1st Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Senator Major GOULD presenteda peti tion from the Rural Dean of West Sydney, praying the Senate to reject the Matrimonial Causes Bill.
Senator DRAKE laid upon the table the following papers : -
Additional Estimates of Expenditure for the yearending 30th June, 1902.
Additional Estimates of Expenditure for the period ended 30th June, 1901.
Additional Estimates of Expenditure for additions, new works, and buildings for the year ending 30th June, 1902.
– The matter has never been brought before me, andI did not know that there was anydelay. I shall inquire into the matter.
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council,upon notice -
Whether it is the intention of the Government to ask the Senate to add Monday to it? silling days while the Tariff’ is under discussion?
– Yes,as soon as it becomes necessary.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 3rd June, vide page 13189).
Division IV. - Agricultural Productsand Groceries.
Item 30. - Meats, Fish, Poultry, and Game, viz . -
Fresh, smoked, or preserved by cold process,1d. per lb.
Potted or concentrated, including extracts of, and caviare, 20 per cent.,advalorem.
Preserved in tins or other air-tight vessels, including the weight of contents, 2d. per1b.
Sausage casings, tree.
Preserved fish in tins or other air-tight vessels, including the weight of liquids, 1d.per lb.
N.E.I. ,5s. percwt.
Special Exemption. - Frozen meat.
– I move -
ThattheHouseofRepresentatives be requested to amend item36 by adding to the fluty “ Meats, fish, Poultry, and game - viz., Fresh, smoked, or preserved . . . per lb.,1d.,” the words “and on and after 1st July, 1902, free.”
I look upon this duty as a purely revenue one. As the meat trade of Australia requires no protection, there can be no justification for imposing a heavy duty onany other ground than for revenue purposes. The people who have to pay the duty are principally those who live on the gold-fields of Western Australia, where there is no pasture, and where there is great difficulty in obtaining supplies of fresh meat. I can assure honorable senators that the people of Western Australia are in no way anxious for the imposition of the duty. For very many years the meat duty has been a source of a great deal of irritation. We have a duty on preserved meat aswell as fresh meat. Notwithstanding the fact that we have a free-trade Government in Western Australia they arc doing such things, but that is no reason why a protective Government should do likewise when it is considered wrong. The Government will bo well advised if they agree tostrike out this duty. We are exporting meat largely to other countries of the world. No country, I think, can compete with us in this trade. Australian meat is selling in London at as low as 3d. per lb., and yet it is proposed here to impose a duty of1d. per lb.
– Western Australia will get Australian meat duty free unless you puton a duty yourselves.
– That is quite true, but we wish to insure that there shall be competition. In Western Australia there are meat rings which we wish to see broken up. It is only fair to the squatters in the eastern States that the duty should be abolished. In the past they have been kept out of the western market. If these articles are placed on the free list we shall have a fairertrade, and the people of Western Australia as a whole will be better served.
– I must oppose the motion. The grounds of my opposition will become very apparent when I draw the attention of the committee to what the item really is. It will be noticed that from and after 29th November, 1901, frozen meat is specially exempted from this duty of1d. per lb. Frozen meat may come from the eastern parts of Australia or from New Zealand, and it is all dirty free. As I take it that all fresh meat going to Western Australia from New Zealand or from the eastern States will go there in a frozen condition, or in apartly frozen condition, the exemption will apply to all fresh meat which is likely to be imported from abroad. I do not see any reason why Western Australia should not grow all the meat she needs ; probably she will do so in time, and the farmers and producers are just as much entitled to some consideration in the making of the Tariff as are any other inhabitants of the State or of the Commonwealth generally. The honorable senator, I admit, has spoken and voted in a very federal spirit. He has confined himself, to a very slight extent, to regarding the position of the Western Australian miner only. Therefore I think he occupies a somewhat different position from other honorable senators for that State. I wish to meet him in a reasonable way, and if we cannot agree that cannot be helped. So far as the use of fresh meat is concerned, that is abundantly provided for. Now we come to the other articles of fish, poultry, and game. I do not think that any honorable senator will contend that the miner or the prospector should be supplied under very special conditions with “fish, poultry, or game, fresh, smoked, or preserved by cold process.” We must get the revenue, and for that purpose it is necessary that a duty should be imposed on many articles of ordinary use. I take it that the exception which the honorable senator asks for in this case is founded on the ground that the meats which he wishes to be made duty free are necessary for the prospector or the miner living in the outlying parts of Western Australia. I say that that cannot possibly apply to such things as preserved poultry and game.
– We have a big town population depending on preserved meats.
– I presume the honorable senator refers to the populations of Coolgardie and Kalgoorlie, and such towns. But they are largely composed of miners and persons who live by supplying the miners on the gold-fields. It cannot be asked that they shall be treated in an exceptional way in regard to such things as poultry and game. “With regard to fish, salted and dried, I would call the attention of the committee to what is involved in the question of the admission of these goods into “Western Australia. It cannot be contended that frozen salmon from England, and America, or frozen blue cod from New Zealand, are articles of necessity which ought not to be charged with duty. They tire expensive wherever they are purchased. The only other kind of fish we are dealing with, and which can be imported and carried to a distance, is salted and dried fish. I find from the returns for 1900 that there were imported - into Victoria from foreign places 4,742 cwts. of salted fish, whilst the Inter-State importations were 2,208 cwts. Queensland imported 1,934 cwts. of foreign salted fish, and 2,573 cwts. Inter-State. This line in Queensland included pickled and dried fish. Into South Australia there were imported from foreign places 1,297 cwts. of dried fish, and 694 cwts. Inter-State. Tasmania does not seem to have imported any. Western Australia only imported 235 cwts. from abroad, and 301 cwts. Inter-State. Seeing that Western Australia only imported that small quantity, ought we to deprive nil the other States of the revenue they would derive from this duty ? In addition to that the Western Australian Parliament, which may be taken to represent public opinion in that State–
– No it” does not !
– It may be taken generally as a political proposition that a Parliament represents the opinion of the State that elects it. The position in Western Australia is that the Parliament not only imposed duties on these articles, but kept them on. The duty now in Western Australia is 15 per cent. We are asked to give up this duty, which is certainly worth something to the States, for the purpose of cheapening an article which according to the returns is used to a very small extent in Western Australia, but is certainly used to an appreciable extent in some of the other States. The Western Australian miner, although he has to work in a hot climate, seems generally speaking to be in a much more prosperous condition than are the working men in any other part of Australia. I would ask the “Western Australian senators whether they are not going a little bit too far in asking for this immunity for the working men of that State, seeing that if there is one part of Australia more than another in which the miners and the working men generally can afford to contribute a revenue duty, it is Western Australia 1 The working man in the eastern States is largely dependent upon the seasons as to whether he can get work or not, as well as on the conditions of the labour market ; and as his wages cannot compare either in regularity or amount with those which obtain in Western Australia, there appears to be no ground whatever for dealing with this item in the way Senator De Largie suggests. When we come to tinned fish and meat no doubt the honorable senator will be able to show that there is a considerable consumption in his State, but as to the articles covered by his motion, I would point out that frozen meat is admitted free of duty, and that as far as concerns game and poultry he has no right to ask for special conditions for “Western Australia, while salted fish and foods of that kind are consumed to such a small extent that it is not right to cut down the revenue which the other States require for the purpose of avoiding the payment of a certain amount of duty by the people of Western Australia who consume these goods.
– I am glad to be able to agree to a large extent with what the VicePresident of the Executive Council has said, and I am sorry, at the same time, that we on this side of the Chamber are not able to support my honorable friend Senator De Largie in asking for the remission of the duty on this particular line. I altogether object, as a rule, to duties upon articles of food ; but, of course, there are articles of food and articles of food. We must, in order to get revenue, discriminate between articles of general consumption and those which come within the category of luxuries. Inasmuch as we want revenue, and must have an exhaustive Tariff, it is only fair that articles of food such as those dealt with in the item before us should contribute to the revenue. I do not agree with my honorable and learned friend Senator O’Connor in his view that because a duty has been imposed in Western Australia we should be slow to remove it, and that those honorable senators who come from Western Australia should hesitate about asking for its remission. In the first place, the duties of Western Australia were imposed a considerable lime ago ; and in the next place, it must not be forgotten that duties on articles of food, from which the people in the remote districts have suffered for a long time, have been the cause of very great agitation in Western Australia. There has been the strongest unanimity of feeling in asking for the remission of duties on articles of food which are of general consumption. In the next place, the Members of this Parliament represent here the opinions of a large majority of the people of Western Australia. They were elected at a time and upon an issue which entitles them to entirely disregard the action of the local Parliament as furnishing an argument to be used in opposition to the desire for the lessening or remission of duties. Having said that, I concur in the rest of the view of my honorable and learned friend Senator O’Connor. The reasons why we are disinclined to interfere with this particular duty may be summed up in the fact that, as regards fresh meat - upon which, of course, no one would desire to impose a duty, especially as the price of butcher’s meat has gone up to a very high rate - the only form in which it can be imported into Western Australia is by means of some cool process. In order to make that perfectly clear, J shall propose to strike out of the special exemption theword “frozen” and to insert after the word “ meat “ the words used in the line itself, so as to make the two exactly correspond, namely, the words “preserved by cool process. That certainly will make the motion harmonious. The use of the word “frozen” may lead to confusion, and may possibly have the effect of shutting out meat brought in by means of a cool process, and of putting up the price of the imported article.
SenatorO’Connor. - I do not object to that suggestion; it would really carry out the object that we have in view.
– I thought so. In the second place, we regard the impost, so far as it affects fish, poultry, and game, smoked or preserved, as purely a revenue duty, and we think it is a fair one. There can be no doubt whatever that they are not articles of general consumption, and if we want these luxuries it is only fair that we should contribute to the revenue at the rate of1d. per lb. in respect of them. On these grounds we feel that this duty may remain as it is, so far as it affects these lines. I point out, however, that there are two other lines in the item to which these remarks do not apply. I refer to fish “ preserved in tins or other airtight vessels, including the weight of liquids,” as well as meats, fish, poultry, and game “ preserved in tins or other airtight vessels, including the weight of contents.” In that form these articles are found in all outlying parts of the Commonwealth. Seeing that those two lines really comprise the articles which my honorable friend has in mind, we shall not interfere with the object which he has in view in levying a duty of1d. per lb. on meats, fish, poultry, and game, fresh, smoked, or preserved by cold process.
Senator PEARCE (Western Australia;. - I should like the Vice-President of the Executive Council to inform us whether, under this heading, duty will be collected on salt and dried fish and salt beef and pork, or whether it will be collected under the line “ n.e.i., per cwt., 5s.”
– The line “ n.e.i. “ will cover salt pork and salt beef.
– That removes a great deal of the force of the demand for the remission of the duty. But by allowing the duty to remain we make the formation of a ring possible, just as rings have been created in the past in relation to meats, fish, poultry, and game “fresh, smoked, or preserved by cold process.” A great deal of the meat imported into Western Australia and other States is not frozen, but chilled meat.
– I am willing to accept the suggestion that the special exemption should be made to apply to meat preserved by cold process.
– That would remove it from the operation of this duty. We know, however, that smoked fish is largely used, and I certainly do not think it is a luxury. Smoked blue cod is sold at a very low rate in all the large cities. I saw it sold in Melbourne on Saturday last for6d. a lb. My chief object in rising was to refer to the remarks made by Senator O’Connor, in which he seemed to deprecate honorable senators from Western Australia taking any part in dealing with the Tariff.
– What I said was that on the question of whether this duty was a cause of hardship to the people living inland we might very well take the evidence of what theWestern Australian Parliament has done.
– The State Parliament has done practically nothing with the existing Tariff. That Tariff was brought in by the first Forrest Ministry, and has not been altered recently. The people have been bearing it in the hope that it will expire by effluxion of time. The labour party in the Western Australian Parliament tabled a motion to abolish the State Tariff so that our party cannot be charged with inconsistency. There are a number of duties, such as those on hats, blankets, sugar, and starch, from which Western Australia will derive no benefit, but under which she will contribute largely not only to the Treasury, but to the manufacturers ofVictoria, and we should failin our duty if we did not draw special attention to those duties which press specially on the people of Western Australia. The duty on preserved meat and other foods in this line do not affect the other States where the people have large supplies of fresh meat, but in the north-west of Western Australia., where we have no stock routes, as well as in the coastal and agricultural districts, the. people depend largely upon imported preserved meat and fish. Under the circumstances I think that honorable senators from Western Australia must protest against these duties.
– It is to be regretted that the position of Western Australia has been introduced into the debate. The foods included in this line are articles of common consumption in all the States, and although the duty upon them may press somewhat heavily upon the people of Western Australia, we should look at the position from the point of view of Australia. Senator O’Connor has very properly pointed out that the motion does not affect chilled meat, because that has already been made free, and, so far as I know, poultry and game, fresh or chilled, are hardly ever imported into any State. But the position in regard to smoked fish is entirely different. Do not the figures which Senator O’Connor quoted relate only to salt fish?
– They include “salt, pickled, and dried.” That is my information.
– In that cast they would include smoked fish, which is an article of very common consumption
Our available supplies of stock are decreasing daily, and unless we have rain there is every probability that the price of meat will go up immensely. Therefore, during the next twelve months smoked fish is likely to come into much larger requisition. The duty as it affects poultry and game is immaterial, because, although I admit that they are luxuries, they will not be imported into the Commonwealth to any appreciable extent.
– They are imported to some extent.
– Not to any appreciable extent. The only really dutiable article in this line is smoked fish, and I think that the Government might well see their way to allow it to come in free. Every one would appreciate that action, and it must be admitted that as a revenue duty this impost is practically ludicrous.
– I have been rather amused by the motion. I have supported all the proposals that have been made up to the present for the reduction of the duties upon food, but I cannot support this motion. It was only about a fortnight ago that I cited this duty of1d. per lb. on luxuries as a reason for moving that another place be requested to reduce the duty on ham and bacon from 2d. to1d. Senator De Largie, who now wishes to make these luxuries free, voted against that proposal, and if on the 21st ult. 2d. per lb. on bacon and ham was a proper duty for the miners of Western Australia to pay, it seems to me that I am under no obligation to make these luxuries free for the aristocrats of that State.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 36 by adding to the duty, “ Meats, fish, poultry, and game, viz., fresh, smoked, or preserved, per lb.,1d.,” the words “ and on and after 1st July, 1902, free “ - put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … … 5
Noes … … … 20
Majority … … 15
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 36 by adding to theduty, Meats, fish, poultry, and game, viz., preserved in tins . per lb., 2d.,” the words “and on and after 1st July, 1902,1d.”
I think1d. is a reasonable duty. The item we have just agreed to is left for the Government with a duty of1d. Why a duty of1d. should be imposed upon foods which are more or less luxuries, and a duty of 2d. imposed upon foods that are absolute necessaries to the working classes, I cannot understand. Perhaps Senator O’Connor will be able to tell us something which will justify that. I point out, further, that on salt meat, and articles of that kind, which are included under the heading “n.e.i.,” a duty of1/2d. per lb. imposed. Why, in the face of that, a duty of 2d. should be imposed upon meats preserved in tins, I am at a loss to understand, because the two items cover articles used by the same class of people, and used in almost all cases by people living in the back-blocks. There is also to be considered the aspect of this matter presented by the fact that we are very large exporters of meat preserved in tins. Queensland exports to places outside of the Commonwealth 17,000,000 lbs. of this meat, and to the other States of the Commonwealth over 7,300,000 lbs. New South Wales is next in importance as an exporter of this food, with an export of almost 12,000,000 lbs. It is manifest that this is an industry which requires no protection. Queensland exports nearly twice as much as New South Wales, and New South Wales exports, four or five times as much as Victoria, though New South Wales has no duty, and Victoria and Queensland have duties upon this article. It is natural to assume that it is the local advantages which have caused this industry to be established, and we are not justified in looking at it from the point of view of protection, when we find that the industry has been established in New South Wales without any protective assistance at all. I fail altogether to understand why we should have luxuries dutiable at1d. per lb., half the rate imposed upon meat preserved in tins which is a necessary, and the further inconsistency of letting salt meat in at a duty of a little over id. per lb.
– The honorable and learned senator puts this proposal on altogether wrong grounds when hesays that the effect of this duty will be to increase the price of these articles to the people of Western Australia.
– I did not mention either Western Australia or the price.
