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 129 members of the Church of England, resident at St. Kilda, in the State of Victoria, praying the Senate to reject the Matrimonial Causes Bill.
asked the Vice-President of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The despatches laid upon the table of the Senate on the 5th of June, 1902, indicate that fromthe first both Government Houses were available for His Excellency. The.Government arranged with the Premiers of New South Wales and Victoria that they should continue to be available tillthe end of 1903, a period of three years, with the option of two years’ extension. The Governor-General had the use of Government House, Sydney, upon his landing, and will shortly occupy it again. It is not proposed to enter into any further agreement concerning it.
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
asked the Vice-
President of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The following are the answers to the honorable senator’s questions : -
Royal assent reported.
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 11th June, vide page 13514).
Division V. - Apparel and textiles.
Item 53 - Hats and caps, viz :- Dress hats, 30 per cent., ad valorem.
Hats and caps, sewn, 30 percent., ad valorem.
– The Government proposed a uniform duty of 30 per cent, on the three lines under this head. Loyally accepting the decision of the committee against the duty being fixed at 20 per cent., I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 03, by adding to the duty “Dress hats, 30 percent ad valorem,” the words “ and on and after 1st July, .1002, 25 per cent.”
– Although I cannot accept this suggestion I do not see that any advantage is to be gained by a discussion. Therefore I take it that after the decision of the committee on the first line the duty on the other two lines will be carried at 25 per cent.
– I wish to utter a protest against the acceptance of the proposition. I suppose it is another instance of Senator Symon’s regard for the over-burdened taxpayers - the shearer, the boundary-rider, the navvy, the blacksmith, and the stonemason - who desire cheap dress hats. I rise principally to draw the attention of the masses to the clap-trap which is uttered by the free-trade party when they say that their motive is to lighten the burdens on’ the already over-burdened consumers. A man who can afford to wear a dress hat is able to pay an import duty of 30 per cent. The duty might well be raised to 50 per cent. While there may have been something in the contention of honorable senators when they proposed to get food supplies a little more cheaply, there can be absolutely no truth in their contention that they desire to help the overburdened consumer when they wish to get tall hats brought in at a lower rate. Where is the sham now ‘ I ask Senator Ewing - Who are trying to fool the public now but the great free-trade party 1
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales).It is quite in keeping with the eternal fitness of things that Senator Higgs should deem it incumbent upon him to draw attention to the amount of clap-trap which is talked on the items of the Tariff. ‘I suppose if the first line of this item, had been allowed to stand not one word of protest would have come from him. Although the Government proposed a duty of 30 percent, on the dress hats, as well as on the cheaper descriptions of hats, yet the honorable senator would have accepted that proposal. But now, because it is proposed to have a uniform ad valorem duty on the three lines, but at a rate somewhat lower than 30 per cent., he feels called upon to make a pro-: test. I resent the attempt which is being made to depict the free-trade party as one which is anxious to lessen the duties on articles consumed by the better-off classes.
– I also protest against this attempt to relieve the monied classes of a portion of the tax a. tion which they ought to bear. None but rich persons, or those who would like to be supposed to be wealthy, wear dress hats. The free-trader wants to get everything cheap, even the reputation of being rich. We ought not to allow dress hats to come in at a lower rate than has been hitherto charged. If any section is able not only to contribute to the revenue, but to pay a decent price for the articles they wear, it is those ‘ who wear dress hats. This relieving proposition is only a part of the entire freetrade policy of favouring the rich almost continually at the expense of the poor, of allowing articles that are used by only the wealthier classes to be dutiable at a very low rate, or to come in free, and of taxing the necessaries of life. Will any one tell me that a dress hat is a necessary of life? In the case of a great many persons, it is not worn because it is a comfortable head-gear. I have never worn a dress hat. Probably, when the price has been cheapened by the action of our free-trade friends,- 1 may be tempted to do so. But I do not believe it is a comfortable covering for the head. I am not sure that dress hats are very comfortable wear, especially in a climate such as we have in Australia. Something less imposing and more useful would be suitable here. On that account it is extremely desirable that people who wish to distinguish themselves socially by wearing this particular brand of superiority should be called upon to pay for the privilege. Senator.
Symon’s attempt to reduce the taxation upon this article is an endeavour to preserve from taxation those who can afford to pay it.
– I should be perfectly willing to support the attitude of Senators Higgs and Stewart if they would agree to charge everybody who wears a top hat a duty of 100 per cent. But that would require that they should agree to an excise on the locallymade article. I do not think they will do that. What they want is to create an impression falsely with regard to the views of the free-traders. The importation of dress hats is of the very smallest character. In South Australia for one year the importations amounted to £315, and in Victoria to £1,379. The duty in Queensland was only 25 per cent., which is the rate we are now proposing. The importations are so small, because, in the first place, the hats are so bulky that the freight in itself constitutes an enormous protection to the local maker. The great bulk of the manufacturing is at present being done in Australia. If those who oppose the motion are anxious to get revenue out of the people who wear dress hats let them vote for an excise on locally-made dress hats. A duty of 25 per per cent, is sufficiently high if we are to obtain any revenue worth the trouble of collection.
– One of the chief considerations that has hitherto guided Senators Symon and Pulsford and those who are supporting this motion is that of revenue. We have an opportunity on this occasion of benefiting the revenue by imposing a duty of 30 per cent, on dress hats. I shall certainly call for a division, because it is just on the cards that several honorable senators who voted to lower the duty on other kinds of hats last night will vote differently with regard to dress hats, which are a luxury. I shall be curious to see whether those honorable senators who profess to be so anxious to lighten the burdens of the great mass of the people are prepared to take off duties on articles of luxuries of this description.
– The honorable senator who has just resumed his seat is not really pleading for revenue, but for the local manufacturers of dress hats. We wish to reduce the duty in order to make it possible for the Customs to receive, at least, a small revenue from dress hats, and so that the whole of the benefit from the trade shall not go into the pockets of those who manufacture this commodity.
– Of course, this is another attempt to give the working classes an opportunity of enjoying luxuries. Such a remark has been made before by Senator Symon.
– I never made any such remark about dress hats.
– The honorable and learned senator would contradict JudasIscariot.
– That is whatI am doing now.
– The difficulty with Senator Symon is that he does not remember what he has said. On a previousoccasion he asked - “ Why should not the working classes be able to enjoy bloaterpaste, curry powder, and pianos t” Now he denies it. A great many people in the world do not like to have what they havepreviously said brought up against them. This, I suppose, is an attempt to give the working classes an opportunity of obtaining dress hats cheaply. It will be very inconvenient and economical for the working classes to wear dress hats, because their wives will not then have to buy market baskets. The masons and mechanics will beable to purchase dress hats, and go to market with their wives, carrying back pork sausages, fire kindlers, and various othercommodities of that description inside the hat. If that is one of the ideas of those who wish to reduce the duty on an article of this description, it shows that their friendship towards the working classes is of great value. I am sure that every working; man and woman in Australia must .appreciate it. I hope the free-traders will carry out the same policy with regard to other articles, and earn the gratitude of the working classes. -
– Although I am a free-trader I am perfectly prepared to tax luxuries, and I intend to vote for a duty at 30 per cent, on dresshats on one condition. I am going toj)ut the intentions of the protectionists, to the test when we come to the excise duties. I will vote for a duty of 30 per cent, on top hats if, when the Excise Bill isconsidered, an excise duty is placed on locally-manufactured top hats. I quiterecognise that dress hats are luxuries, but I. would point out that they are not largely imported, seeing that in Victoria only about £900 worth was imported in one year. If my honorable friends will not support me in imposing an excise duty on dress hats, the only conclusion I can come to is that they are endeavouring to coerce those who recognise the principle of taxing luxuries into voting for this proposal, although they are not prepared to carry it to its logical end. I shall vote’ for a duty of 30 per cent, on top hats, if I have an assurance that my honorable friends will vote for an excise duty on the same commodities. That is a perfectly fair proposal, which those who say they want to tax luxuries should accept.
– I am entirely in accord with Senator Pearce, but if he votes for a duty of 30 per cent, on imported dress hats, I fear that he will find himself shorn of the support of those “who also favour that duty in regard to any proposals lie may make for an excise duty on the same goods. I should be prepared to put a duty of 100 per cent, on dress hats, and would do so with the greatest of joy, on condition that there was also an excise of 100 per cent, on locally-made dress hats. As a matter of fact, the importation of these hats into Victoria and South Australia is very small. The total value of the dress hats imported into Victoria in four years was £912, £769, £765, and £6S9. It is, therefore, perfectly obvious that we cannot get much revenue from an import duty. In South Australia the total value of the imports in 1897 was £117 ; in 1898, £66; in 1899, £88 j and in 1900, £122. I have no consideration for the wealthy classes who buy dress hats, but if we impose a 30 per cent, duty on the imports, we shall not tax the wealthy classes ; we’ shall simply give a higher protection to those who manufacture dress hats. That will not benefit the revenue. I will go as far as Senator Pearce likes in the direction of taxing these goods. But I ask him not to labour under the mistaken idea that the protectionists really desire to tax these hats and get revenue out of those persons who buy them by increasing the import duty. As a ma.tter of fact, we shall lose revenue by having a high duty, and the object of those who want to get more money out of the wealthy classes will be defeated if we do not reduce the duty.
– I cannot understand this new-born enthusiasm on the part of the free-traders for an excise duty. They are altogether too late. If they had desired to impose excise duties, they should have made the suggestion earlier with regard to something like 50-odd items which we have passed without any reference to excise I cannot understand Senator Millen and others holding similar views on the fiscal question supporting certain protectionist duties, as they have done, while sailing under free-trade colours. They desire’ to sneak in a certain amount of protection while throwing dust in the eyes of the taxpayers, and leading them to believe that they are also free-traders. If they wish to be consistent in regard to the imposition of excise duties, let them support them from first to last. I am prepared to support a proposal to increase this duty to 50 per cent., and to impose an excise duty of 20 per cent. If that is done we shall obtain revenue by means of the duty on imported dress hats as well as revenue from those manufactured locally. If Senator Symon . will move in that direction I shall support him, but I shall not vote for any reduction of the duty.
- Senator Pearce has thrown out something in the nature of a challenge to those who by interjections have indicated that they favour the Government proposals. He has practically attempted to make a bargain, although I was not aware that this is the place in which to do anything of the kind. As Senator De Largie has said, Senator Pearce has displayed a new-born enthusiasm for excise duties. I would remind the honorable senator that he voted for a duty on wine equal to something like 50 per cent. That article might well have been made the subject of an excise duty, but he did not suggest that the duty should be reduced, or that an excise duty should be imposed. To a certain extent, the honorable senator has impugned the honesty of motive of honorable senators on this side. I resent that imputation, for we are quite as honest in our intentions as are honorable senators of the Opposition. If the leader of the Opposition moves for the imposition of an excise duty on dress hats, he will find, probably, that the motion will obtain some support from this side of the committee. Undoubted!)’ dress hats are a luxury, and if we can obtain more revenue by imposing a duty of 30 per cent, upon them instead of a duty of 25 per cent., it is our duty to agree to the higher rate. In view of its protective incidence, I voted for the imposition of a duty of 30 per cent, on an earlier line in the item, which comprised hats and caps that certainly cannot be regarded as luxuries, and therefore I shall not vote for the motion to reduce the duty on what is clearly a luxury. I sincerely hope that Senator O’Connor will fight the motion. If he does, the Government proposal will be carried.
– In order that there may be no misunderstanding, I should like to say that when the motion was moved I said that I could not consent to it, but that I did not intend to speak upon it. I did so for the reason that responsible as I am for the conduct of the business of the committee, I do not wish to see time wasted. It appeared to me that, as a similar motion had been carried in regard to the first line of the item, it might be taken to apply also to this line. If the matter is to be set right in another place, the whole item might as well be dealt with, and the real question of what the duty should really be will come up again. I do not intend to consent to this motion, and if a division is called for, I shall certainly vote for the retention of the duty.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland).- The responsibility for any waste of time must rest upon the shoulders of Senator Symon, who lias moved this motion. I object to the motion, because it is only in keeping with Senator Symon’s successful efforts to reduce the duties on high-class cigars, muscatels * and almonds, salad creams, and all the luxuries included under the heading of “ oilmen’s stores, n.e.i.” Certainly dress hats improve the appearance of many people, and those who wear them should pay a little extra. The same remark applies to the better articles pf clothing generally. There is a great deal in the philosophy of clothes, and a man who can afford, to dress well has an easier time than has the man who cannot do so. Honorable senators of the Opposition have claimed that high protective duties increase the price of goods to the consumer, yet they say now that a duty of 30 per cent, on dress hats will not increase the price to those who wear them. It is suggested that an excise duty should be imposed on dress hats. This is rather a departure from Senator Pearce’s fiscal faith, for he told us on a former occasion that he did not believe in indirect taxation of this kind.
– I said that I believed in taxing luxuries.
– Has the honorable senator made any calculation as to the probable cost of collecting an excise duty on dress hats ? If we are to have an excise duty on these hats, I presume that honorable senators of the Opposition who voted for the high protection given to the wine industry will be proposing an excise duty upon that article. I understand that Senator Symon takes a very great interest in the production of wine. Will he propose an excise duty upon that article? If, as we have been told, protective duties increase the price of the articles taxed to the con- ° sumer, a duty of 30 per cent, on dress hats will increase the price to those who wear them. On the occasion of the celebra-tions in connexion with the opening of this Parliament a garden party was held in the Parliamentary grounds, and practically every gentleman who attended wore a dress hat. Some one, however, appeared in an ordinary “ boxer.” Attention was called by the press to the innovation, the statement being published that somebody had the temerity to appear in a “ boxer “ hat. It was practically resented. That, I think, shows that dress hats, as a rule, create a class distinction, and those who are. anxious to create class distinctions ought to pay. I hope that Senator Symon’s political raid upon the revenue and the protective system will be stopped by honorable senators blocking him in this attempt to get tall hats in a little cheaper. Honorable senators may say that they will not be introduced ; but if we lower the duty to bring about more revenue, they must . be introduced, and I prefer that the benefit to be derived from the making of tall hats should go into the pockets of the local producers. I am satisfied with a customs duty of 30 per cent., and I am not going to ask for anything so absurd as an excise duty upon tall hats.
– I shall vote for the duty of 30 per cent, upon these articles, and I should be prepared to vote for even a higher duty than that. I do not look upon a tall hat as a luxury ; but if a man wishes to be in the fashion he wears one. I suppose the free-traders are proposing to reduce this duty so as to cheapen the tall hat in order that the festive shearer may wear one when he goes to knock down his cheque. I fancy I see a boundary rider careering wildly through the bush in a top hat. I can well imagine a prospector with a tin of condensed milk in his top hat, and if he requires to carry a supply of sparklets, honorable senators will see that the top hat would be useful for the purpose. I can almost fancy the father of the sparklets motion in a top hat. If we are to wear these tall hats because they happen to be the fashion at Government House or at Toorak, let us pay for them. I do not know that 30 per cent, is a protective duty in this instance, but I know that the man who wishes to purchase a top hat will not ask whether the duty upon it is 30 per cent, or 25 per cent. It is possible that we ought to move for an increase upon the 30 per cent., but we know very well that the Government will not help us if we do, because they desire to be loyal to the Tariff as passed by the other Chamber. Honorable senators must see the awkward position in which this decision places protectionists, because, while the free-traders may carry a reduction occasionally, no increase in the duties can be made, and the arrangement is, to my mind, one-sided. It may be that, in common with other honorable senators, I have been wasting a little of the time of the committee upon a very small matter, because, after all is said and done, there is not much in the top-hat question, and very little revenue is derived from their importation. Perhaps the best thing to do is to go to a vote on the question at once, and it would have been as well to have taken a vote immediately the motion was proposed.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia). - I quite agree that “ Senator Styles, like some other honorable senators who preceded him, has been wasting the time of the committee. I did hope that this matter would be settled without any debate. No one can say that I occupied an unnecessary second in moving that the duty upon this hue should be exactly the same as the duty to which we agreed upon the previous line last evening. I loyally ac- cepted the situation, and though the division upon my motion to reduce the duty on the previous line to 20 per cent, showed that the numbers were equal, I did not seek to occupy time in moving that this duty should be reduced to 20 per cent., though I think that 25 per cent, is too high. T accepted the principle upon which the
Government have acted, that these three subdivisions should be placed on the same footing and made subject to the same rate of duty, and, having decided upon 25 per cent, in the first instance, I thought it my duty to make 25 per cent, the charge’ upon these other lines. Senator O’Connor very fairly took up the same position, and there was no use in re-opening a debate which had occupied a . long time last evening, and during which every possible phase of the hat industry was dealt with. That was the situation, but now my honorable friends rise to suggest that this article is a luxury, that our treatment of it should be differentiated from what we have already done or may hereafter do, and that we should make an exception in this case and leave the duty at 30 per cent. There has been a great deal of absurd facetiae about the pioneer, the prospector, and so on ; but I have no desire to cheapen tall hats or to encourage their use. I think they are an abomination, and I never wear them. I do not know that there are any occasions when we should be blackballed at any particular function if we did not wear the articles, and though I might be willing to submit to social exactions to that extent if they arose, I never wear them, and it matters nothing to me whether they cost £5 or £50.” My desire has been simply to follow the principle adopted by the Government, and place this item on the same footing as the preceding item, keeping in view the double aspect of protection and revenue.
