1st Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chairat 2.30 p.m.,and read prayers.
Senator GLASSEY presented a petition from 55 sugar growers and shareholders of the Mount Baupple Central Mill Co. Ltd., in the State of Queensland, praying the Senate to disagree to the retention of excise duties paid on sugar held by any brewer, distiller, manufacturer, or refiner on 8th October; 1901.
Petition received and read.
Is it the intention of the Government to offer or to ask Parliament to provide some practicalsympathy with the sufferers by the vulcanic eruptions in Martinique and St. Vincent, in such matter following the example of the Dominion of Canada ?
– The matter will receive consideration.
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice- 1.Is it true that Major-General Hutton has refused an application from members of the
Victorian police force to be registered as a rifle club?
– An application was received by the Acting Commandant of Victoria, and it has not been definitely refused, but has been referred back to the officer commanding Rifle Clubs with the intimation that no new clubs can be formed pending a reorganization of the forces.
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The following are the answers to the honorable senator’s questions : -
asked the Vice-President of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– Not yet.
asked the Vice-President of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
Governors-General shall hold office is to be considered.
SenatorO’CONNOR (New South WalesVicePresident of the Executive Council). - I beg to lay on the table of the Senate, by command, certain despatches. The first is a despatch from the Secretary of State for the Colonies to the Governor-General, dated the 30th November, 1900, and minuted to the Prime Minister on the 4th January, 1901, and to that there is no answer. The second is a copy of a despatchfrom the Secretary of State for the Colonies to the GovernorGeneral, dated the 11th January, 1901, and minuted to the Prime Minister on the15th February, 1901, and to that there is an answer by the Prime Minister to His Excellency, dated 21st February, 1901. I move -
That the documents be printed.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
– I beg to move -
To the King’s MostExcellent Majesty.
We, Your Majesty’s most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Senate and House of Representativesof the Commonwealth ofAustralia in Parliament assembled, beg leave to approach
Your Majesty, arid offer our respectful congratulations on the occasion of the Coronation of Your Majesty and Your Gracious Consort.
We desire also to convey an assurance of our loyal attachment to your throne and person, and of our sincere hope that Your Majesty’s reign will be distinguished, under the blessing of Providence, by watchful care to maintain the Laws of the Empire, and promote the happiness and liberty of your subjects.
It is intended that this address shall be presented by the Prime Minister at the great assemblage at which the Coronation of the King will take place. The ceremony itself will be one particularly significant from the point of view of Australia, because it will be one in which the dominant note will arise from the enormously increased power and importance of the British communities beyond the seas during the last few years. The union of the States of Australia, the great war in Africa for the preservation of an outlying portion of the Empire, and the marvellous solidarity and loyalty to the Empire which have been evinced through that struggle are all new and significant features of the Empire itself. Under these circumstances it would hardly be fitting that an address expressing our loyalty and our congratulations should not be presented by our representative to His Majesty. In congratulating the Kingon his Coronation, weare really congratulating, as is stated in the address, the throne, and the person of HisMajesty, the throne embodying as it does the power of thepeople. The qualities which at one time were necessary for the acquisition and the maintenance of the position of the king - those qualities of statecraft and generalship and masterfulness of character - are no longer necessary ; but there are qualities none the less necessary in a constitutional sovereign, the highest illustration of which is perhaps afforded by the life and work of Her late Majesty, and I do not think there can be higher praise than to say that her son, the King, is worthily following in herfootsteps. Mayhe long continue to occupy the throne with the same views of the welfare of his people and interest in them which he has hitherto exhibited !
– I most cordially second the motion. The accession of the King to the throne occurred immediately upon the lamented demise of our late Sovereign Queen Victoria, and whatever other reasons may have existed, it must be apparent to all of us that it is fittingthat the Coronation should take place after an interval. The Coronation is, if I may use the expression, the outward and visible sign accompanied by every circumstance of pomp and dignity befitting the occasion, and amidst the congratulations and the loyalty of the whole Empire that accession has taken place. I think, therefore, the first portion of this address, which offers our congratulations upon that great accomplishment, will commend itself to all of us. The entrance of a monarch on his reign is a period we all know of promise and of hope; the fulfilment and the proof come afterwards. But I think we shall all agree that we have every assurance that His Majesty King Edward VII. will so fill that high office, so fill the greatest throne that the world has ever seen, so comport himself in his kingly dignity, that all of his subjects throughout the Empire shall be able to say of him that -
He wroughthis people lasting good,
His court was pure, his life serene.
If we are able to say that of him, it will be largely because, as Senator O’Connor has pointed out, that great throne rests, not upon military strength, but upon the free will of a free people.
– I am sure that with the people of Australia we all congratulate the executive head of the British Empire upon his installation to that elevated position, and we hope thai during the reign of King Edward VII. all the hopes and aspirations of the people of Great Britain will be realized. When States such as our own make manifestations in connexion with the advent of a new Governor or Governor-General, or express sorrow upon the departure or death of any such officers, it is fitting that we should extend our congratulations to the one from whom all these officials receive their delegated powers.We join with the people of Australia, therefore, in congratulating His Majesty on his Coronation.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
In Committee : (Consideration resumed from 20th May, 1902, vide page 12705).
Division H. - Narcotics.
Item 5. - Tobacco, viz.: -
Cigars, including the weight of bands and other attachments, per lb.,5s.6d., and 15 per cent. advalorem;and on and after 22nd November, 1901,6s. 3d., and 15 per cent. advalorem.
Cigarettes,including the weight of the outer portion of each cigarette, per lb., 6s. 6d.
Snuff, per lb., 6s. 6d.
Special Exemption. - Tobacco destroyed for manufacture ofsheepwash or other purposes under departmental by-laws.
– I move-
That the Houseof Representatives be requested to amend item 5 by inserting after the figures “6s. 6d.,” line 8, the words “and on and after 1st July, 1902, 7s.”
This is really consequential upon the decision arrived at last night in regard to cigars. I find that in all the States the duties upon cigars and cigarettes were uniform before the Federal Tariff was introduced. In New South Wales and Victoria, for instance, the duty on cigarswas 6s., and on cigarettes 6s., and so on throughout all the States. I believe that cigarettes are largely made by machinery, and that will be a matter for consideration when we are fixing the excise duty.
– There is no doubt that the increase of this duty will add to the protection afforded to the local manufacturer, and if the excise duty remains as at present the excise revenue will be increased, whilst the receipts from the import duty will be diminished. I was very anxious indeed that these duties should remain as they were, but as an alteration has been made in the duty on cigars no good purpose can be served by opposing the present proposal.
– When the Tariff was introduced into the House of Representatives the duties on cigars and cigarettes were practically uniform, but the impost on cigars was raised by 9d., whilst that upon cigarettes was unaltered. The present proposal, therefore, in effect, brings us back to the position we occupied when the Tariff was introduced.
– I am rather staggered to find the leader of the free-trade party proposing to increase the protection afforded to the cigarette manufacturers.
– It does not follow that this increasewill afford further protection, because we have still to fix the excise duty.
– That is equivalent to locking the stable door before ascertaining whether the horse is in the stable or not. I pointed out that Senator Symon’s proposal in regard to cigars would be equivalent to an increase of duty on the cigars most largely used of 16 per cent, in one case and 1 2-^ per cent, in another. Now we have a further proposal for an increase of duty, unaccompanied by one word of explanation or any reason beyond that, having already increased the taxation upon cigars, weought also to raise the duty upon cigarettes. I do not wonder that the Government are willing to accept the present proposal in favour of increased taxation, and of further protection. Has Senator Symon forgotten that the Government proposals already provide for £500,000 of revenue in excess of the actual requirements of the Commonwealth, and that the effect of increasing these duties will be to add to this already large surplus ? The present proposal is not wan-anted, from the stand-point either of the free-trader or of those honorable senators who have spoken from this side of the chamber against the excessive taxation provided for by the Government proposals.
– I congratulate Senator Neild upon his independence, and I am glad that he has taken up the same position that I do regarding the suddenness with which these proposals have been sprung upon the committee. We should have had notice of them.
– Order. I do not intend to permit a repetition of last night’s proceedings. If I am to be accused of anything iti connexion with what took place last evening, it must be of allowing undue latitude to the honorable senator in his remarks upon the matter to which he is now referring. When I appeal to the honorable senator not to make any further reference to the subject, I feel sure that he will be good enough to comply with my request.
– There is no honorable senator who is more anxious than I am to obey the ruling of the Chair ; but I submit that the Chairman is taking a somewhat rigid view of my position because this proposal of Senator Symon has been sprung upon us with a suddenness against which I protest.
– The honorable senator has already done so, and I must ask him not to make any further reference to the matter.
– I hope I shall not be interrupted by being suddenly pulled up in this way.
– I can assure the honorable senator that ‘ he will be interrupted if he persists in referring to any matter other than that immediately before the committee.
– Whenever Senator Symon brings forward proposals of this kind without notice, I shall enter my protest against his action, and the Chairman will, of course, act as he thinks fit. I think the Vice-President of the Executive Council is far too generous. Senator Symon has stated that he is anxious to reduce the revenue.
– I never said anything of the kind ; that is a total misrepresentation.
– Senator Millen said so in Sydney.
– It has been stated in various parts of the Commonwealth. Perhaps it is not regarded as fitting that the leader of the party should make such a statement whereas his followers may freely do “ so. Senator Symon, with that excellent taste which is characteristic of him, has described my statement as a “ total misrepresentation of facts.” I should like to know from this august assembly, which is so anxious to preserve its decorum, whether that statement is in keeping with parliamentary procedure? The Vice-President of the Executive Council has declared that he does not feel inclined to oppose the amendment, in view of the decision which was arrived at last evening.
– I do not feel disposed to oppose it at present.
– I hope that the party which believes in encouraging Australian industry will exhibit some backbone, and will resent any attempt on the part of Senator Symon to tinker with the Tariff merely for the purpose of being able to- declare, “ Sixteen members of the Senate were able to alter the schedule of duties submitted.” I do not know that we should permit this vote to be carried upon the voices.
– It will make no difference.
– I suppose it will not. The honorable senator has probably counted heads. I understand that a caucus meeting is held each morning, so that it is useless to call for a division. But I would remind honorable senators that the leader of the
Opposition is not carrying out the policy of the free-trade party, as declared from varioushousetops, to endeavour to reduce the duties proposed. Upon the fifth item he submits a motion to increase those duties.
– Does the honorable senator object to that?
– I object to it, because I think that a wrong has been done in abolishing the composite duty. The proposal of the leader of the Opposition is only in keeping with the general policy of the free-trade party, which is to make the Tariff a disgrace to the Commonwealth. I hope that honorable senators will not be led away by his specious arguments in favour of the alteration.
Motion agreed to.
Division III. - Sugar.
Item6. -Glucose, per cwt., 8s.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia). - I wish to ask theVicePresident of the Executive Council if he can inform the Senate whether there is any glucose made in Australia? So far as I am able to discover there is none, and if that be so, the duty proposed would be a purely revenue one. It is a very high duty, but if it is merely revenue-producing, I am not disposed to suggest any interference with it. Of course, in this connexion, we must give consideration to the Queensland sugar industry. I understand that in certain manufactures glucose comes into competition with sugar, and in the opinion of some people its use is frequently deleterious. If that be the case, it constitutes an additional reason why we should be careful not to reduce the duty unless in other respects it is open to serious objection.
– This duty has produced a certain amount of revenue. As far as I am aware, there is no establishment within the Commonwealth for the manufacture of glucose. I believe that that article is chiefly used in connexion with the manufacture of sweetmeats and the process of brewing.
– A good deal of it is used in the making of confectionery.
– Yes ; and it very often contains not only deleterious but poisonous ingredients. I think it will be recollected that in England recently, a number of cases of arsenic poisoning were traced to the use of glucose in the production of beer. Under these circumstances we have a right to impose a heavier duty upon this article than that which operates upon sugar. To my mind, such a tax should be levied as will discourage its importation.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia). - I am perfectly satisfied with the statement of the Vice-President of the Executive, Council. I had intended to move a reduction of the duty to 6s. per cwt., but in view of his explanation I refrain from so doing.
Item agreed to.
Item 7 (Sugar) agreed to.
Division IV. - Agricultural Products and Groceries.
Item 8 (Animals) agreed to.
Item 9. - Arrowroot, per lb.,1d.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia). - I move -
That the House ofRepresentatives be requested to amend item 9 by adding the words - “and on and after 1st July, 1902, free.”
When I mention the reasons which prompt me to submit this amendment, I think honorable senators opposite, and especially those from Queensland, will indorse my action. As a matter of fact, this article yields no revenue whatever. Nearly the whole of the arrowroot used in Australia is produced in Queensland. The total quantity produced in that State during 1900 was 772,000 lbs., out of which she exported 463,000 lbs. In the same year, New South Wales, with an open port, imported 200,000 lbs. of arrowroot, of which only 13,750 lbs. came from abroad - practically nothing. In Victoria there was a duty of 2d. per lb. operative, and yet Queensland supplied the whole of the requirements of this State in competition with the world. This fact conclusively demonstrates that, owing to her immense production of this commodity, Queensland is in a position to successfully compete with the whole world, even against a heavy import duty. In fact, the position of the northern State in this respect is similar to that of other States in connexion with wheat production. The effect of the proposed duty will simply be to raise the price of arrowroot to the consumer by the amount of the duty. That is clearly established by the fact - as can be seen from trade circulars and prices current - that since the duty of1d. per lb. was levied under the Federal Tariff the price of arrowroot in New South Wales has increased from 2d. to 4d. per lb. Summing up the position, it may be thus stated : - Arrowroot is an article of export which comes within the same category as does wheat. It has successfully competed against the world, despite the operation of a heavy import duty of 2d. per lb1., and the effect of the proposed tax will simply be to increase the price of the article, not necessarily to the grower in Queensland, but to the- distributors in the other States in which it enters into general consumption. The exact figures bearing upon this matter are contained in the report of the debate which took place in the House of Representatives, and incidentally I may mention that there is no better source from which honorable senators can obtain information regarding many of these lines than that of those very instructive official reports. From the debate which occurred in the other Chamber, I find that Mr. Harper declared that for years past Queensland has produced nearly the whole of the arrowroot supplies of Australia. The exports from Queensland for 1900 to the United Kingdom are set down at 35,000 lbs., to Cape Colony at 92,000 lbs., and to New Zealand at 39,000 lbs., in addition to which she supplied the requirements of the whole of the Australian market. The total quantity exported beyond our borders from Queensland represented 166,000 lbs. Queensland, therefore, practically enjoys a monopoly in regard to the production of arrowroot, and there is no - necessity to levy the proposed duty unless it is desired to enhance the price of the article to the consumer. Of course arrowroot is one of those articles which we should include in the schedule of special exemptions if we can do so consistently with the requirements of the revenue. It is, to a large extent, the food of invalids and children, and in many parts of Australia where milk is not procurable it is very desirable that it should be obtainable as cheaply as possible.
– The statement made by Senator Symon evidences the wisdom of levying, a duty upon an article of this kind. In the first place, in Queensland, which is especially suited to the cultivation of arrowroot, there has been for a long time past a moderate duty upon it. As a result of the operation of that duty, persons occupying land suitable for the purpose have gone in for the cultivation of arrowroot.
They have cultivated it so successfully that they have been able to supply not only the wants of the people of Queensland^ but to produce a large surplus for export. They have been able to supply the rest of Australia with arrowroot, although in several States there has been a protective duty operating equally against- Queensland as against all other parts of the world. If the production of arrowroot in Queensland is so large that it has overtaken the local demand and is furnishing a surplus for export, then, according to Senator Pulsford, the duty must become inoperative. As a general statement, I suppose it will not be denied that when a State is able, not only to supply its own market with a certain article, but to export a surplus, an .import duty on that article ceases to operate in the direction of raising prices, as there is nothing coming in. If that contention is correct, and 1 admit that in the main it is, this duty cannot have any injurious effect in the way of raising prices.
– It has done so in New South Wales.
– I think not. Senator Symon said that the price of arrowroot in New South Wales had been raised from 2£d. per lb. to id. since the introduction of the Tariff, and -added that the additional farthing was presumably put on according to custom. I am inclined to think that the whole increase has been due to the fact that the announcement that a duty of Id. per lb. was to be imposed enabled the retailers to raise the price to the consumers. That has been done in a great number of instances, notwithstanding that the imposition of the duty has not increased the cost of the article in question. It is the custom of the trade. Whenever a duty is imposed on an article the person who is the fortunate holder of a stock adds the- amount of the duty to the selling price, although it may not have cost him any more. If Queensland is exporting arrowroot to the extent of 463,000 lbs. a year - and I take Senator Symon’s ‘figures to be correct - it is perfectly clear that she is producing far more than is necessary for the needs of the whole of Australia.
– The producers of arrowroot in Queensland are like the producers of wheat - they export.
– The argument is continually used that, as we have overtaken the local consumption of wheat and become exporters, the price will be ruled by the price in the world’s market. If that is so, it is clear that this duty cannot have the effect of raising the price of arrowroot. We think that it will be useful. It is true that in 1899, for instance, the importation of arrowroot was very small, but it is probable that the drought having interfered to a certain extent with the production of the article in Queensland, there may be larger importations during the present season than there have been in the past.
– It is only temporary in any case.