– Perhaps I am doing the honorable and learned senator an injustice in saying that he mentioned Western Australia. I intend to refer to that State. I do not think we have had any complaints from other States of the Commonwealth, thatthis duty is likely to press heavily, for the reason that we manufacture our own preserved meats to such a very large extent, that they have really taken the place of the imported article in all lines except those special lines which may be described as luxuries. Taking the case of Western Australia, 1 find that in 1900, the imports of meat preserved in tins were as follow : - From outside the Commonwealth, 310,281 lbs ; from the other States of the Commonwealth, 3,268,131 lbs. These figures establish clearly, what honorable senators must know, that the vast bulk of the tinned meat consumed in Western Australia, and in other parts of Australia also, is the locally produced article. Under thesecircumstances, does it not stand to reason that the balance imported is confined to the finer and more luxurious preserved meats which can well afford to pay a duty ? I remind Senator Ewing that another reason why this duty should be 2d., is that it is a protective as well as a revenue duty. It is a protective duty for the purpose of preserving an industry which has already been established in the Commonwealth.
– Can the Minister explain how it is that the industry has grown up in New South Wales without any duty, and that that State is exporting 11,966,000 lbs. of preserved meat per annum ?
– The figures I have been giving deal with the imports into Western Australia from the States and from abroad. The imports into “Victoria from abroad were 110,710 lbs., and from other States 182,160 lbs., showing that the enormous imports of 3,268,131 lbs. into Western Australia were really ordinary preserved meats, which would be consumed by the people. A remark was made just now about the industry being established in New South Wales without any protection. I have no doubt that the industry has been established in that State without any protection, but, on the other hand, the industry has had a very heavy protection in many of the States. InVictoria the duty has been 2d. per lb.
– Yet New South Wales exports ten times as much as doesVictoria.
– The duty has been 4d. per lb. in Queensland, 2d. per lb. in South Australia,1d. per lb. or 20 per cent, in Tasmania,1/2d. per lb. in some cases and1d. per lb. in others in Western Australia, and 2d. per lb. in New Zealand. In all of the States, except New South Wales, there has been a duty ranging from 2d. to1/2d. per lb., and in some cases there has been a percentage.
– Yet New South Wales beats all the States except Queensland by ten to one in her exports.
– The growth of this industry in New South Wales, or any part of Australia, really depends upon the facilities for obtaining a supply of stock. Under general circumstances enough will be produced to keep hold of the markets of Australia, but on the other hand - on the same principle as that on which numberless duties have been retained by the committee after discussion - these duties are kept on in order to prevent foreign imports coming in at a very cheap rate, and to steady our market. Surely we ought to be entitled to the market of Western Australia? If the Western Australians have to consume tinned meat, and they do consume an immenselylarge proportion of Australian tinned meat, why should we not have an opportunity of sending in as much tinned meat as they require ? It is not as if the article were bad. The consumption of it has proved that it is good and cheap. Under these circumstances, we say thathonorable senators should not put the producer of these articles in a worse position than he was in before in the other States simply because in one State the industry grew up without protection. To every manufacture which has been established in New South Wales the same argument might be applied. Is it to be said that because New South Wales has produced this article without any duty, therefore we ought to sweep away all the protective duties in all the other States ?
– That is not the proposition. We are leaving on a duty of1d. per lb.
– That makes it absolutely a revenue duty, and the article is put in exactly the same position as other articles which are dealt with on an entirely revenue basis. We should not put any industry in a worse position than it was in before. By retaining this duty - which is the same as the Victorian and South Australian duty, and only half the Queensland duty - do we do an injury to any consumer in any part of Australia? We do not, but we effect the purpose of steadying and preserving the market for our own producers. One of the most steadying influences in the live stock market is the existence of these large meat preserving works, which are always ready to take a surplus stock. These works, which have their market not only in Australia, but in other parts of the world, consume an immense number of our cattle and sheep, and it is to their existence very largely that we owe the steadying of the market price of stock.
– And they do not want any protection.
– I think my honorable friend will admit that it is an immense advantage to the producers in every part of Australia to have these meat works in which the surplus stock may be made up into such a form that it can find a market not only in Australia, but in Europe and in other parts of the world. Therefore it is of immense importance that we should do nothing which would interfere in any way with the steadying of this industry. What harm does it do to any consumer? Does it increase the price to any person in Australia? When we are dealing with interests which have grown up under State duties, I submit that honorable senator.* are bound to ask themselves - What is our reason for interfering with this duty? Surely some reason must be given for the interference. If a reason cannot be given, are we wantonly to sweep away a protection which certainly will come into operation when it is needed, simply on the ground that under ordinary circumstances without the protection the industry can flourish ? On every ground on which the Tariff is being framed, the duty should remain as it is. No part of Australia will suffer a hardship, but the consumer will get quite as good, if not better meat of the ordinary kind, than he would if it were imported, and our farmers and producers will have some measure of protection in the home market.
– On this occasion Senator O’Connor has demolished any grounds that existed for retaining this duty, or any part of it. Certainly Senator Ewing made out a strong case for reducing the duty from 2d. to1d. per lb. ; but Senator O’Connor has made out an answerable case for sweeping it away. First of all, is this a revenue duty ? It is as plain as possible that the maintenance of this duty will utterly close the ports of Australia to the admission of any preserved meat in tins.
– That is disproved by the figures.
– The whole thing has been progressive, and the progression has been towards wiping out the importation of the article. On the other hand, is the duty necessary for protection? It is not because the great consumption is of our own tinned meats. In South Australia there has been a duty of 2d. per lb., which had nothing in the world to do with establishing the industry. It was established by a gentleman who deserves great credit for his enterprise - Mr. Conrad - for whom the way was cleared by the late Mr. E. M. Baggot before any duty was imposed. It was established because in every great pastoral or farming community, at certain seasons, there is a surplus of stock to be got rid of. If we imposed a duty of 100 per cent. it would not stimulate that production any more. The people do not want that surplus stock when they have good seasons. If there are good rains after this drought, nobody knows where he will get stock. In Australia the normal conditions in anything like a decent season is that there is a surplus of stock which people do not know what to do with, and which they are obliged to hand over to the boiling -down works for next to nothing. South Australia, in 1900, exported 1,650,223 lbs. of tinned meats - a considerable quantity went to the United Kingdom - and imported 142,42s lbs., of which 100,000 lbs. came from Victoria and New South Wales. Of course, the greater part of our exports went to places near our borders. How can it be said that South Australia requires protection? How can a duty affect the market in the slightest degree? Senator O’Connor says that the importation is always of the finer sorts, and these sorts will come in. We ought to seek to impose a rate that will tempt the finer sorts to come in for the rich people, in order that they may be made to contribute more to the revenue. If the figures as to Western Australia are, as Senator O’Connor says - there was imported 3,268,131 lbs. of these meats from the other States or practically the whole quantity. What is the good of our contemplating a duty on this article, when almost the whole import - taking Western Australia as the typical State that Senator O’Connor has referred to - comes from the other States? It really does seem to be childish. We have struck out the duties on wheat, and so on, and this is a more glaring example of the same kind of impost. If it has any effect upon the goods that are imported it must result in increasing the price. My honorable and learned friend’s figures have satisfied me that1d. will, from the revenue point of view, probably give us much better results by increasing the importations of a class of meat which is finer in quality than that produced here. I should have been glad to see a motion proposed to make the article absolutely free ; but, as my honorable and learned friend has moved that the duty be1d., I shall support him. The figures for Victoria show that the importation is diminishing, and therefore the revenue is diminishing. The imports were from abroad 107,710 lbs., and from the other States 182,160 lbs. But that is a mere bagatelle in comparison with her exports. This is an article of export to a largo degree. The only argument left is that the duty will steady the market. That is a general statement which seems to me tohaveno application to these lines, but if there is anything to be said in support of the argument let us have it stated. Is there anything to show that the duty of 2d. will have any effect in steadying the market price except in regard to the finer sorts upon which a revenue duty ought to be imposed? If we want revenue let us make the duty1d. If the case is put on the ground of protection, I reply that no protection is necessary. New South Wales, without any protection whatever, is exporting some 12,000,000 lbs. per annum of this commodity and has been exporting in an increasing ratio for years past.
– One honorable senator has referred to New South Wales, and I should like to cite the figures for that State for 1900. There were importations into New South Wales - where there was no duty, and where, therefore, the foreign article came into competition in the open market with the local article - from the United Kingdom to the extent of £4,004 in value, from Hong Kong to the extent of £555, from China to the extent of £1,191, from the United States to the extent of £8,423, and from New Zealand to the extent of £852. That has all paid duty. Undoubtedly this would be special kinds of stuff ; but why should we reduce the duty on these special kinds ? They will come in anyhow, and if there is a duty of 2d. they will pay it. Why should we not get this revenue? I did not put the matter originally on the ground of revenue, because, as I pointed out, this is, in the first place, a protective duty ; but why should we not derive 2d. per lb. from goods which must come in no matter how great the supply of our own meats may be?
– I find that I cannot support this motion. The committee have decided on a duty of 2d. per lb. upon articles of such common consumption as bacon and hams. The only articles included in this item are luxuries, not necessities. The meats which are necessities, like beef and mutton, are prepared within the Commonwealth, but as the poor man’s bacon and hams are to be taxed 2d., it is a fair thing to put a similar duty on pate de foie gras, devilled ham, and boned pheasants. Nor, as the free-trade party would not reduce the abnormally high duty upon oatmeal, do I see why the duty on these commodities should be reduced. If we must have a compromise Tariff, this is one of the items on which I shall be found voting with the Government, although I should prefer to vote with my own party.
– I think Senator Neild has come to a rather strange conclusion. Because according to his view we have made a mistake in regard to the duties on bacon and hams, and oatmeal, he is going to vote against the motion to reduce this duty, although otherwise he would support it. When an honorable senator finds that a decision’, which in his view is mistaken, has been arrived at upon one matter, if he can bring the committee into a proper frame of mind in regard to another item, it is only reasonable that he should do so. The honorable and learned senator who has proposed the motion, has supported it with an abundance of evidence, and the Vice-President of the Executive Council himself has shown clearly that the duty is not required. There is an overproduction at present within the Commonwealth. It must be admitted that the effect of imposing a duty upon an article, is that the price becomes enhanced to the consumer, within the area where the duty operates. I could give numerous instances if it were necessary of increases of price between the time before theTariff commenced to operate, and the period subsequent to its introduction. I hope the committee will accept the motion.
– I certainly hope that the committee will do nothing of the sort. This is practically a revenue duty ; and surely the people who want extract of meat are well able to pay for it. The smaller States ought not to be deprived of the amount of revenue which will be derived from the duty, amounting in the case of Queensland to nearly £1,000 per annum. Queensland is a State with a small population, and with, comparatively speaking, a small revenue ; and £1,000 to us in the present condition of our finances is an important consideration. I do not regard this duty from the protectionist point of view at all, but I do consider it important from the revenue aspect. I look upon all articles of this kind as legitimate sources of revenue, particularly as they affect a class of people who can well afford to pay any duties imposed. It would be not only unjust but cruel to the smaller States to knock off a duty of this description.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia). - I must respond to the appeal made to me by my honorable friend, Senator Glassey, in regard to the revenue aspect of this duty. Will he permit me to mention to him what the figures are 1 The revenue estimated by the Treasurer as derivable from these articles, including fish, meat, and so on, is about £97,000. ‘ Nearly the whole of that is derivable from tinned fish. Therefore the line under discussion is not to be considered for a moment from the revenue-producing aspect. From that point of view a duty of a penny is likely to be more productive than one of twopence. The Treasurer does not expect any revenue from the twopenny duty ; we may expect some from a duty of a penny.
– It may be admitted that Queensland does not derive much revenue from this line, but it obtains something, and the question is whether we are not justified in raising a small amount of revenue from an article which is still being imported in the face of an established industry. Senator Symon told us that the duty of 2d. per 1 b. would stop importations. That prophecy is falsified by the existing facts. We find that although Queensland has a wellestablished canned meat industry carried on at four of her ports, with a very large output, 59,856 lbs. of these meats were imported into that State during 1899. That importation took place notwithstanding a duty of 4d. per lb. Is it not legitimate to obtain a revenue from goods of this kind t The fact that these meats are still being imported into Queensland affords fair proof that the duty does not affect the article which we are producing in abundance, but one of a more expensive character. That is shown by an examination of the importations of preserved meats into New South Wales from beyond the Commonwealth. The importations of meats coming under this item into New South Wales in 1900 were from the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, China, the United States of America, and New Zealand, by far the largest quantity being imported from the United States. We have a meat - preserving industry sufficient to supply the requirements of Australia ; but it happens in relation to this industry, as to others, that certain articles coming under the same definition will continue to be imported notwithstanding that fact. Is the price of food consumed by the people likely ‘ to be increased by a small duty upon thesearticles 1 I think not, and I hope that theduty will not be reduced.
– I understand that we are dealing with meats, fish, poultry, and game preserved in tins or otherairtight vessels, and not with meats such as are preserved in the ordinary sense in Australia.
– Not with preserved! meat only ; the item includes meat and other things.
– Pate de foie gras and such things, which are clearly luxuries. Wehave not been comparing like with like. We have been comparing tongues, beef, and mutton preserved in Australia, with preserved game. I am sure that Senator Symon will see that the duty does not relate to meats similar to those which are preserved in Australia.
– The item includes the same things a’s are dealt within’ Australia.
– It includes fish,, poultry, and game as well as meat. The preserved meats which it covers are very different from those that are preserved in Australia.
– Then we do not require a protective duty.
– We want a high duty.
– We shall obtain more revenue by reducing the duty.
– No; these are luxuries in which only wealthy persons can indulge, and they will use them no matter what the price may be.
– Senator Styles is altogether wrong if he imagines that this duty relates only to luxuries. It affects articles which are used most commonly in Western Australia, such as tinned mutton, beef, and almost every kind of preserved meat.
– The preserved meat used in Western Australia comes almost entirely from the other States.
– A great quantity of it is exported from Chicago. The item covers what is commonly known as “ tinned dog,” which is used very largely by the working classes on the gold-fields of Western Australia, and others who reside at places far distant from railway lines. I admit that a great deal of the preserved meat consumed in Western Australia comes from
Queensland and New South Wales, and perhaps the fact that there are large meatpreserving works in Sydney is responsible for Senator Neild’s opposition to the motion. The duty is a very heavy tax upon the people of Western Australia, and for that reason I should like to see it abolished. Senator Glassey seems to have degenerated into a mere revenue Tariffist. I do not know whether he is getting ready to become Treasurer of North Queensland, but he is certainly posing here as a man upon whose shoulders rests the whole responsibility for the finances of Queensland. I would advise him to get back to his principles as a protectionist. If he does he cannot support this duty, which is merely a revenue one.
Senator GLASSEY (Queensland). - Senator De Largie says that I seem to have taken upon myself the caves and anxieties relating to the finances of Queensland. Does my honorable friend know what federation means to the finances of that State ? Does he know what Queensland has lost already by the abolition of Inter-State and certain other duties? In that way Queensland has lost fully one-third of her Customs and Excise revenues, and in view of that fact can we regard with a light heart a proposal such as that now before us ? I do not aspire to be Treasurer of any State, but I wish to preserve to some extent the income of Queensland. Am I here calmly to sit still and allow Queensland to suffer, as it has been suffering, without raising my protest? Certainly I should not be justified in doing so. Small though the revenue from this item may be, it is of some value. Does Senator De Largie imagine that we have no miners or bushmen in Queensland 1 I do not know of any State, save Western Australia, where there are a larger number of these men working at places far removed from the principal centres of population. I feel as keenly for those men as does Senator De Largie for the miners and bushmen of Western Australia; but apart from my principles as a protectionist, to which I hold most tenaciously, I maintain that we cannot do without sources of revenue such as this. I do not know of any class which can better afford to pay than those who will be taxed under this item. In Queensland we had a duty of 4d. per lb. on these articles, and yet importations have been coming in from which we have derived a revenue of nearly £1,000 per annum. I ask honorable senators to show some little consideration for the States which have suffered as Queensland has, and which are likelyto suffer to a still greater extent. I appeal to the committee to preserve as far possible our means of deriving revenue from sources such as these.
– Those representing people engaged in. mining and other back-country employment are very anxious that everything should be done to protect the interests of their constituents, but they must recollect that there are others in the community who have to be considered as well as the mining population. I am not very anxious to protect the revenue of States which have never made any attempt to increase their revenue by direct taxation of any kind, but I am a revenue Tariffist to the extent that I would far rather see revenue collected upon luxuries than upon the necessaries of life.
– This is a necessary of life.
– That is where I differ from Senator De Largie. I say the honorable senator cannot mention anything which can be claimed as a necessary of life in the shape of tinned meat which is not manufactured or produced in Australia. We know that in Western Australia this is mainly an article of Inter-State exchange, and when wo remember that Queensland, which is the greatest exporter of this article, and exports probably to Western Australia very largely, derived nearly £1,000 in revenue from the importation of an article of a similar kind, we must see that it is the article which is introduced from foreign countries to Western Australia that is producing the revenue in Queensland. It must be apparent that it is the preserved meatsimported from outside the Commonwealth that are the luxuries.
– In what year was this revenue derived in Queensland?
– The year of the ticks, when there were no cattle.
