1st Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Senator Lt.-Col. NEILD presented a petition from the president of the Master Painters and Decorators’ Association of New South Wales, praying the Senate to request the House of Representatives to place painters’ and paperhangers’ brushes on the free list.
The PRESIDENT acquainted the Senate that he had received from His Excellency the Governor-General the following letter, which was read by the Clerk : -
Melbourne,6th June, 1902.
Sir, - In acknowledging the receipt of your letter of the 3rd instant, I have the honour to transmit, for your information, the subjoined copy ofa telegraphic despatch whichI have this day received from the Secretary of State for the Colonies : -
His Majesty the King, His Majesty’s Government, and British people have received with much satisfaction resolutions of Commonwealth Parliament conveying cordial congratulations on termination of war.
I have the honour to be, Sir,
Your most obedient servant,
The Honorable the President of the Senate of the Commonweal th of Australia.
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The following are the answers to the honorable senator’s questions : - 1 and 2. There was no differential treatment. Customs control was taken of all sugar in the possession of manufacturers on their factory premises. It was not found practicable to do this, except on Inter-State transfer, as regards sugar which had left the factory, and which appeared to havegone into consumption.
– I desire to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council, upon notice -
In explanation I propose to read an extract from the Argus of 9th June.
– Is this in order, sir?
– If it refers in any way to a debate in the Senate it is not in order. The honorable senator ought to give his own reasons, and not those of the Argus, for asking his questions.
– An interview between an Argus reporter and the Minister for Home Affairs explains my reasons for asking the questions. I desire to justify my action, and I understand that a rule to the effect is laid down, not in standing orders, but in parliamentary precedents.
– The honorable senator can give reasons for asking his questions if he wishes.
– The following telegram, relating to the Department for Home Affairs, was despatched from Sydney on Sunday, 8 th June, to the Melbourne Argus: -
Sir William Lyne, in the course of an interview to-day, said that he proposed, during the recess, to live as much as possible in Sydney, because his home was here. Two or three officers belonging to his department would bein Sydney, but the Under-Secretary would still be in Melbourne. All business which could be transacted by telegraphic communication between him and the Under-Secretary would beso transacted.
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow. : -
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
When the return ordered by the Senate relating to imports into Western Australia and other particulars will be laid upon the table of the House?
– The information promised in my reply to the honorable senator on 2 1st May will be available in a few days, and will be laid on the table.
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The following are the replies to the honorable senator’s questions : -
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 10th June, vide page 13429).
Division V.- Apparel and Textiles.
Item 59. - -Bags and sacks, calico, hessian, linen, and meat wraps, whether partly or wholly made, ad valorem, 10 per cent.
Bags and sacks, n.e.i., aci valorem, 10 per cent.
Special Exemption. - Bags and sacks, viz., bran, chaff, compressed fodder, corn, potato, onion, ore, sugar-mats, woolpacks.
– Last night I promised to endeavour by to-day to ascertain whether it would not be possible to meet the views of the importers on the one hand and of the manufacturers on the other. This morning I had the advantage of an interview with” three manufacturers, and I have just handed to Senator O’Connor an amendment which is very similar to that which he proposed last night, and which, so far as I can ascertain, will effect a fair compromise between the views of the two parties. If it is accepted, the special exemption will read as follows : -
Bags and sacks, packs and bales for bran, chaff, compressed fodder, potato, onion, ore, coal, and wool ; also sugar-mats, and corn-sacks.
The effect of the amendment will be that the smaller bags and sacks, which are now made in this State and others, will continue, to be made and protected, but all the large bales and all the large corn and flour sacks will come in free. It will satisfy both parties, and will be an equitable settlement of a question which hitherto has troubled the importers, the manufacturers, and the Customs very considerably.
– I hope to shed a little light on this question by reading the following letter, which was forwarded to me from Brisbane on the Srd June by some gentlemen who, I dare say, but for distance, would have waited upon me as a deputation : -
The undersigned bag manufacturers of Queensland desire to bring under the notice of honorable members of the Senate the following facts in connexion with item 57a, “bags and sacks.” in the Commonwealth Tariff now under discussion in the Senate.
Under the old Queensland Tariff, all bags made of calico or hessian were liable to 15 per cent, duty, with the exception of corn-sacks and woolpacks, which were duty free. Under this protection, the whole of the bags used for sugar, flour, oatmeal, &c. , and also wraps for frozen meats, were made within the State, giving employment to large numbers of hands, and putting into circulation a considerable amount of money.
In the Tariff as originally placed before the House of Representatives, bags and sacks of all kinds were placed on the free list, while, at the same time, calico in the piece, of which large quantities of the bags were made, was subject to 10 percent duty. The undersigned firms, in conjunction with bag manufacturers in other States, immediately approached the Minister for Custom? on the matter, and also Members of the House of Representatives, pointing out the anomaly of taxing the raw material while allowing the manufactured article to come in dutyfree. After some little discussion in the House, the line was recommitted for further consideration.
On being further considered, on 8th April hist, the following was finally passed, viz : -
Item 57a (Division V.), bags and sacks, calico, hessian, linen, and meat wraps, whether partly or wholly made, ad valorem, 1.0 per cent.
The following exemptions were also passed : -
Bags and sacks, viz. - Bran, corn, potato, onion, ore, sugar mats, woolpacks.
In the event of any alteration in this item being contemplated by the Senate, we trust it will be in the direction of increasing the duty on bags, as any decrease in the small amount of protection granted as above would immediately result in the loss of industry to the Commonwealth, and the loss of employment to large numbers of workers.
We may mention the following reasons why we consider the rate now fixed as an absolute minimum to enable us to retain the industry in Australia : -
We consider also that we are entitled to protection on the following grounds : -
As against the above noted Commonwealth duty, amounting to j,d. or Jd. on a sheep wrap, the duty in New Zealand, Canada, and the United States would be about double that amount, while in the Argentine Republic it would be from gd. to 4d. per wrap. Under these circumstances we cannot think that the small duty now imposed would prove a serious handicap on the export trade of the Commonwealth.
We may mention that the list of exemptions cover practically all bags used by farmers and miners, and a very large proportion of those used by millers. We are quite content to have the exemptions stand as at present, as most of the lines exempted cannot be made profitably within the Commonwealth.
Having brought the above facts under your notice, we trust we may rely on your support when the item comes before the Senate for consideration. We are, &c,
Wm. J. Tunley, Manager
THOMAS BROWN & SONS, Ltd.
John H. Brown. Director. STEWART & HEMMANT.
– But Senator Sargood proposes to add to those exemptions. Whydoes not the honorable senator tell us the names of those protectionists and free-trade importers who waited upon him 1 I have given my authority for what I have quoted, and when the committee is asked to agree to something which is proposed by the honorable senator, on account of the views expressed to him by a deputation, we ought to know the names of the members of that deputation, so that we may understand their position, and what is their authority to speak, on the question. Of course, if they are protectionists of the indecisive character of Senator Sargood himself, we cannot pay much attention to them, and it’ they are free-traders, we know what to do.
– I would suggest that we should request the House of Representatives to amend the special exemptions by inserting before the word “ bran “ the word “ flour.” I am informed that flour sacks are not covered by the term corn sacks, and I am afraid that a good deal of confusion in administration would be caused by introducing that term. I should prefer the exemption list as it stands, exempting from duty bags, sacks, and bales for the purpose of covering bran, chaff, compressed fodder, corn, potatoes, wool, and coal. The Adelaide Chamber of Commerce has written to me on this subject. Of course, the State of South Australia is very largely interested in the export of corn and flour. The grower has to pay for the sacks in which he puts his wheat in the first instance, and the miller who grinds the wheat into flour has to pay for his sacks in which he puts flour, bran, pollard, and so on.’ It would be a strange thing to exempt from duty bags of all kinds which contain the offal - such as. bran - and to leave the duty upon the bags which contain the flour. The Adelaide Chamber of Commerce, in their letter, say -
I have the honour, by the instructions of the committee of the Adelaide Chamber of Commerce, Incorporated, to respectfully urge that in the event of the Federal Tariff being amended, hessian flour bags be placed on the free list, as such bags are almost exclusively used for export purposes. I would call your attention to the fact that already on the free list are bags and sacks used for bran, chaff, compressed fodder, corn, potatoes, onions, ore, also sugar mats and wool packs, and the hessian Hour bags being used for a natural product, the committee are of opinion that they should be placed on the same footing as the abovementioned articles.
A number of Adelaide merchants point out that -
There, is a large trade between Australia and South Africa in flour, which has to be shipped in packages of 100 lbs. to suit the requirements of the African market. The bags in which this flour has to be picked are now subject to a duty of 10 per cent, ad valorem, which at the present cost amounts to a charge of about o’d. per ton on the flour. The material from which these bags are made is hessian, which is admitted duty free.
The importers would be quite content if a rebate could be allowed on the bags which are used for the export of flour. There certainly seems to be no reason why bran should be allowed to be put in bags which are free of duty, and why flour, which is the superior product made from the same grain, should be put in bags which have to pay duty.
– In order to understand this matter, it is necessary to look at item 59, to which the special exemptions we are now discussing are intended to apply. Item 59 is intended to impose a duty upon “ bags and sacks, calico, hessian, linen, and meat wraps, whether partly or wholly made.” Those goods are to pay a duty of 10 per cent, ad valorem. Then bags and sacks, n.e.i., are to pay a duty of 10 per cent, ad valorem. The latter kind of bags and sacks are smaller, and are made from calico, hessian, and linen. Then, following out the policy which has been adopted in connexion with other items, it has been decided to give a certain benefit to the producer, and, therefore, bags and sacks which contain chaff, bran, compressed fodder, corn, potatoes, onions, or sugar-mats and wool-packs, are made free. All the bags referred to in the special exemption list, are of the larger size. We have no intention whatever to include under the dutiable head any bags or sacks of the larger size. Wherever a bale is used for any of the purposes mentioned, or wherever a large bag is used as a bale it must be admitted free. I consent to that part of the honorable senator’s proposal. The only other difference is this : The honorable senator proposes to strike out the word “ corn “ - which would omit corn bags from the list of exemptions - and insert “ corn sacks.” That would be quite right, because “ corn sacks “ would include the larger kind of bags. I cannot consent to place the words “flour bags” on the list of exemptions, because “ bags “ would include the smaller kind of bags : but I would be willing to place flour “ sacks “ on the list, inasmuch as flour sacks are well known in the trade as fourbushel bags. I will agree to any suggestion that will really carry out the intention of the Government so far as these exemptions are concerned, and therefore I am agreeable to packs, flour sacks, and corn sacks being added.
– Would the honorable and learned senator include coalbags 1
– I would not object. I understand that a coal bag is a rough article which is not made here to any large extent. What we want to exempt is wool packs.
– And also wool bales.
– Are they not the same?
– The Customs department never read these items literally. A wool pack and a wool bale are exactly the same thing, but while goods invoiced as wool packs would be admitted free, goods invoiced as wool “bales” would be made liable to the duty.
– As it comes to> precisely the same thing, I have no objection to the insertion of the words “ wool bales “ as well as “ wool packs.”
– If the Customs department were to treat these matters liberally there would be no occasion for the insertion of the word “ bales.’”’’
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia). - I am afraid that I cannot accept what Senator O’Connor suggests, because it would be useless for the exporters here, and certainly in South Australia, if the words “flour sacks,” placed in the list of exemptions, were interpreted as applying only to sacks containing four bushels. That would put an almost insuperable difficulty in the way of exporters who wished to escape this duty because, for convenience in handling flour for export, it is frequently put up in bags containing 50, 60, or 80 lbs. weight. If the duty is maintained upon bags of that capacity, the exporter will receive no benefit. The small bags come in duty free, if they are to hold bran, and why should we shut out small bags intended to hold flour? For the purpose of protecting the bag industry we are discriminating between our natural products in a way which is not justified, and which will seriously inconvenience the export industry of South Australia. In a report by the Corn Trade Sectional Committee of the Chamber of Commerce of South Australia it is pointed out that -
The Federal Government has put a handicap upon the producers in this and the neighbouring States by imposing a duty of 10 per cent, on Hour bags, meat wraps, &c -
I do not touch meat wraps, because the duty upon them would be infinitesimal - which hitherto have been free, and which, being used only for the ex pore of produce, should be free on the same principle that corn sacks are free. If a drawback is allowed on all exported produce, the objection will be removed.
The question of drawbacks is a matter of administration. Therefore I suggest that just as bran bags of all sizes are admitted free, flour bags of all sizes should be admitted free, leaving all the other articles, which happen to be made locally, liable to the duty of 10 per cent.
– In the statement just made by Senator Symon, we come to a point upon which we cannot agree. The different kinds of bags which are exempted from duty are large, and are not made out of materials which are mentioned in the item of duty itself. The honorable and learned senator wishes to add to the list another kind of bag, quite different from those which are exempted, namely, flour bags, made of calico or hessian, and which can be manufactured here. Duty has to be paid on the calico, but not on the hessian, and all these small bags can be made here. The object of the exemption is to allow any of the large bags which are not made here to come in free. We do not wish to put the producer to the disadvantage of having to pay a high price for these bags and sacks until there is a general production sufficient to cause a reduction in the rates. The small bags, however, can be made here, and we ought to protect our own people who manufacture them.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia). - My honorable and learned friend has pointed out what I indicated before, namely, that hessian is free while a duty has to be paid upon cotton, and perhaps it is only fair that so far as they are concerned the distinction should be preserved. Will my honorable and learned friend agree to place flour-sacks and hessian flour bags on the list of exemptions ?
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - The proposition made by Senator Symon is very cunningly suggested. It so happens that almost all the bags imported into the Commonwealth are flour bags until they are printed. Honorable senators could not tell salt, oatmeal, sugar flour and bran bags apart before they are printed, and it is for this reason that the House of Representatives framed the item as it appears in the schedule. If the motion suggested by Senator Symon is carried, we might just as well wipe out the bag-making industry. Ten per cent, is surely little enough protection for it, and as for the contention that this is a handicap upon the exporter, I may say that it amounts to only about 5d. upon a ton of flour. I hope there will be no alteration made in the item. I should like to say, with regard to what has been said by Senator Sargood, that I suppose it was owing to the hurry that those of us who received communications from Queensland were not informed that the Queensland bag manufacturers were represented in the deputation that waited upon the honorable senator, and, therefore, I have to withdraw any opposition to his proposal to add to the exemptions.
– It will be found that there is a considerable number of persons engaged in the bag industry in the different States of the Commonwealth, and they surely deserve some consideration. The smaller flour bags are made out of entirely different material, and they certainly should be subject to a duty. Would Senator Symon say that bags used for conveying gold should also be admitted free*
– They are free. We are putting a duty upon flour bags, and letting ore bags in free.
– I rather regret that these ore bags are to be admitted free. Speaking of Melbourne particularly, if there is one class of people who are making splendid profits, it is the coal merchants, and I fail entirely to see why the bags they use should be placed upon the free list. I know something about coal and its value, and I know that these coal merchants buy coal in Sydney at an exceedingly low figure and sell it in Melbourne at a profit of from 100 to 200 per cent. The people in the house in which I live are paying ls. 9d. a cwt. for coal delivered in bags. Think of 35s. a ton for coal ! The bags used are coarse bags, but it is idle to say that we will be rnining the industry of the coal merchants, who are making such enormous profits, by requiring them to pay something upon the bags they use. In many cases aged persons and persons who are not physically strong are making a few shillings per week in the manufacture of bags, and it is proposed that the little protection which encourages these people to earn a livelihood is to be taken away in order not to handicap the coal merchants. T regret that Senator O’Connor lias agreed so readily to the suggestions which have been made in connexion with this item, and I certainly support him in his opposition to the inclusion of flour bags, which are made of an entirely different material, and are used to convey a valuable product.