– Does the honorable and learned senator think that this item is on all fours with the preceding item ?
– I am glad the honorable senator has asked the question, because it enables me to point out that the protection upon tall hats as afforded by a duty of 25 per cent, is much greater than the protection upon other classes of hats afforded by a similar duty. The reason for that is that tall hats cannot be crushed in the same way as felt hats, and they cost about 2s. 6d. each to import. From that point of view honorable senators will see that, if the two lines are to be put on exactly the same footing, the duty upon tall hats should be reduced below 25 per cent. From the revenue point of view, we have heard that only about £900 worth of these hats have been imported to Victoria during the course of a year, but the revenue might be improved by the reduction proposed in the duty. I do not say that a reduction of 1, 2, or 3 per cent, in the duty will make any difference to the man accustomed to wear the tall hat, but it will make a difference to the importer. It may induce a larger importation, with the result that the revenue would be improved. From both these aspects it seems to me that the reduction to 25 per cent, is more reasonable in this item than in the previous one. If it is revenue we desire and Hot a cheapening of the article, the only solution is that suggested by Senator Pearce. If we retain the duty of 30 per cent., the honorable senator suggests that we should put an excise duty upon tall hats.
– That was not seriously suggested.
– It is seriously suggested, and as 30 per cent, would destroy revenue, I should, if that duty were retained, be prepared to support an excise duty.
– We shall put an excise duty of 5 per cent, on these hats.
– I understand that Senator McGregor said he was prepared to support the excise duty suggested by Senator Pearce, which would be equal to the customs duty. .Be that as it may, I should be found supporting such a proposal in order that honorable senators might carry out their desire that the importation of these goods should produce a substantial revenue. The only way in which that can be brought about, when protection is not wanted, is by the imposition of an excise duty. It has been said that no excise duty has been suggested in respect of other lines, but the occasion has not previously arisen when it could be suggested. It is suggested now, when instead of making the duty upon these lines uniform, as the Government has agreed to do, honorable senators urge that the duty on this line should remain at 30 percent. It would be far better to adopt the attitude which Senator O’Connor adopted at the beginning - to make the rate of duty on the three lines uniform, and so avoid the necessity of having an excise duty.
Senator PULSFORD (New South Wales) - The committee should remember that it is dealing with an ad valorem duty, and not with a specific duty. On one or two occasions we have altered a specific duty to an ad valorem duty, because we felt that we should get at those articles which are more in the nature of luxuries than necessaries of life. So it is in regard to these hats. The duty of 25 per cent, to which we agreed last night is practically equal to a few pence on the cheaper forms of hats, whereas a duty of 25 percent, on dress hats runs into shillings. If we have made that differentiation, surely we have done all that is necessary to prove that w£ believe that the luxury should pay more duty than the ordinary article ? And when, in addition to this, we have shown, as Senator Symon has just done, that dress hats, owing to their very size, are naturally very much more expensive to bring from the other side of the world; clearly, the fact is proved beyond all possibility of denial, that the extra taxation on those who choose to wear such hats is very heavy, and that every reasonable need for taxation has been provided for. Our friends who talk about taxing luxuries wish to put the position so that the revenue shall get nothing. If the duty is raised to such point that all these hats will be made in the Commonwealth, no revenue will be obtained. Therefore, it is idle for our honorable friends to talk about the free-traders wishing to save the wealthy from taxation.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - I ask those honorable senators who consider that only about half-a-dozen articles in the Tariff should be altered, whether they are going to support this motion. Senator Pulsford has repeatedly told us that high protective duties will increase the cost of the articles to the consumer, and now he wishes to declare that he” is not prompted by any desire to save the wealthy class from bearing a little taxation, and Senator Symon adopts the same attitude. But both these honorable senators wish to make the duty on dress hats uniform with the duty on certain lines in the schedule. A uniform duty means that the men, women, and children who wear felt hats pay the same amount as the men who wear dress hats.
– Not the same amount, but the same rate of duty.
– The price of a dress hat is ten times that of a felt hat. A workingman who goes on Saturday night to buy cheap felt hats at ls. or 2s. each for his eight or nine children, pays the same duty as did the .gentleman who in the afternoon bought a tall hat at a guinea. Where is the justice of a proposition of that kind 1
– He pays not tho same duty, but the same rate of duty.
– How can honorable senators prove their statement that they are anxious to make people pay taxation according to their ability, when they are imposing the same rate of duty on the dress hat of the rich man as on the felt hat of the navvy?. I oppose the motion on another ground, and that is that it is a useless waste of time on the part of this new economist who proposes an excise duty on hats. In all seriousness Senator Symon takes up the proposition made by Senator Pearce in a jocular way, so that we may expect something unique when he succeeds in turning the Government out of office. Here we are at the instance of an honorable and learned senator who is anxious to do business, occupying an hour in discussing one of his idle propositions to allow dress hats to come in at a lower rate of duty - in just the same way as wigs.
Question. - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 63 by adding to the duty “Dress hats, 30 per cent. ad valorem” the words “and on and after 1st July, 1902, 25 per cent.”- put. The committee divided -
Motion (by Senator Sir Josiah Symon) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 63 by adding to the duty “Hats and caps, sewn, 30 per cent, ad valorem,” the words “and on and after 1st July, 1902, 25 per cent.”
– I simply rise to say that I oppose this motion, and am prepared to go to a division at once.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland).- The old protectionist doctrine that the local factories can manufacture these articles stands good, and therefore I oppose the motion to reduce the duty.
Question - put. The committee divided -
Question so resolved in the negative.
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Item 64. - Hats, caps, and bonnets, n.e.i., . * . . ad valorem,* 20 per cent.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - I understood that there was a desire to make the duties on hats uniform. How is it that Senator Symon does not propose to make the duty under this item 25 per cent, in order that it may be in keeping with the duty on men’s, women’s, and children’s hats 1 I wonder that Senator Smith does not propose something. I certainly should propose to increase the duty if I thought it would have the support of those honorable senators who, in the interests of the miners of Western Australia, desired to secure the importation of dress hats at a cheaper rate, and who now appear to be anxious that the wives and daughters of those miners shall be able to get Parisian bonnets cheaper.
Item agreed to.
Item 65. - Parasols, sunshades,and umbrellas, viz. : -
Containing silk, 30 per cent ad valorem.
N.E.I. , 30 per cent. ad valorem.
Parasol, sunshade, and umbrella handles, sticks,and fitups, whether mounted or not, ad valorem, 10 per cent.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia). - I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 65 by adding to the duty “Parasols, sunshades, and umbrellas, viz., containing silk, 30 per cent. ad valorem,” the words “and on and after 1st July, 1902, 20 per cent.”
This itemhas a two-fold aspect. It is protective and is also supposed to be revenue-producing. I find that before this Tariff was introduced these goods in New South Wales were free ; in Victoria there was a fixed duty of 2s. 6d. each ; in Queensland there was a duty of 25 per cent. ; in South Australia of 20 per cent. ; in Tasmania of 20 per cent. ; and in Western Australia of 1 5 per cent. I have taken not the lowest rate of 15 per cent. which existed in Western Australia, nor the highest rate of 25 per cent. which existed in Queensland, but the intermediate rate of 20 per cent. which existed in South Australia and Tasmania. We have there a very fair ground upon which to rest the proposal for a duty of 20 per cent., which existed in two of the States even under the Inter-State retaliatory Tariffs. If the duty is made higher, importations must necessarily be reduced in the States which have previously had duties of 20 per cent. and 15 per cent. These figures are eloquent, and give us a basis upon which we can rest our demand for the reduction of the duty. Then let honorable senators look at it from the broader revenue aspect. The estimated revenue from each State in respect to this item is as follows : - New South Wales, £1,200; Victoria, £800 ; Queensland, £400 ; South Australia, £250 ; Tasmania, £150 ; and Western Australia, £200, making the total anticipated revenue £3,000. A remarkable fact is that nearly half of that amount of estimated revenue in a normal year is to come from New
South Wales. Naturally enough ; because in New South Wales the manufacture has not been nurtured, and, therefore, there will be a larger importation fromoutside the Commonwealth into that State under this Tariff than there will be into Victoria. But month by month the anticipated revenue will disappear, because, if there is a large production of these goods in Victoria, they will flow over into New South Wales. If the cost of the outside article is increased a barrier will be raised against its importation, and there will be an increased production in New South Wales, with the result that there will be a diminishing’ revenue. In the case of South Australia also, if the former duty of 20 per cent. is increased to 30 per cent. the revenue received in that State must disappear. In order to prove that statement to demonstration, let honorable senators look at the revenue that has been collected under this Tariff during six months. The revenue collected in New South Wales was £3,492,. and in Victoria only £300. So that there was collected in New South Wales during six months ten times as much as was collected in Victoria. What does that mean? It shows that the Victorian production had, to use a significant expression that was employed yesterday, captured the local market. The figures I have quoted are all the more significant when it is remembered that they include materials such as sticks and handles.. The revenue collected in Queensland in the six months was £995 ; that is, three times the amount collected in Victoria. In South Australia £892 was collected - which is again three times the duty collected in Victoria during the six months. I do not wishto unduly injure the industry in Victoria in any way, but I desire to obtain revenue. I desire that South Australia shall obtain something like the revenue to which I have referred. The Treasurer’s estimate for the whole year, however, was that £250 would be collected in South Australia, as against £1,800, which, according to the actual collections, would be obtained under ordinary circumstances. The Treasurer’s estimate was made under the Tariff as first laid on the table, and, as the Tariff works out, it is anticipated that in a normal year this protective duty will have a prohibitive effect. The sum of £892 was collected before the market could be disturbed by Inter-State importations, and South Australia stands to lose, according to the Treasurer’s estimate - which, of course, is more or less approximate - about £1,600 a year. That is a situation which we cannot contemplate with any great degree of equanimity. We cannot afford to lose that amount of revenue. In Tasmania the actual duty collected for the six months was £358, while the Treasurer’s estimate of the collections for the whole year was only £150. Of course, in making these estimates, the Treasurer endeavoured to arrive at what would be a fair thing to expect when these duties came into full operation and outside importation had been correspondingly reduced. In Queensland the actual collections for the six months amounted to £995, or at the rate of nearly £2,000 a year, but the Treasurer’s estimate for the year was only £400. We cannot fix these estimates absolutely, but taking the Treasurer’s own figures it is manifest that the result anticipated is an enormous decrease in revenue. During the. six months, which was more or less an abnormal period, the collections were very considerable, because the Tariff had not begun to operate, and Inter-State free-trade had not begun to operate. Probably the time has not yet arrived when the industry in Victoria can supply all the wants of the other States, but it is anticipated that by-and-by that will happen, and gradually, if not at once, we shall be face to face with a considerable diminution of revenue, as exemplified by the figures relating to Queensland, South Australia, and Tasmania. Looking at the matter from the protective stand-point, umbrella making is an industry of no very great moment. Umbrellas are made, perhaps, to some extent everywhere, and it is a perfect farce to impose a protective duty of 30 per cent, upon them. We need not adopt the lowest State duty - the 15 per cent, duty of Western Australia which probably was purely a revenue tax - or accept the highest - the 25 per cent, duty in Queensland, which was also a revenue duty; but let us keep to the intermediate impost and fix a duty of 20 per cent. In South Australia, umbrella making has been carried on in a more or less small way for a very long time. It must be remembered that nothing which is used in the manufacture of umbrellas gives an opening to all those ramifications which have been spoken of with regard to other industries such as the employment of the rabbit-trapper, the farmer, and other people. I think I may say that every particle of the raw material is imported. In 1900 the people employed in Victoria in fitting these things together consisted of 167 men, and about 179 or 180 women. I do not single out this State in an)’ disparaging way, but simply with a view of showing the position in Victoria, where all these industries are sought to be protected and cared for. I am willing to concede protection up to 20 per cent., but it would be. absurd to destroy revenue to the extent that we shall do if we adopt the Government proposal, simply for the purpose of unnecessarily increasing the protection, for what, I was going to say, is an unsubstantial so-called industry. I consider that a 20 per cent, duty is a generous protection, and although I should prefer it to be less from thispoint of view, I think it is fair to; fix the duty at that rate, because someof the materials used in the making of umbrellas are subject to a duty. In justice and fairness we must always take that fact into consideration. If silk is used it has topay a duty of 15 per cent. The amount of duty paid upon the quantity of silk necessary to cover an umbrella would be very small ; but ribs, and other metal work are also dutiable to the extent of 20 per cent., while handles and sticks are liable to a duty of 10 per cent. These are ad valorem rates,, and the extent of duty paid depends upon the value of the material used, fo that the actual amount is comparatively small. If we add to the 20 per cent, duty what is called the natural protection, it seems to me that from that point of view the protection proposed is a very handsome safeguard. From the point of view of revenue, it is obvious that the Treasurer’s figures show thatunless this duty is reduced we sholl have a diminishing revenue. If it is reduced we shall keep up the revenue, because there will be more importations. For a time atleast there certainly will be more importations into all the other States than into Victoria. Then, from the point of view of notdestroying an industry, I have shown that the industry in Victoria - which is really a typical instance - is a small and insignificant one having regard to the number of people employed in it. With a duty of 20 per cent., plus the natural protection and the 1£ per cent, or 2 per cent, which isadded to the duty, a very considerable amount of protection will be afforded.
– I could well understand the force of the honorable and learned senator’s argument in taking what he considers to be the average of the duties which prevailed in the States prior to federation, if that course had been followed by him even in the majority of cases. But honorable senators opposite have only followed that principle whenever it has suited them. On many occasions, when dealing with a duty proposed in the Tariff, I have pointed out that it was only a fair average of the State duties in force prior to federation. That argument, however, has been absolutely scouted by our honorable friends opposite, and they have set to work, in some cases successfully, and in others unsuccessfully, to reduce duties very much below what they were in all the States. Now, because it suits my honorable and learned friend’s purpose, he says - “ Let us have the average.” Has that principle been followed before? Take the duty on bacon, for instance. The duty as first proposed was 3d. per lb., and that was reduced to 2d. per lb. at the suggestion of the honorable and learned senator who has moved this motion. But the duties previously existing under the State Tariffs were Victoria, 3d. ; Queensland, 4d. ; South Australia, 2d. ; and Tasmania, 2d. In the same way the duty upon biscuits was 2d. in all the Slates but one, and the duties imposed upon cheese ranged from 4d. to 2d. I could give other illustrations. The honorable and learned senator’s argument is absolutely useless unless it is to guide us in the future, and unless it has been a guide for us in the past, which we know has not been the case. The fact is that he submits it when it suits him, and ignores it when it suits him, and it is therefore an argument which we can absolutely disregard. Senator Symon has endeavoured to show that, the revenue to be derived under this duty will be very small, and he proceeded to show that by a comparison of figures. There is one element the honorable and learned senator left out of consideration when dealing with the Treasurer’s estimate, and that is that that estimate was made upon the duties as originally proposed, which undoubtedly were more protective than revenue producing, while the duties now submitted are certainly more revenueproducing than protective, and that makes all the difference. The duties originally suggested and imposed under the Tariff were for parasols, ite., containing silk, ls. 6d. each, and 15 per cent, ad valorem, and on the n.e.i. division, 6d. each, and 15 per cent, ad valorem. On the calculation of the average prices, those duties meant an ad valorem rate of about 40 per cent., while the duties now submitted are only 30 per cent, ad valorem. Our estimate was made - as all these estimates have been made - upon the assumption that the local production will, in time, cut down revenue, and if we get a normal year in which the local production has begun to operate, we shall get a fair idea of what the revenue will be. Making an estimate upon that basis, the Treasurer arrived at the conclusion that the total revenue under this head would be £3,000. That was an estimate made on the basis of duties which were more protective than revenueproducing, but an alteration was made in December last reducing the ad valorem. percentage to 30, and certainly taking away, to a very large extent, the protective character of the original duties, and thus permitting a number of importations which would not have come in otherwise. Let us look at the result of the actual collections. The actual collections from 9th October to 31st March were made upon varying duties ; from October until 7th December upon the original duties totalling about 40 per cent, ad valorem, and for the rest of the time upon duties equivalent to 30 per cent, ad valorem. Although for half the period 40 per cent, duties were in operation, the revenue collected in the six months amounted to £6,237, or at an annual rate of £12,574; while £3,000 was the estimate of revenue which would, be received for the whole year under the original duties amounting to something like 40 per cent, ad valorem, and making allowance for the anticipated effect on local production. When we have had as the result of the actual operation of the Tariff for six months a revenue of £6,237,- or four times the amount of the revenue estimated under the original duties, how can it possibly be said that the duties now submitted are prohibitive and destroy revenue? I point out that the reference which Senator Symon has made as indicating what revenue will be yielded in future is absolutely misleading, for the reason that that estimate was ‘ based upon entirely different duties, and taking into consideration entirely different circumstances. As against the honorable and learned senator’s statement, I set the actual revenue yielded from the Tariff for six months, although for half that period 40 per cent, duties were being collected. Let us compare the figures in another way. The honorable and learned senator says that the duty now proposed will deprive the States of revenue which they have before been receiving. The figures show that that is not the case. Let me give honorable senators the Customs receipts under this head for 1S99. We have taken that year all along, as a normal year, and as the last year in which business might be taken to be influenced by the anticipation of the new Tariff. For 1899 I find that the total revenue collected under this head amounted to only £2,700.
