1st Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the choir at 4.30 p.m., and read prayers.
– I wish to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council whether the Government have received the resolutions passed at a recent public meeting in Sydney as to the removal of the duties on fodder, and, if so, whether they are preparing to reconsider their decision on the subject?
– The The Government have received the resolutions, but, as the whole matter had been very carefully considered before, and their position stated by the Acting Prime Minister, they do not consider that they can at the present time review that” decision or re-open the matter.
– I have to acquaint the Senate that to-day I waited upon His Excellency the Governor-General, and presented to him the resolution of the Senate of 20th J une expressing its great regret at the departure of His Excellency, who was pleased to make the following reply : -
The action o? the Senate in passing this resolution is very precious to me, and I thank the members of that Chamber for this generous recognition of the manner in which I have endeavoured to do my duty as the Sovereign’s representative during the past year and a half.
I am unaffectedly sorry to leave a country with which I have been so happily associated, and most sincerely do I pray that Providence may guard and guide the destinies of this Commonwealth.
G o vernor-G General 1st July, 1902.
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : - 1, The Postmaster-General is aware of a regulation which provides that persons requiring receipts for telegrams, which are seldom asked for and are not given in the usual course of business, shall pay a penny for such receipts by affixing a penny postage stamp to the receipt form. This regulation merely makes general a practice hitherto in vogue in New South Wales under the regulations of that State. In Great Britain twopence is charged for a similar .receipt. In most States receipts are not given. 2 and 3. It is not intended that the penn)’ stamp shall give validity to the receipt.
asked the Postmaster-General, upon notice -
– The following are the answers to the honorable senators questions : -
In Committee (Consideration resumed from 30th June, vide page 14056).
Division VI. - Metals and machinery.
Item 78. Manufactures of metal, viz., agricultural, horticultural, and viticultural machinery and implements, n.e.i., including shares and plough plates cut to shape, horse-gears, and road-making ploughs, scoops, horse road rollers and machines, ad valorem, 15 per cent.
Upon which Senator Ewing had moved -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 78 by adding to the duty “Manufactures of metal, viz., agricultural, horticultural, and viticultural machinery and implements, n.e.i. … aci valorem, 15 per cent.” the words “and on after 1st August, 1902, 74 per cent.”
- Senator Ewing has pointed out that his proposal, if carried here, and acquiesced in elsewhere, will mean some benefit to the primary producers - in fact, that an opportunity is now presented to the committee of giving substantial relief to the farmer and primary producer, and other speakers have followed in the same line. I was somewhat grieved to hear Senator Dobson deal with the motion as he did. He pointed out that his object in supporting the motion is to secure some benefit for the farmer in Tasmania. During the consideration of the Tariff, innumerable opportunities of doing that were presented to my honorable colleague, and although he availed himself of many of them I certainly should have liked to have seen him - and I know that the farmers- in that State and throughout the rest of the Commonwealth would have liked to have seen him - avail himself of more of them. According to the arguments of the honorable senators on the other side it would seem that the Australian manufacturers of these implements are not capable of producing them in sufficient quantity and of as high a quality as is necessary to enable our farmers to get the best results out of the soil. As I listened’ to these arguments I could not help thinking that if these honorable senators realty wished to carry out the policy that they so earnestly and consistently advocate, it would be far better for them if they were to placard our coasts with huge notices, informing the world at large that this vast Commonwealth is either to let or for sale to the highest bidder, that it cannot produce anything for itself, and that the only condition imposed on the successful tenderer would be to provide the pastoralists throughout the Commonwealth with cheap rabbit-proof fencing, low freights, and everything they required in order to get the full benefit of the wool clip. I am not going to join in offering the Commonwealth for sale to the highest bidder, and to proclaim to the world that we are incapable of meeting the requirements of our ordinary producers. Honorable senators on’ the other side are constantly telling us that we cannot produce agricultural and horticultural implements in the same quantity and of the same quality as can outside countries. They have told us that if we allow these articles to come in duty free, the agriculturists generally will be considerably benefited, because they will have their tools of trade cheapened to them. Senator Dobson has referred to the position in Tasmania, and he has said that he cannot depart from the policy which was followed by that
State of allowing this machinery to come in duty free. I propose to describe the conditions offered to the user of these implements in Tasmania under the old regime and under the Commonwealth regime. It is a- wellknown circumstance that in the various States of the Commonwealth wehave for many years past been receiving agricultural implements made by the Massey-Harris Company, which claims - and, I believe, rightfully - to be the greatest manufacturer of such implements under the British flag. These implements have been made in Canada under a protective duty, which is stated in the papers circulated amongst members of the Senate to be 25 per cent. Canada has a population of something like 5,000,000. SenatorSargood pointed out last night, in an interjection, that the limited population of Australia gave a very small home market. I inferred that he- thought that the limited local demand would tend to prevent local manufacture from attaining to any considerable dimensions. But here is Canada - having immediately on its southern border the United States, which has large manufactories - turning out hundreds, of thousands of agricultural implements per annum. There is an open market in Great ‘Britain, but the Canadian manufacturers have facing them there oldestablished manufactories of these implements. Under a 25 percent, duty in Canada an, industry has been built up which is capable of supplying the requirements of a population of 5,000,000 people, and of sending its products to the far outlying portions of the British Empire. I believe that something like from- 55 to 60 per cent, of the importations of agricultural machinery into Australia come from the Massey-Harris Manufacturing Company, which can actually compete in respect to the volume, value, and quality of its output with the older established manufactories of the United States. In Tasmania, before federation, there was no duty upon agricultural implements. Our farmers received some small measure of protection for their commodities, and they are now receiving protection under the Commonwealth Tariff; Notwithstanding the remarks of Senator Dobson and of other honorable senators who have professed to be motived simply by a desire to assist the farmer - although they have protested very vigorously against the action of the committee in regard to various items that have already been dealt with regarding agricultural produce - I hold a better opinion of the farmers throughout Australia than to think for a moment they desire that their products should have the primary preference in Australian markets as against New Zealand, Californian, and Argentine products, whilst not being prepared in the interests of the whole public to give a quid pro quo in the shape of submission to protective duties upon the agricultural machinery which -it is neces3ary for them to use. We have in Tasmania, as Senator Dobson well knows, a gathering which may be regarded as historic in the sense that it has been for a considerable time past, an. annual gathering of those who- are engaged in agriculture. It is known as the Longford show. To that place every year, I suppose nearly the whole of the agriculturists of Tasmania turn their attention. They foregather to commune with one another as to the latest advances in scientific farming, and to examine implements which are submitted for their inspection by agents who solicit their custom on behalf of different agricultural implement making firms. Singularly enough, the Longford show was held in Tasmania, last year, about the day when the Tariff was introduced into the House of Representatives. In anticipation of duties being imposed upon agricultural machinery, the agents for the implements imported from abroad - including those imported from New Zealand- - had put up their prices by 10 per cent. On that particular occasion, for the first time, I believe, in the history of Tasmania, there were shown three travelling cutters, and two of them were sent from Victoria, having been manufactured by Victorian makers. This clearly indicated that the people of the mainland were prepared to enter into the markets of Tasmania now that by means of a duty they will have some preference over manufacturers in other parts of the world. What, was the result? Within a fortnight from that indication on the part of the manufacturers in the Commonwealth, the prices of all these implements imported from abroad were lowered by the 10 per cent, down to the level’ of the 1900 rate. I have taken the trouble to ascertain the prices of a -number of agricultural implements, and I purpose comparing the prices quoted in Tasmania in the year 1900, when there was no duty whatever, with those quoted to-day under a duty of 15 per cent. These figures are given to me by one who has been connected with the agricultural implement trade for twenty years.
– A disinterested person !
– This gentleman is a farmer. He has the whole of his money invested in farming. He grows regularly each year in Tasmania from 200 to 300 acres of grain. He has been for twenty years the representative of a foreign firm importing these agricultural implements. He is still their representor ‘tive. He uses more machinery, and of a higher class, than any other farmer in Tasmania, and, I venture to say, than, any other farmer in the Commonwealth with an equal acreage. He has Ms own threshingplant, travelling chaff-cutter, steam plough, drills, binders, harvesting machinery, and grain elevator. He is an interested party indeed ! If he studied his own interest and his own pocket on lines that gentlemen opposite would recommend to him, and gave expression to views such as are advocated by those who are now submitting this proposal for the reduction of the duty, he would be a veritable mine of wealth, not only to the free-traders of Tasmania, but of all Australia. He took an active and a remarkably effective part in inducing thefarmers of Tasmania to enter into the Federation. I asked chat man for cold facts, without arguments or opinions, and I have here his statement in his own writing. He tells me that fourteen years ago, in Tasmania; 90 per cent, of the agricultural machinery hesold there was of English make, but,’ in 1901, nearly 95 per cent, of it was of American - including Canadian - make. Now let me quote the prices that prevailed in 1900, when there was no duty, as compared with the prices in 1902, when there was a duty of 15 per cent. In 1900 the price of Farmers’ Favourite drills in Tasmania was £37 10s. Now the price is £35.
– So that putting on ahigh duty reduced the price 1
– It did, and I wilL explain why directly. The price of Empire drills in 1900 was £32 ; the price is now £28. The price of Massey-Harris drills’ was £36 in 1900 ; the price is now .-£33’* 10s. The price of Massey cultivators was £17 in 1900; it is now £16 10s. The price of Osborne cultivators was £8 in 1900; the present, price is £7! The price- of Oliver double-furrow ploughs was £S in 1.900 ; the price is £7 10s. now. The price of Syracuse double-furrow ploughs was £7 in 1900 ; the present price is £6. So that since there has been operative a duty of 15 per cent, from October last, the poor unfortunate agriculturist of Tasmania, instead of having to pay the duty added to the cost of the machinery purchased by him, has been able to purchase it at a reduction.
– How does the duty benefit the implement manufacturer if it decreases the price ?
– The honorable senator knows as well as I do that the profit obtained by the importers of agricultural machinery exceeds even the profit ordinarily credited to a chemist. These importers make 60 up to 70 and even 80 per cent., so that they are able to cut down prices to such an extent as will keep out competition. They can often, by such means, absolutely close down all local production.
– Will the honorable and learned senator explain how it is that if the local manufacturer cannot compete successfully against the imported article at the higher price, he can hope to compete at the lower price 1
– If the duty is taken off altogether, we shall have the case of the reaper and binder over again. There will be a ring of importers, and we know that such rings take as much profit as they can make, amounting sometimes to 80 per cent, on the invoice price. So soon as the local manufacturer endeavours to supply the local requirements, the prices quoted by the importer can be reduced by 50 or 60 per cent. In this way the local manufacturer can be crushed out, and so soon as he is crushed out, prices go up again. That has been the experience right through in connexion with this particular industry.
– Has the cost price of the American or Canadian manufactures been reduced during this period ?
– I presume that it has not decreased in the least. But almost each one of these manufacturers has now his Own agency in Australia, and can invoice his goods to his agents at the manufacturer’s cost. When we consider that there is one firm in America which turns out in ploughs alone 100,000 per annum, we can imagine at what actual manufacturer’s cost a surplus of 2,000 or 3,000 can be exported to Australia consigned by a manufacturer to his own local agency. In 1 894 the credit price for a reaper and binder in New Zealand, where there was no combine, was £40, with a 5 per cent, reduction for cash. In Tasmania, where we had a duty of 5 per cent., they were £50 each. In Victoria, where there was no duty, they were’ £55 each ; and in New South Wales,, where there was no duty and ostensibly no combine, the price was also £55. Senator Millen has said that the experience of New South Wales is otherwise ; but these are the circumstances, and I think the honorable senator will find that in his own State, where there was no duty, and, according to the tenets of the free-trade party there could have been no combine, the price of reapers and binders was actually £5 more than in Tasmania, where there was a duty of 5 per cent.