– The vision of our protectionist friends is certainly very limited. They are now fighting for protection for a small industry in the making of bags in which only a few people are employed, and in order to protect this industry they are prepared to impose a very serious burden upon the milling industry. We know that in the export of flour our millers have to compete against the United States of America, Canada, and the Southern States of America, and in the struggle to obtain a market in the East they are compelled to put their flour up in small bags containing not more than SO lbs.
– We know that this duty would amount to a charge of about 6d. upon a ton of flour.
– If the honorable and learned senator were in the trade, he would know how finely prices ave cut, and he would know that a burden, even of that kind, is a serious matter. I know the position, because when I was in the. trade from San Francisco to the East, we were carrying thousands of tons of flour in small bags, and, in order to keep the market, our people had to cut things very finely. Surely we should do all we can to encourage our. export trade. I take this paragraph from the Age of 7th June, 1899 -
At a meeting of the Anti-Sweating League, on 6th June, the secretary reported that in a certain hag factory employing eight men the rate paid to the latter was 4 1/2d. per dozen bags, the men providing their own twine, costing !)d. per week. The average result was wages of from Ss. to 9s. per week.
Are we to burden a valuable industry, whose export trade it is our duty to encourage, for the sake of continuing an industry which pays such low wages as those referred to? We hope that our export trade in flour will increase as the inhabitants of the East become larger consumers of flour made from wheat instead of from rice, and I hope nothing will be done by this Parliament that will have a tendency to handicap our milling industry, and throw its markets entirely into the hands of the other countries to which I have referred.
– It is a treat to hear Senator Charleston complaining about a duty equal to %d. in the £1 on bags. The honorable senator voted for the removal of the duty upon flour after I had proved that in free-trade New South Wales, where there was no duty upon flour, its price was 4s. per ton higher than in Victoria, where there was a duty of £5 per ton. The honorable senator would continue to ask our people to pay 4s. a ton more for flour if he could only get f d. in the £1 knocked off the value of the bags used in the export trade. Senator Sargood in his proposal covers the whole of the sacks and bags used by ‘ farmers, squatters, and miners, but neither the farmer, squatter, nor miner will get any benefit from this proposal. It is the middleman, the miller, who will get the benefit. The farmer does not export his produce in the shape of flour. He exports it in the shape of wheat, and gets his bags in free, and properly so. What will the farmer get out of this d. in the JB’1 if there is no duty placed upon these bags ? Senator Charleston says that there are only a few people employed in the bag-making industry. Does the honorable senator know how many there are employed ?
– No, I do not.
– Does the honorable senator ? Are there ten ?
– Yes, there are about 500. Some honorable senators appear to be under the impression that hessian comprises just one line, but I understand ‘that it includes jute, twills, and a number of materials which are made into bags for various purposes. There is no difference in bags until the printer’s ink is applied. I hope that the motion will be carried. On this occasion I have very great pleasure in supporting a staunch free-trader in doing an act of justice.
Motion (by Senator Sir FREDERICK Sargood) agreed to -
That the House of Representatives be requested to make the special exemptions to item 50, on and after 1st July, 1902, as follows :- “ Bags, sacks, packs, and bales, for bran, chaff, compressed fodder, potato, onion, ore, coal, and wool; also, sugar mats and corn and flour sacks.”
Motion (by Senator Sir Josiah Symon) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to add to the proposed special exemptions the words “Hessian flour bags.”
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - I wish Senator Symon to indicate how the Customs officer can distinguish between a flour bag and a sugar or any other bag. Under his proposition sugar bags can come in as flour bags, because no one in the wide world can tell the difference between a flour bag and a’ sugar bag until it is indicated by the use of printer’s ink. Senator Symon is acting now not in the interests of the smaller people or the great mass of consumers, but in the interests . of the big milling companies. Those companies will not be hardly done by in having to pay 10 per cent, duty on the bags they use, nor will the sugar-refining companies be at all inconvenienced in that respect, because they are getting a very good price for their sugar - I believe £20 5s. per ton. We are asked to consider the grievous injury which is being done’ to milling companies and sugar manufacturers, although the 10 per cent, duty on ‘their bags represents only 5d. or 6d. on each ton of flour or sugar.
– The Colonial Sugar Refining Company have 60,000 yards of hessian made into sugar bags each month by their own workmen. There is very little difference between a hessian sugar bag and a hessian flour bag. Unless the imported bags are branded with the words sugar dr flour or with the name of the person it will be very difficult for Customs officers to distinguish for what purpose they are intended to be used. Of course that difficulty may be got over by a rigid inspection or by a regulation. I have instanced the case of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company in order to show that this is not a trifling industry, but one which employs a large number of persons.
Senator GLASSEY (Queensland). - It. has been stated by Senator Charleston that this small duty on bags will have a tendency to cripple the milling industry. It is only equivalent to a charge of 6d. on each ton of flour. Does he seriously think that an impost of 6d. on every ton of flour is likely to cripple the industry? The making of the bags for the flour will benefit a number of persons. Is it wise or just to abolish the duty; and so throw out of work those persons, when it can only to an exceedingly limited degree benefit the milling industry? In Canada and the United States a duty of 20 per cent, is imposed on bags. There are 500 hands engaged in the manufacture of bags in the Commonwealth. I urge the committee to preserve a portion of this industry for our own people. The question has been asked - “ Is it worth while to preserve the industry considering the low wages that are paid ? Why has not this industry been placed under a wages board in this State ? Is it not worth while to preserve the industry for the sake of the employment it gives to 500 persons. If the wages paid are too low, undoubtedly we should endeavour as far as we can to insist that the hands shall be protected, at any rate in Victoria, where a Factories Act exists. In other States which are not so far advanced as is Victoria, the adoption of similar legislation should be advocated. I do not think it is worth while to make a reduction which could only help the milling industry to an extremely limited degree, and which would be most injurious to a number of persons.
– It has occurred to me casually that if this duty is, as Senator Glassey said, equivalent to a charge of 6d. on a ton of flour worth £9, to precisely the same extent it must be protective. That being so, it .seems extraordinary that Senator Glassey should work himself up into such a frenzy about six penny worth of protection to £9 worth of goods ! One of the strongest reasons for accepting the proposal is that by means of it we shall do something to prevent confusion and trouble in Customs administration. .[ know personally that there has been considerable confusion as to what are wheat bags and what are flour bags. In many cases the same bag is used both for wheat and flour. If a bag is going to be used for wheat and is imported free of duty, and if a bag which is to be used for flour is dutiable, confusion will be caused. The committee should be willing to accept any proposal that will lead to simplicity.
– I wish to correct the sage of Launceston. The proposal of Senator Sargood was made for the purpose of doing away with the difficulty that might arise between, the Customs officers and those doing business with them. Then Senator .Symon, of course with the best intentions, has moved to insert “flour bags.” The misunderstanding arises over the failure to appreciate the difference between a bag and a sack. Evidently Senator Clemons does not know the difference. The bags referred to here are of smaller size, and are made of hessian. If we agree to Senator Symon’s proposal, the bags can be used for anything after they are introduced free of duty. Consequently I trust that Senator Sargood’s proposal will be left as it stands.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia). - Senator Higgs was quite right in asking a question as to any difficulty that might possibly arise from the expression “ hessian flour bags “ being used, and as to bags admitted ostensibly as flour bags being used for some other purpose. . “ Hessian flour bags “ is the expression that the Adelaide Chamber of Commerce uses in their recommendation that these goods be placed on the free list. They are business men who thoroughly understand what they are doing. I know them all to be nien of great experience and ability in commercial pursuits. If they are satisfied that what they recommend can be carried out, we may take what they say to be correct, just as I would take the opinion of my honorable friend Senator Sargood with the greatest readiness and respect with regard to what might be necessary to prevent any possibility of injury to the revenue. I am quite certain that no confusion can arise. As to the industry Senator O’Connor referred to, and the 66,000 yards of hessian used by the sugar company, it is not to be supposed that the company would cease to make its own bags simply to save 6d. on 24 or 25 bags. Of course they” can make their own bags much cheaper than they can import them. To do away with the 10 per cent, duty and put hessian flour bags on the free list will not interfere in the slightest degree with the making of bags such as have been referred to.
– I agree with Senator Glassey, who has said that too much has been placed upon the free- list to the detriment of those engaged in industries. Senator Charleston has told us that bagmaking is a very small industry and should receive no protection. In a relative sense all our industries are small in comparison with those existing in other parts of the world. Those honorable senators who take a delight in strangling Australian industries would like to see them smaller still. But these small industries make up in the aggregate the manufacturing business of Australia. If only half-a-dozen men are concerned I am prepared to protect them against importations from abroad, because I desire to see our own people fully employed. I am told that in Melbourne alone no less than 150 people are employed. They are partly affected by the Victorian factories legislation, though not to the extent I should like. If some of the employes are as miserably paid as is represented, let honorable senators join with those who want to have an extension of factories legislation so that our workers may receive employment at the most reasonable wages. A good deal of hessian is made in Melbourne. I am told that it is made principally from jute, which is a semi-tropical plant. There is no reason why we should not grow jute in Australia. I learn, on good authority, that in certain parts of Queensland jute can be grown, and also that the bags under discussion can be made from flax and hemp. We frequently hear that the growing of wheat is unprofitable to the farmers. Why not encourage them to grow other products that will take the place of jute in the manufacture of bags? I cannot agree to Senator Symon’s proposal. “We have already been too liberal in dealing with the exemption list, and I do not feel disposed to go any further.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - I have the best authority for saying that one cannot tell the difference between a flour bag and a salt bag until there is printing upon it. I would also point out that Senator Symon has no hope of his proposal being adopted in another place. I find from the records of the House of Representatives, page 11434, that on the 8thApril another place discussed -
Special Exemptions, - . . Bags and sacks , viz., bran, corn flour, potato, onion, gunnies or sugar bags, and mats, woolpacks, bandages, clastic stockings, surgical. . . .
There was an amendment by Sir George Turner proposed -
That the words “flour,” “gunnies,” “bags, and “ be omitted.
Discussion took place upon that proposal, and after an amendment had been made, the question was put -
That the word “flour” proposed to be omitted stand part of the exemption.
Sir Edward Braddon desired to withdraw his call for division. Objection was taken, but the Chairman allowed him to withdraw his call. Honorable members of another place were so unanimously of opinion that flour bags should be kept out of the list of special exemptions, that no division was token, and why should Senator Symon, even at the request of such an august body as the Adelaide Chamber of Commerce, pursue a course that can be only a waste of the time of the Senate.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to add to the proposed special exemptions to item 59, “Hessian flour bags” - put. The committee divided -
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Item GO. - Blankets, blanketing, rugs,lap dusters, and rugging ; carpets, carpeting, floorcloths and mats, n.e.i., floor coverings (including felts and pads), and carriage mats ; curtains, ad valorem, 15 per cent.
Cosies, cushions, mantel and furniture drapery and coverings, bed-covers and furnishings, n.e.i., . whether partly or wholly made up; frillings, rufflings, tucked lawns, pleatings, and ruchings, ad valorem, 20 per cent.
– I do not intend to move any motion in regard to the first part of this item; but I wish to take this opportunity of saying that I think that under ordinary circumstances, 15 per cent. ought to be regarded as the high-water mark of protective duties. There are one or two exceptions which I hope to indicate, but generally I shall endeavour to keep as nearly as possible to 15 per cent. duties. The duty on the first part of the item was reduced in another place from 20 per cent. to 15 per cent., and I make no proposition in regard to.it, mainly for the reason that, whilst it includes articles which make the duty purely protective, it includes a number of other things which are revenueproducing. The same thing occurs in many other items, and it would be impossible to analyze these different lines without recasting the Tariff. Therefore we must endeavour to do the best we can with the mixtures contained in the various lines. The second part of the item is even more open to that criticism than the first, although the duty upon the greater part of the articles which it includes is clearly a revenue one. Many of the articles covered by it are not in general consumption, but many of them are materials for ornamentation. I think that 20 per cent. is a very high revenue duty, but we need revenue, and it is impossible to discriminate in this line. I do not propose to move any motion, although my own personal belief is that we should obtain more revenue from a duty of 15 per cent. The first part of the item is more of a protective character, while in the second the balance is the other way, and therefore I do not propose to do more than protest against so high a duty being imposed for revenue purposes.
Item agreed to.
Items 61 (Fur and other skins) and 62 (Gloves) agreed to.
Item63. - Huts and caps, viz. : -
Men’s, women’s, boys’, and children’s felt hats, 30 per cent. ad valorem..
Dress hats, 30 per cent. ad valorem.
Hats and caps, sewn, 30 per cent. ad valorem.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia). - We come now to an item upon which I think we can operate successfully for the benefit of the country, as well as for the benefit of those who wear hats and caps. The item is divided into three parts. Originally hats included in the first part were liable to a fixed and an ad valorem duty, but on the 7th December last an ad valorem duty of 30 per cent. was substituted. Dresshats were made subject to the same duty, while the fixed duty on hats and caps, sewn, was transformed into an ad valorem duty of 30 per cent. I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 03 by adding to the duty, “ Men’s, women’s, boys’, and children’s felt hats, 30 per cent. ad valorem” the words, “and on and after 1st July, 1902, 20 per cent.”
I shall move a similar motion in regard to the other lines of the item. The duty of 30 per cent. ad valorem is practically prohibitive, and would gradually prevent importation throughout the Commonwealth. That would destroy our revenue, and destroy it for the purpose of unnecessarily protecting an industry which has already been protected for a very long time. The industry has been established chiefly in Victoria under a very high protective Tariff. Imported hats, ranging in value from about 6s. to 30s. per doz., f.o.b., in Europe, are the class mostly sold, and when we reckon the expenseof bringingthose articles here, we have, in addition to theduty, a natural protection of from 25 to 30 per cent. Taking them all round, that is about the percentage of the cost of importation. The effect of the duty is fairly shown in the collections under the existing Tariff. It is a little difficult to discriminate between the collections in respect of the duty on the different classes of imported hats and caps, because in the paper put before us they appear to have been divided into two categories - 61 and 62 - under the Tariff as it existed when the paper was compiled. Taking No. 61 as applicable to the line with which we are now dealing, we find that New South Wales paid £1 1, 102 in duty during the six months ending 3 1 st March, 1 902, Victoria paid £3,512, Queensland £2,859, South Australia £2,005, and Tasmania £957. That represents a collection for the six months of something like £31,000 or £32,000. The total revenue estimated for a normal year is £47,500, but, according to the collections already made, we may expect from £60,000 to £70,000 in a normal year, because the only State in which it could have been suggested that importers were loading up is New South Wales. It is evident, from these figures, that the Treasurer anticipates a gradual diminution of revenue from the importation of these goods. It must be so when we consider that in New South Wales these goods were admitted free ; in Western Australia there was a duty of only 15 per cent., and in Tasmania a duty of 20 per cent., which is the rate I suggest. In South Australia and Victoria the duties were heavier. In South Australia they were 8s. or 15s. a dozen, or 25 per cent. Twenty per cent. is a mean between the South Australian and Western Australian rates, and the Queensland rates also, because Queensland had an ad valorem duty of 25 per cent., or 15 per cent., and in that case, of course, the more valuable article paid the higher duty, and no injustice was done. Those were the State Tariffs at the time the Commonwealth Tariff was proclaimed. Twenty per cent. is a high revenue duty, and it also affords protection without amounting to prohibition, as the Victorian duties did. We desire to get revenue, and we do not desire to unduly prejudice an existing industry. In Victoria the duties upon these articles passed through a graduated series of increases, showing that once we enter upon this career of protection we must go on from bad to worse. The duty upon hats in Victoria began in 1865 with a rate of 4s. per cubic foot; that is, upon the measurement of the cases imported, and that rate was equivalent to 10 per cent. ad valorem. That was 37 years ago, so that there has been a very fine opportunity for the establishment of the hat and cap industry in
Victoria upon a permanent basis. It has had over 35 years of protection, beginning with 10 per cent. In 1S67 the rate of 4s. was commuted into an ad valorem duty of 10 per cent. In 1871, 31 years ago, the duty was increased to 12^ per cent., and later in the same year, or in the next year, it was increased to 20 per cent. So that for 31 years this industry in Victoria has had a protection of at least 20 per cent. In 1879, Victoria fell, back again upon a fixed duty of 15s. per dozen, and in 1889 that was raised to 20s. per dozen. In 1892 it was again raised to 36s. per dozen. In 1895 the fur used in the manufacture of certain kinds of hats was dealt with, and as the raw material for hat manufacture, the dutv upon it was lowered to 30s. Contemporaneously with that, the duty upon felt hats made mainly from wool, which entered into competition with hats made from fur, was lowered to 24s. These were the rates levied in Victoria until this Tariff was laid upon the table. It is a very inviting field to enter upon the whole history of hat making and the relative prices of the various articles produced, but we may fairly consider only the main grounds of revenue and reasonable protection. Twenty per cent, plus the natural protection, whether sufficient or not, every one must agree is a very handsome thing. Of revenue we shall get none, because, according to the Treasurer’s estimate, there will be a diminishing quantity imported if these duties are retained at the high level proposed. We must have revenue, and for the smaller States it is absolutely imperative that there shall be some inducement to import hats and caps other than those of the very finest quality, which will, of course, continue to be imported for some time to come from beyond seas. Tasmania will get nothing in the shape of revenue. South Australia has had a struggling little factory for a few years back. It has not been paying the handsome dividends of 10 per cent, and 15 per cent., which, I understand, the industry has paid in Victoria. I do not know what its position will be if these high duties are accepted, but certainly it will be impossible for any small factory under such duties to hold its own against the larger enterprises which have been nurtured under this gradual progressive protection during the last 30 years in Victoria. I do not know whether there are hat factories in Queensland, in Western Australia, or in Tasmania, but it is clear that, if these high duties remain, no appreciable revenue will be collected upon the importation of these goods. The bulk of the imports of the smaller States will be from Victoria. People in New South Wales have not made these hats, but they will no doubt proceed to make them in future if they are to be assured of a profit of 30 per cent., plus the cost of importation, even if that cost be not as high as the figures supplied to me. A duty of 20 per cent., plus the natural protection, cannot operate prejudicially against the locallyestablished factories, but it will be beneficial from the point of view of revenue.