– It was also the year when there was in Queenslaad a duty of 4d. per lb. upon meats preserved in tins, and in the same year Queensland was exporting more of this article than any other State in the Commonwealth. I can say from my experience in the country, that when I was doing labouring work, I never had enough funds to get tinned game or tinned tongue, and I do not think the miners of Western Australia can afford to get those articles to-day. The tinned meat which is used by these people is the article which we produce in Australia, but I would point out that tinned game, and tinned tongue, and other fancy meats are put under the same heading.
SenatorFraser. - They should not be, they should be separated.
– I am not going to argue that point, but honorable senators will recognise thatany revenue derived from this duty will be derived from luxuries. Even the opponents of the Tariff as it stands admit that it does not matter whether the duty on this article is1s. or 5s. per lb.; it will not affect the local production. That has been repeated upon this and upon other items. If the duty does not matter, because it does not affect the local article, which is really a necessary, why should we take the duty of 2d. per lb. off the article which is a luxury. Is it not better that the poor man should get his tea free, and that the rich man, who can afford it, should have to pay 2d. per lb. on his tinned game? I put the matter in that way to the friends of the miner, so that in future they may be more reasonable in dealing with those items.
– I should not have risen again if it had not been for an interjection by Senator Dawson with respect to the revenue raised by Queensland from this item in1899. I admitted that the revenue raised was very small in comparison with the enormous export trade we have in this article. In 1899 an importation of 59,000 lbs. of meat produced a revenue in Queensland of £912. This was with a duty of 4d. per lb. My contention is that the meat imported represents not theordinary beef or mutton consumed by miners and poor people, but fancy meats and soups preserved in a particular form. Senator Dawson interjected that this revenue was derived from the importation of meat preserved in tins in consequence of the ticks, and the scarcity of meat in Queensland. I have here the statistics of Queensland from the year 1899, and I find that of frozen beef Queensland exported about 73,000,000 lbs., and of frozenmeat 3,643,000 lbs. Leaving out such items as pork, kidneys, poultry, tails, extract of beef, the next big item is preserved meat, of which there was an export of 24,000,625 lbs. Of meat chilled there was an export of 925,000 lbs., and of fresh beef 197,000 lbs. That means a total of about 105,000,000 lbs. of meat exported from Queensland in 1899, and it must show clearly that the revenue to which I have referred was not due toany scarcity of meat in Queensland. We were, in Queensland, at the time, producing meat in abundance, preserving it, and sending it abroad and to the other States.
– The honorable and learned senator is proving that a large amount of frozen and chilled meat was exported, and very little was left for canning in Queensland.
– Here is a State carrying on this industry, and producing so abundantly that it can export meat preserved in tins to the extentof 25,000,000 lbs., and yet with a duty of 4d. per lb. on the article there is an importation in the same year, 1899, of 59,000 lbs., producing a revenue of £912. I think it must be clear that that revenue was derived from the importation of fancy meats from countries like the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, China, and the United States. . I think I have shown that the importation to Queensland was not, as Senator Dawson imagined for the moment, in consequence of any scarcity in Queensland, but was simply a normal importation of an article of luxury. I say that that importation was not prevented by the Queensland duty of 4d. per lb., and that if 4d. per lb. was considered by Queensland to be a fair duty to levy on the article, it is not unreasonable to ask the committee to agree to a duty of 2d. per lb. for the Commonwealth.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia). - We have tried to get the debate shortened. There has been scarcely any talk on this side, and I think the public will readily understand that it is through the Postmaster-General and others, including Senator McGregor, that the delay has occurred. J intend to protest against repetition, which can only have the effect of delaying the completion of this business. Senator Drake admitted, in answer to an interjection from me, that he was repeating his speech, and that he intended to repeat it.
– With a new fact of a most important character.
– With a new figure of speech, but not with a fact.
– A most important point.
– I have been hunting round for the new fact. The only fact which was mentioned was that which was mentioned before - that 25,000,000 lbs. of meats preserved in tins had been exported by Queensland. And yet the committee was solemnly asked by Senator O’Connor to support the imposition of this duty on the ground that it was protective.
– Has not the honorable and learned senator said that before?
– Let my honorable and learned friend keep calm ; he must not get into this state of morbid irritation. Senator O’Connor stated that the first ground on which he asked the committee to agree to the duty was that it was protective, and the second, that it was in a small degree revenueproducing. L ask my honorable friends on the other side whether they can say for one moment that this duty of 2d. per lb. involves one single element of protection ? Of course, they cannot. Australia is producing millions upon millions of pounds weight of preserved meats. That aspect of the question I do not wish to go into again, because the figures have been given. Is it a revenue-producing duty? The Postmaster-General states that, in 1899, Queensland - and I suppose that is the new fact ; at least, I did not hear it before - imported meats the duty on which produced a revenue of £912. Yet we are asked to impose a duty of 2d. per lb. ou this line as an ornament, with no earthly protection, and with really no benefit to the revenue. But, if we are to benefit the revenue, these, according to the Minister’s own statement, being articles of luxury, let us tempt the importation of them as much as possible, and we shall do that by reducing the duty to Id. per lb. It is notorious that the lower in reason you make the duty the rom revenue you get. If you make the duty too high, as I said in an interjection, perhaps improperly, to Senator Styles, you destroy the revenue. Therefore it seems to me that Senator Drake has not emphasized the position by his repetition of it.
– The honorable and learned senator has got all his speech in again.
– I have got in an answer to my honorable and learned friend’s speech. I wish this Tariff to be put through, but evidently he does not.
– The leader of the Opposition makes a very great mistake in supposing that he can lecture the committee into accepting without discussion anything on which he, and those who are with him here, have made up their minds. The view of the Government, and the view of the industries that we fire endeavouring to save here, will be represented as fully aspossible.
– Will the honorable and learned senator follow the item ?
– I intend to follow the item, but I altogether object to an attack being made on the Government, unless I am to have the right of reply.
– You made the attack ; ours was the defence.
– My honorable and learned friend attacked the PostmasterGeneral because he said he was repeating a speech. If that is to be a ground of attack, I should like to know what is to be said of the recent speech of Senator Symon, which was nothing less than a repetition of the argument which he used before.
– Not a word of repetition.
– I venture now to repeat an argument which I used before, and which I shall repeat with a difference, as the honorable and learned senator did.
– I rise to order. Is the honorable and learned, senator in order in deliberately stating that he intends to repeat a speech which he has just made ?
– With a difference.
– Whether that is the intention of the speaker or not, the effect of the repetition will be to waste time. I wish to know whether an honorable senator is justified in repeating, even in committee, a speech, once, twice, or thrice?
– I should like, sir, to refer you to Standing Order 143, on this question of undue repetition or prolixity, with a special reference to what Senator O’Connor announces as his intention, not as to what he has done.
– Every honorable senator has the right to repeat an argument, and I hope that right will never be withdrawn. It often happens that an honorable senator is reading, and makes an interjection which shows thathe did not hear the speaker, or that, if he did hear him, he did not understand the argument. Under these circumstances, is not an argument to be repeated simply because it does not suit the whim of some honorable senators? What Senator O’Connor said was that he was going to repeat an argument similar to that which had been used, but with a difference. I submit, sir, that he has a perfect right to repeat an argument which he has used.
– The standing order practically puts the determination of this question in the hands of the committee, after the Chairman has warned any honorable member. It says : -
If the Speaker or Chairman of Committees shall have twice warned any member then speaking that his speech is irrelevant to the question being discussed, or that he is guilty of undue repetition or prolixity, a motion that such member be not further heard may be moved at any time, so as to interrupt such member speaking, whether in the House or in committee, if supported by the rising in their places of not less than seven members.
I am not aware that I have warned any honorable senator that he was repeating himself.
– We politely suggest that you should.
– It has been put as an argument that this duty should be reduced by1d., because most of the States export the article very largely. That is no answer to the revenue aspect of the question, because notwithstanding the large exports from Queensland, there have been very heavy imports of the particular kind of goods at which the duty is aimed, proving that although she supplies the whole of her own requirements, she cannot supply the demand for those special luxuries which are imported, and which will be imported whatever the amount of the duty may be. Honorable senators will find that in all the States, notwithstanding the existence of duties, there has been a large importation of these goods. We say, not only that they ought to be taxed in the same degree as the articles of luxury we have already dealt with, but that they should be taxed higher, because, while a high tax does not affect the consumer, it has the effect of steadying the market for the producer. Surely this is not the time - when the producers are suffering from drought, and are expecting that their natural industries will not be destroyed - to reduce the protection which exists in the case of Queensland from 4d. to1d. ? If we are to do anything to bring about a fair balance of benefits from the Tariff throughout Australia, we ought not to neglect the meat industry, which is not only able to produce the common kind of article, but which will, in time, I believe, produce a commodity that will be able to compete with the imported product.
– I grant that a considerable amount of imported tinned meat is consumed in Australia. We have not yet, as a general rule, arrived at that high stateof art which has been attained in Chicago and other places. Notwithstanding that, however, Queensland tinned beef has beaten Chicago tinned beef hollow all over the world. There is no comparison between the two. The Queensland meat is infinitely superior to almost any other kind of meat I ever heardof. One of the best experts in Chicago was engaged by a Queensland company at the remuneration of £2,000 per annum- £1,000 by way of salary, and £1,000 as commission - and he has made so much money that I believe he has retired. He had charge of the Brisbane works for years, and was next in position to the general manager. I am a shareholder in the concern, so that I know what I am talking about. There is no danger of the industry suffering from the drought, which does not extend further than the coast. No doubt some revenue is derivable, but not sufficient to justify a long discussion. As far as Queensland is concerned, there is no need forthe duty.
– Mr.Paterson, of Queensland, has said that the duty is “ a piece of undiluted hypocrisy.”
– Of course no one is better qualified to speak on the subject than Mr. Paterson. The meat industry is one of the great industries of Australia; of course, I am not referring to tinned fish, game, or articles of that kind, but to beef and mutton. The tongues of Queensland are splendid samples of preserved ‘meats. The duty is more or less of a dead letter, and it is not worth while to waste further time in discussing it.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 36 by adding to the duty “ Meats, fish, poultry, and game, viz., preserved in tins . . . per lb., 2d.,” the words “and on and after 1st July, 1902,1d.” - put. The committee divided -
Ayes ………. 15
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
– I wish to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council what is included under “ n.e.i “ ?
– It includes all kinds of meat, fish, poultry, and game, which are not previously mentioned. It is only by a negative process that one can get at what is included ; but it certainly includes salt meat, salt tongues, and fish in casks as well as salt pork.
Resolved (on motion by Senator Sir Josiah Symon) -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend the special exemption by omitting the word “frozen” and inserting after the word “ meats “ the words “ preserved by cool process.”
Item 37 - Milk preserved, per lb., Id.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 37 by adding the words “andon and after 1st July, 1902, free.”
Preserved milk is an article which is only used where fresh milk cannot possibly be obtained. A duty of a penny is a special penalty levied on the pioneers throughout Australia. From my point of view this is not a question affecting Western Australia only, but affecting everybody who is living in the dry and arid regions of Australia. It includes those who live in the centre of South Australia, as well as those residing in the back parts of New South Wales and Queensland. I do not intend to take up much time in dealing with this matter, because the facts of the case can be put very shortly and clearly. This is simply a protective duty. The Government is seeking to impose it solely with a view of protecting manufacturers of concentrated and condensed milk in the more favoured portions of Australia. The duty means that these manufacturers, the people they employ, and others are to be encouraged to live in luxury. They are on the coast, where they can obtain fresh milk, vegetables, and meat, and also - owing to the labours of a certain section of Parliament - free tea and kerosene. We have already loaded up the duties on tinned meat and other things which the people in the outlying portions of the Commonwealth require, and now the Government are proposing this heavy duty on tinned milk. Residence in the back blocks of Australia is to be made an expensive luxury. The people who go out there to live as best they can, and to attempt to develop the resources of Australia, are to be taxed to the uttermost. That is the result of protection as applied to articles of food such as this. Condensed milk should undoubtedly be placed in the same category as invalids’ and infants’ foods. I see no reason why the small quantity of sugar contained in condensed milk should be used as an argument for the imposition of this tax. At the very highest estimate the duty on it amounts in value to 2d. per dozen lbs., but it will doubtless be urged that in order to give a countervailing duty in respect of the quantity of sugar contained in this milk a duty of1d. per lb. should be imposed. What are the facts of the case? At the present moment imported milk sells at a price equal to10 per cent. above the native article. That is to say, it meets a want which locally produced concentrated milk cannot fill. The fault of the locally preserved milk is that it will not keep for any length of time after the tin has been opened. It has been found that the people are prepared to pay a higher price for the imported article than for locally concentrated milk. The price lists show that Bacchus Marsh milk is offered wholesale at under 4d. per lb. That is a concentrated milk made in Victoria and containing 73 per cent, of water. Victoria also produces a milk known as the Empire brand, manufactured by the AngloAustralian Milk Preserving Company. That milk is sold for export at 4id. per lb., and it is sold wholesale at of d. per lb. Nestle’s Swiss milk, however, is sold wholesale at 7¼d. per lb. That proves that Nestle’s milk is purchased, and purchased largely, by the consumers at ld. per lb. more than the price demanded for the Victorian article. That excess represents the duty plus ½d. per lb., which covers the cost of importation from Europe.
– What is the date of the price-lists from which the honorable senator is quoting 1
– The price quoted for Bacchus Marsh milk is taken from a price-list issued by Messrs. Bartram it Sons, of Melbourne, on the 30th April last. The other prices are taken from the Australian Storekeepers Journal of 28th April last. These figures are amply borne out by our experience in Western Australia, and I allude to Western Australia simply to confirm the Victorian price-lists. A statement of the position in Western Australia has been made by Messrs. Preston and Company, who are agents for milk. They say that nearly the whole of their sales consist of imported milk, which is purchased at a price exceeding by 20 per cent, that of the locally-made article. In other words, the producers of the Victorian article finds it absolutely impossible to compete with the imported milk, notwithstanding that the latter has the protective duty as well as the freight against it. This impost, therefore, is unnecessary as a protective duty to the producer of milk ; it is absolutely inoperative. It affords no benefit whatever to those who produce preserved milk both here and in Queensland, because they are unable to secure for their article the prices obtained readily for the foreign product. In spite of the duty they have to sell it at a lower price, for the reason that it will not keep.
– That is not so.
– That is the reason that is given for the difference in prices. Are we going to retain this duty, and tax people who must use condensed milk, simply to encourage the production of this article in Victoria, Queensland, and New South Wales. I believe that in New South Wales the preserved milk industry has grown up without protection, and is in a flourishing state ; but honorable senators f rom that State may be left to deal with that question. It is ridiculous to make tea free, simply be- - cause the people who use it form the majority of the voting power in Australia, and yet to tax people who live in the back blocks, and who are compelled to use tinned milk in large quantities. If it is right to make tea free on the ground that it is an article of general consumption, it is very much more important that condensed milk should be free.
– I oppose this motion. The matter cannot be disposed of solely from the point of view which Senator Matheson has put forward. There are several other things to be considered, and amongst the most important of them is the revenue aspect of the question. I find that during the six months from October 1901 to March last, the actual receipts from this duty - which was lid. per lb. up to December last, and has since been Id. per lb. - were £13,169. At the same rate the collections would amount to considerably over £26,000 for the twelve months, because there are a number of considerations, to which effect has to be given in dealing with the duty which will be paid during the year. Out of the revenue derived from this source during the term I have mentioned,. £4,573 was collected in New South Wales, £1,166 in Victoria, £2,236 in Queensland, £762 in South Australia, and £1,433 in Tasmania. I have an approximation only of the collection in Western Australia, and it is given at £3,000. Taking Queensland, to which revenue is of the utmost importance at the present time, we find that during the six months £2,236 was actually derived from tins duty, and at the same rate the revenue for the twelve months would be nearly £5,000. Now it is proposed to sweep that away entirely. Tasmania is another State which requires some consideration in the matter of revenue, and I call the attention of honorable senators from that State to the fact that there was collected in Tasmania in the six months a revenue of £1,432, with a duty for half the time at lid., and for the other half at Id. That might be put down as something near a revenue of £3,000 for the twelve months. All that took place in the different States, notwithstanding the existence of a preserved milk industry and a local product. It is therefore an article which must come in, and Senator Matheson has admitted that. Until our process is changed, to a certain extent, there must be a large import of the foreign condensed milk. Are we in a position to give up such an amount of revenue - something like £25,000 throughout the Commonwealth - and are we prepared to give up, so far as Queensland is concerned, a revenue of something like £5,000, and, so far as Tasmania is concerned, a revenue of something like £3,000 ?
– Who pays it? The people who cannot get fresh milk.
– The honorable senator is altogether mistaken about that. He might as well ask me who pays the duty on pottedmeats and tinned fish.