– The honorable and learned senator’s figures are wrong ; and I can contradict them on an authority quite as good as he gives.
– It is very easy to say that figures are wrong ; but it is much more correct to controvert a specific statement of this character by a specific statement to the contrary. Will the honorable senator tell me what was the price of reapers and binders in New South Wales in 1894?
– I shall show how absurd the honorable’ and learned senator’s figures are, and what is the explanation of the difference in prices.
– If the honorable senator knew what was the price of reapers and binders in New South Wales in 1894, he could have answered my query by interjections, but his silence indicates that he does not know what the price was there or elsewhere, and he is, therefore, not in a position to contradict my figures, nor will he be when he has made inquiries, as we shall see.
– The low prices at the Longford show were due almost entirely to the Osborne American Company coining in, and undercutting every one else.
– They were due to the fact that the representatives of the foreign companies, seeing that certain mainland manufacturers were determined to show and to compete against them in Tasmania for the first time, lowered their prices, thinking to prevent the further capitalization of local industries in order to meet local demands. Was not the Osborne Company represented in Australia before that Longford show was held ? Agricultural machinery was duty free in Tasmania, and the market in that State was open to all the English, American, and Canadian companies, including the Osborne Company, as well as to the Australian manufacturers. The Australian manufacturers did not choose to battle onTasmanian ground against outside companies producing articles of the quality of which we have heard something already ; but, as soon as they saw that Tasmania would be ringed round by a duty in common with their own States, they placed their articles on exhibition there in competition with those of other firms. The other firms, never anticipating such a, proceeding, had raised their prices 10 per cent. but within a fortnight after that Longford show was held they proceeded to reduce their prices to something like the original level, to bring them back even below the prices quoted by the localmanufacturers. I have taken the trouble of going into what Senator Millen would call interested quarters, hut, after all, who is not interested in every item in the Tariff? I have visited some of the factories in this State in which these articles are manufactured, and as a great deal is being made of the question of patents, I thinkit would be very informing to the community at large if we had some specific information as to what are the particular patents which honorable senators opposite constantly say prevent the Australian manufacturer from supplying the article required by the farmer. I am credibly told that in drills, binders, mowers, horserakes, threshers, and all farming machinery, save cream separators, there are not more than ten or a dozen essential patents which make it impossible for the Australian manufacturer to supply the article which is required by the Australian producer, and that of these perhaps the two most important are what are known as the McCormack tension adjuster and Massey’s grain deflector. I had an opportunity this morning of seeing a drill that is being turned out in numbers by one of the firms referred to last night by Senator Barrett. In this drill a number of features are combinedwhich many people would erroneously considerto be patents ; and the real essential feature which distinguishes it from any imported drill, and which gives it its own particular value for Australian requirements, is an Australian invention for which I am not surewhether a patent has or has not yet been taken out. We have incontrovertible evidence as to the position of the importer with regard to the reaper and binder, and despite what Senator Dobson has said - and I know that it is his earnest desire toassist the agriculturist - we have the striking circumstance that in Tasmania, notwithstanding the imposition of a duty upon agricultural machinery, its price has been reduced to the extent I have named. In October last the largest agricultural implement making firm in New Zealand, Messrs. Andrews and Beven, of the Canterbury works, Christchurch, quoted their prices in Tasmania at an advance of 10 per cent. in anticipation of the Tariff; and it was precisely a fortnight after these implements were exhibited by the Victorian manufacturers at the Longford show that Messrs. Andrews and Beven struck off their 10 per cent. advance in spite of the duty of 15 per cent. and more which had been imposed upon what they were exporting to Tasmania. In Canada precisely the same arguments were used some years ago as are being used here to-day - that “ we have a limited population,” that “ we can never expect our local manufacturers, with only the home demand, to manufacture the quality and quantity that is desirable ; “ - but we hare the striking circumstance that under a high Tariff there they have been able to turn out what they require for themselves, that they are able to supply countries foreign to them, whether under the same flag or not, and that they can say to-day that they have the largest makers of agricultural machinery under the British flag.
SenatorDobson. - Howis it that the New Zealand implement factories started, and have kept going under absolute freetrade?
– I am not in a position to answer such a question as that, but we have the circumstance to which Senator Dobson referred last night. He said - “ The New Zealander is a scientific farmer, and he imports the best machinery he can possibly obtain.” But will the honorable and learned senator consider what is the difference in the soils of New Zealand and of the mainland? Will he consider that it is necessary for the users of these implements to have something which is adapted to the soil of Australia 1 Will he consider that the New Zealand soil is in so many respects dissimilar from that of Australia that implements, which are useable in the United States and the United Kingdom, are much more adapted to its requirements. It has been pointed out by previous speakers that when our own people have put into vogue an implement that is eminently adapted to Australian conditions, that implement has been pirated in America or copied even in England. But instead of copying such implements in their every detail, they copy them only so far as to retain the outward resemblance. They have, for instance, been content to use castings instead of forgings. The local user of these implements has been induced to purchase these imitations upon terms extending over three and four years at a price which amounts to only 50 per cent, of the price of the Australian-made implements. But after purchasing them the local user finds that they lack the essential qualities which make the locally-manufactured implements so peculiarly suitable for Australia. It is said on the other side that that is soon discovered, but the same process of imitation goes on in connexion with every implement which is brought out, and experience in the case of one implement does not always induce the local user to judge the American manufacturer in the same way in respect of other implements which he presents to him:
– So the honorable and learned senator wants this Tariff to protect the farmer against himself ?
– We want the Tariff to protect the farmer from the foreign buccaneer and exploiter of’ these markets. We desire that our own people shall be given every encouragement to use their own inventive genius, and to apply their energy to the manufacture of what is required in Australia, under Australian conditions, and paying white men’s wages. That is what we want this Tariff for. I hope that the proposal which is now put forward simply to throw dust in the eyes of the farmer will riot be accepted.
– - Senator Keating attempts to prove altogether too much. He tells us that the profit on the making of agricultural implements when they are made abroad is so extraordinary that the makers can afford to reduce the price in Australia by from 50 per cent, up to 80 per cent.
– What I said was that the price which the importers can put upon these implements gives them a profit ranging up to 80 per cent. I said that was. due to the fact that they were turned out in such large quantities, and I instanced the one case of 100,000 ploughs being turned out annually. I asked then what could be the manufacturers’ cost for the 2,000 or 3,000 which are sent out here.
– I do not see that the honorable and learned senator has varied what I said in any way. He advances the statement that the profits upon the manufacture of these implements are so gigantic that people selling in Australia can reduce the Australian price by from 50 to even 80 per cent. We nave to consider that that is the price of the goods delivered in Australia, and that it includes the cost of importing these implements. We know they are exceedingly bulky, and cannot be imported under a cost of 25 per cent. It will therefore be seen that a reduction of 80 per cent, in the price, plus the cost of freight, leaves the cost of these goods at nothing at all. That is obviously nonsense. There is no such thing, in commercial life, and it is only the heated imagination of a protectionist that could fancy such a thing. Senator Keating gave the prices of various implements, and, I dare say, quite accurately; but we know that changes are continually occurring in the value of articles. Any one who knows anything of the cost of importation will know that within the last twelve months freight from almost any foreign country has fallen very materially.
– The honorable senator told us a few days ago that it amounted to as much as 50 per cent, of the value of the goods imported.
– There are some goods on which it still amounts to that. We know that for the last few years there has been less employment for shipping, and as a consequence freights have come down. If we reduce the incidental protection of 50 per cent, by half it will still amount to 25 per cent.; and I am endeavouring to show that the value of an imported implement or machine may be lowered by a lowering of freight, and by changes and improvements in manufacturing. That may be the explanation of the prices which have been quoted by Senator Keating. We know, further, that every now and then there are outbursts of competition between dealers and manufacturers, and a quotation which may have ruled the market for several years may, in a year’s time, be entirely altered. If a Tariff change is taking place simultaneously with such an alteration, gentlemen like Senator Keating at once assume that the alteration is due to the Tariff. The honorable and learned senator does not know anything about the internal conditions of the trade or the extent to which those conditions may account for a change in prices. It is as well for us to notice what has been going on in regard to the importation of implements. I find that in 1900 New South Wales imported agricultural implements to the value of £102,000; Victoria, to the value of £90,000 ; and South Australia., to the value of £48,000. Honorable senators will see that even the States in which heavy duties existed were importing these implements. Senator Styles last night wished us to believe that the manufacturing industries of Australia are very much larger than they really are. He stated that practically the number of persons engaged in factories in which protection is effective was something like onethird of the total. I believe that is correct.
– I said that in the factories of Australia 171,000 people are engaged.
– I am prepared to go further, and I admit that in the last issue of Coghlan’s Seven Colonies the number is given at over 200,000. I point out, however, that Coghlan states that of the 60,070 employed in Victoria, only 34,461 are employed in works entering into competition with imported goods, and in New South Wales out of a total of 55,000 employed, only 22,000 are employed in works competing with imported goods. Taking the two important manufacturing States, the number ofhands employed in producing goods competing with imported goods is only 57,000 out of 116,000, or practically one-half. If we take the figures for the whole of Australia, and include the States in which manufactures are, so far, limited, the figures will come out at about what was stated, and there are practically about one-third of the hands engaged in manufactures and works employed in manufactures proper. In New South Wales it has been the custom for some years past to head the statistics in this way, “Manufactures and works.” Some years ago the heading was “ Manufactures, works,&c.” All sorts of things are included under the heading - gas-works in the various towns, electric light works, wool-washing, and so on. Senator Styles wished the committee to understand that the number of people engaged in the manufacture of agricultural implements, and in manufactures of metals, and producing goods which would be protected by the Tariff, was so enormous that we might be called upon to take no notice of the interests of the farmer, and that we would be justified in imposing these heavy duties upon the implements which he uses in the production of grain and other crops.
– I never said, or conveyed, anything of the kind.
– I think that other honorable senators, like myself, feel convinced that Senator Styles did make that assertion ; but if he is prepared to withdraw the statement I shall be very glad.
– I made no such assertion.
– Asto the revenue expected under this item, there is some difficulty in getting the exact figures. and, in this connexion, there is cause for complaint against the Government for discourtesy. It is now eight months since the Tariff was introduced, and we have not yet received any information as to the collections in Western Australia, though I know that the Government have some of the figures in their possession. Nearly a fortnight ago I wrote to the Customs authorities asking for, amongst other information, the figures for Western Australia, and I received a reply, dated 19th June, to the effect that the figures for that State were then in the hands of the Treasurer. These figures show the collections month by month under each item of the Tariff for the first six months, but they have not been placed before the House, and the result is that we are to a considerable extent debating this matter in the dark. The case of Western Australia is very important, because that State, progressing at a remarkable rate, is contributing largely to the revenue. The Government have also failed to give us any information as to the general collections throughout Australia for April and May, but that the figures are available is shown by the fact that I have been able to obtain them from the Customhouse. Had the figures been laid officially on the table, we should have been in a much better position to estimate the revenue under these important items. When the original proposals of the Government were introduced, an estimate of the revenue was given for each State ; but in the returns which have been made ‘available for the first six months, and for the two months of the second half-year, the whole of the receipts are bulked together ; and we are, therefore, not in a position to say what revenue has been received under the special item we are now debating. For New South Wales the original estimate by the Government was £127,000 for the year, which sum, it ‘must be remembered, covered the whole of the revenue under item 78. But in the first eight months there was collected £132,000, in spite of the fact that New South Wales was largely stocked with dutyfree goods. It is quite evident that there is a large amount of revenue at the back . of the duties as they stand - a very much larger revenue than the Government anticipated - and that no loss is to be feared. Taking the collections in April as a basis, I find that the total revenue under this item will be £425,000, though .taking May as a basis, the total will be only £343,000. That is, without reckoning the collections in Western Australia, which ‘ were originally estimated by the Govern. ment at £28,000. I believe, however, that the revenue in Western Australia will largely exceed that amount.