– It is more than temporary. If we throw our markets open to importations of arrowroot from abroad - and the same remark applies to many other things- the surplus from other countries will be thrown upon them, causing, perhaps, a temporary reduction in price. That, however, would not be a real reduction ; it would be due to ashortage caused bydrought. But the mere throwing open of our markets to importations from other countries would be calculated to discourage men from going on with the production of arrowroot here, and in the end the consumer would have to pay more for his arrowroot than he would have been called upon to pay if this small amount of protection had been continued. It is due to the imposition of this small protective duty in Queensland, in the first place, that we have been able to produce the enormous supply of arrowroot, which makes the price so low locally, while a large surplus also remains for export. Why should we not continue the duty ? The proposal is that, notwithstanding that this duty has had such good effect, we should cease to offer any encouragement to arrowroot growers in Queensland ; that they should be thrown into competition with the world, so that at exceptional times other countries may have opportunities of swamping our markets, and rendering it impossible for our growers to continue. This industry, from small beginnings, has grown vigorously, and is really of assistance in adding . to the wealth of Australia, since arrowroot has become a staple export. Why should we not protect the arrowroot market of Australia for the local growers? Honorable senators know that during the federal campaign it was laid down as one of the great advantages of union that federation would secure the markets of Australia for
Australian growers. Here is a case in point. Why should we not persevere with this policy and retain this small protective duty?
– What revenue is expected from it?
– Nothing now. In 1899 the duty produced £32 in Queensland, but, as I have said already, I am informed that in consequence of the drought it is probable that a larger importation of arrowroot will take place during this season. We say that it is the truest policy to maintain a small duty like this, for the reason that it preserves the markets of Australia for the Australian grower, who will give the consumer a cheaper article than he could obtain from abroad.
– We might as well tax wheat.
– If we imposed a duty upon wheat and it had the same effect as this, it would be the very best thing for Australia. If the effect of an import duty is to encourage our people to produce an article, and to produce it in such abundance that it can be obtained at lower rates here than from anywhere else, while a large surplus also remains for export, the policy is a very wise one. I trust that the committee will consider the matter carefully before they strike out this small protective duty under which the industry has grown up.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia). - We have been given a very groat many grounds upon which this or any Tariff may be supported, either as a whole or as to its items ; but I do not think I had previously heard the proposition which Senator Drake has just put forward, that the object of a Tariff is to impose duties which will serve the purpose of a warning notice - “ No thoroughfare this way. By order.”
– I never said that. I said we should secure the markets of Australia for Australian growers.
– I merely state the fact that this is a ground which is put forward; that it is said that we should encumber the Tariff - it might be from beginning to end- with a number of unnecessary items as a warning notice to prevent people from abroad trading with us. That is not the foundation on which we should proceed to construct a Tariff. A Tariff is for the purpose of obtaining revenue, and, as my honorable and learned friend suggests, to give something in the nature of protection ; that is, to encourage an industry which cannot exist, or is languishing, without it. But even that consideration is to be reduced under the present Tariff to a point which will merely save an industry from destruction, and not encourage other industries of an artificial character to be maintained. If I thought that this duty would have the effect of assisting a natural product of the soil, I should hesitate very much to interfere with it. But Senator Drake has really corroborated what I have said ; that it is a waste of printer’s ink and paper to insert this item in the Tariff. Queensland produces more than three times as much arrowroot as she requires. She does not need a protective duty.
– Have we not sufficient common sense to induce us to protect our own industries?
– The honorable senator had better support a proposal for the erection of a stone wall 10,000 feet high around Australia, or to close up our ports and lay dynamite to blow up ships that seek to come in. We shall be making a laughing-stock of ourselves if we adopt this as the principle of the Tariff. Arrowroot has been duty free in New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia, and New Zealand. It is an article of food for invalids and children particularly, who in the remoter parts of Australia, where milk is not available, are largely dependent upon foods of this kind. Why should we impose a duty as against three different States, where arrowroot has hitherto come in free, when the producing State does not require it? It seems to me that we are simply offering a premium to the distributor to add an extra amount to the price which he charges for the commodity.
– Why do we retain the duty?
-For ornament, I suppose.
– We retain it just as we have retained the duty on wheat in South Australia.
– In South Australia there was a duty of 2s. per cental on wheat.
– I have a great admiration for South Australia, but there are certain things in respect of which
I should not even follow the lead of that State.
– Why is the duty on wheat retained?
– I say that it is for ornament. It forms a very good text for people who stand on platforms and tell the farmers - “ You have plenty of protection. There is the duty of 2s. per cental on wheat. You should not object to protection.” My honorable friend says that it is possible there may come a time of drought, when there will be a diminished supply of this article, but as the imposition of the duty will increase the price, the effect of the duty would be only to take advantage of the misfortunes of our fellow subjects. Unless it increases the price, the duty is of no use to the producer ; and, in the second place, I would ask Senator Glassey whether there is any suggestion that the effect of the drought, which has been referred to, has been such as to destroy the production of Queensland by two-thirds ?
– By far more, I am sorry to say.
– In arrowroot ?
– The drought affects arrowroot in the same way as anything else.
– No doubt ; but Queensland has hitherto been producing three times her own consumption of arrowroot, and if the suggestion is made that the drought has diminished the production of arrowroot by more than twothirds, I should like to see the figures. It is a proper thing, of course, to call attention to the drought, but it is really no argument in this case, and the only effect of this duty so far as I am able to discover, and it is not contradicted, is to raise the price in New South Wales by the amount of the duty.
– The honorable and learned senator is altogether wrong in the last statement he has made, and that really is the basis of his argument. I have an authority in support of my statement in the catalogue of the Mutual Stores before and after the Tariff was introduced.
– Is that in Sydney? Because I said New South Wales.
– It seems to me that it makes no difference.
– The honorable and learned senator said I was wrong in stating that the effect was to raise the price in New South Wales.
– I beg the honorable and learned senator’s pardon ; I should have said that he was wrong in the conclusions he drew from it. I have not pricelists from New South Wales before me.
– The honorable and learned senator gave no notice of the proposition anyway, and there has been no time to prepare to meet it.
– It is perfectly clear that the effect of the imposition of the duty has not been to raise the price. I can show that from these price-lists in Melbourne.
– But in Melbourne they had a duty of 2d. per lb. upon arrowroot; the Government have halved that duty, and the effect should have been to reduce the price in Melbourne.
– From the Mutual Stores price list for August, 1900, before the Tariff was in force, I find the prices for arrowroot stated as follows -
Arrowroot, finest Queensland, per lb., 7d. ; finest imported, per lb., ls. (id. and 2s. 6d.
I find that after the Tariff was in force in their Christmas special price-list for 1901, the Mutual Stores quote the following prices : -
Arrowroot, finest Queeusland, per lb., od ; finest imported, per lb., ls. Od. and 2s. 6d
The first thing honorable senators will notice is the enormous difference in price between the local, or Queensland, arrowroot and imported arrowroot. In addition to that the price-lists I have quoted show that there was no increase in price on account of the Tariff, but. on the contrary, that after the introduction of the Tariff, the price of arrowroot seems to have gone down. Senator Symon may say that this is because the lower price is quoted from a special Christmas price-list.
– It was in consequence of the abolition of the old Victorian Tariff.
– The removal of the previous duty of 2d. per lb. in Victoria may have affected the price, but I point out the immense difference between the price of the imported arrowroot and of Queensland arrowroot. There may be a great difference in quality, but we are told that the price of arrowroot has been raised by the duty imposed by this Tariff.
– In New South Wales.
- Senator Symon has based his argument, in support of the amendment he has moved, upon the ground that Queensland is able to grow all the arrowroot necessary for Australia; but honorable senators must see that Queensland arrowroot is so much cheaper than the imported arrowroot that it does not matter whether the duty raises the price of the imported arrowroot or not. I therefore say that Senator Symon is altogether mistaken in the conclusion he seeks to draw from his facts, because if the people of Australia are willing to take the Queensland arrowroot, it can always compete with the imported article, and a duty of Id. per lb. on the imported article will make very little difference indeed. When we have arrowroot sold at od. or 6d. per lb., as against imported arrowroot sold at 2s. 6d. per lb., there is no doubt that all the people about whom my honorable and learned friend is so anxious will get the cheaper arrowroot. But the argument used by the leader of the Opposition seems to me to go to the very root of the principle of the duties which we intend to’ insist upon here. The honorable and learned senator says that, if we are growing enough for our local market and are able to export, there is no reason in the world why we should have any duty ; because, if we are in possession of the local market and are able to export, we do not need any protection. I say that if we apply that doctrine we shall be in this position : An industry may have grown up to certain dimensions with the assistance of small protection or without it; but some cheapening of the production of the article occurs in some other part of the world, and in two or three seasons our markets are flooded to such an extent as to throw out the local product altogether. Honorable senators from Queensland will bear me out when I say that if is the small holders in that State who are growing arrowroot.
– It is a small man’s industry.
-It is one of those small man’s industries which we should encourage in every possible way. I thought we came here, determined, so far as possible, to give to each State the benefits which could be derived from its own production. We have been told over and over again that Tasmania, for instance, will suffer, because the big States will have large factories, and will flood Tasmania with their products. The answer to that, on the other hand, is that Tasmania grows and produces special articles, such as jain, barley, malt, hops, and beer, and produces them so easily, so freely, and so cheaply that by-and-by she will be able to supply the greater part of the Commonwealth with these articles. That is the opportunity which she gets of obtaining some advantage from this fiscal system of the Commonwealth, and if that is so there must be some interchange of advantage.
– That does not touch the question of revenue.
– I am not dealing with the question of revenue now, but with the question of duty; and I am saying that if we are to have any regard for the interests of the different States, it is clear that we must have some regard for the interests of Queensland in this matter. There are not a great many of these industries in which Queensland is likely to be engaged. The portions of Queensland within the temperate zone will come into competition with all the rest of Australia, and there are not a great many tropical products of Queensland in addition to sugar that find a market in Australia. We hope that by-and-by there will be a great many more than there are at present. We hope that, with coffee and other tropical products, Queensland will have a very great advantage from her tropical situation. At present the only one of the tropical products, with the exception of sugar, which is produced to any considerable extent in Queensland, is arrowroot.
– And it is all grown by white labour.
– And, as my honorable and learned colleague reminds me, it is all grown by white labour and by small holders. It is the duty of honorable senators to look to the position of each industry as we come to consider it, and to look to the interests of Queensland in this particular matter. Why should this duty not be imposed ? Senator Symon says that it should not be imposed because it will increase the price of arrowroot.. But he must realize that it will be only in special circumstances that the duty would come into question at all. Generally speaking, the price of arrowroot will be regulated by the supply and demand.
– .Where 1
– In Australia.
– -No, because they are exporting twice as much as they consume in Queensland.
– Does not the honorable and learned senator see that if there is -a market for Australian arrowroot in Australia the price of arrowroot will depend very largely upon the supply ?
– Not if we are exporting, because then the markets of the world will settle it, plus the duty, which will be used as a means of adding to the price.
– I quite disagree with the honorable and learned senator. ‘ I was pointing out that if Queensland grows enough arrowroot for the -whole of Australia, the price will be regulated according to the seasons, and according to the demand: If, as at the present time, bad seasons affect the production of arrowroot, the price of the local article will be raised whether arrowroot is imported free or not. That must be so, because there is such a vast disparity between the price of the imported arrowroot, at 2s. 6d. per lb., and that of Queensland arrowroot,- at 5d. or 6d. per lb. If we had a bad season which would raise the price of Queensland arrowroot to 7d., Sd., or 9d. per lb., it would still be so much cheaper than the imported arrowroot that it would be bought. If there is any difference in the price of Queensland arrowroot now, as the honorable and learned senator has pointed out, it must be owing to the production in Queensland being lessened by reason of the drought. The honorable senator has said that we raise the price of the article to users in other parts of Australia, but that requires to be proved. The production of these price-lists I think ought to satisfy any honorable senator that these two classes of arrowroot do not come into competition in any way. Unless we are to disregard absolutely the protection on grain and other produce nearly all through Australia - a protection which remains as a weapon to be used if necessary, which does not operate perhaps very often, but which steadies the market, which insures to the producer that he always will be able to get a certain price, and that a cheap article cannot be flooded on him so as to take away the result of the year’slabours - if we are to preserve these other duties, it is only just and fair to this industry in Queensland that this duty should be maintained. It is a very easy thing in this high and mighty way to strike off a duty which may at any moment put these small landholders, who are relying on the growth of this article for their living, in the position of being flooded out by a foreign product. What would be the result if the cultivation of arrowroot were stopped? We should have arrowroot at 2s. 6d. per lb., instead of 5d. Honorable senators are so very careful about the poor and the sick who will use this article.
– They think a lot about the poor !
– Of course it is a very useful stalking horse ; but I am taking the argument as it is put to me, assuming it to be used with a belief in its efficacy. The effect of taking off this duty will be to render the local grower liable at any time to have his production destroyed and his land put out of cultivation. What will then be the position of the invalids and poor persons ? They will have to depend upon imported arrowroot at 2s. 6d. per lb.
– The Minister means that some disaster over which they have no control will overtake them.
– I do not mean any disaster over which they have no control, but I mean a sudden importation of cheap arrowroot from other places, which may be just as great a disaster to them as if their lands were taken away from them.
– Will the duty of a penny make all the difference ?
– It will. If the principles of honorable senators opposite are right, it does not matter whether the duty is1d. or1s. Whatever may be the duty under which the industry has been carried on, if it is taken away and the whole effect of a season’s work may be destroyed by the importation of the surplus from other countries. It will put, not only the grower, but the consumer, in a very much worse position. In this, as in a great many other matters, it is the large local producer who preserves the low price to the consumer, and if we take away that safeguard, we are left absolutely in the hands of the importers, who will put up the price to anything they like, and the consumer will have to pay it. From the Sydney Trade Review and Prices
Current, which, I think, honorable senators opposite will take as an authority, I shall quote the prices of arrowroot before the duty was imposed, and after it was imposed. On the 28th September, 1901 - before the duty was imposed - the price current in Sydney for arrowroot, Queensland, was 3d. per lb.; and on the 15th February, 1902 - after the duty was imposed - it was still 3d. per lb. If the duty has not increased the price of the article, why should honorable senators, merely for the purpose of carrying out a doctrinaire view, deliberately sweep away a natural protection which growers in Queensland have, and take a way from them one of the advantages which they had a right to expect from federation ?
Senator Lt.-Col. NEILD (New South Wales). - I quite agree with Senator O’Connor’s quotation of prices according to the wholesale market price, and think it would be infinitely more convenient if, in discussing these items, respect were had to the market price rather than the price of individual retailers. It would tend very much to save most unnecessary arguments - excellent arguments, but based on false premises. But I do join issue with Senator O’Connor in reference to his final conclusion. He shows the abnormally low price of Queensland arrowroot in the Sydney market, and he quotes the price current, but the rate he quoted was for the article duty paid. In the April number of the Sydney Trade Review and Prices Current it is quoted at 3d. per lb. This is not a merchant’s list. It is a list of the standard prices in vogue in the open market, not issued by any one firm, but issued by a combination of authorities, whose opinion is looked upon as a final arbitrament as to the value of an article quoted. It is the price in the open market at the hands of every merchant and broker. My honorable and learned friend says that the price is only 3d. The price, apart from the duty, is really 2d.
– No. Queensland arrowroot pays no duty.
– If a duty influenced theprice, then the price of arrowroot would be 2d. per.lb., and a duty of1d. per lb. would bring the price up to 3d. So that the duty is equal to 50 per cent.
– But there is no duty on Queensland arrowroot.
– I know that there is no duty, but Senator O’Connor argued on the supposition that a duty increases the price of an article. If duties do not enhance the price there is no virtue in them from his own stand-point. I am merely assuming that a duty of1d. on arrowroot adds1d. to the price ; 50 per cent. is rather a high charge on the food of an invalid or child, and it is utterly disproportionate to other articles in the Tariff. The duty imposed in another place on articles required by children and invalids cannot possibly amount to 50 per cent.
– Will the honorable senator explain why the price of arrowroot was the same before and after the imposition of the duty ?
-Col. NEILD.- The product of Queensland arrowroot is so large that the duty does not really influence the price any more than would the imposition of a duty on wheat and flour in a State where the product is over and above the local demand affect the price.
– Very well, it does not increase the price. The honorable senator agrees with us.
-Will my honorable friend allow me to finish what I have to say about his final argument, that if we take off this duty of1d. a lb., which he states does not influence the price, we are going to have the market flooded, and the consumer paying 2s. 6d. per lb. for an article which will come in in a perfect flood. If it comes in in a perfect flood, who is going to pay 2s. 6d. for the article? Really the proposition is an excellent device for gaining time until friends come up for a division. My honorable and learned friend says that the duty would only apply in exceptional circumstances. What were those exceptional circumstances? According to the Ministers, the duty was only to be of use to Queensland in the case of drought.
– When they have a short crop they will get a better price.
– Exactly. And when the people are suffering from the calamity of a drought they are to pay for a very necessary article of food, a higher price. It stands to reason that when there is a drought in a country, and a reduction of crop follows, there is inevitably an increase in price. Wool is, I think, higher to-day, because of the droughts that have afflicted Australia, and we have it stated by
Senator Drake that the price of arrowroot is higher to-day because of the drought in Queensland.
– I never said anything of the kind. What I said was that probably there would be a larger importation.
.- There would not be a larger importation unless the price were higher. The present price is sufficient to keep out importations. We are told that to do away with the duty will be to throw the whole business into the bands of the importers, and that they will charge what they like.
– I said that if we destroyed the cultivation of arrowroot in Australia we should put the consumers in the hands of the importers.
.- Very well. The converse of that proposition is that if we impose a duty we shall throw the consumers into the hands of a few producers in, one part of Australia. Surely the public have a right to be considered in one case as well as in the other. The divergent prices quoted from the lists produced by honorable senators on both sides of the chamber have been supplied by individual manufacturers, and apply, not to arrowroot in bulk, but to the article got up in more or less fancy packages, which necessarily add to the cost. This accounts for the difference in the prices which have been quoted. For some time past the imports of arrowroot into New South Wales have amounted to about 100 tons per annum, and all of this, with the exception of 5 or 6 tons, has been sent from Queensland. The rest has come chiefly from the South Sea Islands ; a few odds and ends only, in a specially prepared form, having been imported from well-known manufacturers in England. Therefore, the statement that the trade in arrowroot is in the hands of a few struggling people who have to be specially considered does not appear to be borne out. One State could not import nearly 100 tons of arrowroot from a few struggling settlers, and there must be fairly large companies manufacturing the article.
