1st Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I do not think the honorable and learned senator ought to argue the question.
– I do not wish to argue it ; I simply wish to explain, because I am afraid that, through perhaps some confusion in my expressions before, the exact point was not made perfectly clear. I ask my honorable and learned friend whether he proposes, after the Customs Tariff Bill is read the second time, to ask the Senate to read the Excise Tariff Bill the second time, which I presume will be more or less formal, and then to refer both Bills to the same committee?
– I said in answer to Senator Clemons the other day - and it appeared to me that this question was very clear; and that my answer was plain - that it was my intention to ask the Senate to carry the second reading of the Excise Tariff Bill before going into committee on the Customs Tariff Bill. After the two Bills have been read the second time, my view is that they can be dealt with in committee and referred to quite freely ; the Excise Tariff Bill can be referred to just as freely as if it were before the committee. At tho present time I do not see any necessity for going through the form of referring the Excise Tariff Bill to the same committee as the Customs Tariff Bill. But it is a matter into which I ammaking inquiry. If I find that there is any necessity I shall take some steps, but at present I do not see that there is.
– I shall be obliged to my honorable and learned friend if he will take the matter into consideration so as to carry it out. The point is, not that we can refer to the Excise Tariff Bill when discussing the items of the Customs Tariff Bill in committee, but that we deal with both Bills as though they were one Bill.
– I do not think the honorable and learned senator ought to argue the question.
– I only wish to explain. I do not wish to give notice of a contingent motion; but if my honorable and learned friend adheres to the view he has expressed, I shall be obliged to do so. I do not wish to raise a debate after the second reading is carried, and before we go into committee on the Excise Tariff Bill.
– The honorable and learned senator ought not to argue the question, because, if he does, every one else will wish to do so.
– I wish to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council whether, in view of the fact that section 55 of the Constitution Act provides that Bills dealing with customs shall deal with customs only, and that Bills dealing with excise shall deal with excise only, it is competent for a committee of the Senateto deal with the Customs Tariff Bill and the Excise Tariff Bill together?
– I intend to look into the whole question. At present I do not see any advantage in taking the course suggested by Senator Symon. If I find that there is any advantage in it I sholl take measures to carry it out.
– I desire to ask the Postmaster-General whether any decision has been come to with regard to the mail contracts abandoned by Cobb and Co. in Queensland ?
– In consequence of having received notice from Cobb and Co. of their intention to discontinue the services from the 10th of May, I called upon the sureties to carry out the conditions of their bond. They replied that they were unable to do so, and I am now taking all the necessary steps to cause the services to be carried out as well as they can be under the circumstances.
– At their risk ?
VOLCANIC ERUPTION AT MARTINIQUE.
– I desire to ask Senator O’Connor whether the Government have caused a message to be sent to the Government oi France indicating the sympathy felt throughout the Commonwealth of Australia at the disastrous results of the volcanic eruption in the island of Martinique, and, if no message has been sent, whether the Government will consider the propriety of sending one 1
– I am not in a position to answer the honorable senator now, but I hope to do so later on to-day.
asked the Vice-President of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable and learned senator’s questions ure as follow -
I and 2. These matters of tea examination, &v. . are provided for by federal legislation, section “>4 of Customs Act 1901. All tea is examined by u Customs officer, and when there is any doubt ;is to its quality, &c. (paragraph e, section 51, “Exhausted tea, and tea adulterated with spurious leaf, or with exhausted’ leaves, or being unfit for human use, or unwholesome”), it is submitted to analysis by a federal official analyst appointed in each State. If the analysis shows that it is exhausted, adulterated, or unwholesome, or that its quality does not reach the prescribed standard of strength and purity, and this is not disputed by the importer on notice, it is condemned and dealt with as a prohibited import. ;i, 4, and 0. The cost is borne by the Customs department in each State : the amount is in course of ascertainment. The analysts are not solely in federal employ, but the Government have” no cause to believe that, any of them are in ti i a tea trade.
Debate resumed from 9th May (vide page 12463), on motion by Senator O’Connor -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales).I shall endeavour, as far as I can, to accept the advice tendered hy speakers in the direction of brevity, and if I fail in the laudable desire which I set before myself, it will be because of that notoriously bad example which I have before me, and which was adhered to very closely by every speaker, with one exception. Before coming to the vexed question of free-trade or protection, about which I desire to make a few remarks, I should like to deal with some of that gratuitous advice offered, no doubt with the best intentions, by persons inside and outside the Chamber, as to what is the duty of the Senate in the circumstances in which it is placed. I cannot help thinking that the givers of this advice, although prepared to admit that in its constitutional powers the Senate differs very materially from any other second Chamber in Australia, and regarding it as theoretically a States’ house, consider that when it gets into work and actual practice it will simply become a Legislative Council. Without wishing any sinister inference to be drawn from my words, the advice which we must accept with the most caution, if not the most suspicion, is that which emanates from the representative of the Government, because it is & recognised fact that no man can serve two masters, and we must understand that the business of a Minister is to get his measures passed. I can hardly conceive of any circumstances in which the representative of a Government would ask the Senate rather to stand for its rights than pass the measures the chief advocate of which he is. It will be obvious to you, sir, that it would be unreasonable to expect that the VicePresident of the Executive Council would have offered any other advice than that which lie did, and that was. to accept his * guarantee that the measure of which he is in charge is entitled to be accepted without any alteration. It would be indeed a very high compliment to the honorable and learned senator if he could bring the Senate into a frame of mind to accept his measures on that assurance. But if we were to do so, I venture to think we should be false to the Constitution in two very important particulars - one being the principle of equal State representation, and the other the power of suggestion. Now, equal representation for the States was fought for with a determination, and adhered to with a tenacity which shows at once that in asking for it the States asked for something which they intended should be a real, live, and vital principle.
– New South Wales did not want it.
– I am aware that New South Wales did not want it, and certainly I did not desire it. Nevertheless it is embedded in the Constitution, and I intend to be loyal to that instrument of government. If the Constitution is to be amended let it be amended in a constitutional way, and not merely to suit the exigencies of any particular party. The States fought for the principle of equal representation because they believed that in the working of a federal form of government, it was essential to provide for both the assent of the people and the assent of the States to any laws. If that be so, how can we reasonably accept the position mapped out for us by the Vice-President the Executive Council 1 He asks us to say that in this matter - the importance of which he admits - we should abdicate our powers, forget that we have obligations to the States, and forego the rights and privileges conferred upon us by the Constitution itself. The same thing applies, though perhaps in a minor degree, to the power of suggestion. Was the provision dealing with this matter inserted in the Constitution to serve any real purpose 1 Was it inserted merely to confer a power which it was intended should never be exercised ? Did those who fought for it imagine that they were fighting for a power which was no sooner to be attained than it was to be relinquished ? Honorable senators are sufficiently familiar with the Convention debates to know that those who advocated it meant that it was to be a real power, to be exercised whenever the good sense of this Chamber suggested that its exercise was desirable. Regarding the view which was taken of the power of suggestion, I need only refer to the remarks made by Sir Samuel Griffith in this connexion. He pointed out that the suggestions of a weak Senate would be overridden, but that a strong Senate would enforce its suggestions. We. have, therefore, reached this position : - If there is anything in this
Tariff with which the Senate does not agree, it has power to suggest amendments, and it is for the Chamber itself to determine whether it will be strong enough to see that those suggestions are attended to, or whether it will take up the weak attitude indicated by Sir Samuel Griffith, and drift into the position of an ordinary Legislative Council. I have no desire to see it occupy that position. It can only occupy it if it wilfully neglects obligations imposed upon it by the Constitution, and by a further neglect of the responsibilities which every honorable senator incurred in soliciting the votes of those who sent him here. At the. federal elections in New South Wales, this Tariff was made the vital question in the case of every candidate who stood upon a public platform. Personally, I gave a distinct and very simple pledge to the electors. Believing that a free-trade Tariff or one approximating as closely to free-trade as our financial circumstances would permit, and believing that that policy was best, not only for New South Wales but for the Commonwealth at large, I gave a simple pledge to use every power conferred by the Constitution to give effect to the views which I enunciated.
– The honorable senator left himself a very wide margin.
– What I said was that, so far as my humble powers were concerned, I would exercise every right conferred by the Constitution to give effect to my views.
– What is the percentage of the honorable senator’s Tariff?
– I will deal with that presently. If the honorable senator holds that had the free-trade party been entrusted with the framing of a Tariff they would have submitted a similar schedule to that which has been prepared by the Government, the simple question which I put to him is - “ Will he allow us to frame it 1 “ We know perfectly well that any Tariff framed ‘by free-traders would not resemble that now under consideration, because in the preparation of the latter, according to the admission’ of the Vice-President of the Executive Council, the Government have adhered to protectionist ideas wherever it has been possible to do so.
– The free-trade party would raise the same amount of revenue.
– Yes, but by a lower range of duties.
– By imposing duties on everything.
– We propose to raise revenue by letting goods in some senators, by seeking to shut out goods, apparently do not want to raise revenue.
– We want, to find work for our own people.
– I am dealing with the revenue aspect of this question ; I will come to the work aspect presently. I was rather surprised to find that a gentleman like Sir William McMillan thought that the pledges given by honorable senators should be judged by a different standard from that by which the pledges of members of the House of Representatives should be viewed. I regard my pledges to the 75,000 New South Wales electors who voted for me as equally binding as are the pledges given by any representative in the other Chamber to the 2,000 or -3,000 electors who voted for him. Indeed, I am inclined to regard them as more serious and more binding. For that reason I am not at all disposed - seeing that from my point of view there are many defects in this Tariff - to adopt the well-intentioned advice of the honorable and learned senator in charge of it. But there is a further reason why, as a free-trader coming from New South Wales, I feel it a duty to attempt to modify some of its more pernicious details. I do not wish to say that the members of the Government who represent New South Wales, purposely sought to mislead the people when unfolding the Ministerial programme in the pre-election days, but the construction placed upon their utterances was such that the people were led to anticipate a more moderate Tariff than that which is now placed before them. I ask honorable senators’ attention whilst I briefly give one or two quotations from the speeches of the Prime Minister and the Vice-President of the Executive Council. The former, in his Maitland speech, said -
I have not come here to conduct the protectionist campaign.
The only conclusion to be drawn from that remark is that there was to be no rigid adherence to protectionist principles.
– Neither has there been.
– We know that the Government have adhered to protectionist ideas as rigidly as possible. I would further point out that the committee organized to secure the return of Mr. Barton issued a manifesto in which the following passages occur -
Free-trade and a high Tariff are both impossible. The necessity of raising a large revenue makes free-trade impossible, and for the same reason a prohibitive Tariff is out of the question. There is nothing to prevent both free-traders and protectionists from joining the ranks of the association.
Of course, there was nothing to prevent them upon the assumption that the Tariff put forward constituted a fair compromise as between free-traders and protectionists. Whether or not, it is such a compromise, I shall endeavour to show directly. The Minister for Home Affairs also said -
He would call it criminal to raise the fiscal issue just now.
Yet the Government have not thought it criminal to raise it both in the other House and here. Senator O’Connor, speaking at Paddington - and I am quoting from a speech with which he is very familiar–
– I have been reading it lately.
– Was there, some uneasiness of conscience which prompted the Vice-President to re-read it 1
– No; but the other day a State election calumny was dug up by Senator Neild and I wanted to see if his statement were right.
– I hope I shall be able to avoid anything of that kind. Senator O’Connor, speaking at Paddington, said -
On the eve of this contest he thought it was well that they should look at what the real issue of this election was to be, because he could tell them at once that, although they might be obliged to accept this wretched issue of fiscalism which had been made the war-cry by both parties in this election, he there made his protest against it, because the putting forth of that issue at the present time was a false, unreal, and unsubstantial thing, and was something which was done merely for the purpose of dividing the best men in this community.
I do not desire to give any further quotations, although there are plenty available. I say that the only conclusion which it was possible to draw from the quotations I have given, and from others which accompanied them - and the conclusion which the people of New South Wales, to a very great extent, did draw - was that the Tariff to be submitted would, be one which that State ; would regard as a moderate Tariff. But
I neither I as an individual, nor the great bulk of the electors, regard this Tariff as a moderate one. We regard it as one which does more violence to our fiscal belief than the circumstances of the position warrant. Therefore, I conceive it to be my duty to endeavour to effect as radical a change in it as possible. Of course, I recognise that substantial alterations have been made, and in seeking to effect further amendments I do not propose - nor do I suppose that my honorable friends upon this side of the chamber contemplate - asking for anything unreasonable. The amendments I shall seek to effect will take fully into account the requirements of Victoria, but, in return, I ask for consideration to the great free-trade interests of New South Wales. There ought to be reciprocity in this connexion, though so far I have heard from protectionists only a demand for protection up to the hilt- as far as revenue requirements will permit. I have seen no desire on the part of speakers opposite to consider the big interests of New South Wales - interests which have been developed under free-trade, and with which a protective tariff would seriously interfere. I just want to say a few words regarding the financial outlook, and in doing so I find a point in regard to which I am in absolute agreement with the leader of this Chamber. I think that every word which he uttered the other day in denial of the charge of extravagance which has been urged against the Federal Government was justified. There has been extravagance, but it has not been on the part of the Commonwealth Government. It has been on the part of the State Governments, who have been loudest in their complaints, and who, before they handed over their obligations to the Commonwealth, ran up their items of expenditure far above what they were previously. My own State has been an offender in this respect. Victoria did something which does a great deal more credit to the ingenuity of its politicians than to its loyalty to the federal spirit. It passed a Bill providing for the payment of increases to its public servants, carefully leaving the Commonwealth Government to find the wherewithall to discharge these obligations. I could be very generous could I adopt the same principle. Not only are the people who make this charge those who have been guilty of extravagance, but they are the individuals who promised that as a result of Federation they would be in a position to secure State economies. With very rare exceptions has there been any honest effort to redeem this pledge? Turning to the figures which have been placed before us, I notice a very considerable increase upon the Estimates of expenditure placed before the other House as compared with the Estimates contained in the papers tabled by the Vice-President of the Executive Council. Sir George Turner’s estimate of expenditure was £4,024,000 ; but we are now told that the expenditure is to be £4,252,000- that is, £228,000,. or over a quarter of a million more than Sir George Turner’s original estimate. I should have liked the Vice-President of the Executive Council, in dealing with this matter in his opening speech to the Senate, to give us some explanation for that rather extraordinary increase in seven months. If the honorable and learned senator can possibly do so, when he ventures to reply, I am sure that the Senate will appreciate the information. I, at any rate, shall do so. Its seems tome that whilst the expenditure down to date is extremely reasonable, and is an expenditure at which no reasonable man ought to cavil, or can cavil, it is necessary, at this early stage, to look ahead at the probable expenditure of the Federal Government. I say that, first, because it seems to me that it is a point which we ought to keep in view in considering this Tariff; and also because I think it extremely desirable that a note of warning should be uttered to the Treasurers of the several States. The Vice-President of the Executive Council, in the papers to which I have referred, points out that the previous taxation of the people of the Commonwealth per head amounted to £2 2s. per annum. The proposed taxation is £2 4s. 9d. per head per annum, leaving 2s. 9d. as the amount of the increased taxation, Out of this sum, ls. 2d. per’ head is expenditure consequent upon the creation of the Federal Government. That would leave ls. 7d. per head as a margin which, at present, goes back to the States, but upon which the Federal Government could draw if it required to do so. But I think, Mr. President, that that is a rather misleading way of stating the position, and one which is likely to have an injurious effect if the impression gets abroad in the States that the amount of money we are now handling will be available for future distribution to the several States. The present new exenditure is £228,374. The Estimates provide for an expenditure of £335,124. I should just like to state here that I propose to leave out in the figures I give everything barring the main thousands. I shall quote the hundred, or thousand or ten thousand nearest to the exact amount. It is more convenient to the speaker to do so, and more convenient to those who pay him the compliment of listening. The expenditure, let me repeat, as provided for is £335,000, but it seems to me to be necessary to take into account the fact that withina short period that expenditure, so far as I can see, will represent a very much larger sum than that we are at present providing. I have arranged this future expenditure under the following headings : - Inter-State Commission, £15,000; Pacific cable, £40,000; interest on new loan - and I may say in regard to that, that Sir George Turner had made provision in his Estimates for the payment of interest on the loan for six months, for which he allowed £10,000 - £7,500 interest, and £2,500 for a sinking fund - which would amount to £20,000 per annum ; the Judiciary I put down at £20,000 ; the High Commissioner at £15,000. Then there is the reclassification under the Victorian Act to which I previously referred, and, so far as I can ascertain, £25,000 is not an excessive amount to allow for that-
– Which will be debited to Victoria.
– I admit that ; but I want to point out the amount of expenditure which the Commonwealth Government will have to face, and which it will have to deduct from the revenue it handles. Then there is the minimum wage to the public service which will entail an expenditure of £47,000, according to the statement of the Government when opposing that principle. Then there is interest on the expenditure incurred in erecting the federal capital buildings. At the Adelaide Convention, Mr. Holder brought forward an estimate in which he-allowed for £55,000 interest on £1,500,000, a ridiculously small sum to allow it seems to me, but still I have taken that figure, at which I think no one can cavil. Then I have allowed £10,000 for sundries, though I never knew a Government that could get ulong with so small a sum for sundries as that. The total amount is £247,000, which has to be added to the expenditure provided for in the Estimates, making the new expenditure £582,000. There is another matter which has to be kept in view, and that is the transfer of the public works from the States Governments to the Federal Government, and for which the Federal Government has, in some form or other, to make payment to the States.Whetherthat is done, as I think it should be, by the Federal Government assuming responsibility for some portion of the States loans, or whether it is done by the Federal Government making direct payment either in paper or specie, it will mean that the Federal Government will have to charge itself with interest to the amount of the value of the transferred properties. The value of these properties is still an unsettled question, but, so far as one can gather from various statements, and from the intermittent valuations which have been made, the amount will not be less than £10,000,000. Consequently, there will be £10,000,000 of money on which we shall have to pay interest at the average interest rate borne by the public debts of the whole of Australia: and that would represent £372,000. Now, this Government, according to the Vice-President of the Executive Council, has pledged itself to institute a sinking fund in connexion with the Commonwealth loans. If the sinking fund is to be brought into operation in connexion with what I may assume will be the transfer of State loans to the value of the properties taken over, it will mean an additional £100,000, making a total of £1,054,000 as the expenditure which has to be provided for by the Federal Government within a space of a very few years. If that is so - and I hardly think my figures can be successfully challenged - the future balance-sheet of the Commonwealth will read something like this. We have at present, according to the papers placed before us, to provide out of customs and excise £1,660,000. That is the amount which has to be taken this year to meet the expenses of the Federal Government and the deficiencies in the working of the departments, less £312,000 of arrears which will occur next year. Striking that amount off, and taking £1,348,000 as the amount which has to be met this year out of customs and excise, and adding £700,000 consequent upon the additional items I have mentioned, it means that the expenses of the Federal Government, which will have to come out of its share of Customs and excise revenue, are in the region of £2,000,000. Against that we have to consider what the amount of the Customs revenue is going to be. All estimates at this stage must be accepted with a great deal of reservation. It has been said by Mr. Reid, and I think by Senator Pulsford, that the revenue is going to be considerably in excess of the present yield. Well, I am sorry to say that I cannot share that anticipation. Quite apart from the warning based upon his own experience which Senator Playford gave to us the other night as to the effect of droughts upon the yield of revenue, I cannot help thinking that the effect of this Tariff will be largely to check imports and consequently to reduce revenue. That being so, Mr. President, I cannot conceive that we can look for anything over £9,000,000 of revenue from the Tariff. I certainly think the amount will be considerably less than that. But if we take the amount at £9,000,000, the amount which the Government will be entitled to deduct for Commonwealth purposes will be as follows: From the £9,000,000 they will deduct first of all the expenditure attendant upon the collection of the customs and excise- that is, £274,000. That would leave a revenue of £8,726,000, and onefourth of that is £2,181,000. Against that £2,181,000 I have shown that the Federal Government has very shortly to face an annual liability of £2,000,000. It is quite true that on those figures the Federal Government would still be in a sound and healthy position, providing that no unforeseen contingencies arise. I do not refer to those figures with a view in any way to make it appear that the Federal Government is likely to find itself embarrassed, or that, if it did, it would be unable to meet the situation ; but I quote them as showing two things - that there is a necessity upon the Federation to exercise every due caution in the matter of its expenditure in the early years of its existence while the bookkeeping principle obtains ; and secondly, for another and even more important reason still, of trying to point out to the several ‘States that, instead of their looking- forward to receiving all the revenue they have received this year from the Federal Treasurer, they will receive even less from him, and must frame their future budgets upon a smaller scale. While I am on this point, I should like to ask the VicePresident of the Executive Council if he can give the Senate an explanation of an item referred to by Sir George Turner, in regard to services rendered to the States, £S0,000. It is referred to by the Treasurer in Mansard, page 56S6, where Sir George Turner spoke of it as free services rendered by the Commonwealth to the States, valued at £80,000. I think it is probable that the Treasurer referred to postal services - to the Federal Government doing the postal business of the States without making a charge for it. It may be said that it makes no material difference whether the Federal Government charges for these services or not, but I hold that it does make a difference. If we are liable to have accusations of extravagance made against the Federal Government, and seeing that the States charge the Federation for every service which they render, it is extremely desirable that the same principle should apply in regard to services rendered by the Federation to the States. In order to show the state of the accounts as between the States and the Federation, we should make a charge against them for every service rendered by the Commonwealth, even if it is only a bookkeeping entry. I mentioned just now, in regard to the transfer of properties from the States to the Federation, that the VicePresident of the Executive Council has pointed out that the Government are pledged to the principle of a sinking fund. I regard a sinking fund as at once a most attractive idea and a most pernicious fallacy, and when that proposal comes forward I shall endeavour to give the reasons upon which I found that opinion. At present I would merely point out that the value of a sinking fund is good or bad according to whether it is parried out in the borrowing period or not. When we have reached the end of our borrowing period, it may be a good idea to have a sinking fund. My objection to it at present is not only that it is an absurd and expensive idea to be borrowing with the one hand whilst paying back with the other, but that it is in itself an undesirable thing to adopt such a fund at present, because for every £1 we have to pay for a sinking fund, we have to raise £4 by taxation. Therefore, it would be a much more commonsense and business-like proposal to delay all idea of paying off liabilities of that kind until we were in a position to devote to the payment of them all the amount we collected from the taxpayers.
– Without a sinking fund there is a loss in the price of a loan.
– The whole experience of sinking funds has shown them to be a costly fallacy.
– The honorable senator did not catch the interjection, which was to the effect that the value of the loan is damaged if it is placed on the market with out a sinking fund.
– I have Sir George Turner’s statement that a sinking fund attached to one of Victoria’s loans did not secure a better price. It shows very poor faith in the stability of the State when a sinking fund is required to secure the attention of capitalists. The credit of the State is a good enough investment, and to provide a sinking fund is to admit that there is something wanting in the security. I now come in closer touch with the Tariff’ and to the appeal - which at the time I thought extremely plausible - by Senator O’Connor when he urged its acceptance on the ground that it is a compromise. The Tariff is a compromise, but it is a compromise only between the revenue requirements of the several States and protectionist ideas. The compromise which I want to see is one between free-trade and protection. I claim to be as strong a free-trader as walks in Australia, but I recognise that it is only in accordance with the federal spirit that there should be compromise. I ask any one to search this Tariff, and show me any indication of any effort made to effect a compromise between the protection of Victoria, on the one hand, and the freetrade of New South Wales, on the other.
– There are other protectionist States besides Victoria.
– I know ; and there are more fools than wise men in the world.
– And, unfortunately, the majority must rule.
– As proving my contention that this Tariff has sought, with a considerable degree of success, to effect a compromise between revenue and protection, I should like to quote one sentence from the speech of Senator O’Connor, as follows -
If we are to make a compromise Tariff which will recognise the necessities of revenue, which will recognise the obligation that these (protected) industries in the States shall not be allowed to suffer, we must make the attempt honestly, and give some substantial amount of protection.
That is absolutely right from the standpoint of a protectionist, who is under an obligation to raise revenue. But I am now pleading that there should be a compromise which will take in view the great free-trade industries of New South Wales. As showing how closely the protectionist idea was cherished by the Vice-President of the Executive Council, I would remind honorable senators that when he pointed out that there had been a reduction in the duties of nearly £1,000,000 sterling, consequent on the amendments made in the other House, he spoke of that as an abandonment of the incidence of the Tariff - as an abandonment of protection. But nearly all the items abandoned were revenue-yielding items. I suppose that out of the £976,000 of revenue which was lost through these amendments, notmore than £100,000 was made up of dutieswhich in any way can be regarded as protectionist. The whole alteration is an abandonment of the revenue side, and not the protective side, of the case.
