1st Parliament · 1st Session
ThePresident took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Senator Major GOULD presented apeti tion from four members of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, praying the
Senate to reject the Matrimonial Causes Bill.
Senator FRASER presented a petition from 52 sugar-cane growers of the Johnstone River, in the State of Queensland, praying the Senate to exempt from excise duty sugar manufactured before 8th October, 1901. .
– I desire to ask the Postmaster-General when the regulations under the Post and Telegraph Actwill be laid on the table of the Senate.
– I hope to be able to lay the regulations on the table either tomorrow or early next week.
Senator DRAKE laid upon the table the following paper : -
Correspondence with regard to the use and maintenance of Government House, Sydney.
Will he cause the monthly allowance of 10s. paid to certain letter-carriers in the New South Wales postal service for overtime work in connexion with the English mail delivery, to be paid to all letter-carriers employed on such overtime work ?
– Inquiries are being made in the matter.
asked . the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– I am not aware of any delay in regard to the mail referred to, but have called for a report on the subject. The telegram went to Hobart yesterday afternoon.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 4th June, vide page 13269).
Division IV. - Agricultural Products and Groceries.
Item 41. - Oilmen’s stores, n.e.i., including culinary and flavouring essences, soap dyes, condition foods, and other preparations used in the household, 20 per cent. act valorem.
Upon which Senator Charleston had moved -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend Item 41 by adding the words “and on and after 1st July, . 1902, soap dyes, free.”
Senator McGREGOR (South Australia. - Under Division I. of the Tariff, essences containing a certain proportion of spirits are dutiable at certain rates, while under this item flavouring essences are subject to 20 per cent. duty. If it is possible to have flavouring essences containing a certain proportion of spirits dutiable to only that extent, and other essences dutiable to the extent of 20 per cent., an anomaly will arise. It will be possible by putting a -small proportion of spirits in any flavouring essence to evade the payment of the duty prescribed in this item. For that reason, if no satisfactory explanation is given, I intend to move the insertion, after “essences,” of the words “in addition to the spirits, if any, they may contain,” in order to prevent the possibility of any conflict between the two items. I hope that honorable senators will see the matter in that light, and assist me to prevent the possibility of any evasion of the duty. Every one must admit that the poor miner, the poor farmer, and all those with whom we have so much sympathy, cannot consider flavouring essences anything but luxuries.
– McGregor will find that the difficulty he has been pointing out is really met by section 138 of the Customs Act. It provides that where an article comes under two heads, it is to be charged the higher duty, thus following the rule which has always been observedin Customs legislation. This item in the Tariffhas been administered on that principle. There are many essences which do not contain spirit, or do not contain the quantity of spirit necessary to bring them under the previous item, but where they do not contain the necessary quantity of spirit, then the duty on the spirit is contrasted with the duty ad valorem, and whichever duty is the higher has to be paid. In that way the law has been administered. It applies to a great many other things besides these spirits. It is a fair way to administer the Tariff. . It might be rather severe for the goods to be subject to 20 per cent. ad valorem as oilmen’s stores, and to a spirit duty in addition.
Motion withdrawn. .
– If we are going to have flavouring or other essences that contain from 50 to 75 per cent. of proof spirit, they ought to pay the duty that is leviable on that spirit, as well as 20 per cent. on the other ingredients they contain. The Minister’s explanation only shows that if they contain no spirit they will be charged 20 per cent. duty, but if they contain 50 per cent. of spirit probably the duty on the spirit would do away with the duty on the essences, and we should have 50 per cent. of that particular item evading 20 per cent. duty. It would simplify the administration of the law if we were to insert some words in this item. Therefore I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 41 by inserting after the words “and flavouring essences “ the words “in addition to the spirit, if any, which they contain.”
If they contain only 5 per cent. of spirit, well and good, or if they contain 50 per cent. of spirit, well and good. They will have a lesser proportion of the 20 per cent. to pay. If these words are inserted there will be no possibility of any one evading the duty, and no conflicts can arise.
- Senator McGregor has made out a good case on behalf of the manufacturers of essences, and the explanation of Senator O’Connor scarcely meets the occasion. The manufacturers of essences are at present receiving a protection of only1s. per gallon. Locallymade essences are subject to an excise duty of 13s. per gallon, while imported essences have to pay a duty of lis. per gallon. As the local manufacturers have to pay duty on all their materials it will be seen at once that an insufficient amount of protection is afforded. In the process of manufacture a great deal of evaporation takes place, and practically no protection is given. If the duty is levied in the way Senator O’Connor has stated certainly the local manufacturers cannot compete with the imported essences.
I think, under the circumstances, that those who are making essences in Australia, who pay duty on their material, and employ labour, should have a certain amount of protection. I happen to know one of the firms which make essences of this character. The process is a very expensive one. There was, for instance, a particular kind of porcelain still which the firm required. They sent to England three times to obtain one, as it was not to be purchased anywhere in Australia. The manufacturers, Messrs. Shanks and Company, sent out two stills which did not answer the purpose, and ultimately the firm had to send to Germany to get what they wanted. I think Senator McGregor has made out a certain claim for consideration, and I trust that his amendment will be agreed to.
-The effect of Senator McGregor’s amendment would be to give a double protection to the manufacturers of essences. That may or may not be a right thing to do, hut it would be impossible to do it justly under this Tariff. Under the item, Oilmen’s stores, there is a duty of 20 per cent., which would be substantially protective in respect of essences that contain no spirit. If the essence contains spirit it comes under item 1, with reference to essences containing spirit. The duty is graduated. If the essence contains 25 per cent. of spirit, it pays 3s.6d. a gallon ; if it contains 50 per cent., it pays 7s. per gallon ; if 75 per cent., 10s. 6d.; and if it contains more, the duty is charged as though upon pure spirit. Therefore, if an essence contains a substantial amount of spirit it pays an enormous duty. It may pay from 250 to 260 per cent., because a duty of 14s. a gallon is a very heavy percentage. It would lead to considerable confusion if Senator McGregor’s motion were carried. There is no duty on the spirit the essences contain, but the duty is on the essences, regulated according to the quantity of spirit contained in them.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 41 by adding the words “ and on and after 1st July, 1902, soap-dyes free.”
The word “soap” in connexion with these dyes is merely used as an advertisement in o rder to catch the eye of the public. The article is not a soap to be used for washing purposes, but is purely a dye. It has to come into competition with other dyes, such as Diamond dyes, which are introduced free of duty. Dyes having been placed upon the free list, we ought also to place soapdyes in the same position. If the VicePresident of the Executive Council will look at the information with which I have supplied him, he will see that these so-called soaps are dyes in every sense of the word. I therefore trust that the committee will agree to place them on the free list.
– I c I cannot accept the motion. The honorable senator has truly said that dyes are placed upon the free list, but that is because they are a raw material of manufacture. Soap-dyes are articles used for domestic purposes, which are not upon the same footing as manufacturers’ raw material. The honorable senator says that this article is not a soap, but a dye. It is both. It is a dye mixed with soap. The paper which the honorable senator left with me shows that thearticle in question is called “ Maypole Soap.” The instructions refer to it all through as a soap. The person who uses it is instructed to put the soap in a cup and thoroughly dissolve it in boiling water, then to pour the solution into a gallon of water, and so on. It is extraordinary if the manufacturers themselves describe it as a soap that we should not regard it as soap. Why should not this particular soap be subjected to duty ? In order to show the committee how customs duties are sought to be evaded, I may remark that, as soon as dyes were put upon the free list, a demand was made that hairdye should be admitted free. No doubt hair-dye is the raw material of a particular manufacture ; it makes old people look young. But the Customs authorities very quickly took up the proper position, that it came under another heading altogether and must pay duty. In the same way Senator Charleston will see that “Maypole Soap,” being a preparation used in the household, and being termed a soap, comes under the heading of soap, no matter what is mixed with it.
Senator CHARLESTON (South Australia). - Would it be fair to make these soapdyes pay 20 per cent. when they have to compete against other dyes which come in free ? As I have already said, the term “ soap “ is used for advertising purposes, but the dyes cannot be employed as soaps. They will not wash clothing. By means of these materials, people in the back-blocks are able to dip a garment into the dye so that it will come out as though it were a fresh-made piece of clothing. But I presume that the garment would first have to be washed in order that it might take the dye. Therefore the article is purely a dye, and I hope the committee will accept the amendment.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia). - We might usefully know more about the article in question. It certainly is called “ Maypole Soap,” but it seems to be absolutely a dye. It is described as an article “for dyeing silks, satins, cottons, feathers, &c, woollen goods, and mixtures of wool and cotton.” Then there are instructions. It is to be put in a cup and thoroughly dissolved in boiling water ; and directions are given as to putting in the fabric, and afterwards rinsing it with cold water. There is no evidence that the article is a soap.
– W - We know as a matter of analysis that it is mixed with soap.
– It must be a dye, and there is no more reason why it should not be free than that dyes used for manufacturing purposes should not.
– There is an argument of which Senator O’Connor is extremely fond, and which he might apply to this article. I find, according to the printed papers, that soap-dyes were not subject to duty in any State prior to federation. There is, therefore, some ground for urging that soap-dyes should be free.
– T - They were charged duty as oilmen’s stores in Victoria, and we propose to make them pay duty in the same way under the Commonwealth.
– If I am inaccurate I give way at once, but, according to the printed papers supplied by the Government, soap-dyes were free.
– In South Australia, Maypole soap has always been admitted as a dye.
– I understand that Senator O’Connor objects to the placing of this article in the list of special exemptions on the ground that it is a soap. If it is soap, how is that it is not included in item 51, which is specially devoted to that article, and under which it would be liable to a duty of1/2d. per lb. It cannot possibly be a soap. No one ever heard of soap being classed amongst oilmen’s stores. I hope that the Minister will agree at least to place this article in its proper position, even if he does not assent to what I trust the committee will order, the placing of it in the list of special exemptions.
Senator Lt.-Col. NEILD (New South
Wales). - I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 41 by inserting after the words “ condition foods “ the words “ curry powder.”
There has been a conflict of opinion in the department as to what curry-powder really is, and since the introduction of the Tariff no less than four different decisions have been given its to the duty which should be collected on it. In the first instance 20 per cent. was demanded upon it under the heading of oilmen’s stores. Subsequently, the duty on spice of 4d. per lb. was levied” upon it. That is a preposterous duty to apply to curry-powder, being about 90 per cent. upon its value. Then, the department, acting I suppose upon representations made to it, caused samples to be analyzed. The Government Analyst defined them as condiments, and not as spice, with the result that the duty of 20 per cent. for oilmen’s stores, was again imposed. The Minister for Trade and Customs, however, swept aside the decision of the analytical chemist of his own department and, although told that currypowder did not constitute a spice, he insisted on treating it as a spice. The Minister set at defiance the scientific officers of his own department and determined to impose a duty which was not ordered by another place. The very price charged for curry-powder shows that it cannot be a spice. The value of curry powder in 7-lb. tins, including the cost of the tin, is only 51/2d. per lb., and yet a duty of 4d. per lb. is being charged upon it. I submit that the article should be included in this item, in order, practically, to declare what the proper duty is, as the Minister and his officers apparently cannot agree on the subject,
– I - I cannot accept the motion. I put it generally to the committee that curry-powder is a luxury, and the only difference between my honorable friend and myself is whether it is to be charged 20 per cent., as oilmen’s stores, or 4d. per lb., which amounts to 40 per cent.
– The honorable and learned senator is misinformed as to the percentage.
– I - I have given it according to my information. As the honorable senator says, there was some conflict of decision in the first instance between some of the local officers, but as soon as the matter came before the Minister, who is the only authority to administer this measure, he determined that it should come under the heading of ground spices. He did so for the reason that curry-powder is very largely made up of ground spice.
– The proportion of ground spice is very small.
– The The article is composed of a number of different substances, amongst which, we say, is a large proportion of ground spice. Is it to be treated as coming under the heading of ground spice or of oilmen’s stores? I do not think we should be too solicitous in regard to imposing the lower duty on curry powder. It is certainly included among ground spices, and ought to remain there.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia). - I hope that Senator O’Connor will give way, because it is quite evident that the Minister for Trade and Customs, who is a man of great capacity and knowledge, must have placed curry powder under the heading of ground spices simply because there was no other line under which he could very well put it. I never heard of curry powder being regarded as ground spice. All that Senator Neild proposes to do is to solve the difficulty by placing curry powder among oilmen’s stores.
– A - And reduce the duty very largely
– If we treat it as ground spice which is not an article of common consumption it will be liable to a duty of 4d. per lb., and that is a very heavy impost. Certainly curry powder cannot be called a luxury. We know that it is used largely, but I base my argument not upon that ground but upon the ground that the article should be included in some item when we shall know exactly how it will be treated. If it is placed under the heading of spice, merely for the sake of the higher duty, we might as well call it jewellery.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 41 by inserting after the words “ condition foods,” the words “curry powder” - put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … … 12
Noes … … … 15
Majority … … 3
Question so resolved in the negative.
– I direct the attention of Senator O’Connor to the fact that at the present time no definite rule appears to be laid down in dealing with the duty to be charged upon jelly in packets. It is sometimes charged duty under the heading oilmen’s stores, and at other times it is charged duty as confectionery. This jelly in packets is used for the purpose of making the ordinary jellies used at table. It is not a confection, and properly should be included amongst oilmen’s stores.
– Jel Jellies in liquid, which is the ordinary form of jelly, are charged duty under the heading “Jams and jellies,” but in the dry form jellies are charged as confectionery. In the dry form jellies cannot be considered as oilmen’s stores.
– I do not consider the matter of sufficient moment to submit a motion in connexion with it. I direct the attention of Senator O’Connor to it; in the hope that if the Government cannot see their way to include the article in oilmen’s stores, some steps will be taken to have a definite decision arrived at as to the class under which it should come.
– I - If it has not been decided already I shall bring the matter under the notice of the Minister for Trade and Customs.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 41, by adding the words ‘ and on and after 1st July, 1902, 15 per cent.”
I had hoped it would not be necessary for me to say more than two words in submitting this motion. The words “ other preparations” used in. the item cover the one hundred and one things that every housewife has to buy from her grocer, and which are not specially mentioned in this Tariff, and upon such articles, surely it will be admitted that a taxation duty of 15 per cent, is sufficient? That was my first opinion, but the item bears a different aspect, in view of this decision, No. 200, given by the Minister for Trade and Customs under the Federal Tariff, which must have surprised honorable senators as much as it surprised myself :
Oilmen’s stores - All preparations in bulk used in the household, and not elsewhere specified as dutiable, are to come in free.
I was staggered when I saw this decision and compared it with item 41. The only reason I have been able to give for it is that it is a sort of solatium to the packer - the person in Australia who puts these goods up for sale by retail. If that is the reason for the decision, I submit, with just as much confidence, that a duty of 15 per cent, is quite sufficient for the packer. If that is not the reason, and the duty must be viewed simply as a taxation duty without any protective incidence whatever, 15 per cent, would still be sufficient.
– I - I cannot accept this suggestion. In the first place, this is a question of revenue, and the revenue would be affected by the difference between 15 per cent, and 20 per cent. If we are to continue cutting down revenue in this way, by the time the committee come to the end of the Tariff the result of the requests of the Senate will be to enormously reduce the revenue to be derived from these articles, which are all revenue-producing. It must not be forgotten that with regard to a very large number of the articles, which, as Senator Clemons says, every housewife has to buy from her grocer, there will be no duty collected upon them, because they are articles which are produced locally. With regard to articles which are imported from abroad, there is, I think, a proper distinction made between oilmen’s stores imported in a form ready for immediate use and the same stores imported in bulk. We know that there is a very large amount of labour employed in the making up of bulk into packages. The people who pack these goods, have to buy their own material. They have, to buy the tins, cases, and card-board, and have to pay for printing labels, and they, must do all this before they can touch any profit themselves. This is a percentage, which does not press hardly upon anybody. The duty is a legitimate source of revenue, and incidentally it will give employment to a considerable number of persons not necessarily in large factories, but in different, wholesale houses, and other places where the packing industry is carried on.
– I have’, not very much to say upon this motion, but it has struck me that it is made possibly with a view to secure a reduction of the duty upon the luxury of jellies in packets, to which Senator Gould has referred. I think Senator Gould has secured enough relief for the man who is able to use high-class cigars and muscatels and almonds after dinner, and he can well afford to pay for jellies in packets. The swagman who humps his “ bluey “ through the country does not use much. of this jelly in packets, and those who do use it can well afford to pay a duty of 20 per cent. A very large number of the items in general use in the household are specifically mentioned in the schedule, and this is a drag-net item to cover the rest. Senator Clemons should specify some of the one hundred and one articles to which he refers. The only one mentioned so far has been jelly in packets, and that should lead honorable senators to oppose the motion.
