1st Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
SenatorGLASSEY presented a petition from eighteen cane farmers and shareholders of the Nerang River Sugar Company, in the State of Queensland, praying the Senate not to legalize the retention for excise purposes of sugar held by brewers and others on 8th October, 1901.
Petition received and read.
– I desire to ask the representative of the Government whether he can to-day give an answer to the question I asked yesterday, with regard to sending a message of sympathy to France on the subject of the .volcanic eruption in Martinique ?
– T - The Acting Prime Minister, Mr. Deakin, has sent through the Consul-General for France, a message expressive of the deep sympathy of the Commonwealth with France in the trouble which has come upon her possession.
Has the .attention of the Government been given to the statement published in the press, and copied from the Caffaro newspaper of Genoa, to the effect that the Italian Government is about to take possession of an “ island in Australian waters,” for the purpose of establishing a penal settlement thereon ?
If so, has the Government taken any action to oppose such a step ?
– T - The attention of the Government has been directed to the report, but there is no reason for believing that it has any foundation.
ask asked the. PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
I think the honorable senator, from the previous attitude of the Government, may have every confidence in them in this matter.
Resolved (on motion by Senator Drake) -
That leave of absence for the remainder of the session be granted to Senator Lt. -Col Cameron on account of urgent public business.
– Before the business of the day is called on it may be convenient to the Senate if I state what course the Government intend to pursue with regard to the Customs Tariff Bill and the Excise Tariff Bill in committee. After the second reading of the Customs Tariff Bill is carried, about which, of course, there is no doubt, as I gather from the expressions of opinion in the Chamber, I shall ask the Senate to go into committee formally on that Bill. The second reading of the Excise Tariff Bill will then be moved, and after it is carried a motion will be made to refer that Bill to the, same committee as the Customs Tariff Bill. That course, as a matter of certainty, will enable the freest reference to be made to both Bills, but honorable senators who have moved in this matter will understand that, considering the terms of the Constitution, there will be no possibility of incorporating the provisions of one Bill with those of another. The Bills will be taken separately, and considered separately.
– Perhaps I may be allowed to say that it is exceedingly gratifying that my honorable and learned friend has seen his way to adopt this course. It will not merely have the benefit which he points out, but it will also have, I am sure, the advantage of expediting the proceedings.
Debate resumed from 13th May (vide page 12522), on motion by Senator O’CONNOR -
That the Bill be now read a second time.
– I feel that the opportunity of speaking on this Bill is a great one. During the debate I have been much struck by one peculiar feature, which I think I am safe in saying has never occurred, at any rate to the same extent, in any such discussion in Australia before. Whether from the free-trade or from the protectionist side great attention has been paid by almost every speaker to the way in which the operation of the Tariff will affect the condition of the workers. Being here especially as a representative of the workers, I can only say that it is a matter of keen interest to me, and an aspect which I am glad to hear discussed. From a perusal of the debates I know that past Tariffs have been looked at and settled primarily in the interests of either the importers or the manufacturing class. I am glad to see that at this period of our history the effect of the Tariff on the workers is one of the most important phasesof this debate. I feel that I am in a responsible position. While the labour party in the other House is equally divided on the fiscal question, eight members being on each side, the labour party in the Senate is not so equally divided. Owing to the other labour senator, who is a freetrader, being ill, the responsibility of putting forward the free-trade labour point of view rests upon myself, and knowing my own incapability I feel the great responsibility which is placed upon me of proving that free-trade can be of advantage to the workers of Australia. The position which the labour party in Western Australia took up at the time of the federal elections was that if our comrades in the other States were prepared to sink the fiscal issue, we were prepared to come into this Parliament as a party pledged to sink the fiscal issue. Senator De Largie and I were elected on the understanding that if the labour party in Parliament decided to sink the fiscal issue we were free to do so. But that position has not yet arisen, and consequently we are compelled to take sides. Although we were prepared to sink the fiscal issue, it was not because we had no fiscal opinions, and the electors of Western Australia when they returned me were not ignorant of my views. During the federal campaign, as a member of the federal league, I advocated Federation from the free-trade stand-point. In West Australia the federal issue was fought out very largely upon fiscal lines, and strange to say the protectionists opposed Federation on the ground that they would be swamped by the products of the cheap labour of Victoria. I clearly defined my position before the federal election, and my attitude has always been that of a free-trader. I am not a revenue tariffist. I am prepared to support straight-out free-trade, and to raise revenue by direct taxation. In the address delivered by me at the Perth Town Hall at the beginning of the campaign, I used these words -
The fiscal issue should nob be before that of social reform. He was sorry to have heard Mr. Barton’s statement with regard to direct taxation, andhe was sure that Mr. Kingston must feel very uncomfortable in the company in which he was. Mr. Kingston was the man who for years had fought the battle of direct taxation. The labour party would be put in to see that direct taxation was brought about. There was the taxation on land values, and also the taxation on incomes.
The electors of Western Australia, therefore, knew that if I had an opportunity of doing so, I would vote in favour of direct taxation.
– The honorable senator’s new colleagues will not help him.
– I believe they will. I have more hope from them than from the protectionists. I listened with great interest to Senator O’Connor’s appeal to us to accept the Tariff as it came from the House of Representatives. I must say that he made his appeal with very great force and ability, and that there was nothing in his speech which would arouse any resentment in the minds of those who hold opposite views. I have, however, to recognise that if we accept the principle of protection in a modified form, we shall be starting on a road that will lead eventually to high protective duties. No one who really believes in freetrade would be justified in accepting the present Tariff even as a compromise. Whilst there may be a majority of free-traders who believe that it is necessary to raise a certain amount of revenue, I judge from what I have heard during this debate that their efforts will be devoted to robbing the Tariff of much of its protective incidence, and in that I thoroughly agree with them. The only point of difference between the revenue tariffist and myself is, that they are not prepared to rob the Tariff of its revenue as well as of its protective incidence. I look to the people of Australia, when they are sufficiently educated on this question, to divest the Tariff of its revenue-producing incidence also, and judging from the attitude of the free-trade party in New South Wales, they are prepared to go a considerable length in that direction, because Mr. Reid remitted about 300,000 worth of customs duties, and imposed taxation to that amount on land values.
– He remitted a much larger amount than that - it was nearly £1,000,000.
– In any case, I believe the land tax in New South Wales realizes about £300,000 per annum. There is another reason why, although I cannot obtain free-trade, I am still less able to support a protective policy. Holding the view that direct taxation affords the most equitable and wise means of raising revenue, I should be defeating my ultimate object by assisting to build up vested interests supported by bodies of workmen who would combine to clamour, not only for the continuance of protection, but for its increase in later years. That has been proved by Victorian experience. I think we should all remember that we were sent to this House primarily to represent the States. I am here to see that the interests of Western Australia as a State do not suffer, and I have to ask myself how a protective Tariff would benefit her. Iri order ‘to answer this question, it is necessary that we should look at the position of that State as a trading country. In 1S91 the exports from Western Australia were valued at £S,515,623. Of this amount £S,154,21S was represented by the following products : - Gold, wool, timber, skins, pearls and pearl-shell, sandalwood, copper, and tin. The people engaged in producing these commodities would not receive the slightest benefit from a protectionist Tariff. Other commodities represented a value of £461,405, and it might be possible perhaps to confer some benefit upon those engaged in their production by means of a protectionist Tariff. In the year 1900, there were in Western Australia 40 industries, employing 5,259 persons, which would receive no benefit from a protective Tariff. There were eleven other industries, employing 5,327 persons, which might possibly be benefited by protection. I am speaking of town industries, and am not taking into account those engaged in mining or in the agricultural or pastoral industries. There are some thousands of persons engaged in the agricultural and pastoral industries, and 100,000 persons altogether, or fully one-half of the population, are directly supported by the mining industry. If we assume that half of the persons engaged in the industries that might be benefited by protection are heads of families, and allow five persons per family, we find that a total of 15,978 persons might have some benefit conferred upon them by a protective Tariff, whereas 184,022 persons would suffer. Of the 40 industries referred to many have grown up without the assistance of any protection. The machinery industry, which is by no means insignificant - because we have foundries in Western Australia which will compare with the best of those in the eastern States - has grown up under a 5 per cent. Tariff, which cannot by any stretch of imagination be called protective. A’t Kalgoorlie we have a large foundry which employs a considerable number of hands, and which not only effects repairs, but does a good deal of constructive work. This establishment is being carried on successfully in spite of the fact that from 12s. to 15s. per day has to be paid to the workmen. In support of what I have stated as to the danger of building up vested interests under a protectionist policy, I might refer to a circumstance mentioned in the Age a few days ago. Any workmen’s association would support a proposal that the means of production and distribution should be in the hands of the people, that a system of State socialism should be carried into effect; but what happened when the Victorian Railway department put forward a proposal that rolling mills should be established in connexion with the railway workshops at Newport? The Age report says -
At last night’s meeting of the Melbourne South branch of the labour party (Mr. Scott presiding), representatives of employes from the Australian Forge and Engineering Co., Williamstown, and Messrs. Kelly and Co., engineers, Melbourne, waited upon the branch to ask its co-operation in protesting against the extension of the Railway department workshops at Newport for the pur pose of engaging in new manufacturing works and the suggested establishment of rolling mills.
This bears out my statement that in supporting protection we shall assist to build up vested interests.
An Honorable Senator. - Did they agree to that! proposal %
– No. It was decided to refer the proposal to the Central Council, and I do not know the result. In this instance the employes of a particular firm were prepared to vote against a small instalment of State socialism, because it would operate against the interests of the firm which happened to employ them. Under a system of protection large interests grow up, and whenever a, proposal is made in the interest of the whole State to lessen protection the employes in the protected industries will combine against it.
– Do the associated importers support State socialism ?
– I do not say that they do ; but I am not a champion of the importers. A great deal has been said as to the condition of the industrial classes in different parts of the world, and attempts have been made by inference to draw the conclusion that because of protection in certain countries there is pauperism and poverty. On the other hand it has been urged that owing to freetrade there is pauperism and poverty in other countries. I recognise that in the instances I propose to refer to, these evils are not merely the result of protection, but arise from laws which penetrate more deeply than do those which relate to Tariffs. I recognise that the unequal distribution of wealth, and the unequal opportunities of acquiring wealth, have much to do with poverty, and I realize that this evil cannot be cured at the Custom-house. I regret very much that attempts have been made bysome honorable senators, who ought to know better, to prove that if we only imposed customs duties we should insure prosperity and plenty for the workers. No matter what protective duties we may impose here, we shall not bring about prosperity unless our internal laws are good. Similarly, free-trade cannot’ bring us success unless our internal and industrial laws are sound. Here is a very significant paragraph in the leading American socialist journal called Appeal to Reason -
While every observant person realizes the rapid concentration of wealth, it is not possible for them to point out the exact evidence of the fact. The census bulletins for 1900, just coming out, furnish proof of the position. The bulletins of labour and production so far out include the States of Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Connecticut, Delaware, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, South Dakota., and West Virginia. In these States in 1890 the workers received an average of 400 dollars a year wages: in .1900 they received 397 dollars. But in 1890 they produced only 2,000 dollars a year per employe, while in 1900 they produced 2.540 dollars. This shows a decreasing wage, while the labour produced an increasing wealth. This shows concentration on one hand, and decreasing wage on the other. But this is the least of the matter. The values given are factory values.
The retail prices of things have increased some 40 per cent, according to high authority. This makes a virtual reduction of wages on two-fifths above that given in the report.
I ask my protectionist friends how they propose to cure that sort of thing ? They will not cure it by protection, but I believe that we can begin to cure it by free-trade. It is sometimes argued that the leaders of the workers in the old country are beginning to recognise that free-trade is the cause of the poverty which prevails there, and are consequently prepared to favour socialism. I am sure that all those who have studied the labour movement in Engment must recognise the service that has been rendered to that movement by the newspaper known as the Clarion. In an article which appears in that publication, from the pen of Robert Blatchford, entitled “ The Wisdom of the Times,” the writer, after dealing with the opposition of the tories to the social reform movement, says -
They ore not the most ominous signs of the times. No; by far the ugliest sign of the times is the fact that of late years two words which have f or half a century been tabooed in British politics are now, after some whisperings and stealthy hintings beginning to be spoken trippingly on the tongue. These words are - “Protection” and “Conscription.” They are words of abomination and desolation ; words that, being openly spoken, should be resented by the people as an insult to their understanding and a threat to their liberty.
Later on, in dealing with the question of the competition of American and European manufacturers in Great Britain, he points out how English labour can be assisted and protected without the imposition of customs duties. In this connexion he remarks : -
In England, a patentee has to pay £99 for a fourteen years’ patent, and even then gets no guarantee of validity. In America the patentee gets a seventeen )-ears! patent for £7. In England, out of 56,000, more than 54,000 were voided, and less than 2,000 survived. In America there is no voiding. Consequently, the American firms have a choice of 32 patents to one which the British firms have. According to the American Patent Office report for 1897, the American patents had in seventeen years found employment for 1,776,152 persons, besides raising wages in many cases as much as 1 ‘73 per cent.
The question of the encouragement of industry is one in which every free-trader, if he be a true patriot, must take a keen interest. I believe in encouraging industry in ever)’ possible way ; but I do not think we shall accomplish that end by the imposition of customs duties. That notion, Mr. Blatchford points out, is a delusion and a snare. He also affirms that British industry needs no encouragement, although he shows many ways in which it could be substantially encouraged.
– How does he propose to revive English agriculture ?
– If Senator De Largie reads theClarion he will see that Robert Blatchford suggests a very good way of encouraging agriculture. But I wish to analyze some of the claims which protectionists advance in favour of their fiscal faith. When I want to ascertain precisely the desires of the exponents of a protective policy, I naturally go to their own authorities. Consequently I turn to the Melbourne Age, which sets up a standard by which one can judge a fiscal policy. In a leading article on the imposition of the corn duties in the United Kingdom, which was published on the 25th April of the present year, that newspaper says -
Possibly it will only come home to these dupes of the importers of foreign goods when our factories arc closed, and hundreds swell the ranks of the unemployed, that the evil they have effected is traceable to their support of a policy diametrically opposed to the interests of Australian labour.
These are the lines upon which the Age declares that one can judge this question of fiscalism. Applying that judgment to the condition of Victorian industry in 1896, what is the verdict ? Did protection save the industries of Victoria then? I know that the reply will be - “ What about the boom and the bank smash?” But what caused the bank smash and the inflation of land values in Victoria ? Undoubtedly, they were due to the operation of a fiscal policy which produced a feverish and unhealthy activity, which bled the country districts, and attracted the country producers to the city. It lured country producers into Melbourne, and thus gave an inflated value to land, which in turn produced the building boom. Then came the inevitable smash. Protection produced the feverish activity to which I have referred, and that activity resulted in the banking smash.
– The smash was due to the bursting of the boom, and it burst in South Australia before that State had protection. It was the result of overborrowing.
– I believe that Sena tor Playford introduced his protective Tariff in 1887. I was a South Australian, but unlike Senator McGregor, I was not engaged in an unprotected industry. I worked in a protected industry which Senator Playford proposed to put upon its feet by the aid of protective duties. But I was driven out of South Australia within seven years of the introduction of that Tariff because I was unable to obtain work. Senator Playford imposed a high protective duty upon doors, sashes, and sash frames. Did his action create work?
– Did it lessen work?
– I think that it did.
– How utterly absurd !
– It put a burden on the producers, who were already sufficiently taxed, and thereby decreased the prosperity of that State. The fact cannot be denied that South Australia has stagnated ever since. That State has scarcely moved since 1890. I was there in 1891, and in the shop in which I worked, practically all the employes were youths.
– We over-built ourselves, just as they did in Victoria. The same thing occurred in England in 1873.
– Some protectionists admit that a free-trade policy will encourage our primary industries. But, they urge - ” W e cannot all be farmers, miners, or pastoralists ; “ therefore, we want a policy which will create a diversity of employment, and which will enable the farmer to send one son to a factory, another into the building trade, and a third into some other avenue of employment.” Whatare the actual facts? If there be one country where the rising generation ought to be able to obtain a diversity of employment it is Victoria. In this connexion let us look at the mining industry. I have in my hand a return compiled at the request of Mr. Josiah Thomas, M.H.R., by a resident of Bendigo, in the person of Cyril P. James. This gentleman took the trouble to visit 107 miners of Bendigo in order to secure the information contained in this document. He found that as regards these 107 miners the number of their sons above school age totalled 216, of whom 147 were engaged in mining. He says -
There are none, so far as I can see, engaged in industries established by protection, although there are a few here and there in foundries, one in a pottery, coachbuilding, and cobbling, but Mr. Thomas can examine the list for himself. The names were taken at random, and none were refused, because they disclosed the fact that the children were not mining.
I invite honorable senators to examine this list, in order that they may see how far a protective policy has enabled the sons of the miners of Bendigo to obtain a diversity of employment.
– That list deals with the sons of only 107 miners out of 20,000 miners.
– I am stating facts, and Senator Styles is merely making an assertion. I ask him to prove that these men have been specially selected. Mr. James states -
There are none engaged in industries established by protection, though engaged in industries enjoying duties there are ten, namely : - Foundry hands, 4 ; coachbuilder, 1 ; pottery hand, 1 ; bootmakers, 3; tinsmith, I.
– That was in a mining locality.
– Yes ; and the argument is that a protective policy creates a diversity of employment, and enables the sons of the miner to secure work in other branches of industry. We have also to remember that by a protective tariff it is possible to injure existing industries. This fact is borne out by the first paragraph in the Factories Act Inquiry Board, which was appointed by the Victorian Parliament in 1S93. That document states- -
It is alleged that one of the principal causes of the depression in the clothing trade is the large increase imposed about a year ago on the duties levied on all classes of woollen goods imported into the colony. Several witnesses asserted that these duties had seriously interfered with the clothing industry.
Paragraph 48 of the same report says -
Further evidence from the workers’ point of view is to the effect that high duties on certain classes of goods were oppressive, and one of the predominant causes of sweating. The unfortunate operatives were the chief sufferers by the high duties, because, owing to the lowness of price and keen competition, labour was the only commodity that could be reduced.
– I thought that protect ti ve duties increased the cost of articles to the consumer ?
– They did increase the price, and that is why they injured certain industies. The imposition of high duties enhanced the price of the raw materials of those industries. For example, woollen manufactures, constitute the raw material of other industries, and by levying high duties upon those goods in order to benefit the woollen manufacturers, other industries will be injured. How can our protectionist friends prevent that 1 How can they say that any particular article in its finished state does not constitute the raw material of another industry 1 That is a difficulty which they cannot overcome, and that is why a protective policy handicaps and injures production. We have only to look to Victoria to find what has been the experience of protected industries here. In this connexion I should like to read a leading article directed against the free-trade party, which appeared in the Melbourne Age of the 13th May, of the present year. But an admission is made, which I am very glad to hear, because it bears out a statement which free-traders have continually made during, the debate, but which has been denied by the protectionist party all along. Speaking of England, the article says-
Although it is admitted that in certain trades wages are better, hours shorter, and workers have more luxuries than in some protectionist countries, there is the reverse of this picture in the hapless poverty and semi-starvation that surround 25 per cent, of the working classes in the manufacturing cities of the United Kingdom.
That is a practical admission that 75 per cent, of the working classes of Great Britain enjoy shorter hours, better wages, and more luxuries than are enjoyed by similar classes in protective countries. All the charge made in the article is that 25 per cent, are in a worse position than the workers in a protective country ; and I regard this as a splendid admission from the champion protectionist journal of Australia.
– It is only said that in certain British trades workers are in a better position, not 75 per cent.
– Then where have we to place the 75 per cent. ?
– They are anywhere.
– The article claims that some of the workers are in a better position, and it is only fair to assume that these are the 75 per cent.
– No ; these may include the destitute.
– The workers of Melbourne are strong believers in the policy of protection, or, at any rate, have been so in the past.
– The great majority of the whole of the workers of Victoria are believers in protection.
– But I believe that a change is coming over the workers of the metropolis. A significant fact is that 50 per cent, of the people in the coast towns of Western Australia are Victorians, and, except in isolate instances, protectionists cannot be found amongst them. That I attribute to the fact that once Victorians get away from the influence of the Age into a country where there are not high protective duties, and find it possible to get higher wages and live better than they do in Melbourne, they realize that, after all, protective duties are not necessary.
– When there was plenty of gold in Victoria we lived without protection.
– On February 28th, 1901, the Tocsin, the labour newspaper of Melbourne, published an article, under the headings -
The unionists’ boom ; The work of the Trades Hall organizing committee ; Increased wages ; Decreased hours ; A marvellous record.
And, indeed, it was a marvellous record of organization performed by five or six energetic trades unionists of Victoria. It is a work of which they may be proud ; and they have left a record of the state in which they found labour in Victoria in 1900. Speaking of the fellmongers, they say : -
The fellmongers succeeded in securing every
One engaged in their calling (some 350). They had not been long in unionism when they held a conference with their employers, who offered to pay (is. per day foi- a 54 hours week. This.was a big concession, considering that a large number of men were working for 20s. per week, and the bulk of the men 4s. Od. per day, with a 60-hour week -
And this is worse than all the rest - - and Sunday work was rampant. The men accepted the terms, and finally, after much opposition, gained a wages board.
That is the record of the organizing committee of the Trades Hall Council.
– That is perfect fiction.
– Then it is strange it was never contradicted. At any rate, I have sufficient confidence in the members of the committee to know that they would not publish any statements in their own organ which they were not prepared to substantiate.
– Is that the official organ of the Trades Hall 1
– Yes. The committee state that they found the jammaking industry in a fearfully sweated condition. The report is -
They made a start with the jam factories’ employes, whom the)’ found in a most fearfully sweated condition. They were very shy at first, not of unionism, but of the fear that the pittance earned would be taken from them if the bosses knew they were starting a union to operate upon their wages and hours.
It is, indeed, a deplorable position for Australian workers when they are afraid to take the first step towards forming a union because their employment may betaken away from them. Speaking of the confectionery industry, which is also protected, the report states -
The organizing committee held a mass meeting of the confectioners, who were in a very low condition, and boy and girl labour was rampant. Large numbers joined, and soon the union increased to 150 members. The female workers were also induced to form a union, and 200 gave in their names. Their petition was prepared, which was rapidly signed, asking for a wages board, which was granted. In this trade the effect of unionism was very apparent. The trades unionists secured £2 os. for the same clasp of work that the non-unionists were being paid 30s. and 35s. for, the latter working 04 hours as against the union work of 48 hours.
The glass-bevellers’ industry was terribly sweated, and troubled with boy labour ; and speaking of the aerated-water and cordial-making industry, the report states -
The aerated water and cordial employes were called together, with the result that at the mass meeting 150 signed the organizing tickets. Their grievances are low pay, long hours, and excessive Sunday labour. The pay ranges from 20s. to 35s., and the hours from ten to eighteen. Several of the larger firms have been, and are, coercing their employes in the matter of the union.
As to the soap and candle makers, the report proceeds -
The soap and candle employes were called together, and after some slight hitches formed a union. They were not more than a month formed when one of the largest firms conceded the eight hours. Several others followed, and now the eight hours principle prevails throughout the trade, where previously the night and some day shifts worked 00 hours per week.
Speaking of brewery employes, the report states -
In some of the breweries the shifts were from (i a.m. to 6 p.m., and the pay from 30s. to 35s. This has been modified. The hours have been reduced to eight, and the pay raised to 35s. and t’2.
In the bone-dust industry, the rate of pay was 15s. to 20s. per week, with board, for a week of 60 hours and ‘IS hours ; but the wages board raised the pay to £2 and £2 5s. per week. There are a number of other industries of which we find an equally bad record. This shows that the protectionist policy of Victoria totally failed to provide proper hours or remunerative wages for the employes.
– That is all untrue.
– I hope Senator Zeal may be able to prove that the report is untrue. It was only when the men woke up to the benefits of trades unionism and became organized that they were able to get anything like a living wage or decent hours. It is not protection, but trades unionism, that they have to thank for the improvement of their condition. Another significant fact is provided in the immigration returns of Western Australia. Previously the Government of that State published merely the immigration from the whole of the Australian States, but recently they have begun to give quarterly returns for each State. For the quarter ending 31st March, 1901, the total arrivals from the eastern States into Western Australia were 7,879, of whom 4,260 were from Victoria, and 853 from New South Wales. This means that 60 per cent, of this total immigration was from Victoria.
– Coal-miners cannot be expected to go gold-mining.
– All these immigrants were not going gold-mining.
– Sometimes the figures are the other way about, and more people leave Western Australia than enter that State.
– But I am pointing out that these immigrants were from the protectionist State and not from the free-trade State.
– That does not prove anything against protection.
