1st Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m. and read prayers.
– I desire to ask the Postmaster-General, without notice, the following questions : -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
– I do not see at present how it is possible to remit both Bills to the same committee. Both Bills will be before the Senate, and I presume that under the circumstances the provisions of the Excise Tariff Bill can be referred to in all discussions on the Customs Tariff Bill. Whether it will be better to proceed to the second reading of the Excise Tariff Bill before going into committee on the Customs Tariff Bill, is a matter which I have not yet considered. It appears to me that it would be more convenient to go right on with the Customs Tariff Bill. However, I shall consider the matter.
– In the other House the Customs duties and the Excise duties were submitted in one schedule, and I hope that my honorable and learned friend will try, if possible, to place us in the same position. I think he will find, sir, subject to your ruling, that there can be no difficulty in that respect.
– The two Bills may be remitted to the same committee.
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The following are the answers to the honorable senator’s questions : - 1 and 2. No such proposals have been formally made, but it is known that proposals of the kind were in contemplation some time ago, and before the transference of administrative control.
Royal assent to this Bill reported.
In Committee (Consideration of message of House of Representatives).
Clause 52a (Appointee to assure his life).
– The Bill has come down to us again, and there are now only two points of difference between the Houses. The other House has given way, and agreed with us with regard to five out of seven amendments, and I now propose that we should agree with that House in regard to the remaining two points of difference. Unless we come into accord it will be necessary to hold a conference. That may mean, according to our standing orders, two “ dumb “ conferences, to be followed by a free conference. The matter has now been thoroughly thrashed out, and a spirit of compromise should prevail. The two clauses which are affected have been reprinted with the alterations in block type, so as to show exactly the points of difference. With regard to our amendment number 42, in clause 52a, providing for an officer to assure his life, the words which were put in by the other House were -
Approved by the Governor-General registered and carrying on business in the Commonwealth, or as may be prescribed.
The Senate objected to the retention of the words “approved by the Governor-General,” and also of the words “ or as may be prescribed.” I refrain from expressing an opinion on the merits, because I think the time has come when we should make up our minds to give up some of our individual opinions for the sake of insuring a compromise. In order that there may be no further delay in the passage of the Bill, I move -
That the committee do not insist on its amendment to the amendment of the House of Representatives to amendment No. 42 of the Senate.
– The alteration made by the other House provides that the assurance company or society, with which civil servants shall do business, must be approved by the Governor-General, and registered, and carrying on business in the Commonwealth or as may be prescribed. That is practically making the Commonwealth liable for the various assurance companies. If the Governor-General says that a company is safe to do business with, and it fails to fulfil its obligations, the assured can fall back on the Commonwealth. If that reading of the clause is correct I object to the Commonwealth accepting any responsibility. I am in favour of the Commonwealth assuring its servants, but Tam opposed to its taking any responsibility with regard to assurance societies. I do not wish to pass any remarks about these societies, but I have read in print on various occasions that it is extremely doubtful whether, if a close actuarial investigation were made, one of them would be found to be solvent. It is extremely undesirable that the Commonwealth should accept any liabilities of this character. If public servants are to be assured, let them go into the open market and do business with companies that are operating here, and in the ordinary way.
– There is one objection that arises in ray mind with reference to this clause, and that is in regard to the question of the registration of the companies. I believe that in “Victoria, and in some of the other States, there are laws by virtue of which life assurance companies are registered.
– The two Houses are in agreement upon that point, and the question of registration cannot, therefore, be raised. The matter before us now is as to the words “ as prescribed by the GovernorGeneral.”
.- Whether the measure has been previously discussedor not, the question now submitted to us is with regard to our agreement with the House of Representatives as to certain words, and “registered “is one of those words. However applicable the word “registered” may be in Victoria, there are States in which it has no applicability, because there is no existing law under which life assurance companies are registered. I want to know what will be the effect of this provision requiring registration in a State like New South Wales.
– It must be registered in the Commonwealth. This clause provides for registration in the Commonwealth.
– Even that does not get over the difficulty, because there is no explanation as to what registration involves. Is the company to be registered under State law or Commonwealth law 1 I draw attention to the point because it may be of material consequence by-and-by.
– There is no Commonwealth law.
– Exactly; and therefore I suppose that if we pass the clause in this form it can only have reference to registration under State laws. I own that I do not quite like the words “ or as may be prescribed,” because they simply mean, that the Government of the day may prescribe by regulation anything whatever, even at direct variance with the rest of the clause.
– What they prescribe has to come before Parliament.
.- But Parliament may not be sitting, and the matter may not come before Parliament for some time. I do not say that I intend to call for a division on the point. I am satisfied if the majority of the committee are satisfied. But I think the matters to which I have called attention are worthy of careful consideration.
– May I explain at further length how this clause stands? When the Bill came up to the Senate we struck out the whole clause and substituted a new clause in which the words “carrying on business in Australia “ occurred. The House of Representatives struck out those words “carrying on business in Australia” and substituted the words “ approved by the Governor-General, and carrying on business in the Commonwealth, or as may be prescribed.” When the Bill came back to us we omitted the words “approved by the Governor-General,” and the words “ or as may be prescribed,” and it is that amendment which is disagreed with at present by the House of Representatives. So that the question of registration does not really occur. I do not think that any of the difficulties pointed out are likely to occur, and with regard to the objection of Senator Stewart, however much we may respect the opinions he expresses, I would say that this is a time for compromise. There is nothing before us now except the matters involved in these amendments, and unless we can come to an agreement with the House of Representatives there must be conferences on the points at issue.
– It is all very well to talk of compromise and of conferences. I should not object to the course proposed to be taken if it did not affect a very great principle. I agree entirely with Senator Stewart that by the addition of the words in question we shall be placing our officers, who are bound to assure, in the position of having to go only to such companies as may be prescribed by the Governor-General. In doing that we shall be laying ourselves open to the danger that if any of those companies in which we compel the officers to register happen to fail, and the officers lose their money thereby, they will have a moral claim upon the Government to make up the deficiency. I will be no party to placing the Commonwealth in that position. I would far rather that the Commonwealth assured the officers itself. Then we should know what we were doing. Otherwise, we should simply compel the officers to assure their lives. They can make their choice of companies, and if the choice turns out unfortunate for them, and the companies fail, they cannot come to the Government, and blame it as they unmistakably could do if the Government compelled them to go to certain companies. Therefore, I shall oppose the motion of the PostmasterGeneral.
– I agree with Senator Playford. If the Government prescribed the companies in which civil servants were to assure they could only do so after making an investigation into the stability of the companies, as is done in Canada and the United States. It is far better to leave the responsibility on the individual. By so doing he will not “have a moral or legal claim on the Government hereafter. But if we force the individual to assure in certain companiesit may happen that some officers will assure in companies that are unsound. There are undoubtedly some companies that are not financially sound. It would be better to leave the officers to assure as they please than to insist on a course that would compel the Government to make good a loss hereaf ter. It is right and wise enough to compel civil servants to assure their lives because when they are retired after a life spent in the civil service, and are thrown upon the mercy of the world, if they have nothing to fall back upon they will really be paupers. They will not be able to turn their hands to anything, and the Government cannot see persons who formerly held high official positions going about the streets starving. It is better to leave the responsibility with the officers themselves than to force them to assure in prescribed companies.
– The amendment of the House of Representatives seems to me to be entirely contrary to the previous decision of this Chamber. Honorable senators will remember that the effect of the clause as amended by the Senate was to leave civil servants with an absolutely free hand to assure where they liked. But the obvious proposition of this clause is that the free right of an individual to assure where he pleases shall be curtailed by the Governor-General. I cannot agree with Senator Stewart in carrying the responsibility of the Government as far as he does, because I do not think there would be any financial responsibility on the Commonwealth if one of the assurance companies failed. But I agree with him to this extent - that it would be an obvious and abundant reason for coming to the Commonwealth Parliament with a cry for help and consideration, and the moral obligation would be undoubtedly strong if we agreed to the clause as it stands. Feeling as I do upon the subject, I am bound to oppose the motion of the PostmasterGeneral. I am certain that the majority of the Senate do not wish the clause to stand as it does now. The matter was fully thrashed out, and we decided to give every individual in the service the opportunity of assuring his life where he chose. But there is no such freedom if the words “ as may be prescribed “ are allowed to stand part of the clause. The words “ as may be prescribed,” govern all the words, that precede them. They entirely take away from Parliament the decision as to life assurance, and hand the powerover to the Governor-General. They do not even limit the kind of companies. It would be perfectly feasible for the GovernorGeneral to insist upon civil servants assuring their lives in any companies the Government chose to direct, or in one company only. We fought for the principle of the freedom of the individual to assure in any company, no matter where the head-office might be. But if the words “ as may be prescribed “ are left in the clause, it is perfectly feasible for the Governor-General to say to every civil servant - “You shall assure in one company only amongst the companies carrying on business in Australia.” I do not think that the choice of civil servants ought to be limited, whether the companies may be managed from America or England. Seeing that the amendment is totally contrary to the spirit of what this Chamber decided by a large majority, I trust that we shall not agree to the motion, even though our action does lead to a conference.
– I cannot quite follow some honorable senators with respect to leaving the individual the choice of the office in which he wishes to assure. As is well known, I am in favour of State assurance, and think that the matter ought to be under the control of the Government. If we cannot get that, the next best thing is to throw the responsibility on the Government of stipulating or making some provision as to what companies, in the judgment of the Government, shall be prescribed. No doubt the Government will take care that the companies prescribed are in a sound financial position, and that officers who assure their lives therein run no risk of being left without the money for which they assured. If we leave to the individual public servant the choice of the companies, I do not say that the agents of the companies will wilfully mislead them, but it is the most natural thing in the world that agents should use every means within their power to induce civil servants to assure with the offices they represent. But if the Government prescribe certain offices, I have no doubt that care will be taken that the companies selected are in a sound financial position.
– But will they be in a sound position 30 years hence 1
– If we are to run the risk of our officers assuring in any companies they choose, who is to say that those companies will be in a sound position twenty years hence ? The risks to be run are far more to be feared from leaving each individual the right to choose the company in which he shall assure than from prescribing the companies as proposed in the clause as it stands. Failing a system of State insurance I shall certainly favour what I conceive to be the next best thing, and that is that civil servants shall assure their lives in some office or offices prescribed by regulation. I have not the slightest doubt that the Government, having some regard to their financial, if not their moral, responsibility, will make a careful investigation before they prescribe any office, and that will be far better than the disjointed arrangement of allowing a public servant to assure his life in any office he thinks proper. There might be twenty or thirty offices, and how would it be possible for the Government to keep a grip on them ? If we had a law providing for the auditing of the accounts of these offices by Government auditors it would be very different. But until we have such a law it is obvious that in order that the Government may exercise the necessary care for the welfare of the public servants in this matter, they should be able to see whether or not the office in which a civil servant proposes to assure is sound. I will support the motion, believing that the risk would be greater under the disjointed arrangement to which I have referred, than it would be under this proposal.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales).I do not propose to inquire into what would have been the better course to follow had this matter been before us originally, but I oppose the amendment offered to us because it appears to me to attempt to do, by means of subterfuge, what we have already refused to do by legislation. Honorable senators will remember that when the matter was before us originally the Government proposed that life assurance societies whose head offices were not in Australia should be debarred from the receipt of proposals for assuring the lives of civil servants. We can only gather from that fact that there was an inclination on the part of the Government to favour local offices. That provision” having been struck out, they now ask us to give them power to select those offices. What offices would they be likely to select, other than those indicated in their original proposal1? If the responsibility of selecting the offices is thrown on the Government, the effect of the exercise of that responsibility will be a distinct reflection upon the companies which are not chosen. It may be extremely desirable, and, indeed, I think it is, that the Government should, by means of a separate measure, have some supervision over these financial institutions doing business here ; but that is very different from allowing any Government of the day, subject as the)’ are to pressure, to make a selection of any particular offices, perhaps in order to suit the whims of certain supporters. I shall be one of the the first to give the Government a power of supervision over these institutions, but I object to giving them this uncontrolled power of selection.
– Some of the arguments that have been urged against this amendment are rather belated. If they had been put forward when the clause was first under consideration I believe that a provision would have been passed in the direction of State life assurance. It is to be regretted that these advocates of State insurance have awakened so late in the day. I think their names will be found on the division list as having voted against State life assurance, and in favour of giving over this business to private companies. We have to remember that the Bill has readied a stage at which, if we are going to have a dispute with the other House upon this question, there will have to be a conference, and the measure will be hung up for some time. Seeing that another place has yielded to us on many questions upon which they were previously at variance with us, and that this matter does not carry with it any great principle - that it simply means assurance with private companies as prescribed, as against assurance with private companies unlimited - I do not think we should oppose it.- I would appeal to the friends of this measure, who wish it to become law as speedily as possible, to accept the compromise, for it is nothing like as drastic as was the provision which we struck out. I would point out to those who fear that the Government will give an undue preference to certain officers that the regulations prescribing the selection will have to be laid on the table of the Senate, and it will then be competent for any honorable senator who objects to them to move the adjournment of the Senate, in order to draw attention to the matter or to move a motion disagreeing with them.
– That would involve the consideration of the fate of the Government.
– I have yet to learn that the fate of the Government depends upon the Senate alone; even if it did, I am doubtful whether it would be affected by the selection of a life assurance office. Many important points have been conceded to us by another place, and I fail to see why we should jeopardize the Bill for the sake of this small amendment. I appeal to honorable senators to accept the spirit of the compromise and to vote for the motion proposed by the PostmasterGeneral.
– I hope that honorable senators will consider whether there is really anything to fight about in this amendment. As everyone knows I am in favour of State insurance, but the State has no right to compel civil servants to assure their lives in any office, although it would be justified in compelling them to insure in an institution of its own. This amendment only modifies the proposition which we sent back to another place, and I do not think we ought to delay or jeopardize the passage of the measure, because of it. Honorable senators will see that all the public servants taken over from the States by the Commonwealth, who were insured at the date of transfer cannot be interfered with under this proposal, and they will represent 90 per cent, of the civil servants for tlie next ten years. The provision can affect only the very few civil servants whom we are likely to take on at once.
– The clause as amended by another place would affect those already insured in view of the proviso -
Provided that this section shall not apply to any officer who at the time of his appointment is already assured in such company.
The “ such “ company is to be prescribed.
– I do not think it means that. It will not apply to any one who has come into the service with his life already assured.
– Hear, hear.
– Consequently the provision can refer only to a very few officers, and during the next ten years if those who are in favour of State life assurance are as earnest as they ought to be, an institution of the kind will come into existence. We shall then be able to compel all our State civil servants to assure in it. I do not think, therefore, that we ought to make any bother about this compromise. If we accept it, it will enable the Bill to pass with a great deal more expedition than it would if we were to force a conference with another place.
– I desire only to say that so far as the word “ such “ is concerned, it is evidently a mistake which might be corrected as a consequential amendment, if the other words were inserted. It seems to me, however, that there is a double vice in the amendment to which we are asked to assent. One is the provision which has been animadverted upon by Senator Playford, that the company or society is to be approved by the Governor-General. It is a novel provision that the responsibility of selecting the office in which any individual or set of officers is to be assured, shall be transferred from the shoulders of the person who is going to assure his life to those of the employer. That is an anomaly which cannot have been present to the mind of honorable members of another place when they debated this amendment. But the second part of the amendment seems to me to be merely a new way of doing an old thing to which the Senate has taken exception. In dealing with Bills , we have been too much in the habit of leaving matters of essential consequence to be prescribed by regulation. In dealing with this clause we ought to define definitely, as we tried to do before, what the policy of Parliament is. If we are to have the policy of Parliament revised every month or year, according to the Government that happens to be in power, we shall never have anything like finality or certainty. I should be very sorry if our refusal to accept the amendment were to cause any strong difference, but I feel sure that the reasonableness of the House of Representatives will come into play in this instance, as it has done before, and that they will see the propriety of eliminating the amendment, and agreeing to the clause as passed by the Senate.
– I think honorable senators will be well advised if they accept the amendment proposed by the House of Representatives. In that way we shall force the Government to undertake a responsibility which they have brought upon themselves. Honorable senators will remember that when this Bill was first before us I proposed that civil servants should be required tt> assure their lives with the State. That proposal was carried, but owing to the strenuous efforts of the Government it was thrown out subsequently by one vote. I admit that this amendment will place the Government in ah invidious position, and I am very glad that it will do so. The Government will have ‘to determine practically what societies the civil service shall assure with, and that will be tantamount to saying that the societies which are’ not included in the selection are not thought by the Government to be financially sound. Those who have gone into life assurance matters must admit that some of the companies are not sound, or do not possess that financial stability which obtains in some of the larger societies. If the civil servants were allowed to assure in any society they liked, there would be considerable danger of their assuring in some society that was not financially sound, because those societies would probably put forward greater efforts to secure the assurance of civil servants than the larger societies. We are told that if the Government insists that the civil servants shall assure with certain companies, that will carry with it a moral obligation on the part of the Government to see that the policies are paid. But I contend that the moral responsibility will rest with the Government in any case, if they compel the civil servants to assure, and whether they insist that the assurance shall be with certain companies or not. We should look at this amendment in a spirit of compromise, because” honorable senators, if they refer to the amendments which have been proposed, will find that the House of Representatives have compromised upon many, and have agreed to more amendments than we have. In this instance we have two alternatives. We can hang up this measure, which is of vital importance to 11,000 civil servants, and is required by Ministers and the heads of departments in order to carry on the service properly, for months, or we can pass these two clauses, which are not of vital importance. I hope the committee will not insist upon their amendment in this case, so that there may be no friction between the two Houses, and the Bill may become law as soon as possible.
– I had not intended to speak upon this question, but when I find Senator Smith taking up the attitude he does in respect to this assurance I feel myself obliged to point out, when we hear all this talk about putting the responsibility upon the Government as Senator Glassey suggested, that it really means putting the responsibility upon the Commonwealth, because we know the Government will not be personally responsible. I should have no hesitation in putting the responsibility upon the Commonwealth if we had control. If we had State assurance, and the matter was controlled by the Federal Government, the Federal Government could afford to take the responsibility, but we shall have no control whatever in the case of the selected offices, and we shall be putting upon the Commonwealth the responsibility of making good losses for which we cannot in any way be held to be legally responsible, and which we shall not be in a position to prevent. Another reason why this proposal is extremely undesirable is that it gives the Government a valuable patronage. Honorable senators must know that there are very large commissions paid for securing assurance business, and there is no question whatever that the Government will try to put this business in the hands of their friends.
– A most unworthy suggestion.
– I have no doubt that Ministers will be pestered to death by their friends and relatives who are agents for these companies, in order to have them selected as companies approved by the Government.
– The honorable senator is not speaking of the present Government t
– I speak of no particular Government, but of all Governments. From the knowledge I have acquired in Australia and elsewhere, I have no doubt that Ministers will be solicited every week to get certain offices put upon the register as offices in which Commonwealth officials may be assured. That is a most undesirable thing to bring about, and for that reason, if for no other, I shall oppose the amendment which it is suggested we should accept.
– Senator McGregor called attention to the fact that this clause would not affect existing members of the civil service who have been transferred from the various States. Senator Millen took exception to that, and called attention to the proviso to section 52a. But the honorable and learned senator overlooked the fact that it is clear from section 51 that this is not to apply to transferred officers. This assurance of public servants was proposed originally in Victoria, in order to take the place of pensions. Pensions to civil servants were abolished in Victoria in 1881, and, in lieu of them, in 1884 or 1885, a Public Service Act was passed, under which all officers entering the service had to assure their lives, so that at the age of 60, when they had to retire, they should not be turned adrift upon the world without some amount of money at their call. The proposal was in the first instance made in the interest of the officers themselves, but it was also in the interest of the State, in order to do away with the extensive system of pensions. It is clearly desirable that the officers should be compelled to assure with safe companies, and I see nothing whatever objectionable in the Government of the day having a voice in the selection of them.
– Have they that voice in Victoria?
– They have that voice in Victoria. A number of offices are submitted to the Government for approval, and a list is selected of offices which are recognised as offices in which the public servants may assure. That appears to me to be a perfectly reasonable and wise provision. It is exactly what we would ourselves insist upon if, as mortgagees, we were lending money upon property. Honorable senators must know that it is provided in mortgage deeds that the property mortgaged shall be insured in an office subject to the approval of the mortgagee. The only thing about the proposal that I do not like is the provision contained in the words “ or as may *be prescribed.” I think it would be advisable >to eliminate these words, but if, as I understand from a statement made by Senator Neild, in some of the States insurance companies are not regis’tered as they are in Victoria, the inclusion of those words may be necessary. In Victoria none but registered offices can open for business, and no office can be registered unless it has a certain amount of paid-up capital, and a certain amount placed on deposit with the Government as security for the Government and for tlie public assured. If there be any States in which assurance offices can open indiscriminately without any security for the assured or the Government, it will be necessary to include these words “ or as may be prescribed,”’ but if all assurance companies had had to be registered, as I think they should be, I should have liked to have seen those words eliminated.
