1st Parliament · 1st Session
The President took the chair at 2.30 p.m., and read prayers.
Senator GLASSEY presented petitions from cane growers and farmers of the Isis and Pialba districts of Queensland, praying for relief in regard to the exciseon sugar in bond before 8th October, 1901.
Military Force inthe Stateof New South Wales were due to retire on the 30th June, under the new Retiring Age Regulation ?
Forces of tho Commonwealth that were due to retire on the 30th June under the same regulation.
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questionsare as follow : -
President of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
asked the PostmasterGeneral, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow : -
asked the VicePresident of the Executive Council, upon notice -
– The answers to the honorable senator’s questions are as follow: - 1.No.
In Committee ( Consideration resumed from 2nd July, vide page 14118).
Item 78. - Manufactures of metal, viz : . . . Boilers, pumps, machines, and machinery, n.e.i., adcalorem, 15 percent.
Upon which Senator Staniforth Smith had moved -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 78 by adding to the duty “Boilers, pumps, andmachinery, n.e.i., ad valorem, 15per cent.,” the words “and on and after 1st August, 1902, 10 percent.”
– I hope that the time that may be given to the consideration of this subject, and the time that I personally shall devote to it, will not be begrudged by the committee. I do not think they should complain of full and ample discussion taking place on the subject, considering its great magnitude and the number of interests involved. One reason why I think we ought to have a full discussion was afforded by Senator O’Connor himself, when last night he made that desperate and ineffectual attempt to upset the facts and arguments presented by Senator Smith.
– Arguments !
– Undoubtedly ; a bristling array of arguments and deductions, which were absolutely unanswerable, was submitted by Senator Smith. So unanswerable were they, indeed, that Senator O’Connor took the only course open to him by making an attempt to change the whole position. The honorable and learned senator mentioned that one of his reasons for not going into the whole subject was that an alteration would not be agreed to by another place, and that a debate was therefore a waste of time. If the other place has made a mistake in imposing a duty of 15 per cent. on this item, it is competent for the Senate to suggest a reduction, and it is the bounden duty of those who believe in a reduction to bring forward such reasons as they can to induce the members of the House of Representatives to fall in with the views of the majority of the Senate. Senator O’Connor has mentioned on several occasions when he was in the minority that he was determined to have a full and free discussion in order that the public might know exactly the attitude and opinions of honorable senators. As that was good and sound advice on those occasions, it is sound and good now.
– I think all matters should be settled after public discussion, and in no other way.
– I am very glad that the honorable and learned senator adheres to that opinion. Another statement which he made in his reply was that he desired to regard this as merely a question of difference of opinion upon the fiscal policy advocated by honorable senators sitting on opposite sides of the Chamber. I submit that there are special circumstances connected with the mining industry that take the question entirely out of the range of fiscal differences. Senator O’Connor was using his very great powers as leader of the Senate and as a debater to mislead honorable senators when he submitted the matter as an ordinary issue between both fiscal parties. I intend to approach it from the point of view of the mining industry. We have to consider the burdens thatare imposed upon the industry by the Tariff as a whole. At the outset, let me remind our protectionist friends what they are asking the mining community to do in regard to this Tariff. In the first place, it has been already decided that the miner shall contribute towards the support of the farmer. The miner is taxed for the benefit of the farmer, and he is taxed very heavily for the benefit of the manufacturer of food-stuffs and textiles. Now tho Government, through . this item, wish to tax the miner for the benefit of the manufacturer of mining machinery. Those who oppose the duty are not saying that the miner should not be taxed on his mining machinery, but that he ought not to be taxed as heavily as the Government propose. Personally, I much regret that the proposal is not to place mining machinery upon the free list, instead of to tax it at the rate of 1 0 per cent. But as, apparent!)-, there is no possibility of persuading the committee to agree to such a proposition, or of inducing another place to assent to it, I shall support Senator Smith’s motion. It may be as well to remember further that the miner, in addition to being taxed in order to assist the farmers and the manufacturers of foodstuffs and textiles, is also taxed upon his own productions. In Western Australia and in Queensland there is a dividend tax.
– Why should there not be?
– I am not saying whether there should or should not be a dividend tax, but that it is a fact that there is one. When the question was before the Queensland Parliament, I gave what I considered to be good reasons against taxing dividends. I regretted that at the close of bis address last night Senator Smith seemed to think that the dividend tax was a fair one. It may be so in Western Australia, but it is otherwise in Queensland.
– Is the dividend tax confined to mining companies, or does it apply to trading and finance companies also?
– The incidence of the tax operates in connexion with the mining industry. Mining machinery embraces boilers and engines, wet and dry crushers, which include patent machinery such as the Krupp and other ball and roller mills, all the grinding plant and parts, Fruevanner, concentrators, and steel rings, which are absolutely necessary for the Huntingdon mill . Th is quartz-crushing mill is coming into very great favour on our gold-fields It is gradually, but surely, ousting the old stamperbattery, and in order to assist the mining industry it was placed on the free list in
Queensland. Mining machinery also includes roasters, furnaces, air compressors, pumps, centrifugal machinery, screens, gratings, fans, patent cages, rock-drills, and a large number of other articles. The percussion rock-drill, I notice, is on the free list, in order, I presume, to cheapen the cost of sinking deep shafts in hard country. But the air-compressor, which is absolutely necessary as a motive power to make the rock-drill effective is subject to 15 per cent, duty. The Government allow a mining company to get duty free a percussion rockdrill, but they levy a tax of 15 per cent, on the motive power, without which that drill is not effective. The air-compressor is also used as a ventilator. In all our old goldfields, where there are deep sinkings, an aircompressor is necessary in order that the miners may live to carry on their occupation. It is utterly impossible to sink a deep shaft on any well-defined line of reef in any gold-field in Queensland without the use of an air-compressor. In the absence of the air-compressor all these claims would be abandoned, and yet the Government propose to tax that very necessary piece df machinery at the rate of 15 per cent. I do not think that the mining community will make much complaint of a duty being placed on the diamond-drill. So far as reefing is concerned, it has been more or less a failure. It not only fails in achieving the object of its inventor, but it gives a piece of country such a bad reputation that it lies idle for very many years until some enterprising party comes along and sinks a shaft in the ordinary way. Other items of a very expensive nature have to be taken into our consideration, such as the timber, which is subjected to a high duty, and explosives. In hard ground and in wet ground, as the shaft is getting deeper, the best explosives have to be used. On the articles I have just named, as well as the candles, ropes, oils, and others, a very heavy tax is imposed. The mining industry is carried on with high-priced labour. Taking it all round it is the best paid labour in any industry in the Commonwealth, and the more cheaply that the miners and the mining companies, which include the miners, can get the necessary machinery, ,the better chance there is of it continuing to be the best paid labour. The higher duty we impose upon machinery or on any of the appliances for successfully carrying on the industry the fewer men there will be at work and the lower will be the wage of the miner. The property of mine-ownners is subject to more careful inspection and to more Government control than is that of those who carry on any other industry, and this is done in order to insure the safety and well-being of the employes. Taking all these things into consideration, we must come to the conclusion that a 15 per cent, duty is far too heavy if we wish to enable the industry to be carried on successfully. In the days of the rich patches, which were easily got and inexpensive to work, it was not so necessary to have machinery to successfully carry on mining operations. Senator Higgs has referred to the good old days when a man could go out and select his piece of ground, and get permission from the warden to commence work right away, and could get on gold at once. Those were the old windlass days, which have gone by. The mining of to-day is a very expensive operation. In Queensland on our best fields, the mines that are the most payable and show signs of most permanence, are those which involve an outlay of many thousands of pounds before a pick is put into the ground. The owners of such mines do not wish to be handicapped at the very commencement of their operations. Even after they have started to sink a shaft there are many difficulties to be overcome. For instance, a very large body of water may be struck. It is well known that to strike a large body of water is, in many cases, fatal to further operations in that place. In order to overcome that difficulty, the owner of the mine is obliged to have recourse to a powerful motive power, and the best pumping machinery he can secure. If he cannot obtain this heavy machinery at a reasonable price, or if he is short of capital the mine has to be abandoned. Not only is that ground abandoned, but all the other ground which has been taken up pending the development of that particular portion is also abandoned. The misfortune of one mine-owner disheartens a number of mme-owners on a field. That is a common experience on many of our gold-fields. But even after all those difficulties have been overcome, in many cases the mine-owners do not get any gold. When honorable senators are talking about the richness of any mine or any field in the Commonwealth, let them remember the large number of ventures that turn out absolute failures. I am not talking of the wild-cat mine that is shoved on the market by a company promoter. He is an evil that the mining community can very well do without. The more frequently he swindles a genuine speculator the worse it is for the genuine miner. Whenever a very glaring case is discovered there is no one more, ready than is the genuine miner, whether he be a working miner or a mine-owner, to expose the promoters of a “ wild cat,” who are regarded as the deadly enemies of the mining industry. After the gold has been discovered the reducing process has to be gone through. That requires very expensive machinery, and the value of a mine is determined to a very large extent by the character of the reducing machinery. The machinery which was in operation twenty years ago is practically useless to a large number of the payable mines in the Commonwealth, not because the gold is not in the ore, but because the machinery is not good enough to extract the gold in payable quantity.
– The honorable senator is talking of only gold mining. The most complicated machinery is required outside gold mining.
– If the honorable and learned senator will only wait, I shall have something to say on that point presently. I am speaking of gold mining, especially in Queensland, because I know more about gold mining than about any other kind of mining. It is better for Senator Keating and the committee generally that I should speak of that with which I am most familiar. I was referring to the reducing plants and the machinery necessary in connexion with them. I have already mentioned the roller and ball mills used in dry crushing, both of which are patented. Senator Stewart must know something about the Krupp mill, which is working at Mount Morgan with highly satisfactory results. The Krupp mill is not made in Australia. It is a patent, and a dry crusher of very great value to the mining industry in Queensland. Someof the Queens.land gold-fields are frequently very short of water. The Croydon field has to cease working its reducing plant for certain months in the year for lack of a supply, and Mount Morgan, the greatest mine on this continent, has sometimes to suspend operations for the same reason. That is not because the company is not willing to spend any amount of money in order to secure a supply of water. Indeed, I do not think that any company in Australia has expended more money in this direction than has the Mount Morgan Company. Its efforts in this direction have been unsuccessful simply because the water is not there. They store all the water they can, and use as many dry crushers as possible. In that way they succeed in carrying on with only occasional stoppages. This shortage of water is experienced in other parts of Queensland, and we should encourage the erection of dry crushers wherever possible. There are two processes for the treatment of residues. One, the cyanide process, has received a great deal of attention in Australia. I think it was Senator Smith who stated last night that cyanide is used to such an. extent on the gold-fields of Queensland that it returns one-third of the gold now being won there. In winning that one-third of the total output of gold in Queensland, the cyanide process gives employment to thousands of miners who would not otherwise find employment in the industry. The process is peculiar, in that a party of four men can work their own plant. All that is necessary is a small machine, a boiler, and an engine. The process is cheap, and these small parties can make their operations pay for treatment if the residue treated by them yields only a return of 5s. per ton. The result is that the cyanide industry is in the hands of a large number of small parties, some of them making wages, some of them doing remarkably well, and most companies have erected their own plants.
SenatorO’Keefe. - Cannot the cyanide plants be made in Australia?
– A cyanide plant consists merely of a number of wooden vats, and in many places when the gold is in solution they run it off into zinc shavings or charcoal from one receptacle to another. As a rule these receptacles are simply oildrums. An engine and a boiler are also employed.
– Most of the small parties do not use any machinery ; they simply use the vats.
– I have known that to be done in a few cases, but very few.
– These engines and boilers are generally made in Australia, are they not?
– I cannot say. If the iron foundries of Australia cannot turn out a boiler and an engine fit to do the work required by small cyanide parties, the sooner they close up the better. They certainly do not want a protective duty to enable them to manufacture such engines-. In addition to the fact that one-third of our output of gold is won by the cyanide process, and that in this way a number of men obtain employment, we have to remember that by the use of the process gold is being recovered from residues which were absolute waste for over 30 years prior to the adoption of thesystem. Parties have been able to use the dilute successfully on residuesreturning only 5s. per ton, and to do that at a time when they had to pay the McArthur-Forrest Company - the holders of the patent rights - a royalty of 10 per cent. At the present time the royalty is, I believe, 71/2 per cent. in Queensland.
– In Victoria the miners pay something like 21/2 per cent.
– The Victorian Government, like the Government of Queensland, saw the evil of taxing the cyanide industry, and were prepared to purchase the patent if it would not run out for some time.
– They bought it out in Victoria and in New South Wales, I think.
– Senator Styles statement strengthens my argument. It shows that the Victorian Government recognised the necessity for cheapening this process and increasing its usefulness. That is what I wish to see. All mining men desire that the duties on mining machinery and appliances necessary for the successful conduct of the mining, industry should be removed. Although the cyanide process recovers gold from residues which for years were lying waste, it does not extract all the gold. A proportion is still, left in residues which are running down the water-courses that form natural concentrators, and in time those residues will be payable. It is only a question of time when some other dilute more efficacious than that now being used will be forthcoming and make it possible to profitably work residues on a smaller return than is necessary now. That fact has also to be taken into consideration. What is true regarding the treatment of residues that have been lying waste for so many years by means of the cyanide process will be true regarding the large bodies of low-grade ore on our gold-fields that are waiting to be. worked. About one half of Queensland comprises a metalliferous area ; as a matter of fact our proclaimed gold-fields at the present time comprise an area of over 40,000,000 acres. In . the greater part of the metalliferous area of Queensland there are large quantities of low-grade ore that cannot be worked profitably unless treated in very large quantities. In order that they may be treated in large quantities, powerful and up-to-date machinery is necessary, and the cheaper we make that machinery the better it will be, not only for those immediately concerned, but for all dependent upon the prosperity of the industry. Let it be remembered that the cyanide process deals only with free gold. It cannot be used in the treatment of any residues containing over 2 per cent, of sulphides. It is. useless for the treatment of. ore which contains over 2 .per cent, of copper, zinc, .or any other sulphides, which have more affinity for cyanide than has gold itself. The process is also valueless in the treatment of residues which set very hard, such as those from the large puddling machines of Victoria. The solution will not percolate through them, and the residues are not valuable enough to make it pay to introduce raw sand not containing gold to enable the cyanide solution to percolate through them into the vats. Any sand or slime or other puddling, residues which contain coarse gold cannot be treated by it. It is only effective up to a certain point ; at the present time I think the maximum point is 10. To extract gold from residues which cannot be treated by cyanide, we fall back upon the chlorinating process, which will extract all kinds of gold, regardless of the density of the slime or anything of that kind. But the chlorinating process is just as costly as the cyanide process is cheap. It will treat refractory ores something like those at Charters Towers, some of which contain free gold to such an extent that they can be made payable by the milling process. But there is any quantity of refractory ores in Queensland that cannot be treated successfully by milling, and which one dare not touch with quicksilver. An up-to-date plant is required to treat such ores by the chlorinating process, at a cost of 30s. per ton.
– It can . be done cheaper than that.
– I want Senator Clemons to understand that a chlorination plant does not, as the cyanide process does, return bullion,, but returns gold ; that it recovers never less than 9S per cent, of the gold, or £-4 odd an ounce, contained in the residue treated by it, instead of the 75 per cent, and SO per cent, won by the cyanide process, valued at from 25s. to £2. If the honorable and learned senator can secure a chlorinating plant to treat refractory ores in that way at a cost of less than 30s. per ton, he has a fortune within his grasp. He can go not only to Charters Towers and work the plant there, but to a wider and better field, which, with the extensive use of the chlorinating process, will become, I believe the greatest gold-field in the whole of Australia, if not in the world. I refer to Etheridge. That field is languishing now ; there are fossickers, small digger parties, and “old hatters” working there, first because of the want of railway communication, and also because of the refractory nature of the ores, and the very high price of chlorinating, machinery and the materials necessary for chlorination. Senator Stewart said that the advances made in the recovery of gold were not due to machinery, but to chemicals ; but the honorable senator forgets that in this Tariff it is proposed to tax chemicals also. I direct his attention to that. I am endeavouring to show him why, on account of the value of the industry and the burdensit has to bear at present, it is not wise to put further burdens upon it. Our object, should be not to make those burdens heavier, but to make them lighter.