– It has been pointed out by protectionists that, since the establishment of the wages boards in 1897, labour is protected in Victoria as well as are the capitalists at the Custom-house. But in 1900, years after the wages board had been in operation, the workers of Victoria were still leaving for Western Australia in greater numbers than were the workers of New South Wales.
– That was because the Victorians had . the money wherewith to pay their passages.
– More people leave Great Britain than leave any protected State for America. The honorable senator’s statements are no argument against protection.
– The German, the Frenchman, and the Englishman are of different temperaments, but in Australia we are dealing with people of exactly the same race, and we see that 60 per cent, more immigrants left Victoria for Western Australia than left New South Wales.
– That was because Victorians are more enterprising.
– The downfall of Victoria has been greatly minimized by the action of Victorians in Western Australia. From 1S91 to 1900, a period of ten years, there was sent through the Western Australian post-office to Victoria money-orders representing £1,589,541, not counting the shillings ; whereas in the same period the money sent in a similar way to New South Wales was only £794,770. That is, nearly twice as much was sent to Victoria as to New South Wales ; and that proves, if anything, that Victorians were the bulk of the population in Western Australia.
– The money- was sent by gold miners.
– I have no need to make statements on my own authority about wages in Victoria. I have here an extract from a speech made by Mr. Samuel Mauger, member of the House of Representatives, who is the secretary of the Victorian Protectionists’ Association. I shall not follow the example of protectionist senators, who in speaking of the secretary of the Free-trade Association, described him as the “ hack “ or “ flunkey “ of the party. On lO.th November, 1896, Mr. Mauger is reported in the Age as follows :-
It was said bootmakers’ wages were only 1 os. per week ; if that was true it was due to unrestricted competition. It was the very success of protection which produced the reduced wages in the boot trade, because every journeyman operative was able to start for himself, and so increase the cut-throat competition.
– And reduced the price to the consumer.
– At. a meeting of the boot operatives, held on the Sth July, 1895,
Mr. Trenwith, a member of the Victorian Legislature, submitted a motion which began -
This meeting views with intense concern the rapid extension of the pernicious system of sweating in the bootmaking industry in Victoria.
These are statements from some of those who have fought for protection in Victoria.
– And are still fighting.
– Some are still fighting, but I notice that many of the arguments which were used in past years have been thrown overboard as unworthy. There has now been adopted what is called the new system of protection - that is, a system under which protective duties must be accompanied by wages boards. But the Commonwealth Government or Parliament have no power to establish wages boards combined with protective duties. That is an impossible policy so far as this Parliament is concerned at the present time. Although in the State Parliament we could provide for wages boards and Arbitration Acts, it is impossible for this Parliament to enact that each of these duties shall be accompanied by a wages board.
– Have we not power to provide for compulsory arbitration ?
– We have power to provide for compulsory arbitration in regard to disputes extending beyond the limits of a State, but we have no power to deal with an Arbitration Bill applying to local disputes.
– Have we power to make a Tariff for only one State 1
– No. But a protective Tariff would affect only one State - and that is Victoria - so far as the starting of industries is concerned. I desire further to support what I said just now in regard to the leaders of the working classes in Great Britain. I do not claim that John Burns, Keir Hardie, and other labour leaders, advocate free-trade as a cure for the evils under which the workers of Great Britain suffer, but 1 contend that they are sufficiently intelligent, and sufficiently interested in the condition of the workers of Great Britain, to warrant the assertion that they have studied every known means of improving the condition of the working classes. I make bold to saT that these men have spent many hours in studying the fiscal question. If they were of opinion that protection would benefit the workers of Great Britain they would be foremost amongst the advocates of that policy. Two British union secretaries - : Mr. Thorne, of the Gas Workers’ Union, and Mr. Inskip, of the Boot and Shoe Operatives’ Union - were sent as labour delegates to represent Great Britain at the Convention of the American Federation of Labour, held in Kansas City early in 1S99, and on their return they made these statements -
Mr. Thorne. As a working man I would not choose the United States as a home.
Mr. Inskip comes to the same conclusion. Speaking with deference of his American brethren, he is nevertheless of opinion that “ the workers in England are better off than the workmen in the United States, for, while the latter may earn more in actual cash, the purchasing capacity of their wages for the necessaries of life is less by comparison than the wages paid in England.”
– The statement is utterly absurd.
– There is no protective Tariff in Great Britain under which meat rings may be formed.
– What has a protective Tariff to do with the formation of meat rings ?
– They have no protective Tariff in Great Britain to shut out meat from other countries ; but the meat rings in America are protected by fiscal barriers which enable them to charge higher prices to the workmen of the United States. Here is a quotation from the Age of 6th December, 1S94 -
Mr. John Burns, M.P., said . . that his observations in New York had shown him that the houses in Whitechapel itself - the poorest quarter in London - were clean, wholesome, and luxurious compared with the horrible tenements in which lived the workers of the chief city of the United States.
That quotation has already been given during the debate, but I have again put itbefore the Senate, for the reason that when it was read on a former occasion some honorable senator said that John Burns was only in America for five minutes. That was a direct insult to the intelligence of John Burns, because he is not the man to form hasty conclusions. He is so levelheaded, and he feels so strongly his responsibility as a leader of the working classes of Great Britain that he would not make any hasty statement. I guarantee that when he made the statement to which I have just referred he was satisfied that he had .good justification for it.
– He was in the United States of America on several occasions.
– I believe that he was. The Sydney Worker, of February, 1895, stated -
Keir Hardie, the English labour leader, makes a vigorous protest against the term used in America (and in Victoria as well), “English pauper labour.” “English labour to-day,” said he recently to an official of the American federation of labour, “ is not nearly so pauperised as is the labour of America.”
These are statements hy labour leaders in Great Britain.
– How does the honorable senator explain the continual rush of labour from Great Britain to America ?
– I explain it in this way : The United States of America is a new country and new areas are continually being opened up. It is an accepted fact that in a new country there is greater opportunity for a man to make what is called “ a rise” ; and it is this which causes so many to go to America. It was the possibility of making a “ rise “ which caused the protected workers of Victoria to go to Western Australia. They were told of “ So-and-So “ who went to Coolgardie and came back “ worth thousands,” and they heard of somebody else who went to Perth, purchased building land and also caine back to Victoria “ worth hundreds.” Men desire to follow such examples.
– Yet the honorable senator says that the workers of the United States of America are worse off than are those of Great Britain.
– I say that English labour leaders have stated that in the manufacturing districts of the United States which they visited, they found that the workers were worse off than were those of Great Britain.
– Bryce in The American Commonwealth says exactly the opposite.
– The statement has been made during the debate that there is one labour journal in Great Britain - Reynolds’ Newspaper - which supports protection. I should be very surprised if that were the case. Here is an article from that journal referring to the “ thin small voice of protection “ - “ But,” says the protectionist, “ we don’t want to tax the British workman ; we propose the taxing of the foreigner.” That is their first piece of humbug. How many times is it necessary to prove that a tax on competing imports is not paid by the foreign manufacturer or wheat-grower at all ? Suppose that £100 is the price of a certain amount of any commodity that is produced cheaper abroad - let it be silk, tin, wheat, books, toys, meat, or any other competing import. Assume, further, that the same class and quality of commodity cannot be sold at a profit by an English producer at less than £.1 .10. Our protectionist foes will advise a tax of .11 per cent. Then, of course, no one will buy from the foreigner. No one will pay him £111, when he can buy from an Englishman at £110. What is the result ? Instead of the cost being £100, it is £110, and £10 comes out of some one’s pocket. Is it possible that any one can believe that the foreigner pays that £10? The £10 is obviously paid by the purchaser. If the purchaser is himself the consumer he is £.10 the poorer. If he buys to sell again, then the people at large - the ultimate consumers - pay the £10.
Then the writer goes on to say that -
The next error of the advocates of protection is the doctrine that we lose our wealth, our capital, our resources, by buying foreign goods. We are supposed to believe that our gold and silver is departing from the country. The facts, however, prove that our stock of precious metals and our bonds have been increasing during the period of the enormous development of our imports. Then we know from this that we have not paid cash at all for the goods. We have paid in kind. In other words, we have exported things that we can make cheaply in exchange for the cheap products from abroad.
Further on he says -
The one thing that is fatal to protection is the simple fact that if you begin it, you must go on with it. When you have taxed imported silk you will have to tax imported worsteds and so on. Thus, every workman and every workman’s wife would soon feel the fearful hardships of a shrinkage in the purchasing power of the weekly wages.
These are statements made in Reynolds’ Newspaper, one of the leading labour journals in Great Britain.
– Yet we have been told that it is a protectionist paper.
– Who said that it was a protectionist paper 1
– I do not know, but I understand that that statement has been made during the debate. On the question of labour I desire again to quote the Age.
– The honorable senator could not do better. If he follows the Age he will be all right.
– I cannot do better? The Age of the 21st of January last made the following statement in an article -
Facts as they exist around us might teach the free-trader that it is not necessary to sweat and debase labour in order to produce cheaply. The
American, who leads the world’s production from the factory and the farm alike, does not sweat the workman. Yet his cheapness is proverbial, for he under-stells the nations in their own markets.
I do not know how that tallies with the proposition that it is the cheap labour countries which we have to fear in competition. The article continues - The recent debates in the German Reichstag are full of this recognition. The German realizes that America wins by virtue of her superior methods. The manager of a tool shop in Berlin says that, apart from differences of wages, the American can turn out his product 2d per cent, more cheaply than the German. This is not because the A American workman toils longer hours than does his European brother. The difference arises mostly from the superior adaptability of the American, his readiness to use newer laboursaving processes, and his ability to get the best result from the machine which he is tending. It is due in part also to the superior efficiency of the American shop, the economy of arrangement by which handling of the article in the various processes of manufacture is reduced to a minimum, all delays are eliminated, and every one is kept constantly employed. It is upon these things, and not in cutting the workman down to a starvation state of living that the American relies for maintaining his supremacy.
Yet the same journal will tell us that the demand for protection is made only on the ground that it is the cheap sweated labour of other countries which is going to undersell our higher paid labour in Australia.
– I thought that the workers of the United States were worse off than those in the old country.
– I know that the honorable senator said that the workers of England had to pay more for their food than did the workers on the continent of Europe.
– No; I said that Mulhall makes that statement.
– Then I shall dispute the point with Mulhall. The figures quoted by Senator De Largie were for the year 1 895. I have a more recent statement on the point -
Dr. Montfet, a prominent physician of Paris, attributes the greater prevalence of phthisis in France than in Great Britain, to the underfeeding of French workmen, and publishes the following comparison of food prices (re-published in Daily Telegraph, London, in December, 1901) : -
– There is the octroi - a municipal toll - in Paris.
– I presume that that is another protectionist invention 1
– No; it is practically a revenue duty imposed for the purpose of raising money to keep the streets in order.
– It is the protection of country against the town.
– Not by any means.
– I shall have to ask my honorable friends of the protectionist party to allow, me >to continue. Here are some additional prices -
– Is there a protectiveduty on tea in France 1
– I cannot say, but the list I have given shows the prices of ‘ various articles in London and in Paris, j am not asserting that protection has made*the prices of these articles higher in Paris-. than they are in London. In referring tothis quotation, I am only combating the statement that it costs the working man in England more for his living requirements than the worker in France has to pay. I am proving by these figures that the working man of England can purchase these goods for practically one-half the price at which they are obtainable by the working man in France, and that a French doctor mentions the under-feeding of the working men of Paris as one of the causes of the - extent of phthisis there.
– That authority isnot worth the paper it is written on as. against Mulhall.
– I believe that, afterall, one of the best tests of the condition of the workmen in any country will be found in the answers which are given to the questions - “ What progress are they making in social reform ? Is their condition becoming better - is it stationary, or is it becoming worse ? “
– -It is becoming better here, because they have wages boards in this protectionist State.
– The honorable senator did not take the trouble to show us how it was becoming better, and the extracts I have read show the leakage of population which is going on from this State, and that people are still leaving Victoria at the rate of 5,000 per annum for Western Australia, while only 800 per annum are leaving New South Wales, where they have no wages boards. That does not appear to me to prove that the condition of things here is all right.
– - Is the honorable senator opposed to wages boards 1
– No ; I am strongly in favour of them ; but we can have them in a free-trade country as well as in a protectionist country.
– Then why do they not have them ?
– They do have them. They have an Arbitration Court in New South Wales, and in New Zealand at the present time; and if the labour party in New South Wales had been strong enough, they would have had Arbitration Courts in that State as soon as they entered Parliament.
– They have been established by protectionist Governments, at any rate.
– I have here a statement showing the comparative progress in social reform amongst the workers of Great Britain as compared with the workers of’ continental countries. First of all let us consider the number of men who are to be found in trades unions in the different countries. I have been associated with trades unions for a long time, and for most of that time as the secretary of a union, or as a member taking a leading part. I have always found that whenever there is depression, bad times and bad conditions existing, men are most dubious about joining unions. Just at the time they ought to join they are most backward iri joining. Why is that ? It is because they wish to be in a position to undercut their fellow men, and because they are afraid of their employers. If I can show that in Great Britain trades unionism and social reform are making greater strides than in continential countries it will, prove that the workers of Great Britain are in a more independent position, and less afraid of their employers, and have advanced further along the pathway of social reform.
– That does not follow at all.
– I have here a comparative statement of the number of trades unionists in the various countries of the world, and if the people of America were as advanced in social reform as are the people of other countries, America, with her population of nearly 80,000,000, should head the list. But she does not. I find that Great Britain has 2,000,000 of trades unionists ; the United States of America, 1,603,000.
– With double the population.
-Yes, with double the population. Germany has 1,000,000 trades unionists, and France, with a population about equal to that of Great Britain, has only 600,000. Austria has 160,000, and so on down to Switzerland, with 12,000. Those are the numbers of. trades unionists in the different countries, of men with sufficient independence of spirit, sufficiently independent of their employers, and with backbone enough to band, with their fellow workmen to secure better conditions.
– Does not the honorable senator think that nationality has something to do with that?
– Senator Styles has asked me whether nationality has not something to do with that ; but Senator Playford, by interjection, has pointed out that - Great Britain has practically populated the United States, and if that be so, and nationality has something to do with it, the United States should be just as far advanced in trades unionism as Great Britain, and should have something like 4,000,000 of- trades unionists, instead of 1,603,000.
– They do not need trades unions there.
– I think I shall show the honorable senator before I’ have done that they need them very badly in the United States. From the Board qf Trade Journal and Labour Gazette of January, 1902,. dealing with changes of wages in England, I find that the net effect of all changes in 1901 was a fall of ls. 9d. per head, affecting 901,820 work-people, and involving a total sum of £78,516. This was for a year following a year of unusual industrial activity, and the decline was con fined entirely to mining and metal trades, but for the year 1900, 1,135,786 workpeople received an increase averaging 3s. 8^-d. per head, as the result of all changes in wages for that year. But if we compare 1896 with 1901 in the mining districts of England and Scotland, we find a net percentage of increase on the standard of 1896, ranging from 25 per cent. in Durham, to 56 per cent. in South Wales and Monmouthshire. That is a remarkable increase in so short a space of time. In the iron and steel trades in 1900 the total increase of wages over the standard of 1895 amounted to £33,420, or 8s. 4d. per head of those affected. In 1901, two-thirds of this increase was lost, but the total result is a substantial increase for the period indicated. Changes affecting 13,676 work-people were effected after strikes, and changes affecting888,144 without a strike. Taking a period of nine years - 1893 to 1901 inclusive - a gross gain in wages is shown to the extent of 9s. 2½d. per head, and a gross loss of 4s. 5d. per head, or a nett gain for all trades during that period of 4s. 9½d. per head. I have some information also with respect to changes in hours of labour, and I contend that any movement which reduces the hours of labour of workmen is of even greater benefit to them than a movement which increases their wages, because the mere increase of wages will not always improve the moral well-being of the worker, while a decrease of the hours of labour has a wonderful effect upon his moral well-being, as it secures for him better health and more time for study and recreation.
– They have got the eight hours system in the old country, then?
– They have the eight hours system in many trades; they have it in the Woolwich arsenal.
– That is the worst of a man talking of a country he knows nothing about.
– I know something about the building trade at all events. I was secretary of the Amalgamated Carpenters’ and Joiners’ Society, and we got periodical reports from the societies in Great Britain. I make the statement that the carpenters and joiners of London have the advantage ofthe eight hours system to-day, and the Woolwich arsenal is also conducted upon the eight hours principle.
– That is a Government establishment.
– I know if is ; but it makes no difference whether it is a Government or a private concern. I have quoted one of each, and still the honorable senator is not satisfied. On this question of the changes in the hours of labour, I find that in 1901 the number of people reported as having their hours of labour decreased was the smallest of any year since 1895. The total number was 24,759, of whom 24,176 had their hours decreased by 219 hours per week, while 573 had their hours increased by 1 69 hour per week, or a nett decrease of 2 09 hours. I again point out that this was in the year which followed a year of unusual industrial activity, and when we might have expected there would have been some reaction. There was, however, in that year, a nett increase in wages of 4s. 9½d. per head, and a decrease in the hours of labour of 209 hours per’ week. Taking the period since 1893, I find there has been a steady, but sure, reduction of hours, ranging from 1896, when 108,271 persons had a reduction of 076 hours per week, or a total reduction of 78,533 hours, to 1900, when 57,726 persons obtained a reduction of 412 hours per week, or a total reduction of 238,043 hours.
– They were a long while over it,for they had free-trade for 50 years.
– I point out to the honorable senator that I have taken the period from 1893 to 1901. I point out that this is a gradual movement, and that it is still going on. And this during a period when people tell us that free-trade is failing in England, and a period most crucial in the effects upon industry, if we are to believe them- - followinga period when, according to them, England was the workshop of the world. The changes in hours during 1900 were brought about as follows : - 1 1 per cent. by stoppage of , work; 2 per cent. by arbitration ; 1 per cent. by a conciliation board, and the remainder, involving 11,413 persons, without a strike, and by direct negotiation. Every person who has watched labour movements will admit that it is most easy to win a strike when the labour market is not glutted ; when the workers have a fair reserve capital behind them, and where there is not much poverty. On the other hand it is most difficult to win a strike, when the workers are sweated, are unemployed, poor, and oppressed. If the workers of Great Britain are poorer, and if they have less savings, as has been stated, than their continental brethren, they should lose more strikes than their continental brethren. But I find that it is not so.
– The honorable senator has not told us to what extent the hours were reduced ; whether, for instance, the reduction was from 75 or from 73 hours per week.
– I have not shown that, but the honorable senator can find that out for himself. He will find, if he investigates the subject, that the English workman works fewer hours than does the continental workman, and I remind the honorable senator that when the engineers of Great Britain went out on strike in support of the eight hours principle the principal argument uSed against them by their employers was that the engineers on the continent were working twelve hours per day.
– Ten hours, not twelve.
– On this question of strikes, I find that in 1900 there were 438 strikes in England - 268 were for an advance in wages ; 46 against a reduction of wages; 124 upon other wage questions. I shall give honorable senators presently the result qf those strikes, but I wish first of all to deal with new organizations. I find that the total number of new trade organizations registered in 1901’ was 9C1, an increase of 130 on the year 1900.
– Can the honorable senator give the aggregate membership of those organizations ?
– I have not got those figures. I have here a statement as regards employment, from which I find that in December, 1901, 4.6 per cent, of trades union members were unemployed in England ; and in November, 1900, 3’Sper cent.: and in December, 1900, 4 per cent. I again remind honorable senators that 1901 was a year following the year of greatest activity in the United Kingdom. In France, in December, 1901, the trades union returns show 10 per cent, unemployed for the same period as 4’6 per cent, in England ; and in November, 1901, 10’7 per cent., a slight increase. In Germany they do not compile the statistics in the same way, but they are still compiled in a manner which gives a good indication of the state of the labour market. I find that in Germany the average number of applications for employment for 100 situations was 240-6 in December, 1901. That is to say, that for every 100 persons advertised for, I presume through Government offices, there were 240 applicants.
– That means of all classes in the community. The other comparison the honorable senator made was with respect to trade unionists only.
– Certainly, that is so, but as I have said, I do not endeavour to make any comparison between the United Kingdom and Germany, for the reason that their figures are not compiled upon the same basis, but I do make a comparison between the free-trade United Kingdom and protectionist France, and free-trade England showed 4-6 per cent, of trade unionists unemployed, while protectionist France showed 10 per cent, unemployed. Let us look at the United States - that country where the employment is so permanent, and where Senator Stewart interjects that they do not need trade unions. According to the Labour Bureau statistics in 1897 New York state had 976 trade unions with 151,206 members, of whom 18 per. cent, were idle in June. In the protected textile industry 38 per cent. of the employes were idle, and of the glassworkers, another protected industry, 34 per cent, were idle. In Connecticut, in November, 1898, 12 percent, of the trades unionists were unemployed. Ohio registered 26,457 unemployed. The state bureau at Rhode Island in 1898 reported that out of 253,485 persons of a working age 11,561 were unemployed. Now we come to the results of trade disputes, and the figures I am about to quote are taken from the British Board of Trade returns, published as the second abstract of foreign labour statistics. Taking the figures ‘for Germany, for the period from 1892 to 1898- compiled by the official trade union organ - I find that the most favourable year for employes was 1896. Of the strikes in that year the employes won 48 per cent., the employers won 21 per cent., and 25 percent, were compromised. In 1894, which was an unfavourable year for the employes, they won 27 per cent., the employers won 38 per cent., 2S per cent, were compromised, and 5 per cent, were unfinished. Of the trade disputes in the United States from 1881 to six months of 1S94, 32 per cent, were won by the work people ; 55 per cent, were settled in favour of the employers ; and 1 2 per cent, were compromised. Of the trade disputes in France in 1890, the employers won 63 per cent.; the employes won only 11 per cent., and 23 per- cent, were compromised. In 1891 the employers won 29 per cent. ; the employes won 20 per cent., and 49 per cent, were compromised. The most unfavorable year for the employes between 1890 and 1899 was 1894, when they won 23 per cent., and the employers won 30 per cent., and 45 per cent, were compromised. These figures show that, at any rate, the workers of the United Kingdom have more than held their own as compared with the workers of European countries, that there has been a gradual and constant decrease of wages, and a gradual and continual reduction of hours of work, and that their position has been steadily but continually improving. In face of these facts it is idle to say that it is impossible to improve the condition of the workers under free- trade. What trades unionism has done in Great Britain it can do in Australia, and what the wages boards have done in protected Victoria, they could do in Australia, if it were a free-trade country. Regarding the question of pauperism, some comparisons have been made, which, on the face of them, appear to be unfavorable to Great Britain, but honorable senators who made those statements know very well that there is no country in the world which has such an efficient poor law, and such an efficient administration, which has the same facilities for keeping in touch with the poor, and preserving a record of all the assistance given to them, as has Great Britain. This is an extract from the Graphic of 19th October last -
The annual report of the Local Government Board can hardly be described as light reading, but it contains information which should lighten tho heart even of the most pessimistic person. . The report shows that in the last complete year the average pauperism in England and Wales was lower in proportion to the population than over it had been before. In the year 1849, which was the year of the repeal of the navigation laws, and may therefore fairly be described as the last year of the protectionist regime in England, the estimated number of paupers per thousand of the population was 02 7. The actual number was greater than this, because many parts of the country then made no returns. In the year ending Lady Day, moi, the corresponding number was 24 -3. What this enormous reduction means can best be seen from the further statement of the report, that if the rate of pauperism had been the same in 1901 as in .1849 the number of paupers now chargeable upon the rates would have been 2,012,809, instead of 781,298. Even these figures, however, do not tell the whole tale, for in the earlier period a very large proportion of the total number of paupers was made up of ablebodied men who were tumble to find work. Today the able-bodied paupers form a comparatively small percentage of the total number. It is the old people, feeble in body and feeble in mind, who now .fill the institutions - miscalled “workhouses” - where they receive comforts and attention that they could not secure for themselves, except at an altogether disproportionate cost, even if they had the means. The actual figures of the decline in able-bodied pauperism are even worth giving. In 1849 the average of ablebodied paupers was 13-2 per 1,000 of the population, as compared with 2’S per 1,000 in the present year. Such figures as these are eloquent testimony to the remarkable growth in the wageearning capacity of the working classes ; and, although there is plenty of room for improvement, we, at any rate, have the encouraging assurance that the great mass of the population has now reached a condition of comfort and prosperity higher than was ever known before.
