictated solely by a desire to placate the Senate. In adopting that course, they are doing incalculable harm to those menwho have to buy cartridges in order to earn a living. It cannot be shown that since the Committee previously dealt with the item one additional man is 'being employed, or one additional machine has been installed, in the cartridge factory. As the cartridges are not being produced in Australia, and they can be imported from a country in which the conditions of labour are as good as those in Australia, it is the duty of the Committee to provide people in the backblocks with the opportunity of combating the kangaroo pest as cheaply as possible. It has bean argued that the Senate has not proposed any alteration of the British and intermediate Tariffs; but it has altered the general Tariff, and that is the only one that counts. Motion agreed to. Item 397- Explosives - {: type="a" start="e"} 0. Explosives, n.e.i., arl val., British, free; intermediate, 5. per cent.; general, 10 per cent.; and 'on and after 1st January, 1922, ad val., British, 15 per cent.; intermediate, *'M* per cent.; general, 2.5 per cent. *Senate's Request.* - Strike out. {: #debate-16-s66 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 .- This request arises out of the amendments made by this Committee when the duties on explosives were previously under consideration. The Attorney-General's Office advised me that the net 'result of the Committee's efforts was to make the item unintelligible. Consequently, an effort was made in the Senate to redraft the item. By striking out these words, the words *"* (e) Explosives, n.e.i., ad val., British, free; intermediate, 5 per cent.; general, 5 per cent," in the request that follows will re-establish the duty as it left this Committee. Therefore I move - >That the -requested amendment be made. Motion agreed to. Item 397- Explosives - {: type="a" start="e"} 0. Explosives, n.e.i., ad val., British, free; intermediate, 5 per cent.; general, 5 per cent. *Senate's Request.* - Amend sub-item to read - {: type="a" start="e"} 0. (1) Coal-getting explosives, being those explosives named and specified in any permitted list approved by the Department, ad val., British, 15 per cent.; intermediate, 20 per cent.; 'general, 25 per cent. {: type="1" start="2"} 0. Explosives, n.e.i., ad val., British, free; intermediate, 10 per cent.; general, 15 per cent. {: #debate-16-s67 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- This item was debated at great length when it was previously before the Committee. On that occasion I opposed any increase of the duty on explosives, and explained that the reason why the Government proposed a deferred duty was that we had reason to believe that in the near future modern explosives works would be erected in this country, which, in time of war, would be of great assistance to the Commonwealth. We discovered before the Tariff left this Chamber that there was no immediate probability of those works being proceeded with. So far as I know, the position is unchanged, and for that reason I move - >That the requested amendment be not made. {: #debate-16-s68 .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON:
Maribymong -- I was sorry to hear the Minister's proposal, and I trust that it will not be indorsed by the Committee. Some divisions have gone against the Minister **(Mr. Greene)** to-day, not altogether to his displeasure, and I trust that if the Committee decide against him in regard to this item also he will not be displeased. I am the proud possessor of a certificate from the Rotherham testing station in England. I understand that if the Department has not a copy of the certificate in its posses"sion it has been advised by cable of its contents. This certificate, which is signed by **Major A.** Cooper Key, Chief Inspector of Explosives in Great Britain, sets out the contents of explosive A2 Monobel and Viking powder No. 2, and proves that in quality they are equal to any explosives imported. It is the opinion of explosive experts in Australia that an explosive made locally, under exactly the same conditions as prevail in other parts of the world, except, of course. ' labour conditions, and transported, say, to Newcastle, is in better and safer condition for use than is an explosive imported from overseas. Before I conclude I intend to submit a proposition which I believe even the Government will accept, and those who bitterly opposed the granting of a small measure of protection to this key industry will assent to. I am not in any sense favorable to a monopoly in respect of explosives or any other *Customs Tariff* [10 November, 1921.] *Bill* 12637 article. I admit, however, that there are three big concerns which practically control the world's trade in explosives. One is the European firm of Nobel's, whose British head-quarters is at Glasgow, where nearly all the labour employed in the manufacture of explosives is Scottish. The firm that is the world's principal producer of sporting ammunition is the great Dupont Company of America. Nobel was a Swedish engineer and scientist, and a man who, whatever we may think of him in some respects, has done a great deal for the world by his monetary contributions for the advancement of scientific research. He is noted the world over as the founder of the Nobel Peace Prize. {: .speaker-K4F} ##### Mr Considine: -- Munitions for war and prizes for peace. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- The two things seem peculiarly contradictory. Dupont was a youngFrenchman, and he and his successors have built up an enormous trade in sporting ammunition. The third great explosives concern is the De Beers Company, named after a Dutch or Boer farmer, on. whose farm one of the great diamond discoveries of South Africa was made. That company comprises some of the wealthiest Jews in the world. {: #debate-16-s69 .speaker-JNV} ##### The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Mr Bamford:
HERBERT, QUEENSLAND -- This is very informative, but hardly relevant to the question. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- I am indicating the principal- sources of the supply of explosives. A complaint was made recently that some explosives used in one of the coal mines in New South Wales were defective, but I understand the reason for the slight defect that was discovered was that the explosives had not been kept quite dry. The Minister **(Mr. Greene)** seems to hope that in a few months' time an industry will blossom out sufficiently large to satisfy him that a great key industry has been established. During the war there was a considerable expenditure for the establishment of an explosives factory at Deer Park. That project is not dead ; but, if the industry is to be established on a giant scale, i am inclined to think it will not be in the constituency of Maribyrnong, but on a site at Port Kembla, in the district of the honorable member for Illawarra **(Mr. Hector** Lamond), because some of the raw material required for the manufacture of explosives is to be found there. I do not say that I have received information on this matter from an official source absolutely, but I have it from a reliable quarter. So in a couple of years it is probable that the industry being established in Maribyrnong will be removed to a place where a large number of industries are making headway. I do not intend to enter into a criticism of Nobel's works, which, I believe, employ coloured labour in South Africa, but I want our white people, both men and women, to be free from competition with underpaid coloured labour in other parts of the world. The minimum wage paid to adult workers in the Australian explosives factory is £4 9s. per week, as against £1 paid for similar work done bycoloured labour in South Africa. The coal costs £2 7s. 3d. per ton delivered in the Australian factory, whereas the coal used in the South African factory costs less than 15s. per ton. As it takes2¼ tons of coal to produce 1 ton. of explosives, it will be seen that the expenditure on this item alone is very large. We have had a protective duty upon the raw material used in the manufacture of the finished article, and I say, without fear of successful contradiction, that the duty imposed on the raw material is a higher measure of protection than the Minister proposes to afford to the industry. The duty on the raw material goes up to 2s. 5d. per case of gelatine explosives, and 5s. 6d. per case of coal explosives. If these statements are correct, there must be some very strong reason, that has not been stated to the Committee, Why the Minister does not give greater protection to this industry. If all the facts in connexion with the manufacture of explosives were known to the coal miners, I believe they would gladly pay an increased price for explosives known to have been manufactured by white labour. I have no prejudice against the coloured people. It is my good fortune to belong to the white race, and when it is a matter of competition between well-paid white labour and low-paid coloured labour, my vote as a labour man must always go in favour of the white people who are receiving the higher wage. It has been argued that duties should not be levied on imports of explosives because the coal miners pay for the explosives which they use. Blacksmiths and farriers pay for the iron and steel which they use, .but I have not heard it argued that for that reason a duty should be levied on imports of iron and steel. Nobel's Company, of which the factory in the Maribyrnong electorate is supposed to be an offshoot, i3 criticised, by those who are opposed to this measure of protection, as a Combine. The company is said to constitute a great evil in the Old Country. I shall read the following portion of the agreement made with the company, as outlined on page 8 of the report of the Committee which inquired into the matter in Great Britain : - >If at any time the price at which the company is supplying, or is proposing to supply, any of its products is, in the opinion of the President of the Board of Trade, unreasonable, the said President may from time to time fix the maximum price of such product, due regard being had to the cost of manufacture, a reasonable profit to the company, and any other relevant circumstances; and so long as the maximum price of any product is so fixed, the price at which the company shall supply that product shall not exceed such maximum price. So the British Board of Trade, under the control of a Minister of the Crown, has made an agreement with, the company whereby the price of its material is fixed. {: .speaker-K4F} ##### Mr Considine: -- What concession did the company get in return? {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- I believe the company is making greater profits in Great Britain than in Australia. I am not in a position to say exactly what is the percentage of profit on the capital invested. Either the prices charged in the United Kingdam are not extortionate, or the British Board of Trade is not doing its duty. It is quite true that prices in the United Kingdom are higher than in Australia. That is chiefly due to the fact that the explosives factories in the United Kingdam have been demobilizing very gradually a huge army of munition workers. It would have been inhuman treatment to have turned those surplus employees into the streets immediately the war was over. The explosives companies did not do so, and the cost of gradual demobilization has been a heavy charge oh the explosives industry. I think that credit is reflected on Nobel's works by the fact that it did not dispense with the services of the men in its employ. It wa3 one of the great sheet- « anchors of the British Government in the conduct of the war. The whole of its great factory, with its fine army of chemists, was placed at the disposal of the British authorities, and sterling service was rendered during the most critical period. The employees who remained in those works, and those who enlisted, gave magnificent service at that particular time. The factory, which employs white labour in Australia, does not look for a greater profit than 6 per cent, on the capital invested. The following coalmines throughout Australasia have been using the products of this particular factory - > *New* *South Wales.* - Caledonian Collieries, Aberdare Collieries, South Greta Colliery, Newcastle Coal Company, Preston Colliery, South Teralba Colliery, Hebburn Colliery, Seaham Colliery, Pacific Colliery, Gunnedah Colliery, Ashtonfield Colliery, New Greta Colliery, Abermain Colliery, Dudley Colliery, Excelsior Colliery, North Bulli Colliery, Metropolitan Colliery, Neath Colliery, Rothbury Colliery, Bell Bird Colliery, Stockton Borehole Colliery, Newcastle Wallsend Colliery, sundry small collieries. *Queensland.* - Ipswich Collieries, Mount Mulligan Colliery. *Victoria.* - State Coal Mines, Wonthaggi; Powlett North Woolamai Colliery; sundry sma collieries. *2few Zealand.* - -Taupiri Collieries, Westport Collieries, Stockton Colliery, State Coal Mines, sundry small collieries. Those who say that it is dangerous for mining companies to use the products of the Australian explosives factory are not only libelling the men employed in that factory, but they are libelling a great Australian industry. The testing work at every stage is carried out with the minutest possible care, and not one ounce of explosives can leave the factory unless it has answered a test showing it to heequal to the article passed by the British Government at Rotherham. Any one in doubt on the question should consult **Mr. Lewis,** one of the best explosives experts in Australia. Nearly all these explosives must be submitted to this gentleman in Victoria before he will consent to their removal toother parts of Australia for use. They must bear his expert certificate, not only that they conform to the Rotherham. formula, but also that they can be used with safety. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- Has the quality of theAustralian explosive ever been challenged ? *Customs Tariff* [10 November, 1921.] *Bill.* 12639 {: #debate-16-s70 .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- Yes, a short time ago, when after using Viking for three years one concern complained it had not exploded as well as usual. But I am informed on very good authority that this was due to the fact that it had been allowed to get damp. Great care must be taken to prevent explosives of any description from getting damp, otherwise they become defective. Fifteen returned soldiers who, after serving in the great war, have been re-employed by the Australian Explosives and Chemical Company, at Deer Park, have signed the following letter, dated the 28th October, 1921, which has been forwarded to honorable members: - >We, the undersigned returned soldiers in the employ of the above company, desire to bring under *your notice* that things are most unsatisfactory in our industry, owing to the uncertainty in regard to the Tariff question. Having taken a keen interest in the debate and vote of the House of Representatives on this subject, also therequest for further consideration by the Senate in the protection of our industry, we urge upon you the necessity of recording your vote in favour of the Senate's request for a duty that will keep our industry going, and keep us in employment. We respectfully draw your attention to the fact that this is the only industry completely neglected by the Government in its Tariff proposals. If you cannot give this request in full, there is an alternative in the way of granting a bonus.Failing this, we will have to ask you to use your influence in finding us work in some other direction through the Repatriation Department. I have a proposition which I hope will be accepted by the Committee, and that is to insert the words " wholly or partly the product of coloured labour" in the Senate's requested amendment. It may be thought that the duty that the Senate has requested us to propose is high, but we must remember that a duty has also been imposed on much of the raw material needed. in the manufacture of explosives, and it has been the Minister's practice when dealing with items in the schedule to impose a slightly higher protection on the finished article if duties have been placed on the raw material from which the article is manufactured. All that I now ask is that the white worker who is engaged in this industry, and paid an average wage of £4 9s. per week, shall be protected from coloured labour engaged in a similar industry in other parts of the world at the low wage of £1 per week. If Nobel's, Dupont, and De Beers can by employing white labour manufacture an explosive in any part of the world and send it out to Australia, let them do it, but it is a fair proposal to protect our white workers against the unfair competition of coloured labour. Honorable members may point out the difficulty of carrying out my suggestion, but in the case of rum the sehedule provides the following: - >Bum, pare, distilled wholly from sugar, sugar syrup, molasses, or the refuse of sugar cane by a pot-still or similar process at a strength not exceeding 45 per cent. overproof, and certified in the prescribed form by the competent Government official in the country of production to be pure rum distilled wholly from sugar, sugar syrup, molasses, or the refuse of sugar cane, under the conditions specified. Also, in the case of blended rum, the schedule provides the following: - >Blended rum, distilled wholly from sugar, sugar syrup, molasses, or the refuse of sugar cane, containing not less than 25 per cent. of pure spirit which has been separately distilled from sugar, sugar syrup, molasses, or the refuse of sugar cane, by a pot-still or similar process at a strength not exceeding 45 per cent. overproof, and certified in the prescribed form by the competent Government official in the country of production to 'be rum distilled wholly from sugar, sugar syrup, molasses, or the refuse of sugar cane, under the conditions specified and so blended. Customs officials have been stationed in Holland, in the West Indies, and, in prewar days, in Germany, to give certificates that rum has been distilled in accordance with the conditions laid down. If we can do this in regard to rum in these places where it is distilled, surely we can ascertain whether explosives manufactured in South Africa have been produced by black labour or not. I hope that the Minister will give my proposal precedence. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I am prepared to withdraw my motion for the time being, to allow the honorable member to submit his. Motion, by leave, withdrawn. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- I move- >That the requested amendment be made, subject to the following modification : - > >Insert after the word "explosives" in e (1) the words "wholly or partly the product of coloured labour." The proposition before honorable members is whether they believe in a White Australia or not. {: .speaker-K4F} ##### Mr Considine: -- The honorable member must be very short of arguments. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- It hurts me when I hear honorable members laugh when I make an appeal on behalf of the people who are employed in this industry, particularly the returned soldiers. I ask honorable members to give favorable consideration to my proposal. {: #debate-16-s71 .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON:
Hunter .- Any one would imagine that the honorable member for Maribyrnong **(Mr. Fenton)** had made out a case for a duty on explosives, but he would take a different view if he had any experience of mining, and knew the exact position in regard to the use of explosives in mines. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr Mathews: -- It was the Australian explosive that caused the explosion at the Mount Mulligan mine. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- I have not said so, but the honorable member for Maribyrnong, who gave a list of all the other collieries where it was used, was careful not to mention the fact that the Australian explosive was used at the Mount Mulligan mine. The Inter-State Commission which investigated this subject found that the people manufacturing explosives at Deer Park were really part of the Combine which, operating in Great Britain, in amalgamation with makers , in other countries, increased the price of explosives used in Australia to three times their pre-war value, and then, in order to get complete hold of the market, established a small concern in Victoria. This they thought would enable them to claim protection, with a view to getting their explosives into use ahead of another company which had come into the field' and reduced the price, and, in fact, kept it down during the whole period of the war. No one knows what the miners might have had to pay for their explosives during that period had it not been for this competition. This was a South African company, and apparently it is now to be put off the market in the interests of a company that has established itself, in Australia, as an offshoot of a Combine that exploited the people of this and other countries during the war. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- What about De Beers'; is that a Combine? {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- I am not saying it is not. I am only arguing that the miners of the Commonwealth should get a fair deal in regard to explosives. I have been discussing the question of safety in coal mines for a great number of years. 1 know, from a lifelong experience, the dangers to be encountered in our coal mines. Reference has been made to the Mount Mulligan disaster. I have not the slightest doubt that it was the result of a blown-out shot igniting the dust. Nothing should be left undone to protect the men who are employed in our mines. When last this item was under discussion it was suggested that the men employed at Wonthaggi also showed a preference for the locally manufactured explosives. I have here a letter from the secretary of the local organization to **Mr. Willis,** stating that they used more " Cape " explosives in the Wonthaggi mine than any other explosive. The writer states - > *Tie* Explosives. - In regard to the above matter, I am to inform you that some time ago the members here were using a brand of Cape explosive which was not giving satisfaction, and upon the matter being brought under that company's notice, they put in its place a new brand by the name of " Three Oceans." Needless to say that this brand has given every satisfaction, as the following figures will show. I find that, for the fortnight ended 7th September, a total of 939 packets of explosives were purchased from the magazine, and out of this total there were 673 packets of the Cape Explosive, Three .Oceans, used. Why do the men show this preference? Is it not because they know they can obtain better results? Surely they are the best judges of the explosives that should be used. I am also to inform you that we have an open magazine here at the State Mine, and if the men so desire they can request the management to stock any kind of explosive they wish to use. I have another letter which states that for the month ending 30th September, 739 5-lb. packets of Nobel's gelignite were used at Wonthaggi, as against 1,364 5=-lb. packets of " Cape " explosives. {: .speaker-KNP} ##### Mr Maxwell: -- Is it not because it is cheaper ? {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- I do not know that it is. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- It is a little cheaper. *Customs Tariff* [10 November, 1921.] *Bill.* 12641 {: .speaker-KFF} ##### Mr Foley: -- But the miners will not consider the cost so much as results. {: #debate-16-s72 .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- No. They are more concerned with the effectiveness of an explosive than its cost. What is the use of cheap explosives to the coal-miner who is paid by results ? If it does not do itswork properly and blow the coal down, a cheap explosive becomes a dear explosive. It is essential that our coalminers should have thevery best article in order to get the best results. As I have already said, I have been dealingwith this question of certificates since 1910, and the honorable member for Newcastle **(Mr. Watkins)** has been agitating for a longer term even than that. It isvery important that a testing station should be erected in Australia, because if untested explosives are used in a gaseous mine and if a charge gives off the slightest fire at all, it may ignite the coal dust, and thewhole of the men employed in the mine will, probably, be sent to eternity, as in the case of the recent Mount Mulligan disaster. It has been stated that every ounce of the locally manufactured explosive is tested. Any one acquainted with the position knows that is a practical impossibility, because we have no testing station here. If the representative of the local company is within sound of my voice, I am sure he will admit it would be impossible to test thewhole of the explosives manufactured in Australia without a proper gallery such as is provided in England.At present the Australian article is sent to England to be tested. If it? passes the test, and the explosive is placed on the permitted list, a certificate is issued. But here is the point: Parcels of explosives are sent Home only occasionally for testing purposes, in order to get on the permitted list, which means that the explosive may be used in gaseous mines. We may safely assume that only picked parcels would be sent. {: .speaker-KZA} ##### Mr West: -- But the whole of the explosives are made on the formula, and the formula is tested. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- I know all about the procedure. My honorable friend cannot teach me anything in this line. {: .speaker-K6S} ##### Mr Corser: -- But has not this firm some reputation to safeguard? {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- Of course it has; and I am not challenging its reputation. I am only asking if it is possible, without a proper testing station in Australia, to test the whole of the explosives manufactured here. Is not that a fair proposition to put up? Prior to the war I asked my then Leader,whowas Minister for Customs **(Mr. Tudor),** to erect a testing station. He obtained reports and ascertained that the cost would be about £10,000. The Government of the day agreed to erect the station, but the Avar intervened, and, subsequently, the Labour Government went out of office. I then brought the matter before the present Treasurer **(Sir Joseph Cook),** who also was sympathetic, and promised that something should be done, but, in consequence of the Avar, the work has not been proceeded with. Wewant no repetition of the Bulli, Mount Kembla, or Mount Mulligan disasters. {: .speaker-KLM} ##### Dr MALONEY:
MELBOURNE, VICTORIA · ALP; FLP from 1931; ALP from 1936 -- What explosive was used at Mount Mulligan? {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- I have not said what brand of explosive was used there, but one honorable member has made a statement. Mr.Fenton. - But the disaster was not attributed to the explosive. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- I do not say that itwas. My firm belief is that the explosion was the result of a blown-out shot. If that happens in a gaseous mine, up it goes. Evidently, a blown-out shot at Mount Mulligan sent the dust going. If we can get proper explosives in future in Australia, nobody will support the industry more readily than the Newcastle and Maitland miners. What is the position there to-day? Some of the men in the Newcastle district areworking only ten shifts a fortnight, and the other day I asked the Prime Minister **(Mr. Hughes)** if something could be done to help them in their present distress. These men should not be called upon to pay exorbitant prices for their explosives. They do not take exception to the local explosive simply because it is manufactured in Australia. Their contention is that they have been unjustly treated in the past by this Combine, which imposed additional charges upon them. They now want a fair deal. The Minister **(Mr. Greene)** has admitted thatwhen the Tariff was introduced nearly eighteen months ago he made provision for a deferred duty, because he believed we would be able to get the explosives manufactured in Australia. He knows now that we are in no better position to-day than we were then. The Senate's requested amendment is absurd. That Chamber has requested that duties of 15 per cent. British, 20 per cent, intermediate, and 25 per cent, general be imposed on coalgetting explosives; that is to say, on explosives which must pass the test in order to be placed on the permitted list, whilst explosives n.e.i., that is, explosives which are not required to pass a test, are to be allowed in free in tie British Tariff, 10. per cent, in the intermediate, and 15 per cent, in the general Tariff. This means that miners working in the more dangerous mines of the Commonwealth are to be called upon to pay from 10 per cent, to 15 per cent, higher duty on- their explosives than miners in non-gaseous and metalliferous mines, in which explosives not on the permitted list may be used. Some of the collieries in the Newcastle district are non-gaseous, and therefore miners are not" obliged to use safety lamps 'or explosives that are on the permitted list, whereas in other mines where gas is present, only "permitted" explosives carrying a higher rate of duty must be used. I speak with some feeling on this subject, because I have been right through the mill myself, and I know what it means. I am afraid of something happening almost every day, and I urge on the Government the need for immediate action to test explosives. The first step should be the erection of a testing station. If the Committee accepts the Senate's request it will be doing a great injustice to those engaged in the coal-mining industry. But there is a distinction again, because, in the metalliferous mines, less is paid for the explosives used than must be paid for the explosives permitted to be used in coal mines. It would appear that those working in the dangerous mines are specially marked out for unfair treatment. It is obvious that some one interested has gained the ear of the Senate, and succeeded in having the request made. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- If the honorable member will consult *Hansard* he will learn that the wording of the Senate's request was specifically proposed by the Minister for Defence **(Senator Pearce).** {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- Could not Sena- tor Pearce have been influenced just as might any other member of the Senate? I repeat that the request originated with some one personally interested. If the Minister for Defence had known how its acceptance *would* be applied, he would not have moved as he did. The suggested amendment was undoubtedly inspired by somebody interested in the explosives industry. A tale was pitched, and the Senate " swallowed " it. I hope the Committee will stand by its original decision. I have a return before me which indicates the quantity of explosives imported during last year from South Africa and Great Britain. The figures reveal that very little is _ manufactured in Australia. The sole purp'ose of the request is to cloak, the Combine existing in Great Britain, but since the position is exactly the same as when this Committee originally considered the matter, I hope that no amendment will be agreed to. {: #debate-16-s73 .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS:
Melbourne Ports -- All those who know anything of the horrors of mining accidents will agree that if the only safe explosive manufactured were that produced by black labour it certainly should be used in preference to any other. I am not less interested in the Welfare of Australian miners than other honorable members; but, so far as the attitude of the coal miners is concerned, I am confident that with them it is a question, not of safety, but of cost. Representatives of the Explosives Employees Union laid their case before the coal-miners in writing, but the whole of the argument advanced in reply was based on the question of the cost of the Australian article. **Mr. Willis,** secretary of the Miners Federation, said, without making any effort to hide his position, " We intend to get our explosives as cheaply as we can." Not one, word was said about preference for one make as against another on the ground of safety. Is one to believe that all the mining accidents throughout the world have occurred because Australian explosives were used ? It would be foolish to advance such an explanation. The fact is that most of the great tragedies of the mines have been inevitable, no matter what may have been the make of explosive used. I emphasize that the question is one of cost, and not, primarily, of *Customs Tariff* [10 November, 1921.] *Bill.* 12643 safety. The positionwould he altogether different if the mine-owner paid for the explosives. The coal-miner, just like every other individual, is out to make the most money he can get for the work which he performs, and, if he can save a little in the purchase of his explosives, he will do so. Why should not that be admitted by the coal-miners' representatives in this Chamber? An advocate of the White Australia policy who prefers to use an imported explosive, made by black labour, becauseit is cheaper than that made by white Australian workmen, is not a true White Australian at heart. The coal-miners themselves admit that, if the owners paid for the explosives, they would not care very much where the material came from so long as it was up to standard. It is obvious that even amongst members of the working community there is just as much selfishness and self-interest as exists among the employing classes. {: #debate-16-s74 .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN:
Hindmarsh .- I support, whole-heartedly, the amendment which has been submitted by the honorable member for Maribyrnong (Mr.Fenton). The honorable member for Hunter **(Mr. Charlton)** has urged to-night that the safety of the miners who use explosives should be our first consideration. There is no one more anxious than the honorable member for Maribyrnong, myself, and others, who desire to further the interests of the Australian industry, that every precaution should be taken to insure their safety. That consideration is of paramount importance, and if I felt that the lives of the miners would be endangered by the use of Australian explosives, I would not support the amendment. But what are the facts? The honorable member for Hunter has said that specially' packed boxes of explosives made in Australia might be sent to the testing station in the Old Country, and that satisfactory tests could thus be obtained. As a matter of fact, I am given to understand that it is not the explosives themselves, but the formula used in their manufacture, that is tested. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- The honorable member is entirely wrong. There is a shooting gallery especially erected at the testing sation for the purpose of firing these explosives. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- I have great respect for the honorable member and for the knowledge he possesses of the coal-mining industry, but I think I am entitled to place before the Committee information which I, in common with other honorable members, have received from those who are engaged in the industry here as to the procedure that is followed in the testing of explosives. Surely we may look to them to advise us on such a matter! {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- The information, at all events, is not correct. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- Then it would be in teresting to learn what is the exact procedure followed, and I look to the officers of the Department to supply us with authoritative information on this subject. Whatever may be the procedure in regard to the testing of Australian explosives, that adopted in the testing of the South African product is exactly the same. There is more likelihood of fair and honest dealing in the Australian industry than in connexion with an industry carried on in some other country. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- That would be so if we had a testing station here. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- There is no testing station in South Africa. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- No; the South African explosives have to be sent to the Old Country for testing purposes. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- That being so, no advantage can be claimed for the South African explosives as against those produced in this country. The only thing that can be said in favour of the South African product- is that because of the cheap-labour conditions in the industry there the coal-winners of Australia are able to obtain cheaper explosives, but they can obtain them only at the expense of those engaged in the Australian industry. As one who desires at all times to support Australian industries and to assist those engaged in them, I cannot vote to give an , advantage to imports from a country where the industrial conditions are inferior to those which obtain here. The arguments which the Honorable member for Hunter has advanced in opposition to these duties might have been urged with equal force in connexion with other items for which he has voted, notwithstanding that considerably higher duties are imposed under them. The request 12644 *Customs Tariff[* REPRESENTATIVES.] *Bill.* made by the Senate, however, would not suit the miners whom the honorable member represents. I recognise that he has a right to endeavour to give effect to their desires, but as I have neither coal-miners nor employees of an explosives factory in my electorate, I can take an entirely unprejudiced view of this matter; and as one who desires to foster Australian industry, and so to provide new avenues of employment for our own people, I shall support the amendment. {: #debate-16-s75 .speaker-KZA} ##### Mr WEST:
East Sydney .- I offer no apology for rising to address the Committee at this late hour. I have endeavoured to ascertain what procedure is followed in regard to the testing of explosives. I find that explosives are manufactured in Australia in accordance with the British formula; that the manufactured article is sent to Great Britain for testing purposes, and that analyses are made there to determine whether they are in accordance with the formula which has been supplied. A test is made, and if it proves satisfactory the explosives are passed. The same course is followed in regard to all explosives, whether they are to be used in the United Kingdom or Australia. There can be no question that the Australian explosives are the product of white labour, whereas for the most part the imported explosives are made by coloured labour. For something like sixteen or eighteen years. I was a representative of the coal-miners on the Trades and Labour Council of New South Wales, and from what I know of them I am convinced that they would be prepared to give a preference to the product , of white labour, even if that would involve the payment of slightly increased prices for their explosives. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr Fenton: -- The importers will take it out of them. if the local industry is wiped out. {: .speaker-KZA} ##### Mr WEST: -- Quite so. As Protectionists we have said over and over again that the imposition of a duty in respect of any commodity, does not necessarily mean an increased price for that commodity. We have been penalized by importers in the absence of local competition. Did we not try a few years ago to get the people of Australia to give this Parliament power to deal with monopolies ? Was not one of the reasons which we gave at that time for seeking power to deal with monopolies that Aus tralia hadnot advanced sufficiently to make it self-contained ? I feel that if the question of coloured labour is involved I must vote for a greater measure of protection in order to give work to the Australian people. I know the honorable member for Hunter **(Mr. Charlton)** is naturally sympathetic with the cause of the miners. He is human, and is subject to votes. I also am subject to votes. The vote I will give, and I think the vote that should be given should be designed to keep within Australia the production of explosives, and to exclude the products of coloured labour, with which Australia cannot compete. I do not speak disrespectfully of a man because he is coloured, but I am afraid that if Australia encourages him to send his products here, the workers of Australia may have to come down to his level. Instead of that, it should be our object to lift him to our level. I feel that the Committee should not hurry this matter through. The Government should give members at least an opportunity to consider whether miners should have cheap explosives the product of coloured labour, or should pay a little more for the product of Australian white labour. My feelings are very strong on the point. It is now more than fifty years sinceI first struck out in favour of Protection and a White Australia. I felt then that I was doing the right thing, and I feel now that I did the right thing. I cannot vote except to make Australia self -contained and to continue the White Australia policy. . This bold policy has made Australia famous throughout the world, and I think the people of other countries are in agreement with us on this point. Question - That the motion (Mr. Fenton's) be agreed to - put. The Committee divided. AYES: 18 NOES: 27 Majority . . 9 AYES NOES *Customs Tariff* [10 November, 1921.] *Bill.* 12645 Question so resolved in the negative. Motion negatived. Motion (by **Mr. Greene)** agreed to - >That the requested amendment be not made Item 402- >Hair and fibre, curled, suitable for upholstering purposes. . . . > > *Senate's Request.-* Insert new sub-item " (b) Kapok, per lb., British, 4d. ; intermediate, 6d.; general,6d." {: #debate-16-s76 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I believe that the intention of the Senate was, by this means, to do something to assist the wool-growing industry in Australia, honorable senators thinking that the wool could be teased up and used for bedding. {: .speaker-KI9} ##### Mr Livingston: -- So it can. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I am not at all satisfied from the information I have been able to gather since this matter first came up that the wool in Australia would be a satisfactory substitute for kapok for bedding purposes; on the contrary, I think it would in all probability be found very unsatisfactory. I do not think that the proposal of the Senate would assist materially in utilizing the surplus coarse wools for which there is now no use. Under the circumstances, the duty would, in my opinion, merely prove a heavy tax, which would result in the collection of a considerable amount of revenue; and this is not an item on which we ought to collect revenue.For that reason I move - >That the requested amendment be not made. Motion agreed to. Item 403- >Manures, free. > > *Senate's Request.* - Amend item to make it read - > >Manures - > >Superphosphates manufactured within the British Empire from rock phosphate produced within the British Empire, including any territory administered under mandate by any part of the British Empire, free. > >N.E.I., ad val., British, 10 per cent.; intermediate, 15 per cent.; general, 25 per cent. {: #debate-16-s77 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 .- I move - >That the requested amendment be made with the following modifications: - > >Sub-item (b). - Insert after " (b) *"* the word "superphosphates," and add new sub-item: - "(c) N.E.I., free." The intention of the Senate in dealing with the question of superphosphates was to make superphosphates manufactured within the British Empire - whether in Canada, South Africa, Great Britain, or any other part - if the rock phosphate wasproduced within the Empire, or any Territory administered under mandate by any part of the Empire, free. But the Senate's intention was that superphosphates, n.e.i. - that is, manufactured outside the British Empire - should be subject to duties of 10, 15, and 25 per cent. If we left the item as the Senate sends it to us, manures. n.e.i., would come under those rates of duties. That we do not wish to do; and I am quite certain that was not the intention of the Senate. {: .speaker-KHG} ##### Mr Hill: -- Have there everbeen superphosphates imported here from within the Empire? {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- Yes. Mr.Hill.- When? {: #debate-16-s78 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- In days gone by. I can assure the honorable member that I have gone into this matter very carefully, and I have sources of information that possibly he has not. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- We used to use Law's superphosphates, from the United Kingdom. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- That is so. There are other parts of the Empire where superphosphates are being manufactured now, which can' undoubtedly compete with the superphosphates manufactured 12646 *Customs Tariff* [REPRESENTATIVES.] *Bill.* here ; but we propose no duty on those. We do ask for a duty on superphosphates made outside the British Empire. {: .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr Prowse: -- Did superphosphates cease to come here without a Tariff? {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- Of course, everybody knows that the superphosphates within Australia have been practically taking care of the Australian production for a long time past. {: .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr Prowse: -Let them continue to do so. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- Honorable members know what the real intention of the proposal is. It is to prevent our superphosphate works and deposits on Ocean Island and Nauru Island being subject to Japanese competition. That is the whole story. I have been perfectly frank with the "Committee. We have large deposits in those islands, and we wish to see our Australian works there using up those deposits, because it is only by Australia taking her full quota from "the islands that we can reap the true benefit we ultimately anticipate from the possession of them. {: .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr Prowse: -- Would it not be time enough when Japan enters into competition ? {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- We are so providing that when the competition does come the duty will be there. That is the sole intention of this proposal. {: .speaker-KDZ} ##### Mr Jowett: -- Sub-item a provides for the free admission of phosphates, whereas sub-item b provides for 10, 15, and 25 per cent. duties. If superphosphates are free, what is the use of the preference? {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The condition is that the superphosphates must be produced from rock phosphate produced within the Empire, and the intention of the Senate was to make other phosphates dutiable. {: .speaker-KDZ} ##### Mr Jowett: -- Even if produced within the Empire? Mr.GREENE. - Even if produced within the Empire, provided the rock phosphate itself was won from without the British Empire. I am satisfied that the Senate did not intend to make other manures dutiable, nor do we. It is therefore necessary to make the modifications of the Senate's request which I have mentioned. 'Some honorable members have raised doubt as to the possibility of superphosphates being imported from places other than those within the British Empire. I can give figures of the importations in 1913 before the war. In that year the United Kingdom sent us 184,273 cwt. of superphosphates, Japan sent us 221,231 cwt., and Germany 114,600 cwt-. {: .speaker-KHG} ##### Mr Hill: -- Was that superphosphate or basic phosphate? {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I am quoting from the official statement of imports, item 685, page 221 of the document, table No. 2, importations in 1913 into Australia, and these figures are given under the heading, " Superphosphates." There can be no question that these importations were superphosphates. I propose that importations from Britain should be admitted free; but I admit that, under my proposal, superphosphates imported from Japan or Germany would be dutiable. That will be the position under the modification of the Senate's request, to which I am asking the Committee to agree. We have two objects to serve in this connexion. Honorable members are no doubt aware that the arrangements made cover the working of the phosphatic deposits in both Nauru and Ocean Island. We desire to secure that, as far as possible, superphosphates used in Australia shall be drawn from those sources. The greater the quantity we draw from those islands the greater the benefit we shall reap from them. At present the Commission operating them have to carry heavy amortization charges, and it will be some time before they will be worked off, and we can obtain the full benefit of the possession of the islands referred to. The greater the quantity of superphosphate we get from outside, the smaller will be the extent to which we shall draw upon our own deposits, and the longer it must be before we can secure the full benefit of their possession. The Government are anxious, naturally, to protect our position in Nauru and Ocean Islands. The Commission handling the rock phosphates of the islands has to pay interest and sinking fund on the purchase, and it is to-day, in addition, building up a reserve fund from which it is proposed toerect improved handling appliances, which will result in the rock phosphates being delivered into the. ships very much more rapidly than is possible under existing *Customs Tariff* [10 November, 1921.] *Bill.* 12647 circumstances. This is very desirable, because the greater the demurrage on ships in loading, the more the expense of bringing the rock phosphates to Australia. The more custom we can throw in the way of the Commission by drawing all our supplies of rock phosphates from those islands the better, and everything is being done to secure that end. I repeat that to all intents and purposes the only superphosphate that will be really dutiable under the item, if modified as I propose, will be Japanese superphosphate, and, possibly, also German superphosphate. As we renew trading relations with Germany there may be a certain amount coming from there. With the exception of superphosphates from those two countries, I do not think any imported will be dutiable. Reference has been made to basic phosphate, and I am satisfied that that will fall under the proposed sub-item which will cover manures, n.e.i. {: #debate-16-s79 .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr WATKINS:
Newcastle .- I do not propose to detain the Commitee, but it appears to me that if we accept the request in the modified form proposed by the Minister **(Mr. Greene)** we might just as well admit all superphosphates free. He proposes that superphosphates, n.e.i., should be dutiable at 10, 15, and 25 per cent., and he then proposes that manures, n.e.i., shall be free. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- That will cover only manures other than superphosphate. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr WATKINS: -- But it does not matter how the dog is killed. Those manures will come into competition with superphosphates. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- No; they cannot compete with superphosphates. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr WATKINS: -- It seems to me that if we desire to protect the manure industry we must make imported manures dutiable. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- Superphosphate cannot be replaced by anything else. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr WATKINS: -- I admit that I am not an expert in this matter; but if manures other than phosphates are admitted free I can see no advantage in making superphosphates dutiable under certain circumstances. {: .speaker-KAY} ##### Mr Gibson: -- The other manures are used only for special purposes. {: #debate-16-s80 .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr PROWSE:
Swan .- I had hoped that the Minister for Trade and Customs **(Mr. Greene)** would give us a clean sheet on this item. He has admitted that there is no fear that this country will be rushed in the future, any more than it has been in the past, with foreign superphosphates. He proposes to put up a wall in anticipation of something that is not likely to occur, but behind that wall Combines that are already receiving much more than they should receive for the manures they supply to Australian farmers will be able to reap further advantage. I want a division on the motion, because I am expecting the honorable member for Newcastle **(Mr. Watkins)** and the honorable member for Hunter (Mr: Charlton) to vote with me. I could quote a schedule of arguments which they have used in support of the position I take up on this item. They would be very interesting. The honorable member for Maribyrnong **(Mr. Fenton)** should sympathize with us in this matter, because a little while ago he was flogging a dead horse ; though he is not often in that position. There is nothing of more importance to the primary producers than a supply of superphosphates, which is the foundation of successful agriculture. We were told, when the duty on explosives was being discussed, that it had the effect of increasing the price of explosives; that these were purchased by the miner, and therefore the increase in the price affected him and not the coal-owner, and he was not disposed to hear it. Similarly, I say that the farmer is not disposed to bear the proposed increase in the price of manures. Japan has been too sensible to send manures here. Her territory is much smaller' than Australia., and her population very much larger than ours, so that she needs all the manure that she can put into her soil to increase its productivity. When Australia secured an interest in Nauru, it was expected that our primary producers would obtain superphosphates more cheaply; but we have never been told at what figure the phosphatic rock is broken down, or what are the shipping freights, or the interest and sinking fund charges. We should have information on these matters, and everything possible should be done to give the farmers cheaper manure. Before the war. superphosphates cost £4 2s. 6d. per ton in Western Australia, and today they cost £6 15s. a ton, and have no more manurial value. {: .speaker-KAY} ##### Mr Gibson: -- Not so much. {: .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr PROWSE: -- The produce grown by the farmers who use these superphosphates is now being sold at pre-war rates, so that their margin of profit is very much lower than it was. The farmers might rightfully look for a decrease of £2 12s. 6d. in the price of superphosphates, but if the proposed duties are imposed, the Combine which controls the trade will penalize the men on the land by keeping the price of superphosphates at what it is now. When this market was open to Japan and to Germany, our farmers did not deal with those countries for superphosphates, but got their supplies from local companies, and they could be trusted to continue to do so. When the division takes place, it will be seen who are the real Australians. No industry is more important to this country than that of the primary producer. Fertilizers are used not only for the growing of wheat and oats, but also for the growing of other crops, and they can be appliedwith advantage to grass fields. We hear of the ships that are lying idle". Why cannot some of them be used to reduce freights and to bring down prices ? If superphosphates were cheaper, our land would produce more. Cheap manures would be the greatest blessing Australia could have. In my opinion, there should be no duty on manures. {: #debate-16-s81 .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON:
Maribyrnong -- Apparently it is desired by some honorable members that this country shall be subjected to the same kind of competition in regard to superphosphates as it has to meet in regard to explosives, the competition of the black-labour product of South Africa. There are in Australia eleven superphosphateworks,two being in New South Wales, four in Victoria, three in South Australia, and twoin Western Australia. About £3,000,000 has been invested in the business of making superphosphates,which gives direct employment to 2,000 men, and about 400,000 tons of superphosphates are produced annually. It is proposed that superphosphates manufacturedwithin the British Empire shall come here free, and, as honorable members are aware, South Africa is within the Empire. The production of superphosphates in Japan in 1914 was equal to 514,000 tons, and the capacity of their production in 1921 is equal to 1,100,000 tons per annum. According to information supplied to me, the Cape Explosives Works are completing a factory capable of producing 70,000 tons of superphosphates per annum, although the local requirements are approximately less than one-half of that quantity. What are they to do with the remaining 35,000 tons? {: .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr Prowse: -- It will be used for local requirements. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- The honorable member is a Free Trader, and I am surehe realizes that there is every possibility of superphosphates produced by black labour coming into competition with the local product. If the Minister is in possession of this information he is not acting fairly in the interests of Australia. It is just as bad to use superphosphates manufactured by black labour as it is to use axplosives, and it is just as bad to utilize a product of South Africa in this direction as it is the superphosphates produced under cheap labour conditions in Japan. Our superphosphate manufacturers have no protection in this connexion, because South Africa is within the British Empire. I do not know whether the proposed Tariff Board will make certain recommendations to the Minister in the hope of rescuing some of our industries from competition with cheap labour countries. Up to the present there has been a number of promises, but very little action. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWilliams: -- We have not seen much of it yet. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- The honorable member heard me state that the works are only in course of erection, and he surely knows that coloured labour enters very largely into the production of any commodity in that country, whether it is in mining coal, gold, diamonds, or in the manufacture of explosives or superphosphates. We have a right to protect the manufacturers of superphosphates in Australia, and the workers engaged: in those factories from the cheap labour competition with South Africa. This aspect of the question should be very carefully considered. I do not know what the Minister intends doing, and I do not know whether he has been primed with these facts. It seems extraordinary that information of this character should be available to a. private member, and that it should not be in the possession of the Minister. If he has been informed, and *in* face of these facts1 is prepared to give the local manufacturers away to this extent, he is recreant to the best interests of the community. During the war, Australian manufacturers sold superphosphates at an average of £6 per ton, whilst other countries were selling at from £15 to £20 per ton. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- That is rubbish! {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- The honorable member for Wakefield said yesterday, when discussing the duties on sulphur - and rightly so, too - that he believed the phosphate manufacturers of Australia treated the Australian users in a very reasonablemanner during the war period. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- Of course I did. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- And in a, better manner than manufacturers in other parts of the world. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWilliams: -- The wheat-growers treated the public fairly well. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- I am quite open to receive information in that regard. The honorable member for Balaclava **(Mr. Watt)** said certain manufacturers did not treat the Australian public as fairly as they ought to have done; but, notwithstanding the figures he quoted, I believe the phosphate manufacturers did treat the users of that commodity justly. This new factory in South Africa is not being established for fun. It may be connected with' a company already established here, or it may be another name for the De Beers Combine. According to the Minister's proposition, manures manufactured within the Empire are to be admitted free, irrespective of the labour conditions. As far as practicable, I intend to support the policy of trading within the Empire; but, if there are conditions in any part of the Empire which are inimical to the best interests of the Australian workers, I shall fight strenuously against such competition. {: .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr Prowse: -- Does not Australian wheat have to compete against that grown by black labour? {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- There is no black labour competition in Australia. We can only protect the Australian wheat-grower within Australia. {: .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr Prowse: -- What of India? {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- Does wheat come here from India? {: .speaker-KDZ} ##### Mr Jowett: -- Australian wheat enters into competition with that grown in all parts of the world. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- I am speaking of competition in Australia. {: .speaker-KDZ} ##### Mr Jowett: -- We have to sell our wheat in the world's market. The CHAIRMAN (Hon. J. M. Chanter) . - Order ! I ask the honorable member to address the Chair. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- As I have received this information, I think it my duty to submit it to the Minister. If a majority of honorable members are prepared to support him in the proposal he is submitting they will take the blame, and enable him to fall back on the excuse or explanation that he was supported by a majority in passing an item which did not give protection to the white workers in the superphosphate industry against the product of South Africa, which is handled by black labour. {: #debate-16-s82 .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr PROWSE:
Swan .- If the Minister **(Mr. Greene)** should succeed with his amendment I cannot move in the direction I desire. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The vote will be a test. {: .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr PROWSE: -- But that will not allow me to move in the direction I desire. Can I give notice of an amendment at this juncture, **Mr. Chairman?** The. CHAIRMAN. - I do not know what the honorable member proposes. {: .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr PROWSE: -- I desire to move an amendment at the proper time to provide that all superphosphates shall be admitted free. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- That would negative the request of the Senate. I am proposing that the requested amendment be made, with certain modifications. The proposed amendment of the honorable member is a direct negative. {: .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr PROWSE: -- I am desirous of moving that the Senate's request be not agreed to. I see no reason for departing from the proposal originally adopted, because artificial manures are now 50 per cent. higher than they were when the last Tariff was passed. I cannot see any reason why the request of the Senate should be acceded to. {: #debate-16-s83 .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- There is no necessity for the honorable member to move the amendment; he can vote against the motion. {: .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr PROWSE: -- If we defeat the Minister's proposed modification, the Senate's request will stand. Shall I then be able to move another amendment ? {: .speaker-10000} ##### The CHAIRMAN: -- If the Minister's proposed modification is defeated, the honorable member may move a further amendment; but if the Minister's proposal is agreed to, that will be final. {: #debate-16-s84 .speaker-KHG} ##### Mr HILL:
Echuca .- The Minister **(Mr. Greene)** has not advanced any reason for proposing to accede to the Senate's request. When the matter was before the Committee a few months ago, we decided that there should be no duties upon manures. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I told the Committee at the time that I was trying to find a means of protecting the Nauru and Ocean Island deposits, and that I would seek to impose that protection in another place. {: .speaker-KHG} ##### Mr HILL: -- I recognise the necessity for developing the Nauru and Ocean Island deposits, hut the only justification for imposing a duty on superphosphates is that we have already agreed to impose a. duty on sulphur. Two wrongs do not make a right. We were wrong in the first instance in putting a duty on sulphur, and now we are to perpetrate another wrong by imposing duties on superphosphates. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The arrangement will practically mean throwing the industry open to competition from abroad, which will prevent the phosphate companies in Australia from taking any undue advantage. At the same time, we shall get security from competition from one or two sources, which, if it developed, would materially affect our own deposits at Naurn and Ocean Island. {: .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr Prowse: -- Nauru Island was acquired for the purpose of obtaining cheap manure {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- That is what we are trying to get. {: .speaker-KHG} ##### Mr HILL: -- The Farmers Co-operative Company is not afraid of outside competition. Australian labour is as efficient as labour in other parts of the world ; we are prepared to pay white labour at white labour rates, and to install the best machinery and handling plant. We believe we can compete with the outside world, and are not afraid of the Japanese or any othercompetitors. In answer to inquiries we made recently, we were informed that Japanese superphosphates cannot be landed in Australia at less than £10 per ton. Japanese manufacturers have no earthly chance of competing at that price. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I think the honorable member's information is very wide of the mark. {: .speaker-KHG} ##### Mr HILL: -- It was received only last week, and I believe it to be absolutely correct. I am entirely opposed to the imposition of any duty on superphosphates. Question - That the requested amendment be made with modifications - put. The Committee divided. AYES: 29 NOES: 10 Majority .. ..19 Machinery specially designed and adapted for use in any university or public educational institution for the purposes of instruction to students only, ad val., British, free; intermediate, free; general, 20 per cent. *Senate's Request.* - Add to the item the following words : - " or in any public hospital, provided such machinery cannot reasonably be manufactured within the Commonwealth, as prescribed by departmental by-laws." AYES NOES {: #debate-16-s85 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I move - >That the requested amendment foe made. The effect of this alteration is to add public hospitals to the institutions mentioned, subject to a proviso that such machinery cannot be reasonably manufactured within the Commonwealth. I think that meets the desire of the hospitals, and brings this item into line with a number of similar items in various parts of the Tariff. {: #debate-16-s86 .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- I would like to have some information with regard to the 20 per cent. duty suggested as the general Tariff. The fact that machinery of this class is necessary in educational institutions and public hospitals should surely relieve them of being asked to contribute to the revenue of the Commonwealth, no matter from what source the machinery comes. I have in mind special forms of electrical apparatus, which are in many cases patented, and are manufactured only in certain countries, not being obtainable from any. other countries. {: #debate-16-s87 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- There are quite a number of items that have been treated in this way. The reason is that, during the war, it was found that Great Britain's supply of scientific apparatus was deficient, and also during the war she built up her industries in this regard to a very material degree. It was decided, in view of the great difficulties Great Britain experienced, to endeavour under this Tariff to do something to further develop the manufacture of scientific instruments and machinery. This amendment does not go quite so far as one or two others have. The Senate has added public hospitals to sub-item a, but there is a further sub-item c, which reads - >Machinery specially designedand adapted for use in any university for the purposes of instruction to students only, or in any public hospital; of a quality or kind which cannot be reasonably manufactured or produced within the Commonwealth or in the United Kingdom, as prescribed by departmental bylaws, on and after 8th July, 1921, British, free; intermediate, free; general,free. That is to say, the preference to Great Britain would only apply to those cases where this particular class of machinery can be obtained in the United Kingdom. Ifitis a special machine, which cannot be procured in the United Kingdom, then under sub-itemc it may be admitted free. Motion agreed to. Item 422- >And on and after 8th July, 1921 - > >Thermit and other welding compounds, case-hardening cements, ad. val., British, 20 per cent.; intermediate, 25 per cent.; general, 30 per cent. > > *Senate'sRequest.* - Insert after the word " case-hardening " the words "mixtures, compounds, and ". {: #debate-16-s88 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- This is a formal amendment, which simply makes perfectly clear for departmental purposes what is intended. I move - >That the requested amendment be made. Motion agreed to. Item 422- > *Senate'sRequest.* - Insert new sub-item - > >Manganese ore, ad val., British, 5 per cent.; intermediate, 15 per cent.; general, 20 per cent. {: #debate-16-s89 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The Senate has asked us to consent to the inclusion of a new sub-item relating to manganese ore. It will be known that there are very rich deposits of manganese ores in Australia, and the miners of it are entitled to the amount of protection suggested. I move - That the requested amendment be made. Motion agreed to. *Sitting suspended from 12.15 to 1.15 a.m. (Friday).* Item 424- >Vessels, including all fittings imported therewith, viz. : - > >And on and after 1st January. 1923- > >Vessels, n.e.i., trading Intra-State or Inter-State, or otherwise employed in Australian waters for any continuous period of three months, ad val., British, 25 per cent.; intermediate. 30 per cent. ; general, 35 per cent. *Senate's Request.* - Leave out " 1923 " and insert "1925" in lieu thereof. {: #debate-16-s90 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The Senate has requested that the date of the deferred duty on vessels be altered from 1923 to 1925, and as I understand that many steamers have been ordered abroad, which necessarily cannot be delivered for some considerable time yet, I propose to meet the situation by making the duty applicable in 1924. I move - >That the requested amendment be made, but modified as follows : - > >Leave out " 1925" and insert "1924", and add at the end of the sub-item the words " excepting vessels exceeding 500 tons gross register ordered before the 11th November, 1921." This is a reasonable compromise. The addition of the words mentioned will admit free of duty up to any date all vessels ordered prior to the present date, whether they are completed by the 1st January, 1924, or not. {: #debate-16-s91 .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr WATKINS:
NEWCASTLE, NEW SOUTH WALES · ALP; FLP from 1931 -- Deferred duties have generally been imposed in anticipation of the establishment of an industry, but the shipbuilding industry, commenced practically at the invitation of the Commonwealth Government, has already got a footing in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania. When the Commonwealth Government laid out its shipbuilding programme, the New South Wales Government spent thousands of pounds in fitting up one of the best yards and workshops in Australia for the purpose, and was thus able to meet the demand for ships during the war ; but now, with the discontinuance of Commonwealth orders, those yards are, as far as shipbuilding is, concerned, idle. I understand that practically the same conditions apply at. Williamstown, in the Commonwealth yards. We brought expert shipbuilders here and trained our own workmen in the art of shipbuilding. The work they have done on the vessels already completed compares more than favorably with similar work done elsewhere. It has also been carried out very expeditiously, six 5,000-ton vessels having been built in New South Wales in two years. It is true that there is at present a slump in shipping, and that tonnage can be bought cheaper than it can be built in Australia, but the workmanship in the vessels so acquired will not be of the quality that has been put into vessels built by our own workmen in Australia, who are now at the mercy of the competition of the world. I do not wish to bring under the drag-net of Customs taxation any vessels ordered prior to this date, but I think the Minister **(Mr. Greene)** is making a mistake in fixing the date at 1924 before making it operative in respect of other ships. {: .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr Prowse: -- Do not worry. We are not going to build any more. Our ships are being laid up out here. {: #debate-16-s92 .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr WATKINS: -- If we are not going to build any more ships, then the fixing of the date does not matter at all. Ships are laid up all over the world. The Commonwealth Government encouraged outside business firms to spend huge sums of money in establishing shipbuilding yards, and even if the Government are not going to build ships themselves, these people have a right to consideration. The various companies whose ships are trading around our coast, and who get their trade from Australians, should be patriotic enough to provide employment for Australian workmen who have been trained in the business. I trust that the Minister will adhere to the original date, 1923 {: #debate-16-s93 .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWILLIAMS:
Tasmania -- If the duties are imposed there will be an addition of 5s. in the £1 in the cost of all vessels. The statement made by the Prime Minister **(Mr. Hughes)** that 11,000.000 tons of shipping are lying idle in different parts of the world, but chiefly in Great Britain and America, is no exaggeration of the position. I agree with the honorable member for Newcastle **(Mr. Watkins)** that the quality of work on vessels built in Australia is of the very highest order; but the cost of these ships is roughly £30 per ton, whereas first-class boats may be bought to-day at from £7 to £10 per ton. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- But not the same quality of vessel. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWILLIAMS: -- I am not saying anything about the quality of the vessels. It is generally admitted that first-class boats, up to 5,000 tons dead weight, may be bought in Great Britain up to £10 per ton. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- Secondhand ships. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWILLIAMS: -- Some of them are very good vessels indeed. If honorable members will peruse Lloyd's *Shipping Register,* the *Motor Ship, Fairplay,* or any other publication dealing with the shipping of the world, they will find that fully 11,000,000 tons of shipping are hung up in various parts of the world. We have a number of Commonwealth ships lying idle in our own ports, and may I interpolate here that, whilst our own shipping is held up for want of cargo, the Wheat Corporation have not yet been able to secure freightage in any of the Commonwealth vessels? {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- Is that statement correct ? {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWILLIAMS: -- According to information supplied to me, the Wheat Corporation are shipping a considerable quantity of wheat in other vessels, but up to the present have not been able to secure a Commonwealth charter. I do not know the reason. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- That suggests a boycott of Commonwealth vessels. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- Whom does the honorable member blame? {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWILLIAMS: -- I am not attributing blame to anybody; but I thought the honorable member would like to know the position. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- I think we ought to know it. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWILLIAMS: -- No man in his senses would think of investing his capital in a business venture for the construction of ships, which will take at least twelve months to get into commission, at a capital cost of about £30 per ton when very good vessels may be bought at up to £10 per ton. Owing to an unfortunate set of circumstances during the last couple of years all round the Australian coastline, a large number of small trading vessels have been lost. The capital cost of our own boats to-day, compared with' pre-war rates, shows an increase of 285 per cent.; and if we further increase the price by imposing duties that are equivalent to another 5s. in the £1, we shall be doing an in jury to those who use the ships. The effect of continuing to build ships at the price which one is compelled to pay to-day is practically to impose a levy by way of unduly heavy freights upon produce shipped from Australia and goods imported. Such a policy is a mistake. Honorable members must be convinced that the imposition of the proposed duty will not encourage the laying down of one keel in Australia. An error will be committed, therefore, if this 25 per cent. is added to the capital cost of ships, which must continue to carry the extra burden during the whole period of their running in commission. If there is one thing Australia requires to-day it is cheap freights; but we cannot have low freights and high capital costs, with heavy running charges. We are not in a position to deal with running charges ; but if capital cost is added to by the burden of this uncalled-for duty, the position becomes more than ever serious for the Commonwealth. It is a bad state of affairs that Commonwealth vessels should be gathering barnacles and their crews paid off while Australian produce is being shipped away in other bottoms. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- Due to the boycott of the Commonwealth Line. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWILLIAMS: -- That is not so. {: .speaker-KDZ} ##### Mr Jowett: -- It is because the line is working in with the Shipping Ring, and will not reduce its freights. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWILLIAMS: -- Persons engaged in the export trade would be only too glad to employ the cargo space on Commonwealth vessels if they could secure it at anything like the same rates as may be obtained in respect of other ships. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- Surely the freight rates are the same. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWILLIAMS: -I do not wish, to go into that matter now. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- If the situation is as serious as the honorable member suggests, he should take imperative action at the earliest possible moment. He should bring the facts before the country. It is very unfair that seamen should be paid off and Commonwealth vessels allowed to rot while there is freight to be carried. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWILLIAMS: -- It is. {: .speaker-KDZ} ##### Mr Jowett: -- All due to the Commonwealth Line working with the Shipping Ring in fixing freight rates. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWILLIAMS: -- I want to see ships built in Australia. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- It does not look like it. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWILLIAMS: -- The honorable member is misjudging me. Does he think that the imposition of a duty of 25 per cent. will encourage the laying down of a single keel? The building of a vessel in Australia will cost about £35 per ton, and will take many months to complete, but any one can cable to England and purchase a ship at less than half the cost and have her placed in commission forthwith. This item of the Tariff is intended to secure revenue, pure and simple. 1 emphasize that the effect of the 25 per cent, duty will be simply to add that proportion of cost to freight charges. {: #debate-16-s94 .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS:
Melbourne Ports -- The honorable member for Franklin **(Mr. Mcwilliams)** commented on the high running charges of shipping, and he stated that vessels could be bought for as low as £7 per ton. The honorable member should know that any ship which can be procured for even £10 per ton to-day is practically useless, since her engines have been worn out and the heart practically knocked out of her during the war period. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- That is not correct. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- I challenge the honorable member' to try to run one of them around the Australian coast. He would not secure a crew. These cheap and worn-out craft scarcely conform to the requirements of our Navigation Act. But if boats can be purchased at £10 per ton or less, the imposition of a duty of 25 per cent, would still make them relatively so cheap that they could be run here. That is to say, in actual cost, they could successfully compete in securing Australian freightage. Our own "Austral " Line is almost obsolete, but these other cheap ships are comparative- hulks. I think that an error was committed* in not imposing the duty from the date on which the Senate made its request. The outcome has been, no doubt, that the cables have been busily at work, and options have been secured over vessels in the Old Country in order that the duty may be evaded. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr Mcwilliams: -- I thought the honorable member said just now that these cheap ships could not be bought' in England ? {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- I did not say that, but that if they were purchased for as little as £10 per ton it would pay the buyers to bring them out to secure Australian trade, even in the face of a 25 per cent. duty. As . a matter of fact, the lowest price at which they will be able to secure vessels will probably be in the neighbourhood of £25 per ton. I cannot understand the purpose of the Government in fixing 1924 for the imposition of the duty. It is- not necessary that vessels should arive here before 1st January, 1924. They may come in free at any time, after that date, provided that they have been ordered before to-day. Is that not so? {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- If they were used oversea for a lengthy period and then brought here I should say " No " ; but if they were brought here immediately after they left the shipbuilding yards, they would come in free. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- Vessels ordered before to-day may come in free, even after 1st January, 1924. I know that it is useless to fight against the Minister's proposal, because he can defeat us, but I thought that an earnest effort was to be made to encourage shipbuilding in Australia. If the Ministry are not in earnest, then we must, perforce, accept what they offer us. I am, however, very much, disappointed. It seems to me that by the time this duty comes into operation such shipbuilding yards as we have carrying on operations to-day will have been closed down. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- I do not agree with the honorable member. We have to fight this question. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- But we are fighting, apparently, without hope of success. The Minister is making a mistake, and is not, in i this case, adhering to the Protective policy on which he set out. {: #debate-16-s95 .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr RICHARD FOSTER:
Wakefield -- I think that the Minister **(Mr. Greene),** having regard to the position of ship-owners in Australia, and their relation to war services, has made a fair proposal. It is unnecessary, at this stage, to talk about the ships that are tied up, because I gather from the statement of the Prime Minister **(Mr. Hughes)** that in the course of the next few days we shall have an opportunity to discuss that matter. I should have been dissatisfied if the Minister had been' less generous in his treatment of local shipowners. Having regard to the position occupied by them, not of their own choosing, but because of conditions that were forced on them owing to war responsibilities, and accepted generously, the Minister would have been unfair had he given them no opportunity to restore their fleets to their normal strength. In the interests of Australian shipping, the Minister has met the position. {: #debate-16-s96 .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 .- I regret that the Minister **(Mr. Greene)** has not seen his way to accept the Senate's request that these duties should not come into operation until 1st January, 1925. The necessity for the extension proposed by the Senate is revealed by an examination of the service of the North Coast Shipping Company of New South Wales, with which the Minister is familiar. That company serves a system of rivers and districts which have not been joined up with their markets by any railway, but are entirely dependent on steamer traffic. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I hope they will have a railway before 1924. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- I do not think we shall have a North Coast Railway before 1930. With the exception of a couple of roadsteads, all these rivers are cursed with bars, and this has necessitated a very special type of boat construction. Many attempts have been made to secure a satisfactory class of vessel for the service, but many that have been ordered have proved unsatisfactory for the work required of them on these rivers. The practice of the steam-ship company in question, as a result of the trouble it has experienced,has been to place its orders with special firms of shipbuilders in Scotland. At the present time the bulk of its fleet is largely worn out. It was unable to replace any of its steamers during the war, and it had the misfortune, a few months ago, to suffer a serious loss by the wreck of the *Wollonbar.* With these duties, combined with the huge increase in the cost of shipbuilding; the replacing of those of the company's steamers which need to be replaced within the next three or four years will entail a capital expenditure in excess of its total capital and reserves. The company cannot raise in these difficult times that additional capital within the short space of time fixed under the Minister's proposal so as to be able to proceed immediately with its building programme. It will take it some three years to place its orders. As an illustration of the increased cost of shipbuilding, I would point out that whereas the *Wollonbar* cost £83,000 to build some few years ago, a tender received recently for the construction of a similar vessel amounted to £163,000. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- Was not the *Wollonbar* & vessel of about 1,500 tons? {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- I think about 1,800 tons. The *Orara,* another of this company's vessels, is a special type with refrigerating space. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- It is impossible to buy these ships ; they must be specially built. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- Tenders obtained from Scotland for building a vessel of the *Orara* type fixed the cost at £120,000. Ten years ago the vessel would have cost £32,000 to build. A tender was also obtained from Walsh Island, which the company would be loath to accept, even at the same price as the Scottish tender, because of the difficulty that has been experienced in getting a proper design for building these vessels. The Walsh Island tender was £180,000, or £60,000 more than the cost in Scotland. That represents much more than 25 per cent. duty. The duty could not prevent the order being placed in Scotland. The cost- of the construction of these two boatsalone is equal to the present total capital of the company, which is regarded as being in a fairly large way of business. In addition, many other boats are necessary for the smaller rivers. The company's fleet is wearing out; some of the boats are twenty years old, and the bulk of them are fifteen years old. In these circumstances I would like to see the time for the imposition of the duty extended to 1925, or, at any rate, that some provision should be made whereby, if orders are placed before that time, the vessels will be allowed to come in. free of duty. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- That is what the Governmentis endeavouring to do. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- If the Minister will give us his assurance to that effect I think it will meet the case. Everybody in Australia is desirous of seeing the shipbuilding industry encouraged to the greatest possible extent. Unless some relief is provided the increased price caused by the duty will be a permanent charge during the life of each vessel not only on the producers and inhabitants of the Northern Rivers district, but on the consumers of the big industrial centres, and the imposition of the duty will not cause vessels to be built in Australia. The cost of the building of the *Orara* in Scotland, plus the duty, is £30,000 less than the tender received from Walsh Island. There is no possibility of work being done in Australia in these conditions. {: .speaker-K6S} ##### Mr Corser: -- When was the quotation received from Scotland ? {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- Within the last month or so. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- The Committee has a right to know what yards the quotations come from. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- From Walsh Island, in Australia, and from a yard in Scotland. I cannot name the yard in Scotland, hut it is the one in which the boats of the North Coast Company have been built. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I think it is the Greenock Yards. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- These vessels are the only means of communication and transport in the North Coast district, and I therefore ask the sympathetic consideration of the Committee in the matter. {: #debate-16-s97 .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN:
Hindmarsh -- I am surprised and astounded that the Minister for Trade and Customs **(Mr. Greene)** has compromised on this matter. If there is one particular industry that should receive special consideration at the hands of this Committee it is the shipbuilding industry. Surely our experience during war-time ought to have been sufficient to make us realize the perilous position that we place ourselves in by being dependent on other countries for ships to take our products to the other side of the world. The Minister, last March, very clearly indicated the necessity for the Commonwealth encouraging the local shipbuilding industry. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- There is no question about that. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- We want the Minister to act up to the feeling of interest which he demonstrated by his statement on thatoccasion. I am somewhat surprised at the limited vision and short memories of the members who sit on the Ministerial corner benches. In view of the difficulties met with in war-time in transporting the products of the farmer to the markets of the world, it is a. shorts-sighted policy on the part of Parliament not to do everything possible to prevent a repetition of those difficulties. I desire to give the members of this Committee the advantage of the statement made by the Minister. He said - >What was it that led to the waste of enormous quantities of primary products here? Was it not the fact that Australia had no shipping, due entirely to our past neglect to establish the shipbuilding industry, one of the greatest of the industries that any insular community should do its utmost to build up? Our neglect in this respect led to the parlous position in which Australia found itself, and caused our primary producers to suffer the loss of millions of pounds through being unable to ship their products to the markets of the world. Had we been in a position to build our own ships, and send our wheat abroad independent of the tonnage we could induce the British Government to send to us from time to time, the wheat-growers of Australia would have secured an infinitely better price throughout the war, and all the waste that took place would have been avoided. After the experience that was gained at so great a cost during the war this Committee ought not to fail to take heed of the lesson and to rectify what has been proved to be a serious oversight on the part of the Government. The honorable member for Franklin **(Mr. McWilliams)** said that there was obtainable to-day cheaper tannage than could previously be secured, and that it was possible to buy ships at a less price per ton than it was possible to build them for in Australia. To a very large extent these circumstances prove the fallacy of many of the provisions in the Peace Treaty, because the handing over of a number of vessels by Germany to the Allied countries meant that these vessels were left on the hands of the Allied Governments, who had to dispose of them at a cheaper rate than the price chargeable in the various ship-yards. As a result the German shipbuilders are going full steam ahead and are employed full time, while British and" Australian shipwrights are having to walk the streets. The honorable member for Franklin also made a suggestion that there was to-day a boycott of Australian freightage. {: .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWilliams: -- I never said that. What I said was that the Wheat Corporation had not secured any freightage in the Commonwealth steamers, and had made other arrangements with outside companies. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- And then some one said that there was a boycott ; and that is exactly what was predicted by the Prime Minister **(Mr. Hughes)** last July. Here is what the right honorable gentleman is reported as having said - {: type="i" start="1"} 0. . The oversea Shipping Combine had apparently set out to drive the Commonwealth Government steamers off the seas. He added that, because of their threats to shippers, they had been partially successful in England, with the result that recently one Commonwealth Government steamer left Liverpool with only 2 tons of cargo on board, while another left England empty, and could only secure 9 tons of cargo at Capetown. He also said that the Combine would probably begin a freight war in the near future, and might refuse to handle any of the new wheat crop .unless it was given the transport of the whole of it. {: .speaker-KDZ} ##### Mr Jowett: -- That is ridiculous ! {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- The Prime Minister did not say it was ridiculous; and 'I have no doubt the Combine has been able to exact its demands. We should, as far as possible, endeavour to protect the Australian people, and especially the primary producers, from the undue impositions that are possible because of the complete monopoly which is enjoyed under present circumstances. If we are to have a Government Line of Steamers we should not be dependent on shipbuilding yards abroad to contract for the tonnage we require. {: .speaker-KZA} ##### Mr West: -- And tonnage suitable for our trade. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- Quite so. There is invested in Australia, in the shipping industry, over £3,000,000, and there are about 5,000 skilled men employed, many of whom, to my own knowledge, left good, positions in the Government Service to undertake their present work. They gave up the privileges and emoluments of the Public Service in order to devote themselves to the promotion of this new' industry, and they have made themselves experts. This has been the case in South Australia; and it will be nothing short of a scandal if we, at this moment, forsake them, and thus fail to carry out our part of the compact. Any .one who has foresight in public affairs is at a -loss to understand the attitude of the Government. There is one anomaly to which I should like to call attention, for, perhaps, it has been overlooked by honorable members. The parts and fittings required for the construction of a vessel have to pay duty; but when they come here assembled as the complete article, they are admitted practically free. Our own workmen have never had an opportunity of taking a hand in the construction of such vessels, but are deliberately denied employment. The Government are seeking to promote immigration, and at the same time absolutely declining to provide means of employment for immigrants. Even at this late hour, the Minister might be prevailed upon to show some consideration for those interested in the Australian shipbuilding trade. I have had the pleasure of visiting Walsh Island, where I saw the most up-to-date plant and accommodation for the largest size of vessels required for the Australian service. {: .speaker-KZA} ##### Mr West: -- There is room there for six or seven ships to be built at one time. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- There are also other shipbuilding yards; and in South Australia the industry has proved to be a most important one. I should be failing in my duty if I did not to the last demand some consideration for those who have devoted their money and energies to these enterprises. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- At the request of the Government. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- Quite so. The Treasurer **(Sir Joseph Cook),** when in South Australia, had the advantage of inspecting an up-to-date plant for shipbuilding, which is equipped with high-grade machinery capable of dealing with all demands for the complete and efficient construction of vessels, and he must have been surprised at the progress made. Where that plant is, accommodation for the building of 12,000-ton vessels is available if orders can be secured. The enterprise of this firm, Messrs. Poole and Steel, is to be commended, and they have the strongest claims possible for ample protection and support in their endeavours to advance this great industry. There seems to . be a prospect of the Commonwealth not pursuing its shipbuilding policy. I hope that that prospect will not be realized; but when we see amongst the Government's own supporters men who opposed the shipbuilding policy, we realize that there is a likelihood of lack of ardour in carrying on the industry, especially when the pressure of the Shipping Combine is made upon a Government so pliant to its instructions; because, assuredly, the Shipping and Commercial Combines are the true masters of the present Federal Government. If the Government are now less likely to give orders to the various yards, it is our duty to protect the shipbuilders here by making the Combine have its tonnage constructed by them. The Prime Minister's own constituency shows that the work given by shipbuilding is not confined to the yards; and most of the engineering firms in South Australia are engaged on work for Messrs. Poole and Steele, who are now building vessels for the Government. There are. many allied industries which will be adversely affected if shipbuilding receives a check. Even in the electorate of the Prime Minister, at Gastlemaine, there is a firm, Messrs. Thompson and Company, who make marine engines equal to any produced elsewhere. Messrs. Perry and Sons, of Adelaide, manufacture marine engines for ships built in that State with equal satisfaction. The workmanship in vessels built in Australia will compare more than favorably with that in imported vessels. An added advantage is secured to Australia by all deck fittings, furniture, and instruments used in the construction locally being made within our Commonwealth. I am in a position to say that the riveting in the *Eurimbla,* which was built in the South Australian yards, has not been equalled in. the building of any ship in any other part of the Commonwealth, and even, I may justifiably make claim, has not been excelled even in any other part of the world. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- In any part of the world ? What does the honorable member know about it? {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr MAKIN: -- I happen to be an engineer myself, and I have seen what has been done in the South Australian yards. I have also the advantageof the opinion of experts in the matter. I know that the men engaged in the South Australian shipping yards were previously employed in the locomotive workshops, and the excellence of the riveting to which I have referred is due to the fact that these men carried out in the shipbuilding yards the highly skilled and excellent work which they had previously done in the locomotive workshops, which is among the Highest grades of engineering. I again appeal to the Minister to reconsider his proposal. I ask him to have some regard for the shipbuilding industry of Australia, and to give it the encouragement which it deserves, and at the same time givean evidence of prudentstatesmanship. {: #debate-16-s98 .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr PROWSE:
Swan . --I am not infatuated with the shipbuilding business in Australia. I am prepared to admit that our ships are splendidly built, that the workmanship is all that it should be, and that Thompson and Company, of Castlemaine, can make splendid marine bailers. I should not have spoken on this item had not the honorable member for Hindmarsh (Mr: Makin) referred to the short-sightedness of the primary producer. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr Makin: -- No, of some of their alleged representatives. {: .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr PROWSE: -- He is a short-sighted person who cannot count the cost, and the primary producer knows how to do so. We have many Government concerns in Australia that are so over-capitalized that neither the present nor the next generation can receive any benefit from, them. A ship built in Australia, or in any other place, at from 25 per cent. to 30 per cent. above the cost at which ships are produced elsewhere is of no use to the primary producer in Australia who is 12,000 miles away from the world's markets, because of high freights to pay for high capital costs. The vision of certain honorable members is so defective that they lose the substance in grasping for the shadow. They do not mind the burden which the people who must make use of the ships will be called upon to bear, so long as they are built here at any cost. Their purpose is merely to create work without counting the cost, and they do not mind throwing the burdens on other sections of the community. If Australia can produce ships at a price which will enable them to compete in the world's waters I am prepared to welcome them, . but honorable members opposite, after enjoying the pleasure of creating it, propose to pass their "baby" into my arms to nurse. I object to nursing other peoples' babies. The primary producers of Australia are being asked to carry too many of these babies. It has been the desire in Australia in the past to get plenty of shipping here, and we require plenty of shipping to-day, but honorable members opposite are asking that we should put an embargo on shipping coming here. We have listened to the parrot cry about the trouble we got intoduring the war for lack of shipping. Every other country got into trouble for the same reason. Honorable members *who* make use of this cry now are out "or disarmament and for cutting down the Defence Estimates. They are not axpecting any war, but are expecting other nations to give up war. The honorable member for Hindmarsh expects us to run a ship built at such a cost that she can never quote a reasonable Freight for those who use her. The honorable member is looking forward to another war, and expects us to carry on shipbuilding in Australia regardless of cost on his assumption that another war is coming. {: .speaker-KLL} ##### Mr Makin: -- I never said anytning ofthe kind. {: .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr PROWSE: -- We were recently given particulars by the Prime Minister **(Mr. Hughes)** of the tonnage of shipping laid up in all parts of the world. We were told we can buy ships at the present time at a very low price, and yet our long-sighted friends opposite ask that we should go on building them here at a high cost in order that in their particular electorates certain labourites maybe provided with jobs. I desire that every man in Australia shall be in a job, but I do not desire people tobe engaged in creating useless things at the expense of other sections of the community. {: #debate-16-s99 .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON:
Hunter -- I am more than surprised at the action of the Minister for Trade and Customs **(Mr. Greene)** in this matter. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Now we shall get a bit from Walsh Island. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- And from Australia. What is the position in which we find ourselves? During the war the Go-' vernment promised all who were prepared to engage in shipbuilding that everything possible would be done to protect them. On the strength of that promise, for which the Government were applauded during the war, shipbuilding plants were laid down, not only at Walsh Island, but at other places in Australia. I think that five of the States of the Commonwealth went in for shipbuilding. {: .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr Prowse: -- And have found it a ghastly failure. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- I do not think they have. There is a difference between the Government not building ships and preventing the building of vessels in private yards. The effect of the Minister's proposal will be to make private shipbuilding yards, which have cost huge sums to equip, absolutely useless. I could have understood the Minister had he held to' his position; but I cannot understand why, having fixed the date as 1st January, 1923, he should now propose to make it a year later. What he proposes cannot be justified on the ground that orders have been given for ships which have not yet been delivered. Those who have ordered ships knew the proposal in the Tariff and. took the risk. I' do not say that vessels ordered prior to the date fixed should be levied upon. Had the Minister proposed to make the item read " On and after 1st January, 1923, vessels, n.e.i., trading Intra-State, or Inter-State, or otherwise employed in Australian waters for any continuous period of three months, excepting vessels of 500 tons ordered prior to that date," the position would have been clear. But he is yielding to the prompting of the Senate, or of some one outside, in proposing to make the date 1st January, 1924. We have induced a number of persons to equip shipbuilding yards in Australia, and, as the honorable member for Hindmarsh has said, men who were following other occupations have been led to seek employment in those yards. They have done so on the strength of the Government's promise to foster shipbuilding, and to see that when the war was over work would be provided, as far as possible. I am not now contending that the Government should go on building ships; but Ministers should see that nothing is done to prevent the building of ships by private persons. It is idle to say that £60,000 can be saved by building certain vessels in Scotland instead of in Australia. The conditions in other parts of the world are changing rapidly. Today there are thousands of unemployed persons in Great Britain, and the material for some of the work that is being done there has been brought from Germany, where it was purchased cheaply because of the fall in the value of. the German currency. Shall we allow our workmen to be discharged so that vessels may be made elsewhere of materia! brought from the country of our late enemy ? I have nothing to say against the workmen of other countries, but I contend that they should not be put in a better position than that of our own workmen who stood by the Empire in its hour of need. Things are becoming worse every day because of the policy of the Government. Not only will what is proposed affect the building of ships, and thus decrease employment in the shipbuilding industry; it will also decrease employment in other industries furnishing material for shipbuilding. I remember when it was proposed that concessions should be given to a certain company to enable it to get the plant necessary for rolling plates for shipbuilding; but, that machinery having been installed, it is now proposed to take from the company the opportunity to use it. That is not fair to those who have invested money in the enterprise, or to the workers in the industry. Shipbuilding gives employment to many other persons besides those in the shipyards. How can this country pay its debts if its workers are thrown out of employment? We have been compelled to levy taxation wherever we can raise revenue, and have obtained a great deal of revenue by taxing companies, like the Broken Hill Company, which provide material for shipbuilding. Last year that company paid to the Commonwealth Government £70,334 in war-time profits tax, and £77,412 in income tax; while it paid to the New South Wales Government £66,784, and to the South Australian Government £28,054, or in all £242,584. {: .speaker-KDZ} ##### Mr Jowett: -- That is an argument for private enterprise. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- I wish to show the need for encouraging our industries. {: .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr Prowse: -- The honorable member did. not argue in that way in connexion with the explosives duty. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- In the action that I took in regard to the explosives duty, I was considering first of all the safety of human life, which is of paramount importance. The Government have induced these firms to undertake shipbuilding, under the conditions I have outlined. I quote from a letter from the Government Dockyard, dated 23rd September, 1921, addressed to the Minister for Home and Territories **(Mr. Poynton)** - 12,800-ton Steamers for Walsh Island. I wish to earnestly solicit reconsideration of the question of placing anorder for two or three 12,800-ton steamers at this Dockyard. We are forced to bring this matter again to your attention, because of the extremely serious position which confronts the industry. The sympathetic attitude towards shipbuilding of the Prime Minister, yourself, and the other members of the Cabinet, leads us to hope that you will be so good as to bring this question forward for fresh discussion, particularly in light of the facts which are set forward herein. It is fully recognised that the Australian shipyards must look for their permanent livelihood to the private shipping companies, as much as to the Commonwealth Government. There are factors in the general business situation to-day, however, which make it impossible to obtain orders from private companies. For one thing, the Federal Tariff places no duty, as yet, on finished ships. Due to the cheaper raw material available to British shipbuilders (there being no Protective Tariff in Great Britain) the Australianship-owner finds it more to his advantage to place his orders in Great Britain. At this very writing, one of the New South Wales coastal steam-ship companies is about to place an order for a vessel worth some £160,000. It appears as if all this work will be lost to Australia because the 25 per cent. duty is not yet operative. Obviously, the Tariff protection extended to steel, and all materials which we must use in the building of ships, fails of its purpose; while the ships, when finished, enjoy no correspondin protection. Your Government, and yourself, have frequently given recognition to the excellent equipment and organization at this Dockyard. In your very pleasing letter of 9th March, 1021, you stated: - " I take this opportunity of complimenting your establishment on the successful carrying out of an extensive programme, which exceeds anything previously undertaken in the shipbuilding industry in Australia, and of tendering my appreciation of the manner in which the work has been performed." All the conferences and correspondence we have had with your officers left with us the strongest impression that it was your intention bo place a further shipbuilding order with us. In this connexion, we would quote a letter, No. 1573, from the Prims Minister's Department, Ship Construction Branch, dated, 3rd July, 1920:- No. 1573. " Commonwealth of Australia. Prime Minister's Department, Ship Construction Branch, 31 King-street. Melbourne, 3rd July, 1920. The Secretary, Government Dockyard, Walsh Island, Newcastle. Dear **Sir,** I beg to inform you that your quotation for the 500-feet vessels has been considered, and it has been decided that the contract cannot be placed with you for the construction of these vessels until after the Conference with the trades unions, and until a new agreement respecting working conditions has been drawn up and approved. The Conference is to take place within the next two or three weeks. Yours faithfully, (Sgd.) H. W. Curchin, Chief Executive Officer, Cdmmonwealth Ship Construction." It can plainly- be seen from that communication that that shipyard expected to receive further orders - that was what we were given to understand by the Prime Minister **(Mr. Hughes)** - and £250,000 was expended in equipping the yard in order to construct large vessels. Notwithstanding this, orders have been placed abroad for three vessels, possibly because they can be obtained at a somewhat lower rate. I doubt, however, whether this arrangement will be of any advantage to the Commonwealth, if everything is taken into consideration, because we have to consider the number of workmen who would be employed here, and the revenue that would be derived directly and indirectly from the workmen and those depending upon them. We have also to take into consideration the advantages that would be derived by other industries which would provide material that would be utilized in shipbuilding yards, and when these, and other points, are taken into the computation it is extremely doubtful if any advantage will be gained by placing orders abroad. I find, in connexion with the shipbuilding industry in Great Britain, the following extract from the *Glasgow Financial Times,* of 11th August, 1921: - "The Safeguarding of Industries 'Bill was considered yesterday in the House of Commons. A new clause, moved for the purpose of exempting from the scope of the Act goods imported for the shipbuilding industry, was rejected. Supporters of the clause stated that the Bill as it stood was a serious menace to our shipyards. *What Tariff Countries Do.* **Sir Godfrey** Collins (Greenock), who represents an important shipbuilding constituency, reminded the House that even Protectionist countries exempted from duty all materials im> ported for the purpose of shipbuilding and ship repairing. The exemption of these materials from duty is the rule in the United States, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Argentine, and, to a certain extent, Italy. (Japan has also decided to admit shipbuilding and ship-repairing materials duty free as from 1st Juno, 1921. - H.W.F.) **Sir Godfrey,** speaking with great warmth, asserted that the Bill would inflict great injury upon important industries employing one million persons, and bitterly reproached the Government for its treachery to the Free Trade principles that had built up our commercial prosperity. *Chamber of Shipping's Protest.* **Mr. Alexander** Shaw read a resolution unanimously passed by the Chamber of Shipping, which claims that shipping is a British " key " industry, and that it is essential that shipbuilding and repairing materials shall be available at the cheapest world's price. **Mr. J.** C. Gould, Cardiff, said that neither Free Trade nor Tariff Reform will be of any avail so long as the conditions of labour in this country remain what they are. The current price of British steel plates is £15 a ton; Belgium steel plates are selling here at £8 10s.; and American at £12 a ton. *Shipbuilding Costs.* It costs to-day to build an 8,000-ton ship in British yards £175,000, without any profit to the builder. Before the war, the cost of such a ship was £50,000, and the labour cost had gone up from £38,000 pre-war, to £127,000 in 1921. He complained bitterly of obstacles placed in the way of repair work. **Mr. Gould** stated that the joiners strike had involved a loss to the country of £1,000,000. *Clyde Trade Prospects.* Other members held the same views. **Sir William** Bacburn, the ship-owner, opposed the free entry of such materials, on the ground that there is no prospect of a revival of shipping for a long time. The Clyde's prospects do not seem to be rosy." A quantity of Belgian and German material is being utilized in the construction of vessels on behalf of the Government, and that is probably why they are being obtained at somewhat lower rates. The shipbuilding industry is absolutely esr sential to the Commonwealth, and everything possible should be done to make it a success. Are we doing all that is possible in the circumstances ? I do not think we are. We have to pay an extra price for ships, just as we do for other things, and we have to allow a fair profit to those who invest their capital in the industry. Bates will gradually be reduced, but it will be a long time before we reach normal conditions, because we cannot recover from the effects of the recent great catastrophe in a year or two. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- Have we not considerably over -built? {: #debate-16-s100 .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- We have; and that is a strong reason why there should be no objection to a retention of the year 1923. There are empty bottoms in all the principal ports of the world, and in the Commonwealth we are tying up bur vessels and paying off our own men. - '' {: .speaker-KDZ} ##### Mr Jowett: -- That is entirely due to the excessive freights which primary producers cannot pay. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- I am prepared to admit that, and when I heard the honorable member for Franklin **(Mr. McWilliams)** debating the situation, I was impressed with what he had to say. But I would like to know the facts in connexion with that phase of the question, because when we have idle vessels in Australian ports there does not seem to be any valid reason why the interests of the primary producers should be jeopardized and Australian workmen penalized. But discarding that consideration for a moment, and taking the wider view, we find that in every country in the world a large number of ships are idle. {: .speaker-KDZ} ##### Mr Jowett: -- Over 10,000,000 tons of shipping are out of commission. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- If that is so, there does not appear to be any likelihood of a shortage of shipping for the next few years, and I cannot see what exception can be taken to my amendment to insert the year 1923 instead of the year 1924, with the further provision that vessels ordered prior to that date shall not be subject to duty. {: .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr Prowse: -- Does not the honorable member think that shipbuilding should be discontinued for a time? {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- I would not do anything to prevent private shipbuilders from accepting and executing orders. Honorable members are confusing the Government shipbuilding policy with private shipbuilding. If the Government have to tie up ships because there are no freights offering for them, nobody would be foolish enough to advocate that they should continue to build vessels when they cannot keep employed those they have already got. {: .speaker-KZC} ##### Mr Hector Lamond: -- Everything depends on the development of freights during the next twelve months. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- I agree with the honorable member. Even though a great quantity of tonnage is lying idle, why should we take steps to prevent people ordering from a private shipbuilder a special type of boat ? We have encouraged people to invest their capital in establishing shipbuilding yards. The work done by local enterprise during the last years of the war constitutes a fine monument to our people. Many things were produced in Australia which we had not expected to manufacture for very many years. Is it to be said that, the war being over, all the industrial effort put forth during war time is to go by the board ? {: .speaker-KDZ} ##### Mr Jowett: -- Every possible encouragement should be given to private shipbuilding in Australia. Mr.CHARLTON. - But that is not being done. This duty only refers to private shipbuilding. and means that anybody ordering a ship in Australia will not pay duty. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- Will any ship-owner desire to build ships while there is such a glut of tonnage? {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- If the ships are not required, they will not be ordered; but it is possible that somebody may not be able to get a ship up to the standard he requires, and. he will be obliged to place an orderf or the construction of one. There is no reason why we should not provide for that vessel to be built in Australian yards. Repair work is not sufficient to keep in operation the yards which have been established, and unless we take steps to secure construction work for them the men who have been thrown into idleness will continue out of work. I have always advocated that everything possible should be done to provide employment, but the Government are doing all that is possible to permanently cripple the shipbuilding industry. I admit that the prospects of shipbuilding are not good in any part of the world, but that is no reason why we should set out to cripple an industry which we deliberately brought into existence during the war. Three years ago we were ready to applaud anybody who would undertake the local construction of ships. Why the Minister takes exception to my amendment I cannot understand ; it should meet the views of every honorable member, because I deliberately except the vessels exceeding 5.000 tons ordered prior to 1923. They will not be subject to any duty at nil. Of course, if a person orders a boat abroad after that date, knowing that the duty has to be paid, it is right that he should pay it, but he may choose to place his order locally. The Minister's proposal involves a reversal of the Committee's previous decision arrived at after mature consideration. If we insert the year 1924, as proposed by the Minister, every shipyard in Australia will be strangled. Local builders will have no hope of getting an order, and they might as well sell off their plant. The action proposed by the Government will be a breach of the promises made by this Parliament, and the Government, to those who were prepared to engage in shipbuilding in our time of need. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Does the honorable member know of anybody who is prepared to go into this business? {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- The shipbuilding yards are already established. I have been interviewed by people interested in shipbuilding, and all they ask is that, having, at the request of the Government during war-time, expended capital in the provision of yards and' plant for the building of ships, especially large ones, they should receive some encouragement to keep the industry going. {: .speaker-KDZ} ##### Mr Jowett: -- The honorable member is asking that the date be altered to 1923. That does not seem to be a very great difference. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- It is a difference of a year, and it will do nobody any injustice. The Minister's amendment will not encourage shipbuilding. {: .speaker-KDZ} ##### Mr Jowett: -- We should encourage private shipbuilding. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- Yes. The Minister is not keeping faith with those who have put their capital into the. industry. If we do not wish to build ships for ourselves we should encourage other people to construct them. I cannot understand why the Minister is antagonistic towards m.y amendment. {: .speaker-KDZ} ##### Mr Jowett: -- No doubt he has good reasons. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- He has given none. He is compromising with the Senate, but he is doing a wrong both to those engaged in the industry and to the Commonwealth. I want some consideration of the very reasonable suggestion I have made. The matter is too important not to receive fair consideration from the Committee. I am always prepared to compromise when necessary, and my amendment is a compromise. In consequence of the exchange position, and other circumstances, dumping is taking place everywhere. It is not fair to quote the price -at which ships can be built in certain parts of the world as compared with Australia. With the exchange position as it is to-day, what is to prevent British firms going to Germany with a little capital, and buying large quantities of shipbuilding material at the low rates prevailing in that country 1 We should see that our shipbuilding yards have a fair deal. I am asking for proper treatment for Australian industries that have been established at our request. I have not yet forgotten the time when we were urging that everything possible in the direction of shipbuilding should be done, because the enemy had sunk many vessels by means of submarines. The shipbuilders in Australia came to our rescue, and did the best they possibly could under most adverse circum-stances, at a time when it cost more than prior to the war, and more than to-day, to establish a* shipbuilding yard. Those people did not hesitate. They had an assurance from us that, if they stood by us in our time of need, everything possible would be done to keep their industry alive. Are we now going to act as though there was never such an undertaking ? In the event of further trouble, we would appeal to those people again, and probably they would respond; but in view of the treatment they have received, we could hardly find fault with them if they refused to come to our aid. Hundreds of men have been put off. An order for three ships was placed outside of Australia when the cost of building was almost equivalent within the Commonwealth. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- It was cheaper here, if anything. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- Yes. The State authorities made provision at Walsh Island for building 12.0004on steamers, but the Commonwealth Government sent their orders elsewhere. {: .speaker-KDZ} ##### Mr Jowett: -- That was because they thought they could not get a sufficient number of vessels built in Australia within the time specified. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- They could have been built here. The State authorities provided the necessary slipways at Walsh Island. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- And purchased special machinery for the purpose. {: .speaker-KDZ} ##### Mr Jowett: -- That is a matter which requires someexplanation. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- I am pleased that the honorable member is so interested in the subject. He seems to know a good deal more about it than do many other honorable members. There are, as he says, reasonable grounds for complaining that after having made provision for the building of these vessels the State authorities got no orders for them. However, I am not worrying about that aspect' of the question now, because the boats have been practically completed elsewhere, but I am concerned about the future. Are we to allow our shipbuilding yards to remain idle, or are we to give them the opportunity of taking orders from whatever source they come for the building of vessels? {: .speaker-KDZ} ##### Mr Jowett: -- I think we are all agreed that we do not want the shipbuilding industry of Australia to die out. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- We are all agreed upon many subjects, but differ when we come to a vote. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- There is a great division of opinion in regard to this matter, and the Minister has proposed a compromise. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- The whole Committee would have been with the Minister if he had taken my suggestion into consideration. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- Honorable members of the Country party advocated an extension of the time for the coming into operation of the duty, because it is impossible to raise sufficient capital in order to place further orders in time. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- The trouble is that if the' duty is deferred to a later date there will be no possibility of our shipbuilding yards getting any work. It is less costly to purchase material in Germany and Belgium, and perhaps put it together in England. Our yards, therefore, will not get the work of building vessels until a duty is imposed. If my suggestion is adopted, we can do no injustice to any one, and at the same time may provide employment for our own people. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- The adoption of the honorable member's suggestion would not make a pin's point of difference. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- Then what objection can there be *to;* adopting it? {: .speaker-JOS} ##### Mr Bell: -- Because it would make boats more costly. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- That is because material can be. bought cheaply from our late enemies, whose workmen are regularly employed and are living as well as they ever did, while our shipbuilders are unemployed. The honorable member wants to get boats from them instead of from our own people. {: .speaker-JOS} ##### Mr Bell: -- I did not say so. I was simply referring to the effect of the imposition of the duty in 1923. Would the local yards be employed in such circumstances ? {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- I would not like to say what a man was who attempted to answer such a question in the affirmative, but, although there may be a large number of boats for sale, they may not be suitable for a particular purpose. While our own yards are lying idle why should we permit our own ship-owners to go overseas for vessels they may require for a particular purpose? {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- Our yards might be employed on the work of building vessels of under 500 tons gross register, which the Minister does not propose to exempt. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- If the honorable member is agreeable to the application of the duty to smaller boats, what objection can he raise to its application to vessels of a. larger type? {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- I would be prepared to meet the honorable member if he would exempt vessels of a special type which cannot be built here. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- They cannot be built here at the price which the honorable member quoted; but it is unfair to expect the shipbuilding yards of Australia to compete with the low costs in other countries where material can be bought so cheaply. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- Even if the duty were imposed at once it would not bring the work of building vessels of a special type to Australia, because the cost of such vessels elsewhere, plus the duty, would still be less than the price quoted for building in Australia. The only effect of the duty would be to put an extra impost on all freights. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- There is a good deal in the honorable member's contention. If a vessel could be purchased abroad at half the cost of local construction it would still be 15 per cent. cheaper after the payment of a 35 per cent. duty, and, in such circumstances, an order for local construction would, probably, not be given. However, the difference in the cost of construction may not be so great in the near future. It may not exceed 25 per cent. In such a case Australians would probably patronize their own people rather than pay a duty of 35 per cent ; but if this duty is not imposed the local yards will not be likely to get orders. If we impose the duty it will not affect the point just raised by the honorable member. It is true that the purchasers of vessels built abroad would be obliged to pay the duty, but they would still save something after doing so. In the absence of protective duties there will be no hope for Australian shipyards. I do not know why the Minister stands up against this proposal. He has been most reasonable in regard to other matters, but in a simple matter like this he is obdurate, although it is just what he wants. If we leave the door open, as has been suggested, there will be no encouragement to the Australian industry. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- There is no chance, as far as I can see, at all events not until things settle down, of an order being placed in Australian shipyards for a ship which these duties would make it possible to build in this country. We must allow reasonable time for conditions to settle down, and that is why I suggest 1924 as a reasonable compromise. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- And during that time considerable orders for ships may be placed elsewhere. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- No. The provision as to the date of ordering will operate. {: .speaker-KX9} ##### Mr Watkins: -- But no duty will be provided in the meantime. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- The Minister's argument may be applied to everything that has been done in connexion with the Tariff. If the shipbuilding industry is to be saved, it will certainly be necessary to pass an anti-dumping law. The shipbuilding industry vitally affects the steel position. Therefore, if any dumping of shipbuilding material takes place, the effect upon the Newcastle Works will be very serious. Wo shall probably hear of a thousand men being paid off there. I do not see how the works can expect to keep going, but, apparently, we are to stand idly by until trouble occurs. I trust the Minister will give further consideration to this proposal. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I have. That is why I suggest 1924 as a reasonable compromise. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- I do not know of any circumstances that would justify the Committee in altering the decision arrived at when last these duties were discussed. On that occasion the Minister gave us the fullest information, but the Senate has seen fit to alter the sub.-item, and the Minister is now prepared to compromise on it, though his action, as I am endeavouring to show, is not in the best interests of the shipbuilding industry. We' should do all we possibly can to insure the placing of orders with those yards" that have been established in Australia, because the industry means the employment of a good deal of labour, and from that point of view it is important, so far as the people of Australia are concerned. {: #debate-16-s101 .speaker-JQ9} ##### Mr BLUNDELL:
Adelaide -- I hope the Minister **(Mr. Greene)** will accept the amendment suggested by the honorable member for 'Hunter **(Mr. Charlton).** The industry has already been established, and, therefore, there should be no interference with the decision previously arrived at by the Committee. Apparently those honorable members who are objecting to the duties have In mind the possible effect on Commonwealth shipbuilding. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- Not at all. {: .speaker-JQ9} ##### Mr BLUNDELL: -- The Commonwealth yards will not be affected in any way. I take it that the honorable member forCowper **(Dr. Earle Page)** is really opposed to the duties altogether, and is accepting the Minister's amendment because it will make the duties less effective. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- I deliberately stated exactly the opposite. {: .speaker-JQ9} ##### Mr BLUNDELL: -- Then what difference would it make if the duties became operative in 1923? We shall not be called upon to pay. any extra price for ships. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- We shall be if the duties are imposed and vessels are not built by reason of the fact that capital is not available. {: .speaker-JQ9} ##### Mr BLUNDELL: -- The Treasurer **(Sir Joseph Cook)** in his Budget statement had something to say about the increased capital that had been put into Australian industries, but it appears that the shipbuilding industry is to be deprived of the protection necessary for its further development. We have not only imposed a duty on the raw material, but we have said to enterprising private individuals, " Establish your industry in Australia; it is essential that we should have ships built here. But, after having taxed your raw material as heavily as possible, we now intend to leave you to face outside competition without any help." In South Australia the shipbuilding firm of Poole and Steele have established a yard. They undertook activities at Port Adelaide, at the request of the Commonwealth Government, and with the encouragement and assistance of the State Government. The firm went to immense expense in building up new works, but they realize to-day that they must practically stand " on their own." Even so, all that they ask is that they shall be given this reasonable degree of protection, and I cannot understand the objection to the proposal. I see no justification for extending the period after which the duty is to come into force. There are certain firms in Australia which, even now, are having vessels built for them abroad. Who can foretell what may happen withinthe next twelve months? What is the purpose of the Minister **(Mr. Greene)** in departing from the original decision of the Committee? Either there are other ships contemplated to be put under construction by Australian owners, and it is desired that they shall be given some assistance, or the attitude of the Minister is entirely without reason. The question whether we are to continue to build ships for ourselves as a Commonwealth does not enter into consideration. The matter now is one for the private individual who has put his capital into the industry. {: #debate-16-s102 .speaker-KDZ} ##### Mr JOWETT:
Grampians -- There does not appear to be any valid reason why the date upon which the proposed duty shall come into operation should not be the 1st January, 1923. The question of the continued existence of shipbuilding as an industry is of immense importance to Australia.Unless the Federal Government and Parliament do everything possible to encourage ship construction in private yards it is quite possible that the industry may become extinct. The arguments of the honorable member for Hunter **(Mr. Charlton)** are convincing, and I shall support his amendment. {: #debate-16-s103 .speaker-KZA} ##### Mr WEST:
East Sydney -- The Government are making a mistake in pressing so gravely important a matter upon the Committee at this unearthly hour. When Australia decided to become a nation she had to accept certain responsibilities. One of these was to provide necessary shipping, both for coastal service and for keeping in touch with oversea markets. The shipping companies, local and foreign, which have been engaged upon these activities, have done well out of Australia. The country has been at their mercy. Now, however, a local shipbuilding industry has been established. Australia has constructed, and is in possession of her own ships. One of the richest and most far-reaching Combines in the world is the Shipping Ring. Honorable members would be recreant to their duty if they failed to endeavour to defeat that Combine. We should make this country independent of it. As the representatives of the people of Australia we should be prepared to meet these Combines. Great profits have been reaped from the sale of our primary products overseas. During the war as much as 2s. per lb. was obtained in the Old Country for Australian meat which, under contract made with the Imperial Government, was sold by us at 51/2d. per lb. We have had the same experience in regard to our wheat and metals. There are some honorable members in this House who claim to be the special representatives of the primary producers, but do nothing in their interests. Would it not be a good thing for the primary producer to know that his produce was being carried oversea by vessels, the freights in respect of which could be fixed by the people? During the war, while the London market was glutted with meat from Australia, Liverpool and other English ports were practically without supplies, but we had no control over the vessels that were carrying our produce overseas. In my opinion, all the shipping on the Australian coast should be the product of Australian workmen. I am a mechanic, and being unable at one time to obtain employment in my own trade I worked for twelve months in a ship-building yard in Australia. I found that the workmanship of the men in that yard was a credit to them. Experts indorsed that view. The Public Accounts Committee, when dealing with the Commonwealth shirbuilding scheme, made a tour of inspection, and many members of it were surprised at what they saw. The honorable member for Swan **(Mr. Prowse),** who is a member of that Committee, and an enemy of Australian production, putting his foot down on everything Australian, got the surprise of his life when .he saw what was being done in connexion with the construction of marine engines here. We saw magnificent shafting, cylinders, rods, and slides being made. All such work can be carried out in Australia, but the honorable member is not prepared to encourage. Australian industry. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- That is not a fair statement to make in the absence of the honorable member. {: .speaker-KZA} ##### Mr WEST: -- What is the good of endeavouring to encourage immigration if those who come here are to be mere hewers of w.ood and drawers of water ? The rising generation is above that sort of thing. Our young Australians are displaying a special aptitude and ability for carrying on the work of a progressive nation. We have some six different shipbuilding yards in Australia where ships can be constructed. In Sydney we have Mort's Dock and the Cockatoo Island dockyard. At Newcastle we have the Walsh Island works where, with a slight addition to the workshops, the keels of six vessels, of 12,000 tons each, could be laid at the one time. The Public Works Committee recommended that the Government, in carrying out its shipbuilding scheme, should lay down at least three keels at the one time. In Maryborough, Queensland, the Government has resumed land alongside Walker Brothers. The river there is very suitable for shipbuilding, and the land purchased will permit a ship to be launched without hindrance when she gets into the water. There is also a yard at Port Adelaide. While there are all these facilities for shipbuilding very little encouragement is given to the industry by Parliament. An endeavour is being made in some quarters, by persons interested in, or who are agents for, shipping interests' on the other side of the world, to' prevent ships being built in Australia. The time must come when Australia - this greater Britain of the Southern Seas - will hold a larger population than she holds now; She must prepare herself for that time, and one of the most necessary things to do at the present juncture is to build up the shipping industry. The shipping on the coast should belong to the Government, just as do the locomotives that run across the continent. This is an island continent, and there is no doubt that we have got to defend it. The first line of defence must be the Navy, and whether we use torpedoes, submarines, surface vessels, or flying machines, we must have the means of constructing them. The men engaged in shipbuilding can readily turn their attention to making' flying machines. We have been told to-night that vessels can be purchased, for the coastal trade. Many such reports are inspired for the purpose of giving an excuse to the Government for not carrying on the shipbuilding industry in Australia. Many of the ships that can be purchased are not suitable for the Australian coast, or for navigating, Australian rivers. Unfortunately, many0 of the Australian rivers are barbound. The Clarence and the Tweed Rivers, at certain periods of the year, are very difficult to enter, mainly owing to the fact that the ships in use are not correctly, designed. Suitable vessels could be built in Australia. The ships that could be purchased do not comply with the Australian Navigation Act, and to alter them would be very expensive. If ships were built in Australia, and were owned and controlled by the Government, a mercantile fleet could be created which would be of inestimable benefit to this country in the event of international trouble occurring. It is impossible to make shipbuilders, like soldiers, quickly, by teaching them the "goosestep," and how to handle a gun. I cannot understand some honorable members," who do not seem to realize that they are in a National Parliament, but behave rather as if they belonged to some little mutual admiration society. They have no idea, apparently, that they are here to work for the welfare of the nation. We, as public men, are expected to guide the people on the right path, and for that work we require political vision and energy. Nothing, however, is done; and here we are discussing, at this hour, 'business which ought to have been disposed of in half the time. We should rise to the occasion, and not be timid and puny in the conception of our public duties. If honorable members opposite studied the history of other nations, they would soon see that they are making a great mistake in not supporting the party on this side in our aims and objects. We, from our surroundings and experience, have a firmer grasp of the needs of the country and the people than honorable members opposite. There must be a change of Government, and when the party on this side is in power, the reforms we agitate for will be carried into effect, and Australia will progress by leaps and bounds. Energy is the thing required on the part of public men at this period in our history, because all the ramifications of the relations between Parliament and people must be altered. There is discontent a.broad, and there will be still greater discontent unless Parliament is able and prepared to guide the people to something better ; and no country is better circumstanced for that great work than Australia. We now find attempts being made to prevent shipbuilding being carried on in Australia by throwing obstacles in the way of those who have entered into the industry. When the Public Accounts Committee inquired into this question, the members, of whom I am one, impressed on **Mr. Delprat,** of the Broken Hill "Company, who is a man with a greater appreciation of the possibilities of Australia than is possessed by some honorable members, the necessity there was for the rolling mills to be set working so that plates might be provided for the ships to be built; and when the plates came to hand they proved to be better than any sent from. America or Great Britain. We ought not to be at the mercy of America, who, during the war, " bled " us in a way to make one shiver, although we hear so much about the peoples of both countries belonging to the same race. Wheat, which we" sent to America at 3s. 4d., was sold there at 13s. and 14s., and so with other commodities. All this shows that we could not do better than construct our own shipping for our own trade on our own coast, and for carrying our products to the other side of the world. There are some honorable members who do not appear to have given much attention to these subjects; and, although the facte are there for all who care to look for them, we find it proposed, even at this time of day, to send money abroad to buy ships, although we have designers, material, and workmen superior to any elsewhere. I am an Australian, not by birth but by adoption, and my ambition is to make Australia the model for other countries. When the Labour Government, in 1910, established the Australian Navy the news created a sensation all over the world. There is no doubt that Australia is highly regarded for her democratic government and adult suffrage, and we can do good by showing that we refuse to be at the mercy of mercantile people, whom we cannot blame for bleeding us, seeing that we give them the opportunity. What I am trying to impress on my fellow-legislators is that we ought not to allow that opportunity to be given. In my opinion the Government have no fixed policy, and are not unanimous on the shipbuilding question. What was said in England of the Lloyd George Government may be said of this Government, namely, that it was not created by a solid party outside, but by circumstances which, here, were connected with an unfortunate incident in the party to which I belong. Owing to that incident Australia has suffered. Had the Labour Government been returned in 1913 with a working majority, Australia would have been saved millions of money. I shall be able, in discussing the Budget, to show that millions of money have been wasted by the Government in connexion with repatriation, in the building of War Service Homes, and in, other ways that are not creditable to them. We should build the ships necessary to conduct the trade around our coast, and to carry our products to the other side of the world, and should be no longer in the hands of the shipping people who treated us so badly during the war. If the present Government will not take this action, they will be replaced by a Government from this side, who will take good care that the shipping of Australia shall not be left in the hands of the people to whom I have referred. We have all the machinery and plant necessary for successful shipbuilding. Honorable members will find the most up-to-date machinery at Thompson and Company's works at Castlemaine, at Walsh Island, and at Walker Brothers' works at Maryborough, in Queensland. In addressingmyself to a subject likethis, I may appear to be excited, but I am as cool as a cucumber, because I know that I am giving expression to Australian sentiments, and my opinions on this subject are shared by hundreds of thousands of intelligent Australians. As soon as the session is at an end, I shall make it my business to direct attention to the position into which this Parliament, and especially the Government, have fallen. "When I look at the members of the Government, I am reminded of a minstrel troupe to which I belonged as a young man. I was principal cornerman of the troupe, and the other members were merely chairwarmers, and did what I told them. The Prime Minister **(Mr. Hughes)** is the cornerman of the Government, and until he comes into the chamber nothing can be done. I believe that if he were here to-night he would agree with the views I have expressed. "We must have progress in Australia. We cannot be satisfied with what has already been done. The world moves, and we must move with it. {: #debate-16-s104 .speaker-JOG} ##### Mr BAYLEY:
Oxley ,During the last years of the war and the period which immediately followed it, the shipwrights of Australia - Government and private - showed that they could build vessels which would compare in quality and in price with any built elsewhere. I, as a member of the Public Accounts Committee, was fortunate enough to visit all the shipyards of Australia, and the work which I saw there was a credit to every one concerned. As only a small percentage of the men employed in those yards had had previous experience in shipbuilding, that was the more remarkable. The world then was prosperous, or seemingly so, a false prosperity having been induced by the free expenditure of Government money. Since then, however, conditions have changed. But the changes have not been so great in Australia as elsewhere. Consequently, to put a vessel in the water from an Australian shipyard now costs as much as, if not more than, it did two years ago. Overseas, however, men are working for lower wages than they were paid two years ago, and materials are costing less; so that these ships can be constructed at a lower cost than imme diately after the war. Still, it is not the cost of a vessel which decides its value; this is determined by its earning capacity. Freights have fallen the world over, and, the question we must ask ourselves is to what extent can we fulfil the promise - for it was practically a promise - under which we induced men to embark in shipbuilding. Men. were got to put their brains and their money and their labour into this industry, and to-day we have in Australia a number of shipbuilding yards that are well equipped. {: .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr Prowse: -- But they are not delivering the goods. {: .speaker-JOG} ##### Mr BAYLEY: -- Yes, they are, though, unfortunately for this country and for the industry, the vesselsthat are being built cost much more than vessels are now costing elsewhere. **Mr. Watkins__** Just for the moment. {: .speaker-JOG} ##### Mr BAYLEY: -- Yes, and so longas Australia remains as prosperous as she is to-day, while our men are earning the wages that they are now receiving, and materials cost as much as they do, ships cannot be built here for less. The Committee is now asked to determine whether a duty upon ships built abroad shall lake effect in the beginning of 1923, 1924, or 1925. None of us know what conditions will prevail in any of these years, but, remembering the promise that we gave to those who have been induced to embark in this industry, and knowing that unless it receives encouragement, many yards must be dismantled, and the men employed in them lost to the industry, I am of the opinion that we should abide by the original determination to make the duty operate on the 1st January, 1923. If when that date arrives conditions have not changed for the better, it will be competent to still further defer the operation of the duty. I ask the Minister **(Mr. Greene)** to stand by the first decision of the Committee. {: #debate-16-s105 .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON:
Maribyrnong -- As a member of the Committee of Public Accounts which investigated the shipbuilding industry, I had the opportunity of visiting all the shipyards engaged on the construction of vessels to the order of the Commonwealth Government, and, remembering the definite expressions of opinion of the then Minister for the Navy(Sir Joseph Cook) and the Prime Minister **(Mr. Hughes),** it seems *as* if this Committee is in the act of deserting the men whom they urged to indulge in a shipbuilding programme by depriving them of that protection which is essential if the industry is to succeed. On 12th July, 1917, the Prime Minister pointed out the advantages to Australia of promoting shipbuilding, and said that his Government " would take all the steps necessary for the immediate launching of the enterprise." I know that some honorable members will say that it is unreasonable to hark back to 1917, and that it is unfair to institute comparisons between the conditions then existing and those prevailing at the present time. It has been mentioned in this and in other debates that Australia is an island continent, and that the future history of this great Commonwealth will largely depend upon what Happens on our shores. We must of necessity become a maritime people, and if such is the case, why should we not embark in an industry so essential to any maritime power? Had it not been for my calm consideration of the feelings of honorable members, I would have endeavoured to have erected a stone wall round another item that was under discussion earlier in the debate. I believe in protecting every industry, and have endeavoured throughout the whole of our discussions on the Tariff to be consistent. We have now come to the second to the last item in the requests submitted by the Senate, and although I have been interested in most of the items, I know of no other industry that we have had to consider that should receive a greater measure of protection than that of shipbuilding. The cry has been raised by same members of the Country party that vessels can be purchased abroad at from £7 to £10 per ton, and that we have been paying up to £30 a ton. Why do not those honorable members be fair in their criticisms, and quote the evidence submitted to the Committee of Public Accounts by experts, in which they said that we were actually constructing ships in Australia cheaper than they were being built in Great Britain? {: .speaker-KYD} ##### Mr Poynton: -- That is a fact. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- I know it is. {: .speaker-KYD} ##### Mr Poynton: -- And I believe the new boats can be built at approximately the same price, if everything is taken into consideration. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- That is quite possible. Many points have to be considered in instituting a comparison. It has been admitted that the workmanship on Australian vessels is equal, if not superior, to that performed in any part of the world. The Government have taken a prominent part in establishing this industry, and Parliament has supported them by voting money for carrying on the work. Leading hands have been brought from the other side of the world and have been placed in Government and private shipyards to train the younger men. Is this industry to tumble down likea house of cards? Are we to permit the grave injustice or make the awful blunder of allowing this great work to fall to pieces? I say, in all earnestness, God forbid that this Parliament should be guilty of such an act. We are not urging the Government to vigorously proceed with the shipbuilding programme, but this Parliament should certainly be urged to support the continuance of the industry. Honorable members on this side of the Chamber, including the honorable member for Hunter **(Mr. Charlton),** have said that the time may come again when we may have to request these people to come to our assistance. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- Who are "these people " ? {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- Walkers' Limited, of Queensland; the New South Wales Government, which has a yard at Walsh Island; Poole and Steel, in South Australia; and the Victorian State Government, with a plant at Williamstown. What is the Victorian State Government doing to-day? Only in last night's paper I read the reply of the Minister of Public Works to a deputation in regard to proposed im-provements at Westernport, where it is intended to expend a considerable sum in constructing a slipway. What for? Because it is understood that the shipbuilding industry is permanently established in Australia. The Committee of Public Accounts reported - >Men skilled in shipbuilding were very scarce in Australia at the commencement of this undertaking, and a considerable proportion of the dockyard hands had to learn the work as they went along. But witnesses were unanimous as to the aptitude shown by the workmen employed, and the quick way in which they became expert. Inspectors and supervisors with experience in British yards unhesitatingly affirmed the quality of the work turned out by Australians. These works have been established, and a fine band of workmen has been assembled. Arewe to listen to the doleful predictions of the honorable member for Swan **(Mr. Prowse),** and by adopting his suggestions throw all these men out of employment and destroy the industry? Let us consider the position of the industries which supply the raw material used in the construction of ships. **Mr.** Delprat's name has been mentioned as one who did not require protection to carry on the iron and steel industry. He has now changed his mind. I can look on quite a number of honorable members who a few years ago were pronounced Free Traders; but the recent great world catastrophe has convinced them that Protection is absolutely essential in the interests of the Commonwealth. Why has this change been brought about? When we commenced shipbuilding we found that British rolling mills could not supply us with the necessary plates, because all they produced were required in the construction of the vessels being built in British ports. Certainly the United States of America came to our rescue, and we were able to import plates from there. **Mr. Delprat,** the then general manager of the Broken Hill Proprietary Company, told a Committee of this Parliament that his company had established rolling mills for the production of rails, angle irons, and other steel products, hut up to that time had not incurred the expense of installing a plant to produce plates for shipbuilding. The intention of the company was to lay down the latest type of plant for that purpose, and thus make Australia selfcontained in regard to the construction of shipping. {: .speaker-KYD} ##### Mr Poynton: -- He promised to install a plant at a cost of £200,000. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- What a blessing it would be to the Commonwealth if it were self-contained in this respect. It is the first duty of members of this Parliament to do for the shipbuilding industry what is essential, and what has been done in America and other coun tries. Does the honorable member for Swan imagine that, without help from the Government, the shipbuilding industry of the United States would have been able to go ahead to such an extent that American ships now carry a big proportion of the world's commerce? The honorable member for Grampians **(Mr. Jowett)** has complained of the producers being in the grip of the Shipping Ring. The position created by the shortage of shipping may be modified for the time being, but wipe out the Australian shipbuilding industry, dispose of the Commonwealth Line of Steamers, and withdraw the Commonwealth from the building and operation of ships, and the day will be not far distant when, not only the producer, but every man, woman, and child in Australia will be in the cast-iron grip of the Inchcape Combine that owns such a big proportion of British bottoms to-day. Are we to be sorecreant to the principles we once espoused as to desert an industry that to-day is upstanding andbecomingmore firmly established as the months go by? Are we imbued to even a limited extent with the idea of Australian nationalism? If we are we shall stand by an industry which may be said to be practically indigenous to the country by reason of the fact that the raw material required for it is produced locally. I confess that when a Committee of this Parliament visited the shipping yards of Walkers' Limited, I and other members were pleasantly surprised by the magnificent specimens of workmanship which were shown to us. This Parliament has not yet given the shipbuilding industry a fair chance. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- The shipbuilding industry is just where anybody who could see ahead of his nose expected that it would be. {: .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr Prowse: -- The industry has not had a fair chance, because of the duties on raw material. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I cannot understand why honorable members are putting up a " stone wall." {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- We are concerned about the shipbuilding industry, and the Minister for Trade and Customs **(Mr. Greene),** who is an excellent advocate of protectionist principles, should he prepared to accord immediate and most advantageous protection to one of the finest industries that Australia could have. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- This protection cannot be given before 1923. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- Why not? {: .speaker-JWG} ##### Mr Fowler: -- It does not matter to the shipbuilding industry whether those duties operate in 1923 or 1925.I do not know what all the talk is about. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- What do honorable members opposite expect to gain by making the duties operate in 1923 instead of 1924? {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- If the Government would consult Walkers' Limited, Poole and Steele, Thompson's Limited, of Castlemaine, who are building magnificent marine engines, and other manufacturers who are . building marine machinery, every one would say, "We have spent a considerable sum of money in laying down extensive plants, we have a staff of trained men, and have made arrangements in our workshops and on our slipways for the industry. Give usthe protection we need as early as possible." We say that the latest date at which these duties should commence to operate is 1923. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I could understand the honorable member advocating that the duties should operate immediately, but what will be gained by postponing the' duties for fourteen months, and no longer, I cannot understand. If we make the date 1923, and nothing is doing in shipbuilding, then we shall have to postpone it until 1925 just the same. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- That is so; but the Treasurer has yet to learn the lessons of the war. If the shipbuilding people were consulted they would ask for this protection as soon as they could get it. I am not going to advocate, here and now, that the Government should go out of the shipbuilding business, but I do say that we should give private enterprise an opportunity, because, I believe, it would be able to keep its staff employed. We would be practically in the same position by fixing the date at 1923 as we would by making it 1924. {: .speaker-KJM} ##### Mr Jackson: -- Take a vote. I am going to vote with you. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- I am never in doubt about the honorable member for Bass, but we should be unanimous. I am only asking for what is a fair thing. {: .speaker-KDZ} ##### Mr Jowett: -- Let us have a vote. {: .speaker-KEV} ##### Mr FENTON: -- Other honorable members wish to speak. At least four States are interested in the shipbuilding industry, and I know of no question which the press could better take up. Although it may be opposed to me politically, I believe the press will say that members have performed a national service in trying to induce the Minister **(Mr. Greene)** to give this protection from 1923. {: #debate-16-s106 .speaker-K6S} ##### Mr CORSER:
Wide Bay , - This is a matter which should not be lightly dealt with. Coming from a city where 6,000-ton ships have been built for the Government, and where the work has been splendidly done, I wish to say that the contractors have been encouraged to take up the work in the belief that the Government would do everything possible to protect their industry, just as was done in connexion with the steel and other trades. It would not be fair to defer the protection until 1924, seeing that the shipbuilding yards have been established with heavy over-head expenses. In the meantime the staffs would be disbanded, and the works for some time rendered absolutely useless. I was informed by the manager of the steel works at Newcastle that, as there was every prospect of shipbuilding being continued, his company intended to spend £200,000 in the erection of the machinery necessary to manufacture steel plates, which is, I understand, being done. We must realize the importance of shipbuilding, because we still need a large number of vessels either to be built here, or purchased outside Australia, to make up. the number engaged in the coastal trade previous to the war. We have not as many vessels now as prior to the war. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- Pretty well as many, and at half the price. {: .speaker-K6S} ##### Mr CORSER: -- If we have any faith in Australia, we must hope to see a larger shipping trade as a result of increased population and production. If it is found, later on, that any injustice has been done, it will be an easy matter to extend the time then, but the Minister **(Mr. Greene)** should now accept the sug- gestion to make the date later than July, 1923. {: #debate-16-s107 .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS:
Melbourne Ports -- 'To my mind the worst aspect of this matter has hardly been dealt with. Acute business men, realizing that there was everypossibility of the Senate's request being accepted by this Chamber, have, in the meantime, ordered ships, but the vessels may not come out here for twenty years. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- If there is any difficulty on that point, I amprepared to alter the wording of the motion, and make the exemption apply only to vessels ordered for the Australian trade. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- It will be very hard for the Department to prove that a vessel has not 'been ordered for the Australian trade. There is nothing to prevent these business people ordering years ahead. We have given them too much time to do so, and if the Minister does not want them to beat him and this Parliament he will go back to the date on which the Senate made their request. How do we know that fifty ships have not been ordered? {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- Most of the companies have bought vessels at half price, and thus merely filled up their fleets. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- Several shipping companies have earned large profits on this coast, and have capital at their command. If they have ordered these vessels, what hope will therebe of havingboats built in Australia within the next ten years ? {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I do not think that going back to the date on which the request was made by the Senate will make any difference. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- No doubt there was a certain amount of lobbying, which caused the Senate to ask that this duty should be deferred until 1925, in the hope that vessels might be ordered in the interval before this Committee agreed to the request. {: .speaker-JWG} ##### Mr Fowler: -- Does the honorable member suggest that these people order ships as other people order loads of firewood? {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- No, but there are keen business men among the shipping people, who have ordered ships since the Senate's request was put forward, knowing that time would-be afforded to them to carry out their commissions for purchasing ships for years ahead free of the payment of duty. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- It is not possible to complete an order for a big up-to-date refrigerated vessel within twelve months. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- The honorable member for Franklin **(Mr. McWilliams)** has pointed out that at £7 per ton thousands of ships can be purchased which can make the passage to Australia in twenty-two days. How do we know that these people have not been buying these marvellous ships to trade them along the Australian coast in competition with boats built by our own workmen. {: .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr Prowse: -- Do you intend that vessels should be made in Australia by Government or private enterprise? {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- If I cannot get Government enterprise I will have private enterprise, so long as the industry is built up here. Yards have been established in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania, but I am afraid there will not be much chance of having many ships built in any of them for many years to come. There is no formality about fixing upon the 11th November as the date before which vessels must have been ordered to escape the payment of theduty. There is no reason why we should not revert to the date on which the Senate made its request. It is certain that if we leave the date as the Minister proposes to fix it we shall be laying oursolves open to certain charges. However, I want to reply to some of the arguments that have been advanced by the other side. I admit that they are very thin, but nevertheless one must reply to them. Why does the Minister adhere to the 11th November as the date from which the duty shall operate? {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- For the simple reason that no object would be served by collecting revenue duties on vessels which may already have been ordered abroad. Nobody would gain by that course. The community would lose by it. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- Does the Minister mean to say that if duties were collected on such ships the community would not gain? {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The community would lose, because the collection of duties would not cause the ships to be built in Australia. I do not know if any orders have been placed between the two dates mentioned, but, if so, the only effect of the duty would be to make the ships more costly, and to that extent we should be penalizing the community, because the increased cost would affect the overhead charges and be passed on to the community. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- Then the Minister might just as well fix the date at 11th December. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- That would be a different thing. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- Is it not a fact that ships have been ordered since the requested amendment was made by the Senate on 11th November? {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- That might have happened, but it would not help the shipbuilding industry in Australia to collect duties on such ships. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- It would compel the ship-owners to sell the vessels and order ships to be built in Australia. {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- No, it would not. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- Then the application of the duty is useless. {: .speaker-JWG} ##### Mr Fowler: -- So it is. The duty will not improve the shipbuilding position in Australia a ha'porth. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- The Minister **(Mr. Greene),** who is supposed to be a Protectionist, does not hold that view. I have heard the honorable member for Perth **(Mr. Fowler)** for thirty years as a Free Trader, and I am satisfied that nothing that may be said will convince him of the wisdom of a Protectionist policy. He was born a Free Trader, and will die one, and on his tombstone will be inscribed, " Here lies a Free Trader." {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- If you think that by any such trumpery expedient as you suggest you are going to coerce the shipping world into ordering ships to be built in Australia you are wrong. The only way to encourage the shipbuilding industry in this country is by enlisting the sympathy and good-will of the shipping world. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- Then all we have done in this Tariff will be of no effect. Why then did the Government bring down this proposal? The Treasurer must accept his share of the responsibility. Does the Minister **(Mr. Greene)** believe that this policy of Protection is futile? I am a believer in Protection as a means for the encouragement of Australian industry. {: .speaker-JWG} ##### Mr Fowler: -- The best way to encourage shipbuilding in Australia is to reduce the cost of construction. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- When the people of Australia realize the position they will insist on having ships built here, no matter what they cost. Other countries have been through a similar experience in the earlier stages of the industry. {: .speaker-KYI} ##### Mr Prowse: -- You cannot have low freights without cheap ships. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- The honorable member for Swan knows nothing about the question at all. We will develop the shipbuilding industry in Australia in spite of all he is doing to prevent it. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- But there will be no trade for it. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- If there will be no trade for the shipping industry, why does he worry about the imposition of duties to prevent trade coming to this country, and why is he supporting the Government in their desire to defeat honorable members on this question? {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- I am supporting the Government in the public interest. If we do not get our ships in the world's cheapest market there will be no trade for them, unless we write off a considerable portion of their capital cost. {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- But these ships will be trading along the coast of Australia. {: .speaker-KFP} ##### Mr Richard Foster: -- Does the honorable member propose to penalize the whole of our coastal trade? {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- It will not be penalized. All these objections have been raised in respect of every protective duty that has been imposed. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- If I agree to make the date 11th October - that on which the Senate's request was framed - will the Committee accept the proposal? {: .speaker-KNH} ##### Mr MATHEWS: -- I shall be willing to do so, personally, and to agree that the deferred date be made 1st July, 1923. {: #debate-16-s108 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- Will the Committee accept my suggestion just indicated? I am willing to move in that direction on the distinct understanding that if, in July, 1923, the circumstances in which we find ourselves are not different from those existing to-day-- {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- The Minister should not make that qualification. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The Government have a right to extend the period of a deferred duty. If the circumstances are such, in July, 1923, that we cannot start building vessels here, the Government will he empowered to extend the period. That is to say, if the position is such that there is no chance of any keels being laid in Australia, no object will be served in penalizing people who may desire to purchase ships abroad. There is nothing I want more ardently than to see the shipbuilding industry established and flourishing in Australia. It is a vital national necessity, and we should do all in our power to assist in its thorough establishment. I believe that that objective will yet be achieved ; but, with the enormous amount of shipping tied up all over the world, it cannot be looked for today. No one can say what will happen by the 1st July, 1923; but, if the Committee will accept my proposal, with the qualification indicated, I will bring it forward at once. {: #debate-16-s109 .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON:
Hunter -- There is not anything acceptable in the Minister's ' offer. If he had not added his qualification, I would have been prepared to accept the amendment without reserve. The argument has been advanced that a duty should be imposed after a given period in order to provide local builders with an opportunity to catch any orders that may come along. The Minister is prepared to defer the imposition of the duty until July, 1923, provided that the Committee accepts the responsibility for a further extension of the period, if deemed necessary. If the Minister would undertake to shoulder the responsibility ' for that qualification rather than place it on the Committee, I would be more impressed. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The Minister will have to take the responsibility in any case. There is this further consideration, that when the period of extension has ended the Tariff Board will be required to make a recommendation to the Minister. If the Board should advise that, in the circumstances, the duty should be imposed upon the date set out, that recommendation would be accepted without qualification. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- What the future may reveal lies in the lap of the gods. Why should the Minister attempt to bind the Committee with, a qualification? {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- It does not amount really to anything more than is provided in the Bill. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- Unless the Government afford Protection without doubt or contingency, the shipping yards in Australia must close down. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The qualification amounts to this: if, despite the duty, on and after 1st July, 1923, ships cannot be built in Australia to compete successfully with imported vessels, owing to the enormous amount of shipping still tied up, we will not be able to do anything effective for the Australian industry. But, if we find that we can afford it some benefit, we should not hesitate to do so. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- The Minister is advancing the weakest argument I have heard him utter during the consideration of the Tariff schedule. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The honorable member presumes that shipping, even after July, 1923, will be capable of construction overseas, or purchase, for 50 per cent. less than the cost of building in Australia. If that should be the case, a 25 per cent. duty will not be of assistance. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- The Minister is now saying, in effect, that, as a result of the condition of general trade affairs abroad, it will be necessary for Parliament to pass some special legislation, an Anti-dumping Bill, or the like, in order to save our industries. But the shipbuilding industry is not one of those concerning which Parliament need take any interest. It is to go by the board. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I am not saying anything of the kind. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- I would accept the Minister's offer if he would agree to say nothing about the qualification. I do not intend to be bound by anything of the kind. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- Then I shall say nothing about any qualification. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr CHARLTON: -- I do not want to be told afterwards that I agreed to a qualification that when the time arrived a further extension should be made. If the Minister will take the responsibility, I am prepared to let it go. I am here to look after the interests of the people I represent, and shall always endeavour to do so. This question does not affect my own district, but has an important bearing on the people who are engaged in shipbuilding throughout Australia. As a matter of fact, it has an indirect effect on the whole Commonwealth. If the Minister will move in the direction he has indicated, I will sit down. . {: .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- He has told the honorable member that he will. Get down. {: .speaker-JXA} ##### Mr Charlton: -- I am down. {: #debate-16-s110 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- *(By leave.)* - I desire to amend my motion so that it will read - >That the requested amendment be modified by amending the sub-item to read, " 1st July, 1923 " instead of " 1st January, 1925 " and that the following words be added at the end of sub-item (b) : - ", excepting vessels exceeding 500 tons gross register ordered before the 11th October, 1921." I recognise that this is a very difficult matter, but I hope that the compromise that has been suggested will be accepted by the Committee. Motion, by leave, amended accordingly. {: #debate-16-s111 .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- The Minister **(Mr. Greene)** is now proposing only to extend by six months the time within which it will be possible to bring in vessels free of duty. I think that extension may prove to be too short. As I pointed out when discussing this question at an. earlier hour, the raising of the capital necessary to purchase vessels for the north coast trade of New South. Wales has yet to be considered. I do not think that honorable members of the Labour party have sufficiently appreciated the point that the only effect of bringing this duty into operation earlier than is proposed by another place will be to add to the cost of bringing vessels here, because, as has been pointed out, the cost of building in Scotland, plus the duty, will probably be less than the actual cost of building in Australia. {: .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- The whole position will have to be reviewed in the light of the facts, whatever they may be. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- And a new Parliament will review them. I would point out to honorable members that the inevitable result of increasing the cost of the vessels which carry the bulk of the produce from the. north and, south coasts of New South Wales to the various industrial centres for consumption will be an increase in the cost of living in those centres. Freights at present are very high, and if they are raised there will be a consequent increase in the cost of living in these industrial centres. I have been astonished to hear so many honorable members say that they cannot foretell what will be the position in regard to shipping twelve months hence. If there is one thing that indicates accurately what those engaged in the shipping industry may anticipate, it is the drop in the shares of shipping companies throughout the world. For instance, shares in the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company within the last eighteen months have fallen from £700 to £250, and are practically going down every day. {: .speaker-KYD} ##### Mr Poynton: -- Will the honorable member guarantee that the stock has not been watered? {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- It has not been watered to any extent. Mr.Richard Foster. - The position of the company has been immensely improved, because they have been able to purchase good ships for nearly half the cost of their construction. {: .speaker-C7E} ##### Dr EARLE PAGE:
COWPER, NEW SOUTH WALES · FSU; CP from 1920 -- - They have had an opportunity to purchase hundreds of new ships at prices far below what they could hope to build them for, and their capital position is very much stronger than it was. The drop in shipping company shares has occurred practically throughout the world, so that it is easy to foretell what will he the position a year hence. I do not wish to delay the Committee any longer. In default of getting anything better, I am willing to accept the proposed modification of the request, bringing the duty into operation on 1st July, 1923,with the qualification stated by the Minister. Question - That the requested amendment be made with the proposed modification - put. The Committee divided. AYES: 33 NOES: 3 Majority .. ... 30 AYES NOES Question so resolved in the affirmative. Item 430 - >Straw envelopes - on and after1st October, 1921,- per 1,000, British, 5s.; intermediate, 10s.; general, 10s. > > *Senate's Request.* - Leave out " October " and insert "November". {: #debate-16-s112 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I move - >That the requested amendment bemade with the following modification: - Instead of "on and after 1st November, 1921," read "on and after 1st January, 1922." I understand that by that time the local industry will be in a position to supply the greater part of Australia's requirements. Motion agreed to. Resolutions reported. Motion (by **Mr. Greene)** agreed to - >That the Senate's requested amendments be recommitted for the reconsideration of No. 56. *In Committee* (Recommittal) : Item 281- >Drugs and chemicals, viz.: - {: type="a" start="a"} 0. Arsenic, arsenious chloride .... ad val., British, 25 per cent. ; . intermediate, 25 per cent.; general, 35 per cent. *Senate's Bequest.* - Make the duty on arsenate of lead, ad val., British, 10 per cent.; intermediate, 15 per cent.; general, 20 percent. {: #debate-16-s113 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
Minister for Trade and- Customs · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 -- I promised to recommit this item to enable honorable members to record their votes. Iwould be obliged if the Committee would proceed to vote on the item. It was on thatunderstanding that I recommitted it. I move - >That the requested amendment be not made. {: #debate-16-s114 .speaker-JUV} ##### Mr McWILLIAMS:
FRANKLIN, TASMANIA · REV TAR; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917; CP from 1920; IND from 1928 .- There are some members of this Committee who feel very strongly regarding this item; but I think it was understood that, if the Minister recommitted the item, members would votewithout discussion. Question put. The Committee divided. AYES: 27 NOES: 7 Majority . . . . 20 Motion agreed to. Resolutions further reported; reports adopted. AYES NOES {: .page-start } page 12678 {:#debate-17} ### EXCISE TARIFF BILL *In Committee* (Consideration of Senate's request) : Item 4 - >Saccharin and other similar substitutes for sugar, per lb., 20s. > >Senate's *Request.* - That the item be amended to read - {: #debate-17-s0 .speaker-KNF} ##### Mr GREENE:
Minister for Trade and Customs · RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES · LP; NAT from 1917 .- This is the only request by the Senate, and it is simply consequential, making locallymanufactured saccharin free of Excise when supplied to hospitals. This brings this Bill into line with the requested amendment made in item 210 of the Tariff. I move - >That the requested amendment be made. Motion agreed to. Resolution reported; report adopted. {: .page-start } page 12678 {:#debate-18} ### SUPPLY BILL (No. 4) 1921-22 Bill returned from the Senate without request. {: .page-start } page 12678 {:#debate-19} ### SITTING DAYS {:#subdebate-19-0} #### Hours of Meeting Motion (by **Sir Joseph** Cook) agreed to- >That, unless otherwise ordered, the House shall sit on each Tuesday at 3 o'clock p.m. ; on each Wednesday and Thursday at half-past 2 o'clock p.m.; and on each Friday at 11 o'clock a.m. {: .page-start } page 12678 {:#debate-20} ### SPECIAL ADJOURNMENT {: #debate-20-s0 .speaker-F4S} ##### Sir JOSEPH COOK:
Treasurer · PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES · FT; ANTI-SOC from 1906; LP from 1910; NAT from 1917 -- I move - >That the House, at its rising, adjourn until noon this day. Under the circumstances, it will be a fitting thing if we meet to-day at 12 o'clock instead of at 11 o'clock. There is an Armistice Bay function here, and by the time the House can properly meet noon will have about arrived. Question resolved in the affirmative.

Cite as: Australia, House of Representatives, Debates, 10 November 1921, viewed 22 October 2017, <>.