– Those who consume them.
– I can tell the honorable senator that there are hundreds of persons in the eastern parts of Australia, who are not as well off as the rich miners of the west, and who are obliged to do without milk of any kind. It seems to me astonishing that this matter should be treated as if this milk ought to be admitted free, because our friends in Western Australia are so much accustomed to luxuries of all kinds, that they cannot understand the position of people in many portions of the eastern States, who have to go without milk altogether. If it is to be argued that because something is an article of food, therefore, we should not tax it, where is our revenue to come from?
– From direct taxation.
– We have nothing to do with that here. We have quite enough to do to deal with the raising of revenue through the Custom-house. We have to leave to the States - and I hope we shall leave it to them for a very long time - the right of raising taxation in any other form. Isay that if we are to regard this cry that because an article is an article of food it should therefore remain untaxed, in what position will that leave us in regard to revenue? We know the position in which Queensland and Tasmania stand at present. We know that they are badly in need of assistance from the revenue side of thisTariff. So badly in need of assistance is the State of Queensland owing to the drought that we should be exceedingly careful not to take away from that State anything to which she is entitled in the way of revenue.
The same thing applies to Tasmania, and any one who has the least regard for the interests of those States will take care that nothing is done here which unnecessarily and improperly cuts down revenue. If we cut down revenue here it will mean that we shall put Queensland and Tasmania into the position of having to dismiss their civil servants and cut down their public expenditure in that respect, or that we shall drive them to increased taxation. I say we ought to avoid that in every possible way, and we should see that as much revenue as reasonably can be raised is raised to prevent any such catastrophe. There is another point of view from which this might be put. Although it is true we do not at the present time produce this condensed milk in. such quantities and in such a form as to displace the imported article, what reason is there why in Australia, which is so adapted for the production of milk, we should not produce milk condensed in every possible form, not only sufficient for our own needs, but sufficient to gain us a good position in the European market ? What is there in our conditions which should render us unable to compete with the Swiss milk, or any other milk which comes into the markets of the world at the present time ? In order to compete we require a large output, and, for a large output, it is necessary to have a market secured to us. here. When we once secure a large market here and a large output we shall be enabled to introduce such machinery, and to adopt such methods, as will reduce the cost of production tothelowest possible point. We cannot expect to get any share of the European market unless we bring the cost of production down to the lowest possible point, and we can only do that by securing a market which will absolutely guarantee to us a large output. If there is one industry which more than another concerns every portion of Australia, it is this milk industry. It is not a question affecting merely the landholder ; it affects thousands of small landholders, as well as large land-holders and persons who put money into factories and machinery for the purpose of dealing with them. It is a question which affects persons of every variety of means and every size of holding, and persons of almost every occupation connected with the land. If we have an opportunity of helping these people by enlarging the scope of their markets why should we not avail ourselves of that opportunity?
So long as our production of milk lias to be disposed of in the form of butter or cheese, the market for it is to a certain extent restricted, but once we produce an article which can be carried to every part of the world we shall have an unlimited market for it. I say the committee should be very careful in dealing with this matter. We cannot afford to give up this revenue, and I remind honorable senators that already there has been a very large reduction.- The duty originally proposed upon this article was Hd., but on representations made to the Treasurer he promised to look into the matter, and to cut the duty down to the lowest possible point consistent with conserving revenue. The duty was reduced to Id. upon that ground and the records of the other House inform me that it was carried at that rate without a division.
– There was a division on a motion by Mr. Mahon, the honorable member for Coolgardie, and the duty of Id. was carried by a majority of sixteen.
– I am very much obliged to the honorable and learned senator. That makes the case stronger. After dis- ‘ cussion, and after all those who intended to vote against it had recorded their votes, the duty was carried by a majority of sixteen. I say that looking at the matter from a revenue point of view, we cannot afford to give up the revenue to be derived from this duty, and, looking at it from another point of view, I say this is one of the products which, above all others, should be encouraged here. The encouragement of it will impose no disability upon the consumer, because certainly, though this preserved milk industry is now in its infancy, it will -undoubtedly grow, and will, I hope, in time, be capable of supplying the wants of every portion of the Commonwealth. I know that a very large factory has been ^started in New South Wales, and an article is being turned out there which can compete with any article of the kind in the world. I refer to the Cooloongatta Estate, where Dr. Hay has begun the manufacture -of condensed milk on a very large scale. I understand that a similar factory is being started in Victoria, and I say we should have regard to all these facts, and especially to the fact that the duty will not increase the price of this article one iota to any person who is willing to use the local article.
– The inferior article.
– Not the inferior article ; on the contrary we know it will increase the price of the article only to those who will insist upon having goods which come from abroad. Senator Matheson speaks of the inferior article, and my answer to that is that in the first place once there is a prejudice against an article of colonial production that prejudice is very hard to live down. No doubt, in the early days of the industry, there were attempts made which were more or less unsuccessful to produce an article in competition with that which came from Europe. But those days are gone by ; and I am informed by persons who understand this particular trade that an article is being produced now which can compete in every particular with any article of the kind which is imported from Europe. I hope that in time the local article will replace the foreign article completely. When that time comes, the revenue side of the question need not be considered, because the production of the local article will give employment to a very large number of persons who will consume dutiable goods, and in that way make up for any revenue we should lose by the driving out of the imported article. I hope the committee will regard this duty as a fair compromise between the wishes of those who desire that there should be a high duty, and of those who desire to have the lowest duty which could be imposed consistently with any revenue being derived by the Commonwealth.
Senator MATHESON (Western Australia). - Senator O’Connor has used a most extraordinary argument in addressing himself to this matter, and speaking of condensed milk as “a luxury of the rich miner.” Does the honorable and learned senator consider fresh milk a luxury for himself and his family1? I ask the question because the two articles stand in the same position for the people who have to use them. Miners and persons in the backblocks of Australia cannot get fresh milk. They must either do without milk altogether or use tinned milk, and yet Senator O’Connor talks of tinned milk as a “luxury of the rich miner.” I hope the honorable and learned senator’s views upon the subject will go abroad throughout Australia, that people may know the light in which he looks upon this article of food. There are children in places where a cow cannot be kept. There are typhoid patients in hospitals where milk is the only article on which they can be fed. In these districts it it absolutely impossible for any child or adult to get milk, unless it is used in a tinned condition. Yet it is called sarcastically by Senator O’Connor, “the luxury of the rich miner,” and he appeals to the lowest instincts of the senators for Tasmania and Queensland, when he asks - “ Can you afford to give up this revenue?”It is dragged out of dying people in hospitals. It is dragged out of people who cannot exist on any other article of food than milk. Senator Styles, lounging on his crimson sofa, has never left Victoria. He does not know what it is to live in the back blocks and have typhoid fever. He does not know what it is to long for milk as I do ; and to die because a drop could not be got. The committee may think that I exaggerate, but I assure them that I know these to be facts. I have been at Coolgardie when you could not get milk, and when people died of typhoid fever in consequence of the want of milk. I speak from what I know - not from mere theory, like the honorable senator opposite. Senator O’Connor appeals to the representatives of Queensland and Tasmania to swell their revenue out of this vampire duty, and all this is to be done so that the Commonwealth may secure a revenue of £26,000 dragged out of the absolute necessities of the people who cannot get fresh milk.
SenatorFRASER (Victoria).- I entreat honorable senators not to reduce this duty. If it is reduced below1d. per lb., large establishments will be obliged to close. The industry has only just been started in Australia. It has not yet got rid of its swaddling clothes or cut its eye-teeth. In a few years, very likely it will be able to supply the world. It has not yet arrived at that stage, and, therefore, I beg honorable senators to let it have a fair start. In the last division, I voted against my own interests, because I am a shareholder in the Brisbane Meat Freezing Company, but in this industry I have no interest at all. In Queensland, Messrs. McConnell and Sons, whom I know most intimately, have started a factory for preserving milk. There are two or three kinds of preserved milk. Concentrated milk is altogether different from preserved milk. The latter, which is sweetened very much, will keep for all time like Swiss or American milk. I know more of the Queensland factory than of the Victorian andNew SouthWales factories. Since McConnell and Sons started in Queensland, the price of the colonial article has been reduced considerably, and the quality is equal to anything that the world produces. It is an industry which will extend just as the butter industry has done. It has taken root in a few places, and will spread all over Australia. There is no State which is not adapted to the production of this kind of milk. It can be produced on a navigable river hundreds of miles from a railway station. It can be produced anywhere throughout Queensland. It can be produced on the banks of the Murray, the Barling, the Edwards, and the Murrumbidgee, and be floated down in barges to the shipping ports at a nominal cost. The industry should be encouraged. If the duty is reduced it will lead to very serious injustice. Since it was reduced from 11/2d. to1d. per lb. Sealy Bros have ceased work. In Queensland the price of Swiss milk has been reduced by a considerable percentage since McConnell and Sons started work.
-What brand of milk has been reduced in price there?
– Since McConnell and Sons started, the price of the imported article has been reduced from 7s.6d. to 5s. 6d. and 6s. per dozen tins, and the industry is spreading rapidly.
– But the honorable senator said just now that Sealy Bros. have closed up.
– McConnell and Sons, a firm of honorable, true men, have increased their output largely because they imported the best machinery they could buy, but Sealy Bros. have been obligedto cease work owing to the reduced import duty. Let the industry have a start of two or three years, when I am sure it will prove that it is one that ought to be supported. Concentrated milk, unlike preserved milk, will last for only two or three weeks. This pleasant beverage is used on the coastal boats. Even in Melbourne concentrated milk and cream are largely used in the best houses. It can hold its own pretty well anywhere, because it is far superior in flavour and taste to any imported article. It has the flavour of real milk. It is more palatable than preserved milk. The industry is suitable toWestern Australia,.
Tasmania, New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, and South Australia. I ask honorable senators not to destroy an industry which is in a fair way to success.
– I am very much obliged to Senator Matheson for drawing attention to the fact that I was lounging on a -crimson cushion. At the time 1 did not feel very well : his speech made me ill. I have seen the honorable senator fast asleep here dozens of times, and I have never drawn attention to the fact.
– .lt is absolutely untrue.
– If the honorable senator was not fast asleep he looked very like it. He has been lounging here time after time.
– Will the honorable senator confine himself to the question 1
– I have as much right to lounge here as has the honorable senator. When 1 asked the advocate for the reduction of this duty to quote the price of the article in Western Australia, to which he belongs, he did not give the local price, but he gave the price in Victoria, to which he does not belong. I had a reason in asking that question. The honorable senator quoted 7d. per lb. as the price of this condensed mare’s, goat’s, and sheep’s milk. In this State we have wholesome cow’s milk. We all know that this imported stuff is largely made, not from cow’s milk, but from every other kind of milk. I have a statement, signed by H.’ J. Preston and Co., sole agents in West Australia for Nestle’s Swiss milk. The company say that they will be quite satisfied with a duty of 1 5 per cent, (id valorem. One penny per lb. is 15 per cent, on 7$d., which the honorable senator told us was the price for the milk.
– That is, duty paid.
– What is the price in Western Australia ? The honorable senator does not tell us. As to the use of condensed milk in the back-blocks of Australia, I may mention that in my youth I was among the squatters in Queensland. There were plenty of cows there, but they thought so little of the milk that they would not milk the cows to give us a drink. Every one went without milk, including the squatters themselves, rather than take the trouble to milk the cows. Yet we are told that people cannot live without it. What arrant nonsense it is* to talk like that! Is there a single honor-‘ able senator who has lived for any considerable time in Australia who’ has not done without milk for months at a stretch 1 There are plenty of people who do not use milk at all, and do not want it. I think a. duty of Id. per lb. is quite little enough on the imported article.
– The proposal to make tinned milk free of duty is a very strong one in the face of preexisting circumstances. As has already been pointed out by previous speakers, there have been duties in the various States ranging’ from Id., to the Tasmanian duty of 20 per cent. I wish particularly to read a letter written by a man connected with the milk industry which has been brought intoexistence in Victoria. It shows the effectof the existing Tariff upon the industry asagainst the competition of the outsideworld. I commend the information contained in this document to the consideration of the committee. It is written by the manager of the Bacchus Marsh Concentrated Milk Company Ltd. He says -
In our experience we could not hithertoexport to the adjoining colonies which im- ‘ posed a duty ; we required federation or reciprocity between the colonies, and an import duty to compensate for the differenceof cost in labour, tin-plates, paper and printing, and cases, which exceeds by 30 per cent. European expenses. In the face of this we could, not ask for capital to manufacture largely anil successfully, but since the Federal Tariff was issued we have ventured, and, from £13,23(>, we have increased our capital to- £30,000, which has been taken up within £3,000. On £13,000 wedid u business of £(10,000 per annum in the face, of bod seasons practically over the whole of the last five years un profitably ; while the previous fiveyears we profited £1,000 per annum. This answers the sneer at our puny efforts. With a fair measure of protection assured, negotiations have been entered into to invest up to from £(>0,000 to £100,000 in the industry, to realize a small percentage on a large turnover. We have succesfully manufactured sweetened and unsweetened condensed milk equal in quality and keeping to the imported milks. We also had to go slowly, a.s it takes several years in each district where weerect a factory to educate the farmers to take such sanitary measures, &c, in dealing with milk to give an article tit to manufacture, and the success of condensing is dependent on the quality of the milk received from the farmer.?,, so you see the industry is far-reaching, and nationally onethat should, be conserved irrespective of revenueconsiderations.
The latter portion of the letter bears out the statement of Senator Fraser, that the indus- I try is to a certain extent in its foundation stage. We know that the Victorian Governments in the past have done a good deal to encourage the dairying industry of this State. The Government of the State of Tasmania, seeing the good results that have been effected here, secured the services of Mr. Potts, the chief dairying expert of Victoria, to go over and give the farmers of that State some instruction in modern methods. The result of his visit was that he said that it would be necessary to educate the Tasmanian farmers to produce the best quality of milk that could possibly be obtained. As is pointed out in the letter which I have read, wherever an industry of this character is established it is first of all necessary to educate the farmer so as to induce him to supply milk in the best possible condition to ensure the best results from manufacturing processes. The experience of Victoria shows that an industry of this character can only be built up gradually. A reasonable time should, however, be allowed to those who desire to interest themselves in the industry, and to invest their capital in it. Time is likewise required in order that our primary producers - the farmers and dairymen - may give greater attention than they have done in the past to scientific dairying, so that the best results may be achieved, and a large industry established. This question not merely affects Victoria. It also affects Queensland, and various other parts of the Commonwealth which have natural facilities for the establishment of an industry of the character referred to. There is hardly one of them whose dairymen have not natural facilities for supplying milk to a greater extent than they have done in the past. Lately the Government of New South Wales, noticing the success which had attended the Victorian dairying industry, have secured the services of Mi1. Potts. I attended several of that gentleman’s lectures when he was in Tasmania, and followed his progress throughout the country, feeling interested in the subject; and I know that the result there will be that if there was a possibility of the industry being established, not only will it produce greater results than have been achieved in the past, but also better results with increased benefits to the many individuals who would be interested in it. It has been shown that when under protection the local industry has been sufficiently well established it can supply products to vie with any imported article. But under all the circumstances, and considering the duties that were imposed in the past, a sudden drop such as that proposed by Senator Matheson would be a serious thing, and would tend to discourage those who are inclined to invest their capital in the industry. .For these reasons the motion is one which the committee would do well to reject.
– The honorable senator who has moved this motion has made an appeal to us to have some regard to persons living in the backblocks, who are unable to get fresh milk, and desire to purchase condensed milk at the lowest possible cost. It is scarcely necessary for me to say that I heartily sympathize with those persons. My whole political career shows that I have not been lacking in sympathy for them.
– Make it practical sympathy.
– I have travelled considerably in the back blocks of , Queensland. I represented in the State Parliament a portion of Queensland 1,300 miles away from the capital, a mining district, where a large amount of condensed milk was used, and there it was almost impossible to obtain a supply of fresh milk. Senator Matheson asks me to have some practical sympathy for these people. That means, I presume, that he wishes me to support him in his proposal to put condensed milk on the free list. I have had as much experience of the back blocks as has Senator Matheson, but I have scarcely met a man in Queensland who grumbled about the tax on milk, although the duty there has hitherto been 2d. per lb. If it were possible to support the honorable senator’s proposition I should like to do so ; but in view of the efforts which are being made in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and other parts of the Commonwealth to establish the milk-preserving industry, whereby people in the back blocks who are unable at present to obtain fresh milk will have the purest milk that can be produced in Australia conveyed to their doors at a lower rate than that charged for the imported article. I must oppose the motion. The motion, if carried, will mean a very serious loss of revenue to Queensland.
– From whom are we going to obtain this revenue ?