– Free-traders were instrumental in bringing about the reductions.
– Yes; on the very sound principle that if the Government have enough revenue from one source, additional revenue should not be given from another.
– A little while agothe honorable senator was crying out for more revenue.
– Not a single word I have said justifies that statement.
– The honorable senator said that £10,000,000 would be re quired.
– I never said anything of the kind. As showing the nature of the compromise, in contradistinction to that which I think ought to have been brought about, I would point out that where a duty of 10 per cent, and a duty of 20 per cent, promised to yield about the same amount of revenue, the Government, on protectionist grounds,, adopted the higher. The compromise I want is one between free-trade, protection, and revenue. That would mean an allround duty of 15 per cent., from which possibly more revenue would be raised than from either 10 per cent, or 20 per cent. It is idle to say that this is a compromise Tariff, if by that it is intended to imply that there has been a fair effort to reconcile the different opinions and thedifferent interests of the several States. At this stage I should like to show how seriously the effort to further protectionist industries is likely to hamper those other industries which my free-trade friends and myself are content to regard as natural to the country. Throughout the whole of the Commonwealth there are employed in manufactures of all sorts 173,764 people. Taking the average of five to the family, we arrive at 868,820 people concerned in manufacturing industries, out of a total population of 3,726,480, or one as against three and a half.
– That is exclusive of those who provide theraw material used in the manufacturing industries ?
– Exactly. I am giving from the statistical returns the number of those engaged in the manufactures of the several States. In New South Wales, without protection, there are employed in manufacturing industries 05,000 persons, as against the 60,000 -employed in Victoria, or an excess in the hitter State of 8 per cent.
– Where did the honorable senator get those figures?
– From Coghlan, the new apostle discovered by Senator Styles - from the new bible adopted by our protectionist friends.
– Mr. Clegg, the inspector of factories of New South Wales, gives different figures, and shows an excess of 10,000 hands in Victoria.
– If my figures are incorrect, I must throw the responsibility on the Government for having placed them in a return laid before the Senate. I am not prepared to say whether the figures are right or wrong; but evidently I have more faith in the Government than has Senator Best, because I believe the figures to be correct.
– I am taking Mr. Clegg’s figures.
– And I take the Government’s figures. I am going to be more generous to Victoria than even Senator Best, and show that,by allowing for the difference in population between the two States - and this is an allowance which I think may fairly be made - Victoria has an advantage of not 8 per cent, but 15 per cent. That is to say, for every 100 people employed in Victoria at the present time, there ought to be 115 employed in New South Wales ; and we know that that is not so.
– Inspector Clegg says that those employed in manufactures in New South Wales are less by 10,000 than those employed in similar industries in Victoria.
– It does not matter for the purposes of my present argument whether the figure be 8,000 or 10,000.
– There is 16 per cent, more population in New South Wales than in Victoria.
– That does not affect the argument.
– It affects the proportion.
– I put these figures forward as accurate. I worked them out from the Government returns, which I believe, and I also believe that I am capable of making the calculation. A speaker, when he is told that his figures are wrong, cannot delay honorable senators while he works them out, in order to show that they are right. Putting the difference at 1 5 per cent, in favour of Victoria, I am going to credit to the operation of protection the employment of 15 per cent, of the total hands engaged in manufacturing industries in the Commonwealth. If New South Wales can employ a certain number of people without protection, and another State, with protection, employs 1 5 per cent, more, it is fair and reasonable to allow that 1 5 per cent, as the result of protection.
– It would be fair if the manufactures were the same, which theyare not.
– I am not concerned whether a man be employed in a boot factory or any other kind of factory ; I take the total figures relating to manufactures. In admitting that the 15 per cent, may be fairly credited to protection, I am doing what probably some of my friends would not be inclined to do.
– The honorable senator is too generous.
– Indeed, if honorable senators like, I shall go so far as to admit that 20 per cent, of this employment may be credited to protection; I have such a wide margin that I can afford to be generous. But, taking the difference at 15 per cent., it means that out of the entire population one in every sixteen is employed in manufactures which are assumed to have obtained some benefit from protection. I stand here to ask consideration not so much for the one individual as for the sixteen others. I know it will be contended that the duties which are placed on the sixteen do not hurt them, while the one individual is benefited.
– Hear, hear.
– Senator Best applauds that statement; but what was the attitude taken by so-called protectionist members in another place when it was proposed to place a duty on salt, or on butter box timber ? We found advocates of the dairying industry pleading pathetically that it would hurt no one to put a duty on butter, while the producer would get a benefit ; but when a proposal was made to place a duty on timber from which butter boxes are made, every protectionist centre in Victoria held an indignation meeting. The farmers and settlers’ associations were “on their hind legs “ in a moment, and every telegraph line was nearly fused with indignant messages. It is strange that ardent protectionists, who believe so much in their own theory, and who strenuously declare that the imposition of duties does not hurt anybody, should become staunch free-traders the moment there is any attempt to place a duty on any article used in their particular industry. Then, in regard to mining machinery, it would be a little interesting to know how some votes will be given in this Chamber. There are protectionists who talk eloquently about the iniquity of forcing our workmen and mechanics to compete with the sweated labour of pauper countries, while, at the same time, they contend that if a duty be placed on mining machinery, it will crush one of the primary national industries. I believe that these primary industries will be crushed out by such duties, but I am not prepared to differentiate between one industry and another. While I object to the Government favouring one industry at the expense of the other, I still more strongly object to their penalizing sixteen people for the sake of one individual. I now come to an insinuation - I can hardly call it anything more - that we freetraders, especially those from New South Wales, who are prepared to vote for our political views, are guilty of an act of repudiation. It is affirmed that we knew we must accept, and agreed to accept, a protectionist policy when we entered federation. Nothing- is further from the truth. There never was in New South Wales any suggestion that we had lost our right to vote for the principles in which we believed. There was a recognition that the financial necessities of the several States would require a very much higher revenue Tariff than that to which we had been accustomed ; but any suggestion that we should lose, the right to fight for the views that we held would have been scouted over there. I venture to say that no one more clearly pointed out that fact than did the VicePresident of the Executive Council himself. A gentleman closely associated with Senator O’Connor said thin on one occasion -
The average Customs revenue of the five colonies lumped together for the three years 1S92, 1893, and 1S!M was £5,110,000; whereas the Federal Tariff would he £4,000.000. Who then would say that the Convention Bill meant a protective Tariff? There would, no doubt, bea battle over free-trade and protection after federation, but there must be a fair field and no favour. He wanted to prove that the Constitution did not necessarily mean a protective Tariff, but it left the nation free, and let the best side win.
That was a statement by Mr. Barton, and although his rather rosy estimate of a £4,000,000 Tariff was discarded very soon afterwards, we had the admission by the Prime Minister that a free-trader, by voting for the Constitution Bill, would not give up his right to give effect to his fiscal views. Yet we are told by Senator Higgs, who has interjected freely during the debate, that it would be a gross act of repudiation to refrain from attempting to carry out a protectionist policy now. I say at once that so far as I am concerned, I join in this discussion in the spirit adopted by Senator Barrett the other evening. That honorable senator said that he was a protectionist, that he was going to fight for his policy, and to endeavour to obtain as much of it as he could. My position is exactly the same. As a free-trader, I believe that the policy which I have enunciated is best not only for one State but for all, and I am prepared to go to the same length as Senator Barrett in seeking to give effect to my political views. I come now to a plea put forward with some ingenuity by the Vice-President of the Executive Council - the revenue requirement plea. The impression made upon my mind by reading his speech - for I had not the pleasure of listening to it - was that he desired to create the idea, although I am sure that he did so quite unconsciously, that such a Tariff as he put forward was essential to secure the solvency of the States. In other words, that if any attempt were made seriously to cut down these duties, the result would be to bring about a condition of financial shipwreck in the States. It will require very little consideration to lead us to the conclusion that nothing which the party on the opposite side of the Senate can, or will do, is likely to bring about financial shipwreck.
– If the Opposition take off a duty like that on tea, they will cause some trouble. They might desire to take the duty off sugar.
– Laying aside for the moment the question of a duty on “such an article as tea, the honorable senator will admit at once that the efforts of honorable senators on this side of the Senate will be with a view to the reduction of duties. That reduction of duties can only have the effect of increasing the rate of importation of goods. If the effect of any reduction of these duties will be to swell the volume of importations, how can it be said that our action will tend in any way to bring about a financial crisis 1 The whole of the efforts of the free-trade party in the Senate will be directed to securing a lower range of duties, and in that way they will bring about an increased revenue. If there is any party which is likely to cause trouble in the finances of the several States, it is that party the members of which openly avow that they seek to stop the importation of goods, for they have not yet discovered a means by which duties can be collected on goods that are not admitted to the country. The idea that high duties are necessary to a big revenue is surely one that should have been exploded long ago. As showing that it is the low duty that brings in a large revenue, I would remind honorable senators of the position which existed in New South Wales and Victoria during the last years of the operation of the Dibbs Tariff in the mother State. At that time there was in force in Victoria a range of duties which, without any exaggeration, might be called moderately high.
– They were imposed only on a few articles.
– I can only assume that in a State so long wedded to the protectionist policy, and with such protectionists as Senator Best and Senator Styles in active public life, there was a range of duties in operation at the time which satisfied their protectionist souls.
– Victoria had the largest free list of any of the States.
– There was a Tariff in force here which satisfied the protectionists.
– An average of 1 1 per cent, all round.
– There was a Tariff in force which satisfied protectionists, and the Tariff was undoubtedly higher than the one then in force in New South Wales. The result was, however, that whilst in 1894 New South Wales collected duties amounting to £1 12s. 6d. per head of the population, Victoria collected duties amounting only to £1 10s. 3d. per head of the population, or 2s. 3d. per head less than the amount collected in New South Wales under 10 and 15 per cent, duties. In 1895 - these were the last two complete years during which the Dibbs Tariff prevailed - the amount of duties collected in New South Wales represented £1 lis. 3d. per head of the population, whilst in Victoria the amount collected was equal only to £1 10s. 2d. per head of the population, a difference of ls. Id. per head in favour of New South Wales. I mention these figures as showing that a Tariff containing a low range of duties is more likely to be not only immediately but permanently productive of revenue than is a Tariff, the avowed object of which is to shut out imports.
– The free list in New South Wales during the years named was not nearly so great as that in force in Victoria. That was the reason.
– I know that the reason was there, but I can only assume that the Tariff in force in Victoria at that time was a protectionist one containing high duties.
– It yielded revenue notwithstanding that fact.
– A revenue much lower than that obtained from the Tariff in force in New South Wales, which was never a protectionist one.
– Would not the honorable senator describe the Dibbs Tariff as a protectionist one ?
– - Not now.
– I have often heard it described in that way.
– That was at a time when fortunately we had very little knowledge of the extent to which the protectionist iniquity could be carried. We have seen now the extent of bondage into which people would hurry the national industries of the country, and we are rather surprised that we should have been disturbed in our minds by the 10 and 15 per cent. Tariff imposed by the New South Wales Government, of which my honorable and learned friend was a member.
– Waa 15 per cent, the highest ad valorem, duty 1
– Yes. It is really unnecessary tq argue this matter any further, in view of the fact that such a staunch protectionist as is the Minister for Trade and Customs used this very terse sentence in another place - “ Protection is opposed to revenue.” The whole position is summed up in that statement. What justification can there be therefore for the imputation that freetraders are likely to do something which will destroy revenue ? It is the policy to which the Government are seeking to give effect that will cause revenue to shrink, and to that extent help to throw the States into financial difficulties ? It appears to me that this attempt to give undue prominence to the revenue aspect of the case is somewhat of a cloak for the real protectionist character of the Tariff, because I notice that the VicePresident of the Executive Council scarcely said a single word in defence of protection itself. There was tin excuse for it.
– There was no necessity to say a word in defence of the policy.
– The VicePresident of the Executive Council did not say a word for the supposed merits of protection. What he did state was that we must have revenue - that we must consider the industries of Victoria ; but beyond that he did not say a word to the effect that protection was good in itself, and that we ought to adopt it.
– I said a good deal about protection.
– The honorable and learned senator did; but certainly he did not say that, whether or not, the Government were bound to the policy because of the existing industries, or that whether the requirement of revenue was present or not, they still believed in it. He never made any declaration of that kind, or, at least, if he did I have overlooked it in reading his speech. If he tells me I am wrong I apologize to him. But while, having read his speech, I have failed to discover in it any defence of protection - and surely it needed it very badly - I find the strongest possible denunciation of it in the frequent gloomy forebodings that, if we do not continue to bolster up these industries, ruin and stagnation will overtake us. A few years ago many people were led away with the plausible cry that some protection should be given to infant industries to help them through their early years. Now we are told after a period of 30 or 35 years has elapsed, during which these industries have been protected by a heavy Tariff, that disaster will overtake them unless we consent to continue to them the measure of protection which they have hitherto enjoyed.
– All the industries are not 35 years old.
– Some were established under free-trade.
– I know that some are older than others, but does Senator Best mean to tell me that a distinction has been made in the measure of protection bestowed upon the industries that are 35 years old and those of more recent growth 1
– To some extent there has been, because there has been a reduction of duties.
– Is the honorable and learned senator prepared to fix a limit ; to say that industries which are 35 years old are no longer entitled to protection 1
– If the honorable senator mentions 35 years, and makes a sporting offer, I will say “yes.”
– What period does the honorable and learned senator think sufficient for the continuance of protection1!
– As long as an industry requires it.
– Then we are reduced to this position : That we have no longer a plea for protection to aid infant industries, but that it is an old-age pension that is required for them.
– Protectionists put it on another ground altogether ; they do not want our markets to be swamped from outside. ‘
– I know that that is not the only ground. My objection is that protectionists base their claims on so many grounds. The original plea was that we should have protection for infant industries.
– One wants more than one string to his bow.
– Protectionists certainly do. If a protectionist had only one string to his bow he would be in a sorry position indeed. Before I deal with some of the contentions which have been advanced, I should like to draw the attention of the Vice-President of the Executive Council to a letter which I have received, and a copy of which I have handed to him.
– Another letter from McMurtrie and Co. ?
– I have no such letter. If I had, I should be inclined to treat it with the respect which I think ought to be given to a letter from such a firm. When another place was dealing in committee with the proposed duty on salt, the Minister foi- Trade and Customs stated that he held a certificate from Mr. Parkinson, an analytical chemist of the Royal College of Chemistry, London, in favour of South Australian salt. I have a letter from the Salt Union of London, a big corporation which controls many salt works there-
– I thought there were no trusts in the old country.
– I did not refer to a salt “ trust.” If honorable senators on my left do not care to listen to me, I am sure that the Vice-President of the Executive Council does, because I have a statement to make which I think he will admit is entitled to some attention. The letter states -
Referring to the discussion in the Federal Parliament as to the duties to be imposed upon Salt under the Tariff, we understand that according to the Hansard report of the debate in the House of Representatives on the 29th November, 1901, upon the subject of the proposed salt duty, that Mr. Kingston, the Minister, produced and read to the House a certificate stated to have been issued by Mr. Parkinson, analytical chemist of the Royal College of Chemistry, London, as to “ Castle salt,” namely, “ that the colour is good as well as the quality, and it is free from grit or organic impurities. It is equal to the best Cheshire ^English salt, and suited for every domestic requirement.” As the chief manufacturers of English salt, we are particularly interested in the proposed Tariff, and this statement, made by a responsible Minister, we must take exception to. We have made every inquiry possible, and cannot find that any such society as quoted exists in London, or that there is any analytical chemist of the name of Parkinson either.
– He is a well-known chemist in the city of Adelaide. He has degrees of some sort, but.perhaps they have been wrongly quoted.
– Until we passed the Medical Act, we had many men practising as doctors in Sydney who were supposed to have degrees of some sort. The letter continues -
That this certificate, however obtained, was produced and read to the House for the purpose of influencing the minds of the members in favour of the production of South Australian salt, is, we think, quite apparent : and our directors will feel extremely obliged if you would, take the matter up through any channel which might best commend itself to you, with the object of pointing out that the statement made by Mr. Kingston is an erronous one ; and if you will also use your best influence to nullify the value that the members of the Federal Parliament may have placed on the statement. If you can communicate this to your friends in the colonies by to-morrow’s mail, we shall be extremely obliged.
I need not continue the letter, as I have said I have given the Vice-President of the Executive Council a copy of it, and the purport of it is really-
– That there ain’t no Mrs. ‘Arris.
– That the Government has been misled. I am perfectly certain it is a matter of that kind, because I do not assume, for one moment, that any member of the Ministry, or any member of the Parliament, would come forward with a, certificate which he knew was not authentic. I say that the Government has been misled, and they have misled the House of Representatives, and if the statements in this letter are correct, I am sure the Government will, for their own credit, endeavour to ascertain whence this certificate came.
– It does not say whether the result of the analysis was correct or not.
– It goes further, and says that the “ Royal College of Chemistry, Loudon,” does not exist.
– What about the analysis?
– There is not the slightest doubt that the certificate was read to the other House with the view of influencing its opinion, and if I bring forward a document claiming to be sent by a member of a Royal College it will have greater weight than if I produce a sheet of paper claiming to have come from an ordinary individual.
– The question is whether the analysis was right or not.
– The question is - Is this man an impostor, or is he not ?
– He is perfectly competent to make an analysis.
– He may be an impostor at the same time.
– The certificate of the analysis was simply a statement that Castle salt is as good as imported salt ; but if it was not intended to influence the House of Representatives, why was “ The Royal College of Chemistry, London,” mentioned t What I say is, that either my informant is wrong, or an attempt has been made to mislead the Government and to work in a bogus certificate upon them.
– Senator Playford vouches for the man’s competency.
– No. The honorable senator knows too much to do that.
– I do not vouch for anybody’s competency. I know that this man has been a well recognised chemist in our State for many years. He is an estimable and honest man, and, I think, he would not forward a false certificate of analysis.
– The real question is whether it was a false analysis.
– The real question is whether the title under which he sailed was a false one or not. I come now to deal with some of the contentions advanced by my protectionist friends on behalf of their rather battered policy. I must say at once that it seems to me that the matters to which they omitted to refer were really very much more eloquent than those which they have brought under the notice of the Senate. I anticipated that they would recognise an obligation upon them to explain in some way the experience of their own state of Victoria in the matter of the loss of population. Not one of them has offered any explanation of that.
– I did ; and quoted the honorable and learned senator’s leader, the Right Honorable G. H. Reid.
– The honorable senator did not attempt to explain the loss of Victorian population at all, but like a skilful tactician he sought to carry the war into the enemy’s camp and endeavoured to show that there was a greater loss of population in New South Wales. I admire his strategy, but I am not misled by it. The honorable senator gives no explanation of the Victorian loss of population.
– I gave the Right Honorable G. H. Reid’s explanation.
– The honorable senator does not accept Mr. Reid as an authority upon these matters.
– -In that case I did.
– The honorable senator offered no explanation of the loss of Victorian population. Not only that, but no reference has been made to that interesting and instructive document, the report of the Tariff Commission, which sat here some few years ago. I listened to the copious extracts given by Senators Glassey and Barrett, and, occasionally losing the names of places, I thought they must be really reading extracts- from that report, in reference to sweating and low wages. The extracts sounded for all the world like chunks cut out of that report. There was not a word about several other matters, but in order that this debate should not close without some consideration being paid to what I regard as very important points, I propose to deal with one or two of them. We have had, first of all, on the part of Senator Glassey, an effort to draw a very dismal and entirely partial, picture of England as’ she is to-day. What a deplorable condition of affairs the honorable senator told us existed in England !
– Poor old England !
– Yes, poor old England ! But the honorable senator did not venture to explain why, if England is in this deplorable condition, Germans, who have had the advantage of living under a protective policy, should be crowding in there. Senator Styles admitted that labour was worse paid in Germany than in England, and that is an explanation of their coming to England. I desire to know, if England is in this awful position of industrial depression, why it is that people forsake the beneficent shelter of a protectionist policy and crowd into England ?
– They generally go to escape conscription.
– My experience of the average man is that he usually goes where he can get the best results for .his labour. I would ask my honorable friend in the labor corner what labour it was that broke down the big dock strike 1 He has not an answer ready for that. We know the explanation is that it was free labour brought into England, and labour brought from protected Germany.
– Any that did come came from Belgium.
– They came from protectionist Belgium into free-trade England.
– They are all protectionist countries in Europe with the exception of the honorable and learned senator’s friend, Turkey. How, then, could they come from any but protectionist countries ?
– What I desire to ask is that if protection ensures high wages to workmen, why did those workmen leave Belgium, with its protectionist policy, and come to free-trade England ? Why do people leave protectionist Germany, and crowd into England, if the latter is in the position Senator Glassey tried to depict ?
– That is easily enough explained.
– The honorable senator says that is easily enough explained. It is, if we ai-e prepared to accept any explanation for it. I am not. Continuing with Senator Glassey’s remarks, I desire to say a word or two as to some facts and -figures the honorable senator advanced on the authority of the author of a work called Drifting. I have read some most extraordinarily compiled statistics, but I have never seen any put forward so recklessly as the figures quoted by Senator Glassey. I am not blaming that honorable senator, because he merely read from the author of Drifting. But this author comes forward as a man competent to handle statistics, and he puts his figures before us in this way : I am dealing now with the figures quoted by Senator Glassey in connexion with live stock. In dealing with the figures for the United Kingdom, the year “Iti 6 9 is compared with the year 1899; in dealing with the figures for France, the year 1873 is compared with the year 1898 ; and in dealing with the figures of Germany, the year 1883 is compared with the year 1899. It may be said that these were the only figures available to him, but I point out that in each of these cases he took the best and the worst year, to suit his argument.
– That was exposed in a subsequent article.
– As the honorable senator says, that has been exposed. But to show the utter fallacy of taking different periods in that way, let me point out that in connexion with British export, if we take the figures showing the relative movement . , between 1873 and 1898, there would be shown an absolute falling off of 21 per cent., while if we take the years 187S to 1900, there is shown an increase of 98 per cent., and if we take the years 1875 to 1900, an increase of 68 per cent, is shown. This just shows that if you happen to strike a year with the figures abnormally high, and another with the figures abnormally low, you will of course show a terrible shrinkage. On the other hand, if you take a year with figures abnormally low, and another to suit yourself with high figures, you may bring out the opposite result.
– That shows the fallacy of quoting figures.
– That shows the fallacy of quoting figures from the author of Drifting. It may be said that those probably were the only figures he could obtain, but I charge the author of Drifting with a more serious offence than that. To give an idea of the kind of figures quoted by Senator Glassey, I may say that he instituted a comparison between the United Kingdom and France in the matter of cattle and sheep, and he compared the numbers of cattle and pigs as between Germany and Great Britain, but, in that case, he left sheep altogether out of his calculations. He forgot to say that whilst the increase in German cattle had been 17 per cent., as against an increase of only S per cent, in the United Kingdom, the number of German sheep had shrunk by 56 per cent. What ridiculous nonsense it is to come here and say that the agricultural industry of Great Britain is going to the dogs because Germany has increased her number of cattle by 17 per cent., while Great Britain has only increased her number by S per cent., when at the same time that the increase of German cattle has exceeded the increase of cattle in Great Britain, Germany has lost more than half her sheep.
– They are bringing the land under more intense cultivation, and > are doing away with sheep.
– I am coming to that matter, and the honorable senator would have been wiser if he had allowed me to speak before the interjection. The statement was made by the author of Drifting and repeated here by Senator Glassey, to show that the area under crop has been diminishing in Great Britain, whilst in
Prance and Germany ifc is increasing. The actual position in this matter is that whilst in Prance the diminution is only a little less than in the United Kingdom, in Germany it is actually greater, taking into account the figures for the past quarter of a century, in respect of the area under crop. But the way in which the figures are worked out, as I have pointed out just now, renders them not only worthless but absolutely misleading.
– Whose figures is the honorable and learned senator quoting now 1
– The figures I have quoted are token from Mulhall, and are to be found in our library. The honorable senator may look at my notes and he will find the folio numbers of Mulhall for all of them.
– Why, they are importing food and agricultural products into Germany to such an extent that the people are calling for agrarian protection.
– Another statement made by this remarkable statistician, who has had the good sense to conceal his name, is this : He pointed out, and Senators Glassey and Barrett re-affirmed the statement, that the large excess of British imports really meant that Great Britain was living upon its capital, the excess representing the repayments of Great Britain upon capital previously invested. We know that protectionists regard an excess of imports over exports as being practically a commercial and financial bleeding of the country to death. But even the Bulletin knew the proper explanation of this, and it is therefore difficult to believe that honorable senators could not understand it. In the very last issue of that most democratic paper they explain this difference, not for the purpose of bolstering up free-trade, but because somebody cornered them upon another point. They point out there that -
England can import more than it exports because it has a huge revenue from foreign investments, and from mines and other interests it has seized in conquered countries.