That shows that pauperism in England has been decreasing, but it cannot be compared with the pauperism in the United States, because there is no efficient registration of pauper statistics in that country. There is no poor law. The relief of pauperism is left entirely to private charity, and no statistics are kept. But, as I have been asked to give some particulars, I shall quote a comparative statement of the density of population in London and New York, which has some bearing on this subject, “because we know that where population is densest there paupers congregate. It is taken from a book entitled, Mow the Other Half Lives, by Jacob Riis. In the Tenth Ward of New York in . 1S90, he says, there were 334,080 persons per square mile, and the densest crowding of old London never exceeded 175,000 persons per square mile. That is to say, people are crowded in New York to nearly double the extent that they are in London. A description of the American worker is given by Paul de Rousiers in his American Life - a most instructive volume, written by one who made the subject almost a life-study, and translated by A. J. Herbertson. Speaking of the condition of the workers, he says, ‘ at page 206 -
In the large towns of the east, numbers of the destitute fall to the care of public charity, and in Boston and Kew York especially the misery is as great as in London or in Paris. In Philadelphia, which is decidedly the most prosperous of American manufacturing cities, the total number of paupers and criminals is one-half per cent, of the population, whilst in Massachusetts, during the disastrous winter of 1870 and 1877, one person in nineteen was receiving aid. With all his high aspirations, the worker in the east is often as badly housed as those of London or Paris.
Speaking of the tenements of New York, he says -
Sometimes they not only lodge the worker, but ure also dressmaker workshops, cigar factories, &c, in which unhappy creatures, usually women, work by the piece for the merchants of the city. You can see women working in small rooms of 100 square feet, badly lighted and ventilated, working fifteen or sixteen hours per day to earn 60 cents a day. The wages are the lowest possible, and the unhealthiness of the work-rooms deplorable.
Speaking of protection, he says -
It is openly opposed by the western farmers, a large section of the workers, and many traders.
I defy any honorable senator to read anything that has been published as to the pauperism of London which will in any way compare with the account of the pauperism of New York that is given by Mr. Pais in his book, How the Other Half Lives. He says that the destitution and misery and sweating are frightful. He gives a vivid description of life in the tenements, describing in particular one containing 35 families in Essexstreet. Two small rooms hold a family of father and mother, twelve children, and six boarders. He says the diseases these people suffer from are caused by want of suitable food and pure air. Sweating is carried on in these tenements. Children work as soon as they are old enough to draw a thread. Men and women work far into the night. Factory hands work at the factories all day, and then take work home to do at night in order to increase their scanty earnings. He describes a Sunday in a sweater’s den. He found five men, one woman, two girls, and a boy hard at work in one small room, and says that work was going on throughout the tenement. He states that his experience convinced him that hundreds of men and women are every day starving to death in these tenements. There are 32,390 such buildings in New York, and in one quarter 13,220 of them contain nearly 500,000 inhabitants, In New York 17,000 persons annually were registered as paupers. One out of every ten that died was buried as a pauper. It might be said that this took place in the early days of New York, but he is speaking of the year 1889, and, moreover, he points out that as the population increases the state of things grows worse. The population of New York city was 1,206,299 in 1880, and 1,575,073 in 1889. In 1870, 468,492 persons lived in tenements, and 1,093,701 in 1888. Dealing with the number of persons living in a dwelling, which is a sure test of the pauperism of a city, he says that in 1880 there were 16-37 persons to a dwelling in New York, compared with 7 -9 persons in London ; that the death rate was 26-47 in New York in 1880, as against 21-3 in London in 1881 ; while in 1889 it was 25-19 in New York, as against 17-4 in London. That is the legacy which industry has’ left in America. It shows, at any rate, that protection alone is not going to benefit the position of the workers, that something more drastic than that is required. We are told that whilst this may be so, the effect of protection is to increase production. Senator Glassey quoted Drifting to prove that the production of Great Britain was declining, whilst that of protectionist countries was increasing. I would ask, however, whether it is fair to institute a comparison in this respect between Great Britain and the United States t Let us look at some of the resources of the United States. The coal measures of Pittsburg extend uninterruptedly, with a varying thickness of from one to three yards, across a territory 226 miles long and 100 miles broad, and the deposits are especially easy to work. There is nothing in the United Kingdom that can compare with this, and this vast deposit of coal in itself gives the United States an immense advantage in manufacturing enterprises. Then again, Pittsburg also possesses natural gas which is conserved in the earth and is used for manufacturing purposes. It only needs to be tapped to be at once ready for use. Nothing of this kind exists in the United Kingdom, and thus the United States possesses an immense advantage which was not conferred by protection, but by the Creator. The Westinghouse Company alone distribute 400,000,000 cubic feet per day of this gas, which is used ‘for driving machinery in connexion with all sorts of manufacturing concerns. Is it any wonder that a country with such vast natural resources available at such small cost should become a great manufacturing centre? The known coal-fields of the’ United Kingdom have an area of only 9,000 miles. The total area of the United States is 3,603,884 square miles, and the area of Europe, exclusive of the United Kingdom, is 3,600,000 square miles. Therefore, the United States is equal in extent and natural resources, not to Great
Britain, but to the whole of Europe, and the products of that country should be compared, not with those of Great - Britain, but with . the whole of Europe. Again, America has immense rivers which afford her means of conveying her raw and manufactured products from place to place at very low cost. I venture to say that the cost of railway transit from some of the inland factories of Great Britain to the coast is greater than the charge of conveying goods on these river steamers from the interior of the United States to the ocean. Water haulage is the cheapest of . all, and the facilities America enjoys in connexion with her vast waterways in themselves give the United States a great advantage in her industrial operations.
– Her huge water-power is also an important element.
– - Quite so. I admit that for the reasons I have stated it is also somewhat unfair to compare Victoria with New South Wales. 1 would point out, however, that the larger area, unless it is combined with corresponding natural resources, does not confer any special advantage. The only reason why the greater area of the United States places her in a better position than Great Britain is that her larger territory abounds with vast natural resources. In New South Wales, however, a large portion of the interior is barren and of comparatively small value.
– But New South Wales has twice as much good land as Victoria has.
– I should not be prepared to admit that. There is something else also to be taken into account. What has given such an impetus to Western Australia but the discovery of gold ? There is nothing like a large gold production to attract capital to any country, and the goldfields of Western Australia are having that effect. What are the respective positions of Victoria and New South Wales in regard to gold production ? The gold produced in New South Wales up to the end of 1900 was valued at £48,730,533, whereas in Victoria it amounted to the huge sum of £257,376,448. The gold-fields of Victoria gave a great start to Victorian industry. They were the loadstone that attracted population and capital to Victoria in the early days, and they may be fairly set off against the large territory of New South Wales. I propose to make one comparison only between these States. In 1891 the population of New South Wales was 1,121,860, and in 1899 it had increased to 1,356,650. The population of Victoria in 1S91 was 1,133,266, and in 1900 1,180,807.
– We were told that those figures were not right.
– I am giving the figures according to Coghlan, and I cannot undertake to check them. AVe see from these figures that New South Wales has gone on steadily increasing her population under free - trade, and that in eight years she overtook Victoria, notwithstanding the advantages which were supposed to flow from the protectionist policy in that State. The number of males between the ages of 20 and 60 in New South Wales in 1899 was 309,531, whereas Victoria had 297,839, or 11,692 less. This is a fair test of a nation’s prosperity. The females in New South Wales numbered 231,302, and in Victoria 260,752. Therefore Victoria had an excess of females ‘ over New South Wales of 29,450. This proves that thewageearners of Victoria had to leave thatState and look for employment, leaving their female relatives behind them, whereasthe wage-earners in New South Wales wereable to remain there and earn sufficient to keep those dependent upon them. In a summary of the bread-winners of New South Wales and Victoria, given by Coghlan., it is shown that in 1899 New South Wales had 128,206 primary producers, as compared with 123,996 in Victoria. Of distributors - middlemen, who live on the primary producers - New South Wales had 85,506, and Victoria 98,472. There were thus 5,202 primary producers in New South Wales in . excess of the number in Victoria, and there were 12,966 less distributors - parasites, as they are sometimes called.
– That showed that Victoria was fatter.
– I have yet to learn that it is the fat animal that carries the greater number of parasites. It is generally supposed that unhealthy animals are more affected in that way. The imports of New South Wales in 1898 amounted to £18 6s. 5d. per head, whilst those of Victoria represented only £14 5s. lid. per head. The protectionists tell us that we need not trouble about imports, but that the export? are the true test of a nation’s prosperity and that the aim of protection is to increase exports. Therefore, if there is anything in that argument, the exports from Victoria should be of higher value than those of New South Wales. We find, however, that in 1S98 the exports from New South Wales represented a value of £20 14s. 3d. per head, whilst those from Victoria were valued at only £13 10s. 7 1/2d. per head. Thus, the protectionist policy in Victoria has failed to realize one of the great fundamental requirements. I was very much struck with an article published in the Contemporary Review as to the present position of Germany, the country which we are told is going to wiDe out Great Britain in th race for industrial supremacy. I was so much impressed, with this article that I desired to read it a second time, but strange to say it disappeared from the Parliamentary Library, and I had to resort to the Public Library in order to find it. Perhaps it was part of the protectionist policy to remove the book, because it contained the most damaging statements as to the effect of protection in Germany. In this article on the industrial crisis in Germany, the author, Mr. H. M. Hodgson, after describing the feverish activity in German industrial life since 1871, says that the Paris Exhibition of 1900 witnessed the climax of Germany’s industrial glory. He prefaces his remarks on the depression now existing there with the comment - “Life at high pressure is as unhealthy for the nation as for the. individual.” He points out that the extraordinary confidence of previous years has been succeeded hy an allpervading sense of mistrust and fear. The Germans attributed their condition to all sorts of outside influences, such as the South African war, for instance, but he points out that Great Britain, which had to bear the full force of that storm, had weathered it successfully. The writer says that one of the first causes of the depression is overproduction, and he points out that the syndicates of Germany contained all the inherent vices of the United States trusts, and did much to accentuate the depression, instancing the coal, coke, and iron syndicates forcing up the prices of the raw material of the manufacturers. The inference is that a protective policy enhanced prices in these particular lines, and that this reacted upon manufacturing industries by forcing up the price of raw material, thus accentuating the depression from which Germany is suffering. He further shows that the building trade was the first to feel the effects of the depression. Precisely the same thing that is happening in Germany occurred in Victoria. He estimates the number of unemployed in Germany at the present time at 500,000, and says -
Four per cent, of the adult male workers are dependent upon various forms of charitable relief. In the large cities from 7 to 10 per cent, of the workers are unemployed, whilst the. mining districts are also suffering severely. Of the rest of the workers large numbers have had to submit to heavy reductions in their wages. The difficulties of the German economic world have indeed been “ made in Germany.”
Thus the phrase which has so often been used as an argument against free-trade has at last come home to roost. The writer continues - ‘
The recovery of Germany will be a longer process. A large deficit has been anticipated in the Imperial Budget for 1902-3, which will have to be met with a loan. It is estimated that the duties on agricultural products impose a burden of £35,500,000 on the industrial community, while the new duties will add another £30,000,000 to that total. Whatever may be our views on freetrade and protection, the fact remains that the G ermans have largely discounted protection.
In conclusion, he expresses his conviction that the “old firm,” meaning Great Britain, is the healthier of the two. That is the opinion of a man who has evidently not committed himself upon the question of free-trade or protection, because the last statement is a very guarded one, although, from an impartial stand-point, it condemns the industrial system of Germany. I wish now to deal with the alleged growth of protectionist sentiment in England, which has caused so much jubilation in protectionist ranks in Victoria. We have been told that Great Britain is becoming a protectionist country. There are, however, some remarkable instances which do not seem to bear out that suggestion. Fm example, there was an election held on Saturday last, the result of which is reported in the Melbourne Herald of 13th of May. That journal states -
In connexion with the election on Saturday to fill the vacancy in the House of Commons for Bury, Lancashire, caused by the resignation of Mr. James Kenyon, and which resulted in a victory for Mr. Toulinin (liberal) over Mr. H. Lawson (unionist), it is notable that the campaign was fought on the Budget issue.
It must be remembered, too, that the previous holder of the seat was a liberal unionist, and therefore it was not merely a question of defeating him, but of defeating him upon the Budget issue. ‘ But I intend to cany the war into the enemy’s camp by asserting that there are not wanting signs that America intends to adopt a policy of free-trade. In support of m)’ contention I find in the Argus of to-day the following statement taken from the Speaker of the 5 th of April : -
Whatever may be the general trend ot American opinion, there is no doubt that New England is being rapidly converted to free-trade. A fortnight ago the Nets York Times published an interesting special from Boston containing the views of many representative manufacturers apropos of the announcement that the Senate’s committee on foreign relations has decided to take up the question of .reciprocity treaties. One director of a huge- manufacturing corporation said - “Under the existing Tariff’ system
Kew England is rapidly lapsing into dependence upon two sources of income without which it would speedily become the poorest section of the United States. These are literature and summer boarders. Our manufacturing industries are heavily handicapped. We are exporting of course, but in many lines this is impossible by reason of the fact that our raw materials cost us more than they do the manufacturers of other sections, i.e., of other parts of the United States of America. The industries of New England are going west in pursuit of cheap raw material. Hence the need of a broader and more liberal commercial policy, which will give the manufacturers free and cheap raw materials - wood, leather, coal, and pig-iron.”
These statements coming from America indicate pretty clearly, not that Great Britain- intends reverting to a protective policy, but that the United States will probably adopt a free-trade policy. In the Fortnightly Review of March last there is an article by J”. A. Hobson upon this very subject. It is entitled - “The approaching abandonment- of free-trade in England.” But although the writer seems to think that the old country will abandon that policy, I should like to analyse some of his statements, which I specially commend to my friends of the labour party. He says -
The rank and file of the conservatives, predominant in wealth and influence to a degree unpre cedented in our history, is almost to a man protectionist. Amongst its leaders, one only retains the reputation of being a convinced free-trader.
America, by the way, has internal freetrade over an area as vast as Europe, whilst Germany’s prosperity dates from the adoption of her inter-state Zollverein. The writer continues -
Iu the case of both nations, it is true a tone of exaggerated alarm inducing a natural reaction has been used ; showy results based on rapidly mounting figures of infant growth have been exposed, and more sober-minded critics have proved that German progress has been neither so general nor so solid as was represented, while England amid all the competition, has been making satisfactory advance in the volume and value of her trade.
Then he shows that the export trade of the United States for 1900 represented £88,281,000, whilst that of Great Britain for the same period aggregated £232,000,000. He cites these figures to show that too much has been made of the progress of Germany. What has Senator Best, who quoted the exports of the two countries, to say in reply to these figures 1
– Senator Best quoted only the manufacturing exports.
– Summing up the position, the writer says -
There are two modes of remedy. One consists in a radical reform of the land system which shall bring capital, brains, and science, into agriculture ; the other is shorter, simpler, and far more plausible, protection on agricultural produce.
He refers to the movement from the soil which has now centered 79 per cent, of the population in the towns, and looks to protection to reverse that, despite American and Australian experience to the contrary That is the opinion of a man who is advocating protection for Great Britain. Yet he admits that he can bring no figures to prove that protection is anything more than a “simple and plausible” remedy for the existing state of affairs. On the other hand, he declares that her land system is responsible for her bad position in the industrial world. Of course, we are told that we have to face the coloured-labour question. It is said that we shall have to compete with the cheap labour of Japan and China. Senator Styles told us that Japan turned out 200,000 gross of matches in one year.
– I said £500,000 worth.
– - -We are continually hearing that we have to face the cheap labour of Japan, and that unless we impose high protective duties we shall be swamped with the manufactures of that country. I want to be perfectly convinced that I am upon the right side. If it could be shown that under a revenue Tariff the cheap products of Japan would find their way into the Commonwealth, and make life impossible for the Australian workman unless he comes down to the level of the Japanese, I should say - ‘‘By all means let us shut out Japanese goods.” But I am not satisfied that a revenue Tariff will produce any such result. In this connexion I wish to give the position of coloured labour as compared with the white labour .of other countries. In 1898 the percentage of total imports into the Commonwealth was as follows : - From the United Kingdom 34.76 per cent., from the various Australian states and New Zealand 49’87 per cent., and from other countries 15-37 per cent. Therefore, compared with the inter-State trade, the trade with coloured and cheap labour countries aggregated only 15 per cent, of our .total imports. In 1900 the percentage of our imports from various countries was as follows: - United Kingdom, 36-63 per cent., inter-State 49-98 per cent., and other countries 20-39 per cent. These are the figures for the whole of the Commonwealth. I have also statistics showing how much of the products of coloured labour, as compared with the products of white labour, enter Australia. From the Statistical Register for February, 1902, I find that the total imports into Western Australia during 1900 represented a value of £5,962,174, of which £2,225,746 worth came from the United Kingdom, or about 50 per cent., whilst £2,743,502 worth came from the other Australian States, £279,593 from British possessions, and £713,337 from all other foreign countries. That was the result under a Tariff which we protect equally against Victoria, and China and Japan. “‘Senator Sir Josiah Symon. - What was the £713,337 made up of?
– Tea, coffee, and similar articles ; probably there was scarcely a manufactured article included. Further, this £713,337 included all foreign countries, but of that total only £276,337 came from coloured-labour countries. If there was anything in the coloured-labour bogy, surely we ought to expect an increasing trade from coloured-labour countries ? That there is not an increasing trade cannot be due to want of communication. There is a regular fortnightly service between Western Australia and Singapore, besides sailing vessels which trade continually to Hong Kong, with occasional vessels to Japan. If there was any demand, those cheap-labour countries would be able to import largely and compete in the market against our own workmen. Of the total trade of Western Australia in 1900, 46 per cent, came from the Australian States, 12-4 per cent, from white-labour foreign countries, 3 7 “33 per cent, from the United Kingdom, and 4-61 per cent, from coloured-labour countries.
– I pointed that out the other day.
– Then what is the bogy with which the honorable senator has been scaring the Melbourne workers ? What is the bogy with which the Melbourne Age is continually scaring the workers ? It is the bogy of the cheap labour of Japan. I guarantee that if it had not been for the argument about cheap coloured labour there would not be the protectionists in Melbourne there now are. This coloured labour bogy supplies one of the stock arguments of protectionists. It was not until the argument . was attacked and exp’osed in the House of Representatives that it was abandoned.
– If these coloured workers are such nice, inoffensive” people, why does Senator Pearce desire to drive them out of Australia 1
– I am glad that question has been asked, because it is most easily answered. The question with which we are now dealing is one of trade, whereas that referred to by Senator Barrett is one of race deterioration. We may keep out coloured labour, while we admit the produce of that labour, without deteriorating in the slightest. Has Senator Barrett deteriorated by drinking Chinese tea or eating Indian rice 1 Senator Barrett would have deteriorated if ever since he came to Australia he had had to compete against Chinese labourers in this country, or if his forefathers had intermarried with coloured immigrants. There lies the difference between excluding the coloured labourer and admitting the coloured labourer’s product.
– If a few of these coloured labourers were to work in the mines of Western Australia, Senator Pearce’s tune would be different.
– I shall take care that coloured labourers do not work in the, mines of Western Australia, or, so far as I am concerned, get a footing on the shores of this country. I do not object to Senator Barrett or any other worker drinking the tea or eating the rice which is the produce of coloured labour.
– The honorable senator does not object to the goods of coloured labourers ?
– No; because when it comes to manufactured goods, the high-priced labour of Great Britain and Australia oan beat cheap coloured labour every time. If that be not so, will some honorable senator explain the figures which I have quoted ? Why do the merchants of Western Australia buy goods in Australia, where they have to pay high prices, when they could go to Japan, where there is cheap labour, and buy them for half the amount ? Merchants always buy in the cheapest market, and it is because the Australian market is the cheapest that the eastern States get 46 per cent, of the trade with Western Australia.
– Food products were what Western Australia got from the eastern States. ‘
– Western Australia imported manufactured articles from the eastern States, and food products from coloured-labour countries.
– T - That would be a nice arrangement if it could be adhered to.
– So far as statistics go, that arrangement has been adhered to.
– J - Japan has not jet begun to compete.
– -When the honorable and learned senator can prove that Japan has 49 per cent, of the trade, and the highwage countries only 4 percent., I shall begin to believe in. his argument.
– I - It will be too late then.
– There has not yet been a movement in that direction. Another stock argument of the protectionist is that it does not matter about paying a little more for our food, because we, as a consequence, get high wages. When I challenged Senator Best on this point, that gentleman admitted that protection does raise prices. But it is impossible to pin a protectionist down to this argument. One day he will say that protection does raise prices, and the next day he will tell a different audience that it does not.
– Yet Senator Pearce vaults from Victoria to Western Australia.
– I shall give honorable senators the benefit of my experience in Western Australia, and at the same time remind Senator Styles of the experience of his father and my father in Great Britain. Under the corn laws, food was dear in England ; but were .the workers’ wages there high, or were they not at their lowest, during that period ? It was after the repeal of the corn laws, when food became cheap, that wages began to rise. I went to Kalgoorlie in the early days as a gold seeker ; and like many other unfortunates, I got hard up, and had to work at my own trade as carpenter. For some time I was paid £1 per day, and then wages dropped to 15s. But it cost me £2 a week to live at that time, whereas to-day, although exactly the same wage of 15s. per day is paid, a man can live’ for 25s. per week in Kalgoorlie. Why has the decreased price of living not brought down wages ? I have given an Australian example and an English example ; and in Kalgoorlie the reason why wages have not decreased with the cost of living is supplied in trades unionism. I shall now turn from colouredlabour countries to cheap-labour countries. We are told by protectionists that they would not object to free-trade if all countries had wages boards, and wages were brought up to the Victorian or the Australian standard. Under these circumstances it is said that free-trade would be fair and equitable, and we could then hope to compete with America, the idea being that it is only because of the low wages _ elsewhere that we are unable to hold our own without protection. But is it a fact that cheap wages mean cheap cost of production % All my inquiries and experience convince me to the contrary. ‘ For instance, the Melbourne Age, on the Sth March, 1902, contained the following -
American wages are on an average 40 per cent, higher than in England, but these initial disadvantages in any international struggle is more than counter-balanced by our use in shipbuilding, of superior- tools, and our employment of economical processes unknown abroad. As a consequence of this better equipment and organization we can build freight steamers as cheaply as British yards can turu out similar types with poorly-paid labour.
That argument in the Melbourne Age altogether disposes of the idea that we cannot compete against low-wage countries. If further proof is desired, it can be found in an article written by the Chinese Ambassador to the United States, who in the North American Review of September, 1 900, speaking on the exclusion of Chinese labour, said -
Chinese labour is not cheap - compared with the cost of American labour it is dear. The fact is, the amount of American labour is small, compared to coloured labour, for a given product. Take, for instance, the Soy Che cotton mills, in Shanghai. They run two shifts,, and employ 2,200 persons. A factory of the same capacity in New Jersey would employ 300 to 350 persons. In the engine-room of Soy Che 65 men are required. In an American mill their worK would be crone by two engineers, two helpers, and two foremen.
Further proof still is afforded by a committee of French officers who examined into the relative cost of ship-building in free-trade England and in protectionist France. Although France is a protectionist country, she is a low-wage country ; and the report of the French officers contained the following :-
The labour cost in England was found to be less than in Prance, and the raw materials were obtainable at lower prices by the English, shipbuilders than by the French. The Times gives the following examples : - English battleship, Implacable, 15,000 tons, £1,002,909; and Irresistible, 15,000 tons, £986,731 ; French, Republique ]4,S65 tons, £1,421,708 ; and Patria, 14,865 tons, £1,421,708.
– Had the cost of iron nothing to do with that %
– That consideration does not enter into the calculation in face of the statement that labour is the dearest factor of production.
– England has been building iron ships of war for the last 30 or 40 years whereas France has just commenced.
– The facility with which protectionists can abandon a position when it is strongly, attacked is remarkable ; De Wet is not “ in it “ with them. Three armoured cruisers, of 13,000 tons, cost from £723,000 to £733,000 odd each to build in England, while similar vessels of 12,000 odd tons cost £1,169,000 each in France. That shows the fallacy of the idea that cheap wages mean cheap cost of production.
– I should like to see the French statistics.
– The -e statistics were supplied by French officers for the Chamber of Deputies. If Senator Downer wants statistics from a protectionist source, he can obtain them by applying at the Public Library for vol. I., 55th Congress, U.S., 3rd session, 1898-9. There can be found the results of an inquiry ordered by the department of Labour of the United States, as to the relative cost of the production of manufactured articles in England, Belgium, and the United States. The committee of inquiry were convinced that cheap wages do not mean cheap production. The United States wages were higher in nearly every instance, but the total cost of production was less than in the other countries ;. and the high-waged, intelligent labour of the American can more than successfully compete against the cheap labour of European countries. This result of a protectionist inquiry by a protectionist body should settle for ever the argument that we require protection against cheap-wage countries. It ought to show that if we pay our labourers well, and employ them during reasonable hours, their very intelligence will make them formidable competitors against the cheap labour of other countries, as long as that cheap labour remains in those countries. I admit that if that cheap labour and the conditions under which it works were brought here, the result would be to depreciate the intelligence and energy of our own workers ; their production would become dear, just as it has become costly in the countries in which low wages are paid. Here is a singular fact, relative to this subject, which is mentioned by Mr. H. W. Macrosty, in his book on Trusts and the State -
In Massachusetts’ boot factories the economy of labour has been raised to an exact science. The average wages of all workmen in these factories is £3 a week, and the labour cost of a pair of shoos, ls. 8d. ; in German boot factories (also protectionist) the average wages is His. a week, and the labour cost of a pair of boots, 2s. 5d.