– A definition has been given by the Minister, with which, I think, everybody must agree, that these are such goods as grocers retail for household purposes. I desire to draw the attention of Senator Higgs to the fact that when this Tariff was first laid before Parliament it contained the words in this line “ when in packages for retail use.” That is to say, that this duty of 20 per cent, was only to apply to these goods when imported in packages for retail use. Those words were struck out in another place, as the records show, and the understanding was that these goods in bulk were to be subject to the same duty as goods brought in in retail packages. The Minister’s decision, quoted by Senator Clemons, shows that, by an administrative act, the words “ when in packages for retail use,” have practically been reinstated. If this Tariff is to be accepted as a compromise coming from another place, it is clear hat the compromise has been violated. Senator O’Connor is mistaken in considering this a revenue duty. It is a protective duty, because under the Minister’s decision the bulk stuff comes in free, and the benefit of the 20 per cent, duty must go to the man who packs it up. To give an advantage of 20 per cent, for packing these household goods, is to place householders in the position of having to accept 17s. worth of goods foi- their £1.
Senator MACFARLANE (Tasmania).This is not only a protective duty, but it is one which very seriously affects the revenues of the smaller States. A year or so ago oilmen’s stores to the value of about £32,000 were imported into Tasmania. A duty of 20 per cent, on that sum would mean £6,000. The estimate of the revenue for the last six months was only £4S7, or, including pickles, £743, so that Tasmania stands to lose £5,000 revenue on this article alone. If the duty is reduced to 15 per cent, the trade can import direct from Europe, but if the duty is retained at 20 per* cent, the importations will have to be made from “Victoria. This duty is imposed entirely in the interests of the packers, and perhaps a few manufacturers. Senator Glassey was urging us the other day to provide revenue for the smaller States. Here is an item which will yield a very large revenue to the smaller States if the duty is reduced. How can the Minister explain the fact that the estimated revenue from oilmen’s stores in Tasmania for the last six months was only £487, as against a revenue of £6,000 for the corresponding six months of the previous year? I beseech the honorable senator to give the smaller States an opportunity of getting some revenue.
Senator CLEMONS (Tasmania).- Senator Glassey always poses as an advocate of revenue for the smaller States, but unless he votes with me on this occasion his position is absolutely hopeless. Every article which is included in item 41 comes in free of duty if it is imported in bulk, and therefore no . State can receive a farthing revenue from this source. What is the necessary result of the provision ? Large houses in Victoria, and possibly in New South Wales and other States, will import oilmen’s stores in bulk, put their imports into small packages, and distribute those small packages through all the States. For every £1 worth of stores that are distributed, no State will derive a farthing in revenue. If we imposed a duty of 10 per cent, we should probably, even then, secure an increased revenue to the States. But we only propose to reduce the duty from 20 to 15 per cent., :md we do so in the hope that as the result there will be some competition in package groceries between people abroad and the large Australian houses. If the duty were increased to 50 per cent., I do not suppose it would be possible for any State to receive a farthing of revenue, because the goods would be imported in bulk, and the smaller packages would be put up in each State. Surely it is obvious to Senator Glassey that by reducing the duty we encourage a certain amount of importation in packages, and whether these packages contain luxuries or quasi-luxuries, or absolute necessaries of life, we may hope to get some revenue from any duty which is less than 20 per cent. Surely so far as package goods go, 15 per cent, is a fair protection, especially where it is given at the entire expense of the revenue of all the States. I appeal to Senator Glassey, who wishes to vote for revenue for the smaller States, to vote with us in this division. The only protection involved here is to the packing industry, and that I think he might waive on this occasion.
– It does not seem to me to matter very much whether a duty is called a protective or a revenue one. A very large number of the duties have a protectionist operation and at the same time they produce revenue, and we are entitled to look at them if we like from a revenue-producing point of view. The whole contention as to whether we are going to get more or less revenue in this case depends exactly on the extent to which the importation of oilmen’s stores in packets is stimulated. If we import £80,000 worth at the present time, and with a duty of 20 per cent, we get a revenue of about £15,000, in order to secure the same amount of revenue we shall have to import £100,000 worth. Senator Clemons’ contention that if the duty is reduced to 15 per cent, the importation of the articles in packet form will be stimulated to a greater extent, and that consequently we shall get more revenue, is an entirely unproved assumption. I am just as much entitled to say that the reduced duty would not result in such an increased importation.Looking at the question from the revenue point -of view, I prefer to retain the 20 per cent. duty, believing that it will yield a larger revenue than would a 15 per cent. duty. Some figures with regard to Tasmania have been quoted, but I do not think that they prove the contention on the other side. How can six months’ payments under thisitem prove anything one way or another ? We do not know what extraordinary vagaries there may be amongst the importers and merchants in Tasmania. There may have been a lot of loading up. From the importations into Tasmania for six months, it is impossible to predicate what is going to happen under a reduced duty. What is perfectly clear is that, in order to get the same amount of revenue, we should have to import, in packet form, from £20,000 to £25,000 worth more of the goods, and it is simply a question of whether the reduced duty would have that effect. I believe that it would not, and, therefore, we should get less revenue under a 15 per cent. duty than under a 20 per cent. duty.
Senator HIGGS. (Queensland).- This may appear to be a very innocent proposal, but I do not regard it in that light. Its supporters have not given any information. When an honorable senator makes a proposal of this kind we are entitled to ask that he shall cite a concrete instance in which the duty in. the schedule will result in the protection he speaks of. Why should we be referred by Senator demons to the Minister for Trade and Customs ? It is not possible to consult the Minister at this moment. The honorable and learned senator should have asked the Minister to state what articles are likely to be included in this drag-net item. This motion has the appearance of a confidence trick. It is asking us to buy “ a pig in a poke.” The schedule I take as my guide. We have dealt with wine, sugar,arrowroot, bacon and hams, biscuits, blue, brooms, broom corn, millet, butter and cheese, candles, tapers and night lights, cocoa and chocolate, cocoa butter, confectionery, coffee, eggs, fish, fruits, vegetables, oatmeal, rolled oats, wheatmeal, pearl barley, starch, barley, maizena, cornflour,groats, bran, pollard, and’ sharps, honey, liquorice, macaroni, matches, meats of all kinds, milk, mustard, and nuts. Are we expecting too much from honorable senators who propose to reduce the duty on oilmen’s stores to 15 per cent., when we ask them to mention some articles that are likely to be imported, which would be excluded by a 20 per cent. duty, and which would bring about the operation of a protection to which they object. They should not ask us to accept on their mere assumption the statement that we ought to reduce the duty to 15 per cent.We may be inflicting a very great wrong by doing so. The Minister for Trade and Customs has put in the schedule as many articles as he thought there would be a dispute about, leaving only to the final drag-net item those commodities which he thought every member of the Federal Parliament would be quite willing to subject to a duty of 20 per cent. I do not think that Senator Clemons has advanced a single argument to induce us to alter this proposal.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia). - We should not overlook the view that has been put by Senator Macfarlane as to the position of Tasmania. The result of this Tariff will admittedly be, according to the figures we have before us, to reduce the revenue of that State. In 1898 Tasmania imported oilmen’s stores to the value of £30,000. The duty upon that amount at 20 per cent. would be £6,000 for the year.W e have before us a statement of the revenue collected for the six months from October to the 29th of March. The total amount collected in Tasmania on oilmen’s stores was only £487.
– D - Does the honorable and learned senator know what the term oilmen’s stores included in the Tasmanian statistics ?
– I do, perfectly. I know that some of the articles are, under this Tariff, dealt with separately and charged with duty. It has been said that the explanation is that there was some amount of loading up.
– I said there might have been.
– That is a very properpoint to take if we are making a comparison between the revenue collected in the six months and the revenue collected in a normal year. But there was no object in loading up in Tasmania,because the Tasmanian duty was 20 per cent., which is exactly the same as is proposed by this Tariff. That 20 per cent., before Tasmania became a member of the Federation, was chargeable on all goods which came from Victoria.
– There is the explanation.
– But what does it prove ? Previously, whether goods came from England or from Victoria, Tasmania charged them with a duty of 20 per cent. Now, there are no Inter-State duties, and the goods manufactured in Victoria go into Tasmania duty free. Therefore, it must be perfectly plain that the Tasmanian revenue will be seriously affected. It is impossible to get at the accurate amount of loss, but it is as plain as possible that Tasmania will sustain a very large loss indeed in her revenue, if we leave this 20 per cent. duty on commodities made up in packages for retail business. The revenue point of view is, of course, of the utmost importance for Tasmania and, undoubtedly, the lower the duty is made the more competition there is likely to be in Tasmania between goods imported from abroad in packages for retail sale and goods coming from Victoria. If the high duty of 20 per cent. is imposed, we shall largely prohibit goods coming from outside in favour of goods coming from other States of the Federation on which Tasmania will receive no duty. The other aspect of the matter is important, and my desire under this head is to relieve the Government from a position in which it appears as though they are not acting quite fairly in this matter: The Tariff, as laid before Parliament in October, contained in regard to this item the words, “ when in packages for retail use.” Those words made it quite clear that goods in bulk came in free, but that when they were in retail packages they were to be charged 20 per cent. The object was to give the benefit of the 20 per cent. duty to those who made up the packages from the bulk goods.
– A - As item 41 now stands, on the face of it, there is a duty of 20 per cent. if the goods are imported in bulk.
– I am exceedingly obliged to my honorable friend for pointing that out. As the item stands in this list, goods in bulk, and goods made up in retail packages, should come equally under the 20 per cent. duty. But the Minister for Trade and Customs has decided that the bulk goods come in free. I am not complaining of that decision, but the result of it is that in spite of the fact that in the other House this 20 per cent. duty was passed, because it was understood that goods in bulk were to be subject to the same duty as goods in retail packages, that arrangement is reversed by a departmental decision, and the Tariff is carried out as it was originally framed, so that goods in bulk come in free, and retail goods are charged with 20 per cent. duty. I think that decision must have been given inadvertently, because I do not believe that the Minister, after the understanding in another place that the duty was to apply to bulk, as well as retail goods, would intentionally have given a departmental decision reverting to the condition of things before the Tariff was considered. But, though the decision may be an inadvertence, the result is the same.
– I did not gather from Hansard that this point was raised in another place.
– Yes, the records show that it was raised. The amendment was moved that the duty should be 15 per cent. Attention was called to the fact that the words I have mentioned were in the Tariff, and the Minister was asked if bulk goods would come in free. He said “ certainly,” and then the words in question were struck out at the instance of Sir George Turner, and the item was passed so that it wouldapply to bulk goods, and there would be no protection. If we are to have compromises they should be adhered to.
– The Minister’s decision is wrong.
– I do not believe that the Minister would adhere to the decision if his attention were called to it. I am quite willing to leave the duty at 15 per cent., and not interfere with the decision of the Minister, even if the duty is protective to some extent. I do not want to settle the matter now. The arrangement made with the Minister is a matter for another place. Seeing that it was originally intended that there should be no protection and no differentiation between bulk stuff and retail packages, surety if we give a duty of 15 per cent. that is enough. We may let our friends in another place settle with theMinister the matter ofhis decision.
– I am not at all satisfied with regard to the position of this item. Before it is passed, some statement should be made by Senator O’Connor. It is clear to me that the position taken up by Senator O’Keefe is the right one, that the higher duty should be charged upon goods in bulk, as well as in packages. If SenatorClemons’ statements are true, there must have been some inadvertence or mistake in connexion with the action of the Minister for Trade and Customs in the decision he has given. The committee is entitled to some explanation before we vote with respect to the item. Senator Clemons’ argument appeals to me so strongly that I should like to vote with him for reducing the duty. But it is all very well to say that we should reduce the duty from 20 to 15 per cent. If we reduce duties in the manner proposed, what about revenue ? We shall be hundreds of thousands of pounds to the bad if the amendments suggested by the committee are adopted. Consequently the question of revenue, as well as the protective incidence of the duty, has to be considered. Much has been said as to whether a higher or a lower duty would bring in the more revenue. Even on the figures supplied by Senator Macfarlane, and amplified by Senator Symon, it appears that a good deal of guesswork was indulged in as to what would be the probable amount of revenue. I had the temerity to interject that possibly there might have been a loading up on the part of the Tasmanian merchants in regard to this item. I was met with the objection that the same amount of duty was levied in Tasmania as that fixed under the Federal Tariff. In reply, I would say that we all know that prior to the introduction of the Tariff a good deal of this sort of thing took place. No one can positively say that such was the case, but I am not satisfied with the explanation which has been given. Before we pass this item, we should receive some assurance from the Government as to how the matter stands. If the explanation is not satisfactory, I shall be prepared to move that the item be postponed.
– - I am rather sorry that honorable senators have not received notice of this motion, because in that event many matters which appear to be in doubt might have been cleared up. Having listened to SenatorClemons’ statement as to the decision given by the Minister for Trade and Customs, it seems to me that we have a clear proposition before us. The item provides that the duty on oilmen’s stores n.e.i. shall be 20 per cent. There is no statement in the item that oilmen’s stores will be admitted free if in bulk.
– But the Minister for Trade, and Customs made that statement in another place.
– N - No doubt that is so. We should be in a better position to deal fairly with this matter if we had full information before us. If oilmen’s stores in bulk are to beadmitted free, it seems to me that this, or any other duty that may be imposed will be simply for the purpose of protecting the packing industry in Australia. I amnot going to the same lengths as do honorable senators on the other side, who I think often go too far, but the packing industry is not of sufficient importance to lead me to vote in a direction which would rob the States of the whole of the revenue to be derived from this source. If we had a duty of 15 per cent. on goods imported in bulk, and 20 per cent. on goods in packages, that wouldafford a reasonable encouragement to the packing trade.
– If the duty applies both to bulk and retail parcels, it cannot afford any protection, whether we leave it as it is or reduce it, so that there is. no object in postponing the item.
– I - If the item can be considered as having no reference to the decision given by the Minister for Trade and Customs, I shall vote for the 20 percent. duty, because I believe that it will bring in a larger revenue to the smaller States than would a duty of 15 per cent. A large number of oilmen’s stores are not produced in Australia, and a great number of articles which might properly be included under that term have already been dealt with in other items. We are dealing only with “ oilmen’s stores, n.e.i.” Whatever differenceof opinion there may be, as to which duty would bring in the larger revenue, we are entitled to have further information, to make clear what will be the effect of the decision given by the Minister, and whether that decision is to be a precedent for all time. I certainly shall not vote for a duty of 20 per cent. on oilmen’s stores, n.e.i. imported in packets, if oilmen’s stores imported in bulk are to be admitted free. Unless Senator O’Connor will consent to postpone this item, I shall move in that direction at a later stage, so that additional information may be placed before us.
– In reply to <i question put by me, Senator Macfarlane was unable to tell us what comprised “ oilmen’s stores” under the Tasmanian Tariff. My point is that there is a misunderstanding somewhere. Senator Symon, as well as Senator Macfarlane, has told us that a revenue of £6,000 a year was obtained from a 20 per cent, duty on oilmen’s stores under the Tasmanian Tariff. On the same basis for the whole of Australia the revenue from this item is estimated only at £1S,000 a year. Therefore “oilmen’s stores” as understood in Tasmania -cannot possibly comprise the same articles as are included in this line. So far, Tasmania has had more than its share of the £18,000 revenue received from the duty upon oilmen’s stores under this Tariff and the only way in which we can arrive at a -decision as to whether the same articles are included in this item as were covered by “ oilmen’s stores “ in the Tasmanian Tariff, is to postpone the item, and ask the ^Government to furnish us with the details. It seems to me that the items mentioned b)’ Senator Higgs, together with those scheduled in the Tariff, constitute nearly everything that can be purchased at a grocery store. I have only heard one item mentioned which is not specified in the schedule, and that is packet jellies.
– I can assure the honorable senator that there are 500 items covered by this line n.e.i.
– There may be a great number, but there cannot possibly be 500.
– I have counted twenty up to the letter “B” in a grocer’s pricelist.
– I do not think we are comparing like with like. There may not be any loss of revenue to Tasmania - at any rate, there will be very little - but in order make sure of the point I think it would be well for the Government to postpone the item and furnish us, if passible, with detailed information.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - Senator Symon says that he is very anxious to relieve the Government from any imputation of unfairness, and I am rather surprised that he has not written to the newspapers in defence of the Minister for Trade and Customs, who is charged with having done something unfair, although I believe that he is doing what is right in the interests of the Commonwealth. Senator Clemons says that 500 items are covered by the line “oilmen’s stores n.e.i.” I have obtained some authoritative statements from a Government official which I will give to the committee. We find that amongst the items not elsewhere included are colourings for blanc mange and custard powder. These colourings and custard powders are used, I suppose, by the swagman humping his “ bluey.” The item also covers egg powder, emery powder, extract of soap, and also fire lighters, which are made here in very large quantities and can be purchased at very km prices. Then we have glaceoline and glossoline as well as herbs in bottles, Italian paste for high-class soups, knife polish, linen gloss “and linoleum cream. The last-named article, I suppose is rubbed on the linoleum used in the miners’ tents on the gold-fields. Then there is “mulligatawny paste,” which is used by the people who now get their muscatels and almonds in free, owing to the strenuous efforts of Senator Symon and his followers ; “ plate powder,” to polish the plated-ware used by the shearers employed in the great pastoral industry : “ poultry spices “ for flavouring the poultry consumed by the boundary rider ; and “salad cream.” AVe are invited to believe that a great injustice will to be done to the poor housewife if these goods are not admitted 5 per cent, cheaper. Those are all the articles coming under the heading I have been able to discover, up to the letter “S,” in a list of grocery stores supplied by Lassetter and Co. I hope the committee will not be led away by the side issue that we are desirous of encouraging the packing industry. Honorable senators who support the proposed reduction should supply us with details of the articles which will be affected, because we must know where the injustice is being done if the duty proposed in the Tariff is adopted. When Senator Clemons speaks of the injustice that is going to be done to the housewife he should mention the items and show in what respect an injury will be done to the householder, and how the lot of the general worker will be made any worse by the proposal contained in the schedule.