– The finances of the State which my honorable friend represents are safeguarded for the next five years, and he can move in an airy way to reduce this item and that item. But does he pay any regard to other States whose finances must be preserved as far as possible? It is all very well for Senator Matheson to ask from whom this revenue is to be obtained, but we are bound to have revenue. I am undoubtedly a protectionist, and where an industry can be preserved by means of a duty which will also raise a reasonable amount of revenue, I am prepared to protect it. In the interest of Queensland and other States, whose finances have been considerably dislocated by the removal of the Inter-State duties, as well as by the Federal Tariff, it is my bounden duty to oppose this motion, although I should not like to be a party to the imposition of a tax which would press unduly on the people. As the duty which formerly prevailed in Queensland, has been reduced from 2d. a lb. to1d., that State will lose about £6,000 a year under the item as it stands.
– I thought the honorable senator said that Queensland could produce all the milk that was necessary for the Commonwealth.
– I think that if the industry is afforded reasonable protection, it must spread in Queensland, just as other industries must expand. When that time comes we shall be in a better position to do with less revenue, inasmuch as we shall then have a number of people employed in these industries. I find that no less than 1.513,752 lb. tins of condensed milk were imported into Queensland during theyear 1900, yielding a revenue of upwards of £12,000, and considering the enormous amount of revenue that we have lost already can we afford to adopt this proposition ? I do not think we can. I have every sympathy with those in the backblocks who find it impossible to obtain fresh milk, and I yield to no honorable senator in my desire to safeguard their interests, but in order to protect the industry and to obtain necessary revenue this duty must be retained.
– I consider that the establishment of preserved milk factories in Australia is calculated to improve the supply of milk to persons residing in the outlying districts. There is no State in which there is not any amount of good dairying land whereon milk can be produced, and with these factories, whose machinery is comparatively simple and can be set up anywhere, there is no reason why every State should not produce sufficient condensed milk to satisfy the wants of all its people. I am afraid that even the rate of duty fixed in the Tariff will not afford sufficient protection to the local producer, owing to the high price of sugar, which enters into the composition of condensed milk, and the high rate of wages paid in Australia, as compared with some foreign countries, such as Switzerland.
– Thelocally preserved milk is sold at a lower price than the imported article.
– That may be so in some cases. It is due to prejudice against the local article, and also to the fact that since the establishment of these factories in Australia imported milk has been selling at a lower price than before. I have the statement on the authority of the Queensland Chamber of Agriculture, that imported condensed milk sold at 7s. 6d. per doz. tins in Queensland until the two factories were established there, when it fell to 5s. 6d. and 6s. per dozen tins.
– The retail price of Nestle’s milk in Western Australia is only 6s. 9d. per dozen tins.
– Even that leaves a margin for profit. Senator Fraser has referred to the Cressbrook factory in Queensland. I do not speak as an expert, but those whose opinion is worthy of considerable weight say that the condensed milk turned out by that factory is equal, if not superior, to milk from the United States of America, and that is claimed to be superior to any other.
– The Swiss milk is first.
– The honorable senator may say so, but without complete information from experts I do not like to express an opinion which may be detrimental to any of these manufacturers, and I know there is a strong difference of opinion on the subject. The other factory in Queensland is situated at Harrisville, and is owned by Sealy Brothers. I believe it is closed at the present time. This is what Mr. Charles Sealy has to say -
Last year I opened a most complete milk condensing factory here, at a cost of close on £4,000, in the full belief that every branch of the dairying industry in Australia would receive equal consideration at the hands of the Commonwealth Parliament. But the reduction in the Tariff from 2d. to1d. per lb. on imported preserved milk together with the advance in sugar by £6 per ton, has placed this branch of the industry in such a position that I cannot avoid loss, and in consequence have resolved to close my factory.
I simply wish to give Mr. Sealy’s statements as to the two items of extra expenditure that fall upon the local article. He says -
I beg permission to point out to you - (1.) Sweet and preserved milk (condensed and preserved without the aid of chemicals) contains 40 per cent. added sugar, and that continental beet-sugar and Cuban cane-sugars are quoted at less than1d. per lb., while here we are compelled to pay 21/4d. per lb., so that in sugar alone the foreign factories have an immense advantage over Australian factories. (2.) In Denmark and other continental countries, dairymaids are employed at from £5 to £8 per annum and found, and factory hands and engineers at from £20 to £40 per annum ; while in this country, in place of cheap labour women, we have to employ men at £52 per annum, and factory hands and engineers at from £50 to £150 pperannumandfound.And,shouldyouwishit, would be glad to submit to you my wages’-sheet for the past year to confirm my statement as to wages ; also letters from Banes in my employ as to wages paid on the Continent of Europe.
Then he makes some other remarks with regard to the additional difficulty of carrying on the work of condensing milk in tropical countries. But the principal stress is laid upon the fact that he has to pay a higher price for his sugar in consequence of our legislation with respect to the sugar industry, and that he has to pay a higher rate of wages here than is paid to persons engaged in the industry in the foreign countries from which some of our preserved milk supplies come. It is, therefore, not unreasonable that he should say that if this small protection of1d. is further reduced it will be impossible to carry on the industry. Senator Fraser has referred to the fact that one factory has actually been closed in consequence of the reduction of the dutyfrom 2d. to1d. This is a very useful industry which is being established amongst us, and I ask honorable senators whether in the long run it can possibly be an advantage to the people of Australia to strike off this protection, and so destroy the local industry ?Will it be a desirable state of things if we have to draw the whole of our supplies of preserved milk from abroad? Will not the result be that, as soon as these factories are destroyed, and we have ceased to produce the article ourselves, an importing ring will put up the price of the imported article to what it was before? We have here evidence which can be relied upon - that the establishment of the local factories has brought down the price of the imported article ; and it would be worth while to keep those local factories going even if it were only to secure the imported article at the lower price. There can be no possible doubt that if this protection is taken away, and the local production is stopped, the people of Australia will have to pay for it by an increase in the price of the foreign article. I cannot see how it can be of any advantage to the miners, whom Senator Matheson assumes to represent, to prevent the establishment of this industry in Australia, or to join with others in making an attack upon it. I should like to have seen a duty the same as that Queensland imposed, and under which the factories were established. We should then have had these condensed milk factories established all over the country, and supplying preserved milk to our own people in the most remote parts of Australia. Senator Matheson may tell me that if that were the case the revenue would be lost. Of course we know that if the industry were established here in such a way that we should not require any importation from abroad, the revenue from this article would cease ; but surely it would be a great gain to the people of Australia to be supplied with good and wholesome milk produced and preserved here. That would be some compensation for the small loss of revenue. I hope that honorable senators, before taking action to strike off this duty, will consider that unless they can controvert the statements I have quoted with regard to the higher cost of sugar, and the higher wages which have to be paid in connexion with this industry in Australia, it is clear that any reduction of the duty must have the effect of shutting up the existing condensed milk factories.
– We ought to take into consideration the fact that if we permit the duty to remain as it is, it will not increase the consumption of Victorian or Queensland condensed milk, because the superior quality of the Swiss and Scandinavian brands of condensed milk will always insure the payment of a higher price for these articles.
– That talk about the superior quality of foreign brands of preserved milk is quite unproved.
– I am speaking in -this matter from actual experience. The best judges in cases of this kind are not honorable senators, but their wives, and I know the experience of my wife and of the wives of other honorable senators who live in Western Australia, and who have had to use this milk where fresh milk has been unobtainable, is that they would sooner give 2d. per tin more for Nestle’s milk than foi” Australian preserved milk. The fact is that if a tin of Australian milk is opened in the summer it will not keep for the same length of time as Nestle’s milk. That is the reason why the people of the Commonwealth are prepared to give more for Scandinavian and Swiss milk than for the local article. Senator Styles desired to know the price of condensed milk in Western Australia. I can tell him that the price quoted on 2Sth May of this year, by Howard and Kemp, a Perth retail firm, was Gs. 9d. per dozen tins of Nestle’s milk. On looking through the quotations in the Western Australian papers, the only brands I find quoted are two Swiss brands, and it is said that “ The demand for Nestle’s continues unchanged,” so that the people are unanimous in preferring Nestle’s brand of preserved milk, although they have to pay more for it than for Australian brands.
– How does the honorable senator account for the fact that the price in Queensland is 7s. 6d. .per dozen tins?
– That may be the case in Queensland ; but 6s. 9d. per dozen tins is the price quoted for Nestle’s milk in Western Australia, and it is the highest priced condensed milk in the market. Senator Drake assumes that we shall close down the Australian factories if we reduce the duty. The honorable and learned senator has quoted a letter to show that the reduction of the duty to Id. has resulted in the closing of one factory; but Senator Fraser referred to the same factory, and further said that McConnell. and Sons, who wre also Queensland manufacturers of preserved milk, are largely increasing their output.
– The honorable senator did not say that was since the reduction of the duty.
– The impression left upon my mind by the remarks of Senator Fraser was, that McConnell and Sons had recently largely increased their output. . If that is the case what becomes of the cry that we are going to ruin the Australian industry ? All that the Australian manufacturer of condensed milk needs to do if he desires to secure the Australian market is, not to decrease his price because it is already lower than that of the imported article, but to improve the quality of his milk. There is no unreasonable prejudice against the local article, but Nestle’s milk has so far been proved more suitable for a hot climate. We have to remember that Nestle’s milk has to overcome the great disadvantage of ocean freight. I quote here from a circular issued by H. J. Preston and Co., who are the agents for Nestle’s milk in Western Australia. Of course, this is an importer’s statement, but I take it to be of » just as much value as a statement made by Messrs. Sealy Bros., manufacturers, who were referred to and quoted by Senator Drake. Preston and Co. say, with regard to the question of freight -
Condensed milk is shipped hy steamer from Europe, and the freight is half as much again as from Queensland, which is the most distant State in Australia. Rates in favour of New South Wales and Victoria would, of course, compare still more favorably, giving the latter State an advantage of nearly 2d. per dozen, or 8d. per case, in freight protection alone, made up as follows : - European steamer freights to Western Australia, 45s. to 50s.; Victorian freights to Western Australia, 22s. Cel., equal to preferential freight of about 25s., 33 cases to ton, equal to fully 8d. per case.
The statement has just been made by Senator Drake that the duty is necessary because of the increased price which the Australian manufacturer has to pay for his sugar. The honorable senator intimated that the European manufacturer could get his sugar cheaper than the Australian manufacturer, but that is not the fact, and the European manufacturer has really to pay more for sugar than does the Australian manufacturer. These are the facts, as stated in Preston’s Circular -
The principal argument used against the further reduction to jd. per lb. was on account of the presence of 50 ‘08 of cheap bounty-fed sugar at £8 5s. per ton. This is disposed of so far as quantity is concerned by the result of recent analysis, and also most effectually so far as value enters into the question, inasmuch as at the time that Mr. Harper quoted in the House of Representatibes, i’8 5s. as being the price of bounty-fed sugar - which may have been an approximate value in Germany - Messrs. Nestle were paying in Switzerland the sum of 400 frolics per 1,000 kilos, which is equal to about £165s. per ton of 2,240 lbs. On Jauuary 25, 1902, the cost of this sugar delivered at the factories in Switzerland was380 francs per . 1,000 kilos, or very approximately £.15 8s.9d. per ton of 2,240 lbs. The rebate or bounty on a case of 48 1-lb tins is equal to 3d. per case or3/4d. per dozen. ,
The statement of Senator Drake that the labour cost is greater in Australia than in Switzerland, is combated in this pamphlet in the following terms : -
The difference in the cost of labour is fully compensated for in the fact that the cattle in Switzerland have to be stall-fed for the greater portion of the year, in addition to which there is the increased cost of exchange, insurance, and the expenses of transport from the European factories in Switzerland to the coast for shipment.
These items can be very fairly put against the increased wages which the Australian manufacturer has to pay. As to the natural protection which he enjoys, Messrs. Preston and Company say -
Taking 118 cases of Swiss milk as valued at 17s. per case, f.o.b., Europeanports, this would mean a trifle over £100, and in measurement would be slightly under 31/2 tons. The charges on thisparcel would be as follows . -
On118 cases, valued at £100, the Australian manufacturer has to pay 12s. 6d. for exchange, 10s. for insurance, £3 18s. 9d. for freight on 31/2 tons from Victoria, at 22s.6d. per ton, or a total charge of £51s. 3d., leaving a balance of £7 6s. 3d. in his favour. That is a substantial amount of natural protection. When we remember that the European manufacturer has to pay more for his sugar, at any rate in Switzerland, as is borne out by this pamphlet, we must recognise that the Australian manufacturer should not be in need of protection against the European one. The fact that Nestle’smilk sells at a higher price than the local article shows that no other protection is needed, and that all the local manufacturer has to do in order to capture the market is to produce a brand of milk equal to Nestle’s. Seeing that if the duty is imposed the people in the back blocks of not only Western Australia, but all parts of the Commonwealth where a hot climate is experienced, and fresh milk cannot be obtained, will still use Nestle’s milk, I contend that it is not a protective duty but a revenue duty. It is taxing the misfortunes of the people. Those persons who get fresh milk in the cities and more favoured centres can not be taxed on their milk food, and it is most iniquitous and unjust to tax those persons who are less fortunately circumstanced.
– I wish to say a word on behalf of the farmers. Senator Symon, perhaps not wilfully, has made another attempt to strike a blow at the primary producer, and Senator Matheson, whom I am sorry I did not hear, has attacked honorable senators in a most ungracious way. Some of us do lounge at times on the crimson seats, but then we are very tired of listening to the honorable senator ; I do not think any of us puts up his feet and scratches the back of the seats. I mention that fact, sir, because I know that the House of 48 rich landlords object to have this Chamber cut about. The imposition of this duty has become almost a question of State rights. On the 10th May last, I received the following letter from. Brisbane : -
As president of the Queensland Chamber of Agriculture I have the honour to bring under your notice the effect of the reduction of the duty on preserved milk, in regard to which I learn from the Argus that a proposition is about to be brought forward for the further reduction of the duty to1/2d. per lb.
This matter has been under the carefulconsideration of the chamber, and resolutions have been passed in favour of the restoration of the duty to the rate formerly in force in Queensland, viz., 2d. per lb.
The manufacturing of condensed milk is an industry of considerable importance where established, and its extension in Australia is likely to prove a very great boon indeed to the dairying districts. Two condensed milk manufactories have been established in Queensland. Before their establishment the ruling rate for imported condensed milk was 7s. 6d. per dozen, or 71/2d. per lb. tins. The establishment of these factories in one or two other parts of Australia had the immediate effect of bringing about a reduction of the price of imported milk from 7s. 6d. to 5s. 6d. and 6s., so that the consumers in Western Australia and other parts distant from the milkproducing centres benefited more by the local estalishments than the amount of duty which was imposed upon the article.
Condensed milk, in its manufactured form, contains 40 per cent. of high-class sugar. At the present time, sugar of the high quality required costs our milk manufacturers, delivered at their factories, from £20 10s. to £21 10s. per ton. In Europe, beet sugar of an equal quality can be bought at about £8 per ton - a difference which alone is not sufficiently made up by the1d. per lb. duty, at which the Tariff stood when it left the House of Representatives. Taking the item of sugar content alone,1d. per lb. duty is a minus protection for the industry itself. It is hardly sufficient to cover the import duty on the beet sugar content of the imported milk.
Apart from this, our factories have been giving the ruling rate of wages for their engineers and other factory hands. Engineer’s pay has been at the rate of £150 a year. For the same work in various parts of Europe, a competent engineer can be obtained by the factories for £20 a year and lodging, and the same disproportion continues through all thedifferent stages of the factory hands.
With regard to the farm-work, the standard here of wages for milkers is £52 a year and lodging, and the number of cows allotted to be milked by each man is, on the average, eighteen. In Europe, milk producers have an ample supply of female dairy workers, who undertake the milking of26 cows each per day, at annual wages of from £6 to £8 and lodging.
In the absence of any import duty to equalize the conditions of production in Europe and here, it is evident that with this heavy handicap in matters of sugar and rates of wages our Australian manufacturers cannot attempt to compete with European makers. The proposed reduction of duty to Ad. will still further so handicap our producers that for all practical purposes the duty might as well be abolished altogether.
On behalf of the Chamber I beg respectfully to put these facts before you for consideration, in the hope that you will endeavour to secure in the Senate, not only the rejection of the proposal for the further reduction of the duty below1d., but that you will see the justice of endeavouring to get the duty restored to 2d. per lb., which is no more really than is necessary to put the European and Australian manufacturers on an equal footing as regards their product.