The labour cost of a pair of shoes is ls. Sd. in the high-wage country, where the workers in the trade receive £3 per week, while the labour cost of a pair of boots is 2s. 5d. in . the low-wage country, where the workers receive only 16s. a week. I have been very much amused in watching the agitation which is being carried on in the Victorian press and by certain associations in Victoria against the wages boards of this State. The employers of Victoria request the working men to give them protection at the Custom-house, and, that achieved, they say to them - “ While you see that we are protected at the Custom-house we practically must have free-trade in labour ; we must have labour at our mercy so that ve shall be able to take advantage of an overstocked labour market and pay lower wages.” The manufacturers who have been thronging’ the galleries of the Senate while the debate on the Tariff has been going on, are the very mcn who have set on foot the movement against the wages boards of Victoria. It is singular, to ray mind, that in the Age of the 27th February last, two statements which were in striking contrast to each other should have appeared side by side. In one column appeared a report of a meeting of employers and employes in the boot and shoe industry, which was held at Collingwood, to consider the protectionist Tariff then before another place. Strong resolutions were carried in favour of a high Tariff on boots and shoes, and the employers pointed out that they must have protection through the Custom-house if the boot and shoe industry of Victoria was to live. In another column the following telegram from Adelaide was published : -
A meeting of tlie Chamber of Manufacturers to-day decided to send a circular to all candidates for Parliament asking them to oppose factories legislation in the direction of wages boards, or fixing a standard or minimum wage. The circular also asks candidates to support the early amendment of the Workmen’s Compensation Act, clause 4 of which makes the employer liable for every injury sustained by his workmen unless he can prove that injury was attributable to the serious and wilful misconduct of the workman injured.
Protection for the manufacturer, but no protection for the worker.
– Freedom of contract for the worker.
– I would point out to the honorable senator that freedom of contract is entirely different from freedom of trade. It is there that I differ entirely from the Manchester school of free -trade. The Manchester school carry their doctrine of laissez-faire not only into trade, but they believe also or they did in the early days - that there should be no interference between employers and employes.
– They still believe that.
– Advanced freetraders believe that it is possible to have wages boards, that it is possible to have highly-paid workers, and to employ them only during reasonable .hours, and yet to compete with the cheap labour of other countries. The experience of America has shown that it is possible to pay high wages, and, provided that the workers are intelligent, to compete against the cheap labour of other countries. It is because of that, fact that I can advocate consistently the establishment of wages boards in connexion with all our trades, and the passing of Arbitration Acts to settle industrial disputes, while I am prepared at the same time to admit manufactured products through the Custom-house free of duty.
– There are very few of the honorable senator’s friends who would support him in his advocacy of such measures.
– Many of them would do so.
– The honorable senator is not one of them.
– I have always shown that I am.
– The honorable and learned senator fought for the Arbitration Act in Western Australia. Senator Barrett has not all his protectionist friends with him in his advocacy of wages boards. The very party which is fighting with him for protection has fought against wages boards in Victoria.
– That is incorrect.
– Does the honorable senator deny that Mr. Walpole, the secretary of the Employers’ Federation, is touring Victoria at the present time, and stirring up an agitation against the wages boards ?
– He does not represent the employers of Victoria.
– He is the secretary of the Employers’ Federation.
– That represents only a mere handful of men. There are hundreds of employers who do not belong to it.
– I believe that the names of some hundreds of employers are on the rolls of the union.
– Only a handful.
– I do not intend to speak at much greater length. I have already trespassed on the patience of the Senate, but as bearing on the question of free-trade and protection, I wish to say that while recognising that free-trade will benefit the great primary industries of Australia on which we depend - and which are the head and bod)’ of the Commonwealth - I consider that protection on the other hand would hamper those industries. Senator Playford said the other night that the Tariff passed by him in South Australia - in 1887, I think - resulted in agricultural implements becoming cheaper there ; that as a result of the Tariff, the implements manufactured locally were sold at lower rates than those demanded for imported articles. Before I was apprenticed to the carpentering trade I worked in South
Australia as an agricultural labourer, and I know that on the farm upon which I was employed in 1879, every machine, with the exception of the chaff-cutter, was made locally. The ploughs were made locally, the reapers were made locally, the winnowers were made by Bagshaw, at Kapunda, and that was before Senator Playford’s Tariff came into operation.
– But there was a protectionist Tariff in force in relation to those articles.
– Senator Playford did not tell us that the other night. He claimed that it was the Tariff passed by him which cheapened the price of these articles.
– I referred principally to the one article, and I said generally that protection had helped to make agricultural implements cheaper.
– I ask honorable senators what will be the result to the mining industry of Western Australia if the proposed duty on mining machinery is carried? If it is passed we shall compel the people of Western Australia practically to buy the mining machinery required by them within the Commonwealth ; we shall shut out from them the most uptodate machinery in the world. It is said that the. mining machinery of the Common-, wealth is opened up to them ; but the manufacturers of mining machinery here have a very limited market, and they cannot avail themselves of the most up-to-date machines and methods in carrying out their work. We have to go to America, and to the countries where there is a great output, in order to obtain the most up-to-date machinery. What is the position of the mining industry in Western Australia? There we have a number of mines which are working and paying dividends, but there are a number of others which are carrying on operations, although they are not paying dividends, and indeed scarcely covering working expenses. Are they likely to continue doing so very long ? If they do not begin to pay dividends shortly, will not the shareholders say that it is- time to suspend operations ? There are also a number of mines there which have an abundance of low-grade ore - “ half-ounce mines “ they are called - and which, if we could cheapen the work of production, would employ thousands of hands. Then, shall we act in the interests of Western Australia if we increase the cost of mining machinery ? Shall we benefit the mining industry of Australia generally by imposing a duty of 15 per cent, on this class of machinery, thus compelling those engaged in it to adopt older methods in milling their minerals, and shutting them out from all the latest and most improved machinery of America ? Is that the way to foster the industry ? Are we going to benefit the agricultural industry by excluding those engaged in it from the latest methods of harvesting ? Changes are not made very quickly in agricultural machinery, but great improvements in the methods of agriculture have taken place during the last few years. The seed-drill, the” new American method, has ousted the seed-sower, which was the old Australian method.
– The seed-drill was used in England long before it was employed in Australia or America.
– That shows that new machinery can be invented in a freetrade country. If we hamper these industries - if we injure the mining and agricultural industries - we shall do injury to every manufacturing industry. What was the use of the manufacturing industries of South Australia when the depression came? What was the use of the factories in Melbourne when the depression took place here ? Eventually it was recognised in Victoria that the people must be induced to produce more wheat and fruit and other natural products ; that it was only by increasing the export of butter from this State, and by inducing the people to go on the land that the factories of Melbourne could be benefited. They realised that it was in this way alone that they could be helped, and not by being pampered at the expense of the country. They recognised that it was only by giving the farmers liberal freights and helping them in every way to produce that–
– And by allowing reapers and binders to come in free.
– Yes ; I hope that the honorable senator will assist us in our efforts to make them cheaper.
– They were allowed to come in free, with the result that they cost the farmers more.
– The position cannot be improved by the imposition of a duty?
– Yes ; the imposition of a duty will cause them to be available at lower rates.
– I wish to show why I shall vote for revenue duties in preference to protective duties. It may be said that, as a free-trader, I should vote only for free-trade. If any of my honorable friends of the protectionist party will help to make the Tariff a free-trade one altogether, they will have my support ; but they recognise just as fully as do. the revenue tariffists that we require revenue.
– But the revenue tariffists do not want direct taxation.
– A protectionist member of another place said while the Tariff was being discussed that the Tariff should not be decreased further, otherwise the country would have to resort to direct taxation. That is behind many of the protectionist proposals. If I were to vote for a protective duty, I should vote for a duty which would bring into existence a number of people who would clamour for its retention. But if I vote for a revenue duty, I shall bring into existence a clamour for its removal. People are always anxious to remove taxation, but when we have taxation with a protectionist incidence there are many moneyed people ready to clamour for its continuance. I believe that the question of direct taxation should not be lost sight of. Of course, as a reasonable man, I must recognise that it is not feasible with the present Parliament, or with the present Government, but it would be well if the manufacturers and the farmers could see , that it would be far better f or them if we had a free port, and raised all the revenue required by means of direct taxation. I believe that if the revenue were raised in that way it would be good for the country, because direct taxation is not only a good thing as a revenue producer, but it has a wonderful effect on the productive industries ‘ of a country. A land value tax in Great Britain would do away with much of the poverty of that country, and it would solve the agricultural problem of Great Britain. A. land value tax in America would do away with much of the poverty there, and would solve the agricultural problem there also. What would happen there would happen here, and I hope the time will come-when the people of Australia will face . this question boldly. ‘
I know that some people think that direct land value taxation means taxation of the farmer.
– So it does; there is no doubt about it.
– It does not.
– It does in South Australia, where we have it.
– This customs taxation presses more heavily on the farmer than any taxation they have in South Australia. This taxation will extort more from the farmer than any land value tax in Australia. A land value tax falls not upon the farmer’s land, but upon the valuable city land. It is from the valuable city land that the bulk of- the revenue from a land value tax is collected. From whom will this taxation be collected 1 Not from the rich owner of land in Collins-street. He may be in England or on the Continent, drawing great rents from land values here, and he will not be taxed to the extent of Id. by this customs taxation. But the farmer, workman, miner, and producer of every class must pay the taxation collected under this Tariff. I contend it is time that the people of Australia grappled with this question of direct taxation, and in all friendliness I warn my honorable.friends of the free-trade party that in voting even for a revenue Tariff they must give some protective incidence, and by so doing they will be sowing the seeds of a protective policy. We know that protection grows upon that upon which it feeds, and if they allow 10 per cent, or 15 per cent, duties to remain in the Tariff they will create a demand for increased protection which will rise up against them at the next election. I contend that the safer policy for the freetrade party to adopt is that which was adopted ‘in New South Wales, where even revenue duties were dropped, and they adopted direct taxation. I know very well that my free-trade friends are not prepared to do that. I know that they do not accept responsibility for the words I am uttering now.
– They look upon the honorable senator as a very dangerous man.
– I accept the responsibility myself, and I can at least say that I am saying no more now than I said on my electoral platform in Western Australia, and I am saying no more now than I shall be prepared to put before the people of Western Australia at any time. I am only sorry that there is not a greater number of free-traders prepared to go to the logical conclusion of free-trade, and that is direct taxation. There is one little matter to which I should like to refer before I sit down. It is the question raised by Senator Styles, and I had almost overlooked it.
– That is the “ discovery “ ?
– Yes, the “discovery.” Senator Styles’ theory was that the higher the protective Tariff in the Commonwealth the greater would be the trade with Great Britain as against the trade with foreign countries.
– It will deprive foreign countries of trade.
– I have heard what I think was a very good explanation of that. The proposition is this : If we put a 10 per cent, duty on goods the trade between foreign countries .and Australia - and Great Britain and Australia, we will say - will be equal ; but if we raise that duty to 20 per cent, the trade with foreign countries will fall off, and the trade with Great Britain will increase. That, I think, is the proposition. Senator Styles quoted some statistics which seemed to bear out his contention.
– That was not what Senator Styles contended.
– I asked Senator Styles whether that was not his proposition, and I understood him to nod approval. The honorable senator did not give us any reason for it. He did not tell us why, if we increased our Tariff against the outside world, we should have a greater trade with Great Britain than with foreign countries.
– I have stated the facts as they appear in the Statistical Register.
– The honorable senator stated the facts and drew no inference from them, but I have said I have seen the inference stated, and I merely adopt it. The reason is that owing to the fact that Great Britain is a free-trade country, it can better overcome the obstacle of Tariff protection than can the .protected countries of the world. When we increase the protective Tariff around Australia we stop trade with foreign countries and increase trade with Great Britain, because Great Britain, owing to her free-trade policy, is in a better position to compete for the trade than are the foreign protected countries. If, however, that be correct, it should show that a free-trade country is in a better position . to produce and manufacture than is a protectionist country. If the effect of the free-trade policy of Great Britain is to make her better able to send her products here, notwithstanding our wall of protection, than are foreign countries that have protective Tariffs, that is a splendid argument why-
– Why we should have a high Tariff and trade with our own people.
– It is a splendid argument why we also should adopt a freetrade policy. Because if her free-trade policy benefits Great Britain in that way it is only reasonable to assume that it would similarly benefit Australia. I must admit that the figures quoted by Senator Styles give food for thought, and it is not wise to form a hasty judgment upon them. I do not wish in any way to say that what I have stated is the final conclusion I should draw from them. The subject is one well worthy of study, especially in view of the agitation going on in the old country for Imperial federation, and I think Senator Styles deserves the thanks of the Senate for having brought the matter before us. I desire to thank honora’ble senators very much for the patient hearing they have given me.
Senator Sir WILLIAM ZEAL (Victoria). I should not have risen to address the Senate had not some arguments been advanced in which I cannot concur. Inasmuch as the debate upon this subject” has been of inordinate length in another place, and also in this Chamber, it is the duty of every honorable senator, who has the interests of the country at heart, to come to some conclusion at as early a date as possible. In all seriousness, I desire to0 ask whether any honorable senator, addressing himself either to protection or free-trade, believes that his arguments have converted a single person to his side 1
– I have been converted half-a-dozen times.
– As no honorable senator can be under any such delusion, it is quite useless for us to waste much more time in discussing this matter. Various arguments have been used, and the extreme free-traders, it seems to me, are taking up a most anomalous position. They do not profess to. advocate free-trade, or if they do they have not the courage of their opinions. We all know that so far as that is concerned, this discussion is a perfect sham, and there is no sincerity or truth in it.
– I do not think the honorable senator is entitled to say that.
– I said the discussion is a sham, andI made no personal allusion to any member of the Senate. I said the discussion is a sham, and I repeat it. That being so what is the use of our wasting our time making comparisons betweenNew South Wales and Victoria, and between Victoria and some other part of the earth ? Unless the conditions are similar there is no use in making any comparisons whatever. I have heard a greatdeal about the intense prosperity of New South Wales. But I am an old enough colonist to remember when freetrade did not find favour in New South Wales.I remember the time when we were paying £50,000 a year to have freetrade on: the Murray. Our New South Wales” Mends were not prepared to continue that bargain, but asked the Government of this State to pay £100,000 a year in order to keep free-trade on the Murray, and because we would not do that, Customhouses were established there. That proves, if it proves anything, that New South Wales saw the error of her ways, and was coming round to the adoption of a more advanced and intelligent policy. However, the comparison between New SouthWales and Victoria should afford men of observant minds with some food for reflection. Let any honorable senator go to Sydney now, and witness the reckless extravagance which is going on all over that city, and tell me whether it it is not a great factor in the apparent prosperity of that city. When I was in Sydney last Easter, I read a letter in the Daily Telegraph, pointing out that the Government of New SouthWales were actually concreting the bed of the River Parraraatta, and they called that a reproductive work J If that is the way in which the prosperity of the great free-trade State is brought about, I much prefer the benighted condition in which we are in Victoria at the present time. We have had many arguments founded upon what we have been told is being done in England, America, and Germany. I ask honorable senators to look at what is being done in those countries, and they can have no doubt that the prosperity of England as a great free-trade country is due to the fact that she has an abundance of labour and an immense quantity of raw material ; ironstone, lime, and all the different products that go to make great national wealth. That is the secret of the prosperity of the old country. But let us be fair in discussing this matter, and see what America has done.. Let us remember that America began her course under somewhat similar conditions to those which exist in Australia, and let us see what she has worked herself up to at the present day. Let us look at the imports we get from America, and there is no honorable senator present but must acknowledge the enormous strides which America has made in mechanical and industrial progress. She is the wonder of the world, and has proved at all events that her protective policy has not been so detrimental to her advance as some honorable senators would have us believe. I askhonorable senators to admit in all fairness that if they go into any ironmonger’s store here they will find that the best tools supplied are of American manufacture. The most expert men will admit this. I might mention, amongst other products of American skill, axes, locks, hammers, workmen’s tools generally, domestic appliances, hinges,&c, and railway bridges. The honorable the President will know that in his own State, between Adelaide and the Murray-bridge, there are some instances of American construction which show the great advance that country has made in railway bridge work. When we had to deal only with the engineers of the old country, some four or five tons of material were used where, on American plans, only one ton is necessary. That is an evidence of the intelligence of American workmen, and it does not show that the protective Tariff of America has been the bane and drawback to that country which some honorable senators wish us to believe.
– Why impose a tax to keep out these very good things?
– I am trying to show the honorable and learned senator what the imposition of a tax has done for America. It has developed these manufactures, and the industrial spirit of America, which is to-day one of the most highly-developed and most prosperous countries on the face of the earth. In addition to this, what has been done in the way of buggies? I would ask honorable senators if they do not know that in the old country it was about as much as a horse could do to draw an empty English coach, and with the invention of the American buggy, we find that a horse can draw two, three, and four men as well as the carriage. Does that not show the great advance which has been made? Look at the coaches which we had on the gold-fields in the early days; they were introduced from America, and we had American harness, cheaper springs, and a multitude of other things connected with manufactures. Then again, look at the stoves, lamps, radiators, and fuel savers, all of American origin. They show the greatest amount of research and development. Then we have reapers and binders, light ploughs, and agricultural machines. They, perhaps, did not originate in America, but they have been very greatly improved and cheapened by American manufacturers. In the matter of electrical science and the development of electrical machines, I ask honorable senators to consider what the Americans have done. Last, and not least, has not the old country prided herself in being the foremost country in nil the world in the construction of ships. Yet a yacht of English construction has been beaten by an American yacht recently, showing that, at all events, the American Tariff has not been of such a prejudicial character as to prevent the highest development of a mercantile marine. We have heard a good deal to the effect that trade is not carried on to such great advantage in the United States as in the old country. What do American statistics show us ? Mr. Austin, who is one of the leading officers in the United States Treasury, made, on behalf of his Government, a return for the year 1890, in which he gave some striking statistics, which I think honorable senators should consider 4for a moment. He commenced by stating that whereas in 1850 the population of America was 23,191,876, in 1900 it had grown to 76,303,387. I take it that if this was such a poor country as’ some honorable senators desire to prove it to be, the population would not have increased to this great extent. Take the railways in the United States. The mileage increased from 9,021 miles in 1850 to 190,833 miles in 1900. Of wheat, 100,485,944 bushels were grown in 1S50, and 522,229,505 bushels in 1900. That does not look as if this industry were going back. It shows, at all events, that the protective Tariff has not been detrimental to the production of wheat. The cotton crop has increased from 987,561,586 lbs. in 1850 to 4,757,062,942 lbs. in 1900, or nearly 500 per cent. That is a most wonderful instance of the vitality of American production. Let us see how America competes with the old country in her staple industries - pig-iron and steel. Not. very many years ago Great Britain had practically a monopoly of steel-making, but American products are taking the place of English ones all over the world. Whether that has been through over-production in America I leave economists to consider and decide. At all events this broad fact remains, that the American steel industry has been developed to an extent which is practically incredible. Of pig-iron alone in 1850 she made 563,755 tons, and in 1900, 13,789,24.2 tons. The production has increased 24 times - or 2,400 per cent. - in 50 years. The production of steel has increased from 6,078 tons ia 1850 to 10,639,857 tons in 1900. These are most wonderful instances of the enterprise and development of the United States. It shows, to me at all events, that the Tariff which many persons think has been such a great detriment to the country has been of the greatest possible service. Again, the imports of iron and steel increased from £3.533,079 in 1850 to £4,095,746 in 1900, while the exports increased from £382,264 in 1850 to £24,382,749 in 1900. By 63 times, or 6,300 per cent., the export trade increased in 50 years. Can any other nation show such a record 1 We must bear in mind that America is a young country like Australia. It started from small beginnings, and its inhabitants have worked up this extraordinary record and produced results which are not to be paralleled in any other part of the world, and all under a protectionist policy, which we are told is going to ruin us. In 1850 the petroleum industry was unknown, but in 1900 it produced 2,396,975,900 gallons. That in itself was almost enough to develop the industries of a great continent. AVe have heard a great deal of the drawback which a protectionist Tariff has been to Germany, and the lee-way which she has made. In the London Times of the 4th of April last a correspondent makes a comparison between German and British trade, showing the progress which has been made in Germany in. recent years. After speaking of the increased prosperity she enjoyed under her policy, he goes on to say that in 1885 the population of the United Kingdom was 36,000,000, in round numbers, and had increased in five years by 1,100,000, whereas the population of Germany had increased in a similar period by 1,600,000. In 1890 the population of the United Kingdom had increased in five years by 1,500,000, and in Germany by 2,500,000. In 1895 the population of the United Kingdom had increased in five years by 1,600,000, and in Germany by 3,000,000, or very nearly double. In 1900 the population of the United Kingdom had. increased in five years by 1,800,000, and in Germany by 3,-800,000, or very nearly three times. In twenty years the increase of population in the United Kingdom had been 6,000,000 as against 10,900,000 in Germany, or 17 per cent. in the former as against 24 per cent. in the latter. It shows that on the population basis that Germany has taken a greater lead than the old country has done. Then the writer compares the position held in foreign trade by the two countries in successive years. In 1875 the imports of Great’ Britain were £373,000,000 and the exports £223,000,000, making a total of £597,000,000. In that year the exports from the German Empire were, of course, very much below those of the old country. The imports totalled £176,000,000, and the exports £122,000,000, making a total of £299,000,000, as against £597,000,000 for the old country. I shall not weary honorable senators by giving the figures for each year, but shall content myself with taking the figures for the first and last years in the table. In 1900 the imports of Great Britain were £523,000,000, and the exports £354,000,000, making a total of £877;000,000 ; whereas in Germany in that year the imports had increased to £277,000,000 and the exports to £220,000,000, making a total of £498,000,000. The figures show that even in Germany - this highly-protected country which we are told is not worthy of our consideration in any respect - the foreign trade had increased by 80- per cent. as against 54 per cent. in the United Kingdom. The comparison of the principal exports from the two countries - coal, cotton manufactures, machinery, iron and steel, wrought copper and brass, woollen manufactures, and worsted - show equally astonishing results. It shows that, although Great Britain has not, as some honorable senators have stated, declined, she has not kept up her position in the race among the nations like either Germany or the United States has done. It is true that she has not declined in the ordinary sense of the word, but she has not made that progress which either Germany or the United States has made, and by comparison she has declined. The writer in the Times says -
The battle of commercial supremacy seems indeed to rage fiercest round the mining and metallurgic industries, and this invites more detailed comparison between these important branches of industry.