– For the whole Commonwealth.
– Yes. At that time New South Wales collected nothing, and some of the other States collected low duties, while some collected high duties. I find that South Australia, under the State Tariff in 1899, derived a revenue of £1,789 under this head from a duty of 20 per cent, upon an importation amounting in value to £8,945. The State actually received for six months under this Tariff revenue amounting to £892. If we double that we get a revenue of £1,784 for the year, so that that State actually receives under the duties we propose, and which have a protective incidence, a revenue of £1,784, as against a revenue of £1,789 received under the State Tariff with a duty of 20 per cent.
– Then, lowering the duty did not decrease the revenue ?
– It did not decrease the revenue, but I dare say the honorable and learned senator has had experience enough, although he is a free-trader, to know that where we have a duty at a certain high level, which is prohibitive, and under which a large number of articles of a particular class yield very little revenue, we may reduce the duty by only 10 per cent., and that will be found to make all the difference, because it will permit of the introduction of a large number of articles from which revenue may be derived. That has been the case under this Tariff. The original duties, amounting to an ad valorem of 40 per cent., were no doubt to a certain extent prohibitive, especially with regard to the lower class of goods, and, therefore, the revenue estimated was only £3,000, because it was felt that under the high duty local production must to a great 38 p extent take the place of the imported article, but when those duties were reduced by 10 per cent, we evidently got to the point at which, although we secured protection, the revenue of the different States was affected in no way whatever. I take it that that is what we desire to do here. We are dealing with a revenue-producing article, and we desire that the revenue shall be interfered with as little as possible consistently with giving a certain amount of protection. If ever there was a case in which the actual operation of a Tariff during six months’ experience has shown that a certain amount of protection may be given without interfering with revenue, it is that of these duties. Senator Symon made an appeal to our friends in South Australia and in Queensland. I have dealt with South Australia, and have shown that under the duties submitted in the Tariff that State will not lose a farthing of revenue, even allowing that there may have been some special reason for large imports ; but it may, perhaps, be unfair to take one year, or one period of six months. It is shown that the difference cannot be very great, between what was actually received during 1899 and what was received in six months under this Tariff. I now take the case of Queensland, where in 1899 a revenue was collected under this head amounting to £1,726. In the six months under this Tariff the amount collected was £995. If we double that for the year we get £1970, so that the revenue received in Queensland under this Tariff was larger than the revenue previously derived under the State Tariff. The reason for that of course is that a large number of these articles are articles of luxury which can only be obtained from abroad, and which people will purchase whatever the price mav be and whatever may be the duty imposed upon them.
– The honorable and learned senator does not expect the revenue to continue at the same rate.
– I expect it to continue as regards the greater portion of the goods covered by this item, because for many years I anticipate that we shall not make the high-class goods which bring high prices, and from which the major portion of the revenue under this heading will be rived.
– On the contrary, we can make those articles without protection. All these goods, over a value of 60s., can be madewithout protection.
– If the honorable senator can prove that, he will prove something startling. I am taking the result of our experience, and I say that it is impossible that this duty can have any operation at all as a protective duty, if we enlarge the number and quantity of these articles which can be imported under the Tariff. I have shown, from the revenue point of view, that we shall not lose revenue, and now let me look at the matter from the protective point of view. As the honorable senator said a little while a,go, almost every article used in the manufacture of a parasol is dutiable. The silk is dutiable at 15 per cent., and the stick at 10 per cent. Certain fittings of very small value, such as caps, ferules, notches, ribs, rings and rubbers, are on the free list. But, taking the substantial part of the article, there is no doubt that it has all to pay duty. That has to come off this protection. By reason of the duty which the makers have to pay on their raw material, you have to takeoff at least 10 per cent., leaving only 20 per cent. of effective protection. Let me show how the 10 per cent. is made up. I shall take a 10s. parasol, on which, at 30 per cent., the duty is 3s. To make a parasol of that value the manufacturer has to use 5s. worth of silk on which the duty at 15 per cent., is 9d., and a handle and stick worth 2s. 6d., on which the duty at 10 per cent., is 3d. The duties on raw material amount to1s., which is equivalent to 10 per cent; on the value of ‘the finished article.When we remember some of the duties which have been imposed, how can it be said that a 30 per cent. or a 20 per cent. net ad valorem duty on an article of this kind is too much? And when we remember that these articles come within the category of those from which we expect to derive heavy duties, how can it be said, even from the revenue point of view, that a 30 per cent. duty is too much ? Seeing that it leaves an effective protection of only 20 per cent., I hope the committee will allow the item to remain as it is.
Senator ‘ STYLES (Victoria). - Before the Federal Tariff was introduced, the raw material for the making of parasols and umbrellas was duty free throughout Australia. But instead of the raw material coming in free now, a duty is collected on nearly every item. The duty on sticks is 10 per cent.; on silks, 15 per cent.; on cotton, which was formerly free, 5 per cent. ; on bands, 25 per cent. - that is, 5 per cent. more than the proposed duty on the finished article - on prevents 20 per cent., on india-rubber rings, 1 5 per cent. ; on leathers, 20 per cent. ; on silver caps, silverbands and mounts, loose, 25 per cent. ; and on. pins, 3s. per cwt. Not one of these articles was dutiable before. This is not a big industry, but in Victoria alone it gives employment to about 250 persons, and, in proportion to population, it would give employment to about 800 persons in the Commonwealth. When we recollect that the old duty was quite as high, if not higher, than 30 per cent., and that the manufacturers got all their raw material duty free, it will be seen that this motion aims a great blow at the industry.
– It shows what extraordinary blows they used to inflict on the purchasers.
– It cannot be shown that umbrellas or parasols were dearer in Victoria than they were in States which collected a lower duty or none at all.
– Take the dutyoff if it is not doing any good.
– In one breath the free-traders assert that their desire is to get revenue, and in the next they tell us to take off the duty, and to flood the Commonwealth with imported material. Time after time they have told us that their motto is revenue without destruction. I have shown that if that policy is carried out they will destroy this industry.
– The honorable senator has asserted it but has not shown it.
– Because the duty will give practically no protection or very little.
– Does the honorable senator dispute the statement of Senator O’Connor that on each 10s. umbrella there will be a protection of 2s.?
– I did not catch what Senator O’Connor was saying. I shall vote for the higher duty, which is less than the duty we had in Victoria.
Senator BARRETT (Victoria).- I have no hesitation in sayingthat if honorable senators carry this motion they may as well wipe out the industry.
– Is this another of the established industries of Victoria ?
– The honorable senator and certain of his friends are always sneering at the industries of Victoria. I propose to make a Victorian comparison. Why? Simply because I am better acquainted with what has taken place in Victoria, and because I know that not only on this item, but on many others, that State has the greatest interests at stake. I hope that Senator Millen will try in the future to look at each question, not from the States, but from the Australian point of view.
– I wish to goodness that Victorians would do that, and think of my State a little.
– The honorable senator makes that statement too late in the day. The comparisons have come in the past from the representatives of New South Wales.
– I do not object to the comparisons, but to the point of view from which the comparisons are made.
– I am speaking of this industry from the point of view of the State I represent, and I leave the representatives of Queensland and the other States to make their own comparisons. Our old friend ‘ ‘ Revenue” has been brought up again. Senator Symon is continuously mouthing - - “Revenue! Revenue! Revenue!” But the Vice-President of the Executive Council has proved conclusively that Senator Symon is utterly wrong, and that instead of the States losing revenue, they will gain from the duty proposed in the Tariff. The question has been asked - “ What is the use of protecting this twopenny-halfpenny industry ; it is of no concern ; it is too small.” But, if the livelihood of Senator Symon and his lieutenants were at stake, they would have something to say in defence of the industries in which they were concerned.
– Tell us how many bare feet will be pattering on the pavement if we reduce the duty.
– I do not deal in such flashes of rhetoric, but I will tell the honorable and learned senator how many people are employed in the industry in this State. I hold in ray hand, by the courtesy of the Chief Inspector of Factories in Victoria, a proof - copy of his report for the year 1901. It shows that in that year there were employed in this industry 173 people.
– The returns I have show that there are only 77 employed in it. I quote fromStatistics of the Manufacturing Industries of the States - a return to the order of the House of Representatives, dated the 7th June, 1901, and laid on the table on the 23nd August.
– But the information I have quoted has come from the printer only during the last few days, and is certainly accurate. Of the 173 persons employed 24 are males and 129 are females. Nor do these constitute the whole of the persons interested in the industry, because in connexion with it there are quite a number of people who are not working in places which are registered as factories. Some umbrella- makers have not the statutory number of employes, according to the Victorian Act, to entitle their places to be classed as factories. I am free to admit that from the point of view of the free-traders, , a duty of 30 per cent. seems at first sight very high. But it must be remembered that upon almost every article used in the industry - with the exception of somevery small ones which are placed in the list of exemptions - duty has to be paid. Although Senator O’Connor says that the actual protection to the industry is only 20 per cent., it is more probable that if the matter were more carefully gone into it would be found that the protection given by the Tariff is only about 15 per cent. Certainly Senator O’Connor was well within the mark. Under the Victorian Tariff there was a specific duty of 2s. 6d. The result of the imposition of that duty was that a number of people were induced to go into the industry. I do not wish to weary the committee by pointing out the difficulties under which the manufacturers labour with respect to their raw material ; but if I had my way I would provide that all the raw material used, not only in this, but in other industries, should be admitted free. Indeed, I have given notice of a number of motions upon the Tariff with the object of admitting raw material free. With regard to the wages paid in the industry, I find that in London girls receive from 2s. 6d. to 10s. a week.
– From what source does the honorable senator obtain his figures?
– I have them from a man who has been engaged in the industry in London.
– Is he now engaged in the industry here.
– Yes. The firm from which I have obtained my figures is that of Mr. Joseph King, a well-known Melbourne manufacturer, who carries on business at 223 Brunswick-street,Fitzroy.
– And whose figures the honorable senator asks us to accept ?
– I have no hesitation in accepting them. I have known Mr. King for the last 30 years, and I would as readily accept any statement of his as one coming from any honorable senator. If honorable senators opposite can controvert the statements I make, let them do so. I am not trying to bolster up anything which I believe to be untrue, but am giving information which I thoroughly believe to be reliable. In London, 10s. per week is the maximum wage. In Victoria the girls receive from 5s. to £1 per week. The London wages for men are from 15s. to 25s. per week, and in Victoria from35s. to £3 per week. In regard to what has been said as to competition, I find from the Statistical Register for Victoria, a source of information which is available for all honorable senators, that umbrellas are imported into this country from England, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, and the United States. “With me it is a question, not only in regard to this item, but also as to other items, of seeing that our people are kept employed, and I am not going by my vote so to reduce the duty, that our people will be compelled to face competition from Italy or Japan. I do not want to reduce the margin of protection in such a way that the markets of the Commonwealth would be open to be flooded by importations from these foreign countries. Indeed, I am told on the authority of those who are engaged in the trade, that, as soon as the duty was lowered in the House of Representatives, a shipment, to the value of £700, was consigned to a large warehouse in Melbourne, and has already been landed. Taking these facts into consideration, and believing that, if the duty is reduced as proposed, there will be practically no protection whatever, I trust the committee will reject the proposal of Senator Symon.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - I wish to show that this is another statesman-like proposal on the part of Senator Symon, well in keeping with his motion to reduce the duty on silk hats, and at the same time toinquire what has become of the cry raised by the honorable and learned senator for a free breakfast table. Do honorable senators of the Opposition propose to secure a free breakfast table by seeking to reduce the duty on silk umbrellas ? What hope have those who support this motion that it will be accepted in another place? On reference to the records, I find that, when the item was before another place, the Treasurer, after observing the feeling of the committee in regard to the original proposal of the Government, moved an amendment fixing the duty at 30 per cent., and that it was agreed to on the voices. Honorable members of another place were so unanimously of opinion that this was a wise and just duty that no call for a division was made. I would urge honorable senators who are anxious to save time, and to relieve the uncertainty which exists in the minds of business men, to vote against this motion, not only because of its inherent objectionableness, but in order to deter Senator Symon from making similar proposals in regard to other items. I take it that we are a committee to revise the work done in another place, but surely our duty of revision does not include an attack upon an item which has been carried on the voices in another place? We understood that honorable senators of the Opposition desired to see the duties on foodstuffs lowered as much as possible. We never thought that they would move to reduce the duties on dress hats ; that they would secure a postponement of the item “ apparel “ with a view to its reduction ; that they would seek to put a silk umbrella at a low price into the hands of a man who wears a dress hat ; and that, having succeeded in carrying a motion suggesting a reduction of the duty on Parisian bonnets worn by ladies, they would attempt to lower the duty on the silk parasols carried by them. If there is any confidence trick about the Government proposals such as was suggested the other evening, I should like to know upon what plane we should put the proposition made by Senator Pulsford and his friends who parade themselves before the country as the saviours of the unfortunate taxpayers. It seems to me that there is a conspiracy on the part of Senator Symon and his friends to lessen the burdens of people who are very well able to pay. On reference to the Victorian statistics, I find that during the year ending 31st December, 1S99, and notwithstanding a duty of 2s. 6d. each 1,683 silk umbrellas, valued at £1,031, were imported into this State from the United Kingdom. The following importations of silk umbrellas also took place : - From New South Wales, 84, valued at £27 ; from South Australia, 1 2, valued at £5 ; from Tasmania, 1 2, valued at £4 ; from France, 9, valued at £S ; and from Germany, 739, valued at £240. This gives a total importation of 2,539 silk umbrellas, valued at £1,315. During the same year, umbrellas other than silk, and upon which there was a duty of ls. each, were imported into Victoria as follows : - From the United Kingdom, 250, valued at £19 ; from New South Wales, 100, valued at £22; from India (Bengal), 132, valued at £22 ; from Italy, 3 ; from Japan, 4 ; and from the United States (East Coast), 12, valued at £1. In all, 501 of these umbrellas were imported, representing a value of £64. The importations of silk parasols into this State were as follow: - From the United Kingdom. 1,277, valued at £733 ; from New South Wales (other), 28, valued at £40 ; from South Australia, 1 2, valued at £4 ; making a total importation of 1,317 silk parasols, valued at £777. I wish specially to direct attention to the fact that 2,539 silk umbrellas, valued at £1,315, or over 10s. each, were imported into Victoria during 1899.
– That shows that the people who use imported silk umbrellas will buy them in any case.
– That is the point I wish to make. The original cost of these umbrellas to the importer was over 10s. each, and the same maybe said of the 1,317 silk parasols which were also imported. Whatever may be said about the infant industry, and the few people which it employs, we know very well that the ladies who congregate in thousands at Flemington on Cup Day, and who carry parasols in all the colours of the rainbow, will obtain them from outside if they are not made locally. Why should they obtain them at the reduced duty proposed by Senator Symon ? Why are honorable senators from Western Australia so silent now, when but a little while ago they fought so vigorously in the interests of the pioneer and the miner, who want condensed milk and dried vegetables’! Now Senator Symon proposes that the pioneer, having obtained his dry vegetables free of duty, shall also obtain free of’ duty a silk umbrella for himself and a silk parasol for his wife to carry round in the back country. This seems to me to be only another addition to the long catalogue of Senator Symon’s political offences. I have repeatedly pointed out the ridiculous efforts made by him in proposing to destroy the Tariff. He has succeeded to some extent, but, fortunately for the country, his designs have not been entirely successful. By way of illustration, I wish to show that what Senator Symon proposes in regard to the duty on silk umbrellas and parasols can have no relation to the cry for a free breakfast table which was inscribed on the banner of the party that he leads. The heavy swell, for whom apparel has been postponed in order that he may get a reduction of duty upon it, who has had the duty upon his high-class cigars, and his table necessaries, such as celery salt, reduced, and who is to get the linen gloss for his shirt at a cheaper rate, is now to get his silk umbrella at a lower rate under Senator Symon’s proposal; and, of course, his lady-love, who will get her Parisian bonnet at a lower rate, is also to get her silk parasol at a lower rate. It only goes to show the utter hollowness and sham of honorable senators who are tinkering with the Tariff in this way.