– What difference in the revenue does the honorable and learned senator anticipate that it will make ?
– I anticipate that it will greatly increase the revenue. Until New South Wales establishes factories of her own she will receive a very much larger proportion of these goods from Victoria than she has done in the past, if the quality is at all kept up. If she establishes factories of her own, the same result will follow, and she will not be under the same necessity to import. New South Wales does not want increased revenue ; but we must consider the revenue of the smaller States, and if the inducement to import from beyond seas to the smaller States is taken away, their revenue must suffer, because we have now free-trade between the different States. If we desire to maintain the revenue, it is to such lines as this, and one or two others, including machinery, that we must chiefly direct our attention. It is upon the grounds I have stated that I urge the reduction embodied in the motion I have moved.
– I can never quite understand the attitude of my friends opposite on this question of revenue. I understood that originally their complaint was that this Tariff would raise ‘too much revenue, and when we came to deal with ad valorem items, which are entirely revenue items, we found them reducing the” duties proposed on the ground, I presume, that we did not require so much revenue. But now, when we come to an item of this kind from which we desire to get revenue, and at the same time to give protection to an industry, their contention apparently is that we have not got enough revenue and we must get more. The proposal submitted now by Senator
Symon will, he admits, result in an increased revenue, though he does not say to what extent, and it is doubtless on the ground that he thinks we require more revenue and less protection that his motion is made. This is one of those duties in connexion with which we can serve a double purpose of obtaining revenue and, at the same time, as far as possible maintaining an industry which is certainly a very valuable possession of the Commonwealth. It is not to be said that because the industry exists only inVictoria it is not one which belongs to Australia. The example that has been set here of a successful trade which can supply Victorian requirements and export to other States will no doubt be followed elsewhere. In Sydney preparations are being made by a firm in the old country to start a hat factory on a large scale as soon as the duties are settled. That is one of the results which we hope will arise from the carrying of the Tariff in its present form. There is no doubt that we have had some protection on this line of goods in other places, but it is nothing compared to that which has existed in Victoria. It is by the operation of a duty, increased from time to time since 1865, that Victoria has established a most successful industry, which has not increased the cost of hats to the consumer, but which affords employment to a large number of person’s and distributes a very large sum in wages. The Denton mills, I understand, distribute something like £50,000 a year in wages. That is a matter of very serious consideration, because we cannot regard the framing of the Tariff from the fiscal point of view only. There are other considerations to be borne in mind, and it may pay the community as a whole to impose such a duty on a certain class of goods as may increase the price, if the result will be to give permanent and good employment to a large number of our own people. By giving such employment we increase the number of wageearners who will be able to spend their money in the purchase of dutiable goods, and in that way increase the revenue. If the State as a whole has to pay a little more for some classes of articles it gains in the long run, because it has established a wages fund which affords permanent employment, and gives to a certain section of the working people that prosperity which enables them in their turn to contribute more largely to the revenue. Therefore we have to look at this question as a whole. It may very often be that it is better from the revenue point of view to impose a duty which may give a smaller return, butwhich indirectly willlargelyincrease the general wealth of the community. What has been the result of the imposition of the duties in other States than Victoria? In Queensland the protection was from 15 to 25 per cent. according to the class of goods. I understand that there is no hat factory in the State.
– We have 54 hands engaged in the manufacture of hats and caps.
– I think the honorable senator willfind that the factory produces hats and caps in a small way. In South Australia, where there was an industry which evidently was not successful in its efforts to keep alive, there was a specific duty of from 8s. to 48s. per dozen on a certain quality of hats, and an ad valorem duty of from 15 to 25 per cent. on other classes. In Tasmania, where they have no hat factory, there was an ad valorem duty of 20 per cent. In Western Australia, where they have no hat factory either, the duty was 15 per cent. ad valorem. The only State in which the industry has been successfully established is Victoria, where it has existed under very high duties. The duties which we now propose in the Tariff are very much lower than those which existed in Victoria, and those which we originally proposed. The Victorian duties ran to a very high percentage. The duties which we imposed originally were an ad valorem duty and a specific duty, according to the class of article. It was proposed that felt hats should pay 10s. per dozen and 15 per cent. ad valorem; dress hats 48s. per doz. ; sewn hats 3s. per doz. ; and hats “ n.e.i.” 20 per cent. ad valorem. Under that proposal the total duty on average lines would have amounted to 37 per cent. on felt hats, to 27 per cent. on dress hats, to 35 per cent. on sewn hats, andon hats, “ n.e.i.,” to 20 per cent. It was on the basis of these duties that the estimate of revenue of £47,500 was made. I think Senator Symon fell into an error in putting that estimate forward as any indication of the amount of revenue which would be derived from our present proposals. There would be a very considerable difference in the revenue. Of course it is admitted that the higher the duty is the more the importation of a particular class of hats is stopped. It is quite obvious that the quantity of goods imported under our original proposals was very much less than under our present proposals.
– How were the averages worked out ?
– I do not think it was necessary, but the basis of calculation was to take the quantity of each class which comes in, to ascertain the average price of that class, and to calculate the percentages on that.
– The average price will not do. The quantity at each price should be taken.
– I do not kno w of any other way in which the percentages can be obtained. When these percentages are compared with this duty of 30 per cent, honorable senators can easily understand why it is that the estimate of revenue originally made was so much lower than the sum which was collected. Notwithstanding the high percentages, ad valorem, of the duties originally proposed, the estimate of revenue from all the States was £47,500. The alterations in duties were made in December. For three months the high duties were collected, and for three months the reduced duties were collected. In the halfyear a total sum of £33,844 was collected, which is at the rate of nearly £68,000 per annum, and the difference between the original estimate and the actual receipts is accounted for by the immensely larger quantity of goods which came in during the second period of three months. Let me point to the results of the, collections in the different States. In quoting one set of figures .as to hats and caps, Senator Symon took the line of “hats and caps” only, and omitted the “n.e.i.” hats and caps line, which are in the same division.
– I added the two.
– I add the two lines together for the purpose of showing the total collections in each State. The total collections in New South Wales for the six months were £16,364. The total collections in Victoria were £7,326 - showing, of course, that the Victorian market had been nearly captured by the local production. In Queensland the total collections were £4,533 ; in South Australia, £3,382; in Tasmania, £1,289 ; and in
Western Australia approximately, £950. How any one can say that this is a prohibitive duty when it collects in six months £33,844, I am at a loss to understand.
– Senator O’Connor has himself said that the figures show that the Victorian market had been captured by the local manufacturer.
– Of course, and I sa)-so still. If we have this industry established in the other States of the Commonwealth, as it has been in Victoria, there is no doubt that it will go far to supply the whole of the Commonwealth with hats and caps. That will be ari> infinitely greater benefit, financially, to the Commonwealth than the collection of duty upon imported hats and caps, because it will mean regular and profitable employment, and a larger wage fund by means of which the employes will be able to consume dutiable goods, and to contribute more largely to the revenue. It must be admitted that this decrease of Customs revenue would come about slowly. It cannot come about all at once. The duty will operate as many other duties operate under this Tariff, by causing the collection of a certain amount of revenue at fist. As the local industries grow, the revenue will diminish. As the revenue diminishes from that cause, the prosperity of the people will grow, and the growing prosperity of the people will more than compensate for the loss of revenue. The States will look for their compensation to the increased revenue which must be derived by the consumption of dutiable goods consequent upon the higher rates of wages paid, and the greater comfort and the increased employment of the people. But if that result follows - and it is what we aim at - it can only take place if these industries are fairly treated in the first instance. If we impose a duty which will keep out a certain amount of goods, but will not permit of the establishment of an industry, we shall simply be in the position of putting a high duty on goods that are imported ; and if we destroy local competition and shut, down local factories, we shall be at the mercy of the importer, who will be able to exact every farthing of the duty from the consumer, and to charge what prices he likes for the articles which he imports. What has been the result of local competition in the past? It has’ been to bringdown the price of the great bulk of the articles which come under this heading. There are certain classes of goods which will be imported in any case, and for which a high price will, be charged whatever the duty may be. But with protective duties the result was to cheapen the ordinary article to the consumer. It is impossible, from the experience we have had in the other States, to come to any other conclusion than that a very substantial duty is required in order to give the local manufacturer a fair chance of establishing his industry and putting it upon a sound basis. Let me give an illustration of what has taken place in New South Wales. There was no hat industry in New South Wales until the .Dibbs Tariff was introduced in 1892. That Tariff imposed a duty of 10 per cent, aci valorem. That was the highest duty we could get in that free-trade community, but it was not enough. An attempt was made to establish a hat industry under that amount of protection. The industry struggled along for a number of years, but was never able to attain to any sort of prosperity. The experience of all the States has been that, without a heavy protective duty, this industry cannot be established. I think I have shown that the industry is a great source of wealth and employment to the people of the Commonwealth, that it cannot be established without a reasonable amount of protection, and that the duty of 30 per cent, proposed by the Tariff is the lowest point at which any substantia] benefit can be given to the industry. I wish to correct a misstatement made by Senator Symon to the effect that there is a natural protection of from 25 to 30 per cent, on imported hats. That is not correct. There may be a natural protection in some lines, where the hats have to be carried in large boxes, which take up much room, and where the importing charges must be somewhat heavy. But there are classes of felt hats and caps which may be packed in a very small space, and upon which the packing charges are, perhaps, less than half of those upon other classes of goods. We have to take the average to ascertain what the usual charges will be. Another matter to be looked at is the duty upon the material from which these hats are made. No doubt felt hats would be largely made from rabbit fur produced in Australia. But the makers of dress hats have to import the plush from which they are made, and upon which they pay a duty of 15 per cent. Hats made from woollen or silk material are taxed to the extent of 15 per cent., and cottons are taxed to the extent of 5 per cent. So that whatever protection is given to the local manufacturer, the duty has to be cut down by the amount of the duty charged on the raw material. In addition to that, the boxes and other materials used in packing and making up the hats are charged with duty, as are likewise the materials used for trimming. Hat bands used upon men’s hats - the)’ are called galloons, I believe - pay 15 per cent. So that, regarding the Tariff as a whole, it will be seen that a duty of 30 per cent, on hats is not to be taken as entirely protective, because out of that duty must come a certain amount for the duty that has to be paid by the manufacturer on the different articles he uses. I hope that as this is one of the first instances of a large industry affected by a duty that has come before the committee, it will be dealt with in a reasonable way, and that honorable senators will remember that we have to take a much larger and more extended view than the merely fiscal view. The prosperity of the community will best be served by doing nothing to interfere with an existing industry of this kind, and by imposing a duty of sufficient in amount to enable the industry to be established in other States. I see no reason why the hat industry should not be established in all the States. Whether that is done or not, there is no doubt that it can be established under a duty of this kind. But I have very little hesitation in saying that if the duty is cut down as Senator Symon proposes, a very great blow will be inflicted upon an industry which now exists, and probably its growth in other parts of the Commonwealth will be prevented.
– This duty is a very serious matter to the representatives of the State of Victoria. Senator Symon has not given us many facts or reasons as to why we should follow him in the course he proposes. On other occasions when he has asked us to depart from the Tariff he has adduced reasons for his proposal. He told us that the industry had enjoyed 25 years of protection. That is perfectly true, but its record shows conclusively that it should be encouraged. It occupies a very important position in the industrial life of Australia, and gives employment to people other than those actually engaged in the mills. In looking over the returns I find that in 1900 there were 27 factories in Victoria, employing 370 males and 539 females, or a total of 909. In 1901 there were 29 factories in “Victoria - an increase of two - employing 4.16 males and 556 females, or a total of 972. In round numbers the industry directly employs nearly 1,000 people, while there are many others connected with it. For instance, it gives employment to box makers, gold stampers, indiarubber manufacturers, iron founders, furriers, and trappers, and surely these people should be considered when we -are dealing with the duty. The industry employs not only a large number of people, but pays them very high wages, and in this regard I do not know of any other industry in Australia that is more- deserving of consideration. Its workmen are employed 48 hours a week, and receive a minimum wage of £3 weekly. It is also to be said to the credit of the proprietors of the hat mills that fewer labour disputes have occurred in relation to the industry than in connexion with any other in Victoria. That clearly shows that the employers deal fairly and honestly by their workpeople. Another point to which we should give consideration is that, except in relation to the finer class, everything which is used in the manufacture of hats is produced in Australia. We have the wool, and the fur, and a great many people are employed in rabbit-trapping. We have to remember that this is a season trade, and that if the duties are lowered it is probable that the surplus hats produced by factories in England and elsewhere, and especially in Germany, may be shipped to Australia to the detriment of local manufacturers. Of course I am aware that while good wages are paid in the industry, a fair return is given upon the capital invested. For many years past the Denton Hat Mills have paid dividends ranging from 8 per cent, to 10 per cent. Objection is taken in some cases that such a percentage is too high, but, in view of the risk, any one who puts money into a manufacturing industry of this description deserves to be encouraged. Senator Symon contended that if the 30 per cent, duty were retained we should have no revenue. That point has been fully answered by Senator O’Connor. While the retention of the present duty might lead to a reduction of revenue in the aspect put by Senator Symon, we have to remember, on the other hand, that it is a good thing to protect industries of this character when their existence means the increased prosperity of the people. A point that is worthy of attention is that whenever the State Parliament has revised the Tariff the protection given to this industry has been cut down, and that the duty proposed by the Government is lower than that which existed previously. That fact alone should have some weight with honorable senators, and we should see that a destructive blow is not given to this industry. At the present moment hats are cheaper in Victoria than they have ever been, so that the consumer has the benefit.
– They are also cheaper everywhere else.
– That may be, but it is continually dinned into our ears that if we protect an industry the consumer must suffer. In this case figures can be produced to show that the consumer has not suffered, and taking all these facts into consideration, I think the committee should not attempt to reduce the duty.