– There is a duty of 50 per cent, on sulphuric acid.
– It can easily be made in the Commonwealth.
– I shall deal with that when we come to it. Sulphuric acid is one of the chemicals used in chlorinating.
– There will be time enough to deal with that when Ave come to chemicals.
– I am not sure whether Senator McGregor was here, when at the outset I said that I wished it to be understood that I was treating this item in. connexion with all the other items on the Tariff that bear upon the mining industry. I am treating it from the point of view of the mining. industry, and it cannot be fairly dealt with from that point of view unless we consider at the same time the other items which impose burdens upon the industry. The taxation of chemicals is one of these burdens. But Senator Stewart is entirely wrong when he says that chemicals, and not machinery, are responsible for the advances made in the recovery of gold. He ought to know that before any of the chemicals can be used, heavy and expensive machinery must first have been used to reduce the ores. All the acids, muriatic, nitric, and sulphuric, which are used in the recovery, and sodium, appear in this Tariff under a heavy duty. Senator Playford has interjected that a quantity of sulphuric acid is made in the Commonwealth, but when we come to deal with that item I think I shall be able to prove to the satisfaction of any reasonable senator that, if there is anything which should not be called upon -to bear a duty in order that its manufacture should be protected, it is sulphuric acid. First of all, on the ground submitted by Senator Playford himself, but chiefly because of the nature of the acid and its carrying capacity. It is proposed also to tax sodium under some heading. I -believe sodium could be made in South Australia, as it is a preparation from salt. In connexion with the treatment of bodies of low grade ore by the operation of chemicals and machinery, I direct the attention of Senator Stewart to Mount Morgan. Mount Morgan is a huge mountain of material that has puzzled every miner who has ever gone over it, and distracted every geologist. Nevertheless the company have won a lot of gold from it by very careful study, and by securing the best manager they could get. They were particularly fortunate in securing an inventive genius in the person of Mr. Richards. They have succeeded in improving their plant to such an extent, that thousands and thousands of tons of stuff, that were cast over the tip as worthless, are now being treated, and are now paying dividends to the Mount Morgan Mining Company.
– That is due to a good importation from Tasmania.
– If Mr. Richards is from Tasmania, that State ought to be very proud of him, because he is undoubtedly the ablest man in that particular line of business on the Australian continent. There may be at any time Mount Morgans discovered, and the same class of machine will be necessary, if the new company are to do as the Mount Morgan Company is doing. Is it to be said that those companies are to be penalized at the outset by a heavy duty upon the machinery necessary for their operations. In connexion with mining generally, it must be remembered that we do not know what class of machinery may be necessary at any time in the future for carrying on the industry. Though we know a great deal about matrices and the bodies which carry gold, we do not know everything yet. Every now and again something entirely new is discovered. It is a solemn fact that Mount Morgan was passed times out of number by miners. None of them looked at it for an instant with any idea of getting gold out of it, and if any one had told some of the old miners that there was gold in Mount Morgan he would have been laughed at as a new chum. There are other places in the State of Queensland where the usual ore bodies in which gold is found are passed by, and yet there is doubtless gold in other matrices. There may be, and no doubt there are, other sources of wealth still undiscovered. In connexion with mining machinery, the question of patents crops up, and presents a great difficulty. I have pointed out that by the cyanide process all the gold is not recovered, whilst by the chlorination process all the gold is recovered, but at very great expense. There are, all over the world, people engaged in trying to discover some means by which the two processes may be brought together to recover all the gold, and to recover it cheaply in order to make it pay to handle the whole of the material profitably. At any time there may be a discovery made which may bring this about. In connexion with cyaniding there have been any number of experiments made with electrical machinery, in the endeavour, where the ore bodies contain a large percentage of sulphides, to first precipitate the sulphides, and then treat the residue with the solution. The experiment has been successful in the case of very small parcels. Knowing what we do, and viewing the rapid progress in invention, we must come to the conclusion that the day is not far distant when some process will be discovered that will enable large bodies of ore to be as successfully treated as small parcels are now treated in the laboratories. Dr. Mulholland was successful with small parcels on both zinc and copper in applying the electrical process in precipitating the sulphides, and then the’ ordinary
McArthur-Forrest dilution was operative, but he was not able to treat bodies of ore in the same way on any very large scale. The want of funds, which hampers nearly all inventors, prevented him from carrying his experiments further. I believe it would be a good thing if, instead of taxing materials and machinery, which men like Dr. Mulholland require to use to carry out their experiments successfully, the Commonwealth paid him a large subsidy for carrying on such works. Patented machinery is necessary in carrying on the industry, and as it cannot be made in the Commonwealth, it is not wise for us to penalize those who require to use it by imposing a duty of 15 per cent, upon it. It was said, I believe, by Senator O’Connor that local manufacturers might purchase the patents and manufacture the machinery here. The only result of that would be that those who are using patented machinery would still have to pay the duty, but they would be paying the duty to the manufacturer who had purchased the patent, and the revenue would be absolutely lost. Patent machinery, and every improvement upon it required in the mining industry, should be absolutely free. There is a proviso in the Tariff, which has been referred to by Senator Smith, that upon an address from both Houses of the Federal Parliament, a new invention or an improvement upon any part of a machine may be put in the special exemption list.
– If it cannot reasonably be made here.
– Or if it cannot be made here within a reasonable time, I take that to mean. The local manufacturers may be able to make some patented machinery or some newly-invented machine, but not at once. That may happen after a long series of years, and that machinery not being made here within a reasonable time, there should be some power to make the necessary alterations to enable it to be admitted free without re-opening the whole Tariff. I agree with Senator Smith that the proviso in the Tariff is not sufficient.
– It is easier to pass an address than to pass a Bill.
– That may be so in regard to some particular object stated in an address ; but an easier process still is to give the Executive power to make alterations of the kind. 40 d
– That would be dangerous. 4
– It would be too much power to put into the hands of an unscrupulous Executive, but surely we legislate on the presumption that the Executive are honest men, who are trying to do the best possible for the general good. If the Executive misuse ‘their authority, surely Parliament, under the Constitution, has sufficient power to apply the necessary corrective.
– An honest Executive may make a mistake.
– But it is in the ease with which such mistakes can be corrected that the virtue of the Executive power lies. We may be perfectly honest in passing a certain duty, believing that to be the right course, and yet we may discover’ that the result of the actual operation is-. directly opposite to that which was intended.
– An address could! be passed like a shot.
– I venture to say,that, as soon as an address was introduced,., honorable senators would avail themselves, of the opportunity to attempt to redress, other grievances.
– That would be the result if the matter were left to the Executive.
– But Parliament may be in recess for six months.
– The point, suggested by Senator Smith is one which ought - to be considered. As to the interjection by Senator Sargood, surely there would bemore expedition if the matter were dealt with by the Ministers sitting as an Executive body, than if a Minister endeavoured to.pass an address through the House? Thereis a vast difference between the talk in, which a deputation to a Minister would;, indulge, and the long speeches to which, honorable senators, with grievances and, backed by their constituents, would treat Parliament. Under the old Customs Act in Queensland, there was a duty of 25 per cent, on cyanide. This process was first started by the McArthur-Forrest Company, who endeavoured to have the duty removed in order that they might be able to profitably treat the lowest grade ores. It was then found that the duty had not been scheduled, and that the Queensland Executive had power to remove it without bringing in a Bill or submitting an address to the House. The late Sir Thomas Mcllwraith immediately remitted the duty, and cyanide is on the free list to this day. It is very largely due to that Executive action that certain areas in Queensland were taken up and the erection of cyanide plant proceeded so rapidly. There has “ been no misuse of1 that power by the Queensland Executive; and in the last amendment of the Customs Act of that State, in 1896, special provision was made empowering the Government to remit the duty on any new machinery, or any machinery which they are satisfied cannot, within a reasonable time, be manufactured in the State. “When I say that these powers have not been abused in any way, I cannot be charged with.any special pleading, seeing that in all my political life I have been opposed on general principles to the present Executive in Queensland. I was a member of a Royal commission appointed in Queensland to report on the- gold-fields and mining laws of that State. It was found in the course of our investigations that, of the total area in the State of 427,838,040 acres, the proclaimed fields, gold and mineral, in 1S97, amounted to 40,611,840 acres.’ I do not think that any honorable senator will question the ability of the then head of the -Queensland Geological department, Mr. Jack, who in one of his reports said that of the total area, one-half or. more contains minerals of commercial value, and that . one-quarter of the area contains metallic minerals’. In one State of the Commonwealth, that is the area in which the mining industry can be carried on. The New South Wales and South Australian representatives can speak as to their own States, and I am sure that Senator McGregor will not deny that a good mineral field in South Australia at the present time would be welcomed. The “South Australians would be as glad of such a discovery as were the Queensland people when the gold-fields of Gympie were opened up, or as -were the Victorians when Western Australia became available for gold-mining enterprise. “Up to the present I have treated particularly of gold mines and gold mining, and shown the vast importance of that industry, not only to those actively engaged in it, but to the community generally. Whatever I have said as to the necessity for powerful uptodate machinery in gold mining, applies with ten times greater force- to other kinds of mining. Where it is necessary to spend £1 in the gold-mining industry, it is said that £10 is required in other branches of mining, though- I think the latter figure might safely be placed- at £100. If I have made out a ease in regard to gold-mining, I have given overwhelming proof in relation to other branches of the mining-industry. In Australia we not only produce- gold in large quantities, but we have almost every mineral of commercial value-. Senator O’Connor urged the absolute necessity for protection of the industry of oil-engine manufacture, on the ground that there is large initial- expense in the purchase of plant. But surely it is necessary to give encouragement to those who are engaged in developing the natural resources of the- Commonwealth ? I am not asking for any special protection on the product of the miner ; all I ask is that the industry may not be interfered’ with, but allowed to work out its own salvation. No doubt gold is protected by its scarcity; it does not fluctuate’ in’ value. It occurs to me that there is greater necessity for free machinery in the mining of minerals other than gold, seeing that the price of the former is controlled by the quantity produced in countries outside the Commonwealth. On that ground alone, if on no other, it is necessary that the appliances necessary in the development of our mineral resources should be free of duty. It is proposed to give a bonus in order to further the development of the iron industry in the Commonwealth, thus admitting the necessity for some encouragement. Are we, while offering such a bonus, to impose a tax on the machinery necessary in this very industry ? Senator Higgs said last night that if the companies in Western Australia could afford to spend £43,000,000 on the purchase of machinery to develop the industry, they could afford to pay this dutv. He seemed to think that the only requisite condition is the ability to spend £43,000,000. It is nothing of the kind. In Queensland, as is well known, many million pounds were spent on the large plantations in trying to develop the sugar industry. When the large plantations failed, the Government continued coloured labour, and later on, with the consent of the electors, encouraged the industry by passing a Sugar Works Guarantee Act. Recognising the difficulty that the poor struggling farmer had in getting the necessary machinery to reduce his cane to sugar, they passed that Act, and advanced the money to enable the farmers to erect central mills ; and there is a strong feeling in favour of a State Refinery. Neither the Government nor the people stopped to consider how many million pounds had been put into the sugar industry. Whatever outlay the manufacturer of machinery may incur, he is sure of getting some return. The miner, however, is not sure of getting any return. Until his money is all spent he does not know whether he is going to have one pennypiece returned to him. But if it should happen fortunately that he does receive a payable return, then the manufacturer is sure of getting’ a great market. His progress and his prosperity date from the time that the miner has been successful in his venture. If by any action that may be taken we depress the mining industry, close up our gold mining and all our mineral fields, what is the use of a duty of 15 or 5,000,000 per cent. on machinery, seeing that there would be no one to employ the manufacturer 1 Those who are barracking so much for the manufacturer should consider those who employ him, and the more easy they can make the conditions for the employer of the manufacturer, . the more they will do for their friend.
– And the miners should consider those who supply the cash to open up the gold-fields. The cash is supplied by the big towns.
– That is one of the old fictions that the man who lies back in his rocking-chair in the town hugs very closely to his bosom, but to the miner it means nothing.
– It is the operatives who find the money. The largest number of shareholders in Victoria are working men.
– In Queensland the bulk of the shareholders in mines are working miners who, with their surplus, take a chance in the mines. Many of them get their money back, and a good few of them succeed in getting a competency. It has yet to be proved to me that if we subject machinery to a lower duty than 15 per cent. we shall necessarily close up the factories. I do not think that a 10 per cent. duty will be the means of closing up the factories. Last night Senator O’Connor said that the events predicted by Senator
Smith could not possibly happen, because 5 per cent. was a mere bagatelle, which was hardly worth considering, but before he concluded his speech he made a most pathetic appeal to the committee to realize that 5 per cent. was such a great amount that hundreds of thousands of pounds would be lost to the revenue if the duty were reduced as proposed. He said that it was a great item so far as the revenue was concerned, but that it was absolutely nothing so far as the mining industry was concerned.
– He never said anything about the loss of hundreds of thousands of pounds.
– What I said was that the suggestions of the committee so far involve, if carried out, a loss of £119,000 to the revenue.
– That is not a fair argument to use in connexion with this item, which is surrounded by special circumstances. The mining industry is in quite a different position from any other, and it is not to be penalized because the committee has suggested reductions of duty to the amount of £1 19,000. Another question winch has to be considered is, whether or not it is better for the general community that that sum should be lost to the revenue. The Treasury has more now than it expected or required. I do not believe that it is a good thing to lift £2 out of the pockets of the people when we require only £1 to meet the expenditure of the Government. Another objection that I have to the attitude of Senator O’Connor is that he talked about engines, machinery, and plant that are requisite for other purposes than mining. It is perfectly true that those articles may be used for purposes other than mining, but that does not answer the case which has been put for a reduction of the duty on mining machinery alone. If it can be shown that five times the quantity of machinery and plant are used in other directions than mining, well and good. Deal with all that machinery on its merits. All we ask the committee to do is to deal with mining machinery on its merits. If the mining industry cannot be assisted in this way surely it is quite easy for the committee to suggest the insertion of specific words to the effect that a certain duty should be placed on articles used for mining purposes only.
– If we desire to encourage the mining industry, and if by the imposition of a tax we can do nothing to assist the miner of gold, tin, copper, or lead, is it not manifest that even following the true principle of protection - assistance to native industries - the proper method for the committee to adopt is not to impose taxation, but to take off as many burdens as possible? I would say to. the Senator Styles class of protectionist, or the Senator Barrett style of protectionist–
– Does the honorable and learned senator remember the time when he was a protectionist ? 0
– In reply to that question I shall repeat an old saying which I quoted at an earlier stage in our proceedings -
When the wicked man turneth from his wickedness that he hath committed and doeth that which is lawful and right he shall save his soul alive.
Even if I were a protectionist, I would not so vote as to hamper a native industry, or to damage one on which the prosperity of the whole community depends. What is the position ? The Victorians, in the past, loaded up .their country with protection. Senator Playford did the same to a limited extent for South Australia. Did the policy of protection benefit South Australia ? On the contrary, it led that State to the edge of financial ruin two or three times in the course of her history. What was it that redeemed her ? The gold-mining of Western Australia and the silver-mining of Broken Hill. The honorable senator’s protective policy was doing absolutely nothing for South Australia, but he had v to look to the great mining industries over the borders in order to drag his country out of the mire into which he had plunged her. When we look back at the history of Victoria we know perfectly well - even Senator Styles, who has been in this country a long while, will admit it - what it was that brought the population to this State. What brought people oversea to settle in this country was gold-mining. Is it not manifest that the foundation of Australia’s prosperity is the gold-mining industry of the various” States ? Western Australia was a paltry, miserable State, loaded up with protection, and containing only a handful of people, until the goldmining industry came to her rescue. In a few years she trebled her population. South
Australia, as I have already pointed out, was dragged by the mining industry out of the ditch into which Senator Playford was trying to throw her. Therefore, is it not clear to every honorable senator, as it is clear, I am sure, to the people of Australia, that the foundation of the prosperity of this country is the mining industry? And what is the foundation of the prosperity of the gold-mining industry ? Is it not cheapness of conditions which make it possible to employ labour on low-grade propositions and pay fair wages ?