Question - That the Senate’s amendment be not insisted on - put. The committee divided.
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Clause 9 (Record of division, class, ite, of officers to be kept and gazetted).
The commissioner shall determine the division, class, sub-division of class, or grade of every officer.
It was held by a number of honorable senators that this was contradictory to clause 8, which provided that the GovernorGeneral should approve of a disposition of officers on the recommendation of the commissioner after the receipt of reports from the inspectors. After some discussion it was decided to strike out the words I have quoted, but the other House has omitted the word “ determine “ and substituted the words “ shall recommend to the GovernorGeneral for determination.” “When the inspectors submit their reports, then, if any change is necessary, it will be made under the provisions of clause S, but previous to that it will be necessary for a classification of the officers to take place, and that is provided for in clause 9.
The commissiomer shall recommend to the Governor-General for determination the division, class, sub-division of class or grade of every officer . . . provided that where the GovernorGeneral does not approve of any such recommendation, a statement of the reasons for not approving, and for requiring a fresh recommendation, shall be laid before the Parliament.
– I was wondering how Senator Drake would justify our agreeing to the amendment of the other House ; but he now informs us, .to my great astonishment, that it may be necessary to have a classification, which is all fully provided for in clause 8, before the inspectors have made their visits to the States and sent in their reports. I suppose that the officers are getting dissatisfied with the delay in making a classification. We are, therefore, to be driven back to the farce, which I tried in vain to point out to the committee, that an untried man who knows nothing about five States, even if he comes from the sixth, is to proceed to make a classification on his own information, which is practically nil, or on the advice of the heads of the various departments. If Senator Drake is going to allow the Bill to leave Parliament in that state,I cannot help it. It appears to me to be a perfect botch. He has explained the reasons for the alteration in clause 9, because it was pointed out, I think by myself at first, that to say that the commissioner should “determine” when clause 8 said that the Governor-General should determine on the recommendation of the commissioner, was absolutely inconsistent. The other House has gone out of its way to try and justify clause 9, which, as it was sent to us, was absolutely unjustifiable. But to do this they have inserted three lines at the beginning and added five lines at the end, and the result is that the commissioner may have to make a classification before his watch-dogs are ready to give him any information. It appears to me that that can hardly take place. I can hardly conceive of the Governor- General in Council allowing such a thing. I can hardly conceive of civil servants agreeing to be classified by a gentleman who is absolutely ignorant of his work, when the inspectors are there to give him the very information without which the classification would be absolutely unjust. It appears to me that clause 9 will not be used for that purpose. As it stands, it repeats word for word the provision in clause 8. If Senator Drake can point out any difference, or any reasons why we should vote for his motion, let us give in. But, at the present moment, it appears to me that we ought to insist upon our amendment.
Senator CLEMONS (Tasmania). - I am astonished that Senator Drake should remain silent after the appeal which has been made to him by Senator Dobson.
– There is nothing fresh in it. We have had it over and over again.
– I think there is a great deal in it. It raises a most important point, and that is the original classification of all existing State officers. That is a point on which Senator Dobson, with myself and many others, laid considerable stress when we were discussing the Bill, and Senator Drake now asks us to remit to the commissioner alone the whole question of that classification. That, at any rate, is the interpretation which I put on this very mysterious clause. Senator Drake asks us also to consent to the provision that the commissioner shall not be assisted by his inspectors in making this important original classification. We believe that the commissioner is going to be assisted by six inspectors, who are to be chosen, probably, one from each State. It must be perfectly obvious to Senator Drake that if we are going to attempt to get fair play for the civil servants in each State, we ought to give an opportunity to the inspector, who specially represents a State, to inform the commissioner what, in his opinion, the classification should be. I am astonished that the committee should want to hurry over this matter, because it is far more important than anything else we have to consider. It is a point which has always appealed to me, and one in which all the civil servants are concerned at the present time. Yet Senator Drake calmly asks us to remit this most important question to the commissioner, who cannot know anything about it, whoever he may be. He has given us no guarantee that civil servants will get fair treatment, and every honorable senator must know that there is a tremendous discrepancy between the salaries paid in the various States. It is quite time that the Senate should expand its own notion of what a States’ House is, and endeavour to secure some sort of fair treatment for all the States. If we pass the clause as it stands we shall run the risk of civil servants in the smaller States suffering great injustice. I am perfectly certain that the civil servants in Tasmania will not get justice or anything like uniformity of payment, but will remain as they are, conspicuously the most underpaid officers in the Commonwealth. I join with Senator Dobson in objecting to the clause remaining in its present condition. I shall vote against the motion.
Senator MATHESON (Western Australia). - After looking at the clause as it stands, I do not see that the objections of Senator demons are altogether justified. We might be satisfied with the safeguard that is derived from the recommendation of the commissioner to the Governor-General and the consideration given to it by the Cabinet, which is practically the GovernorGeneral, and later on the necessity of the Cabinet providing an explanation of their reasons for disagreement in case it is called for. Therefore, although I opposed the last amendment, I shall support the present proposal.
– I am a little surprised that Senators Dobson and Clemons should have given to Senator Drake’s utterances the meaning which their remarks suggest In those States which have had classification boards and PublicService Acts, it would be very easy, very soon after the appointment of the commissioner, to grade and classify the officers, but in the other States it would be a matter of greater difficulty. There is nothing in the amendment of the House of Representatives which would compel the commissioner on his appointment to immediately set about classifying all the officers throughout the Commonwealth ; but he might take those whose grade or position was established as certain, and recommend them for particular positions to the GovernorGeneral. With regard to others in connexion with whose grading it would be necessary to obtain particular information, I take it, that he would proceed under clause 8, which provides that he shall receive the reports of his inspectors and make any recommendation he sees fit after considering those reports. I do not think it was intended by Senator Drake, when he pointed out that the clause would empower the commissioner after his appointment to do some of that work, to convey the impression that he would do the whole of the work with which he was intrusted. What he meant was that the commissioner would simply take advantage of existing circumstances in any State and get through that portion of the work regarding, which facilities were offered to him as early as possible, and that then he might direct his attention to the grading of those in connexion with whose positions it would be necessary for him to call in the assistance of his inspectors. I think that Senator Matheson has taken the right conception of the clause, and that it will be read in conjunction with clause 8. We need not fear for the position of the civil servants in the smaller States, but may rely upon it that they will receive that measure of justice that the commissioner is appointed to mete out to them.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Resolutions reported and adopted.
Debate resumed from 25 th April (videpage 12015) on motion by Senator O’Connor -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– This Bill invites the Senate to do its part in the greatest work of this ‘ session, the passing and enactment of the first Commonwealth Tariff. The importance of the measure, I think I may venture to say, might have entitled it to the first place on the business paper of this afternoon ; and. I am quite sure, that it would have had that place if it had been anticipated that the discussion which has now closed would occupy so long.
– Hear, hear.
–There can be no doubt that in the settlement of this matter every possible economy of time ought to be exercised, and the prime place in the consideration of this Senate might well be given to it. Because, as I say, it is the most vital question that Parliament has at present to deal with. Upon this Bill rests the financial position of the Commonwealth, and the financial position of the States, as well as the comfort and happiness of the people, the effective development of our national resources, and the future of our material prosperity. I feel, as we must all do, that all these things are bound up - are touched more or less - by the consideration of this or of any Tariff, upon which the financial position of the Common wealth has to be founded. The State cannot live without income. The question for Parliament to consider is, what is the best way to get that income so as to be least burdensome to the people % We have, I think it is clear, reached a point when it becomes us to review the situation, survey the entire field, before we enter, as we shall be obliged to do, into a consideration and a discussion of details. And in the very forefront of that field, dominating the whole of it, so far as we are concerned, is the constitutional power and position of the Senate. We may well remember that for the first time in the history ofany English-speaking Parliament with responsible government, the second Chamber, by the direct authority and sanction of the Constitution itself, is given an unquestionable control over the taxation of the country. I hope we shall never forget that that is our position as a Senate. It was so intended by the Constitution. It was so contemplated by the framers of the Constitution as an essential part of the power of the Senate and of the position which the Senate should occupy under this Federal Constitution. The method of amendment by suggestion - or, to use the words of the Constitution itself , “by request” - is equivalent for all purposes to amendment ; but out of, I think I may say, tenderness to old and preconceived methods, . it is a politer form, and no more, of doing it. I trust that we shall all think clearly on this most important initial position, and that we shall - as we may well do - feel a pride, and accompanying that pride a sense of responsibility, in the position in which the Senate is placed. But with that pride, and with that responsibility we must remember this - that if that constitutional power which is vested in us is surrendered in one shred or one scintilla we shall be guilty of base treachery to the Constitution, and of a base betrayal of the interests committed to our charge under the Constitution. Here I may remind the Senate, if honorable senators will forgive me, that we have a double trust. We are here representing the people of this country on the broadest franchise - the same broad franchise upon which the foundations of the House of Representatives rest. But we are here also, and in a special degree, representing theStates from which we come. Therefore I say we have a double trust - a duty to the people equal to that of the House of Representatives ; and, contemporaneously with that, a duty to the States as States, to protect their corporate interests as well as to protect the individual interests of every citizen of the country. I venture to think that my honorable and learned friend, the Vice-President of the Executive Council, in his appeal - because it sounded more like an appeal than a matter of argument - it was a sort of ad misericordiam appeal, why, he will explain perhaps later on - sadly mistook the functions and the temper of the Senate, when he warned us, almost in a tone of menace, of the consequences of our interfering with this sacred instrument, the Tariff. When again and again he used this mysterious threat of consequences, it rang in my ears, I confess, as though he were, if his warnings were listened to, pronouncing the death knell of the Senate. If we yielded to that threat, if’ we shrank from our duty through any craven fear of mysterious or imaginary consequences - which, bytheby, were not defined or indicated - then I say the glory - though that is a comparatively small matter - and the power of this Senate would have departed from itfor ever. We should have hung round our necks a precedent that, like a millstone, would sink us below the level of the meanest Upper House that ever existed. I am sure my honorable and learned friend did not realize the force of the words he was using ; but, if we accepted them literally, we could never recall our power. Any fancied idea as to what the results might be, any fear that we should be making it uncomfortable for ourselves, should on no account deter us from interfering with what has been doneinanotherplace. Iobject, Mr. President, to this Senate being treated in that way - like a lot of children who are supposed to have done wrong, or who are supposed to contemplate wrong, and who are told that if they follow that course they will reap some very unpleasant consequences.
– Be disinherited !
– Or get the strap !
– Yes, that we are practically to proceed in this matter with an uplifted whip held over us, and are to be terror-stricken lest it should fall on our backs.
– This is a fine piece of imagination !
– My honorable and learned friend has forgotten the extraordinary appeal he made to us. He warned us again and again. I do not want to read the passage, because there was so much imagination in it. I can Understand that, because I know my honorable and learned friend’s poetical temperament.
– You are a bit of a Rougemont yourself.
– But time after time, with a solemnity that was almost amusing, he urged that on no account must we do anything unless we were prepared to accept the consequences. Well, all I can say is that while the Senate is not likely to treat its powers, as my honorable and learned friend said, like a plaything it has to do its duty - to act in the best interests of those who have sent us here - and when it has done that of course it will accept whatever responsibilities rest upon it in that connexion. I also protest against and repudiate the extraordinary proposition that my honorable and learned friend put, establishing a parallel between the power of this Senate and the power of veto of the Governor-General. I confess I was surprised at such a pernicious doctrine being stated by one who is usually so cautious, as a constitutional lawyer, as my honorable and learned friend. But he re-affirmed it - that the two powers were on the same footing. Well, I utterly and totally deny it. I contend that it is a monstrous perversion of the position in which we as a Senate stand, as compared with that of the GovernorGeneral, to say that he has a veto, and that that veto is exactly parallel with our power to reject any measure which comes before us as a branch of the Legislature. The Governor-General has no veto whatever. No one can imagine such a thing as the Governor-General vetoing or attempting to veto any Bill passed by this Parliament. He may reserve it - he may do many other things - but he has no more power to veto a Bill passed by this Parliament than I possess. Therefore I hope that if such an expression could possibly have produced any effect upon the minds of honorable senators, it will be removed, and that we shall feel that the power of the Senate to deal with any measure, .even to the point of rejection, is not so inane as the doctrine of Senator O’Connor, that it stands on the same level as some imaginary power of veto vested in the GovernorGeneral, would lead one to suppose. Of course, to suggest that the Senate would be likely to reject the Tariff Bill straight awa)’ - or, in fact, any Tariff Bill - would be to imagine a set of circumstances which probably would never occur. But it is well that we should know and realize exactly what our powers are, and that the strength that we possess is not limited in the same way as is the power of the Governor-General in the circumstances which.have been alluded to. Then my honorable and learned friend said that we had arrived at a stage at which this discussion ought, in the interests of Australia, to end. I contend that we shall have arrived at that position when the Senate has done with this Bill, and not before. Is it to be said that we have arrived at that position now, before the Senate has considered the measure at all1? Really, to suggest such a thing would be the sublimity of grotesqueness. When we have done with this measure will be the time when the people of this country will say that controversy ought to come to an end, at any rate for the present, and that the trade and commerce of the country should be upon a certain and final basis. It seems to me that in this matter the Senate has hitherto been most forbearing. We have in this Bill a provision which is intended to put an end to refunds ; to put an end to the necessity for them, or the possibility of their being claimed. We know that a very short time ago a protest was made in the Senate by Senator Downer and Senator Playford in regard to the remission of the tea duty, -and I think that protest was exceedingly well founded. In connexion with the Tariff the Senate has been most forbearing. I never heard in my life that a Tariff, when laid, according to constitutional convention, upon the table of the other House, and treated by the assent of Parliament as practically an enactment for the purpose of administration and collection, should be altered from day to day - at the will of the Executive, to the disturbance of trade, and to the disturbance of the finances cif the various component States - until a final settlement had been completed. If the laying of the Tariff upon the table of the House of Representatives is equivalent to an enactment for the purpose of collection pending its discussion, then the collection ought to remain unaltered. Reductions and increases should alike be disregarded until the final settlement and enactment of the Tariff.
– Increases must be collected straight away.
– I am not so sure about that. I only want to say in regard to reductions that I think the Senate has been most forbearing in not insisting on its rights as a branch of the Legislature : and it ought to be remembered that, now that we have the Tariff before us for our examination and settlement, the power of the Senate is to be exercised in detail. I admit at the same time that the ground has been well prepared for us. I acknowledge, as my honorable and learned friend himself acknowledged, the assiduity and thoroughness with which the work has been done in the House of Representatives. Although a long’ time was occupied in its consideration in another place, we must remember always that this is the first Commonwealth Tariff.
– They occupied only seven months : that is not much.
– I do not know I should be prepared to say that it was an undue time to occupy in the consideration of the Tariff. At any rate, I acknowledge the thorough, and to a certain extent satisfactory, nature of the work. I acknowledge also the vigour, the knowledge, and the indomitable pluck with which the revenue tariff party in another place has fought the good fight.No party in a minority ever did so well in any Legislative Assembly before.
– Question ! They never repeated themselves over and over again, did they?
– It was necessary for them to repeat themselves over and over again. They had to deal with hide-bound opponents into whose minds nothing but persistence and repetition would drive thegospel truth.
– Hallelujah !
– I am sorry that Senator Best, who interjects “Hallelujah !” was not there to reap some benefit from the discussions. The repetition was necessary, and the result of it was that the party, I think, triumphed gloriously to a certainextent.
– What party?
– The revenue tariff party, to which, I believe, my honorable and learned friend belonged some years ago.
– What has become of the free-traders ?
– My honorable and learned friend is a recreant free-trader himself.
– He has acknowledged it over and over again. If he interjects we must have his free-trade history. When he told us, as he did the other day - I will not say with his tongue.in his cheek, but with a solemn kind of confidence - that the individual members of the Ministry had been protectionists all their lives, it almost awakened the slumbering protectionists of this Chamber.
– They are wide awake enough.
– I find that they are always wide awake enough to their own interests. Iamnotgoingtoquestion that for a moment. I do not want to dwell upon these matters, but my honorable and learned friend invites them. The Prime Minister himself, in the days of his freshness of thought and innocence upon these questions, was a free-trader, until he became contaminated.
– He did not know better.
SenatorSirJOSIAHSYMON.- Whenwe remember that he was a free-trader until he became acquainted with the ultraprotectionists who dominate him, and when we think of Sir Philip Fysh, as well as the Minister for Defence, that staunch freetrader of the West, we may take heart of grace, and feel that nothing but the natural and perfectly excusable exigencies of political affairs have affected the point of view of these honorable gentlemen.
– Even England is going back on free-trade now.
– I thought that my honorable and learned’ friend would throw that little straw into the stream before I had finished ; but I think he will find that, with England enjoying, as she always has done, not only unexampled freedom, but unexampled prosperity under free-trade, she is not likely to do that, although she puts on a small revenue duty in war time.
– A revenue duty with a protective character.
– Not of a protective character.
– Yes, it is.
–I will takemy honorable and learned friend’s interjection. If he will accept the protective duties in the Tariff on the same microscopic scale, we shall get through this business in the Senate in a very short time. I shall remind him of his interjection. He calls a 5 per cent, ad valorem duty protective. Will he be satisfied with 5 per cent. ad valorem duties 1 But let us get on ! In addition to this I take as a testimony of the success which has attended the efforts of our party - free-traders going for a revenue Tariff - in the other branch of the Legislature, the fact that, as the Vice-President of the Executive Council said, 72 items have been reduced, while 115 have been either reduced or placed on the free list. That sounds like a very comforting piece of success in dealing with this Tariff. The burden of taxation, at any rate, has been lightened, to that extent, to the producers, to the working classes, and to the masses of the people of this country. Founding his remarks upon that fact my honorable and learned friend said in his most winning way, so that we might adopt it holus-bolus, that the Tariff came to us as a compromise Tariff.
– A fair compromise.
– He said’ that it was a fair compromise Tariff as it came here. To us on this side -it represents not compromise, but victory.
– Which side ?
– This side. Will my honorable friend come over ?
– Then I shall not include him.
– I am very particular as to the company I keep.
– The honorable senator is not very particular if he sits on the other side. Of course, we are speaking only of the political opinions with which my “honorable friend associates himself, and not of the personnel of his party. Strangely enough, this is a compromise Tariff as it comes here. What was it when it entered the House of Representatives ?
– Protectionist ? Not at all. It was a compromise Tariff then.
– So the Government said.
– My right honorable friend, the Minister for Trade and Customs, said in the most emphatic terms when introducing this Tariff in another place, “ The Tariff is a compromise Tariff.” If it was a compromise Tariff then, and if the word “ compromise” is used in the same sense now, there is the most complete justification for the Senate taking it in hand and endeavouring to make it not a kind of compromise such as that, but a reasonable and just Tariff. I prefer a just Tariff to one which comes to us branded with the term “compromise” under two such different sets of conditions. This compromise Tariff, as introduced, was fought through inch by inch and line by line in the House of Representatives. Another thing that must be remembered by honorable senators is that the duties upon many of these lines were imposed by small majorities, and in some cases by very small majorities, and yet we are asked to treat this Tariff as it comes to us from the House of Representatives as a kind of Ark of God, marked on its forefront with the legend, “ Touch me not.” All I can say is that I disregard that kind of sacredness altogether. If it was a compromise -in the-one case it cannot be a compromise in the -other, and the reason given us to abstain from being critical in the matter, that it is a compromise, is no more applicable now than it was when the Tariff was first laid upon the table of the -House of Representatives. I do admit frankly that the task before the Senate has been considerably lightened, but there is still very much left to be done.
– And a good deal to be undone.