– Certainly not. All the arrowroot growers are operating in a small way, and the mills, generally speaking, are small.
– Queensland has absolutely gained control of the Australian market. Whether the cheap price of the article is due to the special suitability of the soil and climate of Queensland for its cultivation, I cannot say, but apparently arrowroot is produced there in large quantities, and at a profit. Queensland has been able to successfully compete in other States,~»with or without a duty, against the arrowroot producers of all other parts of the world, and has achieved such a position that the duty is of nothing more than theoretical value. In view of this fact, and considering also that arrowroot is used exclusively for children and invalids, the committee will do well to agree to the present proposal.
– That is all very fine from the free-trader’s point of view, and has a true free-trade ring about it. I understood, however, that this Tariff was to provide for some amount of protection, and that above all others the primary producers should be assisted. It is all very well to say that as far as this article is concerned, the local production has overtaken the demand. The same thing might be said with regard to article after article dealt with in this Tariff. In every protectionist country it is recognised that, even in cases where the local production has overtaken the demand, a protective duty may be of advantage to the producer, because in times of sti ess and trouble, arising from bad crops, he may, through increased prices, obtain help from the general mass of the community. That is the reason we have retained a. duty upon wheat in South Australia.
– There is no duty upon wheat imported overland. The duty was imposed solely for railway purposes.
– We retained the duty on wheat, and I recollect that some time ago, when we had an exceedingly bad harvest, Californian wheat was imported, and had to pay the duty, the result being that the farmers obtained an increased price for their product.
– But a concession had to be made under which the millers were allowed to grind the wheat without the payment of a duty.
– I do not remember that circumstance, but I know that the principle I have stated is acted upon in every protectionist country. Take Canada for instance. If there is a country where the supply has overtaken the demand for cheese, butter, bacon, and hams, it is Canada. The exports from that country to England are increasing year by year, and for perhaps half a century the local supply has overtaken the local demand. Still they retain the duties on hams, bacon, butter, and cheese - not because they obtain any revenue from them, but simply as a means of defence in case of some extraordinary circumstances leading to a decreased local production. In such an event the duty would insure to the local producers the benefit of the increase in the price of the product, and would prevent the markets from being flooded by imports from the United States or any other part of the world. I suppose that the free-traders desire to be logical.
– Just and logical.
– If they are logical they will have to place hams, bacon, butter, and cheese, wheat, barley, oats, potatoes, and wine, and a number of other articles on the free list. They, however, have no intention of acting logically, but will single out one State and knock the duty off arrowroot and bananas, so that the poor Queensland growers will have to compete with the black labour of the Pacific islands. To be consistent the freetraders must strike out the duties upon dozens and dozens of articles.
– Will the honorable senator support us if we do ?
– .No. because I am a protectionist, and understand the position thoroughly, and because I do not play fast and loose like the free-traders. I would ask the free-traders to act according to their principles right through the piece, and not to strike off the duty upon arrowroot and thus injure Queensland, whilst retaining the duty on salt for the benefit of South Australia. The free-traders will not carry their principles to a logical conclusion, but they will select items here and there and alter them without any reason beyond that which would apply to dozens of other lines with which they will not attempt to interfere. They are not free-traders, and they are not revenue-tariffists ; in fact, I do not know what they are. I am perfectly certain, that if they proceeded to deal with this Tariff upon absolutely free-trade lines, they would be beaten, even in this Chamber, because certain honorable senators are freetraders as regards every other State, but are absolute protectionists so far as their own State is concerned. I hope the committee will not strike out this duty, because although it will have no effect in ordinary seasons, it will prove of great help to the growers when their crops partially fail.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - Senator Symon has told us that this line in the Tariff is mere surplusage, that the duty does not operate, and should therefore be excised. It is very amusing to hear a member of the legal profession talking about a surplusage of words in connexion with the Tariff ; but whether or not this item is surplusage depends upon the views which senators hold regarding the effect of this Tariff. If one takes up the position that the Tariff should be a so-called free-trade one, of course he will vote for Senator Symon’s proposal ; but if, on the contrary, he recollects that the farmers of Queensland were induced to enter the Federation upon the understanding that Inter-State freetrade should exist within the Commonwealth with protection against the outside world-
– There was no understanding of that kind in New South Wales.
– Nor anywhere else.
– Senator Symon can speak only for his own State. I submit that in Queensland there was an understanding that the farmers, if they joined the Federation, would have the whole of the Australian market open to their productions. Was not a similar statement made in regard to the’ sugar industry 1
– We have passed the duties which the Government proposed upon sugar.
– I suppose that that action was necessary to secure the adhesion of certain honorable senators upon some other point. Senator Neild speaks of the public of Australia being in the hands of the importers.
– No. It is the other way about.
– The honorable senator said that if, on the one hand, the public were placed in the hands of the importers ; on the other, they would be placed in the hands of the producers of the Commonwealth. But is it not far better for the public to be in the hands of the producers to that extent 1 The honorable senator must know that’ when any article is high-priced - as wheat is fit the present time - the producers will endeavour to grow as much of it as possible, and as soon as possible, in order to obtain the advantage of that price. Therefore, should the time arrive when arrowroot becomes very dear, the farmers will largely increase their production of it, and the price will thus be reduced to its normal level. Some honorable- senators have said that as the item under discussion is mere surplusage it should be removed. But I venture to believe that if arrowroot is exempted from duty it will not be long before that commodity goes right out of cultivation in Queensland.
– It will be grown by black labour in the islands.
– Exactly. Senator Symon, who has treated me so cavalierly in connexion with this matter, declares that there has been practically no importation of arrowroot into the Commonwealth. If I had the necessary time at my disposal, I could collect a number of statistics which would show that in making that statement he is absolutely in error.
– The honorable sena’tor could not do that, because the statistics do not exist.
– They exist to a sufficient extent to show that, in spite of the duty hitherto operative in Queensland, arrowroot has been imported into that State from India and Japan.
– How much1?
– Not very much, certainly.
– A sample tin, I suppose ?
– Since Senator Symon declares that the importation probably consists of a sample tin, I intend to give the Senate the benefit of the facts. The imports of arrowroot from the United Kingdom in one year represented 168 lbs. ; from New South Wales, 13,189 lbs. ; and from Japan, 428 lbs.
– India is not mentioned.
– It is mentioned in the column next to that from which I have quoted. I should like to tell honorable senators the rate of wages which is paid to the farm labourers in J apan.
– Do not the figures disclose the fact that the largest imports of arrowroot into Queensland came from New South Wales, where it was grown without the aid of protection 1
– In all probability, owing to the ill effects of a free-trade policy, there were so many unfortunate operatives out of employment in New South Wales that they had to accept work as farm labourers. That would account for the production of arrowroot there.
– In Queensland the farm labourers are paid only 12s. 6d. per week.
– Where is the honorable senator’s authority for that statement ?
– My authority is Mansard, page 7715, and Mr. McDonald, a Queensland representative, made the statement that the men are even charged for rations.
– If the honorable senator had only remained in the chamber and listened to the information which members of the labour party are willing to impart, he would have heard me say that if high wages are to obtain in these States we must extend to those engaged in our native industries the strong arm of the law in the shape of a minimum wage and a Factories Act. I believe that 12s. 6d. per week is the amount which is paid to farm labourers in Queensland, but will Senator Matheson affirm that if a free-trade policy existed in that State the rate of wages would be increased ? In Japan I find that the farm hands receive 1 dollar and ii cents, per month, which represents about ls. 3d. per week in English money. The women folk receive 1 dollar and 20 cents. In this connexion I desire to read a passage from an article, entitled, “The Industrial Revolution in Japan.”
The working men of Japan have no reason, to complain that the women do not cany their half of the load. Whatever may be the position of the gentler sex in the household, although she is not allowed to hold property, or share in the responsibilities that are usually divided between husbands and wives in America, she is at least admitted to an equality with men where there is any hard work to be done. Wherever you go in the cities or villages, or the farming communities, you find the wife and mother working side by side with the husband and sons, ploughing,planting, and reaping, and at sunset taking home a large portion of the harvest in a big basket on her back. Whenever you see a man between a pair of tiny shafts tugging to haul a heavily loaded cart up hill, there is always a woman pushing from behind, bareheaded and barefooted, except for a pair of Straw sandals, and wearing a pair of blue cotton leggings like tights extending, from her waist to her ankles.
That is the condition of the farm labourers in Japan. Are honorable senators willing to throw open Nerang and Logan in Queensland to the competition of these people? We all know that the farmers of Australia are about the hardest-worked section of the community. Owing to droughts and other climatic influences their lot is indeed a hard one. The man who goes upon the land to earn a livelihood .deserves the sympathy of every unit in the Commonwealth.
– I hope that the honorable senator will remember that when we come to consider the duty upon agricultural machinery. *
– Senator Symon is apparently willing to throw open our ports, and thus allow millions of cheap farm labourers in India, Japan, and China to compete with our- own people in the Australian market. Nowadays farmers, if they are wise, do not devote their whole attention to the cultivation of one crop only. They distribute their capacity over a number of productions, so that if one should fail they can readily fall back upon another. If arrowroot is to go out of cultivation in Queensland - as it undoubtedly will if this duty be remitted - the farmers of the northern State will be restricted to that extent. At the present time there is a feeling in Queensland that the Commonwealth has not dealt fairly with that State as a State. Of course, I challenge that view ; I contend that the Commonwealth has treated Queensland fairly, and will continue to do so, but if honorable senators strike out this duty, they will certainly give the agriculturists of that State a chance to complain that they are being treated unfairly j that advantage has been taken of the entry of Queensland into the Union to strike a blow at their interests.
– What about the kanakas ?
– I submit that Senator Symon is not adopting the attitude which we were led to expect from members of this Chamber. It was always thought that the Senate would deal with the Tariff in such a way that justice would be done to all the States. Now, Senator Symon, while professing a great deal of sympathy with Queensland, and reminding us of the abolition of the kanaka traffic, is really fighting as hard as ‘he can for- the retention of the traffic, and is singling out Queensland for attack. I do not think that he desires to attack the farmers of that State, but having a majority of something like- four behind him, he thinks that this item affords a very good opportunity to attack the Government.
– It is purely a party question.
– I absolutely deny it.
– There is a little difference of opinion on this .question between Senator Dawson and myself. Perhaps it is because I reside in the south of Queensland, while Senator Dawson comes from the north. This is a southern industry, and I venture to say that, with other honorable senators from the south of Queensland, I am speaking on behalf of the great body of agriculturists there, who will be injured to a great extent if this duty is removed, and the Indian, Japanese, and Chinese production is allowed to come in.
– I wish, at the very outset of my speech, to resent a remark made by Senator Higgs, arid emphatically confirmed by Senator O’Keefe, that any opposition that was offered to the Government proposals was due to party spirit. Personally, I have no such feeling.
– I said that this was being treated as a party question.
– The position which I have taken up from the first will be rigidly maintained by me to the end, and that is, to regard the Tariff as a non-party matter. I should like to correct a possible misunderstanding in relation to the position of Queensland under the Tariff.’ Senator Higgs has laid it down distinctly, and I believe that he is supported by Senator Glassey, that when Queensland consented to come into the Union, she did so on the understanding that there would be InterState free-trade and protection against the world.
– Hear, hear.
– I say emphatically that there was no such understanding in Queensland. I took as active a part in the federal campaign, in Queensland as did any man. I visited the south as well as the extreme north - where man v honorable senators did not go - and a suggestion that we were to have Inter-State free-trade and protection against the world never cropped up at any meeting which I addressed. Nor was the question of free-trade or protection made a party cry at the elections for the Senate. The fiscal question did not appear in the programme of the party of which Senator Higgs, Senator Stewart, and myself are members. It was not referred to by us, although in a few isolated cases we were asked whether we were free-traders or protectionists. I answered invariably that if I were elected my constituents would know what my opinions were when I was called upon to exercise my judgment in dealing with the Tariff. I always understood that advocates of protection desired a high duty merely in order to shield an industry in its struggling days, and that once a little bandy-legged infant industry had grown up, the crutches of protection were to be thrown aside and burnt. But we are given to understand now that once a protective duty is imposed it must be kept on for all time.
– If the policy is good, stick to it.
– -What has become of the protestations of protectionists that they do not wish to retain a duty when the industry affected can stand alone, in view of the fact that they contend that this duty must not be removed ‘! It is admitted on all sides that the duty on arrowroot was imposed in Queensland in order to enable small farmers there to cultivate the article, and that they have cultivated it so successfully that they have captured the whole of the Australian market, and are very formidable competitors in the markets of Europe. It is admitted that the object of the duty in the first instance has been accomplished, and we contend that it can be abolished now with perfect safety. The protectionists assert, however, that the duty must be retained because it has been successful. They first wish a duty to be imposed in order that an industry may be carried on with success, and when that success has been obtained, they say - “ Retain it ; if we have achieved some success, let us retain the duty, and make the position still more secure.” Senator O’Connor said that if large consignments of arrowroot came in from, other countries the local growers and manufacturers would be crushed. But the honorable and learned senator had explained previously that the cost of the local article was 7d. per lb., while the cost of the imported article was 2s. 6d. per lb., a difference of ls. lid.; and, in order that the 2s. 6d. article should not flood the Australian markets, he urged that it was necessary to increase the cost by Id. That appeared to me to approach the farcial as closely as anything
I had ever heard. Senator O’Connor contended that there was no danger now with a difference of ls. lid., but that there would be an overwhelming calamity if we did not pass this duty. I shall be very much obliged if Senator Styles, who is undoubtedly a great expert in figures, will tell us how this nimble penny, is going to cause all the heartburnings and misery so pathetically described by Senator O’Connor.
– The question of how long we desire to retain protectionist duties has frequently cropped up during the debate, and it has been asked again this afternoon. I think it has been answered upon several occasions, but lest it should be put again it is just as well that the answer should be given once more. As long as protection is necessary, protectionists are going to retain protective duties. If I, in company with honorable senators from some of the other States, were to take a selfish view of this matter, we might say that the question of the retention of this duty did not affect us, because it related primarily to a Queensland industry. But we are not looking at it from the Queensland point of view alone ; we regard the industry as one that has been established in a portion of the Commonwealth, and we desire to see it continued. If there is anything in the arguments which we have heard this afternoon, it is that the growth of this industry shows the value of a protective duty in the establishment of an enterprise. Here, as Senator Playford very properly pointed out, we have a primary industry. Here we have an industry of the soil, and as soon as it has been made a success, or a partial success, with the assistance of a protective duty, our friends on the other side are prepared to knock away its support and bring it into open competition with the world. Senator O’Connor has clearly shown what the effect of that may be, and advocates of protection generally will agree with him. He has shown that as soon as an industry has been established by protection, the free importation of the article produced by that industry may have the effect of swamping it, and it is because of that that we are determined in this matter to continue the duty. I trust that, as we all realize that this industry has been established by a protective duty, we shall maintain it and give our Queensland brethren an opportunity to perfect the industry, as I think they will.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia). - I have a few facts to submit. I think it is always well to consider the previous course adopted in regard to an item of this kind, and I find that in the House of Representatives a motion to make arrowroot absolutely free was lost by only five votes, while a motion to reduce the duty to id. per lb. was lost by only one- vote. I mentioned previously that the effect of the imposition of this duty of Id. per lb. had been an increase in the price of arrowroot in New South Wales by that amount, and a shade more, as is generally the case, and I point out now that that is the cost to the consumer. The quotations made by Senator O’Connor were quotations of wholesale prices of arrowroot in bulk. It is, of course, the cost to the consumer that we have to consider, and that “will be the cost after the article passes through the hands of the gentleman who puts it into tins, and who is frequently described as the manufacturer. I quoted figures to show that the price has increased in Sydney by ltd, a little more than the amount of the duty. In Melbourne, where the duty had previously been 2d. per lb., the price in September before the Tariff was introduced, according to the price lists I have in my hand, was 5£d. for “Globe” in 7 -lb. tins and 1-lb. packets, 6d. for £-lb. packets, and immediately the Tariff was laid on the table, imposing a duty of Id. as against the Victorian duty of 2d. per lb., the price fell by l£d.
– From what is the honorable and learned senator quoting ?
– From the price list of Parsons Brothers’ Proprietary Limited, 5S1 to 587 Collins-street. The price after the Tariff before us was imposed was for 7 -lb. tins and 1-lb. packets 4d., and for £-lb. packets 4£d. So that, immediately -the duty imposed by the Tariffwas reduced to half the duty previously imposed in Victoria, the price in Melbourne fell by the amount of the reduction. In New South Wales, where arrowroot was previously free, the price was increased by l£d. per lb. - the amount of the duty, with a small addition.
– I have shown by the prices current that it was exactly the same before and after .the duty.
– My honorable and learned friend has shown that in the case of arrowroot in bags, and not with respect to’ the cost to the consumer.
The prices I am considering are the prices charged to the consumer, and the price to the consumer by reason of this duty, which is unnecessary, has been increased in New South Wales, where the article was previously free, by the amount of the duty, and, in Melbourne, where the duty was previously twice as much as in the Tariff before us, the price fell by exactly half the amount of the original duty.
– I point out, in continuation of what Senator Symon has said, that the figures quoted by both parties have been absolutely correct, and they prove that the Id. per lb. duty always goes into the pockets of the person who tins the stuff, and is of no assistance whatever to the producer. The producer in Queensland all along received 3d. per lb. for the article, so long as it was Sold in a sack, but immediately Messrs. Parsons and Co. take it out of the sack and put it into tins they put ‘on an extra Id. per lb. in New South Wales, which they were able to do owing to the duty, and in Victoria they took off Id. per lb., because the previous duty had been 2d. per lb. They lost that, but they still retained the Id. per lb. duty imposed by the Tariff.