– Let the mine-owners have cheap black labour !
– I knew that the protectionist would come out !’ Senator Playford would take it out of the backs of the men employed in the industry. The protectionist says to the people of Western Australia, “We would tax your tea and kerosene, everything you eat and wear, and the tools that you use in your industry “ ; and then he calmly tells this committee that the remedy by which he will make up for these burdens is to pay the miners the lowest possible wages.
– Nothing of the sort.
– The free-traders believe that the true principle of prosperity is to enable an industry to circulate in wages as much money as ‘possible. Our object as Revenue Tariffists is to cheapen the cost of production, by removing burdens from the men and the industry, but not at the expense of the .working man, for the wages circulated regulate the prosperity. Let me state my position as a Western Australian representative. I realize that Western Australia to a very large extent depends for her prosperity upon her mining. Western Australia has spent upon her gold-fields and upon railways and water supply millions of money, to cheapen the cost of production. Am I, as a Western Australian representative, knowing that the prosperity of my State depends upon cheapness of production in the mining industry, and that the prosperity of that industry is the foundation of the whole of Australia’s prosperity, going to consent to the imposition of duties which will take away from the gold-miners all the benefits that it has cost Western Australia millions of money to give them, besides bleeding them of a large portion of their wages 1 We have just had a practical speech from Senator Dawson. Speeches full of information have been made by other senators from Western Australia. I do not think, therefore, that it would be of the slightest use for me to repeat the arguments and figures that have been already given. All that I rose to do was to call upon the protectionists in this Chamber to rally to the defence of the first principle of the faith which they profess, and to give the only assistance they can give to the mining industry by reducing the burdens that this Government is endeavouring to place upon it. I regret that we cannot still further reduce this burden, for as long as I am a member of this Senate my chief aim will be to assist in every way in my power the development of our natural resources, and fight against all impositions on the pioneers, whether they be farmers, miners, or labourers.
– I rise to say a few words in connexion with the remarks that have been made by Senator Dawson, as the result of what was not an interjection, but a remark made by me to my colleague in the course of Senator Dawson’s speech. The remark was that the arguments being used by Senator Dawson applied almost exclusively to the machinery used for goldmining purposes, and the extraction of gold from ores. In submitting his motion last night, Senator Smith, who had evidently given careful consideration to the whole of the circumstances as peculiarly affecting his own State, confined his argument almost exclusively to the machinery used in the recovery of gold. I agree with what Senator Dawson has said in criticism of what he regarded as my complaint, that, if Senator Smith’s argument was a good one in regard to machinery used for that purpose, it applied with tenfold force to machinery used for the extraction of metals from other ores. What I really cannot understand is this : the Government have proposed a duty of 15 per cent. on machinery. We have the possibility of making that machinery within the Commonwealth itself. We have a demand for that machinery in the various States of the Commonwealth where the manufacture of mining machinery is a recognised occupation, and we are asked primarily by the representatives of Western Australia to reduce this duty. The arguments so far have been mainly directed to the condition of mining in Western Australia.
– And why not?
– I do not say that there is any reason why it should not be so ; I am simply stating the fact. I could have understood the representatives of another State - say Tasmania - moving in this direction, for the reasons suggested by Senator Dawson, because if anywhere this duty would operate prejudicially to those concerned in mining, it certainly would so operate in a State like Tasmania, where we are concerned not merely with the extraction of gold from ores, but in the extraction of copper, silver, lead, zinc, and other metals. A great point has been made by Senator Smith and Senator Dawson as to what will be the effect of the duty in connexion with the use of cyanide for the extraction of gold. But what pumps or engines or machinery are required for the purpose of carrying out cyanide operations 1 I have a very vivid recollection of the first introduction into the State of Tasmania of the cyaniding system for the extraction of gold from tailings. I took a deep personal interest in it. I happened to be in the district of Tasmania known as Lefroy, from which the gentleman mentioned by Senator Dawson, Mr. Richards, came. I know that in connexion with one mine, called the Pinafore, there were something like 26,000 tons of tailings which until a few years ago had absolutely baffled treatment. These tailings contained something like 4 or 5 dwts. of gold to the ton. Samples had been taken by several persons on the mainland who were interested, but they were unable to extract such an amount of gold as would make the treatment remunerative. It was pointed out that the acids contained in the tailings were so diverse, and of such a refractory character, that it was impossible for them to be treated successful)’ even by means of the cyanide process. But the manager of that company, Mr. Stubbs, with the assistance of his brother, carried out a series of experiments. I had the pleasure and profit of witnessing many of them. In the course of time they erected a cyanide plant. That plant was practically erected out of lumber. It was erected experimentally, and, as a matter of fact, by their cyanide treatment, the Messrs. Stubbs were able to demonstrate that they could extract the 4 or 5 dwts. to the ton, remuneratively to the company.
– How did they get their water ?
– If the honorable senator knows Tasmania, he must be aware that we do not suffer to anything like the same extent as they do in Queensland for want of water. The point I am making is that complicated machinery was very little wanted in connexion with the cyanide process. I had the opportunity of seeing afterwards other plants we have in Tasmania in Connexion with cyanide treatment.
– Do they not want agitators?
– In some cases, but the essential feature of this process is that all that is required is that the tailings shall be placed in vats and subjected to a Solution. In the case I speak of, they were first subject to treatment with pure water, and were afterwards placed in an alkaline solution to neutralize the effects of the acids. For a day or two they were subject to the cyanide solution. The solution was drained into receptacles containing charcoal. This process in Tasmania was carried out without the use of zinc shavings, but simply by the employment of charcoal. The gold was precipitated upon charcoal. With that plant, working under these circumstances, according to the Australian Mining Standard, Stubbs Brothers succeeded in precipitating on a cubic foot of charcoal, the record quantity of gold. All the machinery that was necessary was to carry off the tailings, and to place them into vats erected in such a position that the cyanide solution when put on would drain off. They must be lifted above the level of the spot where the precipitates are, and the only motive power required is that involved in taking the trucks of tailings from where they -may be situated to this height of three or four feet.
– In many cases other machinery is required.
– I shall deal with that presently. A gentleman in Tasmania, occupying the position of an expert, such as has been referred to by Senator Smith, talking in a general way of the money which would be invested in Australia if these duties were removed, visited this particular mine by order of his directors, who intended to carry on cyanide operations. He was engaged at a very high salary, and after visiting the works he, in effect, reported - “ Have visited and seen the tin-pot works, by courtesy styled cyanide works, at So-and-So. I am going to bring out the most up-to-date machinery that it is possible to obtain. I know something about this work.” He brought out, not only this machinery, but Berdan pans for chlorination works, vanners, and other plants for works in connexion with his batteries, and what he considered the most up-to-date appliances for the extraction of gold from the ore itself as well as from the tailings. What was the result? With the assistance of this machinery, made abroad, and not suited to Australian conditions, he could not actually obtain from the material treated by him, much more than 60 per cent. of the per cental yield obtained by the use of the plant which he called a tin-pot one.
– Did he treat the same class of ore ?
– The tailings which he treated were very much easier to deal with. The tailings of which I speak were tried right round Australia, because this was one of the assets of the company, and the company was in need of it. I refer to the New Pinafore Company in Tasmania, which had something like 26,000 tons of tailings to treat. They were sinking down to 1,200 feet ; they had seen no gold after a depth of about 300 feet; they had put in a cross-cut at 800 feet for a distance of 1,000 feet, and they had at 800 feet sunk winzes on the underlay to 330 feet. All this had to be done by means of calls, and nodividends had been paid for years. The company had 26,000 tons of tailings which they knew would give them some income, and enable them to carry on their operations if they could be treated successfully. The tailings were submitted to various experts, and it was considered that owing to the presence of these acids they could not be treated profitably by any known process. It was only through the inventive genius, the application, and the personal qualifications of those who were directly associated with the company, that they were able, subsequently, to successfully treat these tailings, and to treat them in this way by the plant which they had erected so successfully in comparison with that which the expert had imported from abroad to deal with tailings much more amenable to treatment. Under the Tasmanian Tariff there was a duty of 10 per cent. on mining machinery, which we do not require merely for gold mining purposes. We have all the difficulties and complexities of the ores on the West coast to deal with, necessitating, in many instances, the use of special machinery. At Mount Lyell we have ore carrying gold, silver, and copper; and we have also zinciferous ores, many of which have hitherto baffled all treatment. But although we have heard it suggested at times that the duty should be remitted, the suggestion came mainly from people of the class to whom I have referred ; men who represent foreign interests, and who tell us loudly that if we would only remove the duty we should be able to flood the country with an immense amount of capital for the development of its vast natural resources. We had learned, however, that even when these people were granted concessions for working in this and other industries there was no appreciable increase in the inflow of capital from abroad.
– But they did not obtain this concession.
– They obtained too many other concessions. We gave such people miles of country in many instances because they made these statements, and Senator Pearce is aware of that fact. The honorable senator knows of some instances in which vast concessions have been made to foreign corporations. I agree with Senator Matheson that they did not obtain a remission of the duty of 10 per cent. We had had too unfortunate an experience in the past. We had granted such persons too many concessions - concessions in comparison with which the present proposal is a mere trifle. They were granted because it was said that cities in proximity to the works that were to be carried on would hum owing to the introduction of a large amount of foreign capital either for the construction of large railways on the landgrant principle, or for the establishment of telegraphic communication across the straits, or something of that character. Our experiences, however, had been too unfortunate to lead us to remit the duty of 10 per cent., to. which the great body of people connected with mining had no objection, and which returned a large amount of revenue. What is the position now? 1 mention Tasmania particularly because mining operations there are of such a varied character, and necessitate the use of such complex machinery, that Senator Dawson’s argument would apply to it with greater force than it does to places where mining is confined to gold-seeking purely. The 10 per cent, duty was operative, not merely against machinery imported from Great Britain, America, or Germany, but against machinery introduced from
Victoria. With Inter-State free-trade, we have now on opportunity of placing, our orders for this machinery in Victoria. We have now an opportunity of giving a preference in the Tasmanian market to the manufacturers at Bendigo, as well as at Ballarat, who have devoted considerable attention’, and applied a considerable amount of capital,, to the manufacture of mining machinery. We have an opportunity of giving them a preference, and of asking them to turn their attention to the manufacture of machinery suited to the complex requirements of our mines on the West Coast. This is certainly not a prohibitive duty, nor is it a protective one in a fair sense. It simply gives a small margin of preference to the local makers. It is in the interestsof the mines of Australia - in the interests of the field at Etheridge, to which Senator Dawson referred, and for which he said it was so difficult to obtain machinery to treat its ores with anything like remunerative results. If this small preference is given to the Australian manufacturer, who is on the spot, who recognises the conditions, and has the opportunities of making tests and of readily correcting mistakes made by him, I feel perfectly confident that the solution of the difficulties that that field presents at the present time will take place in Australia rather than abroad. Honorable senators opposite know that the recognised leaders of their party stated, both inside and outside of Parliament, soon after the delivery of the Maitland manifesto, that a 15 per cent., or, in some instances, a 20 per cent, duty upon goods that can be manufactured in Australia, or for the manufactureof which Australia is adapted, would be a very fair one. Here we have a duty of 1-5 per cent. It is certainly not high, and yet we are asked to reduce it by 5 per cent. What difference would that reduction make to a large company ? Let us take the case of a company which, we will say, is importing £9,000 worth of machinery. Ten per cent, on that amount would be £900, -while 15 per cent, would represent £1,350, if the duty operated so as to impose that-additional cost on the price of the imported ‘article, which I am sure no protectionist concedes. If it were operative to that extent, what would be the difference ? Instead of paying £9,000 for that machinery, the company would pay under the one rate of duty, £10,350, .and under the other, £9,900, a difference of £450. Surely honorable senators do not think that a company operating on such a scale as to require such machinery would be discouraged from carrying on by that difference in the duty % In the cases to which Senator Dawson has referred - cases in which small associations of working miners require machinery - the difference between 10 per cent, and 15 per cent, would be so small, even if the duty operated, as the other side contend, but which we do not admit, that it would be of very little benefit to the individual, while on the other hand the reduction would lead, to a certain extent, to the depletion of the revenue. Much of the machinery to which Senator Dawson has referred would cost far more than £9,000. A large pumping plant, such as he mentioned, might cost several times as much, and a company whose prosperity warranted such an outlay, would not be deterred in its operations by the difference between a 10 per cent, and a 15 per cent, duty on importations from abroad, even if the price were affected to the extent of the duty. The proposal submitted is really small in its character. I can understand and sympathize with the attitude of Senator Dawson in claiming that all mining machinery should be introduced absolutely free.
– As in New Zealand, where it is almost all locally produced.
– It is not all locally produced in New Zealand. There is pumping machinery introduced into that colony which cannot be made in New Zealand, and there is machinery which is not made in either England or America. It is made in Germany, and I am told machinery has been imported to New Zealand from Germany. I submit that the difference proposed in the duty will hot yield anything like the benefit suggested, but the reduction will certainly mean a depletion of revenue. In this particular instance I hope honorable senators opposite will give a practical proof of the desire which they profess to see .that the revenue shall not be depleted, and that our own industries shall not be absolutely destroyed. With those objects they all profess their willingness to support a Tariff, but if they reduce the duty in this case to 10 per cent., they will endanger an existing industry.
– Like Senator Keating, I have the fault to find with the mover of this motion that the reduction he proposes is not enough. For that reason I shall be brief, because I recognise that the amount of benefit we shall confer upon the mining industry, by adopting the motion, will be so limited that it is hardly worth while to take up much time in discussing it. I do not hold a brief for big mining companies paying dividends, and well able to pay a little more for the machinery they use. But I do hold a brief for those who work in the mining industry, and I quite recognise that if we make mining machinery dear by imposing a heavy duty upon it, we may prevent the employment of thousands of men. There are a number of mines all over the Commonwealth in which only low-grade ores are found. The shareholders investing their money in these mines are not always wealthy men, and sometimes when the question of the further development of a mine arises, the difference between a 3d. and a 6d. call determines the question and seals the fate of the mine. By doing anything which ma)’ result in the closing of the mines, and in stopping further development of mining, we may deny work to thousands of men. Our imports of mining machinery to Western Australia are very considerable, and this duty of 15 per cent, will be a heavy tax upon the industry in that State. The value of the imports of foreign-made mining machinery amounted, in 1900, to £231,096 ; and of Australian-made machinery to £202,313. I draw attention to the fact that the foreign mining machinery imported does not consist of the cheaper kinds of machinery, or of ordinary quartz batteries, but chiefly of machinery which could not be made in the Commonwealth, and of patented machinery. It consists, in many cases, of expensive chlorination plants, and plants of that character, the manufacture of which has been specialized in America. This machinery is not made in Australia, and will not be made, even with the 15 per cent, duty, because in America they have the world’s market for this machinery. They make a special line of mining machinery, and supply the rest of the world with it. The Australian manufacturer is limited to the Australian market ; but the American manufacturer can expend thousands of pounds in experimenting, and in buying up new inventions, which tend to perfect these extensive mining plants. That is the reason we have to go to the foreign market to buy mining machinery. If only quartz-crushing plant and machinery of that description were required, it could be got from Martin and Company, and from the foundries at Ballarat and other places. Honorable senators need not be concerned with the idea that if we reduce the duty as proposed, we shall injure places in Australia where mining machinery is made. As Senator Sargood has pointed out, mining industry has always been free of duty in New Zealand, and yet in that colony almost all the mining machinery used is locally manufactured. There are exceptions, to which Senator Keating has referred, where special mining plants have to be imported. I dare say that they have had the same experience there as in Western Australia, and because there is but a limited market for special kinds of mining plant they have had to go outside New Zealand to get it ; but the great bulk of the mining machinery used in that colony is locally manufactured without the assistance of any protection whatever. Even in Western Australia, with a duty of only 5 per cent., we have been able to build up an industry for the manufacture of mining machinery. Do not let honorable senators run away with the idea that we have to send to the eastern States for all the mining machinery which we do not import from abroad. At the present time in Western Australia we manufacture crushing batteries. We have foundries, not only on the coast, where wages are low and fuel is cheap, but even on the gold-fields. The industry in Western Australia employs 1 , 243 persons, and that beats theVictorian record, because, per head of population, there are more persons employed in the industry in Western Australia than are employed in Victoria, where there has been a duty of 25 per cent.