- Sen Senator Macfarlane, in referring to the revenue derived from oilmen’s stores under the Tasmanian Tariff, has fallen into some confusion, and I am afraid that he has for a time misled some honorable senators. I need not state the figures quoted, by the honorable senator, but I find that in 1900 a revenue of £44, SOS !)s. 2d. was derived from oilmen’s stores under the Tasmanian Tariff. But the significance of tha-t fact depends altogether upon the articles which are included under the heading of “oilmen’s stores.” If honorable senators look at the Tasmanian Tariff they will find, that it is divided into different headings ; but the great bulk of the articles which might be described as <: oilmen’s stores” come under a drag-net clause. What are “ oilmen’s stores “ ? The expression is well known in the trade, and the best way of ascertaining the definition of the item is to look at some of the trade circulars.
– The Minister for Trade and Customs stated in another place what was meant by oilmen’s stores.
– The There can be no doubt .as to what is meant by oilmen’s stores, and I propose to give an opinion in a concrete form as to what they are.
– That opinion should agree with the statement of the Minister for Trade and Customs.
– I - I do not care whether it agrees with that statement or not : I am here to give information to the best of my ability, and not merely to square my statement with the statement made by the Minister for Trade and Customs. I do not know what that statement was, but I propose to state now what, in my opinion, oilmen’s stores are, according to the instructions I have from the officers of the department. I take a list of articles from a catalogue published by Anthony Hordern and Sons. It includes a great number of articles, and probably a good definition of “ oilmen’s stores “ would be to say that they include all things which are sold in a grocer’s shop for the use of the household. They include, for instance, acid, tartaric’ and citric ; almonds, alum, anchovy paste, anchovies in oil, arrowroot, baking powder, pearl barley, bathbricks, bird-seed, biscuits, blacking, bloater paste, Keen’s blue, candles, candied peel, capers, caustic soda, cinnamon, cloves, coffee, curry powder, curry paste, devilled ham, duck . and green peas, dried fruits. Then there , are preserved fish of all kinds, preserved fruits, ham, honey, infants’ and invalids’ food. I think I have read sufficient to satisfy honorable senators. “ Oilmen’s stores “ generally may be defined to include* the general line of articles sold in a grocer’s shop. Honorable senators will see that wehave included the bulk of these articlesunder specific heads in this Tariff. For instance, fish, meat in tins, and the different groceries with which we have dealt already, all come under the head of oilmen’s stores., but the)’ are specifically dealt with in this Tariff, and the only oilmen’s stores that can be referred to in the particular division with which we are dealing now are the oilmen’s stores which have not been specifically dealt with in this Tariff in other places. So that, when Senator Macfarlane tells us that we shall lose a large amount of revenue under the heading of oilmen’.* stores, he is stating something which is misleading. We do not know what is included under the heading of oilmen’s stores, in Tasmania, in the first place, and in the second place, the great bulk of thosestores bear duty under specific headings in this Tariff. It is utterly misleading to suppose that there is going to be. a loss of a large amount of revenue to Tasmania simply because oilmen’s stores previously produced a large amount of revenue there, and are estimated to produce a smaller amount of revenue under this Tariff. What do we expect oilmen’s stores to bring in altogether under this item ? The original estimate was £18,050, but since that estimate was made a large portion of these oilmen’s stores havebeen put upon the free list. Amongst others,, and the most important, is 11 infants’ and invalids’ foods,” the revenue from which was estimated to amount to £10,000 a year.. There were a number of other articles which were dutiable when the original estimate was made, and which are not dutiable now. The honorable senator will see at once that it will make a very great deal of difference in the amount which is to be recovered under this estimate. But the revenue actually received in six months amounted to £5,692.
– T - To pretty well that sum. Certain lines have been struck out, so that the revenue probably will be much less than that, but the amount by which it is less will be very reasonably accounted for by the number of articles which have been put on the free list. Honorable senators have referred to the fact that these particular oilmen’s stores with which we are dealing are by a minute of the Minister, as. a matter of administration, allowed to come in free when not prepared for use in the household, and when not elsewhere specified as dutiable. The great bulk of these articles which are used in the household are. otherwise specified as dutiable, and there are only some very few which would come under this item at all. Why does the Minister allow the articles not specified as dutiable to come in free? Because it is quite plain, on the face of the Tariff, that they are intended to be -duty free. If honorable senators will remember that the Government can collect duty on only articles which are dutiable by express provision or which are made dutiable when “n.e.i., “ they will find that there is no provision which makes dutiable articles which have have been omitted from specific lines.
– Does the honorable and learned gentleman say that the term “oilmen’s stores” does not cover goods in bulk as well as small packages ?
– It It does not. In interpreting a Tariff of this kind you have very often to deal with ambiguous expressions. An ambiguous expression is interpreted according to the general intent of the Tariff, and that intent was that the few items which have been omitted should be admitted free.For what purpose? For the purpose of packages being made up. This does not touch in any way the question that is before the committee now. It is really a red herrring which has been dragged across the trail. The question now is whether 15 or 20 per cent. shall be the duty on these articles made up in packages for use. We are not dealing with the bulk articles at all.
– Where does it say “made up in packages for use ? “
– T - The Minister’s decision says - “All preparations used in the household.” It is in that form that preparations are used in the household, and it is only in that form that they are used as oilmen’s stores.
– That cannot be.
– Sup Supposing that a large parcel of coffee, in bulk - say a ton - is lying in a store, would the honorable senator call it oilmen’s stores 1 As he does not answer my question, I must take his silence as an admission that my proposition is correct. It is quite clear that the term means oilmen’s stores such as can be sold retail in grocers’ shops, and they cannot be sold retail in ‘grocers’ shops unless they are in packages.
– A number of articles that are made up in packages for household use. come in in bulk.
– Of Of course, and when they are sold in grocers’ shops they are oilmen’s stores, but until they are ready for sale in grocers’ shops they are not oilmen’s stores.
– Coffee is not oilmen’s stores.
– Is Is not coffee in a package in a grocer’s shop oilmen’s stores?
– The The honorable senator will find that package coffee is mentioned in every one of these lists of oilmen’s stores. I do not wish to enter into a dispute about the matter, because I think it will be generally admitted that oilmen’s stores includes packages, and packages only. Senator Symon made a statement reflecting very seriously on the Minister for Trade and Customs.
– No. I entirely deny that.
– The The honorable and learned senator said there was an arrangement arrived at in the House of Representatives.
– I did not make any reflection. I said that I thought the subsequent decision must have been given inadvertently.
– I a I am not in possession of enough information to be able to say anything on the subject now. Affecting as it does the good faith of the Minister in charge of the Bill in the other House, I think I am entitled to an opportunity to make an explanation. For that purpose, I ask the committee to postpone the consideration of the item.
– Cannot the Minister make an explanation to-morrow afternoon without postponing the item ?
– The The item may be postponed, or it may be passed now and recommitted afterwards. I do not care which course is adopted, but I think in justice to the Minister, I am entitled to ask that it be postponed.
Senator CLEMONS (Tasmania).- When Senator O’Connor spoke on this subject in the first instance, he said that this was a large revenue item, and that therefore he could not consent to my motion. “We all remember what he has just said. The whole thing is now, according to Senator O’Connor, farcical in its insignificance. It proves that he knows nothing about the subject. In the first instance, he treated this item as if it were a large revenueproducing one, and yet a moment ago he said it was a purely insignificant matter. To show the way in which he has been supported, Senator Drake rose immediately niter his first speech was delivered, and said that if the duty were reduced by 5 per cent, it would require a large quantity of additional imports to bring up the revenue to the old amount. That was the attitude when the discussion was initiated. But the attitude now is that the whole matter is utterly insignificant, that these letters “ n.e.i.” comprise scarcely any articles; that almost everything which would have been dutiable under the term “ oilmen’s stores “ has been dealt with under other items, the principal of which is infants’ and invalids’ foods. To show that I am actuated by a desire to produce revenue, I am prepared to allow this duty to remain at 20 per cent., which I think is rather high, if 15 per cent, duty is imposed on every one of these items which are imported in bulk. It may be that 15 per cent, duty is a bit high on these things, but except on that ground there cannot be any objection to my suggestion. I am willing to allow a 5 per cent, margin for jinking, if that is wanted, but I do object to the loss of revenue. This is not a revenue or a protectionist duty, but a package duty, to which I strongly object. I am quite willing that the consideration of the item should be postponed.
– Before the motion of Senator Clemons is withdrawn, I wish to point out that no course of doing business is more unwise or inefficient than to discuss an item until it is thoroughly understood and the committee is ready to decide, and then to postpone its consideration to next day. I understand that Senator O’Connor thinks that an attack has been made on the Minister for Trade and Customs. I did not understand Senator Symon to make any attack, but if it is thought that he did, Senator O’Connor ought to have the fullest opportunity of defending his colleague. I contend that a
Minister has a right at any time to make a statement for that purpose. If Senator O’Connor makes a statement when the consideration of the item is resumed tomorrow it will be open for discussion and another hour or two will be wasted. Why can he not take any time he likes to-morrow with the consent of the President or the Chairman, and make a statement, as is always done ? When we all . understand what this item means, let us come to a decision. I object to a postponement.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia). - I am sure that my honorable and learned friend opposite did not mean me when he spoke in reference to an attack on the Minister for Trade and Customs. I distinctly disclaim that I made an attack on the Minister. I said that if there was a decision of that kind it must have really been given by inadvertence. I know too well the Minister’s zeal for the administration of his department and I do not believe it is possible for a moment that this could have been done in any way in violation of the arrangement. But that it has been done, and will have the effect of doing away with the arrangement, is evident. But there is no reason in that why we should not deal with the item, because it covers both bulk and package stuff. Otherwise, why were the words as originally submitted to Parliament - “ when in packages for retail sale “ - included in the Tariff? They were put in to make the duty applicable only to package goods, and an amendment was made to make the duty applicable both to package and bulk goods. All we want is to make the duty reasonable.
– Wha Whatever Senator Symon may say as to the nature of bis remarks about the Minister for Trade and Customs, it is quite clear to me that he did impute to my colleague that he had not kept to some arrangement that had been made in the House of Representatives. The honorable and learned senator may have said that it was done inadvertently, but it is a serious matter. Of course it makes a difference that no dishonour is imputed to the Minister, but, nevertheless, a charge has been made that I think ought to be cleared up, and I certainly ask most emphatically for what no committee of fair men would refuse to give. I ask that while the item is under discussion, and before a decision is come to, I may have an opportunity of stating what the Minister’s reason was, and the action taken up by him in regard to this item. I ask to have the item postponed for that reason.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - I am sorry that Senator Symon will not fall in with the suggestion for the postponement of the item.
– I do fall in with it, but I say there is no reason for it.
– The postponement will be advantageous, in that it will enable Senators Symon and Clemons to find out the particular items in regard to which they say a great injustice will be inflicted on householders. Senator Clemons has said there are 500 such items.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia). - Certainly we should all yield to the appeal of my honorable and learned friend, the Vice-President of the Executive Council, when he puts it on the ground that he desires that there should be some explanation.
Item 42 (Onions) agreed to.
Item 43. - Peel, drained or preserved in brine, acid, or water, including the weight of the liquid, per lb.,1d.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 43 by omitting the words “including the weight of the liquid.”
It will be within the recollection of the committee that the duty on peel dried has been reduced to 2d. The present proposal is to charge1d. per lb. upon peel in liquid. Peel in brine is simply peel in salt water. In that state it is very much heavier than the dried article. Consequently, apart from the liquor, a duty of1d. per lb. on this article is equal to a duty of 2d. per lb. on dried peel. But to charge a duty on the salt water that contains the peel is about as magnificent a proceeding in the way of protection as I ever heard of ! This article is brought to Australia for manufacturing purposes, and the Government, in proposing a duty of1d. per lb. on salt water, are interfering with industries which the protectionists say they desire to conserve. I have here a statement from a thoroughly reliable source which states that lemon peel in brine is “ simply the raw material necessary for the manufacture of confectionery, and for the manufacture of candied peel and dried peel.” It is absolutely and positively a raw material, and nothing else. This authority says -
The duty of1d. per lb. is also imposed on the brine, which is useless.
If we could import the whole ocean, it would be useful for revenue purposes, but would be of no sort of use for any other purpose!
This duty encourages the importation ofa manufactured article in preference to the raw material. The liquor in the lemon peel in brine, orany other peel in brine, such as orange and cition peel, represents fully one-third of their gross weight.
Do the Government desire that under this Tariff 1 lb. of salt water shall be charged as much duty as 2 lbs. weight of the article it is proposed to tax - that is to say, that for every 2 lbs. of peel that is taxed, duty shall be charged upon 1 lb. of salt water?
The article is imported from Sicily, and its cost f.o.b., Genoa, casks included, is1/2d. per lb.
As there will be half-a-pound of water to every 1 lb. of peel, the duty amounts not to1d. per lb. on the article, but to 1 id. per lb., and that on an article that is not worth1/2d. This duty amounts to 300 per cent.
– What authority has the honorable senator for that statement ?
– I am speaking on the authority of a member of the Chamber of Commerce, and quoting from the information supplied to me. I submit that this is nominally a duty of 1 d. per lb. on peel, but actually a duty of 11/2d. per lb. on an article only worth -id. per lb. at the port of shipment. The most extravagant framer of a Tariff could never have suggested anything more absurd than this.
The necessary expenses to land the goods on the Australian wharf amount to about . 100 per cent. on the f.o.b. Genoa price. The inconvenience and trouble both to Custom-house officers and to importers to ascertain weight is considerable, and an advalorem duty would greatly simplify matters. Even a duty of1d. per lb. on the net weight of peel would be prohibitory, and it would be advisable and more satisfactory if a duty of15 or 20 per cent. ad valorem at the outside was imposed.
I have a strong objection to ad valorem duties if we can have others. I am not proposing to do more than to eliminate the duty on salt water. It is not possible for a more reasonable application to be made than that which I have submitted in the form of this proposition. 1 hope that Senator O’Connor will not oppose the motion, because the figures I have quoted show the preposterousness of the duty.
– I am sorry that I have to oppose Senator Neild’s motion. I oppose it principally because of my concern for the health of the people, and the welfare of Australia. Honorable senators must know that lemon, orange, and other fruit peels which are treated in our own establishments, come fresh from the orchards and lemon and orange growers of Australia. The preserving of peel is becoming a great industry in Victoria, and if Senator Neild visited some of our factories he would find that they use principally peel produced by the struggling fruit-growers of Australia. I trust that the industry will extend to New South Wales, and that the fruit-growers on the Parramatta, as well as in other parts of the State, will derive some benefit from it. It is a wonder that Senator Neild, with his great commercial knowledge, is not aware that the essential oils are extracted from the greater portion of the imported peel before it reaches Australia, and that the imported article is not nearly so good as that which we produce. The proportion of salt water mentioned by Senator Neild is so outrageous that it cannot be considered for one moment. The Customs department does not compel the importers of peel to use sea water, or any other kind of water; they do not compel them to pay a duty of1/2d. per lb. on salt water if they choose to import the peel in a dry state. The honorable senator should have some consideration for the fruit-growers of the Commonwealth, as well as for the manufacturers here, and particularly for the consumers of the article. Incidentally, he ought to have some consideration for the revenue. If in this, as in many other cases, people are prepared to swallow labels instead of the articles which they cover, they have a perfect right to pay some little contribution towards the revenue.
– I o I oppose this motion, and my first reason for doing so, which will be apparent to any one who reads the item, is that it is really for the convenience of the Customs department and the owners of the goods that the duty is levied in this way. This particular class of peel is imported in brine, and in order to ascertain the amount of duty to be charged upon the peel itself it would be necessary to open at least one cask in every two or three dozen, pour out the liquid contents, and dry the peel. That is very inconvenient, both to the department and to the owners ; but unless the door is to be opened to fraud, some test has to be made when duty is charged only on the peel. Under the. State Tariffs prior to federation this article was free in New South Wales, while in the other States the duty was as follows : - Victoria, 2d. per lb. ; Queensland,’ 2d. per lb., and 15 per cent. on certain other classes ; South Australia, 3d. per lb. ; Tasmania, 3d. per lb. ; Western Australia, 3d. per lb. on some qualities, and 15 per cent. upon others. Under these circumstances we think it is a very fair arrangement, both for the Customs department and the owners of the goods, to reduce the duty to1d. per lb.; but as a compensation for the reduction to weigh liquid and peel in determining the amount of duty payable. If we put on one side the time spent in making tests, as well as the amount of damage done to the goods in doing so, and on the other the extra duty payable, it will be found that there is not much difference. If there is to be harmony between the officials and the owners of the goods, no more convenientsystem can be devised than that proposed. I am not going into the side of the question which has been put so well by Senator McGregor, and which, of course, must be considered, but I hold that the reasons which I have given afford a complete answer to Senator Neild. I hope that the duty will not be disturbed.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland).- I fail to understand why Senator Neild should make such a proposal as this. He must know that he has no support, and that he is only ridiculing the great free- trade party by making such a proposition. We have a number of people who are engaged in growing citrus fruits, and no place in the Commonwealth is more suitable than is Queensland for their cultivation. I make the statement on the authority of our State officials, whose duty it is to teach the fruit-growers. If we can produce the fruit in Queensland, Senator Neild must see that very great advantage will accrue from the imposition of a fairly high duty on imported peel.