– And a good -deal to be undone. I hope, /however, that we shall do it with all possible expedition. So long as -every one and all sides have reasonable -time in which ito give expression to their views, we should lose no opportunity of hastening on its final settlement. I do not like, of course, that we should be chidden before we enter upon our task. I will -say for my honorable and learned ‘friend, .that I am quite sure that in all his earnestness he. had mo .idea of adopting that course. But the urgency constantly pressed upon us, the statement that we should not lose a day, and so on, is, of course, to be taken with a good deal of qualification. On Friday, a prominent member of the House of Representatives said to me - “Why the blank does the Senate delay this Tariff so long 1 Why, you have actually had it for three days.” That exactly satirises the attitude, which some people seem disposed to take on this question. The ‘time for determining that this matter has been exhaustively dealt with will be when the Senate has done its work, and I am convinced that the people of this -country look to the Senate to mitigate or remove the .enormities, incongruities, and absurdities which still remain in the Tariff. There is a settled belief throughout the country that the Senate will see justice done all round. Surely we shall not confess our incapacity, or express our unwillingness to undertake the duty ? We shall take care, T hope, to:give justice and finality as soon as we possibly can, but we shall take care, also, to do it with knowledge, and with as full consideration as may be-of the various questions before us. For-my part, I think it is impossible that we can acquit the Government of all responsibility for the delay that has taken place, if there has been undue delay. If this Tariff had been introduced into the House of Representatives as it exists now, and is brought before us as a compromise Tariff, we may venture to say that it would -have occupied a very much shorter -time there. The people oi the country had a right to expect .a nmohmote moderate Tariff than was -introduced into the House >of Representati ves. ‘It was .a moderate Tariff -that was promised to the people before the elections took .place. It was at Maitland where the declaration of the -Government -policy was made. My honorable and learned <£i;iend Senator O’Connor says (that that was carried ou.t to the letter. I do not believe that the .people of this country will indorse that view for a single moment. This Tariff.approximates to the Maitland ipolioy, but the Tariff as presented to the House of Representatives was in complete violation of it. We. all have in ouir recollection what was said on that occasion. I am not-casting any blame upon any one, because we all know quite well that political circumstances are sometimes overruling. But .not only at Maitland was the -policy of this moderate Tariff declared, but, in an interriew which was reported in the newspapers at the time in connexion with a complaint of vagueness sin the Maitland statement, >I find that Mr. Barton said-
Senator -‘O’Connor. - What was the date of that?
– The Maitland speech was delivered on the 17th or 18th January.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON.^I have not the date, but I will hand the extract to the honorable and learned senator. The date is probably the 19th January. This is what Mr. Barton is reported to have said -
It is nob a fact that there was any vagueness or ‘ indefiniteness, for it was made perEectly clear bhat whilst there must be customs duties sufficient bo produce a large revenue, industries which have been springing op in bhe various colonies must not be wantonly destroyed.
– I am glad to hear that cheer. Not that there was to be -protection-
– Then how were they to be preserved 1
Senator -Sir JOSIAH SYMOK - Not that there was to be any attempt to “encourage,” as it is called, “new industries not that there “was to be any attempt to maintain the standard of protection at its old high level in some States, but simply that there was to be such a gradual diminution, such a fair consideration of the protection then existing as to fprevent wanton destruction.
– It all turns on the word ““wanton.”
– Exactly. It was to ‘preserve these coddled industries ifrom immediate and absolute ruin, and no more. That was the representation, and to show still if urther thatthat was so - because the Prime Minister is a master -oi language- - I find he went on to explain it in thisway -
On that head I not only expressed myself clearly by inference and amplification, but in exact and ^precise words, that there would be no prohibitive duties, and that the protection necessary to avoid, the destruction of industries would be moderate.
Yet we had a Tariff introduced into theHouse of Representatives which was not only excessively, but violently protective.
– Hear, hear. Increasing the old protection in some instances.
– The previously existing protection was increased in -some instances,. and increased in such a wa,y that .in the estimate of taxable imports in respect of the revenue to be derived, it was calculated that £5, 000,000 of imports would be shut -out in excess of those shut out by the existing Tariffs.
-len. - Shut out by nonprohibitive duties’?
– That is-‘ what it seems to, me is aiow suggested. All I can say is that on all hands it was felt that -no more tprotective Tariff- I will not say protection in its worst form, because I donot wish to use .any unnecessarily controversial expression, -but ,in any form - could possibly have been .laid before Parliament than ithe -original Tariff was. The fact is that the Ministry succumbed to either the assaults ‘Or the -blandishments of the partisans of monopoly, .and they struck the Hag; of .moderation, and hoisted what I dare say my honorable and learned friend would admit was, from our point of view, -the black flag .of protection and monopoly. So we have had the duties under this Tariff reduced as to 72 items, and either reduced or placed upon the free list as to 1.15 more. This is the. amended Tariff with which we have now to deal. Improved as it has passed through the House of Representatives, -it has been brought more into line with the unassailable principle, that by keeping down duties we keep up revenue. The result is that al though, as I shall show in a minute, when I refer to the figures, we have absolutely had reductions in all these lines to which I call the attention of honorable senators, yet the revenue is unaffected. In round numbers the duties remitted represent £1,000,000 of revenue, and yet the total product of the Tariff is just the same as it was before. I am sorry that the arrangement of the Tariff is not a little better than it is. I do not desire to be critical upon the point, because we should have to change the Tariff lock, :Stock and barrel, if we attempted to rearrange it. At present it is in the most higgledy-piggledy condition. It would have been infinitely better if the fixed duties and the duties amounting to 5 per cent., 10 per cent., 15 per cent., and so on, had each been classed together, not merely for the convenience of Parliament in dealing with the proposals, but for facility - of administration, She lessening of the expense of collection, and the avoiding of confusion in the decision of six different Customs-houses upon questions that may arise from day to day. These differences I feel sure will arise, especially when we have scattered about the Tariff those extraordinary letters “n.e.i.,” upon which every Customs officer in every State will have his own opinion until it is overruled, and brought into line with the opinion ofthe Comptroller-General. Passing all that, we must consider for a moment what it is we have to do. What is the problem with which we have to deal in framing this new commercial code? What shall be the first Tariff of Australia? These are the considerations which guide my mind, and which I suggest to the attention of honorable senators : first, the interests of the taxpayers; secondly, the interests of the Commonwealth ; thirdly, the interests of the States ; and, fourthly and lastly, for I put it last, the interests of those secondary industries about which some honorable senators have so great a concern.
– What does the honorable and learned senator mean by those secondary industries ?
– The pampered industries which I admit very well-meaning patriots desire to encourage. I attach no blame to protectionists who entertain the view that these particular industries should be coddled and supported.
– The honorable and learned senator knows- something about coddled and pampered industries. He has a protection of over 200 per cent, for his manufacture.
– I know what my honorable friend alludes to, and it is very unworthy of him. Will he propose an excise duty ?
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON.- Then what is the use of my honorable friend interjecting a remark of that kind ?
– The honorable and learned senator is a free-trader.
– He is only giving the honorable and learned senator a hint to do it.
– He is quite at liberty to do it : let him propose it.
– The honorable and learned senator is a free-trader, and he ought to propose it.
– If my honorable friend will propose an excise duty, I will tell him what I shall do.
– The honorable and learned senator will walk out.
– I shall not walk out.
– If it is just, it is no reason why the honorable and learned senator should not take advantage of it.
– I am not going to discuss that. Let Senator Playford get up in his place and propose an excise duty on wine, and then I will tell him what I shall do.
– The honorable and learned senator should not talk about pampered industries.
– I am not alluding to those industries which I have heard my honorable friend again and again refer to as natural to the soil. I am referring to those industries which are artificial, which are absolutely exotic, which are only maintained out of the earnings of the working classes, who are the greatest body of consumers, because the duties are only levied on articles of general consumption.
– Name a few of them.
– My honorable friend will hear a few of them directly. The Tariff is full of them ; he knows plenty of them ; and I shall tell him some more by-and-by.
– Thesausage skin industry.
– Yes. Now that we have had that slight digression, the chief thing to be considered is the revenue. We are all agreed that this must be a revenue Tariff. The Government admit it. All those who support these protective duties admit that, firstly and primarily, the Tariff must be revenue producing, and it is secondarily only that these other matters are to be considered.
– How can there be secondary industries without primary industries ?
– Exactly; but that is not the point. The secondary industries are to be supported at all hazards, even to the disadvantage, or it may be to the ruin, of the primary industries. But how are the secondary industries to be treated 1 Are they to be immediately weaned, or are they to go through a graduated process so that they shall not feel the discomfort all at once, but shall be accustomed to it by process of time ? This is really the whole question with which we have to deal - is this artificial feeding to be taken off straight away, or is it to be continued? And if so, is it to be continued for an indefinite time ? If it is revenue that we want, then we must encourage imports. I think everybody will agree with that.
– No ; we can get revenue from the excise. Put an excise duty on wheat.
– If my honorable friend will propose an excise duty on wheat that would be a very comfortable thing to do. We shall wait with interest until that comes. Everyone is agreed that if we want revenue our business is to encourage imports. On the other hand there are these industries, which we are told we must not ruthlessly destroy. Although I am utterly and entirely opposed to the encouragement of those industries, to their establishment by means of protective duties levied out of the pockets of the consumers, still I am quite willing that when we are dealing with a Federal Tariff, from which a very large amount has to be derived, we should not seek to do anything that would be unreasonably harsh or cruel, or that would instantaneously destroy any reasonable industry that has been sprung up under protection.
I think we shall all, as the House of Representatives has done, view these questions from a just and reasonable standpoint- - “ Revenue,” said the Prime Minister, “ without destruction.” I agree that it is revenue, revenue, revenue at all points that we want, but that with that sense of fair play - and that is what the people of Australia considered that he meant when he declared his manifesto before the electors - which I trust animates us all, we should not willingly do that which would lead, to use the phrase he employed, to “the pattering of bare feet,” or make penniless people who have been employed in extensive. factories which have been in existence under the protectionist system.
– Was he referring to the duty on boots?
– I dare say he was ; but that is an attitude which we may all very fairly take. The pointI emphasize is that the issue on both sides is first revenue.
– Where comes in the honorable and learned senator’s freetrade that he advocated on the hustings and elsewhere ?
– Does my honorable friend wish us to do our utmost to take off the whole of these duties straight away?
– I expect the honorable and learned senator to be consistent.
– The honorable member prefers consistency to a, . small modicum of generosity. Consistency, to my mind, is an overpraised virtue; but generosity never can be. Show us an industry in connexion with which the sudden withdrawal of the whole of the duty will produce irretrievable ruin, and we shall listen to you fairly, and make a progressive reduction. Any man would willingly be accused of inconsistency in order to carry out that idea.
– Does the honorable and learned senator think that that is being generous or just?
– I think it would be most generous.
– But would it be just?
– When free-trade was adopted in New South Wales the duties were in some instances immediately removed ; in others they were graduated, and consideration shown so far as was possible to those who happened to be engaged in them. But on the other hand’ I am not prepared to accept the position put from his point of view by Senator O’Connor the other day, that in regard to these protective duties we have reached the lowest point. We have not reached the point that is generous; or, to use my honorable friend’s- expression^ just.
– We have gone beyond it.
– My honorable friend is perfectly at liberty to -entertain his opinion, and to do his best to support it. My honorable friends around me and behind me will, I am sure, do their utmost to see that these protective duties are brought down to that point at which the saving from destruction is accomplished and nothing more. In that respect we shall carry out the policy of the Government, but we shall not, unless we are compelled, give one iota more protection than that which is shown to be absolutely essential for the saving from destruction.
– If you keep to that no protectionist will complain.
– I am delighted to hear it, and I hope to have my honorable and learned friend voting on my side pretty often.
– Therefore, he will vote for a 5 per cent, duty on machinery.
– Be assents to that at once I can see. I do not propose to discuss, any more than did Senator O’Connor, the abstract question of free-trade or protection. I abstain from doing so, because I find that nearly all protectionists are in theory and in the abstract free-traders.
– But the abstract question of protection or free-trade does not enter into this controversy.
– Practically I am going to take it so because almost every one who wants- protection says - “ In theory I am a free-trader, but you know there is a particular industry for which you should stretch a point and- impose a duty.”
– South Australian salt !
– That is a product of the soil, and my honorable friend can deal with it as he pleases. I am not dealing with it at present. When he proposes a further reduction, or the abolition of the duty, we shall have an opportunity of discussing it. But dealing with the general principle 99 out of every 100 who advocate protection always say - “ At heart we are free-traders,, but we really must go- as to so-and-so in the direction of a particular duty.”
– The free-traders always say that, and not the protectionists. We had plenty of proof of that in the Victorian. Parliament when the Tariff was being, put through by Senator Best. We could give dozens of instances in which that happened.
– My honorable friend is talking about a very subordinate Parliament. I mean that we do not do that sort of thing here. He does not intend to compare this Parliament with the Parliament of Victoria.
– No, I do not wish to compare the two.
– I know that some extraordinary things are done in Victoria. .1 honestly believe that the majority of the people in Victoria, legislators included, are free-traders.
– The honorable and learned senator would believe anything
-Of Victoria I would believe nearly anything. I have been so accustomed to the drawing of the longbow in this matter of protection that I have come now to believe almost anything. It is quicker ; it does not alter your opinion, but you get rid of the subject. It is . true, I think, that only as a policy and not as a theory free-trade has any opponents. I recognise that it is put - and to a large extent rightly - on a practical footing. I admit that occasionally one comes across a really convinced protectionist. When I meet one I do not attempt for a moment to argue with him or to convince him of the error of his- views-. It always reminds- me of the story of O’Connell and his jurymen. Hie was defending a man charged with murder on one occasion, and he put in to the bos the best witness he-could have, the murdered man> himself,, to prove that he was still alive. The jury disbelieved the witness- and convicted the prisoner. I do honestly believe that your really thorough-paced protectionist would be just as invulnerable to- any. reasons I could urge as O’Connell’s jurymen. Apart from the general principle,. I hope, as I have said, that we shall treat these industries generously.
This Tariff is, however, full of incongruities and enormities which I trust the Senate will change. We find that there is only one of the composite duties left. That relates to cigars. The Tariff, as it now stands, assails the great producing interests - the pastoralist, the farmer, and the miner. I shall give illustrations of this in a moment. The building trade is still handicapped. There are taxes on timber, taxes on nails, on screws, on iron work, on paints and varnishes, and no end of other things which we can lay our fingeron when we get into committee. Luxuries are treated with tenderness ; necessaries are treated with severity. The Tariff is full of anomalies, of which I will mention a few by way of illustration, and to justify that, I venture to say, it is the duty of the Senate to try to bring it into something like a fair and just condition. There is a line in this Tariff called sago and tapioca. This is one illustration of the operation of a protectionist Tariff, and also of the need for a change in this respect. The item is “Sago and tapioca 4s. per cental,” which amounts to a little under1/2d. per lb. Then in another line, away down somewhere else, and difficult to be found, there is a duty on flour made from a variety of articles, including tapioca, 2d. per lb.
– Is tapioca a necessary?
– It is very often a comfort to the poorer classes, andmy honorable friend will find in a minute what happens under this protective duty.
– I never got much of it when I was poor.
– It would have been better for my honorable friend if he had got a little of it. He would then have known more about it. The moment this duty was imposed - the moment the Tariff was laid upon the table of the House of Representatives - an eminent and enterprising firm of merchants here, who arc also importers, clapped on the full 2d. per lb. duty to their previous price for tapioca flour.
– Merchants and importers did that ? I should never have thought it !
– Merchants and importers who are also manufacturers. They, as I say, clapped on the full 2d. a lb. duty. In the first place that shows where the duty goes. It shows who reaps the benefit of a protectionist Tariff.
– Surely the honorable and learned senator does not call that a protectionist duty ?
– It is a protectionist duty, because the firm happens to grind the lump tapioca into tapioca flour. When they are remonstrated with by a customer on account of the increased price, they reply : -
We beg to advise you that the price of sifted tapioca flour is now41/2d per lb., the rise in price being occasioned by the heavy duty which is being levied on this line.
Not a farthing is levied by them upon this line, but the duty is levied on the imported article, and there is a half-penny per lb. on the bulk stuff, but they clap on 2d. to the price of the flour they sell to their customer.
– Wicked importers !
– Wicked manufacturers, my honorable and learned friend will find. Messrs. Robert Harper and Co. got the benefit of that duty.
– The starch firm ?
– Yes, this is like the case of starch.
– Is not Max Hirsch in that?
–I wish he were. Max Hirsch is worthy of my honorable friend’s- admiration, but he has no hand in this business. My honorable friend is “ barking up the wrong tree “ altogether. “ Senator Best. - Has he not had a hand in the document quoted ?
– He has not had a hand either in this or that. But my honorable friend finds the difficulty that he is in. These manufacturers clap on 2d. a lb. to the price immediately the duty is imposed, and. get the benefit. When that is done, will any one tell me that in face of facts of that kind, the Senate ought’ to swallow this Tariff holus-bolus without seeking to remedy such glaring and monstrous injustices? Then again, there are duties on wheat, hay, and straw.
– Quite right too.
– Why should you put a line like that in your protectionist Tariff, when you can get no duty from it except in a time of dire necessity ?
– It is cruelty !
– I notice the laugh of my honorable friend Senator Styles. The protectionist rejoices in imposing taxes and making money for the State out of the misfortunes of the people. I have here a letter from a gentleman in New South Wales, of which I will take the liberty of reading a portion to the Senate. He says : -
At the present time the great bulk of the pastoralists in this State are compelled to purchase wheat at from 4s. 3d. to 4s. 9d. per bushel, to enable them to keep their sheep alive.
Is that encouraging a primary industry, the pastoral interest?
– They do not feed sheep on wheat !
– My honorable friend does not know anything at all about it. He might as well tell me they do not feed sheep on cabbages.
– What ! Feed sheep on wheat?
– There are surely “more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of “ in my honorable friend’s philosophy !
– . I should have thought they would have got something cheaper.
– They will have to get something a good deal cheaper if the stock is to be saved, because they cannot pay the enormous price caused by this Tariff.
– What is the date of that letter ?
– It is dated the 28th of April. The writer says-
The price of hay is practically prohibitive when the cost of railing same into the country is taken into consideration. For instance, lucerne, which is the chief hay used in this State, is worth from £6 to £7 10s. per ton, whilst similar fodder could be imported from Chili and Argentina, if there were no duty, at £4 a ton.
Why should they not get that cheaper fodder ? They want it to keep the stock alive. Upon what do we depend for the wealth of this country ? As my honorable and learned friend, Senator O’Connor, said the other day, the wealth of this country arises from its primary products. We do not say that secondary production should not be carried on. No one would dream of saying such a thing for a moment. The only difference between us is - how are secondary industries best to be carried on, and how are they best to be supported ? To impose a duty of such a description that it can only be protective in case of extremity - in case of the “pattering of bare feet upon the pavements,” to use the Prime Minister’s expression - is not only bad economics, and bad government, but it is utterly unjust and immoral in principle. The writer of this letter says -
There is really no necessity for the duty on either hay or straw, as the freight thereon, owing to its bulky nature, renders it impossible to import such an article, unless under very exceptional circumstances, and those circumstances canonly arise during a period of disastrous drought such as is at present obtaining in the central portion of your State, and the greater portion of New South Wales.
I wish to say that the writer of that letter does not suggest that these duties, if you like to put them on, shall not be imposed, but he says that they should cease when the article in question reaches a particular price. Whether or not we shall be able to induce the Senate to do anything in that direction remains to be seen, but it is a monstrous thing to put on duties the payment of which can only be extracted from the people when in dire extremity, and during a period of practical business distress. I trust the Senate will not adopt any items to which such observations can possibly be applied.
– Does the honorable and learned senator object to stating the name of the writer of the letter ?
– I will give the name of the writer of the letter later on. I do not want to state it now.
– The honorable and learned senator stated the name of Robert Harper and Co.
– Because I was authorized to state it.
– By Robert Harper and Co.?
– What does the honorable and learned senator mean ? I am defending the position of the consumer, and I have the authority of the consumer in this instance. I think the consumer is just as much to be considered as any one else ; and when we find this method of downright robbery brought to our notice - instances of downright robbery, I venture to call them, carried on under the pretext of this Tariff - it is high time that we should know that it is not by an importer but by a manufacturer that the thing is done. If Senator Best had not challenged me by saying that it was by an importer, I should not have mentioned the name of Messrs. Harper and Co. in connexion with the correspondence.
– What harm is there in giving the writer’s name ?
– Not a bit. The next item I wish to call attention to is cigars. We have here the sole remaining joy of these hybrid composite duties. There is a set of figures which I will simply state, showing what tlie position is in regard to this particular item. The first set deals with the standard type of cigar usually retailed at 3d., or five for ls., which is subject to a fixed duty of 5s. 6d. per lb., and also to an aci valorem duty of 15 ^percent., equivalent to about 16A per cent., with the other items added. If we take the standard type of cigar usually retailed at 3d. each, or five for ls., we find that the imported article will pay a duty of £3 18s. 7d., whereas the duty on the locally made article will be £1 ils. 6d.; or if made of colonial leaf only 18s. 9d. The result is a difference in favor of the local article of £2 ls. Id., or, if manufactured of the local leaf, of £2 19s. lOd. in favour of the local manufacturer. Without going into the figures I state what is the result. These figures, which appeared in a printed paper that, no doubt, honorable senators have seen, and which struck me as being most interesting, show that as against the cost of the labour employed, which is set down at £1 10s. per 1,000 “for skilled, and vs. 6d. for unskilled labour, making a total of £1 17s. 6d., the Commonwealth loses from £2 Is. Id. to £2 19s. lOd. duty. That is to say, not only does the duty pay the whole of the wages in the manufacture of that particular quality of cigar, but it leaves a comfortable surplus for the manufacturer. On the next type of these cigars the position is rather better for the manfacturer. It shows that the wages paid per 1,000 are £2 10s., and against that the duty whicli is lost to the Commonwealth is £3 ls. 3d., leaving, after paying the whole of the wages, lis. 3d. in the pockets of the manufacturer. The next class of more expensive cigars shows a difference in the protection to the local manufacturer of £3 19s. Id. After paying the whole of the wages, which as in the last case amount to £2 10s. per 1,000, as against the Commonwealth duty of £3 19s. Id., we have £1 9s. Id. per 1,000 left in the pockets of the manufacturer. Surely that calls for interference on the part of the Senate ? Surely that is a state of things which ought not to be tolerated ? Surely also if there is to be protection in order to encourage the production of an article like cigars we have not yet reached the level to which it ought to be brought in order to do what is fair - I will not say in this case to the consumer, because I have no sympathy with the consumer so far as the cheapness of the article is concerned - but in order to do our duty to some of the smaller States which will be injured in the most serious way by the duties on narcotics, including tobacco and cigars.