– That will not do, because the article is packed in Queensland.
– It has been alleged that this is not a party question, but I do not think that allegation can be sustained by the facts.
– That was said by -Senator Dawson in relation to the labour party.
– I. understood Sena*tor Dawson to be speaking in a broad sense, and, so far as the honorable senator is concerned, I believe that he does not view the matter from a party point of view. I think, however, that it is distinctly a party , question, and I intend to view it as such. I came to this Senate to support the Barton policy, and particularly that policy as ‘pro- . posing protection rather than free-trade.
– Unquestionably it : was admitted that a certain amount of re- i venue must be raised, but in raising that ; revenue it was enunciated in language 1 which could not be misunderstood that the ! industries of the States were not to suffer, i This is no longer a- State industry, or merely ] a Queensland industry : it is a Commonwealth industry. In whatever part of the Commonwealth an industry is established, I shall regard it as an industry belonging to the Commonwealth, and not merely as a State industry. Honorable senators opposite make this Tariff throughout distinctly a party question between the” Government on one side, and the succeeding. Government on the other. Our honorable friends opposite express extremely benevolent opinions with regard to the primary producer, but they do not support them when .we come to deal with a question of this kind. This is a small industry chiefly confined to the south of Queensland, and almost to one locality. It is an industry in which only small farmers are engaged. I know the district in which it is carried on as well as does any honorable senator present. There are only a few small mills in the district, and there is not a single syndicate there.
– Is not Mr. Grimes’ business a syndicate ?
– He is neither a syndicate nor a big firm, but a man who has been struggling for years. He has been fairly successful in the cultivation, of arrowroot, combined with other farming operations* but his work is not merely confined to the cultivation of arrowsroot. There are a- few mills scattered over the Logan district, in the extreme south of Queensland. Small growers in the district cultivate a small patch of arrowroot along with other product’s, and send the crop in year by year to be manufactured. It comes in as one of the sources of the household income every year. . Surely- our friends opposite do not desire to strike a fatal blow at the struggling men engaged in this industry 1 If there be a class of men in the Commonwealth, in whatever branch of industry they may be engaged, who deserve our special care and attention, it is those who are engaged upon the soil. Our friends opposite profess a great regard for the primary producer, but where is this regard shown 1 They say that it will mean nothing to take off this duty of Id. per lb. on arrowroot, because it is inoperative. When a duty is imposed, and the industry protected by it becomes fairly successful, our friends say - “ What is the use of continuing this import duty when it is merely a duty upon paper ?” I say we should continue it as long as it is needed, and in my opinion as a protectionist it is constantly needed, and I shall he no party to its removal Honorable senators opposite might as well ask us why we continue the duty upon sugar in Queensland when that duty has practically been inoperative for many years. We keep it on in case of necessity to protect our shores against the foreign invaders, of whom our friend Senator Symon is such a champion. The honorable and learned senator is the general, not of the foreign trader, but of the foreign invader, who comes along with his goods, and lays waste our fields, and stops our machinery. That is the man whom the honorable and learned senator champions. Arrowroot may be considered a very small thing, but there, are upwards of 400 acres of land under arrowroot cultivation. Should not that industry be preserved ?
– We are not going to interfere with it.
– The honorable and learned’ senator has a great regard for the primary producer, but I should like to see him practise that which he preaches. His practice and his preaching on this occasion will not tally. I venture to say that we shall find that to be the case in connexion with bacon and hams and with every item in the Tariff- which will protect the primary producer. The honorable senator will tell us that we are taxing the consumer. In this case we have the beautiful, plausible excuse put forth that this article is a delicacy largely used by infants and invalids, and we are told that it is in the interests of benevolence, and perhaps in the interests of some institutions in which invalids are treated, that honorable members opposite desire to strike a blow at this little industry. But we are able in Queensland to produce arrowroot and sell it at such a price in distant parts of the Commonwealth that none can .feel any burden. Surely it is wise that this duty should be continued in case of necessity, and to preserve the local industry 1 The duty is .a reasonable one when we consider that the article is sometimes down as low as 5d., 6d., and 7d. per lb. Supposing we have an inroad made upon this industry, it must be obvious to senators from what part of the world the article will come. It will come from black labour countries, in which labour is excessively cheap. That is what we shall have to face, and I hope Senator Symon will keep that in view. I have to thank honorable senators and members of the House of Representatives for keeping that in view, and for their generosity, in connexion with, the sugar industry in Queensland. But I wish them to carry out that principle throughout the Tariff. Our industries are few enough in all conscience, and the only way of preserving them and creating others is by giving a reasonable protection. Is it worth the while of Senator Symon to concentrate the force of his party on the removal of a small duty which has been beneficial in the past, and which, if retained, will be beneficial in the future 1
– I hope that honorable senators who seem so determined to vote to destroy this industry will be careful to remember-
– The Minister has no right to say that.
– Why should I not say it.?
– Because there is not a word of. truth in it. It is unfounded.
– Because the honorable and learned senator thinks it is unfounded, that is no reason why I should not say it. I think it is absolutely the conclusion that will follow - that the industry will be destroyed. This is a nice time to adopt an attitude of absolute disregard for Queensland - a time when she is suffering from a severe drought ! Surely, if there is one thing more than another which every one admitted when we entered on the ‘ discussion of the Tariff, it was that the industries of each State should’ be kept as they were, consistently with the requirements of revenue. This is not a question of revenue at all. It has been proved beyond all doubt that the price is not raised to the consumer by the duty.
– It has not been proved.
– It has been proved beyond all doubt. Senator Neild has tried to prove the contrary, but he has failed.
– We think-
– The honorable senator thinks in caucus ; I have nothing to do with that. I wish to know what is proved here. It is our duty to have these discussions in public. It is our duty to have reasons put forward -which influence honorable senators in public, and not to have these decisions arrived at in a caucus.
– I hope that the honorable and learned senator will not refer to anything which is done by honorable senators outside the chamber.
– I am not referring to what is done outside the chamber, but to what is not done inside the chamber. Of course, sir, I bow at once to your ruling. It was really’ the interjection which led me to refer to what is known as a caucus. Although we know all about it, I shall not say anything more in reference to the matter.
SenatorFraser. - Can the Minister give the total production of arrowroot ?
– Last year the total production amounted to 772,280 lbs., of which 463,617 lbs. were exported. There is no doubt that in Queensland it is a growing industry - an industry which has achieved such success that it not only supplies to a large extent the market of Australia, but is also able to export - which we ought to be careful to do nothing to damage. It is a very moderate duty that is proposed ; it really does not affect the consumer, because, as I have pointed out, the price of the article in Sydney in September last, before the duty was imposed, was 3d. per lb.
– Is that a quotation from Parsons’ list ?
– No, it is from the Sydney Trade Review and Prices Current. Senator Neild, who poses as the commercial authority on the other side, pointed out that the price current constitutes the wholesale price of an article ; that the price-list given by a retail business or a wholesale business, as the case may be, is not reliable, and the only reliable guide is the general price in the market.
– Does the Minister withdraw the Mutual Store quotation ?
– Yes, because I think this is very much better ; at the same time, I ask honorable senators to withdraw four or five other documents of the same kind as the Mutual Store list. We learn as we go on. I admit that I was very much impressed by the statement of Senator Neild as to the danger there is in relying on statistics other than those which give the general price. In Sydney, the general price of arrowroot before the duty was imposed was 3d. per lb., and on the 15th February, 1902, after the duty was imposed, it was also 3d. per lb. My honorable friends have been quoting price lists from private firms, with the view of showing that after the duty was imposed in some cases a½d. per lb. was put on, and in others1d. perlb. was put on.
– It is a fact that it was done by Parsons.
– It may be a fact that Parsons put on that amount, and that some of the others put on a greater or less amount ; but if there is one thing more notorious than another through all this Tariff business, it is that the houses have very often put up the price altogether unjustifiably.
– Which the consumer has to pay.
– Of course he has.
– Owing to the Tariff.
-It is not owing to the Tariff, because, as the honorable senator knows perfectly well, in many cases these firms raised the price of an article which was not the subject of a duty at all. Would the honorable senator say that in those cases the consumer had to pay the higher price owing to the Tariff? It has nothing to do with the Tariff. Itis a question of what the importer does, and the interjection, therefore, is absolutely irrelevant. The Tariff may have been made an excuse for raising the price. But of what value can that fact possibly be against the prices current, which I have quoted ? There is no question that the prices current are the best possible indication of what is the effect on the consumer. If it had no effect on the consumer, what justification is there for taking away this duty, and thereby putting this industry in a very dangerous position ? A good deal of ridicule was endeavoured to be thrown upon the arguments used, by pointing out that if the industry has captured the local market, there is no necessity to preserve the duty. If that argument is to be used, consider where it will lead us. The producers of bacon and hams, cheese, and butter have the local market, and are we therefore to take off all the duties on those articles ? If we take the duty off arrowroot because it happens to be a small Queensland industry, how are we to justify the retention of the duties on cheese, butter, bacon, and similar products, because such articles are produced in New South Wales and Victoria ? If this rule of taking away a duty because the local market has been captured is applied all round, we perceive at once the absurdity of the position which is taken up. Gentlemen who have masqueraded in the guise of protectionists may have said so, but no protectionist has ever said that these duties are to be put on to sustain an infant industry and then to be taken off. Every protectionist says that the duties are to be imposed for the sake of safeguarding the industry, of steadying the market, and of keeping a constant protection against the flooding of the market by the importation of cheap and very often refuse surplus goods from other countries. If we take off the duty on bacon, cheese, and hams, how do we know that we may not have large shipments coming in at any time, as we have had in other cases, to take away our market? We all know what took place in New South Wales in regard to wheat. I have not the figures here, but although New South Wales produced nearly enough wheat for her own supply, and was getting wheat from some of the other States, in two or three years, when there was a large surplus of wheat in the United States, an immense shipment came in, and was sold in Sydney. With what effect ? With the result of at once bringing down the price to the farmer.
– Helping people out of their distress.
– At the time I was speaking of there was no distress in New South Wales. The people whowere in distress were those on the other side of the world, who had a surplus to get rid of, and who dumped it down in a free-trade port because it gave them a market.
– Giving us good things cheap.
– If the only good which the honorable and learned senator worshipscommercially is cheapness, I dare say they did. But what we regard in this proposal is not a question of revenue entirely; it is not a question of cheapness. The duty does not involve revenue ; it simply involves the question whether we are going to keep faith with Queensland - whether we are going to keep faith with the promise which was made to preserve these industries. Here we have a chance to preserve or to destroy an industry. If honorable senators do away with the duty they will destroythe industry, not for the sake of any benefit to the revenue, but for the purpose of carrying out their doctrine of free-trade to its extreme limit. I hope that the motion will not be carried.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales).If the committee can for a few minutes come out of the rather heated atmosphere to which it has been elevated, and pay attention to a few facts, I think it will be possible to show-
– It shows the stimulating effect of arrowroot on the Minister.
– I do not want an injustice to be done.
– It is exactly because I think that Senator O’Connor does not wish an injustice to be done that I have risen to put him right as to his facts. First of all he made a rather impassioned appeal to the committee to keep faith with Queensland. The remark is frequently heard here that there was an understanding in Queensland as to what was to follow on federation. My statement is applauded by Queensland representatives. I ask them - Who told Queensland this ?
– I did, for one.
– If there is an understanding between Senator Drake and Queensland I have nothing to say to it, but surely when honorable senators speak of an understanding on the strength of which Queensland entered the Federation, they mean an understanding between the States; - that there was some public utterance on. the part of representatives of other States which induced or led Queensland to form that opinion. Who of all men had a right to speak for the other States outside Queensland? The Prime Minister. Not once, but several times, he assured the free-traders of New South Wales that in entering the Federation not one of them would give up the right to fight for his fiscal belief. The understanding was that in entering this Federation we should have a fair field and no favour, and that every one could fight in support of his own fiscal belief. Now we are told that our hands are tied, and that we shall be guilty of an absolute breach of faith if we attempt to give effect to our fiscal views.
– What has all that got to do with arrowroot? If Senator Higgs had made remarks of that kind he would have been pulled up.
– As that is a reflection upon the Chair, I would ask the honorable senator to withdraw it.
– If my statement is to be taken as a reflection upon the
Chairman, I shall withdraw it, but I desire to call your attention to the extent to which the honorable senator is digressing from the subject before the Chair. He has been speaking for several minutes without mentioning the subject of arrowroot.
– The Vice-President of the Executive Council stated that if the free-trade party succeeded in altering this item, they must, if they wished to be logical, deal similarly with a large number of other items. Does the honorable and learned senator claim that this Tariff is logical from a protectionist stand-point? Surely every one must admit that any Tariff of the kind is likely to contain discrepancies, upon which a charge of inconsistency might very well be based. We cannot expect a perfect Tariff) but we are now doing our best to make it uniform and consistent throughout. We have been told that the removal of this duty will have the effect of destroying the arrowroot industry in Queensland, but I find that that State managed not only to supply her own wants, but to compete with the whole world in the free-trade ports of New South Wales. In 1900, New South Wales imported 200,000 lbs. of arrowroot, of which Queensland supplied 190,000 lbs. That shows that Queensland not only held her own, but absolutely took possession of the market, in which she had to face the dreaded bogy of black labour countries. These ports were open to J apan and China, but New South Wales did not draw her supplies from these countries, but from Queensland, where comparatively high wages are paid. Not only has Queensland taken possession of the New South Wales market, but she has exported arrowroot to England, in competition with all ‘the cheap labour countries of the world. It is therefore ridiculous to argue that the removal of the duty will have the effect of destroying the industry. According to the statistics for Queensland for 1900, the value of 493,000 lbs. of arrowroot exported was given as £3,500, or something less than 2d. per lb., at the place of export. It is now proposed to impose a duty of Id. per lb., equal to 50 per cent, ad valorem. This is one of the highest imposts in the whole Tariff, and even if it were necessary to give some measure of protection to the industry the duty now proposed is altogether excessive.
– It is only a small industry - crush it.
– It has not been crushed so far, and I do not see how it can be crushed. All this talk about crushing the little industries by exposing them to the competition of black labour countries is mere platform claptrap. I am quite sure that the arrowroot producers of Queensland will be able to hold their own without any protective duty.
Senator DRAKE (Queensland - PostmasterGeneral). - Senator Millen said that there was no understanding in New South Wales that the policy of the Federation would be Inter-State free-trade with protection against the world. I admit that there may have been free-traders in that State, and perhaps in other States, who advocated federation in the belief that it might be possible to establish a policy of external free-trade, but I think that such people were few and far between. For years and years prior to federation it was anticipated in Queensland that the policy of the Federation would be internal free-trade with protection against the world.
– That is altogether different from an understanding.
– Federation, was discussed in the anticipation that that would be the fiscal policy of the Commonwealth, and, so far as my knowledge goes, there was an understanding to that effect. The honorable senator will not deny that the Prime Minister declared, at Maitland, that there should be no destruction of industries.
– That was after the accomplishment of federation.
– I have no doubt that he made similar statements before federation was established.
– He made several speeches - most of them contradictory.
– There is no doubt that it was generally understood that the policy of the Federation would not involve the destruction- of Australian industries. It is impossible- to suppose that the people of any State would have entered the Federation if they had known that their industries would be destroyed.
– Does the honorable and learned senator say that because of the prevalence of a general anticipation such as he describes, we, as free-traders, would therefore be guilty of a breach of faith if we attempted to give effect to our principles ?
– I say nothing of the kind. I maintain that there was a general understanding that the industries of the various States would be respected, and that no policy would be adopted that would involve their destruction. The abolition of this duty would involve serious injury to an industry which, under a protective Tariff, has been doing fairly well, and has become exceedingly useful to Australia. Let me ask honorable senators whether it was not generally understood, throughout the discussion preceding the accomplishment of federation, that the policy of the Commonwealth should be in the direction of securing a white Australia ? This was recognised by Parliament very fairly in connexion with the legislation which was passed recently. Now, arrowroot is an article of tropical or semitropical growth, and in all countries, excepting Queensland, it is cultivated and manufactured by means of black labour. The high-priced arrowroots which have been referred to during this discussion come principally from Bermuda, and are produced by black labour. India and Japan have also been mentioned as arrowroot-producing countries, and we have islands in the Pacific with large native populations which would be well adapted to the cultivation of arrowroot. Is it in accordance with the policy enunciated by federalists throughout Australia that we should remove all protection from this industry, which is being carried on by white labour in Queensland, and expose it to the competition of countries where arrowroot is grown by black labour? Arrowroot cannot be grown in Queensland, except bymeans of white labour, because we have decided to have a white Australia. As much regard should be shown for this industry as for the sugar industry. Sugargrowing is carried on for the most part by powerful companies who work large plantations, but arrowroot growing is essentially a small farm industry. Men who have farms of limited area devote small patches to the growth of arrowroot, and the cultivation of these crops, in conjunction with others, helps them to carry on. The industry should receive consideration, not only on account of its value to Australia, but because of the advantage which it confers on probably the most worthy class of settlers in Australia, namely, our small farmers. I hope, therefore, that honorable senators will consider very carefully before agreeing to the proposal of Senator Symon.