– I did not intend to speak on this subject, but after what I have heard from Senator O’Connor I think I must support the motion. He has explained that the dutyof1d. per lb. upon peel in brine, including the weight of the water, is equivalent to a duty of 2d. per lb. on dried peel. We have already determined that candied fruit, including peel and ginger preserved, shall pay only a duty of 2d. per lb., and it would seem, according to Senator O’Connor’s statement, that we are imposing the same duty upon the raw article as upon the manufactured commodity. I do not think that is right. .Following Senator O’Connor’s argument, I think that if we agree to the omission of the words “ including the weight of the liquid,” and leave the duty at Id. per lb. on dry peel, we shall reduce the impost almost in the same proportion as we have lowered the duty on candied peel. We shall preserve an equality between the two. Therefore, I shall support the motion.
– When Senator Neild was speaking, I thought that the valuation of £d. per lb. which he placed on peel at the port of shipment was an under-estimate. If that is so it discounts, to a certain extent, his estimate of the rate of duty proposed. I presume that the honorable senator was referring particularly to peel imported from Italy, and I find that in 1900, according to the Victorian interchange statistics, 59,961 lbs. of peel, candied, drained, or preserved, were imported from that country. I should imagine that the greater proportion of the peel coming under this heading from Italy is imported in brine. The value of the importation of 59,961 lbs. is put down at £226. That figures out at a little less than lid. I have no other figures by . which I can discriminate between the quantity of peel which is imported drained and the quantity brought in in casks. I am inclined to think the. Chamber of Commerce must be in error. A J-d. per lb. seems to be an exceedingly low price and it makes one reflect upon the miserable payment which the unfortunate people who have to produce this article must get. It is rather a startling proposition that we in Australia should have to depend upon the people of Italy for our lemon peel, which is surely an article that we can produce in sufficient abundance for ourselves. The lemon is grown, not only in the northern part of Australia, but in New South Wales. At all events, oranges and citrons are grown in great abundance in New South Wales, and it should be entirely unnecessary to go to European countries for our supplies of candied peel. If the price is as low as appears from the figures I have quoted, a duty of Id. cannot be a matter of great consideration. We have to bear in mind, as has been pointed out by Senator O’Connor, that the duty now proposed is considerably lower than the duties previously imposed upon this article in all the States with the exception of New South Wales. I cannot see any possible hardship which can follow from the imposition of this duty, and on the other hand it may be helpful in stimulating our own industries.
Senator Lt.-Col. NEILD (New South Wales). - I intend to show, by actual figures, that the quotation I have given is absolutely borne out by the records. I stated that this article was worth id. per lb. at the port of shipment, and that the cost of importation was 100 per cent. I have here the Statistical Register of New South Wales, which gives the quantities imported from the different countries, and, according to the value given of the importations, the price is exactly Id. per lb. - id. per lb. being the prime cost, and £d. per lb. the cost of carriage. Let me say that the Jd. per lb. at the port of shipment includes the cost of the casks, and, possibly, also of the salt water. I have heard some plaintive speeches about the orange-growers of Parramatta, but they have never had a duty upon candied peel, and, so far as I know, they do not want it. So far as my knowledge goes, the fruit from which this candied peel is made is not grown in New South Wales. There may be a few trees in the Northern sea-board corner, but this fruit is not grown about Sydney. My honorable friends need not have made such elaborate speeches about the woes of the orangegrowers of Parramatta, because the orange, though a citrus fruit, does not produce the citron of commerce.
– Should not the honorable senator give Queensland a chance 1
– They are grown in Victoria, as well as in New South Wales.
– It is a strange thing that the paper laid upon the table by the Vice-President of the Executive Council at the commencement of our investigation of this Tariff, shows that all that the Government expected to get from the item was £2,020. Where is this money to be collected 1 It is not anticipated that it will be collected in New South Wales. During the six months the amount of duty paid in New
South Wales was only £9. The duty paid in Queensland was only £1, in South Australia £26, Western Australia nil, Tasmania £36, whilst £442 was paid in Victoria, where my honorable and jocular friend who leads the labour party, when it does not lead him, alleges that the production of citron peel is such a flourishing industry. If any is produced here it must be produced from the brine casks, becauseIpositivelyassertthatthe citron of commerce is not grown in Victoria, and that the manufacture of peel from it is not a Victorian industry. I have been asked to move this motion which I think is an entirely reasonable one. It is a scandalous thing that the Government should desire to charge a duty of1/2dper lb. on salt water. It is a scandalous thing, also, that they should desire to charge a duty, which it is admitted by the Vice-President of the Executive Council himself, is equal to 400 per cent. on the prime cost of the article.
– I do not think that the honorable and learned senator admitted that.
.-The honorable and learned senator admitted that a duty of1d. per lb. on the article in the brine was equal to a duty of 2d. per lb. on the dried article. That is to say that the article taken out of the brine and dried has to pay a duty of 2d per lb., which is a duty of 400 per cent. upon the price of the article at the port of shipment. The cost of importation of this article I have shown to be 100 per cent., and the Government are in addition asking that we should impose a duty of 400 per cent. upon it.
– I attack the basis of the honorable senator’s argument - his statement as to the value of the article at the port of shipment. The imports to New South Wales in 1899 of peel in brine amountedto557,605 lbs., valued at £2,787. That figures but at a little less than l1/3d. per lb. That I am informed is the value at the port of shipment with 10 per cent. added. So that it comes in any case to a little over1d. per lb., which entirely upsets Senator Neild’s calculations as to the rate of duty. Further, I am informed that 3 lbs. of this peel in brine contains1 lb. of liquid, so that the duty on the peel itself represents only 11/2d. per lb. Senator’s Neild’s calculations are therefore wrong in both ways. In the first place the duty is not 2d. per lb., but lid., and in the next place the value at the port of shipment instead of being id., as the honorable senator has said, is1d.
Senator Lt.-Col. NEILD (New South Wales). - This is a scandalous misrepresentation of what I said. In what I said as to a duty of 400 per cent., I was not making any assertion of my own. I was quoting Senator O’Connor. Here we have one Minister getting up to contradict another. Senator Drake has replied to a statement made by the Vice-President of the Executive Council, and quoted by me, as though it were my own statement. The honorable and learned senator ought to be ashamed of himself. I have vouched for the figures I have given, and they are absolutely borne out by Coghlan’s Statistical Register for 1900. He gives the imports to New South Wales from Italy of peel in brine at 711,692 lbs., and the value is stated as £3,096. That will be found to work out at1d. per lb.
– That is what I have said is the value at the port of shipment, with 10 per cent. added.
.- That is the value at the port of importation, not at the port of shipment. Surely the honorable and learned senator must know that it is the landing value that is given in entering free goods.
– I am advised that it is the value at the port of shipment, with 10 per cent. added.
– I am sorry the honorable and learned senator should have been wrongly advised, and should, in consequence, have been less courteous than is his wont.
– I doubt, not the honorable senator, but his authority - the Chamber of Commerce.
– I have given two authorities, and have named them, and in attempting to demolish my statements the honorable and learned senator has set up some hypothesis upon an authority which he has not given.
– I appeal to SenatorNeildto withdraw this motion, which I do not think he has any chance of carrying. According to the statistics for 1900 there was imported into Queensland a quantity of peel valued at £678, including £564 worth from the United Kingdom, £26 worth from Victoria, and £86 worth from Hong Kong. Of lemons in brine Queensland imported from the United Kingdom 15,536 lbs., and from
New South Wales 87,184 lbs. The place from which this quantity of peel was imported - nearly 102,720 lbs. - was Italy. Being anxious to conserve the interests of our producers, I hope that the senator will withdraw his proposition. We do not desire to takeup the time of the country and of ourselves in discussing idle propositions, which have no prospect of being carried, and which if carried are likely to do very great injustice to our producers. I did not mention Parramatta as a place which was likely to suffer an injustice. At one time it was considered to be the only place in the Commonwealth that could grow oranges, and so visitors to Queensland were astonished when they found that in the Maryborough, Brisbane, and Bowen districts oranges were produced equal to oranges grown in any other part of the world. Senator Neild is under a misapprehension if he thinks that only lemons are preserved in that way. Orangepeel enters very largely into the purposes for which lemon-peel was at one time wholly used. I must deprecate honorable senators submitting ill-considered propositions of this kind.
Item agreed to.
– This item imposes five different rates of duty, and in the estimates originally framed by the Government it was calculated that a revenue of £9,500 would be received. In the interest of the revenue itself, as well as in the interest of fair compromise in the matter of fiscal policy, I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 44 by adding the words-“ and on and after 1st July, 1902. 15 per cent. ad valorem in lieu of the specific duties.”
In the first place I desire to draw attention to the immense percentage of these specific duties. In London many kinds of pickles can be bought at from 3s. 6d. up to 5s. 6d. per doz. pints. A duty of 2s. per dozen pints is equal to from 40 to 60 per cent. on the London value. As further proof of the enormous amount of the duty. I shall draw attention to the Victorian imports for 1900. On the £1,800 worth of pickles landed here, and on which about £730 was paid, the duty comes out at 40 per cent. on the landed value at the Victorian rate of 2s. 6d. The federal duty of 2s. per dozen is equivalent to 32 per cent. ad valorem on the landed value ; and that is probably equal to at least from 40 to 50 per cent. on the f.o.b. value. Naturally with a heavy duty in Victoria the tendency will be to import only pickles of pretty good quality, because they will not bring in the lower class qualities to be subject to the higher duty. Yet notwithstanding that fact the duty as a percentage is of the high character I have stated. On sauces, the duty in Victoria is equal to 35 per cent. on the landed value, showing again that on the shipping value the duty proposed is equal to at least from 50 to 60 per cent. In 1890 the imports of pickles and sauces into New South Wales amounted in value to £57,761. How much revenue do the Government say that their duties will yield in New South Wales? £3,000. Thesum distributed over the imports for 1890 is equal to only a little over 5 per cent. ; in other words 51/2 per cent. on the imports for 1900 represents the sum which the Government estimate to receive in New South Wales from these duties. It follows that the Government have in their minds an enormous decrease in the importation into New South Wales. In 1900 the imports into New South Wales were 196,000 dozen. This quantity, at 2s. per dozen, would yield a revenue of £19,600, and 15 per cent. on the amount would give £7,425; or, if 15 per cent. had the effect of cutting down the importations by one-half, it would still give £3,700, or more than the Government expect to receive under their proposals. Honorable senators will see that the effect of ‘the Government proposals is to practically prohibit the importation of pickles, and as they are reaching so near a prohibitive point, they are cutting down all possibility of revenue. When I propose a 15 per cent. duty in lieu of the various specific duties, I propose a duty which will give some revenue, and will especially preserve some revenue to the smaller States. To give honorable senators some idea of what can be done in the open market without protection, I may mention that, in 1900, Victoria exported 40,607 dozen of pickles and sauces to surrounding States and to outside countries. If Victoria can export that large quantity of pickles and sauces, and sell them in the open market, it does not seem necessary that there should bea protection which altogether is in the neighbourhood of 50 per cent. An all-round duty of 15 per cent. will give those persons who are engaged in the industry a very substantial amount of protection. And the natural protection is at least 25 per cent., because pickles and sauces, being very bulky articles, cost a great deal to bring out from Europe. With 15 per cent. customs protection and 25 per cent. natural protection, the local manufacturer is protected right up to the eyes, and he has ample opportunity for conducting his operations. At the same time, if the duty is left at 15 per cent., there will be some fair importations, especially into the smaller States, and there will be a reasonable amount of revenue to pay into their exchequers.
– I a I admit, for the purpose of my argument, that there will not be very much difference in the revenue if an ad valorem duty is substituted for the specific duties. I think that there will be a slight loss of revenue. Under a 15 per cent. duty there will be a very small protection indeed on the common class of pickles. As the value of the article gets higher, of course the amount payable in duty will be higher, but on the great bulk of the pickles which compete with the local articles the duty will be very small. The operation of our proposal will be exactly the opposite. The specific duty will amount to a heavy tax on the common article, which is made here quite as well as, if not better than, the cheap imported article, and as the article gets higher in value there is less likelihood of its being competed with generally throughout the Commonwealth. If we are to derive even the same amount of revenue, we ought to follow the principle of giving the greater amount of protection to the article which is likely to be manufactured here. But there is another consideration which I think ought to be regarded, and that is that the lower the duty on ordinary pickles is made the more likelihood there is of rubbish coming in here. We all know that under the head of cheap pickles there comes in an enormous quantity of rubbish, badly made up of bad fruit, and sold readily under certain names to the public. Some of these sauces and pickles are bad and unwholesome in every way, and, as they come in at a cheap rate, they enterinto competition with our own products, which are certainly much better. As the imported pickles bear old trade marks, they are readily purchased. The issue is a very simple one. We have here an opportunity of giving some substantial protection to a very good natural industry without interfering with revenue in any way whatever. I hope the committee will not consent to make this shuffling of the duty simply for the purpose of taking away its protective incidence. That is the object of the motion. The same amount of revenue will be obtained, but by making the duty 15 per cent. ad valorem we take away its real protective incidence where it is wanted. This is one of those tinkering proposals that are being submitted all through the Tariff discussions, not for the purpose of making substantial alterations, but to alter the incidence of the duties so as to take away that protective character which the great bulk of the people of the Commonwealth wish them to have.
– Isuppose it is useless to hope that Senator Pulsford will withdraw this motion. The manufacture of pickles is a natural industry. Even the bottles are made in Victoria. I have here a letter from Mr. John Sutherland, who is a manufacturer of pickles. I believe these statements are absolutely correct. The writer says -
We have erected a large plant for the manufacture of pickles. Our output in pickles is £ 15,000 a year. We employ between50 and 80 hands all the year round, who all come underthe wages board. Our bottles are all locally-made, and, as we use many thousands of gross annually, we give work to a great many. Our eases are all made locally, as also our labels and printing matter. This season we have bought from all the local farmers 250 tons of pickling onions; 100 tons cucumber and gerkins : 100 tons cauliflower, beside other vegetables in large quantities, such as chillies, garlic, tomatoes, celery, &c. All our corks are cut locally, so that directly, and indirectly, our industry gives work to a great many.
All the supplies for this industry are obtained locally, and many of the commodities used have duties imposed upon them.
– Has the honorable senator ever eaten any of these pickles?
– I have, I believe: and I should prefer to eat a product made under the supervision of our factory inspectors to one made in the East Indies by black men. I should prefer to consume vegetables produced here by our own people to vegetables grown in other countries. It is not the duty that is objected to by the freetraders, but the protective incidence of it. It is admitted that an ad valorem duty will encourage the introduction of low-class pickles. We do not want our people to consume low-class goods, when they can have a high-class article which is manufactured in the Commonwealth, and can be obtained very cheaply. I trust that honorable senators will not regard this merely as a “Victorian duty. Why should not pickles be manufactured in Tasmania1? I have no doubt they will now that that State has a wider market. Very nearly all the material used in the manufacture of pickles is taxed. We have passed a duty of £1 per ton on onions. The factory I have mentioned uses 230 tons of onions per annum. Honorable senators opposite allowed that duty to be passed without protest.
– We do not object to a duty which does not produce any revenue.
– The honorable and learned senator has lucid intervals at times. I hope the committee will allow the item to stand.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia). - Senator Styles has given us some very interesting information, which demands consideration. Indeed, whenever he speaks he says something which is well worth hearing. We have here the old stalking-horse about a factory that employs from 50 to 80 people, and for its sake we are asked to put on a duty’ which amounts to a very large sum per cent, on the value of the article. My honorable friend, Senator Pulsford, has moved an ad valorem duty of 15 per cent, because these goods vary considerably in quality. We are not fond of ad valorem duties, but if we are to have taxation on commodities imported into the country, it should not bear equally upon those articles that are costly and those which are of less value. The factory in Melbourne to which Senator Styles has referred employs between 50 and 80 people. The margin between the two numbers is very wide. That shows that the industry is not consistently well established.
– But it must be remembered that the supply of vegetables varies.
– It must also be remembered that pickles are simply vegetables’ prepared in a particular way. Item 21 deals with fruit and vegetables .” preserved in liquid or partly preserved.” Those goods were made subject to a specific duty, which the committee altered toa 15 per cent, ad valorem duty. It seems to me that there is no difference whatever in principle between item 21 and item 44, which deals with the same kind of product preserved in a different fashion. Havingmade the duty under item 21, 15 per cent., there is no reason why we should not make the duty 15 per cent, under item 44. For the sake of consistency therefore, I hop© that the motion will be agreed to.