– Tasmania loses about £15,000 a year.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON.Exactly ; I was coming to that. We find that original lj’ soap was subject to a duty of Id. per lb. The duty is now reduced I think to id. per lb. Why should it be taxed at id. per lb. when we have here most of the requisites for its production ? I was told the other day that a great manufacturer, whose name is well known in connection with Sunlight soap, and who has, I believe, an extensive establishment in Sydney, said - “ Why do you put on this duty of Id. per lb. on soap? We do not want it ; but of course I shall not object to it. It will put £20,000 into my pocket ; but there is not the slightest necessity for the duty.” Nor is there any necessity for it. It has been reduced, as I have said already, to id. per lb. ; but why should we leave it there, even if it puts only £10,000 into the hands of a great manufacturer? Then, again, does not this Tariff want overhauling here? Look at the petty, paltry items which produce substantially no duty. By the by, with regard to the duty on wheat, hay, chaff and straw, I ought to have said that so far as I can see from the Treasurer’s estimates, he does not expect to receive any duty from these lines in a normal year. It is only in an abnormal year, when the necessities of the people compel them to import, that there can possibly be any product from that particular tax. We have several other examples. There is the duty on eggs, for instance. According to the papers before us, Tasmania imported either one egg or else paid duty amounting to £1 on eggs.
– Paid duty amounting to £1.
– It looked to me as if Tasmania had imported one egg.
SenatorDawson - Was it a Chinese egg ?
– That would no doubt be shut out by the Immigration Restriction Act. The Treasurer estimates that the duty on eggswill produce £650 in a normal year. Yet we are to be told solemnly, that this Tariff’ is a sacred thing, and that we must be prepared for the consequences if we interfere with it. Then there is the duty on fresh fish. The item is referred to in the Tariff as “ fresh fish,” but it turns out to be “oysters-.”
– Would the honorable and learned senator put a duty on stale fish ?
– My honorable friend generally vends a great deal of that in debate. By means of the duty on oysters actually £2 was collected in New South Wales during a period of three or six months, I am not quite certain which. Noother State, apparently, wanted to import fresh fish, because there is no revenue set down to any of them for the period in question. The total revenue expected to be derived from this duty in a normal year is £270. There is also- the duty on biscuits. Why should there be a duty on them ? The Treasurer estimates that it will produce £92 in a normal year. Why should we have that item in the Tariff? We have always understood that we were well able to hold our own in the matter of biscuits. That is shown by the fact that their importation is practically at an end. If that is the case, surely we should not encumber our Tariff with an item of this kind ?
– Perhaps the industry has reached its second childhood.
– Then there is the duty on bananas. At the present moment we are subsidizing steamers to promote intercourse and some community of interest with the South Sea Islands. The reason for this subsidy was stated by the Prime Minister, I think, the other day. : That we desired to keep in touch with the islands, so that, although they did not actually belong to us, we should be able to warn off foreign powers, because we were trading with them and subsidizing a line of steamers running between them and Australia. Yet we are going to tax their products; tax their bananas. Quite apart from the circumstance that we are taxing one of the most useful fruits for consumption in Australia, weare going to kill the trade between Australia and the islands, which we are so solicitous to cultivate.
– We are protecting Queensland.
– Surely this is protection run riot? Let me refer also to the position of sugar under the Tariff. There is an import duty of £6 per ton ; there is also an excise duty of £3 per ton - which is to cease on the 1st January, 1907 - with a rebate of £2per ton, for sugar grown with white labour. In order to overcome the objections to it, it was said that this moderate excise was to be put on so as to ease down the sugar-growers in the transition stage between the employment of kanaka labour and the- employment of white labour. But the extraordinary feature of the proposal is that, when the sugar-planters have overcome all their difficulties, and have escaped from their trials, the excise is to be taken off. The Government propose to put on the excise when the planters are in trouble, and to take it off when the trouble has gone. I hope that we shall come at least to a conditionof good sense upon that subject, and that, if there is to be an excise at all, it will be an excise placed on the article when the growth of it is, as I say, going on free from the particular difficulties that at present oppress it. If there is to be a remission - I do not say that thereought to be - the sensible course would be to make it now, and not to leave it until the planters are in a better position to pay it. Again, this Tariff, even from the protectionist point of view, as Senator Best has examined it, shows some mostcurious anomalies.For instance, we have mustard seed free, but mustard subject to a duty of 2d. per lb. That is 15 per cent, protection. We have spice, unground, subject to a duty of 2d. per lb., and spice, ground, liable to a duty of id. per lb., which is also equal to about 15 per cent, protection. But the duty on coffee, raw, is3d. per lb., while the duty on coffee, ground and in liquid form, isequal to 30 per cent, protection. Why should that discrimination be made ? Is it more difficult to grind coffee than it is to grind these other articles ? On what principle has such a proposal been made? This is a protective duty, and applies to these great national industries which employ,
I believe, the large number of some 25 men amongst them. We have also a duty of 2d. per lb. on peanuts. That is equal to a duty of 150 per cent. Yet peanuts are not grown in Australia, so far as I am. aware.
– I have seen them growing in Australia.
– As ornaments ?
– Will the honorable senator tell me the quantity grown in Australia for sale ?
– They can be grown in Queensland.
– Of course they can be grown there. We grow pomegranates in South Australia–
– They will grow peanuts in Queensland if we give them protection.
– How much would the honorable senator like ? Here is a protectionist duty of 150 per cent.
– Of coarse, that is not enough !
– No ; it is a mere bagatelle! But - will my honorable friend believe it? - I am pointing only to the inequalities of the Tariff from the protectionist stand-point.
– Does the honorable and learned senator desire to encourage the eating of” peanuts in public places?
– I do not know what are my honorable and learned friend’s habits in public places. If he eats peanuts there I shall encourage it. My honorable and learned f riend knows that almonds are grown in South Australia. They are a large article of consumption, and ought to be a large article of export. What do honorable senators think is the protection upon almonds, which we do grow and carry to the market? It is 2d. per lb. or 20 per cent.
– Let us increase it.
– I am glad to see that my honorable and learned friend also admits that this Tariff is susceptible of revision by the Senate. Let me take another item - woollen apparel. The duty on the material is 15 per cent., and the duty on the clothing 25 per cent.
– It is the same in South Australia.
– Then it must be right. That is the foundation of all the hopes and faith of my honorable friend. In the case of cotton apparel the duty on the material is now 5 per cent., and the duty on the manufactured article is 25 per cent., a difference of 20 per cent. Why should that difference exist? Why should there be a difference of only 10 per cent, in the case of woollen apparel and of 20 per cent, in the case of’ cotton apparel’, between the material and the made-up article ? Simply because the whole thing is a muddle. There are articles called parasols, and I find that the duty on the material is 15 per cent, and on the manufactured parasols 30 per cent. Honorable senators desire to encourage what I call the secondary industries, and I find that upon wire nails there is a duty of 3s. per cwt., which is about 40 per cent. We all know that the industry employs scarcely any labour, as the work is all done by machinery, and the raw material comes in in a form which requires little or no manipulation. On barbed wire, which is in the same category, and in the same category also as to employing scarcely any labour, the duty imposed is only 10 per cent. Why should there be this difference of 30 per cent. ? Is not the Senate called upon to see that these discriminations are altered ?
– We can increase the duty on barbed wire later.
– We have not done it yet. Wire-netting, I find, is admitted free-
– We admit it free in South Australia.
– Although in New South Wales some 300 men are employed in its manufacture. Poor New South Wales ! Two men and a boy in Victoria are required to make wire nails and barbed wire, and that they may be employed the 300 unfortunates in New South Wales are to be treated in this scurvy manner.
– Does the honorable and learned senator propose to protect them ?
– No, indeed I do not.
– They have established themselves under free-trade.
– I take another instance. I know that strong reasons, which we shall probably have an opportunity of hearing again, have been urged in support of the duty of 9d. per cwt. upon cement. That is a duty of about 46 per cent. We know that the manufacture of cement employs very little labour, because we have had experience of the process in our own State. But earthenware and brownware of that description, which goes through a great variety of processes, and is liable to losses and so on in the manufacture, and which employs a good deal of labour, has a duty of 20 per cent, imposed upon it. Is that not an anomaly? Is it not true that this Tariff is full of anomalies? Take the instance of furniture, which is not made without a considerable degree of skill, and which employs a great deal of labour. I find it is protected by a duty of 20 per cent., but doors, requiring very little labour in comparison-
– And boy labour at that.
– And generally boy labour, because it is the plainest of carpentry work, are protected to the extent of 90 per cent.
– To keep out the products of prison labour.
– In South Australia, freedom, and prison labour, my honorable friend has planks which he weighs up or down as the occasion suits him.
– The Customs Duties Act keeps out the products of prison labour.
– Of course it does ! Another consideration which appears to me to have been overlooked is the question of what the import expenses are in connexion with these different lines. It is a most important point, but I shall only refer to one or two cases, trusting to Senators Sargood and Pulsford to give instances from their own experience. In the case of cement, with its 46 per cent, of protective duty, the import expenses come to about 75 per cent. But in the case of woollens, with a protection of only 15 per cent., the import expenses are something like from71/2 to 10 per cent.
– I doubt those figures about cement, because it is brought in in the bottoms of ships to stiffen them.
– Then my honorable friend had better make further inquiries to find out what are the facts of the case.
– I have bought many a lot of 10,000 cases for the South Australian Government.
– Then I hope the honorable senator will look up the Government invoices. I will give the honorable senator a case. In some parts of South Australia and Victoria, we have a growing industry in the production of currants and raisins. Currants are protected by a duty of 2d. per lb., which is equivalent to a duty of 117 per cent., and the import expenses amount to 25 per cent. On raisins there is a duty of 3d. per lb., which is equivalent to a duty of only 100 per cent. - why there should be this difference I do not know - and the import expenses are only 17 per cent, or 8 percent, less than the import expenses upon currants. On oatmeal there is a duty of1/2d. perlb. - why we should have a duty upon oatmeal I cannot understand - which is equivalent to a duty of 121/2 per cent. The import expenses of the article amount to 1 5 per cent. On hats there is a duty of 30 per cent., and the import expenses amount to 35 per cent., as against boots with a duty of 30 per cent, and import expenses amounting to only81/2 per cent. There are many other incongruities which I hope to point out to honorable senators when considering the Tariff in detail.
– There are a lot of incongruities in the honorable and learned senator’s figures with respect to import expenses.
– Then my honorable friend can correct them. I have checked them, and so far as my knowledge goes they are authoritative and correct. There is another incongruity in this Tariff, and it is this : If we take the percentage of labour cost in connexion with the production of these different commodities we shall find that the inequalities are equally glaring. If we take woollens we find there is a percentage of labour cost upon the value of the finished article of 40 per cent., and there is a duty of 15 per cent, which represents to the labour cost ‘a percentage of371/2. If we take clothing where the percentage of labour cost is 25 and the duty 25 per cent., we have there in the dutya percentage of 100 per cent, of the labour cost. In the case of boots it is 150 per cent., and in the case of jewellery 166 per cent. But in the case of boiler-making, in which skilled labour is employed, the percentage is only 30 per cent. Is that just? In the case of engineering, where again great skill is required, it falls to 25 per cent. Is that just ? And in the case of nails which are the product of little, and that little practically unskilled labour, the percentage is 228-i. I think these illustrations are sufficient to show that this Tariff needs careful revision by the Senate. I have pointed out that very small majorities in the other House have carried a number of these duties, and I believe they would be changed upon further consideration of tlie matters affecting so many of them. I wish to refer for a moment to another aspect of the question which very greatly affects the small States. The small States, as my honorable and learned friend has said, are much to be considered in this Senate in connection with the Tariff. The revenue from the Tariff greatly affects Tasmania, and may very greatly affect South Australia. And it is vain for us to give our lip sympathy to. those States if we are unable to help them in any better way. Substantially, Tasmania has no factories for spirits, tobacco, cigarettes, paper, rice, starch, hats, earthenware, and many other articles. Nor do I suppose she makes boots or clothing to any great extent. I have enumerated the protective articles only. The result under this Tariff is, that by the duties imposed upon some of «these lines, especially in connexion with excise, we are taxing Tasmania for the benefit of Melbourne and Sydney manufacturers, without, in some instances, putting a single copper into the Tasmanian Treasury.
– That will be only for five years.
– My honorable friend’s answer to that is to say that at the end of five years it may be changed. It may be, but it is to be hoped that this Tariff will be changed before five years elapse. We are legislating for these five years, and in the meantime, whilst we are going to lock the door, later on the steed may be lost, and Tasmania may be ruined or greatly injured financially by the operation of this Tariff.
– They make woollen blankets in Tasmania, and very good ones, too.
– And they sell them in England without the aid of protection
– I hope they will continue to make them. In the lines to which I have called special attention, if this Tariff remains as it is, we shall make Tasmania practically tributary to Melbourne and Sydney. It is a very happy condition of affairs for Tasmania, and whether they have the money or not they still have our heartfelt sympathy. From tobacco under her own State Tariff, and in connexion with imports generally, Tasmania has had a very large revenue. But my honorable and learned friend interjected a short time ago, that if this Tariff is passed as it stands Tasmania will lose something like £15,000 a year in consequence. Is that a pleasant thing for us to contemplate ? She will get only the excise duty instead of the import duty. If she got the duty on the leaf as well, it would still leave her in the lurch, but she cannot get the duty on the leaf. She will only get the excise duty, which is only ls. per lb., instead of the duty of 3s. 3d. per lb., which the Commonwealth Treasury will get. That is a monstrous position in which to place Tasmania. Therefore, I should like to see the excise duty increased if possible to ls. 6d., leaving a margin of 3d. per lb. at the very outside to the tobacco manufacturers. The very lowest excise duty which ought to be imposed is ls. 3d. per lb. What do we find ‘! Every one knows of the enormous fortunes which have been made out of the tobacco industry by reason of heavy protective duties. When the Minister for Trade and Customs was explaining to the other House the raising of the duty from 3s. to 3s. 6d. per lb. in the first instance, he said that having regard to what the manufacturers had made out of the duties he would like to believe that the additional sum would come out of their pockets and not out of the pockets of the consumers. But it would not. It would only increase their profits. We know quite well that in South Australia and Western Australia the tobacco factories have only been established because of the heavy Inter-State duties. In South Australia we shall be to some extent in the same position as Tasmania. Do honorable senators suppose that with Inter-State free-trade these tobacco institutions will not combine and amalgamate? Have they not done so already ? Is it not a fact that the cigar manufacturers have united in a combination called the “ States Tobacco Proprietary Company Limited.”
I have in my hand the correspondence which took place in the Adelaide press the other day referring to a complaint by the Cigar-makers’ Union that these manufacturers, in order to lessen the labour, were introducing machinery into their factories, and it was stated in his letter, by Mr. Hugh Dickson, who is connected with a very large factory, that that branch ofhis business was sold inFebruary last to the States Tobacco Company Proprietary Limited, whose management and head offices are in Melbourne. Of course the factories will combine. It is very much easier, and less expensive, to , produce on a large than on asmall scale. We shall have a monopoly established embracing all these factories. “We shall have the enormous profits continued, and the smaller States injured in their finances by theirbeing deprived of the full duty to which they have hitherto been accustomed, the full duty which they would derive on the imported article, and the very small excise duty which is imposed in order to increase the amount ofmargin which is placed ‘in the pockets of the manufacturers.
– That is why we should make it a State monopoly.
– In regard to some of these matters I would rather have State socialism than protection, because in the one case the people get the profit, and you know what it is, while in the other case the monopolist gets the profit, and you donot knowwhat it is.
– They make awfully vile tobacco on the continent, where there is a State monopoly.
– We are not going into that question now. I hope that weshall stay our hand before we give so large a margin as 9d. per lb. on tobacco to these already sufficiently aggrandized institutions. We know, the senators for this State know, that in Victoria some years ago theexcise duty was1s. 6d. per . lb., and that a commission which investigated the subject reported that in their opinion the protection that was then given, subsequently reduced, was very large and out of all proportion to the benefit conferred upon the consumers ; and stated this remarkable result, that £100,000 per year whichwas obtained, whichwould have gone to the revenue for five years, would pay the wages of all the operatives employed, and5 per cent, on all the capital invested, not only in the tobacco making, but in the tobacco growing. That accounts for -the enormous profit that is generally and I think rightly, belie ved to have been made and is awarning to us to investigatewiththe greatest care this particular line, not only as regards the high amount of protection initself, but as regards its effect on the Tasmanian (revenue, and also on the revenue ofSouth Australia, Queensland, and Western Australia, which, for thereasons I have given,is sure to be more or less affectedin a similarly disastrous way. So also must it necessarily be affected by the cigar duty, as have shown, and by the sugar protection in Queensland. But that has to do withother considerations, “to which we canref er when we come to deal with the details. Look atthe position of mining and agricultural machinery, the materials and equipmentfor our primary industries. Just compare the duties in New Zealand, which is looked upon as a highly protective country, withthe duties that still remain in this Tariff. Surely we may well follow the example of New Zealand, which has done so much in various waysfor itsprimary industries.
– Put on the same land tax.
– We are not talking about a land tax, but about customs duties. Ishall just enumerate a few ofthe lines which are important. The duty on electrical machinery and, appliances is 10 per cent, in New Zealand and 15 percent, in Australia; machinery for flour mills, 5 percent, in New Zealand and 15 percent, in Australia ; steam engines or parts thereof, including boiler or boilers imported specially for mining, gold-saving, or dairying, 5 per cent, in New Zealand and 15 per cent, in Australia ; agricultural machinery - of course we have a large number of exemptions - free in New Zealand and 15 per cent, in Australia; agricultural implements, free in New Zealand and 15 per cent, in Australia; bolts and nuts, blank or screwed, free inNew Zealand and 15 per cent, in Australia ; axles, axle-arms and boxes, free in New Zealand, and 15 per cent, in Australia ; gas engines, free in New Zealand and 15 per cent, in Australia ; oil engines, free in New Zealand and 15 per cent, in Australia. What a monstrous charge that is ! In South Australia there are scores and scores of oil engines used by the market gardeners and small producers in the country, and to impose a tax of that kind would be intolerable so far as their natural industries and the growth of theirproducts are concerned. With us it is an absolute essential that we should have every equipment, every appliance necessary for irrigation at the lowest possible rate. We cannot, unfortunately, dispense with irrigation, and oil-engines, above allothers, are coming into general use for pumping throughoutthe State. Then, again, iron -black, plain, sheet, rod, and so on - is free in New Zealand, and subject to 10 per cent, duty in Australia; fencing wire,free in New Zealand and10 per cent, in Australia; machinery for dairying purposes, portable engines, traction engines, reapers and binders, and extra parts for same,free in New Zealand.
– So are portable engines here.
– Free, when?
– In Victoria, he meant.
-So they were, and so theywere withus, but we are under a new regime, and we aregoingto have them taxed. New Zealand imposes no duty on mowing machines and extra parts, materialsfor manufacturingagricultural machinery, mould-boards, plough shares, mould-boardplates, steel plates cut to pattern, ploughsand harrows, machinery for gold-saving purposes andprocesses, machinery of every description forminingpurposes, includingmachinepumps,but not including machinery for dredging. Thatis a noble list from the New Zealand Tariff, and we may well follow that (example. I ‘wish to say one word on the basis,whichhas been suggested tous as a treason why we should be careful not tointerfere with this Tariff from the revenue point of view. I have instanced those items generally - only a few of the many in the Tariff - asareason why it not only suggests, but demands our strictest investigation, and the reduction of a large number of these lines so as to put them, first, on a fair footing; secondly, even as protectionist lines, on a just equality, and thirdly, to relieve the formers and the pastoralists, who stand in great need of relief. But no basis has been offered for our guidance asto what revenuethe Tariff will produce.My honorable and learned friend gave us no estimate for a normal year. The only thing that can assist us in formingan opinion as to what revenue we ought to secure from the Tariff is an estimate for a normal year so far as we can arrive at it. It is all essential, and lit is a very singular fact, that whilst in the paper laid before the House of Representatives, on the 19th of March, an estimate for a normal yearwas included of £8,942,401, that is omitted - of course, I do not suppose it was intentionally omitted, or if it was it is difficultto understand why - from the statement which, in other respects copied word for word and figure for figure, my honorable and learned friend circulated the other day when moving the second reading of theBill. We are entitled to some estimatebefore it can be suggested to us what the amount of revenue is that will be derived from the Tariff.