– Land settlement is going ahead iti Western Australia at such a rate, as to justify that opinion.
– I believe that if we had at this moment a statement of the taxation which has been levied in Western Australia on agricultural implements and similar commodities, its serious character would startle the Chamber: and the Government are very much to blame for not having provided us’ with authentic figures. Last night Senator O’Connor told us that the farmer was protected and that his interests were cared for ; and one extraordinary item mentioned in this connexion was salt. My idea, however, is that the farmer is taxed in the matter of salt, which is not an article he produces, but an article which he and the pastoralists, especially in New South Wales and Queensland, require in very large quantities for curing purposes. A tax on salt is a very heavy burden on the farming community, and, in this connexion, we ought not to lose sight of the issues with which we have to deal in Division VIa. Under that division certain commodities are to be exempt from duty until a proclamation is issued. When that proclamation is issued, and certain arrangements have been made, the Government propose that reapers and binders shall come under a duty of 15 per cent.; and not only reapers and binders, but “ other machinery, machines, and parts” referred to in the proclamation. Honorable senators can easily see what are the intentions of the Government with regard to the great farming industry of Australia. We must pay careful attention to the conditions under which our farmers carry on their industry. Their produce is sold mainly on the other side of the world, and the prices obtained ai;e ruled ,Dy prices in London. They have to sell in competition with all the countries of the world - with low-wage countries like the Argentine, Russia, India, a.nd Egypt, and, withal], Australia has the greatest sea carriage to face. Argentine is about half the distance that Australia is from London, but whatever price prevails in the commercial centre of the world Australian farmers must accept, minus the freight. When wheat is selling at 4s. a bushel, Australian farmers seldom get more than 3s., though the English farmer, who has cheap agricultural implements at his door, is paid the full price. The principle which should be observed throughout the whole of our industries is that of enabling producers to carry on their operations at the lowest possible cost. All facilities should be allowed to the miner, the farmer the pastoralist, and everybody else to make profits, out of which we can obtain revenue by taxation. We ought not to tax these men before they have had a chance of making any money, and thus render it difficult for them to enter into an industry. We should do all in our power to make easy the path of those engaged in these important, most laborious, and never, under any circumstances, very profitable industries. ‘
– In considering the amount of duty we should place on agricultural machinery, I think far too much discussion has taken place from the manufacturing point of view, and sufficient consideration lias not been given to the great agricultural industry of Australia. Agriculture, which is one of our largest industries, has reached the exporting stage, and, therefore, the prices of agricultural produce are ruled by those of the world. We have to remember that our farmers compete with other nations, and we ought -to see that they have fair and equal opportunities. I should like to draw the attention of the Senate to the relative production in the great wheat countries of the world. In the United Kingdom, the average production is 30-9 bushels per acre ; in Germany, 25-7 bushels ; in France, 18-6 bushels ; in Hungary, 16 “8 bushels; in the United States, 13-2 bushels ; in India, 12-1 bushels; in Russia, 9-3 bushels; in Argentine, 9-3 bushels ; while in Australia the average production for the same period, 1890 to .1899, was 7-33 bushels: I am pointing out that while all wheat must be sold at the same price, Australia has the lowest production of all her competitors, and thus has a great natural handicap.
– Land is cheaper in Australia.
– Land is not so cheap in Australia as in Argentine, and the latter is one of our greatest competitors. This great natural handicap is borne by an industry that employs 470,000 people.
– Where does the honorable senator get that information ‘
– If Senator Styles will look at Cog/dan he will find that 475,000 people are employed in agriculture. Another great handicap was mentioned by Senator Pulsford, and that is, that the Australian wheat exporter has to pay higher freight than the wheat exporter of any other country to the wheat markets of the world, and yet it is endeavoured to place on our farmers an artificial handicap. In the Argentine, agricultural machinery is taxed 5 per cent. Under the South African Customs Union, embracing the Trans wal and Cape Colony, no duty is imposed. In New Zealand it is duty free, while in India it is taxed 5 per cent. So that in nearly every country against which we have to compete agricultural machinery is duty free or is taxed 5 per cent. If we impose this duty of 15 per cent, we shall hobble the agriculturist in the industrial race. I have heard no explanation from the Government as to why they fixed the rate of duty at 15 per cent. In South Australia and Victoria the duty was 15 per cent., while there was practically no duty imposed in the other four States, and yet this is called a compromise Tariff. It was as nearly as possible the Victorian Tariff when it was introduced, and as Sena-‘ tor O’Connor pointed out, this is one duty which was not reduced in another place. It has been pointed out that machinery was cheaper in free-trade States than in protectionist States. Taking the period from 1861 to 1889, the annual increase in the area under cultivation was 12-4 per cent, in” Queensland, 5-9 per cent, in New South Wales, 5-4 per cent, in Victoria, and 4-5 per cent, in South Australia. During the last ten years the difference between Victoria and New South Wales is more marked. In 1S91 the production in New South Wales was 3,963,668 bushels, and in 1899 it had increased to 13,604,166 bushels. In 1S91 the production in Victoria was 13,629,370 bushels, and in 1899 it had increased to only 15,237,948 bushels. During the eight years the increase was nearly 10,000,000 bushels in New South Wales, and only 2,000,000 bushels in Victoria. Senator O’Connor has asked why was not New South Wales able to provide the machinery necessary for her agriculturists 1 These figures furnish a very good answer. In nine years the production in New South Wales has nearly quadrupled, and, therefore, her implement manufacturers have not been able to keep pace with the demand, and, consequently, Victoria and South Australia,’ which have progressed very little, have been able to SupplY her requirements. I have often heard the argument used that the reason why the area under agriculture in Victoria has not increased was because no more land was available. That statement is absolutely untrue. I have lived in agricultural districts in this. State for ten years. I have visited those districts twice during the last two years, and I have found that thousands upon thousands of acres of land which previously were under agriculture are now used for pastoral purposes, and the farmers assure me that sheep farming pays’ them better than does agriculture. I attribute that result, to a certain extent, to the cost of production. It is admitted, I think, by every one, that in the United States the production of wheat is the cheapest, perhaps, in the world. Their farmers use the most modern appliances, and do things on a very large scale. The Government are refusing to allow the latest American implements, many of them patented, to come into the Commonwealth to assist the farmers. “What is the position of the manufacturers? In 1900 Victoria exported £95,812 worth of machinery to the other States, where she had to compete against the so-called cheap, shoddy articles from the United States. Although Victoria had to compete against the machinations of agents, and people who are copying and pirating Australian inventions, she was able to export machinery to the value of £95,812 a year. In 1900 South Australia exported £34,000 worth of machinery to other States. If South Australia and Victoria had no difficulty in retaining those markets when there was no Tariff advantage given to them, surely with a 7£ per cent, protection against the world they are placed in a better position than they previously occupied. Senator O’Connor said that if we imported more largely, it would mean a similar reduction in the manufacture of agricultural machinery here, and I interjected that the effe*ct might be to increase the area under cultivation. If we can obtain from the United States at a cheaper price these labour-saving appliances, and conduct our agriculture in’ the modern style, thousands upon thousands of acres which at present it does not pay to cultivate will be brought under cultivation. Then the honorable and learned senator said that New South Wales was the dumping ground for the machinery of the world, and that it was ‘impossible for any Australian firm to compete against those people who used Sydney as a dumping ground.
– W - What I said was that we had the authority of Sir William McMillan for saying that a free-trade port was always liable to be a dumping ground for the surplus products of other countries.
– A little while after the honorable and learned senator made that remark, he said that Victoria exported to New South Wales in one year £84,077 worth of machinery, and she has been continually exporting to that State. Therefore, it has been possible for Australian firms to compete against the importers who were using Sydney as a dumping-ground for their surplus machinery. The only inference to be drawn from the honorable and learned senator’s remark was that the farmers of New South Wales obtained their machinery at a cheaper price than did the farmers of protected States. Senator Barrett said that the American manufacturers sent here stuff that was practically rubbish.
– Yes, where they have copied our implements.
– The American manufacturer, he assumes, exports his rubbish, and the farmers are such idiots that they will buy it in preference to the local article, which will last a life-time ! My experience of American machinery is that it is as good as Australian machinery - it is splendid machinery. Mining and agricultural machinery from the United States is equal to any machinery in the world. We give the people of the United States credit for being business-like people, who are able to compete with any other nation. It is absolutely absurd to suppose that they are such idiots as to send out rubbish to Australia, when the effect of so doing would be to kill their market. Many of the Australian makers seem to have sold their machines at prices which gave them an enormous profit, and if we wish to be fair to the farmers we should give them an opportunity of meeting industrial competition with other nations by buying their implements wherever they like. The competition between the importers on the one hand and the manufacturers on the other, will nullify the formation of rings by either party, and the farmer will get, in the cheapest market, the best and most suitable machinery for the soil he is cultivating. The great primary industries of Australia, to which all other industries are merely subsidiary, are so important that we should endeavour to make the cost of production as low as possible. Our producers have to compete with other nations whose soil produces much more abundantly than does the soil of Australia. They have to compete against the wheat-growers of Argentina, the United States, and Southern Russia, where the soil is extremely rich. In the face of these facts we ought not to impose artificial handicaps upon the Australian producer. I therefore hope that the committee will accept the motion which Senator Ewing has proposed.
– I want to set Senator Ewing right, as he has placed this matter before the committee in rather an unfair way. We are dealing simply with the manufacture of agricultural implements, and he ought not to have “ lugged” in the manufacture of every conceivable thing under the sun by lumping together the whole number of persons employed in the iron industry. He said that the number so employed in New South Wales was 11,901, whilst in Victoria there were employed 9,403. His object, apparently, was to make it appear to those who do not look into these matters for themselves, that in free-trade New South Wales there are a great many more metal workers than in Victoria. I interjected - “ Metal workers include smelters,” and Senator Ewing replied - “ But I exclude the smelters.” He did nothing of the kind.
– Excuse me, I did.
– I am going to show that Senator Ewing could have ascertained from Coghlan the exact number of hands employed in all the States in the manufacture of agricultural implements. I am going to show the industries in which the 11,901 people are engaged, and these particulars will prove that Senator Ewing was misleading the committee in endeavouring to make honorable senators believe that they were engaged in the manufacture of agricultural implements. Coghlan on page 606 shows that there are engaged in brass and copper smelting in New South Wales 167, persons, and in Victoria 497. These operatives Senator Ewing included amongst the makers of agricultural implements. In connexion with the manufacture of galvanized iron, sheet iron and tinsmithing, 618 persons are engaged in New South Wales, and in Victoria 676. In lead works there are 83 in New South Wales, and in the building of railway carriages and rolling stock and repairs there are 2,908. I do not know what these have to do with making agricultural implements. In smelting, 3,339 are engaged ; in iron-working, engineering, and foundries, 3,950; in wireworking, 197; and in other occupations, 446. Those are the numbers that go to make up the 11,901. There are only 193 engaged in making agricultural implements in New South Wales. Yet the honorable and learned senator, with the shrewdness of a lawyer, lumped together the 11,901 operatives, although , he could have shown that in New South Wales there are only 193 persons engaged in making agricultural implements as against 1,107 so engaged in Victoria.