-“:! wish Senator Symon would devote his efforts, his energy and his ability to something substantial instead of tinkering, patching, and pulling down every little industry which has been established after a great deal of stress and trouble. The honorable and learned senator tells us that by reducing the duty we shall increase importation, and thereby obtain a large amount of revenue particularly for the benefit of the smaller States. But all this is merely theorizing, and he gives us not a particle of proof. I showed last night with regard to the item, hats and caps, that we derived in Queensland a much larger revenue from a duty of 25 per cent, upon those articles than we derived from a duty of 15 per cent, on a lower class of the same articles. The same thing will happen here, and persons who are able to purchase silk umbrellas and parasols will purchase them as freely under the duty proposed in the schedule as they will if it is reduced by 10 per cent. But in the meantime if the reduction takes place, Senator Symon will have struck another fatal blow at an industry which it has taken years of toil and trouble to establish. Under the duty as proposed in the Tariff Queensland will derive a revenue of nearly £2,000 a year. The revenue will not be augmented in any way if Senator Symon’s motion is carried, and why should we lose 10 per cent. of duty ?
-How much revenue will Queensland get upon umbrellas made in Victoria ?
– That is the question we are always asked by the honorable and learned senator who is frightened of Victoria, but I remind him again that these industries are not merely Victorian or Queensland industries - they belong to Australia. Some honorable senators have called ‘in question the statement made by Senator Barrett with regard to the wages paid in this industry in London as compared with the wages paid in Australia. Senator Barrett has stated that the wages paid in the industry in the old countryrange from 2s. 6d. per week to 10s. per week. When we consider the extent of this industry in Great Britain, and the fact that these articles are turned out there by hundreds of thousands by people who are obtaining such miserably low wages, I ask Senator Symon whether that is the sort of thing he wishes the people of this Commonwealth to compete against 1 Surely the honorable and learned senator desires that the people engaged in the various industries of Australia shall have reasonable pay, reasonable hours of labour, and reasonable conditions in which to work? Because Senator Barrett had not the law and testiment in his hands to support the figures he gave, some honorable senators were inclined to question his statement. But I have here a paper which was handed in just now to that honorable senator by Mr. De Saxe a gentleman who is engaged in the trade here, and who has been engaged in the trade in England. What does he say-
I have been employed as an umbrella-maker in
London in a verylarge factory, and I can indorse your figures as to London rates of wages.
Surely Senator Symon and his friends, notwithstanding their strong free-trade opinions, do not desire to bring our people into competition with those receiving the wretchedly low rates of wages which are paid in this industry in the old country? If they do, the sooner we know it the better. It is about time they ceased to throw snuff in the eyes of the people and of members of the committee by saying that these proposals are made with a view to securing more revenue for the smaller States. There is nothing in the contention, and we shall not get a single penny more of revenue. As for Senator Symon’s argument that Victoria is going to flood our markets with these and other articles which are manufactured here, it does not carry with me the weight of a feather. And even if by the importation of Victorian goods we do lose a little revenue in some of the other States, we shall be compensated for it by having more of our people engaged in these industries at fair rates of wages and under reasonable conditions. Senator Millen upon this, as upon other occasions, has talked about the action of the committee having the effect of plundering New South Wales. Where is the plundering? If the people of New South Wales are called upon to pay something extra in the shape of taxation upon a variety of articles which used to be admitted into that State free, who will get the benefit ? Will it be the people of the Commonwealth ? Is the money taken from New South Wales and distributed to the other States of the Commonwealth ? Senator Symon can hardly claim that that is what will happen. No ; the fact is that the people of New South Wales will themselves get the benefit of the revenue derived from these duties. It will not be distributed to the other States, and the statement made by Senator Millen and others, that New South Wales is being plundered, isso much idle talk, and so much nonsense. ‘ There is no doubt that the States of Queensland and Tasmania badly need revenue, but the people engaged in the various industries, whether in Victoria or in any other part of the Commonwealth, deserve some little consideration. I am sure that neither Senator Symon nor any other honorable senator on the other side would rejoice to see the people engaged in these industries thrown out of employment, and swelling the ranks of the unemployed. I am sure they would not rejoice at the sorrow and deprivation which must arise if that sort of thing took place. Senator Symon may smile, but if the honorable and learned senator had witnessed the scenes I have witnessed in my time when mines have been stopped, factories have been laid in, and shipyards have ceased to work, he would know that such things are not a matter for smiling.
– That was not due to protection or free-trade.
– In some instances it was certainly due to free-trade in Great Britain and we do not desire that those things should be brought about here. I shall oppose this proposal as I shall oppose all- similar proposals which are submitted with a view of securing extra revenue, but which, while they will do that, must of necessity injure in a very considerable degree industries which are now in existence and which it has taken many years of toil and trouble to permanently establish.
Senator PULSFORD (New South Wales). - It is very amusing to notice how honorable senators who are supporting heavy duties are continually telling us that the duties which we .are willing to consent to are certain to destroy industries, when all the time they are equal to those which the industries have enjoyed before. I find, from the Victorian Statistical Register, that in 1900 silk umbrellas were imported to Victoria to the number of 2,730, : valued at £1.436. On this importation duty was collected to the extent of £338 at the rate of 2s. 6d. each. If honorable senators will take the trouble to cast out those figures, they will find that the duty comes to exactly 23 per cent. Senator Symon has here proposed a duty of 20 per cent., which, plus the one- tenth, is equal to 22 per cent. So that “the previously existing duty of 2s. 6d. each in Victoria- is the counterpart of what Senator Symon now proposes, and at which Senator Glassey is prepared to shriek, and :to prophesy the entire disappearance of the industry. I suggest to honorable senators that the propositions made from this side are exceedingly generous. What more generosity do the)’ require when they are offered a duty equal to that which wascollected in Victoria? Senator Glassey spoke of Queensland getting a revenue of £2,000 from the importation of these articles. Apparently he is not aware that the Government proposed to collect only £400 in Queensland under the duty. ; Senator O’Connor. - Under the original proposal, not under this proposal.
– If the duty was reduced in the other House, and it is through that reduction that Queensland is going to get a better revenue, then clearly if the reasonable rate of 20 per cent, is adopted that State may stand some chance of getting a revenue of £2,000 from this source. Certainly the proposition of Senator Symon offers a very substantial amount of protection. I do not know what we free-traders from New South Wales are to tell our constituents. Of course, Senator’ O’Connor has nothing to explain, because he has sold the people pretty well. It might be inferred that we are ready to sell them when we are offering to accept a 20 per cent. duty.
– Is that remark in order, sir?
– Unfortunately I was engaged at the moment, and did not hear what was said. If Senator Pulsford used an expression which is regarded as offensive by Senator O’Connor, I am sure that he will see the necessity for withdrawing it.
– I withdraw it. I have no doubt that the conscience of the. honorable and learned gentleman is not altogether easy.
– I object to a withdrawal of that kind.
– Does the honorable senator withdraw the expression.
– I did withdraw it. Every day we meet, the free-trade representatives of New South Wales are agreeing to duties which are most distasteful to a great majority of the people of that State. We offer a duty of 20 per cent, on this line, in a spirit of most generous compromise, but we get no credit for our action, although it is equivalent to that which has been collected in Victoria under a specific duty. If we had gone in for a. real compromise we should have proposed a duty below 20 _p’er cent. As it is, we are offering a very high rate of duty, and we are putting ourselves in a position which we could not justify to New South Wales if we were doing it other than as a matter of compromise. Senator Higgs desires’ to class parasols and umbrellas as luxuries which ought to be. made dear to the rich, so that the poor cannot obtain them. I repeat the protest I entered two or three days ago against this tendency to separate the classes, and to say that certain articles ought to be made to pay a big duty because the rich people use them. Let us make parasols and umbrellas as accessible as possible to all classes. Whether it be viewed from the revenue stand-point, or from the protectionist stand-point, a duty of 20 per cent, is as much as the committee ought to be asked to agree to.
Senator STYLES (Victoria). - It has been stated by Senator Pulsford that in 1900 a 23 per cent duty was collected on parasols and umbrellas in Victoria. Supposing that we accept that statement as being correct, not a sixpence by way of duty was paid on the raw material by the manufacturers.
– According to this return the duty on silk was 15 per cent.
– No. It was left to the customs’ officers to decide what silks were to be used in the manufacture of umbrellas and parasols, and, being cut in bond, the pieces came in free. The manufacturer, therefore, had a clear protective duty of 23 per cent. Under the motion of Senator Symon there would be a duty of 20 per cent, on imported parasols - that is 10 per cent, more than the duty on the raw material of the local manufacturer, leaving a protection of” only 10 per cent. But, supposing that it is 14 or 15 per cent, protection, it is not 20 per cent., as it appears at first sight.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia). - I suggested a duty of 20 per cent, on parasols and umbrellas not because it was an average of all the duties in the Tariff but because it was the duty in South Australia and Tasmania. We always understood, and we were frequently told that the position of all the States would be fairly considered in regard to their existing Tariffs when we came to deal with the .Federal Tariff. I am not prepared to clap on to the people of South Australia a 10 per cent, addition to the duty under which they have been suffering. Senator Pulsford has given us a calculation which shows that when the duty is distributed over the importations of silk umbrellas into Victoria, it represents 23 per cent. If that is the case, it approximates to the duty which I proposed, and Senator Styles will remember that the 23 per cent, has to be reduced if there is any reduction by the duties on such of the imported articles as were not free.
– The whole of the material was free as in South Australia.
– In South Australia some of the material was free under certain conditions, but the whole of . it was not free, and the 20 per cent, duty was also subject to certain deductions. If we add to that duty the natural protection and so forth, we get a very high sum. But when Senator Glassey, with great emphasis, alleges, when we are offering a most liberal protectionist duty of 20 per cent, that we are trying to pull down every industry that has grown up after years of stress and trouble, let me say that the figures given by Senator Barrett show either that the industry, with whatever protection there was in Victoria, is a decaying one, or that the manual labour and the workman are being supplanted by machinery. In 1900 the number of hands employed was 209; in 1901 it was 173, or a diminution of 36. If we take the figures given in the return laid on the table of the House of Representatives on the motion of Mr. Knox, the difference is still greater. According to that return the number of hands employed in 1900 was 246, instead of 209, and therefore the diminution was over 70. This diminution of employment may have been due to the introduction of machinery, but the figures are certainly significant. What is the amount of the protection proposed ? I will assume Senator O’Connor’s figures to be correct, and that the duty of 30 per cent, means 3s. on a 10s. umbrella. That is a very effective protection, but it is said that the umbrella maker has to pay duty on a number of the articles he uses in the manufacture. Taking my honorable and learned friend’s estimate, that the materials come to a ls., that leaves 2s. net protection upon a 10s. umbrella, quite irrespective of the natural protection. That means that 2s. on a 10s. umbrella, or 4s. on a £1 umbrella, goes into the pockets of the umbrella maker. What more do the 60 males and 100 females who are engaged in the industry want? If a protection of 2s. on a 10s. umbrella is not sufficient, all I can say is that there is no limit to the demands of the protectionists for what I was going to describe as such a “ tin-pot “ industry, but I will not use that term. If the umbrellas were imported the State would get the full 3s., but with this protection ls. of the 2s. net protection goes into the coffers of the State and ls. into the pockets of the manufacturer. Let honorable senators compare that amount of protection with the amount given in what is really a substantial industry. The clothingmaking industry is a large one, as we all admit. Wool and cloth are its raw materials. Honorable senators grumble at 20 per cent., which means a 10 per cent, net protection in the case of the umbrella industry, when the only protection they propose to give on the gigantic clothing industry, which contributes some £-300,000 or £400,000 a year in revenue-
– The industry of “ a few slop clothing manufacturers “ as the honorable and learned senator described it in Tasmania !
– I am glad that the honorable senator knows my remarks by heart. They are very useful. The clothing industry of Australia, which is gigantic in the sense that it contributes a revenue of £300,000 or £400,000, is to have a duty of 25 per cent, under the proposal of the Government, whilst its raw material, which is cloth, is tobe taxed at 15 percent., or a difference of only 10 per cent., which is exactly what I propose on this line of umbrellas and parasols. What more can be wanted ? It is a remarkable fact that whilst the collections during the three months when the duty was 40 per cent, amounted to £2,743 during January, February, and March, when the collections were made at the lower rate of 30 per cent., the collections amounted to £3,294 - a difference of £551. It must be admitted from these figures, that with the lowering of the revenue more duty was obtained. Of course, by continually lowering duties, a point is reached when the protection will altogether disappear. I do not want that. I want the matter to be fairly considered, and with a duty of 20 per cent., we shall obtain more revenue, and shall allow a net 10 per cent, protection to the industry. Senator O’Connor said that the revenue in South Australia from this article in 1899 was £1,789. That amount was collected while the duty was 20 per cent. Under this Tariff for the half-year, the amount collected was £892, which works out for the whole year at about the same amount. But if. a duty of 20 per cent, gives £1,7S2, as against a larger return from an abnormal collection at an abnormal time at a 10 per cent, higher rate, it simply shows that when we come to a normal year the Treasurer’s estimate is much nearer the mark when he reduces the probable collection for the year to £250. That is a reasonable conclusion for any financial Minister to come to. It does not prove that South Australia would get £1,782 under a 30 per cent. Tariff. It proves the exact contrary. Every shipment that came here during the last six months under this Tariff must have been ordered before the end of December, when the alteration was made lowering the duty to 30 per cent. But that sort of thing will not happen again. The greatest possible efforts will be made by every one engaged in this business to get the benefit of the duty under the Tariff, and by that means there is put into the power of those whom honorable senators profess to wish to assist, a means of seriously diminishing the revenue. That applies to the States which have not been greatly given to umbrella making as well as to those which have ; and by the attempts of the manufacturers to capture the market the same results as to revenue will be brought about as if umbrellas, were made in the other States. Therefore I hope that the motion will be accepted. ‘
Senator McGREGOR (South Australia).The motion moved by Senator, Symon will continue the policy of leaning lightly on those individuals who are best able to carry the heaviest burdens - that is, those who are able to purchase silk umbrellas. Some of the deductions drawn by Senator Symon are very much like statements made by him and his lieutenants in regard to the question of natural protection. He has made a comparison between the duty collected in the first three months and the second three months of the half-year ending March last, but although orders may have been given as the honorable and learned senator suggests, I would point out that the duty collected during the second term was greater than that- received during the- first. That was only natural, because in the first three months importers were making provision for summer. In the last three months they were making provision for winter, and people do not generally buy umbrellas in December to protect them from the rain which falls in May or June. A man of Senator Symon’s astuteness ought to know these things. If I knew of them and attempted to conceal them, I should consider that I was misleading the committee. Senator Symon tells us that if the duty is reduced, the revenue will be increased. That means that the industry will be destroyed. Those of us who support the duty seek, to protect and encourage the industries of the
Commonwealth, and if this duty is retained, we believe it will have that effect. It is only a fair duty, because the greater portion of the material used in the manufacture of umbrellas is dutiable. If Senator Symon succeds first of all in reducing the duty on umbrellas used by those who can best afford to pay a higher price for them, and secondly in destroying the local industry altogether, the ultimate result will be that a person who wishes to have his umbrella re-covered, will have to send the ribs and handle to England, America, or Japan in order to have the work carried out. That is the policy of those who oppose this duty. They do not want to encourage any industry in the Commonwealth. They would not even enable the people to have repairs executed here. Of course, there will always be fiddling repairers in every community; but if we pass this duty we shall have such effective tradesmen that the people, instead of having to pay for five times more repairs than the cost of the new article, will be able to have their work done well and reasonably.
– An argument of a most misleading kind was used by Senator Pulsford when he spoke about a duty of 2s. 6d. each being paid on a particular line of umbrellas, averaging in value 10s. each. That really emphasizes the fallacy of the whole argument, because a duty of 2s. 6d. on an umbrella valued at 10s. is 25 per cent., and on an umbrella valued at 5s., it is 50 per cent. The operation of the specific duty shut out the cheaper class of umbrella. The honorable senator has pointed out already, in regard toother items, that a specific duty operates much more heavily upon a lower-priced article, and much more lightly upon a higher-priced article than does an ad valorem duty. When we had a duty of that kind can any one wonder that the bulk of the imports of the particular line in question were of a higher value, and that the lower priced goods were shut out altogether? The result now is exactly the opposite, because, under the duty as it stands, an umbrella valued at 5s. will pay a duty of 30 per cent. instead of 50 per cent., and the higher class umbrella will have to pay a duty of 30 per cent. instead of 25 per cent. I think, therefore, that the honorable senator will see that to take the importations into Victoria under the former duty is no guide whatever in regard to the importations under the duty of 30 per cent. ad valorem. The point referred to shows the true meaning of the figures which I have put before the committee. I am very sorry that, notwithstanding my explanation, Senator Symon has repeated the statement that the real amount of importations which we may expect under this duty is that estimated by the Treasurer. That estimate, however, was made upon a totally different basis; it was made in respect of specific duties such as I have described.