That, it appears to me, presents the case in a very strong light, and when I mention that, in spite of the duty, there was imported into Queensland, by the importing industry, a very large quantity of milk from the United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, Sweden, and Norway, I think honorable senators will see that the farmers, generally, of the State have a right to raise a protest against the proposition put forward by the freetrade party in the Senate. I have been waiting for a long time to ascertain by what method honorable senators propose to assist the primary industries. So far I have failed to discover anythingbut a series of attempts to cut the ground from under the feet of the primary producers. I would ask honorable senators if they have any milk of human kindness left in them to allow this duty to stand. If it is in order, sir, I shall propose, at a later stage, that the duty be raised. Unfortunately, I was absent from the Chamber when it was proposed to put the article on the free list. I would urge honorable senators to be satisfied with the destructive work which was done in another place, and not to bring ruin on the whole farming industry of Queensland by their proposals. Senator Pearce suggested that the quality of our condensed milk should be improved, but we have authorities equal to Messrs. Preston and Company, who say that it is quite as good as the imported article. I admit that the honorable senator quoted a good deal of strong evidence on his side. But I would urge that when the factories have the whole of the Australian market at their disposal in all probability the greater output will enable them to produce an article superior to the imported one. And when Senator Matheson attacks us in the rough and ready manner in which he does, I am prompted to again ask how it is that the free-trade Government of Western Australia does not remove the 15 per cent. duty, and allow condensed milk from the other States to go freely into the State which is apparently so anxious to break down all the import duties.
– Does the honorable senator want an answer?
– Of course, the answer the honorable senator will give is that, owing to the compact made with the farmers of that State to induce them to enter the Federation, the free-trade Government cannot see their way clear to make such a proposal.
– That is not the answer. That is not correct.
– I think it is correct. I can produce a representative of the State in another place, who declared that there was a compact made with the farmers to keep up the duties. The senators for Western Australia wish to establish free-trade throughout the Commonwealth, with protectionist duties in that State against their fellow citizens in the other States. I think that is a most illogical proposition, which should make us look with suspicion on those who support it. I do not think that the miners can be very much oppressed by the price they have to pay for condensed milk. But I would ask whether the miners of Western Australia are not in receipt of a rate of wage which enables them to pay a little for the purpose of having this condensed milk introduced into the Commonwealth?
– The duty will increase the cost of living.
– That is a stock phrase. We have heard much about the free breakfasttable, which was a very effective cry at the time of the corn-law agitation in the old country. But we have got beyond that now. If the workers can obtain a better rate of pay, enabling them to pay an increased price for such an article, that is better for them than being out of work altogether and having no money with which to obtain bread or milk. The rates of wages mentioned by honorable senators in previous debates are apparen tly forgotten now. When a previous item was before the Chair, honorable senators who are now supporting the proposal to make milk duty-free, quoted Belgium as a place in which the lowest wages are paid. Belgium is one of the places from which this milk comes.
– I think the honorable senator is wrong.
– The honorable senator mustnot think that he monopolizes the whole of the figures pertaining to the Commonwealth. The statistics of Queensland show that there were imported from Belgium 1,200 lbs. of preserved milk in the year 1900. I dare say some honorable senators are proposing this extreme innovation because they think the committee may agree to a compromise. If that is in their minds they arc wasting the time of the country. Although some of us are not present at the caucus meetings of the Opposition we know what is to take place ; and I ventureto predict that if the present motion is not carried a proposition will be made to fix the duty at1/2d. Honorable senators should he satisfied with the harm they have already done without wishing to bring further ruin on the community.
Question - That the House ofRepresentatives be requested to amend item 37,by adding the words “ and on and after1s July, 1902, free” - put. Thecommittee divided -
Ayes … … … 5
Noes … … … 17
Majority … … 12
Question so resolved in. the negative.
– Last April I gave notice of motion toreduce this duty to1/2d, butI find that there is another honorable senator who has given closer attention to the matter than I have. Therefore the proposed reduction will not be moved by me, but by Senator Smith.
– I have to thank Senator Neild for courteously giving way to me in regard to this matter, as he has a notice of motion already printed. I now move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 37 by adding the words “ and on and after 1st July, 1902,1/2d.”
As Senator Matheson has pointed out, this is undoubtedly a class tax, on people who have pushed their way into the interior of Australia, and who are living under very disadvantageous circumstances. They are people who do not possess the various concomitants of civilization which obtain in the coastal districts, or in more favoured climates. They should not be penalized by a special class tax. Instead of endeavouring, as one would have thought the Government would do, to mitigate the natural discomforts that always occur in the interior, the Government are seeking by artificial means to add to those discomforts, and to increase the cost of living. The Vice-President of the Executive Council has told us that we must have this duty in view of the necessity of obtaining revenue. There is no form of taxation which is more reprehensible than that which falls only on a small section of the people. It is a class of taxation which all political economists have condemned. Senator O’Connor says that we must have a large amount of revenue, but I would ask him why he is in favour of allowing tea to come in free.
That is a necessary article of consumption which is used by rich and poor alike, and a tax upon it would extend over the whole of Australia. The duty on milk, however, affects only a comparatively small number of people; and, therefore, the Government are willing to impose it because they think that the objection to the tax is not likely to be so strong as it would be if it fell upon all the people. ‘ There are two classes of tinned milk, and it is well to. remember the distinction between them. We have the sweetened or condensed milk, and the concentrated milk. There need be no fear that our manufacturers of concentrated milk will suffer in any way if tho duty is struck out. Only a small proportion of water is removed from concentrated milk, and it is unsafe to keep it for more than a month. When a tin is opened it begins to deteriorate almost immediately. Concentrated milk contains 60 and 70 per cent., and, in some cases, an even greater percentage of water. It is mode by the Bacchus Marsh Company, which I am glad to hear from Senator Fraser is increasing its plant. It can do so without any fear, because it will be impossible for concentrated milk to be imported, and to compete effectively against its product. The position in regard to sweetened milk is different. A greater amount of moisture is taken from it. The sugar, amounting to 30 or 40 per cent., which it contains, acts as a preservative, and if it is of the best quality it will keep for almost an indefinite period. The eastern States have practically a monopoly of the supply of concentrated milk for the Commonwealth. I wish, however, to deal particularly wit!) sweetened or condensed milk. The first question which we have to ask ourselves is, Can sweetened milk be manufactured in. Australia and mode a ‘commercial success at the ordinary prices for milk, or can it be manufactured only when an artificial price is created by the imposition of a heavy duty f If we are to judge by our experience up to the present time we must unhesitatingly answer the first, question in the negative. In Victoria, a sweetened milk manufactory has been in existence for the past six years, and during the whole of that time it hoa had the advantage of a duty of 2d. per lb. on the imported article. Yet the manufacturers have been unable to overtake the comparatively small demand in Victoria for condensed milk, and in 1899 there was an importation of that particular article amounting in value to £10,152. In the same year the importations of sweetened milk into -the various States amounted in value to £114,563. If the Victorian article has not been able to displace the imported milk in this State, with a duty of 2d. per lb., together with the natural protection in its favour, is,it- not absurd to say that with a duty of Id. per lb. it can displace the imported milk in other States, in view of the fact that it will have to .pay freight charges to those States 1 I -think it is admitted that although sweetened milk has been manufactured to a certain extent in Australia under high protective duties, the industry is a failure. That is shown to be the fact by the results I have quoted. Let us ask ourselves why it is impossible to manufacture sweetened milk in Australia as cheaply as in other countries, and of equally good quality. The reason is shown clearly in the circular issued by the AngloAustralian Milk Company, which states that -
Owing to difference in climate between this country and older European countries, the initial difficulty of manufacture is found to be very great.
The difficulty is that it requires an artificiallyprepared temperature. Unless it is condensed and tinned in a cool temperature it will not keep in tho hot climates to which it is sent. That being so, it cannot be produced except under expensive artificial conditions, which do not exist in Switzerland, Norway, and other cold countries. New Zealand mode the experiment of manufacturing sweetened milk, but in two shipments which it sent to Western Australia, many of the tins were found to be bad, and. merchants and storekeepers refused to _ stock them. Practically the only sweetened milk used in Western Australia is that . prepared by Nestlé, of Switzerland, which is shown by analysis to be the best. - Storekeepers will not stock ‘ other brands because they find that they will not keep during the heat of the summer months on the gold-fields of Western Australia. Not many years ago, the Nestle’s Milk Company sent a representative to Australia to inquire as to the possibility of establishing a milk factory here on a large scale ; that gentleman visited the principal States, and’ after spending a considerable time here, and making an exhaustive inquiry, he reported that he did not think’ the venture would be a commercial success.
– That was at a time when each State had duties against the manufacturers of every other State.
– If in one State alone £100,000 worth of condensed milk is consumed annually, one would think it could be made a commercial success if the climate were suitable. I would ask honorable senators seriously to consider why we should establish an artificial industry in sweetened milk when we have a natural industry that will consume to much greater advantage all the fresh milk we produce. In Victoria, we have a butter industry of which we can all be proud. It was built up with hardly any protection - a comparatively slight bonus being granted - but it has expanded to an enormous extent. Our milk cannot be used for condensing purposes as well as for buttermaking, and why should we take people from a natural and paying industry in this and the other States, when there is an unlimited market for our butter, to place them in an artificial industry which experience has shown cannot’ be made to pay 1 As Senator Pearce has said, this is practically a revenue duty, and milk will be imported whatever the duty may be. It is a hardship to impose upon people who are situated in the outlying districts of Australia, and who have not the advantages which people in more favoured places possess, a tax such as this, which will yield a revenue of £20,000 or £30,000 per annum. We have been told that the finest of all preserved milk is made in Australia, but Nestle’s milk is the only brand which will be purchased on the gold-fields. The reason for that is shown in exhaustive analyses which I have of the milk produced by the various companies in Australia, as well as Nestle’s Swiss milk. In Nestle’s Swiss milk the quantity of water is 24.50 per cent.; in the Queensland Cressbrook Dairy Company’s milk, 26.10 per cent.; in the New South Wales Concentrated Milk Company’s milk, 27.10 per cent.; in Sealy ‘s Queensland Eagle brand milk, 26 per cent.; and in the Victorian Empire milk, 32.4 per cent. Inthe Bacchus Marsh milk, which is concentrated, and, of course, does not compare with the others, the percentage of water is 73.7. The excess of water in these various brands as compared withNestle’s milk is as follows : - Queensland Cressbrook brand, 1.60 per cent.; New South Wales Concentrated Milk Company’s brand, 2.60 per cent.; Sealy’s Queensland Eagle brand, 1-50 per cent.; and the Victorian Empire brand, 7.90, or an increase of nearly 8 per cent. The percentage of milk fat in Nestle’s Swiss milk is enormously greater than that found in any other brand, as the following figures show : - Nestle’s Milk, 10.53 per cent.; Queensland Cressbrook Dairy Company’s milk,8.73 percent.; NewSouth Wales Concentrated Milk Company’s brand 4-63 percent.; Sealy’s Queensland Eagle brand, 6.84 per cent.; and Victorian Empire brand, 9.4 per cent. The percentage of cane sugar is as follows : - Nestle’s Milk, 39.37 per cent.; Queensland Cressbrook Dairy Company’s milk, 41.46 per cent.; New South Wales Concentrated Milk Company’s brand, 46.43 per cent.; Sealy’s Queensland Eagle brand, 21.55 per cent.; and the Victorian Empire brand, 35.4 per cent. The analyses of other concomitants of milk may be obtained from me by any honorable senator. I desire to fulfil my promise to Senator Drake, who was anxious to know by whom these analyses were made. The analysis of
Nestle’s milk was made by Otto Hehner, of London; of the Queensland Cressbrook Dairy Company by E A. Mann, Government Analyst of Western Australia ; of Queensland Sealy’s “Eagle” and Victorian Bacchus Marsh Company’s milk by Dixon and Bryn, of Sydney ; and of the Victorian “ Empire “ and Helidon Concentrated Milk Company’s milk by G. A. Goyder, of Adelaide.
– How is it that the honorable senator had to go to Western Australia for an analysis of Queensland milk?
– Because the analysis was made in Western Australia. I do not think any one will doubt these analyses, which have been made by men of repute, and men who are probably known by name to many honorable senators present.
– I do not think they are at all convincing.
– They show that Nestle’s milk contains less water and more milk fat than the other brands of milk, and they clearly show that it is superior to the other brands of milk.
– I do not admit that that is proved at all.
– I have said that this is an artificial industry, and to encourage it will only be to decrease the volume of our butter trade. As honorable senators have shown by the vote they have given that they believe that there should be some protection for the manufacture of sweetened milk in Australia, I should like to point out what protection, is afforded by a duty of d. per lb. On £100 worth of milk the duty of Jd. per lb. will amount to £11 16s. ; exchange, 90 days’ sight, £4 ; insurance, 10s. ; and freight at 45s. per ton - £7 17s. 6d. That amounts to £24 3s. 6d,, or to nearly 25 per cent, protection upon this sweetened milk. -. We may be informed that when milk is being sent from the ‘ eastern States to Western Australia they have to pay certain charges, which must bo deducted to get a fair result. These charges ore as follow : - Exchange, 12s. 6d.; insurance, 10s.; freight at 22s. 6d. per ton - £3 18s. 9d. on £100 worth ; or a total of £5 ls. 3d. It is therefore clear that the actual protection in the eastern States of Australia is 25 per cent., and in Perth the people of the eastern States will have an advantage of 20 per cent. These figures have been checked with the greatest care, and I believe they are absolutely correct. Senator Drake has raised two objections. He has said that we have to pay an increased price for sugar, and higher wages. Senator Higgs also told us that we must remember the higher price of labour in Australia. I intend to go carefully into those objections. We must first of all remember that the bounty-fed sugar will cease in- sixteen months’ time from the present ; that has been decided at an international conference.
– By the delegates, but it has to be confirmed by Acts of parliament of the different nations.
– That is so, but the nations have agreed that in sixteen months’ time they will discontinue these bounties upon sugar. Hie honorable and learned senator’s interjection, however, goes for nothing, as I intend to argue as though the bounties were still in force. I have shown that the actual sugar contents in Nestlé’s milk amount to 3)’7 per cent., or less than 8 cwt. for every ton of milk. Milk at Jd. per lb. will therefore pay a duty of £4 1 3s. 4d per ton, so that if the duty was put on the sugar contents a ton of sugar coming in would pay a duty of £1 1 19s. 4d. Assuming the bounty-fed sugar to continue, that would make a difference of £6 po.r ton, or less than A. per lb. Sugar is selling in Australia at £20 a ton, and sugar costs Nestle, in Switzerland, £16 per ton, and not £8 per ton, .the price quoted in another place, and also here. - But the fact is overlooked that in Switzerland they have to pay a duty of £4 ls. 3d. per ton. If we add that to the price of the sugar, and it must be remembered that only the very best granulated sugar is used in the manufacture of Nestle’s milk, we shall see that the price cannot be less than £16 per ton. The difference in the price of sugar per ton in Australia and in Switzerland is only £4, and dealing with the sugar contents on every ton of milk, the difference is only £1 12s. There are 2,400 tins of ‘milk to the ton, and this means a difference of less than 8d. per case or less than 2d. for every dozen tins of milk. Therefore, the actual discrepancy caused by the difference between the cost of sugar in Australia, and its cost in Switzerland amounts to less than 2d. for every dozen tins of milk .imported. I have said that it has been agreed that the bountries upon sugar shall be discontinued, and that will increase the price of sugar in Switzerland. We have had it stated that it will not be. very long before the. production of sugar in Queensland and New South Wales will overtake the Australian demand, and the price of the article will then.be reduced. ‘ If both these considerations are noted, we shall see that while - in any case the difference in the cost of sugar is infinitesimal, it will probably disappear in the course of one or two years. I now come to deal with the argument of Senator Higgs, that we cannot compete with the lower, wages of Switzerland and other European countries. There are other things besides wages which have to be considered in the production of milk,and the lower wages paid in Switzerland are more than conpensated for by the fact that in that country for more than eight months in the year the cattle have to be stallfed. It is only for four months in the year that they can be herded on the Alps, when tho snow has disappeared. The cattle in the plains have to be stall-fed for the whole twelve months. Honorable senators will therefore see that more labour must be employed in connexion with this industry in Switzerland than in Australia, and it must be more expensive. The labour is used in obtaining the milk and bringing it to the factory, and comparatively little labour is employed in preserving it. Senator Styles is usually most careful in submitting facts to the committee, but he made some most extraordinary statements in dealing with this matter. He asked whether we were going to allow the importation of this rubbish. The honorable senator used the word “ stuff,” and called it mare’s milk and goat’s milk. If he had read any thing about Switzerland, he would know that that country is famed throughout the world for cleanliness, and he would know that only cow’s milk is used in this industry. I come now to the question as to how this would affect Western Australia. I may be met with gibes from honorable senators, and Senator O’Connor may again say that I am selfish and provincial in alluding to Western Australia.
– It is curious that no one is provincial when referring to Queensland.