In 1890, £100,802,000 worth of minerals, including coal, was raised in the United Kingdom, as against £36,282,000 in Germany. In 1899, the production ‘in the United Kingdom had increased to £117,309,000, and in Germany to £52,581,000. The increased production in ten years was 76 per cent. in Germany, as against17 per cent. in the United Kingdom. That does not show that there is any falling off in the production in Germany, even when compared with one of the richest andmost enterprising countries in the world. In1890, the iron production was 7,904,000 tons in the United Kingdom, and in Germany only 4,658,000 tons. In 1899 the production had increased in the United Kingdom to only 9,421,000 tons, while in Germany it had increased from 4,658,000 tons in 1890 to 8,143,000 tons in 1899, showing that she was all but abreast of the old country. In drawing this comparison, I do not wish to say anything which would tend to depreciate the industry of our dear old land, of which, I am sure, we are all very proud. But if it does show one thing, it shows that, so far as Germany and the United States are concerned, the argument of some honorable senators that a protective Tariff is prejudicial and hurtful to the people of a country is ill-founded, and that an entirely contrary result has been brought about. Comparing the shipping of the United Kingdom and Germany for the period commencing in 1896 and ending in 1900, we find that there was a total increase of 7 per cent. in British shipping as compared with 25 per cent. in German shipping. In the social statistics, which more nearly concern the working classes, the same progress is noticeable in Germany. In the post-office, which is one of the great distributing departments of the Empire, Germany has made rapid strides, and her development has, in fact, been quite extraordinary. In this discussion it is not for us to seek the unattainable, but to -follow the course that would be adopted by any practical business man in .dealing with his own concerns. ‘ We should not attempt to upset industries established by thoughtful enterprise, ‘ and if we do not give due consideration to what is desirable in a new country, we shall be the sufferers. Senator Sargood made a most extraordinary statement. I am an old colleague of the honorable senator’s, and as one who has been associated with him in the Victorian Parliament for many years, I can conscientiously declare that to the best of my belief the honorable senator never lifted up his voice in the State Parliament in favour of free-trade. Furthermore, during the last session , in which he held a seat in the Parliament of .Victoria, it was mainly, if not entirely, through his influence that the Factories Act, providing for wages boards, was re-enacted. On that occasion he produced a report from New Zealand, pointing out the inestimable advantages that had accrued from similar legislation in that colony. Whether Senator Sargood is a free-trader or a protectionist, I can only say that I believed him to be a protectionist. He says that he was a free-trader, but if he was, I was unaware of it. However we may feel, and whatever we may wish, it is our duty, as business men, to do the best we can, and not to follow the inclinations of those who would seriously imperil the industries of the country. The principal exponents of the ultra-free-trade arguments in this Chamber are members of the legal profession. Will these’ honorable and learned senators tell me in what way they practice free-trade in their own profession 1 I remember a case in Victoria not many years ago, in which a man who had been a conveyancer in a lawyer’s office for a very long time, and was as competent to carry out his duties as was the principal ‘of the firm employing him, undertook to draw up a title under the Transfer of Land Statute, and was prosecuted by the Law Society for looking over the legal wall. We should take with a grain of salt advice- coming from such a tainted quarter. A man ought to practice what he preaches. When we continually hear these arguments from our legal friends about the benefits of free-trade, which they do not practice, we should beware of them. We should use our own common sense, and -bring this eternal controversy to a conclusion.
– I had hoped that this debate would have closed some time ago. We have listened to many able speeches from both sides of the House, and I think that all the protectionist arguments have been effectively answered from this side of the Chamber. The commercial community, and in fact all . classes of people throughout Australia, are extremely anxious that this Tariff should be disposed of, and I, therefore, shall not prolong . the discussion, i It has been urged, notably by Senator McGregor, that there can be no secondary industries unless pro- tective duties are imposed. We know, however, from our own observation that’ without protection the secondary industries . are established as the demand arises .for what the secondary producers can supply. Senator Playford told us that the Tariff which he introduced in South Australia, in 1SS7, had led to the establishment of a great number of industries.
– Had kept a great many industries in existence.
– That is exactly the point to which I am coming.’ I looked through the list of manufactories for 1885, and also through that for 1900, and I failed to find a single industry which had been started, as the result of the Tariff” imposed by the honorable senator.
– The honorable senator knows that a small protective Tariff was . in operation long before my Tariff was introduced.
– What was imposed before was a revenue Tariff.
– Rubbish !
– No one called it a protective Tariff. I remember that after Sir John Bray had visited England and Canada, he told the people assembled at the Town Hall in Adelaide, that he was still undecided whether he would introduce a protectionist Tariff or not, but he afterwards decided in favour of protection. This shows that what we had before in South Australia, was really a revenue Tariff. It may have been inci dentally protective, but none of us object to that. We find that in New South Walesevery industry that can fairly be expected in a new country has been established, and that secondary industries have sprung up according to the requirements of the people, without any fostering care. In such cases the industries are always stronger and better than where their establishment has been due to protection.
– The honorable senator had better go to Ireland and see what has happened there under free-trade.
– Ireland suffered because of the protective policy of England, which ruined her manufacturers. We are told that America owes a great deal to protection. President Hamilton was the first to introduce protective duties at a time when most of the industries of America had been established, and he thought 12½ per cent. might help them. I wonder what the protectionists in Vic- toria would think of a 12½ per cent. duty for protective purposes. The whole system of protection is based upon the false idea that commercial exchanges mean warfare. That idea may be traced back to the age when the nations were afraid to exchange their goods, because they thought it was to their disadvantage to part with gold. Now we know that exchange tends to enrich every one, andthat no country will attempt to trade unless it is likely to derive benefit. Taking.into account the vast resources of America, it is not to be wondered at that she is so rich. We are told that free-trade has failedas a fiscal system, becauseEng land is the only country that has adopted it. Whyisit that the prophecy of Cobden, that every nation would follow the grand example of Great Britain, has not been fulfilled? It is largely because the nations’ required large revenues which could be most easily derived from Customs duties. If it had not been for the great war between Germany and France in 1870-1, the free-trade system would have been muchmore widely extended. It has extended, because we find that in America 51 States, having a population of 80,000,000 people enjoy a system of absolute freetrade, so far as the States are concerned. The United States are equal in area to the whole of Europe, which is divided up into 20 different States. If Europe should become federated under one great Government, all the existing barriers between the various States would be removed, and the conditions would be very similar to those now existing in America. If there were any advantage attached to free-trade between Alsace and
Lorraine and. France, prior to the war in 1870, surely no harm couldresult from their being now allowed to trade as freely as when they were one nation. It is absurd to make comparisons between nations so differently circumstanced as Great Britain and the United States. At the time England adopted free-trade, what was the condition of her people? Great Britain was burdened with a war debt of over £800,000,000, and her population aggregated only about 26,000,000 of people. What was the position of the United States? That country had a debt which was not worth speakingabout, having regard to its vast area of virgin soil which was undeveloped.
– The United States had just emerged from a civil war, which had caused her to build up a bigger debt than that of England.
– To what war does the. honorablesenator allude ?
– To the war between the North and the South ? .
– I was coming to that, but I am now talking ofthe start which the United States had inher industrial career in the early part of the nineteenth century. That countrycommenced its national life vigorously with everything at its command, and blessed withabundant resources, whilst England was, in 1 815, burdened with a debtof £800,000,000. Poverty then and in 1842 existed in Great Britain such as is not known there to-day, whereas in the United Statesat that time it was unknown.
– The honorable senator has not read history or he would have found that the United States was poor enough. When it commenced its national existence it had to face strikes and troubles all over the place.
– I have read history and have lived in the country, and know something about it. I make bold to say that at the commencement of its history the United States possessed every advantage as compared with Great Britain. What has England done during the whole of that time? She has increased her population from 26,000,000 to 40,000,000. Not only has she increased her population and the standard of living for the whole of her people, but she has most materially helped to develop the resources of the United States.
It is true that, between 1860 and 1864, the United States was engaged in a terrible war. That war led to a great deal of speculation, and encouraged enterprise. It was clearly seen then that the west ought to be connected by railway with the east. After the war the Government undertook to assist in the construction of that railway by guaranteeing bonds, -and by making land grants. Having opened up a road through the country from east to west, the United States citizens were induced to build branch lines to connect with the main line, and thus develop its resources. But from whom did they borrow in order to develop that great country 1 From England.
– From whom does the United States borrow to-day?
– Exactly ! Notwithstanding the large surplus which England sent to America to assist in the development of that country, she was still able to develop her own territory. In support of this statement, I may mention that in 1845 England possessed only 2,405 miles of railway, whilst in 1895 she had 25,575 miles. One might go on enumerating how Great Britain has stimulated the energies of her people and increased her wealth, notwithstanding the bad conditions under which she started her free-trade policy. In this connexion it is interesting to note that in the interim between 1846 and 1899 she has reduced her national debt by nearly £200,000,000, besides diminishing taxation upon the working classes to an enormous extent. Well do I remember how, in 1877, the United States metaphorically threw up her hat whilst the newspapers in the eastern states rejoiced because her exports to England were greater than were her imports. At that time the Americans thought they had England practically in their power. “Now,” they said, “England cannot live without us, because she requires more from us than we import from her.” But about that time English capital, which had been flowing so long into the United States, ceased for want of fresh investments. As a result goods had to be sent from the United States to England to pay interest on the money which had been borrowed and upon English investments. What happened? A new market had to be found. Accordingly the British people turned their attention to Australia, and established the magnificent line of steam-ships which connects the old country with this.
To-day Australia is indebted to Great Britain to the extent of about £400,000,000.
– To the extent of £400,000,000 ?
– Yes ; of course that .amount includes private debts as well as the public debt. ‘ I think that the private debts would about equal the public debt, and the latter aggregates some £200,000,000. Yet England, which is such a small country that an American once said he feared to go out at night lest he should walk over the cliffs, has materially assisted to build up every other nation. Surely then free-trade must have done a great deal for England. The United States, by means of absolute free-trade between theeastern and the western States has helped to develop that country, but she could not have accomplished the task by placing barriers between them. It is the barriers which have been raised between the various Australian States that led to a demand by the people for free-trade. Those barriers proved so burdensome to the industries of Australia that federation became a necessity, in order that we might break them down and have free-trade in this great island continent - a continent which is even greater that of Europe. Free-trade is making rapid strides in every part of the world. What did Chancellor Caprivi, in addressing his people, say ? He said -
We must either export produce or we must export our men.
That resolves itself into what Senator Pearce said this afternoon when he declared that we must either receive the goods of other people or receive the people themselves. Is it not wise for us to produce whatever we can to very great advantage, and to exchange any surplus we may have for goods that we can secure more advantageously from other people ? The free-trade principle, after all, is only the true principle of cooperation. We are launching out upon our career as a young nation, and it is extremely necessary that we should guard against the building up of vested interests, which will afterwards demand as a right the continuation of certain privileges. What do the protectionists say ? They ask that industries shall be protected whilst they are infants? But I would point out that scarcely an industry is provided for until it has passed through all the struggles of birth. Every industry has to stand the cold blast of commerce in its early infancy. It is only after it has become a healthy infant that the protectionists cOme along and claim for it a certain amount of fostering care. Duties are not imposed in order that industries which do not exist may be created. There is no thought of that. Those who clamour for protection ask only for protection to those industries which are already in existence. Let us , take the illustration given by Senator McGregor in reference to Shearer’s ploughshares. What are the facts in reference to that matter ? Mr. Shearer established his industry under free-trade.
– I said so.
– He studied the needs of the farmers by whom he was surrounded, was acquainted with the nature of the ground that they had to work, and then produced a share which would meet those requirements. That share is even a better article than the imported. Mr. Shearer was exporting to “Victoria before any fiscal assistance was extended to him.
– The honorable senator has skipped a chapter in the history of that industry. What did the importers do?
– They tried to kill him.
– The importers could not kill him, because he put a superior share upon the market.
– He told me that he would have had to cease operations had he not received the advantage of a protective duty.
– He was enabled to put his share upon the market, notwithstanding the price which the importers demanded, because he made a superior article. Why are his shares sold to-day ? Because of the high quality of the work put into them.
– Why do his shares cost more in New South Wales than in Victoria ?
– Because he has not had the enterprise to exploit the New South Wales market.
-I presume that the answer given by Senator Millen is the correct one. It is quite possible that his market is sufficiently large for his capital and his plant.
– He is sending his manufactures to Queensland, where there is no duty, but where the price charged is £3 5s. per dozen.
– I have shown that this industry was started prior to the introduction of the Playford Tariff, and has stood the cold blast of commercial competition. Surely the local article should now be able to make its way by reason of its superiority. When we are asked to support these secondary industries in order to create work for our artisans, I, as an artisan, claim that the best system for my fellows is free-trade. If we put a duty on mining machinery and thus hamper the mining industry, artisans are all crippled to the ‘extent of the restriction. If we, by the introduction of the best and latest plant, develop mining properties, railways are demanded, and the services of fitters and engineers are required for repairs and the manufacture of a hundred and one necessary articles. What do we find in New South Wales?
– A cobbling business.
– The wages of engineers in New South Wales are equal to, if not better, than those which ‘ are paid elsewhere, and a large number of engineers are there employed with great profit to themselves.
– No works of the kind in Australia pay higher wages than are paid at Mort’s dock.
– There is no necessity to impose heavy duties for the sake of establishing secondary industries. If we impose duties with that object, we shall, in a few years, when these infants have under our fostering care developed into gigantic concerns, find great difficulty in re-establishing free-trade. We shall have representatives of vested interests around this Chamber protesting against the removal of the props which have hitherto supported the industries. Now that most of the secondary industries are fairly well established, there is no need for protective duties. Is it not enough that Victoria has had protection for 35 years? Infant industries, which, now ought to be matured, are all crying out for further help; but why should we, as a Commonwealth, pledge ourselves to support industries, and thereby impose heavy bur. dens on future generations ? Our anxiety is to develop the resources of this great country. We want to develop our mining, pastoral, agricultural, and the hundred other industries which are bound to arise. . If we free those industries from taxation, we shall most materially assist their progress, and add to the, wealth of the community, ‘ without burdening ourselves with . pledges which may become burdensome.’ I recently looked over a pamphlet containing a speech by Lord Playfair. ,
– Will Senator Charleston look at his own speeches in 1891 1
– I am prepared to do that, and also to recommend Senator McGregor to ;read my speeches . of that date. He ,will find that my opinions then coincide .with my. opinions now. ,
– I know that. they do not., Senator Charleston then subscribed to a. platform, the object of which was the encouragement of local industries.
– That is the very) platform, to which I am now subscribing. There was nothing said in 1891 about supporting secondary industries at the expense of primary industries.
– The honorable senator knows better than that.
– The platform of 1891 advocated local industries, to the development of which I am still favorable. But we ought to establish those industries, not by protection, but by removing all hampering restrictions.
– The honorable sena- tor did not say that in 1891.
– What I said then.; I’, am saying ; now. If Senator McGregor is suggesting that I have changed my views, I ask’ him how i.t was that, when I became president of the Trades and Labour Council of South Australia, letters were written .to .the press asking why a free-trader had been elected to that position 1 It is quite clear that my views as a free-trader were known to the people with whom I was associated at that time. Lord
Playfair, in the pamphlet to which I have referred, said -
In Victoria, for instance, we are told in the last number of the Economic Journal that every father of a family of four persons is taxed for protection £35 8s. annually. If this be even near the truth there is a ready explanation of the extraordinary want of development in productive industry. Thus, in 1868, the exports of Victoria were £ 1 7 12s. per head of. the population, but in 1890 the exports were only £9 4s. per head.
– The falling off in the gold returns explains that.
– It shows that exchanges with other nations have fallen off.- People have been diverted from industries. which resulted, in .the greatest possible return . to’ other, industries which give the least return. _ >. Senator McGregor. - Where is there any State more developed in every direction than Victoria.? .
– If Senator McGregor will only throw away his prejudices, he . will find that in New South Wales the development is quite as great and the people are quite as .prosperous without, any fostering protection, as in Victoria.
– The annual income of New South Wales is greater. ‘” ”’,
– New South Wales has four times the land, and spends, twice as much money.
– All these points have been referred to so often that nothing further need be said concerning them. It is unnecessary to impose heavy duties- in order that .industries may be established; ; all that is required is to afford the opportunity and ‘ ‘ provide a market. The Senate during this debate- has been surfeited with statistics,” and although I have provided myself with a great many, I shall not take UP time by dealing with them. Our primary industries( are really, our great sources of .wealth, and anything which would have a tendency to hamper the, production of that wealth must’/ of, course, result in great loss. As a warning to the Senate, I should like to point out that if. we observe the productions of America we shall see the very great ‘. necessity . for giving every encouragement to. the primary .’as opposed to secondary industries. In the United States of America those engaged in three great industries - the pig-iron and the wool, on which there are heavy duties, and the silver industry - have become so powerful that they have sought in a very great measure to corrupt Congress. Yet we find that the products of those industries fall far below even that of the poultry-yard of America. In 1890, the output of the pig-iron industry there was valued at about 130,000,000 dols., the output of the wool industry at about 60,000,000 dols., and the actual value of the output of the silver industry at about 50,000,000 dols., making a total of 240,000,000 dols., whereas, according to the lowest computation, the output of poultry and eggs in the United States of America for that year may be put down at 250,000,000 dols. Thus, an industry of which we seemingly take no notice is really of such great importance in America that its produce is 10,000,000 dols. in excess of those great industries of which wehear so much,and which are clamouringso loudly for protection in Australia we have to depend largely upon our primary products for ourwealth and for the revenue which we. require. In 1900, South Australia exported eggs to the value of £62,493 ; flour,£338,820; bran, £17,161; pollard, £5,331; and wheat £422,439. I might also refer to our wool exports and to the quantity of hay and chaff and other natural products which we also exported. It is really to its primary industries that South Australia has to look for its support, and consequently we should be very careful to refrain from doing anything which would hamper the full development of those industries. It has been said that protection has done something for South Australia, in the engineering trade, but I can assure Senator Playford, who was the author of the protectionist Tariff, to which reference has been made, that that Tariff did nothing for the engineering trade in South Australia. I think I can say that 95 per cent. of the work of the trade there has been in respect of orders received from places beyond the State, such as Broken Hill, where we have had to compete against the world.
– We have not done so badly inSouth Australia.
– We havedone remarkably well, but we have succeeded without the aid of protection. It is true that Senator Playford imposed a duty on machinery, but our local requirements in that direction have been so small that they have not called for any extensive production. Nevertheless, we have established the engineering industry there, and to-day. it is able to turn out machinery as good as that which can be manufactured in anyplace, and at very low figures. We have very good plant, and as shown by their work on the Western Australian gold-fields, our engineers are equally as good as those of any other country. What I desire to impress upon the Senate is that that great industry has really been established upon free-trade lines. Fortunately for the trade Senator Playford, in framing the State Tariff, did not put a duty on the raw material required by it. It has been able to obtain its raw material free. In that way it has been in a position to enter fully into the industry, and Broken Hill being so close at hand we have been able to supply all the machinery and so forth required by the mines; there. It is true that in1900 we had a larger number of engineers employed in South, Australia than we have there to day, but that was because ofthe protection which, was given by way of a bonus. Apart altogether from any question relating to the Tariff, the Government of South Australia decided that the locomotives required by it should be manufactured locally, and they were prepared to pay a very much higher price for those locomotives than that which ‘ they would have to pay for engines imported from England.
– That was practically protection.
– That was the bonus system. What was the, result? The manufacturer entered into the industry. From a financial point of view he had a hard struggle to carry out the contract, but he succeeded admirably in the execution of. the work, and on completing the contract he had so far succeeded from the financial standpoint that he was able to.call the plant which heemployed his own. In other words all the profits which he made were to be found in his machinery. But what was the value of that machinery unless work could be found on which to employ it ? The Government have removed the contract.
– Have removed that protection.
– I will say that the Government have removed that protection, if the honorable and learned senator desires to speak of it in that way, with the result that the capital invested in the machinery is lying idle, and is really of very little value to Martin and Company or to anyoneelse unless it can be employed.
– Where doesthe South Australian Government obtain its locomotives now? .
– The contract carried out by Martin and Company was for the supply of a number of locomotives sufficient to meet the demand for some time. There is some talk of a few more locomotives being manufactured locally, but it is thought that they will be made in the Government workshops.
– We have done better than that at Ballarat.
– I do not know that Victoria ‘ has done so very well, so far as the Ballarat engineering works are concerned, considering the expense which the Government is compelled to incur in obtaining its locomotives there. If wespend £30,000 more in purchasing 100 locallymanufactured locomotives than we should have to pay for imported engines, we take away £30,000 from some other industry.
– But we keep all the money in the country.
– What does the honorable senator mean by that 1
– I refer to the amount which would be sent out of the country in purchasing imported locomotives.
– Gold is a commodity produced in Victoria, amongst other places, and this State is glad to get rid of it in return for other products. Gold is a commodity just as a steam-engine is. The steam-engine we want to keep in the country ; the gold we want to export. It is really to our primary industries that we have to look, for the success of this great Commonwealth. In comparison with the exports of our primary industries from South Australia, the list which I have taken out shows that those which come from the secondary industries, such as mechanics and arts, are very much lower in value.
– According to the honorable senator, it is better to be a’ rooster than an engineer.
– I mean to say that the produce of the hens is of far greater value to the Commonwealth than that of many of the manufactures. I have shown that the products of the poultry yards of the United States of America are of greater value than those of the great industries which have so encompassed the Congress as to become really a power for evil in their transactions.
– Do not “ eggs “- aggerate
– I am not exaggerating. I have taken the figures from our own statistics. I should like to emphasize some of the remarks which have been made this afternoon by Senator Pearce, for he has dealt with most of the matters on which I had intended to speak. I can vouch from my own knowledge of the mechanics of Great Britain, which is very considerable, that they are in favour of freetrade as against protection. How do we know that such is the case 1 Only in last Saturday’s papers, I saw a report of a con errence in Liverpool at which resolutions were passed condemning all the attempts which are now being made to influence the British Government to adopt a protective Tariff. It has been argued here, as showing the weakness of free-trade principles, that Great Britain, who may be called the mother of free-trade, is now departing from those principles. I believe there are a great many in England who would like to return to at least a modified system of protection. Lord Salisbury and Mr. Chamberlain are, I think, amongst the number ; but we find that the labouring classes of England are opposed to any return to protection, and well may they be so. When, as I have shown, and as has been shown time after time during this debate, their condition has improved under a free-trade policy, it would be worse than madness on their part to make any attempt- to return to protection.
– The honorable senator says that the workers are opposed to protection in England, but what authority has he for that statement 1
– I have the authority of the trades unions. I get their annual reports, and I know that my own society, the Engineers’ Society, which is one of the greatest in England, and one most directly interested in the matter, is strongly opposed to the principle of protection. Amongst the miners, what do we find?
– From what is the honorable senator quoting ?
– From a report of the Miners’ Congress, held in Berlin in 1894. After that congress had discussed various matters of vital interest to miners, affecting conditions of labour and wages, they found the British miners very unsympathetic in many respects to labour legislation. One of the leading members of the congress, a delegate from France, when he returned to his own country made this statement -
The English miners ‘ were absolutely indifferent to the miseries of the miners on the Continent, because they had not experienced them themselves. The economic conditions in England were infinitely better than those affecting Belgians, Germans, and French. In truth, the English could afford to scorn the discussion of the minimum wage question, because they literally dictated their pay themselves through their trades unions.
– Will the honorable senator tell us what wages they get in his own native county, Cornwall?
– I know that the wages I can get will depend entirely upon the value of what I produce, and I know that in Cornwall to-day, tin can be produced only at enormous expense.
– What wages do they get. there ?
– I am not prepared to say. I know Senator De Largie told us yesterday that they get 2s. 6d. per day. I am not prepared to say whether that is correct or not. But I do know that in Cornwall the wages in my own trade have risen considerably since I was there, about twenty years ago.
– I was referring to miners’ wages.
– I know that in my own trade in Cornwall the hours of labour have been reduced, and the wages have been increased by fully 25 per cent, since I served my time. We have been told that the English people leave their own country, but, as I have stated before in this Senate, a child is a burden upon the community in which he is born until he is fourteen years of age. He is consuming all that time, and producing nothing. From fourteen to eighteen he begins to do something for himself, and from eighteen to twenty-one perhaps a little more.
– He needs protection until then.
– After England has reared the child, and has been at all the expense of keeping him up to that age, he goes away to America. Why? Because in America there are still vast opportunities for labour. In that country he at once becomes a source of very great wealth, because of the energy and ability with which he has been provided at the cost of the old country. In addition to that we must take into account the millions of money which England has lent to other countries. All this shows what England can do under her free-trade system. The debate has been ably conducted on both sides; argument has been met by argument ; and I am sure that every one here must now be satisfied that the condition of the labourer is always better where he has freedom to employ his energies as he thinks fit. Senator Styles, in his speech, quoted some figures with regard to the value of kerosene.
– I quoted Coghlan.
– The honorable senator did take his figures from Coghlan, whom he has evidently studied closely. But the honorable senator tried to show that in a free-trade port the price of kerosene’ was higher than in a port where a duty was imposed upon it. If he had consulted a trade journal he would have learnt the correct prices charged to the consumer at the time he referred to. According to the Australian Hardware Journal of 1889,. the prices in January were as follow : - In Sydney, where kerosene was free, 8 1/2d. to 9d. ; in Melbourne, where it was also free, 8d. ; in Adelaide, where there was a duty of 3d. per gallon, the price was from ls. to ls. 0 1/2d
– But that was a revenue duty.
– If the honorable senator desired to prove anything, it seems to me that he proved by his own figures that a revenue duty does not increase the price at all. He was showing that where a duty was imposed for revenue purposes, the article was sold more cheaply than in a free-trade port. I say there is nothing in it.
– My object was to show that there was a ring in the kerosene trade in a free-trade State.
– I am giving honorable’ senators the prices which the consumer has to pay. In Adelaide, where we had a duty of 3d. per gallon on kerosene, they had to pay about 3d. per gallon more for the article than in the free-trade ports. In Brisbane, where the duty was 6d. per gallon, the price to the consumer was from ls. 1 3/4d. to ls. 2d.