– Composite duties; I mentioned that fact.
– The honorable and learned senator gave no weight to that fact when comparing the actual collections with the Treasurer’s estimate.
– You computed the fixed and ad valorem duties at 40 per cent. I accepted that.
– That does not satisfy me. I have to go further. It is perfectly idle to tell us that, because the Treasurer estimated that in South Australia £250 would be obtained under the former specific and ad valorem duties amounting in the average to 40 per cent., under our Tariff of 30 per cent. we shall get anything like the same amount. The collections are an answer to that statement. It is a novelty to see those collections used as if they were in respect of an abnormal period. They have been relied upon over and over again by my honorable friends opposite as indicating what the collections will be. They maybe abnormal, but whether the attribute of being abnormal applies to make them higher or lower than they ought to be it is very diflicult to say. It depends altogether upon the condition of the trade in question, the condition of the stocks, and the extent of speculation in anticipation of the Tariff. How does the honorable and learned senator get over the fact, which is undeniable, that under the 30 per cent. duty such large amounts have been received, the revenue collected in South Australia being precisely the same as that under the State Tariff? Senator Symonattempts to explain itby sayingthat the duty was collected on goods which had been ordered beforehand ; that they were “ goods on the water.” Supposing that explanation applies to the goods which came in during the first three months under the higher rate of duty, does it apply to those which came in during the second three months when the importations were much larger? It is no answer whatever. If we are to get rid of the collections for the first three months on the supposition that they were in respect of goods which had been ordered some time before, surely the orders given in respect of goods which arrived during the second term could have been countermanded? The real fact of the matter is that with an ad valorem duty importations come in according to their value, and there is scope for the lower-priced article to be imported. As we all know, these umbrellas vary in value from 4s. to 30s. or £2 each. There is no doubt that a larger number of lowerpriced umbrellas came in as soon as the specific duties were removed. The result must be a larger amount of revenue. We have been fixing our attention upon umbrellas, but the item includes parasols, which range in value from 2s. 6d. to £1 and £2 each. These high-class parasols must come in from abroad, and, whatever the price is, they can be paid for. Surely we cannot regard them as articles on which the duty should be made as light as possible ? In answer to Senator Pulsford, I say that. the principle upon which we have endeavoured to act all through this Tariff, and which is followed in framing all other Tariffs, is that, while we press lightly upon articles of general consumption amongst those who can least afford to pay for them, we press more heavily upon articles used by those who can afford to. pay for them. Applying that principle, the great bulk of the articles which will come in under this heading are goods which ought to pay a higher duty, and will Certainly not pay a penny too much if the duty proposed by the Government is passed. I was very much astonished with one argument used by Senator Symon with regard to the condition of this industry. He seemed to point with a great deal of satisfaction to the circumstance that a number of persons had left the industry,’ and he gave that as a reason for Saying that it was a decaying industry.
– Or that move -machinery was being employed.
– That does not affect the question. We know that in the making of these umbrellas and parasols there is not very much scope for machinery, and there must be a certain amount of employment in work which requires hand labour. However that may be, and whatever may be the reason of it, it does seem to me a most extraordinary thing, if this reduction in the number of the persons employed in the industry has taken place under the higher Victorian duty, to suggest that it is not still more likely to take place under the protection here ‘proposed, which is effective to the extent of not more than 10 per cent. If the industry is dying, as my honorable and learned friend intimates, under a protection which ranged from 25 to 50 per cent., what is it going to do when we give it an effective protection of 10 per cent, only ? We are giving 20 per cent, net under this Tariff, but the motion submitted by Senator Symon will give an effective protection of not more than 10 per cent. We should deal frankly with the question. If we mean to give the industry protection, let us give it effective protection. If we do not mean to give it protection, and desire that it should disappear, and that the industry of the importer of these articles should continue to grow greater, let us say that 20 per cent, is enough for every purpose. Do not let us pretend to give a protection which, in reality, is no protection at all. I say, therefore, that whether we regard this matter from the point of view of revenue or protection, the duty submitted in the schedule is the lowest which should be imposed.
Senator BARRETT (Victoria).- Earlier in the afternoon I made some reference to the number of people employed in this industry. The point I desire to make has been noticed by Senator O’Connor- in one way. I desire to show that the comparison that has been made by Senator Symon was scarcely fair. In quoting from the reports of the chief inspector under the Victorian Factories Act the honorable and learned senator said that this was a dying industry, .because it showed that there were 36 persons more employed in the year 1900 than in the year 1901. The conclusion that it is therefore a dying industry is scarcely a fair one to arrive at, because the honorable and learned senator will admit that in dealing with statistics of this kind from year to year there are certain circumstances which may account for fluctuations in the number of people employed in different industries. The other evening, in making a comparison with regard to the number of persons employed in the manufacture of pickles, I gave the number employed in that industry for one year at 900, but, from the later returns issued a few days ago, I find that there are about 1,400 people at present employed in that industry. I should like to point out to Senator Symon that since the Commonwealth Tariff came into force, a good deal of importation has taken place. I mentioned in my earlier remarks that one large house in Melbourne had imported a consignment of parasols worth £700. Senator Symon must know, as we all know, that this is an industry which any one may start with a very small amount of capital, and it is quite possible that many of the 36 persons shown to be employed in 1900, and not accounted for in the returns of 1901, may have started in business for themselves, and they would not be included in the factory returns, because an establishment in which less than four persons are working, is not a factory within the meaning of the Act. I have already had something to say upon the subject of wages, but I have now before me the wages sheets of four of the leading manufacturers in Melbourne. I have the authority of these firms for saying that if honorable senators desire to look further into the matter they are willing to show them their pay-sheets week by week to bear out the statements I now make. I find that the firm of W. A. Hartnoll pay £50 in wages weekly; Paterson, Laing, and Bruce pay £30 weekly; J. De Saxe and Co. pay £50 weekly ; and T. H. Barnes £30 weekly. There are, of course, other firms besides these in addition to establishments in which less than four persons are employed. I have already quoted in detail the wages paid in this industry in Victoria as compared with those paid in the industry in London, and Senator Glassey has quoted Mr. De Saxe to bear out the statement I made. I can inform honorable senators that there are experts employed by the firms to which I have referred, who are getting £5 a week, and I have been told that one man employed by J’. De Saxe and Co. receives £5 per week in Victoria when he could only command a wage of 35s. a week in London. That is something to say on behalf of the local industry, and honorable senators will admit that an industry paying these wages is one which should be extended. Now that we have fought out the question so keenly and so well, there may be a compromise suggested that will enable us to unite forces, and allow the motion to go. Early in the afternoon I drew attention to the duties on the raw material. It was shown that in that respect the industry was taxed to such an extent that it whittled the duties down to between 15 and 20 per cent. I would suggest to Senator Symon that if we allow his motion for a duty of 20 per cent, on umbrellas and parasols to go, parasols, sunshades, umbrella handles, sticks, and fit-ups, whether mounted’ or not, on which a duty of 10 per cent, is imposed, should be . placed on the free list. I do not think that we ought to tax raw material of any sort. If the committee will agree to that suggestion it. will be equivalent to the higher duty which we have been trying to get on the item before the committee.
Senator Sir JOSIAH SYMON (South Australia). - Some honorable senators - including, I think, Senator Styles - have suggested that I was adamant in reference to any reasonable suggestion, but I have never disguised on this item that there were duties to be paid on the raw material. “When I moved the motion, I think I said that even allowing for the duties on the raw material, 20 per cent, was enough, but still I recognise that it is a very fair suggestion which he has made, and I am willing to accede to it. If the raw material is allowed to come in free it will be an additional protection, though I do not think it is necessary. It will be a concession to the manufacturers, super-added to “a ‘ very generous proposal ; but still it is a fair suggestion, to which I am willing to accede in a spirit of compromise.
– Of course, Senator Symon has spoken as if the acceptance of this suggestion would really settle the question ; but I feel bound to object to it. I quite appreciate Senator Barrett’s motive, because there is no more staunch protectionist in the Senate than he is. I quite see what his object is, but I would remind him that this is not by any means a final solution of the question. The other House will have to deal finally with every suggestion. I would much prefer to stand by the Tariff as it is, because, in doing so, we shall get the additional protection which is given by the higher duty, and, if it is obtained, the manufacturers can very well afford to pay the duty on their raw material. If we preserve the Tariff as it is, there is a larger protection of the completed article, but at the same time the Government get some revenue from the raw material. I would ask Senator Barrett not to lose heart, because he may anticipate that a division may go against him here. I do not know whether it will, but, even if it should, we must fight this question out to the end. I have very little doubt that in the end the result will be perfectly satisfactory. If we are going to treat a question as if it is to be settled here, and if, on every occasion when there is apparently a majority against a duty, the supporters of our policy lose heart, and say, “ We shall make the best terms we can,” in what position will the Tariff stand %
– It is hardly right to say that it must be settled in another place. Surely we have a voice in the settlement of the Tariff. It may have to be settled by the electors yet.
– Does the honorable and learned senator deny that we cannot make an amendment 1
– Without our concurrence no settlement can be made.
– It is quite clear that one House cannot pass the Tariff. I am not seeking to question the powers of the Senate. All I am pointing out is that the amendment of the Bill, whether our suggestions are carried out or not, must depend on another place. We may accept or we may reject what is done there, but it is only after discussion has taken place there that it can be done, and then it will have to be reconsidered here. In the interests of revenue as well in the interests of the industry itself, I feel bound to adhere to the Tariff as it is. I should like every honorable senator who holds the view that the industry should be protected, and who believes that revenue must be obtained, to have some confidence in the ultimate results of all the proceedings on the measure.
Senator BARRETT (Victoria). - I am not surprised at the declaration of Senator O’Connor, that he is going to stand to the Tariff. That is the attitude which the Government have taken up throughout these discussions, and that is the attitude which they are going to take up whether it is against the Opposition or against their own supporters. I am trying to do what I can for the local industry, and in the present aspect of affairs, it matters not to me whether I get the higher duty or not. I think I am justified in asking the committee to accept my suggestion to fix the duty on this line at 20 per cent, and to place the raw materials on the free list. I believe that in a division on the present duty we should be defeated by about one vote. I am aware of the fact that the other House has to deal with our suggestions. But I predict that when that time arrives there will be a spirit of compromise abroad, and perhaps, unless my suggestion is adopted - if the vote on this motion of Senator Symon should go as I think it will - I shall lose that assistance which I am desirous ofgetting for the industry. No doubt the Government will lose revenue, but the amount is so small that it is not worth speaking about. I believe that my suggestion will be acceptable to these who are engaged in the industry.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - It is quite true that the Senate has also a voice in the settlement of the Tariff, but honorable senators should take into consideration the probabilities. When the duty on this item was unanimously fixed at 30 per cent, in another place, surely honorable senators do not think that they are going to play ducks and drakes with the schedule, and expect the other House to agree with their suggestions ? I do not see my way clear to fall in with the suggestion of Senator Barrett, even though the trades, in their anxiety to secure some assistance, may seem fit to accept it, first, because the alterations may upset the calculations of the Treasurer, and secondly,” because of the protective incidence of the schedule. A number of the visitors to the Melbourne Cup every year will carry costly silk parasols. It is in the month of October that a great deal of the importation of these articles takes place. Ladies who wear imported dresses, valued at £100, are sure to procure costly parasols and sunshades, no matter what the duty may be. The proposal to place sticks on the free list is made, perhaps, in the interest of the manufacturers, whose protection will be absolutely wiped out if the motion of Senator Symon is agreed to. The woodturners may have very good reason to object to the free admission of these sticks. I am not prepared to say, on this short notice, that a large number of persons are engaged in making sticks, but we have to consider the possibilities of the future. I propose to stand by the duty of 30 per cent, on parasols and umbrellas.
Senator McGREGOR (South Australia). - I am very sorry that Senator Barrett has thought fit to offer this compromise. I do not know whence it has come, by whom it was originated, or whether a serpent has been tempting eve. The Government have to consider the requirements of the revenue as well as the protective incidence of the duty. A good deal of the revenue must be obtained from the importation of expensive parasols ; but the revenue which will be derived from the umbrella and parasol trade in the Commonwealth for some considerable time will be obtained from the duty on the raw material. Then we should consider the possibility of the production of handles and fittings. No doubt the material of which they are made can, and will, in time be produced in Australia. I would point out to Senator Barrett that a great many manufacturers, in their desire to protect their own trade, forget everything else in the Commonwealth. I have not the least doubt that there are plenty of bootmakers who have no consideration for the duty on leather, which affects them to some extent. There are also manufacturers of ties who would like the duty to be taken off silk. Would Senator Barrett do that ?
– Yes, I would.
– The manufacturers of various commodities would like to have the duties on their raw material abolished, but we have not to consider any particular manufacturer, but the manufacturers of the whole Commonwealth. If Senator Barrett voted to abolish the duty on silks, the cry against him would be that he was willing to remove the duty on a luxury. I am sure that he has the best interests of the Commonwealth at heart, but I hope he will not be tempted by the serpent. It might be wise for him to take a little longer time to consider thanhe seems to have taken in this instance. We know that the honorable senator is taking this action with the best intention, but look at the position? The free-traders are not in favour of duties on anything. Consequently they are willing to give him nothing for something. They say - “ We want the duties taken off everything, and if you will assist us to take them off umbrella handles we will let this duty go at 20 per cent.” That is the kind of compromise which the free-traders have been trying to make all along. I trustthat Senator
Barrett will reconsider his position, and will remind even the umbrella manufacturers that there are more interests than theirs to be considered.
Senator BARRETT (Victoria). - I am sure I am very much obliged for the good advice that my honorable friend, Senator McGregor, has given to me, but at the same time I am one of those persons who can very well take care of himself. I am not likely to be tempted bythe serpent, as my honorable friend puts it. In this case I have not been tempted by any one - neither by Senator Symon, nor by any other honorable senator on that side. I was led to make the compromise referred to from a statement made this afternoon in answer to an interjection by Senator Clemons. Senator McGregor asks whether I would take off the duty on silks. Silks are used in the manufacture of umbrellas. In that sense I do not consider them to be luxuries, and if any one moves that silks be placed upon the free list, or that they be allowed to be cut up in bond - as was done under the old Victorian Tariff for manufacturing purposes, for the manufacture of ties - I shall vote for it. I am going to vote every time I have an opportunity for abolishing duties on the raw material of industries. I always understood that that was in accordance with the consistent creed of the protectionist. As honorable senators are aware, I have given notice of a number of amendments that are all framed in the direction of freeing raw material.
– Would the honorable senator take the duty off leather for the benefit of the bootmakers ?
– I am not talking about leather, but about silks, and I am trying to do the best I can for the industry in question. I want to get something substantial, and in this instance I think I am getting an equivalent.
– The honorable senator is getting nothing.
– I am getting something. I know from the testimony of those engaged in the trade, that if the duty is removed from the raw material, the benefit will be equivalent to the customs duty which the Government have proposed. That being so, I am going to vote for a compromise, believing that I shall thereby be doing the best thing in the. interests of those engaged in the umbrella industry
Senator STYLES (Victoria). - I shall not compromise, although I do not think there is the ghost of a show of getting the full duty of 30 per cent. But if we fail to secure that, I shall not mind voting with the leader of the Opposition on the basis suggested by Senator Barrett.
– Does the honorable senator think that the leader of the Opposition is going to help him in such a compromise as that?
– The leader of the Opposition says that this is a reasonable compromise.
– The honorable senator is suggesting an unreasonable compromise.
– I am not suggesting any compromise : I urge that we should adhere to the Tariff as it stands. But if I do a wrong thing that is no reason why Senator Symon, and others who are voting with him, should not do the proper thing; and he said that the compromise advocated by Senator Barrett was fair and reasonable.
– I have accepted it so far as I am concerned.
– If I do a thing that Senator Symon thinks is wrong, that is no reason why he should not help to carry what he regards as a fair and reasonable compromise.
– That is too metaphysical for me.
– Sarcasm doesnot suit the honorable and learned senator very well. I like to hear him best when he is clear and straightforward - when he opens his mouth and lets his opinions come straight out. I am quite sure that a duty of 30 per cent. is little enough. I advocate a duty of 30 per cent. and no duty on the raw material. That would be a fair compromise.
– The honorable senator would make it 40 per cent.
– Or 100 per cent.