– They are chiefly repairing shops in Western Australia.
– That is so, but the Victorian foundries are also largely repairing shops engaged in supplying parts of machinery and in repairing plants. That is, of course, one of the great advantages of local manufacture, because persons using a locally-made plant can rely upon being able to have it repaired. The very fact that this repairing work is necessary, is a reason why no protection is needed to enable these foundries to be established. The reason for the establishment of these foundries at Kalgoorlie was that the mining companies wanted on the spot some place where they could get repairs made and parts of machinery substituted without delay. There was no need for protection to the industry ; the demand for this work was there, and in consequence the foundries were established, and are flourishing and paying high wages.
– The duty would not protect repairing shops.
– I point out to Senator Styles that we could protect repairing shops by imposing a duty of 25 per cent. upon parts of machinery ; but does not the honorable senator see that the very fact that this work must be done in the State encourages the manufacture of mining machinery 1 What has happened in Western Australia? These shops were first of all purely repairing shops; but they are not merely repairing shops now. The)’ mould, and cast, and make crushing batteries and other mining machinery. With a very much lower measure of protection they have been able to work even in competition with Victoria, and while they employ 1,243 men out of a total population of 200,000, there are only 5,026 men employed in this industry in Victoria out of a total population of over 1,000,000. This shows that protective duties are not needed to establish this industry. In protectionist circles in Victoria, and especially by the” protectionist panjandrum of Collins-street, the presence of Western Australian senators is objected to in this Chamber. It is suggested that they should be dumb while this matter is being settled, and that they should allow Victorian senators to say what the duty upon mining machinery should be, because the conservative party of Western Australia stipulated for the retention of a sliding scale in the Federal Constitution. Let me say that the party with whom I am associated is against the sliding scale, and is endeavouring at the present moment in the State Parliament of Western Australia to abolish it. I do not propose to be silent upon this question simply because a certain provision has been inserted in the Constitution, upon which the people of Western Australia were never consulted, and upon which I and the rest of the electors were never asked to give an opinion. That provision was inserted in the Constitution by the will of one man, and it is not going to close my mouth upon this question. Senator Keating spoke as if we were only concerned with gold-mining. I do not come from the gold-mining portion of Western Australia, and I am not particularly interested in it, but in Western Australia we have mining other than gold-mining. We have 383 persons engaged in coalmining, 321 in copper-mining, and 413 in tin-mining. These industries are only in their infancy, but there’ are great possibilities for them in Western Australia. We require cheap mining machinery for the coal industry of Western Australia, because the coal there is of such a nature that it has to be made into briquettes, and machinery is required for that purpose. A company is being formed for the purpose at the present time, but as they would have to pay £1,200 in -duty upon the machinery they require, they will probably think twice before they Start it. The necessity for paying that £1, 200 in duty may prevent the company starting the manufacture of briquettes, arid may result in the closing down of our coal-mines. Senator Keating spoke as if cyaniding was the only process in connexion with a certain class of gold mining. As a matter of fact it is one of a number of processes, and every up-to-date mine is provided with a cyaniding, in addition to a chlorination, plant. Where there are refractory ores there must be a cyaniding plant. There is not much machinery required for cyaniding, but agitators are needed for keeping the stuff in motion. Unless there be also a crushing and chlorination plant, cyaniding is of no use, because there is nothing to cyanide. Senator Keating informed us that at Lefroy, Tasmania, there was a quantity of stuff, averaging 4dwt. to the ton, which, but for a cyaniding plant, could not have been dealt with. There are thousands of tons of ore which must remain in the earth if machinery and processes are not made cheap ; but if these necessaries were supplied at reasonable prices, thousands of men would be employed at good wages, thus adding to the wealth of the world.
– The processes are mainly chemical, and have little or nothing to do with machinery.
– Cyaniding is only an ultimate process, machinery of a complicated and costly nature having previously to be brought into operation. When ore is taken out of the earth, pumps, drills, winding engines, and other machinery, have to be used.
– But the honorable senator was speaking of refractory ores.
– Refractory ores have to be raised to the surface, and costly machinery must be provided if they are to be treated successfully. . It is generally found that the lower the grade, or the >more refractory the ore, the more costly is the plant required. Some of the English companies on the Kalgoorlie gold-fields have erected plant at a cost of £10,000 only to find, after a few trials, that it was useless for the purpose, and must be replaced. Hundreds of thousands of pounds have been spent practically in experiments, and if this duty of 15 per cent, had been operative in Western Australia, the gold-mining industry in that State would not have occupied the position it does to-day. In Western Australia there are some 18,000 men employed in mining, most of them heads of families, so that the industry is maintaining some 200,000 people, and practically establishing a new State, which had no existence ten years ago. The reduction of this duty by 5 per cent, will materially assist gold mining, and I am very sorry a further reduction has not been proposed. I fear that the mining people of Australia will say that federation has been a curse to them, owing to the additional taxation imposed on machinery. I am very much disappointed that the Senate, which represents the States, is not sufficiently strong to carry a greater reduction than that now suggested.
– I yield to no one in my desire to see goldmining prosper, but I have to consider other industries, and the welfare of the Commonwealth as a whole. I cannot see anything extravagant in the idea that the mining industry should either contribute towards the revenue of the Commonwealth, or assist in the establishment of other industries. I wonder whether the representatives who have taken miners specially under their wing have considered to whom the .gold of this country belongs. Does it not belong to the various Governments of the Commonwealth ? Do not the miningcompanies and the individual miners receive, at a very low cost, the right to search, win, and keep the gold 1 It is quite true that mining companies spend a great deal of money, and may not only receive no return, but lose on the investment; but, at the same time, they may make a great deal of profit. The business as a whole is largely speculative, though we know that iti
Western Australia, in particular, a large amount of wealth has been realized from mining.
– There is a dividend tax in Western Australia.
– I think some mine-owners ought to pay more1 taxes than they do ? Last year no less than £7,000,000 was realized from the mines in Western Australia, and in the year 1900, according to Senator Pearce, the value of the machinery purchased was only about £400,000.
– Dividend taxation to the amount of £350,000 was paid.
– No doubt mineowners have to pay taxes, wages, and other similar charges, but companies engaged in other branches of business also have to pay dividend duties and taxation in various forms.
– That is exactly what they do not do.
– Senators Dawson and Pearce laid special stress on the fact that if a duty of 15 per cent, be imposed, a large number of mines will be closed, and thousands of men deprived of employment. If I thought that would be the case, I should vote for the abolition of the duty. I do not believe, however, that such a result will follow, or even that mine-owners will have to pay 15 per cent, more for their machinery than they would if no duty were imposed. In my opinion the difference in price will be very much less than 15 per cent., and, at the same time, we shall have manufacturing industries within the Commonwealth. It is desirable that we should establish such industries, and be independent of the outside world for our machinery, as we ought to be for a great many other commodities. It is said that these industries are being established now, but, if so, they are being established in the face of very adverse conditions. For aught we know these industries may, at any moment, be swept out of existence by the operation of some machine trust in either Europe or the United States; and no one would like to see thousands of men thus thrown out of employment. We hear a great deal about the difficulties which the cost of machinery places in the way of the mining investor. But have honorable senators ever considered how gambling in mining scrip cripples the industry? The over capitalization, which is continually going on, has crippled the industry more than has anything else, and the flotation of wild-cat mines has had a most adverse influence.
– That condition of things cannot be affected by the Tariff.
– I think it might be affected indirectly by the Tariff. If we had very cheap labour, with duty free machinery, there would ba more gambling, and legitimate mining, would be in no better position than it is to-day. The greater the profits the greater the incitement to gambling; and instead of allowing the large profits to be garnered in, so to speak, by absentee companies, we should take care that at least some portion is used in assisting the development of other industries within the Commonwealth. Mining companies enjoy great advantages, and the Commonwealth is entitled to expect something in return. There is another aspect of the question : If all the manufacturing industries were destroyed, by the incidence of the Tariff, where would the men now employed in them find work 1 Probably a large number-would go to the mining fields, with the result that wages there would be reduced. From the working miners’ point of view the more industries that are established the better, because they lessen the competition in the one industry. As a matter of insurance against competition, working miners ought to consider the wisdom of supporting the protectionist policy which, instead of destroying subsidiary industries, would cause them to spring up.My honorable friends, who are so anxious that the mining companies should be able to procure cheap machinery, ought to consider the interests of the Commonwealth as well as the interests of the mining companies. Gold is one of the natural resources of the Commonwealth, and it is the bounden duty of every community to conserve as much as possible its natural resources. Let us take the case of the Mount Morgan mine, which is a huge hill of gold. The dividends which have been paid from that mine during the last twelve or fourteen years have amounted to about £6,000,’000. I am safe in saying that out of that sum £5,000,000 has been spent in Great Britain or Europe. That is an object lesson to us all so far as mining is concerned. If the owners of that mine had received dividends to .the amount of ‘£3,000,000, it would have been quite enough for them, and if the balance of the profits had been spent, as it ought to have been spent, in- assisting to develop other industries in Queensland, it would have been very much better for that State. We hear a great deal about the richness of the mines in Western Australia. If those mines are rich it is the duty of the Commonwealth to see that the gold is utilized to assist in the creation of other industries within its boundaries, instead of being permitted to filter away to Great Britain or elsewhere, and thus drain the country of its legitimate capital. While they have some phenomenally rich mines in Western Australia, they also have some very poor mines. We are quite justified in claiming that an industry which gives such very large returns, and which under fair and honest management, I believe, would give very much larger returns, should contribute in some measure towards, not only the cost of government, but also the growth of subsidiary industries. In taking up this position, I am not animated by any spirit of hostility towards the miner or the mining industry. Probably there is no one who owes his position in the Senate more decidedly to miners than I do. But, while that is the case, I am not prepared to abandon, even apparently for their sake, what I believe to be the best policy for the Commonwealth as a whole. Our population does not consist entirely of miners, but of a great number of persons who are engaged in a large number of diverse industries. If the time permitted, and it were worth while, I could prove, I believe to the satisfaction of Senators Smith and Pearce, that a protectionist policy would be much better for the miners in such circumstances than even a free-trade policy. It is quite possible for any man to explain how it would pay a rich gold-mining country better to subsidize the production of wheat within its borders, even at double the cost of the imported article, than to depend on other countries. At the beginning of our discussions on the Tariff, I said that it was my intention, as pearly as possible, to adhere to the decisions arrived at by the House of Representatives. On the question of taxation and the fiscal policy, the other House more fully and completely represents the Commonwealth than does the Senate. It is elected by the people of the Commonwealth as a whole. It is chosen by 75 different electorates, without reference to States which are not known at all, except for the mere arrangement of elections, whereas the Senate represents the States as States without reference to population. I think that according to the terms of the Constitution Act the other House is the one that ought to settle the Tariff, and for that reason I am not inclined to depart, except very slightly, from its decisions.
– Last evening Senator O’Connor said that the various suggestions of the committee would, if carried out, represent a loss of £119,000 to the revenue, and he promised, I think, that a return giving the details should be laid before us. I have not heard yet of the production of the return. I do not know when it will arrive. Perhaps it will arrive at the same time as the return from Western Australia for which we have been waiting for some months. I have gone through the various suggestions, and I have come to the conclusion that they involve no loss of revenue. Undoubtedly a number of the suggestions do clearly involve an increase of revenue, because some of the duties were verging, more or less, on the prohibitive point, and as we get away from that point, we come to the revenue-producing field. Some of the suggestions will slightly impinge on the revenue estimates. But taking them all round, in my judgement - of course I may have erred here and there - they will not cause any loss of revenue to the Commonwealth.
– I wish I could concur in the verv cheering announcement which has just been made by Senator Pulsford, but I am afraid that I. cannot, nor do I think the people of Queensland, who have been watching our proceedings with very great interest, and, I may say, with some degree of alarm, will come to any such conclusion. Some senators have argued that the mining industry has been retarded to a very considerable extent by the high duties which have been imposed in some States, and also by the high duties which are imposed by the Federal Tariff. I have taken the trouble to look into the matter so far as concerns Queensland. Mining operations are not carried on there to the same extent as in Western Australia, which is essentially a mining State, and I do not find fault with honorable senators from Western Australia in endeavouring to secure the importation of mining machinery at the least possible cost. There are in the Commonwealth altogether about 50,000 miners. But we must also understand that there are 10,000 or 18,000 men engaged in the various iron foundries of the Commonwealth. While I yield to no man in my desire to promote the well-being of the miners, we must not forget that the ironworkers are entitled to some consideration at our hands. Looking over the statistics of Queensland I find that the whole value of the machinery imported for the year 1S99-1900 was £34,000. Of that amount £25,000 worth came in free, and the rest paid duty. These figures prove that in Queensland those engaged in mining have had every facility offered them for importing their plant. But we have arrived at that degree of perfection in manufacturing this class of machinery when it is unnecessary to send to other parts of the world to obtain such a plant as is required for the mining industry. There is nearly £2,000,000 worth of mining machinery in Queensland, a considerable portion of which has paid duty at 25 per cent. Senator Dawson has objected to a duty of 15 per cent, for the Commonwealth, and is supporting a reduction of the proposed duty by 5 per cent, on the ground that it will afford considerable relief to the mining industry in Queensland. That supposition is not borne out by the figures to which I have referred. The amount of relief given by the reduction of the duty from 15 per cent, to 10 per cent, would be infinitesimal. But even if the mining industry were to pay a little, it must be remembered that we all have to pay more or less. Is it unreasonable to call upon the mining industry to contribute its share towards supporting the burdens of the Commonwealth 1 Surely not. There are in Queensland about 11,000 miners, and about 4,000 men are engaged in iron foundries and metal works. The reduction of the duty will not benefit the miners, but it may do injury to the iron and metal workers. The iron industry in ‘ Queensland is not confined to any one district. There are iron-works in the North and Central portions, as well as in the South. The industry is carried on at Townsville, Charters Towers, and Rockhampton, although the largest number of men engaged in it are employed in the Southern district. Mining plant has been turned out at foundries at Maryborough and Bundaberg which has given entire satisfaction, not only with regard to its effectiveness, but also in respect of its cheapness.
Within the last few years comparatively little mining plant was purchased abroad for use in Queensland, owing to the efficiency of the local industry and the encouragement given to that industry in the shape of moderate duties. I ‘have seen some letters from Gympie, Charters Towers, and other mining centres, expressing entire satisfaction with plant manufactured in Queensland. Taking these facts into consideration, I trust the committee will realize the desirability of maintaining the duty proposed by the Government in preference to running the risk of lessening the number of persons in the iron industry, and turning them out to join the ranks of the other unemployed. The duty will not disadvantage the mining industry, while its reduction will be an injury to the iron workers, and will jeopardize their industry to the detriment of the whole Common-, wealth.