– The honorable senator is all wrong in his statement that I threw in a number of others - he is entirely wrong.
– I took down the number given by Senator Ewing at the time - 11,901 - and I said then that that number must have included 3,339 smelters. He flatly contradicted me.
– And Icontradict the honorable senator again.
– Senator Ewing need not have gone to Coghlan to ascertain the number of persons employed in this industry. A return was ordered to be prepared by the House of Representatives thirteen months ago, on the motion of Mr. Knox. The return has been laid on the table, and gives full particulars. The hands employed in this industry in 1898 in New South Wales numbered 251 ; in 1899 the number had dropped down to 191 ; and in 1900 there was a further fall to 166. In Victoria, the number employed in the industry in 1898 was 1,087 ; in 1899 there was an increase to 1,104; and in 1900 the number was 1,144. Therefore, the number in Victoria has increased by about 50 in three years, whilst in New South Wales the number employed has fallen in the same period. It thus appears that there are at least six times the number of persons employed in Victoria in this ind ustry that are employed in New South Wales. When next Senator Ewing gets up to move a motion dealing with any item, I trust he will not “ lug “ in a lot of extraneous matter which may be misleading to those who do not look into these particulars for themselves. I do not mean to say that he intended to mislead the committee. Probably want of knowledge was responsible for what he did. Perhaps he was crammed up with a lot of information which was just about as reliable as other information that has been supplied from free-trade sources to members’ of the Senate. I have no doubt that Senator Ewing will now get up, and with an amount of police court smartness, endeavour to contradict everything I have said. I shall be interested to hear how he can explain away the figures I have quoted. Senator Smith has quoted from a book about eleven years old, showing that the number of persons engaged in agriculture in Australia is 475,000. I do not know whether those figures are right or wrong, but I doubt whether any man - even Coghlan himself - could guarantee that they are approximately right, because there are a great number of country employes who are both squatters’ and farmers’ men. It would be very difficult to separate them in regard to the time they are working as squatters’ men and farmers’ men respectively. I read from Coghlan a statement showing that there were 171,000 persons employed in manufactories in Australia. A little while ago Senator Pulsford said that I was wrong, and he came over to convince me just now that there were something like 201,000 persons employed in this way. I asked him to read the sentence preceding the table to which he referred, and upon doing so he found that it included New Zealand. Honorable senators on the freetrade side seem to get their figures hashed up. Probably it is because they do not take them out for themselves. Protectionists are not able to pay ‘a man to do this work for them ; they do it themselves, and consequently they are generally right. Possibly the figures are taken out correctly for the other side, but they do not go into them, and that is why they make so many mistakes. I hope that the motion will be rejected.
Senator EWING (Western Australia).I had intended to criticise a great many points which have been raised by other honorable senators in the discussion of this item, but in order to enable a division to be taken without delay, I shall confine my remarks to that which I deem it absolutely necessary I should answer, viz., the suggestion made by Senator Styles that I have given incorrect figures to the committee. I informed the honorable senator last night that I excluded from my calculation of 11,000 persons employed in manufactories and works 2,000 workers employed in smelting.
– How many does Coghlan show to be employed in smelting 1
– 2,S00 in smelting and ore-dressing. As nearly as I can ascertain there are 2,000 persons employed in smelting alone, and I excluded them for that reason. The total number of persons given by Coghlan as employed in manufactories and works is just upon 13,000,and the number which I gave was 11,000; consequently the honorable senator will see that I was quite right when I said that I had excluded 2,000. The honorable senator charged me with having introduced much extraneous matter, but it is, impossible to differentiate absolutely in this connexion. When we have agricultural implement makers, iron-founders, and ironworkers, how can we draw a distinction between them ? Senator Styles knows that itv Victoria the manufacture of agricultural implements is specialized, while in New South Wales these implements are made toa very large extent in iron- works and ironfoundries generally. I quoted the wholelist. The figures that I referred to are givenfor New South Wales and some of the otherStates under the heading of ironworkersand iron-founders, and in the other States a large quantity of agricultural machinery is manufactured by iron-workers and ironfounders. Therefore, it was impossible toascertain the number of persons actually employed in the manufacture of agricultural implements, and the best that I could do was to take the totals as to persons employed! in manufactures of metals. It was only in that connexion that I used the figures. I do< not say that all of these persons are employed in the manufacture of agricultural machinery,, and I do not think that Senator Styles believed for one moment that I suggested that, there were 11,000 persons employed in that way. Taking Senator Styles’ own figuresthere are 171,000 persons employed in factories in Australia, but there are over halfa million of people connected with the industries of the soil. I would ask Senator1 Styles whether he demands a protection which will weigh heavily upon halfamillionof people-
– It will not weigh heavily upon them. Look at Canada;
– The honorable senator says one moment that it will not weigh heavily upon these people, and that it will not increase the price of these articles. If that is so, what is the good of it to the-‘ manufacturer t Times out of number protectionists tell us that the benefit of protection is that it raises prices so as to pre-‘ vent the more cheaply produced article of’ other parts of the world from being sold in Australia. In the first five months of thecurrent year Western Australia sold or leased in small holdings 160,000 acres of’ land to people settling there, and duringthe same period we leased 7,250,000’ acres of land to pastoralists in that State. We cannot protect these people, and arc honorable senators opposite going to ask me, as a representative of Western Australia, to place this vast population which is. settling upon the lands of that State under- tribute to the manufacturers of Victoria1? I do not think any other argument in support of the motion is necessary from me, as a Western Australian, than the enormous extent of settlement which is taking place in our State, coupled with the fact that settled on the soil of the other States are four times the number of people which it is claimed will be benefited by this duty.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 78 by adding tothe duty, “ Manufactures of metal, viz., agricultural, horticultural, and viticultural machinery and implements, n.e.i. * . . ad valorem* 15 per cent.,” the words “and on and after 1st August, 1902, 7½ per cent.” - put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … … 9
Noes … … … 9
Question so resolved in the negative.
Motion (by Senator Ewing) proposed -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 78 by adding to the duty - “Manufactures of metal, viz., agricultural, horticultural, and viticultural machinery and implements, n.e.i. . . . ad valorem, 13 per cent.,” the words, “and on and after 1st August, 1902, . 10 per cent.”
– I cannot understand why honorable senators of the free-trade party do not take their defeat kindly. When they saw they had no prospect of getting a majority of any proportion in favour of the proposal to reduce this duty to 7½ per cent., why did they not allow the item to pass and enable us to get on with other business, and so save our own time, and the time of the commercial and industrial communities of the Commonwealth 1 Senator Styles very effectually disposed of certain figures quoted by Senator Ewing, and my chief object in rising now is to give a certain firm of manufacturers a fair chance of defending themselves against the misrepresentations of certain free-traders. I desire to know whether the figures which Senator Ewing obtained for his speech were derived from the same source as the information which we know to be obtained in the “ Scrap-book.” I should like to know whether the misrepresentation which Messrs. J. and D. Shearer complain of is due to the same source. I have received the following letter from Mannum, South Australia, dated 12th January, 1902 : -
To Senator W. G. Higgs.
Certain statements having been made in the public press calculated to seriously injure an Australian industry, viz., Shearers’ patent plough and scarifier shares, as the inventors and manufacturers of these articles, we make no apology for approaching honorable members of the Commonwealth Parliament to show that those statements have no foundation in fact, and that some one has gone to considerable trouble to misrepresent and destroy the good name of “Shearers’ shares,” which has been gained by their superiority in use and economy throughout the nation.
A certain free-trader said on the llth December, 1901 : - “I have ascertained that the price to the trade in Victoria at the present moment for Shearers’ patent wrought steel plough and scarifier shares is 45s. per dozen, but if a farmer wants to buy one the price is 4 s. each, or 48s. per dozen. This statement is made on the authority of Messrs. McLean Bros. andRigg, the Victorian agents for Shearers’ shares. I confidently predict that any practical man comparing it with the other share will say that the South Australian article is simply rubbish.”
There is nota particle of truth in the above statements. This gentleman had no authority whatever from Messrs. McLean Bros. andRigg, who report as follows : -
The free-trader got no share from us, nor can we trace that any of our employes gave him any information or communicated with him in any shape.”
Finding that the free-traders had no authority whatever from this firm (who are the Melbourne agents for Shearers’ shares), we made further inquiries, and have come to the conclusion, from information to hand, that he spoke on the authority of the Massey-Harris Company only, the firm whose shares he was advertising while slandering; Australian production.
The gentleman being suppliedby this company with a share of its own manufacture and one of Shearers’, the former brightened up for the occasion, and the latter doubtless got some attention in passing through the hands of the American, as the newspapers described it as having shown signs of having done considerable “work,” and “rusty.” We will leave the reader to form his own ideas on this matter. What this freetrader said, referring to the price to farmers for Shearers’ patent wrought steel plough and scarifier shares “ is 4s. each or 48s. per dozen,” is quite untrue. The retail price is 3s.6d. each or 40s. per dozen for plough shares, and 2s. 3d. each for 7-inch and 8-inch, or 24s. per dozen for scarifier shares, and 2s. 9d. each or 30s. per dozen for 9-inch scarifier shares.
This free-trader gives “the price to the trade at the present moment” (llth December, 1901) “ for Shearer’s patent plough and scarifier shares at 45s. per dozen.” How can that be when the retail price is from 40s. to 24s. per dozen? How could any free-trader make such an absurd statement ? Does the storekeeper sell the article for less than ho pays for it ?
Those are the arguments that have been furnished to honorable senators on the freetrade side with which to influence the one or two votes which generally carry propositions submitted in this Chamber. I ask honorable senators to pay a good deal of attention to what is said in this letter from Messrs. Shearer, and to what will be said later on by one of the senators from South Australia Messrs. Shearer go on to say-
Wo do not - nor does any manufacturing firm - disclose the trade prices, except to the trade, that its wholesale agents supply the trade ; therefore, it was thought he could make any statement he liked without contradiction. But he must have known different, because the firm who inspired his speech were given the correct prices by our Melbourne agents, which were something like 25 per cent. on ploughshares to over 90 per cent. on scarifier shares less than stated. If this freetrader wished to be honest to Australian industry he should have got information on both sides of the question, and procured a sample direct from our agents as well as the Massey-Harris Company.
The firm representedby free-traders are well protected against us in their home market, and yet it appears that they make an attemptto get our 15 per cent. duty knocked off, and a free market here. Do free-traders want free-trade for the Australians, or only free-trade for the foreigner? Suppose we went to America and started an agency for sale only of our shares, there would not be a legislator with so little patriotism found in the States or Canada who would stand up and abuse and misrepresent their own industries for us. We are not afraid of honest competition, but these American firms have been sending here their binders dutyfree, and getting over 100 per cent. more than they can get at home, until now, in their prosperity, they can get a free-trader to champion their cause in getting still more advantage here, while their markets are closed to us.
The Americans have had most generous treatment from the Australians in trade matters, while they tax our wool and other primary products. Giving them free-trade enables them to get such fancy prices that they are not satisfied even with our importer getting a share ; they distribute their own goods, and dispense with our merchants - now that they can do without them.
I hope that Senator Pulsford will be kind enough to take notice of that point. The honorable senator has spoken of the great importing industry, but we now find that these people are doing their business without the assistance of Australian firms. They are sending over their own people from America and Canada, and do not even employ Australian agents. I should like to know to what extent the great importing industry will benefit the people of the Commonwealth under these conditions. The letter continues : -
It will be seen that we sell through the trade, there being two profits after it leaves our hand ; and still by using Shearers’ shares it does not cost the farmer, as a general thing, half the money for shares as it would with imported shares. But Shearers’ shares are made for use, not only to sell, like some of the imported.