Senator BARRETT (Victoria).- Senator Symon has fallen into a great error in leading the committee to understand that there is only one pickle factory to be con-, sidered in connexion with the industry. I know that in Victoria there are a number of. pickle factories, and throughout the Commonwealth there must be a large number of people engaged in one way or another in the industry. Hence we cannot afford to look at the subject from the point of view Sena-, tor Symon has presented. The letter which Senator Styles has read shows that evenoutside the factories a large number of people are indirectly engaged in the industry. In fact, there must be some thousands of people connected with it. I am sorry that I did not know a discussion would take place upon this item, because if I had received notice I should have been able to place before the committee the figures showing the number of factories engaged in the manufacture of sauces and pickles in Victoria, as well as in other parte of the Commonwealth. In connexion with this item, we have, the old battle in regard to revenue and protective duties. Even if we afford this industry the protection which is sought, we shall not do away with a great, deal of the revenue that has been received j from this source. The item applies not only 1 to pickles, but to sauces, chutneys, olives I and capers. . The olive is cultivated in- ; South Australia as well as at Mildura, to a very large extent, but we know that there I are high-class sauces, chutneys, and capers, 1 which are bound to be imported, and from which a good deal of revenue must be de rived.
– Why not impose a> - duty of more than 15 per cent, upon those : articles ?
– I do not desire to send to India for sauces and pickles. I desire to see our own people employed. I want to see some protection given to this industry, and our market secured for our own people. The industry is practically one of the soil, and it can be expanded vastly. The letter which we have received from one of the manufacturers shows that the industry is giving employment not only to marketgardeners and those actually engaged in the factories, but to glass bottle makers and to carpenters. Even if we were to lose the whole of the revenue from this source, I should still be prepared to vote for the item The money would not be lost, for the increased employment given in this way would cause more money to be put incirculation. I fail to see any valid argument against this duty, and I think that Senator Pulsford could not have had all the facts before him, otherwise he would not have tabled his motion. I hope that he will withdraw it, and allow the duty to remain.
Senator MACFARLANE (Tasmania).I agree with Senator Pulsford that the duty on pickles is. equal to 40 per cent. If we reduce it to 15 per cent. a very fair protection will still be given to the local manufacturer. There can be only a few manufacturers, fora reason that I willexplain. Pickles are or ought to be prepared in vinegar, and if copper vessels are used they have a very deleterious effect upon the vinegar. Owing to that fact the leading manufacturers make their pickles in large platinum retorts. That method has been adopted by Crosse and Blackwell, Morton’s, and other large pickle manufacturers, but the purchase of one of these retorts involves a very heavy expenditure. I have been warned repeatedly not to use pickles made by small manufacturers unless they have been analysed, because, when manufactured in copper vessels, they contain a considerable quantity of poison. If we reduce the duty to 15 per cent. it will leave a very fair margin for the local manufacturer. As soon as an attempt is made to reduce a duty, the old cry is raised that it will endanger the existence of an industry. Honorable senators on this side of the Chamber desire, however, to see articles of food obtainable as cheaply as possible, and it cannot be denied that a poor man eats far more pickles than does a rich man. If protectionists will rest content with a duty of 15 per cent., in addition to the 20 per cent., making altogether 35 per cent. natural protection for this industry, they will find that it will be ample.
Senator Major GOULD (New South. Wales). - Honorable senators who seek to retain this very heavy duty are acting contrary to the principle which we desire to see laid down, and that is that some revenue’ shall be obtained, while, as thePrimeMinister has said, protection is afforded to certain industries now in existence. This industry is not in its infancy, because we find that’ the States export a considerably quantity of pickles beyond what they themselves require. The Government estimate to receive a revenue of only something like £9,500 a year from this source. That is a very small sum in comparison with what they would receive if the imports whichhave hitherto taken place were allowed to continue. Assuming for the sake of argument that those imports were reduced byone-half, that would still allow considerable room for the expansion of the local industry. If the duty is reduced to 15 per cent. a larger amount of revenue will be received. That is the duty which prevails in Western Australia. In New South Wales there was no duty. In Tasmania the duty was 20 per cent., while in Victoria it was 3d. per pint, or1s. 6d. per dozen halfpints. We know that we require a certain , amount of revenue, but we recognise that the principle has been laid down that certain favoured industries should still receive assistance from the States ; that is to say, that they should practically be subsidized by depriving the States of a certain amount of revenue, which would otherwise go into their coffers. During theyear 1900 Victoria exported over 40,000 doz. of pickles’ and sauces, whilst New South Wales imported something like £57,000 worth. If we were to reduce the duty to 5 per cent.practically as much revenue would be collected in New South Wales - provided that, the same rate of importation continued - as that estimated by the Government. We area content, however, with a duty of 15 per cent., which will give a larger modicum of help to the local producer and ensure at the same time a larger amount of revenue for. the States. It is unfair that we should attempt to place on this article, which is a fair subject for taxation, a duty so high that it will amount practically to prohibition, and by that means deprive States of revenue which they might reasonably expect to receive. This duty will unfairly tax the people, and practically compel them unnecessarily to contribute large sums of money for the benefit of a few favoured manufacturers.
Senator O’KEEFE (Tasmania).- In regard to the attitude taken up by my honorable colleague, Senator Macfarlane, I would point out that even in Tasmania the sauce and pickle-making industry has grown considerably, and 1 hope that he will not do anything to destroy that industry. By referring to the statistics of Tasmania lie will see that in 1S97 the quantity of pickles manufactured in that State consisted of 1, SOO pints. The output increased year by year until in 1900 it had reached 6,000 pints. During the same period the sauces manufactured there increased in quantity from 60,000 pints to 120,000 pints. Of “course, Senator Macfarlane regards this duty as a heavy one, because he is a hopeless foreigntrader, but if honorable senators look at the figures before the committee they will see that, taking the average, these proposals are practically the same as those which obtained under the State Tariffs. Senator Macfarlane will find that in Tasmania the duties upon pickles were ls. 4d., 2s. and 3s. ; and on sauces, ls. 6d., 2s., 3s. and 4s. These are practically the same as the duties here proposed, and I hope the Tariff will be allowed to remain as it is. This may not at present be a large industry, but there are a considerable number of people employed in it. The pickles made in Australia are equal to many of the imported brands of pickles, and if the health of the people is to be considered it is better that they should be used than the imported article.
Senator PULSFORD (New South Wales). - Following upon the remarks of Senator 0’Keefe, I should like to refer honorable senators to the statistics of imports to the State of Tasmania, for the year 1900. It will be found that a very large proportion of the pickles imported to Tasmania in that year were imported from the other States of Australia, and revenue was collected upon them which is not being collected to-day. Pickles in pints, were imported to the value of £1,800, and half of those imports came from Victoria and New South Wales. In half-pints the imports were to the value
Of £140, and of those £48 worth came from the other States. A considerable proportion of the sauces imported, though not to the same extent as in’ the case of pickles, also ‘came from the other States. What I desire honorable senators to remember is that Tasmania collected State revenue upon the importations of pickles A.,id sauces from the other States, and, at the present time, that State is receiving the same imports, and perhaps to a greater extent than ever before, and is getting no revenue from them. The duties now proposed by the Government will effectually shut out foreign competition in these articles, and confine the trade of all Australia to the factories which are protected by these prohibitive duties, with the result that the States which have been receiving revenue from the importation of these articles in the past will not receive revenue from them to the. same extent in the future. Senators Styles and Higgs have referred to the small amount of protection afforded by these duties, but surely 15 per cent. Customs protection, with the natural protection added, is a very substantial assistance for a natural industry ? When we consider that onions are easily grown here, and can be obtained at a very low price, it seems to me that this industry requires no protection. And yet, in the spirit of compromise, which has marked our proceedings from the beginning, and which has led honorable senators from New South Wales into a position very unsatisfactory to themselves and to New South Wales, we have offered to agree to a Customs protection of 15 per cent., knowing at the same time that the maker ‘of pickles in Australia will have, in addition, the advantage of a protection of 25 per cent, iu the cost of importing pickles from the other side of the world. When we have agreed to a protection amounting to 40 per cent., what more can honorable senators desire ?
Senator McGREGOR (South Australia). - I rise to point out the inconsistency of the statements made by Senator Pulsford, which are on a par with the statements made by the free trade section of ‘the committee upon all occasions. With the idea of influencing Senator Macfarlane and some other senators from Tasmania, Senator Pulsford has sought to show that the imports of pickles and sauces into Tasmania were largely from the other States, and under the new order of things Tasmania would derive no revenue ‘from them. When the honorable senator was dealing with the motion on the first occasion in referring to New South Wales, he said that about £57,000 worth of pickles had been introduced into that free-trade State, and as an argument in support of a duty of 15 percent., he told us that such a duty upon that importation would produce a revenue nearly equal to the total revenue the Government estimate to get from these items. But the honorable senator knew when he used that argument that a very large proportion of the pickles imported to New South Wales came from the other States, and that consequently there was nothing in his argument. I- point this out to show how these honorable senators shift about and use one argument at one time and another at another time for the purpose of misleading people. I desire to give some consideration to the people who have elected honorable senators from the different States, and who, from both a revenue and protective point of view, are’ the first to be considered, and not the producers of these goods in Black-pool or “ White-pool,” France, Italy, or any other part of the world. We should first consider the people who live in Australia. Vegetables suitable for pickling can be grown not only in Victoria but in South Australia, and in New South Wales to a greater extent than they have yet been grown. They can he grown also in Tasmania and Queensland, and I believe that when the miners of Western Australia get tired of sucking at condensed milk, many of them will turn their attention to growing vegetables and other articles used for pickling. When we speak of the pickling industry and the saucemaking industry we must consider not merely those who are immediately engaged in those industries, because these duties will also be of assistance to those who make the cases those who pack the goods, those who transmit them from one place to another, and above all the vegetable-growers of the country. Honorable senators know that those men are up late and early, contending with all kinds of difficulties in making a living upon the glorious land we are always talking about. I have known instances in “which they have had to come into Melbourne and sell cauliflowers at the rate of 30 dozen for 2s. Gd. - Id. a dozen. If there were no pickling industry here that state of things would very soon exist again. Senator Symon must know that men have brought vegetables from the hills into Adelaide, and have had to throw them away to get rid of the load before they went home. 37 z ‘
– Why did not the picklers get them 1
– There were no picklers there to get them at the time I refer to, and there never would be under the conditions which Senator Charleston would keep up. The honorable senator wants all his chutneys manufactured by coolies and hindoos, and by the poor men and poor women in London and France and other places who have no factory legislation to protect them. When Senator O’Keefe mentioned the pickling industry as a primary industry, Senator Symon said it was not. On one occasion, when a reference was made to the wine industry, Senator Symon said it was a primary industry. Can he or any one else tell me the difference between planting vines, and manufacturing wine out of the grapes, and growing cabbages, cucumbers, gherkins, and onions, and pickling them 1 The one is as much a primary industry as is the other. Both industries are as nearly connected with the soil as they can be. Some honorable senators have asked what are we going to do if the imposition of these duties will have the effect of doing away with the revenue byandby. I believe that the duties will raise all the revenue that, if not more than has been estimated, because there are so many persons in Australia who would far rather have the chutneys prepared in India, and the pickles produced somewhere else than support their own vegetablegrowers, and the workers in the connected industries, such a3 pickling, bottling, and carpentering. These patriots would far rather adopt that course than consume the articles produced in their own country. In the Commonwealth there are thousands of persons who pay far more attention to the label on a wine bottle than to the quality of the wine which it contains. Just as it is in the wine industry, so in the pickling, bacon, ham, and every other industry, far more attention is paid to the label than to the quality of the article. So long as we hasTe persons with these ignorant prejudices so long shall we be able to raise a revenue, no matter what the duty on an article may be. Commingling with the patriots I have referred to, there is another class who, no matter what it may cost, will have the imported articles, because for some considerable time there will have to be imported many articles, such as pickles and sauces, which we cannot get up in so finished a style as is done in the old country. There will always be persons who will go in for these high-priced and high-class articles. A 2s. per dozen duty on the price which is charged for pickles would not amount to more than 5 per cent. Whenever Senator Pulsford wishes to calculate a 15 per cent, duty from the specific duty, he picks out the lowest-priced articles. He picks out the pickles selling at 2s. 6d. and 3s. 6d. per dozen in London, and he forgets that a 2s. per dozen duty on the high-class goods, which we are bound to import for some time, would not be more than 5 per cent. Our vegetables are grown under better conditions- than exist in any other part of the world, and are manufactured under conditions over which we have control. If we manufacture the best class of pickles and no imports are made, the revenue will still benefit. Because there will be more gardeners, with their wives and families on the soil, producing the primary products. There will be more persons working in the pickling, bottle-making, and every connected industry. More than 50 per cent, of our Customs revenue is raised on articles without the duty having any protective incidence. The revenue can never be destroyed. For instance, the revenue on such articles as tobacco, snuff”, cigars, cigarettes, opium, beer, spirits, wine, and other articles cannot be destroyed. The people who are settled on the soil will want tobacco, matches, linen, and cotton piece goode, and a hundred odd things apart from the pickles and sauces which may be imported, and their consumption of these goods will far more than counterbalance the loss of revenue in the industries with which they may be connected. As regards any industry which can be carried on in the Commonwealth, and carried on with very great advantage if the duty abolishes importation, if it destroys that grand industry which Senator Pulsford is doing so much to protect, still we need not fear that we shall not be able to get revenue. Those persons who are afraid of direct taxation need have no fear so far as I can see, because they are always ready to put on indirect taxation that can never be affected by its protective incidence. When honorable senators reflect that there are so many cultivators of our soil who- deserve encouragement, who have done more probably to develop the Commonwealth than have many of those who are endeavouring to destroy those industries, I hope they will pause before they take away the legitimate protection which ought to be given.
Senator DOBSON (Tasmania). - I am loth to add any words to the stream of eloquence which has been going on - sometimes I think unnecessarily - in the Chamber during the last few weeks, but I should like to explain shortly the principle on which I shall give this vote, and on which I have silently given other votes. It appears to me that the right way to deal with a question of this sort, having regard to revenue and to the financial needs of each State, is to ask what is a fair amount of duty to put on. We have to consider revenue on the one hand and protection on the other. Senator Pulsford has moved that the duty on pickles and sauces should be 15 per cent, ad valorem. When I ask myself what the cost of import is, my common sense tells me that it- must be considerable, because bottles are very heavy and bulky. I understand that the cost of import is from 15 per cent, to 20 per cent., so that under the honorable senator’s proposal there is an absolute protection of from 30 to 35 per cent. That gives not a moderate, but a most generous amount of protection, and at the same time it gives us some little hope of getting more revenue than the specific duties would yield. I should like to ask - and I hope Senator Glassey is here - what is the use of honorable senators making protectionist speeches over and over again, repeating exactly the same sentences when they are turning up their noses at a protection of over’ 30 per cent. They are, quite unintentionally, belittling the natural industries, and showing a want of patriotism: If an industry cannot succeed with a protection of over 30 per cent., how is the consumer to get on, and how is the revenue to get on ? If the Tariff is to be a fair compromise, this ad valorem duty should be adopted in preference to the specific duties, as it would be fairer. I am pleased to see an industry which is directly connected with the soil, and which is of some importance, have a moderate amount of protection, because I know that it is encouraged and strengthened by that assistance. But if I am asked to go as far as Senators Glassey and McGregor and some Victorian senators wish to go - to absolutely prohibit imports - I reply that I have no leanings towards a protection of that nature. The worst thing that could happen to the citizens of the Commonwealth would be the creation of artificial industries of that kind. The best qualities of cauliflowers, onions, and similar articles are grown here at a very cheap rate, and yet Senator McGregor says a protection of over 30 per cent, is not enough. If that is the kind of wall he wishes to build round the Commonwealth producer, he is disloyal to his fellow-subjects, and he is trying to make of that producer not a man, but a kind of bastard, who, as Miss Shaw said, cannot carry on his business unless he is propped up. By insisting upon giving a protection of over 30 per cent., you will absolutely encourage the tuen who are thus protected to give us bad products. If you shut out imports, the manager of the factory will get lazy, the workmen will get indifferent, and the manufacturer may or may not be lining his pockets. The whole body of the consumers will have no choice. They will be bound to buy the article, whether it is good or bad. Under the proposal of Senator Pulsford, there is some chance of chutneys, sauces, and pickles from other countries coming in and competing, but on very hard terms indeed, on account of the generous protection which we are offering.
– T - This is a terrible look out for the Tasmanian jam trade !
– They are poking me with hops on the one hand and with jam on the other, to induce me to vote against the motion ! I should be quite content to vote for any proposal which gave any industry, a protection of from 30 to 35 per cent. I do not see how any one who calls himself a moderate and reasonable man, desiring to frame a Tariff for the Australian people, can ask for anything more than that. If an industry cannot thrive with a protection of that sort, it must be in a very weak way ; and I deny that the industry in question is weak. It has a natural advantage as compared with products coming from Europe, and it has recently had the additional advantage of Inter-State freetrade. I firmly believe that Inter-State free-trade is the best thing that could have happened for the “Victorian industries. They were not in so sound, healthy and strong a condition previously as the industries of another State which has pursued a free-trade policy ; because the atmosphere of protection does not tend so much to back up industries as to prop them up. 37 z z
For these reasons I shall vote for the motion.