– People have known that for the last 50 years.
– I know they have. But I do not know that Senators Barrett and Glassev knew it, or that the author of Drifting knew it. It is the return upon her investments abroad, and the payment for services rendered abroad. That is the explanation of it, and England has foreign investments to a very large extent indeed. What they really amount to it is, perhaps, impossible to say, but as illustrating the enormous extent of English investments abroad, I should like to point out that from a recent stock exchange quotation it was found that the proportion of British-held foreign stock was 8 to 22. That is to say that Great Britain, in stocks quoted on the stock exchange, held more than one-third of these foreign stocks. In addition to that she has in these States investments which never figure on the Stock Exchange.
– But £80,000,000 come from the services rendered by the oceangoing steamers.
– Exactly. I mentioned that not with the view of explaining to Senator McGregor, whose interjection indicates that he knows all about this as about other subjects, but with the view of answering the contention of Senators Barrett and Glassey, that England is living on the capital refunded by those to whom it had been advanced. Now I take another matter which I feel I must deal with, and that is the question of shipping. I never listened with more surprise than I did to the statement from an honorable senator who is usually cautious if nothing else - Senator Drake - when he affirmed here the other day that American shipping is - I’ do not know whether he did not say ahead of that of Great Britain - for all practical purposes equal to that of Great Britain, and we had Senator Glassey, on the strength of the author of Drifting, making the same statement in these words -
Free-traders have laid great stress on the shipping industry of G Great Britain. The writer gives some tangible proof that even the great shipping trade of Great Britain is not in as healthy a condition as some of our free-traders have asserted.
The mistake of Senator Drake is possibly understandable, but I cannot understand the mistake of the others to whom I have referred. Senator Drake’s mistake occurred probably from looking at the number of vessels. I find that the United States have registered 2,000 more vessels than has Great Britain, but when we come to the question of tonnage a very different position is revealed. The tonnage under the flag of the United Kingdom in 1888 was 9,000,000 tons, and in 1896 10,400,000 tons, being an increase of 16 per cent., while the United States had gained from 4,500,000 tons to 4,770,000 tons, being roughly an increase of from 5 to 6 per cent. When honorable senators were dealing with what they affirmed to be the decay of England, they explained that they meant that she had not .advanced relatively as fast as had other countries. Their standard of decay was that Great Britain is still going ahead, but not as fast as are other countries. I wish them to keep that standard in mind while I read some figures. Taking the steam tonnage, I find that in 1860 Great Britain had 502,000 tons, and the United States 870,000 tons, or 50 per cent, more than had Great Britain. I ask honorable senators to call to mind the date when free-trade was becoming effective, and the repeal of the navigation laws making itself felt. In 188S Great Britain had 2,355,000 tons, and the United States 1,765,000 tons. Not only was Great Britain ahead, but she had acquired that superiority from a position of inferiority.
– Had not the civil war something to do with it?
– I dare say that a multiplicity of causes have had to do with it. I am not affirming that one particular cause had anything to do with it. Even the characteristics and temperament of the people have something to do with it. I am simply answering the affirmation made by Senators Drake, Glassey, and Barrett that the shipping of the United States has overtaken that of Great Britain.
– What about the recent syndicate : will not that make a mighty difference 1
– Their ships are all under the British flag. I shall go further and say that if all the tonnage controlled by the syndicate is credited to the United States it will not materially affect the percentage figures.
– It must.
– One swallow makes a summer with some honorable senators. In steam tonnage from 1841 to 1S60 the annual increase in Great Britain was ISO, 000 tons, and in the United States 259,000 tons. There again the United States had a 50 per cent, advantage in the period. Taking the period from 1861 to 1SSS, the annual increase in British shipping was 560,000 tons, as against 60,000 tons only in the United States. So that whilst 40 years ago the United States was building 259,000 tons a year, she was building in 1 8SS only 60,000 tons; and Great
Britain, then building 1S0,000 tons, was in 18S8 building 560,000 tons, o What have honorable senators to say about the United States shipping industry, which is not only not advancing as fast as that of other nations, but is absolutely going back ?
– Is not the honorable senator doing exactly the same as he accuses the author of Drifting of doing 1
– No; I am taking the same dates for each comparison, and if honorable senators like I can give the page in Mulhall from which they are taken.
– What has all this to do with the duty on starch 1
– The honorable senator might have made that interjection when the honorable senators who made the assertion to which I am replying were speaking. I find that whilst in 1860 Great Britain had a third of the carrying power of the world, in 1896 she had 4S per cent., and the United States, which in 1S60 had per cent., in 1896 had IS per cent. So that whilst Great Britain had increased the carrying capacity of her ships by 50 per cent., that of the American ships had decreased by 50 per cent. If the standard of honorable senators is a correct one, then I wish to know what becomes of the boasted progress of the American people t I do not wish to affirm for a moment that in picking out a single industry, such as shipping, 1 am pointing to the decay of the United States; but I might just as well pick out that and two or three other industries, and read a funeral oration over the grave of the United States, as for honorable senators to pick out two or three British industries and declare that Great Britain is going to the dogs. There was one startling statement made in connexion with the delivery of the Budget speech, and it was that the effect of the Tariff will be to decrease imports by £5,000,000. I should like to know if it also means that we are to deci-ease our exports by £5,000,000. Because* it seems . to me to follow as a natural consequence that, if the imports are to be decreased by £5,000,000 by reason of the Tariff, then it is an admission, on the part of those who favour the Tariff that we are to decrease the productive industries to such an extent that we export £5,000,000 worth less.
– It does not follow at all.
– Let us get down to bed-rook with this case.
– Go to America.
– I do not wish to go to America. I wish to stay here just now.
– The honorable senator does not wish to go to a protectionist country.
-No ; I am in a protectionist country now. If we are to import £5,000,000 less, and export the same amount as we did before, we are to send out £5,000,000 worth of goods without being paid for them.
– What about the balance of trade?
– What is going to pay us for the other £5,000,000?
– We shall get it back.
– Are we to get it paidin goods or gold?
– Gold if we like.
– Imagine the spectacle of Australia importing gold !
– Several millions of gold have been imported in some years.
– The honorable senator knows that with one or two very rare exceptions the only importation of gold into any State in Australia has been from some other State.
– I am speaking of imports oversea. Several millions of gold have been imported into Victoria in some years.
– Within the last few years.
– I understand Senator Playford to say that if we still export as much as we did before and import £5,000,000 worth less of goods, the diiference will be paid in gold.
– Or an equivalent.
– Of goods?
– Not necessarily.
– What is the equivalent?
– We shall get the gold from the other countries, no doubt.
– The honorable senator says that we are going to import £5,000,000 worth of gold to make up for that £5,000,000 worth of goods. If we do that I venture to say that in ten years we should have gold cheaper in Australia than it wasanywhere else, because we should have more than we could use.
– Let us have plenty of it.
– What are wegoing to do with it ?
– We shall make some use of it, if we get the chance.
– America was a producer of gold.
– The honorable senator does not seriously believe that Australia will import gold for many years to come. He rather hopes to see her export gold. Therefore, if we are going to calculate on a diminishing export of £5,000,000, we must also anticipate that by diverting the industries of the people into other channels, we shall either diminish the exportsby a corresponding amount, or make a present of £5,000,000 to somebody.
– Another free-trade fallacy.
– It is one which the honorable senator cannot shake. He does not show me how we are going to get paid the £5,000,000 except in goods or gold.
– We have not sent it away yet.
– My contention is, that we are not likely to send it away. It has enabled me to understand something of the strength of the protectionist cause in Victoria when I find that it is championed by such a stalwart captain in the ranks of a deluded army as Senator Styles. With all his energy, determination, and enthusiasm, I can quite understand the influence which he would exercise in addressing the great populations of Victoria. But while I recognise that, and have every regard for him personally and otherwise, I still have to go a little further than Senator Playford did in receiving, with that characteristic caution, the discovery of the honorable member, that the higher we make the duty the more it helps Great Britain.
– The more trade we take from the foreigner.
– Yes ; the honorable senator gave percentages which seemed to justify the theory, and his percentages are quite right.
– I thank the honorable senator. That is so much.
– I do not mean to say that the honorable senator is always wrong. It is not so much his facts as his deductions that I am objecting to. He gave percentages to show that under a high Tariff Great
Britain had a larger share in the imports of Australia than she had under a low one. That is quite true, but the larger percentage’ on the smaller total is no great compensation, and that is exactly what happened here. Whilst in New South Wales, with a lower Tariff, Great Britain did not have as large a percentage of the imports, she had a much bigger aggregate.
– That is perfectly true, and it proves what I said right down to the ground.
– Exactly. If Senator Styles believes in his new discovery I can congratulate the party to which I belong upon his conversion, because, if he believes his theory, it is quite evident that he must give us a vote. That theory is that the higher the duty which we impose the more will British goods come in.
– I never said anything of the kind- What I did say was that the higher the duty the greater the proportion of goods which come from British communities.
– I accept that statement as being correct. But if Senator Styles believes that free-trade is invariably associated with pauper labour, he must naturally desire to keep out British goods more than those of any other country.
– - If he wishes to exclude goods produced by the cheap labour of free-trade countries, and if the operation of high duties favours their admission as against the goods from protectionist countries, he ought to vote for low duties.
– I want to keep out all goods produced by cheap labour. I do not care from where they come.
– If Senator Styles wishes to exclude goods manufactured by the cheap labour of America or Germany, what becomes of the contention, that protection is essential to the maintenance of a high wage ? The only lesson which I can draw from the figures given by him is that Great Britain is in a better position to meet an adverse Tariff than is any protectionist country. His figures show that when a protective Tariff operated in Victoria and New South Wales, whilst there was a shrinkage in the importation of British goods, it was the American goods which first felt its effects.
– Then the Tariff did affect them1?
– Yes ; but the country which had built up its industries under the operation of a high protective Tariff was the first to feel the effect of the duties imposed, and America, with all the advantages which are supposed to flow from protection, was practically knocked out of the market.
– The honorable senator has not quite gripped the position yet:
– Senator Styles interjected just now that he wished to protect our people from competition with the pauper labour of other countries. Will he or Senator Higgs, who applauded his remark, tell me how they are going to protect our people from the cheap labour of the universe ? Seeing that our farmers have to compete in Mark-lane, with the cheap labour of Egypt, Russia, and India, how do they imagine the task could be accomplished ?
– I have tried to explain.
– Of course, it may be my density which does not enable me to follow the honorable senator. As the result of drought, there may be some disturbance to our general exports, but as Australia is producing 11,000,000 bushels of wheat in excess of her requirements, and as it is not likely that anything will happen to cause us to again import, we have to accept for our wheat growers the price which rules at Mark-lane, less the cost of carriage. That being so, by what law that we may pass can we secure our people from the competition of the pauper labour to which I refer ? The same remark is applicable, also, to our mining and wool-growing industries. Therefore, is it not safe to assert that the only reasonable protection which we can extend to our industries is by enabling them to produce at the lowest possible rate 1 In other words, we should keep the taxes off the articles which they require. Senator Styles also declared that New South Wales was losing population more rapidly than was Victoria. Had he’ consulted Cog/dam he would at once have seen the error into which he has fallen. He said that New South Wales was losing population faster than Victoria because he took the figures given for the year 1899, and then the last census returns. Had he looked at Coghlan he would have seen the explanation of this. Upon page 256, Coghlan says -
The above figures are deduced from the pro-
I portions which existed at the last census.
– Go back to page 249. The honorable senator is referring to, other tables.
– I am dealing with the explanation which is given of the apparent discrepancy between the figures for 1899 and the census returns. I would remind the honorable senator that affter each census an estimate is made yearly of the excess of births over deaths and of arrivals over departures. Senator Styles took the estimate for 1899.
– That estimate was incorrect, then?
– Then all the talk about Victoria having lost population was also incorrect, because the information was taken from the same tables.
– Coghlan points out that the proportion which the Government statisticians agreed to adopt at a conference in Hobart has altered the basis of calculation.
– I took Coghlan’s figures as they were given in three separate places.
– The honorable senator took an estimate for 1899, and the census returns for the other year. Does Senator Styles mean to say that New South Wales has lost population, whilst Victoria has gained it ?
– What is the population per square mile ?
– What is the population per square mile in the State from which Senator Stewart comes, or in South Australia ? I have heard this question of area mentioned often enough ; but I would point out that there are 80,000,000 acres in New South Wales which that State would be much better without. Those acres have been a sink for thousands and thousands of pounds, and the grave of hundreds of our most enterprising colonists. Why, for ten years the western- division of New South Wales has not had a decent rainfall. To talk of an area of that kind as an aid to wealth, when it is simply a drain on the resources of the country, is beside the question. I would further point out that, in 1861, Victoria had a population of 540,000, as against 350,000 in New South Wales.
– It is hardly fair to take that year.
– Is it fair, then, to say that from then till now the position has been steadily reversed ? Even so far back as 1881, when the alleged benefits of the protective policy in operation should have begun to make themselves felt in Victoria, that State had 110,000 people in excess of New South Wales, or practically eight to seven. What is the position to-day? Not only has Victoria not retained that superiority, but she has absolutely lost it. Moreover, she has lost the very cream of her manhood.
– They have gone to Western Australia.
– Yes, and a lot of them to New South Wales. Now, if there be an)r virtue in a protective policy, it is because its advocates claim that it will create work for the people. But what advantage can be claimed for this policy, seeing that New South Wales, without any artificial aid,’ has been able to retain her population, whilst Victoria, even by making payments, has been unable to do so ?
– New South Wales has had the advantage of assisted immigration.
– But the excess of assisted immigration in New South Wales over Victoria represents only 71,000 people, which does not make up for the excess which Victoria had over New South Wales in 1881.
– The real question is whether the people of New South Wales are better ofF than are those of Victoria.
– I have figures here, and I will deal with that matter presently. In spite of the alleged attractions of a protective policy, people have left Victoria in numbers sufficiently large to create a feeling of serious alarm. Coghlan, upon whom Senator Styles sometimes relies–
– Coghlan says -
With the exception of Western Australia and South Australia, the colonies all show substantial increases from immigration for the period of 1SSI to 1809. But in 1899 the exodus-
And I ask honorable senators to mark that word, which does not imply the mere drifting away of a few units ; probably Senator Styles’ Biblical knowledge will tell him its exact meaning - the exodus from Victoria was sufficient to more than counterbalance the arrivals in all the other colonies, so that for the first time in the history of Australia there was displayed the remarkable fact of the departures exceeding the arrivals: lu other words, more people went out of Victoria - this paradise of high wages, low living, and constant work - than arrived in all the other States.
– They were too poor to leave the other States.
– Not only has New South Wales attracted more population than Victoria, but it has proved the most attractive of all the States to Australians.
– The. native-born there are afraid to go away from their mothers.
– Will Senator Styles tell me why it is that New South Wales has more of her own native-born and more Australians from the other States ?
– Does all this help us in the consideration of the Tariff question ?
– The honorable senator did not interject in that way when Senator Styles was pointing out that New South Wales was losing her population more rapidly than was Victoria. If, under the high- wage system which is alleged to exist here, and with constant work available, people leave Victoria, they cannot be very strong mentally. I have looked up the figures relating to insanity, because I consider people would be insane if they ran away from high wages, constant work, and cheap living. I have looked to see if there was anything to suggest that there was more insanity amongst the people of Victoria than in the other States, but I find that there is not.
– Our people are the smartest in the world.
– Decidedly, there is more of American smartness amongst our “Victorian cousins than amongst the. people of the other States ; but, if I find there is no evidence of insanity, there certainly is a lower birth rate and a higher death rate in Victoria than in New South Wales - -
– And a much lower criminal rate !
– The only inference I can* draw from this lower birth rate and greater death rate is that whilst people have a strong objection to being born here and object to live here, they do not mind dying here ! It is a curious fact that they run away from Victoria. Why has this State lost the cream of its industrial manhood?
– They went to Western Australia.
– Was not the motive for immigration quite as potent in the case of New South Wales ? And why, when the great industrial upheaval took place in New South Wales, did Victoria send shiploads of her labourers there, to compete with their fellow workmen across the border 1 This is as yet an unanswered question. The Victorians have never seen a shipload of labourers sent from Sydney to Melbourne when there was a strike on here, and never will. If there is any class in the community which is loyal to itself and to its fellows, it is the labouring class ; and I refuse to believe that these Victorian workmen went over there under any other pressure than that of dire necessity. They went, not out of mere fun, nor out of a devilish desire to take the bread out of the mouths of the workmen “of New South Wales, but because they were driven by lack of employment in Victoria.
– Why was there a strike there if the New South Wales people were so well off?
– The honorable senator knows perfectly well why the strikes took place at Broken Hill, and amongst the shearers, although at that time the price paid for shearing in New South Wales was £1 per 100 as against 17s. 6d. per 100 in Victoria. Then there is one other matter which was advanced by Senator Best in regard to the cost of living being cheaper in Victoria than in New South Wales.
– I made that statement.
-*-I think the honorable senator did. Why is the cost of mv living lower than that of the GovernorGeneral ? Not because I particularly like to live economically. I should like to get luxuries if I could afford them. But my living costs less, because I have less to spend ; and that is the simple reason why living costs less here than in New South Wales.
– A very ingenious explanation !
– And it is borne out by the honorable senator’s prophet, Coghlan, who shows that the annual income per head in Victoria is smaller than in New South Wales. There is a difference of about £5 per head in the cost of living in the two States ; the figures for New South Wales being £47 2s. per head, and for Victoria £42 9s. The simple explanation is that the people of New South Wales have more to spend, and, consequently, spend it. The principle has been well stated by Senator Styles to be that “the spending power of the people is a measure of its prosperity.” The cost of living is only £10 per head in Russia, and £20 per head in Germany, but it costs more in New South Wales because the people consume more food and commodities. If the people of Victoria are earning more than the people of New South Wales - though Coghlan does not show that - and they are spending less, they must have saved more.
– They have more in the banks than the people of New South Wales have in the financial institutions of that State.
– The honorable senator says that the people of Victoria have saved more. Let us see what they have saved. I again direct his attention to the standard set up the other day, that a country which is progressing less rapidly than another country is retrogressing. The deposits of Victoria in 1891 amounted to £50,000,000. To-day they amount to £40,000,000. What has become of the other £10,000,000? On the other hand, in New South Wales there has been an increase of the deposits during the ten years from £42,000,000 to £43,000,000.
– I have already dealt with that aspect of the question.
– It is easily accounted for.
– Of course it is ; but the figures show that while we in New South Wales are making good healthy progress without taxing ourselves for it, the Victorians are retrogressing, although they have been taxing themselves.
– There are more deposits in Victoria per head of the population than in New South Wales.
– But what has become of the £10,000,000? And what has become of the population Victoria has lost?
– Our deposits are £3 3s. more per head than those of New South Wales.
– I had a great deal more to say, but I do not intend to say it. What I wish to remark, in conclusion, is that it is idle for honorable senators to pick out isolated industries to demonstrate the success or failure of a particular policy, just as it would be idle for me to take the shipping statistics of Great Britain as indicative of her general prosperity. All one can do is to take the broad general results, and the biggest average, and when that is done I say that it is impossible to deny the progress achieved, and the material comforts secured for the people of Great Britain since the abolition of the protective laws that formerly prevailed there. In Australia I find the same thing taking the broad results - that while Victoria has been paying for years upon years large sums in taxation as compared with the amounts paid by New South Wales, it is impossible to point out any distinct and sharply marked advantage over that State which Victoria has secured by her policy.
– But New South Wales receives large sums from land sales which Victoria does not receive.
– I am not speaking of the finances of the States, but of the condition of the people. But if New South Wales has received large sums from land sales it is evident that the people of that State have had the money to pay for the land which they have bought from the State. I am simply showing that while Victoria has paid millions in taxation far in excess of the amount demanded from the people of New South Wales, it is impossible to show that there has been any great advantage to Victoria commensurate with those payments. It may be possible to pick out an industry here and there where there has been more progress in Victoria than in New South Wales ; but taking the broad facts concerning the industries of the two States, the figures show that while there are more hands engaged in manufacturing in Victoria, this State has lost her men, and large numbers of women and children have had to be employed. I do not believe in making our industrial conditions approach to those of Germany and Italy, where men have to add Sunday to the other working days of the week, and have to rely upon the labour of their wives and children to make both ends meet. If honorable senators can show me any advantages that can be derived by the Australian people from the adoption of protection I shall be willing to become a protectionist. But the facts show that England without paying taxes upon imports has been able to maintain her progress and to keep her position at the head of the world’s commerce ; and seeing that the same thing has happened in Australia in the case of the State which has adopted a free-trade policy, I urge that we should pursue that policy for the Commonwealth. I desire to see extended to every industry a fair field and no favour. With that policy, and that alone, will 1 be content.
– When the Address in Reply was being debated in the Senate, I ventured to express the opinion that there was no question under the heavens that was less likely to be settled by discussion, either here or anywhere else, than the fiscal question. I have been fortunate enough - or perhaps I should say unfortunate enough - to hear this question discussed in different places and at different times for the last twenty years, but none of the discussions I have heard seemed to bring the matter nearer to a conclusion than it was at the outset. That being so, I do not think that even this debate - and there have been some splendid addresses delivered during the course of it, that of the honorable senator who has just resumed his seat being one - is likely to settle the matter. In fact, if we were to discuss the fiscal question for the next six months I do not believe that any converts to f l’ee-trade or protection would be made. Seeing that every one has made up his mind firmly upon the question it is evident that some other mode of settlement than that of debate must be attempted. There is no question with which I am acquainted upon which every one is so ready to express an opinion, on one side or the other, as the fiscal question. No matter who the individual may be, or where you find him, he is ever ready to tell you at once on which side of the fiscal question he is. That, I take it, is the best indication of the fact that nearly every one has made his mind up on the subject. If we are sincere, and believe the right side of the question to be our side, and if we believe the majority of the people share our ideas, why should there be any reluctance in submitting the matter to a plebiscite of the people? That would finally settle it. I admit that there is nothing very noble in the idea, but what I suggest is the only possible means of settling the question in accordance with the opinions of the majority of the people. The labour party has always advocated the principle of the referendum. A referendum on this question would obviate what Senator O’Connor has called “ fiscal wrangling.’” This wrangling has been going on in New South Wales more than in any of the other States. There has been fiscal wrangling there’ for generations”: but the people seem to be as far away from a settlement as before.
– If we had a referendum, upon what reasoning would the people vote ‘?