That reminds me that Senator Smith asked us who would credit the statement that Americans would send shoddy goods here and so ruin their reputation. But the honorable senator knows that there are honest and dishonest firms, and while honest firms will send goods of first-class quality, the dishonest people will send shoddy’ goods here.
– There are honest and dishonest manufacturers in Australia.
– Certainly there are, but the honorable senator wished to prove that there was no shoddy introduced into Australia in the shape of agricultural implements, though he must rememberthat it was only the other evening that an attempt was made by a very esteemed legislator to permit and encourage the introduction into the Commonwealth of such shoddy goods as cotton tweeds. It is not an unusual thing at all for Australia to be subjected to the introduction of shoddy materials.
As “Shearers’ shares” will cut the MasseyHarris on the tempered wing, and as Shearers’ have an additional layer of metal harder than any steel under the point that no file will cut, the inference is that the “ Shearers’ share” will outwear three at least of the Massey-Harris-Cameron shares, and yet they (the Shearers’) are called rubbish.
This free-trader’s statement that Shearers’ share “being simply rubbish “ is in keeping with his other deductions. For instance, he says - “The freight from Melbourne to Sydney is about 10s. per ton, and a share (referring to Shearers’) will weigh from 3 lbs. to 3½ lbs. If we calculate the number of shares to make up a ton weight, we shall see that the freight on these shares would represent about 4d. each”
Now, the shares really weigh 4$ lbs. , and it takes 4S0 to weigh a ton ; therefore, the freight on each share is only Jd. , or sixteen times less than the free-trader’s calculation indicates. His arithmetic is in keeping with his other statements, which are of no value. The share he champions is nowhere for stumpy, stony, or gravelly land, for use when compared with Shearers’.
– Does not the honorable senator think that the farmer knows that 1
– It is too late for the farmer to find it out after he has spent his money in the purchase of the implement.
AVe presume we ought to know what share is most generally useful in Australia, having invested about £8,000 in stock, machinery, and plant for the purpose of manufacturing shares for ploughing rough, stumpy, and stony land with such economy that we are able to sell 200 tons annually.
There are also several other manufacturers of steel shares in Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia. Cast shares are also made in this State equal to any imported, also malleable shares, all of which are better and cheaper than could be imported under conditions that exist where there is no local competition. This industry, in our factory alone, employs nearly 40 hands, and consumes several thousand tons of wood per annum, and directly and indirectly pays heavy taxes which the foreigner does not.
That statement about consuming so many thousand tons of wood appeals to the humour of Senator Smith and other honorable senators who take only a narrow, microscopic view of a question. We take into consideration, not only the value of the particular article made, and the labour directly employed in its manufacture, but also the value of the plant, the amount of labour and capital expended in its erection, and’ the quantity of consumption that goes on in various ways in connexion with the different industries. Messrs. Shearer further say -
We would ‘.ask the Senate not to lend their influence to those who are waging a commercial war against us. And if they persuade the Commonwealth Parliament to ultimately pronounce a verdict against the Australian ploughshare makers in this manner by any reduction of duty, u great injustice will not only be done to the manufacturers, but also to the farmers, who benefit so much by this industry, by getting just what they want cheaply. Free-trade abuse is a poor recompense to us for having placed in the hands of the farmers a share that costs him less than half the money for the same work. In the greater part of New South Wales, ViCtoria South Australia, and Western Australia our shares are the only shares the farmers say it pays them to use, especially in dry seasons. The Canadian Agricultural Implement Manufacturers’. Association complain of our 15 per cent, duty, while they have a 20 per cent, duty against us, besides a rebate of 99 per cent, on duty of material used when their implements are exported, and a bonus on raw material of Canadian production . All we are asking for is for Parliament to see that we have fair play, which means that we have an equal opportunity in the markets of another country, as the manufacturers of that country have in ours. If you cannot help us, pray do not help the other side by making our conditions worse than those we have to compete with. There is another important matter connected with this not generally known ; that is, that American law prohibits, on all conditions, the importation of all articles, machines, and parts thereof invented on United States soil. They, therefore, conserve perpetually their inventions to the nation. How different in this our Commonwealth.
Probably the honorable senators who are considering the advisability of voting for the proposed reduction of this duty will be found amongst those who have told us on many occasions that the Canadian Tariff presents an example which we should follow ; and to this point I draw Senator Pulsford’s attention.
– I never said that or anything like it.
– I suppose Senator Pulsford takes most of his ideas from the Argus, which is the great champion of freetrade in the Commonwealth, and points out that the Canadian Tariff offers a fair compromise.
– No, no.
– Senator Pulsford says “No, no,” because it happens that the Canadian duty on these commodities is 20 per cent. If the Canadian duty were 15 per cent, he might take another view.
– There are duties of 35 per cent, in the Canadian Tariff.
– The free-trade party are willing to accept the Canadian Tariff when it is in the direction of free-trade, but repudiate it when it has a protective incidence. Why should we allow the Canadian product to come into Australia at 10 per cent., when Canadian manufacturers are protected against those of Australia with a duty of 20 per cent. ? There is no preferential trade there ; it is all one-sided and in the interests of Canada. Although I have great respect for the Americans as a nation, and think that we might follow their example in many respects, we ought to protect ourselves against them, and not open our markets even to the extent of a duty of 10 per cent. The Americans, ‘while they would gladly see this duty reduced, in order to allow their products to come into our market, will give us credit for wisdom if we adhere to a protective incidence. Senator Dobson expressed the opinion that the community cannot do well unless the farmers are doing well. That is true in some respects, but I know that at one time the Queensland farmers were not doing well, while other people were profiting at their expense. Although producing the best of goods in the way of bacon and butter, the Queensland farmers were compelled to do without the former, and to give their own families dripping in lieu of the latter. We cannot all be farmers ; and it is to the interests of those engaged in agriculture that there should be a large manufacturing population. Agriculture alone did not build up the American nation. Side by side with agriculture there grew up manufacturing industries ; and it is to the population created by the latter that agriculturists have to look. When honorable senators like Senator Ewing find themselves defeated, they should cease paltering with the question, and fall in with the views of the Senate as expressed in a first division. I hope that honorable senators will be more careful in future, and n»t introduce statements which have no foundation in fact, and which may have the effect of unfairly turning votes.
– I refrained as long as possible from saying anything in connexion with this item. If those in favour of a reduction of the duty had been satisfied with the vote which has just been taken, I should have been quite satisfied to allow matters to take their natural and right course. But as soon as the division was over, a second suggestion of amendment was moved, and probably, in the event of another defeat, a third will be submitted. There is no saying to what length honorable senators will go to get their own way, though they are silently objecting now to any senator occupying another minute in debating the question. If, however, these senators take it upon themselves to waste the time of the country, we who hold opposite views are perfectly justified in placing our position before the Chamber. Senator Dobson has spoken in a manner that would lead us to believe that he has intense sympathy with the farmer - with the “poor farmer.” But there are other senators who have just as much sympathy as has Senator Dobson with the farmer.
– They never show it.
– There are senators who know far more about the hardships and difficulties with which the’” poor farmer” has to contend than does Senator Matheson. Senator Dobson endeavours to make the country believe that he is the great defender of the interests of the -farmers. In the revision of the Tariff he has not been true to the principles he advocated in his State. Even on this item he is not giving to the industries of Australia that SUpport which ought to be given by any one who claims to be a patriot. When Senator Higgs interjected that the maker of an agricultural machine or a plough -is as much a producer as is the user, the honorable and learned senator at once questioned that remark. If mankind had been compelled to continue to cultivate the soil with rude contrivances, such as wooden pointed sticks, every one would need to be a producer. The man who invents an implement for the cultivation of the soil and for the treatment of its products is a benefactor to the community, and ought to receive more encouragement than some honorable senators are prepared to extend to-night. Did not the plough, when it was first invented, enable the farmer to cultivate more than 250 times as much land as could be done wilh a wooden or an iron spade 1 It takes a strong man, with a good spade and fork, to go over 12 or 15 rods of land in a day, and that is only a small part of an acre. With a sixfurrow plough a man could turn over 200 times that area. Will Senator Dobson tell me that the inventor of that plough is nob a greater producer than is the individual who is using a fork or a spade ? The more improved our methods of production are, the fewer people it is necessary to keep on the soil. It is not necessary to keep 75 per cent, of the population of a country on the soil, when we have implements which will increase their productive power by over 200 per cent. That is the reason why the population on the land is decreas- ing and the population in the cities is increasing. In Australia we need more of these improved agricultural implements, and we believe that the genius of the Australian workman will provide those implements- and appliances that are most suitable for the soil which our farmers have to cultivate. As’ Senator Higgs has read a communication he received from a firm of manufacturers in South Australia, I shall exhibit some of their productions, and explain the difficulties which they had to contend with in establishing their industry. Here is a share that is not polished up for the occasion. It comes from the workshop in that State, and I do not think that Senator Matheson or Senator Smith, or even Senator Pulsford, could bring a better finished article from anywhere. Because every share produced in Australia has not the same polish that this one has, is that any reason why it should not be considered well finished or well adapted for the work it has to do? Here is a patented share from the same manufactory. With their great knowledge of agriculture and manufacturing, I should like Senator Smith and Senator Matheson to show me the patent in this article. Here is the imported steel share that we hear so much about, and there is a Shearer share. If any honorable senator will take the two shares and jam them together in any way he likes, he will find that the Australianmade share will cut into the imported steel share. Here is an imported share with no hard …….. on the point, and here is a Shearer share with the hematite point. I wish to tell Senator Smith that it is a very difficult tiling to break the hematite off the point of a Shearer share, because instead of being put on to the point, it is put underneath the share, and consequently it is protected by softer steel metal. Without the hematite it would be superior to the imported share, but with the hematite it will last much longer than the imported share. Senator Charleston is saying to himself - “ If Shearer Brothers can produce so perfect an article, and give such satisfaction to the farmer, what do they need ‘protection for 1” The appearance of the two articles is just the same ; if there were no duty to protect the local article it would be very easy for Massey-Harris, or any of the other great manufacturing firms, to reduce the price of their article to any extent they pleased so as to drive the local article out of the market, and when they had succeeded in their object, up would go the price of the imported article again, and the probability is that the Australian farmer would never know the intrinsic value of the local article.