– I am sorry that the PostmasterGeneral has introducod the white Australia question into this discussion. He is evidently trying to excite sympathy for this industry by appealing to the sentiment in favour of a white Australia. We find that the arrowroot-growing industry started with the assistance of a protective duty of1d. per lb. It had to survive all the difficulties incidental to the establishment of a new industry. It has already been subjected to droughts similar to those which are likely to affect it in the future. What has been the result?. It has achieved such dimensions that it is able not only to supply the requirements of Queensland, but to export arrowroot into New South Wales in competition with the world. What is the use of honorable senators endeavouring to influence votes by urging that if we remit this duty now that the industry has become established, it will not be able to hold its own against the outside world ? I hold that the need for protection no longer exists - probably it never did exist. In the light of past experience, to argue that the proposed duty is necessary to protect the industry against future calamities in the shape of droughts, is sheer nonsense. I fail to see why the Government are fighting so hard for the retention of a duty which they themselves show to be unnecessary because of the progress which this particular industry has made.
– Upon looking into this matter I find that Queensland is a large exporter of arrowroot. I was not previously aware of that fact, but I am glad to become acquainted with it. In 1898 that State exported 35,000 lbs. of arrowroot to the United Kingdom, 92,000 lbs. to Cape Colony, and 39,000 lbs. to New Zealand. Therefore,I hold that this duty comes within the same category as a duty upon wheat or butter, or upon coal from Newcastle. There is no necessity for the imposition of a duty upon arrowroot. If there were, I should undoubtedly vote for it, but inasmuch as Queensland exports that commodity to other parts of the world, in the same way that sugar is exported, there is no necessity to subject it to a duty.
– Does the book from which the honorable senator is quoting show that any arrowroot was exported to Victoria ?
– It shows that a large quantity of Queensland arrowroot came into Victoria.
– Does it give the quantity ?
– I cannot supply the honorable senator with the figures. I find, however, that in 1898 Victoria imported £2,000 worth of arrowroot from Queensland, whilst only £122 worth came from abroad. The total value of arrowroot imports into this State during that year was £2,164, upon which there was a duty collected of £1,067.
– Does the book give the figures relative to Tasmania?
– Certainly ; Tasmania imported from the federated States £136 worth of arrowroot. That, of course, musthave come from Queensland. In 1897 arrowroot to the value of only £1 was imported from outside countries. The figures which I am quoting are taken from the Hansard report of the debate upon this matter which took place in the other Chamber. In view of the fact that Queensland is a large exporter of arrowroot, there is, in my opinion, no necessity to levy a duty upon it.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - Senator Fraser must be a very fine protectionist to make such a speech as that to which we have just listened. I cannot understand how he came to occupy a position in this Chamber, having regard to the fact that the Victorian farmers and public generally are protectionists, and are anxious that justice shall be done to the Queensland producers. A few months ago the honorable senator professed to be a great friend of Queensland, but apparently his friendship is only that of one who is anxious to retain black labour. When it becomes a question of protecting the Queensland farmers by the retention of a duty, he immediately declares his readiness to vote for its abolition. One of the reasons which he assigns for his action is that Queensland has exported certain quantities of arrowroot beyond the limits of the Commonwealth. I admit that, according to statistics for 1900, Queensland exported 35,122 lbs. of this commodity to the United Kingdom, 190,942 lbs. to New South Wales, 7S.988 lbs. to Victoria, 9,110 lbs. to South Australia, 1,120 lbs. to Western Australia, S,6S0 lbs. to Tasmania, 39,32S lbs. to New-
Zealand, 92,599 lbs. to Cape Colony, 4,480 lbs. to Natal, and 2,348 lbs. to British Columbia. Everybody who is a friend of Queensland will be pleased that this is so. But it appears to me that honorable senators lose sight of the fact that, if the proposed duty be abolished, arrowroot may go entirely out of cultivation. The farmers of Queensland have been able to export this article, because their land is under cultivation, and because they have enjoyed the benefit of a protective duty. At this stage I should like to refer to a statement made by one of my colleagues. We belong to the same party, but hold different fiscal views. Senator Dawson, judging by his expressions in this Chamber, is a free-trader. He told us that when upon the public platform he was asked what was his fiscal faith? He replied - “ Wait till the time comes, and you will find out.” That is not my position. When I was questioned regarding my fiscal views, I declared I was a protectionist. I said that I was in favour of protecting Australian industries, because I failed to see how our workmen could hope to compete with the cheap labour of foreign countries. In reply to the argument that this industry is no longer an infant one, and that on that ground alone the duty should be removed, I take the same stand as Senator Barrett. I hold that so long as coloured labourers in other parts of the world receive a wage of ls. per day or less, so long will it be necessary to protect Australian workmen from their competition. Of course honorable senators may endeavour, in a humorous manner, to lead the public off the track, as Mr. Reid did in Queeusland, when he said -
You talk about your infant industries, but I remember that one of the greatest griefs of my life was when I was weaned. Fancy an infant industry 40 years of age tugging at the maternal breast.
Of course that utterance carried some weight with audiences who did not think.
– Do not waste time.
– The electors who returned us to this. Chamber - partly on account of our fiscal views - expect from us some defence of our principles. They expect us to resist any attempt to recast the schedule upon free-trade or revenue-Tariff lines. If honorable senators agree to Senator Symon’s proposal, they must of necessity attack other items. They must for example attack the duties upon cornflour, maizena, and rolled oats, and if continual reductions be made, what will become of the Commonwealth revenue? The Treasurer anticipates that the proposed duty upon arrowroot will yield a revenue of £13,700 a year.
– That is evidently a misprint.
– At any rate, we may derive some revenue from this source, because there are a number of importers in the Commonwealth who are endeavouring to discover every possible means of competing with the local manufacturer and the local seller. When honorable senators talk about the exactions of the local producer I would ask them if the importer is more sympathetic ?
– But we do not give the importers any privilege.
– We permit them to trade in the cheap-labour productions of the whole world, which is a very great privilege indeed. If we surrender ourselves to the importers who have such eloquent champions in this Chamber, we shall not receive any more consideration from them. If they find that they can obtain from the Australian public4d. or 5d. a lb. for their arrowroot they will take it. I should like to know why honorable senators who, like Senator Symon, plead with tears in their voices on behalf of invalids and children requiring arrowroot, did not move to reduce the duties on wines for invalids, which are used to a far greater extent. I do not think that the medical profession ever recommend arrowroot to invalids and children. Senator Fraser, who, I thought, was a protectionist, must remember that an insidious attempt is being made to destroy an Australian industry - the farming industry of Queensland, and that he is lending himself to it.
– Nothing of the kind.
– The honorable senator will have an opportunity of voting for the reduction of other items, and I warn him that he will find himself in a very inconsistent position.
Question put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … … 15
Noes … … … 13
Majority … … 2
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Item 10. - Bacon and hams, partly or wholly cured, per lb., 3d.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 10 by adding the words : -“And on and after 1st July, 1902,1d.”
The committee have decided to bring cigars and cigarettes into line in the matter of the duty, andI think this is an item which should be brought into line with item 36, which provides for a duty of1d. per lb. on meats, fish, poultry, and game. If game, poultry, and luxuries of that kind are to be subject to a duty of only1d. per lb., we should not impose a higher duty on these cheaper articles of more general consumption. The Vice - President of the Executive Council has been most emphatic in assuring us that this is not a protective but a revenue Tariff. Therefore he cannot oppose my motion from the stand-point of revenue, because according to the Treasurer’s statement, this duty will not produce any revenue. If Senator O’Connor defends the duty of 3d. per lb. he can do so only from the protectionist stand - point, and that would give away the whole Maitland programme, as well as bis own allegation that this is a Tariff which is to produce revenue and to be fair between all parties. If game and poultry, which figure on the tables of the rich and of the wealthy club houses are liable to a duty of only1d. per lb., I desire to know why a larger duty is to be imposed on bacon and ham, which are found more frequently on the tables of the poor.
– As far as I can gather from the honarable senator’s observations, he thinks that he has placed the Government in a very awkward dilemma ; that this is either a protectionist or a revenue Tariff, and that as the duty has nothing to do with revenue I must justify it on protectionist grounds. I do. It is certainly a discovery for me to learn that we are to draw a line between the protectionist and the revenue purposes of the Tariff. I always understood that the Tariff was both protectionist and revenue producing, and if any regard is to be paid to the platform declarations of honorable senators elected to support a protective policy, and to the declarations of others who, although they were free-traders, said that they would not see any industry of Australia injured, it must be apparent that this is a compromise Tariff, as it must have been whether introduced by protectionists or freetraders. It must be a Tariff that will give revenue, and which will take care at the same time that existing industries are not injured. This duty is justifiable on the ground that it will continue protection to a most important industry in the Commonwealth. The extent of that protection will be seen best by reference to the importations of ham and bacon into New South Wales prior to the imposition of this Tariff, because inVictoria, where there was a duty, the imports were very small.
– 21,000 lbs. weight in one year.
– Yes ; but during the year 1900 390,990 lbs. of ham and bacon of the value of £1 1,764 were imported into New South Wales. That is to say; protectionist New Zealand, by keeping out the bacon and hams of Australia and other countries, was enabled to cultivate so flourishing an industry that she supplied not only her own wants, but was able to export to free-trade New South Wales 390,990 lbs. of bacon and ham. During the same year 237,272 lbs. of bacon and ham, valued at £8,878, were imported into New South Wales from the United Kingdom, 800 lbs. from Canada - the trade with Canada was only beginning - 205lbs. from Hong Kong,874 lbs. from China, 524 lbs. from Germany, and 66,408 lbs. from the United States of America. Thus, taking New South Wales as an illustration, honorable senators will be able to see the extent of importation which this duty stops. The greater part of this importation would take place if this duty were not imposed. There is no doubt that in New South Wales there has been no duty, but the duty of1d. per lb. which the honorable and learned senator proposes will certainly not be sufficient to keep out the great bulk of the imports of this article into New South Wales, which, as I have shown, amounted to 695,811 lbs.
– Has the honorable and learned senator the corresponding figures of New South Wales exports ?
– No, I have only the figures which affect the imports.
– The export figures are most important, because a lot of those imports were sent to Western Australia.
– The honorable senator means to say that they were reexported.
– Sydney is a great disseminating centre.
– I am not saying it is not a great disseminating centre ; but there is no reason in the world why we should not take these figures as furnishing a very good indication of the quantity of these articles which would come into Australia if the duty we propose were lowered. If we reduce the duty all over the Commonwealth to1d. per lb., the figures I have quoted will enable us to form some idea of the kind of competition which our farmers will have to. fight against. What has the position been in the rest of Australia before this Tariff was introduced? We find that while in New South Wales there was no duty, in Victoria there was a duty of 2d. per lb., in Queensland 3d., South Australia 4d., Tasmania 2d., Western Australia 2d., and New Zealand 2d.
– And Canada1d., because she was next to the United States.
– And as the honorable senator says, in Canada1d., though I need not pursue that.
– The Government have raised the duty by 50 per cent. on the Victorian rate.
– What does that matter ? They have lowered it on the South Australian rate.
– Taking the whole of the States of Australia, although in five out of the six there was previously a duty, the lowest twice as much as Senator Symon suggests, some higher than that proposed in this Tariff, some lower, and some the same, we are now told that there is no obligation on the part of those representing the Commonwealth to see that the protection given to these industries by the previously existing duties is to be continued. As I pointed out during the discussion on the last item, the argument will no doubt be used here, that, because in the case of Victoria, Tasmania, and other States in which a duty existed, there has been very little import, protection is, therefore, not necessary; that the industry has been fairly established ; that it not only supplies local wants, but has arrived at the export stage, and can stand alone, and that therefore the duty should be removed altogether. I say that is an absolute fallacy. I hope that those honorable senators who profess to have some regard for the existing industries of Australia will not any more use this nonsensical fallacy, which we have heard repeated over and over again, that when once a product takes partial possession of the . home market, we should remove the protection altogether. Why it took and keeps possession of the home market Ls because of the existence of that protection - because the existence of that protection keeps out the flood of cheap surplus stuff which might come in at any moment from other places. It is a warning, as some one has said here, to other countries that it is of no use to attempt to export cheap stuff to the Commonwealth. It is, on the other hand, an indication and encouragement to the local farmer, that so long as he is able to produce a good article there must be a duty of 3d. per lb. to be got over before the foreigner can compete with him. I say that is the only way in which we can secure the establishment of anything like a permanent and substantial industry. People do not invest in such an industry as the curing of bacon and hams without some sort of guarantee that they will have a permanent market, and if they are to be liable to have their market destroyed at any moment that there happens to be over-production in other parts of the world, what is their position ? If we are going to take the course which some of my fanatical friends opposite would be willing to take, and wipe out every duty in the Tariff) which may have the least protective incidence, let us do it, and we shall know where we are. But do not let honorable senators pretend to regard existing industries, and at the same time apply this ridiculous interpretation of the free-trader^ that the ‘ principle of protection is that we are to impose a duty only so long as an industry is in its infant stage. That is not aprotectionist doctrine. If honorable senators are going to help us, let them help us on true protectionist lines, but do not let us have this bastard kind of help, “ which is made up partly of a duty which is thrown as a matter of charity to the protected industry, and partly as the result of some absurd theory, the use of which they do not understand, but which they mention simply in order to justify their vote. I ask honorable senators who are in earnest in this matter, who wish to see our industries protected, and who wish to keep faith with the States that have previously had these duties, to look very carefully into this matter before they give a vote which, I have no hesitation in saying; will cause a great deal of insecurity in this business, and may at any time be attended with most disastrous results. We have heard a great deal here about the primary producer. We have had him set up for our admiration, at the expense of what is called the secondary producer. I have not been able to see much difference between them myself. But is this a primary product ? I should think that if anything is a primary product, this may be said to be so.
– Certainly it is.
– I am thankful to have the honorable senator’s opinion in that respect, because I have no doubt he has had a great deal of experience in these industries. It is a primary industry, and, above all, it is an industry which, should receive protection, and should have maintained for it the protection it has already enjoyed. There are a number of my honorable friends who are nominal free-traders, but not doctrinaire free-traders- honorable senators who, like Senator Sargood, are not willing todestroy existing industries, and who haveexpressed that opinion over and over again to the electors. I ask honorable senators who hold that view how, in the face of the duties which existed here, and under which these industries have flourished, they can support this motion ?
– They have not flourished in New South Wales.
– How will they be carrying out their promise not to destroy existing industries of the Commonwealth if they support this motion? My honorable friend Senator Playford reminds me that we have an illustration of what happens when there is no duty imposed in such cases. There is no comparison between the condition of this industry in New South Wales and its condition in Victoria, and in other States where protection has existed.
– Quite right ; there is no comparison.
– It is a big industry in Victoria.
– It is a big industry in Victoria ; it is an industry which not only occupies the persons employed in the actual curing and making of bacon and hams, but which occupies the farmer. It involves the use of maize and other products, and it is a very important industry in many parts of the country. It is very often the industry which enables the farmer to tide over bad times. I do therefore ask my honorable friends who are willing to see that justice is done here to support this duty as it is, and not to consent to the frittering away of it as proposed by Senator Symon. I say that I expressly defend it upon the grounds I have put forward; on the ground of the Maitland policy of. revenue without destruction ; on the ground that while revenue is to be maintained, not by this particular item, but by other items in the Tariff, we shall take care that no industry in existence under protective duties in the different States is to suffer by any action of the Commonwealth. I hope honorable senators will allow the duty in this instance to remain as it is.
– I rise to say that I look upon this proposal as entirely different from the last one. This is a primary industry, and it is not producing as much by a long way as is consumed in the Commonwealth. It will therefore be my pleasure, as well as my duty in regard to my pledges, to oppose the proposed reduction. If we were producing and exporting these articles largely to the United Kingdom and other countries, I should look upon the matter differently, but any industry such as this shall have my support.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales).For the second time this afternoon Senator O’Connor has affirmed that those who seek to reduce the duties proposed in this Tariff will be guilty of a breach of faith with the other States. Every time that statement is made in this Chamber or elsewhere, I intend to deny . it. It is not only grossly untrue, but grossly unfair. The honorable and learned senator’s own leader told me and 6,000 other people in the Sydney Town Hall, that if I voted for the Commonwealth Constitution, I should still be free to give effect to my fiscal faith, and to tell me now that this is a breach* of faith is grossly untrue and unfair.
– Of course it will be.
– It cannot be both.
– /The honorable and learned senator does not support the Maitland manifesto.
– I have quoted a pledge made by Mr. Barton long before he was in a position to make any Maitland manifesto.
– What is the use of the honorable and learned senator quoting that, when we know that he does not support Mr. Barton’s policy ?
– The honorable and learned senator has said that if we do not support this Tariff, we shall be guilty of a breach of faith with the other States.
– I say so again.
– If the honorable and learned senator repeats the statement, he must recognise that it is not in accord with the statement which I have quoted from Mr. Barton.
– One of the honorable and learned senator’s leaders, I forget - whether it was Senator Neild or Senator Symon-
– I acknowledge only one leader in this Chamber.
– One of the leaders of the other side, perhaps it was Senator Symon, admitted that some regard ought to be had for existing industries.
– That is a very different thing from saying that we ought not to put our hands upon this Tariff.
– I never said any such thing.
– That is what the honorable and learned senator’s proposition amounts to.
– The honorable and learned senator, in defending this Tariff with regard to this particular item, said that it was both a protectionist and revenue Tariff - that it was a compromise Tariff in that regard ; but I point out that in this case it is not protection and revenue, but protection or revenue.
– Rising to a point of order, I would ask whether we are discussing the Tariff, or discussing the duty upon bacon and haras ?
The ACTING CHAIRMAN. - I cannot say chat the honorable and learned senator is out of order.