– They would vote in accordance with their fixed ideas. It would not be a difficult question to submit to the people. We must remember that a referendum has already been taken in Australia on a much more complex proposal ; and it is agreed that on that occasion the people gave an intelligent vote. The Federal Constitution embraced a host of different and very difficult questions, and, though nine-tenths of the people may not have studied the Constitution so as to understand every line, they had a very clear idea as to whether they were for or against federation. There are, of course, different brands of protection, as there are of free-trade. With out-and-out free-traders we have others who advocate a system so much modified as to be hardly recognisable ; and protection is presented to us from different stand-points. But, notwithstanding all these various views, the question might be submitted to the people in such a way as to elicit their opinion. When the result of the ballot became known, it would be the duty df Parliament to frame a Tariff in accordance with the vote. At the present stage, however, such a course is impossible ; because, according to the Constitution there must be a uniform Tariff before the close of this year. At the same time I think that protectionists and free-traders might agree to the passing of a resolution by both Houses, that in future the fiscal question shall not be raised until a wish to that effect had been expressed by the people through a referendum. Unless some such course is taken we shall find ourselves in the same position as was New South Wales. At every general election in that State the fiscal question was raised, and there never was a fixed policy for any length of time. Such a State of affairs is anything but conducive to prosperity. ‘ We should make a strong effort to insure stability in our fiscal policy, whatever that policy may be. There ought to be no disturbance of fiscal arrangements for a considerable length of time, so that’ the weaknesses or merits of the system in vogue may be fully understood and appreciated - so that we may provide some data on which to arrive at a decision as to the best policy for Australia. No man can say that any fiscal policy as applied to other countries would meet the conditions which prevail here. Every State of the union is in a different stage of development, and we all know the difficulty which has been experienced in framing a Tariff suited to the varying conditions. He would be a bold man who, under these circumstances, could say that the fiscal policy of America, or that of the United Kingdom, would be suitable for the requirements of Australia. I hope that after the Tariff has passed through both Houses something will be done to avert the possibility of a system of duties being decided in one Parliament and upset in the next. I now come to the consideration of the Tariff itself, and to the proposals of those who are opposed to the Government of the day. The various suggestions must be contrasted in order to arrive at an opinion as to what is most suitable. I may take the Senate so far into my confidence as to admit that I was elected on neither one policy nor the other. I was returned practically with a free hand to vote as I chose ; and I believe in neither the Tariff before us nor in the proposals which have emanated from the free-trade side. The proposals of the free-traders impose quite as great a burden of taxation as do those of the Government. Mr. Nash, the commercial editor of the Daily Telegraph in Sydney, has. given to the world a suggested free-trade Tariff ; and it is interesting to contrast that gentleman’s proposals with the duties as they appear in the Tariff before the Senate. I admit that the Tariff has been very much modified since it was introduced into the other House, but that modification has been brought about by both free-traders and protectionists. I may claim, however, that the labour party, to a greater extent than any other in the House ofRepresentatives, are responsible for the alterations which have been made. According to Mr. Nash’s Tariff, there ought to be a duty of 4d. per lb. on tea, whereas in the Tariff before us, that commodity is on the free list. Coffee appears in both Tariffs at 3d. per lb., but cocoa, according to the free-traders, should pay 4d. per lb., while the Tariff fixes the duty at1d. Jams, jellies, preserved foods, currants, and raisins carry the same duties in both Tariffs ; but. pickles, say the free-traders, should pay a duty of 1½d. per pint, whilst the protectionist would charge 2s. per dozen. Sauces are charged the same duty as pickles, and candles should, according to both free-traders and protectionists, be charged1d. per lb. Kerosene, according to Mr. Nash, should pay 3d. per gallon, but we know that in the Tariff before us that article is on the free list. The free-traders propose that starch should pay1d. per lb., whereas the protectionist claim that it ought to pay 2d. ; but blue, it is agreed by both sides, should pay1d. per lb. According tothe free-traders, preserved fish should pay 2d. per lb., but the protectionists are contentwith1d. The duty on grain, in the opinion of Mr. Nash, ought to be ls. per cental as against ls. 6d. according to the Tariff. Flour and meal are placed on the same basis in both proposals, but salt has a larger duty in the free-trade suggestions. According to Mr. Nash, salt ought to pay a duty of £1 per ton, whereas in the Tariff the impost is 12s. 6d. Theduty on boots, contend the free-traders, ought to be 15 per cent., but the protectionists propose 30 per cent., and the same proportion prevails in regard to hats. The free-traders favour a duty of 15 per cent, on clothing, whereas the protectionists propose a variegated duty of 5 per cent, to 25 per cent. On musical instruments, which are articles of luxury, the. free-traders suggest that only 15 per cent, should be charged, whereas the protectionists favour 20 per cent. On jewellery, which is another luxury, the free-traders propose 15 per cent., as against the 25 per cent, in the Tariff. On watches, the free-traders propose a duty of 15 per cent., whereas the proposal in the Tariff is 20 per cent. Fancy soaps and confectionery bear the same duty in both lists. The free-traders favour 1 5 per cent, on paints and varnishes, as against 20 per cent, proposed by the protectionists ; on drugs and chemicals, 15 per cent., as against 20 per cent.; and on china and earthenware, 15 per cent., as against 20 per cent. On timber the duties are the same in both cases, but the impost on cement is 5 per cent, lower in the protectionist proposals. Mining explosives, according to the free-traders, ought to bear a duty of 10 per cent., whereas these necessaries appear on the free list in the Tariff.
– These explosives were put on the free list largely by the help of so-called protectionist members.
– I can only give these proposals as being favoured by the free-trade opposition in the other House. There is no question about the ability of Mr. Nash, who is recognised as one of the greatest authorities in Australia; and we may take it that his suggested Tariff, or something very like it, would have been passed had the free-trade party been in power.
– Mi-. Nash’s Tariff is the only practical suggestion which has been made by the free-traders.
– I do not for a moment think that any Tariff passed by the ^Government would have gone holus bolus through both Houses ; but the items to -which I have called attention give us a very -fair idea of what the free-traders have to –suggest in lieu of a protectionist Tariff. We find that unwrought iron is charged the same duty in both Tariffs ; but tools, on which the free-traders would charge 10 per -cent., are admitted free under the protectionist Tariff.
– Why not compare Mr. “Nash’s “Tariff with the Tariff as originally -proposed by the Government?
– There is not such a great difference between them.
– -There is a big difference.
– The Tariff has been made worse by the alterations which have been effected from the free-trade stand point. There is no doubt that the protectionist proposals in regard to the duty on tea, and .also in regard to the duties on luxuries, are more reasonable than are those of the free-traders. Right down through the list we find similar instances.
– Let us have some more of the details.
-The list is rather lengthy, and I do not propose to go over the whole of these items. They will appear in Mansard, and any one who chooses may see them there. It was anticipated that a revenue of £9,012,000 would be derived from customs and excise under this proposed “free-trade” Tariff, according to the Australian definition of the m,ords “free-trade” and “protection.”
– What is the date of that estimate 1
– The 6th September, 1901.
– At that time no one knew what the imports were likely to be.
– In preparing this estimate they had the same data to go upon as the Government had.
– But not the data that we have to-day.
– No ; but there is not a very great difference between the two, and the data which wo have now before us cannot be considered to be so reliable as to justify us in making great alterations in the Tariff. I find that the total amount estimated to be derived from the protectionist Tariff now before us is £S,500,000, as against £9,012,000 under the proposed free-trade Tariff. This is freetrade and protection as preached to-day. This is the kind of thing that we are called upon to consider in Parliament ; but we are treated to a different thing altogether when the free-trader and the protectionist are on the stump seeking for votes. This shows why the almost eternal wrangle over fiscalism has gone on so long, and is still so far from being settled. Mr. Nash concludes his proposals by saying -
This above Tariff is undoubtedly oppressive -
Free-traders admit that it is oppressive - and £0,000,000 of duties must be oppressive. But they are the bond, and we must pay the price.
– We are going to pay £10,000,000 per annum under this Tariff.
– That remains to be seen. Those who are in a better position to estimate the amount likely to be collected under this Tariff do not anticipate any such revenue. However, even if a revenue of £10,000,000 will be collected under the present Tariff, a great deal more would have been collected under the Nash Tariff, and, so far as the two proposals are concerned, they seem to me to amount to the same thing. It appears to me that, whether we have free-trade or protection, we shall have a very heavy burden of taxation to bear. If the free-traders were in power they would not lessen the burden on the taxpayers of Australia to any greater extent than would the protectionists. But if there is any argument which has carried weight with the electors of Australia so far as the policy of free-trade is concerned, it is the contention that free-trade means a reduction of the burdens borne by the people as against protection.
– So it does.
– Yet here is an estimate made by Mr. Nash that the people of Australia would have to pay more under free-trade than they will be called upon to pay under a protectionist Tariff.
– Pay more to the Government. ,
– Surely the honorable senator does not mean to say that the revenue collected under a protectionist Tariff will not go to the Government in the same way as would the revenue collected under a free-trade Tariff? We know that in both cases the money must go into the public exchequer. We cannot getaway from that position. It does not matter how a Tariff operates, the money collected under it must go into the public exchequer. If the examples I have given constitute free-trade according to the Australian freetraders’ belief in that much-vaunted principle, I fail to understand how it can be said that it would lessen the burden upon the people of Australia as against the proposals in the protectionist Tariff now before us. I could understand the free-traders if they made any pretence of free-trade. But, instead of making any pretence to a belief in free-trade of the Manchester school, as adopted in the United Kingdom, or that preached by Henry George, the single-taxer, they adopt something which bears no resemblance to either. In order to make free-trade principles square with what they have to preach here, they have changed their name from “ free-traders “ to “revenue tariffists.” I see little benefit in the change of name. The present Government have quite as much light to call themselves revenue tariffists as have the free-traders, because both the protectionist and free-trade proposals are pledged to bring in a certain amount of revenue to the public exchequer. It is calculated that either proposal will bring £S,500,000 or £9,000,000 into the public purse. That being so, we have revenue tariffism on both sides, and I fail to see why the free-traders have any better right to the name of “ revenue tariffists “ than have the protectionists. They are both in the same boat as far as this matter is concerned. It is only in the incidence of taxation that there can be any possible difference between the two. I have sufficient patriotism to say that, if the cost to the taxpayers will be the same under either policy, I desire to see the fullest amount of benefit secured for those who have to pay in the raising of the £8,500,000 or £9,000,000 of revenue. Surely it is only natural to say that the industries of the country in which this amount of taxation is to be collected rather than the industries of some foreign land should benefit ? And that is the only difference that I can see between the respective proposals of. freetraders and protectionists. The protectionists, in raising this revenue, give whatever benefit they can to the Australian workers and to Australian industries. The free-traders, however, would collect a revenue of £8,500,000 or £9,000,000, irrespective of any consideration of whether Australian industries were benefited or not. As a matter of fact, they would prefer togive the advantage to foreign industries. That is what they have proposed. They would prefer to impose duties which would confer no benefit whatever upon Australian industries. The way in which they preach about the evils of protection would lead one to believe that there was. something atrocious in the proposal to assist native as against foreign industries ; that it was a crime to assist the workers of thiscountry, as against men who live in someforeign land. I should like to read theopinions of one who, to my mind, is a very wise writer on this question, for his work on the fiscal controversy in Australia is the finest that I have read. Senator Barrett gavethe Senate the benefit of some of thesewritings a few evenings ago, and I wish to supplement his quotations by some furtherextracts from the same work. I refer to the well-known pamphlet, A Policy for tha Commonwealth, issued from the Bulletin office ;. and even free-traders, although they may not agree with the conclusions arrived at by thewriter, must admit the ability displayed in the writing of these articles. This is what, he says -
If -Australia, under federation, goes on borrowing as largely as in the past (which is impossible, for its credit is giving out) and accumulatingdeficit as liberally as in the past (which is impossible, for deficits must end in insolvency some clay), and selling land as vigorously as ever (which cannot be done, because the best land is sold), it will require as much revenue under federation as it has now. And as it can’t do the three things mentioned above, it will presently require more revenue. Most of the provinces, if they are prepared to face an income tax, ranging us high as 2s. 6d. in the £1, and a land tax. varying up to about 3d. in the £1, can get to the New South Wales level, and raise their required revenue b)’ duties, on, say, 40 articles. If they are not prepared to go beyond say, !)d. in the ±’1 income tax, and 1-J-d. in the £1 laud tax, with the exemptions at the present average rate, then most of them must tax as many articles as they do now, and do it about as heavily as they do now. So the choice lies between adjusting the unavoidable Tariff on a revenue basis, or a protective basis. The difference is just this-: protection yields revenue and at the ‘same time it creates industries and supplies employment and wages ; also, it is alleged that it increases prices, and, to some extent, it may do so - for a time at least. A revenue Tariff also raises revenue ; it undoubtedly increases prices: and it is guaranteed by its own most infatuated admirers not to create a single industry, nor to supply employment or wages to anybody. And added to protection (which yields revenue, and furnishes employment, and, it is said, raises prices) and revenue tariffism (which yields revenue and dosen’t furnish employment, and raises prices) there is a third alternative in enormous direct taxation, which also yields revenue and doesn’t furnish employment, and raises prices. It doesn’t raise prices in name but it gets there just the same in reality. To leave the wages the same and raise the price of commodities, or to leave the price of commodities the same and take away part of the wages by an income hue, is exactly the same result in the end. No country ever became a great industrial state under free-trade unless it had cheaper labour than its neighbours, and cheap labour means degradation and slavery. Britain was the wealthiest nation in the world, the greatest manufacturing, mining, and commercial nation, and one of the greatest agricultural nations in the world, and the world’s greatest ship-owner, before it abandoned protection. It did not gain any of these advantages under its revenue tariff policy, though it has lost several of them under that policy. Nor can any nation, in these days of cheap freights, remain a great industrial State under free-trade unless it pays as low wages as the cheapest of its rivals, or unless its workers can hold their own by exceptional skill. Australia is young, and its industries are mostly in their infancy. Its workers are, on the whole, less skilled than many of their competitors. It doesn’t want to compete in a matter of wages, and be one of the cheapest labour countries on earth. And if it opened its ports and reduced, its wages to the. level of the cheapest of its competitors, it would carry an additional handicap, for, by reason of its vast accumulation of foreign debt, its low-wage workers would have to pay more in taxation than the low- wages workers of almost every other land beneath the sun. The politicians who prate of what can be done in Australia under free-trade are discoursing on mere theory -
I think that has been shown by the Nash Tariff-
No Australian State has tried free-trade yet. In this country there is not one industry of ‘the kind that are exposed to foreign competition which has grown up without being either protected by a Tariff or (what is the same thing) directly or indirectly subsidized by the State. The example of
Britain has nothing to do with Australia’s case. That country, as already mentioned, didn’t grow up under revenue tariffism. Britain before it abandoned protection was not only the greatest manufacturing, banking, commercial, mining, ship-owning, and annexing nation on earth, but it had. lent money to almost all the nations of the globe, and that money has been piling up at compound interest ever since. Britain receives a private income, or endowment, or pension of about £80,000,000 a. year (say £2 per inhabitant annually) from foreign investments. Australia has to pay away to foreign lands .-£3 per inhabitant annually on its public and private’ foreign borrowings ; the difference is £o per inhabitant per annum, or about 10s. a week for every family. A few centuries of protection and foreign conquest, the looting of another India, and the plunder of another Spanish Empire might make Australia as rich as Britain, and then it might try revenue-tariffism on the same basis. But this country cannot get into Britain’s condition, even assuming it is a wholly desirable condition, by adopting Britain’s Tariff policy unless it is possible to adopt Britain’s circumstances at the same time. The alleged freetrade party appeals to Australia iu general to throw off the “burden” of protection: but unless Australia is going to rile its schedule and stop payment it can only do this by putting on an equally heavy and less productive burden somewhere else. Protection may not do all that some of its most enthusiastic advocates claim in the way of creating industries and supplying employment every policy has some over-excitable adherents. But it does much in that way, while the other available means of raising the wind do absolutely nothing. Taking Tasmania as an example, the free-trade part)’ iu that heavily-taxed isle is crusading with great violence about the money “exacted” from the people by the protective system as compared with the alleged freedom enjoyed in England under its alleged free -trade. But Tasmania’s real burden is its debt ; and no juggling with the fiscal system will shift that one iota. Its real trouble is that it has to find £275,000 a year for interest over and above the amount earned by its railways and public works, and that this one item of taxation - the taxation it has to levy for the single purpose of. paying interest - is as much per inhabitant as all the taxes levied for all purposes in Canada, Russia, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, and half-a-dozen other countries. Every Australian State lias the same trouble in a greater or less degree. Debt incurred for unremunerative purposes is Australia’s one great difficulty. If the free-trade party, which dare not practice its own doctrines, can show that a change of Tariff will induce the British money-lender to accept 10s. in the £1, then there may be some shadow of reason in the promise to lift the burdens off the people by abandoning protection. But otherwise it is merely a case of Australia paying as much for the policy which does not supply employment as it does now for the policy which does, and abandoning the policy which is so good that its advocates venture to practice it for this one that is so bad, that its own most violent apostles have always lacked the courage to put it inco full execution.
I think that very nearly describes the position in New South Wales. We know that, as a matter of fact, even in ‘New South Wales, the apostles of free-trade have not dared to . practice free-trade. We know that by the sale of Crown lands, by the assistance of protective duties on certain lines, and by the borrowing of a large amount of money they have been able to get along. But no one who has any knowledge whatever of the condition of the other States in the union can think for a moment that such a policy is possible for the Commonwealth. There are other States in the union that have not an abundance, of good Crown lands to sell, nor are they in a position to borrow at as low a rate as New South Wales has done. Consequently the policy that New South Wales has followed is impossible for the Commonwealth, and I think we may therefore consider it completely out of court. Again I should like to understand from those who preach free-trade, how they are going to impose the duties which they propose, without protecting some industries. How are they going to raise a revenue of f S,500,000 or £9,000,000, without imposing duties which will have a protective effect in the case of some industries 1
– If we impose duties upon articles which must come in, and which we do not manufacture locally, we can secure revenue without protecting any local industry.
– How many articles of that kind are there 1 There are tea and kerosene, and a very few others. If we are going to get the revenue by the means suggested by Mr. Nash, who is somewhat of an authority on the subject, we must have a duty of 15 per cent, upon boots, and we shall thereby be giving a protection to the extent of 1 5 per cent, to the boot trade. Still we hear the voice of the free-traders resounding throughout the land against protection. If chey wish to be consistent and to carry out their principles of free-trade, when they agree to put a 15 per cent, import duty on boots, they should be prepared to put an excise duty of 15 per cent, also upon boots. I challenge any free-trader in the Senate to propose such a duty. He would not be listened to upon any platform in Australia. I am sure that there is no free-trader plucky enough to make a proposal to impose excise duties to the same extent as the import duties imposed upon any particular goods which give any degree of protection. If there is no difference, so far as the burden upon the taxpayers is concerned, the choice between the two policies must be clear to every one. If it comes to a question of paying £8,500,000 or £9,000,000 for free-trade, and paying the same sum for protection, I for one can have no doubt as to which policy I should choose. At the same time I do not wish it to be understood that I intend to blindly support everything contained in the present Tariff. Speaking generally, I am in favour of a protectionist as against a free-trade Tariff, because so far as the burden of taxation is concerned, it is really lighter in protectionist than in free-trade countries. The fact that protectionist countries can feed their people at much less cost than can free-trade countries, is, I think, a proof that the burden of taxation is less in protectionist than in free-trade countries. I should like to quote to the Senate some figures in Mulhall’s Dictionary qf Statistics, at page 715. This is what he says as regards the amount of food used per inhabitant annually in the United States of America, France, Great Britain, and Germany. I take these four as being the four most advanced countries in the world at the present time. He arrives at his calculation, in the first instance, by reducing all foods, including grain, wheat, potatoes, fish, and all other kinds of food to an equivalent in grain, and he works out his results in this way : He says that in the United States of America each inhabitant annually consumes 4,192 lbs., in France 2,750 lbs., in Great Britain 2,413 lbs., and in Germany, slightly less, 2,219 lbs. So that in the United States of America, the great protectionist country, the people consume very nearly double the amount of food consumed by people in the other countries of the world. France comes next, and Great Britain makes a very poor third. The cost of the food must, of course, be taken into account, because it would not be fair to quote the amount consumed unless we knew how much it cost. According to Mulhall again, from whom I take all the figures I am quoting, the cost of food per inhabitant per year in the United States amounts to £1 1 2s., in Germany to £8 Ss., in France to £9 8s., and in Great Britain, the highest of the four, to £9 12s. These figures are of a very startling nature, and if I had got them from a protectionist work I should have had some hesitation in quoting them in this chamber, because I should have considered them of a partisan nature, and perhaps not reliable. However, I find them in such a reliable authority as Mulhall. He is said to be a free-trader, but if he has leanings one way or the other, I do not think his fiscal views make him in any way biased. He is looked upon as the greatest authority amongst the statisticians of the world, and when he gives such figures as I have quoted, he ‘ puts a very strong case forward to show that people in protectionist countries not only consume more food, but get it much more cheaply than do people in freetrade England. I ask my free-trade friends, who make a great deal of political hay out of the cry of “cheap food for the people” to explain how this occurs. The “ cheap loaf “ cry in the old country was, I think, responsible to a greater degree for the people being carried away by the glamour of free-trade than any arguments that were used. But in the face of these figures the “ cheap loaf “ fallacy falls to the ground. If I am wrong in the conclusions I have come to in this matter, it is because Mulhall is wrong, and it must be admitted that he is an authority upon the question. Senator Staniforth Smith, for whom I have the greatest respect, quoted figures during his address to the Senate dealing with wages, but I was not at all satisfied with the way in which the honorable senator quoted those” figures. If an honorable senator intends to quote figures, it is better that he should quote them from one authority, and stick to that authority, or else quote only from his own experience. If figures are quoted from one authority with respect to one country, and we are then referred to some other authority, for figures affecting another country, it is easy to make mistakes and to come to wrong conclusions. Mulhall supplies figures upon all these subjects, and it would have been fairer for the honorable senator to give Mulhall’s figures than to go to one authority for one country and to another authority for another country. I find that in order for make out his case, Senator Smith quoted American authorities upon wages in England. I do not think any American authority can have a knowledge of the conditions prevailing in England superior to that of an Englishman, and if the honorable senator could have got an English authority upon the subject, in fairness even to himself, he should have quoted him.
– I quoted the opinion of . the labour leaders in England.
– The honorable senator did not quote them as to the wages prevailing in England. He told us about the slums in New York. But every one admits that there are slums in New York, just as there are in every country, and in every large city on the face of God’s earth. It proves nothing to say that there are slums in New York, and a conclusion on the subject could only be come to by showing that one country has more or less slums than another. Slums they must all have, because, like the poor, they are always with us. The wages which the honorable senator quoted were those paid in the anthracite regions of Pennsylvania, in the United States ; but the miners in those regions are not by any means the best paid miners in the United States. Again, the honorable senator did not quote the daily wages in the United States, but the weekly wages. Any one who is at all acquainted with coal-mining must know that the work is done by contract and piece-work, and the rate of wages is generally measured at per day. I should not have raised so much objection to Senator Smith quoting the weekly wage in the case of the American miner if he had also quoted the weekly wage in the case of the English miner. But the honorable senator did not do so. He quoted a weekly wage for the American miner, but we do not know whether that represented a week or only one or two days.
– I quoted from the secretary of the Northumberland Miners’ Association.
– The honorable senator1 quoted the daily wages of the Northumberland miners, and any one who know a anything of coal-mining in England knows that the Northumberland miners are the best paid miners in the United Kingdom. It is well known to every one, quite irrespective of his opinions on fiscal questions, that the Northumberland and Durham miners are not only the best paid, but the least worked miners in the United Kingdom. Senator Smith’s figures prove nothing, unless he is prepared to show that they represent the average weekly pay and the daily wage of the coal miners of the United States. I have been long enough in the coal mining trade to understand how it is that in certain weeks the pay is only one half what it may be in the following week. If we wish to indicate what are the wages paid to coal miners we must quote their daily wage, otherwise the figures are altogether unreliable. Take New South Wales, which is the greatest coal producer in the southern hemisphere, for the period from 1893 up to 1897. I think I am not very far out when I say that the coal miners of the Newcastle district did not average more than 25s. a week. Would it be fair for me to quote 25s. a week as their average rate of pay? It would be perfectly accurate, but it would not indicate what the daily wage was. The wage might be 10s. a day, and, still, that might also be the weekly pay. Senator Smith might have looked into the matter before he quoted the weekly wage of the Pennsylvanian miners and the daily wage of the Northumberland miners.
– It does not matter what the nominal wage is, so long as we know what is the weekly wage.
– Surely the honorable senator must see that his figures prove nothing, when I tell him that for years the coal miners of New South Wales did not average 40s. a week.
– It shows that they were getting a very small wage.
– It does not show the amount actually paid for a day’s labour. I can assure my honorable friend that the coal miners of New South Wales on the whole, are better paid than are the gold miners of Victoria, especially the coal miners in the Newcastle district in which I lived and worked the longest. I am quite sure that for a period of from three to six years after the maritime strike, their actual earnings were not more than half the weekly earnings of the Victorian miners. How is it that Senator Smith knew so much about the wages of the Northumberland miners, and so little about the wages prevailing in other mining districts of the United Kingdom ? I am going to mention a part of the world in which Senator Charleston was born and reared, and I challenge him to prove that I am wrong in saying that the miners of Cornwall work for half-a-crown a day.
They worked for that wage for many long years, and I suppose are getting it at the present time.
– The honorable senator supposes - he is not sure.
– According to the last information I had from Cornwall that was the wage. Would it be fair for me to quote the wages of the Cornish miners as a proof of the drawbacks or weaknesses of free-trade in England 1 It would be utterly unfair for me to make such a quotation. I do not suppose that the principles of free-trade had anything to do with the wages of the Cornish miners, nor do I think that free-trade or protection has anything to do with the wages of the American anthracite miners quoted by Senator Smith. His figures have no bearing on the fiscal question, and consequently they prove nothing. I attribute the low wages in America to want of organization. The low wages of the Cornish miners in England are due to want of organization, and not to the fiscal question.
-Not the value of their product ?
– I grant that the value of the product has something to do with it, too.
– Give us the figures up to date, not up to fifteen years ago.
– I can assure the honorable senator that what I said was perfectly correct, and so far as I know there has been no alteration since that time, and there is very little probability of any improvement in the position of the Cornish miners.
– The honorable senator said he supposed they are paid the same to-day ?