But it has been said that protection will always increase the price of the article to the farmer. I want to show that in South Australia and Victoria, where there was a duty of 15 per cent, on agricultural machinery, plough-shares were sold cheaper than in New South Wales and Queensland. In 1899 ors1900 I was in Sydney. One of the Shearer Brothers was there also. At the Agricultural Show, Shearer’s shares were ticketed at 55s. per dozen. When Mr. Shearer inquired how it was that such a high price was charged in New South Wales for his own shares he was told to mind his own business. In Queensland these very shares were sold for . 65s. a dozen ; and although Shearers got a little more for them they would far rather have had them sold at the price for which they were sold in Victoria and South Australia, because if they were sold cheaper the consumption would be considerably greater. For that reason Shearers are endeavouring to establish independent agencies, but they can only do that if they have a 15 per cent, duty to protect them against the unfair competition of the world. It has been stated that the price of shares in Victoria was 45s. per dozen. I cannot take Senator Smith, Senator Matheson,, and others, into the western district of Victoria’ where these shares are largely used, and show them the price at which they are sold there, but I have in my hand a photograph of a store in that locality from which honorable senators can see that shares are ticketed there at 36s. per dozen. That photograph is as good evidence as it would be to take honorable senators to the very spot. I am prepared to make a present of these ploughshares to any honorable senator who likes to test them. Any one who likes to try the experiment can hammer the locally-made share and the imported share together until he gets tired of it, but he will soon find which lasts the longer time. The Shearer Brothers have spent the greater portion of their lives in South Australia in endeavouring to manufacture implements and machinery that are adapted to this country. These men have a genius for invention which ought to be encouraged. Senator Pulsford says that the cost of carriage from abroad amounts to a natural protection of about 50 per cent. But Senator Higgs has proved that in the case of plough-shares, at least, it does not amount to even 1 per cent. Unless we are prepared to encourage the men of genius we have in the country who possess the capacity for invention and constructiveness which enables them to build machinery and invent new appliances, we shall not make much headway with our manufactures. I trust that the committee will resist this attempt to takeaway a little protection from the best class of men we have in the community. It is not all sunshine with them. They lose days and weeks of time, and pounds and pounds of money in endeavouring to perfect the ideas that are created in their minds. It seems to me to be the duty of Parliament to do aU that is possible to encourage such men, and, by so doing, we shall be acting in the best interests of the country to which we belong. ‘
– A complaint has been made that the proposal now before the committee is not well founded. It is true that a proposal to reduce the duty to 7^ . per cent, has been rejected because the voting was equal, and it is provided by the Constitution that the casting vote shall be given in the negative. But it must be realized that the committee, in rejecting the proposal to reduce the duty to 7£ per cent., did not thereby affirm the duty of 15 per cent, proposed by the Government ; and it is perfectly fair and legitimate for honorable senators if they think any duty in the Tariff is too high, to endeavour, by any means that are within reason and in accordance with the Constitution, to secure a reduction to what they consider to be reasonable. In splitting the difference between 7£ and 15 per cent., we are not endeavouring to waste the time of the committee. If that had been our object, a proposal could have been made in the first instance to place the articles in question on the free list, and if that had been rejected we could have proposed that the duty be 1 per cent., following that with other proposals increasing the amount by 1 per cent, until the committee arrived at a determination. Personally I regret that a proposal was not made to place these goods among the special exemptions. I should have voted for such a motion, and should have moved in that direction myself, except that I thought that it would be absolutely hopeless to expect to carry it. As the motion to reduce the duty to 7-^ per cent, has not been carried, the next best thing is to support a reduction to 10 per cent., and I believe that the good sense of the committee will be in favour of that duty. In the earlier stages of the debate on the Tariff, those honorable senators who believe in the doctrine of protection frequently asked the question, “ What are you going to do for the primary producer V That question was answered by the remark, “ Wait until we come to discuss the duty on machinery and implements which are necessary for the prosperity and progress of the primary industries, and we will endeavour to make such goods as cheap as possible.” That time has now arrived; but we find that those who were the enthusiastic friends of the farmer in the early days of the Tariff debate are now trying to penalise him by high duties. Senator McGregor has mentioned certain people in South Australia who have invented a particular implement. In the course of his instructive contribution to this debate he has demonstrated that this article is immeasurably superior to anything of the kind that can be imported. He has made a very strong and, to a large extent, pathetic appeal that the inventive genius displayed by the inventors should be considered, and that their industry should be recognised by giving them the benefit of a protective duty. But in proposing to reduce the duty from 15 per cent, to 10 per cent, we are not ignoring the genius and. enterprise of the manufacturers in question. They have ample means of protecting themselves through the patent laws. How is any invention to be of any benefit to the community if it is kept in a few hands 1 The wider an invention can be distributed the more the value of it, and the more its use is circumscribed the less its value will be. Senators Keating and McGregor appear to be under the impression that if the duty is reduced the Massey-Harris Company will absolutely swamp the whole Australian market. They seem to think that it is impossible for any other maker of agricultural implements to get a footing in Australia. I do not believe that for a single instant. Senator Keating used this argument : He stated that when these implements were on the free list in Tasmania they were dearer than when they were subject to a duty of 5 per cent. Following out that line of argument, the honorable and learned senator should vote for a duty of 10 per cent, on the ground that it will make them cheaper still.
– The Government proposal of 1 5 per .cent, would still further reduce the price.
– Upon that reasoning, if that duty is imposed, these implements may become so cheap that it would hardly pay to go in for farming.
– What mandate has the honorable senator to endeavour to secure free-trade for the farmer, so far as his implements are concerned1!
– I do not know that I Iia ve any particular mandate, either one way or the other. Senator Higgs is here, I believe, as the specially indorsed representative of the Protectionist Association, but I am not aware that he has a mandate from the farmers of Queensland to support the imposition of duties on implements higher than those which they were called upon to pay under the State Tariff. I am1 not a member of the free-trade party. I have particular views on the Tariff, and I express them irrespective of any party. I’ believe in cheap machinery and implements for the farmer, on the ground that they will enable him to put his products on the market at reduced cost. Surely we should strive to enable our producers to place their products on the market at a minimum of cost 1 One way of securing that is to give them their implements as cheaply as possible, lt has been stated that on one occasion the farmers of Queensland had a very bad time. It is true that in the early nineties we had a very bad period of depression in Queensland, but it was not confined to the farmers. It was a time of general disaster, which culminated in the fearful bank smashes ; but to attribute it to the particular Tariff which was in force at the time is the height of absurdity. What assisted the farmers later on to recover from the severe blow they received on that occasion was an amendment of the Customs Duties Act, one of the principal features of which was that the duties on farming implements and machinery were struck off. In addition to that, the Government of the day, recognising the necessity for relieving the farmers, and supported on all sides, reduced the railway freights so as to enable them to get their products to market cheaply. From that time to this, notwithstanding that other industries, whose stagnation or prosperity affect the farming community, have suffered periods of depression, the farmers themselves have been in a very fair position in Queensland. Owing to the wise provision made for them by the State Government, they have been able to tide over their difficulties, and I am satisfied that they would have been in a much worse position to-day if the amendment of the Customs Duties Act to which I have referred had not been made. The farmers of Queensland are doing so well that other States are being drained of some of their settlers, who wish to establish themselves there. I do not say that the State Tariff has been the sole cause of this increased activity amongst the farming classes of Queensland, or that it has been wholly responsible for the desire of farmers in other States to go there ; but, certainly, it has had something to do with it.
– The trouble is that they cannot obtain good land in the other States.
– To some extent that may be true, but it is not wholly so ; because there are a number of farmers holding land in South Australia and Victoria who desire to go to Queensland. It was only the other day that the Argus sounded a note of warning on the subject.
– The land was never suitable for them.
– It does not appear to be reasonable that farmers would endeavour for years to make a living out of unsuitable land. It would not take them long to find out their mistake, and the fact remains that applications are still coming in from people who have been for a long time on the land in these places, and who desire to settle in Queensland. Taking all these circumstances into consideration, I think the committee will do very well if it agrees to the motion. I regret very much that these implements are not on the free list.
– A great many honorable senators on this side of the committee would like to see agricultural machinery placed on the free list, but to the credit of honorable senators from New South Wales be it said, that they are prepared to sacrifice a great deal of their fiscal faith in order that revenue may be obtained for the various States. It was because of that, that honorable senators of the Opposition decided that we should ask that the duty be reduced to 7J per cent. After the long and able debate which took place on the motion embodying that desire, I thought that we should have been prepared to divide on this motion without delay, but a very vigorous discussion has again been entered upon. Senator McGregor and others have put forward theproposition, which is not new, that the artisan or the mechanic is just as much a producer from the soil as is the man who tills the land.I agree with that view. I happen to be one of those who are termed secondary producers. I chose that avocation because, like most men, I thought it would give me the greatest possible return for the least amount of energy. But, as one of the partners in the production of wheat, I scorn to ask for any protection for my labour when I cannot give equal protection to. my partner in the ploughing of the land and the growing of the grain. Knowing the many discomforts and disadvantages that our partners in the production of wheat have to undergo, we should give them every opportunity to obtain the cheapest and best tools with which to till the soil. They have to compete against the cheap labour of India, Egypt, and the Argentine, and against the more highly- paid labour and . more productive States of America and Canada. The men who till our soil have no protection, and as one who has assisted many a time in producing agricultural implements, I think it would be unworthy of me to ask that my labour, which is more highly skilled than that of my partner, should be protected, when I cannot give an equal amount of protection to my fellow-worker. It is highly essential that the tiller of the soil should be able to purchase the very best implements that are in the markets of the world. If I can produce these articles as cheaply as any one else, I. am prepared to do so. Senator McGregor has certainly given Shearer Bros. an excellent advertisement this evening. He has shown that their shares are harder and superior in every way to the imported article, and it is because they manufacture a superior article that they have been able to command a market for it in every State of the Union. I remind the committee that they started the industry under free-trade conditions, and it grew until they were able to find a market for their shares even in New South Wales, and, as they have stated themselves, by the profits made they have been able to exploit other markets besides that of New South Wales. It is through these agricultural implements that we are brought into close contact with the farmer. The man who uses them knows what is wanted, and he tells the mechanic and implement maker just what requires to be put into a machine to enable it to do the best work. By information derived from men conversant with the soil and the local conditions, local implement makers have been enabled to so improve agricultural machinery produced in Australia that they command a very large portion of the market. But in the case of implements which we cannot produce, or which are covered by patents, why should we ask that our fellow partner, the farmer, should be burdened to the extent of the heavy duty which some honorable senators would impose 1 Ten per cent. is a rather higher duty than I should like to see for revenue purposes, but as I cannot get it lowered I am prepared to vote for that duty, and I hope the committee will agree to the proposal.