SenatorDobson. - There is a normal estimate in the paper.
– Not in the paperwhich was laid before the Senatethe other day as atranscript of that of the ‘Treasurer of 19th March. We are all agreed, I think, that the presen t year iswhatis called an abnormal year, and that therevenuethis year ought not to be the basis on which we should rely with regard to the amount which will be derived in a normal year.
SenatorDobson. - -The estimate for the normal year is close upon £9,000,000.
– That estimate was included in the statement laid before the House ofRepresentatives on the 19th March,but it is omitted - I donotsay suppressed or anything of that kind - in the corresponding statement which was laid before us, with the (advantage of much more recent data,when my honorable and learned friend, on the25th of last month, movedt hesecond reading of this Bill. I want to know why that was omitted, and whetherthat is still regarded as a normal estimate - that is in round numbers £9,000;000.
– I fancy£8,942,401 is the estimatef or a normal year.
– Quite so. It is now pointed out to methat the estimate referred to is included in some other calculationson another page, but it is not included in the page which gives a reproduction of the statement of the Treasurer, laidbefore the House of Representatives onthe 19th March. In my view - and I will give one or two reasons for it - tin a normal year this “Tariff will produce a very great deal more than the amount of the estimate made by the Treasurer, that is, close on £9,000,000 of money. I believe it will produce anything you like in reason over £10,000,000.
– How does the honorable and learned senator arrive at that?
– I will tell my honorable and learned friend in a minute. First of all, these Estimates are, I think honorable senators will feel, altogether unreliable. Of course, it will be understood that I have not one word to say, or any suggestion for one moment to offer, as to their having been framed lightly, or in any respect with a view to increasing the amount of the revenue. We all know that the Treasurer, Sir George Turner, would be incapable of anything of the kind. We all appreciate also the great difficulties that had to be encountered in making any estimate whatever. But we do find this - that the total revenue for a normal year was estimated at £8,942,401 in October of last year. That was made at the time when the taxable imports were very greatly underestimated. The taxable imports - that is, irrespective of spirits, and so on - were estimated at 19,000,000. It is now admitted that they are more like £28,000,000 or £30, 000,000 for the present year.
SenatorFraser. - And they will go on increasing.
– And as my honorable friend says, they will go on increasing. It was admitted in the House of Representatives by the Minister for Trade and Customs, in answer to an interjection, that the amount had been increased to £28,000,000 or £30,000,000. I should like to read his words ; Mr. Kingston said -
I cun tell the honorable and learned member that with respect to the extent of imports subsequent events have justified a very considerable portion of the criticism in which the leader of the Opposition indulged upon that subject. I trust that I shall never attempt to avoid candidly admitting the fact when the right honorable leader of the Opposition is fairly right, even if it be at our own expense.
That was a very candid and honorable position to take up. But the fact of it is that these Estimates are all apparently governed by the same fallacious impression which underlies the original estimate that was made in October last year.
– Then the Government should give us an estimate up to date.
– That is what I say. This estimate of £8, 000, 000 or £9,000,000 is practically useless for the purpose of considering the Tariff. That is the point to which I am now directing attention.
– Mr. Reid’s estimate is £10,500,000.
– It is all a matter of estimate, but I venture to say that that estimate is nearer than the Government’s estimate of £9,000,000 for a normal year. I say so for this reason : The total revenue as estimated in October last was £8,009,000. There is now an admitted error of nearly £600,000- £5S7,453 to be accurate. There has been a great deal of confusion as to that error in another place. It is an error on an estimate in respect of nine months’ receipts. What I mean is this : For the first three months that are included in the calculations there were actual receipts. There is no estimate about it so far as concerns that period. Therefore the error, so far as the estimate was concerned, lies in the nine months to which the estimate applies. Therefore we may take it that if the Treasurer had been making his estimate for the whole twelve months - not having the actual receipts for three months before him, which required no estimate - the probability is that the error would have been considerably more than the £587,000 that at present it amounts to. But I think the point for honorable senators to consider is this : lt would have been a very strange thing if the changes which have been reflected in the estimates up to the present - and they have brought the receipts up to nearly half a million of money more than was estimated - were not reflected also in the revenue for a normal year.
– A reduction must be made for the remission of the tea duties, and so on.
– I am making that reduction, because I take the view which the Minister took the other day, that that will be all made up by the increase of population, the increase of trade, the expansion of business, and consequently the natural expansion of revenue. We may fairly conclude that the normal revenue, or the revenue for a normal year - we may say that the first normal year will probably be 1902-3 - will be very considerably more than the Treasurer’s estimate, looking at theerrors which, by the light of further events, have already been corrected, and considering that the estimate for the present year has been exceeded by £600,000 more than the Treasurer believed would be received in October.
– The honorable and learned senator began by speaking of our distress, and now he is talking about our prosperity !
– We cannot prevent the revenue being extracted from the people, but we are going to prevent it being done in the future ; and we are going to prevent it in such a way - we shall so change the incidence of these duties, I hope - that we shall increase the revenue. It is always the result that the moreyoureduceduties the more youstimulate imports and increase revenue. We are not going to reduce the revenuein the aggregate. Butif, on the one hand, my honorable and learned friend, the “Vice-President of the Executive Council, warns us that we are not to interfere with the Tariff, lest we should diminish the revenue, I reply - “ Your revenue will be very much larger than was expected, and we are therefore justified in reducing duties;” and, on the other hand, I say, that if by reducing these duties and by diminishing the protective incidence of the Tariff we produce a fair and just Tariff, we shall do equally what is our desire and the desire of the Government : maintain the revenue at an amount which will be sufficient for the interests of the Commonwealth and the interests of the States, and will tend towards lessening the deficit which at present stares Tasmania in the face, and which I believewill stare other States, including my own. in the face, should the Tariff as it now exists be passed into law. Sir George Turner, on his first estimate of £8,009,000, showed a surplus of revenue of £500,000. Since then the expenditure has gone up by £200,000, according to the papers now before us. The result is that with the increased revenue of £8,587,000 we have still a surplus of £418,000. We are told that we must not interfere with that, because every penny of it goes back to the States. We are also told “ You must allow a margin for the probable expansion of Commonwealth expenditure and the growth of Federal administration.” But, surely, that is not a reason why we should not interfere with this Tariff? Unfortunately, this £418,000 does not go back to the right States. . I could understand our being warned to conserve their position if the money went back to Tasmania and Queensland. But that is not the position. My honorable and learned friend later on in his speech explained - as was to be expected - that that surplus goes back to the States which do not need it. It arises from an under-estimate, in the case of New South Wales, of £35 1 , 859, and an underestimate in the case of Western Australia of £300,000, and, deducting from those amounts an over-estimate for unfortunate Queensland of £122,580, it brings us approximately near to the amount of the excess or surplus upon this second and revised estimate. The position, therefore, is that whatever we do with this Tariff will not interfere with or lessen in any way the deficit resting upon Tasmania, but it places us in the position of taking it from those that have not, and putting it into the pockets of those that have.
– We can restore the duty on tea, and get some revenue back in that way.
– I shall be prepared to listen to my honorable friend in his proposal to restore the duty on tea. If we are levying this increased amount, what right have we to overtax the people, even of the larger States, when it is not required ? In South Australia, a comparatively small State, we shall be taxed under this Tariff to the extent of £1 17s. 83/4d. per head, as against £1 14s. 8d. per head under our own Tariff before federation. We shall be affected in other ways, some of which I have pointed out, while others, I have no doubt, will occur to honorable senators from that State. We are told that the 72 items which have been reduced, and the 115 which have been either reduced or placed on the free list, represent a loss of revenue amounting to £976,000. But, although we are told that we shall be losing revenue if we lessen the burden of these duties, it is perfectly obvious that nothing of the kind will result. It is perfectly obvious that the revenue will be maintained. If it were the case that £976,000 had been taken off- I do not believe it is - while the Tariff still remains productive at its old level, there would be an error on the part of the Treasurer’s estimate of£1,500,000.
– The sum of £976,000 is an estimate for a year after the reduced duties take effect ; not for the year ending June, 1902.
– The exact figures are before us. “What I am pointing out is that, notwithstanding enormous reductions which have been made by means of these alterations, the amended Tariff has not lessened the amount of revenue that was originally anticipated from it. The point is that the Treasurer estimated his revenue at £8,587,000 for the present year. We know now that all these duties have been lessened, and that, according to my honorable and learned friend, revenue to the extent of £976,000 is estimated to have been lost.
– The original estimate of revenue for the year was £8,009,000.
– I am aware of that.
– The figures to which the honorable and learned senator has just referred relate to the last estimate.
– My honorable and learned friend has said himself that the Treasurer’s estimate of £8,009,000 was very much at fault. It is admitted on all hands that the Treasurer made a calculation in October last year in which he underrated the revenue from the Tariff by £500,000. The estimate as corrected now is £8,587,000. That is maintained to this day as the revenue to be expected for the present year, notwithstanding the change in the Tariff, which has put an end ‘to nearly £1,000,000 of duties.
– One million pounds of duties for the whole year in which the reduction is operating. The reduction of these duties has been operating in some cases only for weeks or months. It is impossible to compare the two things.
– Yes, we can. The only estimate which Senator O’Connor has given us- of’ what this Tariff will produce is £8,587,000. What was the revenue expected from the old Tariff? £8,009,000. What was the Treasurer’s error in that estimate? £580,000. That error had nothing to do with the reductions, but superimposed upon that error comes the effect of- the- reductions, which take off nearly £1,000,000 of duties. Yet the estimate which Senator O’Connor gives us is still £8,587,000.
– Do not take £1,000,000 of duties off those figures. The honorable and learned senator has done so.
– Why did the honorable and learned senator refer to them ?
– I put them before the Senate as- the estimate of annual loss from these reductions.
– The situation is that the revenue for this year is estimated at £8,587,000, and that is exactly the amount which the Treasurer ought to have estimated on the original Tariff of October last year. In the meantime duties to the extent of nearly £1,000,000 have been taken off. The result leaves the anticipated revenue for this year the same’ as it was before. The inference is that these changes have left’ the revenue exactly, where it was, and that the surplus from the 9th October to 31st March was obtained also in spite of the fact, as the Treasurer said, that nine of the principal revenue items were £850,000 less than he estimated for a normal year.
– Did the Vice-President of the Executive Council mean us to draw the inference which the honorable and learned senator implies from his remarks ?
– I have corrected it two or three times.
– It is not a question of inference, but of what the Minister told us in regard to the anticipated revenue from the present Tariff. The estimate is £8,587,000! The revised, estimate that was given by the Treasurer to the House of Representatives on or about the 19th March last was exactly the same. Therefore my honorable and learned friend is giving us that estimate over again, notwithstanding the changes and reductions which have been made in the House of Representatives.
– Those reductions have not taken effect for the whole year.
– I am not speaking, of the whole year. What I say is that the reductions which have been made do not affect in the least the Estimates of revenue which have been put before us. They show, as no doubt my honorable and learned friend meant to say, although he did not do so, that the result of these reductions is that by diminishing the differential protection in the case of spirits and tobacco the revenue has been increased. And so also the revenue has been increased in other directions by diminishing the protective duties, by taking away their more or less prohibitive character and giving them to some extent a revenue producing character. I do not wish for one moment to say more than that there is an error in these Estimates, that they are unreliable altogether, as they must necessarily be in this respect, and that we cannot tell with anything like certainty what the Tariff will produce. If there has been an under-estimate in regard to the present year, especially in connexion with the other considerations to which I have referred, it is just as probable that there has been as great an underestimate in regard to the anticipated revenue for a normal year. When we consider the great abnormality of the present year, the immense loading up, and so on, we may very well conclude that there will be a substantial increase on the Treasurer’s estimate for a normal year. My belief is that the revenue will be considerably more than £10,000,000. I should like to give an instance of what the difficulties are in connexion with forming an estimate. For instance, let us take the item of timber, and there are many others that could also be referred to. The estimated revenue in Victoria from the duty on timber - the only State in regard to which we can obtain the nearest approximate figures - was £42,000. According to the papers before us, the amount actually received up to 31st March last was £27,000. But, according to the most reliable figures, if all the timber imported between 9th October last, when the Tariff came into operation, and the 31st March last, had paid duty, instead of being bonded, the revenue would have been something like £70,000, instead of the £27,000 actually received.
– Is that statement taken from any public document?
– The first two sets of figures are; the others have been prepared by an expert in the timber trade, who has based his calculations on the public returns, and they have been most carefully checked. Of course there has been a great deal of bonding and loading up. This is only an illustration of what has occurred. The difficulties which the Treasurer has had to face in framing these Estimates are apparent, and the enormous increases which must take place in. a normal year are so transparentthat it is scarcely necessary to do more than to refer to them. I have referred to the inequalities of the Tariff. I have referred to the basis of it, looking at it as a mere revenue-producing instrument. I have pointed out the position of many of’ these items, which call for the intervention of the Senate, in relation to the smaller States, particularly Tasmania, and, in a less degree, South Australia. What are the guiding principles which should influence us in dealing with the Tariff from these points of view ? That we shall be justified in giving it a rigorous examination in ‘ dealing with it and in reducing these items is proved, I think, up to the hilt. But I will call the attention of honorable senators in the first place to a provision at the end of the Tariff which might escape notice, and I shall ask the Senate to strike it out. In Division XVI., honorable senators will find this extraordinary clause, a clause which, I venture to say, has never before appeared in any Tariff -
Minor articles, to be specified in departmental by-laws for use in the manufacture of goods within the Commonwealth, may be included in the special exemptions.
– That is the Victorian law. The honorable and learned senator’s statement was that it was never heard of before.
– I did not believe that even Victoria could have produced an example of that kind. It seemed so outrageous-.
– If the honorable and learned senator had had practical experience he would not say so.
– I can understand it in a protectionist country.
– We have a similar thing in South Australia. We allow lots of things to come in free there.
– Does my honorable friend say. that there was a provision like that in the South Australian Tariff.
– Not exactly in those words, but the same thing is carried out in practice.
– Of course, I know that when my honorable friend was Treasurer, he used in many of these things to be a kind of law unto himself. He used to shut out and admit things, quite properly no doubt, and had we always had the honorable senator at the head of the Customs department I do not think we should have needed a Tariff law at all. I do say that this is a power sought to be put into the hands of the Government which ought not to be entrusted to them. We ought to fix this Tariff so that everybody shall know definitely what it is.
– Wo cannot name everything; there are minor articles that we cannot name.
– Then let them be made free.
– They are free.
– No; they are free only if the Minister specifies them in a departmental by-law. That,’ I say, is an interference with the right of Parliament to finally settle the question as to what duty shall be, or shall not be imposed under the Tariff.
– How can this Parliament finally settle this in any other way ?
– We can settle it by making them free. Let them all be placed on the free list, whatever they are.
– What are they 1
– Let them be what they please, as long as they are minor articles required in the manufacture of goods. Let us have it open for a decision under the authority of the Customs Act as to what are minor articles, but let it be understood that they shall be free, not merely because the Minister may say so under a departmental by-law, but because they are minor articles. Again, let us consider Division VIA. I am not now going to deal with the question of bonuses. It is not before us now, and we can deal with it when it comes before us. But Division VI. a is a piece of prophetic legislation as to what is to happen in the year 1907. I say we ought to strike that out of this Bill. It is sufficient for us to legislate for the present. When the necessity arises for dealing with the manufacture of iron, and the matters included in that division we can deal with them, but why should we say now what would be a sufficient protection or a sufficient duty in regard to those commodities at the end of five or six years’ time1? We shall have two new Parliaments in the meantime, and why should we put a ‘ thing like this into our Tariff which may be merely waste paper, and which, of course, can be altered any day in any future session. I hope that division will be entirely struck out. “ Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof,” and let it be left until the occasion arises for dealing with these particular duties, and for deciding, as the Minister says, whether or not the particular bonus proposed will be sufficient to establish the projected industries. So far as the Tariff itself is concerned, in revising it, we shall proceed on the principle that we do not intend to burden the people. We shall proceed in dealing with these items upon the principle that wherever we can we shall” lessen the cost of living. These customs duties of course always fall most heavily upon the workers, as they are the largest body of consumers. The rich mau can consume no more of the ordinary necessaries of life than the poor man. It is the mass of the people that is touched ‘ chiefly by these duties.
– By taxes on the necessaries of life.
– The necessaries of life are not only what a man eats, but also what he wears. I hope we shall take care to proceed upon these principles in dealing with a number of these items. Then we shall proceed upon the principle of reviving the primary industries of the country. Australia, we know, produces probably more per head than any other country in the world. Let us encourage that in every possible way. Let us assist by easing the burdens upon the instruments of production. Let. us again place these duties upon luxuries rather than upon necessaries. And while we may be disposed to prevent the absolute and sudden destruction of any industries let us not vote for the levying of duties which may tend to breed and foster monopoly in Australia. My desire, as well as the desire of every revenue tariffist and free-trader, is to see that manufactures and industries of all kinds, if they are worthy, shall progress. We differ as to the way in which that shall be accomplished. But, so far as this particular Tariff is concerned, I object to provide this encouragement at the expense of the mass of the people on the one hand and of the primary industries on the other.
– Those are protectionist doctrines.
– I am very glad to hear that protectionists are coming into the sunlight, and are beginning to be reasonable ; and when we ask our honorable and learned friend to vote for a reduction of the at present heavily protective duties to something which will prevent injury and immediate destruction, I hope he will be found voting with us.
– “ Immediate “ destruction. That is all the honorable and learned senator wishes to prevent.
– Certainly. How long does my honorable and learned friend desire them to be kept up ? It is the old, old doctrine, and I am very glad to have it expressed. A very distinguished economist from America has said, as the honorable and learned senator says now -
Therehas never been an instance in the history of the country where the representatives of such infant industries, who have enjoyed protection for a long series of years, ha ve been willing to submit to a reduction of the Tariff, or have proposed it. But on the contrary, their demands for still higher and higher duties are insatiable, and never intermitted.
That is the experience of America.
– And ofVictoria.
– And of Victoria ; and there is likely to be the same experience continued, according to Senator O’Connor.
– Many of these duties are 50 per cent, lower than they were previously in Victoria.
– We do not owe that to the Government. We owe that to the revenue Tariff party in the House of Representatives.
– But the Government claims credit for it.
– No. As originally introduced many of them were very large reductions upon the previous Victorian duties.
– If they were reduced so much, how is it that in a House where my honorable friends opposite glory in having a big protectionist majority they were still further reduced, and that the compromise Tariff of 1901 is presented to us now as the compromise Tariff of 1902?
– Let the honorable and learned senator ask the same question about our free-trade friends when we have done with this Tariff.
– If the honorable and learned senator will put the question I shall deal with it. We have made all these reductions in the face of most strenuous efforts for the maintenance of the higher duties on the part of the Government. We are going to adopt the same linehere. I hope that, as the Government and my honorable friends opposite seem to be in a more reasonable humour, they will be a little more complaisant, and will not occupy unnecessary time in resisting reasonable efforts on our part for still greater reductions. If they do they must “ take the consequences,” as my honorable and learned friend says. They must take the consequence of delay and of the disturbance of the trade of the country which we, on the other hand, are anxious to settle finally, and at once upon a just basis. The penalty lies at their door ; we repudiate it. The only other matter for consideration is that we are asked to deal tenderly with the protected industries which have existed for something like 30 years in Victoria. Ruin is predicted if the protection which they have hitherto enjoyed is immediately taken away. My belief is that the people of this country will not submit to be taxed for ever in order that a few may live in opulence. I do not believe that the many will submit to be taxed for the benefit of the few.
– The honorable and learned senator believes in freedom of trade, as they have it in Great Britain.