– If we desire to arrive at a correct decision in connexion with this Tariff honorable senators must think of the effect it will have upon their own States. Western Australia is largely concerned in this matter, and I shall only be doing my duty in pointing out how it “will affect that State. An enormous quantity of condensed milk will be imported into the other States, and as an illustration I have a perfect right to speak of Western Australia. We have in that State a population of 200,000. 100,000 of the population are resident in the interior, where there is practically no rainfall, and no herbage, and it is impossible to keep cattle. The only milk the people in the interior of Western Australia can obtain is this sweetened milk. It is an absolutely necessary article of diet for them. Senator O’Connor spoke of the “ rich miner’s luxury,” but if this is a luxury to the miner and prospector, and I admit that it is, it is a very cruel thing to endeavour to deprive them of it. The importations into Western Australia this year are estimated at 110,000 cases, averaging 45 lbs. each. A duty of Id. per lb. on that quantity will yield £20,000. The amount of revenue required under the Tariff is £8,500,000. Western Australia’s contribution to that revenue amounts to £425,000. Therefore, it is proposed to raise from a portion of the people of the State on one article, and that a necessity of life, a twentieth of its total contribution to the federal revenue. As it is to be raised from only one-half of the people, it means that 100,000 persons will pay a tenth of the total contribution of the State in a duty on condensed milk. This is not only a class tax, but it is an exceedingly cruel and oppressive one. What I ask the committee to do is to reduce the duty by one-half, and to say that the contribution of- Western Australia from this source shall be £10,000 per annum. In that State we pay, on this one article, as much duty practically as do all the otherStates. The people of that State pay at the rate of £1 per head for every shilling that is paid in the other States. That is a class tax which I would appeal to honorable senatorsto endeavour to mitigate in some way. Thepeople who use condensed milk can get no compensating .advantages from the Tariff. No duties that can be imposed will benefit them in any way. In other States people may suffer under this particular duty, but in the Tariff there are other duties from which they receive a benefit, and therefore they get a certain amount of compensation. It has been said that the price of milk was lowered by the foreign companies directly the factories were started here. In Western Australia the competition from the eastern States has been so infinitesimal that it has not been worthy of consideration. For the last two years there, the price of Nestle’s milk has not been reduced, and in large parcels the price has been increased. We are told by Senator O’Connor that there is a prejudice against the local article, that the people of Western Australia are prejudiced against their brothers and sisters- - because they mostly come from the eastern States - and will use the Swiss milkLet me draw an analogy from one or two other lines. Not many years ago we used almost wholly tinned meat obtained from the United States. But what is the fact now ? The tinned meat used now is almost exclusively meat obtained from the eastern States, except special kinds packed in a certain way which are not made there. The Australian tinned meats are selling at 1 0 per cent, more than are imported tinned meats. . Does that look as if we are prejudiced against our friends in the eastern States? A few years ago all the jams used to come to Western Australia from England and Europe. At the present time we use almost entirely jams imported from Victoria, Tasmania, and New South Wales. It is exactly the same with regard to biscuits and a number of other articles. The statement with regard to the existence of a prejudice in Western Australia is absolutely disproved. I could mention half-a-dozen cases where the products of the eastern States have not only displaced foreign products in that market, but are selling at a higher price than any foreign products of a similar kind could be sold at. It has been said by an honorable senator that we should not benefit by any reduction of the duty, that ihe storekeeper or the merchant would obtain the amount of the reduction. In November last the duty was reduced by the other House from . 1-3,-d. to Id. per lb,, and immediately throughout Western Australia the retail price of tinned meat was reduced by ½d. per tin. We were asked by the Government to preserve existing industries. What advantages did this particular industry have before the Commonwealth was established ? It had no advantage whatever over foreign competitors, except m the State where it was carried on. Victorian milk had to compete in New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, and Tasmania on exactly the same terms as did foreign milk. What advantage will accrue if my- motion is carried? Besides the natural protection, the Australian manufacturer will have an advantage of about 12 per cent, as against any outside competitor. Is that not preserving existing industries ? Are we not giving to the manufacturer a considerable advantage ? And are we not doing that by the imposition of a class tax which, from an economic point of view, should be countenanced only under very exceptional circumstances ? Considering that it is such a severe tax on the people of Western Australia, I ask honorable senators not to wipe out the item, but to reduce the duty b)r one-half, so those persons who have to* put up with great hardships in the West shall not be taxed to a very exorbitant extent, as they will be if the duty is retained.
– I do not intend to follow Senator Smith through all the matter to which he has referred in his very interesting speech, because it appears to me that he has gone very wide of the real issue we have to decide. I deny that this is a tax on any special class. A man who consumes a tin of preserved milk in Western Australia or in the eastern States pays a duty of -id. or Id. per lb, as the case may be. There is no difference in the amount of the tax which is imposed on any man, wherever he is situated. Every consumer will have to pay the price of the article, which will probably include the amount of the duty, until the local production begins to make its way.
– It is only collected from a small section of the people.
– I am going to show that that is not so. If the honorable senator puts forward that position on behalf of the milk importers into Western Australia, surely exactly the same argument will apply to the duties on bacon, hams, butter, pickles, and a number of other articles 1
– Certainly not, because those articles are used by the whole people of the Commonwealth.
– Does the honorable senator say that it is only in Western Australia that Nestle’s milk is consumed ? I shall show in a moment that it is consumed in all the States. I admit that existing conditions make the consumption, compared with population, larger in Western Australia than in other parts of the Commonwealth, but the duty is in no sense a tax on a particular class. Although the honorable senator may be perfectly right in his theory as to the taxation of a particular class being objectionable, he has altogether misunderstood the application of that principle. It’ does not apply to a case of this kind at all. Because it happens that local conditions cause condensed milk to be consumed more freely in Western Australia than in any other State, that is no reason why the duty should be called a special tax. Coming to the facts to which I said I would refer, the first is that this tax operates more largely in some of the other States than in Western Australia.
– That is not correct ; those returns are wrong.
– The honorable senator may have the advantage of private sources of information, but I am relying upon public documents, and I will ask the committee to take them as. reliable. The best possible testimony as to what will be collected is what actually was collected in the six months from 9th October, 1901, to the 31s,-i March, 1902. These collections were for about half the time at the rate of lid. per lb., and for the remainder of the time at Id. In New South Wales the amount collected in the six months was £4,573 ; in Victoria, £1,166 ; in Queensland, £2,236 ; in South Australia, £762 ; in Tasmania, £1,432. From Western Australia we have not got the exact figures, but the approximate, estimate is £3,000 for the period. It is, therefore, -altogether wrong to paint a picture to show that the larger proportion of the duty on condensed milk will be paid by the miners and prospectors in the interior of Western Australia. No doubt Western Australia has consumed very largely in proportion to her population, but not so disproportionately as to make this especially a tax on Western Australia. The revenue aspect of the question is important. The duty to be derived from condensed milk in Western Australia was estimated at £6,250. AVe are now asked to make the duty id. instead of Id. Let us compare the duties in the States. Leaving out New South Wales, where condensed milk was free, the duty was 2d. in Victoria, 2d. in Queensland, Id. in South Australia, 20 per cent, in Tasmania, 15 per cent, in Western Australia, and 25 per cent, in New Zealand. Mr. Mahon, who may be taken to be a good authority upon the question, who has given a great deal of attention to it, and who made a very able speech in the House of Representatives, first attempted to obtain a duty of $d. per lb. I find from the records that that motion was lost by six votes, and that Mr. Mahon afterwards proposed a duty of Id., which was carried by a majority of 16. AVe are dealing with this question, I hope, in a practical way. AVe do not settle the matter. AVe make a suggestion, which has to go before another place to be -settled ; and as the divisions taken in another place have been used as an argument upon other items, I am entitled to point out the position in regard to this item. This is a fair compromise on the question, and to attempt to make a still further reduction now is a course of conduct which is absolutely opposed to the real practical facts of the situation. The duty has already been reduced to such an extent that it will seriously injure the revenue if any further reduction is made. I find that the total amount collected in the six months was a little over £13,000. That was while the duty was first lid., and afterwards Id. Considering the circumstances in which the collection took place, it will be admitted that that does not represent anything like the average amount that would be collected.
If the duty be reduced to hd., the revenue will be reduced by something like onehalf. That is to say, instead of getting £26,000 odd for the year, we should only get about £13,000 odd. When the bearing of the matter upon the States is looked at, it becomes evident that their financial position will be seriously affected. For instance in Queensland there was collected for the six months, £2,236. If the duty is reduced by one-half, there will be a loss of £2,200 for the year. In the case of Tasmania, there will be a loss of £1,400 for the year. Are we willing to put upon the States a loss of that kind, which they can ill afford to bear ? It is only by means of such duties, which are revenue-producing, that we can bring up the revenue of the States to anything like what it ought to be. Now I come to the protective effect of the duty. Senators Smith and Pearce have made reference to the added cost of the sugar in making condensed milk in Australia. The general price of sugar may be taken to be £20 5s. per ton in the Commonwealth, and £7 10s. per ton in Europe. Of course, the reason is that the price of beet sugar, upon which there is a duty of £10 per ton, is the basis of sugar value.. In Germany, from which a large proportion of condensed milk comes, a rebate is allowed of any duty that is paid on sugar used in its manufacture.
– There is no rebate in Switzerland.
– It must be taken to be only reasonable that almost everywhere, when a duty is imposed on goods which are used for manufacturing purposes, and those goods are afterwards exported, a rebate is allowed.
– I asked the Swiss Consul in Melbourne, and he stated that he could find no record whatever of any rebate being allowed on sugar used for condensed milk.
– I am not in a position to say what is the case in regard to Switzerland, except to argue on the probabilities. Taking New South Wales, the imports of preserved milk in 1900 from the United Kingdom were 997,072 lbs., and from Germany 60,528 lbs. Of another kind there were imported 2,010,575 lbs., and from Switzerland 992,030 lbs. By far the larger proportion came from Switzerland -and Germany. Although I have no positive information on the subject it seems to me an extraordinary thing that there should be no rebate allowed in Switzerland upon the duty on sugar.
– It is said that they actually pay more for their sugar than we do.
– If that is so it is impossible to understand how they can sell their milk at the price they do. Assuming that there is a rebate and that there is from 40 to 50 per cent. of sugar used in the milk, then that percentage, worked into pounds, means that the cost of the sugar to the New South Wales manufacturer in excess of the cost to the German manufacturer is1/2d. per lb. Therefore the whole protection which it is said we are going to give the manufacturer here is swallowed up by the difference in the sugar duty.
– In the Western Australian returns of imports it appears that the milk comes from Germany, but the fact is that the greater portion of the milk imported into that State comes from Switzerland.
– It goes through Germany.
– A great quantity of it is made in Germany, and a good deal of the milk known here as “ Swiss milk “ is made in London. It would really be very much better to say that we are not going to give any protection than to propose a duty of1/2dper lb., with the view of affording protection to the local manufacturer, when we know that it will not do so. ‘ Instead of protecting the local article, it will lead to the closing up of many of these factories. Do we want to do that, especially when we consider that these manufactories began business and have grown up, in most cases, under higher duties in different parts ofthe Commonwealth’? It appears to me to be carrying the craze for knocking off duties too far to make this proposal in order, as my honorable friend says, to protect the miners of Australia. I referred just now to the rich miner of Western Australia, and I will undertake to say that, if we compare the wages sheets, it will be seen that the miners upon the interior gold-fields of that State are paid a much higher wage than miners receive on the coast.
– And they have to pay more for their living.
– It is because the miner there has to pay more for his living, including this duty on milk, that he receives a higher wage. He has permanent employment and good wages. If there are any working men in Australia who are in an assured position they are the mining population and those dependent upon them in Western Australia. They have had all necessary consideration. We ought to think sometimes of the large bodies of producers throughout Australia who are interested in this question, and who wish to have, as they ought to have, not only a market for their milk and their butter, but a market for condensed milk, which, I hope, if the industry prospers - as it will do if properly cared for - will be a market throughout the Commonwealth.
– I said nothing upon the proposition on which the division has just taken place, but I have something to say on the motion by Senator Smith. After his exceedingly able and instructive speech it will be unnecessary for me to deal at any length with the view that I propose to offer for the consideration of the committee. What is the proposition which he makes ? It is that the duty shall be exactly that which has existed in Western Australia. A duty of 15 per cent. is equal, as nearly as possible, to a duty of1/2d. per lb., and following the example that we have had in some other instances, Senator Smith is not doing anything unreasonable in suggesting that a tax upon a commodity which, whether used by either rich or poor miners, is of very large general consumption, should not be more than they have been in the habit of paying. That is a fairly strongposition for him to take in seeking to persuade honorable senators to agree with him. Senator O’Connor has, however, referred again to the Tariffs of the different States prior to federation. It is not for us to be led away by any comparison of that kind. We have agreed on both sides that the condition of things which governed these Tariffs was quite different from that which prevails now. These States adopted retaliatory Tariffs against each ether. If one State entered upon the manufacture of any particular product, some other State immediately set up a wall of protection against it in order that it might encourage some little factory to manufacture the same commodity within its own boundaries. No one complained of that, but it is well to protest once more against the attempt to induce us to accept the different Tariffs of the States before federation - and certainly those in which high duties prevailed - as a guide to us. AVe are apt to forget in that connexion that the manufacturers in the different States now have the entire unobstructed market of the whole of Australia. That is worth a heavy percentage of duty in the way of protection. Some of the States do not produce these articles. Western Australia does not, and, so far as I am aware, neither does Tasmania nor South Australia. In South Australia there was a duty of Id. per lb., which Senator O’Connor says was equal to 24 per cent. ; and in Tasmania there was a duty of 20 per cent., which was purely a revenue duty - and a heavy one - representing about -d. per lb. That duty was sought to be obtained from a hostile committee in another place by the honorable member for Coolgardie. The other duties, varying from 4d. per lb. to 2d. per lb. in Queensland, were imposed no doubt for revenue purposes, but were availed of by those who wished to produce an article which is quite different from the preserved milk we have had under consideration.
– Queensland produces the ordinary condensed milk.
– -We have heard over and over again that Queensland has only commenced to make a condensed milk within the last year or two, and I am quite correct in saying, therefore, that these protective duties were only operative in Victoria. They were operative here until quite recently only in respect of a different commodity, namely, concentrated milk, which contains about 70 or 75 per cent, of water, and has no cane sugar in it. I am not going to disparage the local article. It is an excellent thing in its way, but it is not applied to the same uses as is Nestle’s milk.
– To what would a duty of Id. per lb. amount ?
– Somewhere between 25 and 30 per cent. It has been stated authoritatively in another place that a duty of -Jd. per lb. represents a tax of about 17^ or 1S£ per cent. It was acquiesced in there that 10 per cent, represented the natural protection, and therefore if the duty is fixed at ¾d. per lb. we shall secure an actual protection of 27£ per cent, or 28 per cent. If the duty is fixed at id. per lb. we shall secure about 15 per cent, direct protection, and an additional 10 per cent, in the shape of the cost of the freight. Senator O’Connor has said that a great deal of this milk comes from Germany, and although I do not think that he really meant what might be inferred from that statement, I would ask whether that is the kind of argument which is to prevail. It was used just as if the whole of this milk were labelled “ Made in Germany,” and that some prejudice was to be raised in our minds in regard to this importation.
– I made the statement for another reason. I know that there is a drawback allowed in Germany, and I wished to show that the great bulk of the milk came from that country. .
– Then the honorable and learned senator suggests that the milk which passes through German ports is made in Germany, and he infers that there would be a drawback in respect of it. There is no foundation for such an argument. Switzerland has no port. Her nearest and most convenient ports are those of Germany, and it is well known that tho great bulk of Nestle’s Swiss-made milk is exported through the German ports. They are the most convenient. The German railways, as I happen to know, afford special facilities and rebates so as to take products of countries in the interior of Europe, which have no ports of their own, to German ports, rather than allow them to go by Trieste, on the Adriatic. I mention that to show that the remark might be calculated to prejudice one’s mind, although I am sure that it would not do so upon a moment’s consideration, and that, in the second place, it is meant to support an assertion, for which there is no proof, that a rebate is allowed on the sugar used in the production of Nestle’s milk. My information is exactly the other way, and in Switzerland there is no rebate of any description. Reference has been made to Senator Smith’s statement that this is a class tax. But the point the honorable senator desired to make was simply that those who have access to fresh milk get it free of duty, and those people are doubly unfortunate who, being unable to get fresh milk, are compelled to have recourse to this preserved article, and are to be penalized also to the extent of the duty, whatever it may be. I deprecate circumscribing the use of this article to the miners of Western Australia. Of my own knowledge I know that it is largely used in Adelaide and in the hills near Adelaide.