– I should not have spoken on the present occasion had it not been that the speech made by Senator Charleston, who comes from the same State as I do, has left the exceedingly false impression that Shearers’ shares have forged their way in consequence of their intrinsic merit. No man knows better than does the honorable senator that if it had not been for protection Shearers’ shares would not be in existence at the present time. No one knows better than does Senator Charleston that it was in consequence of the protection which I put upon shares that Shearer Brothers have been able to continue their industry. When they first started the manufacture of shares they had to compete against shares imported from various parts of the world, and chiefly from England. They got their shares into use, and were selling them at the same price as that at which the imported shares were being sold. Then the importers or manufacturers, or possibly it was arranged between importers and manufacturers, when they found that Shearer Brothers were cutting into their market and reducing their sales, resolved to lower their price. They lowered it to such an extent that it was impossible for Shearer Brothers to make any more shares at a profit. They were comparatively poor men, and would have been beaten out of the market entirely, and would have had to give up the manufacture of the article, but at that time I was altering the Tariff of South Australia and they appealed to me. Although it was not a popular thing in South Australia, any more than in any of the other States, to tax the tools of the farmer, I could see that the position they put before me was a fair one. Shearer Brothers told me that if I put on the duty the farmer would not have to pay any more for his shares than he did before, while the result would be that we should be able to kill the combination which had been brought about for the purpose of destroying an infant industry. We know what was done in America, and we know that when manufactories were established there under a system of protection they were immediately met by large importations of goods from Europe, and from England especially, with the result that the local manufactures had to cease or to secure further protection. The Americans put on protective duties to meet that kind of competition, and if it had not been for the protection imposed in South Australia, Shearers’ shares would not now be in existence. In consequence of the protection we put on, Shearer Brothers were enabled to compete with the importer, who could not then sell shares at a price lower than that at which Shearer Brothers could produce them with a fair profit. With the advantage of that protection they have been able, slowly and surely, to continue a business by which, with others who have followed in their footsteps, like Martin and Co., of Gawler, they have been able to supply the whole of the South Australian demand for these articles. If we reduce the duty as proposed, we shall place these men at a disadvantage. Senator Charleston has told us that he is in favour of the agriculturist getting his shares and other agricultural implements at the cheapest possible rate. First of all, I contend that, by imposing a duty upon these articles, we donot necessarily increase their cost to the farmer. We have had to-day, from Senator Keating, a statement of actual instances in which, though this duty of 15 per cent. has been imposed upon agricultural implements in the neighbouring State of Tasmania, they are now being sold as cheaply as when there was no duty at all imposed upon them. We do not necessarily increase the cost to the farmer by imposing a duty upon these articles, but we do this : We give employment in the country, and we do what is of the greatest benefit to the farmer by establishing a manufacturing population who will consume the products of the farm and garden. We want population, and we shall never get population unless we have manufactures established. Do honorable senators desire that Australia shouldbe the Ireland of the Pacific? Do they desire that there should be no manufactures here as there are none in Ireland, with the exception of a few around Belfast, and that we should have a miserable population settled upon the soil without any home market? The market for the farmer is the home market - the market for his eggs, butter, cheese, bacon, and the small products of the farm. Those are the products upon which he makes his profit. It is not the profit which he makes from wheat growing that keeps the farmer. It is of the very greatest advantage to him to have a home market for the small products of the farm. What would farming in South Australia be if it were not for the large populations of Adelaide, Broken Hill, Port Pirie, and other cities requiring farmers’ products ? Where would the farmers be if they had to confine their operations to growing wheat? One of the great curses of the farmers in the States has been that they have confined their operations to the production of one or two staples. What has. been the salvation of the State of Victoria of’ late years ? It has been the expansion of the dairying industry of the country. We have men like Senator Smith saying - “ I travelled through the State of “Victoria, and I found that where previously the ground was ploughed and crops were growing it has been allowed to go into pasture.” The honorable senator complains that that has been the curse of Victoria, but it has. been the salvation of Victoria that that land has been allowed to go into pasture, because by that means the farmers of Victoria, after supplying the requirements of the State, have been able to send to other parts of the world the products of the dairy to the value of over £1,000,000.. It has been of the greatest benefit to the farmer that, instead of growing wheat and competing with India, Argentina, and Russia, where, miserable wages are paid, he has been able to produce another article, which commands a better price, and the competition in which is at least with people who pay something like decent wages. It is of the utmost importance to the farming community that we should have a big population supplying a market for the small products of the farm. Let us take Senator
Charleston’s argument to its logical conclusion. The honorable senator contends that there must be no duty levied upon agricultural implements ; that we desire that the farmer should prosper, and he should get the machinery he requires as cheaply as possible. To carry that argument further, would the honorable senator be in favour of allowing him to get cheap labour ? Is he in favour of allowing the farmer to get Chinese or Japanese to work for him so that he may grow his products at the lowest possible cost ? No ; the honorable senator does not believe in anything of the kind ; but so far as machinery is concerned, and it is a mere bagatelle as compared with labour, he is willing that the farmer should get it cheaply, forgetting that he desires to live in a self-contained community, where the people, manufacturing what they require for themselves, can provide him with a home market. No one knows better than the farmer that wherever a big manufacturing population is settled there is a market for the small products of his farm. That is why the farmers throughout Australia, including even New South Wales, are believers in protection to an extent which people would hardly credit. Who returns the protectionists to the New South Wales Parliament 1 It is the farming population close to Victoria, the part of Australia whore protection has been longest established, and where it is best understood. The fallacies I have heard preached here in connexion with this matter have astounded me. The fallacy that a protective duty necessarily increases’ prices has been disproved over and over again. In South Australia that has not been the effect of protection, and there is no class of the community more in favour of that policy than farmers and others who depend upon the soil. The farmers are wise enough to see that freetrade would be of no advantage to them in the long run. In South Australia the farmers who have made money are not, and never have been, wheat-growers only. The men who have made money are those who have paid attention to the small products of the farm, while those who have depended entirely upon wheat have found themselves penniless in times of drought. Those have gained most who have paid attention to their cows, fowls, pigs, producing butter and cheese, and regarding wheat-growing as only a part of their occupation ; and these are the men who reap the advantage conferred by the presence of a population which is earning reasonable wages, and can afford to live in comfort. The way to build up a population is to protect ourselves against people in the outside world, who would send us cheap and, very often, nasty products. Canada, which under free-trade was going down hill, turned to protection and imposed a duty of 25 per cent, on the line now under discussion. The result was not at all detrimental to the farming population, which is quite as large as that in the whole of the Commonwealth of Australia. The farmer there knew that it was necessary for him to have a home market, and that free-trade was driving the manufacturing industries across the border into the United States. It never paid a manufacturer to start in free-trade Canada while there was protection in the United States, because in the former lie was confined to one market, while in’ the latter he had the markets of both countries. From tlie time that Canada imposed a duty on agricultural implements, she has been prosperous. She began to supply the whole of the wants of the Dominion and to rise in the scale of nations, with the result that to-day we are told the Massey-Harris Company send agricultural implements all over Australia. If we remove the duty from agricultural implements, Canada will be free to send her manufactures here, while any useful patent which might originate in Australia would be met at the borders of the Dominion with a duty of 25 per cent. It is not fair that the Canadian’ manufacturers should be allowed under such circumstances to compete with the manufacturers of the Commonwealth. Our great competitors are Canada and the United States, and there is no reason why we should not treat them exactly as they treat us - “.tit for tat” is, in business, absolutely the right tiling. By the retention of the duty we are provided with a weapon in any negotiations for reciprocity between Australia and Canada. Lord Salisbury has said that England threw her weapon away when she adopted free-trade, and without a dutyAustralia would be at the mercy of manufacturers abroad. I was bred a farmer, and have an intimate acquaintance with agricultural implements and their cost; indeed, I have got my living from the soil all my days. In South Australia we make all our own ploughs, harrows, scarifiers, and other implements, except the reaper and binder, which it is one of the mistakes of my life to have allowed in free. I firmly believe that if a duty of 20 per cent. had been put on reapers and binders the farmers would have got those machines a great deal cheaper than they do at present. I know from -personal experience that the farmers of South Australia, in consequence of a protective Tariff, are getting their agricultural implements cheaper than they ever got them under free-trade. I guarantee that if the duty under discussion were abolished the agricultural community would not gain one halfpenny, just as I feel assured that the retention of the duty will not in the long run prove in any way prejudicial to them. The duty will enable us to supply our own wants in the best possible way, and, by encouraging manufacturing industries, to become a self-contained people. We shall be far better off with protection against the world and internal freetrade than we should be with some miserable mongrel system, which would only lead to throwing out of employment thousands of men who ought to be earning good wages and consuming the products of the farm. We have had a duty of 15 per cent. for years, and I regard that as exceedingly fair protection, not deterring the importer from coming in if the manufacturer seeks to unduly burden the consumer. In my opinion 10 per cent. is far below a fair line; but, on another ground, I look on this discussion as a waste of time. The other Chamber considered, reconsidered, and reconsidered again, this item, and arrived at this compromise of 1 5 per cent.
– That is absolutely incorrect. Senator O’Connor says that this item is as introduced by the Government, and is not a compromise.
– If I am wrong I apologize, but I thought the original proposal of the Government was 20 per cent.
– T - There were three attempts made to reduce the duty, and they all failed.
– After the fullest inquiry and most lengthy debates, the matter being really considered three times, the other Chamber came to the conclusion that 15 per cent. was a fair duty ; and it is idle to think that that decision will be altered.
– If that is a sound argument, we have nothing to do with the Tariff.
– In regard to many items there may have been only a majority of one in another place, and, in such cases, it is fair for senators, if they think it proper, to suggest a reduction ; but if the other place should consent to reduce this duty, the step would prove injurious to the best interests of the community.
– The answer to Senator Playford’s main argument may be found in a historical fact which no man can gainsay. Senator Playford thinks that his policy of protection is responsible for having established a large industry in plough-making in South Australia.
– I did not say it was my policy ; there was protection long before that.
– Senator Playford seems to thinkthat the policy with which he has had something to do is the real creator of the plough industry of South Australia. But we have the one historical fact that in New Zealand there are two factories quite as large as any in South Australia, and the former have never had the advantage of any duty whatever. Senator Playford next said that what we want is population. That we all admit ; but Senator Playford further said that the adoption of a protectionist policy is the way to get population. The answer to that is to be found in another historical fact, namely, that the population of Victoria, which has been the highest protected of all the States, has been flowing away in numbers equal to the combined emigration from all the other States. Senator Keating made a very good point this afternoon, if he was correct, and the goodness of the point, if he was correct, is shown by the fact that my practical friend, Senator Playford, has just referred to it ? I am going to condemn that point, and show where it is wrong, out of the mouth of a lady. I had arranged with three ladies in the gallery this afternoon that after the Senate had opened its proceedings we should adjourn for afternoon tea, but as one of them knows a great deal about agricultural implements, and I thought that she would be interested in the very able speech which Senator Keating was making, I kept them waiting for their afternoon tea. When I went out at five o’clock - he was still going strong - she seemed to prefer to listen to his arguments to taking afternoon tea, and so we all heard them out. The lady was particularly interested in his speech, not because she approved of it,’ but because she knew of her own knowledge that it was wrong, and she longed to stand on the floor of the Chamber and tell honorable senators where it was wrong. She had a very great deal to do with the correspondence and the business arrangements of the great manufacturing establishment which has an agency at the bottom of Spencer-street - Deering’s, of Chicago - which, I venture to tell Senator Keating, is a much larger establishment than that of the Massey-Harris Company in Canada. He told the committee that, at the Longford show, in Tasmania, after the duty of 15 per cent, had been imposed by the Commonwealth, the prices of agricultural implements had been reduced, and he mentioned the original prices as they were eighteen months before, and the reduced prices. His argument was that the imposition of the duty had positively lowered the prices. This lady said that the protective duty had nothing whatever to do with the decision. The firm in Chicago were advised what the duty was, and the correspondence from the head office which had passed through her hands did not contain one remark relating to the duty. The prices of the machines were determined by the trade law of supply and demand - by the competition on the part of various firms. I told her what my honorable and learned friend had said about the prices at the Longford show, and she replied - “ We know all about these shows. The manufacturers do not like them. A man who is trying to take business away from others lowers his prices, and a show is the very place where we all go to compete with one another.” The law of supply and demand is far more powerful than is the miserable fiscal issue, and the lady is absolutely positive that it had nothing to do with the reduction of the prices. Every hour the raw material is getting cheaper, -and the competition is lowering the prices of the manufactures. So far as I can see the arguments of my lady friend were perfectly correct. I do not believe that the lowering of the prices was caused directly by the duty. It was caused by the competition between the different manufacturers. I have not heard one single protectionist attempt to show or explain what the natural protection is. I hold that if we impose a duty of 10 per cent, and take the cost of importing these bulky machines at from 20 to 30 per cent., we shall give to the agricultural implement maker a higher protection than we have given to one-half of the other manufacturers in the Commonwealth.