– I should not mind that. We can make these goods here, and I do not mind what is the duty on the finished article. That is my political creed - do all the work that is possible in the country. As has been pointed out by Senator McGregor, other persons than; the umbrella makers are interested in this matter. I can quite understand Senator McGregor voting both for a duty of 30 per cent. and further duties upon the raw material. I would not. I should like to see the raw material come in free. At all events, in the first instance I shall support the Government on this question.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 65 by adding to the duty “Parasols, sunshades, and umbrellas, viz., containing silk, 30 per cent ad valorem,” the words, “and on and after 1st July, 1902, 20 per cent.” - put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … … 15
Noes … … … 10
Majority … 5
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator Sir Josiah Symon) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 65 by adding to the duty, “Parasols, sunshades, andumbrellas, viz., n.e.i, 30 per cent.” the words “and on and after 1st July, 1902, 20 per cent.”
– I do trust that the line of conduct which Senator Barrett has thought it right to mark out for himself will not be followed by other honorable senators who sit on this side of the Chamber. We are here, I take it, not as representing any particular interest, manufacturing or other, but for the purpose of making a Tariff for the whole Commonwealth. Those of us who believe that in these duties there should be a combination of revenue and protection, can only succeed in carrying our opinion if all those who hold our principles stand together.
– I would ask the honorable senator to confine himself to the item before the chair.
– On the question of order, if you stop me, I should like to say a word. I contend that I am entitled to make these references, for the reason that I am not going beyond the merits of the item. I do not complain of- the honorable senator’s motives, I am merely speaking of his judgment; but I say that on the occasion of the last division an honorable senator thought it his duty to vote with the other side because of a compromise made by honorable senators opposite. We are dealing now with an item of precisely the same kind, and surely I am entitled to ask honorable senators not to give a vote which may follow the compromise which has already been made t We cannot discuss the item apart from the circumstances, and the circumstance is plain to all of us that a vote has been given by an honorable senator, not merely on the merits of the question as it has come before us, but upon a bargain which has been offered by the other side. I submit that I am entitled to ask other honorable senators not to be influenced into assenting to the same kind of bargain.
– I understood the remarks of the honorable, and learned senator to be of a general character, dealing solely with party matters, and not having any direct reference to the item. If he is making an appeal for support for this particular item I cannot stop him. All that I suggested was that he should confine his remarks to the item before the Chair, and not indulge in what I regarded as wide generalities.
– I shall endeavour, sir, to follow your ruling as closely as possible, and I shall confine my remarks to the item of parasols, ite, n.e.i. In dealing with that question, I ask those honorable senators who wish to see the local manufacture of these articles protected to remember that the benefit of this Tariff as a protective Tariff can only be obtained by this party standing together. If upon this or any other question one honorable senator goes over because he thinks that something satisfies him, and another honorable senator does the same, what becomes of the policy that we are here to stand by 1 We do not find honorable senators opposite making defections from their ranks because they want something. Senator Symon has offered to vote for a certain item being made free. Honorable senators opposite will make any bargains of that kind. I hope that on this question there will be a vote upon, the merits, and that we shall not have any more cases in which members of this party - who, in regard to the industries in which they are particularly interested, secure the benefit of the whole force and fighting power of the party - will, when it suits them, think it their duty to vote solely from a consideration of some particular interest. I hope that I shall not be misunderstood. I am not imputing anything whatever to the honorable senator except what I think is a lack of judgment. I hope that in dealing with the question now before the Chair every honorable senator belonging to the party on this side of the Chamber will take care that it is settled upon principle, and principle only.
– I think we have listened to the most extraordinary proceeding that has ever graced any legislative hall. We find the leader of the Government, not in the quiet retirement of his own room remonstrating with, and flourishing the whip above, one of his usual followers, but we find him administering this condign punishment here to one of his supporters for not showing allegiance to his party.
– The honorable and learned senator is not going to win Senator Barrett over in that way.
– What does the honorable and learned senator mean? The kind of party that Senator O’Connor wants is one that will always follow at his call, and never dream of think- 1 ing for itself. I have no objection to that, but when my honorable and learned friend says, in order to give pont to the flourishing of the lash over Senator Barrett’s back, that that honorable senator has acted upon a bargain offered from this side of the Chamber, he makes a statement that has not the remotest approach to truth in it.
– I denied that statement myself.
– It is a gross scandal that a charge of this kind should be made against us when it has been absolutely denied by my honorable and learned friend’s own supporter.
– What is the difference between a compromise and a bargain ?
– My honorable and learned friend has been speaking of this as a compromise Tariff. But the first time that anything in the nature of a compromise has been suggested from his own side - suggested, I suppose, without consulting him - and accepted by those on the winning side, Senator O’Connor, representing a Government so solicitous of compromise, denounces his own follower, and makes a charge against us which is absolutely without foundation. This preposterous action on the part of the Minister can have only one result, and that is to waste time, delay the Tariff, and prevent that settlement which every one in the interests of the country is so desirous of bringing about. For the honorable and learned gentleman to say that there was a bargain or compromise, or whatever he lilies to call it, offered from this side, is not merely to contradict and to refuse to accept the word of his own supporter, to whom he appeals for continued support, but to utter that which has not the shadow of a semblance of truth. I had no particular desire to accept the offer made by my honorable friend, Senator Barrett, on the floor of the Chamber. The honorable senator said that if these things could be made free, hewould be quite willing to accept the duty of 20 per cent. in this case, and I agreed to it. I was only one, but if the honorable senator had not suggested that, I should have been quite prepared to go to the division, to which we were proceeding. My honorable friend, Senator Barrett, feeling that it was the right position for him to take up in the interests of protection, made the suggestion he did. We were told that this duty was to be supported, because of its protective character, and Senator Barrett, representing the interests of the industry to be protected, said that an equally good way was to have this duty of 20 per cent., with the other line free. I can tell my honorable friend, Senator Styles, in reference to the remarks he made before the last division, that I certainly had no intention of proposing that the articles used in the manufacture of umbrellas and parasols should be made free, and if the duty of 20 per cent. upon umbrellas and parasols had been carried, without my having assented to what Senator Barrett proposed himself, the articles used in their manufacture would have had to pay the 10 per cent.
– What is that but a bargain?
– Really, I cannot be answerable for the lack of intelligence of the honorable and learned senator. Why does he say a thing like that? The charge against us is that we offered a bargain. Though I was very much disinclined to give way, when the compromise was offered, 1 felt that, in order to save time, it was a fair and reasonable thing, and I was willing to agree to it. Because we arrived at this peaceful settlement of the difficulty, we have been rated by the leader of the Senate in a way which I think that honorable and learned senator will regret.
– I cannot allow the item to go through without saying a word upon what has arisen, and if I cannot do so in any other way, I shall do so by way of personal explanation. It is quite true that I am a supporter of the Government, but I tell Senator O’Connor, and honorable senators who support him, that I am here to support the Government when I believe that they are right. When I am interested in any particular item, as I have been in this case, not only on behalf of the employes, but also on behalf of the employers, I shall be guided by my best judgment, and do that which I consider to be right. If it is to be a question between the Government and myself with regard to any item, I would point out that the Government are not much concerned with any proposal I put forward. I again repeat to Senator O’Connor that I have acted in the best interests of those engaged in the industry, and I cannot see eye to eye with the Government in regard to it. No matter which way the vote went, I had previously informed Senator Styles this afternoon that I was going to move for a remission of the duty on the item I spoke of a moment ago, and consequently I cannot be charged with doing something which is not right in respect to that item. If it comes to a question of judgment, I maintain that what has transpired during the last few minutes hasclearly proved that my judgment was right. If I had voted with the Government the result would have been that the duty wouldhave been reduced to 20 per cent., and the other substantial offer - or rather the substantial remission of duty we hope to get on the other item would not have been carried. I did not consult with honorable senators on the other side. I have never up to this moment had any communication with them. I am too good a protectionist to be led aside by anything of that description. I have spoken warmly, because I have felt warmly upon the matter.
– It was not suggested that the honorable and learned senator had any communication whatever beyond what took place in the committee.
– The honorable and learned senator, by his remarks, certainly led me to believe that that was suggested.
– I said nothing of the kind, and I did not intend to say anything of the kind.
– I accept the honorable and learned senator’s statement at once. I repeat that I shall support the Government in this or in any other matter if I think that what they propose is right, but if they propose something which conflicts with my judgment of what is right, I shall not support them.
– If there are parties in the Senate, there should be some sort of consistency in the action we take. Senator Barrett says that he generally supports the Government, and that he had no communication at all with the other side.
– Hear,- hear. He has been a very consistent supporter.
– Undoubtedly j and I have no doubt he will continue to be so, but the honorable senator during the interval between half-past six and half-past seven o’clock seems to have met certain friends, with whom he arrived at an arrangement antagonistic to the line of policy the Government are supporting, and which I support, not because it is in the interests of Victoria, but because I think it is in the interests of Australia. As a result of the interview, Senator Barrett abandons his party altogether upon this question, and comes down with another proposition, which he says will suit some friends of his, without considering the line of policy which the Government propose.
– It will suit the whole of the trade.
– All I can say is that no Government of any country can be carried on unless party lines are better understood than they seem to be by the honorable senator.
– Party, right or wrong.
– It is not a question of party right or wrong. No great question of principle is involved in this matter. I have listened all the afternoon to the story of how Victoria has managed to carry on its own industry without increasing prices, and has so triumphantly proved the success of its own line of policy. I understood Senator Barrett to hold the same views on the policy which the Victorian State Government took up, and which proved to be a triumphant success, but then at the last hour, when practically the numbers are up, and when it is perfectly certain that the efforts of the Opposition to reduce the duty from 30 per cent, to 20 per cent, for no practical purpose at all, but simply to assert their authority, are likely to be successful-
– I rise .to a point of order. Is the honorable and learned senator in order in saying that we are making propositions simply fortliepurpo.se of asserting party views t
– The expression of an opinion of that kind is not out of order.
– I desire only to express my opinion so far as this matter is concerned, that the policy of protection in respect to it has proved triumphantly successful, and it is a fairground for complaint on the part of the Government that when they propose for the Commonwealth what has been proved to be good for Victoria, they should be practically deserted by those who aresupposed to have most industriously assisted in supporting that policy iri Victoria. If we believe that the Victorian line of policy is good, let us adopt it ; and if we think it is bad, let us reject it. But when the Government has had the courage to adopt the Victorian policy, not becauseit is the Victorian policy, but because it is theright policy, and good for all Australia, at the last moment, after an interview with, two or three manufacturers, during the interval for refreshment, a supporter whoshould be most depended upon should not. assist to defeat the object which theGovernment has in view.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 65 by adding to the duty, ‘.’ Parasols, sunshades, and umbrellas, viz., n.e.i., 30 per cent.,” the words, “and on and after 1st July, 1902, 20 per cent.” The committee divided -
Ayes … … … 16 .
Noes … … … 10
Majority … … 6
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Motion (by Senator Sir Josiah Symon) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 65 by adding to the duty, “Parasol, sunshade, and umbrella handles, sticks, and litups. . . . advaloram 10 per cent.,” the words “and on and after 1st July, 1902, free.”
– I have not heard the honorable and learned senator state on what ground he makes this proposition, which certainly involves the lossof a considerable amount of revenue. I am not in a position to say what it is, because the estimate includes the revenue from all the articles under this head, but it is quite evident that it represents a considerable sum. From the expression of their views I have always understood that my honorable friends opposite were here to obtain revenue, and I cannot understand the principle on which they are ready to abandon a very considerable sum. I oppose this suggestion for the simple reason that I think it is necessary that we should have the revenue ; and, so far as the protective incidence is concerned, I have very little doubt that when the matter is finally decided it will be decided in favour of the retention of a 30 per cent. duty on the lines with which we have already dealt.
– So far as we can judge, Senator O’Connor is unable to tell us what revenue is expected from the duty on these articles. I think it was rather wild and unnecessary for him to prophesy as to the future. There is a very good maxim in politics as well as in everything else, “Never prophesy unless you know.” My honorable and learned fried prophesies that all we have been doing this evening will be undone.
– There is a better one - “ Never prophesy until after the event.”
– If Senator O’Connor had observed that maxim we should not have been troubled with that rather empty statement. I do not know whetherit was intended as a threat or a warning in respect of what may be in the womb of the future.
– It is a statement of my own belief.
– What is the good of stating a belief unless it is intended to influence the committee in some way ? And, surely, that influence would scarcely be attempted to be exercised on a matter of this kind, which depends for its settlement, not on the action of one House, but on the action of both Houses; and the Senate will have, I hope, a good deal to say on the subject reasonably and in a conciliatory manner. . We all desire revenue, but we also desire, as we have shown in several instances, to leave a fair margin between the duty on a manufactured article and the duty on the raw material. When we have reduced the duty on parasols and umbrellas from 30 to 20 per cent., it is a fair thing to reduce the duty on the handles, sticks, and fittings by something. I think that to make them free is a generous concession. At the same time, it is of no use to make two bites at a cherry, and therefore I am willing to make the concession a liberal one. Although Senator O’Connor has given us no revenue figures, we have some figures forVictoria at our disposal. The returns only go up to the 31st of March, but the total collections on the entire line of parasol and umbrella sticks and handles in that month amounted to £44. There was collected £43 in December and £4 in January. I mention these figures to show that the motion involves no particular loss of revenue.
– As a great deal of timber is grown in Queensland, I see no reason why these sticks should be allowed to come in free. Honorable senators who have bought silk umbrellas and gaudy parasols know that the sticks are very often very valuable. The silver or gold mounting on the stick is often more valuable than the umbrella itself. Senator Matheson, who fought such a valiant fight to get free condensed milk for the miner, is anxious to give him silk parasols and umbrellas at a lower rate of duty, and to allow umbrella sticks to come in free. I imagine the smile that will flit across the face of the pioneer when he is told that the honorable senator has succeeded in getting silk umbrellas admitted at a lower rate of duty, in order that he may be able to have one. On one occasion, when I was travelling under a hot sun with a cotton umbrella, I was met with a smileof derision wherever I went. The pioneers in the western country laughed at the idea of a man carrying an umbrella.
– I could appreciate the argument which has been advanced by Senator Higgs if there was anything in it. I am well aware that some of our native timbers are extremely valuable, but I am told, on the authority of the manufacturers, that not an Australian stick is put into an umbrella that they make. If there was any likelihood of umbrella sticks being made in the Commonwealth, I should be prepared to vote with Senator Higgs, but as the facts are the other way, and as only £91 was collected here in three months from this duty, I think we are quite justified in putting the articles on the free list.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - Senator Barrett says that no umbrella sticks are grown in the Commonwealth. Is that not because there has been no protective duty hitherto? The honorable senator knows, as a good protectionist, that very many articles were not made in the States until there was a protective duty. If we impose a protective duty on these goods, we may have a very flourishing industry before long.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 65, by adding to the duty, “ Parasol, sunshade, and umbrella handles, sticks, and fitups . . ad valorem 10 per cent.” the words “and on and after 1st July, 1902, free.” - put. The committee divided -
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Item 66 - Piece goods, viz., Woollen, or containing wool, n.e.i., ad valorem, 15 per cent.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales).I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 66 by adding to the duty - “ Piece goods, viz., Woollen or containing wool, n.e.i., ad valorem, 15 per cent.,” the words “and on and after 1st July, 1902, 10 per cent.”
In moving for this reduction I wish to say at once that I do not propose to take up any length of time, nor do I intend to state my reasons at any length in view of the declaration of the Government that they will oppose all alterations of the Tariff. It is only a waste of time to attempt to make out a case, because whether the case be good, bad, or indifferent, the Government is equally opposed to it.
– And whether my arguments are good, bad, or indifferent, the honorable senator will stand to his opinion.