The market gardeners there have no conveniences for cow - keeping ; there are no dairies in their neighbourhood, and this preserved milk is absolutely the sole sustenance of infants brought np in that part. of. South Australia. The figures which have been quoted by Senator O’Connor show that there is a large importation of this commodity to New South Wales, Victoria, and, in fact, to all the States. They give absolute proof that Nestle’s preserved milk cannot be superseded by the article produced here, especially when we consider that, even in Western Australia, it is 10 per cent, higher in price than any locally-produced article which is sold in competition with it. No one can overrate the immense importance of this commodity, and we should do what we can to give it to those who are compelled to consume it at the cheapest possible rate, and free from all unnecessary burdens of taxation. There are only two points from which the matter has been viewed. In dealing with it from the revenue point of view, Senator O’Connor made the extraordinary statement that to make the duty -id. would very seriously injure the revenue. The duty in Western Australia was 15 per cent., and that is about equivalent to a duty of id. The estimate of the Government, on the basis of a duty of lid., was that the revenue which would be received in Western Australia would be £6,250, as against £11,000, which was collected the previous year under the local Tariff of £d. So that it was calculated, that raising the duty 150 per cent, would have the effect of cutting clown the revenue by one-half. The imposition of a duty of lid. was intended to bring about partial prohibition, and the estimated revenue in a normal year on the basis of a duty of lid. was £2S,750. It is a remarkable fact that while a revenue of £3,000 was anticipated from Western Australia, the statement is made by the Nestle’s people, and it has not been contradicted, that during the two months of October and November, they paid no less than £3,900 in duty. If we multiply that by three it will give a revenue for the six months of £12,000 for Western Australia alone, as against £4,000 for New South Wales. It. is clear from these figures that, as Senator Smith has said, Western Australia is by far the largest, consumer of this imported preserved milk. The revenue, instead of being cut down by the reduction of the duty to £d., will actually be increased, and I shall show honorable senators why. We know that the cases in which this milk is imported are four dozen cases, and 70,000 cases on the basis of the Ad. duty would produce revenue to the extent of £7,000. That is something more than the amount of duty estimated to be collected in Western Australia upon a duty of Hd. But the importation into Western Australia was 90,000 cases, and, therefore, with a duty of only -J:d. we shall have actually £2,000 more revenue than the Government estimated the duty of lid. would produce. In view of these figures what becomes of this contest about the revenue 1 I need not refer to other matters as to the increase of cost, because they have been fully dealt with by Senator Smith. But I do desire to say that if we deal with the matter from the point of view of protection, and consider the basis which Senator O’Connor laid down with axiomatic clearness on the second reading of the Bill, when he invited us to cut down duties to the lowest possible point, so long as we did not destroy the industry, a duty of Id. will afford a measure of protection that is not required. Surely 15 per cent., the protection afforded by a duty of id., is sufficient. If we add 10 per cent, to that for freight and other charges, we get a protection of 25 per cent., and if that is not sufficient protection for an industry producing a commodity of general consumption, and absolutely essential in many parts of the Commonwealth, it ought not tobe encouraged. That is especially the case when we remember that the industry can only be encouraged and carried on in competition with another dairying industry - the production of butter and cheese. Why should we, after having given bonuses and imposed duties of all sorts to encourage farmers to go in for the production of butter and cheese, now tax the people still more in order to make them change their pursuits and send their milk to two or three other factories which are to be started in order to produce this preserved milk and in order to produce an inferior article ? It is not that I desire to disparage the local article, but it is inferior in the sense that it is clear that the people of the States prefer the imported article to that which is made in Australia. I have no wish to injure any of the local producers in the slightest degree. I should like to do anything I can do to assist them. But I think it is not advisable to divert the assistance given to the dairying industry into another channel. It is putting too many irons into the fire. I draw a different inference from the records of Parliament to that which has been drawn by Senator O’Connor. Considering that a proposal to fix the duty at3/4 d. was only defeated by a majority of six in a House in which the Government have a majority of fourteen, it is clear that the feeling in another place is in favour of a moderate impost upon this commodity, and if we request that the duty should be fixed at1/2d., I apprehend that no unreasoning difficulty will be raised to prevent its acceptance. So far as the condensed milk factories are concerned, we shall have the survival of the fittest. The best factories will get the trade, and the factories which produce the worst article will go to the wall. Looking at the question all round, it seems to me that we shall do well to fix the duty at id. per lb. We shall be adopting the same rate as Western Australia has always had, and we shall be relieving as much as possible a commodity of absolute necessity throughout the greater part of the States, and one without which many a mother would find great difficulty in bringing up her offspring in health.
– In my previous speech, I said that a duty of1d. per tin or per lb. would be equal to 15 per cent., althoughthe document placed in our hands by the importers says that 15 per cent. is equal to a duty of 1/2d. per lb. I was then told that I was wrong in my statement, and that the duty was not paid on the 7d. per tin, but on the cost of importing, and that a duty of id. per lb. was equal to 15 per cent. on that sum. I wonder if I have got it right this time.
– About111/2 per cent.
– No. Is a duty of1/2d. per lb. as stated in this document equivalent to 15 per cent. on the landed cost to the importer? I do not wonder at merchants wishing to import this milk when I come to consider the profit they make out of its importation. A half-penny happens to be 15 per cent. on 31/2d., so that if1/2d., as stated in this document, is equal to 15 per cent., the milk costs the importer 31/2d. per lb., and is sold to the poor miner at 7d. Or if the dutyof1/2d. per lb. is added to the cost price he sells the article to the poor miner with whom he sympathizes so much at a profit of 75 per cent.
– It costs 41/4d., f.o.b., at Antwerp.
– I am taking the statement which the honorable senator quoted from the document. It says here that the duty in Western Australia was 15 per cent., ad valorem, or, approximately, id. per lb.
– But in another place it says that the milk is 17s. a case.
– If it is contradicted in another place, then the honorable senator proves the document to be unreliable.
-The honorable senator’s inferences are wrong.
– I am drawing no inference, but reciting a fact from the document. Supposing that the other1/2d per lb. is imposed, and that the article costs 41/2d. per tin delivered in Australia, and is sold at 7d. per tin, it gives a pretty fair profit. With a profit of between 50 and 60 per cent. the importer ought to be satisfied to pay the duty, and I think he will. The percentage I mentioned was quite right, and this document proves conclusively that the cost of the milk to the importer is 31/2d. per lb., exclusive of the duty. If the duty were to bring the cost price up to 5d. per tin the importer would still get a profit of 40 per cent.
– I rise to say a few words with reference to the speeches of Senators Smith and Symon. This motion is a very twopenny halfpenny method of proposing to deal with the schedule. It is a mere tinkering with the Tariff. It cannot possibly hope to get any support in another place, because we know that the honorable member for Wentworth said, in a certain place, that not for a moment would he contend that there should be any abolition of the duty on milk. I cannot understand where the spirit of compromise, spoken of by Senator Pulsford, comes in. Honorable senators meet in caucus, and seek to decide–
– The honorable senator understands that from all sides of the Chamber references to caucus meetings have been stopped, for the purpose of shortening the debates. The committee has really nothing to do with a caucus meeting. ‘
– It is a great pity that some honorable senators were not of the same mind when they dealt with the Tariff. When two or three men gather together at the corner of a street, and it is proposed that the best way of dealing with this question is for some one to move that the item be placed on the free list, and when the Senate is got into a certain frame of mind for another person to dodge along, and propose that the duty be £d. per lb. - that is not a very statesmanlike way of dealing with an important subject. Of course, Senator Symon has told us that he is very anxious to do everything he can for the farming industry. He is very well meaning, but as somebody says, the tiger with his tail in the air is not more dangerous at times than a well-meaning man who is mistaken. Senator Symon, I venture to say, is mistaken in this instance. He has insinuated that the Vice-President of the Executive Council is anxious to stir up national prejudice by a reference to Germany. Honorable senators who recollect Senator Symon’s career will remember that he said he wished to keep Australia for the descendants of Britishers.
– That has nothing to do with the item before the Chair.
Senatar HIGGS. - Of course, I could not see any relation between Senator Symon’s observation and the question before the committee, but I thought it right to defend Senator O’Connor against such an insinuation. Senator Smith spoke of this industry as an artificial one. I am anxious to get from any honorable senator a definition of what is an artificial industry. In his able speech, Senator Smith gave an analysis. By whom was it prepared ? By the representatives of Nestle’s Company.
– I gave the name of the analyst in each case.
– It reminds me of a certain Minister of the Crown, who being anxious to support his convictions and who, on requesting his clerk to prepare a set of statistics, was asked to say which side the statistics were intended to support. That, I think, was very much the frame of mind of the analyst who was called upon by Nestle’s Company to analyze the local products. Senator Smith has indulged in a chemical analysis of his own. He has given his opinion as to the quality of certain condensed milks. He has pointed out that the Australian product contains 50 per cent, of water, and so much per cent, of fat. The human body contains about 90 per cent, of water, and is it any the worse for that ? The condensed milk factories have been a very great advantage to dairy farmers throughout the Commonwealth. Where a dairy farmer at one time could get absolutely nothing for his milk, he now gets 4jd. per gallon all the year round, and he afterwards has the use of the skimmed milk. That has meant the difference between affluence and poverty to the farmers of Queensland. We ought to consider these questions. Where the farmer was a most distressed and downtrodden person, he is now provided with a buggy and piano, and his family are better clothed, fed, and educated’. Senator Smith has pointed out that in Switzerland the production of condensed milk- is far more extensive than in the Commonwealth. Probably the real reason why the Swiss are able to so successfully compete against our products is because they have a system of co-operative industy. At page 607 of the History of Labour and Machinery, an American publication, honorable senators will find these words : -
A valuable lesson may be learned in cooperative industry from the successes of these small landed proprietors, and a careful summary of their methods will not be amiss. A parish hires a man to take care of the herd, and others to make the cheeses, for to make cheeses and sell them is the ambition of every peasant farmer. The corps of workers consists of one cheeseman, one pressman or assistant, and one cow herd for every 40 cows. These tend and milk the cows, and a book is kept in which the owner of the cows gets credit foi- the amount of milk given by each. Of course, the whole amount of the milk is put together, and from this cheeses are made. At the end of the season each owner receives his due share, in exact proportion to the amount of milk furnished by bis cows, whether he had one or 40.
I need not pursue this quotation any further, because honorable senators will have gleaned an idea of how it is that the Swiss condensed milk factories are able to compete so successfully against ours. When Senator Smith speaks of the artificial feeding that exists in Switzerland during so many months of the year, I would point out that the same kind of thing is being done in Queensland at present. Where are the honorable senators who were so anxious for the remission of the duties on fodder owing to the necessity for artificial feeding 1
Why do they not say a word on behalf of the poor farmer who has to feed his cattle artificially, as stated on page 9 of the report of the Queensland Registrar-General on Agricultural and Pastoral Statistics? -
Another matter that forms an important aspect in dairying is the necessity of feeding the cattle and making suitable provision for times of drought. The drought we experienced in 1900 had the effect of seriously reducing the quantity of milk produced. As the industry develops, this matter will be recognised as an absolute necessity.
It is said that this is a class tax. Might not the same be said with regard to arrowroot, bacon and hams, and dried vegetables ? What would Senator Symon have said if, when the item “ wine “ was before the committee, I had described it as a class tax in the interests of a few persons? In proposing this duty we, as protectionists, are actuated by an enlightened selfishness, which runs together with our patriotism. When Senator Smith mentioned preserved meats, I pointed out that the preserved meat industry has grown up in the Commonwealth under a system of protection. The same applies to the production of bacon and hams, arrowroot, and sugar. If the duty on sugar were removed, we should be exposed to the competition of all the bounty-fed and slave-grown sugar produced in other parts of the world. Senator Symon has urged that W estern Australia does not produce condensed milk. But the farming industry is developing at a rapid rate, and it will not be long before the citizens of Western Australia are able to get their local products sent into the arid regions by means of railways and other methods of locomotion. I urge the advisability of taking a statesmanlike stand with regard to the Tariff. It was never contemplated by the framers of the Constitution that the Senate should propose reductions in this fashion. The framers of the Constitution looked to the Senate to take the Tariff as a whole, and to suggest amendments if they saw any serious defects or anomalies in it. But to take the items individually in the fashion that has been pursued is not, I submit, calculated to enhance the reputation either of the Senate or of those honorable senators who have attempted to carry such proposals.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 37 by adding the words “and on and after 1st
July, 1902,1/2d.”- put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … … 12
Noes…… … 12
Question so resolved in the negative.
Motion (by Senator Higgs) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 37 by adding the words “ and on and after 1st July, 1902, 2d.”
– I must oppose this motion. I have stated already that I shall oppose all motions except those which are intended to cany out the idea of the Tariff as it came to the Senate. Senator Higgs will see, from the tenor of the debate, that there is no chance of carrying his motion. I feel certain that a good many honorable senators who generally vote on the same side as the honorable senator, will not be able to support his motion, and I ask him not to press it.
– I am sorry that I cannot take up the attitude of the Vice-President of the Executive Council. I have received a communication from Queensland asking me to support a duty of 2d. on preserved milk, and I must carry out my obligations. If Senator O’Connor does not care to vote for the motion, I cannot help that.
– This may be a forlorn hope, but we must do what is fair to the State we represent, expressing the opinions of our people as faithfully as we can. The question of finance materially affects the welfare of Queensland. The duty which it is now proposed to re-impose, brought into the exchequer of my State £12,000 a year. To knock off onehalf of that will be to do a serious injury to the revenue of Queensland. Our finances are so seriously straightened that we are compelled to raise a voice with a view of inducing the Senate to come to the rescue. The representatives of Queensland have received intimations from different parts of the State, asking them to do what they can to re-impose the duty originally contained in the Tariff. If Senator Symon’s State were in such jeopardy as our State is, he would attempt with all the eloquence and ability at his command to induce the Senate to come to its aid.
– I should reduce duties in order to increase revenue.
– I know exactly what the honorable senator would do. If he thought it was necessary that a duty should be maintained, such as the impost on salt, for instance, would he attempt to reduce it? Not at all.
– The honorable senator will see.
– On behalf of the finances of Queensland, as well as those engaged, and likely to be engaged, in this industry, I express the hope that honorable senators will agree to render us all the assistance possible.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - In support of my contention I wish briefly to refer to the position of the authority quoted during this debate by Senator Smith - Messrs. Preston and Company. By accident I happened to look at the heading of the letter which we have all received from that firm, and I have found certain information which, I think, is of interest. When a certain analysis of salt was made, in connexion with the salt industry in South Australia, the ability and motives of the analyst were challenged.
– That is not correct. I raised the point, and it was only a question of whether the college, of which he claimed to be a member, was in existence.
– Did not the honorable senator mean to insinuate that the man was a fraud ?
– I say that the certificate was a fraud.
– That must have been the motive for the suggestion. I find that
Question - “That the House of Representatives be requested to amend Item 37 by adding the words “ and on and after 1st July. 1902, 2d.”- put. The committee divided -
Question so resolved in the negative.
Item agreed to.
Items 38 (Mustard seed); 39 (Mustard); and 40 (Nuts) agreed to.
Item 41 - Oilmen’s stores, n.e.i., including culinary and flavouring essences, soap dyes, condition foods, and other preparations used in the household, ad valorem, 20 per cent.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 41 by adding the words “and on and after 1st July,1902,soapdyes,free.”
These words which appear in the item apply only to Maypole soap, which is really not a soap, but a dye. It cannot be used for washing clothes, and, as dyes are free under Division 7, these words have evidently been allowed by the Government to remain in the item in the absence of full information. 1 have samples here, and an examination shows at once that Maypole soap is a dye in every sense of the word. If the motion be agreed to, the item will be brought into conformity with the position taken up by the Government in placing dyes on the list of exemptions under item 85. This article comes into competition with dyes that are now admitted free. The agents state that -
It was originally proposed that only dry dyes not packed for retail sale be exempt from duty ; but this has since been altered, on the motion of the Government, so as to admit all dyes to come in free, and the words “ not packed for retail sale “ were struckout. We claim that soup as applied to Maypole dye is purely a misnomer, and we have to respectfully request that you permit the article tocome under the heading of dyes (Division 7) free of duty.
In South Australia this article has hitherto been admitted as a dye by the Customhouse officers and it is clear that it is a mistake to include it in the list of soaps. I think, therefore, that the Government will he ready to place it with other dyes in the list of exemptions.
– I should like to know if the 20 per cent. on oilmen’s stores will be in addition to the duty upon spirits contained in flavouring essences. If it is not in addition, there is some risk of a small quantity of spirits being put into all flavouring essences, and they may thus escape the duty of 20 per cent. by being charged duty merely upon the spirits they contain. If there is any danger of that I suggest that it might be advisable to request the House of Representatives to insert after the word “essences” the words, “in addition to the spirits, if any, which they may contain.”
– If the honorable senator will postpone that matter till tomorrow I shall answer his question.
Senate adjourned at 10. 32 p. m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 4 June 1902, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1902/19020604_senate_1_10/>.