Senator MILLEN (New South Wales).There is a little inconsistency in the attitude of Senator Glassey, to which I take the liberty of calling attention. He first of all affirms that he sees no reason why the mining industry should not, through the medium of this Tariff, contribute something towards the cost of Government. It can contribute to the cost of Government only by means of taxation. He asserts that the Tariff as it stands will not hamper the mining industry. Does the honorable senator mean to say that the industry is not to some extent hampered by having to pay taxes? The remark to which I have alluded was an extraordinary one, coming from a free-trader like Senator Glassey.
– A free-trader ?
– Yes. Senator Glassey has affirmed that these duties will not in any way hamper the industry, and I desire to show that, not very long ago, when criticising a Customs Duties Bill very similar to this, he expressed an entirely different opinion. On that occasion he ventured to speak in defence of the miner, and asked for a greater remission of taxation than was proposed. I commend to him the concise and emphatic way of stating the very question with which we are now dealing, which is to be found in the Queensland Hansard ,
– Is it very far back ?
– No. It was in the year 1896, and a mature and. experienced politician like Senator Glassey surely does not change his opinions every seven years, in which period people are supposed to change their skins. In New South Wales we have had some marvellous instances of lightninglike changes, but T never suspected that such a tendency was to be found in Queensland. Senator Glassey is reported, in Hansard, page 584, vol.1xxv., to have spoken as follows in the Queensland Legislative Assembly on the 19th August, 1896 : -
It must be gratifying to the House to hear from the Minister in charge of this measure that the Government is in a position to remit taxation to the extent of some £40,000 or £50,000 this year.
That is a statement on the part of the honorable senator that a remission of duties to that extent is a relief to the industries affected. Now he tells us that the imposition of these duties will not hamper the mining industry.
– I said they would not do so to any extent.
– Then the honorable senator admits that they must hamper the industry to a limited extent ? That is what he admitted in the following sentences from the speech to which I have referred : -
It is to be regretted that they are not in a position to remit much more than the amount named.
The honorable senator who now says that the imposition of these duties cannot materially affect the mining industry regretted on this occasion that the Government of a single State could not remit more than £50,000 of taxation. He continued -
I wish to say that the opinions I am expressing on this measure are entirety my own. … I am not by any means an ardent free-trader.
Honorable senators will have no difficulty in believing that statement.
– It will hold good today.
– I do not propose to dispute it. The honorable senator, referring to the Minister in charge of that Bill, went on to say -
He also says it will afford some relief to the mining community.
– The honorable senator was referring to the list of exemptions.
– The Bill which the honorable senator was discussing proposed a reduction of duties, and the motion now before the Chair proposes the reduction of a duty. If a reduction of duties by a specific measure in Queensland afforded relief to the miners of that State, this motion, if carried, must tend to the relief of the whole mining community.
– Some of the duties remitted by that measure are sought to be reimposed under the Federal Tariff.
– Exactly ; yet while the removal of those duties meant relief, their re-imposition now, according to the honorable senator, does not mean a burden upon the mining community. He went on to say -
Small as the relief is, of course it is better than none.
I say the same. Small as will be the relief afforded by a reduction of the duty from 15 to 10 per cent., it will be better than nothing, and I propose to support it. While the honorable senator said he accepted my statement, that I could give instances in which the imposition of these duties had affected mining interests, he went on to show that-
He that complies against his will Is of his own opinion still.
Ipropose to give the committee two instances. When I interjected that I was prepared to give these instances, Senator. McGregor said that they were probably wild-cat schemes. Whether they were wild-cat schemes or not will be gathered by the committee when I state that one company which was formed to carry on dredging operations at Micalong, had a capital of £6,000 represented by four individuals. The venture was not put upon the market, nor was any attempt made to float it into a company ; but in order to bring it under the Companies Act three of the party admitted their sons into the syndicate in order to make up the number of persons required to form a company under the Act. Out of the £6,000 required by this company, £4,000 was necessary for the purchase of machinery ; but when this Tariff was introduced, imposing a duty of 25 per cent. on machinery of this kind, it was found that additional capital to the extent of £1,000 would be required by the company. The parties ‘were not prepared to erect the machinery at that cost. The market was not in a position to be approached, nor did they think it desirable to approach it with a proposition of that kind, and they simply dropped the undertaking. The leases are in my office to-day, and if any one chooses to take them up they gmh have them. The second instance occurred in connexion with an undertaking on the Argalong, near the same district. In that case twelve persons agreed to raise £10,000, and they proposed to purchase machinery at a cost of £8,000. When the Tariff was introduced, however, the matter was dropped for exactly the same reason as in the first case. The twelve persons agreed not merely to. raise £10,000 ; they actually subscribed £5,000, and made themselves liable to pay up the balance when required. I was the legal manager of the companies, and therefore know what 1 am talking about. These two undertakings were brought to a standstill by the introduction of this Tariff, and the last-named venture is tied up until the parties see what Parliament does with these duties. These companies had their legal habitation in my office,, and I speak with a full knowledge of the facts.
Senator GLASSEY (Queensland). - I do not object to the reading of the extracts which Senator Millen has given from a speech delivered by me in the Queensland Legislative Assembly in 1896, fori do not see that there is any inconsistency on my part shown by them. I understood that my honorable friend was going to make a very serious indictment against me, on the ground of my alleged inconsistency. At the time in question the State Government had been giving careful attention to the mining industry, and they had ascertained that there were various parts of mining machinery which .could not be manufactured there. In those circumstances they merely asked the sanction of the House - and that sanction was readily given - to the placing of those articles on the free list. I assisted them to make them free, and I would do so again.
– They were placed on the list of exemptions, just as we have a number of exemptions in this Tariff.
– Exactly. I am pleased to say that we have a number of articles oil the free list. When the Queensland Customs Duties Bill was before Parliament, I was very desirous that we should add to the list of exemptions any other articles used in the’ mining industry, which could not be manufactured in that State, so that we might afford further relief. So far as I remember, the House did not ask that the existing duty of 25 per cent, on machinery of this kind should be lowered. That duty was imposed to stimulate and encourage our iron industry, and as I have shown, a very small quantity of mining machinery was imported into Queensland while it prevailed. The bulk of the machinery used there has been manufactured in the State, to the benefit of those engaged in the ironmanufacturing industries, and, no doubt, to the benefit of the mining community. I would ais® remind - the committee that the duty proposed by the Government is a reduction of 10 per cent, upon the duty formerly prevailing in Queensland. That, I think, is a very fair compromise, and I am satisfied that the mining and other sections of the community are prepared to contribute a reasonable amount to the cost of the Government of the Commonwealth.
– Senator Millen has made this afternoon an open confession which gives us the true weight of the profession of the free-trade party, that their object in seeking to reduce this duty is to reduce the burdens of the already overburdened taxpayer. We protectionists say openly that our desire is to give employment to our own people at the highest rate of wage for a fair day’s work, and we admit our selfishness to that extent. It is an enlightened kind of selfishness. On the other hand, while claiming that he desires to relieve the already overburdened taxpayer, Senator Millen has told us this afternoon what is his real object in seeking to reduce this duty. He is the legal manager of a company which has paid up some thousands of pounds–
– Which has ceased to . exist.
– But the honorable senator has told us that the leases are in his office, and that it is open to any one to take them up. If the free-trade party succeed in reducing this Tariff to free-trade limits, then this company, of which Senator Millen is the legal manager, will commence operations.
– And employ twenty men.
– I am not taking exception to that. But I say that the free-traders should make an open confession just as do the protectionists. We are battling for our own people ; they are battling for their own people. I subscribe to all the remarks made by Senator Glassey with regard to Walkers’ Limited, of Maryborough. That is a great firm, employing hundreds of hands, and having the most uptodate plant and machinery. I find, from an advertisement appearing in the Government Mining Journal, of Queensland, that Walkers’ Limited are manufucturers of sugar-mill, meat-work, and gas-work plant, structural ironwork, mining and gold-saving machinery, a speciality, pumping engines; winding engines of all sizes, stamper batteries, smelters, cages, trucks, &c. With the advertisement is published a photograph of a 100-head stamper battery, made for the Scottish Mine at Gympie. This company can turn out the greater portion of the mining machinery required throughout the Commonwealth. I suppose that the limited quantity of machinery which cannot be made in Australia must be imported - by the mining companies requiring that machinery - under a protective duty. Senator Dawson mentioned the case of the Mount Morgan Company, and he stated that the manager, Mr. Richards, is a highly capable man. He is certainly said to be a very capable scientist by those who should be able to judge. But what is Mr. Richards’ opinion upon this very question 1 When I visited Mount Morgan during the federal campaign, I expected that I should find that the manager, the miners, and all connected with the company, would bp freetraders j but the first remark addressed to’me was by Mr. Richards, who said that he was very glad to learn that I was a protectionist. He said - “‘We have 1,700 men employed in this mine, and most of them are married men with families, and I want to know what we are going to do for the children if Australia is to have a free-trade Tariff ? “ There was a splendid object lesson for any free-trader. The children of the men employed in the mine were growing up, and were unable to get employment in the township of Mount Morgan, and I say that the free-traders have no remedy for the difficulties of the miners at Mount Morgan, who are asking themselves to what trade they shall put their children. The only answer the free-traders have to the question is that they should look for work in some primary industry, such as the pastoral or mining industry. Protectionists, on the other hand, contend that we should build up a large number of diverse industries, when the miners’ sons will have no difficult)’ in getting employment. Our position as protectionists is perfectly sound. We desire that the machinery used in Australian mines shall be made in Australia in order that employment may be given to our own people. It must be made somewhere, and why not in Australia under Australian conditions? In connexion- with Mount Morgan, and no doubt the same thing applies to many of the richest mines throughout Australia, I may say that the land was originally obtained at a very low price. What was the origin of Mount Morgan ? A selector, it appears, had 640 acres there, and the founders of the Mount Morgan Company bought the 640 acres from the selector for £640, and they have since reaped millions from their investment. I do not believe that a single one of those who are interested in that mine would object to a protective duty upon mining machinery. .
– This debate has to a large extent dealt with the question of mining, and I am sure that honorable senators who have had an opportunity of listening to some of the speeches that have been delivered this afternoon, and particularly to the speech made by Senator Dawson, have been given a great deal of information upon the objections to an increase of taxation upon mining machinery. We know that Senator Dawson is a man who speaks from knowledge, and as he confined himself to the knowledge he has gained in the State of Queensland, his opinion ought to have a great deal of weight, not only with honorable senators, but with the public at large. He has pointed out how the proposed taxation affects gold mining in the State of Queensland, and honorable senators must’ recognise that the same principles apply to mining for all metals and minerals in the whole of the States. In the State of New South Wales we know that there are any number of low-grade propositions and any number of properties and leases from which the returns can only be small, that await development until machinery can be supplied for working them at the lowest possible price. Honorable senators ask what is the difference between 10 and 15 per cent., but Senator Millen lias pointed out the effect of the 15 per cent, duty in New South Wales from his own knowledge of certain cases. I know that there are other cases in which men have been deterred from entering upon these speculations - for, after all, they, are only speculations - in consequence of the proposal originally made by the Government that the duty upon mining machinery should be 25 per cent. Fifteen per cent, is, of course, 10 per cent, better than the original proposal, but a further reduction of 5 percent, will be a matter of considerable moment in the development of all these low-grade propositions. Wherever they are taken in hand, the only chance of success is by saving every shilling that can be saved in every branch of the work of their development! Expenditure must be reduced in every possible way, and though the reduction proposed upon this duty is only 5 per cent., or ls. in the £1, when it comes to be calculated upon thousands of pounds expended in machinery it will be found to be a matter of the greatest importance in connexion with the development of these mines. Senator O’Connor complained of the great loss of revenue which this proposal will entail. He has told us that the revenue collected for six months under all the headings of item 78 amounted to £230,000. I think the original Government estimate was something like £300,000. I remind honorable senators that in certain cases the duty has not been altered, and it may not be altered in other cases. But assuming that in all these items the duty is reduced to the level of 10 per cent., the revenue to be derived will amount to over £300,000, so that we shall have about the same revenue which the Government contemplated would be realized from the duties as originally proposed. Does not that show at once that we shall not be unduly cutting down revenue by adopting this proposal ? We know that a statement issued the other day of the receipts during the financial year showed a surplus of £800,000 upon the original estimate of the Treasurer, and can it then be said that we are proposing to cut down revenue needlessly ? I say that even if were cutting down revenue by this proposal, the interests at stake are so great, and of so much importance to the Commonwealth, that we should be justified, in cutting away even a third of the original estimate of the Government if that were found necessary, in order to maintain this industry. Senator O’Connor claims that there are something like 16,000 men employed throughout the Commonwealth in manufacturing industries of the class with which we are dealing. 40 e
But if that number is placed in juxtaposition with the number of men permanently employed in the mining industry in the whole of the States, it will be found to be but a small proportion of the industrial army. If the effect of this proposal should be that all new machinery will have to be imported, and that no machinery will be made upon the spot, we shall have a larger army than the 16,000 men still employed.
– We should have to pay more for the machinery imported if none were made in Australia.
– We do not propose that there should be none made in Australia. We know very well that whereever possible people in Australia will get the machinery they require made here, for the manifest reason that they can have it made under their own supervision, and can get repairs made at any time without extra expense. It is very natural that they should use colonial productions as far as possible. It was also pointed out this afternoon that the more expensive and special machinery required could not at the present time be made in the Commonwealth ; and it is this very machinery which it is proposed to tax to the extent of 15 per cent., though it is known that such a duty cannot give the assistance which it has been claimed it will give to certain industries. This machinery is the most important in the treatment of low-grade ores, and we ought to see that the users are not unduly or unnecessarily taxed. A short time ago we received a petition which had been presented in the other House from certain mining companies doing business in Western Australia who protested against the imposition of heavy duties with the accompanying disadvantages. We all know that certain mines have been singularly successful, but, unfortunately, the bulk of mining enterprsies are not so. Mining is merely a lottery, and while honorable senators instance Mount Morgan as a mine returning great profits, we ought to bear in mind that that u one of the prizes. It has been argued that a certain portion of the profits earned by some of these large mines might be spent with advantage within the Commonwealth, but we must not forget that the investors take the risks of drawing a blank, and are entitled to some commensurate reward if they find gold. This item should be placed, at any rate, on the same footing as agricultural and mining machinery. The duty on engines also has been fixed at 10 per cent., and it would be remarkable if we fixed a duty of 15 per cent. on an article of a kindred nature. Senator O’Connor commented on the fact that duties of 50, 60, and 80 per cent. had been passed without objection. But the idea of a great many honorable senators hasbeen not to unduly protract the debates by asking for a revision of the duties when it was felt that the duties in themselves did not amount to anything very great, and under the circumstances, might well be passed. Senator O’Connor is under an entire misapprehension when he assumes that these duties were passed in order to obtain votes in regard to other items. Whatever votes have been given are such as would have been given independently of any attempt to attack the higher duties to which reference has been made.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 78, by adding to the duty, “Boilers, pumps, machines, and machinery, n.e.i., ad valorem, 15 per cent.,” the words “and on and after 1st August, 1902, 10 per cent.” - put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … 13
Noes … … 9
Majority … … 4
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Item 78 - Manufactures of metal, viz. . . . Axles and springs, ad valorem, 15 per cent.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 78, by adding to the duty “Axles and springs, ad valorem, 15 per cent,” the words “and on and after 1st August, 1902, 10 per cent. “
These articles are used by coach-builders, cart-builders, and others, and are necessaries in an important industry carried on within the Commonwealth. Recent decisions of the committee have made the views of honorable senators clear, and I shall take up no more time in submitting my motion.
– I do not see that the same principle applies to this line as to other lines on which votes have been taken. Surely there is no reason to suppose that axles and springs cannot be made in the Commonwealth, or that the proposed duty will increase the price to the consumer, except, perhaps, in the case of articles of some particular description which may have to be imported. I cannot imagine why senators should be so ready to give up revenue for no reason whatever except a desire to cut down a duty. I should like to hear better reasons than I have heard for a proposal of the kind.