– My figures are not fifteen years old,’ because the miners are paid the same to-day. The honorable senator, with others, has referred to the diffusion of wealth. We know that a country may possess a great amount of wealth, and at the same time may not be prosperous. Every one admits, and Mulhall proves, that per head of the population, Great Britain is the wealthiest country in the world, but I know too much of the United Kingdom to think that it is more prosperous than is Australia. I have lived in both countries, and I know which is the more prosperous. At the same time, per head of the population, the United Kingdom is wealthier than any other country in Europe. It is also a wealthier country than is the United States per head of the population. But how is that wealth diffused? When we find that 1£ per cent, of the population hold 80 per cent, of the total wealth, I think it proves very little more than that the wealth has got into the hands of a very few people, and that a very large number of the population have very little. Eighty-nine and a half per cent, of the population have only 20 per cent, of the wealth.
– What is it in the United States ? The statistician says that one-seventh of 1 per cent, of the people own more than half of the total wealth of the United States.
– That is a larger percentage than that of the United Kingdom. Mulhall quotes this as the largest aggregate for any country in the world, and his is the latest work on the subject that I could obtain.
– lt was published in 1899, but the latest figures are for 1S95.
– As regards the distribution of wealth there is nothing in the United Kingdom to boast about. It must be admitted that the wealth of the old country lias not been distributed as well as has the wealth of other countries. The deposits in the savings banks will give us a very fair idea as to how much the workers have received of that great amount of wealth which we know exists in the old country.” The savings banks, which are the banks of the working classes, furnish figures for the period from 1S40 to 1896, which is the last year quoted by Mulhall. We find that the United Kingdom is not nearly so prosperous as are other countries. In 1840 savings bank deposits’ in the United Kingdom amounted to £23,000,000, in France £7,000,000, in Austria £3,000,000, and in Germany £4,000,000. No figures for the United States, I may say, are obtainable for a year so far back as 1840. In 1896 the savings bank deposits in Great Britain amounted to £154,000,000, in France £165,000,000, in Austria £17S,000,000, in Germany £212,000,000, and in the United States £44(5,000,000. Of all the countries I have quoted the United Kingdom had the smallest amount of deposits in the banks of the working people.
– And they had invested money in an immense number of companies.
– The fact remains that when England was a protectionist country the working classes, comparatively speaking, had a greater share of the wealth of the country than they have at the present time. I made that interjection during the speech of Senator Smith, and it seemed to be received with some incredulity, but I assure honorable senators that the figures I have quoted can be found in Mulhall’s Dictionary of Statistics, at pages S6 and 643. It is not only in the savings bank returns, as borne out in that work, that we find that result. An American writer named Lyman Abbott, whose Bights of Man was published only last year, proves that the figures for 1S96, as quoted by Mulhall, are practically the same to-day, so far as the United States are concerned. He says-
More than three-fourths of the people of Great Britain and Ireland are without any registered property whatever, nearly half the families in America own the real estate they occupy, and in the rural communities the proportion of real estate owners is still greater. Again, in Great Britain, less than 650,000 persons, that is about a little over 1^ per cent, of the population, are possessed of property valued at 5,000 dollars or more : in America, approximately oneeighth of the families of the nation - city, town, and country- own each more than 5,000 dollars.
The statistics of the savings banks confirm these figures. The total deposits in such institutions for .1890-91 aggregated over 2,500,000,000 dollars. The total number of depositors in the savings banks alone for the year 1890 was over 4,250,000, with an average deposit of 354”80 dollars for each depositor. As most of these depositors probably represent families, the proportion of wealth owners to the population is seen to be large. But the3e figures do not adequately represent the extent to which wealth is distributed in the United States. This is further indicated by the extent to which wealth is owned by great corporations. The corporation is a modern contrivance by which, for purposes of administration, the property of a great number of owners is put into the control of a small number of sagacious men. It is essentially a democratic invention. The stock is owned by many stock-holders ; the administration is conducted by a few directors. In estimating the extent to which property is distributed in the United States, the economic student must take account not only of the land-owners and the savings bank depositors, but also of the smaller stock -holders in the corporations of the country.
The observer in any fairly prosperous American town may see the evidences of this distribution of wealth for himself. As he goes by the miners or manufacturer’s cottage he sees a hammock under the trees, - this means leisure: he hears the music of an organ or a piano, - this means culture ; he meets the grocery waggon or the butcher’s cart driving through the town, - this means good food and plenty of it ; he finds the best building in the town a schoolhouse and perhaps the next best a public library, - this means education. To this comparatively equable distribution of wealth the unexampled prosperity of the United States is due. Whatever tends to increase the distribution of wealth will tend to increase that prosperity : whatever tends to diminish that increase and substitute therefor a concentration of wealth, tends to diminish that prosperity. For the true wealth of the community depends far more on the .equity of the wealth distribution than upon the aggregate amount of wealth possessed.
I think we can all subscribe to that. So far as I am aware, the author of the book from which I have just quoted, is not an Opponent, of free-trade. He is a singletaxer ; and if the rest of his politics are in accord with his ideas concerning the single tax, I should take him to be a free-trader. Time and again during this debate we have heard of the number of paupers in certain countries of the world ; but Mulhall proves that the greatest number of this undesirable class is to be found in Great Britain.
– Is that relative to population, or gross ?
– I am referring to the gross number. According to Mulhall, in 1888 the paupers of France numbered 290,000, those of Germany 320,000, whilst Austria contained 290,000, and Great Britain 1,015,000. When we consider that in the United Kingdom, with a population of only 40,000,000, there are over 1,000,000 paupers, we must admit that a deplorable state of affairs exists there. When, we contrast the position of Great Britain with that of the three countries I have enumerated, which have a combined population of 137,000,000, it will be seen that their paupers aggregate only 900,000 as against 1,015,000. In the light of these facts we Ought to be very careful before we condemn protection and favour free-trade. The minority report of the Labour Commission, which was read the other evening by Senator Glassey, bore out the contention that in 1S94 things were quite as bad as they were in 1888.
– They were actually worse.
– If anything, they were worse. In this connexion I wish to quote the opinions of men well known in the United Kingdom to show what is the position to-day. I find from Reynolds’ newspaper, which I receive regularly from the old country—
– Oh !
– If there is any paper in the old country which ought to be an authority upon labour questions, it is Reynolds’! It is a publication to which all the leading trades union officials contribute, as well as the most democratic writers in the old country. I am sure that it does not print such items as I am about to quote with any idea of favouring either a policy of free-trade or of protection. It has no fiscal bias to serve. In its issue of the 30th March, I find the following -
Two hundred dock labourers, who struck work at Aberdeen for an advance of pay from 4Ad. to od. per hour, have been unsuccessful in their demand, and have resumed work at the old rates.
We have heard a great deal about how the wharf labourers in London were defeated by the introduction of scab labour. Here, however, we find men working for 4Ad. an hour, which surely no one will contend is a fair wage to pay any human being. A Scotch item of news, taken from the same publication in its issue of 9th March, states -
The directors of the North British Railway Company, while intimating that it was impossible to grant the full demands of their employes, have decided to improve the conditions of the lower grades of ‘the service. The effect of the changes will be that firemen rated at 3s. 2d. per day will start at .3s. 4d., with 3s. Od. and 3s. 8d. to other classes of firemen. Surface-men and platelayers, presently receiving 17s. and 18s. per week, will be advanced to 18s. and 18s. 6d. per week, and ballast-men, getting 18s. , will receive an additional shilling weekly.
Let honorable senators contrast that with the Australian standard of wages. In Reynolds’ of 30th March I find the following
A compositors’ strike has commenced at Norwich, the men having ceased work after giving notices for an increase in pay from 26s. to 28s. per week of 54 hours. A novel feature of this dispute is that the employers some time since refused a similar demand on the ground that in the country districts lower wages are paid, and suggested that the Typographical Association should bring these country competitors into Une with Norwich rates of pay. The union claims that it has practically accomplished this. The newspaper offices, where a higher rate of pay obtains, are not affected.
In the same newspaper, of the 22nd March, I read that at a public meeting which was held at Bristol -
The Rev. Wall, of St. Basil’s, Birmingham, stated that in his parish, for sewing 24 gross of cards of hooks and eyes the worker was paid but 7d., and this took six people working all day to earn. Packets of hairpins made up in dozens in coloured paper, and packets sown to a card, foi- a gross of such cards a woman only received 4Ad. Some of the girls wanted tobe respectable, but found it almost impossible to get respectable work. Ladies’ aprons, nicely tucked, were paid for at the rate of 3d. per dozen, whilst children’s pinafores, beautifully made with lace insertion, were only paid for at f)d. per doz. The Rev. B. Despard, the association’s secretary, spoke strongly on life in the slums of Bristol, stating that the rate of infant mortality in some of them was even greater than in the concentration camps of South Africa, about which we read and heard so much. Parents, too, insured their children sis heavily as they could, and then gave them gin and other things to bring on convulsions and deceive the doctors. So great, too, was the need of food with some of the poor, that they actually went into the suburbs of Clifton and picked the snails off the garden walls to eat.
Another extract from the same issue states -
The cotton spinners in the Oldham district are coining into general agreement on the necessity of running the mills on short time. The movement, which commenced at Boy ton, has spread to the Lees district, and now Oldham is considering the proposal, which, moreover, is engaging the attention of the general committee of the Federation of Master Cotton Spinners’ Association. The president of ths Oldham Master Spinners’ Association, presiding at a master’s meeting expressed the opinion that there had been no such crisis as the one through which they were passing for 30 years, and urged a reduction in production by working short time in order to avert a calamity during August, and the prospect of cotton reaching 6d. per lb. in the autumn. Masters differed as to the extent of the depression in the spinning trade, but agreed on the necessity of working short time, and in the end adopted a resolution - “strongly recommending the trade to run not more than four days per week, or its equivalent, for at least one month.” Seven million spindles were represented at the meeting.
We heard some very strong assertions from Senator Smith - assertions which he will have some difficulty in proving. For example, his claim that so many of the great socialists of the world are free-traders, certainly came as news to me. I do not know what is his authority for claiming the German Socialists as free-traders.
– I have very good authority.
– The honorable senator gave no authority whatever for the statement.
– I simply made an assertion, which I am capable of proving.
– I know that one of the socialists referred to is the Minister of. Commerce in the French Government, who was defeated only a few days ago.
– He was elected upon the second ballot.
– At all events, he narrowly escaped being defeated. But, whether he be a free-trader or not, he is a member of a protectionist Government. Senator Smith also claimed that John Burns and Keir Hardie are free-traders. I have frequently read the speeches of John Burns, and I must confess that I have never come across a passage in them which would justify any one in claiming that he is either a free-trader or a protectionist. But I have heard Keir Hardie speak repeatedly. I have often had the pleasure of listening to him in the west of Scotland, and I cannot recall one instance which would warrant me in classing him as a free-trader.
– We do not hear people in Australia talking about representative government. Free-trade is established there, and it is not questioned.
– In the Queensland Worker of a few months ago John Burns, speaking of the present condition of affairs in England, is reported to have used the following words, so that if he be a freetrader, he cannot be a very enthusiastic one -
Trade is falling ; debt is rising disproportionately ; the unemployed are growing ; work is decreasing ; rates and taxes are higher, and likely to become higher ; and heed this, all ye workers - the rights of labour are being assailed, and, if you do not mind, will be undermined and overshadowed.
Frederic Harrison, a very well known writer in England, says of the present state of affairs -
In our industry, in. which in my youth our country had hardly a rival, we are now face to face - all sound authorities agree in warning us - with a competition which threatens ruin to our manufactures, and prolonged distress to hundreds of thousands of our people.
That is taken from a paper published within the last few months.
– Does it say that the writer is a protectionist 1
– If that is the result of free-trade in England, the honorable senator is welcome to that policy, but I hope that such a state of affairs will never come about in Australia. Robert Blatchford, the editor of the Clarion, and author of Merrie England, which is a well-known book on political economy, its author being, probably, one of the clearest writers on that science, says -
The ruin of British agriculture is a serious and present national danger. The remedy is within our own reach. I beg the workers and the socialists, whom it most nearly concerns, to study this food question,and to insist upon the attention of the Government being directed to it. At present the nation is concerned about British trade. It is British trade,andthe soulless doctrines of the Manchester school, which have brought us to our present lamentable pass, within a few weeks’ reach of starvation, riot, and disaster.
That does not sound very much like freetrade, does it?
– Blatchford is a freetrader, though.
– I am afraid the honorable senator has not read Blatchford’s Merrie England very attentively, or he would not say that the author is a freetrader.
– He never says a word against free-trade throughout his book.
– Blatchford denounces the Manchester school from front page to finish. I have here a quotation from Mr. Keir Hardie’s paper, the Labour Leader, and we will see what he says about the present condition of affairs so far as concerns labour in London. The Labour Leader says -
I ha ve in my possession three of the little paper bags in which the girls employed as packers in London receive their pay. These have the sum they are to receive, and the number of hours worked, marked on the outside by the cashier. Here is what they read - of course I repress ‘the names -
Name…………… 55 hours at…………… £0 7s.0d.
That is to say, 7s. for 55 hours work, or a fraction over1½d. per hour. Next, 50 hours for 7s. 3d. ; and the next, no number of hours given, wage 4s. 6d. The wages of the girls range from 4s.6d. to 9s. per week, and there are men working for as low as 1 3s. Here are two pay-lines of men - Name…………… 59 hours, 13s. 58½ hours, 20s.
This works out respectively at a fraction under 23/4d., and a fraction over 4d. per hour. Few of the unskilled men are paid more than £.1 for their week’s work. When Sir Thomas Lipton proposed to spend £100,000 in establishing cheap dining-rooms for the poor denizens of London, he seemed to have overlooked the fact that he had 7,000 employes for whom no diningrooms were provided, save some twenty of the. heads of departments at the palatial offices of the firm in City-road, London, E.C., who have a dining-room, and who are supplied free with breakfast, dinner, and tea, purveyed by a cook aud three servants. In all sorts of weather - snow or rain, shine or wind - out the girls have to go into the open, and eat their midday meal there as best they may. These poor creatures, especially the women, are treated as if they were niggers on a southern plantation. They are kept hard a t work every minute allowed by the Factory Act. From starting in the morning five hours must elapse ere they are allowed to taste food ; then at noon they are turned adrift for 30 minutes to dine in what fashion they can, after which they are expected to keep going at high pressure for another five hours, and all for 7s. per week ; and this in London, where a share of a room costs 3s. weekly. In this connexion it should be distinctly kept in mind that, although Lipton Limited are sinarled out, the state of things in their establishment is but a revelation of the state of things over a large part of London.
Another cutting from the same paper, headed “Women Workers” - and this, be it remembered, is from the paper published by Keir Hardie, who Senator Smith says is a free-trader - is as follows : -
At a public meeting in Manchester recently the Rev. H. Mills moved - “ That this meeting deplores the, long hours which so many women and girls are compelled to labour, the scanty remuneration they receive, and the insanitaryconditions of so many work-rooms ; and by all lovers of justice to endeavour to promote a happier state of things.”
In speaking to this resolution, Lady Dilke said -
To show how necessary it was that women’s wages should be raised, she would quote a few cases. A Birmingham girl wus making pens at 2s. a gross. A London woman made fancy aprons at 2s. Od. per dozen, and could only earn10d. a day by working sixteen hours. Matchmakers had2¼d. per gross, and they had to find tow and paste, and in damp weather fire to dry the boxes. At Cradley Heath, where she was last year, she found girls working 75 hours in the week, and receiving 2s. Od. Things were something better now, for she found that partly from the rise in trade prices, but in far greater measure owing to the active efforts of Mr. Juggins, and that society which he so ably represented - the nut and bolt makers - the women had been able to get the wages raised, and the girls who got 2s.6d. were now getting 4s.6d. This was something for girls to recollect.
These are opinions as to the state of affairs in England, and they are quoted from Keir Hardie, John Burns, and others, who are said to be free-traders. If they are free-traders their evidence must be accepted as unbiased.
– Those statements only prove that there is poverty in all countries, and especially in old countries.
– But’ it exists in free-trade England to a worse degree than in any place in the world. As regards immigration, Senator Millen said that working men went from other parts of Europe to defeat the efforts of working men in England at the time of the strike. I daresay there have been cases of that kind in English history as in the history of other countries. But England is not the only country that has received immigrants from abroad for such purposes. Mulhall explodes that idea and shows that there are more foreigners in Germany and France than in the United Kingdom. It is not the fact that bad conditions of labour in England Only exist amongst the foreign population in the East End of London. I have seen sweating quite as bad in Glasgow as in London, and it is quite as bad in some country Scottish towns as in Glasgow. I find from figures given in Mulhall that the immigration of foreigners into France in the year mentioned by him amounted to 1,140,000, into Germany 524,000, and into Great Britain only 27o’,000. The figures for the year given by Mulhall represent, I suppose, the proportion of foreigners immigrating to Great Britain, France, and Germany in most years. But, if the United Kingdom has fewer foreigners entering her ports, she has more people going out than any other country in Europe. Between 1851 and 1896 the number of immigrants leaving the United Kingdom was far greater than the number leaving any other country in Europe.
– During the last ten years there have been more leaving Germany than Great Britain.
– I do not take any one decade of years, but as many years as I have figures foc This is how Mulhall puts the position. He takes the years from 1851 to 1896, when the number of people who left the United Kingdom were 9,500,000. Contrast that with Germany, where the number was only 5,000,000, whilst in France the emigration was 1,500,000 in the same period. Surely, if figures prove anything these figures prove that people clear out of the United Kingdom faster than they do out of protectionist countries. The meaning of the figures cannot be misunderstood, and they apply to the free-trade period ranging from 1851 up to the latest year for which statistics are given by Mulhall. ‘
– The naturalincrease of the nation does not affect the question, I suppose 1
– The honorablesenator must admit that other countries have increased as well as Great Britain. The British people are not the only ones that increase the population. France and Germany are increasing very rapidly ; Germany, indeed, is increasing as fast as Great Britain.
– She has had a greater emigration during the last ten years.
– England had more colonial possessions, and more places for her people to go to.
– -And people clear out of a free-trade country whenever they can. The emigrants from Great Britain have gone either to the United States, to Australia, to Canada, or wherever they could secure protection for their labour. I have now, I think, quoted sufficient figures to show that if things are bad in the United States - which I do not deny, because there must be bad times in every country - they are a great deal worse in Great Britain from the point of view of labour. Both free-traders and protectionists can agree that things are not as they ought to be in England, and that they could easily be better than they are. I do not attribute the whole of England’s misfortune to free-trade, nor do I attribute all the progress of other countries to protection. It would be unfair to do so. The probabilities are that England, in adopting free-trade, adopted the policy most suitable to her state of affairs and her industries at the time. Her industries were then developed to such a point, that I believe they were benefited by the adoption of freetrade. But England made a great mistake when she failed to realize the point at which free-trade became injurious to her. England should have stopped her free-trade policy when she saw that the land was being converted into sheep walks, that she was losing her agriculture, which is the greatest of all industries ; that her exports became much less than her imports, and it was seen that she .could not afford to continue her. traditional policy, unless she chose to practically live upon her capital. If England : had been’ wise enough to drop free-trade at that time, when she had derived all the benefit possible from it, and establish a modified .system of protection, her industries . and her agriculture would have been established, and the country would have been a great deal better off to-day.
– The people of England do not think so.
– The people of England are beginning to realize that freetrade does not bestow all the benefits that were expected. The prophets of free- trade predicted quite a different state of affairs to that which we see to-day. According to Cobden, Bright, and other free-trade authorities, England had to continue to be the principle manufacturer for the world. At the time free-trade was adopted, England was practically the greatest manufacturing and agricultural country. The first Napoleon called England a nation of shopkeepers, but England to-day is not the nation she was at that time. The greatest shopkeepers, if the term can be applied to any modern nation, are the people of the United States. England has lost the pride of place she gained under protection, and I think I am fair in attributing that fact to her freetrade policy. But there are several indications that England is about to change her fiscal principles. The protection adopted by England may be in a very modified form for a while, because of the glamour- with which the free-trade policy is there surrounded. The cost of living will have a very important influence, and may to some extent retard the coming of protection ; but I am satisfied that if England, when she adopted free-trade, had instituted a good land tax and used the proceeds for the benefit of agriculture, she would have averted the destruction of her most valuable industries.
– In England they only carried out half the policy of free-trade.
– And the worst half.
– I am afraid that if only half the policy was adopted in England, we’ are not getting a quarter of it in Australia ; because, if we are to believe Mr. Nash, there is to be no semblance of free-trade. In the light of the experience of the old country and the needs of the various States, I cannot understand how any man can advocate free-trade for the Commonwealth. There is a proposal in the Tariff for a bonus for the encouragement of the iron industry. No matter what views we hold on the fiscal question we must admit that this is an industry which can never be established in Australia on a freetrade basis. That is proved by the experience of New South Wales. ‘ In that State an enthusiast time and again endeavoured to establish the industry on a free-trade basis, and at the end of his life he had to admit that all his efforts in that direction had been utterly futile. Mr. Joseph Mitchell, representative of the Illawarra district in the State Parliament of New South Wales, thoroughly understood the requirements of the iron trade. He knew that in that State there is an abundance of iron ore and limestone. He made at least two trips to England, with the object of forming a syndicate or company to establish that industry, but his efforts ended in failure. English capitalists held that it was impossible to successfully carry on the industry in Australia, and, with Australian rates of wages, compete with the other iron-producing countries of the world. That statement is absolutely correct. 1 come from an iron district in Scotland, where is produced perhaps the best iron in the world ; or, at any rate, that was so a few years ago. But the iron-workers in the west of Scotland are paid wages as low as 10s. per week. How, in the name of all that is reasonable, is ,it possible for Australians to compete against labour of that kind 1 Our supplies of iron ore and coal in Australia are abundant ; but no matter how lavish the supplies may be, we cannot expect, in the face of the cost of production, to successfully manufacture iron on a free -trade basis. The iron industry has been very prosperous in both the United Kingdom and the United States, where great fortunes have been made by individuals. This industry has created more millionaires in Scotland than any other industry. We see the same state of affairs in the United States, where Carnegie and Morgan and others have made their millions out of iron. What has been done elsewhere under protection is possible in Australia. I know that while millions have been made in the iron trade, poor rates of wages have sometimes been paid. Some fifteen or twenty years ago, a strike occurred at the Homebush works of Carnegie, owing to the low wages ; and I mention this to show that millionaires’ fortunes may be created ‘by means of low rates of pay. We ought, as far as possible, to avoid the mistakes of both fr.ee-trade and protection’; and we have a splendid opportunity now. We have a glorious chance of establishing the iron industry on a far better basis than that presented by either free-trade or protection. We have the opportunity to sta’rt the industry on the basis of State socialism. Seeing that the Australian taxpayers have to pay £250,000 to establish this trade, it is reasonable that any profits which may result should not go to the creation of millionaires, but for the benefit of the general community. That result is possible either by subsidizing State Governments, or by the Commonwealth Parliament establishing the industry on its own account. To hand this subsidy to private enterprise, and thus call into being Australian Carnegies is quite unwarrantable. Every country should endeavour to develop the iron industry as far as possible. Apart from agriculture there is no industry so important ; it is the mainspring of almost every manufacture. No country can possibly become great unless it has the iron industry established. This is the age of iron, and the people as a whole ought to reap the benefits of the industry. This is a ‘ very laborious trade especially in a hot climate like that of Australia ; therefore, I want to see good rates of wages paid, and that is best assured when men work for the Government. We may say what we like about the “ Government stroke,” but if there is any work which calls for that stroke, it is that involved in the production of iron. We have the opportunity to. make this an historic Parliament, by being wise enough to avoid the mistakes of other countries, and by adapting our laws to the requirements of the present age. More than £250,000 may be required to start the industry, but whatever the amount may be, it is the duty of the Government and of this Parliament to see that the public of the Commonwealth as a whole reap the benefit of the profits.
– When I returned from the West I did not intend to speak in this debate. I did not think that I could serve any useful purpose by doing so. But during the last few days I have felt myself gradually slipping, and now in the language of the lay brother of the “ Runaway Girl,” I find that I have “ slipped.” I suppose that it is due to the contagion of the controversy, and also to the fear of my constituents. However, I do not intend to occupy the attention “of the Senate very long. I have no very valuable information to give. I have no voluminous notes to which to appeal, and perhaps it is just as well that I have not, for I might lose half of them. Certainly I have no new points to make. The success attending the two now points that have been made during this debate is not encouraging. My honorable friend Senator Playford, has dealt with them, both on his own and on our side, with a most commendable impartiality of scorn. We have had one new point presented to us in a very excellent speech by Senator Smith. I do not know what it is, but I am told that it hails from Babylon and has been fathered by Herodotus. We have had another new point that hails directly from the brain of Senator Styles himself. It came like the fabled god of antiquity, fully armed and accoutred from the skull of Saturn. I should have said something upon that new point but that it has been treated so exhaustively and so critically already. I think, however, it is still open to this remark : that it finds fitting company amongst a great number’ of the arguments which have been introduced in this debate. Having found that as duties in Austrafia are raised an increase takes place in British importations, Senator Styles argued that high duties were the cause of the increase. It seems to me that that is the fallacy underlying a good number of arguments on this question which have been put forward on both sides.