– I am very glad indeed that Senator Dobson did not address the committee in the terms which he has just employed when such a duty as that on hops was under consideration. I noticed that on that occasion, when a protection of something like 60 per cent, was , proposed, he did not employ such, language as lie has used in connexion with the duty on pickles. Senator O’Keefe has pointed out that in Tasmania a certain number of persons are engaged in this industry. It is difficult to ascertain the exact number of those persons, for the reason that the Statistical Register of Tasmania for the year 1900 expressly declares that the manufacture of pickles is so interwoven with other industries that the statistician has not considered it advisable to give the value of the plant or the number of persons employed, inasmuch as they are already referred to in connexion with other industries. Senator Pulsford, in reply to Senator O’Keefe, pointed out that if we impose a duty of the character proposed by the Tariff against commodities imported from oversea, the tendency will be to produce a larger interchange between the mainland States and Tasmania, to the detriment of the Tasmanian revenue, inasmuch as that State will not import much from outside the Commonwealth. Senator Dobson professes to be anxious to preserve the revenue of the States, and I presume that he is particularly interested in connexion with the revenue of the smaller States. In the year 1900 the importation of pickles “in pints” into Tasmania amounted to 8,293i dozen. From the United Kingdom we imported 4,648-J dozen; from Victoria, 2,110 dozen ; and from New South Wales, 1,535 dozen. The total value of those importations was £1,843 2s. 10d. Of that amount £920 worth came from the United Kingdom, and £923 2s. lOd. “worth from the mainland States of Victoria and New South Wales. These figures show that no matter what may be the production in Victoria and New South Wales, there will always be a tendency on the part of those persons who wish to do so to consume articles of this character produced abroad, which are by them considered to be of better quality.. Not more than half the quantity of these pickles imported into Tasmania 1 came from the mainland States ; the other half came from the United Kingdom, though possibly some of them simply passed through the United Kingdom into Australia. The total amount of Customs revenue raised from this source, by means of a duty of 2s. per dozen pints, was £781 9s. I commend those figures to the consideration of Senator Dobson. Of pickles in quart bottles there was an importation from Victoria into Tasmania of only 10 dozen, upon which the revenue derived was only £1 10s., which was collected at the rate of 3s. per dozen quarts. That is another fact which I commend to the honorable and learned senator’s consideration. Of half-pints the total imported was 462 dozen, of which 324 dozen came from the United Kingdom, and the revenue yielded was £14 16s. The full amount of revenue raised was £797 15s. There is another circumstance which is worthy of notice. Although this Tariff has been in operation for some time, yet from the 9th of October, 1901, to the 31st of March, 1902, according to information supplied to us by the Vice-President of the Executive Council in regard to this particular item, there was collected in Tasmania during that period of five and three-quarter months the sum of £256. Considering that during this period Inter-State free-trade was in force, that sum must have been collected on oversea importations. The total amount collected on over-sea and intercolonial importations of pickles in the year 1901 was £797. One-half of that - for six months - would be £398. These figures show that, through the establishment of Inter-State free-trade, there cannot have been the largely-increased demand for the Australian-produced article, to the detriment of the foreign article that we are led to believe by those who favour the reduction of the duty. A comparison of the previous Tariffs with the one now submitted will lead to the conclusion that a very fair compromise has been arrived at.
– Senator Dobson has appealed to our patriotism in regard to this duty on pickles. He says that we should endeavour to maintain industries that will not be sickly, but which can endure subjection to the keen blast of competition from other parts of the world. He regards a duty of 35 per cent. as sufficient protection. But does my honorable and learned friend know what wages are paid to persons engaged in this industry in India? They are paid from 3d. to 4d. a week ! Does he know what sort of houses they live in, how they are clothed, and what are their social surroundings? They live in a most miserable and deplorable condition of wretchedness and misery. Doesmy honorable and learned friend know the wages paid in Italy, whence we import quantities of pickles 1 I contend that 35 per cent. is insufficient in many instances, and if it were 200 or300 per cent., it would scarcely enable us to compete with articles produced in some countries. But in this instance we advocate a reasonable protective duty, so as to enable our producers to live under reasonable conditions. I am sure that Senator Dobson would like to see the Tasmanian producers and working men earning good wages, living in good houses, and with their wives and children surrounded by comfortable conditions. How are these conditions to be secured, ifwe are to proceed on the lines advocated by the honorable and learned senator, and say that in all cases a duty of 35 per cent. is superabundant ? It is idle to say that if an industry cannot stand with such a percentage, it is a sickly industry that should not be encouraged at all.
– It thrived in New South Wales, where the article was free.
– There may have been favorable conditions in New South Wales. I am sure that the people of New South Wales have plenty of stamina and ability to enable them to hold their own with others ; but there may be special conditions there which are not enjoyed in other parts of the Commonwealth. It is with a view to protect the people of the Commonwealth so that they may produce these articles, and to avoid the poverty which prevails among those connected with the industry in other parts of the world, that we insist upon a reasonable duty.
Senator CLEMONS (Tasmania).- Ishould not have risen to take part in this debate but for the remarks made by Senator Keating. I desire that Senator Dobson should appreciate at their true value the figures quoted for his benefit by that honorable and learned senator. Some of us are accustomedto ingenuous methods, but I commend to Senator Dobson the statement made by Senator Keating. I will analyze it for bis special benefit in order that he may see how much he may trust the accuracy of that or any other statement made by the same authority. Senator Keating gave for Senator Dobson’s benefit the amount of revenue derived, under the Tasmanian Customs Tariff prior to federation, from the duty on pickles only; but we are discussing an item which includes sauces, chutneys and olives, as well as pickles. As a matter of fact, the duty collected on pickles in Tasmania in 1900 amounted to £880 ; but in order to improve his argument, with total disregard’ to accuracy, Senator Keating said nothing of the revenue collected on sauces, which amounted to a further sum of £570. The total amount collected under the State duty was, therefore, £1,450. The figures quoted by Senator Keating as to the collection under this Tariff are perfectly correct so far as they relate to the date which Senator Keating gave, but he did not go on to mention that for the month of April, the revenue collected from this item under the Commonwealth Tariff amounted only to £23.
Senator PEARCE (Western Australia). I am surprised that greater attention has not been paid to the proposal to substitute an ad valorem duty for the present specific duty, because there is good reason for making that alteration. That reason was recognised by the committee when dealing with the duty on fruits preserved in liquid. It was pointed out then that fruit preserved in liquid varied greatly in price. The same statement applies with equal force to pickles and sauces. Here are a few retail prices quoted by Messrs. Howard and Kemp in the Western Australian for 17th ult.: - English pickles, Ss. 6d. per dozen, or Sid. per bottle ; tomato sauce, 3£d. to 7d. per bottle. An ad valorem duty on English tomato sauce would thus be fairer in its incidence than a specific duty, which would press just as heavily upon persons purchasing the quality retailed at 3£d. per bottle as upon those purchasing at a higher price. Worcester sauce, which is imported in very large quantities, is quoted at from 3£d. to 1Od. per bottle. Surely it is not just to impose the same duty on the article sold at 3Jd. per bottle as on that worth lOd. per bottle 1 A fixed duty in such cases taxes the people, not according to their ability to pay, but according to the necessity to buy these particular articles. I think this is an unanswerable reason for the imposition of an ad valorem duty on these goods. An attempt has been made to explain that this duty is necessary for protective purposes, but I .notice that the honorable senators who make the statement are prepared to defend a duty of 15 per cent, on other items. It seems to be considered by them that the mere presence of a certain duty in the Tariff is proof that a duty of even 1 per cent, less would destroy the industry. Those who make such statements should prove that by reducing the duty to 15 per cent. ad valorem - if it would be a reduction, and in some instances it would not - we shall wipe away any industry. The wild harangue in regard to coloured labour in India is merely an attempt to cloud the main issue. If honorable senators who make so great - an outcry about sauces and chutneys manufactured in India, wish to see a duty imposed which will keep out those articles, let them say at once that an ad valorem duty of 15 per cent, is insufficient.
– -A fixed duty is much more likely to keep them out than is an ad valorem duty.
– Not at all. We have to pay more for Indian chutney than for the colonial article, and if Indian chutney, the price of which is 2s. 6d., is going to supersede the Australian article, which you can get for ls. a bottle, it must be for some other reason than cheapness. Some honorable senators have expressed great commiseration for the primary producers because we are going to interfere with the pickle industry. But there are a far greater number of primary producers who consume pickles than are interested in the manufacture of them. If honorable senators wish to benefit the producer, let them relieve him of some of the duties on the food he consumes. The quantity of vegetables used in a bottle of pickles is insignificant. In many parts of the Commonwealth the supply of fresh vegetables is insufficient, and it will be time enough to talk about pickling them when we are able to supply more than sufficient to” meet the demand for fresh vegetables. It was somewhat amusing to hear an honorable senator say that this was a protective duty, and at the same time that it- was also as good a revenue duty as that which existed previously in the States. In Western Australia the duty is the same as that which it is sought to substitute for the Government proposal, but with a duty of 15 per cent, ad valorem we have been able to establish a pickle factory there, notwithstanding the insufficiency of the supply of vegetables and the importation of cheap pickles from Victoria. Either this is a revenue or a protective duty. I believe that a duty of 15 per cent, will give a certain measure of protection ; while it will also be revenue producing. I would vote for pickles being placed on the free list, but as I know there is no hope of that being carried I shall vote for the next best thing.
Senator KEATING (Tasmania).- With regard to the attack which has been made upon me in reference to the figures which I quoted a few minutes ago, I should like to say that I expressly quoted from the Statistical Register of Tasmania for 1900 the extent of the importations of a particular article - pickles. I may say that owing to the fact that I did not know what particular items were to be debated - a circumstance which is frequently deplored by other honorable senators - and especially as I followed closely upon an honorable and learned senator but for whose utterances I should not have spoken, it was impossible for me to go through the list, covering many pages, in order to find out each particular item and the volume of the imports. But I never, at any time, informed the committee that the imports to which I was referring, and the duty collected thereon, related to anything other than pickles. On going through this list I find that my argument is still further strengthened when I come to a comparison of the importations of these particular commodities into Tasmania from the mainland States and from abroad. Take sauces, quarts : There were 139 dozen imported in that year - 35 dozen from Victoria, 7 dozen from New South Wales, and 97 dozen from China. Sauces, pints : 302f dozen were imported, of which 128 dozen were imported from the United Kingdom, 147f dozen from Victoria, 27 dozen from New South Wales. Sauces, half-pints : 3,943^ dozen, of which 2,933 dozen came from the United Kingdom, 731 dozen from Victoria, and 239i- dozen from New South Wales. Sauces, ¼- pints : 1,590 dozen, of which 1,384 dozen came from the United Kingdom, 150 dozen from Victoria, and 56 dozen from New South Wales. In the Statistical Register I can find so far no importatations of olives or chutney referred to under any special heading. The figures I have now given tend further to show that the fears of honorable senators that InterState free-trade will cause a displacement of the importation of articles of the character under consideration from outside the Commonwealth are not very well grounded. People who desire to use sauces, chutneys, pickles, and olives will prefer to get them from places where they think they are made of the best quality. I do not know what influences may be at work in South Australia, but I believe that consumers in the other States will be likely to prefer Spanish olives to those produced in South “Australia. We all know that there is a prejudice against the local article, and in no lines more than those now under consideration. I have pointed out a great disproportion between the importation of these articles hitherto to Tasmania from the mainland States and from abroad. It may be said that there was the same duty at this time. But that will hardly account for the . discrepancies shown by the figures . to which I have referred. When it is remembered that we have to consider the interests of existing industries as well as revenue, and the establishment of InterState free-trade, the duty proposed in this case by the Government must be admitted to be a fair compromise, upon the duties previously existing in the various States.
– The argument addressed to the committee by Senator Keating will scarcely hold water. He has pointed out that a very large proportion of the imports from Tasmania wire from Great Britain, and they entered into competition with pickles imported from the mainland States. In the year to which the statistics which the honorable and learned senator has quoted, apply,, these articles from Great Britain entered Tasmania upon exactly the same footing as similar articles from Victoria, but under the Commonwealth, with a uniform Tariff and free-trade between the States, it is impossible to suppose that the imports from Great Britain to Tasmania will continue at the same rate. It is idle to draw deductions as to what will take place under uniform duties by looking at figures which disclose the position of the trade before that stage had been reached. It is quite reasonable to suppose that the people of Tasmania, having to pay the same duty on the English and Victorian article, would give free play to the tastes formed by long association with the English commodity, but when the
Victorian article enters Tasmania without having to pay a duty, whilst the British article has to pay a duty, I venture to’ say that the trend of the trade will be altogether altered. The actual figures show that that has already taken place. Senator Keating should have given some reason for overlooking altogether the last and most suggestive month in connexion with the figures to which he has referred - the month of April. The honorable and learned senator referred to the figures for the first six months after the introduction of the Tariff, but no one expects that trade will leave its ordinary channels at a day’s notice. “We find,- however, that at the end of the six months what might reasonably Iia ve been anticipated actually took place, and there was almost a total cessation of imports of certain commodities from Great Britain, the natural assumption being that as the Victorian article entered Tasmania free it displaced the British commodity.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - I cannot understand an honorable senator on this side proposing an ad valorem duty, which it is everywhere admitted opens the door to fraud.
– There are many of them in the Tariff.
– They are not there at the wish of the Government, but owing to the rude interference of the free-trade party. Senator Symon, who leads that party, must see that some importers will take advantage of the possibilities, and that ii quantity of the highest-priced goods will be introduced, and will pay only the same duty as the lower-priced article. I am inclined to think that this proposal is on a par with other propositions made by the honorable and learned senator, such, for instance, as that in connexion with cigars. The honorable and learned senator in that case submitted a motion under which high<class cigars would have to pay only the same duty as the lower-priced articles, lt has been said that lowering the duty would lead to the introduction of a great deal of rubbish. I do not think there is much in that argument, because we shall have rubbish introduced into the Commonwealth with or without a duty, and we must rely upon the health officers of the various States to protect the consumer. Senator Pulsford is afraid that if we keep up this duty to the rate proposed by the Government, we shall be handing the whole of this industry over to the local producers. Would not that be a very good thing 1 Is it not a very good thing, for example, that in Queensland we should have about 31 factories, employing 3S0 hands.
– What at ?
– They are employed in the manufacture of jams and pickles. The honorable senator must know that these industries are combined. If the foreign productions are displaced by the article, it will be by the establishment of a number of local factories.
– There is room for both. >
– I do not think there is room for both when we find that pickles can be introduced into the Commonwealth at 3s. 1 Id. per dozen, all charges included. The local people cannot undertake to produce pickles at that rate. I know that Senator Dobson is anxious to keep on good terms with our Indian fellow - subjects, and, in my anxiety for the honorable and learned senator’s health, I shall mention the fact that some Indian chutneys are made from the most awful products imaginable and in the dirtiest possible places. I prefer to encourage our own people. If people in other parts of the British Empire, who are not Hindoos, wish to produce pickles for the Australian consumer, let them come here and establish their factories, under the wages boards, and so compete upon fair terms with manufacturers. In Victoria I find there are fourteen factories employing some 950 hands. In 1899 there were employed in this industry in Victoria 444 males and 166 females, whilst in 1900, the latest year for which we can obtain particulars, fifteen factories were in operation, employing 641 males and 309 females. I ask honorable senators who are so anxious to study the primary producers to consider the local manufacturers who are working under just labour conditions, and not to expose them to the competition of countries where no restrictions are imposed upon those engaged in the industry.
– The principal manufacturer of pickles in New South Wales - Mr. G. B. Edwards, M.H.B. - is a free-trader.
– But he is not working under the same conditions as to the employment oE his hands as are the Victorian manufacturers. We ought to consider our own people, because charity begins at home, and outsiders have no right to complain of our shutting out their products. If any section of the people of the Commonwealth want high-class pickles, such as they allege can be obtained only from abroad, they should pay the duty proposed by the Government. We know that the Government could not afford to employ a number of experts who would be qualified to decide whether the prices mentioned in the invoices represent the real value of pickles that are imported. Moreover, we know that the moment that the Customs department prosecute dishonest importers for presenting fraudulent invoices, the free-traders cry out against the Minister for Trade and Customs for administering the law harshly. I hope the Government proposal will be agreed to.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 44 by adding the words “ and on and after 1st July, 1902, 15 per cent. in lieu of the specific duties “ - put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … … 14
Noes … … … 14
Question so resolved in the negative.
Item agreed to.
Item 45 (Potatoes)” agreed to.
Item 46. —Bice, viz. -
Uncleaned, per cental, 3s. 4d.
N.e.i. . . . per cental, 6s.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 46 by adding to the duty, “ Rice, viz., n.e.i., per cental, 6s.,” the words “and on and after 1st July, 1902, 5s.”