– Senator O’Connor defended this item on the ground that the Tariff is a compromise between protection and revenue, and I desire to say that there is no compromise at all in connexion with this particular item, because the dutyfixed by the Government is not a protective but a prohibitive duty. No revenue can be derived from it, and no revenue is expected to be derived from it. The Treasurer anticipated that the duty would yield £1,1-43. According to the figures given by Senator O’Connor S00,000 lbs. of ham and bacon have been imported into the States. A duty of 3d. per lb. on this quantity would yield a very much larger sum than the Treasurer anticipated; £1,100 represents 3d. per lb. upon 91,000 lbs. of bacon, so that the Treasurer is anticipating that the effect of imposing this duty, which is supposed to be a compromise between revenue and protection, will be to cut down the present imports by nine-tenths. It becomes not in any sense a compromise between revenue and protection, but it becomes a distinctly prohibitive duty, and therefore to that extent is entitled to the opposition of those on this side, not only because they are opposed to prohibitive duties, but because they are the party who desire to see revenue raised. Senator O’Connor had a great deal to say about the imports into the States, but he had not a word to say about the exports. We all know that while New South Wales imports half-a-million lbs. of bacon a year, fully three-fourths of that quantity are imported into Broken Hill from South Australia. New South Wales imports bacon not because she is not producing enough for herself, but because of the geographical position of her borders. She imports into Broken Hill from 200,000 to 300,000 lbs. a year, while she exports nearly 1,250,000 lbs. Without a duty she has been able not only to supply her wants, but to have a considerable surplus for export.
– More bacon is exported from Victoria.
– Victoria exports 2,200,000 lbs. But surely the Minister will recognise that in Victoria - a farming and dairying country compared - with New South Wales - it is only natural, duty or not. that the pig raising industry should obtain a firmer footing. In 1S90 the exports from the States were 5,363,000 lbs., and the imports 793,000 lbs. We exported to foreign countries nearly as much as we imported from them. While we imported 793,000 lbs. we exported to foreign countries 709,000 lbs. It is when we come to deal with the total imports that we find how much larger the export figures are than the import figures. Therefore, it is idle to contend that the duty is necessary to the salvation of this industry. In New South Wales, .without any duty, of late years, the growth of this industry has proceeded at an extremely rapid and gratifying rate. If New South Wales has been able to do this without a duty, if Victoria has managed to build up her industry into the position she has, under a duty of 2d. per lb., I venture to say that the proposed rate of 3d. per lb. is altogether excessive. For that reason I shall vote for the motion.
– It would be just as well to look at the position of the various States that import and export bacon, because it has a direct bearing on the statement made by Senator O’Connor, that this industry cannot stand the competition of other countries. There is only one State I know of in which there is little or no curing of bacon and hams done, and which is a large consumer. Take the case of Western Australia before federation as being on a par with the position of the Commonwealth now when compared with the outside world. In 1900, with a duty of 2d. per lb. on bacon, Western Australia imported 20,123 lbs. from foreign countries, and 2,813,064 lbs. from the Australian States including New Zealand, which, we are told, is our most formidable competitor. Victoria sent to Western Australia 1,907,106 lbs. of bacon, and New South Wales, which had no duty to foster the industry, sent 801,864 lbs. South Australia, which is purely an agricultural State, should lead in this. The nearest State to Western Australia, and practically one of the leading agricultural States in the Commonwealth, despite a protective duty of 4d. per lb., sent only 57,367 lbs. New Zealand, the competitor that the Commonwealth farmers have to fear, we are told, sent to Western Australia 6,S48 lbs., as compared with almost 2,000,000 lbs. from Victoria. Yet we are told that if we cut down this protection to Id., the farmers of Victoria will be knocked out by the New Zealand farmers. The facts prove that the Victorian farmer beat all comers in the market of Western Australia.
– The result of protection.
– How does the PostmasterGeneral explain the position of the New South Wales farmer ? If there is anything in his argument, South Australia should have beaten New South Wales in that market.
– It is a most unfair comparison, because the honorable senator has not taken into account what we sent to Broken Hill.
– In that year Western Australia imported 130,817 lbs. of foreign hams, and 378,593 lbs. of Australian hams. Victoria again led the way with 277,126 lbs.; Queensland came second with 35,673 lbs.; New South Wales followed with 35,552 lbs.; while at the bottom of the list was the protectionist State of South Australia, .with 9,24S lbs. I do not think it is an unfair comparison. I think Senator Playford will find that water freight is far cheaper than railway freight, and the freight on a ton of ham between Adelaide and Fremantle is less than the railage between Broken Hill and Adelaide. These figures clearly show that the Australian farmer can compete against any other farmer in producing this article and placing it on the markets of the world, for Western Australia was practically the same as the world’s market so far as the other States were concerned. There was no preference as between New Zealand and Victoria. There was no reason why New Zealand, if she is going to knock Victoria out of the Commonwealth market, should not have knocked Victoria out of the Western Australian market. If the arguments of Senator O’Connor are correct, New Zealand should have headed the other States in this list. Why did she not?
– Because of the freight.
– My honorable friend has furnished the reason. The Victorian farmer has the advantage of a natural protection against the New Zealand farmer.
– Western Australia had no direct trade with New Zealand.
– We have a direct trade with New Zealand, for vessels are bringing timber direct to -Fremantle without even calling at Adelaide. What becomes of this plea for protection? How can it be argued that protection is .needed ? It cannot be defended on the grounds of revenue, because it can be very well pointed out that a duty of 3d. will be practically a prohibitive duty. It is not needed for protectionist purposes, and therefore the duty may be very well reduced to Id.
– I wish to say a few words on behalf of the primary producers of the Commonwealth. Agriculture has made wonderful progress in Queensland during the last few years ; in fact, ever since we imposed reasonably high protective duties in 1S8S. In that year 214,000 acres of land were under cultivation, but now the area has been increased to 500,000 awes. Prior to the development of our agricultural industry under protection, we spent large sums of money in importing bacon and hams, butter and cheese. In 1888 we imported 638,581 lbs. of butter, 669,461 lbs. of cheese, and 410,849 lbs. of bacon and hams. In 1900, however, our importations had fallen to 20,846 lbs. of butter, 23,012 lbs. of cheese, and 15,060 lbs. of bacon and hams. This enormous reduction in the importations of dairy produce took place in the face of an increase of our population by upwards of 100,000. Prior to the imposition of protective duties in Queensland the farmers in the southern part of that State had to struggle along under great difficulties, and were in a very miserable condition generally ; but under protection they have been able to pursue their callings with some degree of safety, and to attain a certain amount of prosperity. It would not be just or fair, after inducing them to go on the land, to now rob them of the assistance which has been found necessary to enable them to profitably cultivate the soil. The effect of the development of agriculture and the increased production ‘ of dairy products under protection has been to provide the consumers throughout Australia with infinitely better and cheaper supplies than they enjoyed when they were largely dependent on importations from abroad. In Queensland, in particular, a vast improvement has taken place in this respect since a protectionist policy was adopted in that State. If prices had been largely increased as the result of protective duties there might be some justification for the present proposal, but we all know that the contrary is the case. I appeal to those honorable senators who are everlastingly proclaiming their sympathy for the primary producers, not to limit themselves to a mere expression of lip sympathy, but to extend some practical assistance. By doing so, they will tend to increase the wealth of the community generally, whereas the reduction of the duty will inflict a serious injury upon an important industry. It is all very well for Senator Pearce to refer to the large exports of produce from New SouthWales to Western Australia. It must be remembered that a good deal of transhipment takes place at such ports as Sydney, and that it does not follow that all the goods sent from there to Western Australia are the produce of New South Wales. Our farmers have had to go into the jungle and clear the land and to carry on a severe struggle against all sorts of unfavorable conditions. They havealsobeen called upon to endure many hardships and privations, and nothing should be done that would in the slightest degree tend to discourage them. Some of the free-traders appear to glory in the proposals to rob the farmers of the protection which they have hitherto enjoyed. Sympathy appears to be extended solely to those who are beyond the Commonwealth. We require consideration for our own people. We want to see our industries progress, and our own broad acres tilled and made productive. We do not wish to see our villages deserted, or the same state of affairs as has been brought about in England. We do not want to have our yeomen driven off the land into the towns, which are already in many cases overcrowded. We ought to encourage our people to go on to the land, instead of giving them no alternative but to remain in the cities and increase the number of the unemployed.
– It is exceedingly gratifying and refreshing to bear this eulogy of the farmer from so firm and avowed a protectionist as Senator Glassey. The way in which the honorable senator proposes to help those pioneers of Australia who go out into the jungle, wherever it may be, is by adding 3d. per lb. to the cost of the little piece of bacon which they fry for their breakfast. That is my honorable friend’s way of relieving’ the farmer whom he beseeches us not to put off with mere lip sympathy. I shall remember that statement, and I hope that honorable senators generally will remember it when they come to discuss the crushing duties which are being levied upon agricultural machinery.
-I desire to ask whether the honorable and learned senator is in order in anticipating discussion upon other items in the schedule ? I have been “ pulled up” for doing the same thing.
- Senator Higgs has not been “ pulled up” for referring to any item in the Tariff by way of illustration.
– I apologize for my want of knowledge.
– That apology ought very frequently to be made by Senator Higgs. To come back to the utterances of Senator Glassey, who certainly is not in the same category of ignorance as Senator Higgs-
– I desire that the expression used by Senator Symon, which is most objectionable to me, should be withdrawn. He referred to me as “ an ignorant person.”
– I did not.
– If Senator Symon did so, I did not hear the remark. I ask him not to reflect upon honorable senators.
– I did not refer to Senator Higgs as “ an ignorant person.” If he prefers it I will say that he is a most wise person, though he does not often show it. I was referring to Senator Glassey’s observations concerning the people in the jungle of Australia, and the desirability of giving those pioneers something more than mere lip-sympathy. I agree with the honorable senator, and wish to give them more than lip-sympathy. I am anxious to give them their bacon for 2d. per lb. less than they can obtain it under this benevolent Tariff. I also agree with the noble sentiment expressed by Senator Glassey that we should encourage people to settle upon the land, but I would point out that the way in which he proposes to encourage them is by doing something which will tempt them from the land, where their services are so urgently required, into the cities. My honorable friend’s vindication of the interests of the agriculturists is most valuable. His speech is a marked contrast to the violent and vehement deliverance which we heard from the Vice-President of the Executive Council shortly before the adjournment for dinner. I entirely resent the manner in which the leader of the Senate chose to address members of this Chamber. He referred to his “fanatical friends “ upon this side of the Senate.
– Hear, hear.
– I should have thought that the honorable and learned senator would have been ashamed of having indulged in such abusive language.
– Certainly not.
– I trust that the honorable and learned senator will be more careful in his choice of the language which he flings about this Chamber. “ Fanatical friends,” indeed ! The only evidence of fanaticism is that which I see in the VicePresident himself, when in tones of violence, which come very ill from the leader of the Senate, he attemps to vindicate an utterly hopeless Tariff. He talked about “ a nonsensical fallacy.” That is the kind of argument which he addresses to this Chamber.
– I do not intend to permit personal altercations between senators.
– I am astonished to hear that there was any personal altercation. I am merely dealing with the class of argument which Senator O’Connor addressed to this Chamber as a reason why we should agree to a duty of 3d. per lb. upon bacon.
– I would point out that the honorable and learned senator has repudiated the ruling of the Chairman, who held that a personal altercation was in progress. Thereupon he was met with a contradiction by the leader of the Opposition. I should like to know if the Chairman’s ruling is to be upheld. I notice that when I offend, honorable senators are very anxious I shall be called to order, and I am equally desirous that they shall be kept up to the mark.
– I always yield most implicit obedience to the Chairman’s ruling. I am simply endeavouring to combat the arguments advanced in opposition to my proposal. The VicePresident of the Executive Council spoke of “ a bastard kind of help.” I say that th§ termination of our labours in connexion with this Tariff will be materially expedited, if honorable senators abstain from language of that sort. I join with Senator Millen in cordially resenting the taunt applied to members of the Opposition by the VicePresident.I hope that this is the last occasion upon which he will follow the example of Senator Higgs, by declaring that if we reduce this or that protective duty, we shall commit a breach of faith with the States. I totally repudiate that idea. I hold that in endeavouring to reduce protective duties as much as possible, we are keeping faith with the States. I absolutely deny that when we entered into this federation there was any understanding of such a preposterous character as that Inter-State free-trade should exist within the Commonwealth with protection against the outside world. The fiscal issue was that upon which the federal elections were decided. Senator O’Connor himself deprecated this fact, and, quite properly from his point of view, referred to it as “ the wretched fiscal issue.” But whatever name might have been given to it, the fiscal question was undoubtedly that upon which the elections were decided in New South Wales, Victoria, and to a lesser degree, in South Australia and Western Australia, although I understand that in Queensland it was subordinated to other great issues. It was also largely the vital issue in Tasmania. Is there any member of the Commonwealth Parliament who will deny that he was returned to fight on the fiscal question ? That is what I came here to do, and I wish that to be distinctly understood once and for all. Undoubtedly the line of cleavage between the parties in the two Houses is the fiscal issue.
– I am anxious to know whether Senator Symon is in order in continuing in this strain, seeing that the item before the committee is “ bacon and ham.”
– I understand that whilst I was absent from the chair the Vice-President referred to the particular question to which Senator Symon is now addressing himself by way of reply.
– With great respect, that was not so.
– With great respect, it was so.
– I understand that some reference was made to this question, and if so, although his remarks are really irrelevant and out of order, I do not feel myself constrained to call upon the leader of the Opposition to abstain from referring to it.
– The Vice-President of the Executive Council has attempted to justify the existing duty upon the ground of the Maitland policy. I do not intend to discuss that policy, but I do say that the fiscal issue is what divides honorable senators here. Senator O’Connor treats us as if we were a lot of children, when he declares that a reduction of this duty would constitute a breach of faith with the States. The fiscal question is the only one upon which we were returned to this Chamber. It is a problem which we have to solve, and the difficulties which confront us have arisen simply because the Prime Minister trimmed his sails upon this question, after the declaration of the ministerial policy at Maitland.
– I shall reply to this speech.
– The honorable senator means that he will speak ; he cannot reply to it. My honorable friend, Senator Playford, whose views I always greatly respect, appealed to us-
– Not on this line of argument; it was on babies’ food that I made the appeal. »
– I know that my honorable friend is an authority on babies’ food, and on babies generally, but I do not desire to allude to that now. My honorable friend referred to Canada, and told us–
– In dealing with this item, the honorable and learned senator is not justified in applying an argument used by Senator Playford in the discussion of some other item.
– I have no intention of replying to any argument by Senator Playford. I am going to use one of his arguments as a reason for claiming his vote for this motion. I often go to the honorable senator for information, and he told not me, but all of us, that the example of Canada was an excellent one; that Canada had enormously increased her production of bacon and ham by the imposition of. a protective duty.
– I said that she exported bacon and ham very largely, but continued to retain the duty on those articles, although, according to the honorable and learned senator’s argument, there was no necessity for it. I did not say anything about the amount of the duty.
– I am accepting my honorable friend’s information that Canada imposed a protective duty on bacon and hams, and that she has continued it after its purpose has been served. I am not dealing with the latter part of his statement, because it does not arise now.
– That is the allimportant fact.
– That was the argument ; I want to’ refer to the fact. The argument is hollow ; the fact is substantial. The duty, imposed on bacon and hams by Canada is Id. per lb., the very rate proposed in this motion. Here we have the splendid example of Canada ; let us follow it. If a duty of Id. per lb. is sufficient for that country, ‘ which is admirably adapted for the production of bacon and hams, surely it should be sufficient for Australia ‘? Canada under unfavorable conditions that do not apply to Australia, with the United States of America, with a population of S0,000,000 adjacent to her, carrying on the production of bacon and ham, and many other things upon a more gigantic scale than that of any other country in the world, is content with a duty of Id. per lb. That duty has answered its purpose to such an extent that Canada is exporting bacon and ham largely, and only maintains the duty because it is a kind of finger-post or warning against any one else going there. What was the duty in South Australia?
– Fourpence per lb.
– And we find that during the six months ending March last, South Australia, after New South Wales, and with a much smaller population, paid the largest amount of dutv. That means, that the protective duty of 4d. per lb. was a perfect farce.
– .During the six months named the collection was made under this Tariff, which provides for a duty of 3d. per lb.
– I am going to take off the penny. Under this
Tariff the State which paid the largest amount of duty for the six months ending 31st March last was New South Wales, the duty collected in that State amounting to £827. In South Australia the collection was £476.
– Prom a population one-third that of New South Wales.
– Exactly. In Victoria the duty returned £72 during the period named; in Queensland, £56 ; and in Tasmania, £32. It is idle to tell us that this protective duty has any effect whatever so far as the producers of bacon are concerned. There are two points of view from which it is to be regarded. The first is the point of view of protection, the second is revenue. From the protectionist point of view I quite understand the attitude of Senator Glassey,- who says straight out - “ This is protection.” No one could help admiring that. The honorable senator does not attempt to palter with the matter. If I have been sent here by my constituents for any purpose at all, it is to stop what I regard as ultra and excessive protection. I am willing - as the Vice-President of the Executive Council invited us to do on the second-reading debate - to cut down the protection to the lowest possible point, so long as we do not destroy the industry, and that is what I ask my honorable friends to do. To say that an increase of 50 per cent, upon what was the duty in Victoria, is a cutting down of the rates just short of destruction, is too great a draft upon any one’s credulity. It is not common sense. There was a duty of 2d. per lb. in Victoria, under which the producers of this State built up a huge industry. Yet we are going to have moderate protection, for the purpose of preventing the destruction of industries, by raising a duty 50 per cent, all over Australia ! It would be a public scandal to agree to such a proposal, and I trust that the committee will not do so. It is protection run wild, and I hope that on that ground we shall be no party to anything of the kind. The second ground, that of revenue, is very important. It has not been denied that the effect of this duty will be substantially prohibition. The Treasurer estimates the revenue to be derived from this duty over the whole of Australia during a normal year at the petty, contemptible sum of £1,143. During the six months from October, 1901, to March last the duty actually collected was about £1,600. If we impose this duty we shall absolutely do violence to every protestation that has been made that this is a revenue Tariff. -I appeal to my honorable friends to consider that fact. We are willing to consider the claims of everybody - and especially the claims of the primary producers - to fair protection, to that moderate shelter which is to prevent destruction. But there has not been a figure given or an argument advanced to show that if we reduce this duty to Id. per lb., it will cause a diminution in the production of one single ham or a single side of bacon throughout Australia. I declare my own personal belief that it will not do anything of the kind. It will increase the revenue.