– Especially on the freetrade side.
– We have contrasts made between Great Britain, Germany, Prance, and America. We have the statistics on exports, imports, trading of all kinds, shipping, and commercial wealth and prosperity trotted out. If the speaker is on the free-trade side, he takes such of these statistics as appear most favorable to Great Britain, and he says - “Behold the benefits of free-trade ; it has brought about this result. If he is on the protectionist side, he takes the statistics that bear against Great Britain, and he says - “These are an argument in favour of protection.” It seemed to me, as I listened to the debate, that all these arguments were subject to the general remark that every sequence is not cause and effect ; that it is not to be said that, because a miller wears a white hat, it is the white hat that makes the miller. In logic, the fallacy is known as post hoc, ergo propter Iwa. It cannot be said that, because certain results follow these ‘ things, therefore these things are the cause. I am thoroughly in accord with the interjection of that very excellent interjector, Senator McGregor, and I have no faith in what he has described as “ these mathematical manipulations.” Neither have I very much faith in another style of address which has been used, and which consists of placing together extracts copiously taken f rom all writers upon the subject, for the purpose of bearing out one side or the other of the issue by a succession of these quotations. Nothing, I think, is gained by this accumulation of dead matter. What is required really, if we are to form an intelligent judgment, is that each honorable senator for himself should, from his reading, from his observation, or from his experience, seek to adduce some living proposition on the issue before us. I have made these remarks because I have refrained from reading very much upon the subject, and because I am desirous of removing all impedimenta from the issue. I wish to confine myself to that of which I have a chance of knowing something, namely the Bill that has been laid upon the table. That really in- the issue before us. What ought we to do with it? Should we accept it bolus bolus or should we modify it 1 And if we modify it, in what direction should we go ? That leads me to the consideration of what our power as a Senate is. A good deal of, I will not say confusion, but of confusing clearness has been indulged in upon both sides with reference to the effect of section 53 of the Constitution. What is the difference between the two words “requesting” arid “amend.” In my humble judgment “ amend “ and “ requesting “ mean precisely the same thing, and both of them mean nothing. If we have power to amend, and we make an alteration in the Bill with the result that, when, it reaches the House of Representatives, that House says - “We accept your amendment,” well and good. But if that House says - “We will not accept the amendment,” it becomes a trial of strength between the two. On the other hand, if we have power to request an amendment and our request is granted, well and good ; but if our request is refused, are we not in exactly the same position as we should have been in if we had amended the-Bill ? If section 53, except as to that portion of it which provides that we shall not initiate Bills of this kind, were eliminated altogether from the
Act, would not our position be precisely the same as it is now, because if the assent of both Houses is necessary for the validating of any Bill, is it not implied in that very relationship that we should say to another place - “ You require our consent ; we will give it upon such terms as we please “ 1
– The honorable and learned senator will find that in practice there is a vast difference.
– I should like to know where the difference is 1 There may be a difference according to the language of the Constitution, but in effect, if we had not either the word “requesting” or “amend,” and if, instead of all this long-winded phraseology in section 53, there was simply a provision that the assent of both Houses was necessary to a law, would not the same thing occur as does now ?
– Perhaps the honorable and learned senator will explain as I go on. If we are called upon to give our assent to some Bill that has come to us from another place, does not that imply that we must exercise our judgment - that we must fully consider the matter 1 And if we are to consider the matter and to express outjudgment, we ought to give full consideration to it and come to an intelligent judgment. If that judgment differs from the judgment of another place we ought to say so. But how are we to sa)’ so except in this way : “ We do not like your Bill because of this, that, or the other.” It is for another place then to say whether they will accept these qualifications of ours or have the whole Bill thrown out. That is what I mean by the expression that the words. “ amend “ and “ requesting “ mean really in the long run precisely the same thing, and that neither of them means anything. What both of them do mean is implied hy the relationship of the two Houses, in that theassent of both is required to any Bill.. Therefore,” apart altogether from the construction, and apart from all questions as to how we may differ from a Legislative Council, I think that we are undoubtedly within our rights in telling the House of Representatives the terms upon which we will accept a Bill when they send it up to us. But I candidly admit that in coming to a conclusion as to how we should act in connexion with the Tariff, there are certain considerations that ought to operate upon our mind but which did not come before the
House of Representatives. In the first place we must remember, surely, that this Bill has been for seven months before another place ; that what is now laid upon the table of the Senate is the issue of very lengthy labour upon their part. We ought, secondly, to remember that the public are anxiously waiting for finality in this matter, and we ought, thirdly, to remember that while we have the power to express our views equally with another place, we have no initiative. Therefore that power constitutionally is this : That we ought not to add new matter, but to modify matter that they have thought fit to insert in the Bill. We ought not, under the Constitution, to demand the right to frame a new Tariff of our own, but under the Constitution we ought to see that the Tariff framed in another place is in accordance with our judgment. Subject to these restraints, and to these only, I think we have absolute authority to go over every item in this Tariff, and to make such changes as we think we ought to make. As regards the , merits of this discussion it is rather a big subject to go into, and therefore as I candidly told the Senate when’ I got up to speak having no notes, except a few memoranda, and no statistics, and no readings from authors ancient and modern, I can do no more than give, to the best of my ability, the views which will operate in my own mind in dealing with this Tariff in committee. It has been said that this measure is a compromise. Unquestionably it is a compromise, and as it reaches us it is a compromise of two kinds. It is now a compromise between parties, and a compromise between principles. As it reached the House of Representatives it was a compromise between principles only. The promoters of this Tariff - whether rightly or wrongly for the good of Australia is another matter - set before themselves the discharge of a threefold function when they drew it up. That is embodied in the expression which has been mentioned several times - “Revenue without destruction.” They set themselves the task, first, of producing by this Tariff a revenue of £8,000,000 odd ; secondly, of producing it in a manner which should as little as possible interfere with the returns which each State had heretofore obtained from its existing Customs Tariff, and, thirdly, to frame it with a view to the preservation of the existing industries of Australia. At a glance one must admit that these three functions are mutually antagonistic, and cannot even be stated without expressing irreconcilable propositions. Because, if’ we were to think only of getting the £8,000,000, or £8,500,000 Australia would require, then we should be guided solely by principles of taxation: We should, I assume, begin in the first place with necessaries, and should graduate the duties until we treated most severely the capricious requirements of the wealthy classes. It is however from the one point of view only that a number of the speeches have been made. We heard my friend Senator Neild, in a very excellent speech, contrast in the most ludicrous manner some of the items in the Tariff. He painted a very charming’ picture of the poor man of Australia shivering for want of hi3 flannelette, whilst the rich man was overburdened with the furs which were admitted at a much lower duty. But what we have to bear in mind to thoroughly appreciate the Tariff before us is the true position the introducer’s of it found themselves in. If they were only to consider the States, they would not get any revenue. If, on the other hand, they thought only of the protection of industries, they would collide with both the other propositions. So far, I have been speaking in favour of the Government.
– Do not stop.
– I cannot find anything more to say for them. If I agreed to the originating proposition that we should have revenue without destruction, I think, for my part, I should have.no fault to find with the Tariff. In fact, recognising the difficulty of the task, I should say that this was an occasion, which, if any occasion did, justified that pregnant expression of Edmund Burke - 1
He censures God, who quarrels with the imperfections of man.
The Government could not do more under the circumstances. However, I do find fault, and I do join issue with the framers of the Tariff in the original doctrine upon which they started to frame it. I do not believe in revenue without destruction. For my part, I think a Tariff should be framed that would look primarily to getting in the- £8,500,000 required, and, secondarily, to getting it in a manner that would as nearly as possible leave the States in the same financial position as they were in when they were colonies. But I should stop there. I should not complicate the issue by bringing into it the considerations of the preservation of the industries of Australia. I do not see my leader here, but we of the free-trade party - at least, I - have no desire to destroy anything. We do not come forward in an aggressive spirit. We are not actively hostile, and if, as the result of our efforts to get this revenue of £8,500,000, and to get it in a manner that will not embarrass the States, we should do good to certain industries in Victoria or elsewhere, we will say - “You are welcome to it, and we shall be delighted to share in any hospitality to which you are willing to ask us on account of it.” But if those interested in these industries are going to ask us to complicate and render more intricate our efforts to carry out the two first purposes mentioned, by having regard to their particular wants, I, for one, say “ no,” and I shall tell honorable senators why. In the first place, they are, in my opinion, too small to worry about. They are too microscopic. Senator Millen to-day, in a very able and logical speech, pointed out that though we have a certain number of persons depending upon these artificial industries, still, there is only a small percentage employed in those industries by reason of protection. We have industries in New South Wales employing a great number, and the honorable and learned senator pointed out that the number employed in the industries in Victoria exceeded them by only 15 per cent. He properly argued that that 15 per cent, represents the number of persons brought into active employment. by reason of protection. Their number is therefore too small for any special consideration. If we were to take a broad survey of Australian interests, if we could soar aloft and with the eye of the eagle gaze down upon the whole of this continent, we could not see them at all. If we were to take in the whole political survey we should have no appreciation of these small industries we are now asked to preserve.
– We might see the smoke.
– We might see the smoke and that is all, and where the smoke would be most existent, in places like Melbourne, there in their stronghold, our glance would be most obscured. I have no desire to strike a blow at the candle-makers and match-makers of Melbourne, but I do not see why they should play a part and become a factor in one’s mind in seeking to carry out this task which is already very difficult in itself, of raising a large amount of money for the good of Australia, and raising it in a manner that will interfere as little as possible with the financial systems already existing in the different States. But perhaps that argument alone ought not to justify one in eliminating them from consideration, because in spite of what I have pointed out, and what Senator Millen made so clear, it might very well be said that although small, they are the mustard seed which is destined to a great growth and expansion. But there are many other thoughts that force themselves upon one’s mind. I shall carefully guard myself from entering into a disquisition upon free-trade. I am now at a point when it would be quite relevant, but I shall try to keep off it. Free-trade is a splendid thing, a most charming idea.
– To read about.
– To read about. If we had free-trade in the fullest sense, there could be no possible doubt whatever that, each portion of the earth sharing in the primary productions and manufactures and the moral and intellectual qualities of every other part of it, we should all be better off. Nothing would tend more towards the advancement, enlightenment, and prosperity of the whole world than universal free-trade. I recognise that free-trade in England and Turkey, when all the rest of the world says - “ We shall have protection,” is not of that theoretically perfect description which wins such high commendation from all philosophers. Whether free-trade is a good or a bad policy in the midst of surrounding protectionist nations is a very big question. It is too big a question for me. I think a great deal might be said upon both sides of it.
– On which side is the honorable and learned senator ?
– I undertake to saythat if I got a reasonable fee I could spin as many telling propositions upon one side as upon the other. But we are not dealing with free-trade in the abstract now, nor even with free-trade for Great Britain or for the English-speaking people. We are dealing with a policy for Australia, and I should like to tie myself down to that immediate consideration. We are all here assembled, I hope, practical men, with a desire to formulate a Tariff which will do the most good for the country in which we live. The primary question one asks himself under the circumstances, is - What is Australia ? It is a huge territorial waste, with a fertile fringe and internal mineral resources. That is my definition of it, and how from this fertile fringe, and from these internal mineral resources, are we to obtain the most wealth ? That is the next question. It would seem to me that we shall obtain the most wealth by accumulating, to the greatest extent, her productions from the fertile area, and extracting her minerals. In what better way can we do that than by facilitating - that is by cheapening to the utmost degree - the means of doing it 1 We have sent forth our fiat, that the black man is not to occupy Australia. We will not have the Hindoo, and we will not have the Chinaman here. We will cultivate the soil of Australia by European labour, in fact by labour 9i) per cent, of which is British. We will work it by men who will have three or four solid meals a day, who will wear good clothes and boots, and work with uptodate machinery. How are we to get good boots and clothes and up-to-date machinery most cheaply ? That is a very important consideration. If I had heard no discussion of the subject at all I would have said - “ Open your ports and let the old country pour in these tilings.” But it now appears that the opposition - that is, the opposition tome - are of opinion that you do not interfere with the cheapness of these articles by protection. I think it was Senator Drake who said - “ You may think that by putting a duty on an imported article you may make it dearer to the consumer ; . but i that is not so at all, because the foreign manufacturer pays it.” If I understand his argument aright, he means that the foreign manufacturer sends the article to the shores of Australia, and there, discovering that he must pay 10 or 15 per cent, before he can get in, he says - “ Poor me! I have to drop 10 or 15 per cent, in my profit,” and does it.
– Hear, hear.. That may be often the case.
– The manufacturer may drop 10 or 15 per cent, in ‘ some imaginary cases, but if he is going to do all the dropping, what is the need of all this « contention over the Tariff? Why is it that every man, woman, and child whom one may meet speaks of the high prices which are charged by reason of the Tariff resolution laid on the table of the other House?
– My domestic circle is very small, but I can assure my honorable and learned friend that I have felt the pinch there. I shall not go into specific instances. You may spin your hypothetical and exceptional examples as long as you please, but I appeal to the common sense of honorable senators. If you impose a duty, do you not raise the price of the article? You may not, perhaps, raise the price up to the full extent of the duty, but of necessity you raise the price. If you do not, why were the galleries of the other House haunted - they have since got tired ; they do not come here so much - by manufacturers, who wished these duties to be put on ? Because it added so much to their profits ; because it enabled them to charge an additional amount to the public which otherwise they could not do. It does seem to me somewhat preposterous to affirm that the foreign manufacturer is to cut down his profit by reason of the duty being put on. Supposing that his profit is 5 per cent., and the duty we impose is 20 per cent., how is he going to do it ? He cannot even drop 5 per cent., as then he will have no profit at all. It is merely playing with the subject to contend for a moment that with a 10 per cent, duty the” consumer pays exactly the same price as he would pay with a 20 per cent, duty, or the same price’’ with a 20 per cent, duty as with an 80 per cent. duty. Of course, the vendor puts on the price. Senator Playford, in his exceedingly forcible and humorous speech, went a step further than did Senator Drake: because while the latter contended only that a duty will not raise the price of the imported article, the latter said that it will not raise the price of the local article, and in high indignation, without meaning the slightest insult or offence to Senator Symon, he called to witness the industry in which that honorable senator is employed in South Australia, adding that. Senator Symon has the benefit of a 200 per cent, duty on wine, and yet dares not to take advantage of it in the price he asbs for his own wines. Of course ; but then it is only Senator Playford, abstemious man that he is, who would say that the South Australian claret is the same as the French claret, or that the South Australian champagne is the same as the French champagne. You must compare like with like. The question is not whether our claret is medicinally or intoxicatingly as good as the French, but whether the people desire it as much. The producers of wine in Australia dare not charge the import duty that is imposed on wines coming in. Why ? Because if they did nobody would buy their wine ; because it is an entirely different article in their estimation. If you want to test whether the local article pays the import duty you have to hit upon a local article that is, in the people’s estimation, as good as the imported article, and then you will see. Take, for instance, the ease of sugar. I assume that Australian sugar is quite as good as imported sugar. Is Senator Playford going to argue that the duty imposed on sugar will not enable the local manufacturers to raise the price? If it does not, what is the meaning of the farce in connexion with the Pacific Island Labourers Act ? What is the whole policy of that Act? ‘Do we not say - “Sugar planters, we are compelling you to employ dearer labour. You are entitled to compensation, and we propose to compensate you.” How ? ls it by’ giving cash direct? No. It is by imposing a duty, the effect of which will be to make the consumer give the compensating cash.
– And it has made them pay.
– Of course it has. Senator Drake has said that while, perhaps, at the beginning these duties will not have the effect of cheapening prices to the consumer, in the long run they will.
– In many cases.
– That seems a very long run. In what country in which protection has been introduced has the consumer found himself iri a stronger position on the reduction of the duties after 30, 40, or 50 years, or in the case of America, 100 years, than he was in at the beginning?
– In Queensland, after one year.
– In the United States of America.
– The United States of America ! I pretend to no deep knowledge of statistics. I have not read one page of freetrade literature since this debate commenced, for I have had enough of it here, and I have not looked up any statistics. In fact, I may say I arn no scholar on the subject, as Senator Glassey is. I am a plain, blunt man, who wants things cheap. But I stake my little reputation on this statement, that after all the years of protection in the United States the craving for the continuance of these duties is not only as strong, but stronger, to-day than it was in the beginning.
– As a matter of national policy.
– “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” I care not if what was originally called “ protection “ ultimately grows into what is termed “national policy.” The question with which I am concerned - whether you label it “ national policy “ or “ protection “ - is that the consumer has still to pay the duty.
– If the policy is successful why abandon it ?
– Many seductive theories were in the mind of Senator Drake when he interjected, and made me enter into this disquisition. Take, for instance, this beautiful little image - The child growing up must be protected, must have a nurse, must be kept out of harm’s way because it cannot compete with the full-grown man, but wait until it is of full strength, and then it will throw aside these contemptible supports to its weakness, and will stand on its own. That is one of the pettheories.
– I said if the policy is successful in the United States, why abandon it.
– Because it is made successful, according to our contention, not by reason of the aid it gives to the industries, but by reason of the wealth of the public that it showers into the pockets of the manufacturers. What are you being asked to abandon according to our contention ? We are asking you to abandon the policy that subsidises out of the people’s pockets, industries which cannot stand alone. The reason why once introduced you are compelled to continue a protective system is this : The additional profit conferred by protection upon those engaged in any industry induces many more people to rush into that industry than in its normal, unprotected state it would support. When at any stage in the history of a country a Government says - “ Let us have revenue . without destruction,” the same cry for preservation will arise that prevails at the present moment, because an industry which, without the profits conferred by protection will support ten establishments, will with the profits which it affords support twenty establishments. When all these establishments are doing well and the Government comes forward and says - “ Originally we gave you the benefit of this duty to encourage the industry in which you are engaged. Now that it has passed the age of adolescence let us remove the duty,” the twenty gaping mouths cry aloud - “ What is going to happen to us 1 Why that duty represents the whole of the profits of our establishments. Take it away and those establishments will fall.” Thus a Government, animated by the principles with which the present Ministry is imbued is unable, without throwing hundreds out of employment, and thus raising aery in certain quarters regarding the harm it has done, to carry out a policy of taking off duties.
– That is the result of the rush to industries, of which the honorable and learned senator told us, by reason of protection.
– That is only another way of saying that the appetite for these duties grows by what it feeds on.
– -I thought it was protection which caused the creation of industries ?
– I always like replying to Senator Best because his interjections are so much to the point. But, when I made the statement referred to, I was replying to an interjection by Senator Drake, who declared that, if we do not cheapen commodities at the moment by reason of a protective system, we shall do so ultimately. Thereupon, I said that ultimately we 3hall not cheapen them, because the advocates of duties which enhance the price will be able to make out a stronger case for their existence in 50, 60, or 100 years’ time than they can at the present moment, for the reason that the profits derived from the operation of the duties will induce more people to go into the industries than in their unprotected state’ they could support; and therefore the duties cannot be removed at any time without crushing a great number of these establishments. But will Senator Best say of what earthly good to the country it is that such establishments should exist, if they cannot flourish under natural conditions ? What is an industry that lives upon protection ?
– The legal profession ! ‘
– No. The legal profession exists in its present monopolistic character, not for the protection of its members, but for the protection of the public. Does not Senator Best see that if a state of things prevails which, without protection, will maintain ten establishments, but which under protection will maintain twenty, the additional ten are not legitimately living? They are merely cutting up between them the profits which the pubhe are compelled to pay in enhanced prices for their goods. They are doing nothing but sharing in profits which arise solely from the operation of the duties which obtain. I really have to apologize for having digressed so far as to wander into a discussion on free-trade, because I heartily agree with Senator Drake when he says that he never knew of anybody being converted by argument from one doctrine to the other. The two policies are .like two great patriotic creeds. A man finds himself, by accident, or association, or. birth, embracing one or the other, and he then seeks to draw from the repertoire that his culture, learning, or skill supply, not to convince himself, but to defend his position. That has been my experience of the disciples both of protection and free-trade. But, leaving the broad issue alone, can any one say that for Australia a system of encouraging these artificial industries is desirable? We have 3,000,000 or 4,000,000 of people. We are 13,000 miles from the old country. For whom are we going to manufacture ? Is it for our own market of 3,000,000 or 4,000,000? We do not pretend to cater for the 800,000,000 aliens who surround us, and who can make goods of the kind they require better and cheaper than we can. Do we hope then to become an exporting nation of manufacturers to Europe itself? Are we going to reverse the very laws of nature, and make the extremities of the stream change places with the source ?
– The honorable and learned senator might have said that of America 70 years ago.
– America happens to be only about one-fourth of the distance from Europe that Australia is. If we could move the Australian continent as close up to Europe as America, very different reasoning would prevail.
– Freights are cheaper now than they were then.
– Of course they are, but America had to compete with outside nations to whom freights were likewise equally dear. We are speaking of things as they are in the present age, and in the present stress of competition. Here we are at the antipodes - at the other end of the world - a few millions of people standing alone upon a barren mass of territory, surrounded by millions of aliens, Vi ho have nothing in common with us, who require none of our goods, and who do not in the slightest degree supply a market for anything which we can provide. Have we the audacity to think that, having first paid the freight upon a good number of essentials to our manufactures, which must be imported, we can still manufacture goods and send them to the only place’ where our wares will be bought - namely, Europe - and compete upon their own ground with the old-established factories which exist throughout Britain and the rest of Europe «
– How about Australia’s £30,000,000 worth of imports?
– My honorable friend has not caught my argument. I should like senators to apply their common sense to this matter, because this is an entirely common-sense oration. I ask them what do they hope for in seeking to make Australia a manufacturing country, a’ selfcontained country.
– When the honorable senator says “self-supporting,” does he mean that Australia is to manufacture out of her own raw products what is required for our 3,000,000 or 4,000,000 of people ?
– We hope to have 10,000,000 shortly.
– Perhaps so, and if my honorable friend will listen to me I will tell him what is the true policy to adopt. He may hope that within a few years Australia will have 10,000,000 inhabitants, and in a few more years 20,000,000. Personally, I do not believe that she will, but my point is that, if we want to become a manufacturing country, we should wait until the conditions naturally arise to make us one. We should not endeavour to force matters. The industrial germ, like all other germs, requires certain conditions for its healthy growth, and as those conditions gradually arise, so will industries naturally, and without any effort on our part, flourish. Let us wait until we have a sufficient accumulation of capital, sufficient population, sufficient skill in all the methods of the artisan, till lower wages obtain, and till we have at outdoors a sufficiently large market for our wares to justify the use of the most uptodate machinery. Then our manufactures will develop of their own accord. Personally I know nothing about manufactures.
– That is about the most honest confession that we have heard from the free-trade side.
– I appeal to Senator Sargood to say whether, if we in Australia were to employ some of the high-class machinery to be found in Birmingham, Manchester, and other places, for the purpose of supplying our own manufacturing wants, we should not turn out more than the required quantity of goods in three months of the year? How are wo to keep our manufactures going if we are to cater only for the Australian market, except by using obsolete and slow-going machinery, and praying to the Almighty that it will not turn out the goods too quickly? The all important thing for Australians to consider is : Where is the market for our manufactures? It is not to be found in the surrounding communities. It is not to be found in Britain, because it is preposterous to suppose that we could beat English manufacturers upon their own ground. What is our market ? The few millions of people upon this continent !. How can we become a manufacturing nation for them ? Only by making the people pay higher prices, because our machinery need not be kept going the whole year round, because we employ only imperfectly skilled persons in the manufacture of our goods, and because we have to pay wages which may be very proper in a new country, but which in some of the old manufacturing institutions of Europe would be altogether preposterous. All these disadvantages and one hundred and one others have to be borne by the unfortunate public, who are each asked to put their hands into their pockets, take out a coin, and drop it into a pool which is to supply the deficiency in the profits which would be yielded by our manufacturing industries under healthy conditions. That is the way you are to do it. I have every hope for Australia, but I say - Let us not put the cart before the horse ; let us wait until our horse is strong enough to draw the cart behind it ; wait until the primary industries - the gold, the silver, the lead, and other minerals that we turn out, i and our wheat, our wool, and other things j which we grow from the soil and which we export - have attracted a sufficient population : and then, believe me, when we are blessed in this country with a sufficient number of people to have manufactures without the aid of any duty whatsoever those manufactures will spring up. But the protectionists are seeking to secure that end by means that will give to any manufacturing interest that may arise nothing but a sand)’ foundation.