– The proposal that another place be requested to reduce these various duties from. 30 per cent, to 20 per cent, is from the point of view of free-traders - and especially those who come from New South Wales - a very extravagant one. While Senator Barrett has justly asked for some consideration on behalf of the industry in Victoria, I, as a representative of New South Wales, ask that the position of the industry in that State may also be considered. As hats and caps have been subjected to comparatively low duties in two of the States, while they have been admitted free in New South Wales, it cannot be denied that the duty, even if reduced as proposed, will be a very substantial one. Twenty per cent, means really 22 per cent., because all these duties are plus one-tenth, and if we take the natural protection as being only 18 per cent. - although in many cases it is as high as has been alleged - the industry will have a total protection of 40 per cent. Surely that should be sufficient for any industry ? The question of the percentage of duty on hats, to which reference was made by Senator O’Connor, needs to be handled in a proper way. The figures which he gave us did not fairly represent the percentage of the duties which existed under the Victorian Tariff, or which would have existed if the Government’s original proposal had been carried, It is easy to see that if we cast out 100 dozen hats and caps, so many at one price and so many at another, the average varies just as we vary the proportion at the different prices. I was correct in saying that the percentages named by Senator O’Connor were misleading. The Victorian duties were absolutely prohibitive so far as the cheaper description of hats were concerned ; because they amounted in some cases to a protection of 100 per cent., and in others, I believe, to 200 per cent. They kept out imports, and the revenue collected was only on the finer description of hats in respect of which the specific duty was not extravagant. Senator Barrett told us that all the raw materials used by the hat industry in Victoria were practically produced in Australia. That statement conflicts with the assertion made by Senator O’Connor that the protection proposed to be given to the industry is largely discounted by the fact that manufacturers have to import material upon which they pay duty.
– I qualified my statement.
– Senator O’Connor indicated that the protection proposed would be reduced very largely by duties which would have to be paid on raw material. Senator Barrett tells us that the great bulk of the raw material required in this industry is produced in Australia, and it may be taken as substantially proved that there is a Customs protection in the figures proposed by Senator Symon, which, with the natural protection, amounts to 40 per cent., and surely that ought to be enough. In regard to revenue, the importations into New South Wales in the year 1900 totalled in value £218,000. With the exception of some £15,000 of imports from Victoria and South Australia, the whole of the imports were from abroad. I presume that the imports from South Australia and Victoria were also from the United Kingdom, but were probably shipped to Adelaide for Broken Hill, and through Melbourne for the Riverina district. I find that there were also imported into New South Wales during that year hatters’ materials to the value of £11,490. So that, notwithstanding the very heavy imports of hats and caps, there was an industry of some substance carried on at the time in New South Wales in their local production. We have a sum of £20,000 put down as the original estimate of revenue for New South Wales under the heading of the items dealing with hats and caps. It will be observed that on the value of the importations to New South Wales in 1900, a duty of 10 per cent, would bring in fully the amount that the Government estimated. Consequently it will be seen that the Government have calculated upon reducing the importations of hats and caps into New South Wales to an enormous extent, exceeding 75 per cent. That is a matter to be borne in mind by the representatives of those States which are specially concerned in viewing this matter from the point of view of revenue. I think it may be taken as clearly established that the more moderate the rate of duty, the more substantial will be the amount of revenue derived.
– Does the honorable senator think we require to get more revenue under this Tariff?
– Yes ; that is a point worth noticing. There are certain States in the Commonwealth to which the amount of revenue to be obtained is a matter of very great importance. There is one great State to which it is not of importance. I desire to point out that, by adopt ing a policy which compels the manufacture of all the hats and caps consumed in the Commonwealth in one or two main States, the result will be to decrease the importations into the smaller States, of hats which would produce revenue, and consequently to decrease their revenue. While we in New South Wales do not require revenue, and would prefer to see hats and caps free of duty as they have been in the past, it is perfectly clear that if the States that do require revenue are to obtain any satisfactory amount, it can only be by the imposition of a moderate duty. The duty proposed of 20 per cent, plus a tenth, or 22 per cent., is as high a rate as can be fixed if the smaller States to which I have referred are to get any fair amount of revenue from this item.
– Senator O’Connor asked just now if we desired any more revenue under this Tariff. I say that we want all the revenue we can get for three very good reasons : The first is that under the revenue-producing item of sugar we shall lose revenue every year, as Queensland begins to supply the markets of the Commonwealth ; secondly, under the protective duty upon tobacco as it now stands in the Tariff we shall lose enormously in revenue - Tasmania will lose from £15,000 to £20,000 a year under that head - and thirdly, if there is any virtue whatever in the policy of protection, and any truth whatever in the prophecies of our protectionist friends, and I hope there is, the various factories connected with different industries in the States will supply the requirements of the Commonwealth to a much greater extent than now, and we may, therefore, expect the revenue to fall off year by year. The answer to the question of whether we-want revenue is an emphatic “yes.”
– How much more revenue does the honorable and learned senator think that the rate now proposed will bring in ?
– I think it would be quite impossible, even for a Customs expert, to answer that question, but the lower we make a duty the larger the revenue we shall get. What we have to do is to fix a duty which will be fair as between revenue on the one hand and the industry on the other. This is exactly one of those items to which the historic phrase of the Prime Minister - “revenue without destruction” - is applicable. I have been through some of these magnificent factories, and the Denton Hat Mills is a magnificent factory. I have every sympathy with them. I have no desire to destroy them, and “no desire to put them at any unreasonable disadvantage. At the same time I have to consider the revenue, and I have no desire to put the consumer at any unreasonable disadvantage. It is very difficult indeed to say how the duty should be fixed so as to be fair as between revenue, consumer, and producer. But I think 20 per cent., which is equivalent to a protection of 22 per cent., as proposed by the leader of the Opposition, is a fair and just duty. When Senator O’Connor came to tackle the matter, he gave us some useful figures, no doubt, but he seemed to me to deal in generalities. He spoke of the importance of the industry, and told us how important ib was that it should not be closed down. But whoever dreamt of such a thing? The honorable and learned senator never touched the question as to whether the motion makes provision for a duty which is fair. I do not know how the honorable and learned senator could have gone into details unless he had examined the books of the Denton Hat Mills, and visited all the other factories. I do not wish to be too severe upon him for not proving the impossible, but .at the same time he never attempted to prove it. When the honorable and learned senator tells us that by a fair protective duty these factories can be established in such a way as to be able to take possession of the market, he shows that he is prepared to give away thousands of pounds of revenue. I do not desire that the hat factories or any other factories should take possession of the market. That would be a bad thing for them, for the revenue, and for the whole Commonwealth. If we make the duties so high that the locally-produced article will not be subject to the competition of the world, the factories will take their ease, and will be content to produce a bad article. That, in my opinion, would be a blunder, and a breach of the policy of Ministers and of the policy I came here to support. It would be equally a blunder and a breach of that policy to make the duty so low that, having regard to the conditions and cost of manufacture and labour on the other side of the world, the result would be to wipe out an industry which it has taken some years to establish. I was rather startled when Senator Symon announced that the cost of imports in the case of these goods was between 25 and 30 per cent. I am indebted to Senator Sargood for showing 111 some figures, from which it appears that the cost begins at 13 per cent., and runs up to as high as 60 per cent. It all depends upon the class of hat imported, and Senator Sar goods figures are taken from the experience of his own firm.
– They are based upon the actual imports of last year.
– There is positive evidence of the cost of importation, and Senators Glassey and Higgs should, I think, be prepared to admit that with that natural protection a Customs protection of 20 per cent, is a generous and lavish protection to the industry. That being so, I feel that, as a matter of policy, of conscience, and of justice, I can fairly and honorably support the suggestion made by Senator Symon. Let me ask here what honorable senators from New South Wales are about ? According to our protectionist friends, the New South Wales people ought to be going down upon their knees praying us to keep on 20, 30, and 40 per cent, duties, in order that they may establish their own industries and get the benefit of the protection which this Victorian industry has had so long, but which New South Wales industries have never had, with the exception of a paltry 10 per cent, under the Dibbs Tariff. If the arguments of the protectionists are true, senators from New South Wales should be found supporting all the high duties proposed, in order that they might wire to their constituents and friends in that State to start these factories. The answer to that, of course, is that, in the case of almost every industry with which we have dealt up to the present time, the New South Wales factories have been established without any protection whatever. There we again get back to the two extremes of the fiscal issue, and I suppose we shall never hear the last of it. I should like some explanation of the fact that whilst the value of the imports under this item into New South Wales amounted in 1900 to £218,000, the hat factories of Victoria, although they had a free market in New South Wales, do not seem to have captured any portion of that market at sill.
– The revenue from hats in 1S99 in Victoria amounted to £15,401, and yet Senator Symon says that the duties were prohibitive.
– I have never said that the duties were prohibitive, but I have said that Senator Symon is proposing a duty which it seems to me will afford generous and lavish protection, taking into account the enormous cost of importation. On many articles the cost of import is from 10 to 15 per cent., but here we have one on which, according to the invoices of a leading firm, it runs from 13 and 16 up to 60 per cent. While on the one hand I have been told that the local hat factories have been doing uncommonly well, and that the consumer, perhaps, has been too heavily taxed, yet, on the other hand, I hold that imports are not altogether shut out. I am very careful about dogmatizing on the fiscal issue, because, as Senator Barrett would point out, it can be shown sometimes that a duty does not increase the price. We have all kinds of cross issues and side-lights coming in to disturb the operation of the ordinary rule, which, I believe, is that a duty does increase the price. I have seen figures which show that a duty may so act that the price is not increased. On the whole, I think that the motion of Senator Symon is a generous one.
– It was doubters like Senator Dobson who required a Bismarck to arise in Germany and practically sweep them out of existence. We know that the duties on hats and caps are a compromise between a strong free-trade Opposition in the other House and a fairly protectionist Government. We know, too, that the ground on which the duty of 30 per cent, was urged and agreed to there was that the original duties were not operating prohibitively, but were producing a return so extravagantly beyond the necessities of the Commonwealth that it was monstrous to retain them. The very ground on which the leader of the Opposition elsewhere condemned this policy of the Government was that they had misapprehended entirely the revenue that the Tariff would produce, and the duties on hats and caps were very industriously cut down, not because they were prohibitive; not out of sweet consideration for the smaller States ; but because they were making the taxpayer pay unduly for the article he required. After all the arguments of the leader of the Opposition elsewhere and his followers had been exploded, the Tariff was sent up here in an emasculated form in that respect, and the old game is begun again. We are told that a 20 per cent, duty on the different lines is quite enough, and interesting abstract arguments are used to show that it is. One would have supposed that in Victoria the duties were both absolutely injurious to her people and absolutely destructive to her revenue. But neither eventuality occurred. The revenue remained quite reasonable ; the industry which the wicked duties so shamefully assisted prospered to such an extent that the manufacturers were able not only to sell to the Victorian people, but to people outside the State, at a price as low, or lower, than the price of the imported article. Surely there was not much reproach in that. When we federated I thought that we would take a bigger view of the future than that of the tradesmen; that if Victoria could not produce everything for Australia, New South Wales, South Australia, and Queensland might help, and we should try to make this great continent as selfsufficing as we. reasonably could. I also hoped that we should not legislatively adopt a system which is practically being abandoned by the only place that ever consistently advocated it. Whether the duty on hats and Gaps should be 30 per cent, as proposed by the Government or 25 per cent, as formerly in South Australia, or 20 per cent, as in Tasmania, or 25 per cent, as in Queensland, or 15 per cent, as in Western Australia-
– And nothing in New South Wales.
– I have great hopes of New South Wales. I know that under a 20 per cent, duty New South Wales will maintain a supremacy in hats, which, so far as my experience goes, she has not acquired up to the present time. We are asked to reduce the duty on hats quite capriciously. It may be said that we are asked to impose the duty capriciously. Because Victoria has imposed a heavy duty and done well, that is surely no reason why Australia should not impose a less heavy duty, and try to do as well 1
– A less heavy duty?
– The Victorian duty, which was much heavier than 30 per cent., has been the means of establishing a big industry, which has not raised the cost of the article to the consumer by a penny, and which has sent its products to other markets, notably New South Wales. It has been made a good thing for the people of Victoria, and the State has not suffered in revenue. Surely, all the States, with a common protective duty, can manage to do a great deal better than any one State can do ; surely, in the production of an article, which is almost entirely the product of manual labour or machinery, we, in this great continent, can make ourselves self-sufficing, and so keep the work amongst our own people, instead of very industriously striving to send it away. I hope that the motion will not be carried. Like many other motions which have been proposed, it is to a large extent an arrogation of the power of numbers rather than an embodiment of any clearly defined principle. I admit that either way it is a speculative thing to say accurately what is a proper duty to impose, but I hold that the States as a Commonwealth with freedom of trade ought to be able to do bigger things than they did separately when they fought against each other. We ought to be able to stand higher duties and prove ourselves greater, more efficient, and selfsupporting.
Senator. Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia). - I do not think that the last speech will advance the consideration of this item one whit, because it consisted absolutely of the most chaotic generalities, without any figures or any facts, as far as I can recollect, on which they could be supported. My honorable and learned friend began by saying that it was doubters like Senator Dobson -who made it necessary for a Bismarck to arise in Germany and settle the whole subject. I suppose he rose as the modern Bismarck in order to stiffen the back of Senator Dobson. My honorable and learned friend must not forget that he is very much of a doubter himself. He told the people of South Australia that he was a “ free-trader in the abstract.” Subsequently to that, he modified his attitude by saying that he was “abstractedly a free-trader.” He is a freetrader in a fit of abstraction. That is the honorable and learned senator who gets up and lectures Senator Dobson upon being a doubter ! But that is not all the history of my honorable and learned friend, Senator Downer, in this connexion. He takes upon himself to put us all right as to the underlying principles of federation, and to say that the Opposition are trying to float a worn-out theory which has been abandoned in the country from which it comes.
– What was Senator Symon when he was under the wing of Mir. Kingston 1
– Has the observation of the honorable and learned senator about the abstract principle of federation anything to do with the item under discussion ?
– Not quite, but I wish to hear what the honorable and learned senator has to say before I rule him out of order.
– My honorable and learned friend, Senator O’Connor, interjected - I will not characterize his remark as I think it should be characterized - that I was under the wing of Mr. Kingston. I do not know what he means.
– I am not going to allow these personal altercations. Interjections are disorderly, and I would ask the honorable and learned senator to discuss- the question without indulging in personalities.
– Do you rule, sir, that the interjection of Senator O’Connor was disorderly ? It was an interjection which I should characterize not only as disorderly hut by a stronger term. It was a piece of gross impertinence to refer to me in that way.
– I think I have the right, at all events, to expect the support of the Senate when I ask for order.
– And of the leader of the Senate.
– I am entitled to the support of both the leaders, and I ask the committee to support me in a way I may reasonably expect them to do. If these interjections proceed, we cannot have anything like decency in our debates.
– I was proceeding to say that not only were we favoured with these lectures upon doubters, but we were told that our principles - the principles of free-trade, I presume - have been abandoned in the country from which they come. But what is the position of the honorable and learned senator ? Who is he that he should complain of doubting ? On the address in reply, did he not tell us in the most triumphant tones that he was sitting on a fence - on a very high fence ? Is this the honorable and learned senator who is now going to settle the Tariff for us in one act? Is not sitting on a fence a position of doubt ? He reminds me of what is said in a book published the other day called Clara in Blunderland, concerning another gentleman. He is made to say - “ I can not only sit on a fence for days together without falling off, but I can sit on both sides of the fence at the same time. There’s dexterity for you.” How does that fit the honorable and learned senator? That is what is called being a consistent man, without a doubt !
– I am very sorry that this debate is degenerating into a matter of personalities to a very large extent. We have a particular item before the Chair, and I do think that the honorable and learned senator might address himself to it. I will ask him to assist in confining the debate to the item.