I should have liked to increase the duty upon uncleaned rice, but I do not wish to suggest any higher duties, even for the purpose of adjusting the margin between the duties imposed upon the different classes of the samecommodity. The whole question turns upon the margin which ought to be allowed between the uncleaned and the clean rice. The duty at present levied upon uncleaned rice is 3s. 4d. per cental, and upon cleaned rice 6s. per cental, the difference being 2s. 8d. per cental. When the Tariff was introduced the duty upon uncleaned rice was 5s. 3d. and upon clean rice 8s. 4d., the difference being 3s.1d. per cental. As the duties were much higher in that case, the difference was not so great proportionately as that which exists between the duties as at present fixed. Under the Victorian Tariff uncleaned rice was subjected to a duty of 4s., whilst upon the clean article 6s. was levied, the difference being 2s. Although the difference between the duties was only 2s. allowance had to be made for the loss in cleaning, which I understand is equal to about 8d. per cental. The loss ranges as high as 20 per cent. but 17 per cent. may be taken as a fair average, and that represents 8d. per cental. If that margin were sufficient under theVictorian Tariff, surely the rice-cleaners should be content with a smaller difference in the duty now that they have a larger market for their product? Taking the margin of 2s. 8d. per cental, I wish honorable senators to realize the measure of protection which the Government proposal represents. In the first place, we are doing more than was done by the Victorian Tariff under which any rice-cleaning industry which may exist in this State has been established. There is no objection to the polishing of rice being carried on in Victoria so long as it is done upon a fair basis. AllIdesire to ascertain is what is a reasonable margin to allow to prevent the destruction of this industry. As Senator Pearce has pointed out, it is for those who affirm that a certain margin of protection is necessary, to establish the reasonableness of their statements. Let me assume, for the sake of argument, that the position under the Government proposal is the same as that which previously obtained in Victoria. There is a margin of 2s.8d. per cental. Deducting the loss, which represents about8d. per cental, there is a clear protection of 2s. per cental, or £2 per ton, to the local rice-cleaner. The position, therefore, is that, by the imposition of the proposed duty, we shall be giving the manufacturer or importer who cleans the rice a profit of £2 per ton over and above the loss incurred in the process of cleaning. Surely that is too much to charge the consumer on an article which is one of universal consumption? Therefore, I propose to allow the manufacturer or importer the benefit of a 50 per cent. protection - that is, a protection of £1 per ton net instead of £2 per ton. Let me give the figures upon which I base my position. Upon Rangoon rice, which is generally used for starch-making, the proposed duty represents from 90 to 96 per cent. protection. But I do not wish to discuss the question of Rangoon rice. I prefer to deal with Japanese rice, which is the article generally used as food. It is the best rice in the market. The brown rice hulled ready for polishing costs f . o.b. in Japan from £7 1 5s. to £8 15s. per ton, the variation being according to sample and quality, whereas the polished or cleaned Japanese rice ready for use upon the table costs from £10 10s. to £11. per ton f.o.b. in Japan, also according to sample and quality. The difference therefore between the cost of the brown rice and the polished article ranges from £2 5s. to £215s. per ton. Assuming that the price here is the same as it is in Japan, the seller thus derives a profit of from £25s. to £2 15s. per ton in respect of a change in the condition of the article, which change is almost entirely brought about by the operation of the duty of £2 per ton. Two pounds per ton will pay for the cost of cleaning, and provide 10s. per ton to cover waste. Under the Government proposal, therefore, we shall be putting into the pockets of those engaged in this trade the whole difference between the cost of the brown rice and the price at which the polished article can be bought f.o.b. in Japan. I would also point out that the freight from Japan represents a natural protection of from 25s. to 27s. 6d. per ton. Surely that is an extravagant protection to confer upon this industry. All I ask is that the measure of protection afforded to the process of cleaning rice shall be reduced from £2 to £1 per ton, leaving out of consideration the natural protection which it already enjoys.
– R - Rice is a very important revenue-producing item, and we cannot afford to disregard that aspect of the question. I propose to deal first with the magnitude of the consumption of this article in order that honorable senators may realize what it means from a revenue stand -point. Afterwards I shall discuss the protective aspect of the question which has been adverted to by the leader of the Opposition. I have in my hand a table showing the consumption of rice in the different States during the years1898, 1899, and 1900, and also the duty paid upon it. I should like the attention of honorable senators to these figures, because it seems to me that they constitute the basis upon which all our discussion must rest. I think it will be admitted that practically the whole of this rice comes from abroad, so that we are not concerned with any local production. I find that the quantity of rice consumed in Victoria during 1898 was 8,866,400 lbs., which is equivalent to 71/2 lbs. per head of the population, and upon which the revenue collected was £21,324. In New South Wales the consumption totalled 13,513,696 lbs., or 10 lbs. per head of the population. In that State the article was admitted free. In Queensland the consumption of rice during the same year was 8,253,512 lbs., or 161/2 lbs. per head, the revenue collected being £34,390. Relative to population, the amount collected in the northern State was, of course, largely in excess of that derived in any other State.
– That is on account of the coloured races there.
– P - Precisely. At the same time while there are coloured races in our midst, we might just as well collect revenue from them as from any other portion of the community. In South Australia the consumption was 3,723,272 lbs., or 1 0 lbs. per head of the population, and the revenue collected totalled £9,175. During the same year, Western Australia, where no duty was operative, consumed 3,075,744 lbs., and Tasmania, 981,559 lbs., or52/3 lbs. per head, the revenue derived from this source being £4,090. In 1899 the consumption per head in Victoria was 63/4 lbs., the duty collected totalling £18,303. In New South Wales the consumption was 111/4 lbs. per head of the population, and in Queensland, 1 71/2 lbs. per head, the revenue collected in the latter State being £37,419. South Australia consumed 10 lbs. of rice per head, the duty upon the importations yielding £9,166 ; whilst Western Australia consumed 1 6 2/3 lbs. per head, and Tasmania 6 lbs. per head. The revenue derived from this source by the last-named State was £4,635. In the year 1 900 the consumption in Victoria was 6- lbs. per head, and the duty collected, £18,461 : in New South Wales, the consumption per head was 7^- lbs., duty free : in Queensland, the consumption per head was 15^ lbs., and the. duty collected £32,681 ; in South Australia, the consumption per head was 7J lbs, and the duty collected, £7,439 ; in Western Australia, the consumption per head was 16f lbs., duty free ; and in Tasmania the consumption was 4jj- lbs. per headland the duty collected, £3,302. These figures must satisfy any one that rice is an article in large general consumption, on which we are compelled to rely largely for a permanent revenue. Where an imported article comes into competition with local production, the effect of the latter, particularly under the protection given on some of the items in the Tariff, must be to diminish imports ; and in the course of a few years I hope to see local production increated to such an extent as in many cases to reduce the revenue. The Tariff deals with a number of articles in connexion with which revenue must be diminished by reason of local production; and honorable members will realize the necessity of having as many permanent sources of revenue as possible. Where we have such a permanent source as is here presented, we should be very careful not to unnecessarily reduce the duty. That view applies more particularly when we have regard to the revenue collected in the various States. We are often told that in dealing with the Tariff we should give special attention to the requirements of the States, and be careful to impose duties which will result in revenue. Applying that test, it would be au altogether unstatesmanlike proceeding, and one unjust to Queensland, for instance, to reduce the duty under consideration. The amount of duty collected in that State during the three years was proportionately verv large. In 1898 it was £34,390, in 1899 “it was £33,419, in 1900 it was £32,6S1 ; whereas in Victoria in 1S98 it was £21,324, in 1S99 it was £18,303, and in 1900 it was £18,461 It will be observed that the duty collected in Queensland was one and a half times that collected in Victoria, although there is a great disproportion in the population. In the case of Queensland we ought not to abate any portion of this duty, the estimated revenue - from which is very large. When the Tariff was introduced, an estimate * was made of the expected revenue, but since then several alterations have been made in the duty. The rice imported for the purpose of being manufactured into starch has been made free, and this and other changes make a considerable difference in the estimate, which was at first £142,422. Since the introduction of the Tariff the duty has been collected, partly under the original proposals and partly under the altered imposts, so that it is not easy to arrive at an exact conclusion from the figures, though these are a very good guide. In the six months from October to the 31st March, the amount collected was £39,639. New South Wales was evidently suffering at the time from the overloading that took place during the previous months, the amount of duty collected in the period I have mentioned being only £2,240, while £15,566 was collected in Victoria and £17,135 in Queensland. In this respect New South Wales, which ought to be pretty well on a level with Victoria in rice consumption, was about £12,000 below the average. That amount has to be added to the expected revenue, while, on the other hand, some deductions have to be made on account of the difference between the present duty and that under which a portion of the revenue was collected. But I do not think we can place the estimated revenue at less than £100,000 a year.
– In 1898-9 there was only £68,000 collected on rice in the whole of the Commonwealth.
– S - Senator Fraser perhaps forgets that no duties were imposed on this commodity in either New South Wales or Western Australia ; and I think my estimate of £100,000 is a fair one. We ought to be very careful about cutting down duties when such a large amount is involved, and particularly when the two States of Tasmania and Queensland are in need of revenue. Senator Symon admitted that the proposed duty is the same as that which was imposed in Victoria. The duty in Queensland was Id. per lb., which is equal to Ss. 4d. per cental, or 2s. 4d. more than the duty now under discussion. In South Australia the duty was 2s. 8d. per cental : in Tasmania, Id. per lb., or 8s. 4d. per cental ; whilst in Western
Australia rice was free. Under the circumstances it would be a serious step to reduce n duty which has already been reduced so considerably. We now come to a phase of the question which is, to a certain extent, associated with the revenue aspect. Senator Symon has admitted that in the cleaning of rice something like 17 or 18 per cent, is lost in weight. That means that 3s. 4d. per cental on uncleaned rice is equal to 4s. per cental on the marketable article ; and taking into account that loss, there is only 2s. to compensate for the labour.
– That is £2 per ton, and is too much.
– In In the first place, there are charges for labour and machinery, and for packing and other expenses which must be incurred in order to make the rice marketable in a cleaned condition. Some profit must be left for the person who. has invested his capital and paid all the incidental charges of the business. When we add to that the 30s., which Senator Symon has admitted is the cost of the labour–
– That is the total cost of the cleaning.
– I - It will do no more than cover the actual cost of the labour ; and that leaves to be paid out of the 10s. all the other charges and costs, and the amount of profit to which an investor is entitled.
– In Japan the difference between the cost of brown rice and the polished article ranges from £’2 5s. to £2 15s. per ton.
– Tha That brings me to an argument T was going to put, and I submit that it is a very strong one indeed. What has a man who cleans his rice in Japan to pay for his labour? Threepence or four pence a day. In order to compete with that man, who sends his cleaned rice here, the Australian cleaner has to pay his labourers a living wage. The cost of cleaning rice in Japan cannot be more than oneeighth of the .cost of cleaning rice here. Under these circumstances, unless this protection for cleaning rice here is to be n mere hollow sham, we must do something more than is proposed. I agree with Senator Glassey that so far from there being now a fair difference between the two, the difference ought to be much larger, but for certain reasons I cannot support him in his view. When honorable senators remember what the cleaner here has to fight against they will see at once that this is a very light protection indeed. It will be admitted that rice comes almost exclusively from countries where it is not only grown, but cleaned by coloured labour. Under these circumstances, is it too much to say, if we are going to give any protection to the industry here, that it should be a protection, which, at all events, will give full recognition and full allowance to the difference in the conditions and the cost of labour in the eastern countries and in our own country? There is another view of the matter, which, it appears to me, is very well worthy of consideration. There are some States in which, no doubt, rice cleaning will be carried on to a large extent. It may be that the rice cleaners in Victoria and New South Wales will supply the other States, or- it may be that some of the other States will take to rice cleaning. But in regard to any State which does not take to rice cleaning, there is a very serious question to be considered. I contend that even with the difference we allow, there will be a very great advantage from imported rice coming into a State. Probably a large amount of foreign rice will come into Queensland and other parts of Australia, notwithstanding this protection. If that is so, it will be wrong and unjust to deprive those States of the higher rate of duty which will be collected on any imported rice which is consumed there. The amount of duty collectable depends on the consumption. The figures I have submitted show that the State which is most largely interested is Queensland, because whatever the duty may be it will be there that the greatest consumption will take place. No matter which State imports the rice, the consuming State is the one which will get the benefit of the duty collected. I have no doubt that this small difference will not prevent foreign rice from coming in. I had intended to refer to what took place in Victoria, but the figures I have here deal with only the total import of rice. No doubt a good deal of the rice is imported in a rough state, and is cleaned here. In a little while I hope to be able to state the quantity of clean rice which was imported into Victoria and other States where a duty was imposed. But so far as the figures I have given go, I submit that a very strong case is made out for the retention of the duty on the ground of revenue for the Commonwealth, on the ground of revenue to particular States, and on the ground of the protection to the man who operates the rice here. I hope that the committee will leave the item as it is.
– I was very glad to hear the concluding remarks of Senator O’Connor, not that it was the first time he has spoken in such a way, but because it was a repetition of his earlier argument that by reducing the duty from 6s. to os. per cental we are attempting to destroy revenue. I wish to point out, especially to Senator Glassey, who is concerned very much in the question of revenue, how utterly fallacious and misleading that argument is. The revenue which all the States except Victoria will get is the amount which is produced by the duty on uncleaned rice. That is the revenue which Tasmania or Queensland will get unless it cleans its own rice. Throughout his long speech, Senator O’Connor has been endeavouring solemnly to persuade us that by reducing the duty on cleaned rice by ls. per cental we are interfering with the revenues of the States. We are doing nothing of the sort. And when he spoke with sympathy of the revenue of Tasmania and Queensland, and pointed out what the collections of those States were prior to federation, one wondered how he could fall into such a trap. He pointed out that the two States most concerned with revenue collected 8s. 4d. per cental before federation. Under this Tariff, Tasmania and Queensland will get only 3s. 4d. per cental, with the single exception that we may get 6s. or 5s. if the rice imported is cleaned. I am showing how misleading the Vice-President of the Executive Council was when he said we were destroying revenue. The exact object of the motion for the reduction of the duty is to encourage the importation of rice at 5s., instead of rice that will pay 3s. 4d. What we have to consider is a very simple propositi >n : How much shall we pay to the cleaners for cleaning our rice and making it edible? We say that, by leaving a margin of ls. Sd., we shall give the cleaners plenty for cleaning the rice. When we are encouraging a large importation of uncleaned rice in order that it may be prepared for consumption in Victoria, we should remember that, just in proportion as this Tariff succeeds on that point will all the smaller States lose revenue. The argument is unanswerable. It is perfectly true that when we propose to reduce it we do so in the hope that a larger amount of cleaned rice will be imported. The Vice-President of the Executive Council has referred to coloured ‘labour. I do think that it is time we heard the last of the coloured labour question.
– I - I daresay the honorable senator would like to hear the last of it.
– It is time we heard the last of it from a Government which is going to let in tea free of duty. Senator McGregor is fond of referring to the black labour question, but he is perfectly prepared to drink duty-free tea, which is entirely produced by black labour.
– And they rub it with their black feet !
– I ask the Government and their supporters to put aside the black labour bogy unless they are prepared to impose a duty of Gd. per lb. on tea. With regard to the proposed reduction to 5s., I would point out that this amount of taxation affects an article which is consumed by all classes of the community. Some honorable senators may think that the duty is too low. If so, I invite them to consider the next item in the Tariff. If the Vice-President’ of the Executive Council thinks 5s. on rice too low, let him consider sago and tapioca, on which the duty is 4s.
– W - What does the honorable and learned senator think about hops - -because the one has as much to do with this item as the other ?
– Perfectly contemptible !
– I - I rise to a point of order. I object to the honorable and learned senator opposite referring to ani argument of mine as “ perfectly contemptible.” I object to his making use of an expression like that when I am not allowed to answer it.
– If the VicePresident of the Executive Council regards the remark as offensive, I will ask Senator Symon to withdraw it.
– My honorable and learned friend was disorderly in his interjection ; and I think you ruled, sir, in reference to a statement of mine the other day - when I asked for an expression with regard to me to be withdrawn - that it was not. offensive and that you could not demand the withdrawal of it. I never heard of such a thing as a reply to an interjection being regarded as disorderly, seeing that the interjection itself was disorderly.
– It is true that the honorable and learned senator who has last addressed the Chair, strongly urged upon me that if any member of the committee regarded an expression as offensive it was the duty of the Chairman to ask for its withdrawal. I was not of the same opinion. It is for me to decide as to whether the expression used by the honorable and learned senator was offensive. I think that it was offensive
– In reply to an interjection t
– Both the interjections were disorderly ; but I am now dealing particularly with the expression “ perfectly contemptible,” which, in my opinion, is offensive.
– 1 hope, sir, you will hear me as to that. Of course it is for you to rule as to whether an expression is offensive ; but I may point out that I did not refer to the honorable and learned senator himself, but to the statement he made, which I regarded as contemptible. Surely I have the right to say that of an argument in the course of debate. If I had referred to the honorable and learned senator personally - and I should be very sorry to use such an expression concerning him in anyway - I should be quite willing to withdraw it ; but I spoke of his statement, and I contend that I have the right to say that a statement is untrue or contemptible.
– I - I have taken exception to this remark, because over and over again when expressions have been used by myself and others on this side of the Chamber, the honorable and learned senator has appealed to the Chairman, and they have been withdrawn.
– Indeed, no!
– I - If we are to have the debate conducted on lines free from personalities - as I strongly desire - I ask you to rule that an expression of the kind used by the honorable and learned senator is offensive. Senator Symon says that he spoke of my statement as contemptible. I object most strongly to such an expression being used about an argument of mine. He says he did not refer to me, and, of course, I accept that statement. But howhe can separate what I say from’ myself, I cannot understand.