– Can the honorable and learned senator mention any country I where manufactures have sprung uplike that? j
– Yes, there . “is New South Wales. .
– I always listen to j Senator McGregor with the greatest atten! tion when he interjects, because ho is always very much to the point, and always ! amusing. The point I put is true. And ‘ here is a new point, which is not only new, but spontaneous, since it never occurred to myself before. All the new countries that are referred to by protectionists in this connexion were either in Europe or comparatively close to it. They had therefore the proximity of the only markets that since the dissolution of the Roman Empire have existed for civilized products. Not one of these countries so referred to stood alone, and 1 3,000 miles removed from these markets. The analogies are consequently misleading. Very different considerations apply to the development of new countries under these different conditions.
– Why should we not make sure of our own market ?
– Let me bring the point to a reductio ad absurdum. If Australia is to formulate a policy which is to render it self-contained to-day, when it has a population of three and a half millions, why not have formulated such a policy when she had a population of 40,000 or 50,000 ? Where is the line to be drawn ? When there were 20 or 30 people here they should have said amongst themselves - l! Let nineteen of us cultivate the soil, and the rest of us will set up a hand-spinning loom and a workshop, so that we can do without the products of Birmingham and Manchester.”
– Will the honorable and learned senator say how many people we are to have before we start manufacturing?
– Well ! No one would say it was right when there were only 20 or 30 people, or yet when there were 200,000 people ; and why are we to say it is right with 3,500,000? I am asked when the limit is reached. It is reached when a country has that number of persons who in themselves can create such a .demand that it will pay some person to come forward and manufacture without any protection.
– We think that time has already arrived.
– Why then do you need to demand protection ? If it is already reached - and it is in some things - why fear competition ? Those industries will 0 themselves live that can bear the free and healthy atmosphere of competition with the old world and America.
– Good old free-trade !
– It is good old common sense.
– They are synonymous terms.
– They are But I say let those industries die that are so exhausted of vitality that they cannot stand on their own legs, and can only be kept going by a protection that responds to their prayer - “ For heaven’s sake see that no one pushes up against us !” It is admitted that a manufacturing policy for Australia would be the height of madness when there were only 20 or 30 persons ; but as we are now the 3,500,000 the question is rightly asked, What is the limit? I have already given the answer. The limit has been reached which, justifies you in commencing manufacturing when there are sufficient people to ‘ create a demand that will keep the manufacture alive, and not till then. I took down one or two observations made in the course of the debate, to which I should like to make a reply. Senator Drake said that protection does not reduce the revenue, and he gave us a mathematicial exposition of his case, which to an accurate mind was at the time somewhat catching. He stated - “ It is quite wrong to maintain that if you raise the duty on an article you necessarily lessen the revenue from it.” He is right in that. He gave us an illustration. Suppose, he said, you double the duty and thereby halve the imports. One half of the former quantity of goods coming in at double the duty would render exactly the same amount of revenue. In that Senator Drake was perfectly right; but, like all these precise mathematical propositions, it is no broader than the base of the premises he puts. The whole of his case depends upon this - that the imports will proportionately lessen with the duty that is put on. But is there any justification for saying that if you double the duty you will halve the imports ? Let me put this case to him : If you double the duty and thereby knockdown your imports to one-third, where are you ? Then you do not get the same revenue ; yon only get two- thirds of it.
– But you have a lot of people employed.
– If you knock off the imports by two-thirds you will only have one-third of the quantity of goods coming in under the double rate. Senator Drake sees that the whole strength of his case depends on a supposition that is never realized ; because, while you can build up a hypothesis which will show that a high duty will bring in the same revenue, yet actually, in the ordinary course of things, it will be found that the proportion between the increase of the duty and the decrease of the imports is by no means the same - in fact, that there is u most disproportionate decrease in the imports over the increase in the duty.
– Every case must stand by itself. - Senator HARNEY. - But we find, as a matter of fact, that, as Senator Millen has pointed out very clearly and ably in the cases of New South Wales and Victoria, a lower duty in the former State brought in very much more per man proportionately than the higher duty in Victoria. That is about all I have to say. I have not wearied the Senate with extracts or statistics. I have endeavoured to put before honorable senators the views that I have formed after listening - I” think with fair impartiality - to the speeches which have been delivered. I do not - and this is perfectly my own opinion - believe that a self-contained policy is the way to build up Australia. I am afraid that- the results of that self-contained policy in the past have been to bring upon us many of the evils under which this country is now suffering. Let me give an illustration. I am informed that it was this .manufacturing craze in Victoria that induced many of those who should have been cultivating the land or working up the mines, or doing something to extract from the s*oil the wealth that is in it, and which other people want from us, to rush into Melbourne, whose population they swelled to an enormous extent, forming armies of unemployed marching through the streets, trying to force upon the Government a public works policy, in order to keep them going. The Government, in order to carry out that public works policy, had to borrow very largely, and their borrowing inundated the banks with deposits to such an extent that there was a plethora of cash, which the banks tried to circulate in any wild adventure that was going. That was the cause of the land speculation. That was how the bubble arose ; we know how it burst. And
I I believe I am right in saying that, the bubble having burst, those deluded persons who rushed away from the land into the smoke and’ bustle of the city to work these artificial factories - these follies - when they found the effort futile, turned back into the arms of their first love : and it was her exuberance which has regenerated Victoria, and enabled her to get over her terrible crisis. I place no reliance whatsoever on the learned and intricate arguments we have heard based upon the old-world controversy of free-trade and protection. Much can bc said on both sides. Of course, speeches like those of Senator Millen, who has the faculty of deducing from the surrounding data analogies that exactly apply, are very effective. But there could be nothing more inconsequential in reasoning, than to make a policy foi1 Australia on what has been proved good for other countries. I narrow the position down to the simple question - -What are we here to do? Let us look at our position, and remember how we are situated. Let us never lose sight of the broad expanse of 13,000 miles of ocean which separates us from the only market that will buy our wares. Recollect that people in other protected countries want none of our manufactures. We cannot compete there. At our threeandahalfmillion stage are we right to rob the consumers here to bolster up factories which cannot stand alone? , That is the real question. In framing this Tariff, we should pay no regard to considerations as to the preservation of these industries. Let us keep in view the task which really lies before us. That task is the raising of £8,000,000 in such a manner as will do the least harm to the financial conditions of the States. Let us obliterate from our minds all other disturbing considerations ; and if, in carrying out our duty, we find that certain industries prosper, we can say - “Well and good, you are welcome; we are not your enemies.” We did not come here to actively destroy, but we came here to get revenue. But we shall not allow our getting revenue to be thwarted in the slightest degree by any attempt to preserve those unreal industries which admittedly have to depend for existence on the share they get of the duties that we, for their sake, are asked to wring from the people of Australia.
Senator McGREGOR (South Australia). - It is the duty of every senator, on a subject of such importance as the Tariff of the Commonwealth, to express an opinion of some kind, whether that opinion be intelligent or otherwise. So far as this question is concerned, the corner to which I belong - the corner that is so often referred to as supporting the Governments - takes no responsibility with respect to the Tariff. That can easily be shown from the fact that some of the members of the labour party in both Houses believe in one policy, and some in another. But there are certain reasons why the labour party, as a party, should have a certain amount of sympathy with the present Government. To a greater extent than has yet been given evidence of by the Opposition, the Government have endeavoured to carry measures of such a progressive character that the labour party have always been found supporting them. I should like to point out to those who may be likely to desert the Government policy on an occasion such as this, that when the labour party have opposed the Government - and we have only opposed the Government when the measure or matter under discussion has not been of a progressive character - we have always found the Opposition on the other side. We can have practically no sympathy with those who have always opposed us in connexion with progressive measures. For these reasons I intend, as far as possible, to support the Government under the present circumstances, of course, like other senators, with modifications. We all like to have a loop-hole whereby we may escape when we get into a tight corner ; that has been the fashion up to the present with both federal candidates and federal members.
– I thought it was only conservatives who did that sort of thing.
– Very probably. I am referring to conservatives ; we shall see by and by. The constitutional position which the Senate appears to occupy in reference to another place on this Tariff Bill, has already been referred to by such eminent authorities as Senators Symon, Gould.. Millen, and even our learned young friend, Senator Harney. Senator Symon endeavoured to make the Senate believe that we are in exactly the same position as the House of Representatives with regard to this Tariff Bill.
– So we are, except as to initiation. Senator McGREGOR.- We shall see about that. I know it is presumptuous on my part to differ from the honorable and learned senator, bearing in view his constitutional knowledge. But the honorable and learned senator has given expression to opinions on constitutional points before, and has been wrong ; and probably he may be wrong this time. There are, I know, a number of legal senators who differ from me ; but for my own satisfaction, for the edification of those legal luminaries, and also for the benefit of other senators, I want to review the position for a minute or two, even granting that it may be presumptuous on my part to do so. I desire to stand up for the rights of the Senate as much as does any senator, and I intend to do so; but the best way to maintain our rights is not to assume others which we do not possess. If we stick to that policy, we shall never be likely to get into difficulties with another place. Senator Harney referred in a very cursory manner to section 53 of the Constitution, which is the only section that to any great extent make any difference between the Senate and the House of Representatives. Senator Symon told us that this section interferes with our rights as co-equal with another place only to the extent of initiation. The first portion of section 53 enacts that a Bill imposing taxation or appropriating money cannot be introduced in the Senate. Is that the limit of our powers 1 The section goes on to say what is not to be considered as appropriation or taxation, and speaks in this connexion of fees, fines, and so forth. The section then provides that the Senate may not amend a Bill or law dealing with taxation or appropriation of revenue for the general services of the Commonwealth. That would be quite sufficient if the intention of the Federal Convention was to make less distinction between the powers of the Senate and those of the House of Representatives than was made. But immediately following the words to which I have just referred, the section says that the Senate may not amend any law so as to increase any burden on the people of the Commonwealth, or impose new taxation.
– The section does not say “impose no taxation.”
– The words of the section are -
The Senate may not amend any proposed law so as to increase any proposed charge or burden on the people.
– I thank the honorable senator for that correction. The Senate cannot initiate new items of taxation, but may only alter what is exactly before us ; and, to my mind, the Senate can only alter by decreasing taxation. If the power of requesting another place to amend extended to increasing any item, or to imposing a new item, it would not be necessary to have that paragraph in the section. The provision that the Senate should not amend any law imposing taxation or appropriating revenue would be quite sufficient ; but the section goes on to say that though the Senate may not amend, we may send a message to another place, requesting it to amend or omit. The section does not say one word as to inserting anything that is not there already ; and if that section of the Constitution gave us equal powers with the House of Representatives in that respect, it would say not only that we had power to request and to amend or omit, but also that we had power to request the House of Representatives to insert. Nothing of the kind, however, is provided in the section. The very last paragraph in the section shows that we have no right to claim equal powers with the House of Representatives.
– A suggested amendment very often necessitates insertion.
– I am referring to the last words of the section, in order to show that the Convention never intended that the Senate should have equal powers with the House of Representatives. The provision is that “ except as provided in this section,” the Senate shall have equal powers in connexion with the making and amendment of any law. The exception which is laid down in the section clearly shows that we cannot impose any new taxation or increase any item of taxation.
– The section merely alters the method of amendment.
– That is all.
– I know that the method of the amendment is taken from the Constitution of South Australia, where the Legislative Council has the power of suggestion. Senator Symon was very nice when, in addressing the Senate, he said that this section was merely putting the fact in a more reasonable or genteel manner.
– “ More politely,” I said.
– But if Senator Symon were defending a client accused of murder the Judge or jury would not take much notice if the learned counsel politely described the offence as manslaughter. They would act according to the evidence, and to say that there was any intention of dealing with this matter in a more polite way is altogether out of the question. But in the paragraph to which I have referred, we are told that the Senate may not amend any proposed law so as to increase any proposed taxation. Some honorable senators are endeavouring to convince us, however, that we are given a greater power in the right to request another place to amend than we should have if we had the power to amend ourselves. Senator Harney was very funny when dealing with this part of the Constitution. He said that the power to request meant the power to amend, and that both the words “ request “ and “ amend “ meant nothing. It was evident to my mind that Senator Harney did not realize what was the real difference between the power to request or to suggest an amendment and the power of amendment. For his benefit I should like to state it. When a House has power to amend, it makes amendments in a Bill ; it either decreases, imposes, or omits in connexion with that power, and it sends on the measure to another place. The other place can either accept the amendment or reject it, or amend the amendment and send the Bill back. The House can then consider the amendment of another place ; it can not only consider it, but it may amend it. Practically, it can either accept or reject the amendment. Then the machinery which would be necessary for a conference between the two Houses would come into operation. But in connexion with the power of suggestion, what is the position in which the Senate finds itself? “We request another place to- amend a certain law respecting appropriation or taxation. The measure goes to another place. They either agree to or reject our request, and. the Bill comes back to us. If they reject it, the only power which is in our hands is to reject the whole Bill. I should like to ask Senator Harney, or any other honorable senator, whether the Senate is likely to reject the Tariff Bill over a difference of opinion between the two Houses in regard to a duty of -id. or £d. a lb. on tapioca, or a duty of 10 per cent, on mouse-traps, or even a 5 per cent, duty on the poor washerwoman’s mangle 1 Is the Senate going to do anything of the kind? Certainly not, in my opinion. There will have to be much more radical differences than those before the Senate will take the responsibility of rejecting the Bill.
– It is not necessary to reject the Bill. Section 57 provides for deadlocks.
– It is unnecessary for the honorable and learned senator to instruct me on that point ; I. am coming to it. Of course, Senator Symon knows all about this matter, but Senator Harney does not, or at all events he does not appear to know anything about it. It is for his benefit that I am dealing with it.
– The honorable and learned senator is out of the chamber.
– That does not matter, for the honorable and learned senator says that he reads every tiling in Ilansard. “When we reject an Appropriation Bill or a Tariff Bill because we are dissatisfied with the action of another place in refusing our suggested amendments, what happens? After the lapse of three months, in the same or a succeeding session of Parliament the House of Representatives again pass the Bill. Then the measure comes to us again. We discuss it once more and send it back to another place. If they refuse to accept our request for amendments, the Bill comes back to us again, and we throw it out a second time - we do not accept it. Then the Governor-General may dissolve both Houses, but not if it is within six months of a general election. The general election takes place, whether by dissolution or otherwise ; the Bill is passed again by the House of Representatives, and comes to us. If it is again rejected the Governor-General may - and remember it is always “ may “ - request the two Houses to sit together as one House and discuss the measure; and if the Bill is carried by an absolute majority of the two Houses, it becomes law. I should like to ask honorable senators whether it would not be only on very serious and very important grounds that they would take the responsibility of compelling the people of Australia to wait for the Tariff until all this machinery had been set in motion.
– We have not reached that point yet.
– It would take two or three years for all these forms to be gone through.
– That is a splendid argument to address to another place.
– I am only giving expression to these opinions to honorable senators for the purpose of preventing them from getting into difficulties owing to swelled head. That is my position at the present time. I have as much respect for the powers of the Senate as has any honorable senator, , and I intend, as far as I possibly can, to maintain both the rights and the dignity of this Chamber. But I am not going to do anything that would unnecessarily cause friction. I think I have said enough with regard to the constitutional aspect of the question. I should like now to say a word or two relative to the financial position of the Commonwealth and of the States. It has been very well put by some honorable senators who have spoken already, that the Federal Ministry had a very difficult task in front of them on taking office, as they had to amalgamate six Tariffs so as to bring in revenue sufficient to satisfy’ fully the requirements of the Commonwealth, and to return to each State a sum sufficient to keep it in a solvent condition. I believe it is acknowledged - and it is immaterial what the policy embodied in the Tariff as introduced originally may have been - that the Government have kept that idea in view. What impresses that upon my mind more strongly than anything else is the fact that the original Tariff was higher than the Tariff of three of the States, and lower than the Tariff of the other three. I do not know where any one could find a more exact mean than that. But we have among our free- trade friends some who are complaining that the Tariff is too high ; that the revenue to he raised is of too great a magnitude; that the Tariff imposes too heavya burden upon the people, ‘and that they are going to do all that they can to reduce the amount that is to be raised under it as finally passed.
– There has been no suggestion in regard to reducing the yield from the Tariff. The suggestion is only in regard to the reduction of duties.
– I am very doubtful about that.
– What about Senator Pulsford ?
– I heard Senator Pulsford declaim for three or four hours that the burden imposed by the Tariff was too heavy for the people of Australia to bear, and that he was going to do all that he could to reduce it.
– Reduce the duties.
– To reduce the amount of taxation to be raised. Instead of having a revenue amounting to £8,500,000 or £9,000,000 per annum, he said he would be satisfied to bring it under £8,000,000. All the figures.which he produced during his lengthy whirlwind were nothing more than an argument that the Tariff was too high, and that it would have to be reduced. Then we find, on the other hand, that there are a number of freetraders who are prepared to reduce the protective duties so that more revenue may be raised. They declare that the amount of revenue to be raised from this Tariff will be insufficient to meet the requirements of the Commonwealth, and to return to the States enough to keep them in a financial position. We know of the statement made by Senator Millen to that effect.
– Most decidedly yes.
– I absolutely deny that.
– The honorable senator said that we should require a £10,000,000 Tariff.
– If the honorable senator will pardon me, what I said was that the revenue to be raised, assuming that it would be £9,000,000, would be quite sufficient, but that it would leave no margin to work upon.
– Is not that a complaint? Everybody who wishes to see the Commonwealth with a surplus must make provision for a margin. No matter what he may say now, Senator Millen led me to believe that he would not be satisfied with a Tariff of £7,000,000 or £8,000,000.
– I did nothing of the kind.
– The honorable senator led me to believe that that was his feeling. I do not care what he led any one else to think on the subject. Although I have no sympathy with direct taxation, I am one of those who are compelled, under the circumstances, to submit to a Tariff of some kind. I am one of those who would rather see the Commonwealth, after its first, second, or any financial year, with a surplus of half-a-million, instead of coining out with a deficit of a quarter of a million. Why should I prefer to see the Commonwealth in that position? I have seen the evil effects of borrowing, so far as the States are concerned ; and if the Commonwealth intends to pay its way in the future, it would be far better for it to have a surplus of revenue, and to be able to carry out the necessary public works, in the shape of improvements or new undertakings, out of revenue than to be compelled to go into the market for the purpose of borrowing. I should like to point out that the great success of New Zealand for many years past has been due to the fact that its revenue has always been in excess of its expenditure, and that out of the surplus it has been able to carry out public works, which other States in the Commonwealth have had to construct by meansof borrowed money, or with money raised by the sale of some of their lands. That is the position in which I should like to see the Commonwealth, and therefore I am prepared to be as lenient as I possibly can with the Government. But there are two items which I have no desire to see re-introduced into the Tariff. Those are the duties on tea and kerosene. We do not know what may be the condition of affairs in the Commonwealth after a few years have elapsed, and it is always better for us to have a reserve power behind us, upon which we can fall back if the necessity arises. The time may come, and I hope soon will come, when the majority of the representatives of the Commonwealth, not only in the House of Representatives, but in this Senate, will be prepared to vote almost as one man for old-age pensions. When they come to that point of civilization and of progress it will be time’ enough for them to impose taxation of the description to which I have been referring. It would be a very good thing for them under such circumstances to have tea, kerosene, cotton piece goods, or anything else to fall back upon, seeing that the Commonwealth, for some time to come, will not be in a position to levy direct taxation. As the hour is late, and there is a long way to travel, I shall, not attempt to deal further with the financial question, but I shall go on to deal with some of the so-called anomalies that have been pointed out in connexion with the Tariff. I have found that there are anomalies, not only in the Tariff, but in the Senate, and a greater anomaly than Senator Harney I never came across. For one-half of the time he was speaking the honorable and learned senator waa recommending revenue without destruction, and for the other half he was recommending revenue with destruction.
– No, no.
– And it would have been a very good thing for the honorable and learned senator, as a free-trade advocate, if he had enlisted the service of the free-trade powder-monkey who has been going about the Senate for so many days supplying other members of the freetrade party with bogus statistics and unlimited extracts of a character to mislead both those who quoted them and those who listened to them.
– Can the honorable senator prove that the statistics are bogus ?
– I am only saying what has really occurred, and Senator Harney might have avoided the anomalies into which he fell had he enlisted the assistance of that industrious and energetic individual. But we have other anomalies here, and I should like to refer to some of them. The great difficulty is that we do not always find them present. There are honorable senators who, as soon as they have made their speeches, clear out and leave the Senate without their benign presence, which is a very great calamity. We cannot, however, afford to allow some of these honorable senators to occupy the positions they do without criticising them to some extent, even if they are not prepared to remain here, and I intend to point out some of the anomalies that exist in the Senate, irrespective of those which exist in the Tariff itself. The first is shown by a letter which appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald, in September of 1897. The letter is as follows :-
Sir, - It is universally recognised that the financial difficulties constitute the chief obstacle to the desired union ; second, that the free-trade policy of this colony is the cause of the financial difficulty ; and third, that with federation we must accept protection. As all advocates of federation deem unity and protection more advantageous than disunion and free-trade, why postpone the accomplishment of the advantageous change ? I suggest that the Convention adjourn for, say, two weeks. Let our Parliament be called together, let the right honorable the Premier boldly submit a proposal for a good high protective ve Tariff, and this being adopted on the reassembling of the Convention, there will be no financial difficulty to bar the way to the achievement of a splendid and happy federation.
Now this letter appears over the name of “J. C. Neild.” I do not know whether it is the same J. C. Neild who occupies a position in the Federal Senate. I do not know whether the J. C. Neild who wrote this letter wrote it in a serious mood or was only jesting. It does not matter whether he was in earnest or in jest, here it is, and, like the effusions, of every mountebank politician, it was bound to have some influence in the future. Even if he was not in earnest when he wrote the letter, any astute politician would know that this would go forward in the columns of the Sydney Morning Herald, and would be read by thousands of protectionists and “ the poor innocent individuals who do not know as much as I do “ - these are the words of the politician - “will say ‘This is a good protectionist,’ and consequently they will vote for me. “ Here, if he was a free-trader, he was endeavouring to get the votes of protectionists by a side wind. I should like to ask any honorable senator present to say whether, if this is the effusion of Senator J. C. Neild, it is a worthy one when it comes up in 1902. When people resort to this sort of thing it seems to me that they are in a pitiable condition, and that their brains must have gone into their moustaches, because it seems to have a hair-editary appearance about it.
Whether it is in earnest or in jest the Senate has got it for what’ it is worth, and I call that one of the anomalies of State representation. Then I have got another extract. The powder monkey did not supply me with these. I had to get them from somebody else. We heard, the other night, a very valuable speech from Senator Sargood. He rose in his place and declared that he was a moderate man, but before he had finished he endeavoured with all his ability, experience, and knowledge to defeat every protectionist argument that had been advanced in the Senate. But I want to show the difference - and this is where the anomaly comes in - between the u tterances of these honorable senators when on the platform talking to the electors and when they are elected for six years and have got into the Senate. This gentleman, at the Collingwood Town Hall, on the 7th March, 1901, said -
He believed that in this matter Mr. Edmund Barton had adopted the correct course - that was to ignore the extreme free-trader on the one hand, and the extreme protectionist on the other, and to adopt a Tariff that would protect and foster existing industries, and at the same time raise the money that was required. That was the primary point, because, if it were not raised, it would be a most serious thing for the Commonwealth, and would practically mean ruin to the States concerned. He, therefore, would support Mr. Barton in his declared intention to raise the ,-1:8,500,000 by ignoring the extreme course upon either side, and by depending upon the moderate men and bringing in a moderate Tariff.
I say those statements made on the public platform are very different from the attempt the honorable senator made here to discredit the very men who were endeavouring to foster and protect the industries which have been established in Australia. Now there is another anomaly which has been given utterance to only by interjection, and that is in the case of Senator Fraser. From the honorable senator’s interjection I have come to the conclusion that he is not so loyal to the protectionist cause as he was in the Melbourne Town Hall. As reported in the Age of 12th March, 1901, he said -
Taking all these matters into consideration, and seeing that Mr. Barton had met the situation in a statesmanlike manner, he now stated without hesitation that he would support the Barton policy in respect to a Tariff, namely, the establishment of a Tariff that would produce the required revenue, that would foster industries, that would be protective in character and not prohibitive in effect.
– .No Tariff had been introduced at that date.