– But really, sir, when an honorable and learned senator makes a speech such as we have listened to this afternoon, charging another honorable and learned senator, who has declared his intention of voting for my motion, with being a doubter, who required a Bismarck to set him right, I am justified in showing that the accuser is at least in the same boat. I feel the most perfect good nature about the whole thing, but I am going to call attention to it. I do not suggest that he meant to be offensive to Senator Dobson, but is it to be contended that I cannot say that Senator Downer has himself doubts on the subject t
– It is true that Senator Downer did make the remark referred to by Senator Symon, but what I object to is a’ speech which up to the present has been completely taken up with dealing with that remark.
– And why not, sir ? I did not venture to stop Senator Downer, because I recognise that a little latitude must be allowed occasionally. But I hope that you will extend the same courtesy to me as to Senator Downer ; and surely as he has made a charge against an honorable and learned senator, who has declared his intention of voting for my motion, by describing him as a doubter, we may well recall the fact that the honorable and learned senator who makes the charge is himself a very worthy occupant of Doubting Castle ! My honorable and learned friend himself said in the course of the secondreading debate that this Tariff had many faults in it. It is not for any of us to sit in judgment as to the course any one of us should take, but I venture to think that Senator Downer might assist us in getting rid of those faults, and that those who take the same view as he does are not to be lectured, because we try to do our duty in removing the faults which we see. Although he may feel that it is not necessary to take the opportunity of removing defects - and I do not complain if he sees fit to pass them by - yet, if we see faults and endeavour to remove them, we are not to be told that we are taking this action to display our arrogance and power, and for no other purpose. I utterly repudiate and deny such an imputation. My honorable and learned friend has no right to charge ‘any one in this Senate with taking action for the purpose of securing a triumph or to exert whatever arrogance or power ‘ they possess. I hope that Senator Downer, who tells us that he wishes to maintain the power of the Senate, will not be content with a mere lip declaration, but will seek to give effect to his views ; and, while we do not complain for a moment if he does not see fit to take action to remove faults in the Tariff, he must do us an equal amount of justice in giving us credit for trying to do our duty in removing blots. It is suggested as a reason why we should not touch this duty that the policy which we propose has been abandoned in the country from which it came. That I utterly deny. It would be of no importance to us if this policy had been abandoned in the country from which it came, but I declare, sir, that there is not one tittle of foundation for that statement. It has been pointed out over and over again that the free-trade policy has now been pursued in England for over half-a-century, and that the prosperity and success of England in commercial affairs has been largely due to that policy. Applying that illustration to Australia, we find on the one hand New South Wales with a policy of absolute free-trade. We have on the other hand Victoria, where this hat industry has been protected for 37 years. While we ought to consider, as I admit, the position of Victoria, Senator Pulsford is entitled to say that we ought to give some slight consideration to the position of New South Wales. Evenif we take the high duties imposed in Victoria, it will be seen that they average very little more than the duty which I propose. The Victorian duties ranged, as I understood from the VicePresident of the Executive Council, from 37 per cent, down to 20 per cent. Therefore, on an average, 30 per cent, is about the duty which prevailed in Victoria from 1895 onward. Senator O’Connor has given us some figures, and has said that the high duties in Victoria led to that industry being successfully established here. But [ why ? Because the duties were substanItially, though not altogether, prohibitive. The Vice-President of the Executive Council has shown that £47,500 was the original estimate made by Sir George Turner as the receipts from the duties on hats ; but we find that for the six months ended the 31st March of this year, the duties actually collected were something like £31,000. Therefore, the total year’s i duties should be about £60,000. That being so, there is no further need for argument to establish the fact that, from the point of view of revenue, 20 per cent, is a far better duty than 30 per cent. From the point of view of the smaller States, it is inevitably so. Senator O’Connor said something by way of interjection, when Senator Pulsford was speaking, about wanting more revenue. My honorable and learned friend said that so far as New South Wales and other places were concerned this was unnecessary, but when we look at the position of the smaller States, which will have either to import these hats and caps from abroad or to obtain them from Victoria, we must see that the higher we make the duty the less will be the importations, and the less will be the revenue obtained from them. I take Senator O’Connor’s own figures as showing that the effect of reducing the duty to 30 per cent, has been, roughly speaking, to increase the revenue by £20,000. If we reduce the duty to 20 per cent, it necessarily follows that we shall increase the revenue still further. That will be so in regard to all the States, but emphatically so in the case of the smaller ones. If Victorianmade hats are imported into Tasmania no duty is paid. To use Senator O’Connor’s expression, which exactly describes the situation, Victoria will capture the markets of the Commonwealth. I do not object to that. In the case of starch, that position has been met by an excise duty, but I do not wish io see an excise duty on hats and caps. I do not wish to say a word in reproach of any honorable senator who holds that there ought to be high duties, but the position is that, by means of high duties, Victoria has captured the local market, and that it is proposed to enable her ‘to capture the markets of the whole Commonwealth. If that is done, away will go the revenue. But if we lower these duties to 20 per cent., there must be a rauch larger revenue than at present.
– Lower them to 10 per cent., and there will be a still further increase.
– Yes. My mind is perfectly open, and if it could be shown that our proposal, if carried, would destroy the industry I should say at once that I did not wish to do anything of the kind. That, however, has not been shown. We do not propose to reduce the duty to 10 per dent., even for the sake of increasing the revenue, but if it is fixed at 20 per cent, it will afford ample and fail- protection to this Victorian industry. The industry is carried on largely by the Denton Hat
Mills Company, which practically have a monopoly, and with a duty of 20 per cent., plus the 2 per cent, to which Senator Pulsford has referred, plus the natural protection, and the fact that the industry has now the enlarged market of the whole of the Commonwealth, it seems to me that we secure all the elements of reasonable protection. Senator O’Connor said that the duty was intended to enable these factories to be established in other States. That is a departure, I venture to think, from the position which has been taken up throughout. The Government policy was that these duties were to be considered from the point of view of “ revenue without destruction.” To use Senator O’Connor’s own words, we were told that we could cut down the protection to the lowest possible point at which the industries could be fairly carried on. We were not to deal with them from the point of view of encouraging the establishment of more manufactories.
– Surely the honorable and learned senator would not restrict the manufacture of hats to one State ? If the duty has been sufficient to preserve the industry in one State, it will be sufficient to encourage its establishment in another State.
– In Victoria, those engaged in the industry have had a start of 37 years, and what might be sufficient to keep the industry alive here might not be sufficient to establish it in another place. Still, with that explanation, if we are to cut down these protective duties to the limit at which the industry can fairly be carried on, and that is the measure of what is necessary to establish elsewhere industries of the same kind, I have nothing more to say, because I am desirous that there should be no cruel interference with any existing and wellestablished industry. It is because I believe that a duty of 20 per cent., plus the natural protection and the enlarged market of the Commonwealth, is a very fair thing, that I make this proposal’ All the material used in the manufacture of felt hats, except, perhaps, the leather lining, is produced here. During the years 1899 and 1900 respectively, the imports of fur for this purpose amounted in value to only about £100. That shows that the raw material for this industry is produced here, and I think that, having regard to all these considerations, even the Denton Hat Mills Company cannot complain that they have been left in the lurch. From the point of view of revenue, which is the most important, and from the consideration of granting a fair and reasonable amount of protection, so that there may be no wanton destruction of this industry, it seems to me that the motion is a fair one.
Senator Sir JOHN DOWNER (South Australia). - Having listened to my honorable and learned friend, I am rather sorry that I have departed from the policy of silence which I have hitherto adopted since finding that there is a majority in favour of anything that is proposed on the other side, just recognising the absolute weight of numbers and leaving another place to deal with the general results. On a previous occasion, as well as during this debate, Senator Symon has taunted me with having stated that I was an abstract free-trader.
– Is this a personal explanation %
– There is no question of a personal explanation about the matter. If any honorable senator accuses me of being recreant to my views, I have a right to explain.
– You allowed Senator Symon to speak for half-an-hour, Mr. Chairman.
– That is not a proper remark, and I call upon the honorable senator to withdraw it.
– I made the remark, not as a reflection upon you, Mr. Chairman, but upon Senator Symon.
– Do I understand the honorable senator to say that he did not intend to reflect upon me 1
– I do not care to be interrupted when I am expressing my sense of a great wrong that has been done to me. So far as ray career in South Australia is concerned, I introduced the first protective Tariff in the State Legislature.
– It was a . failure.
– It was opposed by my honorable and learned friend, and the degree of protection was increased
I to a much greater extent by a subsequent i Government.
– It was superseded by the Government which turned out the honorable and learned senator.
Senator McGregor. - I rise to a point of order. Is Senator Symon in order in continually interjecting 1
– I cannot prevent interjections, but I can reduce their frequency by urging honorable senators to desist. Interjections are disorderly, and I have appealed to honorable senators not to indulge in them. Of course it is usual to allow an honorable senator to ask for certain information, and such an interjection is quite harmless. I consider that Senator Downer is speaking by way of explanation, because all personal matter is irrelevant to the question before the Chair. The honorable and learned senator can be heard only by way of personal, explanation.
– Certainly not.
– The item before the Chair is hats.
– Why did you not compel Senator Symon to refer only to the duties on hats ?
– Senator Symon dealt with an expression used by Senator Downer, and when I thought that he was unduly extending his remarks in that direction I sought to restrain him. The honorable and learned senator acceded to my request. Now Senator Downer says that he desires to make some personal explanation. I can only allow a personal explanation, in so far as it is relevant to the question before the Chair.
– On the point of order-
– There is no point of of order before the Chair. If there was I have decided it.
– I do not rise in explanation. We are in committee, and I rise in accordance with my rights to address the Chair. I propose to exercise my right to deal with the reflections made upon me by another speaker in the course of the debate. If you, sir, rule that I can only by favour, and in the way of a personal explanation, rebut a gross, unqualified, and unjustifiable attack, I fail to understand what the liberties of members of the Senate have come to. I do not rise to make any personal explanation, I rise to reply to a speech in which I say an absolutely unjustifiable imputation was cast upon me. I do not personally complain that Senator Symon was out of order. I entirely disapprove of what the honorable and learned senator said ; but as for its being in order, I do not question that in the slightest degree. I say that when Senator Symon said that I ever held myself out as being a free-trader, he said that which he must have known was not correct.
– I rise to a point of order. I ask whether the honorable and learned senator, in making his criticisms, is addressing himself to the item ?
– The honorable and learned senator is too late in taking that point now.
– I understand that the Chairman has ruled that we must adhere to the discussion of the item. If the Chairman adheres to that ruling, it ought to be complied with. Other members of the committee have to comply with it, and Senators Downer and Symon should have no privileges which other members of the Senate have not. I desire to know whether an honorable senator is to be held closely to the item under discussion, or is to be allowed to criticise a speech and aspersions made by a previous speaker, no matter how irrelevant to the subject they may be. I desire to know this for my own guidance in the future, because I intend to do what other honorable senators do, and, therefore, it is well that this matter should be definitely decided once and for all.
– On the question of order, I submit that it is impossible that there can be any parliamentary rule which will prevent an honorable senator replying to an attack made upon him, which may be altogether outside the subject of discussion. The attack may be made in an offensive way, and are we to suppose that the honorable senator attacked is not to be allowed to reply ? I am sure there cannot be any such rule of order, because, after all, fair play must be the basis of all these rules. It may be that an honorable senator is wrong in departing from the question under discussion, and if that be so Senator Symon was out of order in making an attack upon Senator Downer.
– Not at all. Senator Downer attacked Senator Dobson.
– Surely Senator Dobson is well able to take care of himself, and that does not justify an attack upon another honorable senator founded upon a matter altogether outside of the subject we are discussing.
– Is this a point of order? It is a vehement and violent attack.
– I have risen to a point of order. The honorable and learned senator talks of a vehement and violent attack, when he made an attack of the most vitriolic character upon my honorable and learned friend, Senator Downer.
– I did nothing of the kind.
– I say that the honorable and learned senator did.
– I say the honorable and learned senator is no judge. It is a scandal that these statements should be mode.
– This has all arisen by reason of the attack which the honorable and learned senator has made. He was allowed to make that attack, and it must be taken that he was in order in doing so. If he was in order in making the attack surely the person upon whom the attack was made must be in order in replying to it?
– On the point of order, I think the remarks made by the Vice-President of the Executive Council, who is the leader of the Senate, have been indecently vehement in discussing this question of order. Such an exhibition has never been known before on a point of order in any Assembly in the world. The honorable and learned senator instead of dealing with this matter quietly and calmly, espouses the cause of another honorable and learned senator upon whom he has the effrontery to say that I made a vitriolic attack.
– Hear, hear. So the honorable and learned senator did.
– What right has the leader of the Senate to espouse anybody’s cause ? It is his duty to deal with a matter of this kind in a judicial way.
– Is this on the point of order?
– Certainly. The honorable and learned senator characterized my remarks as a vitriolic attack. I strongly repudiate those words, and cast them back in his teeth.
– I will suspend the sitting until a quarter to eight o’clock.
– After the interval, I think I can only say that the point of order reminds me of these lines, with which we are very familiar -
Abner Dean, of Angel’s, raised a point of order, when
A chunk of old red sandstone tookhin in the abdomen, with consequences that we need not depict. Bearing that in mind, and as a precedent, I asked my honorable and learned friend not to press the point of order.
– I think . that there was not much occasion for Senator Ewing to take a point of order. However devoid his remarks may have been of accuracy - that is quite a different consideration - I think that Senator Symon was perfectly in order. I had made some remarks which related to the conduct of the Opposition, and they had a perfect right in my opinion to reply in the best way they could. I do not think I should have risen to say anything further, had the honorable and learned senator not repeated what he has said once before. He may have spoken in a humorous sense, nob intending to convey exactly what his words did, but these statements made time after time, get printed in the newspapers, and come to be taken as facts when they are utter untruths. The statement he made was that I described myself as an abstract f ree-trader. What I said every time was, that I was abstractedly a free-trader in this sense, that if all the world were free-trade, I should be a free-trader as well.
– This was stated in an article which the honorable and learned senator wrote to a newspaper.
– I never wrote any article to a newspaper.
– Does the honorable and learned senator deny the authorship of an article in the South Australian Advertiser, of 28th March, 1901, “ by Sir John Downer “ ?
– So far as I can recollect, I have not written an article for a newspaper at any time. In that election campaign I made a speech which was published - the rest were not published, and that one would not have been had I not paid for it. I dare say the honorable and learned senator was in the same position.
– I did not pav a shilling.
– I did, because I wished to be accurately reported once. My position has been quite consistent throughout. J said to the electors - “ At the present time my position is freetrade iii the States’, and protection so far as the outside world is concerned, and though abstractedly I may be a free-trader that iS only on the condition that all the world becomes free-trade as well.” I never qualified my position in the slightest degree. In every speech I made I pointed to the conspiracy of all the world to try to destroy the country to which we belong, and said it was necessary for us all to take a strong stand to prevent this general invasion of our position. I maintain that opinion. The honorable and learned senator accused me of making allegations without using arguments or figures. I stated my propositions as clearly as possible. I pointed out that the charge in the other House against the much higher duties which the Government propose to impose was not that they would destroy revenue, but that they would produce a sum absolute])’ disproportionate to that which the Commonwealth required.
– The honorable and learned senator is absolutely mistaken.