– Because I have made up my mind before submitting the motion ; and the honorable and learned senator having stated that he is going to oppose all suggested alterations, and the majority of honorable senators having ranged themselves on one side or the other, it is merely consuming valuable time to enter into arguments for or against such a proposal. I have heard frequent appeals made that honorable senators should not look at questions from the point of view of particular States, but should regard them from a purely Australian stand-point. I cannot help recognising that that view is generally put forward by some one who is proposing something in the interests of some particular industry or of his own State. But I am going to put in a word on behalf of the large body of consumers. I make no plea for the importing industry. I do not think I know halfadozen importers, and my acquaintance with them is a particularly casual one. But I do know that the mission with which I was sent to this Senate was to represent a State which has been loyal to free-trade principles, and where we have been led to believe that the interests of the consumers should take priority over the interests of any body of producers. lt is in the interests of the consumers of an article that enters .into the daily life of the people that I now make a plea for the reduction of this duty. Exactly what the imports will be it is impossible to predict, but as the Government estimate the revenue at something like £750,000 on a 20 per cent, basis, it is quite evident that the value of the imports will be somewhere in the neighbourhood of £3,000,000. It is quite clear, when the importations assume such large proportions, that the goods are consumed by the great body of the public. It cannot be alleged that these are commodities that are consumed by the better-off classes ; they are articles which are largely used and required by the great mass of the people of this country. It is for that reason - in order to lighten the load of taxation upon the large majority of those who have to earn their living by the sweat of their brow - that I ask honorable senators to give a sympathetic consideration to the proposal now submitted. I believe honorable senators would like to think that this Tariff will have some measure of permanence about it. That can only be obtained by the various duties being made as reasonable as possible. Speaking for New South Wales, I venture to say with confidence that that State will not be satisfied with a Tariff such as the one before .us. It would, therefore, be a matter of excellent policy on the part of our protectionist friends if they were to be a little bit more inclined to compromise, especially as by giving way a little they may may secure for the Tariff some reasonable degree of permanence. New South Wales is too restive under these high duties to allow the present Tariff to remain permanent, unless a more conciliatory spirit prevails. The people of that State strongly object to these duties, and are not likely to rest content under a Tariff which they regard as iniquitous and wrong. Therefore, if the protectionists want to have a Tariff which shall be permanent, and desire ‘ to have some reasonable assurance that the duties passed by this Parliament shall remain undisturbed for a reasonable period, it will be an excellent investment for them to be a little more moderate in their demands. We have been told that this was to be a compromise Tariff. From that I assumed that it was to be one that would take fairly into account the varying circumstances which prevailed in the States prior to federation. What was the position in the States 1 On these commodities Western Australia had a duty of 10 per cent., Tasmania 20 per cent., South Australia and Queensland 15 per cent., Victoria 20 per cent., whilst in New South Wales there was no duty. The mean is 1 1 per cent. I do not say that it is possible to take duties and divide them in that way in order to ascertain what a fair rate of duty would be. But we cannot afford, in framing a compromise Tariff, to ignore the standard adopted in the several States prior to federation. At least we should try to come near to the mean between the extremes. Now T come to the reasons why I submit that this duty should be reduced. One of the most frequent arguments in regard to the articles in question is that the manufacture of woollens is particularly an Australian industry. It is urged that the growth of wool, which is the raw material of these goods, being carried on in Australia, weought to be able to conduct the industry with a great measure of success. I admit at once that this is distinctly an Australian, natural industry; but the very fact that all the facilities for a woollen industry exist here renders the demand for the necessity of protection less valid. If the industry did not enjoy these facilities I could understand a demand being made for even a greater amount of protection than that proposed. But the fact that the local manufacturers possess all these facilities ; that they are enabled to save, as against the English manufacturers, the freight to and from the old country, and that they have the pick of the best wool in the whole world close at their factory doors, constitutes one of the reasons why I urge that the small duty named in the motion is ample. I do not propose to deal with the figures relating to the position of the industry in Victoria, save in a passing reference. I will admit at once that in the number of hands employed, the number of factories, and the quantity of material treated, the industry in Victoria assumes the place of priority as compared with the other States. I admit, further, that under a sufficiently protective duty it is possible to develop any industry. “Whether it will be profitable or not is quite another matter. Honorable senators are- aware that in Victoria the industry has enjoyed very stiff protection for something like 30 years. Some few years ago that degree of protection was reduced from 40 or 45 per cent, to 25 per cent. According to a paper laid on the table of another place the number of adult hands employed in the industry in Victoria is 1013, in addition to some children. No doubt I shall be met with the assertion that the industry, which has obtained some magnitude in Victoria, cannot possibly live if the duty is reduced to 10 per cent. That is an argument which we always hear from those interested in any protected industry whenever an attempt is made to reduce the measure of protection hitherto enjoyed. I never expect to see any one sheltered by a ring of protective duties affirming that he is prepared to do with less than he has previously received. It is rather against human nature that any one should ask us to do something that would increase the competition to which his industry is subjected. A statement similar to that which I expect to hear in regard to my proposal has been made against the Government proposal by strong protectionists in Victoria. In another place an amendment was moved to increase the duty to 25. per cent., and Mr. Crouch, a representative of the district in which, I understand, the principal woollen mills, of Victoria exist, told the committee that it was absolutely certain–
– Is the honorable senator alluding to something which occurred in another place?
– I was about to do so. I will only say that a gentleman thoroughly qualified to express an opinion declared that the industry could not exist with less than a duty of 25 per cent. I mention that fact as showing that we must accept statements of this kind, coming from avowed partisans of the industry, with a large measure of reserve. If it is to be believed that the industry cannot exist under a 10 per cent, duty, then if the other statement to which I have referred is equally true the industry must be doomed, even with a duty of 1 5 per cent. I do not believe, however, that with a 10 per cent, or a 15 per cent, duty the industry, established as it is in Victoria, and having struck root in three other States, will cease to exist merely because we take from it some measure of the high protection which it has enjoyed. It is interesting to note that with nothing like the field which Victorian manufactures have possessed, and with a duty of 15 per cent., the industry has made of late years relatively greater progress in Tasmania than in Victoria.
– We have had a 20 per cent, duty in Tasmania.
– If that is so, I accept the correction. My notes show that the duty was 15 per cent. At any rate, with a lower duty than that prevailing in Victoria, and with a smaller market, the industry in that State has made relatively greater progress. It is also useful to note that, with a lower duty and a smaller local market, those engaged in the industry in Tasmania have found it more necessary than have the manufacturers of Victoria to look for markets abroad, and that they use a far larger proportion of local wool in their manufactures than is the case in this State. In Tasmania they use 1 lb. of wool for every 7 lbs. of production, while in Victoria 1 lb. of wool is used for every 30 lbs. of local production. “ The explanation is very simple. The Tasmanian woollen manufacturers had to look for a market beyond their own shores. They found it in New South Wales,- and the only way in which they could gain a footing there was by producing a superior article to compete with goods of a similar character from other countries. Victorian woollen manufacturer’s, with a higher degree of protection, and having a market of their own, appear to have rested content with an effort to meet the local demand. I have it on excellent authority that in Queensland, with a 1 5 per cent, duty, the manufacturers have been paying higher wages than the manufacturers of Victoria. They have paid excellent dividends, and have turned out a cloth - I speak of the products of the Ipswich mills - equal to anything produced in the States. Tasmania has made the progress to which I have referred under a duty of 20 per cent., and New South Wales has been able to establish the industry, although not to such an extent as I should like to see, with an absolutely open port. Under these circumstances surely we must expect that a very much larger measure of prosperity can be secured with a very much smaller duty when the whole of the States become a market for each of these manufacturers. I understand that the principal drawback to the local manufacture of woollens, tweeds, and so forth, has been the necessity for a diversity of patterns, aud for a multiplicity of different lines, while there has been a comparatively limited market. Senator Sargood endorses that view, and we must see at once what an enormous advantage the woollen manufacturers will have now that the Inter-State duties have been swept away. Surely the enlarged market is more than equivalent to the difference in the duty which I now propose. I trust that honorable senators, bearing in mind the appeal which I have put forward on behalf, of the large consuming body of New South Wales and other States, and bearing in mind also the enlarged market now open to our manufacturers, will give a sympathetic consideration to my motion. I should like to refer to one of the evils which freetraders allege must follow protection, particularly when it is kept at a high rate, and which has been demonstrated in connexion with this industry in Victoria, to a greater extent, perhaps, than in any other protected industry here. Evidence was given before the State Tariff Board showing that, to a large extent, the woollens made in Victoria obtained rather a bad name owing to the large proportion of shoddy manufactured. If honorable senators will turn to the Tariff Board’s report, they will find that managers, directors, and others connected with the woollen factories of Victoria, were examined, and the evidence which they gave was that cloth was being made here which, one of them admitted, was a disgrace to the State, as well as to the factory which turned it out. The witness went on to point out why so much shoddy was being produced. He said it was due to internal competition, and to the difficulties which manufacturers would have in selling, at anything like a profitable price, the articles which they ought to make. These difficulties will disappear with the larger market now available to the manufacturers. If, at the same time, we lower the duty, leaving it possible for some importation to go on, we shall apply a very necessary spur to local manufacture. Taken, together with the natural protection, a 10 per cent, duty will give the local manufacturers all the protection that they can reasonably expect to obtain, while at the same time it will keep the competition of outside manufacturers sufficiently near to compel those who wish to succeed to obtain the best machinery, adopt the best methods of manufacture, and turn out the best work.
– The honorable senator says that 1 lb. of wool is used for every 30 lbs. of the manufactured product turned out by the Victorian mills. What does the 30 lbs. consist of?
– According to the report it consists principally of old rags.
– The honorable senator who has moved this motion has done so in a very concise way, and has evidently appreciated the importance of the matter with which we are dealing. I do not complain of the way in which he has put his views before the committee, because it appears to me that they have been put very fairly and reasonably. “I object to the motion upon two grounds. I object to it upon the ground of revenue, and also in the interests of the very large industry and the attendant industries which are involved. With regard to revenue, some idea may be formed of the importance of this item if I refer merely to the anticipations of the Treasurer as to the revenue to be derived from it under the duty of 20 per cent, as originally introduced. With that duty the Treasurer estimated that a revenue amounting to £336,000 would be obtained. That, of course, was the estimated revenue in a normal year, when the operations of local production had begun to have full effect, and after all the disturbing influences attendant upon the introduction of the Tariff had come to an end. It must, therefore, be taken that the estimate in these circumstances would be below rather than above the mark. It was estimated that a duty of 20 per cent. would produce the large revenue to which I have referred, and with a duty of 15 per cent. it is quite clear that, if not that amount, a very large amount of revenue would be involved. I did not quite gather from the honorable and learned senator whether he supposes that the reduction he suggests will increase the amount of revenue. He has not stated that, but I think there are strong grounds for believing that a reduction to 1 0 per cent. will lead to a falling off of revenue. We all know that in the imposition of duties we may get to a point at which all or the greater part of the importations are shut out. If a duty which has that effect is lowered, we shall get more and more of importations, until the duty is brought to a point at which, no matter how much further it is lowered, it will not produce more revenue, because, after that point is reached, the additional importations will not compensate for the lowering of theduty. I say that we have got to that stage in connexion with this item when we have fixed the duty at 15 per cent., and that a reduction to 10 per cent. must result in a loss of revenue. The probabilities are that a certain amount of manufacturing will go on in the Commonwealth even if the duty is reduced to 10 per cent. There may be places in which, for certain special reasons, manufacturing may continue, but however these manufac tures may displace the cheaper kind of articles, it is quite clear that there must always come in a large quantity of the better class of materia], and that better-class material will be imported whatever the duty may be, so long as it is a reasonable duty. A 15 per cent. duty will certainly not operate to keep out the better class of tweeds which are generally imported, and Isay, therefore, that to reduce thatduty to 10 per cent. will be to deliberately sacrifice a large portion of revenue which we should get by the imposition of the higher duty. I have very little doubt that the difference in importations which will arise upon the reduction of the duty from 15 to 10 per cent. will not anything like compensate for a reduction of one-third of the amount of the duty. It is, of course, very difficult to say to what extent we shall lose revenue by a reduction of the duty from 15 to 10 per cent., because we do not know exactly what the operation of local production will be in the changed conditions of the larger market afforded by Inter-State free-trade. But I think that any one who looks at the matter fairly will agree that in regard to the higher class of tweeds and’ other woollen goods which are not manufactured here there must be a loss of revenue, because the importations cannot be expected to increase to such an extent as to compensate for the loss due to the difference in the duty.When we are dealing with such a large amount as an anticipated revenue of £336,000, it will readily be understood that the loss of even a small percentage of duty will materially affect the finances of the Commonwealth. It will affect not only the States in which manufacturing takes place, but the whole of the Commonwealth. There is another point of view from which we must regard this question. We cannot treat this item as standing alone. I remind honorable senators that item58, which deals with woollen goods and goods having wool mixed with them, has been postponed and it is quite clear that if we reduce the duty upon this item, which covers the raw material from which the apparel dealt with in item58 is made, we must on the same principle reduce the duty on that item also. If we make a reduction in the case of that item, to put it upon a fair basis, it will undoubtedly lead to a loss of revenue.
– An increase of revenue.
– In regard to some articles it may lead to an increase; but in regard to the more expensive articles and those from which, with an ad valorem duty, we expect the larger amount of revenue, the result must inevitably be a loss of revenue. I make reference to these matters now, because it appears to me that it is a very serious thing to interfere with a large revenue-producing item such as this, unless we can be satisfied that, by our interference, we are not going to sacrifice revenue. There is also the protectionist view of the matter to be considered. This is one of those duties which, as I have said before, must serve the double purpose of revenue and protection, and looking at it from the point of view of both revenue and protection, I should like honorable senators to refer for a moment to the previous item 60 - blankets, blanketings, rugs, and rugging - which has already been passed, and the duty upon which has been fixed at 15 per cent. I point out that the mills which make blankets and blanketings, or most of them, make all kinds of woollen goods, and they make the tweeds and woollen piece goods with which we are dealing now. That being so, upon what principle of consistency can we impose a duty of 15 per cent. upon blankets, blanketings, and rugs, and a duty of only 10per cent upon woollen piece goods ? Surely there must be some consistency in this Tariff?
– It is rather late for the honorable and learned senator to look for it.
– If we are to take the suggestions which have been made in the Senate as an indication of what the Tariff will be, I agree with the honorable and learned senator ; but if we take the Tariff as introduced, the honorable and learned senator will find no inconsistency.
– There is nothing else in it.
- Senator Pulsford would approve of one kind of Tariff only, and that would be a Tariff from which we should derive no revenue at all from any thing but spirits and narcotics. The honorable senator is an absolute free-trader. I do not know that that is news to the committee, but I should like to repeat it. If we are to have any kind of consistency in this Tariff, surely there must be some reason given why blankets, blanketings, and rugs should carry a duty of 15 per cent, and woollen piece goods should be put at 10 per cent.? I say that no reason can be given for that, and it seems to me to be the. most absolute caprice to put a duty of . 1.0 per cent. upon these woollen goods and a duty of 15 per cent. upon blankets and blanketings. Why is this duty, from the protectionist point of view, put upon these articles, and what does the protection amount to ? First of all I should like to follow my honorable and learned friend, Senator Millen, in his reference to the Tariff previously existing in the different States. So far from a duty of 15 per cent. being a heavy duty as compared with the duties previously existing in the States, it is a small duty. Letusseewhatthosedutieswere. In Victoria, as the honorable and learned senator told us, there was a duty of 25 per cent. upona certain class of articles, 15 per cent. on others, and others, under certain circumstances, were free. It will be found that the duty upon the bulk of them was, as Senator Millen has said, 25 per cent. In Queensland there was a duty of 15 per cent. In South Australia, 15 per cent. in some instances, 10 per cent. in some, and in other instances free, as under the Victorian Tariff. In Tasmania the duty was 20 per cent. In Western Australia there was a duty of 15 per cent. on some goods, on other goods a duty of 10 per cent., and upon another class a duty of 5 per cent. If we are to take the general run of these Tariffs as a guide, it will be found that the duty of 15 per cent. which we propose is certainly lower than the duties imposed under the State Tariffs. InVictoria and Tasmania it was higher, while in Queensland and South Australia it was the same. Under these circumstances it is not a very happy statement for my honorable friend to make in support of his view, that this duty of 15 per cent. compares very favourably with the duties which were imposed in the States. He has spoken about the industry in Victoria and Tasmania. There is no doubt that some complaints have been made of some of the work which has been turned out in Victoria. But does that apply generally to the productions of the mills ?
– They arevery fair, on the whole.
– Taking the mills as a whole, as good an article is produced here, for its price, as can be produced anywhere. It would be a very grave injustice to the eight Victorian factories to say that shoddy is a characteristic, or anything like a characteristic, of the generality of their work. The product which Senator Millen described, would be shoddy, if there was only one part wool in every 30 parts.
– Senator Keating has drawn my attention to the interpretation which apparently has been placed on the words I used. If it is assumed that I said 1 lb. of wool is used for every 30 lbs. of the product turned out at a factory, that is not what I meant to say. What I wished to convey was that 1 lb. of wool is used in a factory for every 30 lbs. of the Victorian production of wool.
– I misunderstood the honorable senator. Then I take it that his only reference to the nature of the product of the Victorian mills is the extract which he gave from the report.
– He said that there were rags in it.
– The honorable senator wasasked what the other 30 parts consisted of, and he said that they consisted of rags, but I presume that he did not mean that there were 30 parts of rags to one part of wool.
– I am quite sure that no honorable senator will adopt the view that the product of these mills, speaking generally, is of an inferior quality. I understood Senator Millen to admit that the product of the Ipswich mills in Queensland is exceedingly good. The product of the Tasmanian mills is, I think, admitted to be of a very high class indeed, and it is now fighting its way into the markets of other States by reason of its high class and itspurity. It must be remembered that the industry grew and prospered in Tasmania under a duty of 20 per cent.