– I be lieve in our getting a revenue, and I am also willing to consider the case of those who say that they will be ruined by a reduction of the enormous protection which has hitherto upheld them. But I am not going to submit, and I do not believe the people will submit with equanimity, to uphold a few manufacturers at the expense of what I call the best interests of the.country. We must have regard to those interests in considering how much of the past protection we shall allow to those nurslings- of well-meaning people. If we were to leave these items as they are in this Tariff, we should subject different industries to inequalities of treatment, some of which I have pointed out, but above all we should be leaving the people upon whom we rely for all our wealth, and for our living, under a burden from which, be it small or great, they should immediately be freed. It is no use appealingfor moderation to those who hold extravagant views in the matter of protection. They say;that these interests will sustain a loss through sudden change. These duties were suddenly put on, why should they not be suddenly taken off? Our honorable friends appeal to us to be reasonable. We are willing to be reasonable, and we have been reasonable ; but, when theyask us to keep the protection up to what appears in this Tariff, they must show us some good reason for, as they call it, tempering the wind - I will not say to the shorn lambs but - to the lambs who pretend that they are about to be shorn; and we roust, on the other hand, give some consideration to the sheep whom they have been shearing most industriously for 30 years past. These, to summarize, are, speaking generally, the issues with which it seems to me we have now to deal. Some reference was made to party questions, and I say these issues roust be party questions. The Tariff question is, and always has been, the only strong line of demarcationin this Senate. That does not mean that, simply for the sake of party triumph, simply for the sake of displaying party feeling, a course should be adopted which is not justified bysound reason and fair treatment in the interests of all who are concerned in the settlement of this question. So far as I am concerned, there is no persona], or, for the matter of that, no political, hostility on my part to theGovern- ment or any member of it. Quite the contrary. But I am, and I am proud to be, hopelessly at variance with them on the basis of the exactions - because exactions they are from any point of view - proposed under this Tariff. I wish no harshness in legislation to any body of men or to any individual. I hope there will be no harshness in any legislation towards any one. I am afraid there has been, if notharshness, at any rate not altogether tenderness in some of our legislation even of- this session. I deplore it. But still the Parliament of this country came to the conclusion that the course proposed was a wise one, and adopted it. Personally I hope I shall always be against anything that could be characterized as harshness in legislation towards any of the people of this country. I think I have indicated sufficiently already that I do not lightly view, and I should be sorry to treat with scorn, the apprehension of those who think that their interests are bound up in these delicatelynurtured industries - I hope I may say that without offence - that have existed in some parts of Australia, the apprehension that their profits may vanish unless they are protected, as we are bound to think, out of the hard-earned wages of the bulk of the consumers of this country. And therefore I shall welcome any argument and any fact which may be brought under the consideration of the Senate in order to show the necessity, if any exists in these cases, and to guide us in being fair and just rather than harsh in our final settlement and our final adjustment of this piece of legislative taxation. I believe that the fears of these good people are really without any basis in fact. I believe their fears will pass away, and that they would pass away even if they had no protection, in many instances, as mist before the rising sun, and that in the genial wholesome morning air of free-trade they would find, as they have found in England, all these fears
Fold their tents like the Arabs,
And as silently steal away.
– There is a lot of stealing about it.
– Yes, that is whatI regret - the stealing. The policy of protection is robbery. I regret the stealing, but I am willing to consider these fears, though I am afraid we shall find that they will be looked upon as bogies which must be stopped by a money payment. On the other hand, I think we ought to have great regard for the interests of this country. I think we should believe in our own resources.
– Hear hear.
– Let us trust, as my honorable and learned friend has said, in the natural products of this country. I do not know whether it was a slip, but the honorable and learned senator put it very strongly that our natural products were our wealth. I agree with him. Let us avoid these subordinate secondary industries, which, like the old man of the sea, rest upon those primary industries to which we owe so much.
– “ Let us avoid them.” Is that the honorable and learned senator’s idea ?
– Let us avoid placing them upon the backs of those primary industries to which we all attribute the wealth of this country. At any rate, let us have faith in ourselves, and, so far as this Tariff is concerned, let us have faith in our country. Let us have faith in its abounding resources. Let us try to be just all round, and not give favours to the few at the expense of- the many. If we adopt that course, as we on this side shall endeavour to do, the people of this Commonwealth may entertain a very well founded hope for the prosperity and happiness of this country, and they may expect to make all Australia, before many years have elapsed, a country in -which no grinding wheels of monopoly or oppression shall be heard, a country with trade unexampled in the history of the world, and where justice, contentment, and truth shall never fail.
– We are indebted to Senator Symon for the able and comprehensive speech he has delivered, and particularly for the searching and critical analysis with which he favoured us. He did not, at the same time, fail to give us the benefit of that wealth of imagination for which he is so justly famed. I admit that a Tariff above all other matters affords a most excellent opportunity for destructive criticism. I speak somewhat feelingly on the subject, because of my own experience in the preparation of Tariffs. I should have been delighted to have the privilege of criticising a Tariff framed by my honorable and learned friend. Notwithstanding his present very perfect ideas of Tariff framing he would have discovered the amazing difficulties of the situation - the difficulties which are met at every turn. He would have had to compare the relationship of the various items one to the other, and then it -would have been manifest to him that it was almost impossible to bring about anything like harmony or efficient reconcilement. So far as his constitutional references and his determination to uphold the rights of the States are concerned, I do not know that there is an honorable senator who is prepared to differ very much from him in that regard. Notwithstanding the animadversions he saw fit to make, standing side by side with him and others in upholding the rights of the Senate “will be found at all times I am sure, the leader of tlie Government. We have to recognise ourselves as trustees. AVe have to recognise that the Constitution has deputed to us certain rights, powers, and privileges to uphold, and we should be sadly failing in that duty if we neglected to fully comprehend them, and to take every opportunity of strongly supporting them. To the proposition he made that requests of the Senate for amendment are- practically tantamount to the right to amend - I think substantially such is the case - we are all prepared to adhere. Many honorable senators, I amongst the number, have announced that view in the Chamber, and in my judgment it is a fair and reasonable one. When Senator Symon saw fit to put his own imaginative construction upon the language of Senator O’Connor in introducing the Tariff, he did that honorable and learned gentleman an injustice. It is quite true that Senator O’Connor did impress on the Senate what we all felt - the necessity for expedition - and urged that only objections should be taken which were deemed essentia], that it was not necessary to criticise every detail of the measure, as it had already been searchingly and comprehensively dealt with elsewhere. He made no threat, but simply pointed out strongly that if we attempted to do otherwise, if we were not fully impressed with the necessity for expedition, the consequences to the trading community and to the people generally would be serious, for which we would be more or less responsible, I understood that to be his proposition, and I feel that few of us can, with any degree of reason, dissent from it.
– There was a casual comparison with -the Governor-General’s veto.
– In that regard I hardly think that Senator O’Connor intended to say exactly what he did. I certainly do not agree ‘ with him if his words are capable of the construction which was put upon them by Senator Symon.
– Which they are not.
– And which Senator Best put upon them.
– I agree with the differentiation of our rights as drawn .by the leader of the Opposition, and I am disposed to think, without very much doubt, that the leader of the Government is really of that opinion, too. Senator Symon almost overwhelmed me when he saw -fit to make use of these expressions which I wrote down with very much glee - that the Senate should not do anything harsh and cruel, that industries must not be wantonlydestroyed. He went on to say, “ Convince me of the necessity for duty “ - that is a big order - “and I shall support it.” He also said that he would urge that fair play and justice should be done by the Senate. Protectionists and free-traders joined in the announcement of that sentiment. If it were possible for us to know what his fiscal ideas of justice and fair play are, then we should feel very much more satisfied indeed. The sweet reasonableness of the honorable and learned senator as he was uttering these soft words was quite overpowering. The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart. I would ask the honorable and learned senator, and those , who are supporting him, did the balance of his speech indicate in the remotest degree confirmation or support of the propositions laid down by him in those sweet and reasonable words ? Does he ignore the energetic and ill-concealed determination of the free-trade senators to get at these protectionist duties? They are straining in the leash to be away at them at once. I ask honorable senators are those words consistent with his contemptuous references to the secondary industries of Australia, and particularly those of Victoria - “ these pampered industries,” “ these nurselings of well meaning people ? “ I ask the honorable and learned senator are we to ignore the shibboleth of the leaders of his party ? Is he going to ask us to forget the federal campaign, when the leader of the free-trade party, Sir “William McMillan, and others did not hesitate to avow that their fight was for an all round revenue Tariff?
– Hear, hear.
– No, they did not.
– Senator Matheson at once approves of the sentiment, and my memory must be indeed faulty if it were possible for me to forget that such was their object. The various industries of Victoria in particular were to be thrown into the water like puppies. If they could swim, so much the better for them. If they could not, they had to go under. That was the attitude of the free-trade part)’. Notwithstanding those sweet, reasonable words, before he .sat down Senator Symon urged the Senate to rely upon our primary industries and avoid our secondary industries. The designs of the party and their determination came out there. I venture to say that these protestations of intention to do all-round justice, ito which we listened with such admiration, must indeed be accepted with the gravest suspicion, having regard to the environment, and having regard to the traditions of the free-trade party.
– The honorable and learned senator’s idea is one-sided justice. He forgets that there are people in the back-blocks of Western Australia and such places.
– I can only assure my honorable and learned friend that I shall not consciously be guilty of one-sided justice. But I shall be pardoned, I am sure, for placing before honorable senators the claims of certain industries, which are entitled, at all events, to their consideration. In his critical attack on the Tariff and its incongruities, Senator Symon, amongst other things, complained of the manner in which Tasmania and one or two of the other States had been overlooked in the adjustment of d duties I would remind him of what I am sure he must, to some extent, have overlooked - that the interests of Tasmania were most carefully looked after by her zealous and energetic representatives in the other Chamber. It is not pretended for one moment that it is possible by uniform duties to place the States in exactly the same position as they were in before. The difficulties of the situation are recognised at once when we remember, as shown to us in the circulated papers, that while the Customs and excise duties of New South Wales represents 17 per cent, of the total revenue, that of Tasmania represents 47 per cent. It is almost incidental to the devising of a Tariff of this nature that some injustice will be suffered, at all events by some States. The imposition of this Tariff will of necessity involve a re-adjustment of the incidence of taxation in the States ; and it is having regard to all those difficulties and to the utter impossibility of doing what every honorable senator would desire to do, that we must accept the well intentioned efforts that are made in this direction in the scheme now before us. I quite admit that the Tariff is capable of improvement. I can assure the Senate that if I were permitted the privilege I at one time enjoyed I should endeavour to improve it ; though my improvements perhaps would not be to the satisfaction of some of my honorable friends sitting on the opposite site. The complaint was made that the Tariff would produce much more revenue than was required.
It is not only possible but desirable that that should be so. For if the protective duties provided are to operate at all, the necessary effect will be, so far as those items are concerned, a gradual diminution of revenue from them. I admit, with Senator’ Symon, the gravity of the responsibility that is cast upon this Chamber. We have to devise a national fiscal policy. We have to disregard, I venture to think, those glittering and fascinating theories which from time to time have possessed many of us - those doctrines of the text-books which are so admirable so long as they are confined to the text-books. We have, if we know our duty, to appeal for guidance to the experience of the world, and to the practical results which have been achieved by various nations through their fiscal policy. Of course, the primary duty is cast upon us of a full realization of our own social and physical conditions. Therefore a Tariff of expediency has to be so evolved as to have regard to those social and physical conditions.
– Even an expediency Tariff may involve tlie question of freetrade and protection.
– Undoubtedly; I quite admit what 1113’ honorable friend says, and I am quite prepared to deal with the matter from that standpoint. It is worthy of note and cannot be altogether disregarded as to what was done by other Federal Governments under circumstances of a similar kind. If we turn to America, we see that the first Revenue Act of the first Congress of the United States was to resolve that duties were necessary for the encouragement and protection of manufacturers ; and in their wisdom the United States have stuck to protective duties for over 100 years. Amongst the most strenuous advocates of that policy were Washington, Hamilton, Madison and others. They claimed that the national welfare demanded so much ; and what is more, what they claimed has been more than justified. The wisdom of what they then did has been proved beyond all expectation. Their wisdom and foresight, confirmed as it has been by experience, we ourselves may rightly listen to and watch in this connexion. The world’s experience, I venture to say, has conclusively demonstrated the value of protection - artificial if you will so have it - to infant- industries. This Tariff has been described as a compromise Tariff) and that
I think is a fair description of it. It could hardly be otherwise.
– Which is a compromise Tariff ?
– The Tariff as submitted to this Senate. It could hardly be otherwise, having regard to the different conditions of the several States. If my memory serves me rightly, the leader of the freetrade party, Mr. Reid, in 1899 I think, was looked upon by almost all the community as the man above others who was likely to be the first Prime Minister of United Australia. In that year, if I recollect aright, he himself had to admit that a Tariff for Australia must be a protectionist Tariff.
– No, no ! A high Tariff.
– Well, a high Tariff, if my honorable and learned friend will have it so. I do not care whether the term be a “protectionist” Tariff or a “high” Tariff.
– A “Tariff of high duties “ is what he said.
– I do not care whether it be called a protectionist Tariff or a Tariff of high duties; so long as those duties incidentally protect, they certainly satisfy my argument. I believe with the utmost confidence that if the leader of the freetrade party were now the Prime Minister, and my honorable and learned friend Senator Symon were the Attorney-General in his Government, the Tariff that would be introduced would differ very little from the Tariff which is now submitted to this Senate. I feel, sir, that the necessities of our case involve so much. I also contend with much confidence that this Tariff practically answers the verdict and determination of the people of Australia - at least it largely goes in that direction. The verdict of the people was for revenue, with non-destruction of industries. I do not hesitate to say that from my stand-point this Tariff is unsatisfactory, insomuch as many of its duties are too low, and do not completely carry out what was demanded, namely, the nondestruction of industries. I am sorry to say that this Tariff, mild as it is - though it may be too high from the stand-point of my honorable friends opposite - has already resulted in the destruction of some industries, and that there, are far too certain indications of the closing down of others.
– Has it stopped the grinding of tapioca?
– - The industries which are at present in my mind - and I have not had full opportunities of learning the complete effect of these proposals - are : some of “the distilleries of Victoria, in consequence of the reduction of the differentiation from 3s. to ls.; the spring and axle industries, which are about to close down ; the bent timber industry, so far as the manufacture of spokes is concerned ; the industry of strawboard making, which hitherto enjoyed a protection of 4s., and which has now had that protection reduced in one fell swoop to ls. per cwt. The latter reduction has dealt such a reeling blow .that at present it is occupying the most serious attention of the proprietors as to what .they will do. Further, in regard to certain machine-tool industries, the indiscriminate provision making machine-tools free has already dealt them a very serious blow.
– Which industries have closed down ?
– I believe the springs industry has already closed down, and I have had an opportunity of learning of the intention of some of the other industries, which I have already mentioned, to do so. I emphasize these points, first of all, with the object of inviting the Senate to investigate these cases for the purpose of doing that justice which was extolled by my honorable and learned friend.
– We shall do justice !
– But my honorable and learned friend had not the opportunity of learning, because he was not in the chamber at the time, of my grave suspicion as to his ideas of justice.
– He wants it to be of his brand !
– That is the best brand !
– It is not the B,. WBest brand ! My honorable and learned friend threatens us with a free-trade Juggernaut. In view of his speech, it behoves us at least to have a grave suspicion of the anxiety of himself and his friends to be so fair and just. I want to say here that the Victorian manufacturers and working men do not come to the Senate to cringe and crave for the continuation of protectionist duties. They ask for no charitable generosity, but they do ask, at all events, for fair play and justice, which practically forms a term of the contract under which they entered federation.
– But what about fair play to the other 90 per cent, of the population - the consumers 1
– Will my honorable and learned friend permit me to say that fair play will, if possible, be done, so far as we can do it, to all sections of the community ? But the point I am making now is that the basis of federation was our existing conditions, and the vested industrial interests which have been established ; and I appeal to the Senate at all times to remember those terms of the contract.
– There is not a word about that in the contract.
– There is nothing to that effect written in the Commonwealth Constitution, but my honorable and learned friend would scarcely have the hardihood to say that that was not the moral understanding upon which we all entered into federation.
– There was no such understanding.
– The understanding was that industrial and vested interests should not be ignored ; that we should enter federation under the conditions which then existed.
– There was no such understanding in Western Australia.
– Then, will my honorable friend take the converse, and say that so far as he is concerned, he is determined to ignore these vested interests 1
– I have not said that.
– The Senate will only be asked by the protectionists for a judicious and discriminating protection.
– We shall not give them protection ; we shall give them charity.
– I spurn the honorable and learned senator’s offer. We do not ask for his charity or his generosity.
– We shall see what the Senate will do.
– I would draw the attention of the Senate to the attitude of the leader of the Opposition in this Chamber. I do not think that Senator Symon does himself justice in making such a statement. It is certainly utterly out of harmony with his sweet reasonableness, to which I have referred, and with his great protestations as to his intentious in relation to the industries of the country. I agree with what has been said as to the necessity for promptitude in the settlement of the Tariff. I am prepared to say that we are justified in fighting it to a finish ; but once that has been achieved there should be some assurance, tacit or otherwise, that in the interests of the trading community generally the Tariff will not be touched again for a period of say ten years. I am sure that my honorable friends will pardon me for making special reference to Victoria, because I think it is our duty to make every representation possible on behalf of the several States we represent.
– Victoria is the sad example.
– I venture to say the correct interpretation of the position is that Victoria is the bright and shining example in this connexion. I make no apology whatever for the protectionist policy of Victoria, for the simple reason that it has already justified itself to the very hilt, by practical industrial results. Speaking generally, I say that the protectionist policy of this State has not increased the cost of living. I would point out that it is not a new policy here ; that with great humility the people of Victoria claim to know what is best in their own interests; that practically at the various elections which have occurred during the last . 25 or 30 years they have with determination and consistency adhered to the policy of protection. They have done so not from philanthropic or theoretical motives.
– The honorable and learned senator is referring to the manufacturers.
– I am referring to the overwhelming voice of the majority of the people of Victoria. A free-trader is hardly known in the Victorian Parliament. There were one or two freetrade members there, but they were the curiosities of the Parliament.
– A sensible man in Victoria is a curiosity.
– How does the honorable and learned senator account for the fact that the population of Victoria has diminished?
– How does Senator Symon account for the prosperity of Victoria?
– It is in a very bad way.
– I am afraid that Senator Symon reads things upside down. I shall endeavour to show,so far as I can, that the policy to which I have referred has been justified to the very hilt. At least the people of Victoria may be credited with a sufficient degree of intelligence to know exactly what is best in their own interests. They have continuously adhered to the policy of protection because they know that it is in the interests of the State, and because they are aware that it does not increase the cost of living. I venture to say that in comparison with the mother State of New South Wales, the cost of living in Victoria is cheaper from their standpoint.
– I think it is. I have formed that opinion as the result of investigation. So far as I am aware it is fully borne out by Coghlan, as well as by the Minister for Home Affairs, who avowed the other day that he could live in Victoria for £100 a year less than in New South Wales.
– Oh !
– Of course, it may be very unpleasant to some honorable senators to hear these truths repeated. Here we have a leading public man of New South Wales-
– If honorable senators will allow me to proceed I shall be very grateful. Here is Sir William Lyne, an ex-Premier of the mother State, making the statement I have referred to. Thatstatement is justified, so far as my own individual experience is concerned as well as that of some of my relatives who are resident in New South Wales.
– One can live cheaper here if he eats less than he does in New South Wales.
– If the cost of living in New South Wales is the same as in Victoria, then, having regard to our industrial development, I contend that our policy of protection from that stand-point has been more than justified. For any advantage which has been reaped by the manufacturers of Victoria, a still greater advantage has been gained by the importers of New South Wales. That is a testimony given not on my own mere authority, but as the result of inquiries I have made from merchants who are personal friends of my own,and who have had experience in both States. It is true that many animadversions could with justice have been made upon the protectionist policy of Victoria on the ground that it was essentially provincial ; but arguments of that kind are now removed. Inter-State free-trade is now existing throughout the whole Commonwealth, and almost the necessary corollary of that proposition is that we should have at least some protection against the outside world. After careful investigation, I think that the policy of protection in Victoria shows better results than does the free-trade policy of New South Wales. If New South Wales had had the protectionist policy that was followed in Victoria, what with her greater territory and vast mineral resources, I am absolutely certain that she would have outdistanced this State industrially. But, on the contrary, we can show, I think - and I will give my honorable friends an opportunity of testing my calculations in this respect - that we have justified our’ policy by the strength of our industries, as well as by their number. We have something like 3,000 factories in Victoria.
– How many are there in New South Wales ?
– I shall give my honorable and learned friend my figures, and he will have an opportunity of testing them and refuting them if he can do so. I have a return here - the whole of which I do not intend to quote - that I have obtained from the chief inspector of factories in Victoria. It states that the number of employes working in all the factories during 1900 were as follows : - Victoria, 52,898; New South Wales, 42,917.
– Can the honorable and learned senator give us the number of males and females separately?
– I cannot do so in this case, but I intend to quote some figures in which I shall be able to differentiate between the two sexes.