– Senator Fraser ‘ spoke of a Tariff, and that is his concern, not mine. He spoke of supporting a Tariff that would foster and protect industries, and that was met by the public with very great applause. I shall pass these extracts over to Hansard, because they are of no further use to me. They only show the anomalies that exist in the Senate apart from those which exist in the Tariff itself.
– I suppose since Senator Fraser has seen the Tariff he has been shocked.
– Very probably. There are some people who are easily shocked, but I do not think Senator Fraser is one of them. I think that so far as protection is concerned he will support it to a very great extent, so long as it does not touch himself. He will be every bit as bad as the proprietors of the newspapers in that respect. I have referred to the Tariff from the financial point of view. I wish to refer to it from the policy point of view, and that is the policy of the Government at the present time. We have been told that it contains anomalies. I ask the free-trade section of the Senate whether it contained as many anomalies when it was introduced in the House of Representatives as it did after the free-trade section in that Chamber had done with it. Were they not responsible to a very great extent for some of the anomalies? They were prepared to allow trifling duties to remain on some articles. For instance, take the manufacture of saddle-trees. They were prepared to allow the duties to remain on the timber, the iron work, the nails, and everything else in the saddle-tree, but they were prepared to knock off the duty on the finished article. Is that a fair thing? They were prepared to put a duty on some luxuries of the rich, such as ribbons, flowers, feathers, and other things of that class, but they were prepared to impose the same duty on undressed feathers. The only protective effect it could have would be with respect to South Australia, and I am credibly informed that South Australia sends all its feathers to the London market. In doing a thing like that they were only perpetrating another anomaly. There are dozens of items which are anomalies in the same way, and which the free-trade section of the other House assisted to create. I hope that that section in the Senate will be prepared to do all they possibly can to make out of them reasonably protective or revenueproducing items. Again, we have had from a number of honorable senators an outcry against the imposition of a high duty on boots, and many other things, all declaring that the poor consumers have to pay the duty. I have had some experiences in Australia and in the old country just as Senator Drake has had. When I came from the old country T. was as ardent a free-trader as is either Senator Matheson or Senator Harney ; but I was young, and had not got the experience that was necessary to make a protectionist of me. In a debate in a public hall in Adelaide I took the free-trade side against James Duncan, one of the coach builders in that city. What made a protectionist of me ? When I carried my swag in A.ustralia I found that I had to pay from 8s. 6d. to 9s. a pair for my boots, and from 8s. to Ss. 6d. for a hat of the commonest sort. In the old country, before I left, I could buy similar boots for 4s. 6d. or 5s. per pair, and similar hats at from 3s. to 4s. 6d. But in Australia I found I had to pay a good deal more than double the retail prices in the old country. Then, in going about navvying and doing other work of that description, I had to pay from 10 1/2d. to ls. for 1 lb. of candles, whereas in the old country before I left I could buy 1 lb. of candles just as good at from 5-id. to 6d. When I got this experience I began to wonder what was the matter in Australia. Was it owing to the freight out that such high prices were charged ? Was it owing to the different hands through which the articles had to pass ? Or was it owing to the expense of carriage in connexion with the country districts in South Australia ? Remember “that when I came to Australia in 1877 things were fairly booming. South Australia was borrowing money and spending it all over the country in making railways and erecting buildings. Wages were fairly good. It was not .protection that raised the wages. The very cause that has kept up wages in New South Wales was then operating in South Australia. They were selling the public lands, borrowing money, and bringing in immigrants by the 200 or 300 every week. Things were in a fairly flourishing condition, but that did not last. The Government borrowed money and spent it. People were there and there was no work for them, and yet they had to pay these high prices for the commodities they needed. In the” construction of the railway from Adelaide to Aldgate, in 1884, better men than ever I was were working for 4s. 6d. a day.
– They had a protectionist Tariff in 1884.
– No ; the first protectionist Tariff of any consequence was passed in 1887. In 1885, through scarcity of employment, I was compelled to go down and work on one of the sea-walls or embankments that ran from the magazine to Dry Creek. On the first day all the wages I could get was 4s. 6d., if I went on daywork. In 1S84, 18S5, and 1886 it was very difficult to get work at all. I worked for 4s. 6d. on the bank for one day. I would not do it any longer. I got piece-work, and endeavoured to earn more like what I was worth. But dozens of men were working there for 4s. Gd. a day. and still they had to pay the highest prices for boots and other commodities. When I came to protectionist Melbourne, in the latter part of 18S5, what did I find? I found nearly as many Adelaide people as there were in Adelaide, nearly as many Tasmanians as there were in Hobart, and a very large proportion of the New South Wales people - these people who never leave their own country - who had managed to get as much as would bring them down here, or else they had walked, for they were here b)’ the score. I worked here from 1885 to 1890. In the meantime, the Tariff that Senator Playford has referred to was passed in South Australia, and when I got back, in 1891, I was able to find employment, and it was not necessary for me to leave the State afterwards, showing that the protective Tariff there came at the right time and did good. What was the result? In 1S91, or subsequently, after the Tariff began to have effect, you could get in Adelaide boots at 5s. or 5s. 6d. a pair, and candles at 6 1/2d. or 7d. a lb., which was a very great reduction on previous prices. While I was working amongst the farmers in South Australia, they had to pay from 15s. to 19s. per dozen for their ploughshares. But after the industry was established for the manufacture of ploughshares, by the operation of this protective Tariff, the price was brought down, first to 14s., then to 12s. 6d., next to 10s., and now they can be bought at 8s. 6d. I give our experience in South Australia for what it is worth. I can give another illustration. Prior to the imposition of the protectionist duty of 25s. per ton in 1887, any one who wanted to buy salt in South Australia - the Black Horse brand was the only one worth having - had to pay from £5 10s. to £6 a ton. After the expenditure of a good deal of money some of our companies were able to manufacture salt. They had to overcome a great many difficulties, because they had to learn how to extract the magnesia, but they succeeded in doing this after spending a lot of money, and the effect of the duty was that the price of table salt came down to from 32s. 6d. to 42s. 6d., and the price of coarse salt to from 22s. 6d. to 25s. per ton. It was actually less than the amount of the duty. That is another instance in which the consumer, instead of having to suffer from the imposition of a legitimate duty upon a legitimate product, received a benefit, and was relieved from the exactions of those who are always prepared to maintain monopolies, namely, the importers. A good deal has been said about the remarks of Senator Styles, but did Senators Harney, Matheson, and others, notice what he said in respect of flour and wheat in New South Wales and Victoria? His statement was absolutely true. He said that whilst the farmers in Melbourne received1d. per bushel more for their wheat than did the New. South Wales farmers, the same quality of flour was 4s. per ton cheaper in Melbourne than it was in Sydney, although a duty of £5 per ton upon flour was operative at the time. No one has endeavoured to explain away that fact. A great deal has been said with respect to the shifting of population. Whether people go from Ireland to America, from Germany to London, or from England to some other part of the world has very little relevance to the question under consideration, though it may have some weight upon the minds of honorable senators who have used as an argument the fact that the population of Victoria has decreased under certain circumstances whilst that of New South Wales has been maintained. It was also declared, in contradiction of Senator Playford’s statement regarding the beneficial effects of protection in South Australia, that after the imposition of protective duties in that State the population didnot increase rapidly. I am aware that it did not, but that circumstance has no relation whatever to the operation of protective duties. Neither protection nor free-trade would have influenced the position in the slightest degree, because shortly after the period referred to the Broken Hill mines were discovered. Where were the Barrier miners recruited from ? Did they come from the fencers, the boundary riders, and the wharf labourers of New South Wales? No. They came from the mining populations of South Australia and Victoria. As a general rule, we do not see bootmakers, or boundary riders, or wharf labourers rushing to become miners. I was going to say that we do not see carpenters and joiners, but I correct myself, because if a mining population establishes itself in any locality, they naturally want houses in which to live, and carpenters, joiners, and masons are required to erect them. That is the reason why, to a great extent, an exodus of miners is always followed by this class of mechanic. Then we are told that during the past ten years the population of Victoria has not increased as it ought to have done. But I would point out that during the period in question the Western Australian mines were discovered. Gold miners comprise a class who rush off to the States in which gold mining becomes established to its greatest extent. And these people are usually of an adventurous disposition. That is the reason why both South Australia and Victoria did not increase their populations in the same ratio that they might have done. But was the absence of these people a loss to Victoria or South Australia ? Certainly not, because at the present time both of those States receive in remittances from Western Australia more than any of the other States. Moreover, if a collapse occurred in connexion with the mining industry of Western Australia, these people would return to their own States. Further, honorable senators are aware that during the past ten years a very large area of what was supposed to be fairly good agricultural country has been opened up. I know farmers who have left South Australia, and I am acquainted with a number who have gone into New South Wales from the western portions of Victoria to take up some of that country. Unfortunately, many of them would be glad to return to South Australia and Victoria. That is a misfortune which we cannot attribute either to protection or free-trade.
– Then New South Wales has not a large quantity of agricultural land?
– New South Wales has very large tracts of agricultural land, but like other portions of Australia, and particularly South Australia, the best agricultural land has already been taken up. If one goes down to the Monaro country, one will see large tracts of good agricultural country which are held by individuals in estates comprising 30,000 and 40,000 acres. That evil exists in New South Wales, as well as elsewhere, and cannot be attributed either to a policy of protection or free-trade. But I always hold that when we use such arguments as have been advanced, we should endeavour, as far as possible, to ascertain the real cause either of the shifting of a population or of its stability. Now we know that the settlement of an agricultural population in any country is of a more permanent character than the settlement of a mining population. Seeing that in proportion to its area Victoria possessed a larger mining population than New South Wales, it was bound to be subject at all times to greater fluctuations. Neither protection nor freetrade has anything to do with its progress or decay in that respect. It was pointed out by Senator Styles, and generally admitted, that in the Commonwealth there is a population of between 130,-000 and 150,000 engaged in manufactures.
– There are 170,000.
– I am assured that there are 170,000 persons so engaged. The argument has been used that the mining, farming, and pastoral industries employ a far greater number of hands. Of course they do, if we lump them together ; but, taking those industries separately, there is not one of them which employs so many persons. For the purpose of making a comparison of this description, why should we lump together the mining, farming, and pastoral populations, and put those engaged in manufactures in a class by themselves ? Does any one imagine for a minute that those- 170,000 people do not incidentally make it necessary that a very much larger population should exist in the community ? Who is it that gives the greatest employment to masons, carpenters, plumbers, and workmen -of that description ? Who makes it necessary that even the coal miners should work in the mines ? The industrial population who use the coal, and the gas that is made from the coal ; and who use it in the form of fuel in’ their homes. Is it not the industrial population who make it necessary for thousands of men to be employed in the construction of water conservation works, and in extending reticulation all Over the cities and suburbs of Australia? Is it not the industrial population, who to a great extent, make it necessary that roads-, tramways, footpaths, and everything - else of that description should be constructed in the vicinity of cities and towns? Is it not the industrial population who give employment to thousands of market gardeners and their servants, in growing the vegetables which are consumed in the cities and towns? If to the 170,000 individuals who are engaged in industrial pursuits, we add the army of workers that benefit from their labour, it will be seen that to an enormous extent the mining, farming, and even the pastoralist of the States, are benefitted by them. Is it not to the advantage of the mining population of any community that they should have in close proximity to the man industrial population of some consequence ? Who is it that gives the greatest encouragement to mining in most cases ? Is not that encouragement derived from the industrial classes, and those dependent upon them, and is it not due to their «aid that Government encouragement is given to mining ? A very large proportion of the machinery manufactured in the Commonwealth is manufactured for mining purposes. With respect to farming, do not the same conditions apply ? Is it not to the advantage of the farmers, not only in Victoria, but also in New South Wales, to have an industrial population settled in their proximity, so that they may have a better market for their eggs, butter, bacon, and other subsidiary products ? The pastoral industry does not mean the employment of labour in the same degree as in other industries. Do the boundary riders live so well or so comfortably - have they such house accommodation or such furniture - as those engaged in industrial pursuits? If they have not, their citizenship is not worth so much to the Commonwealth as it would be if they were engaged in some manufacturing industry. Why have our railways been constructed ? If there were no industrial population in Victoria or New South Wales, it would hardly be worth our while to have railways for the conveyance of the wool that we grow, which could be brought down to the sea-board during three or four months of the year. It is the industrial population that has contributed principally towards our railways, and that is supporting to the largest extent the employes of the Governments of the different States. When all these things are considered, is it not clear that greater consideration should be given to the industrial classes than would be given by our free-trade friends in the Senate ? Again, we are continually told to look at New South Wales, which, it is said, has started industries without any protection.
– Hear, hear.
– The honorable senator should know that in his own trade in New South Wales very little is done except patching. Locomotives, boilers, and machinery of that description are to a great extent imported. The only work for men of the honorable senator’s trade in New South Wales is in connexion with the repairs and the maintenance of the existing services. The other industries that have been established are very closely allied to the primary products of the State - such as tanning, bootmaking, and trades of that description. What position do we find in New South Wales in respect to imports from other parts of the world? When protection was established in Victoria and some of the other States, it had the effect of increasing the competition between local manufacturers in the lines affected and the importers. The consequence was the cheapening of the product. Consequently it has not been worth while for the importers of the old country to combine to send their goods here. Therefore, New South Wales, under the shadow of Victorian protection and the protection of the other States, has been able to compete with manufacturers in the old country. The home manufacturers and merchants had to compete against Victoria, and it was not worth while for them to swamp New South Wales for the purpose of crushing infant industries in that State. The very same thing has occurred in regard to many industries that have sprung up in that State. To my mind, therefore, New South Wales is in the same position as an engineer would be who refused to belong to a trades union which had had to struggle for better wages and better conditions of all connected with the trade. That kind of thing frequently occurs in connexion with trades unions. There are many labourers who would not join a union but are prepared to participate in all the benefits which are obtained for them by the individuals who make up the union. New South Wales in respect to protection is in the position of an engineer who refuses to join his trades union. What would a mason call another mason who would not join a trades union, but who accepted all the benefits secured by the union ? What should I call a builder’s labourer who got all the benefits which my union had struggled for, and I had helped to pay to maintain, but would not join my society ? Would I not call hima blackleg? If I and Senator Charleston would call such an individual a blackleg, thenIam justified in calling New South Wales a commercial and industrial blackleg. New South Wales benefited by the conditions that existed in the other States, but was not prepared to do anything to assist those other States in the policy which they adopted.
– New South Wales opened all her ports.
– And what has New South Wales gained by opening all her ports? For every manufacturer who has made a fortune, and lives in a magnificent mansion in the suburbs of Melbourne, there can be found two or three importers who have made equally large fortunes in Sydney by charging the people high prices for rubbish. The people of New South Wales are no better off to-day - in fact, are not so well off - as if they had joined in the policy of protection with the other States long ago. Did New South Wales, when she came into the Commonwealth, expect that her policy was to dominate the whole of Australia ? Did she not know, when she came into the Commonwealth, that Victoria and South Australia, and, to a certain extent, Queensland, were protectionist? As to Western Australia, nobody can tell what her policy is, because she has the highest Tariff of any State.
– The Western Australian Tariff produces more, but it is a very low Tariff.
– It is almost as difficult to tell whether Tasmania is protectionist, revenue tariff, or free-trade. But we have New South Wales, Tasmania, and Western Australia, against Victoria, Queensland, and South Australia: and this is where we must have a compromise. Victoria is not to dominate Australia : neither is New South Wales. We hear only of Victoria and New South Wales, because we are in Victoria, and the New South Wales people are angry because we are not in their State. There is, consequently, a great difference of opinion between the representatives of the two States, and they naturally ignore South Australia and Queensland, and the other members of the Commonwealth. In the compromise we have to make, we must consider not only New South Wales and Victoria, but also South Australia, Queensland, and the other States. When we do that we shall be acting fairly to the people of Australia. Senator Drake pointed out that in one State there is a Tariff representing, on the average, 17^ per cent., and in another State a Tariff representing 47-4:7 per cent. What conditions must we endeavour to bring about in order to amalgamate those States in the Tariff? There must be a compromise which will, as far as possible, satisfy not the people, but the conditions that exist. Some of the people of New South Wales will only be satisfied with the New South Wales Tariff, and so in the other States, though the Tariff before us is nearer that of South Australia than any other. ‘ The only way in which we can be fair is to give none of these people their own way. The very fact that they are all dissatisfied is evidence to me that the Federal Government and Federal Parliament have almost reached as good a compromise as is possible. Something has been said regarding the discovery made by Senator Styles. Instead of treating this matter in an incredulous or, as in some quarters, a sneering manner, honorable senators ought to approach it with every consideration. There is really something in the arguments and deductions of Senator Styles. Senator Harney and others have said that Senator Styles declared that the higher the Tariff the greater were the imports from Great Britain and the less from foreign States. Senator Styles never said, nor meant, anything of the kind. What Senator Styles did say was that, in proportion as the duties were high or low, the trade as done between foreign countries and Great Britain rose or fell ; not that the trade was greater with Great Britain than it would be with an open door in all the States, but that with a high Tariff, the trade with Great Britain was proportion.ately greater than that with other outside countries. That, to me, is self-evident, and should be self-evident to every senator who has the high appreciation he ought to have of Great Britain. But considering the view they take of the position, those senators would appear to have no more British patriotism than have the Boers. Everyone must admit that the manufactured goods of Great Britain are superior to those of any other country, and that the lower the Tariff the more likely we are to be swamped by the inferior productions of Germany, America, and other manufacturing communities. The higher the Tariff the less we get of this cheap-jack kind of stuff, and a larger quantity proportionately of the superior products of Great Britain. Senator Sargood explained the reason of this when speaking the other day.
– Senator Sargood put the case the other way about.
– But Senator Sargood’s explanation ran in the same direction as Senator Styles’ ideas. Senator Sargood said that the cost of transit of inferior goods was much greater than that of superior goods, and a high Tariff would more readily exclude the former than the latter. That is what Senator Sargood said : it does not matter what his deduction was. The deduction I make is the same as that ma.de by Senator Styles.
– A low duty lets in shoddy.
– That is how there has always been so much shoddy in New South Wales. I know for a fact that if a person desires to purchase a really good article in Sydney he has to pay as high a price as in Melbourne.
– Senator Sargood said that the goods were superior in New South Wales.
– Senator Sargood, like Senator Charleston, sometimes suffers from hallucinations, and we cannot always take what he says as gospel truth. I do not intend to say that Senator Sargood intends to mislead, but his fiscal infatuation very often causes him, when excited, to say things he would not say in his cooler moments. Valuable goods are more likely than rubbish to come in under a high Tariff, and consequently the arguments of Senator Styles are perfectly correct. The only difference between Senator Styles’ deduction and the deductions of those who are opposed to him, is that he referred to the proportionate, and not to the aggregate ‘imports. Senator Styles does not desire to see a larger quantity of goods imported into Australia than comes in at the present time. I hope that I am not keeping the Senate too long, but I desire to point out briefly what will be the effect of a reduction of the protective duties such as Senator Charleston, Senator Gould, Senator Millen, and many others favour. If, in accordance with their contention, we were to reduce a protective duty until it became a revenue duty, what would be the result ? To what extent would it become a revenue duty ? Let us assume that it became a revenue duty to the extent, that owing to increased importations the local production of an article now being mode here was reduced by 25 per cent. What would that mean in regard to the engineering, the bootmaking, the clothing, or any other industry ? It would mean certainly that 25 per cent, of those engaged here at present in the manufacture of the articles would cease to be employed.
– Most decidedly it would. If there were 2,000 or 3,000 men engaged in the boot trade in Australia, and by reducing a protective duty we increased the importation of boots from foreign countries by 25 per cent., would not that throw out of work 25 per cent, of those now employed here? Exactly the same thing would occur in connexion with every industry. And where should we put the men thrown out of employment in this way? Senator Harney said that they would go back to the bosom of the earth. They might die and go into their graves, for all that some honorable senators care about them. But they cannot adopt any other pursuit. All the land that is any good in Victoria, South Australia, and Now South Wales is taken up already. They cannot obtain it, and it is impossible for them to go back on the land.
– There is plenty of laud in Western Australia.
– There is plenty in South Africa.
– Plenty in Western Australia, which is within the Commonwealth.
– I do not know many farmers here who are anxious to go to Western Australia.
– That is because they do not know their own interests.
– I hope that in time to come many will go profitably to occupy the lond in Western Australia. But I do not wish to see 25 per cent, of those already in work thrown out of employment; I do not wish to see 25 per cent, of the goods now being manufactured by them introduced from any foreign country. I do not wish to see anything introduced into Australia which can reasonably and profitably be manufactured here. Some people are always crying out about tho natural products of the country, and about the exotic industries which we are trying to support. Will they tell us of some of these exotic industries ? Is the boot trade an exotic industry ? Is the tanning of leather an exotic 1 Do not the hides grow on the cattle that roam over the plains of Australia ? And have we not as much right to tan them as has any one else ? Have we here not as much right to turn the tallow which comes from them into soap and candles as have the people of any other part of the world? Is not the woollen industry as nearly related to the primary production of wool as it could possibly be ? If v» have the facility and the material to make the finished article in Victoria, we ought to do so. Some honorable senators say however that if many of the protective duties are not reduced they will in a very short time lose their revenue producing tendency. Would there be any calamity in such a tiling 1 I am sure that Senator Pearce would be glad of it, because then we might fall back on direct taxation.
– But Senator Pearce is a genuine free-trader.
– The revenuetariffists are billing and cooing round him to such an extent that I am afraid, before they are finished, they will make a revenue tariffist of him. I was going to point out, that even although some of our industries might become so effective in Australia as to destroy the revenue, so far as the import duties on articles similar to those which they manufactured were concerned, yet they would increase the revenue as far as the Commonwealth was concerned. Honorable senators must know that the greater portion of the Tariff is of a revenue I producing character. We all know that the duties on narcotics and stimulants and articles of that kind are revenue producing, and that there are many smaller duties which are also revenue producing. ‘ If we were to double the number of bootmakers in the Commonwealth, and to put them in a prosperous condition, certainly there would be no revenue derived from boots under the Tariff, but the number engaged in the industry being doubled, the consumption ofspirits and tobacco and articles of that kind would be increased. Would not all these people be consumers of other things which, under the Tariff, are revenue producing? And as more than half of the items in the Tariff are of a revenue-producing character, if we double the population we must double the revenue obtained in that direction. Thus, even if duties with a protective incidence did abolish the’ revenue from certain articles, we should still keep up the total amount, on account of the increased consumption of articles of a purely revenueproducing character. There are many other phases of the Tariff to which I might refer ; there are many other comparisons in connexion with the position of Australia and other countries to which I might allude. But they have no » possible bearing on our position in the Commonwealth. Therefore, I am not going to attempt to make any such comparison. What I am going to ask honorable senators to do is not, in the words of Senator Symon, “ to abolish .these wheels of monopoly that grind the people of Australia,” but to increase the prosperity of Australia by increasing the wheels of industry, that grind more intelligently than ever the wheels of monopoly have ground in the past. We can only obtain an increased population by increasing our industries. Let us look at what would be the position of Australia if it were confined entirely to any of the three industries which we call primary ones. If it were devoted entirely to pastoral pursuits, what should we have? We should have nothing but vast plains and forests, inhabited only by the cattle and sheep of the large land-holder, who is of very little benefit to the community at the present time, and who has been of very little benefit in the past, save in the work of early development. If Australia were inhabited solely by the farmer, what would be the use of endeavouring to obtain a large population here 1 Of course, the farmers introduce a much larger population than the wool-growers or the squatters do.
– And the blacksmith, the wheelwright, and the saddler always follow them.
– -Yes. But under free-trade the blacksmith would follow to put on horse-shoes that were manufactured in America or German)’. We desire that they should .be manufactured here. We have raw material of every description - iron, lead, copper, wool, coal, tallow, and everything else - and why should we not make use of it? There is another point in connexion with the population of Australia to which I should like to refer. Can any honorable senator point to any single country which has confined itself to pastoral or agricultural pursuits where science has developed to any great extent ? It is only where we have industries that we can give scope to the intelligence, energy, and inventive genius of our people. What has made America great, is that she has given scope for the exercise of these qualities. Unless we do something of that character in Australia we shall be in the same position as the dying countries of the South of Europe or of Central Asia. But let us have a proper proportion of the agricultural, pastoral, mining and industrial classes, and then we shall have the truest prosperity. Then we shall have the greatest incentive to the highest class of labour, and then we shall have the greatest prosperity that can be found in any part of the world. I hope it will be the earnest endeavour of every honorable senator to formulate a Tariff that will have that beneficial effect.
Debate (on motion by Senator Pearce) adjourned.
Senate adjourned at 10.36 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 13 May 1902, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1902/19020513_senate_1_9/>.