– I deprecate the idea of honorable senators, without advancing any reasons or arguments, submitting proposals merely for the sake of submitting them, and expecting them to be passed. ‘If the free-trade party have any justification for their existence, it is their desire to have a “ free breakfast table “; but I do not see what axles have to do with that object. Senator Neild will have the greatest difficulty in proving that the proposed duty will inflict any heavy burden on the people of the Commonwealth. Can the senator give an instance in which a solitary individual throughout the Commonwealth will be inconvenienced by the duty as proposed by the Government? I can name one individual whowill be much inconvenienced if the item is reduced ; I refer to the Treasurer, whose difficulties are being multiplied by these suggested amendments.
Question put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … … 8
Noes … …. … 11
Majority … … 3
Question so resolved in the negative.
Item .78. - Manufactures of metal, viz. . . Plated ware and plated cutlery, ad valorem, .20 per cent.
– I think that 15 per cent”, is an abundantly high duty on articles of such common use as plated ware and plated cutlery. These are not .gold and silver goods, but cheap electro-plated goods, which are to be found in every household, and not in the households of the rich alone. I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 78 by adding to the duty “Plated ware and plated cutlery, ad valorem, 20 per cent. “ the words, “ and on and after 1st August, 1902, 15 per cent.”
– I oppose the motion in the first .place because it is needlessly throwing away revenue. The duty on plated and mixed metal-ware was estimated to yield.£2S,500. As we all know, these estimates have been very -much below the actual receipts.
– Would not that estimate include the duty on the “n.e.i.” Une1!
– No ; but whether it includes the duty on mixed metal-ware or not, the revenue from the duty on platedware and plated cutlery is very considerable. In some circumstances we get more revenue if we strike a lower duty, but that does not apply in all cases, and the great bulk of the articles which are included in this line certainly ought to bear a tax on the principle that we have acted on throughout the consideration of the Tariff. 40 e 2
In all the States a great deal of work goes on in plating ware. It is a very important industry, employing a considerable number of persons ; but the honorable senator proposes, without any reason, to sacrifice a .great deal of revenue, .and to interfere rather seriously with .an important branch of industry. For these reasons I object to the motion.
– I think that Senator Neild ought to give a little more consideration to his proposals, unless, he is desirous of allowing everything which might be deemed to be fairly taxable tocome into the Commonwealth at a low rate. If he would not waste the time of the committee by .making proposals which have no chance of being carried, we should transact the business at a quicker rate than we do.
Item 78. - Manufactures of metal, viz. . . . n.e.i., ad valorem, 20 per cent.
Senator Lt.-Col. NEILD (New South Wales). - In pursuance of the notice I .gave some time ago, I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 78 by adding to the duty “n.e.i., ad valorem, 20 per cent.,” the words. “ and on and after 1st August, 1902, 15 per cent.”
This item is, I assume, a drag-net to get at all the odds and ends of unimportant and cheap articles which are used in the household, principally by the workers. I admit that it stands on a very different plane to plated ware and plated cutlery. The committee having decided in favour of a 20 per cent, duty on the more expensive articles, there might very reasonably be a reduction in the duty on the articles of lower value. .From the manner in which the items are grouped together in the papers that have been distributed, it is very difficult to ascertain what revenue the Government estimate to get from the duty on this line. I do not know that it matters very much what their estimate is, because the returns show us that thev are collecting a great deal more revenue under the Tariff than they expected to receive. On this “ n.e.i. “ line, which, I suppose, includes thepots, pans, and all the small gear of the kitchen of the cottager, 20 per cent, is, I think, an unfair charge.
– This item will bring under the scope . of the Tariff such articles as saucepans and various other vessels for household use.
We have left a duty of 25 per cent, on plated ware and cutlery, which, to a large extent, are luxuries, and we should make some discrimination on this line, which affects articles that cannot by any stretch of imagination be described as luxuries. Many of them are not made in the Commonwealth. I am aware that some stoves are manufactured here. In Western Australia a foundry has commenced to make them under a duty of 5 per cent., and they are made in New South Wales without any protection whatever. A duty of 20 per cent, is too high, and 15 per cent, will give more protection than is necessary. It may be said that this is a revenue duty. I do not like voting for revenue items ; I dislike the idea of raising revenue in this manner. But the amount raised from the duty will not be a tax on the wealthier classes, and will increase the cost of the articles affected by 20 per cent. I trust that the 5 per cent, reduction will be agreed to.
– As Senator Pearce has very properly pointed out, this line affects a tremendous range of utensils and articles used in kitchens and in every part of the house. If the VicePresident of the Executive Council were asked to tell the committee one-fifth of the items included under “ n.e.i.,” he would fail hopelessly. If Senator Higgs were in possession of the mere list of commodities .affected, and were to read it in that careful, leisurely way he has, we should not get through the item by the end of the -week. I will mention a few of the things affected. The line embraces nearly all domestic hardware and hollowware; it covers implements used by harness - makers and saddlers, and coach-builders. It affects articles used in brass foundries, and many of the requisites of the mining and electri.Ca industries. Scarcely any of the articles -affected are made in Australia. Therefore, .it is perfectly obvious that this is purely a revenue - producing duty. Other articles affected by the tax are - anvils, barrows, basins, baths, and bedsteads. Honorable senators interested in mining should also note that the line covers Root’s blowers, and other blowers used in smelting works. Indeed, the line ranges from Root’s blowers down to anvils and barrows. The committee will, therefore, have some idea of the comprehensive nature of it. We should be stultifying ourselves by allowing the line to be taxed beyond 15 per cent., as we have voted to fix the duty on mining machinery at 10 per cent. It should also be noted that cold chisels are included. They are tools of trade, and certainly should not be made to bear a taxation of 20 per cent. I could give more details, but the few instances I have quoted are sufficient to show the committee the danger of imposing so high a duty on so comprehensive a line as this. The motion to reduce the duty to 15 per cent, is one of which I heartily approve.
- Senator Clemons is quite right in indicating that this line embraces a very large amount of taxable value. The aspect of it, from a revenue point of view, is therefore very important, and that is the view which I am first of all going to put before the committee. Taking the imports for 1900, I find that the tax.able value of hollowware goods - that is, pots, pans, and things of that sort - was £86,499. Then pipes, iron and steel, would come under this heading, but inasmuch as pipes up to a certain size are on the free list, and larger pipes are likely to be made here, it is not probable that there will be any importation worth speaking of of pipes, which would come under the heading of “ n.e.i.” Manufactures of metal, besides hollowware, pipes, iron and steel, wire netting, wire, and other goods not expressly dealt with in the Tariff, would come under this heading, and the value of the importations of such goods for the year 1900 was £1,430,801. No doubt a great many of these articles are now on the free list, and in my calculation allowance has been made for that fact. In addition, castings would come under this heading, and the value of the imports in 1900 was £17,352. So that the figures would stand in this way. The amount of hollowware is £86,499; castings, £17,352; a total of £103,851. From £1,430,801, 1 deduct onethird to make allowance for exemptions. Of course, it is very difficult indeed to make anything more than an estimate, but considering the large amount of exemptions allowed under the item, one-third is a liberal allowance. That deduction brings the total down to £950,000, which, added to the £103,851, makes the value of goods imported in 1900, £1,053,851. I take the total roughly at £1,000,000 in value. That, I undertake to say, is the lowest amount which would fairly cover the goods coming under this head, making every possible allowance for exemptions. One million pounds at 20 per cent.’ would yield £200,000 a year ill duty. A duty of 15 per cent, would yield only £150,000 with the same importations. No doubt we ought to make an allowance for extra importations owing to the lower duty. A certain quantity of local manufactures would be displaced, and an additional quantity imported ; but I do not think it can be assumed that that increased importation would amount to more than 10 per cent.
– That would apply very strongly in the case of stoves.
– I shall deal with the figures first. That would mean an additional £15,000 which we should add to the previous total of £150,000, making a total of £165,000 ; so that on the reduced duty of 15 per cent., allowing for 10 per cent, more importations than have actually taken place, the amount realized would be £165,000 per annum instead of £200,000. Upon that estimate there would be a loss of £35,000 in revenue. Of course, that calculation may be varied just as one puts down more or less in respect of exemptions, but it cannot be varied very much, and I say that £35,000 on one item of this kind is a very large amount to lose. Certainly, some very good reason should be given for making this very serious inroad on the revenue. Upon what ground is it proposed ? In the first place, it is said by some honorable senators that this is a duty upon pots, pans, and other things of that kind which are used in the households of the poor. I dare say that, a great number of these articles are used in that way, but an immensely greater number are used in households which can well afford to pay for them. Pots and pans form but a very small proportion of the articles covered by this paragraph. A very large proportion of the articles which it embraces can very well afford to bear duty, either because they are of a class which under every Tariff is expected to pay duty, or because they are articles which are imported and used in trades, and can be made here. So far as the revenue aspect of this matter is concerned,- 1 say without hesitation that the motion, if carried, would involve a very large loss of revenue. How is it proposed to make good that deficiency ?
– Is it necessary? According to the revenue returns in the newspapers it is not.
– Of course, it is necessary. The honorable senator’s observation seems to me to show the haphazard way in which my honorable friends opposite are seeking to deal with this Tariff. He has referred to the collections made up to the 30th ult. under this Tariff, which were published in yesterday’s newspapers, and from which it is quite clear that a larger amount than was anticipated has been received. We have to be satisfied, first of all, that those collections form anything like a guide to us in determining what will be the revenue in a normal year. They show that although there is the same opening for local manufactures in New South Wales and other States, which have hitherto not been manufacturing States, as there has been in Victoria, importations have still been coming in from abroad at much the same rate as before the imposition of this. Tariff. Whether that is because theseduties make no difference in the volume of importations - which I do not think my honorable friends opposite” will admit - or whether it is because these importations were in fulfilment of orders given some timeago, it shows that local production, which must take place sooner or later, has not begun to operate as it must do in the direction of cutting down importations. Acting as we are here, and framing, a Tariff to collect us a revenue, not underabnormal conditions, but under the conditions of the Commonwealth which will obtain two or three years hence, and thenceforward for a number of years, we must give the fullest possible effect to the certainty that importations in very many lines will be cut down by local production. The collections, large as they are, show that local production has not begun to operate. But it will, and must, operate,, and, when it does, the high collections, which have been made in the different States must invariably be reduced. Under these circumstances, my honorable friends opposite take the responsibility for throwing away a large amount of revenue, because, under the abnormal circumstances “which have existed during the last year, the Tariff has yielded mere than it was estimated to return. We have fortunately been able to cut down expenditure to the lowest possible point ; a certain proportion of the expenditure which it was anticipated would have to be incurred during the year will not be incurred until next year ; but it must take place. I do not wish to go into the .general financial position. That is unnecessary. But when I am challenged as to whether it is necessary, in the circumcu instances, to collect this revenue, and when my honorable friends opposite seem to be inclined to pitch away, in the most airy manner possible, re venue amounting to £35,000 a year, simply because- the Treasurer’s estimate of revenue to be collected under the- Tariff for the year just closed has been- exceeded, I feel that they are taking up a position which is so dangerous to the interests of revenue that I am bound to put the situation as clearly as I can. How can we say there is any reason for supposing that this amount of revenue will be given up by the States which are most in need of revenue? Queensland and Tasmania will obtain their share of revenue, and what right have we to ask that this amount should be given up because, taking it altogether, the Tariff has yielded a larger proportion of revenue than was anticipated ; that those States which need revenue so badly should go without this sum because the general collections have been larger than was anticipated 1 I am very sorry to have to express the opinion - but I am sure it is the opinion of every reasonable man, looking forward a little - that the full effect of the drought in Queensland and New South Wales upon the- revenue will not be felt until next year. That is the universal experience in such matters. Can any one say in regard to Queensland and New South Wales that, apart altogether from the question of- the local production of articles which we can manufacture, there will not be a large shrinkage of revenue from natural causes following upon the drought? Does it not show the folly of relying upon the collections which hive been made under the abnormal conditions that have prevailed during the financial year just closed, as being anything like a guide to the future ? I am expressing the opinion of the Treasurer when I say that the revenue which will be yielded by this Tariff under normal conditions will certainly not be more than sufficient, if it will be sufficient, for our requirements. Exercising the greatest possible control over expenditure, and looking, forward for the next two or three years, I am sure that our revenue will be affected by the changed condition of Australian manufactures. Not one penny more will be raised under the Tariff as it stands now than is necessary foi- the revenue. I hope,- therefore, that this, motion will not be carried in a light-hearted way; and without that feeling of responsibility for the revenue of the Commonwealth which every honorable senator ought to experience in dealing with a motion of this kind-. With- regard to the protective aspect of this question, it must be obvious that this paragraph embraces an immense variety of ironwork and ironware. For instance, stoves, which have been mentioned by Senator Pearce, come under it. Why should we not manufacture them ?
– We manufacture thousands of them.
– They ore manufactured in, New South Wales and in other portions of the Commonwealth. Therefore there need be no fear that, so far as the ordinary kind of stove is concerned, the poor man or the poor widow will be placed in amy difficulty by reason of increased cost. No doubt there are certain stoves which cannot be manufactured here at the present time, but why should not that class of article contribute, as other articles have to contribute under the Tariff,’ towards the general revenue ? If we are to adopt the principle that we are to make this Tariff a revenue producing one, as well as a Tariff with a protective incidence, I do not think that we can interfere with this duty, and I hope that both on the grounds of revenue and of protection it will be allowed to stand as it is.
– I should like to ask the Vice-President of the Executive Council whether a slight mistake was not made by Senator Clemons when, in appealing to the committee to agree to the motion, he said that blowers for smelting purposes would come under this heading.
– I referred to Root’s blowers, which are used for smelting purposes.
– I do not know whether it has escaped Senator Clemons’ intention, but we have “ Blowers for smelting purposes “ on the free list. I wish to know whether there is any difference between the blowers mentioned by Senator Clemons, and those used “for smelting purposes.”
– I’ have- ascertained that Root’s blowers will not come under this heading.
– They have been taxed 20 per cent, under it.
– Senator Clemons based his appeal for a reduction of the duty upon mining machinery on the assumption that Root’s blowers, a necessary part of mining and smelting machinery, were taxed at the rate of 20 per cent. However, it is clear that Root’s blowers are included in the free list amongst blowers used for smelting purposes, and I am glad that the matter has been cleared up.
– Senator O’Connor is absolutely at sea in the figures he has been submitting this evening. I find that the original estimate of’ the whole of the revenue expected by the Government from item 7S; “Manufactures of metals,” which includes some sixteen separate items, was £354,000. Yet the honorable and learned senator now asks us to believe that under this one section of the item, “ n.e.i,” about two-thirds of that amount will be collectable, and we are told that by the proposition now made we are proposing to give away £35,000 of revenue. The honorable and learned senator has given us some large figures as to imports. He gave us the value of the stuff landed, but honorable senators well know that the freight upon hollowware, stoves, and articles of that description, averages something like 50 per cent, upon the shipping value. Are we to have Government estimates varying from week to week and day to day? Senator O’Connor has told us that the past year was exceptional, and that we cannot expect this revenue again ; but Sir George Turner told us that for this year he expected a revenue of £8,000,000, but that the revenue in a normal year would be about £1,000,000 more. Whom are we to believe? We know that in New South Wales there has been a considerable loading up of these articles, and there has been a comparatively small collection of revenue there on that account. In ordinary years, when the duty-free stuff is worked off, and the importers have to work upon dutypaid stuff, the collections must increase. I observe that iron hollowware was imported under the Victorian Tariff duty free, and why should we now be told that it is necessary for the sake of protection to impose a very heavy protective duty upon hollowware ? Senator O’Connor referred to stovemaking, and I believe the honorable and learned senator knows one stove-maker in New South Wales who has made a small fortune in that State from the manufacture of stoves under absolutely free-trade conditions. There is, therefore, no necessity to appeal to us on that score. The honorable and learned senator has got hold of a mare’s nest when he represents that there will be an enormous amount of revenue at stake if this proposal is adopted. If over £200,000 can be collected under the “ n.e.i.” division of this item, the amount to be collected under the whole item should run into millions, though the original estimate of the Government when the Tariff was introduced in another place with higher duties was £354,000. I again draw attention to the fact that under the Victorian Tariff hollowware and other articles taxable under this item were admitted duty free, and as they arc mainly articles used by the masses of the people, in proposing that the duty should be reduced from 20 per cent, to 15 per cent., we are erring on the side of a high Tariff, rather than on the side of justice to the people.