– It started under a duty of 121/2 per cent.
– I do not care how it started. I know that it has grown to its present dimensions by reason of a duty of 20 per cent.
– Concurrently with it, but not by reason of it. It was never imposed for protective purposes ; it was never asked for.
– I do not care what motive impelled the Legislature to put on the duty. The effect of its imposition was that it gave an incidental protection, which has certainly served and improved this industry, even if it was not started under the duty. It is obvious that if there had not been that duty in force, and Tasmania had been open to the competition of the world, there would be very few Tasmanian mills to-day.
– They competed in the free- trade market of New South Wales against every body.
– We look at the matter from opposite points of view. The experience of all Australia, I venture to say, is that there must be some reasonable amount of protection for the establishment of these industries. There is no doubt that in New South Wales several mills have been established under free-trade. I undertake to say that if honorable senators were to examine the condition of those mills and the statements which have been made by those who are interested in them, they would find that all of them feel the want of a certain amount of protection. Can there be any doubt that they will be all the better and the stronger for an amount of protection, which will have some substantial effect in keeping out the competition of European countries ? That competition is very severe. Our manufacturers have to compete not only against the woollens, but against a great number of manufactures made almost wholly of cotton, which are imported in large quantities and sold as woollens, but at a very much lower rate. Not only are all these articles imported in the ordinary course of trade, but a great many of them are brought in ships, which are subsidized by the German Government for the purpose of pushing German trade. So that we have notonly to compete against the cheap labour of European countries and their clever imitations of woollens, but we have also to compete against the aid whichthey get in the freightage of the goods to our markets. It is well to consider what this industry means. It not only employs our workmen directly and indirectly, but it forms an immediate outlet for our great staple product. Is there any reason why Australia should bo obliged to send its wool to Europe to be returned in the form of a manufactured product ? Is there any reason why our wool should not go direct to our own factories to be converted into cloth for the clothing of our own people ? It must be remembered that if the mills turn out the better class goods the clothing manufacturers will be supplied with a cheap raw material which will enable them to extend their operations, and so give a larger and more constant employment. It will make a very great difference to a clothing manufacturer whether he has to buy - even if he has to pay an import duty of 10 per cent. - the product of a foreign country, or whether he can use the product of our own mills on which no duty has to be paid. When he uses the product of our own mills he will save 10 per cent. on the value of his raw material. If we give only that amount of protection which enables the industry just barely to live on the product of its imperfect machinery it is prevented from attaining that success which can only come from a very large production. On the other hand, if we give such a reasonable protection as will enable the industry to keep fairly on its feet and to largely increase its output, then by the increase of its output and the enlargement of its business it will he able to get the best machinery to produce high-class goods, and in that way to supply our clothing manufacturers with every kind of article they require. I hope the committee will look at the question from every point of view. Nothing can be more important than the protectionist point of view, because it involves a variety of occupations and a variety of interests. Nothing can be more important either than the revenue point of view, because the- duty is expected to yield the very large sum of £336,000. It cannot be satisfactorily disposed of if it is regarded only from the revenue or the protectionist point of view. The only fair way is to regard the question from the balance of these different views and to fix upon a duty which will give a reasonable amount of protection, and, at the same time yield a sufficient amount of revenue. These ends, I submit, are both accomplished by a duty of 15 per cent. It has been arrived at after a great deal of discussion and consideration. It represents just about the happy mean between revenue production and protection, and it will, I venture to say, settle this question for a considerable number of years. Senator Millen has almost warned the committee against the imposition of a duty which is so extravagant in its character as to lead the people of New South Wales or any other part of the Commonwealth to demand, as soon as possible, that it shall be altered. Having regard to the duties in other parts of the Tariff - having regard to the duty which has been allowed to stand on blankets and blanketing - and comparing this duty with the duties imposed on other articles, it cannot be said that it is unreasonable from the revenue or the protectionist point of view. No proof has been given here, and I do not think any statement has been made, that in “Victoria, where this large protection existed, the cost of the article to the consumer has been any greater. It has been lowered, as it has been in other places when local production has once begun to compete with importation. So it will be in the Commonwealth. Under these circumstances, I do not see how the consumers will be in any way prejudiced by the rate of duty.
– My honorable friend Senator Millen has quoted some facts which are altogether wrong. I regard the proposed duty as too low, and I intend to show why. In the first instance the wages paid in Great Britain in the woollen industry are 50 per cent, lower than those paid in Australia. Then the interest on capital outlay is 50 per cent: higher in Australia, and the hours of labour worked here are 48 hours per week as against 56 hours in England. Further we know that unsaleable stocks in the markets of the United Kingdom are brought out to Australia and sold. Our markets are flooded with flannels which the people at home do not care about. But there is a competitor nearer home, in whose country the wages paid are a mere bagatelle: Sowden, in his Commercial and Political Japan, says -
At one of the woollen factories I saw numerous girls engaged, in deftly manipulating the fabrics in the weaving machines, and their payment for ten hours work was 10 cents - that is less than 3d.
– The same old bogey !
– If it is a bogey, it has been created by the free-trade editor of the South Austalian Register. He says further : -
There is not enough mechanical plant to enable them to export woollen or many cotton - goods, though I saw sufficient evidence to convince me that Japan and Shanghai together - particularly if mixed partnerships be allowed - will soon make a distinct impression upon the manufacturing statistics of the East, all in distinct and serious competition with Great Britain and America.
I particularly want to direct attention to the statement made by Senator Millen with regard to the woollen industry of Victoria. His facts were altogether wrong. He spoke of materials being made in the Tasmanian woollen mills from 1 lb. of wool and 7 lbs. of other material.
– If the honorable senator had been here he would have heard me explain that I did not mean what he is now supposing I said.
– Am I right in assuming that the honorable senator said that in Victoria I lb. of wool was used for 30 lbs. of cotton, or 30 lbs. of rags ?
– What I wished to say was that for 7 lbs. of wool grown in Tasmania 1 lb. was manufactured locally, as against 1 lb. locally manufactured in Victoria to 30 lbs. grown, showing that the consumption of locally-grown wool under a low duty in Tasmania was greater than the local consumption in Victoria with a high duty.
– It struck me at the time that the honorable senator’s remark was a reflection on the quality of the product of the woollen mills of Victoria ; and when I asked him what the balance- of the material was he said - “ Chiefly old rags.”
– I did not quite catch the sense of the honorable senator’s interjection.
– Then do I understand that there was no reflection on the quality of the material produced in Victoria ?
– Undoubtedly there was.
– I am afraid I do not grasp the honorable senator’s meaning. I should like to know distinctly whether he makes any complaint of the quality of the woollens produced in Victoria?
– The complaint was set out in the report of the Victorian Tariff Board.
– lam referring to the honorable senator’s speech in this Chamber, and not to something that was said many years ago in Victoria.
– I summarized the statements made to the Tariff Board.
– I want to know what the honorable senator has to complain of. Does he complain of the quality of the woollens produced in Victoria?
– I referred to the coinplaints made by witnesses before the Tariff Board.
– I am afraid I cannot draw a direct answer from the honorable senator, and I take it that he has no complaint against the quality of the material produced in Victoria. It is an extraordinary thing that a squatter in this country should send his wool to another country to be manufactured into flannels. I have no doubt whatever that it has happened time after time that the wool taken from a run in New South Wales has been sent to be manufactured in Germany, has come hack in the form of flannel, and been worn by the very squatter who exported the wool. What reason is there why our people should not have an opportunity of making this wool into textiles ? I am sorry that the duty proposed is not higher, and that instead of sending our wool out of the country to be taken 25,000 miles round the earth, afterwards to be brought back in the form of flannels and other textiles, we have not the necessary means of making it up in the country.
– The proposal for the reduction of this duty was introduced in moderate and concise terms by Senator Millen, who was followed by Senator O’Connor, who opposed ib also in moderate terms. The matter is of great importance - in fact there is no matter of greater importance throughout this voluminous Tariff. In the first place, I must say a word as to the position of woollens under the Tariffs of the various States. New South Wales, of course, had no duty. It was convenient for the Vice-President of the Executive Council in referring to the previous duties to ignore that fact, although New South Wales does not happen to be the least or most insignificant of the Australian States, Under the Victorian Tariff there were two rates of duty, one of 25 per cent., and one of 15 per cent., but various descriptions of woollens were free of duty. It is desirable that we should acquaint ourselves with the exact position under the Victorian Tariff. In 1900 there were imported into Victoria £299,340 worth of woollens, which paid duty at 25 per cent. There were also, imported £50, 137 worth which paid duty at 15 per cent. Those which paid 25 per cent, were mainly cloths known as trouserings, coatings, and similar goods of the best material. Then there were imported woollen goods, mainly known as dress goods, to the value of £300,517, which were absolutely free of duty. There were some other descriptions unenumerated which were also free, and were imported to the extent of £18,425. So that the total value of woollen goods imported into Victoria in 1900 was £688,000, on which the total Customs duties collected were £82,354. It is obvious that, casting up the total amount of duty collected for the whole of the imports, the average rate in Victoria was only equal to a little less than 12-i- per cent., about half of the importations into Victoria being absolutely free of duty. In South Australia there were two rates of duty, 10 and 15 per cent. In Queensland the duties were 5 per cent, and 10 per cent., in Western Australia the duty was 10 per cent., and in Tasmania 20 per cent. When I proceed further to ascertain the average for Australia in the true way, that is, upon the basis of population, I find that in New South Wales, with 36 per cent, of the population, the duty was nil, while in Victoria, representing 32 per cent, of the population of the Commonwealth, the duty averaged 124 p©1” cent. I find that taking the whole of Australia in that way, the average duty which was collected through the Commonwealth upon woollen goods was 8^ per cent. Therefore, the proposal now made is not so low in comparison as some honorable senators are inclined to think. The woollen industry is not like the manufacture of candles, or anything of that kind, for it constitutes a very large number of branches of industry. We have blankets, shawls, webs, worsteds, and a great many other things. The remarkable feature of the figures relating to Victoria is that they show that a duty of 25 per cent, did not stop the importation of very fine trouserings and coatings. We have the further fact that although Victoria was importing these cloths to a considerable extent, she was at the same time an exporter of other woollen goods. In 1900 she exported between £10,000 and £11,000 worth of woollens. Practically no duty which we might fix would cause certain descriptions of woollens to be manufactured in Australia. On the other hand a number of other classes can be produced here, and produced without a protection of even 1 petcent. Victoria could not export between £10,000 and £11,000 worth of her woollen goods if she had to rely on protection to enable her to do so. We have also the evidence of New Zealand, which we know has been very successful as a producer of these goods, and sends to all the States of Australia, not a large, but a certain quantity of woollen goods, which are of high quality and are greatly esteemed. Even Tasmania and Queensland produce woollens, and in New South Wales the production of woollens is an industry which has existed for many years. The industry there lias employed a number of hands varying from 100 to 400, and I believe it is not long since that the old established Parramatta Woollen Mills declared a dividend of 10 per cent. That shows that it is possible to produce without protection the lower class of woollen goods. I do not suggest that protection would have any avail in enabling Australia to produce a superior class of woollens, because, as I have shown, £300,000 worth was introduced into Victoria in spite of a duty of 25 per cent. The matter, therefore, may safely be regarded solely from the point of view of revenue. Senator Styles has referred to what he termed the absurdity of wool being sent from Australia to England, or to some part of the continent to be manufactured into woollens, which might afterwards be worn on the very run upon which the wool was raised. I have here a statement showing the extraordinary amount of natural protection which is enjoyed by those who choose to make woollen goods in Australia. We will suppose that a producer of woollens in Bradford, Yorkshire - which is the main woollen-producing district of Great Britain - buys in Australia 1,000 bales of wool, takes it to Bradford for the purpose of turning it into cloth, and subsequently sends the manufactured article out here to be sold. What are the various proceedings necessary, and what expenditure is likely to attend that procedure? I will give the committee some figures which were collected at a very considerable cost of time and inquiry. In the first place, with regard to the expenditure on 1,000 bales of wool, there would be a commission to the Australian buying agent which would not be less than -j- per cent., representing, on the ordinary price of wool, about £90. Then there would be the banker’s commission and exchange, 1-^- per cent., coming to £225. The wool would have to be shipped by steamer, and the expenses would be about 6d. per bale or £25. Perhaps the majority of the wool sent to England goes by sailing vessel, and therefore I have taken the’ sailingvessel freight, which is seven-sixteenths of Id. per lb., representing £657. Sea insurance at 25s. per cent, would represent £225 ; landing and ‘carting charges at the English .port, at ls. per bale, would come to £50, and the railway carriage of 160 tons of wool at 25s. per ton from London or some other port to Bradford would amount to £200. Having taken the wool to Bradford, let us see what would be the expense after the woollens were manufactured of bringing them to Australia. There would bs the packing and the cost of cases, which I have estimated at £70. The railway carriage on 64 tons at ‘ 40s. per ton to the shipping port would amount to £128 ; then there would be carting and shipping charges at the port of shipment, amounting to £20 ; freight by steamer to Australia, 120 tons measurement at 40s per ton, £240; sea insurance at 15s. per cent., £225 ; landing charges in Australia, £20 ; and banker’s commission, &c, at 1£ per cent., £375. Finally, at the very lowest estimate, it would take six months to send the wool to England and to have it manufactured and returned to Australia. I do not think it could be done in anything like the time, but I have set it down at that, and if we reckon interest on £25,000 for six months at the rate of 5 per cent., we have a further expenditure of £625, making a grand total of £3,175, which the Bradford manufacturer of woollens would have to pay, but from which the local manufacturer would be absolutely free. That is the amount of the handicap against the Yorkshire manufacturer which remains in the hands of the Australian manufacturer to be distributed in increased wages amongst his employes. It is a very substantial natural protection. There is hardly any other industry which could be referred to in which the natural protection is so great. In these figures lies the secret of the ability of Australian manufacturers to produce, as we find them doing in almost every one of the States, woollen goods to some extent or other. Senator O’Connor referred to the original estimate of revenue made by the Government, namely, that £336,000 would be received under the duty as fixed at 20 per cent. That rate was reduced in another place to 1 5 per cent. When Senator O’Connor introduced the Tariff in the Senate, and gave us a list of items in connexion with which he reckoned that the reductions made in the original duties by the other House would result in a reduction of revenue, he did not include woollen goods in that list. The reason why he was not able to do so was that a very large amount of revenue was being received from importations of these goods. I find that during the earlier months of the six months period, to which reference has often been made, there was duty paid to the extent of £265,000, notwithstanding the fact that New South Wales was immensely loaded up with goods of this description, which had been imported free. I think, therefore, that the estimate of £336,000, made by the Government as the revenue to be derived from a 20 per cent, duty, was recognised by them when the Tariff was introduced by Senator O’Connor into the Senate as being substantially the amount we might expect would be realized from a 15 per cent. duty. It is quite probable that the revenue will exceed that amount. I will admit at once that the reduction of the duty from 15 per cent, to 10 per cent, will mean some loss of revenue, but I have something further to say, and it is, that it is generally admitted that the duty upon woollen goods and the duty upon apparel hang very much together. I think there is not the least doubt that if we succeeded in reducing this duty upon woollen piece goods, as I hope we shall, and also the duties upon apparel proportionately, the reduced duties on apparel will yield a very considerable amount of revenue. It is noteworthy that the whole of the revenue estimated by the Government to be received from the duties upon apparel is £209,000, and yet within six months more than the estimate for the’ whole year has been actually received. It is quite evident therefore that the duty upon apparel is one that will yield a very large revenue. When we bring it down to reasonable correspondence with the duty which we desire to impose upon piece goods there will be a revenue received which will belong very largely to the States which pay it, such as Western Australia, Tasmania, and Queensland. Unless we can arrange some reasonable rate of duty upon apparel, we shall find that the smaller States will come off very badly indeed in the matter of revenue from that item. It is therefore to the interest of States, such as I have named, that honorable senators representing those States should assist in moderating these duties, and so arranging them that it will be possible for a considerable revenue to be obtained from apparel, instead of having these duties used merely as a means of filling the pockets of manufacturers in Victoria, or anywhere else where they may happen to exist. The manufacture of clothing is mainly in the hands of very- big firms, and the trade is likely to become more and more concentrated. Unless we can fix these duties at strictly moderate rates, the smaller the State, the smaller the proportion of revenue it will get. I consider that we have made out a substantial case for the reduction of this duty upon these goods. So far as New South Wales is concerned, we shall be very much obliged to honorable senators if they remove these duties altogether, but we who are representing New South Wales are tonight, as we have been all along, willing to compromise and to meet the other States, and we doso in this matter in the terms suggested.
Senate adjourned at 10.38 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 12 June 1902, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1902/19020612_senate_1_10/>.