– All the males had leftVictoria for Western Australia to earn a living for the females who remained behind.
– I admit that these figures are unpalatable to some of my honorable friends, but I should like to state my facts.
– All that we ask, in all courtesy, is - how many women are employed in the factories of Victoria?
The honorable senator is giving the number of men.
– The figures I have quoted show a difference of 9,981 in favour of Victoria. The following note is appended by the chief inspector of factories : -
The figures given here as to persons employed are taken from the report of the clerk in charge (Mr. Clegg) of the administration of the Factories and Shops Acts in New South Wales. If Mr. Coghlan’s figures are taken, New South Wales has a total of 60,779 employes engaged in “ Manufactories and works,” but Mr. Clegg’s figures will probably be collected from similar data to the Victorian factory returns.
I also asked the chief inspector for a comparison of the wages earned in Victoria and New South Wales during 1900, in any six trades which he chose to select, with a view of showing that the wages paid in Victoria under our protective system were largely in excess of those paid under freetrade in New South Wales.
– With factories boards in Victoria.
– Of course factories and wages boards are possible only with protection. The industries picked out by the chief inspector are the boot, clothing, shirt, furniture, rope and twine, and the tobacco, cigar, and cigarette trades. The number of males employed in the boot trade of Victoria in 1900 was 703 in excess of those engaged in New South Wales, while there was also an excess of 240 females in favour of this State. The total wages paid in the boot trade in Victoria, in excess of those paid in New South Wales, was £117,475 16s.
– And yet New South Wales turns out more boots than does Victoria.
– Mostly imported.
– I shall not go into that matter, but Senator Dobson’s ideas in that regard are utterly fallacious. In Victoria during the year named there were 101 males and 1,896 females employed in the clothing trade in excess of the number in New South AVales. The wages paid in Victoria in excess of those paid in connexion with the industry in New South Wales amounted to £132,038. So far as the shirt industry is concerned, the excess of males employed in Victoria as compared with New South Wales was only 40, while the excess of females was 793, and the wages paid in Victoria in excess of New South Wales amounted to £33,255 14s.8d.
– How do they get at the wages in New South Wales?
– From the returns of the factories and shops in New South Wales. Senator Pearce. - They have no wages boards there ; how can they estimate the wages ?
– That is for the New South Wales statisticians to answer. As regards the furniture trade, there are 498 men in excess in Victoria, and 1 20 females, and the excess of wages paid in Victoria over those paid in New South Wales amounts to £57,939 19s. The four trades to which I have referred are trades under the wages boards. Then there are two other trades to which I refer. In the tobacco and cigarette trade we have seven more males and 208 more females employed in Victoria than in New South Wales, and the wages in excess paid in Victoria amount to £9,88711s.8d. As regards the rope and twine trade, the last of the industries to which I am referring, there are 63 more males and 153 more females employed in Victoria, and the wages paid in excess in Victoria amount to £9,798 19s. 4d; so that comparing Victoria and New South Wales in connexion with these six typical industries, which should . be more or less indigenous to either State, we pay in wages in Victoria some £360,396 8s.8d. more than is paid in New South Wales.
– The honorable and learned senator proves too much.
– I say these figures are in themselves most eloquent, and cannot be disregarded in an industrial consideration of the relative position of the two States.
– According to Coghlan they are incorrect.
– My honorable and learned friend must know that Coghlan is dealing with different data.
– He gave us a return of these wages, and we know what they are according to him.
– He says the wages are higher in Victoria than in New South Wales.
– Of course he does. I think the amount as represented by him is some £570,000 odd.
– That is not the return I mean. He has said that the wages in the boot trade are6s. a week morein New South Wales, and in other trades1s. 4d. a week more.
– If my honorable and learned friend wishes to study that aspect of the question, I refer him to a return which was quoted, I think, by Mr. Isaacs, the honorable and learned member for Indi in the other Chamber, giving the minimum wages paid in the two States, and showing those paid in Victoria to be enormously in excess of those paid in New South Wales. The return of the value per head of manufactures in Victoria is shown to be £8 13s., as against £6 16s.10d. in New South Wales. I desire to impress upon my friends in the labour corner a noticeable feature during the depression which existed-
– We consider both protectionists and free-traders champion liars.
– That is a very severe comment upon the honorable and learned senator’s figures.
– Senator Stewart must have had Senator Symon in his mind, because, while the honorable senator was addressing the Senate, Senator Stewart interjected that he was a regular Rougemont.
– Surely not? The honorable senator could not have said it aloud.
– I must confess that I thought he accurately described the honorable senator’s free-trade remarks. I wish to invite the attention of honorable senators for a few moments to two or three features of the Victorian Tariff, because, of course, I must deal with this question largely from the stand-point of my own State. Victoria has been held up as a shocking example of protection, and she is proud to be so held up, because she has proved in Australia exactly what protection can do. We endeavoured in Victoria, so far as we could, to place protection upon a scientific basis. It was a big order, but an effort was made in that direction. Our imports were something like £18,000,000, but we only attempted to tax some £6,000,000 of imports. That is to say our free list represented some £12,000,000 of our importations. We find from the paper circulated that the customs and excise receipts per head of population amounted in 1900 to £1 6s.11d. in New SouthWales, in South Australia to £1 16s., and in Victoria to £1 19s.10d. The receipts per head of population in the other States were largely in excess of Victoria, but the average for the Commonwealth was £2 2s. per head. So that the receipts in Victoria, this shocking example of protection, are shown to have been 2s. 2d. per head below the average for the whole of the Commonwealth. The Victorian Tariff had the effect in its incidence of being both protective and revenue producing, and such is the combination attempted in the Commonwealth Tariff.
– The Minister for Trade and Customs says that that is impossible.
– The Minister for Trade and Customs by his own Tariff is demonstrating how possible it is. We had in Victoria some twenty revenue duties from which we derived £1,500,000, and 259 protective duties from which we derived a revenue of £750,000. To show exactly the operation of the Tariff as regards twelve leading industries, apparel, biscuits, boots and shoes, confectionery, furniture, hats, jams, leatherware, machinery, manufactures of metals, nails, and saddlery, not only did we largely supply the local market, but we largely exported, and notwithstanding, that the duties affecting those industries alone produced a revenue of £130,000. Of course, in a young community, and in the establishment of a young industry, it is quite impossible to compass every branch or line of manufacture connected with the industry in its various ramifications. The industry, before it is perfected by time, and by the increase of population, cannot of course undertake the production of every branch. Hence importations of certain lines continue to be made, but gradually, as the manufacture of those articles imported is compassed, the revenue sources are of course depleted. I think I can say without fear of contradiction, so far as Victorian industries are concerned, as regards their machinery it is for the most part of an up-to-date character, and as regards their methods of production, they are. in some lines well able to compete, and have for years been competing, with the products of the world.
– Then they do not need any more protection.
– My honorable friend is under that silly delusion, and I do trust that he will give it up. I will close this branch of my remarks by saying that in 1889 Victoria imported the produce or manufactures of the other States of the Commonwealth to the extent only of £2,500,000, whereas New South Wales imported the products and manufactures of the other States to the extent of £4,725,000.
– But New South Wales had her ports entirely open. That must be taken into consideration.
– I am quite aware of that, but I am seeking to show that Victoria only required to import from the other States the products of and manufactures of those States to the extent of £2,500,000, and that that shows the development, stability, and comprehensive nature of her industries, whereas New South Wales had to import £.4,750,000 worth of the same products. And for 1900 the figures were, for Victoria, £2,500,000, and for New South Wales nearly £4,000,000. I have endeavoured to indicate that Victoria has no reason to regret from the industrial stand-point the policy which her people have with deliberation adhered to during the last 25 or 30 years, and that her industrial position has justified that policy in every respect.
– The honorable and learned senator has not explained yet how it was that Victoria sent 50,000 persons to Western Australia to earn a living, which could not be earned here ?
– Fifty thousand persons went to Western Australia because possibly the attraction of gold was greater than the attraction of other places. I would urge that as we are engaged in endeavouring to secure and to formulate a policy for the Commonwealth, we are called upon to furnish all considerations that we can bring to bear to show the nature of the policy that should . be established. Protection is essentially founded on nationality, because the very corner stone is national independence. John Stuart Mill lays down the proposition that a country will seldom have a productive agriculture unless it has a large population.
– Well, our town populations are for too large.
– I contend that the experience of protective countries has conclusively established that protection combines agriculture, manufactures, and commerce in harmony. The result has been the bringing together of the factory and field, and the creation of diversities of industry and employment. These are tlie very essentials to national life, and these are the essentials which have resulted from the protective policy. If Senator Symon and his. party had their way - if we were to rely on our primary industries and avoid our secondary industries - he would have Australia a mere producer of raw material.
– Where does all our wealth come from ?
– Of course a portion of our wealth comes from primary productions, which have to be encouraged hand in hand with the artificial stimulation of factories and industrial production in towns.
– Well, do the boot factories much stimulate the agricultural and pastoral productions t
– They are both essential to national development. On this subject of national independence, which is the very object and aim of protection, Great Britain supplies an object lesson which we cannot disregard. She is dependent on foreigners for raw materials, and for food supplies, and she has to expend between £60,000,000 and £70,000,000 annually for the purpose of keeping open her trade routes. We cannot altogether ignore the effect of the Manchester cotton famine in 1863, which resulted,, by reason of the blockade of the southern ports of the United States, in throwing 500,000 persons for relief upon the people of Manchester, and £7,000,000 had to be spent in that direction. We cannot ignore in this connexion the experience of other nations. We cannot ignore what nation-builders have done in similar circumstances to our own. Prince Bismarck and Sir John Macdonald were nation-builders. In their several countries they had already experienced the effects of free-trade, and they determined about the year 1.879 upon a national policy - one which meant giving stimulation to their local productions. It is well known that the introduction of this national policy in Germany and Canada resulted in colossal increases in production.’ Neither country has wavered from the policy.
– They had halfamil.lion unemployed in Germany last year.
– From a consular report I am going, to make a quotation which my honorable friend will have an opportunity of considering later on. While I do not completely agree with the report - written, as I have no doubt it has been, by a free-trader, and is capable, no doubt, of constructions that free-traders are fond of putting on these documents - yet I shall read it, because it seems to indicate the nature and objects of the policy of. Germany. The British Ambassador in Germany writes in these terms : -
The present’ German Tariff is moderate, very simply constructed in comparison with those of some other continental Powers, but is well able to accomplish its objects of conferring upon national industries and undertakings sufficient protection from foreign competition where it is thought necessary. At the same time, it merely gives the producer a small advantage in the home markets, and does- not appear to any appreciable extent to impair his natural activity in competition, nor to prevent his using every effort to keep down the cost of production, and every other expense incidental to a keen struggle for the markets of the world. But this protection also affords him the following substantial advantage in competing abroad with a country like Great Britain, which does not, by protective duties, afford to home industries both “ initial” and continuous protection, as Germany does. In consequence of the higher price rendered possible at home from the protective duty, the German manufacturer can afford to sell abroad the surplus of his- output at a lower price than he could otherwise do. His average profit on his whole output is made up of two parts : - Firstly, of a rather high profit on the sales in Germany, and secondly, of a rather low profit on the sales abroad. The net average profit is, however, only an ordinary one, but the larger total quantity sold (which he could not dispose of without the foreign market, combined with the extra low price of sale abroad), enable him to produce the commodity in the larger quantities at a lower cost of production than he otherwise could, if he had only the German market to manufacture for. He, therefa)’, obtains abroad when selling, against an Englishman an indirect advantage from his Home protection, which stand him in good stead, and is equivalent to a small indirect benefit (which the Englishman has not) on his- foreign sales, which is, however paid for the German consumer through the higher sale price at Home.
I am going to take-it that it is possible that protection may result in higher prices being paid by the consumer.
– It must be.
– I would ask my honorable friends, even from that standpoint, to remember that such is the national policy of German)7, not founded on philanthropic conditions or with philanthropic motives, but founded on a solid commercial business basis. Why 1 Because it pays Germany as a nation to do so. Surely from the stand- point of my honorable friends opposite, if as a nation the Germans resolve that this shall be the national policy, it is because it is in the best and highest interests of the nation, and because it pays them as a nation and a business concern to do so. That is the position, and it cannot be ignored, even from mv honorable friends’ stand-point.
– We see the fallacy of it.
– My honorable friend may see theoretical lj’ many fallacies, but I would point out to him that it is not possible to ignore this practical experience and these results. If I had the time I could show the colossal advantages which have been reaped by Canada from the policy of protection, and hers is no mild policy such as that which is suggested in the Commonwealth Tariff.
– They are on the down grade now, are they not ?
– The honorable senator must have been asleep for a long time ! Canada is progressing by leaps and bounds.
– But she ha* gone back the last year or two.
– It is idle for us to attempt to argue that because a country experiences a commercial depression for a year or two, it is on the down grade.
– There is no country suffering more than Germany at this moment from commercial depression.
– That is a commercial depression which is incidental to every system or policy.
– From overproduction through protection.
– The reason of it is overproduction and under-consumption
– Through protection.
– If my honorable friend wants some lessons in commercial depression, I can quote them at length for him, so far as Great Britain is concerned, of a far more serious type than anything which has been experienced in Germany under protection.
– Just mention one or two of them.
– Do not be led off the track.
– As regards Canada, the result has been justified to an extent that is simply extraordinary. Its Tariff is a very high one, not a mild and moderate one like that which is presented to us. It was revised two or three years since, and I remember .the joy and delight of our freetrade friends at some of the reductions which were then made. On the same principle the revision of the Tariff, which I had the honor to undertake in 1895 - I think I was the first in “Victoria to reduce the duties - did not indicate for one moment any alteration in the policy of protection, but simply meant a readjustment of the Tariff to the then existing conditions. The Canadian Tariff was revised two or three years since after twenty years’ experience. Listen to some of the enormous reductions which took place. The duties on eighteen items were reduced to 35 per cent; on 17 items to 30 per cent. ; and on 40 items to 25 per cent. These are the advances in a freetrade direction which has afforded so much joy to that party. If we make a comparison - talking, of course, of ad valorem duties - in Victoria we had one 45 per cent. duty and one 40 per cent, duty; in Canada they have neither. In Victoria we had nine 35 per cent, duties ; in Canada they have 53 35 per cent, duties. In Victoria we had thirteen 30 per cent, duties; in Canada they have 75 30 per cent, duties. In Victoria we had 33 25 per cent, duties ; in Canada they have 89 25 per cent, duties. In Victoria, 21 20 per cent, duties : in Canada, 32 20 per cent, duties. Great Britain is entitled to certain preferences equal to about one-third of the duty. Such is the protective policy of Canada as justified by experience. In citing Canada - and, of course, in quoting America, as I shall do later on - I am quoting countries whose conditions approximate more closely to our own than do those of other countries. Under the self same Canadian Tariff to which I have referred, we had it reported only the other day, that there was an enormous surplus. It is inevitable that my honorable friends opposite will hold up on a pedestal the experience of Great Britain, that paragon of free-trade. They have always done so. My honorable and learned friend, Senator Symon, did so. Now, sir, I will venture to say, and will give my reasons, that the circumstances which may have justified in 1S46 an alteration of the fiscal policy of Great Britain are completely absent to-day. The mother country at the present time finds that her experience under free-trade has not and does not justify that policy. I want it to be understood distinctly that in quoting figures in reference to the condition of Great Britain, and in casting reflections upon the fiscal policy of the mother country. I do not do so by way of exultation or triumph. I do it with the deepest regret. But we are earnestly desirous of securing such a fiscal policy for Australia as shall be best fitted to our conditions, and we are called upon to examine the only free-trade exemplar that is before us.
– There is also Turkey.
– Turkey may be thrown in. The experience of this great free-trade exemplar, with all her ideal conditions which have favoured the policy of free-trade, has shown that that policy has fallen short of expectations and has not been justified by results. I want to give honorable senators some food for reflection in this regard. It is quite true that prior to 1846 Great Britain was a protectionist country. The result of that policy was that she accumulated fabulous wealth, and her manufactures were so strengthened and so firmly established that in the early part of the last century she practically was the workshop of the world.
– Why, her people were starving !
– In 1846 and about the period of the 40’s, by reason of over production, and because, as I think Sir Robert Peel said, of the introduction of machinery and the diminution of the precious metals, she was in more or less of a depressed condition. If the discovery of the precious metals in Australia and California had occurred before it did, I venture to say that there would have been vastly different fiscal results so far as the fiscal reverse of the year 1846 were concerned. What I am pointing out now, and I think it cannot be denied, is that in the first half of the last century the industries of Great Britain were so firmly established, and the wealth associated with them was so great, that she held the commanding position in the world, and her industrial supremacy was practically unrivalled. The depression came in 1846. Naturally it caused great dissatisfaction, and it resulted in her change of fiscal policy. But he would be a courageous man who would say - and I venture to think it could not be proved - that the free-trade policy of Great Britain has been a success, notwithstanding the unique advantages which she enjoyed at that time. The
Cobdenic prediction then was that every other country within a generation would be free-trade. The result has been far otherwise. With the exception of Great Britain, and we will add the former colony of New South Wales, no important country has adopted the principle of free-trade.
– New South Wales had protective duties.
– To some extent she had. She had protective duties on twelve or thirteen articles. The Cobdenic prediction has been falsified, because every other country with the exception of Great Britain herself; and perhaps one or two minor cases, has become protectionist.
– That all proves that Cobden gave them credit for move sense than they possessed.
– My friends of the Cobdenic gospel may have accumulated! within their own brains all the available knowledge and intelligence, but surely countries like America, France, Germany, and Russia may be credited with at least a . little common sense in regard to such matters. Prior to the American war the general policy towards colonial possessions on the part of Great Britain, Portugal, Spain, France, and other countries had been that the object of colonization was practically exploitation for the purpose, amongst other things, of the production of raw material. But so vital to America was the policy of protection that the colonists were prepared with their very life’s blood to oppose the obstacles thrown in their way by Great Britain. In other words, it was endeavoured on the part of Great Britain to compel America simply to produce raw material for the mother country. Every obstacle was placed in her way so far as concerned the establishment of manufactures. But the American people of that time, sooner than surrender the great privilege or right of protection, went into revolt, and secured their own independence. Fortunately we in Australia have the right to frame our own fiscal policy untrammelled. But in the consideration of matters of this kind we must not overlook the broad facts in connexion with what other countries have done. I want honorable senators to see for a moment the results of the American protectionist policy. American manufactured products are now equal to about £1,952,000,000.
– What is the value of the exports?
– I will come to that in a moment. These manufactures are equal in value to the whole of the British and French manufactures combined.
– America has 70,000,000 of people ! ‘
– Of course; but the position America has achieved has been achieved under protection, and by reason of protection ; and her manufactures have been running side by side with those of Great Britain, which enjoyed enormous advantages, and which at one time was practically the work-shop of the world. Here, however, we find the American continent with her own manufactured products to the extent of £1,952,000,000- equal, I repeat, to the French and British manufactured products combined. Mulhall tells us that in 1860 the wealth of America was equivalent to £3,336,000,000, whilst in 1895 it was equivalent to £16,350,000,000. In 1S60 the wealth of Great Britain was equivalent to £7,206,000,000; in 1895 it was only equivalent to £11,806,000,000. In other words, in 35 years American wealth had increased five-fold, but the wealth of Great Britain had only doubled.
– Look at the population at the same time.
– But does the honorable senator for one moment think that our population is going to remain stationary? Does he not realize that - as I venture to say will be the case - within a limited time there will be a continuous inflow of population into the Commonwealth, particularly from Great Britain? I venture to say, with much confidence, that such a condition of affairs will be inevitable. In Great Britain in 1868 the export of natural and manufactured products was equal in value to £180,000,000. In 1897 the value was £230,000,000. In America in 1S68 the export of natural and manufactured products was £54,000,000. In 1897 the value had increased to £190,000,000.
– The latest statistics quote the value of American manufactured exports at £88,000,000, as against £232,000,000 for Great Britain. The honorable and learned senator has the wrong figures.
– I have not, indeed. I believe that the exports of America exceeded those of Great Britain in 1898.
– They were not within £150,000,000 of them.
– My honorable and learned friend will have an opportunity of demonstrating that afterwards.
– The figures are £S8,000,000 against £132,000,000.
– Senator Dobson is referring to the export of manufactured articles only.
– Manufactured goods.