– We were all very much interested in the very earnest speech delivered by Senator Playford, whom we are pleased to see back in his place full of vigour. He speaks upon this question from the result of long experience, but I am afraid he was unfortunate in bringing in South Australia as an example in this case, because if there is one State in the group which protection has not benefited, it is that State. I know the State pretty well, for I lived there nearly all my life before I went to Western Australia. If it had not been for the silver mines at Broken Hill, in New South Wales, South Australia would have been ruined at one time. If it had not been for her copper mines she would have been ruined at another time. If it had not been for the gold mines of Western Australia she would have been ruined at another time. On three occasions that State has been saved from being ruined not by the protectionist system as introduced by Senator Playford, but by the mining fields of New South Wales, South Australia, and Western Australia. I know that even the farming community, whom my honorable friend claims to have benefited by the protectionist duties, were in as bad a way as it was possible for them to be. Will he deny that in 1893 the farmers were hopelessly in the hands of financial institutions, and that foreclosures were being made in a wholesale fashion t I am afraid that his sympathy with the farmers does not go to the length that it ought to go. If he- believes that the imposition of this duty on agricultural machinery lowers the price to the farmer, what is the object in exempting from duty horse-rakes, chaffcutter knives, drill wheel hoe cultivators, and a number of other fanning implements ; why does he not propose a 15 per cent, duty on these articles in the interests of the farmer? If a 15 per cent, duty will give cheap ploughs, will not a 15 per cent, duty give cheap cultivators, or cheap horse-rakes? I cannot understand the honorable senator allowing this long list of exemptions to pass when he holds that the imposition pf a protective duty cheapens the farmer’s machinery.
– -It would have been a very different free list if I had made it.
– The honorable senator is equally responsible with every one else in the Chamber for allowing the list to stand. Its existence affords convincing proof that the protectionists do not believe what they attempt to make themselves believe - that protection does decrease the price of an article. Do people run away from a country where there is prosperity and wages are high? Prom the protectionist State of South Australia I went over to Western Australia, which I saw populated by South Australians and Victorians. I should like the protectionists to answer this question : Does a protective duty raise the price of an article or does it not? They have never yet given us a definite statement.
– Sometimes it does, and sometimes it does not.
– It depends upon how the argument is to be applied. Some protectionists will maintain that the imposition of a 15 per cent, duty will encourage a manufacturer in the Commonwealth to produce agricultural machinery, since he will be enabled to obtain a higher price which he cannot secure now by reason of the competition with American and other manufacturers. If the imposition of the duty raises the price, and thereby assists the local manufacturer to produce the article, then manifestly it cannot be in. the interests of the farmer. Clearly it is a tax on the farmer. If it raises the price of the article 15 per cent, more than the natural protection - the freight - manifestly it is a 15 per cent, tax- on the farmer. Let the protectionists be honest and tell the farmer - “ We are not putting on this duty for the purpose of cheapening the price to you, because Ave know that it will “not have that effect, but in order to establish the manufacture of agricultural implements in the Commonwealth.” If, as Senator Styles says, by importing these articles they are as cheap to the consumer, what is the use of a protective duty ? If the farmer gets his manufactured machinery just as cheaply with a 15 per cent, protection against the outside world as he would if there were no protection, what is the use of putting a duty upon the statute-book? If the duty does not raise the price, it is absolutely of no use to the local manufacturer. I trust that the advocates of protection will say one thing or the other and stick to it. They should make up their minds that protection either does or does not raise prices. I have here a pamphlet issued by the Horsham and Wimmera District Agricultural and Pastoral Society, in which they point out the cost of raising wheat in Victoria. They take an average farm of 640 acres, and estimate that if the farmer cultivates 200 acres of land, it costs him £326 for machiney. A duty of 15 per cent, on machinery to that value comes to £46 10s. It has been stated in the course of this debate that this machinery has a life averaging from four to ten years. If the life be four years, that means a tax of £10 per annum on the farmer. The farmers cry out against the idea of a land tax, but it would have to-be very valuable land indeed that paid £10 per annum in direct taxation. Yet those who would cry out against the land tax are prepared to make the farmer pay £10 per annum on his machinery.
– Those very people - that is, those of Horsham - are now protesting against the remission of the duties on fodder.
– I do not blame them for trying to get a duty on wheat if they think it will benefit them, but, nevertheless, it is not wise policy for Parliament to impose such a duty This is a class tax, imposed upon a class whom we ought to assist and encourage instead of hindering and obstructing.
– I d I do not wish to say anything beyond making my protest against this suggestion. Everything has been said that can be said against the motion, and although I feel that we have not yet heard the last of the matter, it would perhaps be a waste of time to discuss it anyfurther at this stage.
– I have listened with great interest to the arguments on the matter before the committee, but I must confess that the advocates for the reduction of the duty have absolutely failed to make out out their proposition. We are dealing with a national policy. That policy ought to be to make Australia as nearly a self-contained country as possible. It should be the ambition of every Australian to make his country produce as much as possible within its own borders. That policy does not suit the importers, or those engaged in shipping. They would prefer to see Australia a mere gold-raising, wool-growing, and meatproducing country. But we have other things than their interests to consider. Senator
Pearce has asked for a definite declaration as to whether protective duties reduce or raise prices, but Senator Playford answered him very clearly - that in some cases they raise and in some cases lower prices. With the example of Canada and of. the United States before us, we ought not to have any difficulty in determining what our policy shall be. Canada is adjacent to one of the greatest of all manufacturing countries, which contains a population of 80,000,000 of the best paid people in the world. One might imagine that the best policy for Canada would be to become the receptacle for the manufactures of the United States. But she has -decided otherwise. Canada saw that the United States was simply overwhelming her markets with machinery and products of every character, and she came to the conclusion that she ought to establish a system of protection. She did so, and we know the result. The Massey-Harris Co. is one of the most far-reaching organizations in the world for the production of agricultural implements. Having seen the progress made both in Canada and the United States under protection, we might very well follow their example. It has been abundantly proved that in the long run protection does lower prices. The internal competition and increased efficiency tend to reduce the prices of commodities, whereas if we leave ourselves in the hands of importing rings prices remain at a very high level. We have all heard of the Woods reaper -and binder, which in the United States cost £16, but was sold in the Australian market for £45, when there was no competition in Australia and the importers had it all their own way. A large farmer in New South Wales sent to America for a number of these reapers and binders, as he ‘ had seen accounts of the prices for which they were sold there. But he found that he could not buy them direct. The firm referred him to the agents for the company, either in Melbourne or Sydney, and he had to pay the price placed upon the article by the importing ring. The ‘ local manufacturer has entirely destroyed that sort of thing. . We know perfectly well that there are some implements that Australia cannot manufacture. We are only in the earlier stages of our manufacturing existence. Our machinery is not so complete as that in Canada and in the United States. The operations of our industries are not so extensive. But it is merely a question of time when, if proper encouragement is given, we shall be able to manufacture in Australia implements which at’present cost 100 per cent, more in Australia than they cost in Canada, or the United States. A plough that can be sold in Canada for £4 10s. costs £9 in Australia, showing that where there is no internal competition, the importer lays on prices with an exceedingly heavy hand. A matter in connexion with the wheat industry to which I direct attention is that, owing to the continuous improvements in machinery, the cost of harvesting is becoming less and less every year. I am safe in saying that where one man could now reap 250 acres of wheat, 20 or 30 years ago it would have taken perhaps a dozen men to harvest the same area. Consequently, the employment of labour in the industry is becoming less and less. If in addition to that loss of employment we have to send out of the country for our machinery, we shall reduce ourselves to the position of throwing more and more of our people out of employment. Senator Pearce has referred to people from Victoria and South Australia going to Western Australia, and he inferred that they were compelled to leave protectionist States . and to live in a free-trade State. That was the inference from his remarks. But I would direct his attention to the continuous stream of emigration that flows from Great Britain to protectionist Canada and protectionist America.
– And from protectionist Germany to America. - that is, from an old country to a new country.
– The honorable senator- has hit the nail on the head. Victoria and South Australia were old countries from an Australian point of view. Gold was discovered in Western Australia, and people naturally flocked over there. If fresh gold were discovered to-morrow in Victoria, the honorable senator would witness the extraordinary spectacle of people rushing in thousands from free- trade Western Australia to protectionist Victoria. So that really these movements of population have little or nothing to do with protection or free-trade. One reason why the people are compelled to leave Victoria is that the land is, in a large measure, locked up. That is not because of the protectionist, but because of the land policy ; and if Victoria would alter its land policy, we should find thousands of people returning from Western Australia to settle here. I do not think the farmers of Australia will thank their advocates in this Senate. For the edification of some honorable senators who seem to know more of importing than of farming, I shall read, from the Toowoomba Chronicle of 14th ult., what Mr. W. D. Lamb, a Queensland farmer, said at an agricultural conference held recently at Toowoomba : -
I trust that the time isnot far distant when we shall take more kindly to Australian- made implements and machines than we have in the past. One has only to look over the list of Australian farm implements and machines tobe convinced that the inventive genius is with us here. I understand that the strippers, the complete harvester, the disc and stump-jumping ploughs, disc harrows, travelling chaff-cutters, and other implements, which haverevolutionized agriculture in Australia, are Australian inventions. I think that our farmers should not be too eager to purchase new importedimplements on testimonials of what they have accomplished in other countries. . . . . I would say, in conclusion,’ from my experience of English, American, and Australasian machines and implements, I maintain that as far as Australia has gone in the agricultural manufacturing business, she is able to hold her own, and I trust that the time is not far distant when Australian implements are used on every farm in this great country.
I wish honorable senators to pay particular attention to the following portion of Mr. Lamb’s statement : -
I would like it to go forth from all the farmers of this State that we have a patriotic desire to encourage the manufacture of such machinery and implements within our own and other States where the manufacture of such machinery employs so many artisans.
That is not the utterance of an importer, but of a farmer.
– He did not ask for a duty.
– But he knew perfectly well that the manufacture of agricultural machinery was protected in the various States of the Union, and that it was the intention of the Commonwealth to protect it. I shall take the opinion of this farmer, and of the conference at which he spoke, in preference to the assertions of honorable senators, however much they may appear to know about the subject. We want to stimulate inventive genius here. We desire to give our young people other avenues of employment, so that they shall not be merely hewers of wood and drawers of water.
– We should not coddle them.
– Would the honorable senator say that to educate a child, or to teach a young man a trade, is to coddle them? This country is in its infancy so far as the position of manufactures is concerned, and that is a point which many honorable senators appear to miss. I intend to oppose the motion.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 78 by adding to the duty, “Manufactures of metal, viz., agricultural, horticultural, and viticultureal machinery and implements, n.e.i., * . . ad valorem,* 15 per cent.,” the words “and on and after 1st August, 1902, 10 per cent.” - put. The committee: divided-
Noes……. … 8
Majority … … 4
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Item 78. - Manufactures of metal, viz. . . . - Nails, n.e.i., viz., horse-shoe nails, percwt., 5s.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 78 -by adding to the duty “Nails, n.e.i., viz., horse-shoe nails, per cwt., 5s.,” the words “and on and after 1st August, 1902, free.”
It will be observed that under item 131, “ Nails, fancy,” ore placed on the list of exemptions. I do not see any reason why fancy noils used for special purposes should be free while the ordinary common nail of’ every day use is subjected to a very heavy duty. TheGovernment propose a duty of 5s. per cwt. on horse-shoe nails, and 3s. per cwt. on other nail’s ; the duty in each case being equal, I believe, to about 25 per cent. I would draw the attention of the committee to the fact that horse-shoe and nail-making tools are free under this item, and that rods for nail making are also placed on the free list, so that the makers of nails are very well cared for. As the nails both in this and the next paragraph are required in all kinds of industries, I think they are a very proper article to be placed on the free list.
– I -
That the Senate do now adjourn,
I wish to state, in answer to a question which was asked last night by Senator Clemons, that at present it is not the intention of the Government to interfere with the order already laid down for the consideration of the Customs Tariff Bill and the Excise Bill. If it is found necessary to bring forward the question of the rebate on sugar ample notice will be given.
Question resolved in the affirmative.
Senate adjourned at 10.15 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 1 July 1902, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1902/19020701_senate_1_11/>.