– I was taking the wholesale prices, as delivered in the State.
– I am showing the honorable senator how the figures work out, and showing him that where a duty is imposed it is added to the price of the article. That is what we have said all through on this side in contending that a duty does increase the price of an article upon which it is imposed. In April the price of kerosene to the consumer in Sydney was from 83/4d. to 9d.; in Melbourne, 83/4d.; in Adelaide,1s.1d.; and in Brisbane, from 1s. l¼dto1s. 2¼d.In July the price in Sydneywas from ; 8½d. to 83/4d.; in Melbourne, 8½d.; in Adelaide,1s. 0¼d.; in Brisbane,1a. 33/4d tols. 43/4d. In October, when there was a famine in kerosene, owing to difficulties in getting shipments, and the prices had risen, theprice to the consumer in Sydney was10½d.; inMelbourne, 9d.; in Adelaide,1s. 2d.;andin Brisbane,1s. 6½d. These figures answer the honorable senator, and prove that the figures he quoted from Coghlan werenot of any value as showing he market value of kerosene.
Senator Styles said was that a . 30 per cent. higher price was charged in Sydney than was the case in other places in bond where there was a duty, and, therefore, the public got no benefit.
– The public got a benefit in the prices I have quoted. They are the prices the public ‘ were called upon to pay.
– There is no duty upon kerosene in Adelaide now, and yet the priceis 3d. per gallon higher than in Melbourne. How does the honorable senator account for that ?
– I do not know that it is so. Senator Styles also made a comparison of wages. I do not suppose the honorable senator was wilfully misleading the Senate, but if he had taken a little more care he would have seen that the figures he presented were not absolutely correct. When giving the average wage paid in New South Wales, he took the average for the 21 industries to which he referred, and included . the wages paid to adults, women as well as men, youths, boys, and girls. But when dealing with Victoria, the honorable senator took the wages paid to adults only, and the wages fixed by the wages board.
-I said so.
– The honorable senator took the adult wages only in one case, and not in the other, and if he had wished to make a fair comparison, he could have taken the figures supplied in a return prepared with the assistance of the Victorian statistician for the Victorian Shops and Factories Conimission.From that return I find that, per 100 of all operatives employed in factories in Victoria, the wages per week amount to £136 12s. 11d. - that, of course, deals with wages fixed by the wages board - whereas in New South Wales the wages per 100 amount to £139 17s.11d.
– Where does the honorable senator get those figures?
– From a return supplied in the report brought up by the Victorian Shops and Factories Commission showing the relative wages in the two States. One State had the advantage of wages boards ; but the honorable senator took the adult males only in one case, and classed with the adult males, ‘the youths, boys, women, and girls in the other. In all the other trades referred to in Victoria, the wages per 100 was £126 5s., whereas in New South Wales it was £146 6s. . The lower result in Victoria was due to the larger number of women, boys, and girls employed. If we “ take the adult males by themselves, then in. Victoria the amount is £136 12s.11d., whereas in New South Wales it is £13911s . But class the adult males with the youth’s and the women, and it is £126 5s. 6d. in Victoria, as against £146 6s. in. New South Wales. I think that the honorable senator is fairlywell answered in that respect. We know that the’Tariff containsa great manyanomalies. I am thoroughly convinced that the people of Australia are extremely anxious that we should get to close quarters as soon as possible with the Tariff, and settle it so that they may know how they are to conduct their business. Still one cannot help feeling anxious, because once a Tariff of this sort is imposed it is very difficult to alter it. Senator Playford told us the other night that his Tariff has stood in South Australia since 1887 with scarcely any alterations. That has been because of the difficulties of opening up the revision of the Tariff. The people of South’ Australia would have liked many items to be altered, . but they were afraid of opening up the revision of the Tariff, because it was such a big task ; and as the Treasurers knew what they had been receiving from the. Tariff as it existed, they were always unwilling to introduce a new condition of things. We must be extremely careful that we base this Tariff on such principles as will be conducive to the great interests of Australia and its people. It ought to be so framed as to enable the people to have the greatest possible enjoyment of the wealth that is produced, and let the taxation fall as lightly as possible on their shoulders. If we impose a Tariff which is said to be protective, but which does not keep out the article, then where we raise perhaps £1,000 at the Customhouse we shall, notwithstanding all that has been said on the other side, pay a large amount to those who are manufacturing that article within our borders.
– Rubbish !
– It is n6t rubbish at all ; it is clearly shown that it cannot be otherwise. If the interests of the workers are to be considered, then I tell the honorable senator that the moment in a protective country the prices come down to that level that it is prepared to compete against the rest of the world, under those conditions with a limited market, it will always be found that wages will be reduced considerably. The competition, our honorable friends tell us, is always so great as to keep down prices. If it keeps down the prices it also keeps down the wages, and consequently the workers, can’ ‘get nothing out of the protective system. But .there is one. thing which- honorable senators seem to forget. They continually tell us that the competition amongst the manufacturers will always tend to keep down the prices ; and yet competition amongst the importers did not keep.’ down the prices. On the one hand the people can import for themselves if they think that they are being-imposed upon. ‘ There is nothing to prevent them f from purchasing in any market of the world ; but if only a few are engaged in the manufacture of an article, and the prices fall to that level which we are told competition brings, there is nothing to prevent these few persons from coming together and saying - “We must not allow competition among ourselves to depress our profits to the extent that we are doing. Since we are protected to a certain extent let us form a ring, and keep prices to just below those at which the article can be imported.” Honorable senators must see that. We know what the result has been in America - not that I say monopolies are bad in themselves. A monopoly may be used in the interests of the people. In England a monopoly can only be successful while it gives the people better goods at lower rates than any other body does. With a large combination the public really get the benefit of its large capital, which they could not get otherwise. In committee I shall assist to reduce the duties on many items in the Tariff. I - earnestly hope that when it leaves the Senate it will be Very much improved. I was somewhat amused at Senator De Largie in bringing up what he called a free-trade Tariff. It was published by a writer to the Sydney Daily Telegraph, under no authority from any free-trade party. As a writer he gave his opinion as . to what the Tariff should be. Senator De Largie compared that suggested Tariff with , the Tariff, not as it was introduced in the other House, but as it was brought to the Seriate. In the other House .the freetraders made the Tariff, in the interests of the public, so superior . to what . it was before that the Minister for Trade and Customs scarcely knew it.
– M - Mr. Nash is recognised as the highest authority of the freetrade party.
– High authority as he may be, Mr. Nash merely gave his own opinion, and not the opinion of any free-trade organization. The Tariff in its present form is very different from the Tariff in its original form. When it ‘ was introduced by the Minister for Trade . and Customs, he said - “This is a protective Tariff, and we have got our numbers to carry it.” He had not his numbers to carry the high protective Tariff he introduced, but it was so modified by the freetraders and the protectionists in the other House as to make it a great deal more ‘ acceptable than it was. ‘
– Are the protectionists or the free-traders the stronger party in the other House ?
-I am very ‘ glad that the free-traders in the other House were sufficiently strong, and able to put . their points so well,- as to induce a large number of those who are called protectionists to go over with them many times, . and modify the Tariff a great deal. In the interests of our primary producers, and in the interests of the merchants and manufacturers of Australia, I hope that the Tariff will leave the Senate on much more freetrade lines than it is.
– On Tariff lines, the honorable senator means ?
– On Tariff lines, if the honorable senator likes, but on such Tariff lines that the taxes shall t go into the coffers of the State to meet the cost of government, and not go into the pockets of those who are engaged in anyparticular industry. I earnestly hope that we shall so improve the Tariff as to make it acceptable to the people of Australia, which I know it is not at the present time.
– I confess that I venture with considerable misgiving to interpose in this debate, and that misgiving does not arise, I think, because of any consciousness of more than usual ignorance on my part of what I presume to be the subject of it, but because I feel quite uncertain as to whether, in attempting to discuss the Bill, I shall meet with the approval of the Senate. That was our original starting-point, but we have had such a rich profusion of facts and figures piled on this poor unfortunate Tariff, and the annals of history so carefully examined from the time, I might almost say, of the Ark, down to the latest edition of Mulhall, in order to find something or other in regard to this question, that I feel that if I address myself to the Tariff only, as I propose to do, I shall be, at any rate, doing something which during the last few days has been quite novel, and, therefore, may be misunderstdood. I submit, first, that in considering the Bill we are brought face to face with two problems. One of these I venture to say is not accompanied by difficulties of an unusual nature, but the other I feel, and I believe it has been so recognised by every one who has touched on the point, is surrounded by extraordinary and unusual difficulties. One is the problem of how to frame a scheme of taxation that will carry out the ordinary axiom that taxation, in its incidence, should fall with proportionate equality on ‘ all classes. That is a problem which is not unusually difficult, and which is not made unusually difficult by the stage we have reached in the history of this Commonwealth. But the other problem is a peculiar one, which is forced upon all of us who recognise that the Commonwealth has some moral obligation towards every State. That problem is to so adjust this large scheme of taxation that we shall render to each State as nearly as we possibly can that amount of revenue which it got before it entered the Federation. Before I enter upon the discussion of these two problems, that I think are the only problems which we ought to discuss at any length, I desire to referto the speech of Senator O’Connor. In introducing the Bill, he approached the subject with very great reverence. He laid the Tariff on the table as if it were a sacred thing, and as if we must not lay violate hands upon it.’ I do not blame him, of course, for approaching the subject in that manner. It was obviously his duty, at any rate it was what we might have expected from him, but in the course of his remarks he more than once entirely changed his tone and attitude. Whilst I admired him for the bold way in which he stood up and said that this was a protectionist Government, I confess that I reared him more when he began to treat the whole subject in honeyed words, and to appeal to us, if we touched the Tariff at all, not to do so unless it became absolutely necessary, and when he warned us of the serious responsibility we should undertake if we attempted to modify or alter it. He also made some remarks which I think I am bound to refute because of their unintentional inaccuracy. We have heard the statement more than once that Tasmania had a practically protective Tariff. The Vice-President of the Executive Council told us that “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” and tried to make us understand that because the Tasmanian Tariff was high, it was protective. Tasmania has never in her history’ had anything but a revenue Tariff. She has been forced to derive a very large amount of revenue from customs duties, and in times of stress and adversity has been compelled reluctantly to increase the taxation by that means, but this has never had a protective result. The proof of that is very simple. As a matter of fact, we have neverhad anything to protect.
– The Tasmanians must have been a poor lot if they never had anything to protect.
– Senator McGregor may think so ; but I am dealing with facts, and not with descriptions. If, instead of having a 20 per cent. Tariff, such as was recently in operation in Tasmania, duties had been levied upon a 50 per cent, basis, it would still have been a revenue Tariff. There was never anything in Tasmania to protect, and there is nothing there at the present moment. Therefore I think the Vice-President of the Executive Council will recognise the impropriety of including Tasmania amongst the States that imposed a protective Tariff. Even the Vice-President of the Executive Council makes a slip sometimes, and he did so when he was referring to some of his colleagues in the Ministry. He made an unfortunate reference to his colleague, .who ought to be called Sir Jacob Fysh, when he said in effect that, whatever that gentleman’s words had been, his acts had been the acts of a protectionist. Of course that reminded us at once of the story of Jacob and Esau, but the honorable and learned senator was not very complimentary to his colleague when he said that his acts had always been the acts of a protectionist although his voice had been the voice of a free-trader. He then went on to point out, with the emphasis of which he has such a perfect command, that -
Whatever may have been said in criticism of the Tariff as compared with the Maitland manifesto, I assert without hesitation that there is not one item in it, and not one principle which was enunciated in the statement of it by the Government, which does not directly carry out the promise made in the Maitland manifesto.
The question immediately arises which Tariff the honorable senator was referring to. If he referred to the Tariff as originally introduced in the House of Representatives, I should like to bind him down to it. The obvious inference was that that was the Tariff he had in his mind. I venture to submit that the Tariff as introduced, whether it did or did not carry out the Maitland manifesto, has been materially and vitally altered during its passage through the House of Representatives to this Chamber, and that even this Tariff with all its modifications does not carry out adequately what the general public of Australia understood by the Maitland manifesto. I may go further, and say that the party with which I have the honour to be associated in this Chamber will not relax in’ any way their efforts to make this Tariff give to the people exactly what they understood by that manifesto. I could not find in the VicePresident of the Executive Council’s speech any remarks with reference to what I have said should be the first great object of this Tariff, namely, to devise a scheme of taxation which shall fall upon all classes of this Australian community with equal effect. I appeal to every honorable senator, irrespective of the party with which he may be associated, to see that whatever else this
Tariff may do, it shall embody a scheme of equitable and fair taxation. I have not the slightest hesitation in asking every pro- tectionist in this Chamber if he does not consider it his duty to make this Tariff operate in such a way as to carry out that elementary principle. We .have to recognise that the Commonwealth has to give to the States a large proportion of the total revenue that will be derived by them from all sources, while so far as the Commonwealth is concerned, the Tariff represents its only means of raising revenue. Therefore, the obligation rests upon the Senate, to see that the Tariff represents a fair scheme of taxation. I should like to point out how the view I have taken, with regard to the two problems presented to us, corresponds with the position of this Senate. We are elected upon the broadest franchise, and by the people of each State voting collectively, and in that respect we represent all the communities of the Commonwealth to as great an extent as, if not to a greater extent than, do the representatives in the other House. We, also, stand here - to use a somewhat confusing term - as representatives of our own States. In other words we recognise that the Senate is the special custodian of the State rights. This being so, I submit that it is specially our duty to solve the second problem to which I have referred by returning to each of the States as nearly as possible the same amount of revenue as they previously derived from customs. Finding, therefore, as I have indicated, that the position we hold here as senators so adequately and harmoniously corresponds with what I conceive to be our two chief duties, I venture to appeal to every senator to assist the Government in carrying them out. With regard to the first problem of fair taxation, I may, perhaps, be permitted to remind honorable senators of the elementary axioms of taxation and of what we are bound to do. . One axiom is that taxation should fall upon all persons according to their means ; another is that it should hinder production as little as possible ; and a third - and this practically comprises all that ought to be found in a proper scheme of taxation - is that it should be as little difficult and costly, and as little embarrassing to trade as possible. I submit that honorable senators, no matter where they may sit, ought to regard it as their bounden duty to see that this Tariff carries put these three axioms. Every honorable senator will recognise that it is absolutely impossible for a protectionist, if he wishes to give force to his protectionist views, to emb’ody in this Tariff a fair scheme of taxation. I say that without fear of contradiction.
– I - If he wishes to carry out nothing but protection.
– I - I shall not accept such a’ qualification as ‘that, even from the Vice-President’ of the Executive Council. If a ‘protectionist wishes to carry outprotection, he cannot embody his scheme’ in a fair scheme of taxation. If a protectionist wanted to tax boots, as the Government did in the Tariff which they first brought down to the House of Representatives, to the extent of from 100 to ISO per cent., he would be compelled at once to commit a .breach of the great principles which should regulate a fair scheme of taxation. I submit that, whilst we have to light practically with’ both our hands tied behind our backs, we can, at any rate, by adhering to our principles as free-traders, do a great deal more to make this Tariff represent a fair scheme of taxation than could any protectionist’,’ unless he too consented to fight fairly, and to recognise that his hands also were tied firmly by the necessities of the States. That, however, is not the way in which this fight is being conducted. The protectionists are trying to embody their principles in this Tariff as fully as possible, and in seeking to eliminate this element, we are under no risk of departing from a proper system of taxation. If honorable members think that I am abandoning my free-trade principles they are quite mistaken.
– Free-trade has nothing at all to do with it.
– Free-trade has a great deal to do with it. The free-traders are going .to fight fairly, and none of us intend to make’ any fanatical attempt to frame such a Tariff as would end in hopeless disaster to all the States. Every freetrader recognises that his hands are tied behind his back, and that the financial necessities of the States will not allow him to carry out his free-trade principles in their entirety ; but he does not abandon them. I agree largely with what Senator Pearce said this afternoon. I was delighted with his speech, as I have not listened to such a deliverance for many a day in this Chamber. It had great intrinsic merit, and it came with greater force from him because of the position he holds in the labour party. I agree with all he said about free-trade. I do not know that I could go as far as he would, but if my hands were not tied under present conditions I’ would venture to go further than I am able to proceed in connexion with this Tariff. . That, I take it, will be the attitude- of most freetraders in this Chamber. ‘ They do not in any way abandon their principles, but they intend to remain ‘loyal to the necessities of their respective States. -What is the attitude of protectionists? If they put in this Tariff a single protectionist item, they will ignore what we consider to be a proper scheme of -taxation. They may -do’it,. but it will be at their own risk. Protectionist 1 speakers with whom I sympathize largely , because they believe in ‘ their view6 -have said very little upon a subject to which. I now desire to refer. Prior to federation the chief protectionist State in Australia was Victoria. That State had a high ‘protective Tariff in operation, and now . its senators consider that Victorian industries are threatened. Tlie Victorian : Tariff ranged from 25 to 35 per cent.’, and, giving protectionists credit for all they claim, let us assume that that Tariff enabled this State to retain control of its own market. .To me it is quite obvious that protectionists in Victoria fear they are going to lose the advantages which they possessed prior to federation. I honestly ‘ think that they fail to appreciate the altered circumstances which . exist. I doubt if any business man would ; argue that to give him al 10 per cent, advantage over the wide area comprised in this Commonwealth would . place him “in an inferior position to that which heoccupied when, under the operation of a 25 per cent, duty, he commanded . only the Victorian market. I am not using that argument . in an ad caplandum way, but I do not believe that Victorian ‘industries will suffer by reason of this Tariff when it finally passes the Parliament. The 10 per cent, advantage which Victoria will derive under it will be worth more to the in,dustries of this State than the 25 per cent, which they previously enjoyed. It is obvious ‘ that honorable senators upon this side of the Chamber will have to agree to the imposition of a 10 or 15 per cent, rate upon many articles which are manufactured in Victoria. Victorian industries will be able to compete in the whole of the Commonwealth by reason of the advantage which they enjoy as against oversea goods. Such a position will, I think, be decidedly better for Vic toria than that which she previously occupied. I wish also to point out that no protectionist in this Chamber has ever seriously considered that by the aid of a protective policy Victoria would be able to compete with the world in foreign markets. Such an idea has never entered into the minds of Victorian manufacturers. It is not contemplated by the most ardent protectionist in this Parliament. His ideas have been limited to his own State before federation, and to the whole of the Commonwealth since federation. That being so, surely protectionists will admit that much of the results of their policy must be nullified ? I do not intend to enter into a discussion upon the abstract question of free-trade and protection. It is necessary, however, that I should point out what really is the position of the industries of Vic toria, and what should be the desire of those who advocate their maintenance by the aid of protective duties. Surely even protectionists will admit that where, if anywhere, benefit has arisen from the policy of protection, it has been derived, not in their own market, but in foreign markets ? Even Senator Playford, who believes in protection as firmly as any man in this Chamber, will recognise that that, if any, has been the beneficial result of protection. As a matter of fact - and I do not wish to put the matter offensively - by getting more from their own people they have been able to manufacture very largely.
– Personally, I entirely disagree with every word which the honorable senator has said upon the subject.
– I do not agree with his statements. I argued quite to the contrary.
– I am sorry that even protectionists should disagree with my remarks. But much of the success of America, if it has been due to protection, has arisen from the fact that she can compete in foreign markets, and the most ardent protectionist in Australia can never hope that the Commonwealth will be such an advanced manufacturing country that it will be able to compete openly with other countries in foreign markets.
– W - Why not?
S enator CLEMONS. - I have not even heard it suggested.
– What about iron?
– I am not talking of our natural products, but of our manufacturing industries. I did not designate them as “secondary” industries, because that term might be offensive, but they are certainly industries which would best be recognised under that name. Obviously, we have never invaded foreign markets in connexion with any of those industries. No protectionist contemplates such an invasion at the present time, and therefore if our protected industries are to flourish at all, they will flourish simply in the markets of the Commonwealth. A revenue Tariff such as we feel impelled to impose will give to protected industries as much help as they enjoyed in Victoria under the operation of a 25 per cent. duty. I do not propose to pursue that subject any further. I would rather turn to the other question, which I admit interests me vastly - the question of the provision which the Government have made for meeting what we all recognise as the financial necessities of several of the States. The facts are simple. Frame what Tariff we may, New South Wales certainly, and Victoria probably, will come out all right. Of the other States Western Australia, owing to an arrangement which, I am sure, we all deprecate, has made provision for herself. It is lamentable, but it is afact.
– I - It will last only for fiveyears.
– But those five years will prove very trying to the other States. The States which will be disastrously affected are Queensland, Tasmania, and very likely South Australia.
– Almost certainly.
– I no not lay much stress, howe ver, upon the position of South Australia. I admit that even to South Australians the matter is a little bit doubtful at the present time, though it is more likely that that State will suffer to a small extent than that she will benefit.
– S - She is to the good at present under these calculations.
– I am aware of that. But in regard to the position of Queensland and Tasmania, there is absolutely no doubt. My criticism of this
Tariff, as introduced by the Government, is that whilst they have- regarded the total amount to be collected, they have seriously neglected to pay attention to the method by which that total is to be made up. They have laid too much stress upon the fact that they are going to collect £8,500,000 or thereabouts. After making calculations regarding the total amounts which the States previously collected, and the expenses of the Commonwealth, they have decided that a revenue of £8,500,000 will be sufficient. I say that that is a very misleading way of attempting to solve this very difficult problem. I contend that, neglecting the position of New South Wales and Victoria, the chief duty of the Ministry was to investigate the position of Queensland and Tasmania, and to ascertain by what method of adjustment they could have returned to those States the money which they require. If due regard had been paid to the two items which yield the most revenue, this Tariff would not have been nearly so disastrous either to Queensland or Tasmania.
– T - That has been the sole reason for the imposition of a great many duties. They have been levied in order to provide those States with revenue.
– I do not wish to say that the Government have been entirely blind to this fact, but certainly the method whicli they have adopted is decidedly fault)7, and I am prepared to indicate why it is so. I can point to methods by the adoption of which Queensland and Tasmania may be benefited without working injury to the rest of the States. But whilst we are perfectly read)’ to sacrifice our principles for revenue - because it is essential that we should do so - we find great difficulty in extorting from protectionists a willingness to make a similar sacrifice. When it has come to a conflict between a protective duty and the raising of revenue for the the smaller States the latter have gone under in almost every instance.
– It may not be so in the Senate.
– I hope it will not be so. Let me refer briefly to the position of the smaller States. In this connexion I can indicate at once a way in which they may be benefited without any harm being done to the other States. My suggestion has reference to the great revenue-producing items of narcotics and stimulants. There is no senator, whether he be a free-trader, a protectionist, or a member of the labour party, who is not perfectly willing to tax these items to the full extent of their revenue-producing capacity. Surely wo do not want to extend protection to either narcotics or stimulants. We tex them because they are essentially luxuries, and becausethey belong to a class of luxuries indulgencein which borders closely upon a vice. Therefore, I appeal to honorable senators to tax. them to the full extent of their revenueproducing power, and” to do so in such a. way that the smaller States will derive thegreatest amount of revenue possible under thecircumstances. The best way of realizing thelargest amount of revenue from those items is by levelling up the difference between theexcise and the customs duties. If we retain that difference we shall confer a measureof protection. I think I am abundantly justified in saying that I can show theSenate instances in which the Government have preferred protection to revenue, or, at least, to revenue for the smaller States.
– Will the honorablesenator act up to those principles in regard, to boots i
– I am dealing with, items which even Senator Glassey is. willing to tax to their fullest extent. If the Government wish to do likewise they have certainly adopted afaulty method by leaving too great a margin between the excise and customs rates. Let us consider for a moment theposition of Tasmania and Queensland. Forevery gallon of spirits or lb. of tobaccodistilled or manufactured within the Commonwealth, Tasmania and Queensland losea considerable amount of revenue. Of course, the object of the Government isto afford protection to local industries.. But surely in the case of narcotics and stimulants we can afford to forego any idea of protection ; and if that bedone our revenue will be increased hugely. Tobacco would be a better instance. We in Tasmania do not manufacturetobacco, and never have. Under theTariff there is a duty of ls. 6d. per lb. on the unmanufactured leaf and an excise of’ ls. on% the commercial product. In thecase of a pound of tobacco manufactured in Victoria out of imported leaf, and sent to Tasmania as ‘the State of consumption, thelatter State will receive about 2s. 3d. ; that it to say, not quite ls. 6d. and ls. On theimported pound of tobacco Tasmania will get 3s. 3d., or1s. more, which will make a tremendous difference in the case of both Tasmania and Queensland. To Tasmania it will, in my opinion, make a difference of £25,000 a year. The same analogy holds good with regard to spirits. For every gallon of spirits produced in Australia and consumed in Tasmania, the latter State will lose a definite amount of revenue. To extend my argument, and show how this Tariff might have been framed so as to materially assist the smaller States, let me deal with the matter of imported hats and boots. If Tasmania imports these commodities from oversea, she will get a definite duty; but if they are. imported from Victoria, no revenue will be received by the smaller State. The effect of this Tariff in imposing even the new duty of 30 per cent. on hats and boots, is such that nearly all those commodities consumed in Tasmania will be manufactured in one of the larger States.