– I think Senator Symon should withdraw the expression. He has been asked to do so by the Chairman. He was clearly out of order. Only the other night the honorable and learned senator was standing up here like a Brahma Pootra rooster over a bantam, brow-beating the Chairman. He ought not to be allowed to run this Senate, and I think he should be compelled to withdraw.
– I have no doubt as to the conclusion at which I should arrive. I regard the expression “ perfectly contemptible” as being offensive
– When used concerning a statement ?
– Yes ; and under those circumstances I think the honorable and learned senator will seethe advisability of withdrawing it. It will be impossible for us to conduct the debate in anything like a spirit of decency and decorum if strong language such as “ perfectly contemptible” is used.
– Y)o you rule that when an interjection is made in the course of the debate, and it is characterized as contemptible, that expression ought to be withdrawn although the interjection is not withdrawn 1
– I am obliged to deal with any expression which I have heard, and which is regarded by the honorable senator to whom it is supposed to apply as offensive.
– Concerning a statement ?
– Yes : the use of the expression “perfectly contemptible.”
– You rule that a statement made by way of interjection cannot be characterized as contemptible?
– Then I withdraw the remark.
– I understood you to say, Mr. Chairman, that any offensive remark made within your hearing must be withdrawn if exception is taken to it.
– Then I object to Senator O’Connor’s reference to hops. It was ‘ distinctly offensive to me, because it imputed that honorable senators on this side were not doing their duty. I resent it very much.
– I do not think that the expression “ hops “ is disorderly.
– At the unfortunate moment when I was interrupted I was proceeding to make a comparison between the price which consumers of rice are asked to pay and that which consumers of sago and tapioca are required to pa-. If consumers of sago and tapioca are taxed only at the rate of 4s. per cental, it must be admitted that, from the point of view of the consumer, the duty on clean rice may fairly be reduced by ls. per cental. I am prepared to hear honorable senators argue that a still greater reduction ought to be made, because, if they go into the question of prices, they will agree that rice is cheaper than sago and tapioca. If we tax the consumer of rice at the rate of 5s. per cental, we shall still be letting off the consumer of sago and tapioca by fixing the duty on those articles at 4s. per cental. I hope this is the last time that we shall hear any reference to the word mentioned by the “Vice-President by way of interjection. As a matter of fact, if the item “ Hops “ is recommitted, I shall be willing to vote for any duty he chooses to name. I would sooner see a duty of 3d. per lb. on hops than 6d. per lb., but I cannot have my way. .The more items we attack, the greater is the loss of time, and that was one of the considerations that induced us to allow the item to pass without discussion.
– The honorable and learned senator who has just resumed his seat cannot understand why we should ask only for a duty of 4s. per cental on sago and tapioca, when we propose a duty of 6s. per cental on rice, n.e.i. Perhaps I shall be able to throw a little light on the subject by giving him one of the reasons which operated strongly on the Queensland Legislature in imposing a duty of Id. per lb. on rice. That duty was imposed in order to compel the coloured population to contribute something to the revenue. It was found that that was the best way of compelling them to do so. A tax on opium was the only other means by which to get at them. They did not smoke tobacco, or drink, nor did they wear any clothes to speak of, and unless they smoked opium they escaped all taxation.
– The duty on tapioca and sago was exactly the same as that imposed on rice.
– We may have had a tax on sago and tapioca before that time, and as the rice is of very much less value the percentage would be considerably higher. It is rather interesting to notice the consumption of rice per head in the different States. In 1S99 Victoria consumed 6 ¾lbs per head of the population ; New South Wales, 1 lbs.; Queensland, 17^- lbs.; South Australia, 10 lbs. ; Western Australia, 16 5 lbs., and Tasmania 6 lbs. I find that the estimated number of Chinese in each of these States, according to the census of 1901 is as follows :- Victoria, 7,22S ; New South Wales, 10,974; Tasmania, 609 ; South Australia and Western Australia, no estimate; and Queensland, 9,313. In regard to Queensland a foot-note is added, stating there are also 9,327 Polynesians, 2,269 Japanese, and 2,726 other Asiatics there. The large coloured population in Queensland accounts for the fact that in 1899 the people of that State consumed 17^ lbs. of rice per head. Honorable senators may imagine what an enormous proportion of rice was consumed by these coloured people, who contributed hardly in any other way to the revenue. That duty gave Queensland in 1899 a revenue of £37,419, and that is a revenue which, at the present time, Queensland is not in a position to give up. On the basis of the actual receipts during November, December, January, and February, and an estimate for the remaining eight months, the Tariff as first brought down would have given Queensland a revenue of £36,121 from rice. That was at 8s. 4d. per cental. But that duty has been reduced in such a way as to leave a revenue of about £27,000, and a proposal is now made to still further reduce that revenue. I thoroughly agree with Senator Glassey in deploring the fact that the duty originally proposed was reduced in another place, because having regard to the States which are now short of revenue, that reduction is most undesirable. I should like to accept the figures which have been given to us by Senator Symon as being absolutely accurate, but there is something connected with the Japanese prices for brown and polished rice which he gave us which appears to me to require some clearing up. We know that Japan is a cheap labour country, and that there an enormous amount of labour can be put into any product without greatly increasing its price. When we are told by Senator Symon that brown rice is quoted f.o.b. in Japan at from £7 15s. to £8 15s., and that polished clean rice, which is supposed to be the finished product of brown rice, is quoted under similar conditions at £10 10s. to £11, I am inclined to think either that one of these articles cannot apply to the finished product of which the other is the raw material, or that there must be some enormous amount of labour employed in its production. If the result of applying labour to a raw material valued at from £7 15s. to £8 15s. per ton brings the price up to from £10 10s. to £11 per ton, it is evident that some extraordinarily expensive process must have been applied to it.
– It is not so here.
– That is what I desire to understand. We are dealing now with duties upon a raw material and its finished product, and it is necessary that we should know the cost of the process involved in converting the raw material into the finished article. The figures quoted by Senator Symon appear to show that in Japan it costs £2 5s. to £2 15s. to convert the raw material into the finished article.
– No one said that. I said that the cost of clean rice in Japan was from £10 10s. to £11, but I did not say that that was due to the cleaning.
– I have already given the figures quoted by the honorable and learned senator, and he went on in his argument to say that a person who imported brown nee to Australia, and cleaned it here, got an article which was then worth from £2 5s. to £2 15s. more.
– I did not say that. I said he could charge at least as much for it in the market here as was charged for it f.o.b. in Japan.
– I think the honorable senator will find,’ when he looks at the report of his speech, that he said that, in addition to the difference in the duty, the person who imported brown rice, and converted it into the finished article here, would have an article worth from £2 5s. to £2 15s. more.
– If we take only the Japan prices.
– Quite so, and I say that, if these figures are correct, they show that brown rice must require some very expensive process to be converted into clean rice in Japan, and, having regard to the rate of wages in Australia, it must cost considerably more to - cany out the same process here. We find that the margin recognised as a fair margin between the dressed and undressed article in Victoria has been 2s.
– And the Government are now proposing that it should be 2s. 8d.
– No, 2s. ; because Senator Symon has himself told us that it loses in weight in the dressing to an extent equal to 8d. per cental. If the finished article is so much more valuable than the raw material, as Senator Symon has most carefully pointed out, it is right that st higher amount of duty should be imposed on that article, assuming that the duty should be on the principle of a percentage. Looking at it from every point of view, I think it is right that there should be a considerable margin between the duty on the raw material and the duty on the finished article ; and I point out again that the duty now proposed is practically the same as the duty which has been in operation in Victoria.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia). - It is certainly sometimes refreshing to hear our arguments dressed up by our opponents, though they may sometimes be dressed beyond all possible recognition. That is the position in which I feel myself after listening to a most extraordinary version of the arguments I took the liberty of addressing to the committee, from the lips of Senator Drake. I desire to say that, from a revenue point of view, this Tariff is a. beautiful contrivance for destroying the revenue of all the ‘States, and particularly of the smaller States. I warn honorable senators from the smaller States,, and ask them to examine the position placed before -them by Senator Clemons a few minutes ago. The figures quoted by the Vice-President of the Executive Council show that we shall lose revenue hand OVerfist, if the rates now levied are adhered to. My honorable friend gave us a large number of figures showing the consumption of rice in the States, and the amount of duty collected. In Tasmania, 981,559 lbs. of rice were imported, the duty upon which, at 8s. 4d. per cental, produced a revenue of £4,090. Now a duty of 6s. per cental is imposed upon cleaned rice, and 3s. 4d. upon uncleaned rice, with a view to allowing a sufficient margin to encourage the cleaning of rice within the Commonwealth, and to discourage the introduction of the cleaned article. To make such a proposition with a view to raising revenue is really to insult the understanding of intelligent men. I do not understand the self -destructive arguments of the Vice-President of the Executive Council. If we adhere to the duty of 6s. per cental upon cleaned rice, we shall derive very little revenue from that source, because the local manufacturers will import the rice in an uncleaned state, and take advantage of the protective duty afforded them. Thus we must derive the greater amount of our revenue from the lower rate of duty upon the uncleaned article. The Treasurer’s estimate, that we shall receive £142,000 in a normal year from the duties upon rice, is based upon the rates fixed in the Tariff as originally introduced. At the reduced rates the Vice-President of the Executive Council says we may fairly expect to derive at least £100,000. According to the figures of my honorable friend, the revenue is expected to diminish to the extent of 33 per cent. : but it will be a matter of great surprise to many of us if it exceeds £50,000 or £60,000 under the duties now fixed. The duties are fixed so that the revenue derived from the importation of cleaned rice may be in a large measure destroyed, and importers may be encouraged to introduce the uncleaned article and employ men locally in preparing it for consumption. If we are to consider the revenue we must reduce the 6s. duty, so as to ensure some importations of the cleaned article. If the duty is maintained at 6s. per cental we shall not derive one penny of revenue from that source after a very short space of time. The importers of rice are not fools, and if they can make a profit of £2 per ton, after allowing 8d. per cental for loss in cleaning, they will take advantage of the lower duty imposed upon the uncleaned article. The Postmaster-General said that because I stated that the price of cleaned rice in Japan ranged from £10 10s. to £11 per ton, f.o.b., and that uncleaned rice was worth only £7 15s. to £8 15s. per ton, the difference between the quotations for the cleaned and the uncleaned article represented the cost of cleaning the rice. I never said anything of the kind.
SenatorDrake. - The honorable and learned senator said that it represented the increased value of the article.
– I said nothing of the kind. I was quoting the prices f.o.b. in Japan of the two classes of rice. I do not suppose that the merchants in Japan are such fools as to sell the cleaned rice at the exact price of the uncleaned article plus the bare cost of cleaning. They would naturally expect some profit ; probably as much as £1 per ton. Apparently the protectionists do not think that the exporter is entitled to any profit whatever. In addition to the increased value of the article cleaned as compared with its price when uncleaned, which is shown to be about £3 in Japan, the local manufacturer will derive the benefit of a duty of £2 per ton, and will thus receive altogether about £5 per ton to lower the cost of cleaning,&c. I have always entertained a hope that the time might come when protectionists would show a little moderation ; but it appears to me that their greed is unbounded. Does anybody mean to tell me that the local merchant will sell dressed rice at the price at which he can import brown rice, plus the exact cost of cleaning? Nothing of the kind. He will add a substantial profit to his outlay, and he has ample means of so doing under my proposal. Surely a protection of from £5 to £7 a ton is enough to give anybody ? This subject, however, should be viewed chiefly from the point of view of revenue. If we desire to collect revenue, especially from the smaller States, the only way in which we can accomplish our purpose is by encouraging the importation of dressed rice. In Tasmania, a duty of 8s. 4d.per cental has always been operative, so that under the Government proposal that State will lose 5s. per cental upon every ton of rice imported.
– I wish to point out that if after each speaker, or each Minister, Senator Symon intends to deliver an address occupying twenty minutes or half-an-hour, we shall never complete the consideration of this Tariff I desire, however, to deal with some of the arguments advanced by him before saying anything in reference to Senator Clemons, whose observations were chiefly responsible for my rising. In his opening remarks the leader of the Opposition distinctly led every honorable senator who was listening to understand that the difference between cleaned and uncleaned rice in Japan was from £2 5s. to £2 15s. per ton.
– Nothing of the kind.
– The honorable and learned senator can deny it as long as he likes, but my statement is nevertheless true. In order to overcome the difficulty in which he has landed himself, he now exclaims - ‘’ But the man who cleans the rice must get some profit upon the capital which he has invested.” I should like to ask him whether the man who buys rice and cleans it in Melbourne or Sydney is not as much entitled to receive interest upon his outlay as is the merchant in Japan? Cannot Senator Symon see that the more he attempts to extricate himself from the difficultyin which hehas deliberately placed himself, the worse his position becomes? He contends that this matter should be considered chiefly from a revenue standpoint. I can show him how a larger revenue can be derived from this article than will be obtained by adopting his proposal. For example, could not the duty originally proposed by the Government be adopted? Under that proposal uncleaned rice would yield as much revenue as Senator Symon wishes to collect upon the cleaned article. Who was responsible for the alteration of that duty? Was it not the very party which the honorable and learned senator represents in this Chamber? The free-traders considered that that duty was too high. I entertained a similar opinion. I shall be quite satisfied if a duty of 3s. 4d. per cental is imposed upon uncleaned rice. I do not desire to see the cleaned article imported. When Senator Clemons was speaking, he said something about the difference between the price of cleaned and uncleaned rice. I interjected that he was willing to give the Japanese more consideration than he was prepared to extend to his own kith and kin. Thereupon, he replied, “Oh, the honorable senator is again raising the black-labour question.” I was doing nothing of the kind, because I object to cleaned rice being imported from Italy, Germany, Great Britain, America, or anywhere else, when the process of polishing it can be just as effectively performed within the Commonwealth. It should be the policy of every honorable senator who wishes the community well, to give as much to thepeople who have to clean rice in our own country as he is willing to give to those who perform the same process elsewhere. At least we should give our own people the privilege of earning as good wages as are earned in Japan and elsewhere. Why should our capitalists not have the privilege of obtaining as much profit upon their investments as is derived by the people of other countries? How can we do that by giving from 3d. to 9d. per cental less in respect of the difference between cleaned and uncleaned rice in Australia? The thing is preposterous, and any one who attempts to argue in that fashion is attempting to mislead the Senate.
– I wish to make a few remarks in reply to the statements of the Postmaster-General. Honorable senators have been asked to vote for a large measure of protection upon rice, upon the ground that those who clean it within the Commonwealth have to compete with people who perform the same process in Japan and other cheap-labour countries. I have in my hand a statement regarding the employment given in one Melbourne factory in which rice is cleaned, and I think my information will throw some light on the cost of cleaning rice. In this factory there are 15 hands employed, and one ton of rice can be cleaned in an hour. This is unskilled labour, and it is libera] to estimate the pay of each man at1s. per hour; so that we find that the total labour cost is 15s. per ton, and not £2 10s. as stated by the supporters of this duty. Even supposing that Japanese workmen work for nothing, a duty of15s. per ton would compensate for the difference in the labour cost. I have yet to learn that Japanese capitalists pay no interest, or that their machinery does not wear out.
– O - Of which factory is the honorable member speaking ?
– I do not know the factory, but I make the statement on the authority of Mr. Watson, the leader of the labour party in the House of Representatives. The Postmaster-General built up a very attractive theory that by taxing rice we were able to tax the Asiatics in Australia, who are large consumers of the commodity. Some figures were quoted by the honorable gentleman, which at the first blush seemed to bear out his contention. He said that the consumption of riceinQueensland was 171/2 lbs. per head per annum, and that the Chinese and
Polynesian population of that State was 9,313. He also pointed out that Western Australia consumed 163/4lbs. of rice per head, but as to that State he failed to give the Chinese population and, therefore, the comparison which he sought to make was valueless. I am able, however, to supply the omission. In 1899 the population of Western Australia consumed 21 lbs. of rice per head.
– That is contrary to my figures.
– It is hot contrary to Coghlan’s figures for 1899-00, as given onpage 412 of the Seven Colonies of Australasia.
– I have been assured by the Opposition that these figures in Coghlan are wrong.
– They are accurate enough for the purposes of my argument. Queensland consumes 17 lbs. per head and Tasmania 6 lbs. per head. In 1899, the Chinese population of Queensland was 8,574, and the total coloured population about 20,000. Western Australia, with the highest consumption of rice, had a population of 917 Chinese, and Tasmania, with the lowest consumption of rice and a smaller population than Western Australia, had 1,056 Chinese. Queensland, with a Chinese population equal to 5 per cent. of the whole, consumed less rice than Western Australia, with a Chinese population equal to only one-half per cent. of the whole.
– But there are other Asiatics.
– There are more Asiatics in Queensland than in Western Australia ; and that still further strengthens my argument.
– The honorable senator’s figures as to the Chinese population are only a guess.
– The figures have been proved by subsequent census to be substantially correct. My figures, which arc more explicit, and just as trustworthy as those of thePostmaster-General, show that the adult population of Australia are large consumers of rice, and, further, that the wages cost of cleaning the commodity cannot, even at a most liberal estimate, be more than £1 per ton. Theonlyquarrel I havewith Senator Symon is, that he has not proposed that the duty shall be the same as that on tapioca and similar commodities, namely 4s.
Senate adjourned at 10.40 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 5 June 1902, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1902/19020605_senate_1_10/>.