– The difficulty seems to be occasioned by the fact that this drag-net “ n.e.i.” item embraces a very large number of things which are in daily use in every household. Senator Playford was very proud of the Tariff he framed in South Australia in 1887, and claimed that it gave every satisfaction, but I find that there are a large number of articles included in this item, “n.e.i.,” which Senator Playford did not think it wise to tax, and which he, therefore, placed upon the free list. Such articles for instance as saucepans, kettles, boilers, jam and’ stew-pans, kitcheners, kettles with taps-, and in fact all cast-iron cooking utensils, were placed by the honorable senator on the free list.
– I should be prepared to admit them free now if honorable senators opposite will give us a duty upon tea.
– If Senator Playford will help us to reduce the duties upon some of- these articles I, for one, will assist him to place a duty upon’ tea. In my opinion it is far better to have a low duty upon articles of this sort, and have at the same time a duty upon tea, than it is to tax articles of this sort very highly in order that tea may. be admitted free. One unfortunate consequence of the
Government proposal is that, apart from the serious tax imposed upon the articles, the standard of quality of the articles sold is being much lowered, as a cheaper class of goods are being sought by importers. People who have only a limited amount to spend upon these articles must have them at a certain price. The high duty imposed reduces the purchasing power of the people, and in order that they may be given the articles they require, the quality of the articles sold is reduced. One consequence is that a number of the articles do not last so long, and thus a serious burden is imposed upon every housewife. It will also be seen that where the quality of the goods imported is lowered, an ad valorem, duty of 20 per cent, may produce less revenue than a duty of 10 or 15 per cent, would produce on the higher quality of goods which would be imported under the lower duty. I hope the committee will accept the proposal made to reduce this duty to 15 per cent.
Senator CLEMONS (Tasmania). - I should like to make a brief explanation. I shall never intentionally make an inaccurate statement in this Chamber, and if I find that I have done so, I shall at the earliest moment correct it. I have spoken of several items as being taxable under this heading, which I since find are not taxable. I may, however, explain that in connexion with Root’s blowers, I was armed with an invoice in which it was shown that they had been taxed at an early stage of the Tariff. I find, however, that they have since been made free. I referred to miners’ picks as being subject to taxation, and I find that they also are on the free list. Very much of the force of the argument I used with respect to this item disappears, because I was inaccurate. On the other hand, from the revenue point of view, I should like to say, that with so many things removed from this item and placed upon the free list, there can be no doubt that revenue will be lost. If they had all been grouped together, as originally, I certainly think 15 per cent, would have been high enough, and, without any exemptions, would probably have produced more revenue. But as it is, I feel considerable doubt as to how I ought to vote in the interests of revenue.
– I trust the motion will not be pressed to a division. I do not say that because I like the item, in which there are included a great many articles I should prefer to see on the free list. If it were possible for the Senate to recast the duties, I should be in favour of making a very different Tariff from that which I am supporting on the present occasion. I should do as was done in South Australia, where all these pots and pans and smaller articles, which are used in every household, were placed on the free list. But we in this Chamber cannot recast the Tariff, and, under the circumstances, I feel bound to support the Government. In the free list I see many articles which I should not think of exempting from duty under any circumstances, and the Tariff in that respect is full of anomalies. The duty of 20 per cent, is a great deal too high in many cases, barely high enough in some, though fair enough in others. But we have to take the Tariff as we received it, simply because we cannot do justice by reducing this duty to 15 per cent.
– But the reduction would minimize the injustice.
– The reduction would simply cause loss of revenue, and that is what South Australia cannot bear. Representatives of New South Wales, which State has more revenue under this Tariff than under its previous Tariff, and is, therefore, in a better position, may recommend alterations with the effect of reducing the revenue, but we in South Australia feel the pinch with an extra land tax, income tax, and stamp tax. We must have revenue, and, therefore, in certain cases, I have to give votes which otherwise I should not give.
– I agree to a great extent with the arguments used by Senator O’Connor and Senator Playford. On behalf of my State I am looking at this as a revenue matter ; and Senator O’Connor has placed in my hands figures which show that on the basis of the importations into Tasmania in 1900 the duty of 20 per cent, will bring in £4,650, and the duty of 15 per cent. £3,400, a difference, by the reduction, of £1,150. If we vote for the amendment we shall inflict a loss all round, which Tasmania, like South Australia, cannot bear. The only reason given for reducing the duty is that the previous line, which pays 20 per cent., consists of articles used by the rich man, whilst the line under consideration involves articles used by the poor man. But on looking into the matter I do not think that any such discrimination can be made. I find that the list of articles is longer and more important than I previously imagined, and that there are included many which are used by the rich. From the revenue point of view we shall do well to vote for the 20 per cent.
Senator HIGGS (Queensland). - Senator Clemons and Senator Pearce have endeavoured to work upon the sympathies of the Senate by speaking of saucepans, pots, ovens, and so forth, as articles which are used by the poor.
– These articles are so cheap that the duty will not affect them.
– Saucepans cost 3s. or 4s. each, and may be regarded as comparatively high-priced. But, as Senator O’Keefe has suggested, people do not buy these articles every day, and if the price is raised a little - which is open to doubt, in view of internal competition - no one will be hurt very much. Senator Clemons - as on a former occasion, when oilmen’s stores were under consideration - referred to a few items which might be included, and endeavoured to show that great injustice would be done by retaining the duty. Amongst these items are agateware, saucepans, kettles, frying-pans, and milk dishes, and I admit there may be a difference of opinion as to the advisableness of allowing these to come in at a little lower rate. But why did not the freetraders, when they had the list, take out these lines, and make their proposition ? The majority of the articles, which include anvils, are not used by the general masses of the community. In the list I find all kinds of axes and wheelbarrows, tinned and enamelled basins, and enamelled baths, all of which are made in the Commonwealth. A man who can afford an- enamelled bath can afford to pay a little extra duty, and the same remark applies to those who use electric dinner bells, though, of course, no one would object to cow-bells or horse-bells being made a little cheaper. Some time ago there was great discussion in the press on the item of bedsteads. It was claimed by the importing industry that much injustice was being done to the poor by the tax on these articles. But bedsteads equal to the imported article can be made by local manufacturers, notably Edward Jenkins, a gentleman who should be encouraged, because he pays higher wages and employs his workmen for shorter hours than are enjoyed by employes in other parts of the world. I am reminded that the employés in this local industry are now getting the benefits of the provisions of the Factories Act. Out of consideration to the committee, I shall not read the whole of the correspondence which Mr. Jenkins had with his opponents, but shall pass on with that remark. I find that this “ n.e.i.” line includes pulley-blocks under 4 inches ; spring, tower, barrel, pad and monkey tail bolts ; mitre, pepper and spice, and jaw boxes ; shelf, harness, and gas brackets ; brassfoundry, except gripdoor handles and fingerplates ; axle bushes - an item of daily . use I suppose in the workmen’s homes ! - miners’ cans - which of course might come within the scope of the text of Senator Pearce’s speech - callipers, candlesticks - which might come within the category of pots and pans - cockatoo, bullock, back, dog, doer, gate, hobble, halter, plough, and big chains, and chandeliers. Honorable senators can see an example of the latter article in the Chamber. What is there about the article that it should be placed on the free list ? Do honorable senators see any chandeliers in the homes of the great masses of the community - for instance, in the home of the miner, the shearer, the rouseabout, the farmer, the carpenter, the blacksmith, the stonemason, or the builder? This line also includes cold chisels - which I believe can be turned out by several establishments in the Commonwealth - door checks, axle clips, and chain collars. Would any one propose for a moment to place on the free list, or to reduce the duty on the chain collars which are ‘worn by the poodles of fashionable ladies ? This line also includes curry-combs, and mane combs, which honorable senators apparently think are very much in demand by the general body of the people. We can understand how it is that Senator Pulsford is so enthusiastic in his support- of the motion of Senator Pearce. He told us that he was anxious to protect the great beer-importing industry, and so I find on this list, hand corkscrews. The “ n.e.i.” line also includes enamelled cups and saucers, which, of course, might come under kitchenware. Many a poor man likes to procure enamelled cups and saucers in order to check the destructive habits of his children. The line also includes digesters and hosedirectors. In the fashionable suburbs of big cities hose-directors are freely used in the gardens and can, to ray mind, well bear a duty of 20 per cent. While honorable senators are very anxious to allow the workman to get his- pots and pans a little more cheaply, they have overlooked the fact that gold baking dishes ave included in the ‘ n . e. i. “ line. Of cou rse, the pie and milk dishes can pass. The line also includes oven, furnace, and strongroom doors. The workman, I suppose, is anxious to lock up his securities, his valuable scrip, his shares- in the Chillagoe mine, his- silver plate, the massive gold necklaces and bangles which are worn by his poor wife,, and therefore he wants the door for his strongroom to come in at a lower rate. I have nothing to say about flour-dredgers, which are in use in the kitchens. But this line- also includes leaddressers, kettle-ears, bolt and stair rod ends, ewers, stair rod and screw- eyes [Committee counted], J ones’ fencing clamps and crimpers, iron fenders, steel figures - which decorate the mantelpieces of those who are well able to pay a little duty - sausage-fillers, grindstone fittings, bell and pipe fittings, fluters - which surely ought to bear a duty - fishing tackle and floaters. I am sure that when Senator Pearce proposed his suggestion for a reduction of the dutv, in order that the working classes might get their saucepans a little more cheaply, he did not have in his mind those persons- who are able to go out schnapper fishing on Saturday afternoon or evening and return on Sunday
– That is the fault of the Government in framing, the Tariff; They should have differentiated as to the items.
– I suppose they thought that the schedule would be too long if they adopted that plan, and that the- letters n.e.i. would meet the case.- When the members of- the other House started to consider this line, 25 per cent, was- the duty proposed, and after consideration it was reduced to 20 per cent, as a compromise. Shark hooks are also included. I suppose the poor farmer and the miner want them ! Then we have hooks, all others ; artificial bait, brass reels, fishing tackle, wood- reels rod-rings, ferules and counters, portable forges, freezers, funnels, register grates, nutmeg and bread graters, furnace gratings, chain halters ; hammers - brick, sledge, coal, napping, spawling, and drill ; barndoor hangers, handcuffs, hasps and staples; hinges - hook and eye, tee and strap, chest, cast butts, spring, loose butts, broad butt, wrought butt and brass butt, parliament : hollowware ; hooks - bridle, meat, bagging, cleat, ceiling, curtain, cup, cabin, brass, hat, and coat (all sorts) screw, spring, tenter, and wardrobe; hoops; irons - crimping, crid caulking, goffering, fire, soldering, and water tue. Then we have metal jugs, toddy kettles, brass or copper, and tea kettles. I am sure that Senator Pulsford is anxious to lower the duty on toddy kettles. Next we have kitcheners, knockers ; ladles - cooks’, lead, and soup, not plated. (Committee counted.) Next we come to latches, other than door ; lifts, Transome ; split links, box and chest locks, padlocks other than- for doors, and till locks ; burring, drilling, folding, and screwing machines, sickle grinders, washing and wringing machines, magnets of all sizes, sheep earmarkers mattocks, mortars, and pestles, whether iron or earthenware ; moulds - bullet, cake, jelly, pudding, pick. Surely a jelly mould can bear a trifle in the way of duty for the purpose of carrying on the cost of the Commonwealth. Some of the people in Queensland who were ardent federationists are now saying that if federation were put to the vote to-day they would be against it, because they have- been disappointed in- the fact that there is a prospect of the revenue of Queensland being hampered. When it goes forth to the people of that State that the Senate seriously proposes to- reduce the duty on cake and. jelly moulds, they will say - “Surely the Senate has gone off its head.” I am tempted and- prompted- to go into this matter fully, because I am anxious that honorable senators shall realize what the proposal, before the committee really means. Half of them did not know anything .about it when they agreed to support the motion to reduce the duty. The list also- includes glass movements, metal mugs, muzzles, nuts (tapped and blank), oilers ; openers - case, and Transome, and tin*; camp ovens ; pans - frying, maslins (iron), cast furnace, enamelled furnace, maslins (brass and copper), patty and prospecting ; cotter pins- ; coal, double-ended, and miners’ picks ; enamelled, dinner, and advertising plates. Anybody who has an eye for- the artistic, and who is aesthetically inclined, must surely be tempted to put a-heavy duty on advertising plates, such as are stuck, up to the disfigurement of beauty spots like
Sydney Harbor. I would impose on these goods even a higher duty than is proposed by the Government. Next we have plugs and washers, kitchen and other pokers, coffee and teapots (not plated), glue and three-legged pots, copying, and- tongue presses, boot protectors pullies - awning, axle, clothes line, wood driving, lazy, railway signal, screw-, upright ; nail-pullers, quoits, tram rails, and barn door rails. With regard to tram rails, the Brisbane Tramway Company which imports a large quantity of these goods from abroad - principally from Germany, I believe- - makes a lot of money, and is well able to pay the duty proposed by the Government. Next we have ranges, metal reflectors ; rings - bull, pig, manger, tinned, curtain, and screw ; rods - brass, stair, and portiere ; barn-door and sash: rollers, fireproof safes. Next we have road and ship scrapers, sewing machine stands, knife sharpeners, planished shafting, pulley sheaves, horse shoes, flour sifters, skewers, double-ended and rough, spanners, bicycle spanners, and spitoons. I suppose we shall be told that the latter articles are largely used in mining camps and shearers’ huts. Spoons, not plated, door and floor springs, also come under this heading.. Door springs are used in the offices of wealthy men, and surely they should pay a little duty. Then we have lawn sprinklers, which can hardly be placed in the same category as are pots and pans. Having succeeded in reducing the duty upon imported beer, Senator Pulsford would have lemon-squeezers imported at a cheaper rate. No doubt the man who indulges in plenty of imported beer and champagne wants Helidon Spa water and lemons in the morning. Shaft’ staples, casement stays, steelyards under 3 cwt. in capacity and over that limit, as well as wirestrainers, “ being tools, such’ as Walker’s, for fastening to fences,” appear in the list. According to honorable senators of the Opposition wire-strainers- are used in every household, and in every tent and hut. They say that the motion is submitted in the interests of the masses of the consumers throughout the Commonwealth, and I am drawing the attention of- the- committee to the- ridiculousness of the proposal by show- % ing that wire-strainers, which are used really in the construction of fences around huge pastoral -properties, come under this paragraph. Bench stops and stoves- are also included in it. As we have so many stove manufacturers throughout the Commonwealth the Government naturally consider that imported stoves- should bear a duty of 20 per cent. We have several stove manufacturers in. Queensland. Messrs. Grice and Crase, among others, carry on, the industry in Brisbane, and I am sure that honorable- senators- from New South Wales- and Victoria can mention hundreds of local manufacturers who are able to supply the general public with stoves as cheaply as they can be obtained anywhere. If a. man desires to have an, imported stove,, let him pay for it. Dumping, and belting studs, and garden syringes, are next on the list. Surely garden syringes, like lawn sprinklers, ought to pay a little extra, duty ? We have to look to all these items in- order to see that the- Commonwealth shall not have a deficit instead of a surplus when the Treasurer makes up his balance-sheet. I am not surprised that the next item - beer, bib, bottling, tank, range, and brass spirit taps - are included in Senator Pulsford’s proposition. Metal, butter and cheese-tasters, graintasters, blacksmith’s and kitchen tongs, and curling tongs, not plated, are also covered by it. I am sure that the ladies will not be very much offended by the imposition of this duty on curling tongs. We have given them the franchise, and they can very well take- a> little share in the responsibilities of government. I find that wild dog, mouse, rat, and fly traps, metal trays, crumb brushes and trays, and. soap trays, metal trunks, Galloway boiler tubes, hose unions, copper ball valves, bedstead vases, ventilators, splitting wedges, scale, metal and. sash weights, bicycle wrenches, together with all that cannot be classified as screw wrenches, and perforated sheets of zinc also come under this duty. I have read only about one-half of the list, and I would seriously ask the committee whether those who make a proposition of this kind which involves a loss of something like £35,000 a year, do not deserve to have it fully.- and freely discussed. Honorable senators of the Opposition bring forward paltry, trivial proposals, such as the motion to reduce the duty on horseshoe nails, and consider that we should’ come to a decision1 upon them as soon as they are submitted. When I find honorable senator’s with, so slight’ a sense of their responsibility as. to ask that we should reduce the duty on an item like this because it includes saucepans, which are largely used by the people, I feel bound to discuss such a proposal fully. I am sure that, in the main, the people who voted for me will be satisfied with my explanation when I seek re-election, if ever I do so. Senator Charleston has explained that he supports this motion because he is anxious to see the dutyreduced, as it covers saucepans, kettles, boilers, jam and stewpans, and articles of that description. I am satisfied, however, that I have mentioned fully 100 articles which the majority of us never thought were embraced by this paragraph. I confess that I did not think that half these articles came under it until I obtained the list which I have just quoted. I shall not take up any further time in discussing the motion, but I warn those honorable senators who apparently have either too small an idea of their duties or an exaggerated idea of their own importance, that when they make propositions of this kind I shall endeavour, even at the risk of offending my own friends, to show them the error of their ways if I can obtain the material to enable me to do so.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 78 by adding to the duty, “Manufactures of metals, viz. . . . n.e.i., ad valorem, 20 per cent.,” the words, “and on and after 1st August, 1902, 15 per cent.” - put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … … 10
Noes … … … 14
Majority … … … 4
Question so resolved in the negative.