– I do not say that it was pointed to the item before the committee. It was stated generally by the leader of the Opposition in the other House that the duties in the Tariff would ‘have to be reduced, because otherwise the high rates would produce an amount of revenue quite beyond the requirements of the Commonwealth. I also said that the free-traders there, as here, have had a good deal their own way. It was not considered that even the extreme proposals of the Government would be destructive of revenue, but it was considered that 30 per cent, would produce sufficient revenue, and I pointed to the experience of Victoria. I hope the committee will recognise that in the framing of the Tariff for Australia we have to proceed with a certain degree of economy. We must not try to do everything in the first session of Parliament. This will keep the even line which will preserve the economy of the States in pretty much the same direction as it has been, so that they will not feel that the Commonwealth presses too tightly upon them in its very inception. It is from that feeling that I strongly support this item which was so very much considered in the other House, where all the arguments of its opponents were thrown to the winds as fallacious. I take the item as typical of a good many others which we shall have to consider. The hands of our people can do all the work, and the industry ought to be encouraged. In this instance, we might take advantage of the experience of Victoria, and suppose that united Australia can do at least as well as a fourth or fifth part of it has done. I am a strong asserter of the rights of the Senate ; but about rights, as about other things, my argument always is economy. Because you have a right, you do not always want to be exercising it. Many honorable senators who wish to invite a contest might not prove, when one came about, so determined to be sent back to their constituents as, from their remarks, one would suppose at the present moment. In these differences between the two Houses, while there is always perfect equality, still there has to be give and take, and no unnecessary friction ought to be created. I hope that in future no further- misstatements will be made as to’ the attitude I took at the elections, and throughout the federal movement. I stand by every word I said in my speech at the opening of the session when we had no Tariff under consideration. I hope that the committee will adopt the wiser counsels which have prevailed in another place, and not try to force, in addition to the friction with other States, a friction with the other House which is already imminent enough. If there comes any reason for a great fight with the House, I am willing, to stand up for the rights of the States. If honorable senators on the other side have a right, let them be judicious in the exercise of it, and when their own party have got so . much their own way as they always profess in the framing of the Tariff, let them, at all events, be moderate, and not unduly protract the session, and keep the mercantile world and the public in a state of suspense on various questions. I hope that the item will be passed as it is.
– I think that we had better get back to the consideration of the duty on hats. We are asked by Senator Symon to reduce the duty from 30 per cent, to 20 per cent. I listened to his remarks, but I did not hear him give a single reason why he thinks that a 20 per cent, duty is sufficient to keep the industry afloat. The importation of expensive hats will continue, and the users of them are well able to pay a high price for them. These hats are not made in this State, and I arn not aware whether they could bc made or not. I am told that the cheap hats which are imported from Great Britain and Italy are generally made out. of shoddy, whereas Australian hats are made from wool and fur. It has been stated by Senator Symon that very little fur is imported ; therefore, it is fair to assume that our supply of fur is obtained from the rabbits. Wool is also a product of a primary industry. I am about to quote theaverage price of the cheaper class of hats. My object is to show Senator Symon and his supporters that a 20 per cent, duty will be too small, and I have very serious doubts . as to whether 30 per cent, will be enough. In this case my authority does not happen to be a manufacturer, but Mr. Tudor, a member of the other House, who has had experience in several countries as a hat maker. He knows the value of a hat. When I saw the price that these cheap hats cost the importer I was astonished. The duty now proposed on cheap hats is very low as compared with what it was in Victoria, where admittedly the rate was prohibitive. The price of boys’ wool hats, imported, is 6s. a dozen - that is* 6d. each. A duty of 30 per cent, would, in round figures, be 2s. per dozen. The Victorian duty was 24s. a dozen, or twelve times what is now proposed. The imported price of men’s wool “ President” hats is 9s. a dozen. A duty of 30 per cent, would amount to about 3s. a dozen. In Victoria, the rate on these goods is 24s. a dozen. The imported price of women’s wool ‘’ Hops “ is 9s. a dozen : 3s. a dozen would be the duty at 30 per cent., but the .Victorian duty was 24s. per dozen. The imported price of men’s wool “hards” is 1 5s. a dozen, upon which duty at 30 per cent, would be 5s. per, dozen. In Victoria, the duty was 24s. a dozen. The imported price of women’s wool, frames best, is 15s. a dozen, on which the duty would bc 5s. per dozen at 30 per cent, in Victoria it was 24s. per dozen. The imported price of men’s fur “hards “.is 30s. a dozen, duty on which at 30 per cent, would be 10s. per dozen. In Victoria the duty was 30s. a dozen, or 1 00 per cent. - -over three times what is now proposed. These are all goods which can be manufactured here and sold as cheaply as
Jb l the imported articles of the same class - with the difference, however, that the Victorian hats are made from good sound materials grown in Australia. The next class of hats in Mr. Tudor’s list cost 36s. a dozen. The duty, at 30 per cent., would be about 12s. a dozen, while in Victoria it was 30s. The last class of hats mentioned in this list are imported at 40s. a dozen. Duty at 30 per cent, would be 13s. The Victorian duty was 30s. a dozen. The prohibitive duties in Victoria gave the manufacturers an opportunity to carry on, and hats were no dearer to the consumer than were imported hats in Sydney. These are reasons wiry those who are intending to vote for the reduction of the duty should pause. Why should there not be a prohibitive duty on the cheap class of goods? It would not shut out highclass hats. It appears that £15,000 per annum was collected in Victoria from the duties on hats. That would be on highclass goods.
– No, £10,000 of it was collected on imported straw hats.
– Showing that hats could be imported notwithstanding the high duties. There are about 1,000 persons engaged in the hat industry in Victoria, which contains about one-third of the population of Australia. Therefore, 3,000 employes could supply the whole of Australia with cheap hats. Why should not work be found for our own people in this trade? Victoria is constantly referred to by honorable senators opposite. We have not to deal with Victorian interests only. We hope that the duty proposed will benefit the whole of the Commonwealth. Inter-State free-trade is provided for under the Constitution, and Victoria is not the only State that benefits. Queensland and New South Wales are largely benefited by their sugar industry being protected throughout the Commonwealth. No one grumbles at that. It is unfair for continual references to be made to Victoria as being the State in which this or that article is produced. I do not like the tone in which the State I represent is referred to. We might very well allow the people of Australia an opportunity of manufacturing the cheaper kinds of hats for themselves, especially as what is proposed is an ad valorem duty ; so that if a man will have a costly hat, which is not produced in Australia, he will have to pay more for the expensive article.
– I quite agree with Senator Downer that we rarely hear him speak in this Chamber ; and after hearing him to-day, witha considerable amount of amusement and interest, I was reminded of a speech I once heard, which was also delivered here. It was the speech of an honorable senator who was describing his experience when before the electors. He said - “I was asked if I were a free-trader. I said - ‘ No.’ Then they asked me - ‘ Are you a protectionist? I said - ‘ No.’ They then said - ‘ You must be sitting on a rail ; ‘ and I replied - ‘Yes,Iam - I am sitting on a very high rail.’ “ That was the speech of Senator Downer, delivered in the course of the debate on the address in reply.
– The honorable senator should not have referred to that speech. The standing orders provide that -
No member shall allude to any debate of the same session upona question or Bill not being then under discussion except by the indulgence of the House for personal explanation.
– Of course, I would not offend against the standing orders knowingly, and I at once bow to your ruling.
– They were my views.
– I am glad that the honorable and learned senator supports my version of them. Senator Downer has urged as an argument in favour of the duty that the other House has agreed to the item as it stands in the Tariff. But that is a very misleading and fallacious way of putting the facts. The other House did not agree upon this duty because both sides thought it was the best thing to do. The duty here proposed was the lowest reduction which those members of the other House who wanted to see the duty reduced could succeed in securing ; it was not that they got ‘what they wanted.We here are hopeful that we can carry on the good work done in the other Chamber, and reduce the item still lower. I have sometimes been calleda free-trader, and, unlike Sir John Downer, I have never denied it. I think I am a free-trader, and I cannot help feeling astonished at my own action when I rise to support a duty of 20 per cent. on hats. I confess that the revenue-tarifists are going altogether too far in suggesting a duty of 20 per cent., because I am firmly convinced that a duty of 15 per cent. would produce more revenue. The figures which have been put before us show that the State of Victoria, which had a heavy protection on hats, was merely enabled to supply its own market. It was certainly not able to export hats. In other words, the production of hats did not go beyond supplying the local demand. Ifthe Victorian hat-making industry can enlarge its operations, and flourish more abundantly by having the whole Commonwealth as a market, surely it will be better off under a duty of 20 per cent. than it was under the old Tariff in Victoria. I do not think it is arguable that if the industry has 20 per cent., and is the industry it is said to be, it will do uncommonly well with the whole market of Australia open to it. I should also like to deal with a misleading statement of the Vice-President of the Executive Council with regard to revenue. I am aware that he has to approach these duties from two aspects - the revenue-producing side and the protectionist side. He turns the arguments about in avery ingenious way, and frequently tries to make it appeal that a duty which is protective is also revenue-producing. He cited the revenue produced under this Tariff from hats, which for six mon ths was £31,000. I put it to the honorable and learned senator, whether, if the hat factories of Australia were unable to supply the whole of the Commonwealth with hats, some would not have to be imported? Is a duty of 30 per cent. a fair taxation on those persons who have to wear hats?
– Those who buy imported hats are the class who can afford to pay for them.
– Not at all. I say unhesitatingly, that with regard to celt hats, unless Victoria can supply the demands of the whole Commonwealth, some will have to be imported, and upon the imported hats the citizens will have to pay a duty of 30 per cent. I appeal to the committee as to whether that is a fair tax.
– What about an excise?
– The simpler way is to reduce theduty of 30 per cent to 20 per cent. Senator Dawson sees that if we were to impose an excise of 10 per cent., the difference in favour of the hat industry would be 20 per cent., which is what we propose. One of two things must happen. Either Victoria will be able to supply the whole Commonwealth, or she will not. If she does, we shall lose revenue. If she does not, a certain number of people will have to pay 30 per cent, on their hats. I ask again - Is that fair? We are dealing with a comprehensive scheme of taxation, and my chief objects in connexion with the Tariff are first of all to see that the people ave fairly taxed, and secondly, that the smaller States that most require revenue shall get the revenue which is absolutely necessary for their existence.
– The same line of argument is equally destructive of 20 per cent.
– That is not so, because if the duty is reduced to 20 per cent., we shall let in a certain amount of imported goods from which revenue may be obtained, and that importation will be good and healthy for the local industry, which is more likely to nourish and’ be worked up to its highest pitch if there is some competition, so long as it’ is not too severe. I feel that this is an important item for another reason. It adequately represents the collision that takes place in this Tariff between the interests of the manufacturers, whether in Victoria or any other State, and the interests of the smaller States. I have already said that the chief fault I find with the Tariff is that it has. more regard for the total amount of revenue to be collected than for the amount to be collected by the smaller States that most require revenue. This item is an excellent illustration of the way in which the Government have blundered. If the protection here proposed is given, the revenue to be derived from the importation of these articles must in a short time be entirely swept away. No honorable senator can deny that 30 per cent, upon hats will have the effect in a few years of shutting out all importations. I believe that there are some honorable senators who, like Senator Glassey, desire to shut out all importations of hats. But that senator must recognise that there will then be no revenue for Queensland under thus item.
– What is the use of saying that, when we know that £33,000 was collected in the six months under this Tariff. 3S l 2
– That revenue will not be collected if Victoria captures the local markets as is intended.
– Is it to be supposed that Victoria will capture the whole of the Australian market ? Will there not be hat factories in any other State ?
– If there are it will produce the same result.
– It is immaterial to me whether Victoria has these factories or not. I am not concerned with Victoria, but with the revenue of the smaller States, and if this duty of 30 per cent, is agreed to, away will go every farthing of revenue from this item.
– Will not the States get a corresponding benefit in the extra employment of their-people ?
– It will be a poor consolation to the Treasurers of Queensland, Tasmania, and’ even South Australia, to tell them that they must look for revenue to other items. We are told that the raw material of this industry is produced in Australia. As a matter of fact, we know that Victoria in one year only imported £100 worth of fur.
– There are enough rabbits in Australia to .provide all the fur required.
– I am glad the Vice-President of the Executive Council agrees with me. We have here an industry, the raw material of which is produced in the country, and has not to be imported at any cost. It is, therefore, at an advantage in competing with the industry in England, where the raw material, wool and fur, has to be imported. That being so, this industry in Australia should flourish with a duty of 20 per cent., and if it does not it is not worth while to keep it up. I must admit that the industry here pays fair wages. With regard to the effect of a reduction of the duty, I point out a significant fact which Victorian senators may possibly not have noticed: - From the years 1892 to 1895, the duty upon hats was 36s. In 1895 it was reduced to 24s. ; but since that reduction the number of hands employed in the industry has nearly doubled. I have not the slightest doubt that at the time the reduction was made, certain ardent protectionists in the State Parliament of Victoria said that the industry was going to be ruined. Yet the reduction was followed immediately and continuously by a large increase in the number of hands employed. That should be a sufficient indication to honorable senators who are protectionists that we are not going to destroy the industry by reducing the duty from 30 to 20 per cent. I have felt it my duty to urge upon the committee that a duty of 20 per cent, is a fair compromise between the opposing interests’ of .the local industries and the revenues of the smaller States.
– Senator Downer has suggested that it is a very desirable thing in the early stages of the Commonwealth that we should disturb existing conditions as little as possible, and should arrive at compromises in the matter of these duties. If. the honorable and learned senator had looked at the figures instead of talking wildly of general principles, he would have seen that the duty suggested by Senator Symon is a fair compromise between the previously-existing Tariffs of the States. It is all very well for Senator Downer to talk about justice, but the country would very much rather have acts of justice than the honorable and learned senator’s professions. We did not need to be told by Senator Styles that Victoria had gone mad on the question of protection, and we were therefore not surprised to find that she had indulged in a modest duty of 3G0 pei- cent.
– It is a pity that some of the other States were not bitten by the same dog.
– The evidence before us is that protection has not done Victoria very much good ; and from the working men’s point of view it has done that State very little good, though they have taken protection to the extreme limit of prohibition. So that in deciding what is reasonable and fair according to Senator Downer’s suggestion, we may pub insane Victoria out of the question. Some honorable senators may say that New South Wales is insane in the other direction, being a free-trade State. We can put both on one side as extremists, and let us consider what would be a fair compromise between the Tariffs previously existing in the other States. The duty under the Queensland Tariff was from 15 to 25 per cent. Under the South Australian Tariff it was 25 per cent. In Tasmania it was 20 per cent., and in Western Australia 15 per cent. Is 30 per cent, a fair compromise between those States when the duty in not one of them reached 30 per cent. ? The maximum of the rational States was 25 per cent., and the average of the duties imposed in those States was 20 per cent. Let us therefore take Senator Downer at his word, and ask him to sl.’ow the people of Australia that he means to do that which he professes, and that he will vote for Senator Symon’s motion which proposes a fair compromise between the various States. Senator Styles has brought up the old protectionist bogy of cheap labour. He is scared of the black man, scared of the Italian. The Victorian is scared of everybody. He is the greatest political coward God ever made.
– Now we can see where the feeling against Victoria comes from.
– I must ask the honorable and learned senator not to use strong language of that character, which does not assist the debate in any way.
– -I wish to adequately express my intention ; and when I say that a man is a political coward I mean it. The Victorian is also a commercial coward. There is nothing unparliamentary in calling a man a coward if he is one. I say that the people of Victoria, who are afraid to face the conditions that New South Wales and the other States are prepared to stand up to, are political, social, and commercial cowards. I say they are nothing more and nothing less than that. What are these people afraid of? They are afraid of Italy because of the low wages paid there ; but Senator Pearce showed conclusively that it is from the highest wagepaying countries of the world that we derive almost the whole of our imports, and that the imports to the Commonwealth from China, Japan, and other cheap-labour countries, amount only to 4 per cent, of the total imports of the Commonwealth. Dealwith this item of hats, I find that the importations into New Zealand, with a duty of 25 per cent., from the United Kingdom amounted to 135,976 dozen, and it will be admitted that the United Kingdom is the highest wage-paying country in Europe. The imports from Italy, the country of which Senator Styles is afraid, amounted to only 35 dozen.
– They sent hats to Great Britain which came from Great Britain here.