– I am referring to gross exports. I think I have got the figures correctly. I call the attention qf the honorable senator to this fact - that Great Britain is now importing from America vast quantities of agricultural machinery, machine tools, edged tools, steel rails, pig iron, wire, and other American products, in lines wherein Great Britain enjoyed a complete monopoly only a short time ago. In addition to that, a study of the commercial literature of the times indicates most conclusively that both America and Germany are ousting Great Britain from the markets of the world. I shall be very glad to refer my honorable friend’s to some of this literature. Great Britain, indeed, has to acknowledge herself outrivalled and beaten in that connexion. America, as we know, is securing large orders from Egypt, Japan, and other places, which naturally belong to Great ‘Britain, although the trade of Great Britain with Japan is something like fourth-fifths of the total. Honorable senators will have no difficulty in seeing by the literature to which I can refer ‘them that at the present time America is taking vast orders in Japan, China, Egypt, and Africa, and this I contend is most ominous. America is also taking vast orders in Great Britain itself, and the yearly increase of importations of manufactured articles into the mother country is causing the greatest alarm. I think from the figures which I have looked up that something like £75,500,000 worth of completely manufactured goods from America enter the ports of Great Britain, to say nothing whatever of the millions of pounds worth of partially manufactured material.
– That is because the English works are glutted. They are absolutely unable to take fresh orders.
– I shall ask my honorable friend to judge of that matter by the fact that at the present time the trades unions of Great Britain are so alarmed by the limited amount of work at their disposal, and so anxious to obtain something like a reasonable remuneration that they are actually limiting the output.
– Every prominent trades union secretary in England has denied that statement.
– All that I can say is that I read it in a most reliable authority.
– It was made by the London Times for the purpose of depreciating trades unionism in the eyes of the public.
– My anxiety is not in any degree to misrepresent ; my great desire is simply to draw the attention of honorable senators to these matters. If they can refute them successfully I shall be very glad. I think I read in an article by Mr. Vanderlip, which appeared in a recent number of Scribner’s Magazine, chat several of the trades unions were actually limiting the output of their members for the purpose of obtaining a fair and reasonable distribution of the limited amount of work at their disposal. In addition to that, we know well that the very converse of that which exists in Great Britain is to be found in America ; that in Great Britain the introduction of labour-saving machinery is resented, not only by trades unions, but even at times by employers. These are matters which arrest our attention, and I would ask honorable senators to give consideration to the figures which I shall quote from an article by Mr. Vanderlip on the American Commercial Invasion of Europe, which appeared in a recent number of Scribner’sMagazine. He refers to the astounding invasion of British markets during the last six years. He tells us that during that period American purchases from Great Britain dropped by 16,000,000 dollars, whilst its sales were doubled. He states that the result has been a revolutionary transformation in the industrial life of both countries ; that for every dollar’s worth of goods America bought from Great Britain she sold her 4 dollars 41 cents worth of her own products. I am giving my authority for these statements, and to my mind it would be an extraordinary thing if a man of the character and standing of this gentleman were to misstate the facts. He points out that the favorable balance in trade with Great Britain in 1901 showed an increase of 488,000,000 dollars over that of 1895 : That is to say, in 1901 America’s exports to Great Britain were 488,000,000 dollars in excess of what they were in 1895, whereas the increase of trade to the whole of continental Europe was only 219,000,000 dollars. He then goes on to point out th at even the printing presses of Great Britain are imported from America, that a large percentage of the paper used by the newspapers of Great Britain is American, that a large percentage of electric motors are made in America, and that the very telephone instruments used in Great Britain are imported from Chicago. He shows how the boot and shoe industry of Great Britain is completely outrivalled in its own markets by America. These are statements made on the authority of a man of standing, and they are entitled to our full and thoughtful consideration. Some little time ago Lord Rosebery drew attention to the deplorable condition of agriculture in . Great Britain, and I desire, in two or three words, to contrast the condition of agriculture there as compared with the position in certain other countries. In 1895 there were 1,000,000 persons less employed in agriculture in Great Britain than there were in 1841. In 1846 England had 11,000,000 acres under cultivation ; in 1895 she had only 8,000,000 acres cultivated. Protectionist countries, as we know, have doubled and trebled their areas under cultivation during the same period. In 1840, the value of American farm produce was £180,000,000, but in 1893, it was £813,000,000. That conclusively shows what I have urged from the beginning, that agriculture and manufacturers go hand in hand in the protectionist policy of that country.
– And in every other country except Great Britain.
– Of course. America consumes five-sixths of the products of her own soil, and exports only one-sixth. I would submit in this connexion the ominous fact, if my memory serves me rightly, that either last year or the year before, New SouthWales imported something like £4,000,000 worth of farm produce which was largely supplied by Victoria and other States.
– The land values tax cured that.
– The point that I am making is that it is our duty to secure, as far as possible, our own markets for our own people. Let us look at the social conditions in the model free-trade country. where Cobdenism has run riot. We are told by Mulhall that 80 per cent. of the total wealth of England belongs to 11/2 per cent. of the total adult population of that country.
– Is it not worse in America?
– I shall quote Mulhall on the subject.
– I remember reading a paper by the Rev. Lyman Abbot which refutes that statement.
– Let us get on with the Tariff.
– The honorable senator is in a hurry. In dealing with the social conditions of model free-trade England, I desire to quote SydneyWebb.
– A staunch free-trader.
– Yes. SydneyWebb writes -
Mr. Charles Booth tells us, in the effective “eloquenceunadorned” of his columnsof statistics, that some 32 per cent. of the whole 4,000,000 of London’s population full within his four classes of “ poverty,” earning not more than one guinea per week per family. It is difficult to believe that even in 1837 the percentage of persons at a corresponding low level can have been greater. It is practicallycertain, remembering the great increase in the total population, that at no previous time were the actual numbers more than at present. It has been reserved for our own prosperous time to produce the spectacle of over a. million of people within one city living “in poverty.” And when we examine closer into Mr. Booth’s appalling details, and begin to realize that out of this huge residuum nearly a third are actually below what can be called even full subsistence fora London family, we shall begin to feel that our boasted progress since 1837 has not, after all, taken us very far. The 300,000 Londoners who fail to get even . 1 8s. per week per family, and live in “chronic want,” can never havebeen poorer. Their actual number in the much smaller city of 1837 cannot have been so great. And if we take into accountthe slums of our other great cities, and realise that we have in our midst a class of at least 1 , 000,000 persons besides the 1,000,000 at any one time in receipt of poor-law relief, who live in ‘ ‘ chronic want” of even the necessaries of life, we shall begin to understand how very partial after all has been our progress. It is often assumed that this huge residuum which is existing in our midst at starvation wages is made up entirely of unskilled labourers, women plying the needle, and drunkards and wastrels of all kinds. But this is not the case. The unskilled labourer, indeed, is morally entitled to full subsistence though hedoesnot always getit; but even men witha tradeare sometimes little better off. We find to-day numerous small classes of skilled craftsmen in largo towns whose weekly earnings do not amount to £1. The Sheffield fork grinders, for instance, working at a horribly unhealthy and laborious trade, are constantly found working at time work for16s. to20s. forafull week of 56 hours, subject to considerable reductions for lost time. Similarly the Sheffield tableblade grinders, who do the common work, do not get more than £11s. per week net when working fulltime. Even in the comparatively prosperous textile industries there are large classes of men working as weavers, card-room operatives, &c , who do not make£1 a week.
– Are not things equally bad in New York?
– As far as my reading goes they are not. The quotation I have just read is the testimony of a free-trader.
-Who says also that England would not return to protection if she could.
– That is so ; but I am seeking to show the state of affairs which exists in England under the model system of free-trade. I will go further, and refer honorable senators to Rowntree’s book, “ The Social Abyss of London,” and also to an article in. the ContemporaryReview for January, 1902, in which it is conclusively proved that the poverty of London is by no means exceptional, but extends throughout all the centres of Great Britain. They point out that something like 7,500,000 of people are living under the poverty line.
– The rate of pauperism in England was never so low as it is now.
– I shall let honorable senators see what Mulhall says on that point, and that a vast proportion come within the social maelstrom of dire distress. We know, as a matter of fact, that colossal pauper systems of indoor and outdoor relief exist in Great Britain; that there public institutions feed 1,000,000 paupers daily. Mulhall says that the paupers of France number 290,000; Germany, 320,000; Russia, 350,000 ; and Great Britain, 807,000.
– G reatBri tain takes greater care of the poor people. They are not allowed to die in the gutters.
– I shall conclude this branch of my remarks by stating that, so far as my reading goes, the history of the last six or seven years indicates most clearly that there is a vast change in the public opinion of Great Britain on this subject.
– Hear, hear; a good country to be out of.
– I say that protection is entering into the policy of that country, and that is proved in many directions by Mr. Hobson in a very able article contributed recently to the FortnightlyReview.
– He is one of the young eccentrics of the new economic school.
– He is one of the recognised able contributors upon economic subjects in Great Britain. He demonstrates in that article that protection is entering largely into the policy of Great Britain, and since that article appeared we have had an opportunity of seeing that in a recent Imperial Budget a tax of 3d. per cwt. was imposed upon corn - the raw material - and a tax of5d. per cwt. upon Hour and meal, showing, of course, a distinct protection to the British miller. I suppose it will be admitted that Mr. Chamberlain is a man of the very greatest foresight, and that no statesman of great Britain has been gifted with greater foresight. In 1897, when I was Minister of Customs in Victoria, there was a proposal for an Imperial Zollverein, and from the comprehensive information which was sought from the various States, and the character of the State papers then circulated, it was clear that British Imperial statesmen were viewing with the utmost apprehension the inroads being made upon British industry by their rivals in Germany and America.
– But they would never agree to an Imperial Zollverein.
– What about the sugar bonus?
– As the honorable senator interjects, what about the sugar bonus? What I was urging is that there is a growing feeling in Great Britain against the policy of free-trade, and Mr. Hobson refers with irresistible force to the approaching abandonment of free-trade, which, he says, is inevitable.
– That is only the attractive title of his article.
– He says, moreover, that free-trade is doomed to early extinction. My only comment upon that is that it would he simply retrogression on the part of Australia to attempt, against the wishes of the people, so far as their recent verdict can be considered as expressing those wishes, to revert to a debilitated and discredited cause.
– - What verdict?
– I have already referred to the verdict in favour of protection given at the recent Commonwealth elections. I now desire to refer to the home trade aspect of this question, because honorable senators will be aware that the internal trade is incomparably more valuable than the external trade. The determination to secure the home market for local producers has driven the various nations of the world into protection. In Great Britain we know that the internal trade is four-fifths greater than the external trade. In America the internal trade represents something like ten times the value of the foreign trade ; and, what is more, it has increased to ten times what it was in 1840, namely £3,125,000,000. I say this colossal advance has been due to the policy of protection. As we know, the great commercial warfare going on is between the surplus stocks which have arisen by reason of the protective policy of the several nations. It is their surplus stock that they dump upon the world’s markets, and as the contest is between those surplus stocks it is necessarily very keen and the competition is very severe.
– Does the honorable and learned senator say that England is not holding her own in neutral markets?
– I do say so, with the deepest regret.
– Where ?
– She is not holding her own even in her home market. She is not holding her own in Japan, in some respects in South Africa, or in Egypt.
– She has the bulk of the trade in all those countries.
– She has, but what I am pointing out is that she is losing it.
– She cannot do it all. She cannot supply all the world.
– It is very charitable for my honorable and learned friend to put it in that way. What I desire to point out is that we must be careful in Australia that we do not adopt a course which is followed by such results. The manufacturers and workers of Great Britain are now clamouring that what they produce shall be paid for at remunerative prices. And they find that protection and the conservation of the home market are means by which some relief may be obtained in that direction.
– That has been coming for years. It was inevitable.
– I think that it was inevitable. I desire “to say that, in- my opinion, protection gives confidence to the local manufacturer. He can make certain of his home market, and then, in his turn, he dumps his surplus productions abroad. It is a matter that we cannot afford to ignore in the consideration of a question of this kind, that we exported £-24,000,000 of wool. A large quantity of that wool is returned to Australia in the shape of woollen piece goods and other fabrics.
– Just like the cotton exported from America.
– Precisely ; and in America the difficulty was met by British manufacturers establishing their industries in America for the purpose of exporting the manufactured articles rather than the raw material.
– But they did. not do it.
– That is absolutely what they did.
– America supplies herself.
– Not in manufactured cotton.
– The point I am making is that the iron, steel, and cotton industries in America have acquired their present enormous proportions as a result of the American policy of protection, and that policy, as I say, led to the establishment by British capital of those factories and industries in America.
– What kind of factories?
– Cotton, woollen, and iron and steel factories.
– The honorable and learned senator is wrong.
– Let the honorable senator show that I am wrong. I say it was by the protective policy that America established her iron, steel, and cotton factories.
– That is not what I questioned. The honorable senator said that British manufacturers had established cotton manufactories in America.
– There is only one class of cotton manufactory established there, and that is reel cottons.
– I do not know how many classes there are, but I do know that
British capital established various industries in America by reason of the policy of protection.
– The honorable senator said cotton factories.
– My honorable friend admits one kind of cotton factory. I am urging that, having regard to the American experience, we should give reasonable protection, which will result in the introduction of British or American capital for the purpose of securing our home market.
– Has that been the experience of Victoria as to woollens 1
– No, because our population is not large enough yet.
– Nor is that of the Commonwealth.
– No; but we have to look to the future. I do not propose to occupy very much more time, but I ask the attention of honorable senators while I succinctly state one or two further matters. Speaking generally, and I am going to quote my authorities, a moderately protectionist Tariff does not increase prices. First of all, because the competition continues between the importer and the local manufacturer. I say our design should be w> make the Tariff wall sufficiently high to favour the local manufacturer. I indicate what I mean by taking as an example a machine which can be manufactured in Great Britain at a cost, say, of £85. It costs in Australia to produce the same machine £100. “We should impose a duty of £15, of course, with the object of continuing the competition between the foreign article and the local production and thereby protecting the consumers. The result of this policy would be the establishment of a great industry, local employment would be given, and we would advance a substantial step towards economic independence. By that means the consumer is most fully protected. In the second place the foreigner as a rule pays the duty. That in most cases is our Victorian experience, and certainly it is the experience in German)’, because we have the authority of Bismarck for saying so. As I do not intend to elaborate, I shall just quote the situation summed up here, in an article in the Age of 27th February, 1902 -
We have it on record in 350 cases cited in Williamson’s British Industries that Bismarck’s conclusion was an accurate one. In- America the facts have been precisely tho same. The experience of the merchants and manufacturers of the United States is summed up in these words in Bliss’s Encyclopædia : - “ The duty is never added to the price, except when the people are dependent on a foreign supply. When they are not dependent the duties on goods sent here to compete are paid by the foreigners in the form of lower profits. This is not only admitted by ox-porters to foreign countries, but it is proved by prices, most of which ore as low as those abroad, .all of which are lower after than they were before protection, many of which ore actually lower than the duties themselves.”
Contemplating all these things, Sir William Lyne said, with a point in his remarks that cannot he evaded: - “I have rarely heard of great wealth amongst our manufacturers, but frequently amongst, importers. 1 have rarely known manufacturing monopolies, but frequently importing monopolies.”
This is what the representative of free-trade New South Wales says. My third contention is that the consumer is protected by internal competition, and in support of that statement I shall quote the authority of Mr. John P. Young, who has written one of the ablest books on the subject, called Protection, and Progress. Writing of America, he says at page 452 -
Whatever may have been the case in the past, it is impossible now for any one to assert that the cost to American consumers of the great staples is affected by the ‘operation of the Tariff. It would be manifestly absurd to assume that the cost of iron in this country, is increased hy the Tariff in the face of the fact that the price level is lower, here than in Great Britain. Equally idle would it he to Ray that the commoner classes of cotton goods, such as sheetings, drillings, and calicoes, are made dearer on account of the duties ; the factory price lists and growing exports to other countries, despite sharp competition, show that this is impossible, and that Americans ore actually enjoying lower prices for commodities of this kind than most other peoples. The same thing is true of the class of woollen goods worn by the majority of the American people. The effect of the Tariff has not been, as Cobdenites assumed it would be, to make the products of the American mills working up the wools from our vast flocks as much dearer as the added duty. On the contrary, the internal production and competition have been important factors in regulating prices, and they have resulted in giving Americans of the working classes relatively cheaper clothes than foreigners in the same condition of life enjoy, else how can the fact be explained that the masses in Europe arc arrayed in garments which most American workers would refuse to wear, because their poor quality and lack of finish and poor workmanship would not meet their requirements.
I feel that a statement by Lord Brougham, as to the policy adopted for the purpose of stifling industries, and the attitude towards America, is really apropos of the condition of affairs and commerce at the present day. - He says -
It is well worth while to incur loss upon the first exportation in order by the glut to stifle in the cradle those rising manufactures in the United States which the war hod forced into existence contrary to the natural course of things.
If manufactures were stifled in Australia, as some honorable senators would permit to be done, we should be placed at the mercy of the foreigner, with his rings and his trusts. It has been said with authority - I read it a little while ago - that iron could be manufactured in New South Wales in time cheaper than in any part of the world. I draw the attention of my honorable friends to this fact, and invite them to afford the necessary encouragement in that direction. It is quite true that protection may in some cases increase prices at the outset, but I claim that ultimately it results in cheapening them. On the contrary, free-trade may cheapen prices at the outset, but ultimately, by reason of the foreign rings and combinations,, and non-establishment of local industries, it results in making prices dearer. I shall shortly state my remarks on the’ aspect that protection equalizes conditions. We have passed a law excluding Indians, . Chinese, and others, in order amongst other things to avoid labour competition. It is a fitting complement to us to initiate a policy of protection against the products of cheap, pauper and sweated labour. The question we must decide is - Shall we have protection, to level up our conditions, or freetrade, to place us on the same level as other countries? Protection increases thestandard of living of the general masses. That is the verdict of various writers, and, amongst others, I refer to- a book on. thesubject by the Rev. Lyman Abbot. Protection amounts to a subsidy to the local, workman to compete against the foreign competitor. We cannot shut our eyes tothis fact, that the English, German, and American consuls are all reporting to their-‘ several Governments on the development of Chinese factories, and the impossibility of competing on equal terms. In Japan, China, and India, vast industries and factories have recently been established by British capital finding investment there, in consequence of the inability of the mann1facturers to compete, with the dear labour they had had to employ. There is overwhelming evidence of this, but, as I am rapidly concluding my remarks, I shall content myself with simply quoting my authority, which is to be found at page 309 of Protection and Progress, by Mr. John P. Young -
The Textile Mercury, the official organ of the English cotton employers, in on article dealing with the wage question in the cotton industry (November, 1897), called attention to the grave position of the trade, and asked the operatives to consider facts such as these : - “While the cotton industry throughout the world is extending rapidly, the British section of it has commenced to decline, although the population dependent upon it is increasing. The exports of machineryhave been steadily increasing for years. This machinery is mainly going to India, China, and Japan, where women work for6d. or 7d. per day, mid men at 9d. to10d. per day. They can also work much longer hours, and in many cases the mills are working day and night with relays. Attention is also drawn to the fact that, in addition to the machinery goingabroad, the most intelligent Lancashire operatives are now going out to Eastern countries, India, China, and Japan, to teach the natives the new industry and to manage the mills. The operatives, with these facts before them, are asked to look present facts in the face, bravely encounter them, cease to harass the trade by absurd regulations and impositions, accept the reduction of wages which the circumstances demand-
– That is protection.
– That is the secret of it.
– My honorable friends have fallen in there. This is free-trade.
– We see the object of it now, to lowerthe wages.
– This is a quotation from an English journal, and it shows the condition of affaire obtaining in England by reason of the vast competition coming from these particular quarters.
– The only way to fight is to lower the men’s wages, and that is what free-traders do.
– That is what I am anxious that honorable senators should guard against. The quotation continues- and thus retard the inevitable surrender of the industry to foreign competition sufficiently long to give the capitalist time to work out his investments, and develop something new.”
Australia, in formulating her policy, cannot afford to ignore the fact that industries of a competing character are being established in these poorly-paid countries, where labour is so cheap, and they have a special adaptability to Western methods. This must be the determining factor of the fiscal policy that we adopt. If we desire to keep our workmen’s standard of living at a reasonably high level, and to do them justice, the only practical means is by shutting out the unfair and unjust competition of countries such as those, shutting out the sweated and pauper labour from abroad, and thereby giving our industries a show, and securing to our workmen the local market. The market of Australia would give a strong impetus to these industries if they were not stifled by gluts, by the vast dumping of surpluses from abroad. In conclusion, sir, I would urge that, if justice is to be done to our vast resources, we must take the knowledge, the experience, and the practical results of other nations under similar conditions ; and the fiscal policy of all the important powers, saving Great Britain, has been a protectionist one. That which has succeeded in America, Germany, France, Russia, and all these other nations, and which has conclusively proved itself as valuable in the development of their resources, should be, good enough for us, and enable us, at all events, to start our industries, to so stimulate them that they may bring about results of an equally colossal character, and thus redound to the. advantage and benefit of the whole of the community of Australia.
Debate (on motion by Senator Dobson, for Senator Pulsford) adjourned.
Senate adjourned at 10.5 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 1 May 1902, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1902/19020501_senate_1_9/>.