Item 78. - Manufactures of metal, viz. . . . mining machinery, n.e.i., ad valorem, 15 per cent.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 78, by adding to the duty, “ Mining machinery, n.e.i., ad valorem, 15 per cent.,” the words, “and on and after 1st August, . 1902, 10 per cent.”
In view of the lengthy discussion which took place yesterday and to-day upon the subject of machinery used in mining, and for other purposes, it would be entirely out of place for me to make any lengthy speech in submitting this motion. The duty to be imposed upon mining machinery has already been determined, and as this is but a dragnet item to include mining machinery, which has not already been dealt with, I submit the motion without further remark.
– I, of course, intend to oppose this suggestion. The views I hold, and which are held by those who support me, have been put forward with all the strength of argument that can be used. All the facts and circumstanceswhich should enter into the consideration of the matter have been urged, and I do not see that any advantage is to be gained by repeating them.I suggest that we should go to a division, and leave the settlement of this matter to the time when, and place where, it will have to be settled.
– When, upon previous items, we had a debate on mining machinery which should really have taken place on this item, I was not thoroughly seized of the circumstances of the case. I can now very fully understand it. Poor Senator Smith wanted to get his oar in before one of his confederates, and he was like his friend the miner who charged himself with dynamite and made the fuse rather short, so that he was bound to go off before his mates could get out of the road. I have seen this kind of manoauvring before in my parliamentary experience. But the reason why the discussion upon mining machinery should have taken place before we arrived at this stage of the Tariff is only partially explained in the way I have stated. I have seen before to-day that, in connexion with questions of this description, when Members of Parliament have desired to pose before their particular constituents, they have gone to the extent of requesting representatives of the press to give them an unusual amount of space. I have known that kind of thing to be done, but I hope it has not been done here. When honorable members are talking to their constituents, they should have some consideration for those who are actually remaining here for the purpose of doing business. They should not be like our friend Senator Matheson. When that honorable senator rose to speak in reply to the VicePresident of the Executive Council he was ungentlemanly enough to suggest that the honorable and learned senator was away from the Chamber.
– Is the honorable senator in order in saying that I was ungentlemanly ? 1 ask that the honorable senator shall withdraw that expression.
– If Senator McGregor applied the word “ungentlemanly” to the conduct of any honorable senator he is out of order.
– I did not say that Senator Matheson was ungentlemanly. I say that any such conduct is ungentlemanly. I do not apply it to Senator Matheson or to any one else in particular.
- Senator Matheson must accept the statement of Senator McGregor that the expression was not applied to him.
– T heard the honorable senator distinctly use the words in connexion with my name, and every other member of the committee must have heard the same thing.
– I .ask Senator McGregor if he applied the expression to Senator Matheson ?
– Certainly not. What I say is that the conduct of any honorable senator is ungentlemanly if he tries to reflect upon another honorable senator by publishing to the world the fact that he happens to be absent from this Chamber. Is that not true” Will Senator Matheson deny that it is ungentlemanly for any honorable senator to do such a thing as that ? I desire to point out the absurdity of some of the arguments used by Senator Smith when dealing with this question. The honorable senator told us that some of the mining companies had to pay something like £3,000 in duty under a 15 per cent, rate, and at the same time he said those companies were crushing something like 120,000 tons per annum. A duty of 15 per cent, in that case would represent only 6d. per ton, and with the reduction of 5 per cent, as proposed by the motion now submitted, it would amount to still less. Senator Smith was endeavouring to make us believe that a difference of one or two pennyweights was sufficient to make or mar the prosperity of a mine. If only 2d. per ton is to be paid in respect of this duty upon machinery - and that is the reduction we are debating now, and which we have been debating for nearly two days, then I say that there cannot be much in the mine to which that is a consideration, because 2d. per ton is a very long way from one or two pennyweights to the ton. I hope honorable senators see the absurdity of such arguments. I do not propose to deal exhaustively with the cyanide process, and all the other processes which might be gone into in connexion with gold recovery, or with the recovery of metals of any description. I desire to deal with this mining machineryquestion from the labour point of view, and to consider how it affects the miners. I am as much concerned for the welfare of the miners as I am for the welfare of the mining speculators, shareholders, or directors of these wealthy companies. When honorable senators can tell me with any semblance of truth that the “poor miner” is going about Kalgoorlie with a cyanide plant under one arm and a 40-head battery under the other, with a tin of condensed milk round his neck, one of these silk hats we have heard so much about on his head, and one of the umbrellas about which we have wasted so much time, I shall consider that he has far more interest in this item than I had supposed he had in times gone by. When Senator Smith takes up a subject of this kind, he gives us a free trip over the world, but I desire to take those who are interested in the welfare of the miner, rather than of the speculator or mining shareholder, to the parts of the country where they have had free machinery for mining purposes, and I ask them if they think the miner has fared exceedingly well on that account. Did not the coal mining companies of New South Wales have the advantage of free machinery for years, and is it not a notorious fact that at one period the wages and conditions under which the coal miners had to work were disgraceful in a country like Australia ? I am endeavouring to show that this duty upon mining machinery has nothing whatever to do with the condition of wages and the other conditions under which minershave to work.
– Does the same argument apply to gold mining ?
– Natal, the Orange Tree State, and other places in South Africa, were under a Customs Union, by which all articles of the description under discussion were admitted free, Kruger, who was a “terror” for raising taxes, imposed a duty of 71/2 per cent. on everything which entered the Transvaal, with the exception of a few items, including raining machinery, on which the duty was per cent. That may appear very small from an Australian Commonwealth point of view, but the duty of 11/2 per cent. was imposed only in cases in which the machinery had been manufactured in South Africa. In other cases 20 per cent. was added to the duty of 11/2 per cent., which shows that Kruger, at least, was determined to get some revenue from the wealthy mining companies. In Natal and other States, where mining machinery and similar articles were admitted free, the miner could get only 10s. a day, whereas in that tyranny-ridden place, the Transvaal, he was able to earn £1 a day.
-What about the cost of living?
– Miners from the Transvaal have told me that it cost them no more to live in Johannesburg than itdid in Kimberley. Itdoes not matter what duties there may be in connexion with mining machinery, it is not the miner who gains or loses. In Victoria, when there was a duty of 25 per cent., mining machinery could be bought cheaper than in any other State. As to the ability of our manufacturers to compete with manufacturers in other parts of the world, I shall relate an incident which I have already related in this Chamber, though it seems to have made but little impression. In connexion with cyaniding and similar processes, there are required filtration plates, which at one time could be obtained only from Germany, where the manufacturer was located. Mr. J. P. Martin, a South Australian manufacturer, found he could turn out the same articles, and entered into contracts for their supply to mining companies in Western Australia. The imported cost was £650, and Mr. Martin undertook to deliver the plates at £600 the set. This he did, and thereupon the German principals instructed their Western Australian agents to reduce their price by £50. Mr. Martin successfully contracted at the lesser figure, and the next communication from Germany was an order to the agents to reduce the price of the imported plates to £500. Protectionists maintain that duties should be imposed in order that the foreign manufacturer may be compelled to reduce his price, by at least the amount of the duty, below the price charged by the local manufacturer. No doubt, if the German firm can succeed in underselling to such an extent as to sweep Mr. Martin out of the market, they will once more raise the price to £650. Mr. Martin told me that he has spent £7,000 in the erection of plant, and that he cannot go below the present German price unless he reduces wages. Fifteen per cent. is the margin that our manufacturers require, or the margin which we ought to be prepared to give in order to protect them from such unfair conduct. If we are not prepared to give that margin we do not exhibit the patriotism we ought to. What will be the result if the manufacture of mining machinery in Australia be destroyed?
– There is not the slightest possibility of that.
– Senator Pulsford and those who act with him have repeatedly declared that they will oppose any tendency to the protection of local industry, and that they are only sorry they have not the opportunity of placing these items on the free list. If we do reduce the duty with the object of increasing revenue, an increase canbe brought about only by larger importations. These larger importations will lessen the necessity for local manufacture, and any curtailment of the latter will throw out of work some of the 16,000 men now employed. Which would have the most immediate effect in the way of reducing wages in Western Australia or elsewhere - the imposition of a duty of 15 per cent., or the displacement of 4,000 or 5,000 men’! The greater portion of the mining machinery used in most places in Australia, even at the present time, is manufactured within the Commonwealth. According to Senator Dawson, it might be imagined that air-compressors were not manufactured in Australia; but a Tasmanian mine manager told me to-day that all these appliances now used in Tasmania and elsewhere throughout the States are local workmanship.
– Then why is a duty of 15 per cent, required?
– Because these air-compressors are manufactured principally in Victoria, where there was previously a duty of 25 per cent., without which the industry would never have been started. Senator Dawson was very pathetic about percussion drills, ‘ which, he said, could not be worked without air compressors, and he gave us a great deal of information about the former, although, at the present time they are on the free list. These percussion drills can be, and are, manufactured in “Victoria ; and to admit them free, while imposing a duty on aircompressors, reminds me of the absurdity of making umbrella handles free, and imposing a duty of 15 per cent, on the silk- with which umbrellas are covered. As I said before, a displacement of 4,000 or 5,000 men would have a greater effect in reducing wages than the imposition of a duty of 15 percent.; and that is the position I have always taken up in connexion with protection. I have never considered a duty on mining machinery, or any other kind of machinery, from a revenue point of view. I hope the day is not far distant when we shall be able to manufacture all the machinery required in Australia. There will then be a possibility of our becoming a great nation. If, however, the ideal of our free-trade friends is realized, and we have only the mining, pastoral, and agricultural industries, all our other requirements being supplied from abroad, we can never hope to make a great nation in Australia. I hope that they will give more serious consideration to the effect of their attempts to reduce -duties which are of a protective character. I am quite prepared at any time to go with them in their efforts to reduce revenue duties ; but whenever a dutv has a protective incidence I shall always be prepared to protect the interests of the people of Australia. I hope that when the time comes to resist the imposition of a duty on a real necessity to the majority of the people of the Commonwealth whom wo have heard so much about, those honorable senators who are giving such evidence of sympathy with working men - with the great majority of the people - will do allthey possibly can to help us. J trust that this motion will not be carried,. and if it is, that the suggestion will not be accepted in another place.
– I rise chiefly for the purpose of answering a few statements which have been. made by Senator McGregor on this question. He has said that in the Transvaal there was a duty of 20 per cent, on mining machinery .
– No. I said that there was a duty of 1^ per cent, if- the machinery was manufactured in South Africa, that 20 per cent, was added to the value if it came from abroad, and that the 1£ per cent, duty was charged on the increased value.
– In the Tariff of the South African Customs Union, mining machinery is absolutely free.
– The Transvaal is not included in that union.
– According to the Skipping World, the Tariff of the South African Customs Union includes Cape Colony, the Transvaal, Orange Free State, Natal, and several other dependencies of Great Britain in South Africa. It is quite clear, therefore, that the Transvaal is in the Customs Union, and if Senator McGregor will look at the free list he will see that it includes machinery .fitted to be driven by cattle, electricity, gas, heat, steam, water, or wind power, .and parts thereof.
Senator DAWSON (Queensland).Senator McGregor has asked me to state which, in my opinion, would be the greater evil - the sudden discharge of 4,000 men from work, or the imposition of an extra 5 per cent. duty. I do not think, it has anything to do with the issue. In my speech I tried to make it clear that the reduction of the duty on mining machinery and all appliances would-lead to the working of a larger area of our gold and mineral lands ; that by the opening up of that larger area there would be not only more importation, but more manufacture of machinery, and that it would be better for the mining industry and all others in the Commonwealth, because there would be an absorption of the unemployed, and less glut in the market at either Charters Towers or Kalgoorlie. I can assure the honorable senator and- his friends that we do not desire to do any injury to the manufacturer of mining or any other kind of machinery. Our belief is that by reducing the price of mining machinery, and opening up our gold and mineral lands, we are doing the manufacturer a good turn, and providing employment for him.
Senator EWING (Western Australia). - I have no desire to do Senator McGregor an injustice. He has explained to me that he referred to the conditions that prevailed before the war took place. I quoted from the 1902 edition of the Shipping World, and Senator O’Connor has shown me the 1900 edition, which shows that the Customs Union at that time included the Orange Free State, but did not include the Transvaal.
Question - That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 78, by addingto the duty “Mining machinery, n.e.i., ad valorem, 15 percent.,” the words “and on and after 1st August, 1902, 10 per cent. “ - put. The committee divided -
Ayes … … - 14
Majority … … 4
Question so resolved in the affirmative.
Item 78. - Manufactures of metal, viz. Electrical machinery, ad valorem, 15 per cent.
– I move -
That the House of Representatives be requested to amend item 78 by adding to the duty “Electrical machinery, ad valorem, 15 percent.,” the words “and on and after 1st August, 1902, 10 per cent.”
I presume it is not necessary for me to give again at any length the arguments in favour of the proposed reduction. It is, I think, generally accepted by honorable senators that this machinery ought to be, if not on the free list, subject to as low a rate of duty as possible. Remembering how electricity is coming to the front, how great a force it is becoming in the development of all countries, it is desirable that we should place no bar in the way of the use of this great power in Australia. I regret that it does not seem possible to propose a lower rate of duty than 10 per cent.
Motion (by Senator O’Connor) put -
That the Chairman report progress, and ask leave to sit again.
The committee divided -
Ayes … … … 15
Noes … … … 10
Majority … … 5
Question so resolved in the affirmative. Progress reported.
– It may be con venient for honorable senators to know that I do not propose to ask the Senate to sit next Monday.
Senate adjourned at 10.5 p.m.
Cite as: Australia, Senate, Debates, 3 July 1902, viewed 22 October 2017, <http://historichansard.net/senate/1902/19020703_senate_1_11/>.