– Let the honorable senator prove his contention. Idle assertions when they come from a protectionist who believes in 360 per cent, are not worthy of consideration. The imports to Western Australia from the , United Kingdom amounted in value to £47172, and from Italy there were no importations at all. Even a protectionist should have enough common sense to see that he has no reason to fear a country which in other markets cannot compete with the United Kingdom. Now let us see where the profits upon this industry in Victoria go to. I have here a balance-sheet of the Denton Hat Mills, and what percentage of profit do honorable senators think they pay ? They clear 25 per cent, on the capital invested for the halfyear. That shows where the profit goes, and where the money which is taken out of the pockets of the people goes.
– May w.e see the balancesheet 1
– I quote. from a report j which appeared in the Argus, and all I seek to prove is that under the previously existing conditions of protection in Victoria the manufacturers of hats made the extraordinary profit of 25 per cent.
– In 1887.
-No; in 1S9S, and at that time Victoria was suffering seriously from depression. Are we going to give this large protection, in order that larger profits may go to Victorian manufacturers, because the profits will certainly be larger now that they have the wider market. I should not be surprised if the Denton Hat Mills in future paid even more than 25 per cent. It must be manifest to Senator Styles that when they are given the wider market of the Commonwealth, the)’ will have greater opportunities for earning dividends. With countries like Western Australia, whose markets are mora or less open, and will every year become more open, with high wage-earning countries like Queensland and Western Australia, surely it is manifest that greater profits can be made by the manufacturers here. A.11 1 urge is that we do not place the Commonwealth unnecessarily under tribute to the manufacturers in Victoria, and that we, in conceding 20 per cent, protection to any industry in Australia, will admit, as treasonable men, even if protectionists, that we are doing a very fair thing to existing industries.
– I am going to discuss the question from the protectionist point of view. Prom the figures which have been submitted to us, the hat industry is deserving of that amount of protection which would enable it to continue its operations. We have been told by honorable senators, who are so anxious to have larger importations made and to see less goods manufactured locally, that the industry should be able to subsist on a 20 per cent. duty. In fact we have been told by several speakers that they are exceedingly generous in granting a 20 per cent, protection. From an undeniable source I have obtained what I believe to be a few facts which convince me that the hat-making industry in Australia - because it is not merely a Victorian industry - cannot be maintained and pay the wages it has paid with 20 per cent, protection. It must be well known to honorable senators on the other side that the wages paid to operatives in Great Britain, which I suppose will always be our chief competitor in hat-making, range from 30s. per week in Warwickshire to 35s.’ per week in Lancashire for 56& hours work, as against a minimum wage of £3 per week in Victoria.
– Anonymous figures are not too convincing.
– These figures are not anonymous, but have been given to me by a gentleman who has worked in this industry in Australia, Great Britain, and America. Seeing that Great Britain can only pay her operatives about half the rate which has been paid in Australia to hat-makers she must always be a very serious competitor, and therefore a heavy protective duty is required to enable the Australian industry to hold its own. . We also know that Italy is a large competitor, if not directly, through the medium of the British market. That is one of the reasons which impels me to vote for this duty, which certainly does appear to be a very high one. I grant that a duty of 20 per cent, on most articles would be a very generous concession from honorable senators on the other side. But in this instance it can be shown, without any doubt, that our hat industry would be jeopardized if the duty were fixed at 20 per cent. The end of the British season, unfortunately for our industry, is the beginning of our season. The large hat factories in Great Britain can dispose of their surplus stock at the end of the season. It is only reasonable to suppose that a surplus stock can be sold’. The surplus production of’ a cheap labour market - at all events a much cheaper labour market than the Australian market - is sold at .auction and” dumped down in Australia. On the ground of protecting an industry, which it has not been denied has always paid a fair wage, I shall vote for a 30- percent, duty. I am just as anxious as is Senator Clemons to get the revenue which is necessary to carry on the government of the State we represent, and I contend that we can get that revenue by a duty on many articles without jeopardizing an Australian industry. In the case of this item, I am putting the protective side before the revenue side. I would very much rather see these 1,000 operatives in that industry continue to be employed at good wages, and one, two, or three thousand operatives employed in other States, and forego any revenue from this item, than see the committee deal with this question solely from that point of view. The- argument has been used by several honorable senators that in spite of 37 years of protection Victoria has not captured the market. If Victoria, with- a very much higher protective duty than is proposed for the Commonwealth, could not capture the Australian market, it shows that hats have been imported. “Honorable senators on the other side will admit that with a duty of 15 or 20 per cent, in some of the States, as against a duty of 40 per cent, in Victoria, the hat makers of the outside world were able to compete to a large extent with the Victorian industry;
– Prior to federation they competed on level terms.
– I am speaking of the Victorian market, as well as the Australian markets. It is argued that a 30 per cent, duty will destroy the revenues of the smaller States from this source. I may be wrong, but I claim that a 30 per cent, duty is likely to yield as much revenue as would a 20 per cent. duty. This item includes a special class of hats which certain persons will have, whether it is any better than the local article or not, simply for the reason that they think it is better. These persons will, I think, pay a 30 per cent. , duty just as readily as a 20 per cent. duty. Therefore the revenues of the smaller States will not suffer under a 30 per cent. duty. Senator Clemons says, and I, too, say, that certain persons will have to pay a bigger price for their hats. But he adds that they cannot afford to do so. I hold that any persons of that class will not pay a bigger price for their hats under a’ 30 per cent, duty than they would under a 20 per cent, duty, because they will buy Australian hats. My experience for the last 20 years has been that under this absurdly high duty which we are told Victoria imposed, I could go into any Melbourne shop and purchase a Victorian hat of the same quality cheaper than I could purchase a hat in Tasmania with her 20 per cent. duty. That has been the experience of tens of thousands of persons.
– Senator Sargood affirms that the Sydney price is lower than the Melbourne price.
– I am told, on a very fair authority, that the retailers in Sydney admit that the)’ are not charging any more for hats than’ they did before the Tariff was submitted. I believe in keeping the Australian markets for the Australian people whenever the goods required can be produced as well here as in other parts of the world. These are the industries which it would be criminal to destroy. The hat industry, which admittedly has been coddled a little, is one which Victoria expected, when she entered the Federation, would not be destroyed. Although probably the State I represent will not become a hat-making country within my life-time, this is one of the questions that should be looked upon from a federal rather than from a provincial point of view. I hope the committee will retain, the duty of 30 per cent. _ It may be that the hat manufacturers make large profits ; but we have not been told by the honorable senators, who lay stress on the 25 per cent, dividend made by the manufacturers, how much profit is made by the importers engaged in this business.
– I wish first of all to refer to the quotation made by Senator Ewing. He made it in a very disingenuous way. We have reason to find, fault with the free-traders, because in the first place they have been supplied with a certain set of statistics available, generally speaking, only to themselves, and also, because when they give the committee the results of their researches they do so in a distorted way. The quotation was made principally to influence the mind of honorable senators like Senator Dobson; but I should like them to know exactly what appears in the celebrated scrap-book from which Senator Ewing quoted. The following is the paragraph as printed upon page 169 of that volume, which quotes from the Melbourne Argus of 6th August, 1898 -
The half-yearly meeting of the Denton Hat Mills Company was held at the factory, Nicholsonstreet, Collingwood, yesterday. Mr. G. W. Bruce, chairman of directors, presided. The balance-sheet disclosed a net profit for the year of £3,627 18s., out of which an interim dividend of 10 per cent. per annum had been paid, amounting to £1,164 17s. 9d., leaving a balance of £2.463 0s. 3d., which, with £37611s. 3d. brought forward from the previous half year, left £2,839 l1s. 8d. available for distribution. Out of thissum the directors recommended the payment of the customary 10 per cent. dividend (£1,164 7s. 9d.) and the transfer to the insurance reserve account of £1,000, leaving £674 13s. 11d. to be carried forward to the next half-year. The chairman, in moving the adoption of the report and balance-sheet, said that the recent disastrous fire in Flinders-lane had resulted in the factory receiving largely increased orders to supply stocks destroyed.An exceptional trade in ladies’ hats had been done, but, as this depended upon fashion, they could not count upon its continuance. Thecompany could hardly expect the next six months to be as profitable as the last, as the price of rabbit skins was on the rise, and the directors expected that the scarcity of fur wouldbecome intensified. They believed, however, that they would be able to pay the usual dividend. £1,000 had been transferred to the insurance reserve account, for certainportions of the building were so unsafe that the insurance companies would not accept the risks. The directors considered, therefore, that the company should protect itself. The fund now amounted to £2,000, which would be sufficient to cover possible loss. The increases for the buildings had enabled them to put their work-people - 300 altogether - in more comfortable rooms, and also to cope with the increased business.
Why did not Senator Ewing tell the committee that this large profit was made in one year because there had been a large fire in Flinders-lane resulting in the destruction of considerable stocks, and that theincreased output was due to the necessity of supplying deficiencies ?
– What is the meaning of the term “ customary dividend “ ?
– The customary dividend is 10 per cent., not 25 per cent. But the honorable and learned senator wished the committee to draw the deduction that the company was able to pay 25 per cent. as arule.
– I rise to order. I did not say that a dividend of 25 per cent. was paid, but that profit was made of over 25 per cent.
– That is only playing with words.
– What the honorable and learned senator wished the committee to believe was that this company was so prosperous that it was making a profit of 25 percent. He did not say whether it was net or gross profit, but how can he regard it as net profit when the company had to set aside a considerable portion of its earnings to provide for insurance? The usual dividend is 10 per cent., and who will begrudge such a dividend to the great Denton Hat Mill, especially as the company appeal’s to have some compassion or consideration for its work-people and has provided for them more comfortable quarters? I certainly have no objection to the company paying its shareholders a dividend of 10 per cent. when it is paying its employes £3 a week for 48 hours’ work. I dare say if we could see the balance-sheets of some of the gentlemen who belong to chambers of commerce we should find that they are making more than 10 per cent. profit and that they pay their hands a great deal less than does the Denton Hat Mill Company. Some of them have unfortunate clerks who work for 60 hours a week for about 30s. There are 1,000 people engaged in the hat industry in Victoria, and they are looking to the Senate, wondering whether we are going to destroy their means of livelihood. Senator Clemons took up a most inconsistent and illogical attitude. He pointed out that under the Victorian duties on hats, a revenue of something like £15, 000 was derived, and in almost the next breath he appealed to the Queensland senators to consider the revenue stand-point on the ground that if the duty were agreed to the Victorian manufacturers would swamp the market and importations would cease ! How is that likely to be the case seeing that Victoria, under even higher duties, obtained £15,000 per annum from hats? Undoubtedly a large number of hats will bo imported into the Commonwealth in. spite of the duty of 30 per cent., which, to my mind, is not sufficient to protect the industry in this and other States. I find that in Queensland, where there was also a duty on hats, we imported from the United Kingdom during the year 1900, 2,256 packets of hats valued at £35,790 : from New South Wales.
S68 packets valued at £12,557: from Victoria, five packets valued at £128; from South Australia, four packets valued at £12 ; from Hong Kong,- 67 packets valued at £278.; from India, two packets valued at £26 ; from Japan, 27 packets valued at £136 ; from China, fifteen packets valued at £55 ; from Germany, 21 packets valued at £733; from France, 119 packets valued at £3,3S1 ; from Italy, 35 packets valued at £731 ; from Belgium, nine packets valued at £332 ; and from the United States, 79 packets valued at £443. Surely the Victorians who are employed in the hat making industry, and who number 1,000 employes, have some reason to fear the competition of the countries named in that list. What about Japan, where the wages paid often do not exceed 3d. per day? And it must be remembered that Japan is only in its infancy in the matter of competition with other countries. We are asked to reduce this duty merely for the sake of allowing Senator Symon to capture another free-trade scalp, and to reduce the burdens of those who are well able to pay. I suppose he wants the tall hat to be allowed to be imported a little cheaper. To-night the honorable and learned senator said that he thought I was opposed to the tall hat. He makes a great mistake.
– I said I should be very glad to see the honorable senator wearing one. It would be most becoming.
– If I thought it would in any way enhance my beauty I would wear a tall hat, but as I do not think it would I shall not buy one. Does Senator Symon think that in consequence of the old duty in Victoria the people of this State were any worse off than the people of New South Wales? Are they not as comfortably -clad, as well fed, and as well housed as the people of New South Wales? I venture to say from the statistics before me that the Victorians are better off than the people of New South Wales in respect to hours of labour, wages, food, and clothing. There are fewer paupers, fewer criminals, fewer insolvents, and if we can judge from the representatives who have come here from New South Wales, fewer lunatics. Senator Symon wants the tall hat to be sold at a little less than the usual price in the interests of the man who smokes high-class cigars, and who must have almonds, muscatels, salad cream, and plate polish.
This industry gives employment to a great number of people.
– Three hundred in New South Wales without protection.
– I do not propose to say any more about the matter, but I would urge honorable senators to consider that this industry is not like some which have been mentioned in previous debates - -like the match industry, for instance, which Senator Neild described as a “ monstrosity,” employing only a few people. They should consider the large number of persons employed, and should ask themselves what they propose to do with those who will be thrown out of employment if this industry is affected, as it must be, by the reduction of the duty proposed. I am sure honorable senators have no wish to add to the number of unemployed in the Commonwealth, but though I have no doubt they are well intentioned in their’ proposals, they are quite misguided, and the results which they expect from the reduction of this duty in the improvement of revenue and general prosperity will not be brought about. I can see nothing but harm in the proposal, and, in that respect, it is only in keeping with many other attempts which Senator Symon has made to ruin Australian industries.
– This is too important an industry, and it is of too much value to the Commonwealth, to be handled in any light and airy fashion. If the reduction of 10 per cent, in the amount of duty is carried, I am afraid itwill very seriously injure the industry, and may do infinite harm to the people who are employed in it. Is it wise to adopt a course which may have such results ? Senator Symon says that he pro poses this reduction in the interests of the revenue of the smaller States. I venture to say, as a representative of a State which has a comparatively small population, and a comparatively small revenue, that if this reduction is carried it will in no way benefit the revenue of Queensland, or will benefit it only to an infinitesimal extent. We have had a duty of 25 per cent, upon a certain class of hats and caps in that State for a number of years, and we have collected far more revenue proportionately under that duty than we have collected upon the importation of lower-priced hats and caps upon which there has been a duty of only 15 per cent.
– Can the honorable senator supply figures to bear that out?
– Certainly. I have only to turn to the Statistics qf Queensland for the year 1S99-1900, and I find that of the higher-priced hats and caps, upon which the duty of 25 per cent, is imposed, the importations amounted in value to £44,000. From those importations we collected revenue to the extent of £1 1,074. On the lower-priced hats and caps, upon which the duty was 15 per cent. - and I think these figures have some bearing upon Senator Symon’s proposal - the importations amounted in value to between £9,000 and £10,000, and the revenue collected under the lower duty amounted to only £1,483. If the duty were allowed to remain at 30 per cent, it would only be an addition of 5 per cent, to what the duty has previously been in Queensland for a number of years, and there can be no doubt that the same class of people would buy the same class of hats under a 30 per cent. duty. Does Senator Symon imagine that we shall derive a larger amount of revenue from a 20 per cent, duty than from a 25 per cent, duty? Does he believe that the reduction of duty will make any difference?
– Certainly. Will the Queensland people not buy the first-class article from Victoria ?
– No, they will not. The honorable and learned senator forgets that we have had the industry established in Victoria for the last 37 years.
– But it is only now beginning to capture the markets of the Commonwealth.
– Victoria has had to compete with other countries of the world in the Queensland market, and she has not captured that market. As compared with the quantity of these goods which comes to Queensland from Great Britain, the quantity coming from Victoria is infinitesimal.
– But the Queensland market will be free to Victorian manufacturers in future.