– That means that foreign importations will come in and displace those of the local producer.
– Does not my honorable friend make any allowance for the increase of population? It is all very well for my honorable friend to shrug his shoulders, but a shrug of the shoulders does not dispose of the progress of this country. Increased population will give increased consumption. We are not always going to stand still. No man is more capable of forming an estimate of these matters than is Senator Playford, whose experience as a State Treasurer has been great, and if he were dealing with this question he would make allowance for an increase of population.
– I desire to see our people produce sufficient to supply our own wants. I do not want the foreigner to feed us.
– What does my honorable friend do for his tea, cocoa, and other things? Does he desire to increase the price of these articles to theconsumer ? Surely the consumer is entitled to some consideration, even as against the farmer. And whether it is the farmer, the artisan, or anybody else, the same principles are applicable.
– I thought that the honorable and learned senator was going to treat this Tariff generously.
– I think that a duty of Id. per lb. on bacon and hams is very generous. Certainly, if the motion is not carried, I shall move that another place be requested to reduce the duty to 2d. per lb. A duty of 3d. per lb. is about 33J on the cost of an article of universal consumption - which bacon certainly is - whatever may be said about ham. With all deference to my honorable friends who take a different view, it seems to me that such a duty is unjustifiable. Certainly, both from the point of view of unreasonable protection and the point of view of the necessities of the revenue, we shall be doing a good thing if we accept the amendment for a reduction to1d. We shall be doing no injustice to the producers, and we shall bo consulting the interests of the consumers, who should also be considered.
– I do not think Senator Symon is quite right in replying to Senator Glassey by saying that what we are considering now is a proposition to put 3d. per lb. upon the price of bacon and hams. That is not the proposition we are considering now. The proposition we are considering now is whether the duty of 3d. per lb. that has been proposed in the Tariff shouldbe reduced to1d. Senator Glassey was quite right in saying that in the attitude he is taking up he is endeavouring to protect the interests of the hard-working farmer - the primary producer we hear so much about. What is the object of the proposal to reduce this duty of 3d. per lb. to1d., if it is not to facilitate importations of these goods ? We have two interests placed before us, the interests of the importer of these articles from abroad and the interests of the local producer.
– We do not care about the importer. It is the consumer we are considering.
– I think I shall be able to show that, in connexion with this and with other items on the Tariff, the interests of the importer play a very important part indeed.
– Is it the honorable and learned senator’s object to entirely shut out bacon and hams?
– Our object is to give an advantage to the local producer of those articles, and by that policy we shall not be raising the price. That can be clearly seen by the fact that bacon and hams are no dearer in those States that have adopted the policy of protection than in those States which have not followed such a policy.
– There has been a distinct rise in price in New South Wales since the imposition of the Tariff.
– I am speaking of normal times, and in normal times the price of bacon and hams in Victoria and Queensland, for instance, is not higher than it is in New South Wales. The adoption of a protective policy in Victoria and Queensland has not raised the price of these goods, and at the same time it has been a distinct advantage to the primary producer of these articles. It must be perfectly clear that in the attitude we are taking up upon this item we are acting in the interests of the primary producer. We are told by Senator Symon that when we come to deal with machinery he is going to see where we shall be. We shall be in just the same position, and we shall find those who are now in favour of reducing this duty acting, as they are acting now, in the interests of the importer.
– In the interests of the farmer.
– No; in the interests of the importer of machinery. It will be again the case of the interests of the importer as against those of the local producer. As I have said, the object of this amendment is to facilitate importations. If we were to ask the people engaged in producing these goods in New Zealand or in other countries for importation into Australia whom they reckon their friends in the Senate at the present time, will they not say - “ Senators Symon and Neild, because they are trying to reduce the duties in order that the articles we are producing may come into the Australian market and displace the article produced by the local farmers “? It is perfectly clear that those honorable senators are considering the interests of those who are producing these goods outside of the Commonwealth and exporting them tor Australia as against those of our own people engaged in their production.
– And the consumer does not count?
– The consumer does count, and I dealt with the consumer when I said that the policy we are advocating is one which does not raise the price to the consumer. It is quite true that the duties which have been imposed have yielded only a comparatively small amount of revenue, but the fact is that the consumption of bacon and ordinary hams in Australia is almost entirely confined to the products of Australia, and the goods introduced are mainly New Zealand produce and high-priced English haras. I do not see why those who consume these delicacies should not be asked to contribute 3d. per lb. to the revenue. I repeat that it is not a correct statement of the case to say that the Government proposal is to levy an additional 3d. per lb. upon hams and bacon, because this is merely a continuation of the policy which has been adopted in five out of the six States of Australia. In New South Wales these goods have been free; in the case of three of the States the duty now proposed is an increase of Id. per lb.; in one the duty was the same ; and in another the Tariff proposal involves a reduction of Id. per lb. In five out of the six States the policy of imposing an import duty upon these goods has been adopted for the express purpose of assisting the farmer engaged in their production, that is to say, the primary producer. It was suggested that we should be very careful before we agree to the duty proposed in this Tariff, but ought we not also to be very careful before we take away any portion of the assistance that has hitherto been given to the primary producer in those States where the production of these goods has been encouraged t I can bear out what has been said by Senator Glassey as to the effect of this policy in Queensland, and examples quoted from the experience of honorable senators of a policy the operation of which they have seen should count for something more than vague opinions formed very often from hearsay, or from the reading of statistics, which are always dangerous, unless we are perfectly sure that there are not some factors in the problem of which we have not a thorough grasp. I know that in Queensland a duty was placed on these articles for the express purpose of stimulating their local production, and the effect very quickly was to make the goods better and cheaper than they had ever been before. The industry has been a continually improving one in Queensland. I hope that in mentioning Queensland it will be understood that I do so only because I have a more intimate knowledge of the facts with regard to that State than with regard to the other States. What I wish to say now is that the question with regard to the Commonwealth of Australia is practically the same as the question formerly was with reference to the colony of Queensland. That is to say, we have to decide now whether it is a good policy to impose such an import duty as will put this particular industry in the hands of the local producers as against people engaged in the same industry in other countries. We have no ill-feeling or animosity towards people engaged in producing these goods in other countries, but they are not our people. Surely it will be more profitable for us in the long run to encourage our own people to produce these things than to adopt the policy of taking them from other people, who, however estimable they may be, are not bearing the burdens of the government of this country with us. The result in all the States that have adopted this policy in the past has been, in addition to helping to make the occupation of the soil profitable, to bring about such a large local production of these goods that the cost to the consumer, instead of being increased, as people imagined, has been considerably decreased.
– And it has given a lot of extra work to farmers to grow feed.
– It seems to me perfectly clear that it must be of advantage to a State to have its own people producing its food supplies rather than to be dependent upon outside sources. I hope this view will be taken in the consideration of the matter. I admit, as I always have done, that in New South Wales, where there has previously been no duty upon these items, the sudden imposition of this duty will cause more dislocation, and will be more severely felt, than in other States, but as we are federated we ought to look at matters of this kind from an Australian stand-point.
– There has been very little consideration shown to New South Wales in this item.
– New South Wales will profit by this duty more than any other State.
– I believe that this duty will prove to be of enormous benefit to New South Wales, though I admit that the change from no duty to a duty is greater than from one duty to a slightly higher duty. Taking the Commonwealth of Australia as a whole, there can hardly be any doubt that it must be to our’ advantage to produce our own food supplies. The whole question wrapped up in this amendment is whether we should adopt a policy which will encourage the production of our own food supplies, or whether we should continue importation from outside.
– There is the question as to whether this is not too much protection.
– I must express my thanks to Senator Neild for having given me notice of his proposal to amend the Tariff.
– What notice has the honorable senator given of this t
– The honorable senator has given us notice of a series of amendments from which we can get something like a fair warning as to what is intended to be done. He has not sprung upon us a mine which may explode and hurt some one. Senator Fraser has told us that he proposes to support this duty. I am very glad of it. The honorable senator seems to forget Queensland.
– I do not forget Queensland. If the honorable senator addressed himself to the point instead of insulting he would do better. The honorable senator never rises without insulting everybody.
– I mention this matter because I am anxious that members of this Senate who have made certain professions to the public shall act accordingly.
– I have already requested the honorable senator not to refer to that matter. It is not the question before the Chair.
– Senator Symon accused Senator O’Connor of having used abusive language, and said that he should have been ashamed of himself, and yet he was permitted to proceed with his remarks. I think I have been rather badly treated - without .making any reflection on you, sir. I recognise that you have a very difficult position to fill with such a number of extraordinary characters around you. Prior to the federation of the States the duty on bacon per lb. was 2d. in Victoria, Tasmania, and Western Australia, 3d. in Queensland, and 4d. in South Australia, while in Canada it was Id. and in New Zealand 2d. In New South Wales bacon was duty free, but that State, I submit, must not be taken seriously. Although Senator Symon told us a few minutes ago that the fiscal issue was the sole issue in New South Wales and Victoria, those of us who have watched New South Wales politics know very well that she was on the eve of a reversal to a policy of protection.
– The greatest bunkum ever heard. 36 h
– Bunkum is a most unparliamentary expression to use.
– We cannot describe the honorable senator’s words unless we use unparliamentary expressions.
– The honorable and learned senator who accused me the other evening of not being rational and all that kind of thing is so much wrapped up in his tall hat that he does not seem to have much time to devote to serious politics, and honorable senators, I am sure, will excuse me if I do not reply to his interjections. I view this question from the Queensland stand-point. I heartily support Senator Glassey when he desires that the Queens- ‘ land farmers and agriculturalists generally shall get some consideration at the hands of the committee. Because New South Wales admitted bacon duty free, that is no reason why the Commonwealth should not protect the farmers of Queensland and other States. In Queensland, we have succeeded in building up a very great industry, as shown by the exports. During 1900, we exported to New South Wales no less than 1,039,972 lbs.
– The total imports into New South Wales were half that quantity.
– Does the honorable senator expect me to proceed in a peaceful way when he interrupts me in the middle of a sentence ?
– I do not expect the honorable senator, to make statements which, are hopelessly incorrect.
– ‘The honorable senator objects to my quotation getting into Hansard in a regular way, so that it may read regularly. He wishes to interpolate a number of objectionable interjections which I refuse to tolerate. Queensland exported to Victoria 7,579 lbs. of bacon, to South Australia 7,645 lbs., to Western Australia 50,882 lbs., to Hong Kong 1,504 lbs., to India 15,664 lbs., to British New Guinea, 2,499 lbs., to Cape Colony 1,452 lbs., to Natal 1,641 lbs., to Java 22,274 lbs., to Philippine Islands 64,671 lbs., to New Caledonia 12,110 lbs., to the South Sea Islands 1,770 lbs., and to Celebes 227 lbs., making a total of 1,229,890 lbs. We also exported 427,527 lbs. of ham to the countries mentioned.
– You are underselling in the Chinese market, according to your own figures.
– On the same plan as is adopted by the United States, where it pays them, apparently, to export their surplus to other countries. Through the aid of this duty in Queensland we have succeeded in building up a very great industry. I draw the attention of honorable senators to the report by the Registrar-General of Queensland on agricultural and pastoral statistics for 1900, in which, referring to bacon and ham, he states -
The expansion of pig keeping and the industries arising therefrom will probably keep pace with the dairying, since profitable pig keeping depends entirely upon an abundant food supply, and the skim-milk remaining after the butter has been taken from it, requires to be profitably consumed, and seems specially adapted for pig food, supplemented by farm produce. Now that .good bacon can be cured all the year round by the application of artificially produced cold, pig feeding has become one of the most profitable adjuncts to dairying and farming, and, as there is practically no limit to the market, an expansion may be looked for relatively to the expansion in its kindred industries.
In this report honorable senators may see the numerous localities throughout Queensland in which the industry is carried on. They can understand how widespread it is from the number of places where farmers go in for dairying and pig raising. Senator Glassey has mentioned the improved condition of the farmer in Queensland during the past few years. His condition is immensely improved, as honorable senators would perceive if they were to pay a visit to the various farming districts. For example, at Laidley, only a few years ago, a farmer, especially a German one, would drive to church on Sunday in the oldfashioned waggon with solid wooden wheels; whereas, nowadays, he drives in a buggy. This prosperity is owing to the bacon and ham industry, combined with dairying, which has been built up under the protective shelter of the Tariff.
– The same thing has been done on a duty of 2d. per lb. in Victoria and without a duty in New South Wales.
– The Government decided that it would be in the best interests of all the States to impose a duty of 3d. instead of accepting the duty of 4d., which had obtained in South Australia. Western Australia is in an especially favoured position, because she has a protective duty operating against the other States for a period of five years. Her representatives intend to vote for the reduction of this duty, while at the same time they are going to enforce that duty against their brother Australians throughout the Commonwealth.
– We have nothing to do with that. That is a matter to be settled by the State Parliament.
– I submit that the senators from Western Australia have something to do with that question. They will, by their votes, declare whether they are prepared to help an industry which so much concerns Queensland, when they might make some concession to the other States on account of the special way in which Western Australia has been treated in the Constitution. They have spoken of the quantity of bacon and ham which is imported by Western Australia from the other States and from outside. No doubt they are very anxious that the miner should be able to buy his bacon at a much lower rate than it could possibly be obtained at under a protective Tariff. I ask those honorable senators whether it is not a fact that in very recent times, owing to the difference in the land laws, a very large number of persons have been induced to settle on the lands of Western Australia and to go in for farming and agriculture 1
– That is also true of Queensland.
– Does the honorable senator, who objects to any one referring to Western Australia, deny that there has been a very great reform in its land laws, and that people have been induced to go on to the land there as farmers ? I claim that the senators for Western Australia are losing sight of the true interests of the people of their State in general, and of these farmers in particular, when they are prepared to compel them to compete with foreign producers of ham and bacon.
– They are consumers, and they have to buy.
– The time will come when the farmers who are settling on the lands of Western Australia will require the same protection against foreign production as the farmers of Queensland now desire to secure.
– They voted for freetrade.
– The honorable and learned senator did not say very much about free-trade. When he first went to Western Australia he was a protectionist.
– I spoke of free-trade on every platform from -which I delivered an address.
– Will Senator Symon tell us what prices he expects to be charged for bacon and ham within the Commonwealth when the duty is reduced 1 He will have to bear in mind the startling fact that in Queensland, when the duty was 3d. per lb., the price for imported bacon was ls. a lb., whereas the locally-produced article was sold for from Sd. to lOd. per lb.
– That was probably because the local product was of inferior quality ; or it may have been because some people have preferences or prejudices.
– The price of English hams was ls. 2d. per lb., whereas those locally produced were sold at from lOd. to ls. per lb. With regard to the suggestion of Senator Symon that possibly the bacon and ham produced in Queensland is of inferior quality, I may tell him that our products are equal,’’ if not superior, to those produced in any part, of the world, and that the difference in price is accounted for by the fact that local producers can supply the public demands at a cheaper rate than can the importers. There is no reason for supposing that if we kill the ham and bacon industry in Queensland, we shall be able to procure English hams and bacon at prices lower than those charged for the local product. At the same time a duty is required, because if our markets are once opened to importations from abroad they will be swamped with foreign products, and the farmers will have to turn their attention to some other branch of industry. The bacon, and ham producing industry has reached its present proportions owing to the assistance granted by a protective Tariff, and, as Senator Glassey has already shown, the prices of these commodities have been considerably lower since the protective Tariff has been’ in operation than prior to that time. At the same time the industry is a source of great wealth to Queensland.
– The farmers of Queensland should not require any protection, because they are able to sell at lower prices than are obtained for the imported article.
– We know that there are some people who prefer imported hams and bacon. Many Australians prefer the 36 h 2 imported -article to the local product, whether it be a music teacher or a piece of bacon.. There are also some gentlemen who, while believing in free-trade in most commodities, have a great objection to freetrade in judges.
– I listened with some amusement and not a little sorrow to the very extraordinary speech of Senator Symon. After a great deal of preliminary sparring the honorablesenator came to the crux of his position and said that he was going to give cheap bacon to the farmer.
– Not to thefarmer, but to Senator Gla’ssey’s “man in the jungle.”
– That was what the honorable .and learned senator said.
– If so, it was a slip.
– If it was a slip, the honorable and learned senator permitted his real policy to be disclosed at a time when he was off his guard. The honorable and ‘learned senator, when he said that he was going to give the farmer cheap bacon, evidently forgot that the farmer is to a much larger extent a grower than a consumer of bacon. If I went tothe honorable and learned senator and said - “ I am going to give you - cheap law,” thehonorable and learned senator would say - “ I am a lawyer, and I do not want cheap law.” If I answered him by saying - “ The people of Australia want cheap law,” he might retort - “ That is all very well, but we do not want lawyers to comefrom England to undercut the local lawyers. Besides, it is not patriotic. Why don’t you grow your own lawyers V And I should have to admit the force of the honorable and learned senator’s contention. I am anxious that we should grow our own lawyers, and our own pigs as well.. The pig is a most useful animal, and I have heard some gentlemen predict that in the near future we shall have a second Chicago in Australia. If, however, the policy of the honorable and learned senator is permitted to have full sway, we shall never have a Chicago here. We shall continue to grow a few sheep and cattle, and dig a little gold out of the bowels Of the earth, and that will be all. I have remained remarkably silent throughout this discussion, but, when I see the primary industries of the country being attacked on every hand,
I think it is my duty, as one who believes in the development of an Australian policy as contrasted with what might be termed a bastard policy, to raise my voice in protest. I remember when I could not eat a bit of the bacon that was made in Queensland. Before protective duties were imposed the locally-produced bacon was so bad that I had to buy imported bacon, and pay a very high price for it. Sir Thomas Mcllwraith brought in a protective Tariff which gave a certain amount of assistance to the pig-rearing industry, and the result is that we can now manufacture the best of bacon and hams. We have nearly, reached the point of supplying our own necessities, but if the duty is reduced, as is now proposed, we shall be immediately overwhelmed with imports from abroad, and the local industry will, be extinguished.