– What is to prevent an excise duty of 30 per cent?
– That is not a very sensible interjection.
– It ought to be sensible from a free-trade stand-point.
– I have already told honorable senators that, free-trader as I am, I regard ray hands as being firmly tied behind my back by the financial necessities of the States. I do not want a free-trade Tariff imposed j and an absurd suggestion as to excise is really more than irrelevant. I have pointed out that in my opinionan all round duty of 15 per cent. would, in the case of hats and boots, be just as much to the benefit of Victorian industries as was the original duty of 30 per cent. I do not say that the original duty would be of as much benefit at the present time, butanother obvious wayof giving revenue to Tasmania is by modifying the excessive duties on those articles which are likely to be consumed in that State, and manufacturedin one of the larger States. Where is the injustice of my suggestion ? Is not 15 per cent. enough ? I do-not want to go back to the discussion of free-trade versus protection, but Senator Sargood clearly pointed out that the natural protection added to 15 per cent. would really make the assistance - if that term be preferred - to the bootmaking trade enormous, and enable it to prosper abundantly with the wider market now offered. I hope to have another opportunity in committee, but if I chose now to go into detail, I could cite numberless similar instances, in which a moderate duty on articles which enter into universal consumption would vastly improve the financial position of the smaller States. Seeing how important it is that we should consider these smaller States, we free-traders are justified for that, if for no other reason, in saying to the protectionists - “In this case sacrifice some of your principles, as we are sacrificing ours.” Free-traders do not want a duty of 15 per cent. on boots, and we therefore ask the protectionists to meet us half way. Some honorable senators may be induced to think that the 20 per cent. duty in the Commonwealth Tariff will operate in exactly the same way as the original duty of 20 per cent. in Tasmania. But in that supposition there is a great fallacy. I have heard it remarked that because Tasmania had a duty of 20 per cent. on many articles before federation, . she ought to be perfectly satisfied with a duty of 20 per cent. now. But the difference between the position then and the position now is enormous. Of the original duty of 20 per cent. Tasmania got every penny, whereas she will get. precious little revenue from a similar duty via the Commonwealth Tariff. The duty of 20 per cent. imposed by the Commonwealth Tariff will enable the Tasmanian market to be largely held by manufacturers in the Commonwealth, and will therefore be illusory so far as that State is concerned.
– Tasmania must try to manufacture on her own account, and she has a very good opening in the woollen trade.
– I am glad of the interjection. Boor little Tasmania has a woollen industry which never wanted protection and flourished without it. That contradicts what I started by saying tonight, namely, that we did not export articles manufactured in Tasmania. As a matter of fact, Tasmania has exported a large number of blankets to England, and the woollen industry of that State is one that could be carried on at the present time without protection.
– B - But Tasmania imposed a duty of 20 per cent.
– I admit that Tasmania had a duty of 20 per cent., but only in comparatively recent years. The duty of 20 per cent. was imposed without the slightest reference to the woollen trade, the only consideration being revenue.
– I think the duty previously was 12-J- per cent.
– We free-traders want to make taxation fall on the capital which appears in consumption, and not that which appears in production. If I can get honorable senators to take .that view, they will join most heartily with me in modifying the Tariff. Freetraders are further said to adopt a harsh attitude towards manufacturing industries. I believe every free-trader in the Senate is perfectly prepared to help all industries in the Commonwealth by handicapping them as little as possible. We desire, by remitting taxation, to assist and encourage all industries, no matter whether they be primary or secondary. Show us any article which if imported free would greatly help any industry, and we will try to have it made free. That is the sort of Tariff we free-traders wish to impose.
– T - That is not much of a concession for a free-trader to make.
– I know what the honorable and learned senator is going to say, namely, that protectionists do the same thing ; and so they do. But we freetraders regard an industry much as we might regard a boat’s crew preparing for a race. We are willing to make the industry as fit as possible by training, and to remove all encumbrances, but we want a fair start without any handicap. We are prepared to remove every impediment, but we want to see a start from the scratch on level terms. Protectionists, on the other hand, would not only take away from certain industries all encumbrances, but would give them a 50 per cent, start. That is not the attitude of the free-traders, or even of the revenue-tariff party, who are concerned with the present discussion. We are prepared to remit taxation, even to the vanishing point, if by so doing we’ can help any industry. “5?et we have been accused of harshness, simply because we do not say we are prepared to give any industry a long start in the race.
– Not only to give a long start, but to keep it up in perpetuity.
– The argument is unanswerable that once a Tariff is imposed with protective incidence it can never be repealed.
– W - We say that it should not be a race for all comers ; but that we ought to have the right of saying who is to take part.
– That is very sportsmanlike !
– I - I am following the analogy
– I also follow the analogy ; but the necessities of State finances compel us to give every one a 10 per cent, start. We have to get revenue, and in collecting that revenue under a 10 per cent. Tariff we give a start to the local industries. We revenue tariffists say that, even with this 10 per cent, start, we would take every precaution against -hampering industries in any way. That is the Tariff we should like ; a Tariff which puts heavy ‘duties on luxuries. It is not for a moment to be supposed that we are going to attempt to remit duties on luxuries, simply because other duties have been lowered to 25 per cent, or 30 per cent. There are some items on the free list which I should like to see taxed. When taxing luxuries t heavily, we ought to treat necessaries as lightly as possibly. In the Tariff, however, there are any number of necessaries of life which are taxed almost more heavily than any other items. We further say that tools of trade ought to come in free, or to be taxed very lightly. Mining and agricultural machinery are absolutely necessary to the success of those industries, and to the financial success of the Commonwealth and the welfare . of every individual. Therefore, as far as possible, subject to our revenue limitation, we are in favour of agricultural, mining, and all other machinery being admitted on a duty as low as is reasonable under the circumstances. We should be glad to see all such machinery admitted free, but if revenue necessities compel us, we shall, against our will as free-traders, .be prepared to accept a small tax.. In the Tariff, however, we do not find these items considered in that connexion. It is recent history that it was only after the most strenuous efforts of the free-traders in the House of Representatives that the duty on mining and agricultural machinery was reduced to 15 per cent., which, however, is still too high. So curious is the attitude of some protectionists that I do not hesitate to say that when we come to deal with agricultural and mining machinery, I shall be perfectly prepared to find that honorable senators who, otherwise, are strong protectionists, will at once vote for a reduction of the duties. The necessity for doing so will be brought home to them by their local and immediate necessities. They will recognise that the heavy duty on mining and agricultural machinery is going seriously to affect their position. I am certain that they will recognise local requirements before’ any theories of protection which they may hold. Their sympathy with the manufacturers of the Commonwealth will disappear when they are brought face to face with the immediate requirements of their own localities. I do not hesitate to say that we shall have no difficulty in materially improving the agricultural and mining industries of this great Commonwealth by reducing the duties on both these items. This is a most interesting topic, and I have been diverted from the argument which I had intended to use with regard to the question of State rights. In view of the fact that I have wasted my own time, and that I have done so at my own loss, I do not intend to refer back to that question. But, before I leave it entirely, I should like to impress again upon honorable senators that in this respect it is absolutely their bounden duty, wherever they can possibly do so, to lay their hands upon this Tariff which the Vice-President of the Executive Council asks us to reverence to such an extent. I put it to honorable senators - whether they are protectionists or freetraders, and especially, if they are protectionists - that wherever they can see “their way to a slight modification of the principles which they hold, they should do their utmost to assist the smaller States. In concluding my remarks on this subject, I wish to say that I am not so pessimistic in regard to the position of Tasmania as most people appear to be, judging by their utterances. I am glad to say that, in my opinion, the State Treasurer of Tasmania has made an exaggerated estimate of what will be our loss. At the same time, I must confess - and I wish to approach the subject in all fairness - that our loss during the next five years is certainly going to be serious that is to say, that the difference between our revenue under Federation and that which the State collected before joining the union will be very great. But whereas our Treasurer has estimated that it will be about £180,000 per annum, I venture humbly to say that I do not think it will exceed £100,000, or, at all events, £110,000 per annum. I am prepared to cut down the State Treasurer’s estimate by £70,000.
– Will not the people get the benefit of that difference in revenue?
– A loss of £110,000 represents a great deal to a small State like Tasmania. As to the suggestion that the money will remain in the pockets of the people, I contend, for reasons that I. have given already, that to a large extent that will not be the case. Wherever the people have to pay the same price as before for goods which have been manufactured in Victoria, the money does not remain in their pockets it cOmes out of their pockets. I do not wish to raise again the old free-trade argument, that the money, instead of going into the Treasury, goes into the manufacturers’ pockets, nor do I wish to raise the protectionist reply to the contention. It is unfair to say in answer to my statement, that this money will remain in the pockets of the people. In most cases it will be taken out of the pockets of the people, with just the same facility with which it is taken out of the revenue of the country.
– Are not the duties in question decidedly less than were those of the State Tariff of Tasmania ?
– No, higher. Even although it may appear somewhat irrelevant to the debate, I should like to say that I have been much impressed with the view of federation that I am now about to put forward. I can see no proper cure for the financial troubles of the various States, until, in the first place, the five years period has elapsed, and until, in the second place, the Commonwealth has .taken over the debts of the various States with sufficient i assets to counterbalance them. Speaking with all frankness, I do not think that Tasmania will ever find herself in a satisfactory financial position until both these events have occurred. In the meantime I venture to say that I hope Tasmania will not make any absurd appeal to the Commonwealth for financial assistance. The absurdity of such’ an appeal is obvious. It would be the kind of thing that a man might justify if* owing a large amount of debts, he were to obtain an overdraft from a bank to pay the money off. The position would be exactly the same, and I hope that as long as she remains an integral part of the Commonwealth, Tasmania, no matter what her financial distress may be, will never consent to accept a gift of £500,000 from the Commonwealth. I recognise that so far public suggestion has never got beyond an application for a loan. I have simply ridiculed that idea because, as I have just said, it would be exactly the same as the action of a man who obtained an overdraft from the bank in order to pay off his debts. If Tasmania borrows £500,000 from the Commonwealth, she will have to pay - or she ought to do so - not only the interest upon it, but at some time or other she will have to refund the principal. Therefore I dismiss that question entirely, and say that Tasmania must be left to work out her own financial salvation as best she may, subject to any assistance which we may give her by means of this Tariff. I hope that assistance will be great. I find that this subject has for me the same fascination that it has apparently for everyhonorable senator. I find that I am compelled to stop, although I seem hardly to have touched upon many of the subjects to which I desired to refer. Coming to the Tariff again - and I said at the outset that I intended to deal only with the Tariff, as that was the matter under discussion - I should like to point out two anomalies which are not mere items of detail, and which I hope to see removed. One is to be found in the customs Tariff, and relates to the duty on iron and steel. The proposal is that certain fixed duties which are scheduled in the Tariff shall be passed by this Parliament, and be made binding upon some future Parliament at such time as the establishment of the industry under bonuses shall have satisfied the Government that iron can be manufactured in the Commonwealth. That I believe is practically the proposition. I ~do not wish at the ‘ present moment in any way to discuss the desirability of imposing 10 or 15 per cent, duties upon iron, but I have not the slightest hesitation in saying that it seems to be almost a monstrous thing that we should be asked to legislate on this matter for, and instead of, a Parliament which may be sitting three, four, five, or perhaps ten years hence. , It seems to me to be monstrous that we should be asked now to pass legislation that will bind a future Parliament, and also the people of the Commonwealth to certain duties.
– We cannot bind them.
– The intention is to make these duties binding upon them.
– T - The intention is to give an amount of certainty for a number of years which will encourage people to put capital into the industry.
– I admit that there is something in what the Vice-President of the Executive Council says about the reason for this proposal ; but that reason is not sufficient, and I am sure that Senator O’Connor will agree with me that if we pass this provision it will be morally binding upon the people and Parliament.
– I - It is intended to be.
– I knew that the Vice-President of the Executive Council would agree with me. That is the position, and it has been stated frankly. Item 81, relating to iron and steel, is intended to be binding for all future time. That being so, I would ask whether it is desirable that we should give effect to this proposal before even we look into the merits of the proposition itself. It may have merits ; it may not, but is it not bad legislation? Should we not at once reject item SI ? Can any honorable senator feel that he would be justified in passing such a duty? To descend almost to frivolity in these matters, I would say that some of us are protectionists or free-traders to-day, but heaven knows what we may be seven years hence.
– T - The free-traders will all be protectionists then ; I have no doubt about that.
– If we are all going to be protectionists seven years hence the Vice-President of the Executive Council should not have any feeling of alarm in regard to what may be the work of a future Parliament. ‘ if he thinks that is going to happen he may safely leave the matter to a future Parliament. I say unhesitatingly that this . is a blunder in legislation which the Senate ought not to permit, and that, therefore, the item ought to be struck out. There is one other comprehensive item of the same sort in the Excise Bill. It relates to sugar, and directly contains this contract : that after the year 1907 there shall be no excise duty whatever on sugar. The position, therefore, is practically the same as that in relation to iron. I am not going to enter into the very vexed question of the sugar duties, and I trust that honorable senators, no matter what their feelings may be in regard to the great sugar question, will disabuse their minds of any notion that I am attacking it at present. I am attacking it only on the same grounds as I have attacked the item relating to iron. The provision in the Excise Bill in regard to sugar carries with it an implied contract, which will be binding on future Parliaments, and binding on the people of Australia, that after the year 1907 there shall be no excise duty on that article.
– Will there not be un excise duty of £1 per ton ?
– No ; if the honorable senator reads the provision he will find that the excise duty is to disappear entirely. I am not dealing with the provision designed to help sugar grown by white labour, but with the result.
– T - There is to be an excise duty for a limited period, and there is nothing in the Bill to prevent an excise duty being re-imposed at the end of that period.
– The position is exactly the same as that in regard to iron.
– Surely not.
– I say unhesitatingly that this provision in the Excise Bill carries with it an implied contract that after the year 1907 there shall be no excise on sugar.
– T - The honorable and learned senator might just as well say that in regard to every item on the free list there is an undertaking that they will never be dutiable.
– I assert confidently that the elaborate and careful precautions which have been taken in regard to sugar in the Excise Bill put the item in a -different category altogether from that of any ordinary item in the excise or customs Tariff. Any one who agrees with me relative to the iron duties - as practically every honorable senator did just now - will agree with me that there is clearly an implied - I do not say an actual - contract that there shall be no excise duty on sugar after the year named.
– Otherwise, why is a time mentioned?
– Precisely. “Senator O’Connor. - It is mentioned because there is to be a limit.
– .Tam glad to take from the Vice-President of the Executive Council the assurance that there is not such an implied contract. Under these circumstances I feel sure that I shall have his assistance in putting the question beyond dispute ; that when we come to deal with the Excise Bill he will join with honorable senators on this side in putting ‘.he matter beyond doubt, unless he wishes to contend that it is a desirable thing that such a contract should be given. I should prefer to make a few remarks on the question of desirability, and obviously they must be short, for reasons that must appear at once to any honorable senator. Can we possibly consider that in 1 907 the Commonwealth will be in such a position as to be able to do without any duty whatever on sugar - a duty that has been of immense assistance to every State. A revenue has been derived from sugar either by means of excise or through the customs ever since the States have been States. I submit, that assuming that my reading of this provision is correct, it would be absolute madness on the part of Parliament to consent now to the removal of the excise duties altogether at the end of 1907, and to something which would not reimpose them.
– Queensland obtained no revenue from sugar lately.
– I - It is for the sake of the others.
– I do not wish to go fully into the very vexed question of sugar, because it is a difficult one ; but Queensland sugar has been able to compete in the foreign markets. The market of every State was a foreign market to Queensland prior to federation, yet sugar from that State has been able to compete in those markets against all the world. In one year Queensland had positively a slight excess of production over the consumption of sugar for the whole of Australia. She did that without the slightest trouble. But now, Queensland, at the expense of the other States, is going to have a protective duty of ±’6 per ton, which is not to be counterbalanced by any excise whatever. I recognise that this is another of those instances in which the smaller States have to suffer, only in this case Queensland is inflicting her own suffering upon herself, though she might get some relief by an excise on sugar if she consumes it
– I - It is the State of consumption that gets the revenue.
– If the honorable and learned senator had heard me he would know that I said “if she consumes it.” I did not fall into the boyish error of supposing that she would get anything out of sugar unless she consumed it. If there is an excise duty upon sugar, the State of consumption will get the whole of that duty. That we have lost ; and if I read this provision with respect to the sugar excise correctly, hereafter we shall for ever lose it. I have trespassed upon the time of the Senate longer than I intended, but I should like to say again with regard to the Tariff, and with regard to nothing else, that the very most I can hope to get from ‘ this Tariff is a negative blessing. I cannot believe that any arrangement of this Tariff by any body in Australia could materially benefit Australia. With regard to all these industries which the Tariff, where protective, purports to benefit, I say without the slightest hesitation, that if we are going to benefit them we must start in another way. If we look to the history of the world, and see where industries have progressed, and have been of material benefit to the individuals and to the nations, we shall find that the chief factor in their success has not been a Tariff. Their success has had nothing whatever to do with duties, and nothing whatever, practically speaking, to do with either free-trade or protection, but they have depended almost entirely upon the individuals engaged in those industries, their own industrial skill, their own aptitude for a particular occupation, and, indirectly of course, upon the opportunities that have been given by their local legislation for developing that industrial skill.
– H - Hear, hear. With that last proposition we all agree, And under that we get the Tariff.
– Under my proposition we get men made fit to enter into the industrial struggle, and I say that the only way in which we can ever help to make manufactures in the Commonwealth a success is by- improving the technical education of our people. We all know that that power is removed from us entirely. It seems to me deplorable that although the Commonwealth Parliament has been invested with so many powers we have been bereft of that one power which might have made for the material prosperity of the* Commonwealth. My attitude with regard tothe Tariff is that at best it can only be a negative blessing. We . free-traders aregoing to endeavour to prevent it hampering or injuring any sort of industry, primary, secondary, or otherwise. When we haveacted in that purely negative way we shall have discharged, in my opinion, all the dutieswhich can be expected of us, and shall haverendered to industrial Australia all the helpwe can possibly give it.
– Likethe honorable and learned senator who hasjust resumed his seat, I intend, during the course of the few remarks I shall make, toavoid as far fis possible any discussion of therelative merits of the two fiscal policies of free-trade and protection in the abstract ; but, unlike that honorable senator, I do not intend to announce, either on my own behalf or on behalf of the party with whom I am associated, that we are going to dosomething which nobody hitherto, judging from the honorable and learned senator’sremarks, might have imagined any particular party in this House was going to do, namely, that we are going to be so generousas to abstain altogether from insisting upon’ a rigid adherence to fiscal principles, and act in accordance with the exigencies of the occasion. That is the attitude taken up by manysenators. It was the attitude taken up by the Prime Minister when submitting Impolicy to Australia at Maitland, and it isthe attitude which, so far as I can makeout, Ministers have ever since intended to abide by. It is not left to SenatorClemons and his free-trade friends to havethis particular virtue in federal politics, that they are going for the nonce in the* interests of the people of Australia, not topersist in rigid insistence upon doctrinaireprinciples, but are going to have a due regard for the financial exigencies of the various States. We have all taken up that position, and it is now a question of the exact method by which we shall bring abouta revenue for the Commonwealth which will secure to the various States some large proportion of the revenue which they have hitherto received, and will, to a certain extent, guarantee their solvency under the altered conditions.
– What did the leader of the free-trade party say ?
-The right honorable gentleman said so many things at’ different times, anc! in many places, that to ask me what he said is to put to me a question which I cannot answer.
– It is almost as bad as to ask the various things which the Prime Minister said.
– Senator Clemons has spoken at great length upon the method which he thinks might suitably be adopted by the Government in order to better conserve the finances of the States of Queensland and Tasmania. He has dwelt upon the necessity of raising the duties of excise, and of bringing them nearer than they are at present to the customs duties upon narcotics and stimulants. Hitherto, in the State of Tasmania we had a customs duty of 15s. on spirits, and no excise duty, because there are no spirits locally distilled.
– It is very doubtful whether that dutv was not too high.
– In fact, in Tasmania we have no excise duties except those on beer, cigarettes, and cigars, and an excise duty was put upon cigarettes only because a few years ago a couple of firms in Victoria established works in Hobart for the manufacture of cigarettes, with the idea of subsequently manufacturing cigars. They were not long established there with their works in full swing before an excise duty was put upon cigarettes, and they promptly cleared out of Hobart and came back to Melbourne to manufacture here and export to Tasmania. Senator Clemons has also referred to woollens, and has told us of the woollen industry that exists in Tasmania. I am in perfect accord with the honorable and learned senator in saying that that industry is, comparatively speaking, in a very flourishing condition for the State of Tasmania, but I do not agree with him that it has attained its present proportions without the existence of a duty, because we have had a duty of 20 per cent, for a considerable time. There are many engaged in it both in the north and south of the island, and although the honorable and learned senator may say that they do not need the assistance of a protective duty, I must differ from him, because those engaged in the industry have been unanimous in the expression of the opinion that it is absolutely necessary for them that the duty, which has been lowered to 15 per cent, by the House of Representatives, should again be raised to 20 per cent.
– The honorable and] learned senator knows that the proprietors, of the factory in the north of the island have! only lately been changed.
– I know that there has been that expression of opinion, and that from the moment the House of Representatives reduced the duty to 15 per cent.,, the proprietors of the Tasmanian woollen, factories have urged that the duty should be increased to 20 per cent.
– Is there anythingwonderful in that t
-There is nothing wonderful in that, but it shows that Senator Clemons was speaking from his own standpoint, and that his views do not coincide with the views of those who are primarily interested in the industry. The honorable and learned senator seems to me to have tripped in one matter. He told us at very great length and with considerable emphasis that it had never been the hope of those whohad adhered to a protectionist policy that any of these industries which had been brought into existence in Australia by such a policy should ever invade foreign markets with their products. Senators Downer and Playford disagreed with him, and Senator Playford rightly interjected at the time that they did not perhaps immediately contemplate invading foreign markets with their products. But Senator Clemons himself, in dealing with the comparatively small woollen industry of Tasmania admitted that it hassuccessfully placed its products on theEnglish market. If- that can be done by that modest industry which the honorable and learned senator says does not need protection, but which those interested in it contend does need protection, what can be done by some of the larger industries in other branches, which are to be conserved, or which may come into existence as theresult of the operation of a Tariff such asis now submitted to us 1
– S - Senator Macfarlane called Tasmania the future Belgium of Australia.
– That is so, and possibly many industries will spring up in Tasmania the products of which will be sentto the other end of the world. Honorablesenators on both sides have admitted that it is necessary we should have a Tariff” which shall raise a revenue of between £8,000,000 and £9,000,000. It seems tome, with Senator Clemons, that it is not so- much a question of the amount actually to be yielded in the aggregate that we have to consider. We have to consider what will be the effect upon the finances of the States when the surplus revenue returnable to them is distributed amorgst them. I agree with the honorable and learned senator that we can never have a proper adjustment of State finances until the five years of the bookkeeping period has gone by, and there is a more equitable distribution of the surplus revenue, and until some of the debts of the various States have been taken over by the Commonwealth in consideration for which .assets of the various States must be taken over. What will the Tariff submitted to the Senate yield ? That is a question which has given rise to varying opinions. Senator Pulsford has given expression to the opinion that it will yield too much, and will be too much of a burden upon the people. The honorable senator does not say that the duties themselves will be too much of a burden upon the people, -but that actually too much- will betaken out of the pockets of the people and put into the Federal Treasury, and that too great a burden will be placed upon the people in that way. Senator Millen thinks that the amount which the Treasurer of the Commonwealth considers he will receive from the Tariff is an over-estimate. Again, we have had the opinions of a financier like Mr. Reid. Only a couple of months ago or less than that, when the people of Tasmania were very much interested in this matter owing to an election being in progress, he tele.graphed over to that State, and it appeared in triple columns, that the Government had brought forward financial proposals which -spelled ruin for the smaller States, inasmuch as they would not receive enough revenue. A little while after Mr. Reid, in the State of New South Wales, said that the proposals of the Government were of such a character that they would yield such a large amount of revenue as would lead to -extravagance on the part of the State Governments. In these circumstances, it is onlynatural to expect that those who have not had the experience of finance which Mr. Reid has had, and who have not conducted the long and elaborate investigation which Senator Pulsford has conducted, should be in a state of some perplexity. Senator Dobson pointed out, that according to our statistician the population of Tasmania has not a capacity for consuming ordinary revenue-producing goods to the same extent as has the population of any. other State, and that by reason of that, with a uniform Tariff, the actual amount of consumption per head of ordinarily dutiable articles would be smaller in that State than in any other, and consequently in accordance with the bookkeeping clauses, the surplus returnable to Tasmania would also be smaller in proportion than that returnable to any other State. It has to be remembered that in the matter of finance Tasmania stands in a peculiar position with relation to the other States. I agree with Senator Clemons that there has been a disposition on the part of too many persons to deplore what they contemplate will be the financial results of the Tariff to Tasmania. I agree with him that it has recuperative powers which have not been taken into consideration. There are other circumstances, too. The direct taxation in Tasmania is nothing like as extensive as that which exists in any of of the other States.