– That is so; but the ‘Victorian factories have not arrived at a standard of perfection which enables them to produce the first-class .article upon which the larger amount of revenue has been collected in Queensland, and I think they will not be able to do so for some years to come. If they could produce the first-class article upon which the higher rate of duty has heretofore been levied in Queensland, there might be some justification for Senator Symon’s statement that Victoria is likely to capture the market, with the result that we should get little or no revenue in Queensland from this item. But there is nothing in the figures before us which shows that we are in danger of losing revenue. An industry in which there are 1,000 hands directly employed is too important to be trifled with. This industry in Victoria, so far as we know, pays the highest wages paid in the trade in any part of the world, with the exception, perhaps, of the United ‘ States of America. The competition it has had with America so far has been trifling, but there has been very great competition with Great Britain, where only half the rate of wages is paid, and where the hours of labour amount to a day per week more than in Victoria. Under these circumstances, and considering the position which the industry has reached here, and the number of people directly and indirectly dependent upon it, is it wise to tamper with this duty in the way proposed, especially when to do so will not accomplish the object aimed at by Senator Symon in producing more revenue for the smaller States ? I do not suppose that anything that is likely to be said will alter a single vote, and I shall not, therefore, prolong the discussion. I hope honorable senators will do nothing which may jeopardize the existence of this excellent industry, which employs so many people at good wages and under good conditions, and which gives a good return upon the capital invested in it.
– We were accused of attempting something in the direction of protection in connexion with the soap-making industry in New South Wales, because we desired that the raw material should be admitted free. If that represents protection, I should like to know what protection is. Senator O’Connor has told us that there is no such thing as a satisfactory hat factory in New South Wales, but let me tell the honorable and learned senator that, entirely irrespective of this Tariff, and before anything of so wild a character entered into the mind of any one in New South Wales, a very large hat factory was established in that State. It was carried on with so much success before the introduction of this Tariff, and when it was placed in competition with the entire world, that it was able to execute orders for hats to the value of many thousands of pounds for one of the largest importing firms in Australia.
– .What is the name of the business ?
-Col. NEILD. - Anderson and Sons, and I can tell the honorable and learned senator that the firm turn out hats of many varieties. The firm, to whose order they have supplied a great number of straw hate has branches in nearly all of the States, and in New Zealand. At this factory there are manufactured felt hats, straw hats, and military hats of all kinds, and orders are executed with very great promptitude.
– They had a military contract had they not ?
– Yes, they had military contracts. I know what the honorable and learned senator refers to, and I shall take the wind out of -his sails. It has never been found out exactly who was responsible for giving this firm a particular order for a ridiculous kind of head gear that was called a- helmet, but which was half a sun hat and half a helmet. A very unsatisfactory article was produced, and the matter was made the subject of considerable scandal, because the article supplied did not wear as well as had been anticipated. Although I freely admit that it did not give satisfaction, a very good reason was given why it did not. No matter how the helmets hod been constructed, in- South Africa they were found to be of the wrong colour, and so they were all steeped in muddy water. If any kind of headgear will stand such treatment, I have not heard of it. Two helmets were brought over as specimens, and were made the subject of an inquiry by a select committee of the Legislative Assembly. I received letters from South Africa to show that these, which were supposed to be such shocking examples, had been dragged out of a mud puddle from under a dead mule. Whether this particular contract was satisfactory or unsatisfactory, to this day the firm in question are the principal military contractors in the State. They fitted out the contingents which left for South Africa under the auspices of the Federal Government, and they are carrying out. their contracts in a most satisfactory manner. I only bring the firm forward as an instance that a hat factory of an extensive character can be satisfactorily established under absolutely free-trade conditions. Therefore, we are not absolutely tied up to the idea that unless we have, as Senator Styles has pointed out, a prohibitive duty, or, as some others have desired, a very highly protective duty, we cannot hope to make hats successfully in Australia. Senator Higgs wound up his speech with one of his wild challenges, in which he alleged that everything in Victoria is on the Paradise pattern, while everything in. New South Whiles is very dreadful ; and that the percentage of, amongst other things, lunatics, is uncommonly high in the latter State. The Seven Colonies of Australia - the only authority we have - shows that the total number of lunatics per 1,000 of the population was 3 “5 in New South Wales, as against 3-79 in Victoria.
– For one year.
– For the period from 1894 to 1S9S the percentage was 2.97 for New South Wales as against 3*63 for Victoria. I think there must be a connexion between protected hats and lunacy, as shown by the much higher ratio in Victoria than in New South Wales. We are also told that the people of New South Wales are worse fed than are the people of Victoria. Of grain, the annual consumption per head was 356 lbs. in New South Wales, as against only 340 lbs. in Victoria. Of ‘ sugar, New South Wales consumed 103 lbs. per head, as against 92 lbs. in Victoria. Of beef, New South Wales consumed 162 lbs. per head, as against 126 lbs. in Victoria. Of mutton, New South Wales consumed 118 lbs. per head, as against 79 lbs. in Victoria. There is one startling exception to all the figures, and I make a present of it to Senator Higgs. The consumption of potatoes per head was 194 lbs. in New South Wales, as against 258 lbs. in Victoria.
– Cobbett called the potato “ the soul-destroying root.”
.- I do not know whether there is any connexion between the hats and. the potatoes, but a charge of the kind I am answering ought not to be made, because.’ it is not apropos to the question of hats, and therefore my reply is only apropos to the speech. The value of property per inhabitant was £265 in New South Wales, as against £233 in Victoria, while the income per inhabitant was £47 in New South Wales as against £42 in Victoria. I deplore these references to the figures of one State as against those of another. Unless the quotations are used for some good purpose they are not federal,but if they are made in one case they have to be answered, in order that the truth may be put on record. Now, coming to the item, I think that a 20 per cent. duty is quite as high as the public interest requires. The Governmentwill get more revenue under a 20 percent. duty than under a 30 per cent. duty. The latter willpractically prohibit importation, while the former will, at least, admit of the introduction of a certain quantity of headgear, on which the Treasurer will be able to make the collections that he so ardently desires.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 63 by adding to the duty, “ Men’s, women’s, boys’ and children’s felt hats 30 per cent.,” the words “ and on and after 1st July, 1902, 20 per cent.” - put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … … 13
Noes … … … 13
Question so resolved in the negative.
Motion (by Senator Sir Josiah Symon) proposed -
That the Mouse of Representatives be requested to amend item 63 by adding to the duty “ Men’s, women’s, boys’, and children’s felt hats, 30 per cent,” the words “and on and after 1st July, 1902, 25 per cent.”
– In the first place I wish to answer the speech which was made by Senator Neild. It is a great pleasure to have pointed out to me an industry that has grown up in New South Wales under free-trade. I said that in that State there was no hat industry which was flourishing, and I was told that there was a very flourishing industry carried on by a Mr. Anderson. I presume that he knows as much as anybody does about the position of the industry, and therefore I propose to read a short extract from a statement which he has made. He says : -
Prior to federation, andowingto the then existing fiscal policy of this State, there was never any serious effort made to establish the hat manufacturing industry in New South Wales. However, with the hope of success, under the Dibbs 10 per cent. ad valoremduty, a start was made by the Sydney Hat Manufactory Company Limited, but, after a few years’ hard struggle, the company went into liquidation. I had myself, for years in connexion with supplies for my military contracts, been carrying on hat, helmet, and cap making on a limited scale. The necessities in this direction grew greater, and I was led to purchase the business, plant, &c, of the Sydney Hat Manufactory Company Limited, in liquidation. I kept the concern going with difficulty for about six years, for, apart from the supplies under ray own contracts, the only orders I could execute were “sorting up “ lines for warehouses - where there was nob sufficient time to import.
With the advent of federation, and the assured prospect of a protective Tariff, I built in Sydney, the new Federal Hat Mills - a most commodious factory, replete with modern machinery, capable of treating from the raw to the finish, and with an output equal to, if not greater than any hat mills in the Commonwealth. Moreover,I have imported the best class journeymen operatives, and the most scientific and up-to-date supervising staff. All this has involved an enormous outlay.
After describing the benefits that will accrue to Australia, he goes on to say -
It will, therefore, be apparent that, notwithstanding freight and other charges payable by such competitors - and we must have a substantial measure of protection if we are to keep our chimney-stacks smoking and to preserve our operatives from any degree of the continental starvation wages. The duties as proposed, even when coupled with our natural resources, and any other advantages, are but sufficient to allow the industry to live under present competition. Any reduction in these duties must assuredly lead to the decline of an industry which promises to be far-reaching for the commonweal, and which, if reasonably fostered, bids fair to make its influence felt beyond the Federal States. In conclusion, I would direct attention to the fact that New South Wales, owing to its previous fiscal policy and other disabilities, is at present considerably handicapped in launching its manufacturing enterprises.
I do not intend to refer to the episode of the helmets, because Mr. Anderson may have been perfectly right in that respect. I am not casting any reflection on the way in which he has done his work. A nian who gives that history of his business can hardly be engaged in the flourishing industry which Senator Neild has pointed out as having grown up under free-trade. If the previous motion had been carried, I admit that one could be certain that the area left open to be. operated upon by importers would be considerably larger, and it might, and probably would, bring in a fair amount of extra revenue, but the question now is whether we shall reduce the proposed duty by 5 per cent. I ask those who desire to get revenue out of the item, whether it is worth while to make such- a serious alteration in the duty in its protective incidence ? If we are to get any more revenue by a 5 per cent, less duty, it must be because there will be more imports. I have a calculation which seems to me to demonstrate that we cannot expect to gain very much in that way. For six months of last year we collected £33,S44, but making all allowance for any overloading that might haver occurred, I shall take it that the revenue for the year from all these lines will be £00,000, and in these figures the Western Australian revenue is approximated at £950. The estimate of revenue for Western Australia has not been separated. The total amount is, roughly speaking, £30,000 for the six. months, making the year’s revenue £60,000. In order to return that amount of revenue with a duty of 30 per cent., it is necessary to import goods to the value of £200,000. To get the same revenue with
I a duty of 25 per cent., it would be necessary to import goods to the value of £240,000. In other words, before we can get to the level of the results of a 30 per cent, duty with a 25 per cent, duty, we should have to import goods to the value of £40,000 more. Are we likely to do so ? ‘ There is not the least likelihood of it. A reduction of 5 per cent, in the duty would probably only increase i’m- I ports to the extent of 10 per cent. That is the opinion of the expert of very great experience who is representing the Customs department here. Suppose we do get an increase of imports of 10 per cent. ; 10 per cent, on £200,000 will give £220,000, and the revenue on that, at 25 per cent., is £55,000. So that, if the imports increased- by 10 per cent., we should get £5,000 less revenue than we should obtain by a 30 per cent. duty. But suppose the revenue increases 20 per cent., and that the capital value of the imports increase by 20 per cent., that would bring exactly the same revenue as we are getting now under a duty of. 30 per cent. That is to say 20 per cent, will be £240,000, and that at a duty of 25 per cent, means £60,000. So that the position in a nutshell is this - by the reduction of the duty from 30 to 25 per cent, we should not be likely to get more than an increase of 10 per cent, in the amount imported, and that will leave £5,000 less revenue than we should get at 30 per cent. But suppose goods to the value of £40,000 more are imported, we only derive exactly the same revenue as under the duty as it stands. Is it worth while for a result which may be fairly anticipated to be what I have described, to interfere with the protection given, or to alter an item of this character, so that it will be discussed and rediscussed in another place, though it was formerly debated to such an extent that at last a unanimous decision was arrived at concerning it? Surely, it is not worth while to make the alteration merely for the sake of altering.
– My honorable and learned friend forgets that the Opposition h.is not been defeated by the vote on the question of the duty of 20 per cent. The division being equal, -the constitutional rule applies ; and surely it would be very much better that we should take a division on the reduced duty, with the hope that it will produce a better revenue, and give a more moderate and reasonable protection than would be given by the extravagant duty of 30 per cent-, which, it has been admitted all round, will have the effect of enabling Victoria to capture the whole market of the Commonwealth. The figures quoted by my honorable and learned friend all rest on a problematical assumption, which may or may not be entirely fallacious, as to what the increased importation is likely to be. No one can possibly tell ; and what is the use of coming here with a number of figures, in order to show that the importations, which will be entirely shut out by a 30 per cent, duty, must be increased by a 25 per cent, duty?
– I should be remiss if I did not make some rejoinder to the speech of the VicePresident of the Executive Council in regard to the hat business in Sydney. He has read a document which showed that the imposition of a 10 per cent: duty only induced the establishment of one hat factory on a large scale in Sydney by a joint stock company.
– And it went into liquidation afterwards.
SenatorLt.-Col. NEILD. - Because the honorable and learned senator’s Ministry was defeated, and when they went out of office their Tariff went with them. The people of New South Wales never werein favour of the 10 per cent. duty at all. It was only by a sort of by-play that that Ministry secured the confidence of the Parliament temporarily. But what does the honorable and learned senator’s statement amount to? That a duty of 10 per cent. was sufficient to induce the establishment of an industry in New South Wales ; and that business is still being carried on, and it is absurd to suppose that it has been carried on at a loss for the last five or six years. It is not the only factory in New South Wales that is making; hats. The Parramatta Woollen Mills Company is also tendering for military hats at similar rates. Indeed, there are some ten factories in New South Wales. Certainly this business has not been carried on at a loss without any duty, but we are now told that it will go to the bad if it does not get the benefit of 30 per cent. duty. In other words the industry can be established on a 10 per cent. duty, but there will be perfect blue ruin if a 30 per cent. duty is not imposed ! As to there being no valid difference between 20 per cent., 20 per cent., and 30 per cent. on an article, if that be so, how is it that this Tariff proposes only 5 per cent. on cotton goods ?
– Some honorable senators may have been misled by statements in connexion with the amount of natural protection secured by the hat industry.
– It amounts to from 25 to 30 per cent.
– Let us see how that pans out. The expenses are caused by freight and so on. Every honorable senator knows that it is not the low-grade goods that are sent out to Australia to compete with the low grade goods that can be manufactured here. It is the market for high-class goods that has not yet been “ collared’” by the local manufacturer. When SenatorN eild says that the natural protection amounts to 20 or 30 per cent, let me ask - how are those goods brought but? Are they brought in ships or in balloons? I ask thequestion because I find that I can send home to England and get my brother to buy me a soft-felt hat for 4s., and send it out here by post at a cost of 25 per cent. What then becomes of the extravagant statements as to the exorbitant cost of importing goods? I could get about two dozen cheap felt hats sent out by post for about 6s. ; because, by parcel post, it is possible to send out parcels up to 1 1 lbs. in weight for 6s. So that a 4s. hat could be sentout by parcels post at a very cheap rate. It is therefore difficult to see why it should cost 25 per cent. to send out a quantity of these goods.
SenatorMATHESON (Western Australia). - I hope that honorable senators will not be influenced by the figures put before us by Senator O’Connor, because I can assure the committee that those figures are absolutely erroneous. The honorable and learned senator has lumped altogether the articles included under items 63 and 64 ; and of the £33,000 of revenue, on which he based his extraordinary argument, only £20,500 belongs to the item under discussion. The balance belongs to items we have not reached.
– I explained that the comparison was made on the whole collection.
– We were dealing only with one item, and I did not understand that the honorable and learned senator was mixing up the revenue derived from two separate items altogether. All I can say is that an argument relating to one item, which isbased upon the revenue derived from two, is an argument to which honorable senators ought not to pay any attention. If the honorable and learned senator had devoted his attention to arguing with regard to the revenue derived from the one item there might have been something in it, and honorable senators might have taken his figures as reliable. But as we are dealing with only one item, it is perfectly clear that figures which apply to two items arequite unreliable.
– As the matter of the natural protection has been referred to, I should like to say that I hold in my hand copies of two invoices for hats which havebeen shipped by vessels to Sydney. In one of these the charges amount to oyer 30 per cent., and in the other to over 25 per cent. If any honorable senator likes to look at these invoices I shall be happy to show them.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 63 by adding to the duty, “ Men’s, women’s, boys’, and children’s felt hats, per dozen, 30 per cent.,” the words “and on and after 1st July, 1902, 25 per cent.”- put. The committee divided -
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.24 p.m. .
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 11 June 1902, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1902/19020611_senate_1_10/>.