Honorable Senators. - No.
– My free-trade friends are victims to one of the most wonderful delusions in the world. They have “the experience of all young communities to -guide them, and yet someho’w or other they -shut their eyes to everything that is going on around them. They see that young giant, the United States, rapidly eating up Great Britain, and Canada developing with great rapidity, and yet they cling to their free-trade fetish. If these honorable senators have their way we shall be dependent upon English hams and Chinese bacon, and .also upon Chinese eggs. I am not an Australian born, but I believe that I am much more Australian in sentiment than are many honorable senators who were born here. I believe that Australia should :as far as possible, produce everything she requires.
– We all =agree with that.
– I must give honorable senators credit for sincerity. I suppose they believe that they are advocating what is best for Australia. Similarly the ordinary madman in the lunatic asylum thinks that everybody except himself is a fool. The one effective taunt which free-traders can fling at protectionists is contained in the question - “Why do you not abolish your protection after your products are able to enter the markets of the world ? “ If honorable senators will look around and see what is transpiring elsewhere, they will very soon discover the reason. I ask’ them to turn their attention to a small country in Europe, called Holland. I am sure that Senator Symon, with the great knowledge which he undoubtedly possesses, knows perfectly well that a considerable portion of that country has been reclaimed from the sea. The people there built dyke upon dyke to keep out the sea, reclaimed the land, and produced crops upon the reclaimed areas. I would compare free-traders who ask why a protective duty which has been operative for a certain period should not be abolished, to people who would say to the Hollanders - “Now that you have established your footing, why do you not tear down the walls that you have erected 1 “ Of course, the Hollanders would not be such fools. If they allowed the dykes to crumble, the sea would rush in and devour them. But I wish to come back to the question of the duty upon bacon. I hope that the free-trade Opposition, who I regret to say constitute a majority in this Chamber, will use their power with discretion. It is all very well for free-traders to urge that prior to federation there was no understanding concerning the industries of the different States. I say that there was an understanding, which if not expressed was certainly implied. It was in the air everywhere. Every State which joined the union did so upon the assurance that its existing conditions would be respected as far as possible. That was the primary condition of union, and if that condition had not Been implied, there would have been no federation. I ask those who favour the abolition of this duty to recollect that this particular industry has grown up in Queensland under a certain measure of protection, and if that protection be withdrawn the industry will probably languish and die. I very much regret the position which has been taken up by some honorable senators in regard to this matter. It appears to me that those who favour a truly national policy have two classes to fight. They have to combat a number of people who represent the importers only. The latter do not desire that the internal trade of Australia shall grow and prosper, because if it did, they would wake up some fine morning to discover that their occupation was gone. But those who believe in Australian development should do everything they can to encourage industries which are native to the soil. We know well enough that no young country can progress unless it enjoys some measure of protection. When I see upon the one hand people who favour a national policy, and upon the other those who study only the interests of importers and gold-miners, it makes me wonder where things are drifting to. No one has a greater respect for the gold-miner than I have. I recognise the valuableservice which he has rendered to the Commonwealth. At the same time I think that the miner wants to be told that the Common-, wealth has to be considered as well as himself. I do not think that the gold-miner should ever forget that gold is a protected metal. I would further point out that, after all, mining is an ephemeral industry. When the last ounce of the precious metal has been dragged from the bowels of our mines, Australia, we hope, will still occupy the position which she occupies at present. But she will have to depend upon other industries, and as loyal citizens of the Commonwealth, it is our bounden duty to assist by every possible means the development of those industries. I intend to support the Government in this matter. Before the Tariff debate was entered upon, I was almost in an impartial frame of mind, but since then I have seen such a determined attempt made to slaughter a number of our infant industries that I should be a traitor to the national cause if I did not stand in the breach and oppose such an unwarranted attack.
– I should not have risen but for certain misrepresentations which have been made regarding the position of this industry in South Australia. It has been asserted that, although a duty of 4d. per lb. upon bacon and -ham was formerly operative in that State, the industry has not progressed to the extent that it should have. We are also told that from other States in which a lower duty obtained large quantities of bacon and ham. have been exported. But I wish to call attention to the fact that until the past three or four years it was almost impossible to give that attention to bacon and ham curing in South Australia which is required to make it a successful industry.
An Honorable Senator. - Why ?
– Because in that State a proper interest was not taken in the industry. Until very recently South Australia was absolutely a pastoral and wheat-growing State. It went in for nothing else, and the farmers exported their wheat instead of feeding their pigs upon it. If they had any refuse in the shape of “screenings,” they fed poultry upon it. All they attempted to grow was a little bacon and pork for their own use. But when the dairying industry came into prominence, they began to go in for the production of bacon and ham, and then the duty of 4d. per lb. which was operative proved of great service to them. Honorable senators who argue that the experience of South Australia proves that a protective duty has failed to produce revenue must recollect that during the past three or’ four years that State has suffered in an exceptional way from the drought which has ‘affected the whole continent. It has suffered more in connexion with its farming industry than even New South Wales or Queensland, because the portions of those States which have experienced the worst time are almost entirely occupied by pastoralists. But a very large portion of the affected areas of South Australia is occupied by farmers, and it is well known that these districts are in a very pitiable condition. The farmers could grow neither wheat nor corn, and consequently it was impossible for them to grow pigs or cows. That fact has had a serious effect upon South Australia. Senator Symon has criticised the utterances of Senator Glassey in regard to the position of the pioneer in the jungles of Australia. But although he endeavoured to correct himself subsequently, he knew very well that Senator Glassey was referring to the agricultural pioneers, and not to mining or pastoral pioneers. Will Senator Symon or any one else deny that the agricultural pioneers did go into the jungles of Australia? I say that they did. Senator Symon then turned round and declared that he wished to give these pioneers a little bit of bacon for their breakfast. Either the .honorable and learned senator does not know anything about the conditions .under which these settlers exist, or he has attempted to mislead the Senate. He must know very well that in the jungle there is no place where these pioneers can procure a bit of bacon for breakfast. He must be aware that many of them find it impossible, without a good deal of trouble, to get anything save a piece of “salt junk,” and, if they can afford it, some tinned meat. More frequently, however, they have to live upon wallabies, kangaroo rats, and other animals of that description. Consequently, Senator Symon’s sympathy for the individuals who go into the jungle to do agricultural pioneering is of very little value. “We have been asked by the honorable and learned senator, and by many of his lieutenants and usurping leaders - “How long will this pig-growing business require protection 1 “ Senator Charleston and others are always putting that question. I hold that the illustrations given by Senator Barrett and Senator Stewart were excellent ones, and could not be combated by the free-trade party. A country requires protection for its industries as long as there is any danger of invasion. How long did those States which adopted protection require that policy to be maintained 1
– I hope the honorable senator will not deal with that aspect of the matter.
– I am showing the committee how long the ham and bacon industry requires to be protected. Senator Symon was permitted to go on, and, Mr. Chairman, you almost apologized for interrupting him.
– I do not wish to appear unduly sensitive, but I do not think the honorable senator is justified in making a remark of that kind. Senator Symon was treated in exactly the same way as the honorable senator is being treated.
– I am very sorry to come into conflict with you, Mr. Chairman. If I am interrupted I shall have to adopt Senator Symon’s method - keep on going, and keep on apologizing. Senator Symon and other honorable senators have asked how long this industry requires to be protected; but if you think that it is beyond the scope of the debate I shall not insist upon replying to the question. I would not be so discourteous to the Chair as Senator Symon and other honorable senators have been.
– I ask whether the honorable senator is in order in reflecting on me by saying that lam discourteous to the Chair 1
– I do not think the honorable senator is justified in saying that Senator Symon has reflected on the Chair. I must say frankly that I am not aware of any occasion upon which he has done so.
– I did not say that Senator Symon has reflected on the Chair ; the honorable and learned senator is very ready in turning aside the real point, but I say now that he has not treated you,
Mr. Chairman, with all the courtesy that he should have observed when called upon to refrain from a certain line of argument.
– I object to the honorable senator taking to task my courtesy to the Chair. I am always courteous to the Chair ; and the honorable senator is not entitled to make such a statement.
– I do not considerthat the honorable and learned senator has raised a point of order.
– I object to Senator McGregor’s remark. I say that it is offensive.
– That is another matter. I have ruled that there is no point of order in the objection taken by Senator Symon, but the honorable and learned’ senator states that he regards Senator McGregor’s remarks as offensive. Honorable senators are aware that when any statement is regarded as offensive, the courtesy of debate demands that the honorable senator so offending should withdraw it. Personally I must confess that I do not regard the remark made by Senator McGregor as a reflection upon Senator Symon, or as offensive.
– I protest against that statement, Mr. Chairman. I am the judge of whether the- remark made by Senator McGregor is a reflection upon my honour or conduct as a gentleman. I say it is a reflection on my conduct as a gentleman to charge me with discourtesy to the Chair. The Chairman has no right to rule on the question of offensiveness.
– I will not have any misunderstanding. If I am asked to rule whether the statement made by Senator McGregor is offensive, I rule that it is not.
– I did not ask for your ruling upon that question, Mr. Chairman. If an honorable senator regards a statement as offensive, he is the judge of that matter under the standing orders, and it is usual for the honorable senator offending to be requested to withdraw the statement.
– I would suggest to Senator McGregor that, as Senator Symon regards his statement as offensive, he should withdraw it.
– When Senator Higgs considered that it was offensive to classify him amongst ignorant people, did Senator Symon have the courtesy to withdraw the remark ? The honorable and learned senator understands me now, and when he is prepared to refrain from making sneering remarks with respect to other honorable senators there will be a little more harmony in the Senate.
– The honorable senator must confine his remarks to the item before the Chair.
– I am coming to the bacon and ham question. We have disposed of the pig character of it, and I hope that in future, when honorable senators are discussing a duty which is calculated to affect the producers of Australia, they will give a little more consideration to it. It must be admitted that if we impose a duty of 3d. per lb. upon bacon and ham, we shall place our producers in an advantageous position. If we remove the duty we shall throw them into competition with the producers of many other countries who labour under conditions which we have no right to ask them to undergo. Honorable senators who know anything about the hardships which our pioneer settlers suffer in endeavouring to create an industry of any kind are aware that they have a right to our sympathy and protection. Those who are not prepared to give them that sympathy and protection cannot claim to be the friends of the producers.
SenaterPULSFORD (New South Wales). - The supporters of high duties are very clever in hiding the salient points in dispute. They are unwilling to take notice of the fact that in this case theAustralian producer is already in possession of the Australian market ; that Australia is producing to-day practically as much bacon and ham as she requires, and that, therefore, this duty will produce no revenue and grant no protection. It is simply an excrescence on the Tariff. We free-traders have been willing to meet the Government, and to allow a considerable amount of protection to the industry - protection as high as that which prevails in Canada. What more can be required? What good can accrue to the industry from a duty of 3d. per lb. ? Honorable senators have been talking about the possibility of our markets being flooded by imports, and I should like them to inform us from what part of the world such a flood would come. It is not likely that imports would come from China, Japan, or India, or any country save one or two in which wages are very high. The only countries exporting at present are New Zealand, Canada, and the United States of America. As I stated during the second-reading debate, there are signs already that the consumption ofsuch articles in America has reached the point of production there, so that there is no likelihood of any flooding of our markets from that direction. The industry is not threatened. It is able to maintain its own against the whole world, and a duty of1d. per lb. will be more than sufficient for all purposes. Certainly the motion affords sufficient evidence that free-traders have entered very largely into the spirit of compromise.
Question put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … … … 15
Noes … … … … . 15
Question so resolvedin the negative.
Motion (by Senator Sir Josiah Symon) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 10 by adding the words “ and on and after 1st July, 1902, 2d.”
– I shall oppose this amendment for the reasons for which I opposed the last. The reasons against it are almost equally strongly applicable, and I shall not take up time in stating them.
Question put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … … 17
Noes … … … 13
Majority … …. 4
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Item 11. - Biscuits, per lb., lid.-; and on and after 27th November, 1901, Id.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 11 by adding the words “and on and after 1st Juli’, 1902, free.”
According to the statement laid upon the table by Senator O’Connor, all the revenue the Government hope to derive from this duty for the entire Commonwealth is a miserable £92 a year. To deliberately legislate for a present population of some 3,500,000 to pay duty to the extent of £92 a year is an absurdity. If the Government have no larger expectation of revenue from this duty, the article had better be made free.
Senator- O’CONNOR. - The honorable senator’s contention is an illustration of how impossible it is for some honorable senators opposite to regard this question from any point of view but that of revenue. Of course this is not a revenue duty. No one supposes that it would be worth while to contest the matter, for a revenue of £92 a year. The duty is imposed for the purpose of continuing protection to an existing industry, and it is a protection which may be continued without any disadvantage whatever to the consumer. Let us see what the duty upon biscuits has been heretofore. The duty sought to be imposed for the Commonwealth was originally 1½d. per lb., but it has been reduced to Id., so that the issue between Senator Neild and the Government is whether the duty shall remain at Id. or whether biscuits shall be admitted free. We find that even in free-trade New South Wales, biscuits were not admitted free. There was a duty there of d. per lb. In Victoria the duty was Id., and in Queensland, South. Australia, Tasmania, and Western Australia, the duty was 2d. per lb. In every State of Australia there has been a duty upon biscuits, and now Senator Neild wishes to abolish all duty upon that article. I ask upon what grounds 1 AVe have no right, without some good reason, to take away the protection under which the biscuit industry has grown and flourished in all the States, including New South Wales. What reason can be given for it? Is it that the price has been increased ? Our experience is to the contrary. We can produce biscuits here quite as good and as cheaply as we can import them, and the industry employs a considerable number of persons. We secure employment for those people, and we get biscuits supplied without any additional cost to the consumer. I find that the number of hands employed in the industry in 1S99 was 1,859. When we consider that the interests of those people, and of those dependent upon them, are at stake, some reason should be given before we take away the protection which keeps them employed. It may be said that they have such a control of the home market that it is not likely they will be interfered with. That is a very fallacious argument, because we all know that immediately we take the duty off it is quite impossible to say that we may not at any time have an attack made upon the market by some cheap foreign line of biscuits which will be sold under value for months and months in order to capture the local demand. If anything of that sort is done, what is to become of the people whose industry has grown up in this way ? I say that rather than do that we should agree to this duty of Id. per lb., which is extremely moderate protection in the interests of the people employed in the industry.
-It is not often that Senator O’Connor leaves unsaid anything which may be said in favour of a proposition he makes, but in this case I think there is a stronger argument in favour of the duty proposed than any which he has mentioned. It is recognised by freetraders and protectionists alike that, where a tax is put upon the raw material of any manufactured article there should bea corresponding duty in favour of the manufactured article itself. In New South Wales a duty was left upon biscuits as a countervailing duty to the duty on sugar, and now, we have a much higher duty upon sugar throughout the Commonwealth. I, therefore, say that it is not at all an unreasonable thing merely as a countervailing duty to the duty upon sugar, to leave the duty upon biscuits as at present proposed in the Tariff.
– Why not make biscuits free? The honorable senator is a most inconsistent free-trader.
– I am supporting the duty of1d. on the ground that it is a countervailing duty, and that, I think, is a good explanation, not only of my support for this item, but why I, as a free-trader, am prepared to vote for the item as it stands.
– I am very much surprised to hear that Senator Millen has abandoned his free-trade principles, and is going to vote for protection.
– That is not the way to secure votes for the honorable senator’s side.
– The honorable and learned senator knows how to secure votes.
– Will the honorable senator come to the item?
– I am anxious to point out, as this is a most excellent opportunity, why a free-trade policy is a mistake and a protectionist one is a good thing. In New South Wales and Victoria the prices of biscuits are not very different, and, if there is any difference, it is in favour of the Victorian producers and consumers. When the duty was1d. per lb. in Victoria, and 1½d. per lb. in New South Wales, biscuits were procurable at the following prices : -
– But look at the difference in the quality.
– Honorable senators on the opposition side of the Chamber, especially Senators Millen and Symon, have been anxious to point out to us that if the duties are lowered in a country the price to the consumer will be less. I produce a set of figures to show that they are entirely mistaken. It does not at all follow that the prices will be lowered in Sydney. On the other hand, in very many cases with a lower duty the prices were higher to the consumer in New South Wales than in protectionist Victoria. Senator Neild has claimed that there is a very great difference in the quality, meaning, I suppose, that the Victorian production does not equal that of New South Wales.
– Look at the difference in the weight, too.
– I do not believe that the Victorians, as a rule, give any lighter weight than do the New South Wales sellers. Ineed not trouble you, sir, with a number of statistics about the physique and general social condition of the Victorians, which, I suppose, would be affected if a higher quality of food were produced in Victoria than in New South Wales. Although . I cannot vote with Senator Neild, I sympathize with him. Because, apparently, he has chosen to take an independent stand, and to tell the committee what he proposes to do, his own followers are going to desert him.
Item agreed to.
Items 12 (Blue) and 13 (Broom millet) agreed to.
Senate adjourned at 10.8 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 21 May 1902, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1902/19020521_senate_1_10/>.