– That is not quite so. On land it is heavier than in any other State.
– On land it may be ; it is a half-penny in the £1 on the improved capital value. Practically we have no succession duties. Personal estates up to £100 net, that is after deducting liabilities, pay nothing, from £100 to £500 2 per cent., and from £500 upwards 3 per cent. In all the other States succession duties range from 1 to 10 per cent, on realty and personalty ; and Queensland, in addition to succession duties, has small probate duties. In Tasmania there is practically no taxation in that direction, and it is, I believe, the only State in the union in which there is not a duty stamp put on such a document as a receipt. There are various sources of taxation which have never been resorted to, but I am not in a position to say what they would yield. It is well known that the customs and excise revenue relatively to the total taxation is much larger than that which exists in any other State ; 46-53 of the total revenue comes from customs and excise duties. I recognise, with all other honorable senators, that it is absolutely necessary to have a Tariff which will produce revenue. No matter how protectionist we may be we cannot have a Tariff that will result in nothing but protection. I do not mean a revenue Tariff in the sense in which that term seems to be accepted by the old free-trade party. Having come to a common agreement that we wish to raise £8,000,000 or £9,000,000 from the Customhouse, in order that the amount returnable may keep the States in a practically solvent condition, the question then seems to me to be this - What, broadly speaking, should be the character of the Tariff of the whole of Australia 1 Are we to enter upon a policy which shall be nothing but a policy of tax gatherers 1 Or are we going to enter upon a policy of taxation which shall also be an industrial policy, and which shall reflect some value, and some benefit upon the people of Australia who are taxed ? I cannot ally myself with a party who, so to speak, in this, perhaps the largest, issue that will come before the Parliament will take up the banner- of the tax-gatherers -as apart from the industrialists. On whatever side of the Chamber we may sit why should we set about framing a Tariff designed to take out of the pockets of the people such a large amount per head as we intend to do, and not have some regard to the industries in our midst many of which came into existence as the result of Tariffs, and many of which are only existing in the face of the world’s unequal competition by reason of the incidence of some duty in their favour ? I should like to quote some very appropriate remarks, which I remember having read and previously ‘heard, in these terms -
Ti presunte, from what I have heard from the Government side, that we are to have a revenueraising Tariff. But if there is an article which -can be produced locally, upon which they can place a duty and give a certain amount of protection, they will place it on that article rather than on one which cannot be produced in Australia., although it is in consumption here. They will get a certain amount of revenue and protection at the same time. I fail to recognise any vital distinction ^between the policies of either side. If it came to. a clearcut issue between free-trade and protection, my vote would be in the direction of free-trade. If it came to putting, a duty on tea, which is an Article largely consumed here, but which cannot be produced’ locally, or of putting it on boots, which can be produced, I would be prepared to put it on boots. I take it that the position adopted by the Government is that they will show they can raise sufficient without putting a duty on both.
– Why does not the honorable and learned senator read what I said about the high duties 1
– I hope that the honorable and learned senator is not reading from a debate in the other House.
– I did not say what I was reading from.
– I am asking the honorable and learned senator.
– It is not from a debate in the other House.
I take it that the position adopted by the Government is that they will see that they can raise sufficient without putting a duty on both.
That I call a fair attitude. The individual whose remarks I am quoting says distinctly - “ I ama free-trader and not a protectionist. I believe in free trade sincerely, but if we are going to have a Tariff, I am [prepared to put the duty on the article which can be locally produced rather than on the article which cannot bc locally produced, but which is in consumption here.”
– Will the honorable and learned senator read what that speaker said about high duties 1 .
– He said-
If they come forward with any high duties they will find me in opposition.
That, I take it, is a fair attitude for a freetrader to take up. He is prepared to go to the full length of the policy of free-trade. He is prepared to vote on the clear-cut issue of free-trade or protection.
– Whose speech is it 1
– It does riot matter whose speech it is. I merely say 1 am in perfect accord with the remarks of that speaker with regard to the proper incidence of inevitable customs duties. In framing the Tariff we have not to close our eyes and simply put a dutv on certain classes of goods with the object of getting revenue alone, but we have” to consider in every instance what is the particular nature of those goods, and the method of their manufacture, and how far the conditions of Australian life are adaptable to such methods, and if we find that they are adaptable, even whether those goods are now being, made in the Commonwealth or not, it is our duty to so adjust the incidence of every detail of customs taxation as to give the greatest possible encouragement to the manufacturer of the most varied requirements of the people of the Commonwealth now and to be. ‘
– “Are you not to pay attention to the consumer1!
– Pay every attention to the consumer.
– How will you meet his case ?
– The honorable and learned senator will sing the song of the consumer exclusively perhaps for many years to come. That was the song which was sung by what is known as the American democrat, whom Senator Smith the other day in making a comparison somehow or other seemed to liken to the Australian democrat. We all know that the basis of the American democratic party was the subordination of the interests of all to the interests of the consumers. It was the corner stone of slavery in the south, and it was the great thing which brought into existence the political republican party who were determined at all hazards that “ buy in the cheapest market “ should not be the motto adopted by the American people, that the interests of the consumer should not be made primordial, and the interests of everybod)’ else subordinate to his, and that the interests of the slave-owner, who merely wished to live on the work of the slave, and to be a consumer, and of a higher order of being than the producer, should not be paramount. Yet we have Senator Smith apparently applauding the democrat of America, whose whole existence as an integer of political party rests upon principles such as I have referred to, and such as absolute freedom of contract, principles with which I know that honorable gentleman has not the slightest sympathy. Senator Symon addressed himself at very great length to the ethical and economic advantages that were to be derived from a system of free-trade.
– I did not enter into that at all.
– Perhaps the honorable and learned senator did not dwell upon that subject at such length as he might have done ; but he told us that we should ask all those connected with the industries now protected to stand forward in open competition with the whole world. He suggested that all their doubts should be dispelled, that they should vanish like the mists before the rising’ sun, and that they should fold their tents like the Arab and silently steal away.
– I said their fears should be dispelled, not their doubts.
– The honorable and learned senator also referred to the grinding wheels of monopoly.
– Yes, and a greatmany other poetical expressions and mixed metaphors were used. The honorable and learned senator dealt with’ the ethical and economic aspect of the free-trade theory, and, together with those who followed his lead, committed the blunder of identifying their present policy with the policy of the free-traders of the school. The only exception was, perhaps, Senator Harney.’ We know as a matter of fact that free-trade as “dealt with by the English political economists is a myth, and that itexists nowhere. The free-trade of the schools and the free-trade of the world arenot at all alike. Has England free-trade ?
– Does the honorable and learned senator know what free-trade’ means ? It means the absence of protectiveduties. ‘
– It means free buying and free selling. Can England enjoy the advantages of free- trade with Germany? No, she cannot, because when she offers her wares to Germany she finds herself brought face to face with a wall of protection. Soit is also in America Senator Styles dealt with the trade of Great Britain and other countries with Australia, and nearly all those honorable senators who criticised him proceeded upon the erroneous assumption that importing, and importing alone, constituted ti-ade - that buying and buying . alone, was trade. «
– Who said that?
-Senator Sargood criticised Senator Styles’ statements on the assumption that he had dealt with nothingbut imports, and not with both buying and selling. Trade does not consist in simply buying. England is free to import produce from any part of the world ; but is she free to sell her products in any part of theworld ? New South Wales was free, under her free- trade or quasi-free-trade policy, to buy from any part of the world, except sofar as her Tariff imposed restrictions upon her ; but was she free to sell to Victoria, for instance ? Could that be called a policy of free-trade ? It was certainly not the policy that the economists write about.. They assume the Utopian possibility of all the nations on earth freely interchanging,, and that is the policy that Senator Pulsford consistently referred to. Free interchange does not simply mean free buying, but that is where the mistake is made by those who support the Cobdenite doctrine, and their theoretical conclusions, therefore, have little practical value. We have to recognise that various countries will not buy freely from us, and we have to modify our policy in accordance with existing circumstances- and not in accordance with Utopian ideas. Another mistake into which senators opposite seem to have fallen is that arising from the assumption that existing circumstances are absolutely unalterable. Senator Dobson told us of a visit of inspection which he paid to the Parramatta Woollen Mills, near Sydney. He informed us that these mills were carrying on their business without the assistance of any duty whatever, and that they had Just paid a dividend of G per cent. ; but when he went into the history of the enterprise he was candid enough to admit that the proprietor had told him that the 10 per cent, duty imposed by the Dibbs Government had set the woollen mill-owner upon his legs, and that he was now able to dispense with the duty altogether. But what about other persons who might wish to establish woollen mills in New South Wales? Would a duty of 10 per cent, be imposed specially for the purpose of setting them on their, legs ? Practically the honorable senator asks us to accept existing conditions, as if they were irrevocable. Such -an unalterable state of things might be satisfactory to the gentleman who was “ set on his legs.” Senator Sargood also sought by a very nice syllogism to induce us to believe that if we restricted importations “by protective duties, we should prevent ships from coming here with imports, and thus make it more difficult for the primary producer to send away . his produce to the old country, because the less the accommodation, the higher the freights would be. Does Senator Sargood really think that Australia is always going to remain .as she is now ? Does he think that when we establish industries to a far greater extent than we have done hitherto, and attract population, we shall still be absolutely and wholly dependent upon outside countries for shipping facilities? Does he imagine that we shall never strike out for ourselves, that we shall never initiate trade on our own account, that we shall always wait for people to come here to trade with us ? That is the fallacy that underlies the arguments of nearly all the free-traders, who look only to the immediate present, and pay little, if any regard, to the future. Senator Clemons fell into the same blunder when dealing with the position of Tasmania, as was pointed out by Senator Fraser. Senator Fraser said that Tasmania would have to learn to produce for herself more than she does at present. The arguments deduced by Senator Clemons were based upon the supposition that Tasmania would remain as she is now, and that there would be no progress whatever. That is the assumption that underlies one-half of the arguments used by the revenue tariffists. I do not intend to indulge in any statistics or quotations. I think that, in very many instances, the statistics furnished in a debate on this fiscal question are very misleading, inasmuch as they are deduced from apparently like conditions in unlike cases. T very often wonder who spend their time least profitably, those who collate such statistics, or those who quote them, because very often comparisons are instituted between countries on bases which are entirely dissimilar. They are just as different as the “ democrat “ in America and the “ democrat “ as known in the British Empire, and particularly in Australia. In conclusion, I should just like to say that now that we are approaching the settlement of this .Tariff, we have seriously to ask ourselves why the different States entered the federal union - what were the motives and the considerations that prompted them? Did not each and every one of them know that it was surrendering for evermore its own State right to impose a customs Tariff, not only as against other States but as against the whole of the world? Did they not know that there existed in the larger States manufactures that had been brought into existence, more or less, by customs Tariffs ? We recognised all these circumstances, and when the people of Australia were asked to join the federal union I venture to say there was no cry which resounded through all the States - I except Western Australia, because I know very little of what took place in the campaign there - more than the cry that by entering into federation the people would obtain inter-State free-trade with protection against the outside world.
– Nothing of the kind.
– The ears and eyes of my honorable and learned friend must have been very much closed. There was not a single free-trade paper throughout the whole of Australia which dared to suggest to the electors prior to the referendum that by joining the federation they were likely to have thrust upon them anything in the nature of free-trade with the outside world. There was not a paper which did not either expressly or tacitly inform them that they were to enjoy inter-State, free-trade with protection against the re§t of the world. ‘’
– T - That was put forward in New South Wales as the sacrifice which that State was making.
– Only a high revenue- Tariff was put forward. ‘
– The word “protection “ was used. It was the battle cry throughout the States.
– F - Free-trade is like a pea under a thimble, it is free-trade at one time, and a ‘"”high Tariff” at another.
-‘ - I - I leave honorable senators to judge of the facts for themselves. I know that throughout Tasmania there was not one free-trade newspaper which ventured to suggest that the battle cry I have mentioned was one which the people should not regard. I announced that in principle I was a protectionist, but that I must have regard to the financial exigencies of the States. Like Senator Clemons, who preceded me, so far as the fiscal fight is concerned, my hands are tied. All protectionists recognise that in this matter their hands are tied just as much as are those of the free-traders. I merely desire to say that if any senator comes to this Parliament entertaining the hope that we are entering upon this union to revolutionize pre-existing institutions without changing them, that we are going to unify six divergent Tariffs and yet leave them producing the same results as they produced previously, he is wandering away in a very hopeless quest. We must recognise, and we did recognise, that the alterations consequent upon the establishment of InterState free-trade and the loss of. revenue occasioned thereby, the alteration of the “State Tariffs against the outside world and the loss of revenue resulting therefrom, the displacement of -trade by substituting the consumption of Australian articles for extra Australian articles aud the loss of customs revenueinvolved therein, must complicate the financial conditions of the various States. Senator Clemons referred at some length to Tasmania. ‘ I have taken the trouble to collate a number of duties as they appeared in the Tariff ‘in its original form, and to compare them with the duties which existed in Tasmania and those which are imposed by the Tariff’ in its present form. What do I find ? In regard to wheat-meal, upon’ which’ a duty of 20s. per cental operated in Tasmania, theGovernment proposed to levy Id. per lb., but that amount was reduced to id. per lb. Upon maizena and corn flour, the duty in Tasmania was Id. per lb.; the Governmentproposed a similar tax, but the amount was reduced to i.d. per lb. Upon honey, jams, jellies, and preserved ginger, the duty formerly operative in Tasmania was 2d. per lb.; the Government proposed a similar rate, butthe other Chamber reduced it to 1 Jd. per lb. Upon mustard seed a duty of 20 per cent, existed in Tasmania, the Ministry proposed 2d. per lb., but the item was-placed upon the schedule ,of exemptions. Upon rice, uncleaned, the duty in Tasmania was Id. perlb.; the Government proposed to levy 5s. 3d. per cental, which amount was reduced to 3s. 4d. per cental. Upon rice, uncleaned, n.e.i., the Tasmanian duty was Id. per lb.; theGovernment proposed 8s. ‘4d. per cental, which amount was reduced to 6s. per cental. Upon rice, uncleaned, for manufacturing starch, the Tasmanian Tariff imposed Id. per lb.; the Ministry proposed 6s. 3d. percental, and the article was.made-.free. Upon salt, a duty of 30s. per ton was operative in Tasmania; the Government submitted a. proposal for 20s. per ton, and the amount was reduced to 12s. 6d. per ton. Polishing soap was taxed in Tasmania at 3d(. per lb.; the Government proposed Id. per lb., but the amount was reduced to Jd. Upon soap, n.e.i., a duty of Id. per lb. was operative in Tasmania ; a similar charge was proposed, by the Government, but the amount wasreduced to Jd. per lb. Upon tea aduty of 3d. per lb. was levied in Tasmania ; the Government proposed 2d. and 3d. per lb., but the article was made free. In Tasmania blankets and woollens were taxed at the rate of 20 per cent.; theGovernment proposed a similar rate, but it was’ reduced to 15 per cent. Upon cottonsand linens the Tasmanian Tariff imposed 20 per cent.; the Government proposed 10 percent., and the amount was reduced to 5 percent. Tents and tarpaulins were taxed 20 per cent, under the Tasmanians Tariff; a., similar rate was proposed by the Government, but it was reduced to- 5 per cent.
Upon ammunition a duty of 9s. 4d. per cwt. waa charged in Tasmania; the Government proposed 7s. 6d. per cwt., but the House of Representatives reduced the amount to 5s. per cwt. Rifles and shot-guns were taxed 20 per cent, in Tasmania ; the Government proposed 15 percent., and the tax operating to-day is only 10 per cent. Lamps and lamp ware were charged 20 per cent, in Tasmania ; the Government proposed a similar rate, but it was reduced to 15 per cent. Upon lead-sheet and lead-piping the Tasmanian Tariff imposed 2s. 6d. per cwt.; the Government proposed a similar amount, but the articles were placed upon the free list. Sheep-shearing machines were charged 10 per cent, in Tasmania; the Government proposed 15 per cent., but these machines are now admitted free. Upon tanks the Tasmanian Tariff levied 20 per cent.; the Government proposed 3s. per 100 gallons, but this item was included in the schedule of exemptions. Similarly, kerosene was charged 6d. per gallon under the Tasmanian Tariff; the Government proposed 3d. per gallon, but the article was exempted from duty. Upon medicines the duty in Tasmania was 20 per cent.; the Government proposed a similar rate, but it was reduced to 15 per cent. Of course I do not expect any State to gets its Tariff adopted absolutely as a model. I am simply pointing out that the proposals of the Government were in absolute conformity with the Tasmanian Tariff in regard to particular lines many of which would not be affected by the establishment of inter-State free-trade, and that those proposals have been modified to the extent to which I have referred. Who has modified them 1 Certainly not the Government or their supporters.
– They mean a veryconsiderable loss of revenue.
An Honorable Senator. - Not much.
– They represent a considerable loss, and it was to demonstrate that fact that I selected them from amongst many others in the Tariff. They are articles many of which are not to any great extent affected by the establishment of inter-State free-trade ; the duties were purely revenue-producing, and their reduction must result in a serious loss.
– T - Those duties were imposed with a special regard to the requirements of Tasmania and Queensland.
– Exactly ; I have here certain other Tasmanian duties which have been reduced. These, unlike those I have already quoted, stand now as originally submitted to Parliament by Ministers. For example, upon animals the Tasmanian Tariff charged 40 per cent, or 2s. 6d. per head, notwithstanding which, stock are now admitted free.
– A duty upon animals, would not be effective. It would yield no revenue.
– Senator Pearce must imagine that Tasmania does no trade with New Zealand. But I would point out that it has done trade in live stock with that country, because for New Zealand cattle there is a shorter period of quarantine.
– It will not import stock from New Zealand now that we have interState free-trade?
– Tasmania would; not import from the mainland, becauseof the alleged presence in the stock of pleuro-pneumonia, which necessitates six months’ quarantine, whereas but 30 days’ quarantine are required for cattle from New Zealand. On biscuits, blue, and candles the original duty in Tasmania was 2d., and the Commonwealth Tariff is Id. On cocoa beans, cocoa and chocolate, cocoa butter, caramel butter, and! caramel paste the duty in Tasmania was. 2d., or 20 per cent., whereas the Commonwealth Tariff is id.; the duty on linseed, which was 1 d. per lb. in Tasmania, is reduced to 2s. per cental, and on linseed meal from Id. per lb. to 4s. per cental; and infants’’ and invalids’ food, n.e.i., was charged 20) per cent, in Tasmania, and is now free.. With regard to protecting local industries it has been pointed out that Tasmania is not a manufacturing State to the extent of some of the others. But there are industries which have evidently been, considered in the’ case of Tasmania as of other States. In the case of bacon .theduty in Tasmania was 2d., and it is now 3d. per lb. Bacon-curing is an industry in which Tasmania comes into competition with the colony of New Zealand. In the case of hams and butter there has been a similar increase in the duty, and all this benefits these particular industries, for which we have been reliably assured by high authorities Tasmania is admirably adapted. Hops under the Tasmanian Tariff were subject to a. duty of 3d., but under the Federal Tariff ore-. charged 6d. j. and I suppose no two States are likely to come into competition in this connexion more than Tasmania and New Zealand. Tasmania has a large trade in potatoes, and while her own Tariff was 6d., the Federal Tariff is ls. Tasmania henceforth will have a free market throughout the Commonwealth for the sale of these products with effective protection against her rival New Zealand. On going carefully through the Tariff as submitted by the Government, and as it left another place, I have come to the conclusion that the difficult task of adjusting the various Tariffs and fixing one uniform Tariff with the idea of raising the revenue necessary to keep the States solvent, and also with the idea of giving encouragement not only to industries in existence, but to those for which Australia is well adapted, has been discharged by the Government with as much consideration as was humanly possible in the circumstances. On the whole I regard the Tariff as a fair compromise. We are told that duties :such as those on hats and boots are too high. We must remember, however, that according to statements made during this debate, the Victorian Tariff ran up as high as 160 and ISO per cent, on such articles, whereas in Tasmania the duty was only 20 ;per cent. A rise from 20 per cent, to 30 per cent, does not make such a difference as does a drop from 160 per cent, to 30 per cent. The Tariff must be considered as a matter of compromise. Of course I shall be told that with a 30 per cent. Tariff and inter-State freetrade, we in Tasmania may not import so much from abroad and the revenue will suffer. That statement is cheered by the honorable senator opposite; but did not every elector in Tasmania know that with federal . union there would be inter-State free-trade, and that, no matter what duties might be fixed, results of this character, more or less, must be brought about t Are we accentuating these financial disadvantages unnecessarily 1 The interests of every State have to be guarded, and the Government cannot take one State as the criterion for Commonwealth administration. Having considered the Tariff in all its bearings, I am prepared - as a Tasmanian and as an Australian, because the Australian view must not be forgotten in this discussion - to accept it generally as a fair compromise between all the contending interests which have to be regarded. Some of the alterations made in another place are beneficial ; others I cannot regard in the same light. These latter alterations will in the long run be seriously injurious, especially to the less populous States of Queensland and Tasmania. I have to thank the Senate for the patient hearing which they have given to me at this late stage of the debate, I hope that the long discussion we have had on principles will enable us to deal with the Tariff more expeditiously in committee, and thus to give rest and satisfaction to the commercial and trading public of Australia.
Debate (on motion by Senator O’KEEFE adjourned.
sure I shall have the assent of the Senate in making a statement on a matter of grave public importance. I refer to certain cablegrams which have passed between his Excellency the GovernorGeneral and the Secretary of State for the Colonies. The first of’ these cablegrams, which I wish to read to the Senate, is from the Governor-General.^ It is dated 5th May, and is marked “Secret.” It is as follows : -
Prime Minister introduced a Bill into - the House of Representatives, 1st of May, granting an annual allowance . to the GovernorGeneral at the rate of £8,000 a year. Bill retrospective from 1st January, 1901, in order to relieve me of portion of the great expense of Royal visit.
Opposition in the House of Representatives was so general that the proposal was withdrawn without pressing for a division, but an amendment was substituted granting me £10,000, to compensate me for part of expenditure in connexion with exceptional year. This passed by a large majority. I have no cause of complaint as to the past, but 1 anticipate great difficulties as to the future for me and for my successors. No allowances whatever will be given. On a salary of £10,000 per annum I am expected to pay staff, visit various States, paying all travelling expenses excepting rail way, occupy two great Government Houses, pay lights, fuel, stationery, telegrams, postage other than official, dispense hospitality, maintain dignity of the office. I have already strained my private resources beyond all justification. The position is impossible. After grave consideration I think that you had better recall me after the Coronation.
That was replied to on the 9th May by the Secretary of State for the Colonies in these terms -
Your telegram of 5th May. I deeply regret that Parliament has refused to vote proposed allowance to Governor-General. Though
I feel that terminAtion of your appointment will be n serious loss to Australia and to the Empire, I do not feel justified in calling on you to make the heavy pecuniary sacrifices necessarily involved by your remaining in office, and cannot refuse to acquiesce should yon desire to be relieved of your post immediately.
To that cablegram the Governor-General replied on the 1 1th May to the Secretary of State for the Colonies as follows. -
Your telegram of 9th May. I am deeply sensible of your kindness. Though I have no feeling of personal resentment, I am naturally much disappointed at the turn- of events, especially in view of the extraordinary responsiveness of the people throughout Australia.
A cablegram is now passing between the Governor-General and the Secretary of State for the Colonies with regard to the fixing of the time of His Excellency’s departure. I make this statement with deep regret.
Honorable Senators. - Hear, hoar.
– I - I feel sure that it will be received with deep regret, not only by the Senate, but by the whole of the people of Australia. I lay the papers on the table.
Senate adjourned at 10.28 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 14 May 1902, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1902/19020514_senate_1_9/>.